Thousands of flights are expected to be canceled this summer because of a pilot shortage. The crypto market is crashing as Bitcoin dips below $20,000. Scientists trace the origins of the black death. The James Webb Telescope prepares to begin operations. Here are this week’s stories.
Thousands of Flights Canceled
Thousands of flights are getting canceled as summer travel heats up. This past weekend, over 10,000 flights in the US and 25,000 flights globally were delayed or canceled because of staffing shortages and dangerous weather. More people have started traveling because of fewer covid restrictions and nicer weather. According to the Transportation Security Administration, Friday was the busiest day for air travel this year, with over 2.4 million people in US airports. Several factors are contributing to the cancelations, including weather, more travelers, and, notably, the staffing shortages. Many airline workers retired during the pandemic, and airlines have not replaced them. Many pilots have also retired early or gone on strike because of a lack of pay, long hours, and fatigue. Major airlines have overbooked flights and are canceling thousands of flights for the summer. Delta is canceling 100 daily departures over the summer, and Southwest cut 20,000 flights before Labor Day, blaming the labor shortage for the cancelations. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg met with airline CEOs to discuss potential solutions to this problem. The pilot shortage will definitely continue until next year, and it could take over five years to resolve.
Crypto Market Now Down $2 Trillion
The Crypto market has been on a downhill ride for months, and the sector has lost $2 trillion since its peak last year. Bitcoin crashed to below $18,000 from its high of about $70,000, and Ethereum fell below $900 from its peak of $4,700. Several factors lead to this crash, including inflation, economic instability, loss of trust, and rising interest rates. Inflation is at an all-time high, the S&P 500 is in a bear market and posted its worst week on record since 2020, and the Federal Reserve increased interest rates by .75%, the largest hike since 1994, causing massive sell-offs. Investors have also lost trust in Cryptocurrencies after the collapse of stable coin Terra-Luna, which should remain at $1, but crashed and wiped $60 billion. Major crypto firms, like Coinbase, BlockFi, and Crypto.com, have started laying off many workers because of the crash. However, the market will likely recover. Bitcoin has crashed twice and lost more than 80% of its value, but then skyrocketed. Billionaire tech entrepreneur Mark Cuban is confident in the future of cryptocurrencies and believes this crash is similar to the downward trend faced by internet companies in the early 2000s.
Scientists Trace the Origins of The Black Death
Scientists and Researchers have traced the origins of the Black Death, the deadliest pandemic ever known to humankind. The Black Death was caused by the Bubonic plague, which spread throughout Asia and Europe and killed up to 200 million people, or 60% of the Earth’s entire population during the 14th century. The disease is caused by a Yersinia pestis, a bacterium carried by fleas living on rodents. Symptoms of the disease included large buboes around the body, black skin sores, and vomiting blood. Most would die 2 to 7 days after infection. Many historians theorized that the Mongols may have brought the plague to China in the 13th century, but a new study published in the journal Nature contradicts that claim. In this study, researchers extracted and sequenced DNA from the remains of individuals buried in 1338 in modern-day Kyrgyzstan. The scientists chose the cemeteries near Lake Issyk Kul in Kyrgyzstan because there was an unusually high spike in the number of deaths around 1338. They found the DNA of the plague bacterium nine years before it entered the Mediterranean and then spread around the world for 500 years. It evolved and diverged into many strains, which allowed it to cause havoc for five centuries.
James Webb Telescope Prepares to Begin Operations
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the largest and most advanced cosmic observatory, has successfully positioned itself in space and is now halfway through getting its instrument modes checked out. The telescope will begin scientific operations in July, and NASA will release the first images taken by the telescope on July 12th. With the help of the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, NASA launched JWST, the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, on Christmas after $10 billion and 20 years of research and development. It recently completed the most challenging space deployment ever and arrived at its orbit nearly one million miles away from Earth. During its deployment, JWST encountered many micrometeoroids or small fragments of an asteroid. One of these was larger than expected and caused detectable damage to one of the primary mirror segments, but NASA believes it will not significantly impact the telescope’s ability. NASA built the telescope to withstand strikes by micrometeoroids, but they did not expect these particles to be this large, so they have formed an engineering team to attempt to avoid these impacts. NASA is still very optimistic about JWST and says its performance exceeds expectations.
Above were my top stories for the week of June 19, 2022. Thank you, and see you next week!