Posts Tagged ‘California’

Weekend Musings: High Tech Stein Keeps Beer ‘Frosty’ For Days

April 3rd, 2010 Michael McDonough Comments off

Source: Bloomberg

As a fan of beer, technology, and business I may have stumbled upon the perfect article this morning on Bloomberg to write a quick weekend note.  Apparently, a nuclear scientist–who looks like he would feel quite at home in any brewery–crafted a beer mug designed with the same technology used to store liquid nitrogen.  The effect beer, that will stay ‘frosty’ for days once placed inside the mug.  The problem , the stein doesn’t come cheap, currently they are being sold for $375 (the gallon size).  However, considering I recently purchased a $400 vacuum as a gift for someone, the high price point for a magic beer stein doesn’t seem so bad!

Apparently, Phil Broughton–the creator–presently an employee of UC Berkeley, came up with the idea while on forced furlough in September due to California’s state budget problems.  Prior to working at Berkeley, Phil had positions at the Lawerence Livermore Lab and the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station (suffice to say he is a bright guy).  It was reported that while working at the South Pole station he twilighted as a bartender and would increase the alcohol content of drinks by removing excess water with liquid nitrogen.  I am beginning to think if there was a Nobel Prize for the art of drinking, then this guy would be a serious contender.  The steins can be purchased here, but look to be presently sold out.   I do not receive any commission, or any advertising revenue for the link, but nevertheless if you have the money I think you should buy this.

And in case you missed it you can buy this miracle stein here:

As a side note, to see my most recent column on Bloomberg please click here (I wish the topic was as interesting!)


California Budget Furloughs Put Into Perspective

July 28th, 2009 Michael McDonough Comments off

As a quick exercise I wanted to put into perspective the magnitude of California’s requirement for state employees to take three days of furlough a month.  The average state employee in California earns US$65,000 per year.  This program will impact roughly 210,000 of the states 359,000 employees.  This means over the course of one year these employees will each lose out on 36 days of pay, equating to roughly US$9,000/year or about 14% of total income.  Therefore, the estimated burden shared by these 210,000 employees will be roughly US$1.8bn, or more than the GDP of a small country like Belize.  I am slightly amazed when I think that these employees not working 36 days out of the year could exceed the GDP of a nearby country, albeit a small one.  This will of course have some adverse effects on the CA economy in terms of consumer spending and sentiment, but will be far outweighed by the state’s already dreary employment trend leading to an unemployment rate of 11.6%, coupled with a national malaise on consumer spending.