A Sign Of Things To Come

Grind for April 20th, 2019

“The best thinking has been done in solitude. The worst has been done in turmoil.”

– Thomas Edison

Flying High

The Headline

World’s largest airplane completes maiden voyage

The Grind

The world’s largest airplane on Saturday completed its first test flight, soaring for more than two hours over the Mojave Desert.

The airplane, built using parts from two Boeing jets, features six turbofan engines and a dual fuselage design.

It’s wingspan is longer than a football field.

The massive airplane is designed to carry satellites, rockets, and other spacecraft high into the sky – where they will ignite and launch into space. Such a launch would avoid the kinds of delays associated with ground launches (like bad weather and air traffic).

Saturday’s flight reached an altitude of 17,000 feet and a top speed of 189 mph.

The Details

“The flight itself was smooth, which is exactly what you want the first flight to be,” said Evan Thomas, the pilot. “And for the most part, the airplane flew as predicted which is again exactly what we want.”

The plane’s manufacturer – Stratolaunch – has plans to start carrying rockets into the sky as soon as 2020.

“I’m really excited today to share that we have successfully flown the Stratolaunch aircraft for its first test flight this morning,” said Stratolaunch CEO Jean Floyd. “It was an emotional moment for me to personally watch this majestic bird take flight.”

Not Again

The Headline

Anti-vaccination trend contributes to measles outbreak in US

The Grind

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday reported 555 confirmed measles cases in the United States so far this year.

That’s more than twice as many reported for all of 2018. Globally, this year’s rates are nearly four times higher than last year.

“The number of cases is accelerating,” warns CDC vaccine adviser Amanda Cohn. “We are on track to have one of the highest numbers of cases of measles reported since we eliminated the disease in the year 2000.”

The Details

Measles is a serious illness that can lead to hospitalization, permanent hearing damage, blindness, and death. Experts have blamed the increase on the anti-vaccination movement – a dangerous trend doctors say is a threat to public health.

“These cases were imported from other countries, but because of low vaccination coverage in these communities, measles is spreading widely,” says Cohn.

In some neighborhoods, vaccination rates have dropped below 93%.

“When you make the decision not to vaccinate your child, please understand you’re also making that decision for the people around your child,” explains New York City Health Department official Herminia Palacio.

Officials in New York City last week declared a public health emergency for the city of Williamsburg after a series of new cases was reported. Parents living in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood will now face fines of up to $1,000 if they refuse to vaccinate their children.

New York’s policy is similar to a 2017 law in Italy which requires students to show proof of vaccination. As many as 300 children were sent home last month when they failed to show proof of vaccination.

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