8 Fascinating Reads

By Markets Fool.com

Here are eight great things I read last week.

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Efficiency
Costa Rica is tiny and poor, so it's not comparable to bigger nations. But this is awesome:

Costa Rica is running without having to burn a single fossil fuel, and it's been doing so for75 straight days.

Thanks to some heavy rainfall this year, Costa Rica'shydropower plants alone are generating nearly enough electricity to power the entire country. With a boost from geothermal, solar, and wind energy sources, the country doesn't need an ounce of coal or petroleum to keep the lights on.

Loopholes

It's good to be rich:

Of the thousands of items packed into Gov.Andrew M. Cuomo's $150 billion budget for New York State, one in particular seemed to float to the top: a tax credit for buyers of luxury boats.

Though the word "yacht" is never used, the budget contains a tax break for anyone in the market for a "vessel" valued at more than $230,000. Specifically, buyers will not have to pay sales tax beyond that amount, regardless of the final price tag. A vessel is defined in state law as "every description of watercraft, other than a seaplane, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water."

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Young guns
Tech is full of brilliant 20-somethings:

More than half of the industry's leading pioneers founded their companies before their 27th birthdays, from Sony's Akio Morita in 1946 (aged 25) toMark Zuckerberg, who set up Facebook in 2004 when he was only 19, though that was still three months older thanBill Gateswhen he started in software.

Deep pockets
Here's allegedly what JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon told Congresswomen Elizabeth Warren when confronted about regulations:

I told him that if that happened, "I think you guys are breaking the law."

Suddenly Dimon got quiet. He leaned back and slowly smiled. "So hit me with a fine. We can afford it."

Allocation
As California deals with a serious water crisis, statistics like these become important:

Jackpot
Money comes pretty close to growing on trees for some homeowners:

There are tens of thousands of homeowners who have missed more than five years of mortgage payments, many of them clustered in states likeFlorida,New Jerseyand New York, where lenders must get judges to sign off on foreclosures.

However, in a growing number of foreclosure cases filed when home prices collapsed during the financial crisis, lenders may never be able to seize the homes because the state statutes of limitations have been exceeded, according to interviews with housing lawyers and a review of state and federal court decisions.

Standing up
A Starbucks shareholder confronted CEO Howard Schultz about the company's performance after a boycott for vocalizing support for same-sex marriage. Schultz responded:

"Not every decision is an economic decision. Despite the fact that you recite statistics that are narrow in time, we did provide a 38% shareholder return over the last year. I don't know how many things you invest in, but I would suspect not many things, companies, products, investments have returned 38% over the last 12 months.Having said that, it is not an economic decision to me. The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people. We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity of all kinds.If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38% you got last year, it's a free country.You can sell your shares in Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much."

Simplicity
This new button from Amazon is pretty neat:

Have a good weekend.

The article 8 Fascinating Reads originally appeared on Fool.com.

Morgan Housel has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com and Starbucks. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com, JPMorgan Chase, and Starbucks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.