News roundup for Fri, Oct 21, 2022

In short:
  • US heating bills are going up this winter.
  • 70% of US children’s hospitals are full.
  • Flesh-eating bacteria is infecting Floridians after Hurricane Ian.
US recession looms; Heating prices increase; High PFAS in US deer and fish

More economists believe the US is heading toward recession within the next 12 months. Employers are expected to respond by cutting jobs in the second and third quarters.

UK inflation rate rose to 10.1% as food and energy prices continued to surge. The Bank of England has said inflation could peak at 11% this year. September’s inflation figures are usually used to calculate next April’s rise in the state pension and the increase in some benefits.

Via The Guardian

A reminder that US heating bills are supposed to go up this winter. Here are the latest price increases.

Some basic ways to prepare:

  • Pay down your debts (and improve your credit score). The best return on investment for most people is to lower their high-interest debt before doing anything else.
  • Set aside money for a rainy day fund (a.k.a Pay Yourself First). Use automatic transfers to set aside a % of your salary automatically. Experts suggest aiming for 20% of your salary, but you can start way lower (try 1-5%). The idea is less about what you can set aside straight way and more about making a habit of setting aside money as soon as you receive your salary. Anything you can stash away will help you deal with a job loss, higher living costs, or an unexpected expense.
  • Keep building that pantry with food, water, medicines, and toiletries.
  • Explore ways to keep warm that do not involve electricity. The forum has some good ideas. And here’s a checklist for winterizing your home and car.

The WH administration will release 15 million barrels from the US oil reserve and urged companies to increase domestic production in a bid to keep prices down. According to WaPo, the reserve stood at 405.1 million barrels as of Oct. 14. That’s about 57% of its maximum authorized storage capacity of 714 million barrels and enough to replace more than two years’ worth of US crude net imports, based on 2021 figures.

Via WaPo

US fertilizer prices are falling. American farmers have been holding off buying fertilizer, driving down demand. Brazilian farmers are also halting purchases, driving prices down as fertilizer piles up.

Via Bloomberg
Modern bivalent booster protects against Omicron; 70% of US children’s hospitals full

Latest data shows that Moderna bivalent boosters give high protection against Omicron for three months (and beyond). The bivalent vaccine produced more antibodies against BA.1 than their original vaccine, regardless of how many previous Covid infections recipients had. The antibody response lasted at least three months, according to the data. The bivalent booster is more effective at priming the immune system against later variants of Omicron, such as BA.4 and BA.5, than Moderna’s original vaccine.

Over 70% of US children’s hospitals are full, and some are requesting the National Guard to help them with the respiratory outbreak crisis.

WHO warns that 500 million people will develop heart disease, obesity, diabetes, or other diseases if they don’t increase their physical activity. Health (and money) are the pillars of preparedness. A simple way to get moving: go for walks, even if it’s just five minutes here and there. The important is just to build the habit, and progress will follow.😊Here are some suggestions for creating a fitness routine.

La Nina will keep the US South dry and the North wetter; Post-Hurricane Ian issues: flesh-eating bacteria and mold

La Nina is expected to continue through this winter:

For the US, this will mean a warmer, drier South with drought persisting in the Great Plains and the West and a wetter North:

A flesh-eating bacteria is infecting Floridians after Hurricane Ian. infections typically start when open wounds, cuts or scratches come into direct contact with warm brackish water. Mold can also be a big issue post-recovery–click below for safety tips:

…and hundreds are still living in shelters. Low-income retirees and people with few resources or connections are faring the worst.

Seattle and Portland have the worst air in the world:

The rest

Ukrainian officials warn people to prep for electricity, water, and heating outages. Spain is sending generators:

High levels of PFAS (‘forever chemicals’) have been found in deer and fish, including in Michigan and Maine, prompting officials to issue “do not eat” advisories.

Kauai County, HI, is one of the first counties in the US to enact regulations based on sea level rise modeling projections. The ordinance amends construction design standards to incorporate sea level rise impacts. This requires the lowest floor of new construction to be two feet above the highest sea level rise flood level. Experts say Kauai is setting an example for coastal communities around the nation.

Over every mountain there is a path, though it may not be seen from the valley.Theodore Roethke


    • Open Space

      Suggestion for reducing heating costs: get an oil filled electric heater to heat the area you are in, and reduce the thermostat temperature for the rest of the house.  They have wheels and are easy to move around.

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      • Momof6 Open Space

        We have one of these that lives in the bathroom. It is nice.

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      • Captain Peanut Momof6

        Could either of you please send a picture or link to where I could buy one of these? I am interested in having one to supplement my home’s heating or act as a backup source of heat.

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      • Hardened Captain Peanut

        Here’s one that’s recommended by Wirecutter:

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      • Momof6 Captain Peanut

        Ours says Feature Comforts on it but when I went to google, couldn’t find one like ours. But we have had it a really really long time.

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      • Chris Cox Open Space

        Good idea. Braziers used to be used the same way in traditional houses.

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