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Daily Archives: July 30, 2019

White House Blocked Report on Climate Change and National Security

The New York Times – The White House Blocked My Report on Climate Change and National Security – Politics intruded on science and intelligence. “That’s why I quit my job as an analyst for the State Department. Ten years ago, I left my job as a tenured university professor to work as an intelligence analyst for the federal government, primarily in the State Department but with an intervening tour at the National Intelligence Council. My focus was on the impact of environmental and climate change on national security, a growing concern of the military and intelligence communities. It was important work. Two words that national security professionals abhor are uncertainty and surprise, and there’s no question that the changing climate promises ample amounts of both. I always appreciated the apolitical nature of the work. Our job in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research was to generate intelligence analysis buttressed by the best information available, without regard to political considerations. And although I was uncomfortable with some policies of the Trump administration, no one had ever tried to influence my work or conclusions. That changed last month, when the White House blocked the submission of my bureau’s written testimony on the national security implications of climate change to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The stated reason was that the scientific foundation of the analysis did not comport with the administration’s position on climate change…” [Rod Schoonover was, until recently, a senior analyst in Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the State Department. He also worked as director of environment and natural resources at the National Intelligence Council and was a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.]

Full Fact has been fact-checking Facebook posts for six months. Here’s what they think needs to change

Nieman Lab – “Organizations (ABC News, Snopes, PolitiFact,, and the AP) to help stem the flow of false information on the platform. Over time, it’s expanded these third-party fact-checking partnerships: It now has more than 50 partners globally, fact-checking in 42 languages. Full Fact, the independent U.K. fact-checking organization, signed on as one of… Continue Reading

Journey to power: The history of black voters, 1976 to 2020

NBC News has assembled for the first time a record of the black vote for each competitive Democratic presidential campaign since exit polling began. ” Not that long ago, they were just a slender fraction of the party, one kept at arm’s length by presidential candidates. But today, black voters have emerged as a muscular… Continue Reading

U.S. Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia: The Corporate Connection

Center for International Policy – U.S. Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia: The Corporate Connection, by William Hartung and Cassandra Stimpson, July 29, 2019 – “This report provides information on arms offers to Saudi Arabia involving the four largest U.S. arms suppliers to that nation: Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and General Dynamics. Over 90% of U.S. arms… Continue Reading

How You Move Your Phone Can Reveal Insights Into Your Personality, Creepy Study Finds

Science Alert – “It may sound strange at first, but a team of researchers in Australia has come up with a method to predict your personality traits using just the accelerometer in your phone. Well, that and your call and messaging activity logs. Also, the system works for some traits better than others. But it’s… Continue Reading

These portraits of insects aren’t actually insects at all

National Geographic – Using flowers, leaves, twigs, and seeds, Canadian artist Raku Inoue creates intricate portraits of insects. “Tropical plants aren’t abundant in the northern latitudes of Montreal, Canada. Nor are the planet’s most diverse animals, insects. Even so, Montreal-based artist and photographer Raku Inoue finds a way to showcase both with his colorful portraits… Continue Reading

Facebook is funding brain experiments to create a device that reads your mind

MIT Technology review: Big tech firms are trying to read people’s thoughts, and no one’s ready for the consequences. “In 2017, Facebook announced that it wanted to create a headband that would let people type at a speed of 100 words per minute, just by thinking. Now, a little over two years later, the social-media giant… Continue Reading