News roundup for Tue, Feb 1, 2022

Russia insists all the hullabaloo about a potential Ukrainian attack is invented, Western nonsense. In the meantime they’ve literally surrounded Ukraine with enough military assets to easily overtake Ukraine’s defensive capabilities. And they’ve shipped in blood (which is only good for about 42 days) and medical supplies:

Winter storm Landon is driving freezing temperatures across the entire continental United States. Thousands are without power in the Eastern US as snow sets in. Blizzard conditions could cause some of the worst snowfall seen in years.

Speaking of winter storms and power outages, home generators are hot commodities. There’s been a boom in sales and you can expect a waitlist in some areas of the country.

It’s so cold in Florida it’s raining iguanas:

A bridge in Pittsburg collapsed and injured 10 people—had it happened just an hour later the results could have been much worse. Biden vows to get aging, dangerous bridges like this one fixed under his infrastructure plan.

Food prices are higher than they’ve been in almost five decades. Extreme weather has been the primary cause of the price increases that we’re seeing. Wheat production has been hardest hit, with a decline in output from the US of 40%.

Weaponized satellites now have the ability to maneuver, grab, and yeet other satellites out of orbit. It’s a fascinating tactic, but probably unwise—Kessler Syndrome is not something to play with.

In good news, materials engineers have devised a spray-on coating that melts into a ceramic-like substance when exposed to high heat. This kind of coating can be used to protect building materials from fire. It was inspired by molten lava, which cools into a ceramic-like solid that doesn’t combust.

The world has nearly 377.4 million COVID cases. The world has gained 22.9 million cases in the last week. Globally we appear to have peaked in the Omicron wave. There have been nearly 5.7 million deaths in total. The US has had about 76 million cases cumulatively. The US gained 3.4 million cases in the last seven days. Over 909,000 Americans have died during the pandemic—over 18,000 in the last week. The US gained over 217,000 new cases on Sunday and over 193,000 by later afternoon Monday. Although cases are declining in the US, deaths are still rising:

The FDA is limiting the use of some antibody cocktails against Omicron as the cocktails have been found not to be particularly effective against that variant.

Households with strong vaccination rates are generally well protected from Omicron subvariants:

And this is really good news because one of those subvariants (Omicron BA.2) is growing pretty rapidly:

Once again, New York City is on a roll with getting things right:

Moderna joins Pfizer in gaining full FDA approval for its COVID vaccine. Moderna’s vaccine took much longer than Pfizer’s to gain full approval, and Novavax may expect a similar timeline in its journey for full approval.


    • Tony B

      Stephanie thanks as always!

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    • brownfox-ffContributor

      What you can do about it:

      Good luck out there.

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      • Robert LarsonContributor brownfox-ff

        Stephanie states that generators are a hot commodity right now and some people are on a wait list. This also happens every year during hurricane season in those states where those occur.

        Take a look at the pattern. Bad weather comes, power goes out, people rush to get generators, generators sell out. 

        After this storm passes and you are able to buy a generator again, do so. Start setting aside some money every month now until you have enough to buy one. Be prepared and be ready for the next one that will come.

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      • M. E.Contributor Robert Larson

        THANK YOU for justifying my purchase(s) of multiple Jackerys. I feel vindicated!


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      • TraceContributor Robert Larson

        And think about what kind of fuel it will use. Natural gas is ideal, if you live in an area that can get natural gas. Propane is good also, especially if you already have a large propane tank (ensure you have a hose long enough to get from your tank to your generator, and/or an appropriate power cord to get from the generator to the house). Gasoline is the worst kind to get, sure gas is plentiful to get in ideal conditions — but how much do you store? Do you have a system to stabilize and rotate that gasoline? A sweet spot is the dual fuel of propane and gasoline. But think about these things first. 

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    • brownfox-ffContributor

      What would you do to prepare for a bridge collapse, specifically?

      Forum member Jake suggests: Know multiple ways in and out of your area. Excellent tip.

      What else?


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      • Sbesch brownfox-ff

        This prospect does present some unique challenges.  If the collapse were due to a seismic event, rescue resources might be stretched thin and you might have to shelter in place within your vehicle for some time (possibly during an adverse weather event).  Could you access the emergency supplies you keep in your vehicle kit without exiting the vehicle (or if your trunk lid was crunched and wouldn’t open)?  An interesting thought experiment.

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      • TraceContributor Sbesch

        I agree, interesting thought experiment if you couldn’t get to your supplies from the exterior of your vehicle. We carry ample supplies in both our vehicles, but we would have to be able to access them externally. 

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    • JustMe

      I’m in the “significant impact” belt and glad we’ve prepped as much as we have while of course also lamenting the gaps. Our power lines are buried so I’m hoping our power won’t go out, but of course they may need to shut it down anyway to repair other lines. Ultimately, we should be okay as we have plenty of shelf-stable food, a Big Buddy with fuel, a butane burner, lots of potable water and a creek out back and filters and purifying tablets in case that runs out. Lots of light sources and solar charging panels and power banks which should keep our devices going. 

      So why am I so anxious? Ha! 

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      • Robert LarsonContributor JustMe

        Any disruption to our normal lives can cause stress and anxiety. Imagine how anxious you would be though if you weren’t as prepared as you currently are. 

        I personally think that prepping doesn’t remove all fear, but it can significantly decrease it. 

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      • Greg P JustMe

        Hello JustMe,    

        I was interested to see that you included a Big Buddy in your list of preps.  Question – do you intend to use it inside?  I’ve been looking at them for a bit & have some degree of concern over CO buildup.  What has been your experience or research that would ally my concerns?  Am I being overly cautious? Thank you

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      • JustMe Greg P

        You’ll want to keep it in a well-ventilated area and have a CO2 detector nearby. It’s also equipped with a low oxygen sensor that will shut it off if O2 drops below a safe level.

        Hope that helps!

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    • más picante

      “Food prices are higher than they’ve been in almost five decades. Extreme weather has been the primary cause of the price increases that we’re seeing. Wheat production has been hardest hit, with a decline in output from the US of 40%.”

      While certain crops may be affected by weather, this happens every year – something is always in shorter supply depending on where it’s grown and how that area happened to be affected that season.  But this source has an obvious climate-focused agenda.  “Extreme weather” is just one of a basket of factors.  There are shortages of nearly everything that consumers purchase, and you can’t just blame weather for lack of patio furniture or semiconductors.  There are numerous articles on supply shortages that have been posted here and elsewhere which explain the scope of this problem.  

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      • Stephanie ArnoldContributor más picante

        You’re exactly right. Climate trouble isn’t the only factor impacting global food supply. pandemic-related logistics failures are also compounding the problem. Fertilizer shortages as well. There are so many such problems impacting food supply that it’s actually a little frightening. Right? It makes you wonder what the tipping point is and at what point the headlines begin to read “global famine.”

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