Saturday, September 01, 2018

Aug. 29, 2018
Meteorological summer has been one of extremes in the U.S. Overall, the East has been wet while the West has baked in the heat. These types of extremes, which are set up by a consistent jet stream pattern, are amplified by a warming climate.
Many locations in the Middle Atlantic, Ohio Valley, and Upper Midwest had one of their 10 wettest summers on record, with Maryland and Pennsylvania at the heart of the summer deluge. Baltimore was among the cities in their top 10, getting more than 24 inches of rain. Massive flooding hit central and eastern Pennsylvania in July. More than 15 inches of rain fell in the town of Lebanon in July, and 12-15 inches were common monthly totals around the state capital of Harrisburg. The supercharged water cycle that comes with a warming climate is reflected in the increase in heavy precipitation. The heaviest rainfall events are getting heavier, with a 55 percent increase in the amount of precipitation falling in the heaviest events in the Northeast.
Even in the unrelenting summer heat in the Southwest, occasional summer monsoon thunderstorms can provide some relief from the heat. Enough of them came together to give Prescott, Arizona one of its 10 wettest summers on record.
Nearly all states across the U.S. have sites with one of their 10 hottest summers on record, but the core of the heat has been in the Southwest, and that continues to play a role in the devastating wildfire season in California.
September 3, 2018 Issue
“Fake News” and Unrest in Nicaragua
For eleven years, Ortega had sustained his power through shrewd dealmaking and accommodation. Although he began his career, four decades ago, as a Marxist revolutionary, he has aligned himself with business leaders and cultivated the Catholic Church by imposing a total ban on abortion. He still fulminates about Yankee imperialism, but he has courted the International Monetary Fund and allowed a wave of American retirees to settle in Nicaragua, to take advantage of the good beaches and the cheap real estate. In recent months, though, as Ortega has tried to regain control, he has adopted a strategy employed by autocrats in Turkey, Egypt, Venezuela, and elsewhere: condemn your political opponents as traitors, incite mobs to violence, and then deny responsibility. Across the country, hundreds of protesters have been killed, and many more put in prison.
Aug. 31, 2018
This Is How Russian Propaganda Actually Works In The 21st Century
The Russian government discreetly funded a group of seemingly independent news websites in Eastern Europe to pump out stories dictated to them by the Kremlin, BuzzFeed News and its reporting partners can reveal.
Russian state media created secret companies in order to bankroll websites in the Baltic states — a key battleground between Russia and the West — and elsewhere in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
He said that Russian propaganda networks in the Baltics had been operating for years but had become more intense recently.
“The pressure to turn [Estonia] from facing the West to facing the East has grown.”
Long before Russian interference in the 2016 US election became one of the biggest stories in the world, and Kremlin disinformation campaigns became a household issue, Moscow faced accusations of trying to influence public opinion in the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, which are all members of NATO.
Aug. 30, 2018
Why Your Brain Can't Let Go of a Grudge
Aug. 30, 2018
Bordeaux’s climate is steadily getting hotter. Since 1950, average temperatures in Bordeaux have risen 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, according to France’s meteorological service Météo-France. This scorching summer heat is baking Bordeaux’s vineyards, making an area that hugs the Atlantic Ocean feel increasingly Mediterranean.
That has many in Bordeaux on edge. At stake are the more than 700 million bottles of wine, mostly red, that the region produces in a good year, and the more than $2 billion it takes in annually exporting them around the world. To protect their valuable crop and way of life, Bordeaux’s winegrowers are now rushing to harvest the fruit before it grows too sweet and too ripe on the vine. Too much heat and you get a fruitier, less acidic, more alcoholic wine — not exactly your traditional Bordeaux.
That strategy, of course, will only work for so long, and scientists say that producers will eventually need to start breeding more heat-hardy grape varieties. But that’s a tough sell in Bordeaux, where the notion of terroir — the harmonic mix of plant, soil, geology, and climate endemic to a winegrowing region — holds powerful sway over winemakers. Change one of the cornerstones of terroir and the wine might taste a bit different, if only to the experts. Change two and you’d likely have an entirely new kind of wine that could move markets.
And yet, France’s historic producers may have little choice
August 28
For much of last year, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s deputy chief of staff pursued his agenda with vigor.
Downey Magallanes led an effort to cut the size of two vast protected areas in southern Utah, opening public lands to possible development and energy exploration. She participated in deliberations over how to scale back safety monitoring rules for offshore oil and gas operations. And she helped develop a leasing plan that would permit drilling in most U.S. continental shelf waters.
As of next week, Magallanes will have a new job: working for the energy giant BP, on its government affairs team.
Stephen Bloch, legal director for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, an advocacy group, said in an email: “Her prior work on behalf of oil, gas and coal, her family’s ties to the coal industry, and the fact that she is headed to BP all point in one direction: that she came to Interior with an agenda to promote fossil fuel development over the interest of the American public.”
Trump’s decision in December to shrink the boundaries of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase national monuments by 85 percent and 46 percent, respectively, is likely to open up parts of once-protected areas to oil and gas drilling, as well as mining claims.
Aug. 28, 2018
About four years ago, the Federal Communications Commission decided that a specific slice of the radio spectrum would be reallocated for use in internet broadband services. The aim was to make mobile broadband services faster. The FCC then auctioned off this spectrum to a number of broadband companies that include T-Mobile, Comcast and Dish TV. 
This, however, also came at a cost — people, organizations and businesses across America lost access to this radio spectrum which they used for mostly wireless microphone services. Journalist David Zweig looked into the issue and wrote about how one specific group — school theater and amateur theater productions — will not only be losing access to a valuable resource but also may need to pay thousands of dollars for technological alternatives.
Aug. 31, 2018
The Village Voice, the Pulitzer Prize-winning alternative weekly known for its muckraking investigations, exhaustive arts criticism, naughty personal ads and neurosis-laden cartoons, is going out of business after 63 years.
Its publisher, Peter Barbey, announced Friday that the paper is ceasing publication altogether because of financial problems, a year after it stopped circulating in print and went to digital-only.
Eight of the Voice's 18 remaining staffers were laid off. Others stayed behind to digitize its print archive so that future generations can read it.'Trump-over-a-barrel
Aug. 31, 2018
A senior Justice Department lawyer says a former British spy told him at a breakfast meeting two years ago that Russian intelligence believed it had Donald Trump “over a barrel,” according to multiple people familiar with the encounter.
The lawyer, Bruce Ohr, also says he learned that a Trump campaign aide had met with higher-level Russian officials than the aide had acknowledged, the people said.
The previously unreported details of the July 30, 2016, breakfast with Christopher Steele, which Ohr described to lawmakers this week in a private interview, reveal an exchange of potentially explosive information about Trump between two men the president has relentlessly sought to discredit.
The president and some of his supporters in Congress have also accused the FBI of launching the entire Russia counterintelligence investigation based on the dossier. But memos authored by Republicans and Democrats and declassified this year show the probe was triggered by information the U.S. government earlier received about the Russian contacts of then-Trump campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos.
The FBI’s investigation was already under way by the time it received Steele’s dossier. The investigation’s lead agent, Peter Strzok, told lawmakers last month that “it was not Mr. Ohr who provided the initial documents that I became aware of in mid-September.”

I remember a couple of years ago, before the 2018 election. Some Facebook friends kept going on about how we should do away with runoff, they're a waste of money, the person with the most votes should win. Being familiar with their Facebook posts, it was obvious to me that they thought it would be easier for third-party people to win, like someone in the Green party. I pointed out the pitfalls, that someone could win whom most voters didn't want, and some actual incidences where this led to people winning whom they certainly wouldn't want. I didn't make a dent in their certainty. Then Trump won the republican nomination while getting a little less than 45% of the popular vote. If he had had to be in a run off, he would likely not have won. I haven't heard any more complaints about runoffs since then. I fully expect that people who are calling for open primaries will not be dissuaded until we have a mess that they were fully warned about.

I bought the BlacKKKlansman book. I had planned to go to the movie, but changed my mind after finding out that Spike Lee changed the character of the Caucasian under cover cop "Chuck", who filled in for Ron Stallworth in face to face meetings with Klans persons, to a Jewish man "Zimmerman" so that he would have "some skin in the game." The assumption is that this would be the only reason a Caucasiona would care about racism, which is an evil, racist idea.

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