News roundup for Tue, Jul 26, 2022

In short:
  • WHO declared monkeypox a public emergency.
  • First time in 40 years, the Rio Grande runs dry in Albuquerque.
  • US inflation might have peaked.
Economy, gas, supply chain

US inflation might have peaked:

Russia struck the port of Odesa just a day after they signed the grain port agreement. Ukraine says the missiles did not cause major damage, and they continue to prepare grain exports.

Russia’s Gazprom announces another reduction in the Nord Stream 1 gas flow. With its current inventories at nearly 66%, Germany fears it won’t be able to achieve a storage level of 95% by November without additional measures. Also mostly affected by the reduction are France, Austria, and Czechia.

A heatwave is sweeping across China’s Xinjiang, causing flooding and mudslides, and threatening cotton production. About 20% of the world’s cotton is grown in Xinjiang, a water-hungry crop. According to some estimates, 1 kg (2 lb) of cotton takes 20,000 liters (5,282 gals).

Don’t you all hate hidden fees? Drip pricing (splitting up the cost of a product into two or more parts) is on the rise as sellers look to pass high costs on to consumers. Here is how it works and what you can do about it.

FedEx Ground will suspend Sunday home deliveries in some US markets beginning the week of Aug 15.

Climate change, environment, extreme weather

The Rio Grande runs dry in Albuquerque for the first time in 40 years. The drought could worsen if the area doesn’t receive consistent rain soon. More than 73% of New Mexico is in extreme or severe drought. To supplement scarce river water, some farmers started pumping water from wells. The problem is that pumped water is saltier, and it’s also more expensive. Officials say that more stretches of the Rio Grande will dry up in Albuquerque in the coming days. Because of an interstate compact with Texas, New Mexico can’t store extra runoff in upstream reservoirs.

The California Oak Fire (near Yosemite National Park) burned at least 21 sq miles and is uncontained. At least 6,000 people are under evacuation orders. California declared a state of emergency. Here are photos.

Hundreds of temperature records were broken in the US. According to NOAA, 1,403 daily high-temperature records and 2,856 warmest overnight low-temperature records have been set or tied in the past 30 days:

Phoenix, AZ is cooling down its streets by coating them in sealant that reflects the sun. 73 miles of streets have already been coated with a gray sealant which is meant to deflect heat, rather than absorb it. The so-called “cool pavement” is 10-12 degrees colder to the touch than traditional asphalt. Residents report that they can already feel the difference.

Greenland lost 6 billion tons of ice in three days. Temperatures were 10 degrees warmer than normal. All that melted ice was enough to cover the entire state of West Virginia with a foot of water. If all Greenland’s ice melts, it would raise the seas by more than 24 ft.

Japan’s Sakurajima volcano erupted. Meteorological agencies have issued Level 5 alerts, the highest level of alert possible, to residential areas directly adjacent to the volcano. Those evacuating were warned about falling volcanic rocks, lava flows, ash clouds, and searing gas within 2 miles of the crater. The Sendai atomic plant, located 31 miles from the volcano, had no irregularities. No injuries, deaths, or damage were immediately reported. Sakurajima is the most active volcano in Japan:

Tagged turtles are boosting tropical cyclone predictions in the southwest Indian Ocean. The southwest Indian Ocean gets nine or 10 cyclones a year but can’t get reliable weather data. Enter: sea turtles. Turtles are excellent candidates for a tropical cyclone forecasting tool because they can wear a 250-gram (9oz) tag, travel thousands of kilometers each year, and reliably return to their natal beach.


WHO declared Monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), as nearly 17,000 cases of monkeypox were reported across 75 countries. Almost 3,000 cases have been confirmed in the US, including two children. Declaring a PHEIC is not the same thing as declaring a pandemic. The US is considering declaring a national emergency and is planning to name a monkeypox coordinator. Here’s what declaring a PHEIC means:

New York reports the first US polio case in nearly a decade. Officials say the NY resident is an unvaccinated adult. It appears the person had a vaccine-derived strain of the virus. In 1979, polio was declared eliminated in the US, meaning the disease was no longer prevalent. Rarely travelers with polio have brought infections into the US.

The rest

According to an FBI investigation, Chinese-made Huawei equipment could disrupt US nuclear arsenal communications. Sources told CNN the FBI found equipment from Huawei on cell towers in the midwest can disrupt Department of Defense communications, including those from the force that oversees nuclear weapons.

US army bases are unprepared for chemical and biological attacks. An internal audit says safety shortfalls likely exist across the Army, which operates chemical weapons storage facilities and a research institute that works with lethal pathogens.

A dog led rescuers to his owner after he fell 70 feet on a hike and broke his ribs and hip. I would love to have a furry companion that could help me through emergencies like this 😀


    • EzlyAmuzzed

      Great roundup, I had a lot of “wow!” moments.

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    • Karl Winterling

      FWIW, there are people who think the US is headed toward a severe financial crisis because of high national debt, low taxes, historically elevated inflation, and “zombie companies” created during the COVID environment of very low interest rates and very generous fiscal stimulus (to be clear, yes, you should still get your shots if you haven’t yet and social distance if it isn’t a severe hardship for you).

      Of course, this is just one economist’s ̶o̶p̶i̶n̶i̶o̶n̶ guess and I’m not a Kwisatz Haderach.

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      • Greg P Karl Winterling

        Love the Dune reference.   I’ve been contemplating re-reading the original book for a while.  Sounds like a better way to pass the time rather than doomscrolling my news feed!

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      • Karl Winterling Greg P

        I started the first book a week and a half ago as part of my doomscrolling detox (and vapid entertainment detox). I’m currently 130 pages into book 3.

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      • Karl Winterling Greg P

        Here’s a more detailed rebuttal to the idea that we’re facing Greater Depression or Financial Crisis 2: Electric Boogaloo.

        The TLDR is that there don’t seem to be huge structural weaknesses in the economy or huge obstacles to servicing outstanding debt, even with higher interest rates. The Fed isn’t evil and isn’t so stupid that they’re going to cause a banking crisis (or at least hopefully not). A recession is still serious because not having a job is worse than having to pay even 10-15% higher prices.

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    • M. E.Contributor

      Carlotta, can you please remind me how we can send you ideas for the roundup? I just found something yummy I think you’ll like. 

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