In what is becoming almost a textbook example of the fragility of supply chains, the UK is going through a series of rather nasty logistics challenges right now - the shortage of HGV (truck) drivers being one of the biggest - but the unexpectedly complicated development is the lack of carbon dioxide.
It turns out that most carbon dioxide (the useful, pure form) is created as a byproduct of fertiliser manufacturing. That fertiliser manufacturing relies heavily on natural gas. And, wouldn't you know, natural gas is going through a price crisis right now.
As well as carbonating drinks, CO2 is used for slaughtering animals and keeping things cold during shipments, so not having enough of it is really wreaking havoc on the food industry especially. The UK government is apparently stepping in to try and get production restarted - presumably by paying for that expensive natural gas for the fertiliser plants - but we'll see how well it works.
Talking about that natural gas shortage in Europe - wow, is it causing a lot of issues. It turns out that shutting down most of your nuclear plants, having a lull in wind production, and then having a series of problems getting natural gas is not a good recipe for the prices of that particular resource.
Russia, of course, is somewhat involved, but for once this doesn't seem to be entirely their doing - not to say they aren't turning the situation to their advantage, however. As coal and oil power plants close, natural gas has become the primary choice for baseload plants, since it's the "cleanest" of the fossil fuels, not to mention its wide-ranging usage in heating homes as winter approaches.
And, looking back at the UK again, as well as many energy suppliers going bust as they can't handle the new cost of gas, there's also the slight problem of one of the electricity links with France catching on fire. Just not a good month all around.
It's not particularly new news, but there's an article up from Astronomy.com about magnetic pole reversals and so it's probably time to read through the article and revisit what a bad time it would be.
Compasses not working is the least of our problems - the poles are what keep all those pesky cosmic rays and the nastier solar wind away from the planet, and if they were to, say, vanish and reappear at the other end of the Earth (as they do on a somewhat regular basis), we'd likely get a lot of wonderful auroras along with a lot of very nasty radiation.
With gaps of hundreds of thousands of years, though, the chance isn't super high it'll happen in the next couple centuries. Unlike another Carrington Event, which we are almost certainly overdue for and which is less deadly to people but quite bad for power transmission and data networks.
Samoa is the latest country to decide that Daylight Savings Time really isn't worth the effort (or the extra injuries it causes), and they've decided to ditch it and go back to just having the one timezone all year round.
Of course, they managed to do this with only one week's notice, causing literally everyone who maintains a timezone database to scramble to get the change out in time. Sometimes, I wonder if governments understand that passing a law is really not all it takes to get the devices in your country adhering to the new idea you just had.