Friday, October 7, 2022

Short Takes – 10-7-22

Biden: Nuclear ‘Armageddon’ risk highest since ’62 crisis. article. Pull quote: “U.S. officials for months have warned of the prospect that Russia could use weapons of mass destruction in Ukraine as it has faced a series of strategic setbacks on the battlefield, though Biden’s remarks marked the starkest warnings yet issued by the U.S. government about the nuclear stakes.”

A Swatting Spree Is Terrorizing Schools Across the US. article. Organized swatting? Pull quote: “School swatting attacks appear to be preying on a familiar American fear that not only are students vulnerable to violence in their classrooms, but that law enforcement is powerless to stop it, sometimes spurring parents to try to do so themselves. This nightmare scenario became all too real during the mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, in late May, where parents rescued their own children as police failed to act.”

Citing Ebola concerns, US to divert and screen all travelers from Uganda. article. Pull quote: “Beginning on Friday, all U.S.-bound passengers who have been in Uganda in the 21 days prior to their arrival will be routed to New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, Newark Liberty International in New Jersey, Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta, O’Hare International in Chicago, or Dulles International near Washington, D.C., for enhanced screening “out of an abundance of caution,” according to the U.S. Embassy in Uganda.”

Buckle up, Congress: A ‘very lame’ lame duck is coming after the election. article. Some of the drama depends on election results. Pull quote: “Any year-end funding deal on the Hill is usually a magnet for loose ends and last-minute legislative priorities. This time around, there will certainly be another Democratic push for long-stalled Covid and monkeypox aid money.”

Artillery: Lessons Learned In Ukraine. article. Interesting analysis. Pull quote: “But as the Ukrainians have demonstrated, towed or truck mounted 155mm guns supplying support for the frontline troops enable systems like HIMARS to supply the longer-range support. The Ukrainian system works well for fighting the Russians. Other near-peer conflicts might feature opponents who have some air support and might even use systems and tactics similar to what Ukraine developed. That won’t change the fact that simple and cheaper often defeats more expensive and cumbersome in combat. In theory the better off-road performance of tracked artillery vehicles is a key factor. In practice it isn’t and HIMARS is evidence of that.”

On-site reactors could affordably turn CO2 into valuable chemicals. article. Big question, how much energy does it consume? Pull quote: ““This is a critical bridge to connect CO2 lab technology to industrial applications,” said Dr. Zhongwei Chen, a chemical engineering professor at Waterloo. “Without it, it is very difficult for materials-based technologies to be used commercially because they are just too expensive.””

Australia seeks to grow plants on moon by 2025. article. Pull quote: “Plant biologist Brett Williams, from the Queensland University of Technology, said seeds would be carried by the Beresheet 2 spacecraft—a private Israeli moon mission.”

Twitter, Elon Musk Trial Postponed as Deal Talks Stall. article. Nothing this big is easy. Pull quote: “Late Thursday, the dispute spilled into public view with Mr. Musk’s filing, which said he expected to have the financing in place to close the deal around Oct. 28. Twitter responded by calling his request an “invitation to further mischief and delay.””

U.S. Takes Aim at OPEC for Oil Production Cuts. article. Includes some insight into US production limitations. Pull quote: “A government-led push to transition away from fossil fuels and into alternative energies is having an impact on refining capacity, a capital-intensive industry that requires multibillion-dollar investments to build gasoline-making plants, industry experts said.”

Fall COVID surge begins in Europe—and US outlook already looks rough. article. And how many folks will confuse COVID and flu this season? Pull quote: “In a conservative estimate, "if vaccination continued at its current pace through the end of March 2023, a potential winter surge in COVID-19 infections could result in a peak of around 16,000 hospitalizations and 1,200 deaths per day by March 2023," the researchers found. But, if the fall COVID-19 booster campaign matched the modest vaccination levels of the 2020-2021 flu season, it would prevent more than 75,000 deaths and more than 745,000 hospitalizations by March 2023.”

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