News roundup for Fri, Nov 18, 2022

In short:
  • The UK is in a recession and its inflation hit a new high of 11.1%.
  • CDC conducted tabletop exercises to deal with an Ebola outbreak.
  • Edible drones could help disaster victims survive.
The UK is in a recession and inflation hit a new high of 11.1%; Thanksgiving will be 20% more expensive this year; Help is available for people that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little for a subsidized ACA

UK’s inflation hit another high of 11.1%. Food, transport, and energy prices are the biggest contributors. Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt said the economy was already in recession and set to shrink in 2024. Eurozone’s year-on-year inflation was slightly lower in October, but still at a record high because of high energy prices. The European Central Bank (ECB) will do “whatever is necessary” to get inflation to 2%. Russia’s GDP fell by 4% and the country is now in a technical recession.

The UK government will spend billions to insulate homes and upgrade boilers in a drive to cut Britain’s overall energy demand by at least 13% this decade.

Despite inflation, US retail sales rose 1.3% in October. It’s the biggest gain since February, beating economists’ expectations. Shoppers pulled back on spending at electronics and appliance stores, sports goods retailers, and department stores while they increased spending on gas, groceries, furniture, and cars.

The American Farm Bureau’s annual Thanksgiving dinner survey shows that Thanksgiving is set to be 20% more expensive this year:

Via Axios

People that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to qualify for a subsidized ACA marketplace plan might get help paying for their marketplace health plans. To qualify, they just have to estimate in good faith that they’ll earn at least the federal poverty level in 2023, which is $13,590. The article has more details.

CDC conducts tabletop exercises to deal with an Ebola outbreak; US Covid death rates seem to be dropping

Although there have been no suspected or probable Ebola cases identified in the US, the CDC conducted tabletop exercises with five jurisdictions to manage a suspected case under three scenarios: when the potential patient is identified at a funneling airport, during state monitoring of returned travelers from Uganda, or when they seek hospital care.

US Covid death rates dropping…

…but Covid infections continue to carry risks: a new study shows that people who contracted Covid are more likely to develop epilepsy or experience a seizure within 6 months of infection than those who contracted influenza. Even if small, the increased risk was more noticeable in children than adults.

An FDA study found a 158% rise in child poisonings linked to cough medicine Tessalon (Benzonatate) over the past eight years. Tessalon looks like candy, which the FDA says is contributing to accidental poisonings. Symptoms can start 15 min after ingestion and in a severe case could include tremors, seizures, convulsions, slow heart rates, and major changes in breathing. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, cough medicine should never be given to kids with asthma, regardless of age.

Here are some tips on how to reduce your risk of getting sick from respiratory illnesses this Thanksgiving. I’ve compiled more tips in the Nov 11 roundup.

New York declaring winter emergency; Shoveling snow puts you at higher risk of cardiac events; Tips on getting ready for winter driving conditions and how to survive winter emergencies

Western New York prepares for up to 4 feet of lake-effect snow. Here is our guide on How to survive winter emergencies.

Tips from Canada for getting ready for difficult winter driving conditions are to plan ahead, adjust driving to road conditions, and winterize your vehicle:

  • Slow down and drive safely. Give yourself lots of room to be able to predict, or at least to react, the unpredictable events that are going to take place in front of you (people losing control, pedestrians slipping, etc).
  • Install four matching winter tires.
  • Get your battery checked to ensure it can handle freezing temperatures. Even a fully charged battery can lose 30 % of its power when temperatures dip below zero degrees.
  • Maintain good visibility. Make sure your headlights and windshield wipers are in good working order and clear of debris.
  • Keep a fully-stocked emergency kit in your vehicle, including a shovel, flashlight, phone charger, warm blanket, and non-perishable food items.
  • If you are in a collision or your vehicle breaks down, pull off to the side of the road, know your vehicle location and make it as visible as possible. If you feel unsafe, call 911.

Here’s What to do if you witness a car accident and How to winterize your car.

Remember that shoveling snow or even pushing a snowblower can put you at risk of a cardiac event. How to prevent a heart attack while shoveling snow:

  • Engage in regular physical activity, after consulting with your doctor.  A sedentary lifestyle puts you at greatest risk for cardiac events.
  • Perform a warmup before starting to shovel snow. This could include taking a walk at an intermediate pace, engaging in light stretching, or doing some other mild physical activity to warm up your muscles and start your heart pumping at a slightly faster rate.
  • Push the snow with your shovel instead of lifting it and throwing it. This causes less exertion.
  • Recognize when your body is being pushed to a limit. Stop shoveling snow if you experience chest pain, feel lightheaded, are short of breath, or have heart palpitations.
  • Perform a cooldown after you are finished shoveling. This involves mild physical activity to gradually help your heart rate slow to its previous level.
October was the warmest on record globally; Most US coastlines will rise one foot within 30 years, but the exact level can depend on the moon’s wobble and other factors; A bunch of resources about emergency alerts, infrastructures at risk, climate resiliency

NOAA’s latest Global Climate Report says October 2022 ranked fourth warmest for the globe:


According to a new report, 90% of US counties have experienced a flood, wildfire, hurricane, or another climate disaster since 2011. 29 states experienced at least one federally declared disaster. The report has maps and data about disaster declarations, federal assistance, social vulnerability, compounding risks, and energy risks. Both at national and state-by-state levels:


Via Rebuild by Design

First Street Foundation made available its Risk Factor Pro tool for free. The tool, used by investors and real estate developers, includes damage cost estimates, and enhanced analysis of the consequences of floods, extreme heat, and wildfire to a building. Here’s the link.

Via First Street Foundation

Starting in 2023, people in certain counties can opt-in to receive more geographically-precise emergency broadcasts through a NOAA weather radio:

EIA has maps of energy infrastructure in the path of wildfires, storms, and floods:

Using satellite data gathered over three decades, NASA found that sea levels could rise one foot (30 cm) at most coastlines of the contiguous US within 30 years. Most of the change will happen on the Gulf Coast and Southeast. Also, high tide flooding will get worse in the mid-2030s because of a wobble in the Moon’s orbit every 18.6 years (shoutout to Frozen22 who called it first!). El Niño and La Niña will also affect sea levels. Forecasts are expected to keep getting better as satellites contribute more data. The Sea Level Change portal has different tools that can be used for short/mid-term projections:


Here are the 10 most future-ready cities in North America, according to a report. The report defines future-ready cities as those that address the needs of their citizens and builds trust among people and organizations to make them more livable, sustainable, and prosperous. They’re also using innovative approaches and modern communications technologies. At the top: Boulder, CO, Salt Lake City, and Oklahoma City. As an example, here’s the Boulder Urban Heat Mapping project.

Stray Ukrainian missile landing on NATO soil raised false alarms of a Russian attack; Xi Jinping seems to condemn the war in Ukraine

A Russian-made missile landed in Poland, not far from the Ukrainian border, and killed two Polish farmers. The incident raised false alarms of a possible Russian strike on NATO soil, but it was likely a stray Ukrainian air defense missile. That same day Russia had fired about 100 cruise missiles against Ukrainian critical infrastructure and it’s likely the Russian military used a lot of its remaining high-precision weapons on the Nov 15 strike.

There are possible signs that Putin is growing increasingly isolated. At the G20 summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping signed off on a communique saying that “most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine.” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said, “The Russian president is almost alone in the world with his policy and has no strong alliance partner.”

The rest

Swiss researchers have developed an edible drone that could be used to keep disaster survivors alive. The drone wings are made of rice cakes and gelatin:


Durango at Shadow Mountain is an experimental suburb in Menifee, California. Homes come with solar panels, heat pumps, and batteries, forming microgrids that can operate independently of California’s grid if it fails. It reminds us of Babcock Ranch in Fort Meyers, FL, built to withstand hurricanes, that did not lose power nor got seriously damaged by Hurricane Ian.

Frida, the rescue dog that gained notoriety during the 2017 Mexico earthquake, has died of natural causes. Over nearly a decade, she rescued a dozen people and located the bodies of 43, from Haiti to Ecuador, to Mexico. Below’s a tribute to her (in Spanish):


    • Robert LarsonContributor

      Can I add a news article that came out this morning that I think is relevant?

      60% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck heading into the peak shopping season

      Last year that number was 56% of people were paycheck to paycheck, so a rise by 4%. What this means is that people will either have more modest holiday celebrations, or take out more credit to keep up with inflation and the other factors that have lead to this rise. The article says that credit card balances are up 15% this quarter, so I’m assuming it’s the later.

      My thoughts: Save money now for the holidays. Budget and stick to that. If grandma is upset you didn’t buy her some expensive thing, that’s on her and it doesn’t mean you don’t love her. Homemade gifts are awesome and in my opinion I appreciate them more than a gift card or something else.

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    • Molly N. 😆

      That edible drone 🤯! A smart idea could be to make part of the center of the body of the drone be a small portable water filter. People could likely find water, but it might not be safe to drink.

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    • pnwsarahContributor

      First Street Foundation made available its Risk Factor Pro tool for free. The tool, used by investors and real estate developers, includes damage cost estimates, and enhanced analysis of the consequences of floods, extreme heat, and wildfire to a building. Here’s the link.

      This is great news! There was some back-and-forth in the forum a while back (in the thread about the California megaflood scenario) about how much information and how much utility people were getting out of Risk Factor, with speculation that some of the more useful features might be reserved for subscribers. Looks like that is changing!

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