Elon Musk becomes the World’s richest man as 2020 gains the title of hottest year on record

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Elon Musk Surpasses Jeff Bezos to Become the Richest Person on the Planet. 2020 was tied with 2016 to be the hottest year on record. The new variants of Coronavirus are spreading across the US as people get vaccinated. WhatsApp forcing users to agree to share private data with Facebook. Job Growth Crashed in December as Stimulus Rolls Out. Here are this week’s top stories.

1. Elon Musk Surpasses Jeff Bezos to Become the Richest Person on the Planet

Elon Musk

Elon Musk surpassed Jeff Bezos and become the richest man with a net worth of almost $200 billion. 2020 was not a good year for most, but it was a very successful year for Musk. Tesla has grown dramatically in 2020. Tesla stock has gone up more than 900% and it surpassed Toyota to become the most valuable car company. The electric car company was the only automaker in the US to see positive growth in 2020. Electric cars are the future and Tesla is far ahead compared to any other automaker. The automaker also showed off a new electric pickup truck, the Cybertruck, and a sports car, the Tesla Roadster. Both of those vehicles stand out and give Tesla more positive attention. 2020 has also been a very successful year for SpaceX, a space exploration company founded by Elon Musk. They launched 26 missions, including 2 landmark missions that sent astronauts to the International Space Station. 14 of those missions launched about 60 Starlink spacecraft each. Starlink is a satellite internet constellation being constructed by SpaceX. It will eventually provide high-speed internet all across the world at a low cost. They have gotten permission to launch 12,000 Starlink satellites, and they have filed paperwork to launch 30,000 more. Additionally, the company is investing to achieve Elon Musk’s goal of colonizing Mars. Neuralink, Elon Musk’s neurotechnology company which has the goal to connect the human brain with technology, made a lot of progress in research and development. 2020 has been a great year for Elon Musk and his companies have started taking off. He is changing the world and moving us forward.

2. 2020 was tied for hottest year ever recorded

2020 was tied with 2016 to be the hottest year on record despite the 7% drop in emissions from the lockdowns. Last year’s temperatures were 1.25 degrees Celsius (2.25 degrees Fahrenheit) above the pre-industrial average. We are getting really close to the 1.5 degree Celsius warming threshold which scientists have warned us about. According to their warnings, it will increase the risk of extreme wildfires, hurricanes, droughts, and floods. We have already started seeing some of these disasters get worse in 2020. Wildfires had burned across Australia, Siberia, California, and Brazil for months and the Artic hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit for the first time in modern history. The Arctic is warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet. Additionally, last year’s hurricane season saw a record 30 named storms with 12 of them making landfall in the US. Natural disasters in the US alone have caused $95 billion in damage and that number is steadily rising every year. The Earth is warming at a dangerously high rate. The last six years have been the hottest on record. The world needs more leadership and action.

3. The new variants are spreading across the US as people get vaccinated

Photo by Hakan Nural on Unsplash

The UK variant of the Coronavirus is already spreading across the US. There have been over 60 cases of the UK variant across 8 states. Those numbers, in reality, are probably way higher due to the lack of genetic testing. The US has only genetically sequenced 60,000 tests while other countries like the UK, have done over 150,000. There is a very good chance that many more variants of the virus are spreading without anyone knowing. Genetically sequencing a positive takes a couple of days and costs anywhere from $10 to $100 which is one downside. I think the best strategy would be to genetically sequence a small percentage of positive tests in every corner of the country. That way, if a new variant starts spreading, we can contain it quickly before it’s too late. 22 million vaccines have been distributed across US territories and states, and only 7.7 million doses have been given to the population. There are millions of vaccines stuck in transport, or sitting in warehouses. This is completely unacceptable when over 3,500 people are dying every day from the virus. The federal and state governments had over 9 months to prepare for distribution. I do think vaccine distributions will improve by next month as everyone gets used to the process. Hopefully, the US starts vaccinating over 1 million people a day as president-elect Biden promised.

4. WhatsApp forcing users to agree to share private data with Facebook

WhatsApp will force its users to accept a new privacy policy by next month or lose access to the app. The new policy will allow WhatsApp to share private data with Facebook including the user’s phone number. The data collected includes battery level, signal strength, app version, browser information, mobile network, connection information, language and time zone, IP address, device operations information, and identifiers. Mark Zuckerburg, CEO of Facebook which owns WhatsApp and Instagram, is already in hot waters over privacy, data, and anti-competitive behavior. Users are not happy with this new policy and some are trying to move to a different platform, but it’s impossible to do that unless all your contacts do the same. People like Elon Musk are suggesting for users to move to smaller encrypted messaging apps like Signal or Telegram.

5. Job Growth Crashed in December as Stimulus Rolls Out

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Hiring in December fell for the first time since April as the virus surged. Employers cut 140,000 jobs and the unemployment rate stayed at 6.7%. The leisure and hospitality sector saw a huge drop of 500,000 jobs and the government sector also saw a drop in jobs of about 30,000. That drop was balanced by hiring in professional and business services, construction and retail. The huge surge of Covid cases are to blame for these drops. Restrictions are getting tougher in states like California and New York. The economy still has 10 million fewer jobs than in 2019 and it will take years to recover. The second stimulus is also rolling out. The IRS has already started distributing the stimulus and in some cases is mailing over visa gift cards loaded with $600. President-elect Joe Biden is calling the $600 a downpayment. He said $2,000 checks would go out “immediately” if his party took control of both houses of Congress.

Above were my top stories for the week of January 10, 2021. I hope you liked it. Thank You and see you next week!

Curious High Schooler, who loves to share new and exciting stories. Email: lakshya5jain@gmail.com