News roundup for Fri, Jul 01, 2022

(Editor’s note: Today’s roundup is short as I need a little break, plus it’s 4th of July holiday—go and enjoy the weekend safely i.e. hydrate, stay in the shade, and don’t cause any wildfires with your fireworks! 😉)

In short
  • The US is planning 1.6 million monkeypox vaccines in the next months
  • US states are sending inflation relief checks or rebates to help with high inflation
  • Los Angeles is giving away free trees to fight extreme heat
The US is planning 1.6M MXP vaccines and expanding testing

1.6M doses will be available through the next months. The first 56,000 are aimed at individuals with confirmed or presumed MXP exposure. The next 240,000 will be made available to a broader population of individuals at risk. The CDC has scaled testing capacity to 78 sites in 48 states with the capacity to perform 10,000 tests per week nationwide.

Response to NYC and DC’s free (and limited) vaccination campaign was so well-received that both cities have run out of vaccination slots in just a few days. More slots will be available as soon as more vaccines are delivered.

WHO is investigating reports of infected children, and warns that the virus could spread to the most vulnerable: children, pregnant women, and the immunocompromised.

Here’s a first-hand account of what’s it like to have monkeypox.

Economy, gas, supply chain

California will send an inflation relief check of up to $1,050 to its residents by next year. Here’s a list of what other states are doing to help with rising costs. Lawmakers are also considering giving motorists gas rebates checks.

Apparently, there is a shortage of fireworks. Staffing and supply chain issues and drought might cause 4th of July celebrations to be put on hold in many cities, like in Phoenix.

Miami is the ‘epicenter of the housing crisis.’

Extreme weather, environment

The US Supreme Court limited the power of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Los Angeles is giving away up to seven free trees to help fight extreme heat. Apply here. Other cities, such as Jacksonville, FL might have similar programs. Thank you to community members brownfox and EzlyAmuzzed for the links 💪

A Tunisian startup created a prototype for a drinking water generator that can produce 20-30 liters (about 5-8 gal) of drinking water a day. The generator works by pulling moisture from the air, and then purifying it for safe consumption.

Nepal has a serious pollution problem with 42,100 deaths directly linked to air pollution in 2019 alone. The government pledged to shift entirely to electric vehicles (EVs) by 2031. It is hoped that local manufacturing of electric cars, mopeds, batteries, and other components will reduce pollution and stimulate the economy by creating jobs. Environmentalists and industry insiders suspect this is more of an economic ploy than a genuine push toward a cleaner, safer nation.

Iceland is building a new direct air capture (DAC) plant that will pull 36,000 tons of CO2 from the air each year. That amount is a negligible fraction of the 36B tons emissions produced just last year, but the technology is evolving and the company is aiming at aiming to remove millions of tons of CO2 per year by 2030 and a billion per year by 2050. According to the International Energy Agency, there are 19 DAC plants operating worldwide today that capture more than 0.01 megatons (10,000 tons) of carbon dioxide a year.

The rest

A deal between NATO and Turkey allows Sweden and Finland to join.

California accidentally leaked data of thousands of gun owners. Between 2011 and 2021, the breach temporarily exposed the names, birthdates, gender, race, driver’s license numbers, addresses, and criminal histories of people who were approved or denied permits to carry concealed weapons. The state’s Assault Weapon Registry, Handguns Certified for Sale, Dealer Record of Sale, Firearm Certificate Safety, and Gun Violence Restraining Order dashboards were also affected.

New Zealand designated Proud Boys as a terrorist group.


    • Hardened

      Thanks for your hard work, Carlotta, and enjoy your break!

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      • brownfox-ffContributor Hardened

        Seconded – thank you for all of the great work that goes into the site and the community. This is a great place.

        As an aside – that is a beautiful picture of a street with trees. It appears they have lots of character and shade.

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      • Carlotta SusannaStaff brownfox-ff

        Thank you both! Enjoy your weekend 🙂

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    • brownfox-ffContributor

      What you can do about it:

      • Keep working on your finances. Budgeting, being aware, and discussing money in your household are still great acts.
      • Group your trips and errands together. Can you conserve fuel by doing multiple things at once?
      • Consider alternate transportation. If you are able to walk, bike, wheel, scoot, or take public transportation.
      • Keep growing that garden. It is the best local food. Even if you haven’t started yet, starting now might help you to learn and reap some benefit for the future.
      • Plant a tree. Are there any tree programs in your area? Trees help to create shade, cool the ambient temperature, and absorb carbon. It’s a journey of partial credit and every tree counts.
      • Keep working on your pantry. Short, medium, and long-term staples that are shelf stable are a solid investment. Be sure to buy items that you would normally eat.
      • Store some water in your home
      • Create some shade. Have you thought through how you will stay cool in extremely hot weather?
      • Get some exercise. Just don’t over-exert yourself. Stay cool.
      • Stay safe with fireworks. See this great forum thread on safety and tips.
      • Read a book
      • Take a break. Resting and recuperation is important too.

      Have a productive, and/or relaxing weekend.

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    • brownfox-ffContributor

      Data breaches are a tricky and sad topic. How do you prepare for or recover from that?

      I did some light research and created this forum thread with tips on data breaches and data leaks – what to do before and after. Would love to hear from the community if anyone has experience or tips.

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    • Supersonic

      Much of the media is calling the database exposure of California gun information a breach. The article you linked to called it by the correct name of a leak. A breach is when someone illegally breaks into a system and steals information. In this case the information was publicly available on their website due to poor security. California created a map on their website in which people could type in a county and see how many registered gun owners there were in that area. The thing though is this database that served and generated the map pulled from the actual database with people’s reals names, addresses, etc… So if you knew how to read that data being transmitted you could download the entire database.

      This leak includes information such as name, race, address, date of birth, and what type of concealed carry permit they have (I.e. civilian, law enforcement, judge, etc…) You see how valuable that information is to a bad guy or someone wanting to target a particular demographic like all African Americans, judges, or law enforcement?

      What can we do about it? Well your address, name, and date of birth are already pretty much everywhere on various people search sites and in county tax records, so although it stings and feels like a privacy violation (it sure is) it might not be that big of an impact.

      I’m sure there will be many people who will say “Eh, I have nothing to hide.” or “I don’t care if they know I have a gun, let someone come at me and I’ll show them who’s boss!”

      For operational security purposes, though it might be damaging if you would rather not tell the world that you own a firearm. Criminals now know that your house contains a firearm that they could steal and use to commit crimes. But even if you don’t own a gun and aren’t included in this leak, people now know that your house doesn’t have a registered weapon and your house might be a bigger target for a home invasion.

      And even a minor consequence might be that gun magazines or rights organizations will take this database and serve ads to your house in the future. There is no good benefit of this information being out there, even if it is just a minor stress. We all have enough stress as it is and don’t need someone leaving harassing voicemails after the next mass shooting calling you a child killer just because you own a gun.

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      • Gun ownership is not a “protected class” in California employment discrimination law. It might be a red flag if a potential employer sees you have (or had) a gun in your house but were denied a concealed carry permit, among other questionable uses of the leaked data. It’s especially concerning if you live in a more-liberal part of California where guns are more of a culture wars issue and people might make assumptions about you.

        The leak is dragnet surveillance. It isn’t going to get you a list of members of the Ku Klux Klan, the Proud Boys, or extremist religious groups.

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    • pnwsarahContributor

      Stoked you covered direct air capture!! We need it to have a safe climate, but it won’t save us if we don’t also stop burning fossil fuels, and there are a lot of dangers in the roll out/scale up (e.g., moral hazard, loss of legitimacy). It’s something I’m following with both hope and concern, so nice to see it on the blog.

      Have a great holiday, Carlotta, and thank you for these updates!

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