News roundup for Fri, Nov 04, 2022

In short:
  • WH announced $13.5 bln in funding to help households with energy bills.
  • Lisa will bring flash floods to Mexico; Storm Martin will pound Ireland and north of the UK over the weekend.
  • Study shows monkeypox can spread asymptomatically half of the time.
US not running out of diesel but prices will be high; Fed raised interest rates by 0.75% as expected; Bank of England forecasting a two-year recession.

US job openings unexpectedly increased from 10.3 million in August to 10.7 million in September. The Fed raised interest rates by another 0.75% but hinted that it could soon slow down its pace (if inflation shows signs of cooling down–which could take a while to register).

The Bank of England set the biggest rate hike in 33 years and warns of a recession that could last two years. And shipping giant Maersk, a barometer for trade, warns of a looming global recession “[…] certainly in Europe but potentially also in the US.”

The US is not running out of diesel in 25 days, but prices will be high through the winter. EIA forecast the average household will spend about $931 for gas heat this winter and about $1,359 for electric heat. The White House announced $13.5 bln in funding to help households with energy bills, part of it accessible through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

Monkeypox can spread asymptomatically half of the time; RSV vaccines are coming within two years.

A new study shows that half of monkeypox cases in the UK spread asymptomatically for up to four days before symptoms appear. Global case numbers seem to be on the decline:

Via Our World in Data

Effective RSV vaccines are coming and they should be available within 1-2 years. In the meantime, here’s what to watch for and answers about treatment options.

This a reminder that if you haven’t been to the doctor in a few years, they could have dropped you.

Ontario is thinking about reinstating mask mandates during the current surge in respiratory illnesses.

Lisa will bring flash floods to Mexico and Storm Martin will hit Ireland and the UK this weekend; Google releases new FloodHub tool and expanded flood and wildfire tracking.

Tropical Depression Lisa will bring flash floods to the southeast of Mexico this weekend:

Via NHC

Martin will bring heavy rain and strong winds to Ireland and the north of the UK over the weekend/beginning next:

Via Accuweather

Accuweather is expecting a potential Atlantic storm next week:

Florida’s waterways could remain polluted for months after Hurricane Ian. The hurricane dumped raw sewage into waterways and is being blamed for bacterial infections:

Google released its FloodHub tool and expanded flood and wildfire tracking. Google is expanding flood forecasting and alerts to 18 new countries, is releasing its FloodHub tool, which uses AI to display flood forecasts to determine when and where flooding might occur, and is also expanding support for its wildfire tracking tools in Search and Maps:

Via Google FloodHub (click to link)

CSU engineers have developed a model that predicts which buildings will survive a wildfire. Most wildfire mitigation studies have focused on modeling fire behavior in the wildland; this is the first model to predict how a fire would progress through a community.

The US is considering proposals to relocate Native American communities threatened by global warming (paywall) (free). It could become a template for the rest of the country.

Europe is warming at twice the rate of the global average. The EU’s Copernicus service that Europe should expect more drought, followed by extreme rain and floods. Heat and droughts could keep impacting European rivers, energy generation, ecosystems, and people. The report says that floods and storms made up 84% of extreme weather events in 2021 and that extreme weather-warning systems managed to protect about 75% of people.

Kyiv preparing fallout shelters for worst case scenario; IAEA sees no signs of ‘dirty bomb’; Russia rejoined Black Sea grain deal.

Kyiv is preparing 425 nuclear fallout shelters for the worst-case scenario. The head of the Kyiv regional military administration says that in a nuclear attack the priority is finding shelter. Then having a method of communication (i.e., a battery-powered radio with enough batteries for two weeks). Kyiv is also preparing for larger energy blackouts and the possibility of a total power outage of up to two weeks with 1,000 heating points and generators, food, and limited water.

IAEA found no signs of ‘dirty bomb’ at sites inspected in Ukraine.

Intel said that back in October top Russian military officials discussed when and how Russia would use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine (but the exact details have not been made public). The conversations piqued interest because the convo seem to show the generals’ frustration with Russia’s lack of success on the battlefield and suggest that Putin may not just be making threats. US officials said they had seen no evidence that the Russians were moving nuclear weapons into place or taking other tactical measures to prepare for a strike.

Russia rejoined the Black Sea grain deal after they had pulled out briefly following an attack on their warships. Wheat prices dropped following the news. Türkiye and the UN were committed to continuing the deal without Russia anyway. The Black Sea deal will offset wheat that can’t be shipped through the Mississippi due to its low levels.

North Korea fired a suspected ICBM and residents in Japan and South Korea were told to shelter. The ICBM test likely failed. The Pentagon threatened Kim’s regime if it were to attack the US or its allied partners.

Iran and North Korea seem to be supplying Russia with weapons and ammunition.

If you’re curious about North Korea, TP’s founder was one of the last foreigners to be allowed in before they closed their borders. Here’s his account.

The rest

Here’s how to prepare for this year’s election, plus tips on what to do if your vote is challenged, or how to report voter intimidation.

Beginning May 3, 2023, every air traveler over 18 will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another acceptable form of ID to fly within the US.

Good info from a professor in Food Policy about food and water safety when the power goes out.

Here’s the account of a westerner who spent 10 days in a Chinese quarantine facility, what they brought with them, etc. (paywall)

Australian graziers say a global ammunition shortage has left them unable to control kangaroo numbers after the wet season population spike. Here’s a guide on where and how to buy ammunition.

Life is like a kangaroo. It goes up and down and sometimes will kick you in the nuts for no reason.Anon

  • 19 Comments

    • Eric

      My two favorite parts that I’ll read thoroughly later:

      CSU engineers have developed a model that predicts which buildings will survive a wildfire.

      Google released its FloodHub tool and expanded flood and wildfire tracking.

      ===

      BTW, everyone please remember that COVID is still here and still worth avoiding. It’s still one of the top three causes of death and, more importantly, often causes chronic health problems. Get another vaccination if you haven’t had one in the last four months and wear an N95 respirator in public to reduce your risk.

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      • Hardened Eric

        Thanks for the advice, Eric.  It should be easy for you to spot me—I’m the only person in the US who’s still wearing an N95, or at least that’s how it feels.

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      • pnwsarahContributor Hardened

        Ugh, I know, right? It definitely seems like people look at my spouse and me strangely whenever we’re in stores (masked). It almost feels like wearing a mask is perceived as silent shaming of those who aren’t doing so. I really hope that’s not the case, because I am absolutely not trying to change anyone’s behavior out there. My experience (and that of several friends) is just that I/we’ve been exposed over and over again at work and never gotten sick, and while that doesn’t prove that it’s the masking (as opposed to the vaccines) that are protecting me/us, it’s such a low cost to wear one when I do errands (for example) that I just don’t see why I would stop.

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      • M. E.Contributor pnwsarah

        I kind of view my N95 like I view sunscreen. Sure, it might not make a huge difference today.  Maybe today is the day I could have gotten away without it and still not get burned. But over time – over a long period of time – wearing sunscreen every day is likely to save my skin. And wearing an N95 whenever I can out in public is likely to save my lungs.  

        I did get Covid this fall, and I’m sure it was from one of the very few times I decided to risk it – and got burned.  Luckily I was multi-vaxxed, but I was still quite sick. I definitely don’t want it again and whenever I find myself thinking, “well maybe just this once….” I remember what it was like waking up gasping for breath in the middle of the night and I put the darned thing on!

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      • Eric M. E.

        “I remember what it was like waking up gasping for breath in the middle of the night and I put the darned thing on!”

        I’m sorry you had to go through that. It sounds like a terrible experience.

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    • Bed

      I definitely had my suspicious when I saw that “diesel 25 days” statistic floating around social media, especially since that makes no logical sense. Countries are importing and producing oil 24/7. The only thing that’d stop that would legitimately be an apocalypse.
      Just goes to show that you absolutely need to fact check whatever you see on social media.

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      • Ostrich eggs Bed

        I saw that floating around on social media as well. “Well, we have 17 days left of diesel…” People sure were panicking and taking it as gospel truth that we were only two weeks away from our entire economy from collapsing.

        To the news outlets that are spreading this, I don’t understand how they don’t feel bad about causing so much stress and anxiety among their viewers. Thank you ThePrepared for bringing some fact checking and comfort to your viewers, I hope you sleep well at night.

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      • Bed Ostrich eggs

        To the news outlets that are spreading this, I don’t understand how they don’t feel bad about causing so much stress and anxiety among their viewers.

        My guess is that since it’s election season, it’s to drum up support for candidates that say they’ll fix the problem even though it’s a complex, apolitical problem that’s very long-term. I’d say more but that’ll definitely lean into political territory, and I really don’t wanna go there.

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      • Carlotta SusannaStaff Bed

        I posted this on Twitter, but since we are talking about fact-checking some facts that have been distorted by the media, here is an explanation by a professor of Finances about why inflation will likely stay sky-high regardless of which party wins the midterms

        https://theconversation.com/why-inflation-will-likely-stay-sky-high-regardless-of-which-party-wins-the-midterms-193416

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      • Hope this isn’t being political, if so remove, but I’ve been getting my fair share of political mailings and one of the big bolded things on some of them is that these local city candidates are promising to stop inflation. I’m sure that is going to get some people to vote for them, but I really don’t know how much power they will actually have to stop inflation. Good to see a professional in this field say the same thing I was thinking.

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    • M. E.Contributor

      Reminder that a relatively painless way for US citizens to obtain a RealID is to get a passport CARD. Beats the heck out of going to the DMV. If funding allows, I personally recommend having both a passport card and a passport and carrying them in different places.  

      https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/need-passport/card.html

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      • Carlotta SusannaStaff M. E.

        Great tip!

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      • pnwsarahContributor M. E.

        Yes! The expiration for my last passport happened land in gap between two (low-paying) jobs, and I wasn’t stoked on having to spend the money to replace it just then. I remember the clerk asking me if I wanted a passport card, as well, for some additional fee, and how much I did NOT want to do that, but for some reason I said, “Yes, please,” and I am SO glad I did. (My DL is not a REAL ID.)

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      • Hardened M. E.

        Why do you recommend having both a passport and a passport card?

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      • pnwsarahContributor Hardened

        Passport card is REAL ID compliant AND fits in your wallet, so it’s much easier to travel with than a traditional passport if you’re— for example— just flying domestically and don’t have a driver’s license that meets REAL ID standards. I would be really bummed about having to use my traditional passport to fly (because my DL is not a REAL ID) because then I’d have this awkwardly-shaped thing that doesn’t fit in my wallet. I’d be afraid I’d lose it and constantly checking for it.

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      • Eric Hardened

        I’ve got several reasons for liking the idea of having both.

        1) Keeping them in separate places so if I lose one I’ll still have the other.

        2) Card is better for EDC because it’s tiny.

        3) Book is better for travel because it’s accepted by more countries.

        Similarly, I have two identical driver licenses. One goes in my wallet/EDC and the other in my evac pack.

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    • Sbesch

      In the article about “food and water safety when the power goes out” – I’m always disappointed when anyone suggests storing bleach for emergency water purification. Bleach degrades fairly quickly and may not render water safe to drink when needed most. Store some calcium hypochlorite powder (“pool shock”) instead. It’s inexpensive and, in powder form, it has an indefinite shelf life. A 1lb bag can purify 10,000 gallons of water.

      Calcium Hypochlorite Is Better Than Bleach To Disinfect Water

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