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How talking to your plants might improve your happiness



Do you talk to your plants? If not, maybe you should – nearly half, 48%, of people surveyed by admitted that they talk to the leafy creatures.

And a majority of those individuals, 62%, believe it has helped their mental health. 

The survey polled 1,250 people, asking if, why and how often they talk to their plants.

A majority say they only talk to their houseplants. However, 62% talk to outdoor plants and 37% talk to the trees they walk by on the street.

When asked how often they talk to their plants, 70% of participants say “occasionally” and 9% only talk to their plants “rarely.”

But 1 in 5 people say they talk to their plants at home or to the trees outside every single day.

And over a fifth of participants, 27.67%, say they’ve hugged a plant and even 22.5% have kissed one.

When asked why they participate in what most would consider an unusual practice, these were a few of the responses:

  • “I think it is fun and I have read it helps them grow.”
  • “I am proud and happy as my plants are beautiful!!”
  • “They have feelings and when I talk to my plants, they move.”
  • “They’re our beautiful friends [I want to] thank them for their beauty. Indoor plants help with oxygen [too], I believe.”
  • “I don’t know that I have a reason. I think it’s more me just thinking out loud.”

Caring for plants can be beneficial to your mental health

Regardless of how you choose to interact with your plants, owning the oxygen-producing organisms can be beneficial for overall health, including mental health, according to Gary Altman, director of the horticultural therapy program at Rutgers University.

“Having plants around in your home or office really does help to increase positive feelings and reduce feelings of fear and anger, which are associated with that uncertainty of what’s to come next,” Altman tells CNBC Make It.

Plant care as a form of healing is called horticultural therapy, and Altman describes the practice as “using plants for the purposes of treatment and rehabilitation for folks who are recovering from an illness or injury or adjusting to a disability.”

The treatment can be used for people who struggle with mental health and those with physical disabilities or developmental/intellectual disabilities, according to Altman.

Horticultural therapy allows individuals to process challenges that they’re facing in their own lives by shifting their focus to being in control of something that is more predictable, he notes.

“Just stepping away from the thing that’s stressing you out and turning to your plants for a few minutes, maybe misting them, watering them,” says Altman, “That gives you a little bit of space to provide yourself some sanctity.”

Not to mention, having a plant on your desk while working has been linked to less stress and anxiety while on the clock.

And studies found that the world’s longest-living people garden as a hobby.

Being a plant parent can also teach you valuable lessons before committing to a huge responsibility like getting a pet, says Altman.

Looking to your plant can be a check-in for yourself to decide if you’re ready to take a big step that holds more weight, he adds.

“It’s kind of like a tool to measure how well you’re doing,” says Altman. “It’s about learning that nurturing skill, so for folks that maybe may not be in the best place of your life, there could be a lesson to learn there.”

You can even reap some of the benefits of having a real plant if you consider alternatives like aesthetically-pleasing, artificial plants and hanging images of nature around your home, he says.

But it’s also important to remember that as a first-time plant owner, there will be ups and downs.

“I just learned from my mistakes, so I encourage folks to not get discouraged if their plants don’t grow and thrive and look as good as they might look on Instagram,” Altman says.

“That’s kind of not the point. The point is to learn from the experience and doing.”

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Kim Kardashian, Floyd Mayweather crypto scam lawsuit dismissed



A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a proposed class action lawsuit by investors against the founders of the cryptocurrency EthereumMax, as well as celebrity endorsers including Kim Kardashian and boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. over their promotion of the cryptocurrency on social media.

Investors who bought EMAX tokens alleged they had suffered losses after taking the word of the celebrity influencers about the value of the crypto. The suit claims the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to artificially inflate the value of the EMAX tokens.

Judge Michael Fitzgerald wrote that he recognized that the lawsuit’s claims raised legitimate worries about “celebrities’ ability to readily persuade millions of undiscerning followers to buy snake oil with unprecedented ease and reach.”

“But, while the law certainly places limits on those advertisers, it also expects investors to act reasonably before basing their bets on the zeitgeist of the moment,” wrote Fitzgerald, of the Central District of California.

The judge found that the plaintiffs’ allegations were insufficiently backed, especially “given the heightened pleading standards” for fraud claims, according to his ruling in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

In addition to Kardashian, Mayweather and former Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce, the defendants in the case included Steve Gentile and Giovanni Perone, the co-founders of EthereumMax, and Justin French, a consultant and developer for the cryptocurrency, court documents state.

Fitzgerald in his ruling said he would allow lawyers for the plaintiffs to refile their suit after amending some of their claims under a number of the statutes cited in the original complaint, which included the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, also known as RICO.

“We’re pleased with the court’s well-reasoned decision on the case,” Michael Rhodes, a lawyer for Kardashian, told CNBC.

The dismissal came weeks after investors in fallen crypto exchange FTX filed a class-action lawsuit against former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried and celebrity advertisers for the company, among them NFL superstar Tom Brady, for allegedly overstating the value of the crypto tokens in promotional messaging.

And the ruling came two months after Kardashian agreed to pay $1.26 million, and not to promote cryptocurrency for three years, to settle claims by the SEC for her failure to disclose a $250,000 payment touting EthereumMax on her Instagram account.

Fitzgerald in his ruling Wednesday said the EthereumMax lawsuit reflects a broader conflict surrounding celebrity and influencer promotional schemes.

“This action demonstrates that just about anyone with the technical skills and/or connections can mint a new currency and create their own digital market overnight,” Fitzgerald wrote in his dismissal.

Investors sued EthereumMax and its celebrity advertisers in January after a slew of influencers started snagging sponsorships to promote cryptocurrencies to their millions of social media followers.

Kardashian’s Instagram post in June 2021 had written, “Are you guys into crypto??? This is not financial advice but sharing what my friends told me about the Ethereum Max token.”

Her post included “#ad” at the bottom, indicating she had been sponsored. But it did not disclose her $250,000 payment from EthereumMax.

Mayweather promoted EMAX at a boxing match and a large Miami bitcoin conference in June 2021.

But by January, the cryptocurrency had lost 97% of its value.

Fitzgerald at a hearing last month indicated he was inclined to dismiss the case.

Bloomberg News, in an article about that hearing, said that an attorney for the plaintiffs in the suit asked the judge to allow him to revise the suit’s racketeering claims to show how the statements by the celebrity defendants harmed the investors.

“If plaintiffs had known the true facts related to the promoters’ financial interest in the tokens, and that they were being paid to shill these tokens, they wouldn’t have paid as much for the tokens as they did,” the attorney, John Jasnoch, told Fitzgerald, according to a transcript cited by Bloomberg.

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Cathie Wood says the Fed is making a serious mistake as bond market flashes worst signal since 1980s



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How the U.S. became a global corn superpower



The United States has just about 90 million planted acres of corn, and there’s a reason people refer to the crop as yellow gold.

In 2021, U.S. corn was worth over $86 billion, according to calculations from FarmDoc and the United States Department of Agriculture.

According to the USDA, the U.S. is largest consumer, producer and exporter of corn in the world.

“We’re really good at [corn production],” Seth Meyer, chief economist at the USDA, told CNBC. “And that’s why you see big acres, big demand, export competitiveness.”

It’s not just what we eat.

“We turbocharged the value of corn through the application of science,” Scott Irwin, agricultural economist and professor at the University of Illinois, told CNBC.

Corn is in what we buy, including medications and textiles, and corn is turned into ethanol, which helps to fuel cars across the nation.

The rest of the world relies on U.S. corn, too. 

At $2.2 billion in 2019, corn is the most heavily subsidized of all crops in the country.

“A lot of these subsidies … do get embedded into the cost of farmland and they essentially bid up the price of farmland marginally,” Joseph Glauber, senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute and former USDA chief economist, told CNBC. “So the benefits accrue largely to those who own land.”

The federal crop insurance program’s net spending is forecast to increase to nearly $40 billion from 2021 through 2025, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

At the same time, farmland values have reached all-time record highs.

“Do we get the corn acres because we’ve got the support, or do we have the support because we have the corn acres?” Meyer said, posing the chicken-and-egg question about the nation’s grain superpower.

Watch the video above to learn more about how corn fuels the U.S. economy from its people to its vehicles, the power of the corn belt states, the role of subsidies and where government policy for the industry may go from here.

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