Sunday, December 8, 2013
Commercial Confidential tracks Maine's business leaders and economic indicators.
I'm an economics wonk and an online content producer for the Portland Press Herald.
"On the Move": Submit items of interest regarding new employees, promotions and professional honors — with photos and LinkedIn URLs — to business [at] pressherald.com.
Back in the spring of 2011, the Press Herald ran its first story about the proposed Thompson's Point office, hotel, and sports arena project. The original proposal (pictured at left) featured a large sports arena and concert hall, along with a hotel, parking garage, and multiple new office buildings.
Over the weekend, staff writer Randy Billings had a story about the project's latest transformation.
This map of the United States from a 1970s-era Soviet atlas has been getting a lot of clicks on Reddit , and as a fan of maps, history, and economics, I had to share it here (scroll down for a closer look at how it portrays Maine):
Here's a closeup of Maine, and the map's legend:
Staff writer Joe Lawlor has a story out today about the proposed rates that Mainers would pay under the new federal insurance exchanges.
Thanks to recent state legislation, insurers are allowed to vary their rates based on geography across four regions, based on insurance companies' assessments of how health care risks and costs vary by geography in Maine. As you can see in this Press Herald graphic by Michael Fisher, they intend to do so:
But here's something interesting: while working on our recent special section "The Challenge of Our Age," I'd seen a similar map, in the Muskie School's publication "Older Adults and Adults with Disabilities: Population and Service Use Trends in Maine 2010" [download the PDF]. Here's Figure 2-1 from that report:
Yesterday, Press Herald reporter Gillian Graham had a chance to conduct a 10-minute interview with two astronauts aboard the International Space Station. This interview was quite valuable, as you'll soon see. I've embedded it at the end of this post.
In the clip, astronauts Chris Cassidy of Maine and Karen Nyberg talk a bit about the work they do aboard the ISS. They're basically employees of NASA, hired to do science and maintenance work on the space station. And watching it got me wondering: what's the labor cost to NASA to get an hour's worth of an astronaut's work?
Here's my back-of-the-envelope calculation. NASA just announced an extension of its contract with the Russian space agency to carry six astronauts to the ISS for $424 million. That price includes training and emergency rescue services in case something goes wrong.
That's just the cost of the commute. Compared to this, the astronauts' actual wages and benefits won't amount to more than a rounding errors, so I'm going to just gloss those over and use this figure as NASA's total labor cost.
Colleen McCracken was hired as co-chief executive officer at Planet Dog, sharing the role with longtime company partner, Stephanie Volo. McCracken, of Scarborough, spent the past 15 years with Thomas Moser, a Maine-based designer and builder of fine wood furniture.
Stacey Haskell of Gorham joined Planet Dog as accounting manager. She has more than 20 years of experience in finance, bookkeeping and accounting in a variety of industries