This and That

Weaker electricity demand and super-low natural gas prices, both driven by the pandemic, have prompted coal to drop to just 15% of the U.S. electricity mix for the first time in modern history.

A decade ago, coal powered nearly 50% of America’s electricity, by far the largest share. [Axios 4/14/20]

Even though coal production is declining precipitously, the United States may run out of space to store coal early this summer. [Numlock News 4/9/20]

And the world may soon run out of space to store oil. That might well plunge prices below zero. The world’s thirst for oil has evaporated. [CNN Business 4/2/20]

The price of a barrel of oil went negative. [NYT 4/20/2020 2:48 p.m.]

Air travel is down as much as 95%. The airline industry is estimating it will lose $314 billion in ticket sales in 2020. In early April, flight volume was down 80% worldwide. [Axios Navigator 4/17/20; Bloomberg]

Because of the huge drop in airplane traffic as a result of the coronavirus, the ability of U.S. meteorologists to predict the weather has been adversely affected.

Ordinarily, meteorologists see 700,000 daily weather observations from aircraft. Now that thousands of worldwide trips have been cancelled and many thousands of U.S. flights grounded, there has been a nearly 50% drop in reports from planes. This lack of data is causing problems for the sophisticated models that produce and inform forecasts. [ Numlock News, Bloomberg]

85% of the world’s toys are made in China. [WSJ 2/29/20]

17,600 different Proctor and Gamble products rely on materials from China according to the company. [WSJ 2/29/20]

New York’s Department of Information, Technology and Telecommunications will rip out more than 3,000 pay phones. There will continue to be four proper phone booths – on 66th, 90th, 100th and 101st streets remain in operation for no reasons other than “why not.” [Gothamist]

The estimated number of houses of worship and congregations in the United States is 350,000 about 50% of which have 65 regular attendees or fewer. This has been a challenging time for churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples given the mandatory caps on the number of people who can congregate at a given time, necessarily putting a bit of a damper on the “congregation.” [Numlock News 3/23/20]

Idaho Governor Brad Little signed into law two bills that limit the right of transgender people in the state. One prohibits transgender people from changing their gender on the state’s birth certificates, while the other specifically prevents transgender girls from playing on girls’ and women’s sports teams [CNN 4/1/20]

The Food and Drug Administration revised its blood donor guidelines, easing the restrictions on gay and bisexual men from 12 months to 90 days abstinence from sexual activity. The restrictions had come under increased scrutiny from lawmakers and LGBTQ advocates, particularly after Coronavirus fears forced the cancellation of many in-person blood drives. Other 12-month deferral periods have also been shortened, including those for people who have traveled to areas with certain endemic diseases, those who have engaged in injection drug use and people who have participated in commercial sex work. [NBC News 4/2/20]

In 2019, 68% of taxpayers were projected to pay more in payroll taxes than income taxes. [WP 3/8/20]

Here is some information that WW “knows” you will want to know.

There is a movie titled “Rescuing Madison” on the Hallmark Channel. The movie is advertised as two hours long – 1:59 to be exact. There are eight interruptions for advertising during the two-hour film for a total of 42 minutes. Thus, 35% of the advertised two-hour film is consumed by advertising.