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The Spill: When the Volcano Blows

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Eruptions Everywhere!

Mount Aetna, the most active volcano in Europe, is living up to its reputation. Over just two weeks, the mountain has erupted seven times. Nearby people in the town of Zafferana Etnea have been blowing ash off roadways and dodging chunks of volcanic rock falling to earth.

It seems to be a time for eruptions and volcanic activity: There have been similar events in Guatemala, Indonesia, Iceland, and the Philippines.

In just the start of 2021, eruptions worldwide are causing folks to wonder if there is a volcano season. There may not be an actual season, but there is a trend scientists have noticed. Geophysical Research Letters revealed that volcanoes are more likely to erupt in winter.

At least, this appears to be the expected time of year for eruptions.

We’re Back In Business

Well, it’s not the new normal that people believed would come. It’s the same old normal in many states that Americans knew before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the last year, many businesses had to close because of the virus. Now, many states are letting businesses reopen.

Thirteen states have reopened most businesses. Some have also changed rules so people don’t have to wear masks. These include Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas.

To the relief of students and parents, schools are opening for in-person learning as well. Schools in Florida, North Dakota, and most of Kentucky are open again, without masks requirements. Indiana has recommendations for masking and social distancing, but schools and restaurants have been open for a while without enforcing any mask rules.

Not all states are ready to open, though. The states keeping schools closed while they consider their options include California, Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado.

Yikes! No Computer Chips. Now What?

The United States is in the middle of a computer chip shortage. How did this happen, and what is being done to fix it? We use computer chips in nearly everything we have. They’re in machines in the factories that produce just about everything we use and the computers the military uses.

Experts say that the shortage will probably last all year, at least. The shortage of auto chips has disrupted car manufacturing, and Ford, Nissan, and Toyota have cut down on how many vehicles they make.

The shortage is caused by factories closing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, President Joe Biden is working to get more chips made, but shortages are expected to slow down car factories for the rest of the year.

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