Economy and supply chain
Gas prices in the US have declined from an average of $4.33 to $4.24 per gallon, but they are still 18% higher than last month and 48% more than a year ago. Georgia, Maryland, and Connecticut are cutting taxes on gas. Georgia is cutting 29 cents a gallon until the end of May, Maryland is cutting 36 cents per gallon until mid-April, and Connecticut 25 cents per gallon until June 30 as well as fares needed to ride a public bus. Ohio, West Virginia, and California want to follow suit with similar packages.
What can you do:
- Track average gas prices on apps like Gas Buddy.
- Beware that driving somewhere farther to get cheaper gas might not always be the best idea.
- Keep properly inflated tires. Are there other ways you can increase efficiency?
- Store gas at home, and add stabilizers if planning to store for longer.
- Consider investing in a bicycle, a motorbike, or an EV.
The average 30-year US fixed mortgage rate rose 1.3% from three months ago. It’s the largest increase since 1994.
Vitol’s chief warns that the diesel supply shortage could trigger rationing in Europe. Diesel shortages would consequentially threaten to slow economic growth.
The US signed a deal to provide extra liquified natural gas to the EU. The new deal will represent around 24% of the gas currently imported from Russia.
Shanghai goes into lockdown. In response, oil slides more than 8%, and experts worry that the supply chain crisis will worsen. Fertilizer prices hit new highs as multiple problems affect global supplies. A Canadian rail strike is adding to Russia’s and Belarus’ reduced supplies and China’s export ban.
The UN warns that people facing hunger in Sudan could double to 18 million by September. Food prices have risen due to a combination of poor harvests, economic crises, internal conflict, as well as the war in Ukraine.
Zelensky said he is ready to accept a neutral status as part of a peace deal with Russia.
Shelling has intensified around Kyiv, and Mariupol is on the verge of being completely evacuated but overall Russians have not made any significant progress:
Map of the approximate situation in Ukraine as of 00:00 UTC 28/03/22. #UkraineCrisis #UkraineUnderAttack #Breaking #Kyiv #Kharkiv #Odesa #UkraineRussiaWar pic.twitter.com/XguJyyJEU4
— Ukraine War Map (@War_Mapper) March 27, 2022
Putin’s troops allegedly used white phosphorus munitions. White phosphorus is a substance that ignites instantly and burns fast and bright. It is extremely difficult to extinguish and it sticks to many surfaces, including skin and clothing. It can cause excruciating burns, respiratory damage, infection, shock, and organ damage and it has been used in war zones around the world, including Syria, Afghanistan, and Gaza.
Peace negotiators suffered apparent symptoms of poisoning after peace talks in Ukraine earlier this month:
Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich and Ukrainian peace negotiators suffered symptoms of suspected poisoning earlier this month after a meeting in Kyiv, reports say https://t.co/5q07jZqdZz pic.twitter.com/bp2smOsuXY
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) March 28, 2022
Biden’s 2023 budget proposal includes $6.9 billion for the European Deterrence Initiative, NATO, and countering Russian aggression to support Ukraine.
Explainer: How NATO was formed, and how is helping Ukraine.
Good infographics showing weapons used in the Russia-Ukraine war.
An unprecedented heatwave in the West caused a wildfire in Colorado and the hottest March day on record for Death Valley (104 F) and Las Vegas (93 F). Although the temperature in Colorado did not break records, it was 20 degrees hotter than just a few days earlier.
Exceptional early heat in western USA right now.
Death Valley just recorded its hottest March day on record with a sweltering 104°F (+40°C).
Records date back to 1911 . pic.twitter.com/ZPQwCH3ISx
— Scott Duncan (@ScottDuncanWX) March 27, 2022
A recent heatwave also broke an ice shelf in East Antarctica. The ice shelf was not particularly big but this area had been considered relatively immune to global warming so far. East Antarctica holds more ice than the rest of the world combined and if all its ice were melting the oceans would rise by 53 meters (170 feet), putting most of the world’s great cities underwater.
The FDA is expected to authorize 2nd boosters for people 50 and up. But the next US booster rollout faces delays and lack of funds.
Microplastics have been found for the first time in human blood. The most common plastic particle found was polyethylene terephthalate (PET), commonly used in drink bottles, the second was polystyrene (styrofoam), and the third was polyethylene (plastic wrap, sandwich bags, shopping bags). Plastic production is increasing from 11 million metric tons in 2016 to a projected 29 million metric tons annually in 2040, the equivalent of dumping 70 pounds of plastic waste along every foot of the world’s coastline. A new review also found that recycled PET leaches more chemicals into drinks.
More homeowners in the West are using recycled greywater for landscape irrigation or flushing toilets. Water-conscious municipalities, such as Tuscon, AZ, now mandate builders to include piping for greywater recycling in new homes. To put things into perspective, the average American family uses more than 300 gallons of water per day at home, so recycling greywater could drastically reduce water usage or save on water used for personal gardening.
Remember the defibrillator-deploying drone in Sweden? Now the UK is training paramedics to fly in a jet suit. One member of Great North Air Ambulance (GNAA) has completed his training and two more are to begin shortly. They will be able to fly up a mountain in 90 seconds rather than taking 30 minutes by foot. Medical kits would be placed in pouches on the pilot’s legs and chest, and the helmets will have a built-in display that shows engine parameters and speed. Here’s a video from last year’s tests:
Vienna, Portland, and the german state of Thuringen are taking the right-to-repair movement one step further by subsidizing repairs.
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