8.20.17: Wake Up Wyoming

BBC: NASA’s Ambitious Plan to Save Earth from the Yellowstone Supervolcano

Lying beneath the tranquil settings of Yellowstone National Park in the US lies an enormous magma chamber. It’s responsible for the geysers and hot springs that define the area, but for scientists at Nasa, it’s also one of the greatest natural threats to human civilisation as we know it: a potential supervolcano.

“I was a member of the Nasa Advisory Council on Planetary Defense which studied ways for Nasa to defend the planet from asteroids and comets,” explains Brian Wilcox of Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at the California Institute of Technology. “I came to the conclusion during that study that the supervolcano threat is substantially greater than the asteroid or comet threat.”

When Nasa scientists came to consider the problem, they found that the most logical solution could simply be to cool a supervolcano down. A volcano the size of Yellowstone is essentially a gigantic heat generator, equivalent to six industrial power plants. Yellowstone currently leaks about 60-70% of the heat coming up from below into the atmosphere, via water which seeps into the magma chamber through cracks. The remainder builds up inside the magma, enabling it to dissolve more and more volatile gases and surrounding rocks. Once this heat reaches a certain threshold, then an explosive eruption is inevitable…

…[Nasa scientists] believe the most viable solution could be to drill up to 10km down into the supervolcano, and pump down water at high pressure. The circulating water would return at a temperature of around 350C (662F), thus slowly day by day extracting heat from the volcano. And while such a project would come at an estimated cost of around $3.46bn (£2.69bn), it comes with an enticing catch which could convince politicians to make the investment.

“Yellowstone currently leaks around 6GW in heat,” Wilcox says. “Through drilling in this way, it could be used to create a geothermal plant, which generates electric power at extremely competitive prices of around $0.10/kWh. You would have to give the geothermal companies incentives to drill somewhat deeper and use hotter water than they usually would, but you would pay back your initial investment, and get electricity which can power the surrounding area for a period of potentially tens of thousands of years. And the long-term benefit is that you prevent a future supervolcano eruption which would devastate humanity.”

But drilling into a supervolcano does not come without certain risks. Namely triggering the eruption you’re intending to prevent.

“The most important thing with this is to do no harm,” Wilcox says. “If you drill into the top of the magma chamber and try and cool it from there, this would be very risky. This could make the cap over the magma chamber more brittle and prone to fracture. And you might trigger the release of harmful volatile gases in the magma at the top of the chamber which would otherwise not be released.”

However those who instigate such a project will never see it to completion, or even have an idea whether it might be successful within their lifetime. Cooling Yellowstone in this manner would happen at a rate of one metre a year, taking of the order of tens of thousands of years until just cold rock was left. Although Yellowstone’s magma chamber would not need to be frozen solid to reach the point where it no longer posed a threat, there would be no guarantee that the endeavour would ultimately be successful for at least hundreds and possibly thousands of years.

But to prevent a catastrophe, such long-term thinking and planning may be the only choice. “With a project like this, you’d start the process and the main ongoing benefit you’d see in everyday terms is this new supply of electrical power,” Wilcox says.

Such a plan could be potentially applied to every active supervolcano on the planet, and Nasa’s scientists are hoping that their blueprints will encourage more practical scientific discussion and debate for tackling the threat.

“When people first considered the idea of defending the Earth from an asteroid impact, they reacted in a similar way to the supervolcano threat,” Wilcox says. “People thought, ‘As puny as we are, how can humans possibly prevent an asteroid from hitting the Earth.’ Well, it turns out if you engineer something which pushes very slightly for a very long time, you can make the asteroid miss the Earth. So the problem turns out to be easier than people think. In both cases it requires the scientific community to invest brain power and you have to start early. But Yellowstone explodes roughly every 600,000 years, and it is about 600,000 years since it last exploded, which should cause us to sit up and take notice.”

Instead, the idea is to drill in from the supervolcano from the lower sides, starting outside the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park, and extracting the heat from the underside of the magma chamber. “This way you’re preventing the heat coming up from below from ever reaching the top of the chamber which is where the real threat arises,” Wilcox says.

Business Insider: People are asking why North Carolina police watched protesters vandalize a statue, then arrested them for it

By Milicent Cranor at WhoWhatWhy

On August 14, in Durham NC, something strange happened that does not make sense to me.

A demonstrator protester climbed up on the statue of a Confederate soldier, tied a rope around his neck, gave a signal, and her fellow protesters pulled until the statue came crashing down. Then several other protesters converged on the statue, viciously, exuberantly, kicking it again and again.

This was done under the watchful eyes of law enforcement — who were filming every moment of the incident.As Fox News reported, “At no time did officers with the Durham Police Department or deputies with the Durham County Sheriff’s Office intervene… according to multiple media reports.”

At first I thought, how nice. The police are allowing the crowd to let off steam. After what happened in Charlottesville, the participants needed a catharsis, and this one seemed harmless enough, especially since such statues will probably be brought down anyway. So the police seemed to be indulging them.

And yesterday morning, Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews seemed to confirm this impression. He said “Collectively, we decided that restraint and public safety would be our priority.”

A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand

Paul Craig Roberts

The liberal/progressive/left are enjoying their drunkfest of denunciation. I can’t say I have ever witnessed anything like it. These are the people who sat on their hands for 16 years while Washington destroyed in whole or part seven countries. Not being satisfied with this level of warmongering and crimes against humanity, Washington orchestrated a conflict situation with Russia. Americans elected a president who said he would defuse this dangerous conflict, and the liberal/progressive/left turned on him. In contrast, one person is killed after the hated Charlottesville protest event was over, and there is endless absurd outrage against the president of the US.

Three New York Times presstitutes yesterday blamed the crisis on Trump, declaring him “increasingly isolated in a racial crisis of his own making.” Apparently, Trump is responsible for the crisis because he blamed both protest groups for the violence.

But isn’t that what happened? Wasn’t there violence on both sides? That was the impression I got from the news reporting. I’m not surprised that Trump got the same impression. Indeed, many readers have sent emails that they received the same impression of mutual violence.

So Trump is being damned for stating the truth.

Let’s assume that the impression Trump and many others got from the news is wrong. That would make Trump guilty of arriving at a mistaken conclusion. Yet, he is accused of instigating and supporting Nazi violence. How is it possible to transform a mistake into evil intent? A mistaken impression gained from news reporting does not constitute a “defense of white nationalist protesters.” An assertion by the New York Times cannot turn the absence of intent into intent. What the Establishment is trying to do is to push Trump into the arms of white supremacists, which is where they want him.

Clearly, there is no basis for this charge. It is a lie, an orchestration that is being used to delegitimize President Trump and those who elected him.

The question is: who is behind this orchestration?

The orchestration is causing people to run away from Trump or is being used as an excuse by them to further the plot to remove him from office.

Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum headed by Stephen A. Schwarzman ran away, just as members of the Carter Center’s board deserted President Jimmy Carter when he criticized Israel for its apartheid policy toward the Palestinians. The New York Times says that the armed services chiefs are running away. And the entire Republican Party.

The hypocrisy is stunning. For 16 years the armed services chiefs, the New York Times and the rest of the presstitute media, both political parties and the liberal/progressive/left have participated actively or passively in massive crimes against humanity. There are millions of dead, maimed, and displaced people. Yet one death in Charlottesville has produced a greater outpouring of protest.

I don’t believe it is sincere. I don’t believe that people who are insensitive to the deaths of millions at the hands of their government can be so upset over the death of one person. Assume that Trump is responsible for the death of the woman. How much blood is it compared to the blood on the hands of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama? It seems clear enough that the outpouring of grief is an orchestration designed to deligitimize the president and the people who elected him…

… Members of the liberal/progressive/left are proclaiming that despicable people such as white nationalists should not be allowed to protest and should not be given a permit to protest. They forget that protest is a right.

The US Supreme Court settled the issue 40 years ago in 1977 by overturning an Illinois court order that blocked an extremist protest in Skokie, a Jewish suburb of Chicago. The Supreme Court ruled that protest is not limited by the fact that some people will be offended or by the chance that there will be violent reactions. Otherwise, whatever faction happens to be in charge can suppress dissent by everyone else.

For decades the liberal/progressive/left has invested heavily in driving people apart. Black studies, women’s studies, and Native American studies can easily cross into propaganda that generates hatred. As a man of peace said, “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Charlottesville has given us a debauchery of denunciation that proves that we are a divided nation. Does a nation so divided really want to be in conflict with Russia and China and Iran? If the US is the institutionalization of White Supremacy as the liberal/progressive/left says, how can it be that Americans are simultaneously the “exceptional, indispensable people” with the right to bomb other peoples into the stone age?

Obviously, there is a lot in this scenario that does not make sense.

Fighting Neo-Nazis and the Future of Free Expression

August 17, 2017

In the wake of Charlottesville, both GoDaddy and Google have refused to manage the domain registration for the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website that, in the words of the Southern Poverty Law Center, is “dedicated to spreading anti-Semitism, neo-Nazism, and white nationalism.” Subsequently Cloudflare, whose service was used to protect the site from denial-of-service attacks, has also dropped them as a customer, with a telling quote from Cloudflare’s CEO: “Literally, I woke up in a bad mood and decided someone shouldn’t be allowed on the Internet. No one should have that power.”

We agree. Even for free speech advocates, this situation is deeply fraught with emotional, logistical, and legal twists and turns. All fair-minded people must stand against the hateful violence and aggression that seems to be growing across our country. But we must also recognize that on the Internet, any tactic used now to silence neo-Nazis will soon be used against others, including people whose opinions we agree with. Those on the left face calls to characterize the Black Lives Matter movement as a hate group. In the Civil Rights Era cases that formed the basis of today’s protections of freedom of speech, the NAACP’s voice was the one attacked.

Protecting free speech is not something we do because we agree with all of the speech that gets protected. We do it because we believe that no one—not the government and not private commercial enterprises—should decide who gets to speak and who doesn’t.

WSJ: ACLU Will No Longer Defend Hate Groups Protesting With Firearms

The American Civil Liberties Union took a new stance on firearms Thursday, announcing a change in policy that it would not represent hate groups who demonstrate with firearms.

ACLU executive director Anthony Romero told The Wall Street Journal that the group would have stricter screenings and take legal requests from white supremacist groups on a case-by-case basis.

“The events of Charlottesville require any judge, any police chief and any legal group to look at the facts of any white-supremacy protests with a much finer comb,” Romero told the Journal. “If a protest group insists, ‘No, we want to be able to carry loaded firearms,’ well, we don’t have to represent them. They can find someone else.”

The ACLU has come under fire after it filed a lawsuit in defense of the organizers who planned the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., after city officials denied them a permit to hold the rally around a statue of Robert E. Lee, which is set to be removed.

The group was ultimately granted the permit for the Saturday rally, which later turned violent and resulted in one death and more than a dozen injured.

“But let’s be clear: our lawsuit challenging the city to act constitutionally did not cause violence nor did it in any way address the question whether demonstrators could carry sticks or other weapons at the events,” Virginia ACLU executive director Claire Gastanaga said in a statement earlier this week.

Heather Heyer, 32, was killed and 19 people were injured when a car, allegedly driven by a man with connections to white supremacists, was driven into a crowd of counterprotesters on Saturday, according to police.

The violence shook the nation and has left many debating how to address speech by white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups.

ZEROHEDGE: “Let’s Blow Up Mount Rushmore” Says Vice

We may have hit peak media crazy here. A prominent online news publication says, “Let’s blow up Mt. Rushmore.” No, this is not al-Qaeda’s “Inspire” magazine or the Islamic State’s “Dabiq” propaganda publication – it’s Brooklyn based Vice News.

On the same day a barbaric terror attack takes place in Barcelona, resulting in 13 deaths and 100 people injured, the popular liberal news org known for its edgy investigative approach and stylistic “cooler than thou” appeal to millennials tweeted out an article which advocates for blowing up Mount Rushmore.

Vice initially titled the article, authored by Vice Senior Editor Wilbert L. Cooper, “Let’s Blow Up Mt Rushmore”.

After fierce online push back on a day there was a literal terror attack unfolding across the Atlantic, Vice hastily deleted the tweet and changed the article title to the toned down, Let’s Get Rid of Mt. Rushmore – this time with an editor’s note at the bottom of the page attempting to explain the change:

Editor’s note: The headline and URL of this story have been updated. We do not condone violence in any shape or form, and the use of “blow up” in the original headline as a rhetorical device was misguided and insensitive. We apologize for the error.

Rhetorical device? The content of the article still supports destroying America’s most celebrated and iconic historic monument dedicated to American presidents. The author literally states he is “onboard” should there ever be “a serious push to blow up Rushmore”:

With the president of the United States basically justifying neo-Nazism, it seems unthinkable that we will ever see a day when there is a serious push to blow up Rushmore and other monuments like it. But if that moment ever arrives, I suspect I’d be onboard.

Cooper further (not so) eloquently calls for leveling the whole place, and presumably all monuments devoted to past US “cults of personality” (as he calls them):

Demystifying the historical figures of the past, pulling them off the great mountain top back down to Earth where they shat, farted, spit, pissed, fucked, raped, murdered, died, and rotted seems like important business for this country. As long as we allow those men to be cults of personality who exist beyond reproach, we’re never going to be able to see them for all of their good and all of their evil.

Disturbingly, the call for leveling such monuments is contained in the conclusion of an article with repeat references equating President Trump with neo-Nazis:

Trump and his white supremacist cohorts believe the reverence some Americans have for these statues is simply respect for history, and that tearing them down is tantamount to ripping pages out of a textbook.

Ironically, the article does acknowledge the truthfulness of Trump’s recent words that we are headed towards a dangerously iconoclastic slippery slope set to end in the demolishing of American history. But the Vice article at the outset essentially says… yes! Let’s do just that:

Donald Trump says removing confederate statues is a slippery slope that could get out of control. Maybe he’s right—would that be such a bad thing?

And if a private citizen said “let’s blow up Mount Rushmore” and published an article which seriously explored destroying the site – an article which was clearly “pro” dynamiting the monument? It doesn’t take much imagination to know who would come knocking if this were anything but a $5.7 billion news organization.

 

INDEPENDENT: Art of the Deal co-author predicts Donald Trump is about to resign

NEWSWEEK: Trump Is Just Six Senate Votes Away From Impeachment

 

Advertisements

8.18.17: Wake Up Wyoming

Cryptocurrencies and the War on Cash

Coingecko: Bitcoin Cash Price Updates

Currently up 80% over the last 24 hours.  Hovering at $547 up from a low of $205 on August 6th, 2017.  Volatility!

Daily Reckoning: Why Elites Are Winning the War on Cash

by James Richards

Visa recently unveiled its own offensive in the war on cash. Visa is offering certain merchants a $10,000 reward if they refuse to accept cash in the future.

Not surprisingly, Visa’s competitor is also part of the war on cash. Mastercard is increasing its efforts to encourage merchants to refuse cash. Here’s Bloomberg, quoting the CEO of Mastercard:

“Mastercard Chief Executive Officer Ajay Banga has been one of the most ardent supporters of ditching paper currency in the U.S. The 57-year-old first declared his war on cash in 2010.”

These private efforts by Visa and MasterCard exist side by side with official efforts to eliminate or discourage the use of cash coming from governments in India, Australia, Sweden as well as the United States.

These efforts are always portrayed in the most favorable light. Private parties talk about convenience and lower costs. Governments talk about putting pressure on tax cheats, terrorists and criminals.

Governments always use money laundering, drug dealing and terrorism as an excuse to keep tabs on honest citizens and deprive them of the ability to use money alternatives such as physical cash and gold.

But the so-called “cashless society” is just a Trojan horse for a system in which all financial wealth is electronic and represented digitally in the records of a small number of megabanks and asset managers.

Once that is achieved, it will be easy for state power to seize and freeze the wealth, or subject it to constant surveillance, taxation and other forms of digital confiscation.

The war on cash has two main thrusts. The first is to make it difficult to obtain cash in the first place. U.S. banks will report anyone taking more than $3,000 in cash as engaging in a “suspicious activity” using Treasury Form SAR (Suspicious Activity Report).

The second thrust is to eliminate large-denomination banknotes. The U.S. got rid of its $500 note in 1969, and the $100 note has lost 85% of its purchasing power since then. With a little more inflation, the $100 bill will be reduced to chump change.

See also…

Daily Reckoning: War on Cash: A “Wider Cultural Change Agenda”

Dollar Collapse: High-Profile Sectors Start To Roll Over

Charles Hugh Smith: Why We’re Doomed: Our Economy’s Toxic Inequality

CNBC: Extreme right groups turn to ‘shadow economy’

Extreme right groups, shunned by payment processors and traditional companies, are turning to novel methods to solicit donations.  One rightist said he is planning a website where supporters can make monthly donations anonymously to their cause.  The site would avoid mainstream processors like PayPal and will accept bitcoin donations, he said.

Charlottesville Insanity

ZERO HEDGE: Why Was This ‘Crowd Hire’ Company Recruiting $25 An Hour ‘Political Activists’ In Charlotte Last Week?

by Tyler Durden

Trump ignited a political firestorm yesterday during an impromptu press conference in which he said there was “blame on both sides” for the tragic events that occurred in Charlottesville over the weekend.

Now, the discovery of a craigslist ad posted last Monday, almost a full week before the Charlottesville protests, is raising new questions over whether paid protesters were sourced by a Los Angeles based “public relations firm specializing in innovative events” to serve as agitators in counterprotests.

The ad was posted by a company called “Crowds on Demand” and offered $25 per hour to “actors and photographers” to participate in events in the “Charlotte, NC area.”  While the ad didn’t explicitly define a role to be filled by its crowd of “actors and photographers” it did ask applicants to comment on whether they were “ok with participating in peaceful protests.”

CNET: Apple Pay, PayPal cut off sites linked to white supremacists

c0e2bb932d8ca35be98de8f2b50a5d9a-cute-quotes-best-quotes

USA TODAY: White nationalists reportedly planning a rally in Lexington to oppose removal of statues

In the wake of this weekend’s rally in Charlottesville, Va., white nationalists reportedly plan to gather in Lexington to oppose the planned removal of Confederate statues.

Matthew Heimbach, chairman of the Traditionalist Worker Party, who is no stranger to Kentucky, told the Lexington Herald-Leader people in the area asked his group to get involved. He said the goal is to have the rally “sooner rather than later.”

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray announced after Saturday’s rally that he intends to take action to relocate the city’s Confederate statues. The white supremacist groups that gathered Saturday were drawn at least in part to the city by a vote to sell a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Lexington’s City Council went on to vote unanimously Tuesday in favor of removing the Confederate statues from the lawn of the former county courthouse, according to media reports — a move Heimbach and other white nationalists oppose.

MISES INSTITUTE: Before “Fake News,” America Invented “Pseudo Events”

by Ryan McMaken

In the wake of the Chalottesville riot, it’s been interesting how quickly the focus has shifted away from the actual events in Charlottesville and toward the public pundits and intellectuals are expressing opinions about the events.

Already, the media has lost interest in analyzing the details of the event itself, and are instead primarily reporting on what Donald Trump, his allies, and his enemies have to say about it.

This is an important distinction in coverage. Rather than attempt to supply a detailed look at who was at the event, what was done, and what the participants — from both sides — have to say about it, we are instead exposed primarily to what people in Washington, DC, and the political class in general, think about the events in which they were not directly involved.

This focus illustrates what has long been a bias among the reporters and pundits in the national media: a bias toward focus on the national intellectual class rather than on events that take place outside the halls of official power.

Note, however, that those quoted rarely have any special knowledge about the events themselves. Their opinions are covered not because they are knowledgeable, but because their quotations fit easily into a narrative that the media wishes to perpetuate.

by 2016 Green Party Vice Presidential Candidate Ajamu Baraka

“While I recognize the danger of the violent right-wing movement, I am more concerned with the right-wing policies that are being enacted into law and policy by both Democrats and Republicans.”

What is the character of racist right-wing politics today? Is it the crazed white supremacist who plows into an anti-fascist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, or can it also be the assurance by Lindsay Graham that an attack against North Korea would result in thousands of lives lost…. but those lives will be “over there”? What about the recent unanimous resolution by both Houses of Congress in support of Israel and criticism of the United Nations for its alleged anti-Israeli bias? Would that qualify as racist and right-wing, since it appears that the ongoing suffering of the Palestinians is of no concern? And what about the vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to go even beyond the obscene proposal of the Trump administration to increase the military budget by $54 billion dollars and instead add a whopping $74 billion to the Pentagon budget?

What I find interesting about the current discussion around what many are referring to as the emboldening of the radical white supremacist right is how easy it is to mobilize opposition against the crude and overt white supremacists we saw in Charlottesville. So easy, in fact, that it’s really a distraction from the more difficult and dangerous work that needs to be done to confront the real right-wing power brokers.

The white supremacy that some of us see as more insidious is not reflected in the simple, stereotypical images of the angry, Nazi-saluting alt-righter or even Donald Trump. Instead, it is the normalized and thus invisible white supremacist ideology inculcated into cultural and educational institutions and the policies that stem from those ideas. That process doesn’t just produce the storm troopers of the armed and crazed radical right but also such covert true believers as Robert Ruben from Goldman Sachs, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Tony Blair and Nancy Pelosi — “decent” individuals who have never questioned for a moment the superiority of Western civilization, who believe completely in the White West’s right and responsibility to determine which nations should have sovereignty and who should be the leaders of “lesser” nations. And who believe that there is no alternative to the wonders of global capitalism even if it means that billions of human beings are consigned permanently to what Fanon called the “zone of non-being.”

“The political impact of the right gaining power in Ukraine could not be isolated from the growing power of the right elsewhere.”

This is the white supremacy that I am concerned with. And while I recognize the danger of the violent right-wing movement, I am more concerned with the right-wing policies that are being enacted into law and policy by both Democrats and Republicans at every level of government.

More than two years ago I wrote that:

“The brutal repression and dehumanization witnessed across Europe in the 1930s has not found generalized expression in the U.S. and Europe, at least not yet. Nevertheless, large sectors of the U.S. and European left appear to be unable to recognize that the U.S./NATO/EU axis that is committed to maintaining the hegemony of Western capital is resulting in dangerous collaborations with rightist forces both inside and outside of governments.”

The impetus of that article was to critique the inherent danger of the Obama Administration’s cynical manipulation of right-wing elements in Ukraine to overthrow the democratically elected government of Viktor Yanukovych. Not only was it dangerous and predictably disastrous for the Ukrainian people, but because U.S. support for a neo-fascist movement in Ukraine took place within a context in which the political right was gaining legitimacy and strength across Europe. The political impact of the right gaining power in Ukraine could not be isolated from the growing power of the right elsewhere. Which meant that the Obama Admiration’s selfish, short-term objective to undermine Russia in Ukraine had the effect of empowering the right and shifting the balance of forces toward the right throughout Europe.

But because Obama was incorrectly seen as a liberal, he was able to avoid most criticism of his policies in Ukraine, in Europe and domestically. In fact, liberals and the left both in the U.S. and in Europe generally supported his Ukraine policies.

“The U.S. has become a dangerous right-wing society as a result of a steady shift to the right over the past four decades.”

However, playing footsie with right-wing elements in the Ukraine and underestimating the growing power of the right has resulted in powerful and dangerous right-wing movements on both sides of the Atlantic who have effectively exploited endemic white racism and the contradictions of neoliberal capitalist globalization. The ascendancy of Donald Trump cannot be decontextualized from the racial, class and gender politics of this moment here and abroad.

The alt-right that showed up in Charlottesville this past weekend was mimicking the tactics of the frontline neo-fascist soldiers who orchestrated the coup in the Ukraine, yet everyone is saying this is a result of Trump. The objective fact is that the U.S. has become a dangerous right-wing society as a result of a steady shift to the right over the past four decades. The idea that Trump’s election somehow “created” the right cannot be taken seriously and cannot be reduced to the crude expressions of the alt-right.

See also…

Consortium News: A Ukraine Link to North Korea’s Missiles?

By orchestrating the 2014 “regime change” in Ukraine, U.S. neocons may have indirectly contributed to a desperate Ukrainian factory selling advanced rocket engines to North Korea and endangering America.

Cybersecurity

UPI: University of Washington students can hack smart devices, track body movement

Computer science students at the University of Washington have found a way to remotely hack into people’s personal devices, such as cell phones and smart TV’s, to track individual movement, raising serious security questions, the university announced Wednesday.

UPI: Report: Modern cars’ components can be hacked

Modern cars’ electronic components, including safety features, are susceptible to hacks from individuals with physical access, according to researchers.

Reuters: Scottish parliament says ‘brute-force’ cyber-attack ongoing, has not breached defences

EDINBURGH (Reuters) – Scotland’s devolved parliament is suffering an ongoing brute-force cyber attack but the attack has not breached the assembly’s IT defences, it said on Wednesday.

“At this point there is no evidence to suggest that the attack has breached our defences and our IT systems continue to be fully operational,” the Scottish parliament said in a statement.

“Users should be aware, however, that this attack remains ongoing. It is not uncommon for brute force attacks to be sustained over a period of days so it is essential that IT account users are vigilant and report any suspicious issues,” it added.

Hackers using a “brute-force” attack repeatedly try to gain access to systems by trying different passwords.

Hackers are becoming more and more adept at developing or finding malware to wipe data on computers, making them inoperable and causing data breaches. Britain’s last major cyber attack was the “WannaCry” ransomware attack, which infected hundreds of thousands of computers in May and caused disruptions in more than 150 countries.

ANTIWAR.COM: Assange Meets With US Lawmaker, Vows to Prove DNC Leaks Didn’t Come From Russia

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange met with a member of the US Congress for the first time Wednesday, as Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R – CA) met him during a three-hour gathering at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

During the meeting, Assange assured Rohrabacher that Russia was not the source of DNC leaks which WikiLeaks published during the 2016 campaign related to the Democratic Party, and he promised specific information would be provided to prove that.

International Warmongering

ANTIWAR.COM Report: Saudis Increasing Yemen Airstrikes, Killing More Civilians

by Jason Ditz August 16th 2017

Throughout 2016, the UN High Commission for Refugees counted 3,936 airstrikes in Yemen. The newly released figures for the first half of 2017 show that previous figure, which covered an entire year, is already far surpassed, with 5,676 airstrikes launched by the end of June.

This has turned an already catastrophic humanitarian situation, with thousands killed in airstrikes, into an ever-mounting disaster, with the new strikes killing yet more civilians, and strikes so intense in some areas as to displace much of the civilian population elsewhere in the country.

Being an internally displaced person isn’t great wherever you are, but in Yemen it’s all but a death sentence, as a Saudi naval blockade is keeping food and medicine shipments in the country to a bare minimum, worsening a cholera epidemic and leaving much of the population on the brink of starvation.

Aid group Oxfam estimated that over 500,000 children in Yemen are already suffering from “severe malnutrition” because of the blockade, and there are no signs of that situation improving any time soon. Indeed, Hodeidah, the last port that has access to the country’s north, is nearly constantly under siege, with the Saudis seeking to transfer it to the control of the country’s southern government.

South China Morning Post: Sharp rise in Chinese food exports to North Korea as starving nation leans heavily on its only ally

Chinese food exports to North Korea – both staples and snacks – have increased massively over the past year, hinting at the isolated regime’s growing reliance on its only ally.

Chinese customs data showed a surge in exports of nearly 30 items, with corn increasing 32-fold from 400 tonnes to nearly 12,724 tonnes, bananas from just over 63.4 tonnes to 1,156 tonnes and wheat powder from less than 0.6 tonnes to 7.6 tonnes.

Spirit exports also more than quadrupled, rising from 2.1 million litres to 9.5 million in the second quarter compared with the previous year.

“The Maduro Diet” – Venezuelans Suffer Drastic Weight Loss As Hunger Crisis Strikes

Shortages are becoming ever more severe in Venezuela. As Deutsche Welle reports, according to the World Health Organization, hospitals lack 95% of necessary medicines. Many people are undernourished and they receive no help from the government.

“An estimated 75% of Venezuelans lost at least 10 kilos last year because there is not enough food to go around… people here call it ‘The Maduro Diet’

“When we say people are eating from the garbage, we are not joking, it’s our reality… people don’t have enough to eat.”

Furthermore, a lack of food and basic services is also creating an education crisis with more than 1 million children no longer attending school due to a lack of food, running water and/or electricity.

BUT IT CAN’T HAPPEN HERE…

ZERO HEDGE: 1 In 7 New York City Public-School Students Is Homeless

Despite promising to do everything in his power to improve the quality of life for New York City’s most economically vulnerable residents, Mayor Bill De Blasio has instead presided over one of the largest expansions in homelessness in New York City history.

Over the past two years, the population of homeless students in NYC’s public schools has exploded, increasing by 20% between the 2015-2016 school year and the 2016-2017 school year, which concluded in June. There are now more than 140,000 homeless public-school students, according to the Atlas of Student Homelessness, an annual study conducted by the Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness. At any given time, roughly 9% of NYC public-school students are homeless. Another four percent were currently housed, but had experienced homelessness at some point since 2010-2011 school year. Furthermore, one in seven NYC students will have been homeless at least temporarily during their tenure.

Silver Linings

UPI: LA to begin paying homeowners to build second dwellings for homeless

Aug. 16 (UPI) — The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to give homeowners between $50,000 and $75,000 to build second dwellings on their property in an effort to house more homeless people.

The pilot program passed by a vote of 4-0 and will begin with an allocated amount of $550,000, reported the Los Angeles Daily News.

Officials said the program will roll out slowly as a way to test its feasibility.

In a letter recommending the program’s approval, Richard Bruckner, the director of the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning, said the initiative will begin to review and approve designs for the additional units, provide incentives for their construction and promote the program.

The county program comes after the state passed a law easing restrictions on building second units, informally referred to as “backhouses” or “granny flats,” in order to combat the rising homelessness rate in California.

According to the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, California typically has approximately 118,000 people experiencing homelessness on an average night — the highest rate in the country and 30,000 more than in New York, in second place. In Los Angeles, the number of homeless on an average night is about 47,000.