1185: Resilience

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 1m
October 27th, 2019
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Executive Producers: Sir Pants, Sir Omega Project, Baron Walkman of Buckeye, Black Knight Sir Bryan Barrow, Protector of Royal Wootton Bassett, the Baron of Barbados, the Viscount of Videogames and the Earl of Mead, Sir Cumlocution, Sir Dave, Dame Melody, and Lady Isabella, Sir Nubbn, Sir Brian Baronet of Northern CT, Ed LeBouthillier

Associate Executive Producers: Ron Convet, Black Knight Scott, Baron of North Georgia, Sir Horatio of Arabia, Sir Rod, Sir Richard Garrett, John Hawley, Anonymous, Sir Null-Pointer

Cover Artist: YOOKER


Start of Show
White House Announces Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Was Killed During Raid
Thousands of Indictments
Retro No Agenda Clips
US Representative Elijah Cummings' Funeral
Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders Respond to Questions About Police Violence Against Black People
BigBoyTV: 'Kanye West on "Jesus is King", Being Canceled, Finding God + A Lot More'
Birthdays & Title Changes
Homelessness Crisis
Adam's Account Blacklisted on Twitter
Google Enforces Paid Storage Tiers on Previously Free Gmail Accounts
Protests in Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guinea and Iraq
Democracy Now: 'Houston Astros Fire Manager Who Taunted Reporters Over Domestic Violence'
Proposed Law in Massachusetts Prohibits Usage of the Word "Bitch" To Degrade Other People
End of Show
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1000's of indictments!
Opus Dei Explained: The Secretive Catholic Group That Bill Barr Has Been Criticized For Belonging To | The Daily Caller
Sun, 27 Oct 2019 10:15
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Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Comments October 24, 2019 8:48 PM ETWilliam Barr, now serving as Attorney General of the United States, has for the second time in his career made his Catholic faith a visible part of his public life.
Barr has openly expressed disdain for ''modern secularists'' at Catholic events, and his membership in the Catholic group ''Opus Dei,'' along with his role on the board of directors for the Catholic Information Center, have all brought him criticism recently from progressive journalists.
Being a member of Opus Dei in particular has given rise to conspiracy theories from the left, who use his membership in Opus Dei to imply that Barr is both unethical and unsuited for his job.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
These writers describe a religious organization that is hell-bent on shaping the political scene in the image of the right-wing Catholicism. To them, this means pushing an vision that they think is fundamentally theocratic. (RELATED: A Jesuit education for Christian conservatives)
Frank Cocozzelli has a history of writing about Opus Dei's politically active members and the role the group allegedly plays in American politics. He describes Opus Dei as a ''highly secretive, ultra-conservative Catholic group,'' in an article for Dailykos and says that Barr's membership in Opus Dei ''may help explain his apparent 'ends justifies the means' strategy.'' Cocozzelli cites what he describes as false testimony before the House Appropriations committee on April 9 as evidence of Barr's dishonesty. According to Cocozzeli, Opus Dei is also ''known for recruiting very influential members, especially those simpatico with culturally conservative causes. To describe its many wealthy and powerful leaders as economic royalists would be an understatement.''
''The danger that a politically active Opus Dei membership currently represents to liberal democracy is not from assassinations by imaginary albino monks '... but in its very Plutocratic attitude in abhorring dissent.'' Furthermore, Cocozzeli appears to think that the lack of diverse views within the organization is a problem. To illustrate this, he quotes Rick Santorum, who has connections to the order, and said that people who privately agree with Catholic social teaching, but who aren't willing to state that Catholic teaching on these issues are universal truths, have a ''corrupted conscience.''
''All of us have heard people say, 'I privately am against abortion, homosexual marriage, stem cell research, cloning. But who am I to decide that it's not right for somebody else?' It sounds good,'' Santorum said. ''But it is the corruption of freedom of conscience.''
Many other progressive writers view Opus Dei as a threat to democracy. A quick Google search reveals dozens of fevered Rainman-esque attempts to put them at the heart of efforts to undermine the American project.
Bill Berkowitz, in a piece for Buzzflash.com writes about Opus Dei in breathless terms, describing the danger it poses to the American way of life. The Catholic organization apparently poses an ''existential threat'' to both ''democracy'' and ''pluralism.''
''Opus Dei is an efficient machine run to achieve worldly power,'' wrote investigative reporter Penny Lernoux in her book, People of God.
''Opus Dei uses the Catholic Church for its own ends which are money and power '.... Its members form a transnational elite. They seek to colonize the summits of power. They work with stealth '' 'holy discretion' '' and practice 'divine deception,''' Robert Hutchison wrote in the introduction to his book, Their Kingdom Come: Inside the Secret World of Opus Dei.
WASHINGTON, DC '' SEPTEMBER 13: Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) speaks during a news conference on health care September 13, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Senators Graham, Cassidy, Heller and Johnson unveiled a proposed legislation to repeal and replace the Obamacare. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Opus Dei is a surprisingly large and well connected organization. In 2019, they boasted roughly 95,000 members worldwide, including priests and laypeople. In addition to the attorney general of the United States, they have connections with many high level politicians, for example, the priest responsible for converting Larry Kudlow, the current chief economic adviser, is a member of Opus Dei. Former Pennsylvania Republican Senator Rick Santorum sent two of his children to an Opus Dei affiliated school. Leonard Leo, the head of the Federalist Society, and who has played a hugely influential role in selecting judicial nominees, is also a member.
The organization's founder, Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer founded Opus Dei with a simple Christian goal, ''sanctity and apostolate in and through ones ordinary work.'' His preaching can effectively be distilled into three main points.
''The Christian laity should not abandon or despise the world , but should remain within it, loving and sharing the life of ordinary men and women;'' While staying in the world, they should learn to discover the supernatural value of the normal circumstances of their lives, including the most prosaic and material details; As a consequence, everyday work, the activity that occupies and fills the greatest number of hours of ordinary people can and should be sanctified and used as a means of Christian apostolate. Despite the ''shadowy'' and ''secretive'' reputation that Opus Dei has within some circles, they have attracted a large number of Catholics to their ranks, both in the United States and worldwide, and, at least publicly, appear to be simply trying to live the Catholic faith, which may be the reason for their hostility in the first place.
William Barr's Connection to Ruby Ridge, Defending FBI Snipers | The American Conservative
Sun, 27 Oct 2019 10:06
The Senate Judiciary Committee hearings for Attorney General nominee William Barr have focused heavily on Barr's views on Special Counsel Robert Mueller. But nobody is asking about Barr's legal crusade for blanket immunity for federal agents who killed American citizens.
Barr received a routine questionnaire from the Judiciary Committee asking him to disclose his past work including pro bono activities ''serving the disadvantaged.'' The ''disadvantaged'' that Barr spent the most time helping was an FBI agent who slayed an Idaho mother holding her baby in 1992. Barr spent two weeks organizing former Attorneys General and others to support ''an FBI sniper in defending against criminal charges in connection with the Ruby Ridge incident.'' Barr also ''assisted in framing legal arguments advanced'... in the district court and the subsequent appeal to the Ninth Circuit,'' he told the committee.
That charitable work (for an FBI agent who already had a federally-paid law firm defending him) helped tamp down one of the biggest scandals during Barr's time as Attorney General from 1991 to early 1993. Barr was responsible for both the U.S. Marshals Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, two federal agencies whose misconduct at Ruby Ridge '' helped to weaken the bond of trust that must exist between ordinary Americans and our law enforcement agencies,'' according to a 1995 Senate Judiciary Committee report.
After Randy Weaver, an outspoken white separatist living on a mountaintop in northern Idaho, was entrapped by an undercover federal agent, U.S. marshals trespassed on Weaver's land and killed his 14-year-old son, Sammy. The following day, FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi killed his wife, Vicki, as she was standing in the cabin doorway. Horiuchi had previously shot Randy Weaver in the back after he stepped out of the cabin. The suspects were never given a warning or a chance to surrender and had taken no action against FBI agents. Weaver survived.
After an Idaho jury found Weaver not guilty on almost all charges, federal judge Edward Lodge slammed the Justice Department and FBI for concealing evidence and showing ''a callous disregard for the rights of the defendants and the interests of justice .'' A Justice Department internal investigation compiled a 542-page report detailing federal misconduct and coverups in the case and suggested criminal charges against FBI officials involved in Ruby Ridge.
Barr told the New York Times in 1993 that he was not directly involved in the Ruby Ridge operation. Two years later, the Washington Post revealed that ''top officials of the Bush Justice Department had at least 20 [phone] contacts concerning Ruby Ridge in the 24 hours before Vicki Weaver was shot,'' including two calls involving Barr.
In January 1995, FBI director Louis Freeh announced wrist slaps for the FBI officials involved, including his friend Larry Potts, who supervised the operation from headquarters and who approved the shoot-without-provocation orders that ''contravened the constitution of the United States,'' according to the Justice Department internal report. When Attorney General Janet Reno later nominated Potts for deputy director of the FBI, top newspapers and members of Congress protested but Barr told the New York Times that his friend Potts '' was deliberate and careful, and I developed a great deal of confidence in his judgment'... I can't think of enough good things to say about him.'' A few months later, the FBI suspended Potts after suspected perjury regarding Ruby Ridge. (Potts was not charged and retired two years later.)
The Justice Department paid $3 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit from the Weaver family. But when Boundary County, Idaho filed criminal charges against Horiuchi, Barr sprang to action seeking immunity for FBI snipers. He spearheaded efforts to sway the court to dismiss all charges because holding a sniper liable would '' severely undermine, if not cripple, the ability of future attorneys general to rely on such specialized units in moments of crisis such as hostage taking and terrorist acts.''
When the Justice Department won an initial appeals court victory in the case in 2000, federal judge Alex Kozinski warned in a dissent of a new James Bond ''007 standard for the use of deadly force'' against American citizens. The same court reversed that decision the following year. Kozinski, writing for the majority, declared: '' A group of FBI agents formulated rules of engagement that permitted their colleagues to hide in the bushes and gun down men who posed no immediate threat. Such wartime rules are patently unconstitutional for a police action.''
Does William Barr still endorse ''wartime rules'' and a ''007 standard'' that absolve federal agents for questionable shootings of Americans? Does Barr consider ''illegal government killings'' to be an oxymoron? Best of all, can Barr explain to us his understanding of the phrase ''government under the law''?
James Bovard is the author of Lost Rights , Attention Deficit Democracy , and Public Policy Hooligan . He is also a USA Today columnist. Follow him on Twitter @JimBovard .
Thread by @Techno_Fog: "BREAKING - new @SidneyPowell1 filing in the Flynn case. Lisa Page edited the Flynn 302. James Clapper told WaPo reporter Ignatius to basical ['...]"
Thu, 24 Oct 2019 23:49
#Thread 2. tweets as given by twitter. Episode 1:Disclaimer: The stories I tell here are factions, that is they are a mixture of facts & fiction. What is fact/fiction is only known to me, this is primarily a creative enterprise using humor & plain story-telling skills to entertain,
3. teach & learn as well from your feedback. Please, note that names & incidences do not represent actual persons or experiences. I'm only using my literary license, not motor license O! (Rated 18+) James & Joan have been married for 5 years & have two kids together.
Is it possible to censure Trump? What laws is he breaking? Will he testify to Congress? - The Washington Post
Fri, 25 Oct 2019 05:23
Each weekday afternoon, I write a newsletter analyzing the biggest news in politics, and it's geared exclusively to impeachment right now. Readers ask me smart questions that I regularly answer, like these:
Could the Republican members of Congress who stormed into the secure room with their cellphones be censured for their conduct?
Yes, but that would be a pretty extreme reaction on their colleagues' part, especially when Democrats have bigger fish to fry. There was some talk of referring these lawmakers to the House Ethics Committee, which could conduct an investigation and give them a public slap on the wrist.
Is it possible to censure President Trump?
Yes. It would be a vote in the House, as impeachment is. But censure is a statement expressing Congress's displeasure with what the president did, rather than a statement that he is unfit for office. It doesn't trigger a trial in the Senate, either. House Democrats are going for the big one, so no one's talking much about censure anymore in the House. (Of Trump, at least. Democrats did just shut down a Republican attempt to censure the Democratic face of the impeachment inquiry, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff.)
I am confused about not being able to indict a president while in office. I had thought that is what impeachment is?
You are right and wrong. A sitting president can't be indicted, per a decades-old Justice Department guideline, so impeachment is the only way the nation can hold a sitting president accountable outside of an election. So it's like an indictment for a president, without criminal charges. ''The Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing,'' said special counsel Robert S. Mueller III in May.
I know it's illegal, but doesn't the idea of soliciting campaign assistance from other countries seem somewhat benign compared to so many other possible crimes, especially in the court of public opinion?
Well, as evidence emerges that Trump did ask Ukraine for political help, the court of public opinion seems to think he deserves to be investigated for potential impeachment, with polls showing 50 to 55 percent of the nation supporting the House inquiry. Also remember that even Republicans in Congress have said Russian interference in a U.S. election is wrong. Lawmakers fear foreign interference damages the very definition of democracy: that the United States can conduct its own free and fair elections without question of the result. That's a privilege not every country affords its citizens.
Why isn't the media reporting on the actual laws Trump might be breaking and their penalties?
Because he's not on a trial for violating the criminal code. He's not even on trial right now. The House is investigating whether there is enough evidence to write up articles of impeachment against Trump. Even if he's impeached by the House and the Senate removes him from office, he won't go to jail unless there's an actual criminal case prosecuted against him.
What is the process of writing articles of impeachment?
After House investigators finish their investigation, they'll probably write a report, which the House Judiciary Committee will use to consider what articles of impeachment could be prepared. That's totally up to the committee's discretion. There's been some reporting indicating lawmakers could focus on a simple one: that he abused his power.
Will the next phase of the inquiry include a deposition of the president himself?
I wouldn't bet on it, because Trump refused to privately sit with the special counsel, who was arguably a more neutral investigator than Democrats in Congress.
What is going on with Ukraine now? Is it investigating Trump's political rivals? Has it received aid?
Great questions. The Trump administration released the military aid in September, before all of this was public, for reasons that are still unclear. The Ukrainian government did not agree to investigate Democrats.
Is it true that the Ukraine needs to know about military aid being held up for it to be quid pro quo?
Ukraine needed to understand there were conditions to receiving the military aid (something Congress attached no conditions to). The broader context matters. The impeachment inquiry is still piecing together what the Ukrainian government knew when and heard testimony this week that Ukraine was told about the quid pro quo. But Trump could be impeached for even considering holding up taxpayer money to get what he wanted.
Can Trump still be indicted on a charge of federal crimes once he leaves office?
Yup. There is a long-standing guideline (not a law) that a sitting president can't be indicted. But he's fair game out of office, and impeachment is a separate process from the criminal one. It's possible that what Trump asked Ukraine to do could run up against campaign finance laws, some legal experts have said. But would the next president really authorize a criminal investigation into a former president? You can make a strong case that it would be a slippery slope.
How is it that so many people connected to Trump and the Ukraine investigation choose not to comply with a subpoena?
Not complying with a subpoena is technically illegal, but who's going to enforce it? Congress doesn't have a jail. The Trump-impeachment process has unveiled Congress's Achilles' heel: an executive branch that doesn't care about the norms of checks and balances. But more and more people are starting to comply despite a White House ban on participating with the impeachment inquiry. That may be because some of Trump's defenders have stopped defending one another and seem to be looking out for themselves.
If a person is impeached, can they run and hold public office again?
Yes, unless two things happen: 1) The Senate convicts this person and removes them from office and 2) They vote not to allow this person to run for office ever again. There's an impeached judge, Alcee L. Hastings, who is now a member of Congress.
I saw there were six committees investigating. What are they each investigating?
When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced her support for the impeachment inquiry in September, she authorized six committees to continue their variety of investigations into Trump on campaign finance violations, tax violations, ties to Russia, the emoluments clause and more. But the inquiry has since narrowed to focus on Ukraine, and three committees are leading it: Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs.
Are Republican members of the impeachment committees attending the closed-door impeachment inquiry meetings?
For the most part, yes. They include some of Trump's most loyal defenders, such as Rep. Mark Meadows (N.C.).
Why are Democrats reluctant to call Trump's bluff and hold public hearings?
That could be coming soon. Schiff has said public hearings are the next phase of this process. They started things behind closed doors to avoid witnesses knowing about other testimony, lawmakers say.
Why don't they release the transcripts of the closed-door testimony?
That could be coming soon, as well, CNN reports.
Why hasn't Pelosi asked for a vote for a formal impeachment inquiry?
She just doesn't see the need, as there is no rule that there has to be a vote. She'd rather not put her vulnerable members on the spot '-- six still don't support an impeachment inquiry '-- and risk confusing voters about whether their lawmaker supports an inquiry or an impeachment.
Can the president be impeached more than once, on different charges?
I don't see why not, but I have a hard time seeing Congress going through this again. Though this brings up a really interesting scenario: Some pundits have raised the possibility that Trump gets impeached, then runs in 2020 and wins, and Congress doesn't have any effective tools left to punish him again.
How many people associated with Trump have been convicted of a crime since he started his campaign?
By my count, five, including his former campaign chair, deputy campaign chair, national security adviser and lawyer. Another longtime friend, Roger Stone, is under indictment. Broadening the circle a bit, two Trump donors who are business associates of Trump's personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani just got indicted. And then his two earliest supporters in Congress, former congressmen Duncan D. Hunter and Chris Collins, have been indicted or pleaded guilty to crimes, neither related to Trump.
Join the conversation '-- sign up for The 5-Minute Fix. And ask me your questions here.
Green New Deal
California fires: Millions face PG&E power outages as Kincade, Tick fires burn - The Washington Post
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 23:53
Culley lost his home to the 2017 Tubbs Fire, one of the state's deadliest wildfires on record. Now a another blaze was bearing down on the region, and Culley feared he would lose everything. Again.
Parts of Northern California faced the prospect of new infernos and power outages affecting more than 2 million people as a potentially historic wind event was forecast to sweep into the state on Saturday, almost a year after the most destructive fire in California history left 85 people dead. Culley's anxiety is part of a grim new reality for a state hit by increasingly dangerous fire seasons and turning to drastic new prevention measures.
The Kincade Fire, sparked Wednesday night in Sonoma County and still only 10 percent contained, is expected to worsen as strong winds with low humidity create what the National Weather Service called ''extreme fire weather.'' Nearly 3,000 responders are fighting a blaze that has consumed about 26,000 acres and destroyed 77 structures, including 31 homes, officials said Saturday evening.
''I've seen what a firestorm is, it's catastrophic,'' said Culley, the owner of KC's American Kitchen, his voice shaking. ''To know that a monster could be coming this way, is really, really disturbing.''
By Saturday evening, mandatory evacuations stretched from the area of the fire to the Pacific coast and affected 83,000 people, including about 39,000 in places where orders were just issued, officials say. Power outages may complicate the latest efforts to get people out of harm's way, they cautioned.
Throughout the day, authorities urged residents to heed the evacuations. Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick shared his dismay over reports of people intending to stay home and wait the fire out '-- a dangerous and ''selfish act,'' he said, because it puts emergency responders in jeopardy, too.
Evacuees could find shelter at the Santa Rosa veterans memorial hall, the Petaluma veterans hall, the Petaluma Community Center and the Petaluma and Sonoma County fair grounds, authorities said.
California's new normal: Wildfires, ash and power outages could last a decade
The National Weather Service warned of 60 to 80 mph gusts through the mountain regions of Northern and Central California between Saturday night and Monday morning, with lesser, but still powerful, winds reaching valleys and coastal areas.
''It's going to be an aggressive fire fight,'' said Edwin Duniga, spokesman for California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. ''All our firefighters have been told to keep an eye out, to be smart out there, be safe. Because terrain like this makes it hard for firefighters, and [makes it] super dangerous as the winds pick up.''
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said proactive measures have helped prevent a blaze as bad as in previous years, even as six major wildfires rage around the state. This year's state budget includes an additional $1 billion toward emergency preparation, and authorities are increasingly deploying resources to high-risk areas before a fire breaks out, he said.
But the weather has officials fearful of another catastrophe.
''The next 72 hours are going to be challenging,'' Newsom said Saturday afternoon. ''I could sugar coat it, but I'm not.''
The wildfires come on the heels of the 2017 and 2018 California fire seasons, which featured the largest, most destructive, and deadliest blazes in state history. It's part of a clear pattern toward fires that are larger, more frequent and that stretch across a longer season. And, according to CalFire, ''climate change is considered a key driver of this trend.'' Population growth and the increase in homes and businesses located near lands that typically burn are also escalating the risk of and damage from wildfires in the Golden State.
Forecasters at the Weather Service say this wind event could bring the most explosive wildfire conditions since the 2017 wine country fires, which damaged much of the city of Santa Rosa and killed 22 people.
The forecasts led Pacific Gas & Electric to begin a massive power shutdown Saturday evening in an effort to avoid sparking a fire. About 940,000 customers, comprising about 2.8 million people across Northern and in Central California's Kern County, are expected to be without power through the weekend. The outages began at about 5 p.m. in some areas and will continue to kick through the night, according to the utility.
PG&E expects to begin ''restoration activities'' on Sunday and Monday. But it could take up to 48 hours for everyone to get their power back, company officials said, because staff have to inspect thousands of miles of infrastructure once the weather is clear.
Saturday's outage marked PG&E's second major shut-off spurred by fire fears this month. Power cuts from the gas and electric company about two weeks ago left nearly 2 million people without power in an unprecedented disruption. .
It's also unlikely to be the last, PG&E officials warned. More worrisome weather could hit next week.
''As your power comes back on, please use that time to prepare again,'' said company president Andy Vesey.
Earlier on Saturday, about 850 customers in Sonoma County lost power due to the fire, or because of precautionary shut-offs, PG&E spokeswoman Suzanne Hosn said.
Hundreds of miles south, the winds had changed more favorably for firefighters in Los Angeles County, where significant progress was made in halting the Tick Fire. Since Thursday, the blaze had consumed more than 4,600 acres and prompted as many as 50,000 people to evacuate after strong seasonal winds caused flames to race through the densely populated canyon region. Nine homes were destroyed.
A public works employee stumbled on human remains in a burned area of Santa Clarita, said Los Angeles County Sheriff spokeswoman Morgan Arteaga. But authorities are still investigating whether the unidentified individual's death is related to the fire.
Karianna Bolstead was at her brother's home near Santa Clarita on Thursday evening when she saw flames burning through the chaparral of yards several feet away. She covered her mouth, ran down the hill back to her brother's home and yelled for him and his wife to leave. She fled in her own pickup truck, and spent a sleepless night pulled over on the side of the road after her cellphone died and she couldn't navigate through the thick, blinding smoke.
''I've been here since the '50s '-- I've seen a lot of fires,'' said Bolstead. ''This is the most volatile and explosive and fast-moving one I'd ever seen.''
The fire was 25 percent contained as of Saturday morning, and emergency crews were now focused on mitigating the hot spots left over from the line of flames and preventing embers from igniting new fires, said Capt. A.J. Lester of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
By Saturday morning, an estimated 20,000-30,000 had been able to return to their homes, Lester said. Areas within the fire's perimeter remained under evacuation orders, and over 1,300 firefighters remained on the scene. Two evacuation centers for fleeing residents had been established at nearby schools, as well as a separate location for animals.
''Red Flag'' conditions with heightened fire risk '-- including winds of 45 to 55 miles per hour '-- will likely return Sunday night and Monday in the area of the Tick Fire, National Weather Service Los Angeles said.
Los Angeles County, as well as Sonoma County, have been under a state of emergency since Friday.
As Northern California prepares for a new onslaught from the Kincade Fire, PG&E is facing extreme scrutiny after reporting that its earlier power cuts left stretches of high-voltage power transmission lines active in the region where the Sonoma County fire broke out. The same type of transmission line was responsible for the especially devastating Camp Fire in 2018.
The company's shares plunged to $5 on Friday, a 30 percent decrease, MarketWatch reported. Such a tumble could hinder PG&E Corp.'s attempt to make its way out of bankruptcy. The utility filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January due to liabilities in previous fires.
At a Friday afternoon news conference, Gov. Newsom said there have been discussions about PG&E's culpability, but they were not ''conclusive.'' The blame for the fire ''is neither determined nor is that investigation complete,'' he said, adding that he plans to hold the company accountable for ''years and years of mismanagement.''
PG&E chief executive Bill Johnson said the company is conducting an internal investigation but has not accepted responsibility for the fire, adding that officials don't know precisely how it started. ''We still, at this point, do not know what exactly happened,'' he said at a Thursday news conference.
The scene as a fast-moving wildfire ignites in Northern California wine countryOct. 25, 2019 | A wind-driven wildfire continues to burn in Canyon Country, north of Los Angeles. (Gene Blevins/Reuters)South of Sonoma County's mandatory evacuation zones, residents scarred by the memory of the 2017 fires kept a wary on forecasts and made sure their backup generators were charged.
''We're all kind of on high alert and everybody has PTSD from the last fire,'' said Brent Bessire, an owner of Fogline Vineyards in Fulton, Calif. ''This time you have a warning, people are getting more prepared.''
On Saturday, he and his family were clearing the brush around their facility to mitigate any possible fuel. The winery was closed, and they'd been packing and trying to figure out what to do with their numerous animals, which included dogs, llamas and rabbits.
Bessire watched the glow of the Kincade fire from over a mountain ridge earlier this week, and the smoke had been wafting their way. On Saturday, he kept an eye to the north, waiting for the winds to start.
''It's very disconcerting, to say the least,'' he said.
Michael Brice-Saddler contributed to this report. Rob Kuznia contributed from California.
PG&E will cut power to 2.5 million people over 'historic wind event' | KTVU FOX 2
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 23:52
OAKLAND, Calif. - WATCH: PG&E provides a 5:30 p.m. update on power shutoffs
Pacific Gas & Electric moved forward with the second planned power shut-off this week because of growing winds and high fire danger in Northern California.
The utility said blackouts started around 2 p.m. Saturday in parts of 36 counties. About 940,000 customers - more than 2 million people - will be affected.
It's the third preventative shut-off in as many weeks amid concern that gusty winds could knock down power lines and spark fires.
Winds picking up Saturday night could gust to more than 85 mph and make conditions extremely difficult for firefighters trying to tame a huge blaze in wine country.
"The PSPS will occur in six phases, times may change (earlier or later) dependent on weather.
The first phase began at about 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 26. Customer impacts will include these counties: Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, San Joaquin, Sierra, Siskiyou, Shasta, Tehama and Yuba.
PG&E anticipates the all-clear for restoration activities will be given at 6 a.m.on Monday, October 28. That area represents 205,000 customers.
The second phase will occur around 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 26, impacting customers in the following counties: Lake, Marin, Mendocino (south), Napa, Solano, Sonoma and Yolo.
The utility hopes to give the all-clear on Monday, October 28. In total, 256,000 customers will be affected.
Phase three started about 8 p.m. Saturday, October 26, impacting customers in these counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Monterey, San Benito, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Stanislaus.
The anticipated all-clear date is for Monday, October 28. That area represents 246,000 customers.
Phase four to begin about 9 p.m. Saturday, October 26, impacting customers in these counties: Humboldt, Mendocino (north) and Trinity.
Phase five will begin at about 12 a.m. Sunday, October 27, impacting customers in these counties: Alpine, Calaveras, Mariposa and Tuolumne.
The sixth and final phase is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. Sunday, October 27, impacting customers in Kern County.
The power will be turned off to communities in stages, depending on local timing of the severe wind conditions.
PG&E said there was a delay with power outages as wind forecast models changed.
The times below are estimates and may change (earlier or later) dependent on weather.
Forecasters are predicting winds of up to 60 mph and gusts reaching up to 70 mph in higher elevations.
The shutoffs will begin this evening, and are expected to last through Monday. Customers in portions of 36 counties could lose power at some point.
All Bay Area counties except San Francisco are expected to have some outages over the next three days.
PG&E had earlier estimated 57,360 customers in Alameda County, 48,824 in Contra Costa County, 86,813 in Marin County, 11,294 in Napa County, 64,932 in San Mateo County, 27,093 in Santa Clara County, 10,232 in Solano County and 92,877 in Sonoma County, could be affected.
This shutdown could be even bigger than the one that began on Oct. 9. Eventually 738,000 customers in 34 counties lost power at some point during that outage. PG&E was widely criticized for its handling of the event, including for poor communication with customers and local governments.
PG&E has been shutting off power proactively to prevent wildfires after utility lines started massively deadly and destructive fires over the last two years. PG&E has estimated that similar power shutoffs may be necessary for the next decade until the utility can upgrade its technology.
Sign up to receive PG&E voice and text alerts for information on current outages or what is to come. Customers can enroll in zip code alerts by calling 1-877-9000-PGE. Notifications will be delivered via automated call. You can also sign up for text alerts by just texting "ENROLL" to 97633.
Have medical supplies in order and emergency kits on standby.
Ensure you have enough prescription meds to last up to seven days. If you have major medical needs that depend upon electricity, it may be safer to relocate to a friend or family member's home out of the area.
Emergency kits should include: a gallon of water per day for each person and pet. Nonperishable or canned food for up to seven days and a can opener. A solar-powered, hand crank, or battery-powered radio with extra batteries. You should also have a flashlight in your kit.
Officials also advise keeping mobile devices charged and to identify backup charging methods. If you have a generator, make sure you have extra fuel. Keep vehicle fuel tanks full. Remember that gas stations, stores, ATMs in the immediate area will also be without power.
Know how to use the manual release on your garage door and talk to neighbors and friends and share your emergency plans.
Power shutdown: Microgrids keep lights on when PG&E can't
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 15:06
Even when the Bay Area's electrical grid falters, three Fremont fire stations remain a sturdy lifeline to surrounding homes, schools and businesses.
The doors open in an emergency, so the fire trucks can get out and save lives. Metal gates open and close. Fremont's 911 system, linking tens of thousands of residents to first responders, is protected.
Self-sufficient, they don't need PG&E. It's protection against a future of more planned outages in an ever hotter and drier California.
These stations '' as well as Apple's new campus, Kaiser-Richmond Medical Center, two wineries and an increasing number of businesses and homes '-- have their own independent power system: a solar-harnessed ''microgrid'' that collects, stores and releases energy on demand, operating even when PG&E doesn't.
Gridscape Solutions President & CEO Vipul Gore poses with his company's microgrid installed at Fremont Fire Station 7 in Fremont, Calif., on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019. A self-sufficient microgrid can collect, store and release energy on demand, operating even when PG&E goes dark. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group) ''It gives us a sense of security and resiliency. We can operate without having to worry about the grid going out,'' said Rachel DiFranco, Fremont's Sustainability Manager. ''We are able to 'island' ourselves.''
This week's blackouts not only incited fury but exposed the peril of relying on PGE's antiquated power grid '' and the promise, aided by the falling cost of technologies, of independent infrastructures that can better withstand disasters, both natural and man-made.
The projects are new and isolated but their implications are far reaching, upending the traditional relationship between consumers and utilities.
PG&E's major power arteries sprawl across 2,500 miles. A forecast of high winds and low humidity led PG&E last week to shut down nearly 100 high-voltage transmission lines, which are linked to about 25,000 miles of smaller distribution lines. That cut off power to about 730,000 customers in 34 California counties.
''Here we are in California '' with digital technologies, digital economies '' and PG&E is running the grid like we're living in a developing country,'' said Peter Asmus, a microgrid expert at Navigant Research, a market research and advisory firm. ''The grid is not reliable.''
''The number one technologic solution is to have microgrids,'' he said.
On good days, microgrids work in tandem with PG&E's supply. But in a crisis, they can function on their own.
When PGE cut power to the Santa Cruz mountains this week, Graham Hine's lamps flickered. He heard a beep from his computer's surge protector.
But then his Tesla Powerwall batteries '' charged by solar panels '-- fired up. He stopped charging his car, instead devoting the batteries to his refrigerator, freezer, television, computer, two water heaters, WiFi, clocks, smoke alarms and other appliances
''I turned off a few extra lights, kept watching TV for another hour, then went to bed,'' he said. By morning, the batteries still held an 80 percent charge. Then the sun came out, and they refilled.
Until recently, diesel generators have been the only tool to prevent interruption of service. The machines are still useful, but they're dirty, emitting carbon. They require fuel to keep running '' and in a crisis, fuel may be in short supply.
''They're the backup of the backup,'' said Vipul Gore, President and CEO of GridScape Solutions, which owns and operates Fremont's microgrids.
The Fremont project is one of several research efforts supported in part by a grant from the California Energy Commission, which seeks commercialization of the technology for the mass market.
A battery cabinet is photographed at Gridscape Solutions in Fremont, Calif., on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019. A self-sufficient microgrid can collect, store and release energy on demand, operating even when PG&E goes dark. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group) Its solar panels, sitting atop a car shelter, soak up photons. Their energy is stored in a tall refrigerator-sized tower '-- a lithium ion battery '-- secured to a concrete pad and air-conditioned to stay cool. Next to it stands an inverter, to convert DC to AC power.
Most critical is a small box holding a computer called a controller '-- ''the brains of the system,'' said Gore '-- that can detect an outage and suddenly kick the system into action. About 45 kilowatts, equivalent to four or five homes, powers the whole station.
The system regularly relies on the solar system and battery as much as possible, to curb its PG&E usage, said DiFranco. And each system sits, discreetly, in a narrow strip of space behind the stations.
''It is great. It seems to be working well, giving us a longer run period in the event of power outage,'' said Station 11 battalion chief Will Krings.
In addition to Kaiser Permanente's Richmond Medical Center, microgrids are helping power Napa's Alpha Omega Winery, Sonoma's Stone Edge Farm, the Thatcher School in Ojai and the U.S. Marine Corps' Camp Pendleton.
Apple Park, the company's new headquarters in Cupertino, is powered by a 17-megawatt onsite rooftop solar installation and four megawatts of biogas fuel cells '' all controlled by a microgrid with battery storage.
But microgrids aren't cheap. And they require regulatory approval from cities and an ''interconnection permit'' from PG&E, with multi-step review of the design, engineering and other aspects of the project, Gore said.
As the costs of batteries and solar panels drop, so does the cost of microgrids. At Fremont's first fire station, built in 2017, the grid cost $800,000; at the second and third stations, built in 2018, the cost was $500,000 each. New systems now cost about $300,000, Gore said. With federal and state tax credits, the cost of a grid can nearly rival the cost of a large diesel generator. There is the additional benefit of lowered utility bills, because energy is generated.
The investment was essential to allow independence from future outages, said Fremont's DiFranco.
''This was not a one-time event. It will be ongoing and will only get worse,'' she said.
''There is opportunity now to plan how '-- with this different energy system design '-- we can be much more responsible and resilient communities.''
Moving to microgrids:
' A microgrid also supports Sunnyvale's JSR Micro Inc., because its semiconductor manufacturing process is sensitive to even short power interruptions.
' The San Jose software company Extreme Networks installed a grid at its San Jose corporate headquarters after three power outages in the summer of 2018.
' Palo Alto is working with cloud computing company VMware to explore installing a microgrid for its its buildings at the Stanford Research Park.
After PG&E shutdown, San Jose explores city-owned utilities
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 15:05
One week after California's biggest utility cut power to hundreds of thousands of residents, Mayor Sam Liccardo says he wants to explore a San Jose without Pacific Gas and Electric.
Last week's blackout aimed at reducing the risk of wildfires in Northern California not only caused a frenzy for more than 60,000 San Jose residents, commuters and business owners who lost power, it also exposed the downside of depending on what they see as PG&E's unreliable, outdated grids and the utility's questionable decisions about when and where to turn off the power.
Confronted with that stark reality, Liccardo drafted a memo that will go before San Jose's rules committee next week asking staff to investigate creating a city-owned utility to develop independent power systems such as microgrids, as well as other less draconian short and long-term measures that would protect the city from future shutdowns.
''PG&E faces financial and repetitional liability for wildfires, but very uncertain liability, if any, for lost lives and livelihoods resulting from lengthy blackouts,'' the memo states. ''PG&E's ostensible exposure to only one side of the risk equation puts the well-being and safety of millions of Californians on the other side.
'''...It's time to explore a San Jose without PG&E.''
The mayor's memo places San Jose among a growing movement of cities and entities across the country looking for alternatives to investor-owned utilities in the face of increasing outages and frustration with unpredictable grids.
For example, San Francisco recently offered $2.5 billion to PG&E to buy its local power lines. The company rejected the offer last week, however, saying it was too low and customers could see their rates rise. Other cities such as Palo Alto and Santa Clara already operate city-owned utilities.
Liccardo said he's not convinced that city-controlled utilities are the answer to the problem, but it could be a part of the solution that he thinks should be vetted. Other suggested measures he's interested in pursuing include identifying reimbursement funds for taxpayers affected during shutdowns and exploring how San Jose Clean Energy can help homeowners get off the grid during a blackout.
Ever since May, when the state gave PG&E the authority to shut down power when it deems it necessary to reduce wildfire risk, Liccardo has been a vocal critic.
He has written op-eds, held press conferences, testified before state legislative subcommittees and lobbied the governor for greater government oversight of the utility.
''What we saw last week realized and confirmed our concerns about a state regime that essentially allows a private investor-owned utility to unilaterally have authority to flip off the switch,'' Liccardo said in an interview.
Before and during last week's blackout, the mayor said the city faced challenges due to inaccurate data disseminated by the utility.
According to Liccardo's memo, PG&E included 45 schools in the potentially impacted shutdown zones that were, in fact, not going to be affected. The company also allegedly missed or inaccurately identified dozens of residents on its list of potentially affected medical baseline customers '-- residents depending on electrical power for life-sustaining medical equipment.
''In a world of scarce resources '-- and with the most thinly staffed city hall of any big city in the country '-- what is most critical to us is to prioritize and focus on those in need,'' Liccardo said. ''And when you have a community demanding response unnecessarily, it undermines our ability to help those really in need of that help.''
PG&E, however, is likely to continue to resist selling any of its power lines.
In its rejection letter to San Francisco, company CEO William Johnson wrote, ''We disagree with the suggestion that PG&E's San Francisco customers would be better served by another entity.''
The company doubled down in a statement Thursday, saying that its San Jose infrastructure also wasn't for sale and ''would not be consistent'' with its charter to serve Northern and Central California communities.
''While we recognize this was a hardship for our customers throughout Northern and Central California, we stand by the decision because the safety of our customers and communities must come first,'' PG&E said in a statement released Thursday afternoon.
Earlier this year, San Jose switched electricity suppliers from PG&E to San Jos(C) Clean Energy '-- a nonprofit, locally-controlled utility known as a community choice energy program that provides residents and businesses with carbon-free electricity. Although the electricity is supplied by the nonprofit, the power still runs through PG&E transmission and power lines.
Creating a city-owned utility would allow the city to control distribution and the nonprofit to maintain energy production. But that could take decades to do, according to Peter Asmus, a microgrid expert at Navigant Research, a market research and advisory firm. And, even once created, public utilities are not immune to PG&E shutdowns because the systems still remain connected to the company's distant transmission lines.
Some customers in both Palo Alto and Santa Clara, for instance, were still in jeopardy of losing power last week.
That's why Asmus sees microgrids as the best recourse for avoiding a shutdown.
Three Fremont fire stations, Apple's new campus in Cupertino, Kaiser-Richmond Medical Center and a growing number of both public and private entities and businesses all have begun using their own independent power systems, referred to as ''microgrids.''
Microgrids, which can be run off of solar power, batteries, generators or a mix of various power sources, run in tandem with PG&E's power supply most of the time. But when a shutdown takes place, the microgrids allow customers to use the energy they've created and stored even when PG&E's transmission lines are down.
Asmus said the latest power shutoff and new state policy are going to accelerate the creation of microgrids across the state '-- especially as the cost for a cleaner alternative such as solar and batteries decline.
''Concepts like microgrids in some ways are inevitable. It's just a matter of how fast we move in that direction,'' Asmus said.
Liccardo acknowledged that the long-term solutions of creating microgrids and maintaining local power lines are going to take a significant amount of resources and capital investment to bring to fruition. But, he said, it doesn't compare to the ''extraordinary cost of uncertainty.''
''We had a taste of immense disruption to the lives of our residents last week,'' he said. ''And as that blackout extends from hours to days, the disruption results both in lost livelihoods and lost lives.
''We cannot reasonably expect our residents to tolerate that level of risk in their daily lives, certainly not in the heart of Silicon Valley.''
Why the largest microgrid in the U.S. is in Austin | GreenBiz
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 14:37
This article first appeared at Energy Efficiency Markets.
The University of Texas at Austin houses what is often described as the most integrated and largest microgrid in the U.S., a model for saving energy and money.
Built in 1929 as a steam plant, the facility has evolved to provide 100 percent of the power, heat and cooling for a 20-million square-foot campus with 150 buildings.
The university is known for its premier research facilities, which demand high-quality, reliable power. And its microgrid has delivered with 99.9998 percent reliability over the last 40 years.
The facility features a combined heat and power plant that provides 135-MW (62-MW peak) and 1.2 million lb/hr of steam generation (300k peak).
The system also includes 45,000 tons of chilled water capacity in four plants (33k peak); a 4 million gallon/36,000 ton-hour thermal energy storage tank; and 6 miles of distribution tunnels to distribute hot water and steam. The microgrid engages in real-time load balancing for steam and chilled water. Since 1936, natural gas has fueled the energy plant.
Long history, frequent innovation
As the campus grew over the years, the plant operators had to find ways to increase its capacity in a cost-effective manner that maintained high reliability. UT Austin added over 4 million square feet in less than two decades and now has 2 million more square feet in design and construction.
"The objective was: How can we pay for this expansion and not increase costs to the campus," said Juan Ontiveros, the university's executive director of Utilities and Energy Management.
Ontiveros achieved this goal by saving fuel. This meant redesigning the load control system and implementing new control strategies, always with an eye toward retaining high reliability not only for electricity, but also steam and cooling.
"We have a lot of contingencies built into our system that most people don't have, but probably would like to have. We can island, wheel, and we handle all three energies simultaneously, 24 hours a day," he said.
The plant's combined heat and power system allows it to recover heat energy that a conventional plant would waste '-- even a state-of-the-art supercritical unit might discard 40 percent of the heat it produces, Ontiveros said. But a CHP system extracts the heat from a steam turbine generator and re-uses it to heat the campus. Leveraging the existing distribution system captures more efficiency in cooling technology.
"We use all the tricks. We can do turbine inlet-air cooling, thermal storage, load shifting, load shedding. It's all built into our load control system. We produce our all electric cooling at probably 40 percent (of the cost) that the rest of the world does," he said.
The campus has become so highly efficient that despite its expansion it now uses no more fuel '-- and emits no more carbon dioxide emissions '-- than it did in 1976.
"The overall plant efficiency in those days was 42 percent; we're at 86 percent now," Ontiveros said.
High performance at net zero
While some microgrids sell power or services to the grid, UT Austin does not. This is because its energy plant is sized to be net zero: to produce only what it needs.
The university holds a 25-MW standby contract with the local utility for back-up power if equipment fails, at a cost of about $1 million annually, a small portion of the plant's $50 million annual operating budget. Other than that, UT Austin operates with autonomy from the central grid.
"I see ourselves as at high risk anytime we are on the grid because we are more reliable than them," Ontiveros said.
Energy reliability is extremely important to the university. Eighty percent of the campus space is dedicated to research valued at about $500 million.
"If a professor loses a transgenic mouse with 20 years of research built into it, that's a nightmare. That's what keeps me up at night," Ontiveros said.
Ontiveros's worry about always keeping the lights on is echoed by energy plant operators throughout the U.S. as our power-dependent economy becomes increasingly research- and technology-oriented. This is why energy-sensitive institutions and industries are increasingly investigating development of microgrids. And with its impressive record of only three campus-wide outages in 40 years, UT Austin's microgrid stands as a signature case study for how it's done.
Top image of University of Texas Tower by Callie Richmond of the Texas Tribune via Flickr.
Microgrid 2020 to Explore World Electrification through Distributed Energy
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 10:41
Microgrid Knowledge today announced the theme for Microgrid 2020: distributed energy and world electrification.
Keynote panel at Microgrid 2019 in San Diego, Calif.
To be held June 2-3 in Philadelphia, Pa, the conference will focus on the various ways electrification opens opportunities for microgrid development in both advanced and developing economies.
''In advanced economies like the US, electrication efforts are focused on vehicles, buildings and large infrastructure, such as airports and ports. It's a movement away from use of fossil fuels '-- gasoline for cars and heating oil for buildings '-- and toward electricity as the main fuel,'' said Elisa Wood, editor-in-chief of Microgrid Knowledge.
''In developing parts of the world electrification takes a different form. It's about bringing electricity for the first time to the nearly 1 billion people in the world who lack ready access to reliable electric grids,'' she said. ''Microgrids are being installed to serve both cases.''
Electrification creates new opportunity for the power industry to innovate and grow. BloombergNEF sees electrification driving $13.3 trillion in new investment as d emand for electricity grows 62% though 2050. To put that in perspective, that's an amount just under the Gross Domestic Product of China.
In the US, full electrification of transportation, businesses and homes would double electricity use by 2050, while reducing greenhouse gases by 70% as electricity is increasingly generated from clean sources, according to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute.
Return to US Northeast's vibrant energy corridorThrough expert keynotes, panel discussions, workshops, specialized roundables, technology exhibits and tours, Microgrid 2020 will focus on where and how microgrids are bolstering electrification efforts.
Microgrid 2020 marks the fifth year for the Microgrid Knowledge conference series and returns the annual event to the the Northeast corridor's vibrant energy market. This year's host city, Philadelphia, is home to one of North America's most advanced commercial microgrid projects, the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
Organized by the largest news site devoted to all things microgrid, the conference showcases the latest in technology, ideas and government policy. Microgrid buyers can explore the possibilities, all in one place, and learn how microgrids can help them achieve their energy reliability, sustainability and budgetary goals.
Microgrid 2020 also offers microgrid providers, large and small, the opportunity to make new industry connections and re-establish partnerships.
The event will continue the popular programs that characterize the conference series, including the Microgrid Finance Connection '-- a platform to bring together project developers in search of financing with financiers looking for investment grade projects.
Free Resource from Microgrid Knowledge White Paper LibraryDriving Resiliency Through Your Organization's Energy InfrastructureLeaders in large corporations, government agencies, and other organizations face numerous challenges in running their day-to-day operations. For them, energy '' the lifeblood of many organizations '' has historically been seen as reliable, and occasional power outages considered an inevitable cost of doing business. However, these same organizations are starting to view energy and the associated risks and opportunities in a new light as power outages continue to impact their organizations and as new energy innovations make it to market. Download this new white paper from Ameresco that explores ways in which government agencies, companies, and other organizations can leverage their energy infrastructure to minimize the adverse impacts of major events '' in other words, become more resilient.
In addition, the Microgrid Greater Good Award program will enter is second year. The award acknowledges microgrids that bring societal and environmental benefits to communities worldwide.
In addition, on June 1 Microgrid Knowledge will hold a pre-conference workshop that will offer an opportunity for policy and industry leaders to dive deeply into microgrid challenges. And a post-conference day, June 4, will feature tours of area microgrids.
Microgrid 2020 is specifically designed for:
The thought leaders who are shaping and guiding the microgrid industry Innovators, developers, utilities, and technology & engineering firms Businesses, institutions and communities curious about how microgrids can benefit them Energy financiers Policymakers, regulators, researchers and advocates Details are now available on the Microgrid 2020 website. Information about sponsorship opportunities can be obtained by contacting Kevin Normandeau, 508-259-8570, Kevin@microgridknowledge.com.
Utilities are getting in on the microgrid action to make communities more resilient | GreenBiz
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 10:05
In Bronzeville on the South Side of Chicago, ComEd, the electric utility that serves 4 million customers in Chicago and Northern Illinois, is installing America's first utility-operated microgrid cluster.
The Bronzeville Community Microgrid is part of a smart-city (PDF) or smart-community concept that is developed using artificial intelligence algorithms and enabled through the internet of things.
Increasing energy resilience Microgrids are a portion of the electric grid that can operate either in conjunction with or as an island from the broader grid, particularly during disruptive events.
The Bronzeville Community Microgrid uses locally sited energy resources to ensure that homes, businesses and public institutions continue to receive power, even in the event of outages, and is capable of "islanding," or operating singularly independent of the grid.
These energy resources include solar PV and energy storage, which will be controlled by an innovative microgrid master controller technology, developed with the support of a grant from the Department of Energy.
The technology has been identified by a wide range of experts as being able to provide a higher level of resilience in terms of withstanding catastrophic events as well as allowing for quicker recoveries when the worst occurs. This will provide a higher level of electrical and community resilience, but also help develop and demonstrate the technologies that will enable the entire grid to be more sustainable and resilient.
Clustering microgrids together This project will not be simply one microgrid, but rather it will be able to cluster with an electrically adjacent microgrid serving the Illinois Institute of Technology.
By making it possible to share resources between the two microgrids, the project will provide a higher level of service to those relying on both microgrids. This modular grid design can provide higher levels of resilience during power outages and instill greater trust within the communities that rely on it, while also helping integrate renewable generation.
As part of the first phase of the Bronzeville Community Microgrid completed in 2018, ComEd installed solar PV and battery storage within the microgrid. When completed next year, it directly will serve about 1,000 residences, businesses and public institutions within the microgrid footprint, including the headquarters of the Chicago Fire and Police Departments.
Beyond the customers it directly serves, the grid will help form an oasis that will allow first responders to deploy resources such as fresh food and medications to the broader region during a disruptive event.
Increasing community action Installing a microgrid can help create a more connected community where customers are able to fully leverage state-of-the-art technologies. In Bronzeville, a coalition of community stakeholders, government leaders and the electric utility has come together to develop a vision for and implement programs associated with the Community of the Future . Bronzeville is known for its significant role in the development of American music, literature and civil culture.
The installation of advanced energy technologies, such as the microgrid cluster in Bronzeville, is part of a broader story about residents' growing interest in STEM principles that can be applied to making their communities more sustainable and resilient.
STEM in action It helps to show that STEM principles are not abstract but can be used to develop technologies that can mitigate the effects of climate change.
The positive impact of such higher levels of service will be experienced, of course, only to the extent that communities can access them.
It spurs other micro projects such as the mobility pilot program being implemented in Bronzeville, which leverages electric vehicles to serve senior residents' transportation needs. By linking these projects with the electrical resilience associated with microgrids, communities become more confident about relying upon electric vehicles to meet their needs.
The work being done in Bronzeville shows the value that can emerge when members of the community, local governments and electric utilities work together to ensure that all in the community have the power they need to live.
This story first appeared on:
PG&E May Speed New Microgrids as More Wildfire Shutoffs Loom
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 10:01
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) may speed development of 40 microgrids to help customers maintain electricity when wildfire threats force it to deenergize portions of its grid.
by Fsmelo/Shutterstock.com
The utility described its plans Friday in a four-hour emergency meeting called by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in response to the October 9-12 shutoffs to 2 million customers (738,000 accounts).
''There is a definite need to move toward some form of microgrid sectionalization,'' PG&E CEO William Johnson told the commission.
On windy days California utilities have been undertaking p ublic safety power shutoffs (PSPS) '-- intentional electricity shutoffs '-- because several wildfires in the state have been linked to their equipment.
Customers have expressed anger in the press and at the commission meeting over the shutoff. San Jose is considering exiting from PG&E's service to run its own utility that would focus on microgrids.
We know we have to do better During Friday's hearing, Sumeet Singh, vice president of PG&E's Community Wildfire Safety Program, described plans to accelerate development of what the utility calls ''resilience zones,'' areas of the grid configured to act as microgrids with temporary, mobile generation. Eventually the utility may develop them into permanent microgrids, according to PG&E's 2018 wildfire mitigation plan.
One zone is already operating in Angwin, a town in Napa County. The project taps into cogeneration at Pacific Union College and provides power for a fire station, gas station, apartment building and a plaza.
The utility had planned to develop 40 or more of the microgrid configurations over three years. ''But we know we need to do better and we are in the process of re-evaluating our plans to identify what we can get done and how quickly we can get some of these things done in a safe manner.''
Singh said that the utility is prioritizing microgrids for sites that are susceptible to ignition a nd wildfire, experience high winds, and offer limited egress for the population.
In addition to developing microgrids, PG&E officials said they are hardening the grid, which includes installation of covered conductors, and increasing vegetation management. The utility also is installing reclosers and other equipment to sectionalize parts of the grid and limit the number of customers affected by a power shutoff. S o far PG&E has installed 200 sectionalization devices, which helped avert power outages to 77,000 customers during the shutoff.
But with a 70,000 square-mile service territory, the utility acknowledges that grid modernization will take time, as long as 10-14 years to complete. Johnson foresees the potential for shutoffs over the next decade.
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''It will get better every year, but will take 10 years until it is ratcheted down significantly,'' the CEO told the commission.
The utility reported that damage to its system from the wind justified the mid-October shutoff. In a news release, PG&E said it found 100-plus incidents of damage that could have caused fires had lines been live.
PG&E Plan to Improve Service & ResiliencyCredit: PG&E's Presentation at Oct. 18, CPUC 2019 Emergency Meeting
2-WAY CONTROLS - To Keep the Lights on during Blackouts, Austin Explores Microgrids - Scientific American
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 09:59
The Department of Energy and the nation's utilities are exploring ways to make cities more resilient in the face of mounting and costly blackouts from severe storms and heat waves that are increasing with climate change.
They will use of a variety of relatively new features appearing in urban grids, including large storage batteries, a rising number of rooftop solar installations, and new computer-controlled programs and switches. They will also ask for help from homeowners.
Some utilities are already promoting devices such as two-way controls on air conditioners, thermostats and even electric water heaters to reduce consumer power demand on super-warm days.
The most ambitious effort would give control to a local utility to make a rapid grid reconfiguration at the onset of a blackout. It will attempt to collect and distribute enough renewable energy to support an ''island,'' or smaller area of the grid that can quickly repower hospitals, police and fire stations, and other emergency centers.
The stage for this experiment is called the Mueller neighborhood in the east-central part of Austin, Texas, a large modern housing development started in 1999 on the runways of what was the city's former municipal airport. Mueller has many pieces of the puzzle that might be needed, including a proliferation of new homes with rooftop solar arrays and a recently installed large battery storage system that Austin's municipal utility, Austin Energy, helped acquire with a federal grant.
Austin's first goal was to use the neighborhood and the big battery to help expand its reliance on renewable energy to 65% by 2027. Austin Energy has already started using the battery, installed on the edge of the Mueller neighborhood, to collect enough solar power to help it meet increased electricity demand during spates of 100 degree days.
''We're also using it to do energy arbitrage,'' said Cameron Freberg, a strategist for the utility. The battery collects and delivers solar power for use during the day, when electricity rates are high. The system recharges at night with cheap wind power from the grid, so it's ready for the next day's struggle to keep up with air conditioning demands.
In June, DOE offered Austin Energy part of a $5 million grant for a more complex challenge. It is to create ''flexible energy pathways'' from the solar arrays on the homes in Mueller, so that they might be tapped for electricity during a blackout. To do that, the local utility is joining a larger team sharing the DOE grant to explore prompt ways to minimize a storm-caused blackout.
It's called the Solar Critical Infrastructure Energization system, or SOLACE for short. It's not aptly named, because it's unlikely that there will be any immediate solace for those involved in the experiment.
The physics of storms and renewable electricity present a tough nut to crack. The electricity generated by solar arrays or stored in batteries is in the form of direct current, and the electricity used on the grid is alternating current. It is a mismatch that can normally be solved by a common device called an inverter on the solar array that translates DC into AC.
But a blackout shuts down the grid, paralyzing this translation process. The problem has recently been resolved by creating a more elaborate device called a ''grid-forming'' inverter, a piece of equipment the size of two large suitcases that would make power from the neighborhood's rooftop arrays available by simulating normal grid conditions.
If that works, the next problem will be how to dispatch the power to where it's needed, despite the grid being damaged. Each storm's impact will be peculiar, forcing the utility to quickly figure out which parts of its grid remain intact.
Scott Hinson is the chief technology officer for Pecan Street Inc., a nonprofit research organization that focuses on ways to spread solar power to reduce the use of fossil fuels in electricity generation. Pecan Street is located in the Mueller neighborhood and has organized some volunteer homeowners to participate in the blackout experiment. It might expose them to infrequent losses of power.
As he explained it, utilities can reconfigure their grids, shutting some sections of it down for maintenance. But it can take weeks to plan the process. The arrival of a powerful storm, such as Hurricane Harvey, which shut down more than a dozen power plants in 2017 and left 100,000 Texans without power, gives relatively little time to prepare.
Planners hope that forming an island, or what some call a ''microgrid,'' will give them more tools to restore power. ''Every year we're installing more and more solar, so we need to understand how these things interact with each other,'' Hinson said. The Mueller neighborhood ''provides a very nice test bed to do that.''
As he sees it, the team running the experiment will have to map out where the solar arrays are in the neighborhood so they could connect with the Austin Energy battery. They'd have to create a second map of circuits that would allow the battery to move the power to the emergency centers.
''You have to install a bunch of stuff to do the experiment and all of that will take some time,'' Hinson said, noting that it could take two years for the team to plan and install the switching equipment. The third year will be spent creating and testing simulated outages to see if the solar power can be collected and sent to selected places.
That's where the Mueller homeowners come in.
'Very big transformation'Austin Energy is installing batteries for its ''microgrid'' in the Mueller neighborhood. Credit: Austin EnergySome volunteers will remain connected to Austin Energy's grid while others will be connected to the emergency backup system configured for the test. No one is expected to lose power as a result of the exercise.
Another member of the team is Yaskawa Solectria Solar. The Lawrence, Mass., company will make a variant of its new XGI 1500 inverter to create a ''grid forming'' inverter that will meet the test's needs.
It will provide a ''stable voltage wave form'' that allows the solar-generated electricity to move from solar arrays and batteries into the grid created for the test, said Miles Russell, director of products management for the company. If the outcome is successful, he predicts there will be a global market for such devices.
''Don't look at it as an experiment,'' Russell said. ''Look at it as focused directed research to develop this kind of capability for the betterment of the grid across the country. This is an age where we're seeing a greater number of storms and with greater intensities that can take out sections of our grid.''
The testing in Austin will be directed by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), based in Palo Alto, Calif. It is a nonprofit whose members include utilities in the United States and 35 other countries.
Brian Seal, who leads its solar energy and battery research team, explains that most Americans have experienced reliable power during their lifetimes and that the growth of the U.S. electricity generating system has remained flat since around 2008.
Many consumers may use automated devices like smart meters to help them cut down their electricity usage. But they may not see what he calls a ''business motive'' to get further involved for the sake of power reliability. Many new air conditioners and heat pumps have adjustments that could allow them to do that. He estimates that the percentage of consumers that would intentionally make efforts to reduce energy demand for the sake of avoiding possible blackouts is ''in the single digits.''
What will take place in Austin, he said, is a demonstration of the ''next generation of grid management, a system that can generate and bring up a local system when the wider area is down.'' It will require more experience with storage and the use of solar energy.
''We need to reconfigure a system on the fly and have it work for resiliency purposes,'' Seal added, comparing it to the role of police during a hurricane evacuation. ''It's like changing the interstate to have fewer inbound lanes and run them as outbound lanes during a crisis.''
There are signs that more changes will be needed to keep the lights on. The Department of Energy estimated that the number of blackouts doubled in 2017, most of them caused by hurricanes and severe winter storms.
''There's a very big transformation that has to happen,'' explains Steve Hambric, a vice president of Itron Inc., an Austin-based company that has been watching preparations for the SOLACE experiment.
In the industry, the problem is called controlling ''demand response.'' The old-fashioned way of getting through a period of heavy electricity demand'--such as a predicted heat wave'--would be for a utility to make a prearrangement with a local industry to shut down for the day.
That may no longer provide enough power, Hambric said. But the solution may not be to build a $3 billion power plant, either. The answer will be to build an improved grid ''that can handle all these $30,000 power plants that are showing up on peoples' rooftops and on peoples' garages.''
Hambric's company makes automated equipment that will help utilities manage their future power demands during tougher weather conditions. ''I don't think there's any utility that knows how to do that at scale,'' he said.
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from E&E News. E&E provides daily coverage of essential energy and environmental news atwww.eenews.net.
Board of Advisors - Clean Coalition
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 09:54
Josh Becker, CEO, Lex MachinaJosh Becker is the CEO of Lex Machina, the company that pioneered the category of Legal Analytics. Lex Machina allows attorneys to make data-driven decisions to win cases and close business.Josh is the founder of The Full Circle Fund, an alliance of emerging business leaders who help solve public problems through engaged philanthropy and public policy advocacy. FCF has raised over $10M to do public problem solving in the Bay Area.Josh was part of the founding team at Redpoint Ventures where he focused on Internet and wireless investments. Previous employment includes Brentwood Venture Capital, Netscape Communications, and McKinsey & Co. Josh was the 2nd employee at EarthWeb Inc., a start up that went public in 1998.In Washington, D.C., Josh started a successful technology consulting firm and was one of the youngest press secretaries on Capitol Hill. He holds a B.A. from Williams College, an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a J.D. from the Stanford Law School. At Stanford he co-founded the Board Fellows Program, which now matches almost 15% of GSB students each year with Boards of non-profit organizations. He also ran a year long initiative on technology and social change.
Jeff Byron, 2015 Fellow, Stanford UniversityJeff Byron has nearly 40 years of experience in emerging energy technologies, customer requirements, and energy policy. His focus has been on the technical, regulatory, and financial implications of clean energy and smart grid technologies. Jeff was a Fellow in the inaugural cohort at the Stanford Distinguish Career Institute in 2015 and also served as a board member for various non-profits, including an organization that provides local services for the developmentally disabled and the world's largest clean technology business accelerator.Jeff began his career at GE's Nuclear Energy Division and has been involved in all aspects of electric power generation. He has held executive positions at NRG Energy and Calpine. He co-founded BrightLine Energy, a distributed energy provider, and was Energy Director at Oracle Corporation. Jeff served for five years on the California Energy Commission, where he presided over numerous power plant siting cases, public interest research and development, and state energy policy.
Rick DeGolia, Executive Chairman, Intellipark / Vice Chair, Peninsula Clean EnergyRick DeGolia's principal work is to focus on three early stage IT companies as a strategic business consultant, and often board member. In 2016, he joined Intellipark as its Executive Chairman. Intellipark utilizes advanced information technology to transform the urban parking business. Rick also spends significant time on civic activities: as Vice Chair and Executive Committee member of Peninsula Clean Energy and member of the Atherton City Council. He was elected to the Atherton Council in 2013 and Mayor in 2015.In 2016, Rick helped launch Peninsula Clean Energy, a public entity that supplies 85% greenhouse gas-free electricity to 300,000 customers in San Mateo County. From 2007 to 2013, he worked with various Silicon Valley venture and private equity firms and left in 2013 to launch a consulting business and pursue more community-based activities.
John Geesman, Attorney, Dickson Geesman LLPJohn Geesman was the Co-Chair of the American Council on Renewable Energy and was the presiding member of the California Energy Commission's (CEC) Renewables Committee from 2002 to 2008. His first service in government was as Executive Director of the CEC from 1979 to 1983, where aggressive implementation of the Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act created the first model for feed-in tariffs. He was the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the California Power Exchange during the tumultuous electricity market restructuring in the late 1990s, and also served on the Board of the California Independent System Operator.
Patricia Glaza, Executive Director/CEO, Clean Technology & Sustainable Industries OrganizationPatricia Glaza's background includes extensive work in emerging technologies, business development, and strategic consulting. Prior to joining the Clean Technology & Sustainable Industries Organization,Patricia was the Vice President and Group Publisher of Small Times, the leading global media group focused on micro, MEMS, and nanotechnology commercialization. She served as the CEOr prior to the company's acquisition by PennWell Corporation in late 2005.Before Small Times Media, Patricia was Director of Business Development, Marketing & Client Services at HealthMedia, a fast-growing technology and health management start-up company. She also worked at Avalon Investments, a venture capital company focused on technology company financing. Patricia started her career as a consulting professional and manager in the logistics, business services and retail industry groups for Accenture.
Mark Z. Jacobson, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Director, Atmosphere/Energy Program, Stanford UniversityMark Z. Jacobson is Director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University. He is also a Senior Fellow of the Woods Institute for the Environment and Senior Fellow of the Precourt Institute for Energy.The main goal of Mark's research is to understand better severe atmospheric problems, such as air pollution and global warming, and develop and analyze large-scale, clean energy solutions to them. He has published two textbooks of two editions each and 135 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles and has given several hundred invited talks on his research. In 2000, he discovered that black carbon, the main component of soot aerosol particles, might be the second-leading cause of global warming after carbon dioxide. For this, he received the 2005 American Meteorological Society Henry G. Houghton Award for ''significant contributions to modeling aerosol chemistry and to understanding the role of soot and other carbon particles on climate'' and the 2013 American Geophysical Union Ascent Award for ''his dominating role in the development of models to identify the role of black carbon in climate change.''Mark has also appeared in a TED talk and served on the Energy Efficiency and Renewables Advisory Committee to the U.S. Secretary of Energy.
Dr. Dan Kammen, Professor of Energy, University of California, BerkeleyDr. Daniel M. Kammen is a Professor of Energy at the University of California, Berkeley, with parallel appointments in the Energy and Resources Group, the Goldman School of Public Policy, and the department of Nuclear Engineering. He was appointed by then Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in April 2010 as the first energy fellow of the new Environment and Climate Partnership for the Americas initiative. In 2016 he was asked to serve as the Science Envoy for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, which he did until August 2017 when he resigned over the policies and actions of Donald Trump.Daniel is the founding director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory and was Director of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center from 2007-15. He has founded or is on the board of over 10 companies, and has served the State of California and U.S. federal government in expert and advisory capacities.Daniel was an Assistant Professor and Chair of the Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy Program at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University before moving to the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Kammen has served as a contributing or coordinating lead author on various reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) since 1999. The IPCC shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. And during 2010-11, he served as the World Bank Group's first Chief Technical Specialist for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.
Fred Keeley, Treasurer, Santa Cruz County, CaliforniaFred Keeley currently serves as the elected Treasurer for the County of Santa Cruz, California. From 1996-2002, Mr. Keeley served three terms in the California State Assembly, representing the Monterey Bay area. In that capacity, he also served as Speaker pro Tempore of the Assembly. His legislative accomplishments include authoring the two largest park and environmental bond issues in the nation's history.Fred also authored the Marine Life Management Act of 1998, and was principal co-author of the Marine Life Protection Act of 1999. These two legislative acts are nationally recognized public policy, that based California's ocean management on the precautionary principle.From 1988-1996, he served two terms as an elected member of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors.Mr. Keeley has served on the Governor's Commission on the 21st Century Economy, as an appointee of the California State Senate. He also served on the California Fair Political Practices Commission Chair's Task Force on Revisions of the Fair Political Practices Act. He is a recognized leader in environmental policy, government reform policy, having served for several years as a member of the Board of Directors of California Forward.
Felix Kramer, Project Founder, UltraWealth for Climate HealthFelix Kramer is a serial entrepreneur and lifelong environmentalist focusing on innovative technology-related ideas, events, and businesses.In 2002, he enlisted engineers, entrepreneurs, environmentalists, and drivers to promote plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) by technology demonstrations, advocacy, and buyer demand. In 2006, he became the world's first non-technical consumer owner of a PHEV. He popularized the ''100+MPG'' goal and ''cleaner/cheaper/domestic'' to describe electricity's benefits. Thomas Friedman, in his best-seller, Hot, Flat and Crowded, said, ''Felix Kramer has made plug-in electric cars not only his passion but an imminent American reality.''With allies including Andy Grove, Kramer is forging a technical, business and government coalition to spark a new industry to turn millions of large internal combustion engine vehicles now on the road into safe, practical, EVs and PHEVs via OEM-sanctioned retrofits. In 2008, he began advising several transportation electrification and conversion startups. In 2012, he founded DrivingElectric.org, a consortium connecting owners and drivers of plug-in vehicles with potential customers.
Hunter Lovins, President, Natural Capitalism SolutionsHunter Lovins is President and Founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions (NCS). NCS educates senior decision-makers in business, government, and civil society to restore and enhance the natural and human capital while increasing prosperity and quality of life. In partnership with leading thinkers and Implementers, NCS creates innovative, practical tools and strategies to enable companies, communities, and countries to become more sustainable. Trained as a sociologist and lawyer, Hunter co-founded the California Conservation Project (Tree People) and Rocky Mountain Institute, which she led for 20 years.Hunter has consulted for scores of industries and governments worldwide. She has consulted with large and small companies including the International Finance Corporation, Royal Dutch Shell, Interface, Clif Bar, and Wal-Mart. Governmental clients include the Pentagon, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy and other agencies, numerous cities, and the governments of Jamaica, Australia, and the U.S. She has also served an advisor to the Energy Minister of the Government of Afghanistan.Recipient of such honors as the Right Livelihood Award, Lindbergh Award, and Leadership in Business, Hunter was named Time Magazine 2000 Hero of the Planet and in 2009 Newsweek dubbed her a ''Green Business Icon.'' She has co-authored nine books and hundreds of papers, including the 1999 book, Natural Capitalism, 2006 e-book Climate Protection Manual for Cities, and the 2009 Transforming Industry in Asia. She has served on the boards of governments, non- and for profit companies.
Terry Tamminen, CEO, Leonardo DiCaprio FoundationTerry Tamminen has been working for environmental causes for over 20 years, becoming an expert on marine conservation, climate change, renewable energy, waste to energy, and solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and become a more energy efficient society. His history includes founding the Santa Monica BayKeeper, serving as the Executive Director of the Environment Now Foundation, and co-founding the Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic at the School of Law at the University of California Los Angeles.In the summer of 2003, Terry helped Arnold Schwarzenegger win the historic recall election and become Governor of California. He was appointed as the Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency in November 2003 and was later appointed Cabinet Secretary, the Chief Policy Advisor to the Governor. During his service in state government, Terry was the architect of many groundbreaking sustainability policies, including California's landmark Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, the Hydrogen Highway Network, and the Million Solar Roofs initiative. Terry left state government in late 2006 and then founded the non-profit organization Seventh Generation Advisors. He was also named the Cullman Senior Fellow for climate policy at the New America Foundation and was appointed as an Operating Advisor to Pegasus Capital Advisors. In 2011 Terry was appointed as the R20 Founding Chair's Strategic Advisor. In 2016, Terry was appointed CEO of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.
Jim Weldon, CEO & Co-founder, AlliphantJim Weldon has 30 years of technology management and expertise. Before leading Solar Junction as CEO, from founding in 2006 through becoming the world record holder in solar cell efficiency and securing tens of millions in venture and grant funding along the way, Jim was the COO of Translucent Inc. in Palo Alto, a materials research company.Prior to Translucent, Jim was Vice President of the Advanced Products Division at Epion Corporation and Vice President of Business Development and Technology at Veeco Instruments for 25 years. Veeco Instruments is a Semiconductor Process and Metrology Equipment company. While at Veeco, he held many senior and executive management positions within sales, operations, technology, business development, and corporate development. He ran West Coast operations and the Veeco Technology Center for 10 years. Jim's technical background assisted him in driving business, as well as merger and acquisitions activities. Jim executed due diligence on numerous major acquisitions for Veeco. Throughout his career, Jim's main focus is to drive new technology into the marketplace.
James Woolsey, Chairman, Foundation for the Defense of DemocraciesJames Woolsey is Chairman for the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and served as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency under President Bill Clinton.During his 12 years of government service, Mr. Woolsey was Ambassador to the Negotiation on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, Under Secretary of the Navy, and General Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services. He was also appointed by the President to serve on a part-time basis in Geneva, Switzerland from 1983''86, as Delegate at Large to the U.S.''Soviet Strategic Arms Reduction Talks, and Nuclear and Space Arms Talks. As an officer in the U.S. Army, he was an adviser on the U.S. Delegation to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks in Helsinki.Mr. Woolsey has served in the past as a member of boards of directors of a number of publicly and privately held companies, generally in fields related to technology, energy, and security, including Martin Marietta, British Aerospace, Inc., Fairchild Industries, and Yurie Systems, Inc. In 2009, he was the Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
Kurt Yeager, Vice Chairman, Galvin Electricity InitiativeKurt Yeager joined the Galvin Electricity Initiative, an effort to perfect the electric power system, shortly after it was launched by former Motorola chief Bob Galvin in 2005. Yeager works with electricity experts, innovators, and entrepreneurs to design and build Perfect Power System models of a smart, efficient electric power system that cannot fail the consumer. He also leads the Initiative in driving the electricity policy changes necessary for system transformation at the state and federal levels.Kurt previously served as the president and chief executive officer of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), retiring in 2004 after 30 years with the organization. Under his leadership, EPRI evolved from a non-profit industry think tank to a family of companies that undertake both proprietary and collaborative research and development for the electric power industry in the U.S and 40 other countries. During that time, he also guided an industry-wide collaborative effort to address challenges and plan for the future of electric power. ''The Electricity Technology Roadmap'' and the ''Electricity Sector Framework of the Future'' have since become the foundation of utility industry progress.Before joining EPRI, Yeager was director of energy research and development planning for the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Research. Prior to working for EPA, he was the associate head of the environmental systems department at MITRE Corporation. Kurt served seven years, active duty in the U.S. Air Force and is a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Nuclear Research Officer's Program.
Craig Lewis: Community Microgrids Are the Solution to Public Safety Power Shutoffs | Opinions - Noozhawk.com
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 09:51
As coastal winds began to pick up last week and red-flag warnings were issued by the National Weather Service for critical fire-risk conditions, Santa Barbara County's South Coast found itself at risk of losing power for potentially prolonged periods as Southern California Edison considered implementing Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS).
Craig Lewis (Clean Coalition photo)
California's major utilities are increasingly using these preemptive grid shutoffs to mitigate the risk of their power lines causing wildfires.
By the end of the weekend, Santa Barbara area had not yet experienced a grid outage. But the PSPS threat got everyone thinking about what might happen if more than 24,000 residents were left without power, as SCE's website indicated Friday.
If initiated, the PSPS would last as long as high-fire-risk conditions continued to threaten the vulnerable transmission lines that stretch from Ventura to the Goleta Substation, which is located at the top of Glen Annie Road above Goleta and provides the region's only interconnection to California's transmission grid.
Public Safety Power Shutoff map for Santa Barbara County's South Coast, as of 4 p.m. Oct. 18. (Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management map)
With the emergence of PSPS events as the new normal throughout California, first responders and local jurisdictions are assessing the impacts that these power outages will have on our communities '-- and everyone is searching for solutions.
Many Californians '-- including Gov. Gavin Newsom, who called the situation ''unacceptable'' '-- are questioning whether broad grid area shutoffs are the best way to deal with increasing wildfire risks.
( Clean Coalition map)
While no silver bullet exists, a highly effective solution is Community Microgrids '-- a new approach for designing and operating the electric grid. Community Microgrids are stacked with local renewables and staged for resilience, providing communities with an unparalleled trifecta of economic, environmental and resilience benefits.
California is increasingly turning to microgrids for energy resilience, because microgrids can ''island'' from the larger grid to keep a smaller area online.
In September, the California Public Utilities Commission started a rulemaking proceeding on SB 1339, legislation passed in 2018 that aims to reduce barriers to resilience-focused microgrids.
In response to SB 1339, the commission recently started considering policies and programs that will facilitate such microgrids during PSPS events '-- and during actual disasters, too.
(Clean Coalition illustration)
Meanwhile, some microgrids have already been deployed in California. Most of these are standard microgrids, however, meaning they are deployed at one home or business and generally serve just that customer rather than an entire community.
Now, the South Coast region is at the forefront of an emerging trend to deploy microgrids that serve broader communities. Direct Relief, which installed a solar-driven microgrid last year to protect the Santa Barbara nonprofit organization's temperature-controlled medicines during grid outages, while enjoying lots of everyday economic benefits, is making its headquarters available to anyone who loses power during a PSPS '-- allowing residents to charge their phones, computers, portable batteries and other devices.
Taking this even further, another local nonprofit, the Clean Coalition, is staging a comprehensive Community Microgrid that covers the entire South Coast. Like a standard microgrid, a Community Microgrid can island from the larger grid and operate independently.
Unlike a standard microgrid that supports a single facility, however, a Community Microgrid serves an entire community by ensuring indefinite renewables-driven backup power for critical community facilities such as fire stations, water and communications infrastructure, hospitals and emergency shelters.
(Clean Coalition illustration)
The Goleta Load Pocket Community Microgrid, or GLPCM, named after the Goleta Substation, is being staged to provide renewables-driven resilience to the entire South Coast, to keep the lights on and the doors open at critical community facilities during outages of any length. During normal operations, these clean local energy resources will drastically reduce the carbon footprint of our community and yield significant local economic stimulation.
The Montecito Community Microgrid aims to be the first building block of the GLPCM by providing solar-driven resilience to the Montecito Fire Protection District headquarters, the Montecito Water District and Montecito Union School, all at the upper end of San Ysidro Road.
(Clean Coalition illustration)
Other communities are also turning to Community Microgrids. Shortly after experiencing a 48-hour PSPS last fall, the City of Calistoga took steps to prepare for future PSPS events '-- as well as wildfires or other actual disasters '-- by planning the Calistoga Community Microgrid.
The Clean Coalition is conducting a feasibility study for the Bay Area city that will include functional designs for six target Critical Community Facility Microgrids. Starting with these separate microgrids at discrete locations, the project has the ultimate goal of developing a comprehensive Community Microgrid that serves the much broader grid area.
(City of Calistoga map)
These and other Community Microgrids being planned in Northern and Southern California will significantly improve regional energy resilience and minimize the impacts of PSPS events and actual disasters alike.
Santa Barbara County is in dire need of innovative resilience solutions, and Community Microgrids are ready to provide that resilience our community.
Click here for more information from the Clean Coalition on any of the projects listed here.
'-- Santa Barbara resident Craig Lewis is executive director of the Clean Coalition, a nonprofit organization working to accelerate the transition to renewable energy and a modern grid through technical, policy and project development expertise. He can be reached at [email protected] . Follow Craig and the Clean Coalition on Twitter: @CraigLewisCC and @Clean_Coalition. Connect with the Clean Coalition on LinkedIn. The opinions expressed are his own.
California wildfires: Millions face weekend blackout | News | DW | 26.10.2019
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 07:53
Authorities are preparing to cut power amid concerns that high-voltage power lines could cause additional blazes. Thousands of people have been evacuated as the wildfires continue to rage.
Up to 2.1 million people in the US state of California could lose power as wildfires continue to scorch the countryside near Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Dozens of homes have already been destroyed and thousands of residents displaced by the intense smoke and flames.
California's Pacific Gas and Electric Co has already cut power to hundreds of thousands of homes in the state as a preventative measure, and warned that millions more could face a blackout over the weekend.
The company has acknowledged that an earlier wildfire may have been caused by a high-voltage transmission line.
Thousands evacuated
Tens of thousands of people near Santa Clarita, north of Los Angeles, fled their homes on Friday as firefighters struggle to control fires that are spread over 4,000 acres (1,618 hectares). Only 10% of the fires had been contained by the evening.
Authorities ordered mass evacuations in the area after a brush fire, which was sparked on Wednesday, turned into an inferno due to dry winds.
Authorities shut down all nearby schools on Friday as well as a major highway after the blaze continued to spread.
Read more: California wine country fires expand, trigger blackouts
Situation remains critical
The National Weather Service warned that although wind speeds '' gusting up to 65 miles (105 kilometers) per hour '' were set to subside temporarily, they were expected to increase again on Sunday and Monday in the southern part of the state.
"It looks like another Santa Ana is coming," meteorologist Eric Boldt told AFP news agency, in reference to the strong gusts that hit California each fall. "Right now, we're looking at moderate strength winds (Sunday and Monday)."
Read more: California signs new law fighting Uber labor practices
Fires have also broken out over the border in Mexico's Baja California state
The state remains "critically dry" with little humidity, increasing the chance of large and dangerous fires, he added.
Several wildfires are also raging in northern California '' the most serious being the "Kincade Fire" in the Sonoma wine region.
This year, 276 wildfires have broken out across California. The most destructive year on record was 2018, when 8,500 wildfires scorched through the state, killing around 100 people.
Intense fires over the border in Mexico's Baja California state have killed at least three people and destroyed over 150 homes, officials said.
shs/mm (AFP, AP, Reuters)
Every evening, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.
Troilism - Wikipedia
Sun, 27 Oct 2019 10:02
Troilism (sometimes spelled triolism) refers to sexual activity in which three persons take part simultaneously.[1]
Origins [ edit ] Troilism was coined in the 1941 edition of Dorland's Medical Dictionary where it was classified as a paraphilia. It was not clear why this scientific name was chosen.
One examination of the word may indicate a root in the French word trois (three). A similar French term, triolisme, exists in French'--the shift between the third and fourth letter is perhaps a mistake. On the other hand, m(C)nage trois (household of three) was coined in the late 19th century. Although all those terms involve three people, m(C)nage trois implies a romantic link between all three, which is quite different from troilistic scenarios. In French, a plan trois, vulgar form and synonym of triolisme, corresponds more closely to a troilistic scenario; a "threesome".[citation needed ]
Another possible origin was noted in Take Our Word For It,[2] a webzine published by the non-profit Institute for Etymological Research and Education. Here,[failed verification ] it is theorized that troilism comes from Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida. In it, Ulysses forces Troilus to watch his lover, Cressida, with another man. Troilus promptly dismisses his former love as a whore. Unlike the trois etymology, this derivation provides an explanation for the -l- in troilism.
See also [ edit ] References [ edit ] ^ Oxford English Dictionary ^ "Issue 93". TIERE. 17 July 2000.
Jezebel - Wikipedia
Sun, 27 Oct 2019 08:43
Biblical Phoenician princess
Jezebel ( , Hebrew: אִ×זֶבֶ×' )[1][2][3] was the daughter of Ithobaal I of Sidon and the wife of Ahab, King of Israel, according to the Book of Kings of the Hebrew Bible ( 1 Kings 16:31 ).[4]
According to the Biblical narrative, Jezebel, along with her husband, instituted the worship of Baal and Asherah on a national scale. In addition, she violently purged the prophets of Yahweh from Israel, damaging the reputation of the Omride Dynasty.[5][6][7][8]For these offences, the Omride Dynasty was annihilated, with Jezebel herself suffering the gruesome death of defenestration.
In later Christian tradition, Jezebel was associated with false prophets.[9]
Meaning of name [ edit ] Jezebel is the Anglicized transliteration of the Hebrew אִ×זָבֶ×' ('Žzeḇel,, 'Izevel,'Izavel). The Oxford Guide to People & Places of the Bible states that the name is "best understood as meaning 'Where is the Prince? ' ", (Hebrew: אֵ×זוֹ בַּ×Ö·×' 'Ä'yzō ba'al) ritual cry from worship ceremonies in honor of Baal during periods of the year when the god was considered to be in the underworld.[10]
In an unrelated connection, the name Jezebel, in Hebrew, is spelled the same as Isabelle (Hebrew: א×זב×' ), a French form of the Hebrew name Elisheva.
Biblical account [ edit ] She is introduced into the Biblical narrative as a Phoenician princess, the daughter of Ithobaal I, king of Tyre ( 1 Kings 16:31 says she was "Sidonian", which is a biblical term for Phoenicians in general).[10]According to genealogies given in Josephus and other classical sources, she was the great-aunt of Dido, Queen of Carthage.[10]As the daughter of Ithobaal I, she was also the sister of Baal-Eser II. Jezebel eventually married King Ahab of Samaria, the northern kingdom of Israel.
The wedding ceremony of Ahab and Jezebel is recorded, according to Near Eastern scholar Charles R. Krahmalkov, in Psalm 45.[11] This marriage was the culmination of the friendly relations existing between Israel and Phoenicia during Omri's reign, and possibly cemented important political designs of Ahab. Jezebel, like the foreign wives of Solomon, required facilities for carrying on her form of worship, so Ahab made a Baalist altar in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria.[12] Geoffrey Bromiley points out that it was Phoenician practice to install a royal woman as a priestess of Astarte, so thus she would have a more active role in temple and palace relations than was customary in the Hebrew monarchy.[13]
Elijah [ edit ] Upon coronation as queen, the official royal support for Yahwism had weakened. Temples and altars dedicated to Baal were built, elevating Baal to a national status.[14] Jezebel additionally used royal provisions to fund the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah, during a severe famine in Samaria.[15] Meanwhile, Yahwism was systematically purged. Altars dedicated to Yahweh were torn down and desecrated. Many prophets of Yahweh were killed, leaving only 100 survivors.[16] Obadiah, a pro-Yahwist figure in Ahab's royal court, secretly protected these survivors in a cave.[12] Elijah notes that the Israelite community, due to the increasing influence of Baal worship, was divided over whether to worship Baal or Yahweh.[17] He decided to put an end to this controversy by inviting Jezebel's prophets of Baal and Asherah to a challenge at Mount Carmel. The challenge was to see which god, Yahweh or Baal, would burn a bull sacrifice on an altar. Jezebel's prophets failed to summon Baal in burning the bull sacrifice, despite their cries and cutting themselves. Elijah, however, succeeded when he summoned Yahweh, impressing the Israelites. He then ordered the people to seize and kill the prophets of Baal and Asherah at the Kishon River. After the prophets were slain, Jezebel swore to have Elijah become like her prophets (i.e. killed), even if it meant embracing divine judgement upon herself if she failed to do so.[18] Elijah fled for his life to the wilderness, where he mourned the devotion of Israel to Baal and lamented about being the only Yahwist worshiper left.[12][19]
Naboth [ edit ] After an unspecified amount of time had passed, since Ahab was notably rebuked by an unnamed prophet for letting Ben-Hadad survive (Ben-Hadad planned to capture Ahab's "wives", including Jezebel, as plunder after besieging Samaria),[20] he visited Naboth's residence. The residence was located near the royal palace in the city of Jezreel. Wishing to acquire Naboth's vineyard so that he could expand his own gardens, Ahab requested to purchase Naboth's vineyard, in exchange for a better quality vineyard or financial compensation. Naboth declined, which he justified by informing Ahab that his vineyard was ancestral property. Ahab returned to his palace, sullen and depressed by Naboth's response. Jezebel decided to "cheer" him up by arranging Naboth to be entrapped and later, executed on the (false) charges of blasphemy against God and the king. After Naboth was executed outside the city, his corpse was licked by stray dogs. Jezebel then informed Ahab that he could successfully seize possession of Naboth's vineyard. Nonetheless, Elijah condemned Ahab for committing theft and murder. As punishment, God decreed Ahab's death and the annihilation of his royal line. Jezebel's death was also decreed, with her corpse to be devoured by dogs.[21]
Death [ edit ] Three years later, Ahab died in battle. His son Ahaziah inherited the throne, but died as the result of an accident and Ahaziah was succeeded by his brother, Joram. Elisha, Elijah's successor, commanded one of his disciples to anoint Jehu, commander of Joram's army, as king, to be the agent of divine punishment against Ahab's family.[10] Jehu killed Joram, and his nephew Ahaziah (the king of Judah and son of Athaliah, who was possibly the daughter of Jezebel). He later approached the royal palace in Jezreel to confront Jezebel.
Knowing that Jehu was coming, Jezebel put on make-up and a formal wig with adornments and looked out of a window, taunting him. Bromiley says that it should be looked at less as an attempt at seduction than the public appearance of the queen mother, invested with the authority of the royal house and cult, confronting a rebellious commander.[13] In his two-volume Guide to the Bible (1967 and 1969), Isaac Asimov describes Jezebel's last act: dressing in all her finery, make-up, and jewelry, as deliberately symbolic, indicating her dignity, royal status, and determination to go out of this life as a queen.[22]
Jehu later ordered Jezebel's eunuch servants to throw her from the window. Her blood splattered on the wall and horses, and Jehu's horse trampled her corpse. He entered the palace where, after he ate and drank, he ordered Jezebel's body to be taken for burial. His servants discovered only her skull, her feet, and the palms of her hands'--her flesh had been eaten by stray dogs, just as the prophet Elijah had prophesied.[23] Edwin R. Thiele dates Jezebel's death around 850 BC.[24]
Historicity [ edit ] According to Israel Finkelstein, the marriage of King Ahab to the daughter of the ruler of the Phoenician empire was a sign of the power and prestige of Ahab and the northern Kingdom of Israel. He termed it a "brilliant stroke of international diplomacy."[25] He says that the inconsistencies and anachronisms in the biblical stories of Jezebel and Ahab mean that they must be considered "more of a historical novel than an accurate historical chronicle."[25] Among these inconsistencies, 1 Kings 20 states that "Ben-Hadad king of Aram" invaded Samaria during Ahab's reign, but this event did not take place until later in the history of Israel.[26] The two books of Kings are part of the Deuteronomistic history, compiled more than two hundred years after the death of Jezebel. Finkelstein notes that these accounts are "obviously influenced by the theology of the seventh century BCE writers".[25] The compilers of the biblical accounts of Jezebel and her family were writing in the southern kingdom of Judah centuries after the events and from a perspective of strict monolatry. These writers considered the polytheism of the members of the Omride dynasty to be sinful. In addition, they were hostile to the northern kingdom and its history, as its center of Samaria was a rival to Jerusalem.[25] According to Dr J. Bimson, of Trinity College, Bristol 1 and 2 Kings are not "a straightforward history but a history which contains its own theological commentary". He points to verses like 1 Kings 14:19 that show the author of Kings was drawing on other earlier sources.[27]
A seal from the 9th century BCE, discovered in 1964, has a partially damaged inscription of "YZBL" which could have once read, "belonging to Jezebel". However, there are some issues with this theory. Whereas on the seal it appears the inscription begins with the letter yodh, Jezebel's name starts with an aleph, which is lacking on the seal; furthermore, the possessive lamedh which would translate to the prerequisite "belonging to ('...)" is also missing from the seal. However, it is entirely possible these letters simply could have been located where the seal is damaged. Regardless, scholars do not agree on whether the seal is evidence for the historicity of the biblical character. Some scholars have said that the size and intricacy of the seal could mean it was used by royalty.[28]
Cultural symbol [ edit ] According to Geoffrey Bromiley, the depiction of Jezebel as "the incarnation of Canaanite cultic and political practices, detested by Israelite prophets and loyalists, has given her a literary life far beyond the existence of a ninth-century Tyrian princess."[13]
Through the centuries, the name Jezebel came to be associated with false prophets. By the early 20th century, it was also associated with fallen or abandoned women.[29] In Christian lore, a comparison to Jezebel suggested that a person was a pagan or an apostate masquerading as a servant of God. By manipulation and seduction, she misled the saints of God into sins of idolatry and sexual immorality.[30] In particular, Christians associated Jezebel with promiscuity. The cosmetics which Jezebel applied before her death also led to some Christians to associate makeup with vice. [31] n the Middle Ages, the chronicler Matthew Paris criticised Isabella of Angoulªme, the queen consort of John, King of England, by writing that she was "more Jezebel than Isabel".[32] In modern usage, the name of Jezebel is sometimes used as a synonym for sexually promiscuous or controlling women.[33] The Jezebel stereotype is an oppressive image and a form of racialized sexual harassment that began during the eras of colonization and slavery in the United States and continues today. Although this stereotype can potentially be applied to women of all ethnic backgrounds, the image is often associated with Black women.[34][35][36]
In popular culture [ edit ] Bette Davis starred as a plantation-era Southern belle named Julie in the film Jezebel (1938). Her aunt says a series of Julie's transgressive actions has caused her to draw the comparison between Julie and "Jezebel, a woman who did evil in the sight of the Lord".[37]The American gospel vocal group Golden Gate Quartet released a single called "Jezebel" in 1941 which narrates the story of Jezebel.[38][39]Frankie Laine recorded "Jezebel" (1951), written by Wayne Shanklin, which became a hit song.[40] The song begins:If ever the Devil was born without a pair of hornsIt was you, Jezebel, it was youIf ever an angel fellJezebel, it was you, Jezebel, it was you![41]
Iron & Wine included a song "Jezebel" on his 2005 EP Woman King. It contains many references to the biblical Jezebel, in particular the dogs associated with her death.[42]Paulette Goddard starred as Jezebel in the film Sins of Jezebel (1953).[43]"Jess-Belle " is an episode of the American television science fiction and fantasy anthology series The Twilight Zone (1963). In this episode, a young woman spurned by the man she loves becomes a witch in order to make him love her.The Gawker offshoot blog Jezebel (launched 2007) concerns mostly feminist issues and women's interests.[44]In the speculative fiction novel The Handmaid's Tale (1985) by Margaret Atwood, the brothel is called "Jezebel's" and prostitutes are referred to as "Jezebels". In the Hulu series (2017) Handmaids deemed a risk (corrupting influence) to the reformed culture of Gilead were given two options: servitude as a Jezebel to the culture's elite, or banishment to the toxic colonies.[45]The popular historian Lesley Hazleton wrote a revisionist account, Jezebel: The Untold Story of the Bible's Harlot Queen (2004), presenting Jezebel as a sophisticated queen engaged in mortal combat with the fundamentalist prophet Elijah.[46]American Jezebel: The Uncommon Life of Anne Hutchinson, the Woman Who Defied the Puritans (2004), by Eve LaPlante, references the Biblical figure in telling the story of Anne Hutchinson, who was charged with sedition and heresy by the Massachusetts General Court in 1637.[47]References [ edit ] ^ Oxford English Dictionary (Second ed.). 1989. "Jezebel" (US) and "Jezebel". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press . Retrieved 5 May 2019 . ^ "Jezebel". Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins . Retrieved 5 May 2019 . ^ "Jezebel". Merriam-Webster Dictionary . Retrieved 5 May 2019 . ^ Elizabeth Knowles, "Jezebel", The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, OUP 2006 ^ "Micah 6:16". ^ "2 Chronicles 21:6". ^ "2 Kings 8:18". ^ ISHDA, T. (1975). "The House of Ahab". Israel Exploration Journal. 25 (2/3): 135''137. JSTOR 27925509. ^ B. Duff, Paul (2001). "Who Rides the Beast?: Prophetic Rivalry and the Rhetoric of Crisis in the Churches of the Apocalypse". doi:10.1093/019513835X.001.0001. ISBN 9780195138351. ^ a b c d Hackett, Jo Ann (2004). Metzger, Bruce M; Coogan, Michael D (eds.). The Oxford Guide to People & Places of the Bible. Oxford University Press. pp. 150''151. ISBN 978-0195176100. ^ Krahmalkov, Charles R. (2000), A Phoenician-Punic Grammar, page 2[verification needed ] ^ a b c "JEZEBEL - JewishEncyclopedia.com". www.jewishencyclopedia.com. ^ a b c Bromiley, Geoffrey W. (28 August 1979). The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 9780802837820 '' via Google Books. ^ 1 Kings 16:32 ^ 1 Kings 18:19 ^ 1 Kings 18:3-4, 13 ^ 1 Kings 18:21 ^ Micah 6:16 ^ Bromiley, Geoffrey William (2009). The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W. B. Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0-8028-3785-1. ^ 1 Kings 20:3''43 ^ "Jezebel: Bible | Jewish Women's Archive". jwa.org. ^ Asimov, Isaac (1988). Asimov's Guide to the Bible: Two Volumes in One, the Old and New Testaments (reprint ed.). Wings. ISBN 978-0517345825. ^ 2 Kings 9:35-36 ^ Edwin Thiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, (1st ed.; New York: Macmillan, 1951; 2d ed.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965; 3rd ed.; Grand Rapids: Zondervan/Kregel, 1983). ISBN 0-8254-3825-X ^ a b c d Finkelstein, Israel; Silberman, Neil Asher (2001). The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts. Simon and Schuster. pp. 169''195. ISBN 978-0-684-86912-4. ^ Israel Finkelstein; Neil Asher Silberman (6 March 2002). The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Sacred Texts. Simon and Schuster. p. 176. ISBN 978-0-7432-2338-6. ^ IVP New Bible Commentary 21st Century Edition, pp 335 ^ Korpel, Marjo C.A. "Fit for a Queen: Jezebel's Royal Seal". Biblical Archaeology Society . Retrieved 17 November 2013 . ^ Cook, Stanley Arthur (1911). "Jezebel" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclop...dia Britannica. 15 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 411. ^ The New Testament, Book of Revelation . , Ch. 2, vs. 20-23. ^ 2 Kings 9:30 ^ Nicholas Vincent 'John's Jezebel' 1999 ^ "Meaning #2: "an impudent, shameless, or morally unrestrained woman " ". Merriam-webster.com . Retrieved 24 May 2012 . ^ Donovan, Roxanne & Williams, Michelle (2002). "Living at the intersection: The effects of racism and sexism on Black rape survivors" (PDF) . Women & Therapy. 25 (3''4): 95''105. doi:10.1300/J015v25n03_07 . Retrieved 17 April 2019 . ^ Buchanan, Nicole T. & Ormerod, Alayne J. (2002). "Racialized sexual harassment in the lives of African American women" (PDF) . Women & Therapy. 25 (3''4): 107''124. doi:10.1300/J015v25n03_08 . Retrieved 17 April 2019 . ^ Pilgrim, David. "Jezebel Stereotype". Jim Crow Museum. Ferris State University. Archived from the original on 28 July 2011 . Retrieved 29 July 2011 . ^ "Jezebel". Cosmopolis . Retrieved 17 November 2013 . ^ Young, Alan (1997). Woke Me Up This Morning: Black Gospel Singers and the Gospel Life. University Press of Mississippi. p. 50. ISBN 0878059431. ^ Jezebel at AllMusic ^ Frankie Laine's hits in the years 1947-1952. ^ "Jezebel lyrics". Frankie Laine lyrics. Metro Lyrics . Retrieved 17 November 2013 . ^ Leahey, Andrew. "Iron & Wine, "Jezebel " ". americansongwriter.com . Retrieved 8 April 2014 . ^ "At The Imperial: "Jezebel" Color Spectacle Stars Paulette Goddard In Title Role". The News and Eastern Townships Advocate. 14 January 1954 . Retrieved 17 November 2013 . ^ Smith, Stephanie D.; Carmon, Irin (21 May 2007). "Memo Pad: Winners And Loosers'... Going Home'... Fool's Gold'...". Women's Wear Daily . Retrieved 12 February 2016 . ^ "SparkNotes: The Handmaid's Tale: Plot Overview". www.sparknotes.com. ^ "Jezebel: The Untold Story of the Bible's Harlot Queen, by Lesley Hazleton". Kirkus reviews . Retrieved 8 April 2014 . ^ "American Jezebel: The Uncommon Life of Anne Hutchinson, the Woman Who Defied the Puritans by Eve LaPlante" . Retrieved 12 June 2017 . External links [ edit ] Media related to Jezebel at Wikimedia Commons
'Trump broke her'? Kamala Harris did a FAST one-eighty on boycott of criminal justice forum '' twitchy.com
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 15:25
Yesterday, Kamala Harris announced that she'd be skipping the Second Step Presidential Justice Forum at Benedict College because Trump was given an award for his criminal justice efforts and said she'd be holding her own separate event:
I won't be complicit in papering over Trump's record. pic.twitter.com/eF27XpaRZy
'-- Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) October 26, 2019
President Trump responded this morning by calling Harris a ''failing presidential candidate'' and defending his own record from Dem criticism.
BREAKING: Kamala Harris Changes Plan and Now WILL Speak at Criminal Justice Forum After Sponsor That Awarded Trump Is Removed https://t.co/vrNyoYerFX
'-- Mediaite (@Mediaite) October 26, 2019
2020 candidate Sen. Kamala Harris had refused to attend a criminal justice forum in protest of an award it was giving to Pres. Trump for criminal justice reform. But she spoke there today and explained what changed her mind. https://t.co/EeeDLzQ1JP
'-- MSNBC (@MSNBC) October 26, 2019
Sen. Harris rejoins criminal justice forum following the removal of the event's sponsor that had given President Trump a "Bipartisan Justice Award." https://t.co/AF06exByoD
'-- NBC News (@NBCNews) October 26, 2019
Well isn't that something.
LOL, now she looks like the total sell out she is'...
'-- Mike Parker (@MJP1313) October 26, 2019
Which finger is she holding to the wind, exactly?
'-- 100 Proof (@ChampionCapua) October 26, 2019
All of them?
After Trump mocked her little boycott. https://t.co/9860roNlDL
'-- Cindy Cooper (@CindyCoops) October 26, 2019
She couldnt have made herself look worse than this'...
She sold out all of those people over pettiness lmao
She should just end her campaign now https://t.co/0Q3ttZCCJV
'-- Nicky Sports Collectibles (@NickySportsCol1) October 26, 2019
Bold leadership. https://t.co/KO2CmBE44y
'-- Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) October 26, 2019
Trump broke her. ðŸ‚ðŸ­#TrumpForever https://t.co/gnv38Nq9DG
'-- RockPrincess (@Rockprincess818) October 26, 2019
Twitter fade to black - I looked like a bot I think. Started following people
OTG exit strategy grapheneOS bluetooth shocker IoT device
Gmail hooked us on free storage. Now Google is making us pay. '-- Nation '-- Bangor Daily News '-- BDN Maine
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 22:13
Thibault Camus | APThibault Camus | AP
This Friday, June 16, 2017, file photo shows the Google logo at a gadgets show in Paris. Google said it has achieved a breakthrough in quantum computing research, saying its quantum processor has completed a calculation in just a few minutes that would take a traditional supercomputer thousands of years to finish.
Gerrit De Vynck, Bloomberg ' October 24, 2019 12:31 pm Updated: October 24, 2019 1:37 pmGoogle lured billions of consumers to its digital services by offering copious free cloud storage. That's beginning to change.
The Alphabet Inc. unit has whittled down some free storage offers in recent months, while prodding more users toward a new paid cloud subscription called Google One. That's happening as the amount of data people stash online continues to soar.
When people hit those caps, they realize they have little choice but to start paying, or risk losing access to emails, photos and personal documents. The cost isn't excessive for most consumers, but at the scale Google operates, this could generate billions of dollars in extra revenue each year for the company. Google didn't respond to an email seeking comment.
A big driver of the shift is Gmail. Google shook up the email business when Gmail launched in 2004 with much more free storage than rivals were providing at the time. It boosted the storage cap every couple of years, but in 2013 it stopped. People's in-boxes kept filling up. And now that some of Google's other free storage offers are shrinking, consumers are beginning to get nasty surprises.
''I was merrily using the account and one day I noticed I hadn't received any email since the day before,'' said Rod Adams, a nuclear energy analyst and retired naval officer. After using Gmail since 2006, he'd finally hit his 15 GB cap and Google had cut him off. Switching away from Gmail wasn't an easy option because many of his social and business contacts reach him that way.
''I just said 'OK, been free for a long time, now I'm paying,''' Adams said.
Other Gmail users aren't so happy about the changes. ''I am unreasonably sad about using almost all of my free google storage. Felt infinite. Please don't make me pay! I need U gmail googledocs!,'' one person tweeted in September.
Some people have tweeted panicked messages to Google in recent months as warnings about their storage limits hit.
@gmail if "Out of storage space and will soon be unable to send or receive emails until you free up space" is displayed could you please define "soon"? My storage was full for less than 24hours but I am afraid I may have not received a very important mail about an interview!
'-- Damian (@StuckOnTheMoon) September 29, 2019
Google has also ended or limited other promotions recently that gave people free cloud storage and helped them avoid Gmail crises. New buyers of Chromebook laptops used to get 100 GB at no charge for two years. In May 2019 that was cut to one year.
Google's Pixel smartphone, originally launched in 2016, came with free, unlimited photo storage via the company's Photos service. The latest Pixel 4 handset that came out in October still has free photo storage, but the images are compressed now, reducing the quality.
More than 11,500 people in a week signed an online petition to bring back the full, free Pixel photos deal. Evgeny Rezunenko, the petition organizer, called Google's change a ''hypocritical and cash grabbing move.''
''Let us remind Google that part of the reason of people choosing Pixel phones over other manufacturers sporting a similar hefty price tag was indeed this service,'' he wrote.
Smartphones dramatically increased the number of photos people take '-- one estimate put the total for 2017 at 1.2 trillion. Those images quickly fill up storage space on handsets, so tech companies, including Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Google, offered cloud storage as an alternative. Now those online memories are piling up, some of these companies are charging users to keep them.
Apple has been doing this for several years, building its iCloud storage service into a lucrative recurring revenue stream. When iPhone users get notifications that their devices are full and they should either delete photos and other files or pay more for cloud storage, people often choose the cloud option.
In May, Google unveiled Google One, a replacement for its Drive cloud storage service. There's a free 15 GB tier '-- enough room for about 5,000 photos, depending on the resolution. Then it costs $1.99 a month for 100 GB and up from there. This includes several types of files previously stashed in Google Drive, plus Gmail emails and photos and videos. The company ended its Chromebook two-year 100 GB free storage offer around the same time, while the Pixel free photo storage deal ended in October with the release of the Pixel 4.
Gmail, Drive and Google Photos have more than 1 billion users each. As the company whittles away free storage offers and prompts more people to pay, that creates a potentially huge new revenue stream for the company. If 10% of Gmail users sign up for the new $1.99 a month Google One subscription, that would generate almost $2.4 billion a year in annual, recurring sales for the company.
Adams, the Gmail user, is one of the people contributing to this growing Google business. $1.99 a month is a relatively small price to pay to avoid losing his main point of digital contact with the world.
''It's worked this long,'' Adams said. ''I didn't want to bother changing the address.''
Alphabet exec says self-driving cars 'have gone through a lot of hype'
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 22:19
Waymo executives think people have taken its promises of self-driving cars too seriously.
The Alphabet subsidiary went "through a lot of hype that was sort of unmanageable," said Tekedra N. Mawakana, Waymo's chief external officer, at a Business Insider conference Tuesday. "Sometimes a lot of hype is so mismatched to what's happening in the real world."
Mawakana said the reporting has become a bit more "grounded" today, but he went on to say that the hype had caused people to develop mistaken ideas like they would no longer be able to drive their own cars once self-driving cars became ubiquitous.
"I'd like to see the reporting reflect a little more on the gravity of the opportunity that we have and a little less about the hype of what this is going to mean," she continued.
The company has dialed back its enthusiastic tone as it falls behind its original timeline for getting full self-driving cars on the road. The company said in 2017 that it wouldn't need to wait until 2020 ' '-- when analysts expected self-driving cars to go fully autonomous ' '-- but that it would give riders the ability within "months."
Morgan Stanley cut its valuation on Waymo by 40% last month from $175 billion to $105 billion, concluding that the industry is moving toward commercialization slower than expected and that Waymo still relies on human safety drivers, which CNBC reported in August.
But no company has been more instrumental in driving the hype around self-driving than Google. Consumer and media expectations arose based on what Waymo had told the press and public, dating back as far as 2012, when it was still known as Google's self-driving car project.
For instance:
In September 2012, then-California Gov. Jerry Brown traveled to Google headquarters to sign a law legalizing self-driving cars, saying, "Today we're looking at science fiction becoming tomorrow's reality." Google co-founder Sergey Brin touted the cars as someday being safer than human-driven cars.In 2014, Google revealed a new prototype of its "fully self-driving car" with no steering wheel, gas pedal, or brake pedal. At the time, Brin said the project was about "changing the world for people who are not well-served by transportation today." The company pushed a promotional video on YouTube that showed enamored kids, parents and senior citizens boarding the cars for rides, which it hoped to provide in San Francisco the following year. That video has received nearly 11 million views.A blog post from the company told how a self-driving car drove an engineer's blind friend down a street in Austin, Texas, with "no police escort, no closed course, and most importantly, no test driver" in September 2015. "The wind from the open car windows was blowing through his hair, and he was chuckling as he relished the freedom and independence of being alone in a car for the first time in 12 years," wrote Waymo's principal engineer Nathaniel Fairfield.CEO John Krafcik again referenced the ride in his opening keynote at NAIAS's 2017 inaugural Automobili-D conference in Detroit. "That was the world's first full self-driving ride," he said. "We did it in Austin, Texas, in a vehicle without a steering wheel, without break pedal, without a driver." A narrator in a video presented at the conference said, "the team has been developing fully self-driving cars and testing it on real city streets every single day" since 2009."Fully self-driving cars are here," Krafcik said again at the 2017 Web Summit in Lisbon, where he presented a video of a man who fell asleep in one of the Waymo vehicles. "Nothing short of full autonomy will do," he continued. "It's not happening in 2020, it's happening today." Krafcik then said Waymo would make fully self-driving cars available without test drivers in the Phoenix area within months.Two years later, the company is still singing that same tune. Earlier this month, the company reportedly sent notifications to Arizona residents who were part of Waymo's commercial pilot, Waymo One, stating "Completely driverless Waymo cars are on the way."
But, it still isn't clear how many of the cars will no longer need a test driver.
Don't expect that to stop Alphabet execs from referencing Waymo on the company's earnings call later this month. The self-driving car business often comes up during calls, typically with the word "exciting" attached.
WATCH NOW: This Arizona town is overrun with self-driving cars
Follow @CNBCtech on Twitter for the latest tech industry news.
If You Want to Be Happier, You May Have to Put Down the Smartphone - The Good Men Project
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 15:35
There's a thin line between real happiness and projected happiness--about as thin as an iPhone.October 26, 2019 by Angelica Bottaro Leave a Comment
If you want to be happier, you may have to put down the smartphone.
In today's technological climate, close to everybody in the western world is glued to their phones. The smartphone has become a mere extension of who a person is rather than something carried for convenience and although it does provide the type of access needed to simplify life and make things easier, there's also a very dark side to smartphone use. In fact, several studies found that it could be a huge culprit when it comes to staving off true and authentic happiness.
It's not the physical waves it gives off or the plastic it's made of that seep into the brain causing the disruption and bringing on depression and anxiety. The device only drives that link, with the root cause being what it's being used for and how often. Being at the beck and call of anyone and everyone that has the number attached to the phone can be an anxiety driver in the sense that the more alerts received, the more pressure a person feels to participate in the online world. On the other hand, the fewer alerts received can drive depression causing the owner of the convenience device to feel alone, isolated and unsure of themselves.
The constant checking of social media platforms such as Instagram or Facebook often had users feeling insecure, unworthy, and as if their life wasn't near as good as those that they saw on the apps. And when their lives didn't quite stack up with how they saw others, the depression hit even harder. This only feeds a forced competition to look the happiest on the app in comparison to friends, family, and even strangers and that level of inauthentic living is another driving cause for depressive tendencies.
The overuse of the smartphone is becoming a popularity contest, and for anyone that remembers high school, it's not easy feeling like a lower classman. The effort required to flip the depression with the constant need to appear happy, as opposed to truly living happily, causes more anxiety and exhaustion which adds even more bricks to the wall of mental illness.
There is good news though, and it doesn't necessarily mean tossing the smartphone away and starting to live life as if it weren't the technological age. Studies indicated that it was the overuse of the smartphone that caused the highest levels of depression and anxiety. With that, came poor sleeping habits that further solidified a depressive state.
As it's almost impossible to give up smartphone use, the best route to delay or even reverse the depression and anxiety-inducing effects it has is to take a step back from the phone and jump headfirst into the real world. There are apps available to monitor usage to make sure that staying in touch hasn't become obsessive scrolling and if the depression and anxiety are already a part of everyday life, there are apps that can be used to help manage that, too.
The main goal is to monitor and limit usage so that it remains a healthy, positive tool for everyday life as opposed to a main pillar in a fight for mental health.
About Angelica Bottaro Angelica Bottaro is an avid reader and writer. Her favourite books include IT, Love Letters of Great Men, White Oleander, and Bridge to Terabithia. Her creative inspiration comes from her own life experiences and she has been writing for the woman's lifestyle niche for over 4 years. As an aspiring novelist, she self-published her first novel The Reincarnation of Lydia Ashes, now available on Amazon.
Ring Gave Police Stats About Users Who Said 'No' to Law Enforcement Requests
Thu, 24 Oct 2019 17:37
Amazon's home security company Ring tracked how its users responded to law enforcement requests for surveillance footage captured by Ring devices, and it provided overviews of that data to police departments upon request.
In emails obtained by Gizmodo, Ring informed a Florida police department about the number of times residents had refused police access to their cameras or ignored their requests altogether.
''When Neighbors first launched in the Ring app, initial video request data was analyzed in addition to getting feedback from a few early partners,'' a company spokesperson said. ''This is not representative of our current policies or the current video request process. Ring does not provide video request data to law enforcement agencies.''
The request data acquired by Gizmodo, which covers a five-month period in 2018, showed that Ring customers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, had largely ignored police requests for footage. Between May and September of 2018, the Fort Lauderdale Police Department issued 22 requests via Ring's law enforcement portal. Those requests resulted in 319 emails being sent to residents asking them to hand over footage, a statistic that the company now says it keeps confidential.
According to Ring, when police seek to acquire footage from its customers'--who must also be users of Neighbors, its ''neighborhood watch'' app'--police are not informed of which residents receive the requests or how many cameras may have captured the footage they seek. The requests are sent out in emails stating that Ring is assisting a particular officer with an investigation. They are received automatically by device owners within a certain range of an address provided by police.
Users are asked to ''Share Your Ring Videos Now,'' but are also given the option to review their footage first or decline. Ring's messages make clear that sharing the footage is entirely voluntarily. Fort Lauderdale entered into a partnership with Ring in March 2018 giving it access to this capability. One document obtained by Gizmodo claims the city had, as of that April, some 20,000 Ring owners, though it's unclear how many had downloaded the Neighbors app at that time.
According to a September 2018 email, Fort Lauderdale police had roughly a 3.5 percent success rate when requesting footage. Of the 319 total videos sought, they received permission to view only 11. The data was provided to the department after one officer asked to know how many times officers were successful in soliciting a response. ''The Chief would like to know this ASAP,'' he said.
''[W]e are working on adding more data points but this will give the Chief an idea of how your video requests are doing so far,'' a Ring employee replied.
Screenshot: Ft. Lauderdale P.D.It is unclear from the data precisely how many individual users were involved. ''We will have a better idea after we collect more data,'' a Ring manager said in one email, asking rhetorically: ''Did one person share 11 videos or did 11 people share one video each.''
Screenshot: Ft. Lauderdale P.D.Ring users seemed to naturally understand that the ''do not share'' button in the email they received is entirely superfluous. Of the 319 separate video requests, not a single one clicked the button. Instead, they simply ignored the emails. Nevertheless, Ring indicated in one email to police that the company was, in fact, keeping track of when its customers specifically chose not to share.
''People have a lot of good reasons why they wouldn't want to share footage with police.'' Ring has drawn intense scrutiny from some of the country's leading digital rights activists, who are critical of the company's vision of ubiquitous neighborhood surveillance'--or as Ring puts it: ''Protection at every corner.'' In a recent CBS interview , Ring CEO Jamie Siminoff said the company's goal is to ''have every law enforcement agency on the police portal.'' Of the roughly 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the U.S., Ring has acquired contracts with more than 400 , according to figures released by the company this week.
Those contracts typically include strict confidentiality agreements and have even given Ring the ability to review and approve any public statements city officials make about its services. Recent reporting by Gizmodo revealed that Ring has forbidden police from using the term ''surveillance'' to describe its products, in at least one case, openly admitting the term could ''flag user privacy concerns.'' Ring says it looks at press release and ''any messaging prior to distribution'' to ensure its ''products and services are accurately represented.''
Civil liberties advocates are particularly concerned, they say, because of Ring's connection with Amazon, the trillion-dollar multinational, which purchased Ring in a $1 billion deal last summer. Amazon is a leading developer of law enforcement facial-recognition software, which independent studies have shown is deeply and intrinsically flawed, prone to error and gender and racial bias .
Got a tip about Ring you'd like to share? Contact the reporter securely using Signal at (202)556-0846 or by email: dell@gizmodo.com . You can also anonymously send us documents or speak to our reporters securely using SecureDrop .
While Ring is vehement that it does not share its customers' personal information with law enforcement without their consent, in some cases, it may still be possible for police to discern which Ring customers have refused to provide assistance. While police issuing requests for footage are not told which residents receive them, they are aware that requests go wide to any Neighbors users with cameras within a certain range of the address they provide.
In some cases, but not all, police are fully aware of which homes are equipped with Ring surveillance. If a user will not provide footage, the police can try obtain a warrant, provided they have probable cause to believe a crime has occurred. It remains unclear whether Ring customers are made aware of the warrants, even if they are not themselves targets of an investigation.
In Fort Lauderdale, police went to dozens of homes and helped residents install Ring cameras after holding raffles at neighborhood watch meetings and handing them out for free. According to emails obtained by Gizmodo, the officers were specifically instructed by superiors to verify that the winners downloaded Ring's Neighbors app so they could receive police requests. The Fort Lauderdale Police Department did not respond to requests for comment made Thursday.
Police in other cities acquire the names and addresses of Ring customers in other ways, regardless of Ring's privacy policies. This may include those who acquired devices through taxpayer-funded discount programs, which Ring has established in numerous cities across the U.S. On Friday, the Guardian published a map Ring reportedly gave to a police department that appeared to show the locations of hundreds of Ring devices.
''People have a lot of good reasons why they wouldn't want to share footage with police,'' said Matthew Guariglia, a policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation focused on issues of surveillance and privacy. As a chief example, Guariglia cited residents who have concerns about their immigration status. But he added that residents should always be able to refuse police access to their footage without fear of being branded as ''uncooperative'' or ''vexsome'' and without fear of being regarded with suspicion themselves.
''Even if Amazon gives police stats about a community and their acquiescence rate to providing police footage, even if they don't have your individual information, I think that still has the ability to tar a community as being uncooperative with police. And that could have ramifications,'' he said.
''There are a lot of blurry lines between voluntary cooperation and active solicitation,'' Gizmodo has seen circumstances in which police may have direct knowledge of where Ring customers reside. In South Gate, California'--a town with fewer than 100,000 residents'--police opted to purchase Ring cameras leftover from a subsidy program that wasn't fully exhausted and handed them out free of charge to the city's low-income residents. According to police emails with Ring, the subsidy program itself also required residents to provide proof of residency.
A South Gate police captain told Gizmodo that the department has never used Ring's Neighbors app to solicit video from residents. ''We wanted to get devices out there so people can feel safer,'' he said. ''It's no different than what we've done for three decades, providing door locks, peepholes, and stuff like that.''
Added the captain: ''I can't think of any instance where any of these users have actually been a victim of a crime and brought back video to help us solve it.''
Motherboard reported this month that several cities have requested access to lists of customers who purchased cameras through the subsidy programs and that, according to notes from one city council meeting, Ring had offered to provide ''a full breakdown of every resident and address that purchased a device.'' Gizmodo has viewed emails showing similar requests made in other cities.
Armed with this information, it would not be difficult for police to deduce the identities of at least some Ring customers who've refused or ignored requests to share footage as part of ongoing criminal investigations, though they'd have no context to indicate why footage was withheld. In some cases, residents may simply have failed to notice Ring's email. That same information would provide police all that's necessary to pursue a warrant, which is legally required to collect footage from users on an involuntary basis.
''There are a lot of blurry lines between voluntary cooperation and active solicitation,'' said Chris Conley, a technology and civil liberties attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union.
Citing the strict confidentiality arrangements around Ring's policy contracts, Conley said that communities might be unaware of how Ring's police partnerships work behind the scenes. ''It's not subject to any meaningful debate around when is it appropriate to use this,'' he said. ''What kind of ongoing dialogue should there be? Is there any auditing to see if the rules are being complied with? Are there rules in the first place?''
''The fact that a company is pushing for contractual language that would prevent or deter that is deeply problematic,'' he said.
Additional reporting by Mario Aguilar.
ISIS in America
President Trump Tweets: ''Something Big'' '' White House Announcement Tomorrow 9:00am ET '' Reports al-Baghdadi Killed'... | The Last Refuge
Sun, 27 Oct 2019 06:41
President Trump tweeted tonight: ''something big just happened'''...
Fox News is reporting: A ''high value ISIS target'' believed to be Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed by U.S.-led forces in Idlib, Syria, a well-placed military source told Fox News on Saturday night. The U.S. military cannot yet confirm the identity of the deceased target. (link)
Acc to well placed military sources, a high value ISIS target believed to be Abu Bakr al Baghdadi was killed by US led forces in Idlib, Syria. US military cannot yet confirm identity of deceased target. DNA tests underway. POTUS expected to make an announcement Sunday morning.
'-- Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) October 27, 2019
Can confirm that Baghdadi was the target of a special operations raid in Syria today. Lots of chatter that the raid ''got him'', but confirmation is still pending. https://t.co/prM4vBNZVg
'-- Katie Bo Williams (@KatieBoWill) October 27, 2019
Declassified Documents: Obama Ordered CIA To Train ISIS - News Punch
Sun, 27 Oct 2019 06:37
Government watchdog Judicial Watch published more than 100 pages of formerly classified documents from the U.S. Department of Defense and the State Department.
The documents obtained through a federal lawsuit, revealed the agencies earlier views on ISIS, namely that they were a desirable presence in Eastern Syria in 2012 and that they should be ''supported'' in order to isolate the Syrian regime.
The U.S. intelligence documents not only confirms suspicions that the United States and some of its coalition allies had actually facilitated the rise of the ISIS in Syria '' as a counterweight to the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad- but also that ISIS members were initially trained by members and contractors of the Central Intelligence Agency at facilities in Jordan in 2012.
Examiner reports:
One of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) documents declared that President Barack Obama and his counterparts within the coalition considered the establishment of a Salafist organization in eastern Syria in order to further downfall of the Assad regime. ''And this is exactly what the supporting powers to the (Syrian) opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime,'' said the DIA report, which had been formerly classified until its release. Salafists are radical Sunnis and an offshoot of the Saudi's Wahhabi sect.
The contents of that document had been promulgated by the Obama administration to the U.S. Central Command (CENCOM), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its directorates, as well as to the State Department and many other related agencies.
Military intelligence officials had also warned that any further damage caused by the Syrian civil war might have an adverse effect on the fragile government in neighboring Iraq. The intelligence analysis predicted that such a situation could lead to al-Qaida in Iraq (AQII) returning especially in the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Ramadi.
The DIA report also predicted that ISIS would declare a caliphate through its affiliation with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, including members of what the Obama administration terms ''core al-Qaida'' to differentiate it from offshoots such as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.
The now declassified document appears to confirm that the U.S., the European Union and other nations viewed Muslim extremists in ISIS as ''a strategic asset toward regime change in Syria.'' As a result parts of Iraq have been in chaos since ISIS began to cross the Syrian border in early June 2014.
The documents obtained by Judicial Watch also provide the first official documentation that the Obama administration was well aware that weapons were being shipped from Benghazi to rebel troops '-- including members from ISIS, the Al-Nusra Front and other Islamist terror groups '-- in Syria. An October 2012 report confirms thatr: ''Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The weapons shipped during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG's, and 125 mm and 155mm howitzers missiles.'' The deadly and shocking attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission that saw four Americans '-- including a U.S. ambassador '-- slaughtered by jihadists occurred just weeks after the weapons shipment.
Following the downfall and killing of Gaddafi in October 2011 until almost a year later in September 2012, the desolved Libyan military's weapons were stockpiled in Benghazi, Libya. According to the intelligence report, they were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya, to the ports located in Syria. The ships used to transport the weapons were medium-sized and able to hold 10 or less shipping containers of cargo, according to the documents obtained by Judicial Watch.
'Keep the Oil': Trump Revives Charged Slogan for New Syria Troop Mission - The New York Times
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 23:57
After dismissing Syria as a land of ''sand and death,'' Mr. Trump is redeploying American troops around its oil fields. But how the U.S. might benefit from them is unclear.
An American military vehicle, part of a convey arriving from northern Iraq, passing an oil pump Saturday in Qamishli, Syria. Credit... Delil Souleiman/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images WASHINGTON '-- President Trump has offered several justifications for an American withdrawal from Syria. He has dismissed the country as nothing but ''sand and death,'' discounted its American-backed Kurdish fighters as ''no angels,'' and argued that he is winding down ''endless wars.''
But in recent days, Mr. Trump has settled on Syria's oil reserves as a new rationale for appearing to reverse course and deploy hundreds of additional troops to the war-ravaged country. He has declared that the United States has ''secured'' oil fields in the country's chaotic northeast and suggested that the seizure of the country's main natural resource justifies America further extending its military presence there.
''We've secured the oil,'' Mr. Trump told reporters last week at the White House, before reminding them of how, during the Iraq war, he called for selling off Iraq's oil to defray the conflict's enormous cost.
''I always said, if you're going in '-- keep the oil,'' he said. ''Same thing here: Keep the oil.''
Speaking again at the White House on Friday, Mr. Trump said he had done precisely that in Syria. ''We've secured the oil,'' the president told reporters. ''We have a lot of oil.''
Mr. Trump's message is puzzling to former government officials and Middle East analysts who say that controlling Syria's oil fields '-- which are the legal property of the Syrian government '-- poses numerous practical, legal and political obstacles.
They also warn that Mr. Trump's discourse, which revives language he often used during the 2016 campaign to widespread condemnation, could confirm the world's worst suspicions about American motives in the region. A Russian Defense Ministry official on Saturday denounced Mr. Trump's action as ''state banditry.''
''He has a short notebook of old pledges, and this was one of the most frequently repeated pledges during the campaign: that we were going to take the oil,'' said Bruce Riedel, a former C.I.A. official who served as a Middle East adviser to several presidents. ''And now he actually is in a position where he can quote, take some oil.''
Pentagon officials said on Friday that the United States would deploy several hundred troops to guard oil fields in eastern Syria, despite Mr. Trump's repeated boasts that he is bringing American soldiers home from Syria. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said that the United States would ''maintain a reduced presence in Syria to deny ISIS access to oil revenue,'' leaving what military officials said would be about 500 troops in the country, down from about 2,000 a year ago.
Mr. Trump first spoke approvingly about the United States seizing foreign oil in April 2011, when he complained about President Barack Obama's troop withdrawal from Iraq. ''I would take the oil,'' Mr. Trump told The Wall Street Journal. ''I would not leave Iraq and let Iran take the oil.''
He elaborated in an interview with ABC News a few days later. ''In the old days, you know, when you had a war, to the victor belong the spoils.'' he said. ''You go in. You win the war and you take it.''
That year, Mr. Trump endorsed the United States seizing oil reserves not only in Iraq, but also in Libya, where Mr. Obama had recently intervened in the country's civil war. ''I would just go in and take the oil,'' he told Fox News. ''We're a bunch of babies. We have wars and we leave. We go in, we have wars, we lose lives, we lose money, and we leave.''
Once he took office, Mr. Trump largely dropped the idea until recently, when it re-emerged after his widely criticized decision to remove American troops from northeastern Syria who had been helping Kurdish militias battle the remnants of the Islamic State in the region. The move effectively gave Turkey a greenlight to invade the area and push back those Kurds, whom the Turks viewed as a threat to their security.
His change in thinking follows multiple conversations with Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, who talks frequently with the president and has long pushed for a greater American presence in Syria, for reasons like fighting the Islamic State in the region and checking the influence of Russia and Iran.
Mr. Trump has also consulted on the subject with the former Army vice chief of staff, Jack Keane, who visited the White House in mid-October and showed the president a map of Syria illustrating that 70 percent of the country's oil fields are in areas in the northeast that have been under American control. Mr. Keane, who declined to comment, has also warned that the oil fields risk falling into the hands of Iranian proxies in the region.
Mr. Graham, too, contends that American control of the oil fields would ''deny Iran and Assad a monetary windfall,'' as he put it in a statement last week.
But Mr. Graham has taken the argument a step further, to suggest that Syrian oil could go into American coffers, as Mr. Trump once implied for Iraq. ''We can also use some of the revenue from oil sales to pay for our military commitment in Syria,'' Mr. Graham added.
Last week, Mr. Trump offered a variation on that idea, saying that ''we'll work something out with the Kurds so that they have some money, they have some cash flow.'' He added that he might ''get one of our big oil companies to go in and do it properly.''
But energy and security experts say it is unlikely that any American companies would be interested in the enormous risks and limited profits such an arrangement would entail. Even at its peak, Syrian oil production was modest. And any short-term revenue potential is severely limited by logistical challenges posed by infrastructure damaged by war, pipelines that run into unfriendly areas and the unusually low grade of the oil itself.
Talk of monetizing the Syrian oil also diverges from the message of top Trump administration officials, including Mr. Esper, who said last week that the American mission in Syria was unchanged from its original purpose of defeating the Islamic State.
But the president has repeatedly boasted that the militant group has already been defeated. And although ISIS currently controls no territory, and is little threat to the oil reserves, experts warn that it could regenerate.
Framing control of oil as part of the fight against ISIS, however, may provide cover for an action motivated, at least in part, for reasons that analysts say have no basis in domestic or international law.
''Esper is being very careful to say this is about ISIS. And that's because the legality is being framed around ISIS,'' said Aaron Stein, an expert on Syria and Turkey with the Foreign Policy Research Institute.
When the Obama administration sent troops to Syria to fight the Islamic State several years ago, it relied on the authorization of military force passed by Congress days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, which gave the government broad authority to battle Al Qaeda and affiliated groups. The Trump administration has invoked the same authorization for its own activities in Syria, despite many critics arguing that even the previous administration overreached in citing it to cover the battle against the Islamic State in Syria.
Then there is the basic question of the oil's ownership.
''Oil, like it or not, is owned by the Syrian state,'' Brett H. McGurk, Mr. Trump's former envoy to the 70-nation coalition to defeat ISIS, said at a panel discussion on Syria hosted Monday by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Mr. McGurk said that Mr. Trump's first secretary of state, Rex W. Tillerson, had studied the issue and concluded there was no practical way for the United States to monetize its control over oil-rich areas.
''Maybe there are new lawyers now, but it was just illegal for an American company to go and seize and exploit these assets,'' Mr. McGurk said.
Mr. McGurk said the only legal way to make money from the Syrian oil fields would be to work with Russia and the government of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria to place the revenue into an escrow account to help fund Syria's postwar reconstruction. But he said Russia had little interest in the idea, even before America assumed a diminished role in the country this month. Nor has Mr. Trump expressed any public interest in using the oil to fund Syria's reconstruction.
Mr. Stein said he believed the true goal of some Trump administration officials and advisers was to keep the oil fields not from ISIS but from Mr. Assad's forces, to deny him funds to rebuild his country and thus ensure that Syria remained a financial burden on its ally, Iran.
In recent days, hostile foreign governments have seized on Mr. Trump's commentary as evidence of America's sinister motives.
On Saturday, a spokesman for Russia's Defense Ministry, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, said that ''what Washington is doing now, the seizure and control of oil fields in eastern Syria under its armed control, is, quite simply, international state banditry.''
And Iran's state-controlled Fars News Agency wrote that while Washington ''claims that the move is in the line with its alleged antiterror campaign in Syria, analysts see it no more than an excuse to impose control over Syria's oil revenues.''
Mr. Riedel doubted that the president would wind up insisting on control of the oil fields. Beyond the many military, technical and legal challenges, there are the optics to consider.
''Let's say he does do it,'' Mr. Riedel said. ''Let's say we establish the precedent that we are in the Middle East to take the oil. The symbolism is really bad.''
Russia says it sent hundreds of additional troops to Syria
Fri, 25 Oct 2019 08:51
MOSCOW (AP) '-- Russia has sent hundreds of additional troops to Syria to help patrol the country's Turkey-Syria border after a deal between Moscow and Ankara, the Russian Defense Ministry said Friday.
The ministry said about 300 military police have arrived in Syria to patrol the northeastern areas along the border with Turkey and oversee the pullout of Syrian Kurdish fighters from there. Military cargo planes also airlifted 20 armored vehicles for the mission, it added.
After Turkey invaded northeastern Syria this month, an offensive enabled by President Donald Trump's abrupt pullout of U.S. troops, Moscow and Ankara struck a deal splitting control of northeastern Syria.
The new Russian troops sent in '-- as American soldiers pull out '-- further underscore how the situation on the ground in Syria has dramatically changed with Turkey's invasion and subsequent developments.
Turkey has now been allowed to keep control over a significant chunk of northeastern Syria, a belt of land on its border in the northeast that it invaded on Oct. 9, along with a larger piece of the border in the northwest that Turkey already holds, captured in previous incursions.
Russia said Friday the additional battalion of military police dispatched to Syria comes from Chechnya, a Russian region that saw two devastating separatist wars in the late 1990s and the early 2000s, before Moscow regained control. Troops from Chechnya, known for their fierce warrior spirit, have regularly been sent to Syria on rotation bases in recent years.
The Russian military does not release the total number of its contingent in Syria, and it did not say on Friday how many troops will be involved in the patrol mission on the Turkish border.
Under the Moscow-Ankara deal, Turkey is to keep sole control of a large section in the center of the border area, most of which was captured in its invasion this month, aimed at driving the U.S.-allied Kurdish forces out of a ''safe zone'' along the border.
Syrian government and Russian military police are to control the rest of the 440-kilometer (273-mile) Syria-Turkey border. They are to ensure that Syrian Kurdish fighters, who were U.S. allies in the fight against the Islamic State group and who freed most of the region of IS, pull 30 kilometers (19 miles) away from the frontier. After that, Russia and Turkey are to begin joint patrols along a narrower strip directly on the Turkish-Syrian border.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Russian military has been in close contact with the Syrian Kurdish fighters, doing a ''delicate job'' of coordinating their pullout from the border areas. He noted that the Kurds have pledged to abide by the deal, adding that the failure to do so would put them in trouble.
''If the Kurdish units with their weapons aren't pulled back from that zone, they will regrettably be left face to face with the Turkish military because (Syrian) border guards and Russian military police wouldn't stand between them,'' Peskov said in a conference call with reporters.
A large wedge of eastern Syria remains in the hands of the Kurdish-led fighters. That includes the bulk of Syria's oil fields, which deprives Damascus of control over a crucial resource and gives the Syrian Kurds a major bargaining chip. Trump has said some U.S. troops will remain there to help Kurds ''secure'' the oil fields.
The Kurdish fighters captured the main fields from the Islamic State group and since then have helped finance their self-rule by selling the crude, mainly to the Syrian government.
Pentagon chief Mark Esper said the U.S. is considering sending troops and armored vehicles into the area around the oil fields in northeastern Syria to ensure that IS militants don't get access to the oil, enabling them to rebuild.
Speaking at a news conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, he didn't provide any details about the possible number of troops, except to say that the U.S. will maintain a ''reduced presence'' in the war-torn country.
Moscow has argued that the U.S. troops presence in Syria is illegitimate as they lack Damascus' permission to stay. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said Moscow is ''concerned by frequently changing signals from Washington about its plans and intentions toward Syria.''
Ryabkov charged that the U.S. may use its troops presence near oil fields to continue to exert pressure on Damascus.
All sides have vowed to abide by a cease-fire under the Russian-Turkish deal, but Syria's state-run SANA reported an attack by Turkish troops and allied Syrian rebels on Syrian army positions on Thursday, outside the town of Tal Tamr. Separately, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said Thursday that three of its fighters were killed in fighting with Turkish-backed forces.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan renewed a threat Thursday to resume the military offensive if his country continued to be ''harassed'' by the Kurdish militia. He also said Turkey would ''crush'' any Syrian Kurdish fighter its military comes across while trying to secure areas under its control.
The commander of the Syrian Kurdish-led force, Mazloum Abdi, said Trump had assured him in a phone call that American forces will ''stay here for a long time and their partnership with Syrian Democratic Forces will continue for a long time.''
Erdogan, meanwhile, told Turkey's state television TRT that the U.S. should hand Abdi over to Turkey, calling him a ''terrorist'' wanted in Turkey.
Ankara considers Syrian Kurdish fighters terrorists, aligned with a Kurdish insurgency within Turkey and wants them out of the border zone. It has justified its invasion by saying it needs to safeguard Turkey's territory and hopes to resettle Syrian refugees now hosted by Turkey in the border area.
The Turkish offensive has triggered new flows of refugees. The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, said that so far more than 10,100 Syrian refugees, mostly women and children, have crossed into Iraq seeking safety. It also estimated that some 180,000 people have been internally displaced across Syria's north-east.
Bill H.3719 - NO BITCH
Sun, 27 Oct 2019 06:10
An Act regarding the use of offensive wordsBy Mr. Hunt of Boston, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 3719) of Daniel J. Hunt relative to the use of offensive words. The Judiciary.
Bill History Bill HistoryDisplaying 3 actions for Bill H.3719
Date Branch Action 5/6/2019 House Referred to the committee on The Judiciary 5/6/2019 Senate Senate concurred 10/15/2019 Joint Hearing scheduled for 10/22/2019 from 01:00 PM-05:00 PM in A-1 & A-2 The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The General Court provides this information as a public service and while we endeavor to keep the data accurate and current to the best of our ability, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.
Dave Chappelle to be honored with Mark Twain Prize for...
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 09:16
(CNN) - Dave Chappelle is set to receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Sunday.
A lineup of entertainers, including Chappelle's writing partner Neal Brennan, Common, Bradley Cooper, Tiffany Haddish, John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, Lorne Michaels, Trevor Noah, Jon Stewart and others will pay tribute to the comedian.
The award is considered the highest accolade in comedy and recognizes individuals who have had an impact on American society in the vein of 19th-century novelist and essayist Samuel Clemens, or pseudonym, Mark Twain.
Previous recipients of the Mark Twain award include Richard Pryor, Jonathan Winters, Carl Reiner, Whoopi Goldberg, Lily Tomlin, Lorne Michaels, Steve Martin, George Carlin, Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, Ellen DeGeneres, Carol Burnett, Bill Murray, David Letterman, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
In honor of Chappelle accepting the award, here are a few (almost impossible to chose) of his most classic bits and skits.
"Saturday Night Live," opening monologue and "Election Night" skit (2016) We all just found out Donald Trump would be the next president. In his open-minded monologue, Chappelle said we should give the new guy a chance, then he went on to do a skit with special guest star Chris Rock, where their liberal white friends expressed their shock over the election's outcome.
"God, this is the most shameful thing America has ever done," Beck Bennett says. Rock and Chappelle share a laugh.
"Mad Real World," from "Chappelle's Show" (2003)In "Mad Real World," we see Chad, the only non-black member of the cast, move into a house that's just plain crazy. His roommates proceed to put him in a sleeper hold, his girlfriend has sex with three of his roommates, and his father gets stabbed. Chappelle plays Tron, who drinks cognac and juice.
You can watch the clip here. (Strong language warning).
"Frontline: Clayton Bigsby," from "Chappelle's Show" (2003)When "Frontline" tracks down Clayton Bigsby, the leading voice of the white supremacist movement, everyone is surprised.
You can watch the clip here. (Strong language warning).
"Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories: Prince" from "Chappelle's Show" (2003)Chappelle, as Prince, plays a game of basketball wearing a purple blouse. That's not even the best part.
You can watch the clip here. (Strong language warning).
"Dave Chappelle: The Age of Spin" Netflix (2017)All of his standup.
Not one to hold back, you can rely on Chappelle's recent Netflix specials for candid laughs and the occasionally controversial punchline.
The-CNN-Wire ' & (C) 2019 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.
Judge rules James Younger's dad can have say in transition | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 24 Oct 2019 23:38
A judge has ruled that a father fighting to stop his seven-year-old son from transitioning to a girl will be allowed to have a say in future medical decisions related to his child.
Jeff Younger has been battling his ex-wife Dr Anne Georgulas in a Dallas family court as part of their bitter custody fight over whether their child James has gender dysphoria.
Judge Kim Cooks ruled on Thursday that the divorced parents will have joint conservatorship over their child.
It means they will have to make joint medical decisions regarding their child, which includes whether James should undergo hormone replacement therapy to transition to a girl.
They will also have to jointly agree on haircuts for the child, as well as dental and psychiatric care.
The decision comes after a jury ruled earlier this week in favor of giving sole managing guardianship of James and twin brother Jude to their mother.
Jeff Younger has been battling his ex-wife Dr Anne Georgulas in a Dallas family court as part of their bitter custody fight over whether their child James has gender dysphoria
Jeff Younger is pictured outside court on Thursday after a judge ruled he will be allowed to have a say in future medical decisions related to his child
Georgulas, who is a pediatrician, has argued that James is transgender and wants the child to transition to a girl named Luna.
Her ex-husband, however, doesn't believe James has gender dysphoria and that his child is just experiencing some confusion with gender.
He has accused Georgulas of forcing James to socially transition into a girl by making the child wear dresses.
Just moments before the judge's decision was handed down, Younger told DailyMail.com outside court that he didn't expect the proceedings to go in his favor.
'I'm not anticipating a good result for my son,' he said. 'I think I'm not going to be able to stop the social transition of my son, which will probably lead to his medical transition.'
The judge put a gag order on both parents during the proceedings, which means neither can speak to media going forward.
As part of the judge's ruling both Younger and Georgulas will have to attend counseling.
The bitter court battle began when Georgulas filed a court request last year to change their joint custody arrangement to include a requirement that Younger start calling their child by the name Luna.
She said three mental health professionals had diagnosed James with gender dysphoria and that therapists had recommended they start using the name Luna instead of James.
Younger, however, filed his own request with the court to obtain sole custody of the twins to prevent the gender transition.
Jeff Younger doesn't believe James has gender dysphoria and has accused his ex-wife of forcing their child to socially transition into a girl by making James wear dresses
Anne Georgulas, who is a pediatrician, has argued that James is transgender and should be able to wear dresses and attend school as a girl named Luna
Georgulas and Younger married back in 2010 when they were members of the Orthodox Church.
They went through IVF to have the twins and requested their gender be male before they were born in 2012.
The couple annulled their marriage several years later.
Arguments over their child's gender began when Georgulas took James to see a gender therapist at the Children's Hospital Center.
She claims she had noticed James requesting girl-themed toys, that the child was imitating female Disney characters and had been asking to wear dresses.
The therapist recommended James start social transitioning by wearing dresses to school and going by the name Luna.
Their child currently identifies as a girl at school and is called Luna by her teachers.
Younger claims his ex-wife has been forcing the transition ever since their divorce and has accused Georgulas of starting to manipulate their child when James was just three years old.
He has accused Georgulas of locking James in the bedroom and telling their child that 'monsters only eat boys'.
Younger also claims Georgulas has been forcing the child to wear dresses.
In a podcast interview earlier this year with Christian political consultant Luke Macias, Younger insisted that his child is not a girl and that she 'violently refuses to dress as girl at my house'.
Following a week-long trial, a jury decided on Tuesday to give sole managing guardianship of James (right) and twin brother Jude (left) to their mother
Younger went on to publicly accuse his ex-wife of sexually abusing their child.
'I want you to imagine having electronic communication with you son on FaceTime, and imagine that your ex-wife has dressed him as a drag queen to talk to you. He has false eyelashes and makeup. His hair has got glitter in it. He's wearing a dress,' he said.
'Now imagine how you would feel seeing what I believe is actual sexual abuse - I believe this is not just emotional abuse but is the very, most fundamental form of sexual abuse, tampering with the sexual identity of a vulnerable boy. Every. Single. Day.
'You have to see your son sexually abused, and you have to maintain your calm... because the courts are not going to be fair to you. And the only way you can survive this and get your son through this alive is to calmly allow your son to be tortured right before your eyes and outlast the opposition. That's what it's like.'
Separate from the custody court battle, Younger has been campaigning to prevent his child's gender transition.
Websites and Facebook groups called 'Save James' have been set up and there is a GoFundMe page with about $40,000 in donations to help with Younger's court costs.
As part of the judge's ruling, the websites will now have to be shut down.
Art Anarchy
Artists Hijack MoMA with AR Art Exhibition '-- Artnome
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 00:11
The artist Damjanski, who we recently wrote about for his post-apocalyptic, sans-human iPhone app Bye Bye Camera, is at it again, this time with his MoMAR artist collective at the newly renovated MoMA, with a guerrilla AR art show in the Est(C)e and Joseph Lauder Gallery (former Jackson Pollock Rooms).
Artnome fully supports Damjanski and the MoMAR collective in their rogue space claiming exhibitions of digital art. MoMA can spend $450 million on renovations, but no amount of money can keep savvy artists groups like MoMAR from subverting the museum from a place designed for the public consumption of art into to a space for the public display of art.
A recent study shows that over 75% of art in US museums is by white men. A second study shows that without having work in the MoMA and a handful of other institutions, artists have little to no chance of achieving great success. Until the system changes, the fastest route to diversifying museums and gaining recognition may be to beg forgiveness rather than seek permission and to follow the lead of MoMAR.
In support of the exhibition and in solidarity with our friends at MoMAR, we are sharing their full press release, as well as several GIFs from the exhibition below.
Official Release from MoMARNEW YORK, October 25, 2019'--
From October 25, MoMAR returns to MOMA with a smartphone based group show, using Augmented Reality technology. Launched in spring 2018, the non-profit gallery project hijacks the Est(C)e and Joseph Lauder Gallery (former Jackson Pollock Rooms) for the third time. While art seems to be the ultimate place of freedom and individuation, art museums often resemble sacred devotional spaces in which perspectives and behavior know only one direction. MoMAR ties in with the artistic movement of 'Play Art', which in the 1960s had a democratization of art in mind. Variable art objects made art itself tangible as a product of collective activities and value creation processes. The participants of 'Open to the Public' belong to the generation of the Internet. However, they have also started to dynamize the medium of art, its exhibition forms and ways of interpretation. MoMAR provides a platform for these approaches and therefore rethinks the mechanisms of art curation. Each artist has created new work specifically for the exhibition. Thus 'Open to the Public' takes MoMA's new exhibition concept at its word and provides for 'more than physical expansion'. It is less about the ownership or location of individual works of art than about the plurality and diversity of their experience. The VR-collage ''La Barrera'' by New York based artist Erin Ko is an augmented reality piece that addresses the signal-to-noise ratio in our everyday lives, at a time when the future seems especially uncertain. Her work plays with the idea that museumgoers are looking at art while the world is burning, melting, and falling apart. But is it simply a luxury, willful distraction, or a genuine appreciation for the present moment? The spatial work ''Reef'' by German artist Manuel Rosner creates an evolutionary spatial structure that is built by its own dynamics. In contrast to the white cube's neutral architecture it is a colorful mix-up which doesn't derive its aesthetics from expressive forms of art, but from software which uses color-coding for transmitting information. The work ''Strokes'' by the Japanese artist duo ''exonemo'' also questions the exhibition space in an abstract way. Each time the piece starts, your phone drips random strokes on the wall and beyond. This ephemeral painting only exists in a world-famous museum, made-up in your mind. Finally, the work ''Augmented Selfie'' addresses the partly libertarian, partly narcissistic trait of virtual self-representation. An avatar of Akihiko Taniguchi appears in augmented reality and a hand holding an iPhone appears in the first person view in the screen. Tap the screen to take a picture in the AR space and the picture is saved to your smartphone automatically. Akihiko's Avatar will mimic your player's movements. The artist says: ''This is an extended selfie where various things intersect in virtual space and real space, where they meet and gather.'' After all, art takes place in the conversations of the exhibition visitors. Let me open Instagram.
About the artists:
The Japanese artist duo exonemo (by SEMBO Kensuke and AKAIWA Yae) was formed in 1996 on the Internet. Their experimental projects are typically humorous and innovative explorations of the paradoxes of digital and analog '' computer networked or actual '' environments in our lives. Their piece ''The Road Movie'' won the Golden Nica for Net Vision category at Prix Ars Electronica 2006. Exonemo have been organizing the IDPW gatherings and "Internet Yami-Ichi" since 2012. They live and work in New York since 2015.
Erin Ko is a mixed media artist based in New York. Ko's experiential art plays with Mediated Reality, Collective Consciousness and Layered Experiences. She combines traditional art making methods with new media tools to address our complicated love/hate relationship with technology. She has worked in video games and new media for 20 years. Some of those endeavors include time spent at Looking Glass Studios, Razorfish, and Blue Fang Games.
Manuel Rossner creates spaces that merge playfulness, sobriety and abstract aesthetics. Often, but not necessarily, they intersect with reality. His work has been shown in international institutions and galleries. After founding Float Gallery in 2012, he designed a digital extension building for NRW-Forum D¼sseldorf and a virtual building for Roehrs & Boetsch Gallery in Z¼rich. His solo exhibition for the Museum der bildendenden K¼nste Leipzig opens in autumn 2019. He lives and works in Berlin.
https://okikata.org/ lives and works in Japan. His work includes installations, performances and video works using self-built devices as well as software. In recent years, he has focused on net art work '' and sometimes VJing. Tanoguchi teaches at Tama Art University and Musashino Art University. Main exhibitions include "dangling media" ("emergencies! 004" at "Open Space 2007," ICC, Tokyo, 2007), "Space of Imperception" (Radiator Festival, UK, 2009), "redundant web" (Internet, 2010) "[Internet Art Future?]" (ICC, Tokyo, 2012).
The gallery
MoMAR is an unauthorized gallery concept aimed at democratizing physical exhibition spaces, museums, and the curation of art within them. MoMAR is non-profit, non-owned, and exists in the absence of any privatized structures. MoMAR uses Augmented Reality to overlay art onto existing artwork and frames housed in museums and gallery spaces around the world. Downloading the MoMAR app, visitors hold their phones over specified frames and spaces in order to view alternate artwork, and MoMAR exhibits.
Download the MoMAR app at http://momar.gallery Alternatively, iOS 11 users, simply point your camera at the code for instant download. You cannot view the exhibit without the app. Unless you have psychic powers. LOL
Press Contacts: press@momar.gallery For downloadable high-resolution images, register at http://momar.gallery
Southern Burlington County NAACP cancels screening of Harriet Tubman biopic due to legal battle with Comcast - News - Burlington County Times - Westampton, NJ
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 20:18
David Levinsky @davidlevinskyFriday Oct 25, 2019 at 5:16 PM
The Southern Burlington County NAACP planned to show the biopic "Harriet" about the iconic Underground Railroad leader before the chapter's Joint Freedom Fund Gala on Nov. 2.
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MOUNT LAUREL '-- A New Jersey chapter of the NAACP has canceled an upcoming screening of a movie about Harriet Tubman due to an ongoing civil rights battle involving Comcast, the parent company of the film's production company.
The Southern Burlington County NAACP planned to host a special showing of the biopic "Harriet" about the iconic Underground Railroad leader at the Regal Cinema theater in Moorestown before the chapter's Joint Freedom Fund Gala on Nov. 2.
The film stars Tony Award winner Cynthia Erivo in the title role and follows Tubman as she escapes slavery in Maryland and then returns to lead hundreds of black slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad. It was directed by Kasi Lemmons, an African-American filmmaker best known for the 1997 drama "Eve's Bayou" and co-written by her and Gregory Allen Howard, who penned "Ali" and "Remember the Titans."
The film has been celebrated as the first major motion picture dedicated to Tubman and her heroism. The Burlington County branch considered it the perfect kickoff to their gala, which is the organization's major fundraiser.
But that was before the organizers learned the film was produced by Focus Features, which is part of NBCUniversal and a subsidiary of Comcast, which has been accused by the NAACP's national office of seeking to undermine a critical part of the 1866 Civil Rights Act.
Because of Comcast's legal position, the branch decided to cancel the "Harriet" screening, officials said.
"The branch decided to take a stand as a long standing civil rights (law) is being threatened in court by the owner of the film's production company, Comcast," said Marcus Sibley, the Southern Burlington County NAACP's spokesman and communication chair.
A spokesperson for Comcast defended the company's actions, saying the controversy stems from "frivolous, baseless claims. The spokesperson also said the company hopes people would not be persuaded to skip the Tubman film because of it.
"Focus Features has a longstanding history of releasing and telling stories that matter," the spokesperson said. "This film and seeing Harriet Tubman's life on screen is about celebrating her courage and legacy, and we hope as many people come out to theaters to do just that."
Comcast's civil rights fight stems from a $20 billion racial discrimination lawsuit with African-American entertainment mogul Byron Allen, who sued the cable company because of its repeated refusal to carry several of his own company's cable channels, such as JusticeCentral.TV, Cars.TV, Pets.TV and Comedy.TV., on its cable systems.
His lawsuit argues that Comcast's refusal violates the 1866 Civil Rights Act's Section 1981, which specifies that blacks may not be discriminated against in business contracts.
Comcast counters that its decision not to carry Allen's channels had nothing to do with his company being minority-owned but rather because they had low ratings.
The NAACP became involved after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Comcast's appeal of a 2018 decision by the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in California overturned several lower court decisions dismissing the case. The 9th Circuit found that Allen's allegations deserved a hearing based on the belief that racial discrimination might have been a factor.
Comcast argued that the court used the wrong standard and that race would need to be the determining factor rather than merely a motivating factor in the decision.
The NAACP's national office contends Comcast's argument for a stricter standard weakens the Civil Rights Act and therefore undermines protections for minorities and it joined with several other civil rights groups in filing a brief in opposition to Comcast's arguments.
The U.S. Justice Department has filed its own brief supporting a tighter definition when applying the Reconstruction Era law, drawing criticism from the NAACP and other civil rights groups, as well as several presidential contenders, among them U.S. Sen. Cory Booker.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in the case next month.
Crystal Charley, president of the Southern Burlington County NAACP, released a statement about the dispute Thursday, describing Comcast's argument as a potentially "devastating blow to our oldest civil rights statute."
"The Civil Rights Act of 1866 rendered equalizers for black people in this country as it relates to employment, contracting and building wealth. Our expectations of Comcast, Byron Allen (Entertainment Studios) and ALL companies are that they employ and/or contract with black people and not discriminate based on race," Charley said. "At stake here is far bigger than Comcast or Mr. Allen. Our position regarding this case is based on irretrievable harm to black people and other marginalized communities."
In a statement, Comcast's spokesperson said the company believes civil rights laws are an essential tool for protecting the rights of African-Americans and other diverse communities and that Allen's lawsuit was to blame for the controversy.
"Mr. Allen's frivolous, baseless claims '-- which a judge appointed by President Carter threw out three times as having nothing to do with race '-- debase and distort those laws. We are fully aligned with the view that this case should never have happened and we continue to hope that Mr. Allen will do the right thing and withdraw his claim '-- a move that would promptly terminate the Supreme Court case and bring this entire episode to an end," the spokesperson said.
China passes cryptography law as gears up for digital currency - Reuters
Sun, 27 Oct 2019 00:07
BEIJING (Reuters) - China's largely rubber stamp parliament has passed a new law on cryptography as the country gears up to launch its own digital currency, state media reported late on Saturday.
China's central bank set up a research team in 2014 to explore launching its own digital currency to cut the costs of circulating traditional paper money and boost policymakers' control of money supply.
China's proposed new digital currency would bear some similarities to Facebook Inc's Libra coin and would be able to be used across major payment platforms such as WeChat and Alipay, a senior central bank official said last month.
China's cryptography law, which takes effect on Jan. 1, is aimed at ''facilitating the development of the cryptography business and ensuring the security of cyberspace and information'', the official Xinhua news agency said, citing parliament. The law states that the state encourages and supports the research and application of science and technology in cryptography and ensures confidentiality.
Facebook's proposed cryptocurrency has sparked concerns among global regulators that it could quickly become a dominant form of digital payment and a channel for money laundering given the social network's massive cross-border reach.
Libra will be a digital currency backed by a reserve of real-world assets, including bank deposits and short-term government securities, and held by a network of custodians. Its structure is intended to foster trust and stabilize the price.
Like other cryptocurrencies, Libra transactions will be powered and recorded by a blockchain, which is a shared ledger of transactions maintained by a network of computers.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said last week that the country should accelerate the development of blockchain technology as a core for innovation.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Marguerita Choy
Oh boy what a shot on Twitter: "The EU doesn't take NO for an answer. https://t.co/WGdegI262Y" / Twitter
Sun, 27 Oct 2019 06:27
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Boris Johnson seeks December 12 election to break Brexit deadlock | South China Morning Post
Thu, 24 Oct 2019 23:45
A sign points to a polling station in London in May 2018. Photo: EPA-EFE
Prime minister pledged 'do or die' departure from bloc by October 31, but British lawmakers rejected accelerated timetable for his withdrawal billEU is widely expected to grant a three-month Brexit extension when ambassadors meet in Brussels on FridayTopic | Brexit
Published: 1:09am, 25 Oct, 2019
Updated: 1:28am, 25 Oct, 2019
A sign points to a polling station in London in May 2018. Photo: EPA-EFE
The Purge
Facebook Chief Mark Zuckerberg Urges Tech Rivals to Pay for News - WSJ
Sun, 27 Oct 2019 10:13
Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said the social-media giant's decision to pay media outlets who participate in its news service will give a much-needed boost to the publishing industry and provides a model other internet companies should follow.
Multiple major news publishers from the Washington Post to Fox News to The Wall Street Journal have signed on to the service, which launched Friday with a limited test audience of 200,000 users in the U.S. and will be rolled out more broadly early next year.
Mr. Zuckerberg said Facebook's service could have a positive impact on big and small publishers alike, but can't solve the media industry's deep woes on its own.
''I think every internet platform has a responsibility to help fund and support news,'' he said at an event in New York where he discussed the service with Robert Thomson, chief executive of News Corp , which owns the Journal. ''Hopefully others will follow the model we are helping to set up.''
BuzzFeed editor in chief Ben Smith said Facebook's licensing strategy ''is part of a really positive trend that will put a lot of pressure on Google and others to pay publishers.''
In a statement, a spokeswoman for Alphabet Inc. 's Google said the company already plays a key role in helping news outlets monetize online content through the traffic its search engine sends to their sites and revenue generated through Google's ad platforms, which most publishers rely on.
''Every month we send more than 24 billion clicks to publishers' websites,'' the statement said. ''Publishers around the world can use Google tools for monetizing their content, and when they do, they receive over 70% of the ad revenue.''
Facebook has said it plans to include news from as many as 200 publications, although many won't receive licensing fees, the Journal has reported. Among those that are paid, the fees may vary considerably. In its discussions ahead of the launch, Facebook had offered hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for smaller publishers, a few million for bigger ones, and substantially more for the very largest outlets, according to people familiar with those talks.
The move to pay for news comes as the big tech platforms have come under growing regulatory scrutiny. Google has resisted paying publishers but recently announced changes to how it ranks stories on its news page to better promote original content, addressing another long-running complaint from publishers.
The new service marked a key shift, said Mr. Thomson, who has been sharply critical of Facebook and Google in the past for issues including their opaque algorithms, digital advertising dominance and for not paying for news on their platforms.
''Great journalism will only be sustainable at scale if there is a fundamental change in the landscape like this,'' he said. Mr. Thomson said Facebook's move was ''a powerful precedent that will echo around editorial departments.''
News Corp's deal with Facebook'--which covers the New York Post and Dow Jones publications such as The Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch and Barron's'--will generate fees reaching into the double-digit millions of dollars annually, people familiar with the agreement said. A News Corp spokesman declined to comment.
Other outlets that agreed to participate include USA Today-owner, Gannett Co. , the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Cond(C) Nast, NBC News, ABC News, Bloomberg Media, BuzzFeed News and Business Insider. Facebook hasn't disclosed financial terms of its arrangements with publishers.
Facebook, which has been accused of bias by conservatives in the past, sought to include a diversity of viewpoints among the outlets that will be featured, although it said they must meet certain standards of trustworthiness. While the conspiracy-theory website Infowars won't be included, headlines from far-right website Breitbart might appear.
When asked about Breitbart, Mr. Zuckerberg declined to speak about specific media sources, but said, ''having someone be in there doesn't necessarily mean the curators will choose to highlight them.''
While Facebook will have the ability to choose any headline from media outlets that have joined, only a small number would appear in the feed'--some chosen by human curation and others by Facebook's algorithms. When users click on a link within Facebook News, they will be sent to the publisher's site.
Licensing fees have been viewed as a potentially valuable source of revenue for publishers struggling to compete for digital-ad dollars against Facebook and Google, the so-called duopoly that together commands nearly 60% of the U.S. market. Many publishers are trying to develop other revenue streams, such as user subscriptions, events and content licensing.
Earlier this year, Apple announced a partnership with more than 300 magazines and several digital media outlets and newspapers, including the Journal, for a $9.99 a month subscription news bundle called Apple News+. As part of the deal, publishers would split 50% of the revenue based on readership of their stories.
Curating a news section is a shift for Facebook, which until now has mainly been a platform for users to share news articles with each other. ''People want and benefit from personalized experiences on Facebook, but we know there is reporting that transcends individual experience. We want to support both,'' Campbell Brown, Facebook's vice president for news partnerships, wrote in a blog post.
During the trial run, Facebook said it plans to showcase news from local publications in major metro areas like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Philadelphia, Houston, Washington, Miami, Atlanta and Boston. The news section will eventually include news from Facebook's local news service, Today In.
Write to Lukas I. Alpert at lukas.alpert@wsj.com
Vape Wars
People are smoking cigarettes again amid vaping-related panic
Sun, 27 Oct 2019 06:28
In the span of a couple months, smokers have begun to think of cigarettes not as ''cancer sticks'' '-- but a safer choice for a fix than vapes, users say.
The dramatic shift comes as vaping-related illnesses have exploded to become one of the biggest public health concerns of the year. The death toll from vapes has reached 34, and hundreds more have faced life-threatening sicknesses.
This means that, astonishingly, fears over e-cigs have converted vapers such as 20-year-old Delilah Cravens back to cigarettes, even though the risks remain deadly.
''Within the people I hang out with, there was a point where most of us were Juuling, and now most of us are back to cigarettes,'' the Kenyon College junior tells The Post.
With vapes, it can sometimes seem like potential new risks arise daily, users say. Now, cigarettes are feeling like a less-chaotic evil, especially as people realize how little has been done to study the new devices over the long term. Nielsen reports the long-term decline in cigarette sales was moderated somewhat this September, at the same time as e-cigarettes' growth rate slowed, Bloomberg reports.
''Cigarettes are bad for you, but you're aware of the extent of the risk you're imposing on yourself,'' says Cravens, who switched from cigarettes to Juul last year, but is now back to smoking.
A Juul spokesperson tells The Post that their devices are designed to help adult smokers switch from combustible cigarettes to an alternative nicotine delivery system. ''[They are] not intended to be used as a nicotine cessation product, or for the treatment of nicotine addiction or dependence.''
And many believe the rash of recent deaths and illnesses are due not to nicotine e-cigarettes but black market THC vapes, which insiders have previously described to The Post as a ''totally unregulated'' industry.
Still, former vaper Caterina Kenworthy was so scared by the vape-related illness epidemic she threw her Juul into a dumpster behind her apartment and switched back to cigs, which she smoked in her early teens.
The 25-year-old freelance photographer and bartender in Massachusetts shared a video of the dramatic scene on social media.
Kenworthy says broadcasting the moment to her friends and followers deepens her resolve not to hit a Juul again.
''Sharing moments like that can provide a sense of personal accountability,'' she says, adding that she was also growing more concerned about her dependence on e-cigs.
Dealers say they're noticing a shift as well. One THC vape supplier says he may have to look for a different revenue stream.
''The falloff of the people who used to buy cartridges has gotten to the point I'm considering not even buying more of them,'' says a 22-year-old Brooklyn-based dealer who's been selling marijuana for eight years but couldn't share his name for fear of legal repercussions.
''It's put a dent in my customer base,'' he tells The Post. The change was sudden, he adds, noting the drop-off happened in August and September '-- about when vape-related illnesses and deaths began making headlines.
Wholesale prices have dropped too, although he blames it partially on increased market saturation. ''Back in the day, you got a gram of pure distillate [THC oil] for $20,'' he says. But today ''you can buy it wholesale for $8. That would've been unheard of two years ago.''
Not every vape user is concerned about their safety '-- though they are prepared for the regulatory backlash to get much worse.
''The vape deaths made me go out and buy a year supply of vape juice because I knew an irrational knee-jerk political reaction was about to hit us,'' says Adam Colon, 44.
When Gov. Andrew Cuomo banned flavored e-cigarettes last month, ''I started to panic,'' he tells The Post.
He went to the vape shop downstairs from his Dumbo office and bought $120 worth of vape juice.
''That whole week everyone was mass buying,'' he says the shop owner told him.
But, for 24-year-old Clinton Hill resident Hannah Erhart, who quit Juuling for safety reasons and because it was becoming a more expensive habit than smoking, it's back to smoking breaks in alleyways '-- which she claims is a welcome change.
''You don't have to go outside to Juul at a party,'' she says. ''It's definitely something I missed when I switched to Juuling.''
What's actually in a Juul e-cigarette'--and are they safe? '-- Quartz
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 07:00
Vapers don't have a ton of specifics on what makes up a typical e-juice.
Juul is one of the largest e-cigarette companies on the market, and also one of the most transparent. It lists the main components of each of its pods'--cartridges filled with 0.7 mL of e-juice'--online. Although it omits clearly defined amounts of each ingredient, the composition of a Juul pod is pretty similar to other forms of e-juice. We've broken it down below:
So'...are they safe?
That's the question on everyone's minds.
There's little concrete data on the safety of ingredients in e-cigarettes. In the US, to legally sell vapes and e-juice, companies have to provide an ingredient list to the FDA'--but they don't have to make those lists public. As long as the ingredients are generally regarded as safe by the FDA for use in food, drugs, and cosmetics, the organization then authorizes those products for sale. It doesn't actually approve any tobacco product, vapes included, in acknowledgement that they are all inherently risky.
''Generally regarded as safe'' is an official designation which literally means ''there is no evidence in the available information on [substance] that demonstrates, or suggests reasonable grounds to suspect, a hazard to the public when they are used at levels that are now current or might reasonably be expected in the future.'' However, in the case of e-cigarettes, whose compounds are being inhaled instead of consumed or included in makeup, that designation may not be appropriate.
A recent review of the safety of all components in e-cigarettes states in the abstract: ''We conclude that current knowledge of these effects is insufficient to determine whether the respiratory health effects of e-cigarettes are less than those of combustible tobacco products.''
Here's what we know about each product instead:
Vegetable glycerin was originally a plant-based product'--there are now synthetic forms'--that's been used for centuries in a huge range of products, from cosmetics to dynamite. More recently, it's been added to ''low-fat'' foods to absorb water and prevent freezer burn.
Propylene glycol is found naturally in low concentrations in some foods like eggs and flavorings (no more than 15%) and shows up in some medications administered through an IV. It's also used in polyester production, as well as some forms of antifreeze. The US military and theater groups also uses it to make smokeless smoke bombs.
Are they safe? Both glycerin and propylene glycol are generally recognized as safe by the FDA, but just because something is safe to eat, it doesn't mean it's safe to inhale, says Robert Tarran, a cell biologist at the University of North Carolina who co-authored the above review. (Water, for example, is safe to ingest, but not safe to inhale.)
Existing cell, animal, and clinical studies suggest that glycerin and propylene glycol irritate the lining of the lungs. One small clinical study from 2018 that found that the compounds changed vapers' sputum'--the mucosal lining that covers the internal respiratory tract'--to express different immune proteins. Some of these protein changes have been linked to asthma.
Nicotine is the addictive substance found in tobacco plants. Benzoic acid is also naturally found in plants, and is used commercially in dyes, perfumes, insect repellants, and food preservatives.
Are they safe? Nicotine has always been viewed as the lesser of two evils when it comes to cigarettes. Burning tobacco releases hundreds of chemicals, including nicotine. Some of these other chemicals lead to cancer'--and while nicotine may make some cancers worse, there's little data suggesting it causes cancer.
The chemical is best known as a stimulant that raises the heart rate and blood pressure. It's also a mood booster because of the way it stimulates dopamine transmission in the brain, and blocks other receptors from dampening dopamine's signal. In high doses, nicotine can cause nausea and other forms of GI distress, plus a jittery sensation'--but the effects are temporary.
Scientists have found that in the long term, nicotine can damage parts of the heart, lungs, and circulatory systems, and can hurt fetal development in pregnant people who smoke. But the biggest drawback of nicotine is how addictive it is. The US surgeon general has classified nicotine as just as addictive as cocaine or heroin. Teenagers, whose brains are still developing, are at a heightened risk of getting hooked on nicotine, and early research has shown that nicotine addiction may result in lifelong problems concentrating.
The health effects of nicotine as a salt with benzoic acid is also relatively unknown.
For this analysis, we used a 5% nicotine Juul pod, which claims to contain 5% nicotine by weight, or about 59 mg of nicotine per mL of fluid (It also makes 3% nicotine pods). It's not clear how much of the pod is benzoic acid, and a spokesperson for Juul referred us back to the pod ingredients page when asked for this story.
Juul does not list specific flavor ingredients on its website, and as of Oct. 17, it produces pods flavored to taste like tobacco, Virginia tobacco, menthol, and mint. (It used to sell creme, mango, fruit, and cucumber flavored pods, but have suspended sales until the FDA reviews them under a premarket tobacco product application.)
But Juul's four flavors are just a fraction of all the e-juice flavors available for purchase. E-juice comes in over 7,000 different flavors, which are largely unregulated and undocumented. A public policy group over at UNC has a database of some of these flavors and their chemical constituents, but Juul pods haven't been included.
Are they safe? It's unclear'--like all other ingredients in e-cigarettes, many of these flavors are generally recognized as safe in food products, but there's limited research on what happens when they're brought into the lungs. Some chemical analyses of e-cigarettes have found that flavors can harm the white blood cells in the lungs, which could lead to inflammation.
Another chemical analysis from 2017 found that out of 24 popular flavored e-juice pods, every one contained at least one chemical listed as a High Priority Chemical by the US Federal Emergency Management, or harmful or potentially harmful constituents by the FDA. It also found that as these chemicals break down, they produce aldehydes'--a class of compounds that includes formaldehyde'--which are known toxins for humans.
In addition to the e-juice, there's the vape itself. There's a risk that the metal wick that heats e-juice may be releasing tiny bits of metals like nickel, lead, and chromium into the aerosolized puff as well'--which wouldn't be great for lungs. And when a vape's ingredients combine under heat, they may interact with each other and produce yet another set of chemicals of unknown safety.
Legally sold nicotine vapes are just the tip of the iceberg: The majority of the nearly 1,300 cases of e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury, or EVALI, have been associated with THC or ''street'' nicotine e-juice, which can include any ingredients they want. It's possible that some users are mixing their own flavors with potentially dangerous chemicals.
As Quartz has reported, studying the safety of e-cigarettes is daunting because of the sheer variety of e-cigarettes. It's a huge number of variables to contend with, especially compared to the essential uniformity of combustible tobacco cigarettes. And because they're relatively new, scientists haven't had time to do all the research necessary to prove'--or disprove'--that they're entirely safe.
All Clips
VIDEO - Rudy Giuliani butt-dials NBC reporter, heard discussing need for cash and trashing Bidens
Sun, 27 Oct 2019 06:38
Late in the night Oct. 16, Rudy Giuliani made a phone call to this reporter.
The fact that Giuliani was reaching out wasn't remarkable. He and the reporter had spoken earlier that evening for a story about his ties to a fringe Iranian opposition group.
But this call, it would soon become clear, wasn't a typical case of a source following up with a reporter.
The call came in at 11:07 p.m. and went to voicemail; the reporter was asleep.
The next morning, a message exactly three minutes long was sitting in the reporter's voicemail. In the recording, the words tumbling out of Giuliani's mouth were not directed at the reporter. He was speaking to someone else, someone in the same room.
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Giuliani can be heard discussing overseas dealings and lamenting the need for cash, though it's difficult to discern the full context of the conversation.
The call appeared to be one of the most unfortunate of faux pas: what is known, in casual parlance, as a butt dial.
And it wasn't the first time it had happened.
"You know," Giuliani says at the start of the recording. "Charles would have a hard time with a fraud case 'cause he didn't do any due diligence."
It wasn't clear who Charles is, or who may have been implicated in a fraud. In fact, much of the message's first minute is difficult to comprehend, in part because the voice of the other man in the conversation is muffled and barely intelligible.
But then, Giuliani says something that's crystal clear.
"Let's get back to business."
He goes on.
"I gotta get you to get on Bahrain."
Giuliani is well-connected in the kingdom of Bahrain.
Last December, he visited the Persian Gulf nation and had a one-on-one meeting with King Hamad Bin Isa al-Khalifa in the royal palace. "King receives high-level U.S. delegation," read the headline of the state-run Bahrain News Agency blurb about the visit.
Giuliani runs a security consulting company, but it's not clear why he would have a meeting with Bahrain's king. Was he acting in his capacity as a consultant? As Trump's lawyer? Or as an international fixer running a shadow foreign policy for the president?
In May, Giuliani told the Daily Beast his firm had signed a deal with Bahrain to advise its police force on counterterrorism measures. But the Bahrain News Agency account of the meeting suggested Giuliani was viewed more like an ambassador than a security consultant. "HM the King praised the longstanding Bahraini-U.S. relations, noting keenness of the two countries to constantly develop them," it said.
The voicemail yielded no details about the meeting. But Giuliani can be heard telling the man that he's "got to call Robert again tomorrow."
"Is Robert around?" Giuliani asks.
"He's in Turkey," the man responds.
Giuliani replies instantly. "The problem is we need some money."
The two men then go silent. Nine seconds pass. No word is spoken. Then Giuliani chimes in again.
"We need a few hundred thousand," he says.
It's unclear what the two men were talking about. But Giuliani is known to have worked with a Robert who has ties to Turkey.
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His name is Robert Mangas, and he's a lawyer at the firm Greenberg Traurig LLP, as well as a registered agent of the Turkish government.
Giuliani himself was employed by Greenberg Traurig until about May 2018.
Mangas provided an affidavit in the case of Reza Zarrab, a Turkish gold trader charged in the United States with laundering Iranian money in a scheme to evade American sanctions.
Giuliani was brought on to assist Zarrab in 2017. He traveled to Turkey with his former law partner Michael Mukasey and attempted to strike a deal with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to secure the release of their jailed client, alarming the federal prosecutor leading the case.
Giuliani and Mangas were both employed by Greenberg Traurig at the time. The firm and Mangas had registered with the Justice Department to lobby the U.S. government on behalf of Turkey, according to an affidavit from Mangas.
Mangas provided the affidavit at the request of a judge to explain whether there was any conflict in Giuliani representing Zarrab while still employed by a firm registered to lobby on behalf of Turkey.
Mangas, who did not return a request for comment, says in the court document that Giuliani was never involved in the representation of Turkey.
A Greenberg Traurig spokesperson said Mangas has not been to Turkey since 2013 and therefore could not have been the person discussed on the call.
"Mr. Mangas has not spoken to Mr. Giuliani since before he left Greenberg Traurig in May 2018," the spokesperson added in a statement provided to NBC News after the story was published.
In the voicemail, Giuliani's conversation partner can be heard responding to the "few hundred thousand" comment. But it's possible to make out only the beginning of his answer, and even that is somewhat garbled.
"I'd say even if Bahrain could get, I'm not sure how good [unintelligible words] with his people," the man says.
"Yeah, okay," Giuliani says.
"You want options? I got options," the man says.
"Yeah, give me options," Giuliani replies.
The exchange took place at the 2:20 mark in the voicemail message. The other man does most of the talking in the remaining 40 seconds, and it's difficult to piece together what he says.
Not the first timeBy the time of that call, it was already clear that Giuliani butt dials don't only happen after 11 p.m.
The late-night Giuliani butt dial came 18 days after a midafternoon Giuliani butt dial.
The first one happened when the NBC News reporter was at a fifth-birthday party for an extended family member in Central Jersey.
It was 3:37 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, and a pink unicorn pi±ata had just been strung up around a tree in the backyard.
Amid his 3-year-old daughter's excitement, the reporter decided to let Giuliani's call go to his voicemail.
The previous day, the reporter interviewed Giuliani for an article quoting several of his former Justice Department colleagues who said they believed he committed crimes in his effort to push the Ukrainians to launch an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden.
After the pink unicorn pi±ata came the bouncy castle and then cake. It wasn't until at least an hour after the call that the reporter realized it had led to a three-minute voicemail, the maximum his phone allows.
In the message, Giuliani is heard talking to at least one other person. The conversation appears to pick up almost exactly where Giuliani's phone call with the reporter left off the day before, with Giuliani insisting he was the target of attacks because he was making public accusations about a powerful Democratic politician.
"I expected it would happen," Giuliani says at the start of the recording. "The minute you touch on one of the protected people, they go crazy. They come after you."
"You got the truth on your side," an unidentified man says.
"It's very powerful," Giuliani replies.
Giuliani spends the entire three minutes railing against the Bidens. He can be heard recycling many of the unfounded allegations he has been making on cable news and in interviews with print reporters.
Among the claims: that Biden intervened to stop an investigation of a Ukrainian gas company because his son Hunter sat on the board, and that Hunter Biden traded on his father's position as vice president to earn $1.5 billion from Chinese investors.
"There's plenty more to come out," Giuliani says. "He did the same thing in China. And he tried to do it in Kazakhstan and in Russia."
"It's a sad situation," he adds. "You know how they get? Biden has been been trading in on his public office since he was a senator."
Shortly after, Giuliani turns to Hunter Biden. "When he became vice president, the kid decided to go around the world and say, 'Hire me because I'm Joe Biden's son.' And most people wouldn't hire him because he had a drug problem."
Giuliani's effort to spur a Ukrainian investigation of the Bidens is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry underway in the House. And Wednesday, two of Giuliani's associates pleaded not guilty to making illegal campaign contributions in part to advance the interests of foreign nationals, including a former Ukrainian prosecutor who was involved in the effort to oust the country's former U.S. ambassador.
In the recording, Giuliani doesn't mention anything about his own activities in Ukraine and elsewhere. But he does make unfounded claims about Hunter Biden's overseas work.
"His son altogether made somewhere between 5 and 8 million," Giuliani says. "A 3 million transaction was laundered, which is illegal."
Last week, Hunter Biden said in an ABC News interview that he will step down from the board of the Chinese investment company that he joined in October 2017.
One of Hunter Biden's early business partners was Christopher Heinz, stepson of former Secretary of State John Kerry. But Heinz objected to Hunter Biden's decision to work for the Ukrainian gas company and ultimately cut ties with him. Heinz had nothing to do with the Chinese investment fund.
But in the voicemail message, Giuliani is heard telling his friend that Kerry's stepson was working for the same foreign entities that employed Hunter Biden.
"His partner was John Kerry's stepson," Giuliani said. "Secretary of State and the vice president for the price of one."
The recording ends the same way it began. "They don't want to investigate because he's protected, so we gotta force them to do it," Giuliani says, before apparently turning to the president's now-infamous call with the Ukrainian president.
"And the Ukraine, they're investigating him and they blocked it twice. So what the president was [unintelligible word], 'You can't keep doing this. You have to investigate this.' And they say it will affect the 2020 election."
"No it'...." Giuliani adds, but the recording cuts off before he can finish the thought.
Over the last 10 days, Giuliani has given few media interviews.
Calls to his phone Thursday led to a recorded message saying his mailbox was full. The call has not been returned '-- at least not yet.
VIDEO - (3) Zero Tolerance: Steven Bannon Interview | FRONTLINE - YouTube
Sun, 27 Oct 2019 00:08
VIDEO - (17) Ryan Saavedra on Twitter: "Former FBI Director James Comey says he's moving to New Zealand if President Donald Trump wins re-election https://t.co/fBMPaJHEPI" / Twitter
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 20:18
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VIDEO - DC Basement (''illegal, practically'') on Twitter: "@adamcurry Biden jokes, ''If you were my daughter, you'd be a Caucasian girl and you wouldn't be pulled over'' https://t.co/kws9ph3eA2" / Twitter
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 20:01
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VIDEO - ALX 🇺🇸 🎃 on Twitter: "Comey invokes Mitt Romney while fantasizing about a Post-Trump World where everyone will deny having ever supported him. ''We can't allow that to happen. People have to be held accountable.'' https://t.co/TbnFUQX
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 20:01
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VIDEO - DC Basement (''illegal, practically'') on Twitter: "@adamcurry HBCU student asks *same question* to Bernie about police, Bernie reply: ''Identify who the police officer is - and I would respect what they are doing so that you don't get shot i
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 20:00
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VIDEO - Maher Torches Bill & Hillary Clinton: 'They've Got To Go Away' Before 2020 Election '' NewsWars
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 15:31
Late night HBO host Bill Maher tore into Hillary and Bill Clinton during his Friday show, insisting that the Democrat Party distance itself from the Clintons as soon as possible if it hopes to win the 2020 election.
Talking to his guest panel on ''Real Time,'' Maher explained that Hillary's brand has tainted the Democrats, and that she was in part why Democrats lost in 2016.
''It seems like every few months, Hillary Clinton bubbles up again,'' Maher said. ''And people are like 'oh, she's thinking about running,' or she says something crazy. Last Friday there was a news dump, they exonerated her again about the emails.''
''The Clintons, they've got to go away,'' he said. ''I'm saying this now, a year out, or less, they can't be at the convention, maybe on the video waving or something. But I'm serious.''
Maher then agreed with Rep. Justin Amash's assessment of Hillary as a ''Donald Trump asset.''
''She is!'' Maher said. ''And Bill is damaged goods. I just think they've got to go away. [They] can't be associated with the Democratic Party.''
Maher has been extremely critical of the Democrat Party in recent weeks, lambasting them for lurching too far left and alienating moderate and independent voters, as well as constantly pursuing impeachment against Trump despite the election being just a year away.
Additionally, Maher has taken shots at 2020 Democrat candidate Joe Biden for wearing his corruption on his sleeve like Hillary Clinton did.
Hillary crawled from under the rock to join in the attacks on President Trump to try and have him removed. She is still butthurt over the fact that the American people wanted Trump over her. Notice how Behar Joy asks Hillary about the chant ''Lock Her Up'' and Hillary acted like she didn't even hear it.
VIDEO - (1) Robby Starbuck on Twitter: "You're gonna wanna watch this whole video. Kanye West exposes do nothing Democrat's in this clip.ðŸ--¥ðŸ--¥ "We brainwashed bro. Democrats had us voting Democrat for food stamps for years bro, takin' fathers out
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 14:27
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VIDEO - (2) Oh boy what a shot on Twitter: "50 (!) weeks of non-stop #GiletsJaunes protests in France. VIDEO: #Toulouse #Acte50 Mainstream media will not show you this video. You are the media now. https://t.co/WFaSxUOq5O" / Twitter
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 14:27
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VIDEO - Animated No Agenda - Gurgles on Vimeo
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 14:20
Vimeo Pricing Upload Staff Picks On Demand Vimeo OTT Site map Features Video Player Privacy Collaboration Distribution & marketing Monetization Live streaming Analytics Hosting & management Enterprise Resources Help Center Blog Video School OTT Resources Developers Students Guidelines Company About Jobs Partners Did you know?Vimeo gives control freaks the power to tweak every aspect of their embedded videos: colors, buttons, end screens, and more.
TM + (C) 2019 Vimeo, Inc. All rights reserved.
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VIDEO - Are Utilities Adopting Microgrids? - YouTube
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 13:58
VIDEO - Bloom Energy CEO Expects More Companies to Turn to Microgrids - YouTube
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 13:47
VIDEO - Tools that Help Create Bankable Distributed Energy Resource System Projects: Advisian - YouTube
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 10:37
VIDEO - (2) Microgrid 2019 Video - YouTube
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 10:29
VIDEO - Community Microgrids - Clean Coalition
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 09:51
What is a Community Microgrid?A Community Microgrid is a coordinated local grid area served by one or more distribution substations and supported by high penetrations of local renewables and other distributed energy resources (DER), such as energy storage and demand response.
Community Microgrids represent a new approach for designing and operating the electric grid, relying heavily on DER to achieve a more sustainable, secure, and cost-effective energy system while providing indefinite, renewables-driven backup power for prioritized loads.
Community Microgrids compared to traditional microgridsCommunity Microgrids, as their name implies, serve entire communities. They provide numerous benefits to those communities, and to the electric grid '-- and they differ in many respects from traditional microgrids:
FeatureCommunity MicrogridTraditional microgridScaleSpans an entire substation grid area, benefitting thousands of customers.Covers a single customer location or a small number of adjacent locations.DER locationUsually installed in front of the meter (on the side of the electric grid).Usually installed behind the meter (on the owner's property)CostLowers costs by identifying optimal DER locations, deploying DER more broadly, and providing scalability.Maximizes benefits for a single customer and does little for the grid. Replicating is very expensive.Resilience, securityProvides indefinite backup power to prioritized loads that are critical to an entire community.Provides limited backup power to only a single location or customer.ScalabilityEnables easy replication and scaling across any distribution grid area.Requires tedious work to implement at each individual location.Traditional microgrids focus on single customers:
Source: Oncor Electric Delivery CompanyCommunity Microgrids cover an entire distribution substation grid area and serve thousands of customers:
Source: Oncor Electric Delivery CompanyServing as models for modernizing America's electrical system in the most intelligent manner possible, Community Microgrid demonstration projects will help realize the Clean Coalition's vision: From 2025 onward, at least 25% of all electricity generated from newly added generation capacity in the United States will be from local renewable energy sources.
Community Microgrid features Leverages high penetrations of local renewables and other distributed energy resources to achieve desired level of grid reliability, power quality, and resilience.Includes the ability to island critical loads using monitoring, communications, and controls (MC2), which can also provide services to the grid.Uses efficient load design, including local balancing and load flattening, to reduce costly peaks and transmission costs.Establishes a scalable solution spanning one or more substations.A microgrid can be staged to be Community-Microgrid-ready by including MC2 to allow interaction with a broader Community Microgrid, whether that Community Microgrid is available today or prospective for the future.
A beneficial solutionCommunity Microgrids incorporate local renewables into the existing utility grid, offering these significant advantages over centralized generation:
A stronger local economy: Attract private investment, create jobs, and keep energy dollars close to home.A more resilient power system: Cost-effectively enhance grid reliability and security, as well as power quality, through diversified energy portfolio and local balancing of energy supply and demand '-- and provide indefinite, renewables-driven backup power to critical facilities.Affordable and stable energy prices: Secure predictable, affordable energy prices by protecting consumers from volatile costs of fossil fuels and rising costs of delivering energy over expensive long-distance transmission lines.A cleaner, healthier environment: Replace the need for gas-fired peaker plants and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, minimize water use, and preserve pristine lands by siting local renewables on rooftops, parking lots, and other underused spaces within the built environment. A scalable and replicable solutionThe Clean Coalition's Community Microgrid Initiative will provide a standard methodology that any community can use to optimize and streamline the deployment of local renewable energy.
Rather than continuing the slow process of evaluating local renewable energy projects one at a time, the Community Microgrid Initiative will create a fast pathway to bring clean local energy online. Modeling large areas of the distribution grid makes it efficient to identify greater distributed generation opportunities and establish streamlined deployment plans. This systemwide approach enables large amounts of local renewables to come online in months rather than years.
Through a combination of advanced distribution grid modeling and cost scenario analysis, the Clean Coalition is creating a replicable and scalable method for deployment of local renewables.
Why we need Community MicrogridsThe United States' power system, built on century-old technology and approaches, was designed to deliver electricity from large, remote power plants across significant distances to the cities and towns where electricity is actually used. Now, however, locally sited renewable energy generation has become economically competitive with centralized generation and offers a superior approach for a vastly improved power system.
In addition, our centralized power system is highly vulnerable to extreme weather events, which are occurring more frequently. In fact, 2017 was the most costly year for domestic disasters in US history, with 16 weather or climate events with losses exceeding $1 billion, and a total estimated cost of $306 billion.
Source: National Atmospheric and Oceanic AdministrationYet, utility executives and policymakers are reluctant to embrace local renewables due to fears that the existing power system cannot reliably integrate distributed energy generation. These grid reliability concerns have effectively limited local renewables to providing no more than 15% of peak power needs. Without empirical proof that the power grid can integrate greater amounts of local renewables in a cost-effective manner, this 15% limit will continue to slow the nation's transition toward our clean energy future.
To overcome this reluctance, and to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of high penetrations of local renewables, the Clean Coalition established the Community Microgrid Initiative. The Community Microgrid Initiative is designed to achieve Community Microgrid demonstration projects that prove that local renewables connected to the distribution grid can provide at least 25% of the total electric energy consumed while maintaining grid reliability and power quality. Serving as models for modernizing America's electrical system in the most intelligent manner possible, these Community Microgrid demonstration projects will help realize the Clean Coalition's vision: From 2025 onward, at least 25% of all electricity generated from newly added generation capacity in the United States will be from local renewable energy sources.
Transitioning our energy systemIt's time to modernize our energy system and move it into the present. What worked in the past is no longer viable. Our centralized power grid is so last century, as our friends at the World Business Academy explain in this excellent video:
The future is here '-- in the form of Community Microgrids.
Key stakeholders for Community Microgrid successFor a Community Microgrid Initiative to be successful, all key community stakeholders must be aligned. These key stakeholders include property owners, residents, philanthropic funders, financiers, solution providers, utilities, policymakers, and municipalities. Participation by the local utility, one of the most important key stakeholders, is essential in order for a Community Microgrid to interconnect within the existing distribution grid.
Our 25 by 25 visionFrom 2025 onward, at least 25% of all electricity generated from newly added generation capacity in the United States will be from local renewable energy sources.
Learn more Our Community Microgrid InitiativeLearn about the Clean Coalition's Community Microgrid projects, showcases for a replicable and scalable model '-- and pathways to "25 by 25."
See our projects Recent newsThe latest in clean local energy
Learn about our innovative projects and initiatives on our blog, and see what others are reporting about our important work.
10/23/2019 Community Microgrids Are the Solution to Public Safety Power ShutoffsIn this op-ed for Noozhawk, Executive Director Craig Lewis discusses how Community Microgrids provide energy resilience.
Read article 10/17/2019 PSPS Outages Expected in Santa Barbara This WeekThe World Business Academy points to our collaboration on Community Microgrids as solutions to utility power shutoffs.
Read article 10/16/2019 It's time to value DER in resource adequacyIn this op-ed for pv magazine, Executive Director Craig Lewis argues for a greater role for DER to mitigate future power shortages and grid instability.
Read article
VIDEO - California Burning: From PG&E's Ashes Arise "Smart" MicroGrids (& Coming To You) - YouTube
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 09:09
VIDEO - (5) Kanye West says the Republican Party Freed The Slaves - YouTube
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 08:23
VIDEO - 'I did not give up because I simply could not do that, thanks to all who helped me': Butina speaks upon arrival in Moscow '-- RT Russia News
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 07:25
Maria Butina, a Russian gun activist who spent months in a US jail for failing to properly register as a foreign agent, has landed in Moscow. Her case sparked outcry in Russia and accusations of ''prosecutorial overreach.''
She has arrived in Sheremetyevo airport after a long flight from Miami, Florida on Saturday.
Not holding back emotions, Butina told reporters she feels ''well'' and is very happy to finally "return home.'' She thanked everyone for supporting her during the tough and lengthy ordeal in the US.
I didn't give up simply because I knew that I could not do that.
Maria's father, Valery Butin, has flown from Siberia to meet her at the airport. He praised the diplomats, human rights groups, and ''ordinary people'' for supporting his daughter and not letting the story die down. He also thanked the US lawyers for their fight against the ''Russophobic'' charges against his daughter in court.
On her way out of the airport, Butina revealed that receiving news of her ''strong support'' at home was ''a breath of fresh air amidst the horrors'' she experienced while being held in the US.
''Absolutely everyone hated me there,'' she said.
It was especially frightening when I was sitting in prison and seeing how they chose the scariest photos of me to air on the news. And they made shows on TV about it. I couldn't even turn it off. I was forced to watch that. And the guards laughed and watched along. It was very hard to bear.
Maria Butina went to the US on a student visa in 2016. She became involved with the National Rifle Association (NRA) as part of her stated goal of liberalizing Russia's restrictive gun laws. In July 2018, she was detained by the FBI on suspicion of conspiring to infiltrate the lobby group to promote Russian interests in the US.
Already hooked on the Russiagate hysteria, US media outlets jumped on the story, erroneously labeling Butina a Kremlin spy who traded sex for political favors.
The Russian gun activist pleaded guilty in December to failing to register as a foreign agent after being held in solitary confinement for months. She was sentenced to 18 months in prison, essentially for being an unregistered lobbyist.
Also on rt.com Russiagate's first survivor: The harsh education of Maria Butina Moscow repeatedly denied any links to Butina, saying the case against her was politically motivated. Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed the US government's case and subsequent imprisonment of Butina as a ''travesty of justice.''
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VIDEO - (3) How to use a modem | What is a Modem | Prestel | Four Computer Buffs | 1985 - YouTube
Sat, 26 Oct 2019 00:28
VIDEO - 'I had to say something': the comedian who confronted Harvey Weinstein | Film | The Guardian
Fri, 25 Oct 2019 17:27
No one seemed to be acknowledging the fact that Harvey Weinstein was sitting at a private table in the back.
By the time comedian Kelly Bachman took the stage at Actors Hour '' a New York showcase for emerging performers '' ''I didn't want to, necessarily, but I really felt like I had to say something,'' she said.
''I'm a comic, and it's our job to name the elephant in the room,'' she said, once she took the stage. ''It's a Freddy Krueger in the room, if you will. I didn't realize I needed to bring my own mace and rape whistle to Actors Hour.''
The comedian didn't expect to end up at the center of a media frenzy when she confronted the disgraced producer. After a video of her calling out Weinstein went viral, she has been championed as an inspiration and a hero. In an interview with the Guardian, she says the reaction has been validating but also ''overwhelming''.
Bachman didn't anticipate encountering Weinstein at the event, which bills itself as an intimate ''speakeasy'' for writers, directors, actors, musicians. ''I really wanted to tape my new 10-minute set that night,'' she said. ''It felt like it was going to be a warm room.''
As soon as she mentioned Weinstein, ''I felt like all the air was sucked out,'' she said. ''It was a very cold room.''
People in the audience booed and heckled as she continued, ''Sorry, that killed at group therapy for rape survivors.''
Warning: the below video contains strong language
That got a few cheers. Bachman, who said she was a rape survivor herself, recently produced a show called Rape Jokes by Survivors, for which she enlisted a dozen survivors to share their stories and experiences. ''Out of respect for them, and out of respect for myself, I had to say something.''
More than 80 women have accused Weinstein of rape, sexual assault and harassment. The producer posted $1m bail after being arrested on rape charges last year and has made few public appearances since.
In a statement, Weinstein's publicist Juda Engelmayer said: ''This scene was uncalled for, downright rude and an example of how due process today is being squashed by the public, trying to take it away in the courtroom too.''
Weinstein has denied all accusations of non-consensual sex. Engelmayer did not immediately respond to the Guardian's request for comment.
Downright Rude (Amber Rollo) (@ambercrollo)Harvey Weinstein statement called me "downright rude." You know what's rude? Rape. GTFOH
October 25, 2019After confronting Weinstein, Bachman resumed her set as she'd initially planned. ''People laughed at my set, and actually my set did well,'' she said. ''And the host came back on and he just went on with the rest of the show.''Later on, another comedian mentioned that Good Will Hunting '' a Weinstein production '' ''was great''. Otherwise, no one else mentioned Weinstein, who was seated near the door of the basement venue, flanked by several women and two bodyguards. ''Everyone was acting like it was a normal occurrence,'' Bachman said.
Then, at intermission, the actor Zoe Stuckless, who was in the audience, confronted Weinstein directly. ''Nobody is going to say anything?'' Stuckless shouted in a video they posted to their Facebook. ''Nobody is really going to say anything?'' they continued, pointing a finger toward Weinstein.
''Because Harvey is sitting by the door, and we had to pass by him to get out of there, I felt like a lot of us didn't feel comfortable just getting up and leaving right away,'' Bachman recalled. ''At intermission, it felt a bit easier to move around.''
After Stuckless confronted Weinstein, and was ushered out, Amber Rollo '' a comedian who performs in a band called Boys Drool with Bachman '' approached the producer as well.
''And then we all left,'' Bachman said.
That night, she kept replaying the evening's events in her head. ''I just kept thinking: I wish I'd said more, or maybe I should have said less.'' Maybe she shouldn't have continued on with her set, she thought. Maybe she should have walked out earlier.
''I was kind of beating myself up about it,'' she said.
The next day, Bachman woke up to thousands of new followers on social media. ''I just woke up to such overwhelming support and positive messages,'' she said. ''And for me the best part was other comedians showing their support. When a colleague is like 'You did good,' that's a really big deal to me.''
The comedian Nikki Glaser said she was ''floored and inspired'' by Bachman's bravery. And in a post about Bachman, the comedy writer Mitra Jouhari said, ''This is awesome and legit brave and you were funny while standing up to him to boot.''
The Westworld actor Evan Rachel Wood, who has testified before Congress about her own experience surviving rape, has also defended Bachman, Rollo and Stuckless on Twitter.
By the evening, Bachman said she was inundated by media requests. ''It's been overwhelming,'' she said. ''I mean, Good Morning America is about to be my living room.''
Her phone was buzzing with notifications. ''It's a constant stream,'' she said. ''I haven't really had time to process.''
Rollo has echoed the sentiment. ''I don't want to talk to any more reporters right now,'' she tweeted. ''I'm sorry. I'm tired and I'm crashing, and the evilness of that room is setting in.''
In the day and a half since the event, the venue '' Downtime Bar in New York's Lower East Side neighborhood '' appears to have taken down its Facebook page after initially posting a note that appeared to refer to Stuckless as a heckler.
The organizer of Actor's Hour has also apologized for her handling of the situation. ''I want to sincerely apologize to any people '' male or female '' who were re-traumatized, hurt, or felt disrespected this week at Actors Hour,'' Alexandra Laliberte wrote in a Facebook note. ''Mr Weinstein will not be attending any future Actor's Hour events.''
Bachman said she was glad she had spoken up. ''I don't think it's always the comic's job to make people feel comfortable,'' she said. ''In this situation, we pointed out that there was a monster in the room. I didn't want people to feel comfortable with that.''
VIDEO - Hillary Clinton Takes Veiled Shot at President Trump, First Lady Melania at Elijah Cummings' Funeral (VIDEO)
Fri, 25 Oct 2019 16:21
Hillary Clinton Takes Veiled Shot at President Trump, First Lady Melania at Elijah Cummings' Funeral (VIDEO) by Cristina Laila October 25, 2019
Hillary Clinton spoke at Dem Rep. Elijah Cummings' funeral in Baltimore on Friday.
Longtime Democrat Congressman Elijah Cummings passed away last week at the age of 68.
Classless Hillary just couldn't help herself on Friday during her eulogy and she took a veiled shot at President Trump and First Lady Melania.
''Like that Old Testament prophet, he stood against corrupt leadership of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel,'' Hillary said referring to Elijah, the prophet in Israel who confronted Ahab and his wife Jezebel.
.@HillaryClinton on Rep. Elijah Cummings: "Like that Old Testament prophet, he stood against corrupt leadership of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel."
Full video here: https://t.co/3Nt7BSmMFq pic.twitter.com/lnHZvVENKC
'-- CSPAN (@cspan) October 25, 2019
''This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!'' Hillary said (she actually refrained from using her fake southern accent).
Hillary Clinton begins her eulogy of Rep. Elijah Cummings: "This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it'--because this is the day for the home going celebration of a great man, a moral leader, and a friend." https://t.co/87H50yox0v pic.twitter.com/kr9bl9Cl5F
'-- ABC News (@ABC) October 25, 2019
Of course the liberal media cheered Hillary's comments.
Hillary Clinton just compared Donald and Melania Trump to King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. #ouch
'-- Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) October 25, 2019
Hillary Clinton, speaking at Elijah Cummings' funeral, nods at current impeachment inquiry: He was "begging American people to pay attention to what is going on'...if you want there to be a democracy for your children'...we have to guard this moment, this is our watch."
'-- Colby Itkowitz (@ColbyItkowitz) October 25, 2019
HUGE applause when Hillary Clinton made this theological zinger at Elijah Cummings' funeral: "It is no coincidence that Elijah shared a name with an Old Testament prophet '... Like that Old Testament prophet he stood against the corrupt leadership of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel."
'-- Jack Jenkins (@jackmjenkins) October 25, 2019
VIDEO - James Clapper struck by 'interesting' timing of DOJ criminal inquiry into Russia investigation
Fri, 25 Oct 2019 14:47
| October 25, 2019 11:10 AM
President Barack Obama's spy chief James Clapper raised the possibility that impeachment was a factor behind U.S. Attorney John Durham opening a criminal inquiry into the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation.
Clapper, a former director of national intelligence who is a focus of the DOJ investigation, told CNN anchor Anderson Cooper he learned of the criminal investigation 20 minutes prior by reading a news article, and it made him "very curious."
He suggested there was a political motivation behind it by noting how President Trump is facing intensifying impeachment proceedings. "I found the timing interesting, given the increasing heat around the impeachment inquiry. And so the timing is interesting. I'll just let it go at that," Clapper said Thursday evening.
Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan, who is also a subject of interest in the Durham investigation, led the Obama administration's intelligence agencies at a time when some Republicans allege the CIA illicitly ensnared members of the Trump campaign using informants. They anticipate the DOJ inquiry will be very critical of Clapper and Brennan.
[Read more: John Ratcliffe: FISA report will show why DOJ opened criminal inquiry into Russia investigation]
Yet aspects of Durham's secretive investigation, which Democrats worry is a "vehicle for President Trump's political revenge," appeared to mystify Clapper.
"The other thing I wonder about is whether we're talking about the overall investigation of the Russian '-- reporting on the Russian interference '-- or are we talking about the counterintelligence investigation that was launched in July [2016] by the FBI about potential engagement into collusion, whatever you want to call it, between the Russians and the Trump campaign," he said.
Asked whether he has any idea what Durham's team may think rises to the level of a criminal offense, Clapper said he had no clue. "That's obviously an item of great interest to me. What is it that any of us did that would rise to the level of a criminal infraction? I just don't know," he said.
VIDEO - Yael Eisenstat on Facebook's elections problem.
Fri, 25 Oct 2019 05:49
In 2018, former CIA analyst Yael Eisenstat went to work for Facebook as head of Global Elections Integrity Operations. She had worked in government for many years, including as a national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, but took a job at the tech giant as part of its effort to address election meddling with the hope of helping to address what she sees as our democracy’s “biggest existential threat”: the breakdown of civil discourse. The job did not turn out as planned, and the challenges, in her telling, remain vast.
I spoke to Eisenstat for the first episode of Slate’s new Friday-morning tech podcast, What Next: TBD. Below is a transcript of our interview, edited and condensed for clarity.
Lizzie O’Leary: How did you come to work at Facebook?
Yael Eisenstat: So, I spent most of my life in the national security world. And it was in about 2015, that I started actually—I mean, I’d left government in 2013—but it started occurring to me in 2015 that a bigger threat in my mind to all the things I had cared about, whether it was democracy, civil discourse, our national security, was no longer coming from this thing abroad that I was working on. And I started thinking it was the breakdown of civil discourse here at home. So I started digging in, and I wrote a piece about exploring the breakdown in civil discourse as our biggest existential threat, and started looking at why that was happening. And I’m not saying social media is the only reason it was happening, but I did start exploring that and started speaking about it, and started talking at tech conferences and was asked once on a podcast, do I think Mark Zuckerberg is to blame? And I said something along the lines of, I don’t think Mark Zuckerberg set out to destroy democracy—I gave this long answer of like, I don’t think this is anything intentional, but I do question who he has at his decision-making table, and I suspect it’s not people with my background.
Your background having been a CIA officer.
Yes. Having been a CIA officer, having been a diplomat overseas, having worked on the ground with real people affected by policies, decisions, conflicts. Not just sitting in an office somewhere having never actually seen how the world worked.
What did you want to accomplish when you went to work for Facebook?
So to me—and it was not an easy decision. At this point, just to be clear on the timing of it, the irony is, as you and I sit here today, Mark Zuckerberg is testifying right now. The last time he testified [in April 2018] was the day they made the job offer to me. In fact, they actually called me with the final offer one minute after his testimony ended that day.
Yeah. It was April, right? Yeah. So what did I hope to accomplish? I watched the entire hearing. I watched how many times he talked about elections, in particular around the world, as a top priority. They called me, and again gave me the exact title that spoke to the core of my priorities and who I am, offered me this shiny title of head of Global Elections Integrity Operations, and to me that meant, I don’t know if this is salvageable, but how can someone like me who cares so much, not just about our democracy, but about global politics, global civil discourse, all of these things—I cannot turn down this opportunity.
I didn’t have rose-colored glasses thinking I was going to go change the company. I didn’t. I’m old enough and have worked in the world enough to know. That was not what I thought. But I was not an easy, easy interviewee. I was very clear: Don’t hire me if you don’t mean it. I’m very excited to help this company hopefully think this through—and [the job] was on the business integrity side, so it was really about the political advertising side of the business—really help think through these very challenging questions of what role are we playing in global politics and global democracy. So I went in thinking, if what they offered me is true, which was to build and head this new team, to hire a team, and to really help think through what is the best way for us to ensure that we are not harming democracy in elections around the world, then how could I say no?
Do you remember your first day? First week?
Oh yeah. First day is orientation, so first day is like any place, drink the company Kool-Aid, very cheerleading, very exciting. So first day, I’m pretty sure there’s nothing I could’ve done wrong yet because I just participated in orientation. And my second day, my first meeting, which was a Zoom meeting, because I was in Menlo Park, and my boss was not. So my very first meeting with my new boss, she let me know that, I have to change your title—your title is now going to be Manager. And for all the things that happened over the next five to six months, nobody can say on Day Two I had already made so many mistakes that they decided they had to downgrade me.
So from the very first day, everything that was promised to me by the recruiters did not happen. I was told, without going too far into the details or it’s going to take up our whole conversation—I’ll just say one of the things that we hear them tout a lot, including right now, is how many people they’ve hired with backgrounds like mine, for example, to help them fix these problems. And they have. They’ve hired some amazing people. I had some amazing colleagues there. But hiring us and empowering us are two different things. And from Day One, well actually Day Two, sorry, it was made crystal clear to me I would never be empowered to do anything.
Can you give me a sense of what you wanted to do, what tools you wanted to build, and then what happened?
I actually didn’t want to come in on Day One with, here’s exactly what we need to do—and I talked a lot about that during all my interviews, that I wanted to take a few months to really dig in, observe, see how we got here, see what the issues are, before actually making any recommendations. And that’s, I think, the way one should, even in a move-fast-break-things culture. This is a really huge issue, and I did want to actually take my time, and they all were very on board with that during the interview process.
So I don’t want to say I came in on Day One and said this is exactly what I want to do. One of the things I did want to really understand is why is the business integrity side, why is the political advertising side completely siloed from all of the efforts that the rest of the company is doing? Because some people will say, well, she wasn’t the head of Elections Integrity, so and so is, or so and so is. Right, there’s someone on the policy side, and there’s someone on the news feed side, and I was on the business integrity side. What I cared about was ensuring that … you know what? Actually, I’ll back up a step.
One of the questions they asked me during my interview, which I actually heard Mark Zuckerberg talk about during his speech the other day, they asked me: Do you think we should ban political advertising altogether? Now, I didn’t know I was being interviewed for an elections integrity job yet, because I was actually being interviewed for something else. So they asked me that question, and I hadn’t actually thought about it in advance. And I did say: “You know what? I think it would probably be the easiest thing to do, because I assume you’re not actually making as much money from political advertising as you are from industries and other stuff.” However, no, I don’t think you guys should ban political advertising, because I look at this globally, and if you ban political advertising, you’re tilting the scales towards the incumbents who already have access to media, access to information, especially in countries that have more dictatorial regimes, and you would be squashing the voice of the smaller parties and the littler person.
So I do actually fundamentally believe that, and I heard Mark Zuckerberg say that the other day, and I agree with him. So, I do fundamentally believe that. But we cannot deny that the platform has been abused and that they let it happen. So I wanted to come in and see. First of all, I didn’t actually clearly understand from my recruiter that it was just political advertising. To me, if you want to solve this problem, you cannot solve it in silos. So I wanted to look at the political discourse altogether over the platform, from the organic side to the advertising side, and understand what are actually the underlying drivers here … to me, the bigger question wasn’t about Facebook’s policies necessarily, but: Why were the Russians so easily able to exploit and persuade Americans using that platform? And a lot of that is a problem of our society. That’s not Facebook’s fault. But the more I’ve dug in, the more I realize a lot of it is because of the way social media has divided our society.
Do you mean in terms of what social media rewards?
Yes. So the key core issue now is: What should they do? It’s been broken down into this freedom of speech versus censorship conversation. And this is going to sound like a ridiculously strong statement, because I get accused of being anti–free speech when I talk about what I think should be done. I swore, when I was in the CIA, I swore an oath to protect the Constitution. I spent 13 years in government defending our Constitution, which includes freedom of speech. So to be accused of not actually caring about that, by many people who defend shareholder profit, is a very hard pill for me to swallow. So just to start with that, but yes, so all of the issues we’re talking about, whether or not you should let a politician run a fake ad, whether or not you should have Facebook being the ones who are deciding what is truth or not, those are all really important questions that society should have to decide. Who’s going to govern the internet? Those broader questions.
But none of the real core issues will be solved before 2020, which is, in my opinion, a business model that exploits human behavioral data in order to sell this idea to advertisers that they can so custom-target individuals, and show us each a different version of truth based on what they have figured out about us. I mean, I know I’m going on a whole thread here, but based on a business model whose entire metric is about user engagement and keeping your eyes on their screen so that they can Hoover up all this data so that they can sell this to advertisers. That is what is rewarding the most salacious content. That is what is rewarding the biggest clickbait stories. That is why—and I assume this is even happening in political advertising—the most salacious content is what’s going to grab the most people’s attention, and their algorithms are all about figuring out how to keep you engaged. So that to me is actually the bigger issue that all of the whack-a-mole responses do not address.
You had this tweet.
You know what I’m going to say.
I do.
“Facebook hired me to head Elections Integrity ops for political ads,” you wrote. “I asked if we could scan ads for misinfo.” I assume you mean misinformation. “Engineers had great ideas. Higher ups were silent.” You go on to talk about the sort of free speech answer. I’m curious, when you say you wanted to scan ads for misinformation, so you’re saying that it’s doable?
Just to clarify that a bit, and then my tweet underneath that did say something along the lines, I don’t remember the exact words, but, even if you don’t scan it, or don’t enforce, or check for misinformation, or something like that—I wish I had the tweet, you might have the tweet in front of you—but there are other things. Again, I don’t know that I actually want Facebook to be the arbiter of truth. Just to be really, really clear.
I did pose that question in what’s called an internal tribe at Facebook. I did pose the question because I wanted to understand, why is this policy of ours, why are we not—if we do have fact-checkers, and I say “we” because I’m thinking about the time when I worked there. If we do use fact-checkers now for some of the organic content in the news feed, the problem is most people that use Facebook don’t necessarily know how to differentiate between an ad and organic content, especially outside the U.S., but unfortunately they are different. So we have to talk about them differently, if we’re able to use fact-checkers to start to actually address this misinformation problem on organic content, I asked the question, why can’t we do the same thing in ads? I didn’t actually say we should or we shouldn’t. I asked, why can’t we? What is the history? And a lot of the different project managers and engineers started putting out all these different ideas, which means there was a hunger to have this conversation at least, and again, it’s not about Facebook telling politicians what they can and can’t say.
In this particular case, it was so egregious because it was such a debunked video that I have to be honest, I’m not 100 percent sure where I fall on whether or not that ad should have necessarily run, but I do know where I fall on the entire idea of: That ad I assume was also custom-targeted towards certain audiences. Their algorithms I’m sure boosted it to certain people. Those are the issues that I think are more dangerous, but I do know that there was zero appetite beyond the engineers and PMs to actually even consider whether we should be looking at ads for misinformation.
But again, I want to be really clear. I think it’s a really important issue for us to talk about as a society, but I also think it’s a distraction from some of the real issues that I think make this business model dangerous. Which is why, I mean, I don’t often actually talk about the individual, I talk about the company, but which is why when Mark Zuckerberg gave a speech about the freedom of speech, I just think that it is pandering to us to stand on a stage and give an entirely passionate speech about how everything you do is about defending the freedom of speech, but not talking about the fact that you actually have a business model that in no way is about the freedom of speech.
Your platform curates content. Your algorithms decide what I do and don’t see. I don’t see everything my friends post. I don’t decide what kind of ads I want to see. No one has ever asked me at Facebook what kind of ads do I want to see. They’re deciding what content to amplify, what content to highlight, and so I’m not quite sure I understand how that can be viewed as freedom of speech. If you were 100 percent an open platform that anybody could post on, that you did not use our human behavioral data to then custom-target us, both with ads and with how your news feed algorithm works, then I could buy into the argument that you care about freedom of speech.
This reminds me of Facebook exec Nick Clegg saying in a speech that they wanted to make sure there was a level playing field, but you’re essentially saying the playing field was never level to begin with.
It is absolutely not level, at least not the way it currently operates. And the funny thing is, I still use Facebook. I want Facebook to be a good product. I want to stay connected to my friends around the world. And I know when I talk about these things, people assume I’m just this anti-Facebook person. I mean I very rarely speak out or make public comments about this, but I cannot sit by and allow this completely false narrative about, if you care about the freedom of speech, if you care about us beating China, if you care about … like all of these really patriotic sentiments, which is still masking the real issue of: Your business model is creating externalities in the world, including on our mental health, including on our civil discourse. And that to me is the issue that you are making sure we don’t talk about because you’re having these grand patriotic conversations about freedom of speech.
The playing field is not level. And it’s not just Facebook by the way, let’s just be really clear about that. But when you decide and curate my content and you end up … I mean, on Twitter, let’s be honest, I can’t prove this, so this is me making a bit of an assumption, but I think there are some people working on this. The most salacious content seems to somehow go much more viral than like wonky, non-salacious, non–clickbaity things. And that to me is actually the dangerous thing. That and custom targeting. Being able to show 2 billion people 2 billion different versions of truth is really terrifying to me. And so that is why, I know you haven’t asked this, but that is why one of the things I’m most concerned about, I’m just concerned about all of these binary conversations. Again, freedom of speech versus censorship, publisher versus platform as opposed to: We all want a healthier society. I believe most of us believe in freedom of speech, but this industry is the only industry that has full immunity to act however they want when it comes to how speech looks online. And to me, that’s a really ridiculous binary conversation.
One thing I’m curious about is: If you still had your old job, what would you do with it now? What would be the things you wanted to worry about in the 2020 election cycle?
If I had my old job, I wouldn’t actually be able to work on the things I care about, because if I had my own job—listen, all of the different reactive things they’re doing, they’re important. The fact that they are looking for inauthentic pages, that they’re looking for inauthentic behavior, all of those things are important and I give them credit for that work. And sure, if I was there, I would still be trying to figure out how to work on all of that. But what I would want to do, which I wouldn’t be able to do if I was still inside the company, is talk about the business model to begin with. And it’s not about whether or not Facebook should take money for political advertising.
It’s a very small amount of their revenue.
Right. And it’s about whether or not they should continue to manipulate me based on my human behavioral data that they have Hoover’d up to custom-target me with certain kinds of content and ads. That’s the thing that I think is dangerous. That is the thing that is allowing one person in one reality to see a completely different version of truth than what I’m seeing. And it is rewarding, and it’s, again, not just Facebook, we’re talking Twitter, we’re talking YouTube, and some of them have made changes, but we’re talking about rewarding outrage, rewarding the most outrageous content, the most clickbaity things to the point where we don’t even have this version of truth anymore.
So while there are all sorts of little things I would love to do inside Facebook, at the end of the day I actually think it’s government regulation that is going to [do it], and I don’t mean regulating what is true and what is false, but basic guardrails, even if it’s purely about transparency.
Well, what does that look like? Because a lot of what you’re describing sounds like just saying, this business model fundamentally doesn’t work, or shouldn’t exist. So what kind of guardrails would you put in place?
So unfortunately I don’t think you can outlaw the business model, as much as I would love to. I do think we could start to figure out how to quantify some of the externalities of this business model. And then you, I know that gets to the dirty word of taxing externalities, but somebody should bear responsibility for that.
There’s a whole bunch of different things that I think government needs to do, and the solutions communities are all arguing with each other now. Well, antitrust won’t fix it all. Well, a data privacy lab won’t fix it all. Well, CDA 230 reform won’t fix it all. They’re right. None of it will fix it all. They’re all important pieces. The one that I care about, the one that really matters to me and the core of what I care about, is defining what are these companies’ responsibilities. And what I mean by that is, we all know the government’s responsibility is to protect the citizens of this country. Whether they do it well or not is totally debatable, but that is a responsibility. Because of this one 16-word, or something, small piece of legislation written in 1996, which—
This is the Communications Decency Act.
Section 230.
Section 230 of it, which every internet nerd is really interested in, and I think a lot of regular people have no idea it exists.
Yeah, and it is this, I mean, essentially it’s an immunity. It’s a protection, which made sense at the time—again, 1996, none of these platforms existed yet—which was to make sure that we’re protecting the internet to be able to flourish, to be able to innovate, and not hold internet providers responsible for the content that is hosted on their sites. And yes, I think it makes perfect sense. I give this example often. If I build a website on Squarespace and I host illegal stuff on my website, I should be responsible, not Squarespace. I fully, 100 percent agree with that, but a lot of people hear this nonstop debate about whether or not these platforms should be considered publishers, and the reason why is because if they’re considered publishers, they wouldn’t get CDA 230 immunity. I don’t think that that is the correct debate.
And I think, and this is where I get frustrated, these guys are curating our content. Their algorithms are deciding what they will amplify. Their algorithms are deciding what will or will not go in front of your eyes, what communities will be targeted with which ads. That is not a neutral platform. And I don’t mean neutral in terms of conservative versus liberal. This is where all of these false narratives are happening. I mean neutral in terms of just hosting content with no say in what I’m actually seeing. And so I think in 2019 we do not need to get rid of CDA 230, but we need to add a new category for what they are, which are digital curators or whatever term you want to use, and then figure out the guardrails around that. And one of the guardrails could be: Your recommendation engine has to be transparent. Whatever it is, whether it’s your recommendation algorithm for YouTube, or whether it’s your algorithm that’s figuring out how ads are getting targeted, whatever. If that was transparent, I suspect these companies would actually make a bigger effort to not show how dirty some of that has turned out to be.
When you say “transparent,” can you give me an example of what someone, not you, but a less savvy internet consumer might then see.
So people who don’t understand how it works are probably not going to fully understand actually if these algorithms become transparent—they’re not going to necessarily see it. But the people, the researchers, the journalists, everybody else who will understand it will be able to actually make sense and say, oh, that’s so interesting.
We’ve been going for about 20 minutes, so I’m going to ask you, you were hesitant about talking to us.
I was.
I think there’s so much noise out there, and I am not one of those people who wants to contribute to the noise. And I also, I mean, if you’re going to … I hope this will make it on. I’m skeptical of the media. Not necessarily because I think in any way anybody in the media’s goal is to try to contribute to all of this craziness that’s going on, but at the end of the day, in order for you to actually get play on Facebook and on YouTube and get out there, you also have to play the game and have a salacious clickbait title. And so it is very hard for me to allow anyone else to own my narrative, because when I do—I mean I gave one interview to a journalist not that long ago and they ended up running it with this super clickbaity salacious title that said, Facebook Knows More About You Than the CIA, which was not actually the full context of what I said.
So it is very hard for me to trust someone else with my narrative, otherwise I will also get reduced down to just sounding like a disgruntled employee who is complaining, when what I really want to talk about is: What are some of the solutions to help make sure that we have a healthy internet, that we can preserve all of our values, which includes freedom of speech, but reduce the way this is harming our civil discourse in our democracy? And by talking to the press, often my message gets distilled down to the sound bite and then I just become one of those people who is contributing to that noise, and that’s why I was very difficult and pushed back a lot when you asked me to do this interview.
Listen to the show, which also includes a conversation with New York Times opinion writer Charlie Warzel, below, or wherever you get your podcasts.
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VIDEO - (2) Justice Democrats on Twitter: ""That Facebook has officially made its policy that it will not fact check paid political advertising, that they will take money in order to publish and spread disinformation, is extraordinarily concerning." -@AOC
Thu, 24 Oct 2019 22:27
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VIDEO - (2) Ben Stirling on Twitter: "@adamcurry @joshuamclain Right around here he talks about being recognized we've been without his glasses should make a good clip https://t.co/ow6UOpXiwn" / Twitter
Thu, 24 Oct 2019 21:41
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VIDEO - Faust & Furious on Twitter: "Short clip from interview I conducted yesterday with a homeless man named John. Hear his thoughts on @GregAbbott_TX threat to use @TxDOT to clear out #homeless camps from beneath bridges #austintexas #campingordinance
Thu, 24 Oct 2019 21:40
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VIDEO - 'Wait. What?' Ana Navarro's attempt to make a joke at Trump's expense ends up making a joke out of her [video] '' twitchy.com
Thu, 24 Oct 2019 15:31
At the same event where CNN president Jeff Zucker told Brian Stelter that Fox News ''is not a news organization,'' Ana Navarro told Don Lemon '... well, just listen for yourselves:
In all seriousness'... can someone explain to me what the joke is here? pic.twitter.com/ay540T5ugH
'-- Kate Hyde (@KateHydeNY) October 24, 2019
Yeah, we could use an explanation as well.
Wait. What?
'-- ð'--±ð'--°ð'--žð'--¯ ð'--Ÿð'--ð'-- ð'--¨ð'--ð'--± ð'--žð'--ð'--žð'--ªð'--° (@BecketAdams) October 24, 2019
'-- Monica (@moniemon84) October 24, 2019
Could it just be "Trump is dumb"? I honestly don't know.
'-- Halloween Name Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) October 24, 2019
We have to assume that's what she was going for, since that's pretty much the gist of all of her commentary. But if that's the best she could come up with, she's not exactly the epitome of wit and brilliance, either, is she?
Um'... she's a dimwit?
'-- Huell Babineaux did nothing wrong (@jtLOL) October 24, 2019
That definitely came across, yes.
Maybe the best part about whenever Trump leaves office will be Ana Navarro's total lack of value to the corporate media. I might get down with impeachment just for that.
'-- Jordan (@JordanLethal) October 24, 2019
VIDEO - (1) Paul ''TᕼE ᗷOOK GᑌY'' on Twitter: "@Breaking911 @adamcurry if you can clean up the question this is a decent #clip" / Twitter
Thu, 24 Oct 2019 15:05
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