News roundup for Fri, Mar 11, 2022


Companies around the world, such as Spotify, H&M Group, Disney, Warner Bros., Canada Goose, Expedia, Adidas, ExxonMobil, Harley-Davidson, General Motors, BP, Apple, multiple gas and airline companies, McDonald’s, and many more, are pulling operations out of Russia in protest of the war. Russia is threatening to nationalize the facilities of foreign companies who have done this:

There’s been power loss at the now Russian-controlled, defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant. What’s at risk is the old, spent nuclear fuel. Luckily, this fuel is still water-cooled enough that even as the backup generators run out of fuel, the spent fuel is not expected to cause critical safety breaches:

Supply chain

Biden is banning Russian oil and gas in the US. This might mean a little more pain at the pump for Americans, and a little pain for Russia. But Russian oil typically makes up only about 8% of US oil imports and it’s not ultimately a huge amount:

The IEA plans to release even more oil from the reserves to help control prices at the pump. OPEC also plans to increase output and oil prices are tumbling after this announcement. OPEC countries are signaling a willingness to increase sales to the EU as well.

The EU is accelerating its path towards renewables and pulling away from reliance on Russian gas. The EU currently gets 40% of its gas from Russia. With the EU’s new energy plan, they hope to cut the proverbial cord with Russia by 2030. In the short term, the EU hopes to find alternative sources of gas. In the long-term, the EU hopes to switch to greener options. European gas-rationing has already begun.

Here are some fuel-saving tips from the AAA.


There’s an upward blip in global case growth, even though cases have dropped around the world. We have to watch this closely because BA.2 could sneak up on us and create new waves right as mask mandates are coming down all over the world. Even Hawaii, one of the last mask-mandate holdouts in the US, is planning on ending them soon. Testing is also way down around the world, so it’s unclear how accurately we’re ascertaining case growth at the moment. We’ll need more time to see the trends clearly:

Vaccinations, boosters, and immunity through infection have reduced fatality risk significantly:

Vaccination against COVID during pregnancy is not only safe, but it also offers some protection to the baby through antibodies as well.

Now that there’s a glut of vaccine doses around the world, the WHO has reversed course and is recommending boosters.


Australians are still suffering from severe weather and evacuations are still ongoing. After weeks of horrendous, “1,000-year flooding” Australians are now facing severe winds.

Miami and the Florida Keys are going to be underwater before the end of the century, and there’s not much we can do about it if we don’t address emissions very quickly:

Spring is starting sooner and growing warmer. See how your state is changing due to climate.

The rest

In good news, New Mexico’s governor has signed a bill making college tuition-free for most students in the state. Tuition will be waived for students attending New Mexico’s public colleges, universities, and tribal colleges. There are monies for both full- and part-time students.

The future of Smart Cities? Rat control.

The giant flying Joro spider is invading much of the southeast and there isn’t much we can do. The good news: it’s relatively harmless to humans and shouldn’t be disruptive to the ecosystem.

Want to test your survival skills? Montana is hiring a grizzly bear conflict manager.


    • brownfox-ffContributor

      What you can do about it:

      • Consider one thing you can be grateful for. Did anything go well this week? Practicing gratitude can help to build mental resilience. Keeping a healthy perspective can boost mental health and help avoid “hedonistic adaptation” – constantly moving the goalposts for our own happiness.
      • Plan a victory garden. Do you have two square feet of space, that gets sunlight, where you could put some dirt? Congrats! You can start a garden. It’s never a bad time to start learning and improving your own food and nutrition agency.
      • Plant some micro-greens. If you have less space – e.g. a windowsill – you may have good success planting sprouts or microgreens: radishes, peas, chives, cilantro, oregano.
      • Keep building your pantry. If you need ideas for food, check guides such as the LDS food plan.
      • Get some exercise
      • Read a book or find a way to unplug.

      Have a productive weekend.

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      • Captain Peanut brownfox-ff

        I am grateful that covid is in a lull right now and the number of cases are dropping. It is a much needed break over the past two years.

        The weather has been very nice lately, and I love the clear blue sky out today. I am looking forward to this coming spring and summer to work on a garden and develop that skill. 

        I am grateful for my car that runs very reliably and the wonderful transportation machine it is. Traveling 30 miles for $4 is such an incredible feat that people 200 years ago would do anything to have. We sure live in a wonderful time.

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      • brownfox-ffContributor Captain Peanut

        Love it. Excellent list.

        I am grateful that I currently have electricity, to read your message and type this message.
        I am grateful to have excellent likeminded people here in this community. Even if there is a lot going on in the world – at least we can talk through it together.

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      • TraceContributor brownfox-ff

        – Practice gardening! Sure it seems like seed & dirt + sun & water = plants & food. But it just isn’t that easy. Maybe the first year or 2 will be, but as the soil’s minerals get deplete you need to know how to supplement/fertilize them appropriately (NPK wise). If you can successfully do this in a 2 square foot garden, you can upscale it as needed. 

        – When you read that book it doesn’t have to be to learn something, or something you should read, it can be just for fun — discover/rediscover the joy of sitting and reading (bonus points for reading an actual/non-digital book!)

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      • brownfox-ffContributor Trace

        Excellent points Trace, thanks for speaking up. I fully agree that gardening is not always that easy. In fact here is a blog post from this very site about the importance of learning and practicing gardening. I was just trying to get people excited.

        Totally agree with you about books. There is just something satisfying about holding and reading a physical book.

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    • Kira

      I’m officially never visiting the southeast.

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      • Hardened Kira


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      • Gideon ParkerStaff Kira

        “The giant flying Joro spider is invading much of the southeast and there isn’t much we can do. The good news: it’s relatively harmless to humans and shouldn’t be disruptive to the ecosystem.”

        “Relatively harmless to humans”? Have you seen what that spider looks like!? If I saw that sucker in a tree above my head I’d have an instant heart attack!


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    • Captain Peanut

      A followup question to the first article – When they say they will “nationalize the facilities of foreign companies” does that mean that even though McDonalds pulls out and shuts down their business in Russia, that the government can go into the shut down store and start selling Big Macs again and not give McDonalds the money to keep things running?

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      • MainPugh Captain Peanut

        That’s how I understood it too.

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      • Hardened Captain Peanut

        In short, yes.

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      • Eric Captain Peanut

        It also means that McDonalds just lost that real estate with no compensation.

        If Adidas and GM have factories in Russia, those factories now belong to the state, which can decide whether to keep building shoes and cars or switch to something else.

        This was always a risk of operating in a country that inconsistently followed its own laws. It will be interesting to see whether and how other countries address Russia’s theft of foreign private property.

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      • Karl Winterling Eric

        It means Russia will have a lot of difficulty attracting foreign investors for decades unless the political system radically changes and there’s an assurance that the legal system will protect private property.

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      • Sbesch Karl Winterling

        Excellent point.  Russia is shooting themselves in the foot in so many ways with this aggression.  The countries that find alternatives to products they previously purchased from Russia will have no incentive to *ever* return to “business as usual” with them when this is over.  It seems Putin really underestimated the ramifications of his actions this time.

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      • Sbesch Captain Peanut

        Yes, but I can’t imagine they could function very long without the constant inflow of  materials the US companies were shipping to their facilities.  They can cook food at the McDonald’s, but it won’t be McDonald’s food.  They can make shoes at the Adidas factory, but they won’t be Adidas shoes.  And most of the auto manufacturing equipment is probably so specialized to work with specific parts that it would be totally useless to try using it to build a different type of car.

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    • Bill Masen

      That spider makes Georgia and Alabama no go areas for this arachnophobe, I nearly died of fright when first meeting a Rattle snake in Kansas,   We only have the Adder in the Uk and its bite is rarely lethal, and they are rare.

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    • Bill Masen

      Looking at developments in the Ukraine and the way the combat is developing, I think that Russia is creating a combination of THEIR Vietnam and Afghanistan and its going to be THEIR Stalingrad.  The Ukranian cities will turn into a slaughterhouse for Russians trying to move or hold ground.  The Ukranians are not engaging in face to face combat out on the steppe, they are striking and moving, slowly grinding down the Russians. They are doing this as they prepare the cities for the mother of all urban warfare.  Its terrifying to think about the loss of young lives that is coming in this war without end.

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    • Nex-001

      I feel like losing 8% of the entire oil supply is actually a big deal.

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      • Stephanie ArnoldContributor Nex-001

        If OPEC weren’t picking up the slack it would be, but we’re definitely not as dependent on Russian gas and oil as the EU. We do rely on Russia for a big portion of our fertilizer, though, and that could be problematic. 

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      • Karl Winterling Nex-001

        The war likely doesn’t create a “systemic risk” to the US economy unless something very very very bad happens. That doesn’t mean higher gas prices won’t cause a lot of problems or possibly a recession.

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    • Hardened

      The photograph at the top of this article is haunting.

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      • Bill Masen Hardened

        The photo of the now dead mother to be, seen on a stretcher in many news sources is more haunting.

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