News roundup for Fri, May 14, 2021

Operation has been restored to most of the Colonial gas pipeline, but hundreds to thousands of gas stations are still out of gas in the 17 states that rely on the pipeline. Colonial Pipeline ultimately paid $5 million in ransom to regain control of their systems. In a bizarre twist, the hackers claim they didn’t mean to make so much trouble—they just wanted money. Meanwhile, folks are still fighting (sometimes literally) to find gas:

Tension between Israel and Palestine has escalated again, and the situation looks serious and capable of escalating even further.  What began with an anti-Palestinian turf war over property in Jerusalem has escalated into the use by Palestinians of over 1,500 small-range rockets—most (but not all) deflected by the Iron Dome. Israel has levelled over 500 Hamas targets in Gaza, some residential, some government, and some industrial. It’s not just Hamas versus the IDF–civilians have engaged in beatings, fighting, and lynchings on both sides. There have been scores of casualties. The IDF has signaled readiness to engage ground troops in Gaza. Here’s the Iron Dome at work:

The Consumer Price Index has jumped over 4%, sparking more fears of inflation. The Federal Reserve maintains that the inflationary jump should be transient. Cereal, airfare, soda, lumber, and gas are just a few things on the elevated price list.

You may be eligible to take $50 off the cost of your internet as a form of pandemic relief. The program is means-tested, but is fairly generous. Here’s where to go to check it out.

A huge offshore windfarm has been approved for a location near Martha’s Vineyard. 62 giant turbines will be situated in the Atlantic with the aim to power multiple hundreds of thousands of homes.

California has a $76 billion surplus (not counting its $250 billion liability gap in state pension funding), so Governor Newsom, facing a possible recall election, plans to dole out $600-$1,100 in pandemic relief in the form of tax rebates to residents.

Americans have been paying down their credit cards. Banks may respond with more generous limits and APRs:

The world has over 161.7 million COVID cases.  The world has gained over 5.1 million cases in a week and has gained over 5 million cases per week for multiple weeks in a row. There have been nearly 3.4 million deaths in total. The US has over 33.6 million cases. Over 598,000 Americans have died. There have been 707 deaths in the last 24 hours in the US. The US gained over 34,000 new cases in the last day. India is leading the globe in daily deaths, with nearly 3,900 in the last day. India has also gained over 338,000 new cases in the last day. Brazil had over 2,500 deaths yesterday. Cases and deaths are once again declining in the US:

The CDC has lifted mask mandates indoors and outdoors for those who have been vaccinated. Caveats apply for the use of public transportation and for those who are immunocompromised:

Those with technical knowhow in India have been hacking COVID vaccine websites to secure appointments. Those without knowhow are left to fend for themselves.

The CDC says COVID vaccines may be given without regard to the timing of other (non-COVID) recent vaccines:

Ohio is going to enter vaccinated adults into a lottery pool. 5 people will win $1 million each:

Is it safe to mix COVID vaccines? We’re starting to get some data now, and so far it’s looking okay—there are some reports of increased side effects like fever and arm pain, but nothing requiring hospitalization:

This might help some folks who are still vaccine hesitant:

The variant found in India is now spreading in the UK:

 

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