🐤 Climb the highest mountain

Toblerone is known for its iconic packaging ... but that's all about to change.

Tuesday | March 7th, 2023
Early Chirp
Together With H & R Block

Happy Tuesday, chirpers! We’re a week into Women’s History Month — and if you’d like to impress the ladies in your life, why not study up with a quick refresher?

The entire world is at your fingertips thanks to the internet, so take some time to focus on a few of the incredible contributions that women have had throughout American history.

You might even want to take this quiz to test your knowledge about events like Sally Ride’s historic voyage to space in 1983. Well, I gave you the answer to that one but you’re on your own for the rest.

-Chris Agee

-$13.27 (-0.11%)
Dow Jones
$40.47 (0.12%)
S&P 500
$2.78 (0.07%)
$0.00 (0.45%)
-$35.64 (-0.16%)
-$0.09 (-7.20%)
*Market data for this issue is from March 6th, 2023 at 4:30pm EST

🏦 Markets: There’s a lot of economic data dropping this week and investors didn’t seem to know exactly how to prepare. It all led to a mixed day on Wall Street to begin the week as the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased by a hair, the Nasdaq Composite dropped a smidge, and the S&P 500 was practically unchanged by the time Monday’s closing bell rang.

What should you watch for this week? Friday’s employment numbers, for starters. The report is expected to show a robust 215,000 jobs were added last month, which is good but far short of January’s total.


The Breakdown

A quick look around the world.


🏈 An expensive Carr: The New Orleans Saints completed a deal that’s been in the works for a while, signing ex-Raiders quarterback Derek Carr to a lucrative four-year, $150 million contract. The terms of the agreement reportedly include $100 million in guaranteed compensation and a no-trade clause. He was still bound by the terms of his Raiders contract with the Saints met with him last month to hammer out a deal. While Saints’ executives are likely pleased with the acquisition, it’s not the end of the road as far as trades go. The franchise is nearly $25 million over the league’s salary cap, so the front office will have to shed some expenses somewhere else after inking the Carr contract.

🚬 Vape ‘em if you got ‘em: It’s a good thing for everyone (except maybe the tobacco industry) that cigarettes have largely fallen out of favor with the younger generations. For the company behind Marlboro and other top cigarette brands, however, there’s still apparently some money to be made by hawking nicotine on the open market. According to reports, Altria is sinking a whopping $2.75 billion into NJOY, a new e-cigarette company. Altria previously invested in Juul, but the vape maker has been getting bad press lately and the larger company decided to cut its losses. As for the most recent business decision, Altria CEO Bill Gifford said: “We believe we can responsibly accelerate U.S. adult smoker and competitive adult vaper adoption of NJOY ACE in ways that NJOY could not as a standalone company.”

👨‍👩‍👦 Sky’s the limit: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has been dealing with some weighty problems impacting the airline industry in recent months after widespread delays, cancellations, and staffing shortages. Now, his agency is allowing passengers to check out the benefits and features that each major airline offers before buying a ticket. The “Airline Customer Service Dashboard” makes it easy to determine which airlines offer fee-free family seating, for example. As of this writing, that list only includes Alaska, American, and Frontier. View all of the categories currently on display by clicking here.

📧 A bright Outlook: Many PC users have long cherished the email and other productivity services offered by Outlook — and now Mac users can join in the fun for free. Microsoft announced that it would provide the software suite in the Apple App Store. The company is reportedly in the process of revamping its Outlook for Windows app and allowing free access to Apple users is part of the push to make the service more web-focused in general. According to Outlook for Mac product manager Jeremy Perdue: “We are rebuilding Outlook for Mac from the ground up to be faster, more reliable, and to be an Outlook for everyone.”

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There’s A Significant Change Coming To The Iconic Toblerone Packaging

But don't worry -- it'll still retain its triangular shape.

There’s A Significant Change Coming To The Iconic Toblerone Packaging

Whether you’ve just picked one up at an airport or it’s the go-to chocolate bar to satisfy your sweet tooth, chances are you’re at least moderately familiar with the unique appearance of Toblerone.

While the triangular box isn’t going anywhere, there is one detail that will be changing in accordance with Swiss law.

Protecting “Swissness”

If it weren’t already clear that Switzerland is serious about preserving the many natural and cultural features that make it such a special country, you need to look no further than its so-called “Swissness” law.

While the regulation prevents national symbols from being used in a variety of unapproved ways, here’s how it impacts Toblerone:

  • The bar’s packaging features a rendition of the famous Matterhorn mountain peak.
  • Switzerland law doesn’t allow such symbols to be used on chocolate products unless the milk (and 80% of all other ingredients) are sourced from within the country.
  • Toblerone is moving some of its operations out of Switzerland, so the change is necessary.

Instead of the Matterhorn, which has been on the product’s packaging for more than half a century, Toblerone noted that it would be replaced by a more generic mountain while maintaining the “geometric and triangular aesthetic” that fans know and love.

Defending the law

While it might seem a little silly on the surface to force the company to alter its logo, the man in charge of Swissness regulations says there is a worthwhile motivation behind the law. Essentially, David Starkle said it would be false advertising for a company like Toblerone to use the image while producing its chocolate outside of Switzerland.

“If anyone will use the Matterhorn for whatever, you don’t have any value anymore on Swiss products,” he explained.

New packages will also replace the phrase “Toblerone of Switzerland” with “Founded in Switzerland.”

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Why It’s Getting More Difficult For Schools To Feed American Kids

The current situation is forcing districts to make some tough decisions.

Why It’s Getting More Difficult For Schools To Feed American Kids Giphy

Pandemic-related supply chain interruptions and nagging inflation have made it more expensive for all of us to go grocery shopping these days. Those problems can be especially acute on the much larger scale of public school districts trying to stock up their cafeterias.

As a result, schools are forced to make some pretty tough decisions in order to make sure that kids are getting the food they need at lunchtime.

A look at the causes

If you think your supermarket expenses are high, just try to imagine absorbing the added expense of elementary and secondary schools. Estimates show that the cost of food at these institutions was a staggering 300% higher in January than it was just one year earlier.

Of course, inflation is a major culprit, but there are other issues at play. Most notably, COVID-19 financial aid programs have now expired, which means more of the funding must come directly from district budgets.

The cost of labor has also gone up over the past year and rising fuel prices make delivering all of the food that much more expensive.

A look at the effects

In too many cases, the only balanced meal children can reliably count on each day comes from the school cafeteria. Even that has become less reliable in recent months, though.

As districts try to balance the books, there are a number of ways that administrators are getting creative with the budget.

Some have admitted skirting nutritional regulations because they simply can’t afford approved meals or, in some cases, can’t find a distributor willing to take the job. Other examples include:

  • Serving finger foods because plastic utensils are too expensive or in short supply
  • Laying off employees to free up money for food
  • Getting creative with federal subsidies to purchase cheese and other ingredients
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Together With H&R BLOCK

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This Discovery Shows What Bar-Hopping Looked Like In 2700 BC

There was space to sit down for a pint and a bowl of fish stew.

This Discovery Shows What Bar-Hopping Looked Like In 2700 BC YouTube: The Prehistory Guys

Since the dawn of humanity, we’ve been looking for ways to catch a buzz. According to a group of archaeologists, people living in southwest Asia nearly 5,000 years ago took an approach that isn’t that much different than the modern technique.

An ancient bar and grill

During an excavation in an area known as Lagash, which has been identified as one of the oldest Mesopotamian cities ever discovered, scientists found a tavern that had many of the features found in today’s pubs.

There was a kitchen, places to sit, and evidence that some version of booze was flowing freely.

Archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pisa say they even found bowls containing remnants of fish that they believe were served at the tavern around 2700 BC.

The significance of Lagash

Project director Holly Pittman explained that this cultural hub was “of major political, economic, and religious importance,” noting that it also appeared to be “a significant population center that had ready access to fertile land and people dedicated to intensive craft production.”The city provided its inhabitants with at least some level of freedom, fun, and fellowship — as evidenced by the tavern.

Archaeologist Reed Goodman explained: “The fact that you have a public gathering place where people can sit down and have a pint and have their fish stew, they’re not laboring under the tyranny of kings.”

A new type of excavation

Lagash has been delivering historically significant artifacts for nearly a century, but the latest round of excavations — dating back to 2019 — is a little different.

According to project manager Zid Alrawi, architects are “not going after big mounds expecting to find an old temple” but are instead focusing on “what we think will yield important information to close knowledge gaps in the field.”

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Written by Chris Agee

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