College Enrollment Declines in Spring 2021

The college enrollment rate dropped significantly in spring 2021. Compared with spring 2020, college enrollment declined almost 5%, and the data show from the National Student Clearinghouse, college enrollment saw at least 727,000 students less than expected. According to NPR, after the pandemic took hold last year, many students did not enroll in classes, and many of them were unable to afford to go to college.

Last fall semester, 3.6% of students didn’t take classes, and this spring semester, the rate dropped even more. “It’s really the end of a truly frightening year for higher education. There will be no easy fixes or quick [bounces] backs” said Doug Shapiro, National Student Clearinghouse.

The pandemic hit hardest on the students in minority and low-income families groups, and some of the students went back to the workforce to help with the maintenance of their household. Furthermore, as the housing market skyrocketed during the pandemic, the younger generation is choosing to engage in handyman or other trades jobs to earn higher income in shorter periods of time.

Surprisingly, graduate program enrollments went up to more than 120,000 students this spring. Nowadays, a college degree is not enough for most to obtain the job they want, especially due to the inflation of a college degree.

It now seems as Gen Z are choosing either to obtain a higher degree or to find stable employment through other means, one that doesn’t require a college education, in an uncertain era where college doesn’t guarantee a stable job.

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The Annual Solar Eclipse: Partial Solar Eclipse visible on the sky on June 10, 2021

Eclipse cartographer Michael Zeiler created this detailed visibility map for the June 10, 2021, annular solar eclipse. Skywatchers in much of central and eastern North America, as well as parts of Europe and Africa, will be able to enjoy this event as a partial solar eclipse; the full “ring of fire” effect will be limited to a narrow slice of land in central and eastern Canada. (Image credit: Michael Zeiler, GreatAmericanEclipse.com)

Early in the morning (about 4:40 AM ET) on June 10, we will see the annual solar eclipse which will appear as a partial solar eclipse. According to timeanddate.com, most Northeast U.S. and Canadian residents will see the sky darken after the Sun rises.

The residents will see the “Ring of Fire” like the shape of the eclipse, across central to eastern Canada for at least 390 miles.

“Because the moon will be just 57 hours past apogee, its farthest point from Earth during its orbit, it will appear somewhat smaller than usual – smaller than the apparent disk of the sun. It is for this reason that viewers in the shadow’s center will get an annular (partial) rather than a total eclipse: the sun will become a brilliant ring (annulus) of light encircling the moon’s dark silhouette for several minutes,” said Space.com.

Those living in the Lake Superior region will see the horseshoe-shaped Sunlight when the Sun rises for about 3.5 minutes.

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Virginia Democrats want McAuliffe as Governor Again

 

On June 8th, Virginia held the primaries for the Democratic Party and elected Terry McAuliffe one more time to take a seat for the race in Governor as the nominee. He had four Democratic opponents for the nomination, including the current Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax. McAuliffe will run for the Governor against the Republican nominee, Glenn Youngkin, a former private equity executive.

The absolute voting majority (62.3% as of 10:23 PM ET) for Terry McAuliffe today means the Virginian Democrats favor his leadership.

The Lieutenant Governor nominees are still being counted, but Hala Ayala is (39%) is ahead, compared to Sam Rasoul (25.3%) or Mark Levine(11.8%) as of 10:37 PM ET.

Mark Herring (56.6%), the incumbent Attorney General was nominated again for a chance at one more term.

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VA DUI Penalties and Law Change in 2021

After the pandemic, people are prone to drive aggressively and recklessly on empty roads or busy streets. Some of them were arrested for being under influence of alcoholic drinks or drugs while operating motor vehicles and made incidents or were stopped by the Police and later found to be driving under influence.

As of 2021, Virginia DUI law section 18.2-266 states that it is against the law for any individual to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is not necessary that the driver be exhibiting signs of drunken behavior, such as shifting across lanes; a chemical test revealed a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or greater is sufficient for a DUI charge.

According to VA DUI penalties and Laws;

§ 18.2-270. Penalty for driving while intoxicated; subsequent offense; prior conviction.

A. Except as otherwise provided herein, any person violating any provision of § 18.2-266 shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor with a mandatory minimum fine of $250. If the person’s blood alcohol level as indicated by the chemical test administered as provided in this article or by any other scientifically reliable chemical test performed on whole blood under circumstances reliably establishing the identity of the person who is the source of the blood and the accuracy of the results (i) was at least 0.15, but not more than 0.20, he shall be confined in jail for an additional mandatory minimum period of five days or, (ii) if the level was more than 0.20, for an additional mandatory minimum period of 10 days.B. 1. Any person convicted of a second offense committed within less than five years after a prior offense under § 18.2-266 shall upon conviction of the second offense be punished by a mandatory minimum fine of $500 and by confinement in jail for not less than one month nor more than one year. Twenty days of such confinement shall be a mandatory minimum sentence.

2. Any person convicted of a second offense committed within a period of five to 10 years of a prior offense under § 18.2-266 shall upon conviction of the second offense be punished by a mandatory minimum fine of $500 and by confinement in jail for not less than one month. Ten days of such confinement shall be a mandatory minimum sentence.

3. Upon conviction of a second offense within 10 years of a prior offense, if the person’s blood alcohol level as indicated by the chemical test administered as provided in this article or by any other scientifically reliable chemical test performed on whole blood under circumstances reliably establishing the identity of the person who is the source of the blood and the accuracy of the results (i) was at least 0.15, but not more than 0.20, he shall be confined in jail for an additional mandatory minimum period of 10 days or, (ii) if the level was more than 0.20, for an additional mandatory minimum period of 20 days. In addition, such person shall be fined a mandatory minimum fine of $500.

C. 1. Any person convicted of three offenses of § 18.2-266 committed within a 10-year period shall upon conviction of the third offense be guilty of a Class 6 felony. The sentence of any person convicted of three offenses of § 18.2-266 committed within a 10-year period shall include a mandatory minimum sentence of 90 days, unless the three offenses were committed within a five-year period, in which case the sentence shall include a mandatory minimum sentence of confinement for six months. In addition, such person shall be fined a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000.

2. A person who has been convicted of § 18.2-36.118.2-36.218.2-51.418.2-51.5, or a felony violation of § 18.2-266 shall upon conviction of a subsequent violation of § 18.2-266 be guilty of a Class 6 felony. The punishment of any person convicted of such a subsequent violation of § 18.2-266 shall include a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of one year and a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000.

3. The punishment of any person convicted of a fourth or subsequent offense of § 18.2-266 committed within a 10-year period shall, upon conviction, include a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of one year. In addition, such person shall be fined a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000.

4. The vehicle solely owned and operated by the accused during the commission of a felony violation of § 18.2-266 shall be subject to seizure and forfeiture. After an arrest for a felony violation of § 18.2-266, the Commonwealth may file an information in accordance with § 19.2-386.34.

D. In addition to the penalty otherwise authorized by this section or § 16.1-278.9, any person convicted of a violation of § 18.2-266 committed while transporting a person 17 years of age or younger shall be (i) fined an additional minimum of $500 and not more than $1,000 and (ii) sentenced to a mandatory minimum period of confinement of five days.

E. For the purpose of determining the number of offenses committed by, and the punishment appropriate for, a person under this section, an adult conviction of any person, or finding of guilty in the case of a juvenile, under the following shall be considered a conviction of § 18.2-266: (i) the provisions of § 18.2-36.1 or the substantially similar laws of any other state or of the United States, (ii) the provisions of §§ 18.2-51.418.2-266, former § 18.1-54 (formerly § 18-75), the ordinance of any county, city or town in this Commonwealth or the laws of any other state or of the United States substantially similar to the provisions of § 18.2-51.4, or § 18.2-266, or (iii) the provisions of subsection A of § 46.2-341.24 or the substantially similar laws of any other state or of the United States.

F. Mandatory minimum punishments imposed pursuant to this section shall be cumulative, and mandatory minimum terms of confinement shall be served consecutively. However, in no case shall punishment imposed hereunder exceed the applicable statutory maximum Class 1 misdemeanor term of confinement or fine upon conviction of a first or second offense, or Class 6 felony term of confinement or fine upon conviction of a third or subsequent offense.

Driving Under Influence(DUI) starts as a misdemeanor and can become a felony if a person violates the law continuously. $250 fines to $1,000 in minimum with jail times to prison sentences. Summertime has just started, and as more people free themselves from masks and the home, it would be wise to keep this in mind when driving.

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Ransomeware Attacks Meat Availability in North America

A criminal organization based in Russia attacked Brazil’s JBS SA with ransomware to disrupt its meat production. This Brazilian company produces meat for importation into North America and Australia.

The White House deputy press Karine Jean-Pierre said the company notified the Biden administration on Sunday. Jean-Pierre said the administration has offered assistance to the company and that JBS told the White House the ransom demand came from a criminal organization “likely based in Russia.” She said the White House is engaging with the Russian government and is “delivering the message that responsible states don’t harbor ransomware criminals.”

Last month, ransomware attacked a gas pipeline resulting in shortages on the East Coast and created a mass gas hike in Northeastern states. The White House has reached out to the Russian government, and the FBI is currently investigating to find the culprits.

If this problem is not solved then consumers will have to find alternative ways of consuming protein, such as eating beans and seafood instead.

JBS controls about 20% of the slaughtering capacity for U.S. cattle and hogs, and it’s headquartered in Greenley, Colorado. The company has stopped production and JBS Beef in Cactus, Texas has also stopped its production according to its Facebook post. JBS, the world’s largest meatpacker, and production company have also stopped operations in Australia.

JBS said,  “On Sunday, May 30, JBS USA determined that it was the target of an organized cybersecurity attack, affecting some of the servers supporting its North American and Australian IT systems.”

The company also explained that “Resolution of the incident will take time, which may delay certain transactions with customers and suppliers,” and “the backup servers were not affected.”

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Biden Calls for Further investigation of Covid-19 Origin

On Wednesday, President Biden set a time limit of 60 days for the investigation of the origin of Covid-19 and how it transferred throughout the globe. Once deemed conspiracy, the idea of Covid-19 being developed in a lab in Wuhan has now become a focal point for the new investigation. Most scientists tend to agree that the most likely origin of Covid-19 is likely to be from an animal reservoir similar to how other Sars virii had spread in past years; however, the idea that the virus was developed in Wuhan continues to challenge the main narrative. Technically, no one is 100 percent sure how the Covid-19 pandemic actually manifested to this extent. The scientists however, are cautionary about stating that this virus leaked from a lab; they’re simply interested in how the next pandemic might be prevented.
Since the Covid-19 outbreak was pinpointed to Wuhan, China, the world attitude towards Asians, with Chinese in particular, have gotten significantly negative; the U.S. saw a significant increase in hate crime perpetrated against Asian elderly, and many Asians have reported living in trepidation of receiving hatred from those around them.
According to NPR, Dr. Anthony Fauci (President Biden’s chief medical adviser) told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Wednesday, “The historical basis for pandemics evolving naturally from an animal reservoir is extremely strong. And it’s for that reason that we felt that something similar like this has a much higher likelihood. No one knows, not even I, 100% at this point, which is the reason why we are in favor of [the] further investigation.”
Dr. Gounder, an infectious disease expert who served on the Biden transition team’s COVID-19 advisory board, agrees.
Scientists said that they’d have to investigate, not for the purpose of confirming a conspiracy, but for the purpose of figuring out how to prevent this kind of virus-related pandemics in the future.
The hope is that the investigation will ultimately save many innocent lives and decrease hate crime and violence against innocent Asians living in America or Europe by finding the truth.
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Army to allow more Hairstyles for Women in Active Duty

Earlier this month, the U.S. Army announced that all Army women personnel would be eligible for expanded hairstyles including ponytails, braids, twists, and cornrows that go as far down as the bottom of the shoulder blades. Not only that, the Army is allowing female personnel to apply lipstick, nail polish, and earrings as well.

Of course, there are exceptions on the length of the ponytails or braids for women doing tactical or physical training. For nail polish, extreme colors are not allowed for women, and only clear coats are allowed for men.

The Army has required women to follow a “bun” hairstyle for anyone who chose to keep long hair but had received complaints of hair loss, headaches, and hair scalp problems. Furthermore, when the women had to wear helmets for shooting practices or engagements, the buns made wearing helmets difficult, and it would hinder their sight for the purposes of shooting.

The new guidelines expand the options for African-American women’s hair. African-American women within the Army were required to engage in certain forms of hair tightening to abide by the Army’s restriction on hairstyles, which led the members of the Congressional Black Caucus to write a letter to the Secretary of Defense. In it, the Caucus stated, “African American women have often been required to meet unreasonable norms as it relates to acceptable standards of grooming in the workplace.” The Army first allowed some women to have some types of locks in 2017.

The restrictive hairstyle regulation had caused such damage to the scalp, that some female officers had chosen to shave her head completely. That used to be against the regulations, but it no longer is. The regulation also will be removing any offensive and out-of-date language.

The Army’s stance is that “professionalism” is important for soldiers’ appearance; the women (including African-American women) who serve say that the new regulations do not take away from professionalism; if anything, this freedom allows the women to properly wear headgear, perform their tasks effectively and look professional in uniform.

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Virginia under State of Emergency for Gas Shortage

Virginia Governor Northam declared a state of emergency after the gasoline pipeline was shut down from a cyberattack demanding a ransom to reopen on Tuesday.

The emergency declaration lets state agencies issue waivers to increase gas supply and enforce penalties against gas stations involved in price gouging due to the shortage. The Environmental Protection Agency has also issued an emergency fuel waiver on Tuesday to help with fuel shortages in states including Virginia due to the pipeline shutdown. The waiver is expected to continue until May 18.

The perpetrators of the shutdown are from a cybercrime group known as DarkSide, which has carried out an attack shutting down 5,500 miles of pipeline. This pipeline supplies half of the gasoline to the east coast and runs from Texas to New Jersey.

At the moment, however, Maryland or DC are less impacted than Virginia; as Virginia reported to have lost more than 44 percent of its total gasoline capacity yet DC has only reported 10 percent loss.

This is an ongoing development.

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Humongous Space Debris Will Hit Earth on May 9

On April 29, China launched a Long March 5B Rocket, the country’s first new space station into orbit around the Earth. As a result, a huge piece of space junk is set to collide with Earth’s atmosphere this weekend with pieces of debris landing elsewhere on Earth.

The Aerospace Corporation announced on Twitter, “Our latest prediction for CZ-5B Rocket body reentry is: 09 May 2021 03:43 UTC ± 16 hours Reentry will be along [with] one of the ground tracks shown here. It is still too early to determine a meaningful debris footprint.”

(Picture obtained from The Aerospace Corporation’s Twitter page)

Although Chinese officials initially applauded the launch of the 5B Rocket, the core stage which does the heavy lifting to get the space station into orbit initially failed and fell back towards the atmosphere uncontrollably.

About 21 metric tons of debris from space will hit on Earth’s surface but no one knows the exact location and the time.  “Scientists know that space junk will enter Earth’s atmosphere somewhere between approximately 41.5 degrees north latitude and 41.5 degrees south latitude based on the trajectory of the rocket”. according to Accuweather.com, this zone includes some of the world’s largest cities, but it also includes large swaths of the vast Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, and the Atlantic Ocean.

This space debris is the world’s largest space junk to fall back onto Earth’s orbit so far, and the worst is that no one knows exactly where it’ll land.

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A 100 Year Old Fish from Detroit River Trolls the Globe

Photo from the Fish and Wildlife Service Office

End of last month, a biologist working off of Michigan-based Fish and Wildlife Service Office went to Detroit River with his crews to survey the lake sturgeon population. The team put out set-lines with hooks to catch fishes, searched for eggs, and larvae but instead caught a huge sturgeon measuring 7 feet long, at least 240 pounds, indicating that it was an almost 100-year-old female sturgeon.

It is the largest lake sturgeon ever recorded in the country. According to the Facebook posting of Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, the sturgeon is a “once in a lifetime catch,” and “likely hatched in the Detroit River around 1920, when Detroit became the 4th largest city in America.”

“When it’s in the water, you don’t have that great reference for size until you actually try to get the net on it,” Fischer said. “Our basket’s like four or five feet deep, and this fish wouldn’t fit in the net. … It only got bigger when we got it on the boat. It took all three of them to lift it up out of the water and get it on the boat, an effort that was exhausting,” Fischer said.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife team weighed the fish, measured the fish, put a chip into the fish, and after processing all their work, released her to the water. The current sturgeon population is 7,000 but was once near a million when Detroit was a booming city in the early 1920s and on.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service annually reports the sturgeon population at the St. Clair-Detroit River system to better understand the lake sturgeon population began in 2001.  The lake sturgeon, considered a threatened species in Michigan, has endured a lot — from a boom in commercial fishing that continued into the early 1900s, periods of over-harvesting, and habitat loss driven by shipping channel construction and the damming of tributaries. All of that contributed to declines in population, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

There are now more than 33,000 lake sturgeon in the St. Clair-Detroit River system, 6,500 of which come from the Detroit River, according to Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, which describes that as a “fraction of its historic size.”

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