robert massimi
7 min readJul 20, 2021


News of The Day.

Stocks Plunge as Cases Rise

US stock markets plunged yesterday, driven by fears that the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant will lead to a rebound of pandemic restrictions. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 725 points (-2.1%), followed by the S&P 500 (-1.6%) and the Nasdaq (-1.1%). The drop extends the worst string of losses since October.

The US is averaging more than 32,000 new COVID-19 cases per day (see data), almost triple the incident rate from one month ago. Roughly 20,000 people are hospitalized with the virus, a 70% increase over the same time frame, while deaths have risen more slowly, currently near 260 per day.

Severe illnesses have been reportedly confined to patients who are not fully vaccinated. Officials have said as high as 97% of those hospitalized were either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. Almost 57% of Americans 12 years of age and older are fully vaccinated, though rates vary by location. See how your state is doing here.

In related news, a federal judge supported Indiana University’s mandate that students must be fully vaccinated upon returning to campus. Separately, Canada said it would open its borders to fully vaccinated Americans beginning Aug. 9.

Bezos Blastoff

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos heads to space today aboard his company Blue Origin’s inaugural crewed flight. Bezos, who started the aerospace company more than two decades ago, will blast off aboard the New Shepard vertical launch vehicle. After reaching roughly 2,300 mph, a capsule will detach carrying the crew above the Kármán line — 62 miles above sea level — for roughly five minutes before parachuting back to Earth. See the flight profile here.

Joining the world’s wealthiest man will be his brother, Mark; 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, the beneficiary of a winning auction bid made by his father; and 82-year-old Wally Funk, top female NASA recruit in 1961 who never made it to space. Daemen will be the youngest person to fly to space and Funk will be the oldest. The trip follows fellow billionaire Richard Branson’s space voyage by nine days — though Branson only made it about 53 miles high.

The launch is scheduled for 9 am ET. Stream the voyage live here.

China Accused of Hack

Western officials yesterday accused China of deliberately sponsoring widespread cybercrime, including an expansive hack into Microsoft Exchange Server that exposed at least 30,000 US organizations. The joint statement is the most forceful allegation of its kind to date against China, and was signed by the US, the UK, the EU, Canada, Australia, and NATO, among others.

The Microsoft hack was initially uncovered in January when security researchers determined a group known as Hafnium had exploited a number of zero-day bugs (flaws known to Microsoft, but with a current fix). Because the attack targeted email servers, any company using Microsoft’s Exchange Server was potentially exposed. Microsoft released a fix in March but could not retroactively identify and remove any potential backdoors installed by hackers before the update. Among those affected, experts said small- and medium-sized businesses without cybersecurity budgets or expertise are most vulnerable.

Cybercrime is booming, with attacks costing US organizations an estimated $4B last year.

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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Prince Harry to chronicle his life in a memoir to be released in late 2022 from publisher Random House (More) | Taylor Swift ($23.8M) and rapper Post Malone ($23.2M) top Billboard list of highest-paid US musicians for 2020 (More)

> Nashville Predators prospect Luke Prokop becomes first NHL player, active or retired, to come out as gay (More)

> Robby Steinhardt, colead vocalist and violinist for rock band Kansas, dies at 71 due to complications from pancreatitis (More) | Zac Efron and “Jeopardy!” among Daytime Emmy award winners announced in “fiction and lifestyle” categories (More)

Science & Technology

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> Protein metabolism varies with the body’s internal clock, with a new study suggesting morning is the optimal time to convert protein into muscle mass; findings shed light on the concept of “chrononutrition” (More)

> NASA astronauts begin growing chili peppers aboard the International Space Station, testing whether plants with long germination and growing times can be harvested in space (More)

> Researchers discover a new type of microbial DNA capable of scavenging and integrating genetic material from other organisms in its environment (More)

From our partners: Savvy Amazon shoppers are using this free tool to automate extensive product research — from reviews to prices — so they instantly find the best product for their money. Check out Lustre here. It’s 100% free.

Business & Markets

> Recession driven by COVID-19 lasted two months, the shortest recession in US history, per the National Bureau of Economic Research (More)

> Free stock trading app Robinhood releases price range for upcoming initial public offering; plans to sell up to $2.5B of shares valuing company at up to $35B (More) | Bowling giant Bowlero to go public via special-purpose acquisition company valuing company at $2.6B (More)

> Ben & Jerry’s to stop selling its ice cream products in the occupied Palestinian territories (More)

Politics & World Affairs

> Socialist Pedro Castillo, a teacher from an impoverished rural community in the Andes with no prior political experience, confirmed as Peru’s president-elect (More)

> Haitian interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph to step down amid leadership dispute in the wake of the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse (More) | Background on the political crisis (More)

> Florida resident involved in the Jan. 6 storming of the US Capitol receives eight months in prison for obstructing an official proceeding; 38-year-old Paul Hodgkins becomes the first person sentenced from the incident (More) | Biden administration makes first transfer of a Guantánamo Bay prisoner in step toward closing the facility (More)


The LeBron of Surfing

Outside | Daniel Duane. Born in the epicenter of US surf culture, Kanoa Igarashi is looking to turn the sport’s Olympic debut into his own coming out party. (Read)

How Boosted Went Bust

The Verge | Sean O’Kane. How the popular electric skateboard startup rose from Kickstarter anonymity to hosting Kanye at its offices, only to outpace its own ambitions. (Read)


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Historybook: Mount Everest explorer Sir Edmund Hillary born (1919); Neil Armstrong becomes first person to walk on the moon (1969); RIP Bruce Lee (1973); Viking 1 is first spacecraft to successfully land on Mars (1976); HBD Gisele Bündchen (1980).

“People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things.”,, word press, Prezi, Ice Hockey, Manhattan College, Yola, Cuba, China, Twitter, LinkedIn, Nimbus Magazine, Facebook, Tik Toc, Instagram, Metropolitan Playhouse, “The Poor of New York, No Bull With Raging Robert.



robert massimi

Drama critic for Nimbus Magazine, Metropolitan Magazine and New York Lifestyles Magazine. Producer, editor and writer.