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April 3, 2024

The Appetizer

“No one should have to work longer than they want to. But I do think it’s a bit crazy that our anchor idea for the right retirement age – 65 years old – originates from the time of the Ottoman Empire.”

  • BlackRock CEO Larry Fink in his annual letter to investors that focused heavily on the U.S. retirement system.

Now, on to the numbers. Drum roll, please …

  • 2026: The year when construction of the famous Sagrada Familia, designed by Antoni Gaudí, in Barcelona will finally be finished, according to officials.
  • 6.9 million pounds: A 16-year low for the level of the world’s only maple syrup reserve in 2023, located in Canada.
  • $10,080: The price per metric ton that cocoa reached intraday on March 26, marking the first time cocoa prices traded above $10,000.
  • 20%: The percent of U.S. adults in the 18-to-29 age group that report going to bed after midnight, according to a recent poll.
  • 36.8%: The percentage of women age 25 and older who earned bachelor’s degrees or higher, compared with 34.5% of men, in 2022.

Dig In
The Demand for AI

As the world marvels at the wonders of artificial intelligence, there’s a quirky tale lurking behind the scenes – AI’s demand for resources. Let’s briefly talk about the energy and water required to operate AI chat bots like ChatGPT.

First, water. The data centers that power AI models generate a lot of heat. This requires different cooling techniques that require water to cool down the equipment. A non-peer reviewed study found that ChatGPT “chugs” a 500 ml bottle of water for every 20 to 50 prompts it receives. Multiply this by ChatGPT’s 100 million monthly active users, and we’re talking about a LOT of water.

What about power? Get this, training a large language model like GPT-3, requires the same amount of electricity as streaming 1,625,000 hours of Netflix – i.e., watching The Sopranos almost 21,000 times.

What does this mean? As investors we can widen our scope outside of the obvious technology beneficiaries and look for other opportunities. The elephant in the room is the potential impact to carbon emissions and climate change. Early views suggest that concern is likely misplaced. Just think about the positive contributions from AI applications that may offset carbon emissions like precision farming and agriculture and many others.

Weekly Specials

On Monday, 30 million people in a 115-mile-wide path will witness a rare celestial event: a total solar eclipse. The moon will block the sun, creating darkness. Just like we have to be reminded that “coffee is hot,” let’s remember to not look at the sun. WARNING! If you’re in the path, wear eclipse glasses to avoid eye damage.

New York City just hit the brakes on traffic by becoming the first city to approve congestion pricing. As if $17.63 wasn’t enough for the tunnels and bridges, cars will face a $15 charge when entering anywhere below 60th Street. Upper East Side residents, brace yourselves.

More than 106 million tourists visited Saudi Arabia in 2023, up 56% from 2019. Anticipating more visitors in 2024, the country plans to become home to the world’s first Dragon Ball Z theme park, spanning 5.3 million square feet. It’ll feature 30+ themed rides, various hotels, and recreations of the beloved Japanese anime TV series.

Corporate Lunch

McDonald’s is going to sell Krispy Kreme donuts in all locations nationwide by 2027. Are donuts exempt from the 10:30 a.m. cutoff for breakfast?

Tesla is offering U.S. customers a one-month free trial for its $12,000 driver-assist feature. $12k would be a good down payment on a brand new Model 3.

Chick-fil-A is softening its “no antibiotics ever” standard for chicken. Chickens get sick too, I guess.

Fisker lowered the price of every single model (there is only one model) by 39%, as the automaker’s future as a going concern has become a concern.

Spotify is adding classes to its streaming platform. Can you skip homework with Spotify Premium?

Trader Joe’s raised the price of bananas for the first time in over 20 years to 23 cents each.

Visa and Mastercard agreed to a $30 billion settlement related to merchant fees. This lawsuit started all the way back in 2005, when Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together” was at the top of the charts.

Former President Donald Trump’s Truth Social went flying 56% intraday during its stock market debut before coming back down.

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