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19 Jul 03:45

Capitalism Is Primed to Rid the Developed World of Traffic

by John Tamny
In the 1970s President Nixon severed the dollar’s link to gold. The result was a falling dollar measure that revealed itself through rising nominal prices of oil, wheat, soybeans, and much else priced in the global currency. It’s not as though the commodities mentioned were suddenly scarce as much as the dollar shrunk in size. Probably the best way to think of it is if the foot were cut in half to six inches, Kim Jong-Un would suddenly stand over 10 feet tall even though his actual height wouldn’t change one iota. That’s what happened with commodities like oil in the ‘70s,...
13 Jul 16:58

Finally – Proof That Global Warming Is Man Made

by tonyheller

Scientists have searched for years for proof that global warming is man-made, but the evidence is right under their noses on the NASA web site.  Global warming is man-made, by these two people.

In the year 2000, NASA showed earth warming at less than 0.4C per century. But by 2017, they had more than doubled the pre-2000 warming rate to more than 0.8C per century.

This was accomplished through an impressive hockey stick of data tampering, where years before 1970 are progressively cooled, and years after 1970 are progressively warmed.

Spreadsheet   Data

Nothing at all suspicious about climate modelers tampering with data to make it match their failed theories.

Note that after 1998, the observations are likely to be below the simulated values, indicating that the simulation as a whole are predicting too much warming.

Climate Analysis | Remote Sensing Systems

And then pressuring other climate scientists to also tamper with their data and bring it into compliance.

Climate Mafia At Work | The Deplorable Climate Science Blog

The good news is that the climate mafia is completely predictable.

“I expect there will soon be a revised TLT product from RSS which shows enhanced warming, too.

Here’s what I’m predicting:

1) neither John Christy nor I will be asked to review the paper

2) it will quickly sail through peer review (our UAH V6 paper is still not in print nearly 1 year after submission)

3) it will have many authors, including climate model people and the usual model pundits (e.g. Santer), which will supposedly lend legitimacy to the new data adjustments.

Let’s see how many of my 3 predictions come true.

-Roy”

Roy Spencer’s Prediction | The Deplorable Climate Science Blog

As I predicted more than three years ago.

RSSChanges

March 27, 2015

13 Jul 16:24

Something very important came out today- proof that Clinton violated the Espionage Act

by DrJohn

 

Something very important was disclosed today, and it was related to Peter Strzok. The Strzok hearing today was utterly astonishing. It is painfully clear that Peter Strzok, just like James Comey, has an impervious and unflinching sense of self-righteousness and papal infallibility.  Strzok absolutely dripped with hubris and audacity.

You will remember that Strzok interviewed Hillary Clinton, albeit not seriously. As his text messages showed, Clinton was never going to be in legal jeopardy.

You will also remember that it was Strzok who changed Clinton’s mishandling of classified information from “gross negligence” to “extremely careless.”

It is not a coincidence that Strzok was in a critical position to control two investigations in which everything that could have gone favorably to Clinton went favorably and everything that could have gone poorly for Trump and associates went poorly. Strzok tried to bury the Clinton emails that were on the Weiner laptop until after the election. And there it is.

Hillary Clinton did violate the Espionage Act and Strzok obstructed justice.

A member of the House Committee on the Judiciary said during a hearing Thursday that a government watchdog found that nearly all of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails were sent to a foreign entity and that the FBI didn’t follow-up on that finding.

The Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) found an “anomaly on Hillary Clinton’s emails going through their private server, and when they had done the forensic analysis, they found that her emails, every single one except four, over 30,000, were going to an address that was not on the distribution list,” Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas said during a hearing with FBI official Peter Strzok.

“It was going to an unauthorized source that was a foreign entity unrelated to Russia,” he added.

The IC IG told Strzok about this and Strzok did nothing.

Gohmert said the ICIG investigator, Frank Rucker, presented the findings to Strzok, but that the FBI official did not do anything with the information.

Strzok acknowledged meeting with Rucker, but said he did not recall the “specific content.”

“The forensic examination was done by the ICIG and they can document that,” Gohmert said, “but you were given that information and you did nothing with it.”

Here is the exchange:

Gohmert: You said earlier in this hearing you were concerned about a hostile foreign power affecting the election. Do you recall the former Intelligence Community Inspector General Chuck McCullough having an investigation into an anomaly found on Hillary Clinton’s emails?

Let me refresh your memory. The Intelligence Community Inspector General Chuck McCullough sent his investigator Frank Rucker along with an IGIC attorney Janette McMillan to brief you and Dean Chapelle and two other FBI personnel who I won’t name at this time, about an anomaly they had found on Hillary Clinton’s emails that were going to the private unauthorized server that you were supposed to be investigating?

Strzok: I remember meeting Mr. Rucker on either one or two occasions. I do not recall the specific content or discussions.

Gohmert: Mr. Rucker reported to those of you, the four of you there, in the presence of the ICIG attorney, that they had found this anomaly on Hillary Clinton’s emails going through their private server, and when they had done the forensic analysis, they found that her emails, every single one except four, over 30,000, were going to an address that was not on the distribution list. It was a compartmentalized bit of information that was sending it to an unauthorized source. Do you recall that?

Strozk: Sir, I don’t.

Gohmert: He went on the explain it. And you didn’t say anything, you thanked him, you shook his hand. The problem is it was going to an unauthorized source that was a foreign entity unrelated to Russia and from what you’ve said here, you did nothing more than nod and shake the man’s hand when you didn’t seem to be all that concerned about our national integrity of our election when it was involving Hillary Clinton. So the forensic examination was done by the ICIG — and they can document that — but you were given that information and you did nothing with it. And one of the things I found most egregious with Mr. Horowitz’s testimony, and — by the way Mr. Horowitz got a call four times from someone wanting to brief him about this, and he never returned the call.

Strzok had selective amnesia frequently through the day and he was full of crap for the parts in between the memory lapses.

All of Hillary Clinton’s emails were hacked by a foreign actor. She used a vulnerable server, obama knew about it and she compromised the security of the country.That wasn’t extremely careless. It was gross negligence.

And a violation of the Espionage Act.

The irony in this is that despite Strzok’s pledge to “stop” Trump by burying the Clinton emails on the Weiner laptop he might have helped Trump win.

 

 

12 Jul 21:32

New Research Finds Sea Level Rise Claims “Definitely Conjecture”…”Highly Erroneous”…Coastlines Stable Or Growing!

by P Gosselin

Accelerating sea level rise due to global warming is supposed to eat away at the shorelines across the globe. However a recent paper published in the journal Nature here authored by a team scientists led by Arjen Luijendijk found that some 75% of the world’s sandy shorelines are stable or growing!

An analysis of satellite-derived shoreline data indicates that 24% of the world’s sandy beaches are eroding at rates exceeding 0.5 m/yr, but 28% are accreting and 48% are stable.

Also erosion rates exceed 5 m/yr along 4% of the sandy shoreline and are greater than 10 m/yr for 2% of the global sandy shoreline.

Image source: Luijendijk et al., 2018

According to the paper, the application of an automated shoreline detection method to the sandy shorelines resulted in a global dataset of shoreline change rates for the 33 year period 1984–2016.

The scientists also found that Australia and Africa are the only continents for which net erosion (−0.20 m/yr and −0.07 m/yr respectively) is found, with all other continents showing net accretion.

What’s surprising is that another researcher has determined that melting ice caps from global warming induced ice melt does not contribute to sea level rise, and that sea level rise is mostly caused by the Earth’s shape.

3 mm/yr sea level rise “definitely a conjecture”

In a scientific paper published by the journal Geoscience Frontiers, Aftab Alam Khan at the Department of Geology, University of Dhaka in Bangladesh found: “thermal expansion only explains part (about 0.4 mm/yr) of the 1.8 mm/yr observed sea level rise of the past few decades.” and that the claim and prediction of 3 mm/yr rise of sea-level due to global warming and polar ice-melt “is definitely a conjecture”

He added that the prediction of 4–6.6 ft sea level rise in the next 91 years between 2009 and 2100 is “highly erroneous”!

Khan then concludes that though global warming, both polar and terrestrial ice melts, and climate change might be a reality, all these phenomena are not related to sea level rise and fall.

Ice melt would not contribute to sea level rise

According to Khan, “Geophysical shape of the earth is the fundamental component of the global sea level distribution. Global warming and ice-melt, although a reality, would not contribute to sea-level rise.”

If Kahn’s assertion turns out to be correct, then IPCC scientists will have some major scientific revamping to do.

12 Jul 16:58

How To Mine LivesToken(LVT) In Android Using Maxthon Browser

by Maxthon
Remlaps

I've been using maxthon on and off for over a decade. Started using it as a "mining browser" about a month ago, during which time I've received about 500 tokens. Wrote a blog post about it here - https://steemdb.com/technology/@remlaps/maxthon-browser-mining-cryptocurrency-by-browsing-the-web

When you visit any website, facebook, twitter, google, gmail, yahoo, read articles or whatever you do on the Internet through Maxthon browser mining edition then your activity is automatically converted […]

The post How To Mine LivesToken(LVT) In Android Using Maxthon Browser appeared first on Maxthon Browsers Blog.

12 Jul 16:38

Remember when sea-level rise was going to cause Pacific Islands to disappear? Never mind.

by Anthony Watts
Coral atolls getting larger, not sinking according to new study using satellite data Andrew Montford writes: Close watchers of the climate scene will probably be familiar with the work of Kench et al., who put a big spanner in the works of the climate alarm community, by demonstrating that coral atolls, far from disappearing beneath…
12 Jul 16:35

Deep-Sea Treasure Hunting on the Blockchain

by Romona Paden
Deep-Sea Treasure Hunting on the Blockchain

With an estimated $100 billion value in sunken artifacts in the waters surrounding the Bahamas, deep-sea treasure hunters could soon satiate their thirst for a big bounty through blockchain technology.

Using an approach that tokenizes shipwrecked items found on the seafloor, the founders behind blockchain startup PO8 intend to revitalize marine archaeology in the region minus the kind of looting, corruption and lack of oversight that caused officials with the commonwealth government to put a halt to expeditions in the region for nearly two decades.

PO8’s model in adhering to responsible salvaging practices convinced the local government officials, as Chief Marketing Officer Raul Vasquez told Bitcoin Magazine: “Currently PO8 is the only government approved entity with a salvage license to do any underwater salvaging in territorial waters belonging to the Bahamas.”

Using an Ethereum-based platform along with ERC-721 token functionality, the PO8 model creates non-fungible tokens (NFTs) — tokens based on the collateral value of recovered items. Each NFT utilizes specifically designed smart contracts that are cryptographically certified with unique asset data. While NFT ownership can be to anyone in the world, the majority of PO8 artifacts remain in the custody of the PO8 Foundation.

“For example, let’s say PO8 finds a rare artifact worth millions,” Vasquez explained. “The physical artifact would remain under the custody of PO8 for continued study by the archaeology community or to be exhibited in museums for the larger public good, while the digital ownership of the NFT can be anywhere around the world. Now, the real ownership of an asset is determined by its NFT.”

Later this year, PO8 will be rolling out the PAZAR marketplace where users can buy, sell, auction, lease, trade and leverage the tokens. Land-based undersea explorers will also be able to contribute to the hunt with PO8’s DApp Maritime Artifact Data System (MADS), which serves in big data analysis around satellite images, sonar, image and video, electromagnetic and historic data. In exchange for their MADS efforts, contributors earn NTFs when users already hold PO8 tokens in their wallet as a demonstration of proof of stake in the system.

“Individuals, rather than corporations and governments, will play a more vital role in the recovery, conservation, exhibition and ownership of these artifacts,” a white paper available on the PO8 site states. “Decentralization of the industry will allow millions more to participate in the experience and bear witness to history encapsulated underwater for centuries. What was once only accessible to a few can now be shared with eager enthusiasts all over the world.”

With the recoveries, PO8 first pays the government, insurers and foundations their cut of the booty. From there, the organization sells 50 percent of the artifacts on its open auction platform. The other 50 percent stays with the foundation to be used in educational programs and traveling exhibitions around the world.

At the crux of PO8 is the establishment of a complementary fix for archaeologists and academics who see high value in maintaining shipwreck sites with commercial interests looking for a return on the high-dollar investments necessary to pull off underwater expeditions.

Recruiting Experts

Only a handful of commercial salvage companies “have the financial backing to afford months, years and sometimes decades on the high seas in the treasure hunt of their lives,” according to the white paper. “For governments and the nonprofit sector, these high costs make it difficult to be active participants in exploratory excavations.”

PO8’s promotion of responsible commercial salvage includes building a team capable of carrying out the mission. Most recently, this translates to the addition of David Gallo, a 30-year oceanography veteran and one of the creators of the first detailed maps of the RMS Titanic, in the role of vice president for exploration. Gallo was also part of the successful international effort in locating the wreck site of Air France flight 447, which crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009.

“To me PO8 is the most exciting project to come along in decades,” Gallo said in a statement. “It encourages the development of new technologies and techniques for undersea exploration and visualization. In doing so, PO8 will accelerate the ability to locate, document and protect the precious artifacts of Bahamian undersea cultural resources. The waters surrounding the islands of the Bahamas are not only rich with shipwrecks but also with unlimited treasures of the mind.”

Regarding PO8’s first exploratory mission, slated for Q3 2019, CEO Matthew Arnett only says the team is eyeing a couple target sites with “cargo manifests indicating the loads are significant in value.”

PO8 received its salvaging license from government officials in the Bahamas late in 2017. Since the start of 2018, the firm has focused on the development of its smart contracts and wallet. Beginning in the third quarter of this year, the crowdsource initial coin offering begins with registration most likely to begin in early– to mid-August, Vasquez told Bitcoin Magazine.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

12 Jul 16:34

Nick Spanos’s Zap Jolts Real Estate With Blockchain-Based Smart Contracts

by Romona Paden
Nick Spanos’s Zap Jolts Real Estate With Blockchain-Based Smart Contracts

New York realtors looking to avoid hiccups in their commission payouts can now turn to blockchain-based smart contracts. The first real estate commission split was brokered earlier this summer in Manhattan’s ritzy SoHo neighborhood by New York-based Bapple Realty.

Enabled through data uploaded onto the Zap platform, the seller divvied up a $3,400 commission — paid in Ethereum tokens — to pay the brokerage and the agents involved in the transaction.

Bapple itself is no stranger to blockchain technology and the use of cryptocurrencies. In 2014, the firm agreed to an $18,000 rent and commissions payment with bitcoin. With the current deal, the infusion of blockchain technology within the real estate industry becomes more solidified.

A primary requirement in implementing the blockchain-based transaction included the input of oracles: real world information uploaded into a decentralized application. This is where Zap, founded by Nick Spanos, comes into the picture.

Zap.org, a product of the Synapse Foundation, uses an Ethereum-based ERC 20 token (ZAP) to power its oracle marketplace for smart contracts.  

The opportunity to expand blockchain technology further into the real estate industry this summer came about as a Zap client and a Nordic Blockchain Association board member was looking to find a Manhattan-area apartment. At the time, Zap was conducting beta testing of its Android app for smart contracts.

“We thought this would be a good use case,” Spanos told Bitcoin Magazine in an interview.

Spanos, who also founded Bitcoin Center NYC and Blockchain Technologies Corp., explained that implementing smart contracts guarantees agents receive their agreed-upon commissions at the same time as their broker-fee payment.

“The industry needs smart contracts,” Spanos said. “In a real estate office, many people have disagreements because of informal oral agreements that are subject to people's sometimes-selective memory. However, if their wallet is in the smart contract tied to the deal, it is fixed and immutable. You're either in or you're not. Trust is automated.”

Spanos added that Zap is currently testing an app that will allow real estate professionals to build and customize all types of contracts.

“It will compile them and put them on the blockchain,” Spanos said to Bitcoin Magazine. “It’s a small step in the vast potential for smart contracts, but a huge leap for the entire real estate industry.”

Real Estate: Just “One Small Use Case”

While Spanos describes Zap’s progress in the real estate industry as just “one small use case,” the organization itself continues work on expanding its marketplace to incorporate smart contract-compatible data.

“We have vendors preparing to sell every type of data feed, from political data to meteorological data, that will allow smart contracts to execute trades on futures based on anticipated crop yield.”

Spanos added, “ Zap.org recently partnered with Stox prediction markets to be a provider of consensus-verified data.”

A long-time advocate of Bitcoin and blockchains, Spanos’s enthusiasm for the technology continues to grow.

“When was the last time you heard of a technology that, when you think of any given problem, there's a way that a single technology could be part of the solution? That's how blockchain is the internet, reinvented,” Spanos said.

“The world has a trust protocol, where financial events can be triggered without depending on an intermediary. The trust revolution is the next revolution. The crypto economy will set the internet free from legacy holdovers in banking and government, and now, any form of exchange can be decentralized.”

In May 2018, Zap announced that it had developed a secure supply management and smart contracts DApp specifically for the oil and gas industry called EnergyLedger.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

12 Jul 14:35

A bitcoin billionaire is quietly building the world's first decentralized bank on this tiny, idyllic island

by Zoë Bernard

Valletta Malta

  • Plans for the world's first decentralized bank are taking root in Malta.
  • The project is backed by the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, which was founded by the bitcoin billionaire Changpeng Zhao.
  • Malta has been very receptive to cryptocurrency projects in the past.

Plans for the world's first decentralized bank are taking root in Malta.

According to Bloomberg, the project is backed by the bitcoin billionaire Changpeng Zhao's cryptocurrency exchange, Binance.

Binance, which uprooted its operations to the tiny European island of Malta earlier this year, has been warmly welcomed by the country's prime minister, Joseph Muscat.

In March, Muscat tweeted that he had high hopes for his country's role within the blockchain industry:

"We aim to be the global trailblazers in the regulation of blockchain-based businesses and the jurisdiction of quality and choice for world class fintech companies," Muscat wrote.

The project for the decentralized, community-owned bank has already received backing from both Binance and Malta's government, which has invested a 5% stake, Bloomberg reports.

The bank, called Founders Bank, will be unique in that it won't belong to a single corporation, person, or entity. Instead, it will be owned in part by anyone who purchases a portion of its token-based equity.

Fundraising for the project will take place on the blockchain equity platform Neufund.

There are still some regulatory issues that Malta, a country belonging to the European Union, will need to face, but Muscat seems largely optimistic about the project's viability.

"The concept sounds confusing right now, but I have no doubt that it will form the base of a new economy in the future," Muscat said in a recent speech. "Just as we attribute value to pieces of paper, so too will future generations attribute value to electronic storage systems."

Join the conversation about this story »

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11 Jul 21:12

A strange, beautiful 'Manhattanhenge' sunset will happen in New York City today and tomorrow

by Dave Mosher

manhattanhenge sunset new york city John Minchillo AP_933189003344

  • Manhattanhenge happens when a sunset aligns perfectly with New York City's gridded streets.
  • In 2018, the next Manhattanhenge will happen on July 12 and 13.
  • A few city streets and locations offer the best views of the event.

Twice each summer, the sun, Earth, and monuments of human industry in New York City create a spectacle of light called "Manhattanhenge": when the sunset aligns perfectly with the city's gridded streets.

The name is a portmanteau of Stonehenge — which prehistoric people likely built to line up with the sun — and the island of Manhattan.

Unlike Stonehenge, however, Manhattanhenge is a beautiful accident of city planning.

If you're in the right place at the right time, you can watch a floating, orange-hued orb of plasma slip right between miles-long corridors of skyscrapers.

I saw my first one in 2009, and it was breathtaking. It's like photography's "golden hour" but on steroids, given the crowds of people, competing car and street lights, and dramatic backdrop of buildings with mirror-like panes of glass that reflect sunlight up and down the roads and sidewalks.

When to watch a Manhattanhenge sunset in 2018

manhattanhenge copyright dave mosher

Manhattanhenge straddles the summer solstice on June 21 over two pairs of days — one that happens several weeks before the solstice, and the other several weeks after.

On one day in each set, the sun sets halfway below the horizon; on the other day, onlookers can get a full-disk view of the sun.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astronomer at the American Museum of Natural History, keeps an annually updated blog post that notes the dates of Manhattanhenge. The first set of days have passed — the spectacle occurred on May 29 and 30. 

But the second set happens this week:

  • Thursday, July 12, at 8:20 p.m. EDT — full-disk sunset
  • Friday, July 13, at 8:21 p.m. EDT — half-disk sunset

The best locations in NYC to watch Manhattanhenge

Manhattanhenge 2016 Rafi Letzter at 34th Street RRL_5782If you're in New York City on these dates and times, and the skies aren't overcast, a few viewing streets rise above the rest.

The best ones are 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, and 57th Streets, partly because they're wider and can accommodate more foot traffic. Beware of 34th and 42nd Streets, however, as they're often the busiest and people go there to get views of the Empire State and Chrysler buildings.

If you have time to scope out a prime viewing spot along one of these streets, look farther east to get the best cityscape effect, though make sure you find a high point — otherwise, a distant hill or other object may block your view.

Going to the west side may not set as dramatic a scene, but on short notice it's a better bet, since you're more likely to get an unobstructed view.

Tyson recommends that you arrive at your viewing spot half an hour before the sun sets on the day of Manhattanhenge. But this chance astronomical event seems to get more popular with each passing year, given the rise of Instagram, Facebook, and other photo-sharing platforms, so 45 minutes wouldn't hurt.

How to see the 'henges' of other gridded cities

Never seen New York City's Manhattanhenge? You don't have to worry for a number of reasons.

First, these dates aren't the only ones to watch the sun set between buildings — designer Andrew Hill created an interactive "NYCHenge" map to show all the days and times of the year that opportune sunsets occur.

Hill's map also reveals that New York City isn't the only place to see "henge" sunsets: In fact, almost any city on a grid can witness them. (Bostonhenge, anyone?)

Wherever and whenever you watch, please make sure you don't wander agape into those sun-painted roadways — and get hit by a car or bus.

This story was originally published on May 16, 2017. It has been updated with information about the 2018 Manhattanhenge. Meghan Bartels contributed to this post.

SEE ALSO: Each year the government asks 10 simple questions to test the public's knowledge of science. Can you correctly answer them all?

DON'T MISS: NASA plans to launch a probe in 2018 that will 'touch' the sun's blazing-hot atmosphere

Join the conversation about this story »

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11 Jul 20:33

If High Court Reverses Roe v. Wade, 22 States Poised to Ban Abortion

by Julie Rovner
Remlaps

So, 1.) Why is this article in Scientific American at all? -and- 2.) Why is the headline based on a claim by a biased advocate for just one side of the debate?

This sort of advocacy is why I cancelled my SciAm subscription 10 or so years ago.

Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy had been a swing vote on the issue

-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
11 Jul 20:06

A Cop Attacked and Threatened a Man Who Did Nothing Wrong, Then Made His Life Hell for Complaining

by Robby Soave

FinleyA police officer in a small Arkansas town pulled a man over for driving suspiciously near some railroad tracks. The driver—Adam Finley—turned out to be a railroad employee just doing his job.

Here's what happened next, as evidenced by video footage of the encounter. Even though the cop, Matthew Mercado, had no reason whatsoever to escalate matters, he ordered Finley out of the car, became aggressive with him, shoved him against the car door, handcuffed him, swore at him, and threatened to use a taser on him.

Meanwhile, Finley kept remarkably calm. He didn't get angry, and he followed Mercado's confusing instructions as best he could.

After Mercado let him go free—again, because Finley had done absolutely nothing wrong—Finley went to the Walnut Ridge police station to speak with the chief and make a complaint. For this, Finley was punished: they decided to charge him with obstructing justice during the Mercado encounter. They made this decision only after Finley decided to object to his treatment. They also spoke to Finley's wife, suggesting to her that if she saw the video she would realize that her husband had committed a crime. This was an outright lie, but it apparently played on some suspicion Finley's wife had about him, and they later divorced.

A town's law enforcement apparatus conspired to ruin a man, all for being the victim of a bossy, incompetent cop.

Mercado is no longer on the force. But he appears to have resigned because he didn't get a pay raise he wanted, not because anyone decided to discipline him.

That's all according to The Washington Post's Radley Balko, who has just written about the case:

Finley wasn't shot, or choked to death, or found hanging in a jail cell. He didn't suffer any permanent or lasting physical injury. Mercado didn't even use racist or bigoted language. But Finley did everything he was supposed to. From the footage we can see and hear, he was polite, provided ID when it was asked of him and stepped out of the truck when ordered. Despite cooperating, he was treated poorly, detained and roughed up. When he then tried to file a complaint, he was harassed, and the chief of police attempted to turn his own wife against him—by citing video she hadn't seen and that ultimately vindicated her husband. Yet even after viewing that video, city officials proceeded to prosecute. And even after the video was released, city officials maligned Finley in the press and insisted that the residents of Walnut Ridge believe the assertions of authority figures over the video evidence that contradicted them.

The "lesson" Finley learned here is pretty clear. Power usually wins. You can be as cooperative as possible, but if a police officer wants to dish out some abuse, he can. And he'll probably get away with it. Try to hold him accountable if you'd like, but just know that doing so may come with a heavy price.

Having watched the video footage of the initial encounter, and footage of Finley and his wife meeting with the police chief, it is clear to me that the authorities abused their power. No reasonable person would conclude, after seeing Mercado's encounter with Finley, that there was any legitimate reason to rough him up or handcuff him. And yet the police let Finley and his wife believe the video would show that Finley had acted criminally.

As Balko points out, it could have gone worse for Finley. For many others unfortunate enough to come in conflict with hotheaded cops, it does. This incident is a reminder that not ever example of police abuse is a bloody or deadly affair.

Finley has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city and the officials who wronged him. He is undoubtedly owed compensation for the indignities he suffered at the hands of some very petty authoritarians.

11 Jul 17:53

Alphabet says two of its ambitious side projects are ready for the big leagues (GOOG, GOOGL)

by Greg Sandoval

google project wing drone

  • Alphabet Inc., Google's parent company, announced on Wednesday that two research projects, Loon and Wing, are becoming independent businesses.
  • Loon, the balloon-flying internet-delivery project and Wing, which is developing a drone-delivery service, are now standalone businesses operating under the Alphabet umbrella. 
  • This likely means little to Alphabet's bottom line for the foreseeable future, but the two projects emerged from Google's X facility, which is more focused on changing the world. 

 


Loon and Wing, two research projects developed within Google's secretive X research facility, are becoming standalone businesses within Alphabet, Google's parent company announced Wednesday.

Loon is the project that releases massive balloons into the stratosphere carrying the gear needed to supply people in rural communities with an internet connection. Wing seeks to develop the means to deliver goods to consumers via  drone aircraft.

Alphabet said the companies' financial performance will be included in Alphabet's earnings statement under the "Other Bets" category.  

Neither one of these companies has shown any sign of adding significant revenue to Alphabet's bottom line any time in the near future, but that's not the point. Google's management created X to nurture big ideas with an eye on changing the world. Whether either of these two new businesses can help in that endeavor remains to be seen.

But X has seen some success. One of its other graduates, Waymo, is the autonomous-car business that analysts believe could change the world while also enabling Alphabet to pocket enormous profits.

Mark Mahaney said in a report on Tuesday that because Waymo is so far out in front of competitors in the burgeoning self-driving car market, he expects investors could soon bid up Alphabet shares. He also estimated that Waymo could see operating profits of as high as $35 billion by the year 2030.

  

SEE ALSO: A Wall Street analyst says Google has 2 different choices for its car spinoff, and one of them could make Waymo a $180 billion company

Join the conversation about this story »

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11 Jul 17:52

SCIENCE : Symptoms Of Global Cooling And Global Warming Are Identical

by tonyheller

From the global cooling scare, which climatologists now say never happened.

Climatologists now blame recurring droughts and floods on a global cooling trend that could trigger massive tragedies for mankind

  • Chicago Tribune  November 25, 1981

25 Nov 1981, 13 – Chicago Tribune at Newspapers.com

Climatologists now say droughts and floods are caused by global warming.

11 Jul 17:49

BitGo Adds 57 Ethereum Tokens In Largest-Ever Custody Service Expansion

by Leigh Cuen
Bitcoin veterans are jumping into the token economy with new licenses and custody options.
11 Jul 15:57

HBO's 'Game of Thrones' prequel will start filming this year

by Carrie Wittmer

The Dragon and the Wolf Sansa Arya Winterfell

  • The "Game of Thrones" spin-off will start filming its pilot this October in Belfast.
  • This means the series might come sooner than expected, but it is just a pilot.
  • The series takes place thousands of years before the events of "Game of Thrones," and has the working title "The Long Night."

It looks like we won't go as long as we thought without Westeros, because HBO's "Game of Thrones" spin-off will start filming in Belfast in October of this year, according to Deadline.

In June, HBO officially greenlit the pilot for the "Game of Thrones" spin-off, which takes place thousands of years before the events in the books and the show. The series comes from writer Jane Goldman, a frequent collaborator with the director Matthew Vaughn on movies including "Kick-Ass," "Kingsman: The Secret Service," and "X-Men: First Class" and George R.R. Martin, who wrote the "Song of Ice and Fire" books the series is based on.

This is how HBO describes the series, with working title "The Long Night":

"Taking place thousands of years before the events of 'Game of Thrones,' the series chronicles the world's descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour. And only one thing is for sure: from the horrifying secrets of Westeros's history to the true origin of the white walkers, the mysteries of the East, to the Starks of legend … it's not the story we think we know."

Since HBO only ordered a pilot, not an entire season, there's still a chance that it could not move forward with show. But if HBO likes the pilot and picks up the show for an entire season, we could expect it a bit sooner than anticipated. 

Because the series in set so far into Westorosi history, don't expect any of your favorite characters to show up in this — unless you truly love the Night King. 

SEE ALSO: Maisie Williams said goodbye to 'Game of Thrones' in a bloody Instagram post

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why the World Cup soccer ball looks so different

10 Jul 23:06

Eric Trump: No Good Deed…

by Mike McDaniel

….goes unpunished.  Once again, gentle readers, we are reminded of the truth of that aphorism.  We are also reminded that conservatives give far, far more of their financial resources to charity than progressives.  Progressives are great at virtue signaling, at proclaiming their intellectual and moral superiority, but poor at actually putting their money where their eternally chattering mouths are.

This is hardly surprising.  Progressives believe it’s government’s job to care for the poor. They give constant lip service to protecting and supporting the poor, who are for them, an abstraction.  The money government is supposed to use in support of the poor comes primarily from the taxes of the middle class, the deplorables they so love to hate.  It’s always somebody else’s money.

But conservatives don’t see things that way.  They spend time and money supporting not abstractions, not broad progressive narratives, but real people, people with names and lives. They see people in need, and they become good Samaritans and directly help them.  But as Fox News reports, even that cannot escape the hatred of the Left:

A Memphis woman whose nephew beat cancer said she’s experienced hateful online attacks because she thanked Eric Trump for his commitment to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Last month, Sherrie Hopper thanked the president’s son for his support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital of Tennessee on Twitter, and said she and her family are ‘eternally grateful’ for his commitment.

After Trump shared the post, Hopper posted a video for the “#WalkAway Campaign” saying that the ‘hate’ her family has received online is ‘unreal.”

St. Jude’s is a premier pediatric cancer center.  It charges nothing for the care of children, even paying for transportation, lodging and food for families.

Now you’re going to attack a charity? You’re going to attack a St. Jude family? Someone who went through hell for four years? Come on, now,’ Hopper said in the video.

She added that the media doesn’t want to leave Eric Trump alone, and that he wished to remain anonymous in his donation.

‘We already went through hell. We don’t need you. We don’t need this,’ Hopper said, noting some on Twitter accused her of being a ‘Russian bot.

As one might expect, the left’s attacks of Hopper, her family, and Erik Trump have descended to madness. Some have even claimed Trump didn’t donate anything to St. Jude’s. But evenThe New York Times,in January of 2017, admitted he did:

Eric Trump has helped raise $16.3 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital of Tennessee over the past decade, a hospital official said in a letter sent to a charity run by Mr. Trump, the president-elect’s son. The letter comes as Mr. Trump is preparing to remove his name from the charity to avoid conflicts of interest that could emerge from future fund-raising.

 I am amazed by the many ways that you have personally embraced our cause and cared for our children and families,’ Richard C. Shadyac Jr., president of the hospital’s fund-raising organization, wrote in the Dec. 30 letter, which Mr. Trump provided to The Times. “As you are aware, we are expanding our lifesaving work and are working to push cure rates even higher in this country and around the world, while improving the lives of survivors by developing and advancing treatments that reduce side effects. We are only able to do this because of the support provided by donors and supporters like you.’

In his email this week, Mr. Trump said he would ‘continue to be a vocal advocate for pediatric cancer and St. Jude’s mission.

Progressives are good at proclaiming their great compassion, and as their latest immigration narrative demonstrates, their compassion for children knows no bounds, unless those children are individuals, the beneficiaries of the actual generosity and compassion of a conservative.  Then their suffering and lives don’t matter.  Demonizing their political enemies takes precedence, always.

Have we fallen so far?  Is this the fruit of the demented hatred and rhetoric of Maxine Waters and other congressional corruptocrats?  It’s not enough to publically harass and abuse people that have the most tenuous relationship to President Trump.  Now the Left is abusing the families of children fighting for their lives.  #WalkAway?  Any decent human being should #RunAway.

10 Jul 21:15

How Government Caused 'the Boy Crisis’

by Maxim Lott

Warren Farrell, author of The Boy Crisis, was once associated with the feminist movement. Then he changed his views. "I don't agree with the part of feminism that says, 'Men are the oppressors and women are the oppressed,'" Farrell tells Maxim Lott, a senior producer of Stossel on Reason.

For example, men die five years earlier than women, have more dangerous jobs, and are often passed over for custody. Boys are two times more likely than girls to commit suicide. Boys are 29 percent less likely to get a college degree than girls.

So why do men earn more and have more influence in government and business? A big reason, Farrell argues, is that men are filling social expectations to become the family breadwinner.

Click here for full text and downloadable versions.

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The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel; his independent production company, Stossel Productions; and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.

View this article.

10 Jul 20:39

Progressive Outlets Claim #WalkAway Movement Being Driven by… Russia!

by Mike LaChance
"may be an early onslaught of Kremlin-linked Twitter attacks ahead of the U.S. midterm elections"
10 Jul 18:58

Constructive Criticism of Heterodox Academy and Its Inaugural Open Mind Conference

by Stephen Messenger
Stephen Messenger has a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Systems Management. He has worked for 35 years in systems engineering and program management for FAA, DoD, and civilian government acquisition programs. In his spare time he studies psychology, ideology, and politics. Heterodox Academy (HxA) is my favorite of all the..
10 Jul 13:58

June 2018 temperature falls near middle of 2007 base year range

by admin

The UAH mean global temperature anomaly estimate for June 2018 was 0.21ºC. For the year-to-date, the average is cooler than the average for last three years, and close to the 2007 Bet base year average. The monthly anomalies in 2007 ranged between -0.04 and 0.43°C.

An inspection of the updated chart (top right) of this page shows that the recorded temperature has only infrequently exceeded the  IPCC/Gore projection of 3ºC per century of warming. In fact the recorded temperature has been lower than the dangerous warming projection for 82% of months since the end of 2007. That figure compares unfavourably with the 57% of months for which the actual temperature was warmer than Armstrong’s bet on the no-change forecast. Note that a figure of 50% would be unbiased.

10 Jul 04:32

CBOE Files with SEC for Bitcoin ETF

by Nick Marinoff
SEC CBOE ETF

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is examining an application from the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) Global Markets which, if approved, could grant the company a coveted bitcoin ETF license, and bring new waves of institutional investors to the bitcoin arena.

The process began in June 2018, when the SEC recently sought comments from industry professionals regarding the ETF in question, which is being offered through the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust – a joint venture between financial firms VanEck and SolidX. The application is the Trust’s third attempt to garner any such license; the first two attempts were rejected in early 2017, upon which the SEC released the following statement:

“Based on the record before it, the Commission believes that the significant markets for bitcoin are unregulated. Therefore, the Commission does not find the proposed rule change to be consistent with the Exchange Act.”

The cryptocurrency space remains largely unmonitored, and the SEC has sought to take a firm stance to ensure consumer protection and safety. After much debate and speculation, however, officials recently decided that both bitcoin and Ethereum – despite its early pre-sale (now ICO) status – were too decentralized to be considered securities, and could not be regulated by the organization.

Regulators of the SEC also announced in late June that they were working on an outline for newer (and less-restrictive) legislation regarding open-ended and low-risk ETFs to increase innovation in the financial space. This could potentially boost the Trust’s chances, along with other ventures seeking to establish bitcoin ETFs in the future.

Granted the VanEck SolidX application moves forward, clients will be able to purchase shares in the Trust, which are worth approximately 25 bitcoins each at press time. Following a period of speculation from interested professionals, the application has now been published for public viewing and commentary, so regulators can better understand if the venture is worth acting on.

“[The ETF], under normal market conditions, will use available offering proceeds to purchase bitcoin primarily in the OTC markets without being leveraged or exceeding relevant position limits,” the Trust’s application reads. It also states that an insurance policy will be set in place, granted theft or cyber attacks occur. Thus, investors can rest assured that their funds will be covered in the event of a loss:

“The insurance policy will carry initial limits of $25 million in primary coverage and $100 million in excess coverage, with the ability to increase coverage depending on the value of the bitcoins held by the Trust.”

Several financial giants have commented that bitcoin-based ETFs are crucial to financial innovation, with companies like JP Morgan calling them the “holy grail for owners and investors” back in February 2018. Should CBOE’s application be passed, client investment options will open in the first quarter of 2019.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

10 Jul 04:30

Elon Musk is posting photos and videos of the Thai cave rescue operation — and SpaceX confirmed he's there

by Rosie Perper

thai cave elon musk

  • Elon Musk posted video and photos from inside the cave in Thailand on the last day of the rescue.
  • Musk has expressed his desire to help with rescue efforts on social media, and orchestrated the creation of what he called a "kid-size submarine."
  • In the end, the Thai authorities managed to evacuate all 13 trapped people without Musk's help.
  • They praised Musk's submarine, but said it wasn't "practical" for their mission.

 

This story has been updated with new information.

Elon Musk posted photos and video from inside the cave in Thailand during the final day of rescue operations there.

Musk posted photos on his Twitter account at around 5:00 a.m. local time Tuesday, reportedly from inside and outside of the cave.

"Just returned from Cave 3," read the caption, likely referring to Chamber Three, a crucial part of the cave system about 0.3 miles (0.5 kilometers) from the entrance. "Mini-sub is ready if needed. It is made of rocket parts & named Wild Boar after kids’ soccer team."

At that point, there were still four members of the soccer team trapped inside, along with their coach. Later that day they were all rescued. (You can read Business Insider's coverage of the rescue itself here.)

In another post around 5:30 a.m., this time on Instagram, several people are seen wading through the waters of the cave with headlights guided by rope.

"Just got back from Cave 3," the caption reads.

Just got back from Cave 3

A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on Jul 9, 2018 at 2:43pm PDT on

Musk has been posting on social media about wanting to help rescue efforts in Thailand, and Business Insider has confirmed that he actually traveled to the Southeast Asian country himself.

"Elon and the team visited the tunnel last night to assess the conditions and get further feedback on the mini-submarine, in case it was used as a backup option," SpaceX told Business Insider Tuesday after declining on Monday to comment on the record.

Musk floated a plan on Twitter on Friday that could help rescue the boys and said engineers from his companies would travel to Thailand on Saturday. He suggested that a tube or series of tubes could be sent through the cave network and inflated to create a tunnel for the soccer team to travel through, without needing scuba gear.

He has also suggested using what he described as a "kid-sized submarine," posting videos of the device on Sunday.

But Musk tweeted Sunday morning that his team of SpaceX engineers didn't actually go to Thailand because rescue operations were already underway.

Experts have previously weighed in on the Tesla, SpaceX, and The Boring Company CEO's proposed plans, and said Musks' team may not be of much use due to huge numbers of experts already working on the rescue.

"It doesn’t matter how much equipment you throw at it or how many dollars you throw at it, you may be reaching the limits of the technology in this particular situation," Anmar Mirza, National Cave Rescue Commission National Coordinator, told Slate on Saturday.

Officials on Tuesday echoed expert comment on Musk's proposed technology to help save the boys. 

"Although his technology is good and sophisticated, it's not practical for this mission," the rescue chief said. 

Rescue efforts over the last few days have managed to bring eight out of the 12 boys to safety, with divers going in and out of the caves to rescue them in groups of four. The rescued boys are currently in the hospital receiving treatment.

The remaining four boys and their 25-year-old coach remain in the cave, with highly-anticipated rescue efforts underway.

Dave Mosher contributed reporting to this story.

SEE ALSO: 8 boys have been saved from the Thai caves on the 2nd day of the rescue

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: We interviewed Pepper - the humanoid robot

10 Jul 03:55

A Fake Video of a Child Kidnapping Leads to the Real Murder of an Innocent 26-year-old. (Joey Salads, Take Note)

by Lenore Skenazy

There is nothing easier to do than spreading hysteria when it comes to child safety. In America, the news has been doing this with great success for decades. In India, it took social media only a short while to bring them up to speed. Here is what happened next — it is graphic and heartbreaking,

The post A Fake Video of a Child Kidnapping Leads to the Real Murder of an Innocent 26-year-old. (Joey Salads, Take Note) appeared first on Let Grow.

09 Jul 22:21

How People Created Ice in the Desert 2,000 Years Ago

by Ross Pomeroy, RCScience
Ross Pomeroy, RCScience
Today, creating ice is as easy as placing water in your freezer, but how would you accomplish the same phase-altering feat without an energy-guzzling appliance?What may seem unfathomable at first thought was regularly accomplished more than 2,000 years ago, and in the desert of all places!
09 Jul 18:48

Why Are We Doing This? A Trove Of New Research Documents The Folly Of Renewable Energy Promotion

by Kenneth Richard

The advocacy for widespread growth in renewable energy (especially wind, solar, and biomass) usage has increasingly become the clarion call of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) movement.  And yet more and more published research documents the adverse effects of relying on renewables.

Image: Wasili Karbe, cropped from video here.

Over the course of the last year, at least 30 papers have been published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature detailing the fatuity of promoting renewable energy as a long-term “fix” for climate change mitigation.  A categorized list of these papers is provided below.

1. “More Renewables Mean Less Stable Grids”

Schäfer et al., 2018    “Multiple types of fluctuations impact the collective dynamics of power grids and thus challenge their robust operation.”
(press release)   More renewables mean less stable grids, researchers find …  [I]ntegrating growing numbers of renewable power installations and microgrids onto the grid can result in larger-than-expected fluctuations in grid frequency.”

2. Increasing Fossil Fuel Use (Natural Gas) Reduces Emissions More Than Increasing Wind/Solar Energy

Anderson et al., 2018     “Before considering the future, it is worth examining just how far we’ve already come without any federal CO2 regulation (for existing power plants) in the U.S. Figure 1 illustrates historical CO2 emissions and natural gas prices from 2005 through 2017 (estimated). During that period, emissions have declined from nearly 2.7 billion tons to approximately 1.9 billion tons (∼30%), while revealing a strong link to natural gas prices. To be sure, while other factors (such as renewable energy incentives) also had an impact, the clearest means by which to reduce CO2 emissions has been to reduce the cost of generating electricity with less CO2-emitting fuels (i.e., substituting natural gas for coal)So successful have market forces been under the existing regulatory framework to date that estimated 2017 CO2 emission levels are already at the CPP’s 2025 target(albeit without accounting for electricity demand growth between 2017 and 2025), well exceeding the AEO’s own Reference Case projections for 2025.”
Jewell et al., 2018     “Hopes are high that removing fossil fuel subsidies could help to mitigate climate change by discouraging inefficient energy consumption and leveling the playing field for renewable energy.Here we show that removing fossil fuel subsidies would have an unexpectedly small impact on global energy demand and carbon dioxide emissions and would not increase renewable energy use by 2030. Removing [fossil fuel] subsidies in most regions would deliver smaller emission reductions than the Paris Agreement (2015) climate pledges and in some regions global [fossil fuel] subsidy removal may actually lead to an increase in emissions, owing to either coal replacing subsidized oil and natural gas or natural-gas use shifting from subsidizing, energy-exporting regions to non-subsidizing, importing regions.”

3. Renewables Fail To Deliver: When Demand Is High, Generation Capacity Is Low

Cradden and McDermott, 2018     “Prolonged cold spells were experienced in Ireland in the winters of 2009–10 and 2010–11, and electricity demand was relatively high at these times, whilst wind generation capacity factors were low. Such situations can cause difficulties for an electricity system with a high dependence on wind energy.”

4. Renewable Energy Becomes More Costly The More It Is Deployed … Renewable Energy Expansion Ensures More Fossil Fuel Installation Is Necessary As Backup

Blazquez et al., 2018     “However, promoting renewables –in liberalized power markets– creates a paradox in that successful penetration of renewables could fall victim to its own success. With the current market architecture, future deployment of renewable energy will necessarily be more costly and less scalable. Moreover, transition towards a full 100% renewable electricity sector is unattainable. Paradoxically, in order for renewable technologies to continue growing their market share, they need to co-exist with fossil fuel technologies. … The paradox is that the same market design and renewables policies that led to current success become increasingly less successful in the future as the share of renewables in the energy mix grows. … Full decarbonization of a power sector that relies on renewable technologies alone, given the current design of these markets, is not possible as conventional technologies provide important price signals. Markets would collapse if the last unit of fossil fuel technologies was phased out. In the extreme (theoretical) case of 100 percent renewables, prices would be at the renewables marginal cost, equal to zero or even negative for long periods. These prices would not be capturing the system’s costs nor would they be useful to signal operation and investment decisions. The result would be a purely administered subsidy, i.e., a non-market outcome. This is already occurring in Germany as Praktiknjo and Erdmann [31] point out and is clearly an unstable outcome. Thus, non-dispatchable technologies need to coexist with fossil fuel technologies. This outcome makes it impossible for renewables policy to reach success, defined as achieving a specified level of deployment at the lowest possible cost. With volatile, low and even negative electricity prices, investors would be discouraged from entering the market and they would require more incentives to continue to operate.”
Marques et al., 2018     The installed capacity of wind power preserves fossil fuel dependency. … Electricity consumption intensity and its peaks have been satisfied by burning fossil fuels. … [A]s RES [renewable energy sources] increases, the expected decreasing tendency in the installed capacity of electricity generation from fossil fuels, has not been found. Despite the high share of RES in the electricity mix, RES, namely wind power and solar PV, are characterised by intermittent electricity generation.  … The inability of RES-I [intermittent renewable energy sources like wind and solar] to satisfy high fluctuations in electricity consumption on its own constitutes one of the main obstacles to the deployment of renewables. This incapacity is due to both the intermittency of natural resource availability, and the difficulty or even impossibility of storing electricity on a large scale, to defer generation.  As a consequence, RES [renewable energy sources] might not fully replace fossil sources …  In fact, the characteristics of electricity consumption reinforce the need to burn fossil fuels to satisfy the demand for electricity. Specifically, the ECA results confirm the substitution effect between the installed capacity of solar PV and fossil fuels. In contrast, installed wind power capacity has required all fossil fuels and hydropower to back up its intermittency in the long-run equilibrium. The EGA outcomes show that hydropower has been substituting electricity generation through NRES [non-renewable energy sources], but that other RES have needed the flexibility of natural gas plants, to back them up. … [D]ue to the intermittency phenomenon, the growth of installed capacity of RES-I [intermittent renewable energy sources – wind power] could maintain or increase electricity generation from fossil fuels.  … In short, the results indicate that the EU’s domestic electricity production systems have preserved fossil fuel generation, and include several economic inefficiencies and inefficiencies in resource allocation. … [A]n increase of 1% in the installed capacity of wind power provokes an increase of 0.26%, and 0.22% in electricity generation from oil and natural gas, respectively in the long-run.”

5. Biofuels – Declared Carbon-Neutral Renewables By The EU – Increase Emissions More Than Coal 

Sterman et al., 2018     [G]overnments around the world are promoting biomass to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The European Union declared biofuels to be carbon-neutral to help meet its goal of 20% renewable energy by 2020, triggering a surge in use of wood for heat and electricity (European Commission 2003, Leturcq 2014, Stupak et al 2007). … But do biofuels actually reduce GHG emissions? … [A]lthough wood has approximately the same carbon intensity as coal (0.027 vs. 0.025 tC GJ−1 of primary energy […]), combustion efficiency of wood and wood pellets is lower (Netherlands Enterprise Agency; IEA 2016). Estimates also suggest higher processing losses in the wood supply chain (Roder et al 2015). Consequently, wood-fired power plants generate more CO2 per kWh than coal. Burning wood instead of coal therefore creates a carbon debt—an immediate increase in atmospheric CO2 compared to fossil energy—that can be repaid over time only as—and if— NPP [net primary production] rises above the flux of carbon from biomass and soils to the atmosphere on the harvested lands. … Growth in wood supply causes steady growth in atmospheric CO2 because more CO2 is added to the atmosphere every year in initial carbon debt than is paid back by regrowth, worsening global warming and climate change. The qualitative result that growth in bioenergy raises atmospheric CO2 does not depend on the parameters: as long as bioenergy generates an initial carbon debt, increasing harvests mean more is ‘borrowed’ every year than is paid back. More precisely, atmospheric CO2 rises as long as NPP [net primary production] remains below the initial carbon debt incurred each year plus the fluxes of carbon from biomass and soils to the atmosphere. … [C]ontrary to the policies of the EU and other nations, biomass used to displace fossil fuels injects CO2 into the atmosphere at the point of combustion and during harvest, processing and transport. Reductions in atmospheric CO2 come only later, and only if the harvested land is allowed to regrow.”
Fanous and Moomaw, 2018     “These nations fail to recognize the intensity of CO2 emissions linked to the burning of biomass. The chemical energy stored in wood is converted into heat or electricity by way of combustion and is sometimes used for combined heat and power cogeneration. At the point of combustion, biomass emits more carbon per unit of heat than most fossil fuels. Due to the inefficiencies of biomass energy, bioenergy power plants emit approximately 65 percent more CO2, per MWH than modern coal plants, and approximately 285 percent more than natural gas combined cycle plantsFurthermore, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that combustion of biomass generates gross greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions roughly equivalent to the combustion of fossil fuels. In the case of forest timber turned into wood pellets for bioenergy use, the IPCC further indicates that the process produces higher CO2 emissions than fossil fuels for decades to centuries.”

6. Biofuels “Use More Energy At A Higher Cost” And Produce More Air Pollution Than Fossil Fuels

Richardson and Kumar, 2017     “A growing human population creates a larger demand for food products and makes conservation of resources and increased efficiency of agricultural production more vital. … These results conclude that feed production systems are more energy efficient and less environmentally costly than corn-based ethanol. … [A]ccording to the findings of this study, biofuels, derived for the purpose of producing energy with little environmental impacts, actually use more energy at a higher environmental cost than the alternative crop use. As technology stands now, in terms of energy and environmental sustainability, the benefits of switching land uses to the production of corn-based transportation biofuels are not as favorable as continuing to produce corn for feed/food consumption.”
Emery et al., 2017     “Although climate change mitigation and energy security policies are generally expected to be compatible with air pollution and health cost reductions (McCollum et al., 2013), there is evidence that first-generation alternative fuels such as corn ethanol lead to higher health costs due to air pollution than conventional fuels [gasoline]  (Hill et al., 2009). … We find that life-cycle non-GHG air pollutant emissions, particularly NOX [nitrous oxides] and PM [particulates], are higher for corn ethanol and other biofuel blends than conventional petroleum fuels. Emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon monoxide (CO) increase by 9–50% per 100 km traveled for high-ethanol blends from corn grain and combined grain and stover feedstocks. NOX, PM [particulates], and SOX [sulfur dioxides] increase by 71–124% from corn grain and 56–110% from combined grain and stover, relative to conventional gasoline. Biodiesel blends show an increase of 1–11% (B20) and 4–55% (B100) in air pollution, with the largest increases in VOC [volatile organic compounds] and SOX [sulfur dioxides] emissions. … The total social costs of ethanol blends are higher than that of gasoline, due in part to higher life-cycle emissions of non-GHG pollutants and higher health and mortality costs per unit.”

7. Proximity To Wind Turbines Significantly Reduces Quality Of Life, Well-Being For Nearby Residents

Barry et al., 2018     “The findings indicate that residential proximity to wind turbines is correlated with annoyance and health-related quality of life measures. These associations differ in some respects from associations with noise measurements. Results can be used to support discussions between communities and wind-turbine developers regarding potential health effects of wind turbines.”
Krekel and Zerrahn, 2017     We show that the construction of wind turbines close to households exerts significant negative external effects on residential well-being … In fact, beyond unpleasant noise emissions (Bakker et al., 2012; McCunney et al., 2014) and impacts on wildlife (Pearce-Higgins et al., 2012; Schuster et al., 2015), most importantly, wind turbines have been found to have negative impacts on landscape aesthetics (Devine-Wright, 2005; Jobert et al., 2007; Wolsink, 2007). … We show that the construction of a wind turbine within a radius of 4,000 metres has a significant negative and sizeable effect on life satisfaction. For larger radii, no negative externalities can be detected.”
Gortsas et al., 2017     Infrasound, low frequency noise and soil vibrations produced by large wind turbines might disturb the comfort of nearby structures and residents. In addition repowering close to urban areas produces some fears to the nearby residents that the level of disturbance may increase. Due to wind loading, the foundation of a wind turbine interacts with the soil and creates micro-seismic surface waves that propagate for long distances and they are able to influence adversely sensitive measurements conducted by laboratories located far from the excitation point.”

8. “Renewable Energy Consumption Has A Negative Effect On Economic Growth”

Lee and Jung, 2018     “The results of the autoregressive distributed lag bounds test show that renewable energy consumption has a negative effect on economic growth, and the results of a vector error correction mechanism causality tests indicate a unidirectional relationship from economic growth to renewable energy consumption. The empirical results imply that economic growth is a direct driver expanding renewable energy use. In terms of policy implications, it is best for policy makers to focus on overall economic growth rather than expanding renewable energy to drive economic growth. … [O]ur result suggests that renewable energy policy should be implemented when the real GDP is enough large to overcome the negative impact from renewable energy, because the causality from economic growth to renewable energy consumption in the long run as one of our result is caused by both low productivity of renewable energy production and expansion of government-led renewable energy.”

9. Research: 100% Renewable Energy Is “Unattainable” In Reality – Decarbonization Is “Arguably Reckless”

Clack et al., 2017   The scenarios of [Jacobson et al., 2015, “Low-cost solution to the grid reliability problem with 100% penetration of intermittent wind, water, and solar for all purposes”] can, at best, be described as a poorly executed exploration of an interesting hypothesis. The study’s numerous shortcomings and errors render it unreliable as a guide about the likely cost, technical reliability, or feasibility of a 100% wind, solar, and hydroelectric power system. It is one thing to explore the potential use of technologies in a clearly caveated hypothetical analysis; it is quite another to claim that a model using these technologies at an unprecedented scale conclusively shows the feasibility and reliability of the modeled energy system implemented by midcentury. From the information given by [Jacobson et al., 2015], it is clear that both hydroelectric power and flexible load have been modeled in erroneous ways and that these errors alone invalidate the study and its results.”
Heard et al., 2017     While many modelled scenarios have been published claiming to show that a 100% renewable electricity system is achievable, there is no empirical or historical evidence that demonstrates that such systems are in fact feasible. Of the studies published to date, 24 have forecast regional, national or global energy requirements at sufficient detail to be considered potentially credible. We critically review these studies using four novel feasibility criteria for reliable electricity systems needed to meet electricity demand this century. [N]one of the 24 studies provides convincing evidence that these basic feasibility criteria can be met. Of a maximum possible unweighted feasibility score of seven, the highest score for any one study was four. … On the basis of this review, efforts to date seem to have substantially underestimated the challenge and delayed the identification and implementation of effective and comprehensive decarbonization pathways. … To date, efforts to assess the viability of 100% renewable systems, taking into account aspects such as financial cost, social acceptance, pace of roll-out, land use, and materials consumption, have substantially underestimated the challenge of excising fossil fuels from our energy supplies. This desire to push the 100%-renewable ideal without critical evaluation has ironically delayed the identification and implementation of effective and comprehensive decarbonization pathways. We argue that the early exclusion of other forms of technology from plans to decarbonize the global electricity supply is unsupportable, and arguably reckless. … The realization of 100% renewable electricity (and energy more broadly) appears diametrically opposed to other critical sustainability issues such as eradication of poverty, land conservation and reduced ecological footprints, reduction in air pollution, preservation of biodiversity, and social justice for indigenous people.”

10. Wealthy Countries Foist Social-Environmental Disruption From Wind, Solar Onto Poorer Countries 

Shakespear, 2018     “A trend was found, whereby developing countries tend to suffer the most socio-environmental disruption from material extraction for solar-panels and wind-turbines while exhibiting lower implementation of these technologies, and developed countries show opposite effects. This indicates that EUE [ecologically unequal exchange] effects constitute global solar-panel and wind-turbine systems, and that developed countries displace socio-environmental disruption from energy innovation onto developing countries. … [I]mplementation of solarpanels and wind-turbines tended to be the most prevalent within countries that suffer the least environmental and socio-economic consequences from the extraction of materials for these technologies. This effectively means that efforts to increase sustainability in relatively powerful countries via renewable energy implementation exacerbates unsustainable practices in the relatively less powerful countries that extract the minerals for these technologies.”

11. Wind Power Harming The Environment, Biosphere – Destroying Habitats, Endangering Rare Species 

Millon et al., 2018  (full paper)   Wind turbines impact bat activity, leading to high losses of habitat use … Island bats represent 60% of bat species worldwide and the highest proportion of terrestrial mammals on isolated islands, including numerous endemic and threatened species (Fleming and Racey, 2009). … We present one of the first studies to quantify the indirect impact of wind farms on insectivorous bats in tropical hotspots of biodiversity. Bat activity [New Caledonia, Pacific Islands, which hosts nine species of bat] was compared between wind farm sites and control sites, via ultrasound recordings at stationary points [A bat pass is defined as a single or several echolocation calls during a five second interval.] The activity of bent winged bats (Miniopterus sp.) and wattled bats (Chalinolobus sp.) were both significantly lower at wind turbine sites. The result of the study demonstrates a large effect on bat habitat use at wind turbines sites compared to control sites. Bat activity was 20 times higher at control sites compared to wind turbine siteswhich suggests that habitat loss is an important impact to consider in wind farm planning. …  Here, we provide evidence showing that two genera of insectivorous bat species are also threatened by wind farms.  … To our knowledge, this is one of the first studies quantifying the indirect negative impact of wind turbines on bat activity in the tropics. … The lower attractiveness of the foraging habitat under wind turbines, both in a tropical and in a temperate climate, indicates that the indirect impact of wind turbine is a worldwide phenomenon.”

Lopucki et al., 2018      “Living in habitats affected by wind turbines may result in an increase in corticosterone levels in ground dwelling animals… Environmental changes and disturbance factors caused by wind turbines may act as potential stressors for natural populations of both flying and ground dwelling animal species. The physiological stress response results in release of glucocorticoid hormones. … The common vole showed a distinct physiological response − the individuals living near the wind turbines had a higher level of corticosterone [physiological stress affecting regulation of energy, immune reactions]. … This is the first study suggesting impact of wind farms on physiological stress reactions in wild rodent populations. Such knowledge may be helpful in making environmental decisions when planning the development of wind energy and may contribute to optimization of conservation actions for wildlife.”
Ferrão da Costa et al., 2018     “According to a review by Lovich and Ennen (2013), the construction and operation of wind farms have both potential and known impacts on terrestrial vertebrates, such as: (i) increase in direct mortality due to traffic collisions; (ii) destruction and modification of the habitat, including road development, habitat fragmentation and barriers to gene flow; (iii) noise effects, visual impacts, vibration and shadow flicker effects from turbines; (iv) electromagnetic field generation; (v) macro and microclimate change; (vi) predator attraction; and (vii) increase in fire risks. … Helldin et al. (2012) also highlighted that the development of road networks associated with wind farms could promote increased access for traffic related to recreation, forestry, agriculture and hunting. The consequence, particularly on remote places, is the increase in human presence, affecting large mammals via significant disturbance, habitat loss and habitat fragmentation. These negative effects are expected to be particularly relevant for species that are more sensitive to human presence and activities, such as large carnivores. Large carnivores, such as the wolf, bear, lynx or wolverine, tend to avoid areas that are regularly used by humans and—especially for breeding—show a preference for rugged and undisturbed areas (Theuerkauf et al. 2003; George and Crooks 2006; May et al. 2006; Elfstrom et al. 2008; Sazatornil et al. 2016), which are often chosen for wind power development (Passoni et al. 2017). … Results have shown that the main impact of wind farms on wolves is the induced reduction on breeding site fidelity and reproductive rates. These effects, particularly when breeding sites shift to more unsuitable areas, may imply decreasing survival and pack viability in the short term.”
Watson et al., 2018     “The global potential for wind power generation is vast, and the number of installations is increasing rapidly. We review case studies from around the world of the effects on raptors of wind-energy development. Collision mortality, displacement, and habitat loss have the potential to cause population-level effects, especially for species that are rare or endangered.”
Aschwanden et al., 2018    The extrapolated number of collisions was 20.7 birds/wind turbine (CI-95%: 14.3–29.6) for 8.5 months. Nocturnally migrating passerines, especially kinglets (Regulus sp.), represented 55% of the fatalities. 2.1% of the birds theoretically exposed to a collision (measured by radar at the height of the wind turbines) were effectively colliding.”
Naylor, 2018     “While wind energy provides a viable solution for emission reductions, it comes at an environmental cost, particularly for birds. As wind energy grows in popularity, its environmental impacts are becoming more apparent. Recent studies indicate that wind power has negative effects on proximate wildlife. These impacts can be direct—collision fatalities—and indirect—habitat loss (Fargione et al. 2012; Glen et al. 2013). Negative impacts associated with operational wind farms include collision mortalities from towers or transmission lines and barotrauma for bats. Habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as avoidance behavior, are also consequences resulting from wind farm construction and related infrastructure. The potential harm towards protected and migratory bird species are an urgent concern, especially for wind farms located along migratory flyways. In terms of mortality, wind turbines kill an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 birds, annually (Smallwood 2013). The high speed at which the fan wings move and the concentration of turbines create a gauntlet of hazards for birds to fly through. … [T]he height of most wind turbines aligns with the altitude many bird species fly at (Bowden 2015). Birds of prey— raptors—are of particular concern because of their slow reproductive cycles and long lifespans relative to other bird species (Kuvlesky 2007).”
Lange et al., 2018     “Results from our surface water extractions and aerial surveys suggest that the wind farm has negatively affected redheads through altered hydrology and disturbance displacement. Our surface water extraction analysis provides compelling evidence that the local hydrology has been greatly affected by the construction of the wind farm. … Our results suggest the occurrence of direct habitat loss and disturbance displacement of redheads from the wind farm along the lower Texas coast. Although our study was directed solely toward redheads, it is likely that this wind farm has affected other species that use these wetlands or migrate along the lower Texas coast (Contreras et al. 2017). Studies in Europe investigating the effects on waterfowl by wind turbines have reported similar results, showing that turbines have likely compromised foraging opportunities for waterfowl through disturbance displacement (Larsen and Madsen 2000).”
Chiebáo, 2018     “I studied the large-scale movements of white-tailed eagles during the dispersal period, assessing their space use in relation to the distribution of existing and proposed wind farms across Finland. I found that a breeding pair holding a territory closer to an installation has a lower probability to breed successfully when compared to a pair from a territory lying farther away. Such lower probability may in part reflect a harmful interaction between the eagles and wind turbines in the form of collision mortality, to which the adults appear to be particularly vulnerable during the breeding season. Regarding the post-fledging period, I found that the probability of a young eagle approaching a wind turbine decreases sharply as the turbine is installed at increasing distances from the nest.”
Frick et al., 2017     “Large numbers of migratory bats are killed every year at wind energy facilities. However, population-level impacts are unknown as we lack basic demographic information about these species. We investigated whether fatalities at wind turbines could impact population viability of migratory bats, focusing on the hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus), the species most frequently killed by turbines in North America. Using expert elicitation and population projection models, we show that mortality from wind turbines may drastically reduce population size and increase the risk of extinction. For example, the hoary bat population could decline by as much as 90% in the next 50 years if the initial population size is near 2.5 million bats and annual population growth rate is similar to rates estimated for other bat species (λ = 1.01). Our results suggest that wind energy development may pose a substantial threat to migratory bats in North America. If viable populations are to be sustained, conservation measures to reduce mortality from turbine collisions likely need to be initiated soon. Our findings inform policy decisions regarding preventing or mitigating impacts of energy infrastructure development on wildlife.”
Hammerson et al, 2017      “Conservationists are increasingly concerned about North American bats due to the arrival and spread of the White-nose Syndrome (WNS) disease and mortality associated with wind turbine strikes. To place these novel threats in context for a group of mammals that provides important ecosystem services, we performed the first comprehensive conservation status assessment focusing exclusively on the 45 species occurring in North America north of Mexico. Although most North American bats have large range sizes and large populations, as of 2015, 18–31% of the species were at risk (categorized as having vulnerable, imperiled, or critically imperiled NatureServe conservation statuses) and therefore among the most imperiled terrestrial vertebrates on the continent.”
Vasilakis et al., 2017     Numerous wind farms are planned in a region hosting the only cinereous vulture population in south-eastern Europe. We combined range use modelling and a Collision Risk Model (CRM) to predict the cumulative collision mortality for cinereous vulture under all operating and proposed wind farms. Four different vulture avoidance rates were considered in the CRM.  Cumulative collision mortality was expected to be eight to ten times greater in the future (proposed and operating wind farms) than currently (operating wind farms), equivalent to 44% of the current population (103 individuals) if all proposals are authorized (2744 MW). Even under the most optimistic scenario whereby authorized proposals will not collectively exceed the national target for wind harnessing in the study area (960 MW), cumulative collision mortality would still be high (17% of current population) and likely lead to population extinction.”

12. Wind Turbine Blade Waste Disposal A Growing Ecological Nightmare

Liu and Barlow, 2017     “Wind energy has developed rapidly over the last two decades to become one of the most promising and economically viable sources of renewable energy. Although wind energy is claimed to provide clean renewable energy without any emissions during operation, but it is only one side of the coin. The blades, one of the most important components in the wind turbines, made with composite, are currently regarded as unrecyclable.  With the first wave of early commercial wind turbine installations now approaching their end of life, the problem of blade disposal is just beginning to emerge as a significant factor for the future. … The research indicates that there will be 43 million tonnes of blade waste worldwide by 2050 with China possessing 40% of the waste, Europe 25%, the United States 16% and the rest of the world 19%.”
Ramirez-Tejeda et al., 2017     “Globally, more than seventy thousand wind turbine blades were deployed in 2012 and there were 433 gigawatts (GW) of wind installed capacity worldwide at the end of 2015. Moreover, the United States’ installed wind power capacity will need to increase from 74 GW to 300 GW3 to achieve its 20% wind production goal by 2030.  … The wind turbine blades are designed to have a lifespan of about twenty years, after which they would have to be dismantled due to physical degradation or damage beyond repair. … Estimations have suggested that between 330,000 tons/year by 2028 and 418,000 tons/year by 2040 of composite material from blades will need to be disposed worldwide. That would be equivalent to the amount of plastics waste generated by four million people in the United States in 2013. This anticipated increase in blade manufacturing and disposal will likely lead to adverse environmental consequences. … Despite its negative consequences, landfilling has so far been the most commonly utilized wind turbine blade disposal method. …  Landfilling is especially problematic because its high resistance to heat, sunlight, and moisture means that it will take hundreds of years to degrade in a landfill environment. The wood and other organic material present in the blades would also end up in landfills, potentially releasing methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and other volatile organic compounds to the environment.”
09 Jul 16:46

Google co-founder Sergey Brin says he's been mining ethereum with his son

by Zoë Bernard

sergey brin

  • Speaking at a blockchain conference in Morocco, Google co-founder Sergey Brin said that he's been mining ethereum with his son.
  • Brin said that while Google has been slow to explore blockchain technology, he personally found the technology to be  "mind-boggling" and "extraordinary." 

Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his son have been mining ethereum.

At a blockchain conference hosted by Sir Richard Branson in Morocco, Brin, dressed in a white caftan, appeared on a panel to discuss the potential of blockchain technology.

Brin said that he first became interested in blockchain technology when his son asked for a gaming PC.

"A year or two ago, my son insisted that we needed to get a gaming PC," said Brin. "I told him, 'Okay, if we get a gaming PC, we have to mine cryptocurrency. So we set up an ethereum miner on there, and we've made a few pennies, a few dollars since."

Brin, who currently serves as the president of Google's parent company, Alphabet, said that Google had been slow to pick up blockchain technology.

"[Google] already failed to be on the bleeding edge," he said.

While Brin admitted that he didn't know too much about cryptocurrencies, he said that he found the technology's potential to be "extraordinary."

"It's mind-boggling," said Brin. "I see the future as taking these...research-y, out-there ideas and making them real."

Brin, who was a last-minute addition to the conference, was recently spotted sailing off the coast of Ibiza alongside venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson. 

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09 Jul 14:36

Dark Ages: Scientists Are Being Purged From Universities for Doing Science

by Anthony Watts
Heather Heying, The Wall Street Journal The postmodernist left on campus is intolerant not only of opposing views, but of science itself. Who would have guessed that when America cleaved, the left would get the National Football League and the right would get uncontested custody of science? The revolution on college campuses, which seeks to…
09 Jul 03:58

The all time record high temperatures for Los Angeles are the result of a faulty weather stations and should be disqualified

by Anthony Watts
With those hot weather records in Los Angeles being set, it’s important to remember where measurements are taken. I’ve done an investigation and found that every “all time high” reported by the LA Times is from a station compromised by heat sources and heat sinks. In my opinion, the data from these stations is worthless.…
08 Jul 20:54

Elon Musk making “kid-sized submarine” to rescue teens in Thailand cave

by Timothy B. Lee

Enlarge / SpaceX CEO Elon Musk speaks at the International Astronautical Congress on September 29, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (credit: Mark Brake/Getty Images)

Elon Musk tweeted on Saturday that a team of SpaceX engineers is hours away from completing work on a "tiny kid-sized submarine" that could be used to extract 12 teenagers and preteens who are stranded with their soccer coach in a flooded cave in Thailand. Musk has had a team of engineers working on the problem for the last couple of days and has been keeping the world updated on the work via Twitter.

On Thursday night, Musk tweeted about an idea to use an inflatable nylon tube to help the kids escape. By Friday afternoon, Musk's thinking had evolved. He tweeted that his team was working on building "double-layer Kevlar pressure pods with Teflon coating to slip by rocks." A mid-day tweet on Saturday provided another update:

And this isn't just a theory: Musk says that his team is building the contraption now. "Construction complete in about 8 hours, then 17 hour flight to Thailand," Musk tweeted just before noon, California time.

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