War in Ukraine
Russia allegedly used chemical weapons against Ukrainian troops. Ukraine is now investigating 4,500 alleged war crimes:
⚡️⚡️Azov regiment: Russia used poisonous substance against Ukrainian troops in Mariupol.
The substance has been distributed by a drone, and victims have shortness of breath and vestibulocerebellar ataxia.
It may be Russia’s first known use of chemical weapons in Ukraine.
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) April 11, 2022
According to Poland’s prime minister Europe could soon see its biggest tank battle since World War II.
Sweden and Finland are considering joining NATO.
Economy and supply chain
Global food prices are the highest they have been since 1990. The war primarily increased prices of wheat, maize, and vegetable oils:
World food commodity prices reached their highest levels ever in March, as war in #Ukraine spreads shocks through markets.
The @FAO Food Price Index averaged 159.3 points in March, up 12.6% from Feb 2022 and was 33.6% higher than in March 2021.
— FAO Newsroom (@FAOnews) April 8, 2022
The US economy could lose $2 trillion a year if climate change is ignored. Hurricane damage is the biggest driver of these high losses. This is the first time in history that climate change is accounted for in the Federal Budget. The Office of Management and Budget has been directed by the Biden administration to calculate and release these estimates annually.
The World Bank has forecast that the war will slash Ukraine’s GDP output by over 45%. The closure of Black Sea shipping from Ukraine has cut off 90% of the country’s exports. The country started exporting grain to Europe by train but those exports seem to have hit logistical and red tape issues. The Director of Land Transport at the European Commission called for a strengthening of train links to Ukraine in order to keep export capabilities open during the war.
US wheat supplies will be bigger than expected, while domestic corn supplies are to remain unchanged.
There’s a baby formula shortage in the US.
Vertical farming is expected to grow to $9.7 billion worldwide by 2026, from $3.1 billion in 2021. The fall in LED light prices in 2015 made the technology more cost-effective, although it still faces the pains of a growing industry. Some of the pros and cons of vertical farming: it is not dependent on soil or drought conditions, can produce food year-round, and reduce water consumption for food production and recycling. On the other hand, it has high startup costs, and it needs access to infrastructures such as highways and specialized workers.
The Volkswagen Group expects the chip shortage to last until 2024.
The lithium supply chain issues, according to Elon Musk:
Price of lithium has gone to insane levels! Tesla might actually have to get into the mining & refining directly at scale, unless costs improve.
There is no shortage of the element itself, as lithium is almost everywhere on Earth, but pace of extraction/refinement is slow.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 8, 2022
Climate and climate-resilient places
One-third of Americans faced extreme weather in recent years. Hurricanes and winter weather were the most common events cited.
Unsurprisingly, people are relocating within the US in order to find more climate-resilient places to live. The whole West Coast seems to be out of the question, while New England or the Upper Midwest could gain popularity.
The Oregon State Treasury is relocating into a super building meant to withstand every kind of disaster imaginable.
Here is a collection of interactive maps and articles that could be helpful when deciding where to live:
In other news, climate change could make rapid wildfire blowups more frequent.
Methane levels are the highest since the 80s:
Oh goodie, not just a new record high for methane in the atmosphere, but one of the highest rates of growth ever as well.
All the lovely talk about countering global warming means nothing if greenhouse gas concentrations keep rising. pic.twitter.com/tPFOcn5Uy3
— Dr. Robert Rohde (@RARohde) April 8, 2022
The US, UK, Germany, Japan, Italy, Ukraine, France, Spain, Greece, Netherlands, Mexico, Finland, Singapore, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Poland, Romania, and Sweden have all sustained emissions reductions for at least a decade while their economies continued to grow.
Climate change is causing bears to end their hibernation earlier. Early warm spells might cause bears to emerge earlier, at a time when they don’t have yet enough food sources and might get into trouble with humans earlier too. But their schedule should adapt to changing climate patterns in time.
Biden announced a new rule aimed at regulating ghost guns. Under the new rule, ghost guns manufacturers will need to include serial numbers, run background checks, and keep records of purchases.
Capitol Hill is on rabies watch after a rabies-positive fox bit nine people. A few key info:
- In the US the majority of human rabies cases are from bats. Outside of the US or most of Europe, dogs are the main source of human rabies deaths.
- Treat a bite or scratch like any other open wound: the WHO especially recommends washing the wound immediately with clean water and soap for at least 15 min. Seek medical help asap as immunization should be administered within 24 hours of exposure.
- The majority of deaths are caused by not seeking timely treatment, often because the wound or scratch is not perceived as threatening.
- Common symptoms in humans start like the flu (sneezing, coughing, weakness, etc) as well as possible soreness or itching around the wound. After some days these symptoms worsen into various cerebral dysfunctions, and ultimately, death. Once symptoms appear it is usually too late for treatment.
- Infected animals might display various symptoms, from mild illness to behaving aggressively, overly friendly, or just weirdly:
A useful discussion on how to interpret low community levels:
Just anecdotally speaking, it’s clear people are misinterpreting the CDC’s new “low” community COVID-19 levels to mean low transmission levels, when in fact it means, if you get infected and need one, a hospital bed will be available.🙃
— uché blackstock, md (@uche_blackstock) April 11, 2022