Word of the year in 2022. The Economist recently reviewed candidates for 2022’s word of the year. The Ukraine war introduced us to newfangled terms like “MANPADS,” “HIMARS,” and “Loitering Munitions.” In grocery stores we have to deal with “Shrinkflation” (the same price but a shrunk product–think candy bars). Facebook (sorry, forgot the new name is Meta) activated the “Metaverse,” but nobody, including Meta employees, seems to know what it is or how to use it. The Oxford Dictionary awarded word of the year to “Goblin Mode” (huh?). Apparently, this is where consumers, exhausted by Covid, indulge their most selfish habits. The Economist choice for word of the year is “Hybrid Work.” I like this; my choice too.
The traffic jam of the future – space.
Here in the northeast corner of Vermont the internet is slow. Fiber to the home is always “three to five years” away. We rolled the dice and opted for Elon Musk’s newfangled satellite service, Starlink. It arrives with no lengthy instruction manual, just an app that helps you find the best signal on your property. Then plug it in and voila, fast internet. Since 2019 Starlink has put up 3,500 mini satellites, or about half of all active satellites in the sky today. And it is planning on eventually having 40,000 aloft. Other companies are working on their own systems. As a non- tech person my dumb question is, I like the product, but can the sky really handle all these satellites? Might we end up with satellites crashing into satellites, a giant space version of bumper cars?
The death of cash?
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that cash and checks now total only 14% of total payments in the economy versus 42% in 2010. Covid jumpstarted a surge in online shopping, and banks are starting to remove many ATMs due to crime. Cash is not going to go away. It is still the method of choice for purchases of $25 or less, but it is not hard to imagine many merchants wishing they could just ditch the hassle of the cash drawer entirely.
And finally – climate change.
The chart below is a good visual of the warming planet. Some of us enjoy the winter months (well, maybe not mud season) and the activities the cold brings — downhill and cross country skiing, snow shoeing, ice fishing, etc. But winters here in the north are not what they used to be. A lot more thawing now and a lot less snow. It’s sad.