OUR PICKSWhat the Pandemic Simulations Missed | Climate Making Parts of America Uninsurable | Nuclear Energy Renaissance, and more

Published 1 June 2023

·  Climate Shocks Are Making Parts of America Uninsurable. It Just Got Worse.
The largest insurer in California said it would stop offering new coverage. It’s part of a broader trend of companies pulling back from dangerous areas.

·  The Farmers Fretting Over Colorado River Water Even Before Latest Cuts
About half the irrigated farmland will be left unplanted in Arizona’s Pinal county this year

·  What the Pandemic Simulations Missed
And why it’s the perfect time to role-play the next one

·  With New “Alien Land Laws” Asian Immigrants Are Once Again Targeted by Real Estate Bans
Lawmakers continue to introduce legislation designed to bar citizens of foreign adversaries from being able to purchase real property

·  False ‘Facts’ about Science and Social Security Share Origins
Fake claims that Social Security is broken and that climate action isn’t urgent all come from flawed free-market ideology

·  Why Small Modular Reactors Herald a Nuclear Energy Renaissance
There is no path to significant decarbonization of the economy without a global nuclear renaissance

·  Software Engineer Who Photographed US Landmarks For Possible Attacks Gets 12 Years In Prison
Federal judge said defendant seemed no longer to pose a danger

·  More Than Half of Users Have Seen Extremist Content in Online Games
Extremists use gaming spaces to spread their propaganda, and reach, radicalize, and recruit young followers

Climate Shocks Are Making Parts of America Uninsurable. It Just Got Worse.  (Christopher Flavelle, Jill Cowan and Ivan Penn, New York Times)
The climate crisis is becoming a financial crisis.
This month, the largest homeowner insurance company in California, State Farm, announced that it would stop selling coverage to homeowners. That’s not just in wildfire zones, but everywhere in the state.
Insurance companies, tired of losing money, are raising rates, restricting coverage or pulling out of some areas altogether — making it more expensive for people to live in their homes.

The Farmers Fretting Over Colorado River Water Even Before Latest Cuts  (Nina Lakhani, Guardian)
In Arizona’s Pinal county water cuts have become a reality even before this month’s historic deal by states to use 13% less water from stricken river.

What the Pandemic Simulations Missed  (Jacob Stern, The Atlantic)
In October 2019, just a few months before a novel coronavirus sparked a deadly pandemic, a group of government officials, business leaders, and academics convened in New York City to role-play a scenario in which a novel coronavirus sparked a deadly pandemic. Their imagined virus leaped from livestock to farmers in Brazil, then spread to Portugal, the United States, and China. Soon, it was everywhere. Eighteen months later, 65 million people were dead.
This simulation, known as Event 201, was one of dozens of so-called pandemic war games run in the two decades leading up to the outbreak of COVID-19. In mid-2020, as the world came to terms with its new pandemic reality, media outlets published a flood of articles about these simulations. Some highlighted their prescience, others their blind spots. But the real-world crisis that occasioned this review was only a few months old. Whatever hindsight it provided wasn’t yet in focus, because many of the greatest challenges of the pandemic—new variants, vaccine hesitancy, the hyper-politicization of public health—were still to come.
Almost three years later, we know that the war-gamers whiffed on many of these longer-term outcomes. Now they are trying to learn from their mistakes.