News roundup for Fri, Nov 19, 2021

Is the chip shortage affecting the installation of heated seats and steering wheels

The port in Los Angeles is still clogged despite the move to 24/7 operations. As I said before, you can make an operation go 24/7, but you can’t produce trained personnel overnight.

Amid tension on the Ukraine border and a Middle East migrant crisis on the Belarus/Poland border, Belarus is playing hardball and cutting off an oil pipeline to Europe. I expect a few crises will rapidly get better after this power play. Just watch. And I’m not advocating for their proverbial chess move–I’m just noting that it’s likely to capture a piece.

The chip shortage continues to thwart the automotive industry, this time by cutting access to heated seats and steering wheels in various GM models. Losing some luxury is not the end of the world, but it is emblematic of a more broad, general decline in quality of life in the post-COVID era.

US petroleum reserves are low and have been tapped in response to high gas prices. The Biden administration is very concerned about gas prices:

The floods in Canada this week were catastrophic. Vancouver was completely cut off as all major roads washed out. The government response was slow and reactionary, leaving most to fend for themselves:

I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s a good time to reiterate: know the source of your cannabis products. There is a hard argument here for legalization and regulation in all US states given that it’s already so ubiquitous. Let’s protect people from this:

It’s also time to address the danger of fentanyl on the streets. Fentanyl is killing people to the tune of tens of thousands each year. The US has over 100,000 overdose deaths this year, with opioids like fentanyl causing more than half of those deaths:

Gallop polls in the US show people’s attitudes towards gun laws are bifurcating along party lines. Independents and republicans are advocating for fewer legal restrictions on guns and democrats are advocating for more. In general trends the desire for fewer restrictions is winning out.

A jogger in Scotts Valley, CA saved pets from a housefire using the Ring doorbell to contact the owners. The fire was contained to the garage because of this Good Samaritan.

The world has 256.3 million COVID cases. The world has gained 3.7 million cases in the last seven days. There have been over 5.1 million deaths in total. The US has had a cumulative 48.4 million cases—nearly 700,000 cases were added in the last seven days. Over 789,000 Americans have died—about 9,000 in the last week. The US added nearly 105,000 new cases on Wednesday and over 1,400 deaths that day as well. The US is trending back up in case gain and is still leading global daily case gain.

A bunch of states are jumping on the “any adult can get a COVID booster” bandwagon:

Washington, DC lifts its mask mandate just in time for the convergence of holiday get-togethers and the seasonal uptick in COVID and flu:

In a trend that is baffling to me–Ireland and Gibraltar, two of the most highly-vaccinated regions on Earth, have imposed stricter COVID mitigation measures again. Perhaps this is in anticipation of seasonal trends, but it’s still slightly worrying to me. Why is this necessary if so many are already vaccinated? Waning immunity and a dearth of boosters?

Lab workers in Pennsylvania found and handled frozen vials of smallpox while cleaning out a freezer. Let’s revisit the assertion that lab accidents are so very unlikely to be a source of threats to public health. The FBI and CDC are investigating this near-miss.

In many countries the definition of being fully-vaccinated now means having had three doses (or two for J&J). This will likely be the case in the US soon as well.

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