News roundup for Fri, Aug 05, 2022

In short:
  • The US declared monkeypox a public health emergency.
  • The source of the river Thames is almost dry.
  • Coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef is at its highest in 36 years.
August is FEMA’s Back to School – Children & Youth Preparedness

Here’s FEMA’s Ready Kids page. It has different resources for kids, teens, families, and educators. It has games that teach preparedness for kids, as well as a decent Disaster Preparedness Activity Book which can be ordered for free or downloaded. Resources for families include tips to help children cope with a disaster.

Here’s a bunch of resources across TP re: prepping and kids:

Some other relevant stuff from around the web:

Via Insider
The US declared monkeypox a public emergency

The US declared monkeypox a public health emergency (PHE). Federal health officials can now expedite preventative measures to treat monkeypox without going through a full federal review and improving access to vaccines, among other things.

There is first compelling evidence that the virus is found in semen. And one study so far confirmed asymptomatic modes of transmission. But prolonged and close contact is still considered the main transmission mode. Read more about monkeypox modes of transmission (including fomites and aerosols) here.

A fifth child tested positive for monkeypox in the US: Here’s what parents should know.

Economy, food security, supply chain

Inflation is spiking around the world – not just in the United States:

Via The Conversation

Gen Z’s food insecurity is much higher than for other age groups. A third of Gen Z adults were food insecure in the first half of 2022:

Via The Conversation

The first Ukraine grain ship passed inspection in Istanbul and is now headed to Lebanon:

Via FT

Extreme heat could cause Spain’s olive harvest to be “the worst in years. Spain supplies half of the world’s olive oil.

Australia is experiencing an investment boom due to an insatiable demand for lithium. About half of the world’s lithium comes from Australia.

US legislators are exploring ways to support beginning farmers. Leaders are looking for ways to encourage younger generations to take over as more American farmers retire.

Climate change, environment, extreme weather

NOAA updated its hurricane forecast and still predicts an ‘above normal’ season. NOAA forecasters have slightly decreased the likelihood of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season from 65% to 60%:


The river Thames source is dry, with only a weak flow discernible more than 5 miles downstream. That’s the first time it’s happened. Water companies are under scrutiny because they are not implementing water bans. According to those involved in drought discussions, companies prefer to wait until the last minute to impose bans rather than irritate their customers. To make things worst, a desalination plant built 12 years ago won’t be up and running until next year. The plant was supposed to supply up to 1 million people during emergencies, but the company downgraded the estimate by a third. The heatwave is expected to last through next week, with no rain in sight and temps in the mid-30s (86F).

Parts of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef show the highest coral cover in 36 years! Just as Australia passed a greenhouse gas bill aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 43% from 2005 levels by 2030.

Appalachia’s risk of deadly floods keeps rising for three reasons: a warming climate, unique topography, and the legacy of coal mining.

Here’s what eight cities across the world are doing to cope with extreme heat. And here’s a nice report about America’s only dedicated heat team (in America’s hottest city, Phoenix, AZ).

And here are life hacks from India on how to stay cool without the AC:

Via NPR (click to link)
The rest

China fired test missiles toward Taiwan. In response to Nancy Pelosi’s visit, China conducted “precision missile strikes” in waters off Taiwan’s coasts as part of military exercises. Five missiles fired by China landed off Hateruma, an island south of Japan’s main islands, in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone. Japan’s Defence Minister said the missile landings seriously threaten Japan’s national security and citizens’ safety:

FEMA warns that emergency alert systems could be hacked to transmit fake messages if the software is not updated. It’s not clear how many emergency alert systems are vulnerable. FEMA asked the FCC for an estimate, but they didn’t respond right away.

Watch a drone saving a boy from drowning:


    • Hardened

      Wow, that lifeguard drone is cool!

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    • Captain Peanut

      I didn’t know that most of those vaccines wore off over time. It’s definitely been longer than most of those immunity duration times since I’ve gotten my childhood shots.

      When I asked my doctor recently, they said I am all good and don’t need any more right now. But now I’m thinking that it might be good to order a titer blood test to check my immunity against some of those diseases I am more likely to get and see if I need a booster.

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      • Eric Captain Peanut

        In 2019 I had a business trip to NYC around the same time as a measles outbreak in that area. I’d had the usual childhood MMR but thought this was a good time to make sure I was up-to-date. I went to an urgent care asking for the titre, and the doctor there recommended just getting the shot and not worrying about titre. I had my updated MMR before I left the office that day.

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      • Bed Captain Peanut

        I think I got most of these vaccines since my schools required them and my parents thankfully aren’t anti-vax, but I might need a TDaP booster. Even though things like Tetanus are rare as hell (like, only double digit cases per year in the US I think?), it’s better to be safe than sorry. I don’t have a driver’s license, but maybe I could ask a family member to take me eventually.
        Oh, and I might as well get one of those titer blood tests, as I never actually had one or even knew about it. I’ve been trying to find my childhood vax records, but I’ve had no luck getting them.

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      • Eric Bed

        “I’ve been trying to find my childhood vax records, but I’ve had no luck getting them.”

        I’m confident that my mom would have followed the recommended vaccine schedule, so I’m not worried about getting official records. But if you’re at all uncertain, yes there are blood tests to check your immunity levels to see if you still need those shots.

        “Even though things like Tetanus are rare as hell (like, only double digit cases per year in the US I think?), it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

        I’ve had two doctors tell me that I should just get the tetanus shot after a potential exposure,  such as a dirty cut. But I’m also certain that they would give me the shot if I insisted. My feeling is that it isn’t a big deal either way.

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      • Karl Winterling Eric

        I think most doctors are willing to give you shots if you’re unsure and your insurance would fully cover the vaccine at the clinic.

        I’m not completely sure about my chickenpox vaccine and an advice nurse recommended I get a titer test (I was born before 1995 and the records are messy, possibly the doctor didn’t know I hadn’t had a first dose). The doctor might decide to just give me the shot, though.

        Getting more shots than necessary probably wouldn’t hurt you, I think.

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      • M. E.Contributor Karl Winterling

        For those without insurance (and even those with), many public health departments provide a variety of free vaccines.  Based on personal experience I think titers must be recommended for some, and “just give it to them” is fine for others. 

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    • Karl Winterling

      For kidnapping, throwing an epic fit (scream, cry, hit the attacker, etc.) is probably a good idea if you’re older than a toddler and the attacker isn’t threatening you with a knife or gun.

      Know if you’re higher-risk: your appearance screams “gringo American with money,” you’re an attractive woman, or people would recognize you from TV or a newspaper. Even if you wouldn’t “pass as white” in the United States (whether you’re of European ancestry or not), lighter skin tones are more closely associated with having more economic resources in some countries because of socially endemic colorism or caste-ism.

      Go with a trusted friend or family member if you’re doing anything that could increase your risk, like getting drinks or semi-isolated activities like hiking or urban exploration.

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    • Carolyn

      Great roundup!

      I really liked the articles emphasizing family prepping.

      Also, as a former schoolteacher, I could identify with the article on biggest risks for students and educators.

      My son wants to be a farmer, but the barriers to doing so leave him frustrated. I forwarded the article on beginning farmers on to him.

      This site is beginning to take up a lot of my time!

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