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Astrology Signs

Mercury Retrograde Wrecks Havoc on February Plans

In astrology, Mercury will enter retrograde once again on February 17th until March 10th, and its effects will be felt across the world.

For anyone with an interest in astrology, Mercury in retrograde is a regularly occurring phenomenon which is faced with more than a little apprehension. It is believed that during this passing phase, Earth is heavily influenced by its forces, and this subsequently leads to a number of challenges across all areas of life, including communication, travel and general decision making.

Mercury in retrograde occurs three to four times a year and happens when the Earth passes Mercury during its orbit around the sun. At this point, Mercury is moving slower than Earth and this gives the illusion Mercury is in fact, going backwards. This process of passing by at speed is thought to create a gust of wind which in turn creates turbulence here on Earth.

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It has been suggested that during retrograde, people may experience a range of problems, such as miscommunications, delays in travel, loss of emails, missing paperwork, and much more. Mercury is understood to oversee all types of communication, alongside all kinds of formal contracts and agreements. In addition, it controls all types of code including computers, satellites and a vast array of electronic devices. It is believed that all of these areas are adversely impacted when Mercury is in retrograde, as astrologers abide by the saying “as above, so too below.” This means that whatever is happening up in space will be reflected down on Earth.

So what might be affected during Retrograde specifically? Well, astrologers advise you to avoid entering into any new contracts during this time, be that buying a new home, starting a new job or signing a new mobile phone contract. They advise you to avoid making any unnecessary journeys, as travel is likely to be hampered by delays. It is also recommended to avoid entering into any important discussions, such as discussing your role at work with your boss, or talking through issues in your relationship with your partner, as there is a much higher chance of misinterpretation and conflict arising during this period.

The limitations on communications extends to avoiding the launch of publicity, advertising or marketing campaigns, and it is also recommended to hold back on launching a new website or business. Even if your business or activities are not communications-related, the advice is to hold off completely until retrograde has ended.

It is thought that during this period, decisions are more likely to be reversed, agreed projects cancelled and there is an increased chance that clients could make a complete u-turn on plans that were previously approved. Therefore, it is also recommended to avoid arranging any important client review meetings during a period of retrograde, as there is a high chance that these will not go as expected if you do do. Additionally, electronic devices could randomly start to malfunction or break completely and it is strongly advised to back up any devices just before a retrograde to prepare for any unexpected issues.

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During retrograde, it is believed that mistakes are more likely to happen, and so astrologers recommend avoiding any kind of elective surgery during this time. Of course essential surgery should be proceeded with as planned, but there is the suggestion that they may not go as smoothly as they would if conducted at another time. Forgetfulness is also a common occurrence during retrograde, so it is advisable to set plenty of reminders, both electronically and physically on a calendar or in your diary.

Celebrities appear to be pretty concerned about retrograde too, with singer LeAnn Rimes tweeting “Mercury is in retrograde and I feel like I’m on Punked.”

Lisa Rinna also said “Now it all makes sense, Mercury is in retrograde till February. Ugh.”

Kyle Richards tweeted about its effects saying “I need to ask @BravoAndy to please never again shoot the Reunion when Mercury is in retrograde #RHOBH.”

And Katy Perry decided to face the challenge head on by saying “I see you Mercury in retrograde, come at me bruh.”

This list of things to avoid during retrograde appears to be pretty exhaustive and with this event taking place 3-4 times a year, it could prove problematic putting all the areas mentioned above on hold every time retrograde occurs. I imagine that the vast majority of people will take the advice above with a pinch of salt and continue on with their everyday lives in the hope that retrograde doesn’t mess things up too monumentally. Although, it might be interesting in hindsight to consider all of those times where things haven’t gone quite to plan, and look back to see if they occurred during a period of retrograde? Perhaps it might be time to alter your plans after all?

Climate

EPA Rollbacks Threaten to Accelerate Climate Change

On Thursday, the EPA is set to announce rollbacks on regulations on methane emissions, which are a major contributor to climate change. As it stands, oil and gas companies are required by federal regulations to install and maintain technology that inspects and fixes wells, pipelines, and storage facilities with the potential to leak methane. With these regulations gone, companies would have no legal requirement to ensure that excess methane is not released into the air.

Although these changes are required by law to undergo a period of public comment and review, this process is unlikely to change the outcome of the rollback. (In 2017, 99.7% of public comments opposed rolling back net neutrality regulations; the FCC dismantled these regulations anyway, suggesting that governmental agencies’ public comment periods can have little to no impact on their ultimate decisions.) Notably, several companies in the oil and gas industry oppose this regulatory change. While the American Petroleum Institute praised the proposed change in rules, calling it “a smarter way of targeting methane emissions,” Exxon, BP, and Shell have urged the Trump administration to maintain key elements of the regulation.

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While it may seem counter-intuitive for these companies to oppose loosening restrictions on the emission of greenhouse gases, oil and gas companies have given several reasons for supporting environmental regulations. One reason has to do with messaging: as the arguments favoring the belief that climate change is both man-made and potentially disastrous become increasingly irrefutable, oil and gas companies are re-branding themselves as favoring renewable sources of energy. As such, it would be hypocritical for them to oppose environmental regulations. Additionally, the view that natural gas is a cleaner source of energy than oil requires that methane emissions are curtailed as much as possible, as the process of extracting and refining natural gas has a strong potential to cause methane leaks if not handled carefully.

This is not the only case where companies have opposed the Trump administration’s rolling back of environmental regulations that impact their business. This summer, Ford, Volkswagen, Honda, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz teamed up with the state of California to oppose auto emissions rollbacks. These rollbacks, which have not yet been implemented, would reverse a rule requiring automobiles to reach an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, lowering the standard to just 37 miles per gallon. However, 13 states, including California, have vowed to continue to enforce the regulation, leading to a potential disparity in regulations between states and a splintering of the automobile market. As such, some auto manufacturers have sided with California over the Trump administration, seeking to abide by standards that would allow them to continue producing a single fleet of vehicles for all 50 states.

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Additionally, the Trump administration has sought to roll back regulations on mercury emissions that were instituted by the Obama administration in 2011. As human exposure to mercury leads to serious health problems, the regulations on the permissible amount of mercury in the environment were strict, and as a result of these regulations mercury pollution has fallen by 70 percent. Although coal companies such as Duke Energy opposed the regulation, due to the substantial financial burden of installing the technology necessary for compliance, they now oppose rolling back the regulation, as they fear that the money they spent will go to waste if they are not obligated to continue monitoring and reducing mercury emissions.

While somewhat surprising, the shift of oil, gas, and automotive companies towards a more environmentally friendly and consumer-oriented approach is part of a larger trend created by the vacuum of leadership in government combined with worsening environmental and economic conditions. Recently, Business Roundtable announced that many of the world’s major CEOs would shift their focus away from prioritizing shareholders to prioritizing stakeholders in an effort to ensure a healthier and more inclusive economy. This announcement was made in the context of tax cuts that benefited the wealthy at the expense of the middle and lower classes; fearful that the rise of income inequality would lead to an unstable economic situation, the free market reacted by reorganizing its priorities to support a growth in consumer’s spending power. A similar philosophy is driving energy companies such as BP to focus on “green” solutions for harnessing energy. The long-term viability of this practice of self-regulation remains to be seen.