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  • Hi, I'm Carl Azuz; we're glad you're hanging 10 with us today.

  • In the stock market, crude oil is sold by the barrel; one barrel contains 42 gallons of oil and the price of oil per barrel just hit $95 on Monday.

  • It was the first time in eight years it was that expensive, and this is expected to have ripple effects that drive up prices across many of the things we buy.

  • Crude oil prices are the biggest factor in the cost of gasoline.

  • You hear a lot about electric cars, but they only account for a small percentageless than 5%⏤of the US car market.

  • The vast majority of vehicles depend on gasoline to get around, and when those prices go up, it becomes more expensive both to drive and to transport the goods and groceries we use.

  • Rising oil prices are also associated with rising inflation.

  • The overall increase in costs was at 7.5% last month, over January 2021, that was inflation's highest level since 1982.

  • So, things could get worse there as well.

  • Why is this happening?

  • One big reason is uncertainty about the situation in Ukraine, which we discussed on yesterday's show.

  • On Monday, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said Russia was expected to attack his country on February 16th.

  • But after that, one of his advisors said he spoke, quote, "with irony".

  • So, questions there.

  • Either way, though, the United States announced it was closing its embassy in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.

  • The American stock market fell while oil prices climbed, and what remains to be seen is whether things will stay that way or normalize in the days ahead,

  • Add gas prices to the list of surging costs weighing on Americans' wallets.

  • The price has been a little bit more each time.

  • The national average, now around 3.44 a gallon, up more than a dollar from a year ago and the highest since 2014, and it's only getting worse, approaching the record national average of $4.11.

  • Do you think we could hit that record in the months ahead?

  • I think we have a very good chance.

  • It's an issue of supply and demand dating back to the start of COVID.

  • Just look at this roller coaster chart of US gas prices over time.

  • In March 2020, prices plummeted.

  • Americans weren't on the road.

  • Oil producers, including OPEC, cut back on investments and operations; they had nowhere to store extra oil.

  • They laid off employees, they didn't work their rigs.

  • Demand for fuel skyrocketed more than experts expected, and the oil industry didn't have the supply; they're still playing catch-up.

  • You can't just turn on a spigot, uh, these are long-cycle projects.

  • So, gas prices have been surging for 14 months, only briefly dipping during Omicron.

  • Demand is back at pre-pandemic levels, even triple A (AAA) can't explain that.

  • They're trying to, kind of, figure it out right now.

  • And the conflict on the Ukrainian border is adding a new strain.

  • Russia is the world's second-largest oil producer.

  • If the crisis escalates, JP Morgan says oil prices could soar from $91 a barrel to $120.

  • If we were to see Russia, potentially, withhold energy exports, the question would be, "Who could make up for that?"

  • I'm gonna work like the devil to bring gas prices down.

  • It's a huge political problem for the Biden Administration, which says it's now engaging with oil-producing countries to increase production, preparing to go after firms that manipulate prices, and considering dipping back into the strategic petroleum reserve.

  • In November, they announced the release of 50 million barrels from that supply.

  • And it resulted in... in very little... uh... more like negligible impact.

  • At this price point, you'll start to see more production come back, but there's still a gap that needs to be filled.

  • But as of now, oil prices are expected to keep rising for months, adding fuel to inflation on everything from groceries to store goods, and driving price hikes at the pump.

  • It's not just my car; it's every single aspect of my life is impacted by gas prices.

  • 10-second trivia: What nation, whose capital is Muscat, borders Saudi Arabia and the Arabian Sea?

  • Oman, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, or Yemen.

  • Oman, a nation of 3.6 million, is a monarchy bordering the Arabian Sea.

  • Rugged mountains rise in the northern and southern parts of Oman, according to the US Central Intelligence Agency, and that's where most of the population lives.

  • The middle part of the country, which is hot and dry, is sparsely populated.

  • But with such varied topography, mountains, plains, cliffs, and coasts, Oman is a nation rich in biodiversity.

  • And that's why a professor from another continent entirely is working in Oman to conserve its natural features.

  • When you start working in arid land, the first thing you imagine is emptiness.

  • But you would be amazed of the diversity hidden.

  • My name is Erika Cuellar Soto; I am originally from Bolivia, but I am here in Oman working as a professor teaching conservation, desert biology, and biodiversity.

  • So, together with mangrove, we have a species like this, and they... they depend on the... on the mangrove formation.

  • I am here at the Sultan Qaboos University; I have students from different parts of the country.

  • And, for me, this is very strategic because when they finish the university, they are fresh biologists, and they will go back to their areas, uh, in the country.

  • We are developing a very, very interesting, eh, cooperation with the Natural History Museum in... in Muscat.

  • We are developing, eh, projects with the students in order to contribute with samples for the museum to represent the diversity of the country.

  • Look at this.

  • - Here, as you... as you may see... - Young generations are very interested in technology.

  • So, it's a challenge, eh, for me to just attract them to see the nature in a... in a different way.

  • What is the difference?

  • We just want to take samples of this, okay?

  • We want to see if it's sediment or... or oil.

  • They are mainly desert people; eh, to be inside the forest is so refreshing.

  • It's so different to what they used to see.

  • Have you been in a... another place like this before?

  • You will be in love when you go inside, uh, the mangrove.

  • I take the students to different environments and, uh, mangroves are something that really attract them.

  • Conservation in the Middle East is important as in any place in the world.

  • We are facing a very difficult time in terms of health of our planet.

  • I am hopeful, but at the same time, I want them to be realistic.

  • I want them to understand that we need to invest in gaining knowledge and, and, and advancing in science.

  • I believe that, eh, that this region, eh, deserve(s) attention.

  • It's a... it's a very rich area, and we shouldn't ignore it and we shouldn't ignore, uh, any arid lands.

  • Most pilots will generally tell you that a helicopter is harder to fly than an airplane.

  • So would you let a computer do it?

  • This is the inside of a military Blackhawk helicopter.

  • As you can see, it has two pilots available but they ain't flying it.

  • This chopper is getting ready to fly itself, and this is apparently the first time that's ever happened.

  • The first autonomous Blackhawk flight reportedly went well.

  • It took off, avoided an obstacle, and landed, and while the pilots were there to monitor it, they did not actively control it.

  • The technology to do this was designed by the Lockheed Martin Aerospace Company.

  • It was added to an existing helicopter, not one that was redesigned from the ground up.

  • The US Military says it's looking at using this autonomous technology in the future.

  • Misha the tiger apparently knew all along that the L.A. Rams would win the Super Bowl.

  • Oh, you think she would've picked the Cincinnati Bengals, but Misha herself is not a Bengal.

  • She's an Amur, or Siberian tiger, and she went against her own family.

  • When we say that, we mean she licked the glass under the Rams logo instead of the Bengals one, even though they had the same scent.

  • The animals at this Iowa zoo have reportedly picked the winner, 8 out of 11 games.

  • But would she have done the same thing for the Panthers or the Jaguars?

  • Then you could say, "cat's got her tongue".

  • And in the circus of NFL mascots, she could pick from lions or Bengals or bears; oh, my!

  • So will she be quick to lick, pick, or make stick the 2023 game-winner?

  • That could depend on who has the "purr-fect" season.

  • Who has the best "clawwwws" to win, who's the "stalk" of the town, and whether Misha's "super bowl" is filled with meat.

  • I'm Carl Azuz; today's shout-out takes us to Romeoville, Illinois, where we are thrilled to see the students of Romeoville High School.

  • Come on back tomorrow for more CNN.

Hi, I'm Carl Azuz; we're glad you're hanging 10 with us today.

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Rich In Biodiversity | February 15, 2022

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    林宜悉 posted on 2022/02/21
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