Spend Matters Afternoon Coffee

NOOOO!!! (Notice a quote from our friend Nick Peksa at Mintec though!)
Vanilla Shortage Could Drive Up Ice Cream Prices -- Ice cream lovers, beware: America's favorite dessert could become a luxury item after this year's poor vanilla crop harvest. Already, the vanilla pod shortage has resulted in some stockpiling and a surge in vanilla prices, according to the Telegraph. Perhaps worst of all, the shortage could push the price of ice cream up by around 10 percent. Over the past two months, the global price of vanilla jumped from $25 per kilo (2.2 lbs) to between $35 and $40 per kilo, Management Today reports.

I'd read this.
Tiger Head, Snake Tails: China Today, How It Got There and Where it Is Heading by Jonathan Fenby - review -- As a handbook on the confusing state of contemporary China – covering the economic, political, social and historical essentials of the story – Tiger Head, Snake Tails succeeds admirably. Fenby moves between the expansion of transport and infrastructure that has unified the country logistically as never before, the cities that are spearheading the country's economic miracle, the poor working conditions and growing militancy of its labourers, its diverse mass of enormous factories and cottage industries, the push and pull between the centre and the provinces, between Han Chinese, and Tibetans and Muslims. He takes time out to glance at Hong Kong and Taiwan, both of which present intriguing Chinese alternatives to the mainland political paradigm.

Bringin' home more bacon.
Apple Supplier to Raise Taiwan Wages -- Hon Hai, which makes Apple's iPhones and iPads under contract, has been facing pressure to improve wages and working conditions since several employee suicides at its facility in Shenzen in 2010 and an explosion in Chengdu in 2011 that killed four workers. Following the incidents, Hon Hai, also known as Foxconn, increased salaries in China and outfitted worker dormitories with safety nets.

Despite all those tax breaks...
Payoff for Efficient Cars Takes Years -- But opting for models that promise better mileage through new technologies does not necessarily save money, according to data compiled for The New York Times by TrueCar.com, an automotive research Web site.
Except for two hybrids, the Prius and Lincoln MKZ, and the diesel-powered Volkswagen Jetta TDI, the added cost of the fuel-efficient technologies is so high that it would take the average driver many years -- in some cases more than a decade -- to save money over comparable new models with conventional internal-combustion engines.

- Sheena Moore

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