News for week of 2022-12-12 (all current event convos go here)

This is the replacement for the twice-weekly news roundups I stopped publishing last week. Instead of all the content coming from me, we’ll instead make a blank forum thread like this every Monday, and then anyone can chip in the news and thoughts they have. We’ll keep this weekly thread going for as long as ya’ll find it useful.

Make a top-level comment for a new story/topic. Discussions about the topic should be in the replies to the top-level comment. That way things stay organized and every main comment as you scroll down is a different piece of news.


  • Comments (25)

    • 4

      ‘Leaky walls’ are the biggest challenge for England’s energy efficiency drive — and could cost people up to £350 in extra heating costs, according to a new study.


      • 2

        It’s true!  A coworker who lives in the UK showed up for our video meeting this morning bundled up in a winter coat and a hat.  He has his heat on full blast but said it’s all leaking out of his old fashioned wood-framed, single-glazed windows.  He said the law prohibits people from upgrading their windows to modern, heat insulating models and that people are protesting by laying their bodies down in the street to try to get the right to upgrade their own windows to modern standards!

      • 2

        ‘He said the law prohibits people from upgrading their windows to modern, heat insulating models’

        Lol that makes it sound really bad – I suspect his home is subject to a preservation order or is a listed building (ie of historic significance)

         The reality of living in such a property doesn’t quite match the portrayal of a hallmark movie. 

        I suspect the people ‘lying in the streets’ he referred to are the protest group ‘insulate Britain’ who have blocked roads in the past to raise awareness of the issue. 

        If he’s loosing that much heat he’d be as well focusing on ‘heating the person not the room’ or prioritising which rooms he heats especially if electricity prices are rising again in January. 

        Edited: to show the part of Hardened’s comment I was replying to 

      • 2

        Lol that makes it sound really bad

        To be fair, having to work with a computer where you just sit down all day without adequate heating really sucks (i.e. your fingertips get really cold, even if wearing extra clothing).

    • 3

      “Shortcomings in hospital linen reprocessing, delivery and intake were identified as a potential route of contamination in a health care-associated mucormycosis outbreak reported in Arkansas.”


      This has been a topic for a bit in the chat server, Mucormycosis was the same flavor of fungus that caused a lot of issues in India during the COVID Delta wave.

      • 3

        “Shortcomings in hospital linen reprocessing”

        Meaning the sheets weren’t washed between patients… dangerous and disgusting…

        From a preparedness perspective, it would be nice to identify in advance local hospitals with better hygiene standards and lower in-hospital infection rates. Any ideas how to do that?

      • 3

        Probably either first hand experience or, asking around/reading reviews.

        First hand experience is probably not ideal, I know why my local hospital is so bad, I spent a lot of time there since my grandpa was ailing and a few other visits for other people.

        Then a lot of it came from my cousin who spent a bit of time there recovering, then talks with other people that have been patients.

        So maybe making a burner account for the local area and hitting up a large local group on Facebook asking about it might work.

        Checking the news from time to time about local facilities, like mine have been getting around because of how absurd the situation is. Maybe looking for lawsuits

      • 3

        It’s probably not as straightforward as not washing the sheets.  Molds and fungi spread via spores that are quite durable.  It’s not surprising that some make it through an industrial laundering process.  Mucor is pretty rare and this “outbreak” was 16 cases over 4 years, half of them in the unit full of people with basically no immune system because of chemotherapy.  I’ve never heard of anyone routinely testing laundry for fungi, so it’s hard to know how to interpret roughly 10% of their sheets growing something.

        The CDC does track hospital-level data for hospital acquired infections but I’m not sure if it’s publicly available.  There are third-party organizations that try to assess quality.  It can be helpful but hospitals have to choose to participate in the programs and generally aren’t going to sign up for one they don’t think they’ll do well in.

    • 4

      “As flu cases rise and hospitalizations hit record highs, a surge in demand for flu antivirals like Tamiflu has left some pharmacies shorthanded. Here’s what you need to know.”


      I had a friend recently catch COVID in Texas, and they thought the website for some of the local stores had been glitching out, and called to find out that they just barely have any over the counter medications.

    • 3

      “England fans returning from the World Cup have been warned about the risks of bringing deadly camel flu home.  Doctors have been put on alert for signs of the fatal flu among Three Lions fans who have landed back from Qatar.”

      England fans may bring camel flu home with them from the World Cup

      This was trending on Twitter, MERS would not be great.

    • 4

      Report: 75 percent of industrial control devices that keep facilities like electricity and water treatment plants safe and operational have severe, unpatched cybersecurity vulnerabilities. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/12/14/severe-vulnerabilities-found-most-industrial-controllers/

    • 3

      “Several children’s hospitals in the U.S. have detected increases in invasive group A strep infections, a severe and sometimes life-threatening illness that occurs when bacteria spread to areas of the body that are normally germ-free, such as the bloodstream.”


      Another thing to keep an eye out for

    • 4

      In the U.S., you can now request free at home COVID rapid tests.


      While nice they’re doing that, that’s a bit concerning imo, also heard on NPR cases are getting more numerous. Which was the general vibe for a couple of months, but it must be getting really bad cuz the Johnny come lately CDC is also recommending masking up.

      • 2

        Oh that’s good.  I had recently tried to get some there and they were no longer available, I thought because Congress had dropped the funding.  I wonder what changed.

        It’s also easy to get tests paid for by insurance.  I placed an order at Walgreens.com and was able to pick up 8 tests without spending any money.

    • 5

      It sounds like China is transitioning from their “zero COVID” approach to the “let it rip” approach that most countries are following. Unfortunately, making this change suddenly without a major vaccination campaign means that a lot of people will be getting sick all at once.

      For people in China, this is a good time for voluntary masking and/or lockdown if you can. Delaying your illness until after the major peak has passed increases your odds of finding a hospital bed if you need one.

      For people in the rest of the world, expect that China will have disease-related manufacturing disruptions in the next 1-3 months as workers get sick. If you need any manufactured items in the next six months, consider making those purchases early.

    • 1

      Nation’s largest water supplier declares drought emergency. Southern California could expect mandatory water restrictions early next year. https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/nations-largest-water-supplier-declares-drought-emergency-95329739

    • 2

      ‘It was so intense’ | 1 year after Marshall Fire, here’s what we know and what can be learned from hundreds of videos recorded that day. https://www.9news.com/article/news/local/wildfire/marshall-fire/colorado-marshall-fire-boulder-county-wildfire-superior-louisville-map-timeline-evacuations-rebuilding/73-7a052c6c-68b3-4578-9f7b-b3cb69b0be2b

    • 2

      The government will be sending out free covid tests again anticipating a holiday surge. 


    • 3

      Weather report concerning next week: “Extremely cold air from Siberia will send US into deep freeze days before Christmas. A bitter blast of cold air will challenge records that have stood since the 1980s from the northern Rockies to the Southeast, as well as stress energy grids, in the run up to the Christmas holiday.”

      Link: https://www.accuweather.com/en/winter-weather/polar-vortex-christmas-weather-cold-forecast/1385381

      • 4

        This will be my first freeze as a homeowner so I’m reviewing the TP guide to winterizing a home.


        Turning off water valves, dripping some faucets and covering others, insulating the pump and outdoor pipes… This is all new to me. How cold does the weather need to get before I need to do all these things?

      • 3

        The typical advice you often see is when your indoor temperature gets to 50° because that leaves room for error and the idea that it might be 50 in the house but the pipes might get frozen because of being in the walls or touching outside air.

      • 3

        We’ll aim for indoor temperature of at least 50 F to reduce risk of attic or wall pipes bursting.

        I’m also concerned about the well and sprinkler system. Neither is touching the house, so I don’t think indoor temperature would be relevant for those.

        This site indicated that pipe cracking tended to happen around 20 F.


        It looks like we’ll be around 25-30 F next week, so probably okay. I’ll start work on insulation anyway because we might not be so lucky next time.

      • 3

        The sprinkler system is definitely different. Here in Colorado, we call professionals to do a sprinkler blowout once a year before the first frost (or at least a hard freeze), and then we don’t touch them until after spring. If it’s only one night reaching freezing temps you ‘might’ be ok (hopefully). Unfortunately, I don’t have any first experience with wells so can’t comment on that. Good luck!