News roundup for Fri, May 06, 2022


The Federal Reserve will raise interest rates by half a point, the biggest rate hike since the 2000s. The Fed tries to keep inflation at about 2%, but post-pandemic spending and government stimulus caused inflation to hit 8.5% this past March. By raising interest rates, the cost of loans, credit cards, mortgages, etc will go up, meaning that fewer people will be spending money, and prices will go down. In response, the stock market crashed🤷

The US will pay down the national debt for the first time in six years. The Treasury Department estimates that this fiscal year’s budget deficit will decline by $1.5 trillion.

The EU proposed a phase-out of Russian imports of crude oil within six months and refined products by the end of 2022.


The latest government map shows that nearly all of the West is already in drought, and it’s not even summer yet. California officials said that they have been preparing for global warming to cause water stress, but “we did not know it would happen this fast.”

Water levels in Lake Powell dropped to 24% of its capacity and they keep dropping. The Federal Government will hold back a large amount of water to make sure that the lake doesn’t fall below a point where Glen Canyon Dam can’t generate power. This is the first time that the US Bureau of Reclamation has invoked its authority in this way. Lake Powell is the second-largest reservoir on the Colorado River.

And just in case you need help visualizing Lake Mead’s water levels, the water is so low that it’s exposing dead bodies stuffed in barrels:

Are Lake Mead water levels at their lowest
via CNN

Permitting or zoning laws in some areas can delay the installation of solar panels. If you’re trying to install solar, it might be worth checking if your community is part of a new Department of Energy project called SolarAPP+ that helps people streamline the permitting process.

If we ate 1/5 less meat, we could prevent half of the deforestation. Just replacing 20% of beef with meat substitutes will halve deforestation and carbon emissions by 2050, a new study finds.

via Nature

Lithium Valley could produce the greenest lithium in the world, and meet 40% of the world’s future demand. At Salton Sea lake (near the California-Mexico border), three companies are developing chemical processes to extract lithium in a much cleaner way, taking advantage of the Salton Sea’s rich geothermal resources. The new industry could provide a major boost to the economy of the region.

The rest

Western officials think Putin may formally declare war on Ukraine on May 9. The officials said that by declaring war, Putin would be able to deploy thousands of reservists.

More children under 5 are likely suffering from malnutrition now than before Covid hit. People already have inadequate diets because of conflicts, poverty, and climate change. Global malnutrition rates are expected to rise further due to price hikes and disruptions in the trade of food, fertilizer, and fuel.

via Nature

North Korea test-fired another ballistic missile. This time it was just ahead of the inauguration of the new South Korean president, who had vowed a tougher stance on North Korea. Experts say North Korea’s fast pace in weapons tests this year underscores its dual goal of advancing its missile programs while applying pressure on Washington over a deep freeze in nuclear talks. US military and intelligence agencies think North Korea will resume underground nuclear testing this month.

Did you know that Finland has enough bunkers to fit all its population? Or that by law, any building bigger than 1,200 sq m (about 12,917 sq ft) must make provision for a shelter? In peacetime, shelters can serve civilian functions, but they must be semi-permanent and able to be dismantled within 72 hours, like storage rooms, sports halls, and swimming pools (that can be drained). The Finns take preparedness seriously, and it shows.


    • Carlotta SusannaStaff

      Hey folks, this roundup was shorter than usual because I was ill. If there’s any important or timely news that I left out, please feel free to add it to the comments for the benefit of everyone. I should resume my normal operating schedule by next week.

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    • brownfox-ffContributor

      What you can do about it:

      Have a productive weekend.

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    • M. E.Contributor

      The linked article on Finland is fantastic. Worth a read for everyone.  

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      • Hardened M. E.

        Now I’m seriously considering getting a bunker for my home in the US.  I recently drove past a store that I had shopped in previously and saw that its roof had been torn off by a tornado.  Seeing tornado damage in person is a whole different experience than seeing it on TV.

        I also wonder if, because of changes in arsenal levels and newer technology, mutually assured destruction is not as much a given as it was the last time I thought about nuclear threats in the 80’s.

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    • Hardened

      the new youth Korean president

      How young is he?  😉

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    • Karl Winterling

      Dave Ramsey is not a certified financial advisor and I tend to personally disagree with him on politics, some stuff he says about COVID risk, and social issues. But I thought this video is helpful.

      Some takeaways (from my “processing” of the video and the past few months):

      • The economy sucks, but it likely won’t kill you unless you live in a developing country that imports most of its food.
      • People on both the right and the left want to manipulate you, even if they’re not morally equivalent in how they do it. Getting you depressed or angry at the other side is a way to motivate people to vote. Apart from Biden’s energy policy (which I’m sympathetic to but isn’t exactly ideal for right now), politicians in the US haven’t had a huge impact on what’s going on. Quit the blame game and listen to people on the other side who use accurate facts and data.
      • Panicking about economic problems you can’t control makes those problems worse.
      • Stay aware of risks, but if you’re unemployed (or not making as much as you feel you need), you should be going crazy with networking and trying to get the job you want. Don’t let depression, doom-and-gloom forecasts, or “rage attacks” (in private and maybe with other consenting adults) get in the way of doing what you need to do.
      • A crisis is a good time to moderate news consumption. You will get through the crisis (or you won’t). Wrecking your mental health adds extra pain now and will make you take longer to recover.

      I think some of this relates to the “doomer” mindset and how some people abuse prepping as an excuse to avoid responsibilities. You’ll still need a job if you don’t have one and you’ll still have to pay your credit cards and rent/mortgage.

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      • brownfox-ffContributor Karl Winterling

        Great tips, Karl. Unplugging from the news, staying focused on something you can do, and not believing all of the rhetoric we hear are all fantastic actions.

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    • Sparky

      Interesting article on Finland. Switzerland is also a country that takes preparedness very seriously. If I remember correctly, citizens are required or encouraged to have their own stocked shelters in their homes. 

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