Washington Post:

The flood of “fake news” this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation.

Russia’s increasingly sophisticated propaganda machinery — including thousands of botnets, teams of paid human “trolls,” and networks of Web sites and social-media accounts — echoed and amplified right-wing sites across the Internet as they portrayed Clinton as a criminal hiding potentially fatal health problems and preparing to hand control of the nation to a shadowy cabal of global financiers. The effort also sought to heighten the appearance of international tensions and promote fear of looming hostilities with nuclear-armed Russia.

Two teams of independent researchers found that the Russians exploited American-made technology platforms to attack U.S. democracy at a particularly vulnerable moment, as an insurgent candidate harnessed a wide range of grievances to claim the White House. The sophistication of the Russian tactics may complicate efforts by Facebook and Google to crack down on “fake news,” as they have vowed to do after widespread complaints about the problem.

There is no way to know whether the Russian campaign proved decisive in electing Trump, but researchers portray it as part of a broadly effective strategy of sowing distrust in U.S. democracy and its leaders. The tactics included penetrating the computers of election officials in several states and releasing troves of hacked emails that embarrassed Clinton in the final months of her campaign.

NPR:

At any given time, Coler says, he has between 20 and 25 writers. And it was one of them who wrote the story in the Denver Guardian that an FBI agent who leaked Clinton emails was killed. Coler says that over 10 days the site got 1.6 million views. He says stories like this work because they fit into existing right-wing conspiracy theories.

“The people wanted to hear this,” he says. “So all it took was to write that story. Everything about it was fictional: the town, the people, the sheriff, the FBI guy. And then … our social media guys kind of go out and do a little dropping it throughout Trump groups and Trump forums and boy it spread like wildfire.” Read the rest of this entry »

Bloomberg:

On the plains of West Texas, new wind farms can be built for just $22 a megawatt-hour. In the Arizona and Nevada deserts, solar projects are less than $40 a megawatt-hour. Compare those figures with the U.S. average lifetime cost of $52 for natural gas plants and about $65 for coal.

Environmental rules and government subsidies are no longer the key drivers for clean power. Economics are.

That’s why Donald Trump will have limited influence on the U.S. utility industry’s push toward renewable energy, according to executives and investors. Companies including NextEra Energy Inc., Duke Energy Corp. and others that invest billions in power plants are already moving forward with long-term plans to generate electricity with cleaner and more economic alternatives.

“We said before the election that whoever is elected president, we would be continuing our efforts to go to a low-carbon fleet and also pursue renewables,” said Tom Williams, a spokesman for Duke, the second-largest U.S. utility owner.

Wind and solar have been the two biggest sources of electricity added to U.S. grids since 2014 as utilities closed a record number of aging coal-fired generators.

And it’s not just cost that makes clean energy attractive to utilities — it’s time. A solar farm can go up in months to meet incremental increases in utility demand; it takes years to permit, finance and build the giant boilers and exhaust systems that make up a coal plant, and they can last for a generation. A four-year presidential term is hardly a tick in that energy clock, and companies are already planning projects that will commence after Trump leaves office, even if he serves two terms.

Environmental Defense Fund:

Here are a few examples of power companies that are shifting their generation towards low-cost clean energy:

  • Of American Electric Power’s (AEP) generating capacity, more than half (60 percent) comes from coal — but even AEP is reducing emissions by replacing coal with renewables and natural gas. AEP has already cutcarbon dioxide emissions 39 percent from 2000 levels. The company plans to add 5,500 megawatts of wind, 3,000 megawatts of solar, and 3,000 megawatts of natural gas in the coming years. CEO Nick Akins last year noted that the Clean Power Plan could be a “catalyst for the transformation that’s already occurring in our industry.”
  • Iowa-based MidAmerican Energy has announced a goal to provide 100 percent renewable energy. MidAmerican’s just approved $3.6 billion project to add 2,000 megawatts of wind — called the “largest wind energy project in US history” — will expand wind energy to become 85 percent of the company’s sales. Said CEO Bill Fehrman, “Our customers want more renewable energy, and we couldn’t agree more.” Meanwhile, an executive of MidAmerican’s parent company, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, had this to say about the Supreme Court stay of the Clean Power Plan: “We wish that hadn’t happened… Rather than litigating, we are leading.” Read the rest of this entry »
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This is from NSIDC (NOAA). I plotted the 1979-1989 years and the black line is the 1981-2010 average. Shading is two std. deviations. Red line is 2016.

I met TV Meteorologist Dan Satterfield in Austin this past June. He gets it.

Dan’s Wild Wild Science Journal:

I’ve been busy with the GOES-R launch, but am also following the incredible situation in the High Arctic, where Arctic Sea ice continues to run at record low levels. More like falling of a cliff actually, and the only word I can come up with is astonishing! There is a real temperature dipole showing up between the warm Arctic and the very cold areas of Russia/Asia where the snowfall was quite extensive in October. Surface pressures have passed 1080 hectopascals  (millibars) in this area (this indicates frigid and heavy air), and there is growing evidence of a connection to October snow there, and cold and snowy winters in Europe and the NE U.S. (See the winter forecast in a previous post).

The ice globally is also at record low levels, and if you’re wondering how this will impact the winter storm tracks, then I can tell you we meteorologists are wondering (and arguing) about it as well! There’s no way that it cannot, so what’s happening is VERY important. In addition, there’s no doubt that the warming planet is having a big impact in the Arctic, and if you think that climate change is a future problem, you need to change your mindset now.

The eye popping figures that have broken Twitter in recent weeks come most often from PhD Student Zack Labe, interviewed here:

Callan Bentley for AGU Blogosphere:

Is what’s happening now in the Arctic anomalous? What about the Antarctic? What’s going on?

The persistent atmospheric circulation from a deep low pressure anomaly over the North Pacific and a record ridge over Eurasia allowed warmer air to advect into the Arctic on both the Pacific and Atlantic sides. Warmer sea surface temperatures and more open ocean waters have also contributed to the slow expansion of sea ice this fall, particularly in the Barents and Kara Seas. As a result of this anomalous atmospheric pattern and the continued warming of the Arctic from climate change, temperatures were able to rise well above normal in addition to record low sea ice extent.

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Read the rest of this entry »

A Thanksgiving Story

November 23, 2016

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A man who lived on the northern frontier of China was skilled in interpreting events. One day, for no reason, his horse ran away to the nomads across the border.

Everyone tried to console him, but his father said, “What makes you so sure this isn’t a blessing?”

Some months later his horse returned, bringing a splendid nomad stallion. Everyone congratulated him, but his father said, “What makes you so sure this isn’t a disaster?” Their household was richer by a fine horse, which his son loved to ride.
One day the son fell from the horse, and broke his hip. Everyone tried to console him, but his father said, “What makes you so sure this isn’t a blessing?”

A year later the nomads came in force across the border, and every able-bodied man took his bow and went into battle. The Chinese frontiersmen lost nine of every ten men.
Only because the son was lame did the father and son survive to take care of each other.
Truly, blessing turns to disaster, and disaster to blessing: the changes have no end, nor can the mystery be fathomed.

Other versions here.

Enjoy, rest, and return ready.

 

bluemarble

Business Insider:

Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist and director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, which studies the changing atmosphere, says that it won’t be simple for Trump to purge federal agencies of climate researchers during his presidency.

“Chopping off science just to prevent people from talking about climate change won’t work,” Schmidt told Business Insider. “You need science for hazards, for weather forecasting, and climate comes along for the ride.”

President-elect Donald Trump’s stated views on climate change have ranged from the absurd — that it’s a Chinese hoax — to the doubtful — “There is still much that needs to be investigated.” His statements, including his pledge to roll back programs designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the US and his selection of someone who says he does not believe in climate change to lead the Environmental Protection Agency’s transition, suggest he could reject policies designed to control pollution and curb global warming.

nasalogo“I’d be lying if I said that there wasn’t some level of concern,” Schmidt said. “But the federal government is a very, very large place. And the number of appointees is very small.”

“I don’t think one should be complacent,” he added. “I think people are going around going ‘Oh yeah it’s just the same as the last time and it will be fine, it will be fine, it will be fine.’ I’m finding it hard to muster that kind of optimism.”

But still, the sheer scale of science at the federal level makes it hard for a new presidential administration to radically alter its course.

Read the rest of this entry »

“We cannot sit on the sidelines as a party and let allegations against a foreign government interfering in our election process go unanswered because it may have been beneficial to our cause,” – Republican Senator Lindsay Graham

We know from the Chief of the National Security Agency that Wikileaks releases during the campaign were part of a “conscious effort by a nation-state to to attempt to achieve a specific effect.”
So that would make the media an accessory in a deliberate distortion of the election.

But, was the election directly hacked, as well?

Maybe. Maybe not.
Is planetary survival enough of a reason? Do “mainstream”  journalists even care?

UPDATE: This piece in the Washington Post adds caution:

Reached by email, Halderman pointed us to a statement he’d written at Medium. It’s a lengthy examination of how vote-tallying systems have been rigged or manipulated in the past, but the most important line (for our purposes) is this one:

Were this year’s deviations from pre-election polls the results of a cyberattack? Probably not. I believe the most likely explanation is that the polls were systematically wrong, rather than that the election was hacked.

Still leaves the WikiLeaks interference, confirmed by NSA, very much alive.

You can contact the Department of Justice and demand investigation here.

Center for Investigative Reporting:

A team of activists is urging Hillary Clinton to challenge election results in three key swing states, according to a report published today in New York Magazine.

The team, which reportedly includes civil rights lawyer John Bonifaz and University of Michigan computer science professor Alex Halderman, says they’ve discovered evidence that votes were hacked or manipulated in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, according to New York Magazine’s report. In Wisconsin, Clinton appears to have received a lower percentage of votes in counties that relied solely on electronic voting machines – a discrepancy that could have cost her as many as 30,000 votes, and the state itself.

Without more detail, it’s impossible to judge the team’s claims. But one thing is clear: Halderman is credible and trusted among his peers.

He has a history of demonstrating how voting technologies – in Washington D.C.Estonia and Australia, to name a few – are less secure than authorities hope.

In DC, he and a team of students hacked the city’s pilot internet voting system in less than 24 hours, altering ballots and spying on voters. The team left a calling card: When voters cast their ballot online, the computer played the University of Michigan’s fight song, as our recent story into election hacking showed.

“Halderman is very credible, and if he says there are anomalies that deserve investigation, they should be investigated,” wrote Rick Hasen, a professor of Law and Political Science at UC Irvine, on his Election Law Blog.

Since President-elect Donald Trump began publicly decrying the possibility of a rigged election in campaign rallies and on Twitter this fall, experts have been quick point out how difficult it would be to launch a large-scale hack on America’s voting infrastructure. Across the country, more than 9,000 jurisdictions are free to adopt their own voting practices and technologies. Such a patchwork, they say, is nearly impossible to target head-on.

“While no system is 100 percent hack-proof, elections in this country are secure – perhaps as secure as they’ve ever been,” said David Becker, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Election Innovation & Research, said at a House hearing in September. “To manipulate election results on a state or national scale would require a conspiracy of literally hundreds of thousands, and for that massive conspiracy to go undetected.”

Halderman disagrees. “Becker is wrong,” he told me in an email earlier this month. “Even though the machines aren’t connected to the Internet, their software can potentially be attacked through a stuxnet-style attack that spreads via the memory cards that are used to load the ballot design.”

“This is more complicated than attacking an online voting system that is directly connected to the Internet,” he added. “But it’s within the capabilities of nation-state attackers, and it would not require a large conspiracy.”

Read the rest of this entry »

dapl

Looking for something for that hard to please relative?
Fuck them.
Do something that will make a difference.

Website

Sacred Stone camp
P.O. Box 1011

202 Main Street Fort Yates, North Dakota

Amazon Wishlist

Facebook

“The dangers imposed by the greed of big oil on the people who live along the Missouri river is astounding. When this proposed pipeline breaks, as the vast majority of pipelines do, over half of the drinking water in South Dakota will be affected… It must be stopped. The people of the four bands of Cheyenne River stand with our sister nation in this fight as we are calling on all the Oceti Sakowin or Seven Council Fires to do so with our allies, both native and non native in opposing this pipeline.” 

Joye Braun (Cheyenne River)

Here are supplies needed by indigenous activists at the DAPL pipeline protest site, from my friend Lee Sprague, a native activist who is on site:

URGENT!
WE NEED THE FOLLOWING Goods SUPPLIES.

Waterproof Lights,
Portable Lights 1000+ Lumens, and batteries. To light triage, and work areas.

20 under bumper White LED lights to light up Triage for Hypothermia, Rubber Bullet Wounds, tear gas burns on hands

Ear plugs with strings. For LRAD sound canons. It hurts.

Space blankets, hundreds.

Instant Hand warmers

Indgant Body warmers

Portable Mr Buddy Heaters and green propane canisters.

Mittens, gloves, hats, blankets for hypothermia.

Ponchos, Waterproof outer wear-

Gas masks, with replaceable cartridges. I went through 4 gas masks in one night.

Motorcycle helmets, full face shield for face protection

Hockey equipment Read the rest of this entry »

Trump’s Climate Head Fake

November 23, 2016

climatesoften

Who is buying this shit?

The real deal:

Guardian:

Donald Trump is poised to eliminate all climate change research conducted by Nasa as part of a crackdown on “politicized science”, his senior adviser on issues relating to the space agency has said.

Nasa’s Earth science division is set to be stripped of funding in favor of exploration of deep space, with the president-elect having set a goal during the campaign to explore the entire solar system by the end of the century.

This would mean the elimination of Nasa’s world-renowned research into temperature, ice, clouds and other climate phenomena. Nasa’s network of satellites provide a wealth of information on climate change, with the Earth science division’s budget set to grow to $2bn next year. By comparison, space exploration has been scaled back somewhat, with a proposed budget of $2.8bn in 2017.

Bob Walker, a senior Trump campaign adviser, said there was no need for Nasa to do what he has previously described as “politically correct environmental monitoring”.

“We see Nasa in an exploration role, in deep space research,” Walker told the Guardian. “Earth-centric science is better placed at other agencies where it is their prime mission.

“My guess is that it would be difficult to stop all ongoing Nasa programs but future programs should definitely be placed with other agencies. I believe that climate research is necessary but it has been heavily politicized, which has undermined a lot of the work that researchers have been doing. Mr Trump’s decisions will be based upon solid science, not politicized science.”

Transcript of “softening” passage from NYTimes interview:

NYTimes:

THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN, opinion columnist: Mr. President-elect, can I ask a question? One of the issues that you actually were very careful not to speak about during the campaign, and haven’t spoken about yet, is one very near and dear to my heart, the whole issue of climate change, the Paris agreement, how you’ll approach it. You own some of the most beautiful links golf courses in the world …

[laughter, cross talk] Read the rest of this entry »

Trump’s Climate Hypocrisy

November 22, 2016

offshorewind

NYTimes:

LONDON — When President-elect Donald J. Trumpmet with the British politician Nigel Farage in recent days, he encouraged Mr. Farage and his entourage to oppose the kind of offshore wind farms that Mr. Trump believes will mar the pristine view from one of his two Scottish golf courses, according to one person present.

The meeting, held shortly after the presidential election, raises new questions about Mr. Trump’s willingness to use the power of the presidency to advance his business interests. Mr. Trump has long opposed a wind farm planned near his course in Aberdeenshire, and he previously fought unsuccessfully all the way to Britain’s highest court to block it.

The group that met with Mr. Trump in New York was led by Mr. Farage, the head of the U.K. Independence Party and a member of the European Parliament. Mr. Farage, who was a leading voice advocating Britain’s exit from the European Union, or Brexit, campaigned with Mr. Trump during the election. Arron Banks, an insurance executive who was a major financier of the Brexit campaign, was also in attendance.

“He did not say he hated wind farms as a concept; he just did not like them spoiling the views,” said Andy Wigmore, the media consultant who was present at the meeting and was photographed with Mr. Trump.

Washington Post:

In January 2014, he publicly wondered how the United States could be spending money to combat what, in his words, was a “GLOBAL WARMING HOAX.” In October, when Trump was bitten by the autumnal chill, the Republican presidential candidate snarked on Twitter that he could use “a big fat dose of global warming.” He told The Washington Post editorial board in March that he is “not a great believer in man-made climate change.”

But when it came to protecting his own investments from global warming’s effects, Trump canned the screaming capital letters and jokes. Instead, Trump wants to curtail climate change with a wall. Read the rest of this entry »

Fake News and the “Alt Right” is nothing new to Climate Scientists.
See this 2010 item from ABC News – the same folks celebrating the elevation of Donald Trump and Steve Bannon to the White House have been threatening scientists for most of a decade.

toles500