The Pentagon and the $25,000 Dog

Five of the most interesting ideas of the week, and the stories behind them.
Five Things We Learned This Week (08/24)

1) The U.S. Military Needs More Good Dogs

Highly trained dogs are in high demand by border patrol units, private security firms, the U.S. military and other agencies. They can cost $25,000 apiece—and that’s before additional training that can cost a quarter of a million dollars. The military is using about 1,600 dogs to either serve alongside soldiers in Afghanistan, Iraq and around the world, or help recuperating veterans. But the numbers are about 38 percent lower than at the height of the Afghanistan war, Bloomberg’s Kyle Stock reports. Most dogs in the U.S. are actually immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe. 

2) A Bit of Relief Could Come to a High-Tax Nation

Denmark has an enviable problem: An unemployment rate of 3.5 percent. To get people back into the labor force and spur spending, the government has proposed cutting a wide range of taxes, including income taxes and car taxes. The world’s highest tax burden (relative to gross domestic product) pays for free schools, hospitals, childcare and elder care. “We’re making it more attractive to work more and we’re ensuring that it’s more worthwhile to save up toward retirement,” Finance Minister Kristian Jensen said. The proposed cuts would lower the tax burden on Danes from about 47 percent to 44 percent.

3) Bad Luck, or Bad Urban Planning?

The devastation in Houston caused by Hurricane Harvey was as bad as it was in part because the way the Texas city was built. Residents have repeatedly rejected zoning codes for the city, the only major U.S. city without one. “Houston made itself more vulnerable than necessary,” Bloomberg’s Peter Coy and Christopher Flavelle report. “Paving over the saw-grass prairie reduced the ground’s capacity to absorb rainfall. Flood-control reservoirs were too small. Building codes were inadequate.” 

4) Whole Foods Is Getting More Reasonable

Skeptics said it wouldn't happen. But this week we saw Jeff Bezos make his mark—literally—at upscale grocer Whole Foods Market, which Amazon.com Inc. bought in June for $13.7 billion. Prices for some items were lowered as much as 43 percent. Bloomberg reporters in Manhattan popped into the local Whole Foods and found the price of organic fuji apples sliced to $1.99 a pound from $3.49 a pound, while organic avocados were on sale for $1.99 each, down from $2.79. In some stores, shoppers saw Amazon logos carved in ground beef.

Now you can afford a house.
 Photographer: David Williams

5) You’re Doing Scrambled Eggs All Wrong. Really.

Of all of the different ways to improve scrambled eggs—add milk! sour cream! use a wooden spoon!—chances are you are still making them wrong, in the eyes of Coi chef Daniel Patterson. His secret is to use boiling water as the cooking agent. This way, you get fluffy eggs without creating an impossible mess on the bottom of a pan.

Photographer: Daniel Patterson

 

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