7 Important Market Trends You Simply Cannot Miss
1. Great Meal, but I Feel Kind of Funny
If you’ve evolved enough to realize that most things in the supermarket that come in a box are bad for you, then you immediately head for the fresh foods section. But there’s danger lurking there too. The United States has a problem with food poisoning that is getting so bad that one in six people will tangle with it this year.
The ever-present recalls for prepackaged hamburger (E. coli is usually the culprit there), pork and chicken are so common now that most people seem to just glaze over at the recalls, even though millions of pounds of the stuff have been recalled in the last 30 days.
The United States has a problem with food poisoning that is getting so bad that one in six people will tangle with it this year.
Meanwhile, most of us are getting sick from supposedly healthy foods. Here are some of the foods that may surprise you as having been recalled in the last 30 days, as well as the bacteria involved:
- cottage cheese (not properly refrigerated)
- yogurt (coliform)
- crushed chili powder (salmonella)
- organic mangoes (listeria)
- eggs (salmonella)
- walnuts (listeria)
- crabmeat (listeria)
- hummus (listeria).
Yes, most of them were from name brands like Kraft and Stonyfield.
The Centers for Disease Control recently looked at a decade of statistics on what causes most people to get food poisoning, and the results are unnerving: Leading the pack at 22% of all food poisoning is — surprise — leafy green vegetables. It turns out they’re covered with noroviruses, for which antibiotics are useless, and E. coli, which mostly comes from fecal contamination.
Dairy products are the second leading cause of intestinal bouts, comprising 14% of incidents and 10% of deaths. And although meats are not the most common causes of food poisoning, they are responsible for more food poisoning deaths. Poultry leads the way, at 19% of all deaths from bad food, due mostly to listeria and salmonella bacteria.
So what can a hungry person do? Stop eating meats, for sure, and wash, wash, wash those veggies (even if the label says “triple-washed, ready to eat.” Oh, and wash your hands too — often.
2. Hill? You Call That a Hill?
OK, let’s be real: The only significant problem with forgoing your car and being ecologically cool by riding a bike on your errands is that you don’t live in Holland. It’s the upgrades, the steep roads and the need for a granny gear that keeps most bikes in the garage. But all this is changing. In fact, there may be no other part of the tech world where innovation and creativity are more prominent than bicycles. Yup, bicycles. That’s why last year’s model on the showroom floor is marked down 40% — it’s already obsolete.
The best part of the stream of bike innovation is that engineering geeks are thinking beyond fun and exercise to usability. Thus, clustered together near the front of most bicycle shops these days are heavier-looking rides with a bulge in the center — so-called e-bikes. The “e” is for electric. And the combination of brilliant new electric motors from companies like Bosch connected to the latest in lithium cell battery technology means you can ride a typical e-bike these days at speeds approaching at least 20 mph and go pretty effortlessly for 30–50 miles. You can, for instance, pedal in flat areas and twist the throttle on the hills, or you can engage a smart switch that gives a boost automatically from the motor (usually in the back hub) when it senses a hill.
One of my favorites of the new e-bikes is the E3 Zuma from Currie Technologies in Simi Valley, Calif. A monster battery is hidden in the seat tube, so you hardly notice it’s an e-bike. Cruise for up to 35 miles with ease, thanks to a 500-watt motor in the rear hub powered by a 36-volt lithium-ion battery packing 10.4 amp-hours. When you pedal, you’ll engage a Shimano Acera 7 speed setup with a 44-tooth crankset and an 11–32-tooth cassette in the rear wheel. The tires are a mountain bike-like 26 by 2.3 inches.
And if you just can’t give up your present bike but really wish it could be electrified, Currie has just the thing for you. It’s called the Electron Wheel, and it’s a quick change-out for the front wheel. The black disc not only looks cool and different, but it contains everything you need, including motor, controls and battery. Just slip your old wheel out, slip the Electron in and go. There are no tools or wiring or conversions necessary.
The Electron Wheel has a built-in 250-watt motor powered by a 24-volt, 10-amp lithium-ion battery.
The black disc senses grades and automatically applies appropriate force. A wireless sensor attached to your crankset tells the wheel to add power only when you are pedaling, so there’s no runaway effect. When you’re done, roll the wheel inside, plug it in and charge it up. The only thing left to think about is how to hack the Currie system to accept a solar boost from cells glued onto your helmet.
3. Time to Book Your Trip Into Space
Virgin Galactic, which has built an air-launched rocket system in partnership with aircraft designer Burt Rutan’s Scaled Composites, is actually on schedule to begin taking ordinary people for a ride into space by year-end. The company’s SpaceShipTwo carries six passengers and guarantees to get them 80 kilometers above Earth’s surface, but intends that each flight will reach 100 kilometers (62 miles), the so-called Kármán line that marks the edge of space, according to the International Aeronautical Federation. It certainly isn’t deep space, but there’s so little atmosphere at that level that the sky is black and wings are useless.
Virgin Galactic… is actually on schedule to begin taking ordinary people for a ride into space by year-end.
SpaceShipTwo recently completed its third test flight successfully, and in late May, the FAA approved a system whereby launches from the Spaceport America in Las Cruces, N.M., will be coordinated with the Albuquerque Air Route Traffic Control Center.
Virgin Galactic was born from Burt Rutan’s successful attempt in 2004 to win the Ansari X Prize for building the first private rocket into space that reached the Kármán line.
Virgin Galactic is a privately owned company. The two principals are Sir Richard Branson and Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments PJS. Although no one really knows what development of SpaceShipTwo has actually cost, the potential for recovery, if not profit, is certainly there. About 700 people have put down a deposit on a ticket to ride, a ticket that now costs $250,000, up from $200,000 a couple of years ago (lesson: Always be an early adopter). The math works out to more than $150 million in ticket sales. Galactic is calling ticket holders “astronauts,” and each will undergo training before the flight, including being stressed in one of those G-force rides that mimic a bad night on the Tilt-A-Whirl. Astronauts also get invited to events surrounding the mystique and glamour of Virgin Galactic’s enterprise.
There’s a long line ahead of you, but if getting into space is your dream, you can sign up here.
4. Let’s Check out That New Mole on Your Arm
George Zouridakis, a professor of engineering at the University of Houston, has developed an iPhone app that can take a picture of a lesion on your skin and tell you with 85% accuracy if it is cancerous or precancerous. That is an accuracy rate equivalent to what a dermatologist can deliver by visually examining your skin.
Skin cancer is the most prevalent malignancy among humans, and two out of every five Americans will get a skin cancer before they die.
Although most skin cancers can be easily dealt with, finding them early is key. Melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer, is almost always fatal unless caught very early.
Dr. George Zouridakis’ DermoScreen application for your smartphone can detect melanomas on human skin with 85% accuracy.
The app has received considerable attention from investors, but Zouridakis does not want to market it until he can increase its accuracy and find other uses for it. He recently received a $412,500 grant from the National Institutes of Health to adapt the app to screening for Buruli ulcer, a flesh-eating bacterial disease common in Africa.
Zouridakis believes the app is extremely well suited to diagnosing skin diseases in areas like Africa, where medical attention from the likes of a dermatologist is rare at best. Right now, the only apparent downside is that the app requires attaching a dermascope lens to the iPhone. The lens is similar to a device used by dermatologists to scan patients and costs $500.
5. How to Get off the Grid, Even in a City
Back when everyone had a copy of the Whole Earth Catalog, the original make-your-own electricity dropouts put up windmills. And until solar panels jumped in efficiency and reliability a few years ago, wind power was the go-to renewable. But there are two problems with wind-driven generators: Their blades make a lot of annoying noise, and they somehow look like hell.
To the rescue comes a Dutch company with an ingenious tiny wind turbine that is almost silent and not nearly as offensive as something that looks like the business end of a Piper Cub. The design of the Archimedes company’s turbine is based on a nautilus shell and is extraordinarily efficient, delivering 80% of the theoretically possible power that wind can provide. The turbine is called the Liam F1 Urban Wind Turbine, and coming from one of the most densely populated countries on the planet, it is, understandably, designed for apartment living — compact, efficient and quiet.
The company says an 11 mph wind is enough to generate half the electrical consumption of a typical apartment, or about 1,500 kilowatts a year. The Liam goes on sale July 1 and will retail for about $5,500.
That bubble in front of the blue turbine on the Liam F1 is a generator.
6. Will Pharmas Drive Medicare Into Bankruptcy?
By law, Medicare is not allowed to negotiate prescription prices for drugs. Another brilliant congressional move. So let’s look at the top five most expensive drugs sold in the United States to see what that really means:
- Soliris, $409,000 a year. Made by Alexion Pharmaceuticals to treat paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, a rare blood disease, as well as atypical hemolytic-uremic syndrome, a kidney disease.
- Elaprase, $375,000 a year. Made by Shire Human Genetic Therapies to treat a rare male genetic disease called Hunter syndrome that reduces mobility and affects the mind.
- Naglazyme, $365,000 a year. Made by BioMarin Pharmaceutical to treat Maroteaux-Lamy Syndrome, which causes long chains of sugar molecules to build up in the body.
- Cinryze, $350,000 a year. Made by ViroPharma to treat a rare hereditary blood disease called angioedema that results in swelling of the face, airways, intestines and genitals.
- Myozyme, $300,000 a year. Made by Genzyme to treat Pompe disease, a genetic disorder that causes glycogen to build up in the body, which impairs organs and muscles.
7. Who’s on First? What’s on the Space Station?
The International Space Station, which you can only get to aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft flying from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, has six astronauts aboard these days. They include:
Oleg Artemyev, born in Latvia, a 43-year-old physicist who has been up since March 27. Aleksandr Skvortsov Jr., a pilot-engineer in the Russian Air Force, joined him on the March 25 ride up, as did Steven Swanson, a NASA astronaut who was born in Syracuse, N.Y. All three got there on Soyuz mission TMA-12M, the 38th Soyuz flight to the Space Station. Their Soyuz remains docked as an emergency escape vehicle. If all goes well, it will return in September with three crew. Swanson is an engineer who has flown two shuttle missions, logged nearly 650 hours in space and has spent 26 hours on four separate spacewalks. Skvortsov served on the space station from April to September in 2010 and celebrated his 44th birthday aboard.
Alexander Gerst is a geophysicist from Germany representing the European Space Agency. He and Reid Wiseman, who was born in Baltimore, served as flight engineers on Soyuz TMA-13M, which launched from Baikonur on May 28 and arrived at the International Space Station on May 29. Maksim Surayev, born in Chelyabinsk, Russia, was the mission commander. He is a pilot, an engineer and a lawyer. This is Surayev’s second stay on the Space Station. He and U.S. astronaut Jeffrey Williams landed in Kazakhstan in a Soyuz on March 18, 2010, after 167 days on the Space Station. Wiseman served as a Navy pilot and test pilot before joining NASA.
Ed. Note: Alternative energies… medical innovation… privatized space… all of these things are themes in the Tomorrow in Review e-letter, where Stephen Petranek is a regular contributor. And in every single issue of Tomorrow in Review, readers are given several opportunities to discover the best ways to profit from these market trends. Don’t miss your chance to learn more about these life-changing profit opportunities for yourself. Sign up for our FREE Tomorrow in Review email edition right here.