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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The Worst Disaster on the Indian Ocean

On May 20, a cargo ship caught on fire off the sea in Sri Lanka and sank. The ship contained chemicals and hazardous materials which burned for almost 13 days. This ship was headed to Singapore. The captain, chief engineer of the ship, and the third officer are Russian nationals according to AFP.

The Sri Lankan government and navy said this incident is the country’s worst marine disaster, and this sinking ship was carrying 1,486 containers of chemicals and 25 metric tons of nitric acid.

Sri Lanka’s MEPA (Marine Environment Protection Authority) said in a statement, Waves of plastic waste are washing up on shore, and navy sailors were deployed to clean the beaches of the plastic pellets. This disaster will bring immense ecological damage to the Indian Ocean islands from not only this microplastic pollution but also to the fishing industries as well.

Sri Lankan government decided to drag this ship deeper to sea to reduce further damage but when the navy and stakeholders began to drag the ship, it began to sink and completed sinking on Wednesday.

“The stern of the ship is underwater, the water level is above the deck,” spokesperson Indika de Silva said. “The ship will be towed as further away from the coast as possible before it goes down completely.”

The sinking area of this ship is rich in fish population, and the people make living from fishing. After the incident, this fishing town along a 50-mile coastline is currently out of work. A local fisherman said he had never seen such destruction, even when a tsunami hit the coastline in 2004.

The true gravity of the situation is not yet known.

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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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Israel’s Air Strikes Kill Doctors

Photo from Google Images

On Sunday, Israelis struck GAZA strips leaving the Palestinian people devastated. Among the victims was Dr. Abu al-Ouf, who was there with his extended families, which included his mother and father, his wife Reem, and their 17-year-old son Tawfik and their 12-year-old-daughter Tala. According to BBC, Dr. Ayman Abu al-Ouf was the head of internal medicine at the Palestinian territory’s main hospital, and he had dedicated his life to the people who live in very poor conditions in Palestine.

“This is a really big loss not just for us personally because we knew Ayman – this is also a loss for his patients and students,” Dr. Ghaith al-Zaanin, a close friend and former colleague who lives in Canada, told the BBC. Dr. Abu al-Ouf was a Coronavirus responder, and he had treated many Palestinian patients and had taught many new generation doctors who are in mourning for the death of their well-respected doctor and teacher.

Dr. Abu al-Ouf lived in Gaza City’s al-Wahda street, which is lined with apartment buildings, shops. He had left the hospital to go home just one hour before hitting the airstrike. He was rescued from his collapsed home 12 hours after the airstrike, but it was too late, as he died at the hospital.

The Israeli military said that it had, “struck an underground military structure” belonging to Hamas, and “The underground foundations collapsed, causing the civilian housing above them to collapse, causing unintended casualties.” Nonetheless, more than 200 people (including 61 women and 36 children) have died and 1,500 are injured in Gaza, while Israeli death includes 10 people, including 2 children.

President Biden reached out to Israel’s PM Netanyahu that he expects ‘de-escalating conflict’ and to a cease-fire on Gaza to prevent continued death of innocent people, but Netanyahu responded on his Twitter that, “[he is] determined to continue this operation until its goal is achieved.”

It is unclear as to how the world sees Israel’s behavior, but tensions are growing as they’re beginning to see Israel as the aggressor and Palestine as the victim.

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Japanese Doctor’s Association Calls for “No Olympic”

(photo credit to REUTERS/Naoki Ogura)

A Japanese medical organization called to cancel the Tokyo Olympics on the grounds that the Tokyo medical practitioners and facilities are not capable of treating patients due to the rapidly surging number of coronavirus patients in Japan.  About 6,000 medical practitioners are raising their voices to request the cancellation of this coming summer Olympics in Tokyo.

The Medical practitioners of the region where the Tokyo Olympic will be held said in the letter to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s website as an open letter,  “We strongly request that the authorities convince the IOC (International Olympic Committee) that holding the Olympics is difficult and to obtain its decision to cancel the Games” on Monday.

The shortage of medical staff and high demand for hospital beds are the most significant issues in the area of the locations where the summer Olympics will be held. Furthermore, 83% of Japanese citizens disagree with their Government’s decision of hosting the Summer Olympics and are worrying about the possibility of Coronavirus infection increasing due to the low percentage of vaccinations currently completed in Japan. According to Reuters, only 3.5% of the Japanese population is vaccinated.

However, Suga urges Japan can host “a safe and secure Olympics” as long as there are appropriate safety measures taken. The Japanese government is pushing to host the Olympics this summer despite public sentiment and concerns from participant countries fearing the safety of their athletes. While it is true that spectators will not be allowed on the premises, at least 15,000 athletes, thousands of coaches, trainers, and support personnel, as well as those in the media, will likely be involved in just one aspect of the Olympics.

North Korea is the first country that announced it will be skipping this round of the Olympics.

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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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Super Pink Moon Visible Tonight on the Northeast Sky

NASA announced that the first supermoon of the year will be “April 26, 2021, appearing opposite the Sun in Earth-based longitude at 11:32 p.m. EDT. [This will be the next day from the Atlantic Daylight Savings timezone eastward across Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia.]  Most commercial calendars are based on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) or Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and will show this full Moon occurring on Tuesday, April 27, 2021. The Moon will appear full for about three days around this time, from Sunday night through Wednesday morning,” on its Twitter account.

This “Pinkish color” of the supermoon will be the first supermoon of the year, and the second one will be seen on May 26 when it will brighten the sky one more time. The names of this supermoon are “Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and among coastal tribes of North America, the Fish Moon, as this was when the shad swam upstream to spawn,” according to NASA.

The “pink” of the supermoon on April 26 is based on the herb moss pink, which is native to the Eastern United States and known to be the fastest blooming in springtime.

Supermoons seem greater because of the slightly closer distance to Earth. There will be two supermoons this year.

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