News roundup for Tue, Mar 15, 2022


Ukraine is seeking EU membership, but it’s unclear if Ukraine is going to move forward with NATO membership in the future:

Russia is still attempting to encircle Kyiv but seems to be struggling to take the capital city. Ukrainians seemed determined to defend it.


Tens of billions of dollars in coronavirus aid have been gutted from a government funding omnibus bill. In the absence of those funds our testing capacity will go down, the program to make free COVID antiviral drugs available at pharmacies will be halted, and access to other therapeutics and even vaccine supplies may be impacted:

Cases are starting to rise again in Europe. European case rise has often been a canary in a coal mine for US case only a few weeks later. Cases have risen over 50% in just one week in the UK. Hospital admissions in Europe are also rising with this case rise, and BA.2 is the likely driver:

The prevalence of BA.2 continues to rise in the US, especially in the Northeast:

Cases are rising again in China, and over 50 million people have been put into COVID lockdown—the worst lockdown scenario in Asia since the start of the pandemic. A Zero COVID policy is tough to enforce with hyper-transmissible variants. Shenzhen, a port city and major business hub, is one of those cities in lockdown. This has forced Apple to move some of it’s operations. Hong Kong is still getting slammed by BA.2.

Testing and reporting are down in the US, and many outlets (including BNO) are discontinuing some tracking efforts:

The TSA is extending mask mandates for public transportation and for public transportation hubs through April 18.

What is currently known about the BA.2 “stealth” variant.

The rest

McKinsey expects oil and gas to fall as a percentage of all energy-related investments in less than 20 years—the world can expect a concomitant rise in investments in renewables. In some markets, such as the US and EU, fossil fuel demand is already decreasing. The EIA says Peak Oil isn’t here yet, but investors seem to be shifting in their outlook nonetheless.

India accidentally fired a missile into Pakistan, claiming a “technical malfunction.” Both of these countries are nuclear-armed, and near-misses like this are the last thing they, a world on edge, needs. There were no injuries or casualties and both countries have kept their cool.

“Canary in the coal mine”: the West’s megadrought is leaving a Scottsdale, Arizona neighborhood with no water at all.

In some good news, more mental health professionals are stepping in to help field certain 911 calls. About 10% of 911 calls pertain to a mental health crisis, and having trained mental health responders present for interventions with those in crisis will help decrease adverse events out in the field.

Demographics in gun ownership are shifting: a December 2021 study found about half of the new gun owners in the US were women and half were a racial minority.

Humans have officially developed one terawatt of solar-powered capacity around the globe, and have produced over one petawatt of solar energy.

In news of the weird and slightly annoying, a man from NYC had to be rescued twice on two different days while hiking in Arizona.


    • brownfox-ffContributor

      What you can do about it:

      • Stay on top of washing your dishes and laundry. Are you currently in a place with working water? Congrats. For many events – you may be better able to deal with them if you are starting off with clean dishes and clean clothes. My personal mantra – “doing laundry is prepping”.
      • Keep building that pantry.
      • Practice or learn a recipe. Your food will be much more enjoyable if you are used to it, and know how to cook it in a way you (and others) enjoy.
      • Check your masks. Ensure you have enough high quality masks while they are in stock.
      • Check your cleaning supplies. Do you have enough hand soap, laundry soap, wipes, hand sanitizer (a.k.a. “cut finder”)?
      • Get some entertainment. Whether you’re isolating at home, or just want a break – having a good selection of books, movies, music, games, or other entertainment goes a long way. Perhaps print some rules for card games?
      • Store some water in your home. No matter the reason the water supply slows or stops, this is a critical supply to prepare.
      • Consider a rainwater capture system – gutters, downspouts, and barrels.
      • To prepare for drought – Use lots of mulch; use cover crops; do not till; build swales and dams; plant windbreaks.
      • Learn how to safely operate a gun, or what first firearm to consider.
      • Don’t go hiking unprepared. Bring appropriate layers of clothing, snacks, water, and equipment in your hiking bag.
      • Get some (safe) exercise.

      Good luck this week.

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      • M. E.Contributor brownfox-ff

        I love the laundry advice! My family always laughs at me that when a predictable disaster is headed our way (ice storm, hurricane, possible tornado weather….) one of the first things I do is finish all the laundry AND vacuum. It is SO much easier to deal with chaos outside when the chaos inside – isn’t.

        Another thing I do is boil a pot of water and put it in an airpot or thermos.  That way if the power DOES go out, I already HAVE hot water for tea / coffee / soup.  I’ve only had to use it about 20% of the time I’ve “prepped” it, but that 20% made the difference between a tolerable morning without power and a miserable one.  Sure, I can boil water outside on my grill. But it’s COLD out there…..

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      • brownfox-ffContributor M. E.

        Aha – great trick about boiling water and putting it into a container. Love it!

        We used to fill water containers when we were on a single-pump well water with no backup; fill containers before a big storm, or right after the power goes out before the water line loses pressure.

        Nice to hear someone else tackles laundry as well. Good luck with it.

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    • brownfox-ffContributor

      Regarding hikers heading out unprepared or under-equipped – this exactly matches the interview experience from “Deep Survival” (on the recommended book list). During interviews with dozens of mountain rescue wilderness professionals, the summary was “people head out with no supplies thinking ‘it wont be that bad; I’ll just be a few minutes’. They keep going and going, and end up in trouble”.

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      • Hardened brownfox-ff

        I always take my PLB when heading out.

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      • Colorado Jones brownfox-ff

        In grad school we used to talk about the difference between teachers with thirty years of experience vs. teachers with one year of experience thirty times.  Analagously, I would classify the “experienced” hiker in this story in the latter category.  Lots of rookie mistakes.

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      • brownfox-ffContributor Colorado Jones

        Ahh, “thirty years experience” vs “one year, thirty times”. A great way of looking at it. Seems very true that you learn different things in your thirtieth year than in your first.

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    • Momof6

      This part of the article on the western drought blows my mind.

      In the short term, though, most towns and cities will keep building. Local leaders have every incentive to approve future development, since new population growth helps shore up tax revenue and also brings new jobs. The cuts on the Colorado River will fall hardest on agricultural users, and a decrease in overall farming could free up more water for residential use. Arizona remains one of the fastest-growing states in the country

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      • M. E.Contributor Momof6

        The linked article blew my mind, too. People seriously bought houses where the water had to be TRUCKED IN? 

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      • Hardened M. E.

        Yeah, right?  Incredible!

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      • Greg P Momof6

        I’ve  visited Phoenix a half dozen times in the past 10-12 years.  I recall on my first visit being blown away by the huge golf course covered in grass in the midst of the desert so plain to see as you fly into the airport.  Seeing the irrigation farming areas as well always made me shake my head in disbelief.  

        There seems to be no end to the arrogance of the human species in our belief that we can do whatever we want and old Mother Nature/Planet Earth will just meekly submit to our will.  

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    • Momof6

      Thanks Stephanie

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