Weekly Brief – 7 February 2020

Weekly Briefing – 7 February 2020
This week, we analyzed 1,902 pieces of intelligence traffic to bring you the most important 39 things you need to know right now to make sure you don’t get caught out when the SHTF.

This week’s biggest headline:

This issue is dangerously close to a full-on coronavirus fest, as the disease continues to spread in new and completely awful ways.
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Asteroid Impact
Another big asteroid is headed for earth, scheduled for a near miss 15th February. An impact couple of days earlier could have saved us all a lot of money on chocolate and roses.

NASA says that an asteroid this big can potentially wipe out millions of people if it ever crashes onto some land, and the consequences would be catastrophic.

This one is going to miss by around .03 Astronomical Units (AU), which is 3% of the distance between the earth and the sun.
Civil Unrest
Lots of rioting this week.

Palestinians protested the one-sided Middle East peace deal American President Trump proposed.

Over in Greece, undocumented migrants and locals clashed, requiring Athens to send in the riot police.

Berlin, unusually, saw riots this week as well, as protesters fumed over EU regulations.

Less unusually, a riot broke out in Belfast as well. One man was stabbed and had to go to the hospital.
Experts predict more civil unrest in 2020 than ever before, as income inequality continues to increase.

If the rich don’t do something about this, the poor will. And the latter’s solution will be far bloodier than the former’s.

America, specifically, is no longer the home of the American Dream. Analysts say it could take five generations for a poor family in the US to work their way up to an average income.

I’m going to keep banging on about this problem, because it is a big problem, and it’s not getting nearly enough attention.

Epidemic Disease
The death toll from coronavirus in mainland China jumped by 73 to 563 on Thursday, its third-consecutive record daily rise, as experts stepped up efforts to find a vaccine for a disease that has shut down Chinese cities and forced thousands of others into quarantine around the world.

As of publication:
  • 31,520 confirmed cases
  • 638 deaths
The disease isn’t slowing down at all, and multiple governments are now increasing restrictions on travel not only from mainland China but also other Southeast Asian countries like:
  • China
  • Thailand
  • Japan
  • Republic of Korea
  • Hong Kong
  • Taiwan
  • Singapore
  • Malaysia
  • Macau
Coronavirus is officially now a pandemic, governments are ill-prepared.
Charts that go up and to the right are usually good. Not the case here.
We were surprised in 2002 when a new coronavirus called SARS emerged from southern China and spread to 17 countries, causing more than 8,000 disease cases and nearly 800 deaths.

We were surprised in 2009 when a new H1N1 influenza strain emerged in Mexico and caused worldwide panic.

We were surprised in 2014 when the Ebola virus broke out in three West African countries, with nearly 30,000 cases and more than 11,000 deaths.

And here we are now, facing the 2019-nCoV coronavirus outbreak, a worldwide pandemic, and we’re surprised again.

WTF guys?

Some good news….

So far, very few young children seem to be falling ill. The pattern was seen in outbreaks of SARS and MERS, too.

…but some bad news too

The virus has now recorded two in Utero transmissions from mother to newborn child. So that’s horrible.
Purple is bad
Experts think it’s too late to contain the coronavirus, and this is what the worst case looks like.

And here are four factors that could cause coronavirus could devolve into a dangerous pandemic and four ways it could steadily improve.

On the lighter side of a slow, painful death, here are some hilarious ways people used to try to avoid infectious disease in the past.
Extreme Weather
If coronavirus doesn’t kill you, climate change might finish you off instead…and more quickly than we thought.

Multiple research teams are now forecasting that the planet will heat up more catastrophically than previously anticipated.

There are dozens of climate models, and for decades they’ve agreed on what it would take to heat the planet by about 3° Celsius. It’s an outcome that would be disastrous—flooded cities, agricultural failures, deadly heat—but there’s been a grim steadiness in the consensus among these complicated climate simulations. Then last year, unnoticed in plain view, some of the models started running very hot. 
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Global War
World War 3 fears have been worsened by the ongoing tensions between the US and Russia. As both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin seek dominance on the world stage, Washington is risking an “all-out conflict” with its recent deployment of nuclear missile-armed submarines,

American tensions with Iran continue to simmer as well, as Washington has pointed a finger at Iran for using a space programme as a secret cover for developing missiles to use against its Middle East allies.

We’ll keep a close eye on Washington over the next few weeks. President Trump’s impeachment acquittal will likely embolden the leader, which could lead to a far more adventurous foreign policy. And by “adventurous,” we, of course, mean “catastrophic.”
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Insufficient Clean Water
A new report shows global food and water demand is expected to increase over the next 30 years (duh). Without the sustainable intensification of agricultural production and a reduction in wastage, it is likely that pressure on the natural environment will also increase. 

Water security is national security and economic security. Without access to clean water, farms die, and people die.

It’s not just developing countries that need to worry about water security. Canada, in particular, is looking at a crisis situation.
Gamma Ray Burst
The ISS has spotted hundreds of gamma-ray flashes going off in thunderstorms over the past year. By comparing those with lightning rippling through the same storms, space physicists have begun to unravel the decades-old mystery of what causes Gamma-Ray Bursts
That’s Kuwait. Seriously.
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Sea Level Rise
Tons of scary news about sea-level rise this week.

TLDR; if you live near any coast at all, you need to move house asap.

More specifically, 80 of the world’s biggest airports…which tend to be built near the coast…will find their runways underwater before the end of the 21st century.

The most vulnerable city in the world? Say “hi,” Miami!

If you live in the Chesapeake Bay Region, you’re likely to see several floods per month in areas like Norfolk.

In case the West Coast is feeling a bit smug, have a look at these massive flood photos from Oregon’s coast.

This is a threat no one’s going to escape, and it’s going to have catastrophic effects on the global economy.
Key West, Florida, underwater.
Severe Weather

Overlapping environmental crises could tip the planet into “global systemic collapse,” more than 200 top scientists warned Wednesday.

Climate change, extreme weather events from hurricanes to heatwaves, the decline of life-sustaining ecosystems, food security and dwindling stores of freshwater — each poses a monumental challenge to humanity in the 21st century.


Microsoft is investing $1 billion in AI research company OpenAI to build a set of technologies that can deliver artificial general intelligence (AGI).

AGI is the type of artificial intelligence that can theoretically become sentient…and decide humans aren’t necessary anymore.

But it’s more likely AI will gain consciousness in a much more insidious and subtle way. Like self-driving cars.

From a geopolitical perspective, the only way to win at AI is to get smart about AI more quickly than your rivals and implement it more effectively. Any minor advantage will self-reinforce as the algorithms build upon themselves.


Yellowstone’s famous caldera, which last went off more than 640,000 years ago, can lay claim as North America’s most well-known supervolcano.

But it isn’t the continent’s largest — a more ancient one found near the small southwestern Utah town of Enterprise, was about 30 times bigger.

Not sure why supervolcanoes are super bad? Watch this.
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Carter Hopkins

Carter is a former US Army Ranger, US Army intelligence officer, and counterintelligence officer with the Defence Intelligence Agency. He has a BA in Political Science from UCLA and an MA in Security Studies from Georgetown.

"Articles are all relevant, informative and well written. Love the captions too."