News roundup for Fri, Feb 25, 2022

Russia invades Ukraine: Here are CNN’s and BBC’s free live feeds to keep up to date with the latest developments.

The attacks started with long-range artillery against Kharkiv and missile attacks near Kiyv. Civilians are hiding underground:

…trying to reach neighboring countries:

…and taking up arms:

The Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia are wondering if they are going to be next.

Russia threatens to target “sensitive” US assets in response to sanctions. Ukrainian banks and government websites have been hit by cyberattacks. Natural gas exports to Europe could be cut off.

Oil is $100 per barrel and European natural gas prices increased by 62%. The US stock markets rebounded after an uncertain week, and cybersecurity stocks are rising. Mortgage rates dropped to 3.89%.

AT&T and 3G: AT&T is the first wireless provider shutting down its 3G network to pave the way for 5G. If you keep an older phone in case of emergencies, you might not be able to dial 911 anymore (you don’t need a cell subscription to dial 911, but you still need a signal). Check with your provider to find out if you just need a software upgrade or a new phone altogether. Other services such as e-book readers, vehicle SOS services, home alarms, and medical alert devices might be impacted.

Why can’t wireless providers keep both 3G and 5G networks? Because there are a limited number of frequencies the FCC sets aside for cellular service, providers have to divide up the spectrum that they’re allocated to run multiple networks. Here’s how 5G technology works.

Supply chain: Logistics giant Expeditors International has suffered a cyberattack that shut down most of its operating systems. It might be tempting to blame this on Russia, but Cybercrime intelligence firm Intel 471 warned in a November report that cybercriminals had been trying to sell network access of multiple transportation, logistics, and shipping companies in order to stage ransomware attacks that could disrupt the global supply chain.

Biden is looking to secure a permanent pipeline of critical materials essential to the tech industry. Global demand for critical minerals is set to skyrocket by up to 600% over the next several decades, with lithium and graphite expected to increase by as much as 4,000%

Climate: Small victories: Although the US is not yet on track to meet the current administrations’ greenhouse reduction targets, the country hit and surpassed Obama-era goals to cut greenhouse emissions at least 17% compared with 2005 by 2020. The EPA’s draft inventory of greenhouse gas emissions shows that emissions were down 21.5% in 2020 compared with 2005 levels.

In more sobering news, wildfire activity is projected to increase by 14% by 2030, and 30% by 2050. On top of that, a new CU Boulder analysis shows that nighttime fires have become more intense, as “hot, dry nights are more commonplace.” This is why it’s ever more important to focus on managing and reducing the risks.

The rest: Trudeau lifts the Emergencies Act. In related news, National Guard troops will be deployed in DC for the truckers convoy.

Chicago unveils the first public utility microgrid cluster in the US. The project will increase resilience in the event of an emergency, such as extreme weather, cyber, or physical attack. The Bronzeville microgrid consists of 750 kW of PV, a 500 kW/2 MWh battery energy storage system, and 5 MW of dispatchable natural gas generation. The solar and storage are expected to keep the microgrid running for 4 hours.

Opinion: The future is underground cities.

Tonga restored internet connection to its main island 5 weeks after the deadly volcanic eruption. 56 miles of undersea cables were repaired, and Starlink is hoped to help reconnect the outer islands.

A Canadian sailor survived 6 days on a raft. He managed to grab his computer, a bag filled with life-saving supplies (including flares and a signal mirror), nachos, crackers, a waterproof backpack with identification, a 20-liter container of water, and his personal locator beacon before his sailboat sank. His advice? “It’s the panic that kills you.”

North Korea has successfully test-fired a new submarine-launched ballistic missile.


    • Tony B

      Carlotta thanks for this news summary. Regarding your statement that you don’t need cellular service to call 911, I think it might be more accurate to say that you don’t need a cellular subscription to make a 911 call. You still need your cellular signal to reach a local cell tower. Probably obvious to most folks but possibly a useful reminder to somebody heading into the wilderness away from cell towers.

      9 |
      • Carlotta SusannaStaff Tony B

        Thanks Tony, you’re correct. I’ve amended the text and also changed the link to which I think it’s clearer.

        5 |
    • brownfox-ffContributor

      What you can do about it:

      • Take a deep breath. You can improve any situation by bringing a calm mind to it.
      • Reach out to your neighbours; your loved ones; your community. Check how they are doing. Ask if they need anything. We are still stronger when working together and helping each other.
      • Create an Emergency Contact List. If you don’t have one already: create a page that lists important phone numbers and account numbers you might need: family; friends; local fire and ambulance. Print one or more copies and keep one in a central place (e.g. on the fridge).
      • Print off important documents. What would you want to have during a power outage? Consider printing or getting a hard copy.
      • Check your computer backups. Do you have a back up of your important files? Consider whether you want to store backups locally, in the cloud, and/or at a friendly location.
      • Secure your digital accounts. Use a good password manager. Create a good, long master password – e.g. several random dictionary words put together. It’s okay to write it down. Use it to generate long, unique passwords for each site and account you use. Set up Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) on each site that allows it. You could use your password manager, or several apps to store 2FA. Don’t use SMS/text for 2FA.
      • Create a digital recovery plan. If you lose access to your accounts, what would you do? How would you get access back? Consider walking through this to think it through, before it actually happens.
      • Create a personal response plan. Keep it simple: what events would make you want to get home, leave home, or stay home ? How would you respond to each? What actions might you take, or items might you need? e.g. if you have school-age children – how would you contact them? Does the school have an emergency plan or way to contact the community?
      • Check your Go Bag
      • Stay safe during civil unrest

      Good luck everyone.

      16 |
      • Karl Winterling brownfox-ff

        What’s good to focus on now:

        • Enable 2FA.
        • Prep for utility disruption. That means water, food, generator, solar phone charger, etc.
        • Think before sharing news or commenting. Reflect on whether your share/comment is helpful. Don’t post anonymous or unverified sources (there are places online to discuss speculative fiction or alternate history fiction if that type of speculation relaxes you).
        • Don’t promote panic/despair.
        • Don’t lash out at people based on what they say because lashing out rarely helps and you can misunderstand someone.
        • Focus on prepping, helping other people, and helping the people most impacted by the current crisis. Armchair theorizing about geopolitics or debating people who believe in disinformation aren’t the most productive approaches you can take.
        6 |
      • Conrad B Karl Winterling

        Thank you for saying all of this Karl Winterling. I have already seen too much on social media the past two days that infuriates me. I’ve had to just shut down the computer because like you said, debating with people who believe in some of that stuff isn’t the most productive use of my time.

        4 |
      • brownfox-ffContributor Karl Winterling

        Excellent list, Karl. Thank you for posting this.

        3 |
    • Sparky

      Any guesses as to what ‘sensitive U.S. interests’ could mean?

      3 |
      • Carlotta SusannaStaff Sparky

        Your guess is good as mine. Hard to know if Putin is just bluffing, or if he’s referring to amping up his cyber-warfare against US utilities, logistics, banks, government, etc or if he has something more specific in mind.

        3 |
      • Cia Sparky

        He is considered to have made the Nuclear Threat. A friend said that he probably couldn’t nuke us unless he had nuclear warheads on subs in the Gulf of Mexico. We do. And we have long-range bombers which could wipe out all major Russian cities. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but I would imagine that it would deter Putin from nuking us. 

        Strange that India, Brazil, and Sweden refuse to condemn him. A lot of countries may decide to play both ends against the middle now that it’s a question of their own security. Our security, I should say. Switzerland May have a lot of company as a non-aligned country. 

        1 |
      • Bed Cia

        Personally, I feel like nuclear weapons won’t be used by any country since it’d lead to everyone using theirs assuming MAD is still a thing. To me, a country using nukes is basically them signing their death certificate. And everyone else’s since it’d probably go down that route.
        I can definitely see cyber-warfare being used though. Although, since that might be the digital equivalent of using nukes, maybe that too would end in MAD. I wouldn’t know since I don’t know anything about geopolitics and am just spitballing.

        1 |
      • Cia Cia

        A friend from Bolivia just sent me a Bolivian news bulletin. The president of Bolivia has declared for Mother Russia and is calling for all single men over 18 to be ready to fight in this war on the side of Russia. We’re flabbergasted.

        0 |
      • Haus Monkey Cia

        Do you have a link? I can’t find anything about Bolivia supporting Russia.

        6 |
      • Cia Haus Monkey

        I couldn’t either. But this is a news broadcast in Spanish. I sent it to friends on WhatsApp and to one by email. Let me see what I can do. I’m not tech savvy but this is very important. I’ll try on a different comment box.

        1 |
      • Haus Monkey Cia

        I speak spanish so you can post the same link you sent to your friends.

        1 |
      • Cia Haus Monkey

        I have a choice of Save, Forward, Share, but I need to indicate the recipient. I mailed it to [email protected]

        if you tell me what to type in, I’ll do it. It’s called Bolivia Atento al Llamado de Rusia.

        1 |
      • Haus Monkey Cia

        Is it this one?

        hardly something I would trust

        7 |
      • Cia Haus Monkey

        No, it’s not. I saw that one too. This one has the president speaking. He uses the word reclutar, a favor de Rusia, una posible guerra, todos los mayores de de dieciocho años, solo los solteros, participación militar, inmediatamente. It says it’s Luis Alberto Arce Catacova (something like that for the second surname). I can’t get a link the normal way. 

        -2 |
      • Cia Haus Monkey

        This site knows your email address. Maybe they might forward it to you. 

        1 |
      • Cia Haus Monkey

        It has the president Luis Alberto Arce Catacora speaking. 

        1 |
      • Cia Haus Monkey

        I sent it to this sites email address asking that they make it available to you. You could give me an email address and I could send it. This is all I got when I tried to save a link.

        1 |
      • Haus Monkey Cia

        So it’s not a public link? What is it, a home made video?

        2 |
      • Cia Haus Monkey

        I don’t know. I think it was a news broadcast on TV. You could open a new throwaway email account and I could send or forward it to you. It looks like the world is choosing sides. As the article here said, Latin America is in play, many of its countries being on Russia’s side. Or you could write to [email protected] and ask them to send you what I sent them.

        -1 |
      • Haus Monkey Cia

        Nah don’t bother seems fishy to me…. btw there is no indication that Latin America is pro russia at all

        4 |
      • Cia Haus Monkey


        -2 |
      • Carlotta SusannaStaff Cia

        Folks, just a friendly reminder to use only reputable sources.

        12 |
      • Karl Winterling Cia

        I can’t find anything about Bolivia or other Latin American countries ordering conscription in news outlets covering Latin America, including Spanish-language news outlets (which I can read for the most part).

        3 |
    • Hardened

      “Research suggests that living 5-10m below the surface provides a relatively stable climate with comfortable temperatures throughout the year …”

      I’m increasingly drawn to solutions for stable climates.  Maybe my next house will be underground.

      5 |
      • Gideon ParkerStaff Hardened

        While living underground appears to have it’s benefits, there are also some things to consider. Here’s a forum topic talking about the subject: Realities of living underground

        4 |
      • Hardened Gideon Parker

        Mmm, that’s sobering.

        1 |
      • Cia Gideon Parker

        There was a post last year by a man who built a house largely underground. I sent it to a friend who was a builder and he said Bad idea, it was an invitation to leakage and water getting on everything. As the man invv by the article detailed. 

        2 |
      • brekke Hardened

        The book “Bunker: What It Takes to Survive the Apocalypse” by Bradley Garrett is also a great read on this topic. I think there’s a review on it in the forum. Lots of insights into the logistics and psychological impacts of building and living in an underground space. 

        Here’s the link to the review. 

        5 |
      • Carlotta SusannaStaff Hardened

        If you have a basement, you should be able to measure a stable temperature that never goes below freezing all year round. To be honest, a lot of stone or mud-brick houses might have the same properties (with some exceptions, of course). I’ve lived in an old house made with a mix of normal and mud bricks, and the temperature inside was about 7C (44F) all year round, even in the winter.

        5 |
    • Hardened

      It took 3 days for the Canadian sailor to be rescued after he activated his PLB.  That’s really disappointing and a wake-up call about the effectiveness of the PLB.

      2 |
      • brownfox-ffContributor Hardened

        I wonder if/how much of the delay was due to multiple different organizations having to coordinate, rather than the physical trouble of finding him. I’m not sure what you would do about that, though, once you’re out there.

        Kudos to him for staying calm, staying engaged with mental activities while adrift (e.g. journaling), and having the wits to grab those supplies. This matches the advice from the book “Deep Survival”.

        However, I am not sure I would purchase a sailboat “sight unseen”, and then immediately set sail with it alone.

        4 |