Stuff YOU Should Know

Posted by on Jul 7, 2021 in Stuff You Should Know

Florida Condominium Collapses

On June 24, 2021, a high-rise condo building in Surfside, Florida, collapsed in the middle of the night. Champlain Towers South stood for nearly forty years along the waterfront. The cause of the collapse has not yet been determined. It has been reported that in 2019 five members of the  Champlain Towers Condominium Board resigned due to their frustration over a lack of response to an engineer’s report.

Miami highrise buildings
A condo near Miami, Florida tragically collapsed last week. Credit: ac productions/Blend Images LLC

That report identified millions of dollars’ worth of major structural damage to the building. The damage seems to have been centered around the pool deck, which wasn’t allowing for proper water drainage. Just before the tower collapsed, a resident noticed that part of the pool deck and some of the street-level parking had collapsed into the below-ground parking garage. But experts say it will take several months to officially determine the cause of the tragedy.

As of July 7, 2021, 36 people are confirmed dead with 100 people still missing. No one has been successfully rescued from the wreckage since July 1. So far, search teams have removed more than three million pounds of debris from the site of the collapse.

The remainder of the twelve-story-tall building was demolished for safety purposes. While this process was initially supposed to take several weeks, it was sped up to beat the impact of strong winds and rain caused by Tropical Storm Elsa. Engineers feared that the tropical storm could have caused the collapse of the remaining building. This could have endangered the people and buildings around it.

Dig Deeper To honor and remember those killed in the Surfside condo collapse, use Internet resources to learn more about one of the victims. Write a short paragraph about what you discover.

Donald Rumsfeld Dies

On June 29, 2021, U.S. politician Donald Rumsfeld passed away. Rumsfeld served as Secretary of Defense from 2001 to 2006 under President George W. Bush  and as President Gerald Ford’s Chief of Staff. Donald Rumsfeld was a U.S. Navy pilot from 1954 to 1957; he served the state of Illinois in the House of Representatives from 1962 to 1969; and he was the U.S. Ambassador to NATO from 1973 to 1974. He holds the unique distinction of being both the youngest and the oldest Secretary of Defense in the nation’s history. In 1977, he also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest award that can be given to a civilian. In his lifetime he received eleven honorary degrees.

Rumsfeld was also one of the most controversial figures in recent American politics. Rumsfeld was head of the Defense Department under President George W. Bush and helped lead the War on Terror following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  The U.S. military involvement in Iraq was very controversial because part of its justification was based on intelligence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD). No WMDs were ever found after many inspections were conducted. Rumsfeld resigned as Secretary of Defense in 2006.

Outside of his government service, Rumsfeld was a member of the board of trustees of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation. He also served as a board member for the National Park Foundation and as Chairman of the Eisenhower Exchange Fellowships, Inc.

Mr. Rumsfeld passed away at the age of 88 in Taos, New Mexico, at home with his family.

Dig Deeper Create an annotated timeline of Secretary Rumsfeld’s life. Be sure to include the public offices he held; events that influenced his role as secretary of Defense; and personal events.

The Harlem Globetrotters and the NBA

Is the Harlem Globetrotters a “real” basketball team, or not? This question is at the heart of the current debate over whether to include the Globetrotters as an official NBA team. The Globetrotters is an exhibition team, known for their theatrical style, humor, and entertainment. But according to a recent open letter from the team to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, the Harlem Globetrotters is often overlooked for its more important contributions. It was a driving force in opening the door to allow African American players to enter the NBA.

The Globetrotters started out in 1926. Since then, the team has played in 123 countries, entertained more than 148 million fans, and won 27,000 games. Its players are famous for popularizing the slam dunk and the first-ever four-point shot. The team was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002, and today continues to participate in about 400 live events every year.

But the Globetrotters are also part of a history that’s more important than dunks and fancy on-court maneuvers. The team also gave a start to several well-known future African American NBA stars, such as Wilt Chamberlain and Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton. When the Globetrotters beat the all-white world champion Minnesota Lakers twice in a row (in 1948 and 1949), it helped convince the NBA that African American players should be allowed to join the professional league. A year later, in 1950, Clifton became the first African American player to sign an NBA contract. Now, the Globetrotters say, it’s time to honor that contribution, commitment, and history by allowing the team to officially enter the NBA.

Dig Deeper Use Internet resources to research an influential Harlem Globetrotters player (possible examples include Wilt Chamberlain, Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton, Mannie Jackson, and Michael “Wild Thing” Wilson). Write a paragraph about that individual’s achievements, contributions, and legacy.

NCAA Votes to Let Athletes Get Paid

Should college athletes be allowed to make money from their names? btw has looked at this issue in the past. Until recently, the answer has been no. But last week, the NCAA Board of Directors announced that they are changing the rule that has prevented college athletes from profiting from their names and reputations. Several states have already passed laws allowing college athletes to receive compensation, but the new ruling from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) means that athletes in all three divisions and in all states will now be allowed to profit from their talents.

So what does this change, exactly? It doesn’t mean that colleges and universities will be paying athletes directly. Rather, athletes will now be allowed to receive payment for sponsorship deals, commercials, online endorsements, personal appearances, and more. They will also be allowed to make deals with agents. In the past, any of these activities would have been considered illegal and would have cost an athlete his or her scholarship.

Those who are against payment for college athletes argue that this change will ruin the integrity of college sports. Rather than sports being an extracurricular activity, it will now be a student’s job, meaning that athletes may transfer from school to school as they seek better deals. They also argue that schools with small sports programs may not be able to maintain their programs, because they won’t be able to compete for bigger-name athletes. These critics say that this could damage funding for small universities overall. Those who are in favor, however, argue that it’s unfair that colleges and universities make huge profits from their athletes. They also gain name recognition for the school–without the athletes themselves receiving any financial gain.

What Do You Think? In your opinion, should college athletes be allowed to profit financially from their talents? Explain.