climate catastrophe, managing disasters, power systems, public institutions
The author writes, “From stronger storms to Arctic warming to California fires, rising atmospheric carbon levels mean there’s no escaping the fallout from global warming. Now, we’re plunged into a new world of managing the consequences. Some regions will require power grids more prepared for extreme heat and cold. But the needs go far beyond power systems. ... Rutgers University climate scientist Robert Kopp tells Axios that the pandemic and the Texas disaster have shown us that the competence of public institutions is a predictor of the severity of disasters.” Photo credit: Shiva Shenoy / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

‘I Want to Choose My COVID Vaccine’ ; How a Shadow Army of Kitchens Took Over America’s Restaurants ; and More Picks 2/23

‘I Want to Choose My COVID Vaccine.’ Strong Opinions Emerge in the UK (Russ)

The author writes, “It’s the ultimate first-world problem. While more than 130 countries are still waiting for coronavirus vaccines, the wealthiest nations have doses on offer from multiple makers, and people rolling up their sleeves want to know: Can I choose which shot I get? In Britain, the options today are the homegrown Oxford-AstraZeneca jab, ‘the English one,’ or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, ‘the posh one.’ Doctors’ offices describe the phones ringing with patients certain which is better, or best, for them.”

Rich Investors Stripped Millions From a Hospital Chain and Want To Leave It Behind. A Tiny State Stands in Their Way. (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “In a David-and-Goliath battle, a group of Rhode Island officials and a union for hospital workers have so far stymied a multi-billion-dollar private equity fund’s attempt to unload its controlling stake in a national for-profit hospital chain. Investors led by the private equity firm, Leonard Green & Partners, previously extracted $645 million in dividends from the investment, and the firm now seeks to leave behind another $1.3 billion in financial obligations at the chain. In the face of more than a year of often-vehement public opposition in Rhode Island, the hospital chain suddenly agreed in the final days of December to pay $27.25 million to resolve a group of lawsuits they had previously refused to settle. But a Jan. 29 deadline for the state to approve the deal has been extended indefinitely and other obstacles remain.”

Nikki Fried Says She Won’t Lower Flags to Honor Rush Limbaugh Despite DeSantis’ Order (DonkeyHotey)

From WFLA: “Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried says she will disregard Gov. Ron DeSantis’ order to lower Florida flags at half-staff in honor of conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh who died last week. ‘Lowering to half-staff the flag of the United States of America is a sacred honor that pays respect to fallen heroes and patriots. It is not a partisan political tool. Therefore, I will notify all state offices under my direction to disregard the Governor’s forthcoming order to lower flags for Mr. Limbaugh – because we will not celebrate hate speech, bigotry, and division. Lowering the flag should always reflect unity, not division, and raising our standards, not lowering them.’”

How a Shadow Army of Kitchens Took Over America’s Restaurants (Dana)

From Marker: “The rise of ghost kitchens and digital restaurants — also known as digital kitchens, cloud kitchens, and virtual restaurants, depending on how deep inside restaurant industry parlance you venture — is perhaps the defining dining trend of the past few years. By one industry estimate, there are now about 100,000 virtual restaurants in the United States alone. … For some, this expansion into the digital realm represents a lifeline in a shaky industry at a time when restaurants are struggling to stay alive and dining habits may be changing permanently; for others, it’s a lucrative new way to feast on consumer appetites and open infinite new restaurant concepts without ever having to scout out a new location or worry about foot traffic.”

Noise Pollution Interrupts Cricket Sex Lives (Dana)

The author writes, “From rock concerts to construction noise, humans are a noisy bunch. Studies have shown that noise pollution can cause health problems in humans, such as hearing loss, stress, and high blood pressure. In wildlife, traffic noise affects bats’ and owls’ abilities to hunt for prey — and now, researchers have found that all that racket interrupts the cricket’s mating rituals. A study published … in Behavioral Ecology detailed how female Mediterranean field crickets (Gryllus bimaculatus) are more likely to choose a lower quality male to mate with when distracted by traffic noise.”

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