November 2012
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Day November 21, 2012

US energy is changing the world again

Daniel Yergin:

American energy independence, for decades the preserve of quixotic rhetoric, has become a serious prospect thanks to the resurgence in US oil and gas output. The International Energy Agency this week projected that the US could overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s biggest oil producer by 2020. Whether that happens or not, what is unfolding in the US will continue to change its economy and affect both international relations and the global energy outlook.

US energy independence is still far off. But a rebalancing of world oil production has already begun. The US will rapidly become much less dependent on oil imports and will soon join the ranks of exporters of liquefied natural gas. This is a dramatic change from the outlook just four years ago, when Barack Obama won his first presidential election. In 2008, the expectation was for decline in US oil production and an increase in imports. This fed a pervasive sentiment that American oil’s days were coming to an end.

The Trials of Fast Growing Greek Yogurt? Did a Traditional Yogurt Player Plant the Story?

Dan Charles:

A few months ago, I let you in on a little secret about Greek yogurt [Wikipedia]. Not all of this extra-thick, protein-rich yogurt is made the old-style way, by straining liquid out of it it. Some companies are creating that rich taste by adding thickeners, such as powdered protein and starch.

Judging by comments that I heard, a lot of people feel rather passionately that the original, strained version is morally superior. But here’s another little secret: That traditional process for making Greek yogurt is also quite wasteful.

At the Fage factory in Johnstown, N.Y., for instance, it takes 4 pounds of milk to make 1 pound of authentic Greek yogurt. What happens to the other 3 pounds? It’s strained out of the yogurt as a thin liquid called whey, and getting rid of that whey is actually a headache. Greek yogurt factories have to pay people to take it off their hands.

This may sound confusing if you heard my story about cheese-making the other week. That story described whey as a valuable source of lactose and concentrated protein that ends up in other food products (including the thickened version of Greek yogurt, in fact).

Disclosure: A former Stonyfield customer, I now enjoy fast growing Chobani yogurt, particularly the pomegranate variety.

An Afternoon with the Eugene Kaspersky, the Antivirus King with the Chesire Cat Grin

Kelly Faircloth:

Mr. Kaspersky was in New York for the launch of a new ad campaign with the somewhat corny title of “Driving Toward Better Online Security,” starring Formula One driver Fernando Alonso. (Both men were outfitted in the appropriate shade of Ferrari fire-engine red.)

In person, Mr. Kaspersky comes off as unexpectedly jolly, for an antivirus kingpin. That Wired profile had us expecting more of a bear-wrestling Hemingway character. And while he did devote a fair bit of time to waxing poetic about off-the-grid vacations in Russia’s remote, volcano-heavy Kamchatka peninsula, Mr. Kaspersky also peppered his points with laugh lines and pulled goofy faces. Even while admitting that yes, he’s a paranoid man, he still flashes a Chesire Cat grin.