News roundup for Fri, Sep 02, 2022

In short:
  • US life expectancy dropped again, marking the worst two-year decline in a century.
  • Europe’s inflation hit another high of 9.1%.
  • Even if we stop emissions now, sea levels will rise 10 inches by 2100.
September is FEMA’s National Preparedness Month

Throughout September, I’ll feature tips and tidbits from each section of our beginner’s checklist/master list in every roundup. Then, we’ll head to Discord to join the conversation about that (half) week’s topic and challenges. By the end of the month, we would have gone through the entire guide. These convos and challenges are aimed at both beginners and more advanced preppers. Here’s a rough schedule:

Fri 02: Tips, Plan according to risks, Maslow’s hierarchy and the 80-20 rule.

Tue 06: Money & Health.

Fri 09: 72 hrs vs. 2 weeks.

Tue 13: Get your home ready.

Fri 16: Bug out Bags.

Tue 20: EDC and GHB.

Fri 23: Learn and practice.

Tue 27: Share and recruit.

Fri 30: Recap & where to go from here?

Today’s theme: Tips, Plan according to risks, Maslow’s hierarchy and the 80-20 rule.

Tips:

  • You can’t predict when an emergency will happen, so a good prep is always ready.
  • If you’re on a budget, it’s better to buy fewer high-quality things than cheap stuff that will fail when you need them most. You can prep without much money, but it looks more like DIY and second-hand purchases, less so the dollar store.
  • Don’t let prepping overwhelm or defeat you. It’s important to enjoy the good life now and not go down a dark spiral of doomsday depression or blow your life savings on supplies. You can prepare without giving up, just like how buying health insurance doesn’t mean you’ve given up on your health.

Check the rest of the tips and common mistakes here.

Plan according to risks:

The prepping basics checklist is the same for 98% of people and scenarios. Then there are specifics you layer on top of the basics depending on your local risks. If you’re preparing for a hurricane, for example, you’d want to figure out your storm shutters plan sooner than later. But all the core stuff like two weeks of supplies and a go-bag are the same.

Read more here.

Maslow’s hierarchy and the 80-20 rule:

The initial 20% (what the beginner’s guide covers) of all the possible work you could do in prepping gets you 80% of the way there. For example, you should prepare for the 80% of likely scenarios, not the unlikely ones like fascist zombies arriving on a radioactive alien asteroid. Maslow’s hierarchy is a popular psychology principle that explains what humans need to survive and thrive in order of importance:

Once you’ve got those covered, you can then think about the next layer and so on. Use these two critical frameworks to keep your preparations grounded and prioritized.

Keep reading about how to apply the 80-20 principle and Maslow’s Hierarchy to prepping here.

The first discussion of the month: If you could go back and talk to yourself on your first day of prepping, what tips and advice would you give? Join the conversation on Discord Friday anytime after 1 pm Eastern.

Economy, energy, supply chain

US job vacancies rose in July, showing that the labor market is still hot and ruining the Fed’s hopes for cooling. Some economists believe that >11M job openings are a crucial indicator that the US is not in a recession. The Fed might give up on a ‘soft landing’ in favor of a ‘growth recession’ (thread):

Goldman Sachs predicts the US is entering its first housing downturn of the post-Great Financial Crisis era, and the recovery won’t come until 2024 (thread):

Eurozone inflation hit a new record high in August at 9.1% as food and energy prices soared. At 38.3%, energy had the highest inflation rate, down slightly from 39.6% in July. Food, alcohol, and tobacco sales were up 10.6% compared to 9.8% in July, thanks to recent heatwaves across the continent. Even though French and Spanish inflation seems to be slowing down, Europe is likely heading for a recession. How bad will it be?

Water scarcity and climate change threaten the backbone of the digital economy, data centers. Approximately 20% of US data centers rely on watersheds that are under moderate to high stress from drought and other factors, but only 16% reported their plans for managing water-related risks.

Russia halted the Nord Stream 1 gas flow to Europe again, citing maintenance requirements. Europe is making progress in filling its gas storage tanks, and the EU is preparing to take emergency action to reform the electricity market. German industrial producers seek to cut down on natural gas by firing up coal plants and shifting some products abroad. Even rival firms are considering sharing energy. Germany has filled its gas tanks to more than 82% capacity to prepare for winter. But nobody knows how Germany, Europe’s largest economy and heavily dependent on Russian gas, will fare.

Honda Motor and LG Energy will build a new $4.4 billion lithium-ion battery plant in the US. The exact location is still not public, but it will likely be in Ohio.

The electric vehicle boom could bring lithium mines back to North Carolina. Not all locals are happy about it. As the US seeks to source minerals domestically, these clashes might become more frequent.

Climate change, environment, extreme weather

Jackson, Mississippi, is without water after heavy rains and flooding overwhelmed the city’s main water treatment plant. Schools and businesses are closed, and residents have been scrambling to find any water at all. The Mayor hopes water service can be restored this week. Some say this crisis was decades in the making. Biden declared a state of emergency.

Pakistan floods: How melting glaciers fueled the country’s fatal floods. Pakistan has more than 7,000 glaciers, and climate change is melting them into floodwater.

Another risk to keep in mind during floods: storm drains. An 11-year-old boy died after being swept into a storm drain during a flash flood in Arkansas. An adult who tried to save the boy also was swept into the drain but was rescued. Being swept into a storm drain during a flood is a risk big enough (four deaths during Hurricane Ida) that officials are starting to address the danger. For example, this year, the Department of Housing and Urban Development added an “important consideration” to its guidance for HUD housing developments: Those doing environmental assessments should consider whether nearby stormwater infrastructure includes “measures like grates or fencing to prevent drownings during floods.”

Super Typhoon Hinnamnor (Cat 4) is expected to bring floods and wind damage to parts of Japan and South Korea:

Via AccuWeather

A baby died in Spain after being hit by an intense hailstorm that brought hail as large as 10 cm (almost 4 in) in diameter:

Study: The best-case scenario for Greenland ice melt just got worse, even if we stopped burning fossil fuels today. In a new study, zombie ice from Greenland will raise the sea level by almost 11 inches by 2100-2150, twice as much as previous estimates. Increasing temperatures have pushed the snow line in Greenland higher, exposing ‘dead ice’ on the island’s edges, which will eventually thaw into the ocean, pushing up sea levels.

Analysis: Air turbulence could get a lot worse because of climate change. “Clear air turbulence” occurs without warning and is hard to avoid. A new analysis predicts an increase in clear-air turbulence by 2050-2080, particularly along the busiest flight routes. It does not mean, however, that flying will be less safe. The average duration of turbulence will increase, though. Transatlantic flights may have up to 30 minutes of turbulence in a few decades.

Health

FDA authorized Omicron-targeted booster shots:

  • Pfizer/BioNTech: people 12 and up.
  • Moderna: people 18 and up.
  • Both shots can be administered starting two months following a primary vaccination series or prior booster.
  • Old booster shots are no longer authorized for people eligible for the new booster shots.

There seems to be some good news in the battle against long Covid. UK cases are falling, scientists worldwide are getting closer to being able to define and treat long Covid, and new cases of long Covid are appearing at a lower frequency.

Texas confirmed the first death of a monkeypox patient, the first in the US. The patient was allegedly severely immunocompromised and had many illnesses. It is still unclear if monkeypox was the leading cause of death or if this person died of other causes.

The US has set aside 50,000 monkeypox vaccine doses to help people of color and others without access to vaccines.

Life expectancy in the US dropped again, marking the worst two-year decline in a century. Covid deaths contributed to 74% of the decline from 2019 to 2020 and 50% from 2020 to 2021. “Unintentional injuries’ due to drug overdose were the second biggest overall reason.

The rest

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors finally reached the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant after shelling and the emergency shutdown of one of the operating reactors. They will meet with staff and assess the risk of a radiation disaster.

Nearly 7 million displaced Ukrainians now tie for the largest refugee crisis worldwide, alongside Venezuelans and Syrians.

Taiwan predicts China may make a play for Taiwan Strait before the 2024 elections.

All that an obstacle does with brave men is, not to frighten them, but to challenge them. Woodrow Wilson

  • 17 Comments

    • brownfox-ffContributor

      What you can do about it:

      • Get some exercise. Getting into shape is a great way to help you stay healthy and live longer.
      • Get vaccinated (both covid and non-covid)
      • Wear a properly fitting mask when appropriate / in crowded spaces
      • Check your Go Bag. Make sure it is ready
      • Review how to prep and plan on a budget
      • Review your water supply. How many people are you preparing for? How much water do you have stored?
      • Review your pantry and shelf-stable food supply. How many people are you feeding? Do you know how long your food stores will last? Do you have items that are both nutritious, and items that taste good / are your family favourites?
      • Track what you eat for two weeks. This can help you realize what you actually like, so you can store it.
      • Ask everyone in your household what they love to eat. Can you practice making each dish? Store appropriate ingredients?
      • Keep working on your finances
      • Back up your data. If the internet went out, could you still access your important documents? Consider printing off paper copies.
      • Call someone you care about, and discuss a recent event, such as the Jackson water outage. What would they do in that situation? Could you help each other? Could you make a plan to e.g. visit a relative or friend and stay with them, if needed, in exchange for offering the same to them? This may be one way to approach growing your network of allies.
      • Review your evacuation routes. If you had a flood, where would you go? If you live near storm drains, do they have grates? Could you work to get some installed? Do you need an axe in the attic to get through your roof in case of flood?
      • Stay calm and drive defensively on the road.
      • Move carefully and pay attention when working from heights, or working with dangerous chemicals and machinery.
      • Read a book
      • Take a break. Relaxing and recharging are important too.

      Good luck this week.

      9 |
    • Eric

      “If you could go back and talk to yourself on your first day of prepping, what tips and advice would you give?”

      I started prepping in Jan 2020 for a pandemic that was just starting to appear on the horizon.

      Today I started listing all the important lessons I’ve learned since that would have been nice to learn earlier. There were so many lessons…

      Then I thought about how my life might have been different if I’d received those cliff notes just when I needed them. I’m not at all sure it would have been a good thing. Those were important lessons. But getting them as a list… I’d be missing the experience of learning those lessons in the way that I did.

      I’m reminded of a Star Trek TNG episode called Tapestry. Picard is dying because of an injury that happened many years earlier, at the beginning of his career. He has an opportunity to go back in time and prevent the injury. But his younger self needed that learning experience. Taking that experience away from himself had a devastating effect on the rest of his career.

      “There are many parts of my youth that I’m not proud of. There were loose threads, untidy parts of me that I would like to remove. But when I pulled on one of those threads, it unraveled the tapestry of my life.”

      I had an important personal growth experience in 2020, while learning how to protect myself, my family, and other people around me from a pandemic. I value that experience, and I wouldn’t want to change that at all.

      Looking forward to discussing with everyone on Discord this afternoon. 😀

      12 |
      • Paulino Martin Eric

        I’d like to see that episode now as this is something that I’ve been pondering over lately. While reflecting over my life there are many things I wish I could take back and redo. Some events were mortifying in the moment, but years later I realized they weren’t that big of a deal. And then there are those decisions that did actually affect the rest of my life. But those events have made me stronger and who I am today. I wish we had the ability to look at our alternative lives, like in the movies It’s a Wonderful Life or The Family Man, and see what things could have been like. 

        3 |
      • Eric Paulino Martin

        I do highly recommend watching that episode. It’s Star Trek: The Next Generation, season 6 episode 15, available on Amazon Prime, YouTube, and Apple TV.

        https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0708782/

        2 |
    • M. E.Contributor

      For those of us who have never used Discord, and who think that their signup page looks very sketch, can we please have a primer here on The Prepared site before heading over – there?  

      2 |
      • Carlotta SusannaStaff M. E.

        You’re welcome to discuss here if you don’t feel comfortable with Discord (although it’s a legit site). As for the ‘primer’ not sure what you mean? Each news roundup will feature sections of the beginners guide, only the discussions and challenges are officially on Discord.

        2 |
      • M. E.Contributor Carlotta Susanna

        I should have been more clear – I meant a primer on how to use Discord.  Is it audio? Video? Text? How anonymous is it? Etc. I really value The Prepared and one thing I value is the anonymity.  If Discord is audio and/or video (which it appears to be at first glance?) I’m not eager to join.  In a SHTF situation I’m not eager to have thousands of strangers on the interwebz being able to pinpoint me (or any of you!) as being the folks who have plenty of food, water, etc at their houses!

        So a quick guide to The Prepared’s Discord “server” (I can google!), whether it is uses audio or video, and how to maintain anonymity if it does would be welcome.

        2 |
      • Eric M. E.

        Like you, I have chosen not to reveal my real world identity in this community. I created a separate email address just for registering with Discord. Most of our Discord conversations are typed. We’ve also had some video conference sessions (game night) in which I simply leave the video off. I hope you will join our Discord discussions and am confident that you will be able to maintain anonymity if you wish.

        4 |
      • Gideon ParkerStaff M. E.

        Great question M.E.. So what we are doing for this National Preparedness Month will just be text based. It’s just a long thread where people can just text chat back and forth in real time. There is the option to do a audio/video call, like Zoom, which is totally optional and *spoiler alert* we may do a monthly prepping chat night in the future. 

        As for anonymity, you can make your username be M.E., or anything else. Like Eric said, you can use a new email just for that, and they may need a phone number just to verify that you are a real person, but that isn’t accessible to any of the users in the Discord. Hope to see you on there! There are already a lot of good discussions happening.

        2 |
    • Karl Winterling

      The new shot should be available to every eligible person who wants it (12 and older for Pfizer, 18 and older for Moderna) within about two weeks.

      The FDA accepted efficacy data based on non-human animal studies (we have human studies for the original omicron booster but not the BA.5 booster), but the FDA typically only has animal studies when it approves updated flu shots. European regulators tend to be more conservative and worried about public opinion, so they’re approving the original omicron booster. It isn’t clear yet whether the BA.5 version will be significantly better in the “real world” than the original omicron or the older 2021 boosters, but none of the disagreement is a good reason not to get it.

      5 |
      • I was just able to schedule an appointment for the new booster for Sept. 7. Southern California, major drug store chain pharmacy.

        5 |
    • Hardened

      I’m eager to get the new Omicron booster but I got my previous booster two months ago. The New York Times is suggesting that it’s better to wait 3 – 6 months between booster shots. Would The Prepared please weigh in with some expert advice here?

      3 |
      • Eric Hardened

        Relevant quote from NYT:

        Doctors and immunologists said that in general, people should wait around four to six months after immunization or infection.

        That’s because your body will probably not generate much of an immune response so soon after a previous encounter with the virus, Dr. Gordon said. “Your immunity level is so high that you’ll just neutralize immediately the antigen that’s being produced — you kind of reach a ceiling,” she said. “You don’t have that much higher to go.”

        3 |
      • Carlotta SusannaStaff Eric

        About four months is also what I’ve heard/seen.

        3 |
      • Eric Carlotta Susanna

        I’m in the same boat. Last shot two months ago so officially I’m eligible for the bivalent booster immediately. But two months seems too soon, especially if we won’t have another dose available until a year from now. I’m undecided about exactly when to take this next shot.

        4 |
      • A good point made by The Atlantic about evaluating your personal risk:

        “The original boosters were shown to increase antibody levels to a peak about two weeks after the shot, then decay steadily over the following three months. […] But you can still use it to estimate approximately when your protection will be at its highest. You might, for example, choose to err on the early side of that three-to-six-month timeline if you have a particularly high-risk event coming up in the next few weeks.”

        So it seems to me that, unless you’re very immunocompromised or are going to attend a high-risk event, you might be ok waiting about (3-)4 months.

        Personally, I had my first booster last Dec, but am going to wait until Nov to get the second one in anticipation of a long trip, which will be my high-risk event. In the meantime, I’m not at high risk and am still masking and avoiding crowds, so I’m not rushing to get the new one right now.

        5 |
      • Thank you, Carlotta.

        2 |