News roundup for Tue, Jul 05, 2022

In short:
  • The next recession might not be as severe as the Great Financial Crisis, but it could last longer
  • Australia is flooding again and 30,000 Sydney residents were under evacuation notice
  • California will require plastic manufacturers to pay for recycling
Economy, supply chain

Latest predictions: The next recession might not be as severe as the ‘07-’09 Great Financial Crisis, but it could last longer:

Via Bloomberg

Opinion: If there’s a recession, don’t count on the government to come to the rescue with stimulus checks and boosted unemployment benefits. I assume the author is talking about federal assistance because individual states are already planning tax rebates/inflation relief checks.

Here are tips that can help you get rid of medical debt—or avoid it altogether.

The US is closing off the possibility of new oil and gas leases in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans but is allowing new leases in both the Gulf of Mexico and the Cook Inlet in Alaska. On one hand, we need to scale back drilling to fight climate change, on the other, the administration is trying to address rising gas prices so this move could be an attempt at compromise. Something to note is that, however, it takes years between the time a drilling lease is issued and when gasoline flows to gas stations.

Chilli peppers, coffee, wine: how the climate crisis is causing food shortages.

Climate change, environment, extreme weather

Southern China was hit by Typhoon Chaba, the first typhoon of the year. Forecasters warn of high disaster risks in Guangdong, the country’s most populous province. It is expected that extreme weather will continue in China through August, partly due to climate change. Hainan upgraded its emergency response to Level II on Saturday. The island’s railway service was suspended, and more than 400 flights were canceled. In Hong Kong, dozens of people are missing from an engineering ship that broke in two:

Due to “life-threatening” floods, 30,000 Sydney residents are under evacuation notice. Australia is experiencing its fourth round of flooding in less than a year. The flooding has been one of the worst extreme weather events for the country’s biggest city in 18 months.

The water level of Lake Mead keeps dropping, exposing a WWII-era boat. Originally 185ft (56m) below the surface, the Higgins landing craft is now half-submerged.

Drought is creating climate conditions that are so extreme that California’s landscape could change profoundly and permanently, according to scientists. Some believe that the conditions in the US and elsewhere are remarkably similar to those that killed ancient civilizations like the Pueblos, the Maya, and even Mesopotamia. Climate change and carbon emissions are accelerating California’s transformation, creating not only longer and more severe droughts, but also hotter ones. It’s a process known as aridification, and many say it’s here to stay. The problem could be solved by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Opinion: A water strategy for the parched West: Have cities pay farmers to install more efficient irrigation systems. Congress was recently warned that seven Colorado River basin states – Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming – need to reduce their diversions from the Colorado River by 2 million to 4 million acre-feet in 2022. The acre-foot is enough water to cover an acre of land with a foot of water – about 325,000 gallons. States need to focus on the region’s biggest water user: agriculture. 80% of water used in the Colorado River Basin goes to farmers.

Four counties in North Texas issued disaster declarations banning fireworks due to drought. 75% of the state is currently under a burn ban.

California will require plastic manufacturers to pay for recycling and make sure single-use items are compostable or recyclable by 2032. Packaging manufacturers will bear the costs of recycling infrastructure, recycling plants, and collection and sorting facilities, instead of taxpayers, who currently pay for them. The first producer-responsibility laws in the country were passed last summer in Maine and Oregon.

India banned single-use plastic items. Plastic bags are now exempt from the ban, but the government has asked manufacturers and importers to raise the thickness to promote reuse.

Two tonnes of CO2 will be removed annually by an Australian direct air capture (DAC) company. The prototype is solar-powered and tent-sized. This is the first time an Australian company has secured a deal to remove CO2 using DAC technology. By 2027, AspiraDAC plans to deploy 180 of the machines to capture and store 500 tonnes of CO2.


According to a study of 54 patients in the UK, monkeypox patients have very different symptoms than those previously reported. Patients reported less fever and fatigue and more skin lesions in their genital and anal areas than is typical for monkeypox. A review of case definitions is needed to avoid cases being overlooked, particularly since monkeypox can “mimic” (look like?) other common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like herpes and syphilis.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the virus is spreading to new provinces. MXP has been prevalent in the Congo Basin rainforests since the 70s but i’s now found in mountains and savannas. There may be more animal groups spreading the virus than we thought. It’s not clear which animals carry the virus, but in the past, rodents seemed to be the most affected. Scientists are testing different animals in the region to better understand transmission chains. Global health experts say diseases will jump from animals to humans as populations expand into previously uninhabited regions. DRC’s lack of testing capacity complicates investigations. While monkeypox has a long history in the DRC, health leaders worry a wider spread will add to malaria and typhoid outbreaks.

The rest

North Korea said they will boost their military to counter the US, South Korea, and Japan’s pact. According to their southern neighbors, the country is ready for its first nuclear test in five years.

Opinion: 6 historical threat patterns suggest that cyberwar could be inevitable.

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) has been confirmed in 30 US states, four Canadian provinces, Norway, Finland, Sweden, and South Korea. Once an infection is in wild populations, there’s no stopping it. There’s no cure and no way to test live animals. As the disease progresses, deer become more vulnerable to other diseases, less able to defend themselves, and more likely to be hit by cars. An infected deer can usually survive for 18 months to two years. CWD has never been detected in humans, but several lab experiments have shown that the prion could be transferred to other mammals. CDC warns against eating meat from infected animals.

Elastomeric respirators are a less-known, sustainable, and cost-effective alternative to N95s. They are mostly made in the US and filter out more than 99% of pathogens. The downsides: they need to be disinfected, and communication might be muffled.


    • Karl Winterling

      Republicans and Democrats both supported stimulus in 2008 and 2020 because there was a decent chance of a global depression or severe recession. Herbert Hoover supported stimulus in the 1930s but likely didn’t go far enough. A “mild” or “moderate” recession (which could still be “deep,” but not as bad as the Great Depression or Lehman Brothers failing with no mitigation) would be totally different.

      In general, high inflation is preferable to high deflation because high deflation can crush any person or business with a lot of debt. If people, the government, and companies already have high debt, that’s a total disaster. Alabama defaulted on its bonds in the 1930s and (I think) that’s the only US state default in history.

      3 |
    • Greg P

      Small victory for prepping – just watched a (too short) segment on the Today show.  They talked about extreme weather events and what you should do to get ready/survive them.  They featured a go bag for wildfire evacuations.  They only mentioned 3 items that were in the bag, but you could see on the screen that there were a lot more things in the bag.  I’m hopeful that this will get people to think & act since it has been on MSM.  Might be a conversation starter with friends and families—hey, did you see the Today show this morning?

      Here in the Midwest it will be sweltering today – on the segment they mentioned not using fans above 95 degrees as it will just move the air around and  ” turn the room into a convection oven.”

      Good luck everyone!

      9 |
      • brownfox-ffContributor Greg P

        Always great to see broader coverage of being prepared as just being a normal, everyday thing!

        3 |
      • GB Greg P

        Hi Greg P,

        One of my work friends admitted to me this week that she is starting her own go bag for herself and her family in response to the flooding happening in NSW. I have discussed my preps with her in the past and she’s using pics of my go bag and QLD government guides on what to add to hers.

        I’m really glad she’s taking these steps to keep her and her family ready for more than she is now.

        Hope you’re surviving the heat ok. My state’s capital was the coldest in the country on Tuesday at 12°C. Even Hobart was warmer. That is not a daytime temperature we’re used to!

        4 |
    • Captain Peanut

      In response to the medical debt article, first off… “41% of US adults have health care debt” That is insane to me! Car debt, house debt, credit card debt, medical debt, the list goes on and on…

      There are some good tips in the article such as to be familiar with your coverage and out-of-pocket costs. But with the tip to check whether the specifics of your care are covered… the problem I keep running into is I’m at a doctors office and they ask if I want such and such test ran. I ask them if it is covered by my insurance and most of the time their response is “We won’t know until we run it through insurance and try and bill them” okay… That doesn’t help. So I either don’t get it done or I do it and it may or may not be covered. And when I’ve tried calling into my insurance before to ask about a procedure they even have said that they don’t know how much will be covered.

      I will try to learn more about my insurance though and be as well educated about it as I can.

      It is a good article and guide and I will be bookmarking it for study this week.

      5 |
      • A couple of  years ago I needed a particular test. I checked with my insurance after it was ordered and they did not approve the code. My doctors office kept submitting different codes and they didn’t accept any so my doctors office put us on a 3-way call and they kept going nowhere. Finally the admin at the doctors office says “What do we need to do put her on a surgery table, would you accept it then?!” I laughed so hard, it was that ridiculous. A code was eventually figured out and it saved me a lot of money since I checked, but was a pain getting there.

        4 |
    • Eric

      “Elastomeric respirators are a less-known, sustainable, and cost-effective alternative to N95s. They are mostly made in the US and filter out more than 99% of pathogens. The downsides: they need to be disinfected, and communication might be muffled.”

      I’m going to make a stronger statement on this. I only use elastomeric masks. They’re better masks with no downside at all. The key difference is that the part that touches your face is rubbery so that it molds to your face and doesn’t leave a gap. If you have a gap, then your mask becomes completely useless, because air will flow through the gap instead of getting filtered.

      The mask that I use every day looks like a regular N95. But it has a little rubber around the edge to give it a better seal against my face, and that’s what makes it an elastomeric mask. Aside from that, it has no downside compared to a regular N95 mask. It’s the “N-95 3D Mask w/Valve” on this page:

      I also have a more heavy duty 3M FF-403 elastomeric mask which is more like what the article is talking about. I specifically chose a model that doesn’t muffle as badly as most do, though you’ll still sound a little like Darth Vader when wearing it. And I attached P100 filters that will filter out 99.5%+ of just about everything. This is more like the classic gas masks, and I only wear it when I need that extra level of protection.

      6 |
    • EzlyAmuzzed

      I appreciate the article on medical debt as it has been something I have been looking into. This article had a few more things I have not read before.

      4 |
    • brownfox-ffContributor

      What you can do about it:

      Have a productive week.

      7 |
    • brownfox-ffContributor

      The water article on paying farmers to improve irrigation is interesting. I am fascinated by how different groups of humans choose to use, conserve, or waste their water supply.

      My question is: are there crops you could switch away from, and switch to, to make better use of your water?

      It looks like California has been collecting data on water use and agriculture since at least 1998.

      In 2021 they published a report with claims such as:

          > economically worthwhile irrigation efficiency improvements have already been adopted by thriving agriculture in the state.
          > farmers strategically apply water to maintain higher net economic returns.

      They have a chart breaking down “$ dollars of revenue per amount of water used”. It looks like about half of the water use brings in 85% of the revenue. The other half may be diminishing returns

          > nearly 85 percent of all employment and revenues are from growing fruits, nuts and vegetables, which are about half of California’s irrigated acreage.
          > One limiting factor is the feed crop needs of California’s highly ranked dairy’s sector. Silage corn is the preferred wet roughage for dairies to support high milk yield.

      The worst revenue per water use is listed as:

      • Irrigated pasture
      • Alfalfa (which is then mainly used for animal feed)

      I’m not sure how much of this boils down to individual action you could take to be better prepared for drought. Possibly –

      What you can do as an individual:

      • Reduce your meat and dairy consumption, to reduce demand for water-intensive food production
      • Consider whether you can change any crops you plant in your garden and/or farm to be more water efficient, or better ROI on the water you use
      • Talk to your neighbours or local community about which crops to use as well
      • Decide whether you want to move into / out of a drought area
      3 |