The annual Lyrid meteor shower marks the first big meteor show of the year. It peaks on April 22 (tomorrow), so make sure to get a good look at the night sky.
Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
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1. Chauvin trial
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of murder. As the nation held its collective breath yesterday afternoon, a Minneapolis jury convicted Chauvin of all three charges against him related to the May 2020 death of George Floyd, including one charge each of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Allies and activists expressed bittersweet relief at the decision, with groups gathering in major cities across the country to hear the news. (You can see photos of reactions to the verdict here.) Floyd’s nephew, Brandon Williams, called the verdict a “pivotal moment for America.” President Joe Biden said it showed that “no one should be above the law.” It will be another eight weeks until Chauvin is sentenced, and since the judge revoked his bail after the verdict, he will await sentencing in jail. Three other officers are also awaiting trial in relation to Floyd’s death, and will be tried together in August.
The Covid-19 vaccine supply in the US may soon outpace demand, and while that sounds like a good thing, it actually presents serious challenges. Experts say this will result in slowed vaccine enthusiasm, even though only about 40% of Americans have had a single vaccine dose and only 26% are fully vaccinated. Dr. Anthony Fauci and other infectious disease experts say, in order to reach that all-important herd immunity, between 75% and 80% of the population needs to be immune to the virus, whether through inoculation or previous infection. Meanwhile, CDC advisers will meet again Friday to decide what to do about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which was paused due to a handful of reports of dangerous blood clots. However, blood clot experts are still urging people to get the vaccine because they know of something that is far more likely to cause deadly blood clotting complications: Covid-19 itself.
The largest coal miners’ union in America is backing President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion green energy plan. It may seem like a case of strange bedfellows. But the coal industry would benefit from the Biden proposals to rebuild bridges, ports and airports — likely boosting demand for steel, which typically uses coal as a key ingredient. The infrastructure plan also calls for expanding access to broadband in rural areas where many coal mining communities are located. The president of the United Mine Workers of America also said the plan would create lots of new job opportunities. In a completely different infrastructure realm, the Biden administration kicked off a 100-day effort to beef up cybersecurity in the nation’s power grid, calling for industry leaders to install technologies that could thwart attacks on the electricity supply. This comes after a cyberattack in Florida that sought to compromise a water treatment plant.
4. Russia and China
China and Russia are modernizing their nuclear weapons and capabilities faster than the US, the top military official in charge of the US’ nuclear arsenal says. Adm. Charles Richard, the head of US Strategic Command, says the two countries are updating their technologies so frequently, and so broadly, that it’s hard to keep up with all of the developments. If the US doesn’t start investing more in nuclear defense and infrastructure, Richard warns, the nation will be “at risk of losing credibility in the eyes of our adversaries.” The Biden administration is currently carrying out a nuclear posture review, which is examining the total amount of money invested in the nuclear modernization program. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated operations, interim upgrades and full modernization of the US nuclear weapons program could cost $1.2 trillion.
All six English clubs have withdrawn from football’s ‘Super League’ plan, forcing supporters to re-think the elite tournament
The lesson? Don’t mess with people’s football!
iPhones and iPads will get a big update next week
The update will include new emojis and, even more thrilling, new privacy features.
Taco Bell will start reusing its sauce packets
In the recycling way, not in the gathering, washing them out, and filling them back up — way.
Natty Light is releasing boozy popsicles and flavored vodka
Whatever state of matter you prefer your alcohol in, beer brands have you covered.
The baggier, more relaxed ‘mom jean’ trend is perfect for people coming out of quarantine
That’s how many people in the greater Los Angeles area experienced homelessness in 2020. A judge has ruled that all homeless people living on Los Angeles’ Skid Row must be offered housing by October 18.
“Leaders, not industry, hold the power and have the moral responsibility to take bold actions to address this crisis.”
A portion of a letter written by 101 Nobel laureates, including the Dalai Lama and Jody Williams, who was awarded the 1997 Peace Prize for her campaign to ban landmines. The letter, addressed to President Joe Biden and others attending Biden’s virtual climate summit, urges world leaders to phase out fossil fuels to curb the climate crisis.
To infinity and beyond
Peer inside these sculptures to behold an endless array of light and patterns. (Click here to view)