News roundup for Fri, Jul 16, 2021

Are grazing animals used to prevent wildfires in California

Crops are getting damaged by the North American heat wave, and they are going unharvested because the field conditions are so hot they’re potentially deadly to field workers. Wheat could return as little as 25% of its normal production. This could drive wheat prices up precipitously.

We knew about the global rubber shortage, but there is also a tire shortage:

There’s massive flooding in Europe after record rainfall.

Grazing animals are beneficial to the land in multiple ways: they help keep down the dry brush that catalyzes wild fires, they pack down grasses which helps to hold moisture in the soil and cool the soil, and they fertilize the soil as they mill about and graze. The combination of these effects can help reforestation efforts by creating a good environment for seedlings. As seedlings grow they provide shade which further cools the ground. Large scale application of grazing animals is an intervention the Western US needs to take seriously:

Waves of civil unrest, looting, and violence have rocked the region in and around a large port city in South African—a port city Johannesburg depends on logistically. The scale of the destruction is so vast that food distribution, energy production, and oil refineries have shut down. This occurred in the context of President Zuma being arrested for contempt of court. The intelligence and security services utterly failed in addressing the violence, and the military has now been mobilized—multiple days too late.

Synthetic fentanyl is killing Americans in droves. Overdose deaths grew by almost a third in 2020—largely because of fentanyl.

Bolsonaro has been hospitalized for abdominal pain and intractable hiccups. It sounds funny but hiccups that won’t stop are usually an indication of some other pathological malady.

The US withdrawal from Afghanistan will almost certainly result in massive waves of refugees. Ending the war is one thing, dealing with the humanitarian fallout is another. Europe is one the most popular destinations for asylum-seekers from the Middle East. The absence of “nation building” by the US in Afghanistan translates to huge costs to European nations in the wake of the pull out.

Situational awareness and the “flight” response saved one woman from the Florida condo collapse.

The world has over 189.7 million COVID cases. The world has gained 3.5 million cases in a week. Global case gain is on the rise. There have been nearly 4.1 million deaths in total. The US has had nearly 34.9 million cases. Over 624,000 Americans have died. There have been 318 deaths in the last 24 hours in the US. The US gained over 32,400 new cases in the last day. Indonesia, Brazil, the UK, India, and the US are leading the world in daily case gain in that order—The Delta variant is driving case growth in each country. A 4th significant wave appears to have started in the US:

If we want to stop Delta, we need to get more people vaccinated as fast as we can:

France mandated vaccines in order to get service in restaurants—nearly one million people rushed to get their shots. Maybe we don’t need lotteries after all.

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