The nation's third-largest school district announced yesterday it will begin the fall semester entirely online, as Chicago officials dropped a hybrid option that would've allowed students to return to in-person instruction two days a week. The decision leaves New York City as the only major school district still proceeding with plans to resume part-time in-person instruction, though Gov. Andrew Cuomo is set to make a final decision this week.
Policies on reopening schools vary widely
state-to-state, from requiring in-person instruction to requiring fully virtual learning (see map). Analysts also say the ability of parents to return to full-time work is closely linked with a stalling economy, and many may be forced to stop working entirely in the fall—a burden likely to disproportionately affect women.
Separately, New York City will set up physical travel checkpoints at key bridges and tunnels to screen for incoming travelers from more than 30 high-risk states. Such visitors are expected to quarantine for 14 days. Officials say 20% of the city's new cases come from out-of-state travelers.
The US has reported 4.82 million total cases as of this morning, with 158,256 total deaths. See the three-day moving average here.
75 Years Since 'Little Boy'
Today marks the 75th anniversary of the US bombing of Hiroshima during World War II, the first time a nuclear weapon had been detonated in an act of war between two countries. The devastating impact was immediate; more than 70,000 were killed instantly, with some estimates placing the ultimate death toll near 200,000 when accounting for long-term effects of radiation poisoning.
The five-ton uranium bomb—dropped from the Enola Gay and nicknamed "Little
Boy"—detonated at an altitude of 2,000 feet with a force equivalent to 15 kilotons of TNT. Harrowing survivor accounts have described (w/video) an apocalyptic scene, with those exposed to radiation dying amid flames and flattened buildings. Some historians have debated whether the use of the bomb was necessary. US President Harry Truman ultimately decided the option was preferable to a full-scale invasion of Japan. The country surrendered on Aug. 15, 1945—six days after another bomb was dropped on the city of
The death toll from a massive explosion that rocked the Lebanese capital of Beirut has risen to at least 135, with more than 5,000 people injured. While details are still emerging, investigators have pinned the second blast on the presence of an estimated 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate—a common ingredient in both fertilizer and homemade explosives. The whopping chemical stockpile was seized over six years ago and, without adequate safety precautions, left to sit in a port depot next to a warehouse of fireworks.
Videos (see here and here) show an initial fire, followed by a series of what appears to be fireworks, followed by the much larger explosion. It is unclear what started the original fire. The government placed all port officials involved in the security and storage of materials under house arrest yesterday, pending investigation.
Ammonium nitrate—but only 2,300
tons—was also the cause of the worst industrial accident in US history: the 1947 Texas City disaster.
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>Men's first major golf tournament of the year, the PGA Championship, begins today in San Francisco; world No. 1 Justin Thomas and 2018 and 2019 champ Brooks Koepka are favorites to win (More)
>Pete Hamill, legendary New York City journalist and author, dies at 85(More) | Daisy Coleman, subject of "Audrie & Daisy" Netflix documentary, commits suicide at 23 (More)
>University of Connecticut becomes first major college football program to cancel season due to COVID-19 (More) | Big Ten Conference announces 10-game conference-only schedule will begin Sept. 3 (More)
Science & Technology
>Satellite observations identify at least 11 new emperor penguin breeding sites, lifting estimates of the global population by 5%-10% (More)
>Researchers discover anew method to efficiently convert carbon dioxide and water into liquid fuel; process uses an electrocatalyst to produce ethanol, used in gasoline,
chemical manufacturing, and more (More)
>Facebook launches Instagram Reels in 50 countries, letting users upload 15-second videos; feature is viewed as a direct competitor to TikTok (More)
>Rocket Companies, parent company of Quicken Loans, prices IPO below target range, raises $1.8B valuing company at $36B; shares to start trading today (More) | E-commerce platform BigCommerce
surges 292% in first day trading as public company (More)
>Virtual care services provider Teladoc Health buys patient condition monitoring tech provider Livongo Health in $18.5B merger to create virtual healthcare giant (More)
>Online goods marketplace Etsy sees revenues more than double in second quarter, sells more than $300M worth of masks (More)
In The Wild tells true accounts of dangerous encounters in the depths of the wild. To learn how you can make it out alive in the worst of scenarios, listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. #Ad
Politics & World Affairs
>Joe Biden to formally accept his party's nomination from his home state of Delaware as the Aug. 17-20 Democratic convention goes nearly all virtual (More) | President Trump reportedly considering accepting the Republican nomination from the White House South Lawn (More)
>Hurricane forecasts updated, now project 24 named storms during the Atlantic storm season, the second-most active on record; five systems predicted to become Category 3 or stronger hurricanes (More)
>Facebook deletes a post by President Trump for the first time, saying a video including the claim children are "virtually immune" to the coronavirus violated its misinformation policy (More)
Losing the Race to Trace
Reuters | Staff. With the coronavirus continuing to burn through the country, many cities—some facing hundreds of new cases each day—are finding contact tracing a near impossibility. This analysis details why one of the most important steps in containing the virus may be a lost cause. (Read)
Rest of World | Aanu Adeoye. Obinwanne Okeke was supposed to be one of Nigeria's brightest young entrepreneurs, having graced Forbes' 30 under 30 in Africa list. In reality, Okeke's budding empire sat on top of scams that defrauded Western business executives, a scheme eventually unraveled by the FBI. (Read)
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Historybook: Iconic actress Lucille Ball born (1911); Pop artist Andy Warhol born (1928); Voting Rights Act signed (1965); Curiosity rover lands on Mars (2012).
"Love yourself first and everything else falls into line."
- Lucille Ball
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