Solar Sunday


AURORAS DON’T NEED SUNSPOTS: On March 16th, the sun was blank (No sunspots) and NOAA classified solar activity as “very low.” Nevertheless, this happened:


“The auroras were really strong early in the afternoon even before we had proper darkness here at 69N in Tromsø, Norway,” reports photographer Ole C. Salomonsen. “We know we are heading towards solar minimum, with fewer spots and flares on the sun, but still I have to say this has been a very good season with strong auroras. We know that equinoxes are particularly active. Once again, this was proven to me.”

He’s right. Auroras don’t need sunspots. The display was caused by a stream of solar wind flowing from a wide gash in the sun’s atmosphere–also known as a “coronal hole.” Coronal holes form often during solar minimum, lashing Earth with streams of solar wind that spark beautiful Arctic lights.

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Stormy Saturday or When Trumpys Attack


Much better looking than Gina Haspel.

The attorney for Stormy Daniels, the pornographic actor who claims to have had an affair with Donald Trump, said Daniels had been threatened with physical harm.

Attorney Michael Avenatti declined to say whether or not the threats had come from the president, in an interview on Friday about the alleged affair.

Towards the end of a 12-minute interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski asked if Daniels, whose given name is Stephanie Clifford, “had been threatened in any way”.

Avenatti said: “Yes.”

Brzezinski then asked: “Was she threatened with physical harm?”

Avenatti replied: “Yes.”

He declined to answer ensuing questions about whether Clifford’s life had been threatened or if the president had issued any of the threats.

“I’m not at liberty to discuss it,” Avenatti said. “You can ask it 17 different ways. I’ll give you the same answer.”

Avenatti said details of the threat, and the alleged affair that Clifford has said took place in 2006 and 2007, would be made public in an interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes on 25 March.


And there’s this:

President Donald Trump and his personal attorney are trying to get a lawsuit by adult film star Stormy Daniels transferred to federal court — and they claim she’s on the hook for at least $20 million for violating a secrecy agreement signed just before the election.

An attorney for the actress accused the Trump team of “bullying tactics” for the legal maneuver, which is aimed at pushing the dispute into private arbitration.

“To put it simply, they want to hide the truth from the American people. We will oppose this effort at every turn,” said Michael Avenatti, the lawyer representing Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford.


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FRIdae fuNNies


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Torture Queen Thursday


Behind this otherwise benign face lurks a very sick mind, a confirmed torturess.

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, D-Calif., as a former chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, oversaw the chamber’s landmark investigation into the CIA’s use of torture. “I think hopefully the entire organization learned something from the so-called enhanced interrogation program. I think it’s something that can’t be forgotten. And I certainly can never forget it. And I won’t let any director forget it,” Feinstein said this week.

That should be an easy task for President Donald Trump’s nominee to run the CIA, Gina Haspel — who, as a CIA official, ran a “black site” in Thailand where she personally oversaw torture.

Feinstein on Tuesday said she wouldn’t make a decision on how to vote until the confirmation hearings. “I have spent some time with her, we’ve had dinner together, we have talked. … Everything I know is that she has been a good deputy director of the CIA,” Feinstein said of Haspel, who was part of a team that waterboarded a detainee 83 times in a month.

Haspel oversaw and was directly involved in the torture of two detainees in an overseas secret prison. Her team waterboarded a detainee dozens of times in a month, shackled his body in contorted positions, stuffed him into a coffin-like box, and slammed his head into walls. “She was up to her eyeballs in torture,” the American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement on Tuesday.

@ TI

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Back Door Wednesday


When the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities were revealed in millions of processors earlier this year, those deep-seated vulnerabilities rattled practically the entire computer industry. Now a group of Israeli researchers is outlining a new set of chip-focused vulnerabilities that, if confirmed, would represent another collection of flaws at the core of computer hardware, this time in a processor architecture designed by AMD. But the researchers now also face their own questions: about the hype they’re piling onto those revelations, the timing of their disclosure to AMD, and even their financial motivations for their work.

On Tuesday morning, hardware security firm CTS Labs published a paper and website pointing to four new classes of attack that the company says are possible against AMD chips in both PCs and servers. Together, they seem to offer an array of new methods for hackers who have already gained significant access to a computer running AMD’s “Zen” processor architecture. At their worst, the vulnerabilities as described would allow attackers to bypass security safeguards against tampering with the computer’s operating system, and potentially plant malware that evades practically any attempts to detect or delete it on AMD chips.

“We believe that these vulnerabilities put networks that contain AMD computers at a considerable risk,” reads a paper published by the CTS researchers. “Several of them open the door to malware that may survive computer reboots and reinstallations of the operating system, while remaining virtually undetectable by most endpoint security solutions. This can allow attackers to bury themselves deep within the computer system and to potentially engage in persistent, virtually undetectable espionage.”


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Tesla Tuesday

TempPics 001

Stationary coils with a neodymium magnet filled rotor when assembled together makes a very strong motor/generator.

Tesla’s shift to a magnetic motor using neodymium in its Model 3 Long Range car adds to pressure on already strained supplies of a rare earth metal that had for years been shunned because of an export ban by top producer China.

FILE PHOTO: A Tesla Model 3 is seen in a showroom in Los Angeles, California U.S. January 12, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo
Efforts by governments around the world to cut noxious emissions produced by fossil fuel-powered cars is driving demand for electric vehicles and the metals used to make them, such as lithium and cobalt which are key ingredients for batteries.

Now the spotlight is on neodymium. Several auto makers already use permanent magnet motors that rely on the metal because they are generally lighter, stronger and more efficient than induction motors that are based on copper coils.

But it is the switch to neodymium by Tesla, an auto maker that has staked its future solely on the electric vehicle, that is showing the way the industry is moving and the direction of demand for the rare earth metal.


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Shitty Monday


New York is an amazing place to live. AMAZING. We have the best food, the best shows, the best art, the best everything except the worst shit, we send that to Alabama.

New York City is the beating heart of global finance, a cultural behemoth, and home to more than 8.5 million people who create an enormous amount of poo. Some of this expelled waste has been causing a major stink 900 miles away, in Alabama.

Residents in and near Birmingham have been in uproar over sewage that is transported by train and truck from New York and New Jersey to be dumped in the southern state.

The treated sewage – euphemistically known in the industry as “biosolids” – has plagued residents with a terrible stench, flies and concerns that spilled sludge has leaked into waterways.

“On a hot day, the odor and flies are horrific,” said Charles Nix, mayor of West Jefferson, a town near the landfill that accepts the waste. “It’s better in winter time but if the wind blows in the wrong direction you get the smell. It’s like dead, rotting animals.

“If you get close to the trucks the liquid would blow off on to your windshield and fill your car with a stink. It spilled out on to the road. Some people were saying they just wanted to move away, they were so miserable.”

@ TG

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