Vaccines Less Effective Over Time
The FDA has found that the effectiveness of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine drops by about 19 percent to 84 percent over six months. That’s far better than the Chinese vaccine, which apparently drops below 50 percent after six months. The news may worry the vaccinated, but Pfizer’s shareholders are probably celebrating. This news could mean they get to sell booster shots. According to the wall Street Journal, Pfizer expects to make $33.5 billion selling the vaccine this year.
The Best Places for Survival
A study published in the journal Sustainability rated the top places to survive the collapse of society are island nations in this order: New Zealand, Iceland, the UK, Tasmania, and Ireland. These countries were chosen for their ability to grow food, protect their borders from mass migration, and maintain their electrical grid. My guess is that the U.S. failed on the second point, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your retreat a “collapse lifeboat” within the U.S.
The article is an interesting read for the serious prepper while the actual journal article goes into detail on the problems of a complex society and says it has determined “human civilisation that is in a perilous state, with large and growing risks developing in multiple spheres of the human endeavour.” While I do not agree with many of the assumptions and predictions of the paper, it is still worth reading and provides many ideas worth considering.
Flashpoints and Future Wars
We’ve talked previously about rising tensions between China and Taiwan and its allies, and how this could result in a war. Here’s an interesting article on flashpoints for World War Three, and Taiwan ranks at the top.
A slowdown in the production of new cars due to a lack of microchips may be just a taste of what the future holds. Chips are a huge potential weakpoint in the global supply chain.
The Wall Street Journal just published the article “The World Relies on One Chip Maker in Taiwan, Leaving Everyone Vulnerable” about how Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) makes most of the chips in use today, and 92 percent of the world’s most sophisticate chips. They frequently manufacture chis for other companies, including Apple, Qualcomm and others.
This quote from the article gets to the cusp of the matter:
“Its dominance leaves the world in a vulnerable position, however. As more technologies require chips of mind-boggling complexity, more are coming from this one company, on an island that’s a focal point of tensions between the U.S. and China, which claims Taiwan as its own.
Analysts say it will be difficult for other manufacturers to catch up in an industry that requires hefty capital investments. And TSMC can’t make enough chips to satisfy everyone—a fact that has become even clearer amid a global shortage, adding to the chaos of supply bottlenecks, higher prices for consumers and furloughed workers, especially in the auto industry.
The situation is similar in some ways to the world’s past reliance on Middle Eastern oil, with any instability on the island threatening to echo across industries. Companies in Taiwan, including smaller makers, generated about 65% of global revenues for outsourced chip manufacturing during the first quarter of this year, according to Taiwan-based semiconductor research firm TrendForce. TSMC generated 56% of the global revenues.
Being dependent on Taiwanese chips “poses a threat to the global economy,” research firm Capital Economics recently wrote.”
In other words, TSMC is potentially a weak point in the supply chain for millions of products we rely on every day.
Continue reading “Imagine a World Without New Semiconductors and Microchips”
It’s all well and good to prepare for natural disasters and an economic collapse, but war is a constant in our history. Don’t neglect to prepare for it.
Two things moved the world closed to war today as two well-known hot spots heated up.
First, an Iranian missile hit an Israeli-owned ship in the Arabian sea. This could exacerbate tensions between Iran and Israel and lead to a response from Israel, which is known for its punishing response to attacks. Whether Israel strikes back directly at Iran or one of the terrorist groups it sponsors remains to be seen. At the very least, I would expect Israeli air strikes on ammo dumps or missile launch sites.
The danger here is that the two countries could get embroiled in open warfare that might involve the entire region and impact oils supplies, suck in world powers like the U.S. or Russia, or even lead to the use of nuclear devices.
Second, Taiwan publicly discussed its program of designing and building land-based long-range missiles capable of striking mainland China. They said one system is currently in production (and one assumes being deployed) and three more are in development.
Continue reading “Two Actions Today Moved the World a Step Closer to War”