News roundup for Tue, Nov 23, 2021

Justin Trudeau has sent the military into British Columbia to help flood recovery efforts. Residents are being limited to the purchase of 30 liters or less of gas per gas station visit, and travel along washed out routes is restricted. 14,000 residents are still displaced.

Russia and China are performing joint military air exercises and excursions together.

The trucking industry in the US is short 80,000 truckers. Women are increasingly entering the profession. The new infrastructure bill includes monies towards applicable training programs and should close the gap by a few thousand workers.

Europe is also experiencing inflationary pressures. The European Central Bank anticipates property and stock bubbles to form. The risk of price corrections popping those bubbles is anticipated to be high in the medium term. People with variable-rate mortgages could suffer a little like folks did here in the late 2000s.

The supply chain has ripple effects on the environment in ways that may not at first be readily apparent. One example is the situation in the ports right now. The backlog of ships anchoring where they don’t usually sit caused a ruptured oil pipeline (literally because of an anchor), and all the attendant environmental pain that comes with an oil spill:

Speaking of unintended ripple effects: an app went down and locked hundreds of Tesla drivers out of their cars:

Five people were killed and nearly 50 injured when an SUV driver intentionally ploughed through a holiday parade in Wisconsin. The driver was on the lam from a domestic dispute and had previously intentionally injured someone with a vehicle the week before. Police were not in pursuit of the driver when he mowed people down during the parade.

The Texas power grid is still vulnerable to serious outages during very cold weather. Coupling this with the high cost of fuel means wood stoves and firewood have suddenly become very popular.

The world has over 258.3 million COVID cases. The world has gained 3.8 million cases in the last week. Cases are rising again globally and in the US. There have been nearly 5.2 million deaths in total. The US has had a cumulative 48.7 million cases. The US gained about 700,000 cases in the last seven days. Over 794,000 Americans have died during the pandemic—about 10,000 in the last week. The US gained over 53,000 new cases on Sunday, and 60,000 by late afternoon Monday. The US, Germany, UK, and Russia have had the largest case gains over the last week.

The FDA is allowing COVID boosters for all adults in the US:

Austria is imposing mandatory COVID vaccination and another round of lockdowns. People took the streets in protest:

Similar but more violent protests in Rotterdam got ugly when police opened fire on protesters. Three people were hospitalized with gunshot wounds. Warning shots and water cannons were said to have been employed.

There is evidence that COVID can directly impact the central nervous system, and in my opinion this is not discussed as much as it should be. Here’s a cool thread with graphics and links to dozens of supporting articles, including one in Nature:

95% of federal workers got vaccinated before the mandate deadline.


    • brownfox-ffContributor

      What you can do about it:

      • Fill up your car’s gas tank when you get down to half a tank. The easiest place to store more gas is in your car’s gas tank.
      • Consider investing in a sturdy, safe gas can, or learn how to store gas. If you order a can now, perhaps it will arrive before the next time you need it.
      • Take inventory of your food and water supplies. Do you have some shelf-stable food? Is it something you actually like to eat? If there was a flood nearby and you were stuck at home, how long would you be able to eat? What if your neighbour shows up, asking for help?
      • Check your Go Bag. Are you ready to leave if you home if you need to?
      • Take a look at your finances. Is it appropriate to shop around and see if you can find a bank with no fees, or that offers a better interest rate?
      • Take a first aid class. You never know if you might be the first person on the scene, or witness an injury nearby.
      • Take an inventory of your first aid supplies. Do you have any first aid items in your home? Vehicle? A small kit you could take with you every day?
      • Practice situational awareness. When you go out – try to remain aware of your surroundings, what people are doing, and where the exits are. Give your trip some thought if you plan to join a large crowd.
      • Consider a flu shot or covid booster shot. I am not a medical professional. Could you schedule an appointment to speak with one?
      • Review the guide on How to prepare for Civil Unrest
      • Take some time for yourself. Phew. Maybe that means relaxing? Maybe that means exercise.
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    • brownfox-ffContributor

      >an app went down and locked hundreds of Tesla drivers out of their cars

      I feel like the first, best preparation for this is: don’t buy a Tesla. Or other electronic car that can lock you out (vehicles with the On Star system remotely turning off your engine come to mind).

      But are there any other precautions? A backup key might not help in this case, if it can’t unlock your car either.
      Even if you get into the car, the software bug might prevent it from driving anyway.

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      • Sbesch brownfox-ff

        I drive a ’69 Bronco – had it for 25 years now.  It doesn’t require an expensive digitally encode key/fob for entry.  It doesn’t ring, ding, buzz, or chime at me 50 times a day.  It doesn’t try to steer me back into lanes I’m trying to leave.  It doesn’t decide not to brake when I choose to brake and it doesn’t decide to brake when I choose not to brake.  There are no electronic black boxes under the hood whose failure can completely disable the engine (and require an expensive visit to a specialized repair technician for replacement).  There are no automatic software updates that can surreptitiously downgrade my engine performance.  It lacks every “advancement” that plagues the drivers of modern vehicles.  When something does go wrong, there’s a 90% chance I can get home with a judicious application of vice grips and duct tape.  I’ll probably drive it until I’m too old to drive – can’t imagine converting to a vehicle that thinks it knows what I need better than I do (and those behaviors only gets worse with every new model year).  #OldManRant

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      • Henry Tubbs Sbesch

        Sbesch, that is awesome you have kept that running so long. How many miles does it have? What does maintenance and repairs look like on it?

        I’d love to keep my car running as long as possible but at a certain age and mileage I’ve always experienced very expensive repairs that cost more than the car is worth. Or multiple things breaking within a short period of time that they seem to be breaking faster than I can fix them. Those have been my milestones that tell me it’s time to upgrade to a newer used car that won’t have as many issues. 

        Teach me your secrets. I want to extend the lifespan of my vehicles.

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      • Sbesch Henry Tubbs

        Thanks, Henry.  It might be counterintuitive, but I think the best way to keep a vehicle around for a long time is to start with a really old vehicle.  Anything from the 80s or later was really designed to become obsolete, while the older stuff was made to last. 

        My Bronco has been a labor of love for many years.  There are times I get a new upgrade kit and I’m excited that I “get” to work on it.  Other times, something might break at an inconvenient time and it can be a real PITA that I “have” to work on it.  But it’s basically put together with such simple components that repairing and replacing parts is just a matter of investing a little time.  It’s very cost-effective if you can do the work yourself – not so much if you need to pay others to do it for you (finding a decent mechanic that still knows how to tune a carburetor can be a real challenge these days). I drop a few hundred dollars into it for a medium-sized repair or upgrade once every year or two and it just keeps chugging along.   Way cheaper than having a car payment for the past 25 years.

        It doesn’t hurt that there are multiple sources of OEM and aftermarket parts specifically for the Early Broncos (they were essentially unchanged for 10 years of their production run and shared several parts with other Ford vehicles during their run).  So I guess I should have said, “start with a really old vehicle that still has a fan base large enough to ensure parts support”.  🙂

        Oh, and I’m not sure how many miles it has on it.  In all the years I’ve had it, the speedometer/odometer has never worked.  😀

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      • Gideon ParkerStaff Sbesch

        Speaking of cars that are hard to work on. I had a air vent clip break and to simply clip it back on I had to take apart the entire dash of my car to access it. 

        After hours of work I ended up snapping another small plastic piece in the process and made it even worse. I wasn’t very happy yesterday…

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      • Hardened brownfox-ff

        I own a Tesla and the app failure was not a big deal.  It didn’t prevent me from entering and driving my car, it only prevented me from changing the climate control temperature in the car remotely while I was sitting in my tent a few feet away.

        In addition to a dumb card key in my wallet, which Tesla recommends all drivers carry in addition to the smart phone app, I also have a third key in the form of a ring I always wear on my finger.  I feel more confidence about not being locked out of my car than of any previous car I’ve owned.

        Having said all that I don’t like that the car has an internet connection that’s always on.  I don’t like the fact that there’s a microphone without a kill switch.  These concerns also apply to the cell phone in my pocket, of course.

        Even so, I accept these limitations because the car is extraordinary and the benefits outweigh the concerns.  Hopefully when there’s more competition and there are more cars that are as amazing as Tesla then we can choose options with greater privacy controls.

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    • John Grayman

      Once again, awesome news round-up. Thanks Stephanie for all the spade work on these! 


      1. Tesla’s don’t work? Shocker. Guess the folks that could not get their apps to work are lucky the cars did not kill them on self-driving mode or via immolation. Both their cars and Powerwall battery technology is nothing more than a bunch of cheap 18650 batteries wired in parallel to create a non-stop, spewing, DC arc-hazard (that’s the same battery used in vapes known for blowing up in people’s faces). Great use of public funds and insider trading though!
      2. Neurological disease symptoms from covid…specifically the gait ataxia and loss of cognitive functions…pretty sure Rick Grimes covered that in season 1 with Jenner and Vai. Need to get this stuff under control, pretty scary potential.  
      3. Happy Thanksgiving survivors! 
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