Michael making a mess

Who has good recommendations for local and regional charities that can quickly transform money into productive good work?

Another Storm Resource

The Energy Information Administration has an interactive map of energy infrastructure with storm information. It looks like something that energy nerds could spend some time with even when we’re not expecting major storm disruptions. The graphic at the top of the post is a screen grab. Check out the real thing. Also lots of useful links to energy information on the page.

Open thread, also too.


Florence is coming

Now it is time to worry and activate hurricane preparation plans if you live anywhere north of the Georgia/South Carolina line to Delmarva Pennisula:


Ready.gov has a good hurricane preparation section.

The key thing is to use the time that we have (~96+ hours) to make smart decisions. If you are told or encouraged to evacuate, do so. If you need to seek public shelter on higher ground do so. If you have a neighbor who needs to be checked in on, go over and say “hi”.

Take advantage of this time as it sure looks like Florence is coming in hot.

Don’t panic and remember your towel as well.

Florence prep

Florence looks likely to be a big storm that will have a very good chance of coming ashore somewhere along the Southeast US coast in the middle of the week.

Couple of notes:

  • Don’t panic
  • Begin reviewing your hurricane plan
  • Clean up your yard today as you need to do that anyways
  • Check in with friends or family
  • Use the wonderful resources at Ready.gov to go over your plan
  • Check the news once today for a weather update
  • Always carry a towel

Be smart, be safe.

Donald Trump’s Trade War Will Kill Us All

Trump slaps tariffs on China, and China retaliates.

One of the classes of item that the Trumpies have been thinking of putting tariffs on is medical supplies.

So far, none of those medical products have landed on the final tariff lists. But lower-level trade negotiations with China concluded on Thursday with few signs of progress, increasing the likelihood of additional tariffs.

The United States relies on China not only for H7N9 influenza samples but for medical supplies, such as plastic drip mechanisms for intravenous saline, as well as ingredients for certain oncology and anesthesia drugs. Some of these are delivered through a just-in-time production model; there are no stockpiles, which could prove dangerous if the supply was disrupted, health officials said.

Can you say cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face? Yes, you can.

The most concerning of that very concerning list is the H7N9 influenza samples. China is where people and animals trade influenza viruses most frequently, and increasing cases of H7N9 influenza have been reported. It is not very transmissible at this point, but influenza viruses mutate rapidly, and exchange between people and animals facilitates that mutation. So it’s important for multiple laboratories to be looking at as many H7N9 samples as possible.

China has been sticky about providing samples in the past, and this round of non-sharing precedes Trump’s easy-to-win trade war. But the trade war is making it worse.

Kilauea Erupts in a Housing Subdivision

Cracks in the ground are spewing lava in the Leilani Estates subdivision on the Big Island of Hawaii.

The USGS Volcanoes Twitter account is a good one to follow for information.

Read more

This Is Only a Test

So, this morning, I’m having my coffee, catching up on the Snarkosphere, etc., when I notice an alert on my iPhone screen:

Never heard of a tsunami hitting the west coast of Florida, but shit, the world quit making sense a while back, so maybe? I clicked through to the Accuweather app, which had the little red exclamation point and the same message on the app screen: tsunami warning for my (low-lying, coastal) area.

I mentally reviewed the location of my husband and daughter (higher ground, both, insofar as there IS higher ground on this accursed peninsula) and started figuring out how to single-handedly catch and crate the chickens and then drag the dog and a crate of chickens up to the roof. Or perhaps chance fleeing in my car with the dog and chickens in the cabin with me? Neither seemed a good option.

But before putting either plan into action, I figured I’d better go straight to the horse’s mouth and make sure this warning wasn’t some Accuweather fuckery and that the U.S. National Weather Service was really predicting a tsunami right here in Cockroach Acres. Turns out, nah:

I appreciate getting severe weather alerts when an actual threat exists, just as I’m sure the folks in Hawaii are glad there’s a way to alert them of incoming ballistic missiles. But maybe we need to take a step back and rethink how these alerts are disseminated.

In Hawaii, perhaps it shouldn’t be possible for one person to fuck up and push the wrong button and send the population into a panic. And maybe the National Weather Service should work more closely with the weather apps that are authorized to push NWS alerts to make sure “this is a test” is part of the alert message when testing the system. Just saying.

Open thread!