News roundup for Fri, Jun 24, 2022

In short
  • The US Supreme Court struck down a New York law that restricted conceal carry
  • Russia could cut off gas supplies to Europe completely this winter
  • The US could still see temperatures in the 100s this week, mostly in the East and South
Economy, gas, supply chain

The Fed admits that the US faces the possibility of a recession, but it does not expect a ‘hard landing.’ Here are three insights from the Fed’s latest economic snapshot:

Via Visual Capitalist (click to link)

Ocean carriers control inflation with hidden and mind-boggling fees for shipping products. These fees may be illegal and violate the Shipping Act. And a shortage of new cargo ships has pushed shipping rates for aging container ships to record heights. Companies are taking advantage of the boom by securing long-term leases lasting three to four years, which means consumers could continue to pay the high prices until hundreds of new ships are delivered.

Uber in Phoenix might increase ride prices to help their drivers with high gas costs. Some rideshare drivers decided to wrap their cars in ads to help them keep their revenue up. Other trades affected by high gas prices are lawn care companies. Here’s why Biden is stuck on gas prices.

A nationwide survey found that three-quarters of Americans have had to deal with extreme weather in the past five years, and many have long-term financial problems.

A social enterprise in Cornwall, UK released a Community Food Support Map that shows locals where they can find and pick wild food for free. And here’s a list of apps that help connect people with restaurants and food store surpluses at a reduced price (p.s. it seems that the first one on the list, FoodForAll, might not be working anymore). Up to this point, I only knew of Too Good To Go which unfortunately does not have participating restaurants in my area.

The Energy Star program identifies more efficient products. Learn here how it can help save money.

In order to combat period poverty, some cities are implementing programs offering free menstruation products.

Energy

Germany triggered level 2, or ‘alarm’ phase, of its three-stage emergency gas plan. In this phase, Germany can fall back on coal power, but also pass on higher prices to customers which could help lower demand. Gazprom cut Nord Stream 1 flows by 40% last week, and experts say it’s just a matter of time before Russia cuts off gas supplies to Europe completely:

China and India are increasing coal production in order to prevent power outages.

A carbon dioxide battery enables renewable energy to be stored at utility scale on the grid at half the cost. The key to this demo is utilizing equipment that is readily available from a global supply chain, demonstrating that the rapid deployment of CO2 batteries can be done without bottlenecks. A full-scale 20MW-200MWh plant should be ready by the end of 2023.

Climate, extreme weather

As summer officially starts, 65 million Americans can expect highs over 100° this week. The latest heat wave has tied or broken a dozen high-temperature records across Eastern US. Here’s our guide on how to deal with extreme heat.

The CDC released a Heat and Health tracker:

The US Forest Service paused its prescribed burns until mid-August after a few of them got out of hand and turned into wildfires. Using goats instead might help?

California is considering buying out water rights from farmers. The move would allow the state to purchase enough water to cover one acre with one foot of water and it would not pose a threat to agriculture, which uses 35 million acre-feet annually.

Lessons learned by hospitals in Colorado’s Marshall Fire have already been used in other disasters.

The owner of seven Lousiana nursing homes has been arrested after residents died in a botched hurricane evacuation. Do any of you have relatives in a nursing home? If yes, do you know what are their policies with regard to emergencies, evacuations, etc?

The rest

The US Supreme Court struck down a New York law that restricted conceal carry in a 6-3 ruling. The ruling could affect the states that are currently working on passing more stringent gun laws. Also, a bipartisan gun reform package passed the Senate by a vote of 65-33. House approval is anticipated.

Hundreds of cormorants washed up dead on Martha’s Vineyard island—avian flu is suspected. Residents are urged not to touch the dead birds and to keep dogs on leashes. This strain of avian flu has been infecting wild mammals that feed on them and is especially dangerous to young foxes. Warm weather could help kill the virus off.

A woman got stuck in a cold river and was saved after calling 911 from her Apple Watch. Apple Watch has an SOS feature that allows users to call emergency services by holding the side button for a few seconds.


  • 11 Comments

    • Greg P

      Found the idea of the CO2 battery to be fascinating, but the YouTube video didn’t seem to have any sound when I played it.  I wasn’t able to understand the concept the video displayed.  Can someone explain how this works??  Thank you!

      BTW, loved surfing the Visual Capitalist site – my first time there.  Interesting & informative – thanks Carlotta!

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    • brownfox-ffContributor

      What you can do about it:

      • Focus on actions within your circle of control. You cannot control the whole world. And good news: you don’t have to. All you need to do is decide what actions and options are available to you, and choose which (if any) to take.
      • Pick one thing to act on. Better to succeed at one act than to partially complete one hundred. Do you need a new project? Is there an existing project you could progress or complete? Choose one action or item where you could reasonably make progress, and work on that. Take small, positive steps toward progress and celebrate success.
      • Keep working on your finances. Job hunt, shop bargains, consider alternative brands and sources.
      • Continue to build your pantry supplies, if able. Hard goods may be a useful supply and hedge against rising costs.
      • Consider if you can make any important purchases now. Maintenance items, or long-term, durable supplies. Help your future self “flatten the curve” for other areas of your life.
      • Consider alternate modes of transportation. Can you find a used pedal bike? Take public transit?
      • Create your own local wild food map. Can you travel around your neighbourhood and mark fruits, trees, or other food sources that might be available? This helps you learn about your area.
      • Plant a perennial food tree. Can you add to your map by planting something edible that grows well near you? The second best time to plant a tree is now.
      • Consider borrowing a watt meter from your local library. Many libraries have “home efficiency” kits that let you measure power usage, thermal scan your home, etc.
      • Read how to deal with extreme heat
      • Review your Go Bag. Make sure it is packed and ready.
      • Pick a day for your annual Prep Review. Review your gear. Update your plans. Plan a family fire drill or other activity. Do you have a day for this on your calendar?
      • Review how far you have come. Do you remember when you started prepping? Make a list of the things you have accomplished between then and now. How many ways are you better off? Do your preparations help you to feel mentally better and more capable? Every step of progress counts.
      • Get some exercise. Also helps with mental clarity and staying calm.

      Have a productive weekend.

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      • I would add some observations to what people are talking about right now (covering multiple prepping-related economic/social/political issues going on right now):

        • Focus on what you can control. If you can’t do that right now, “rational insanity” is better than “irrational insanity.” Put another way, yes, you can maintain a positive outlook grounded in objective reality even if you fear the worst will happen you you. That’s what Ho Chi Minh and the Vietnamese did (hey, Ho Chi Minh was inspired by the American Revolution and I recommended a Dave Ramsey video and he’s someone else I strongly disagree with, plus “study your enemy and take what’s good” goes back a long way). I don’t personally agree with Emerican on his politics, but I don’t know of a better video on prepping for catastrophe with a rational positive outlook versus becoming a “doomer.”
        • Stick to sources of information that are generally accurate and honest about uncertainty even if they’re biased or inaccurate on some issues (I don’t want to take a stance on social issues or social/religious conservatism here, but it isn’t exactly a surprise when someone says something he’s said over and over and over [and over] again before). Yes, we’re strangers in a strange land and can’t predict the future.
        • The future was always uncertain, you just might have been realizing that it was always uncertain over the past few months or right now. Take bad news as a “slap” that wakes you up rather than a kick that puts you down.
        • Again, there’s benefits.gov if you need extra help with basic needs right now and might qualify for unemployment insurance or other programs. There might also be prepping-related social enterprises in your area that can help you with food assistance, getting seeds, or starting a food garden.
        • Prepare for civil unrest. If you go to church (regardless of your opinions or the church’s opinions), it might be a good idea for the church to take safety measures over the next few weeks, even if that means switching to livestream. Consider safety issues especially if you go to a Catholic church or a “Catholic-like” church (e.g., Episcopalian), since some people could associate the church with a particular viewpoint even if you don’t agree with that viewpoint (or every aspect of it).

        On a more explicit note (for worriers), I think the chance is close to 0 that SCOTUS will intentionally cause an economic disaster anytime within the next few years (like, say, abolishing the federal government or declaring paper money unconstitutional) unless stuff quickly gets really really bad. Justice Barrett and scholar John Copeland Nagle wrote an article in 2016 saying that no justice in her right mind would reconsider precedents involving topics such as the Social Security Administration, paper money, the state of West Virginia, or whether the Fourteenth Amendment was properly ratified.

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      • Thanks for the video about Ho Chi Minh.  I’ve been noticing my mood darkening as I take in credible negative assessments about the future and I don’t like the impact that’s been having on my quality of life.  Lately I’ve been playing with emphasizing to myself the uncertainty within the negative assessments, regardless of how credible they are, and that’s been helping.

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      • brownfox-ffContributor Karl Winterling

        Great and encouraging list, Karl. Thanks for sharing this. I do appreciate it when sources share how certain or uncertain they are about their own information and speculations. It helps to put all honesty into the open.

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      • Eric brownfox-ff

        “Create your own local wild food map.”

        That sounds fun. I’d start with orange trees and chickens in my neighbors’ yards, though neither is wild. I’ve also seen deer, racoons, rabbits, squirrels, and various birds around the neighborhood. No particular spot for any of those, so maybe keep a list of local animals separate from the map.

        Next the tougher but more interesting part… What plants around me are edible that I wasn’t aware of? Should I start by identifying every plant around me and looking up their usefulness for eating and natural medicine? Or start with a list of edibles in my state and see if I can find any of them nearby?

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      • Eric Eric

        This video shows someone pulling over on the side of a highway and walking around to point out all the edible plants. Makes it seem like the edibles are all over the place. It’s the same state as I live in, so I’ll be on the lookout for these species as I explore my neighborhood with a fresh set of eyes. 🙂

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      • brownfox-ffContributor Eric

        Very cool approach and project, Eric. Getting or creating a list of local edible plants sounds valuable. I wonder if there are any local experts you could consult with also. Would love to hear about this if you spend time on it.

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    • Sbesch

      One of the things I like about the Blog is that it brings to light issues that could pose potential risks, but also explains why some things circulating in the mass media may not necessarily be cause for concern.  In that spirit, I’d like to pass along this outstanding explanation of the Polio situation in the UK.  If the press picks up the story and attempts to sensationalize it, knowing the details can prevent unnecessary stress. 

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