Over the past 100 years, the technology inside airplanes has become more and more advanced from jumbo jets to smaller Cessna’s. Some see the next step to full automation as removing the pilot completely. Reliable Robots and Xwing are two Bay Area start-ups working on doing just that. Rather than build new aircraft, both companies have retrofitted Cessna Grand Caravan’s. The planes can fly autonomously with a remote operator who monitors the flight and can take control if needed. Both companies are working with the FAA on getting approval. Xwing took CNBC for a test flight, where the pilot didn’t touch the controls once. Watch the video to learn how it works and when pilotless planes will become the norm.
Even though sand can be found in nearly every single country on Earth, the world could soon face a shortage of this crucial, under-appreciated commodity. Sand use around the world has tripled in the last twenty years, according to the UNEP. That’s far greater than the rate at which sand is being replenished. Here’s what’s behind the looming sand crisis.
To balance their budgets during the coronavirus pandemic, states including New Jersey and New York have raised taxes on the wealthy. Conservatives warn that it will cause many of those who left at the onset of the pandemic make those moves permanent since they’re no longer bound to the physical locations of their offices or their children’s schools. But available data from 2020 show that the so-called exodus wasn’t as pronounced as initially projected, and the urban exit that did happen, was to suburbs rather than low tax states.
Air pollution still remains one of the key environmental issues in the United States. Although it has seen incredible improvement since the 1970s, more than 4 in 10 Americans are still estimated to live in counties with poor air quality. Every year, air pollution kills more than 6 million people worldwide from heart attacks, stroke and diabetes. So just how clean is the air we breathe in the U.S.?
Would you pay hundreds of dollars for the best cut of steak? What about a cup of coffee or a bottle of wine? From steak to caviar, CNBC Make It breaks down whether luxury foods are worth their high prices.
00:00 — Intro
01:01 — Wagyu Steak – This is the best Kobe steak ever imported to the United States. It costs $450 for 13 ounces and if it was sold in a restaurant it would cost $900. That’s about $90 a bite. That’s because It’s an A5 Kobe steak with a BMS of 12. In the Japanese beef rating system BMS stands for Beef Marble Score. The BMS scale ranges from 3 to 12, with 3 being a normal amount marbling, think what in the butcher shop at your high-end grocery store. The highest rating is 12. Steaks that reach that level are almost white with fat. Very, very few cuts of meat reach a BMS of 12. Over the last 10 years, just five BMS 12 beef loin sets have been imported into the U.S.
05:27 — Nobu Sushi – The omakase menu option at chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s namesake sushi restaurants runs nearly $200 per head. With locations in Beverly Hills, Aspen, and NYC, his restaurants count celebs like Justin Bieber and the Kardashian-Jenner clan. That’s expensive, but it’s by no means the most expensive sushi in the world, let alone New York. We set out to answer whether Nobu is worth the price and how does the quality of Chef Nobu’s menu compare to an average New York City sushi restaurant?
11:59 — Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream – It seems like pricy artisanal ice cream is everywhere these days. Once limited to brands like Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen-Dazs, the premium ice cream freezer at the grocery store is crowded with ice cream that’s handmade and includes top dollar ingredients. While brands like Halo Top, Ample Hills, and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams are for sale in a larger number of stores, the price can result in sticker shock. A pint of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream retails for $12 a pint. Here’s why pints have sky-rocked in price.
17:48 — Coffee – Personal finance experts like Ramit Sethi and Suze Orman are split on whether buying coffee is a waste of money, but what about paying $100 for a cup? Elida Geisha Natural 1029 is currently the most expensive coffee in the world at $1,029 per pound. Is it worth the money?
26:12 — White Truffles – There is something undeniably intoxicating about the smell of truffles. In fact, that potent smell is a major part of why truffles are so expensive. In 2019, someone paid over $130,000 for just over two pounds of white truffles. Interestingly enough, there’s a scientific explanation behind the intense reactions to the scent.
Republican state legislators across the country began to formulate new voting laws in response to the tumultuous 2020 presidential election in State Houses across the country. In Georgia, the voting law known as SB 202 has become mired in controversy, as opponents of the law claim it will further voter suppression, and supporters of the new law argue that it will bring back confidence in elections.
Promo code sites have become big business, with digital coupons surpassing paper for the first time in 2020. Major deal sites make millions based almost entirely on commissions from each sale. They don’t sell shopper data and it’s not a scam. In fact, big companies like PayPal and Rakuten are buying up deal sites for billions.
From Honey to Slickdeals, Rakuten Rewards to Brad’s Deals, CNBC asked the major sites what it takes to find deals that are real and why the business model works. With the huge boost in online shopping during the pandemic, deal-finding sites have become a major business. In 2020, Inmar Intelligence found that digital coupons surpassed printed coupons for the first time ever. Also in recent years, behemoths like Goldman Sachs and PayPal have paid hundreds of millions – or even billions – for sites like Slickdeals and Honey that automatically curate coupon codes or offer shoppers cash back for making purchases through their sites.
Even banks like Capital One are getting into the game. The business model is not a scam. All major deal sites say they don’t sell shopper data. Instead, each sale generates a commission for the deal site and for the middleman known as the affiliate marketer – a company that connects the vast world of retailers with deal sites. With nearly 2,000 businesses in the daily deal site space, it’s a crowded industry filled with legitimate businesses as well as plenty of sites that are riddled with ads and expired coupon codes. That’s because regardless of whether a coupon code works, the site that provided the code will get commission for that sale. When the deals are legitimate, however, it can mean big money for shoppers, retailers, and the deal sites.
From Honey to Slickdeals, Rakuten Rewards to Brad’s Deals, CNBC asked the major deal sites, and shoppers, what it takes to find deals that are real and why the business model works. Watch the video to learn how saving consumers’ money makes big bucks for companies in the vast world of online deal hunting.
Polaris Inc. is a dominant player in the off-road vehicle market, selling top-of-the-line ATV’s, snowmobiles, and utility vehicles, among others. Unlike many other companies, Polaris saw its revenue increase in 2020 thanks to an unexpected boom in powersports and increased interest in outdoor activities. While it rides this high, however, some doubt how long it can last. In the past year, Polaris has begun expanding its electric vehicle line-up, hoping to gain some further momentum from the rapidly-growing market. However, some analysts are skeptical of the company’s ability to push into the electric space, which may be challenging given consumer hesitation regarding comparative performance, as well as fierce competition from other leading brands.
Robo-advisors have had a meteoric rise in popularity since their debut in 2008 thanks to the support from millennials and Gen Z. Today, Robo-advisors manage $460 billion, with some analysts predicting it will become a $1.2 trillion industry by 2024. Watch the video to find out why some investors believe it will never replace traditional human financial.
Since their debut in 2008, robo-advisors have had a meteoric rise in popularity. In 2020, they managed $460 billion, a 30% increase compared with 2019. Some analysts predict robo-advising will become a $1.2 trillion industry by 2024. “Investors historically have had two options when it comes to managing their investments. They could do it themselves through something like an online broker or you can work with a financial advisor,” explained Brian Concannon, head of Digital Advisor at Vanguard.
“Now, with the advent of robo-advisors, there’s a third option, and that’s to merge the benefits of professional money management and advice with the convenience of an all-digital application.” Robo-advisors’ sudden rise to prominence was made possible due to massive interest and support from millennials and Gen Z. According to a recent survey by Vanguard, millennials were twice as likely as young baby boomers to consider using a robo-advisor for investments.
“I believe that there are things that technology or algorithms can do better than humans can,” said Taylor Crane, a robo-advisor customer. “And I have no problem trusting a software to do that.” Skeptics do not expect robo-advisors to replace human advisors entirely in the near future. “Clearly, there’s always going to be a human element that’s missing,” said Jason Snipe, chief investment officer at Odyssey Capital Advisors. “My problem always will be the emotional response. Take a situation like last year when we’re going through Covid-19 and markets are moving a lot, dramatically. …
You can’t talk to the technology, right?” To combat this, many robo-advisor companies including Betterment and Vanguard began providing the option of hybrid services that combine both human and digital advice. “[Some] investors we see crave validation from a financial advisor,” said Concannon. “So for those investors, being able to pick up the phone and have a video conference with a financial advisor, have a discussion about their needs and wants goes an incredibly long way to providing them the peace of mind that they so desperately need.”
Time is on the side of the robo-advisory industry as the technology continues to improve and the younger generations accrue more wealth. “I think some combination of the two probably is where we are headed for in the future,” said Snipe. “I think the robo space has room to grow. I think it will obviously modify and change and become even more sophisticated.”
Lithium-ion batteries are everywhere — in phones, laptops, tablets, cameras and increasingly cars. Demand for lithium-ion batteries has risen sharply in the past five years and is expected to grow from a $44.2 billion market in 2020 to a $94.4 billion market by 2025, mostly due to the boom in electric cars.
And a shortage of lithium-ion batteries is looming in the U.S. Former Tesla CTO and Elon Musk’s right-hand man, JB Straubel, started Redwood Materials in 2017 to help address the need for more raw materials and to solve the problem of e-waste. The company recycles end-of-life batteries and then supplies battery makers and auto companies with materials in short supply as EV production surges around the world. Straubel gave CNBC an inside look at its first recycling facility in Carson City, Nevada. Watch the video to learn why battery recycling will be an essential part in making EV production more sustainable.