Ida causes record flooding across the northeast. The International Space Station could be gone by 2024. The 2020 Tokyo Paralympics conclude. Germany is pushing for 7 years of updates and repairs for smartphones. Tech giants are developing their own chips during the shortage. Here are this week’s stories.
1. Ida causes record flooding in New York
The remnants of Hurricane Ida brought substantial rainfall to the northeast, breaking records and causing devastating flooding. Over 7 inches of rain fell in New York City, causing basement apartments, subway systems, and city roads to flood. The flooding from Ida has killed over 46 people in the northeast, which exceeds Louisiana’s death toll of 13 from the hurricane. The main cause of the devastation was that the region was not prepared for an event like this. New York’s infrastructure was built in the 1900s and cannot withstand record-breaking storms. Back in 2012, Hurricane Sandy made landfall and brought a storm surge that flooded the city. Since then, the city has spent almost $20 million on climate-proofing, but it clearly has not been enough. Extreme weather events are continuing to occur more often, and we must adapt to the changing climate. A recent UN climate report claimed that the climate will continue to worsen for at least the next 30 years, if not 50 years.
2. The International Space Station could be gone by 2024
The International Space Station (ISS) was first launched in 1998, and it is gradually aging. Since 2000, the space station has housed astronauts from over 19 countries and laboratories that allow the crew to conduct research that can not be done anywhere else, including the only laboratory for long-duration microgravity research. Through this research, Astronauts have identified the long-term effects of microgravity, which will be essential for future space exploration. The space station is significant, but it could be retired as early as 2024. “The International Space Station is currently approved to operate through at least December 2024 with our agreements with the international partners. However, as we are actively working to continue to do science and research, we understand that the ISS at some point will have its end of life,” said Angela Hart, manager of the Commercial Low Earth Orbit Program Office at NASA. NASA is trying to extend the lifetime of the ISS to 2030, but the US Congress failed to provide the necessary funding. The extension would also require the approval of Canada, Russia, Europe, and Japan. NASA will likely not build the next space station and, instead, rely on private companies.
3. 2020 Tokyo Paralympics conclude
The Tokyo Paralympics officially came to an end after two weeks of extraordinary athletic competition. China dominated the games with 96 golds and 207 medals in total. Great Britain was second with 41 golds and 124 medals while the USA was third with 37 golds and 104 total medals. “The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games have not just been historic they have been fantastic. In 12 magical days, athletes gave the world confidence, happiness, and hope. Athletes broke records, athletes won hearts, athletes opened minds. Importantly, athletes changed lives.” said International Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons during his closing ceremony speech. Over 4,500 athletes participated and representd 162 nations around the world. Coronavirus cases in Japan surged due to the Olympics and the new variants, but they have started to decline over the past week. 301 people connected to the Paralympics had tested positive for Coronavirus, including 13 athletes, and at least one participant was hospitalized. Overall, the athletes in the Paralympics persevered through the pandemic, the one-year delay, and their disabilities and they all performed extremely well. In three years, these athletes will again compete in the 2024 Paris Paralympics.
4. Germany is pushing for 7 years of updates and repairs for smartphones
Most smartphones today last about three years, but the EU is hoping to change that. The European Commission recently proposed that smartphone manufacturers provide software updates and spare parts for five years, with tablet spare parts available for six years. However, Germany wants the EU to go further by demanding seven years of updates and spare parts availability at a reasonable cost. Currently, iPhones get around five years of updates, and most other Android phones get around two. Most modern phones should have at least three to four years, but seven is excessive. Technology is changing rapidly every year, and it would hurt the progress of smartphones to force companies to make software optimized for a device that is over five years old. Components of a smartphone also change every year, and it would be too expensive to produce them for a long time. Software updates and parts should be available for at least three to four years, and there should be some regulation on the longevity of a smartphone.
5. Tech giants are developing their own chips during the shortage
The world’s biggest tech firms, including Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Tesla, and Baidu, are developing their own semiconductors. These companies want semiconductors that work on their products efficiently and give them more control over the integration of software and hardware. It will also differentiate them from their competitors, which all use the same chip. Additionally, the companies will not be dependent on chip manufactures and supply chains during the ongoing shortage. Many new estimates predict that the chip shortage will persist until 2024. The shortage has likely been exacerbated by the increased demand for electric vehicles. There is also a shortage of raw materials like lithium, plastics, and steel, which will negatively affect numerous industries.
Above were my top stories for the week of September 6th, 2021. I hope you enjoyed them. Thank you and see you next week!