News roundup for Fri, Aug 12, 2022

In short:
  • The River Rhine is drying up and threatening the flow of 80% of Germany’s commerce.
  • Backyard hens’ eggs in Australia contain 40 times more lead than store-bought eggs.
  • Rainwater almost everywhere on Earth has unsafe levels of PFAS.
Economy, energy, supply chain

A key economic gauge shows US inflation has cooled in July with falling gas prices. Online prices also fell for the first time in two years. But inflation is likely to stay high. Here’s why the next Fed rate hike size may be based on soaring ‘core’ costs, not food and energy prices.

Here are some recent links about the Inflation Reduction Act that could be helpful: A complete breakdown of the good, the bad, and the ugly in the Inflation Reduction Act, Inflation Reduction Act could be “game-changing” for millions of US seniors, The Inflation Reduction Act, Explainer: When will Americans feel the Inflation Reduction Act’s impact?

The UK is planning for potential blackouts in January. Even though the UK is not dependent on Russian gas, there is a chance that there could be a four-day window in January when Britain might experience blackouts. Also, energy bills could increase ahead of the expected rise in October, with average bills forecast to reach £4,200 in 2023.

Ford CEO doesn’t expect EV battery costs to drop anytime soon. In fact, Ford even raised the price of its F150 Lightning (BTW, orders have now reopened). The company is investing in longer-term solutions to bring down costs.

Explainer: The recent climate bill passed by the US mentions provision for ‘clean’ hydrogen. So, how clean is ‘clean’ hydrogen?

Climate change, environment, extreme weather

The worst flood in 80 years left nine people dead in Seoul. Hundreds of thousands of poor people live in semi-underground homes around the city, which makes them extremely vulnerable to flooding:

The River Rhine in Germany is drying up. Around 80% of inland waterway goods transport relies on the river and if low water levels are prolonged, Europe’s largest economy will experience a hit to its manufacturing sector and economic growth.

Northern Mexico is experiencing an historic water shortage. As demand for water has grown, researchers say a lack of rain has combined with mismanagement to cause one of the worst droughts in the northern half of the country.

Las Vegas, N.M., is running out of drinking water after wildfire contaminates supply.

More than 100 French towns are without drinking water amid ‘historic drought’.

Climate change is causing thunderstorms to move East in the US. As weather dynamics shift, the eastern seaboard could get nine more thunderstorms days, while other eastern states could see as many as 15 more.

Rainwater almost everywhere on Earth has unsafe levels of ‘forever chemicals’ (PFAS), according to new research.

In a new law, Sierra Leone will let communities veto mining, farming and industrial projectsEnvironmental and land rights experts have hailed the laws as a bold step for the nation of eight million people, which remains among the world’s poorest despite extensive natural resources, and even as intensive mining and palm oil and sugar cane plantations have led to deforestation, landslides and soil erosion.

July was Earth’s hottest month on record:

Here are some tips on how to sleep better when it’s too hot, such as using blackout curtains, sleeping alone, or sleeping on a lower floor.


The US approved a plan to stretch the monkeypox vaccine supply by using smaller doses.

London children between 1-9 are offered a polio vaccine booster as more virus is found in sewage. No cases has so far been reported.

Pfizer began a trial for a Lyme Disease vaccine.

Unvaccinated women who contracted Covid during pregnancy were at a higher risk of stillbirths, more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit, give birth prematurely or die. Pregnant people had some of the lowest vaccination rates among adults, with only 35% fully vaccinated by last November.

The rest

China extended its military drills around Taiwan and is focusing on anti-submarine and sea assault operations. Taiwan says China is practicing for an invasion. War games found that the US and Taiwan could fend off China—at massive cost of personnel and materials.

A new research found that backyard hens’ eggs in Australia contain 40 times more lead on average than shop eggs 🙁 Soil pollution seems to be the main culprit.


    • Eric

      “War games found that the US and Taiwan could fend off China—at massive cost of personnel and materials.”

      This apparently assumes that China acts alone against an alliance of Taiwan, Japan, and USA. It also assumes that all alliance members are willing to sacrifice a large portions of their militaries to protect Taiwan. Japan has a lot of skin in the game due to being another Chinese neighbor, and probably is willing to sacrifice a lot. I would hope that USA is similarly committed, but I’m not at all certain that it is. This simulation assumes that USA does 1000x  more for Taiwan than we’ve done for Ukraine, for example.

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      • Hardened Eric

        Japan doesn’t really have a military; there’s very little they could do.

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      • jp Hardened

        Japan actually has a very capable military

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      • Hardened jp

        Thanks for the correction!  I see Japan has been busy while I wasn’t paying attention!

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      • Eric jp

        Welcome to the site, jp! 😀

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    • Robert LarsonContributor

      “Rainwater almost everywhere on Earth has unsafe levels of ‘forever chemicals’ (PFAS), according to new research.”

      I wonder if the PFAS are airborne and when the rain drops it collects those particles and that is why “rainwater has unsafe levels of forever chemicals”, or if even distillation isn’t able to remove the forever chemicals from the water droplets.

      Even if you don’t drink rainwater, that rainwater will get into your drinking water source. Luckily the common prepping home water filter Berkey is able to filter out these pfas.

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      • TheFuries Robert Larson

        Unfortunately, Berkey does not do a thorough enough of a job filtering PFAS despite their website’s claims. Third-party testing has proven otherwise. 

        For more information on how to prevent PFASs in your home, diet, water, and land, view information at the (water filters, food, products) and (products, food, water filters).

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    • Captain Peanut

      Iraq has been struggling through some 120+ degree heat and power grid shutdowns.

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    • sewknot

      ’energy bills could increase ahead of the expected rise in October,‘ this isn’t really the case – it’s a bit misleading! The prices for DOMESTIC users will not go up until the price cap is reviewed in October, but the way it is calculated means it will go up.

      Direct debit is simply a payment system and companies have to give you written notice if they are planning to increase how much you pay each month (unless you’ve agreed to a variable DD). It’s not the prices being increased in August it’s potentially the payment (Sorry I’m being pedantic!)

      But yes we’re expecting bills to rise to ridiculous prices. A knock on effect of this is that as domestic fuel prices rise there is a increase demand on food banks as people try to balance their budgets. Some food banks in are concerned that they may run out of food if donations continue to decline as demand rises – I found this to be a warning bell for the coming months.

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    • Greg P

      FWIW  – I ran across this article in Popular Mechanics on a device that uses solar power, water, and CO2 to create jet fuel.  It’s carbon neutral since it is recycling the CO2.  Thought it was a cool concept.  

      Apparently I suck at copying & pasting links.   If you look up Popular Mechanics, the article is entitled:  “This solar tower can transform air into jet fuel”.

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