Cosmic Rays Sunday

NEW ATMOSPHERIC RADIATION RESULTS: For the past two+ years, and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus have been monitoring cosmic rays in the atmosphere above California using high-altitude space weather balloons. After more than 100 flights, they find that dose rates have increased over the Golden State by 13% since March 2015.

Now we know the same thing is happening over New England–only more so.


The Earth to Sky team has flown balloons over Maine and New Hampshire four times since 2015, most recently on June 15, 2017. Although the data are relatively sparse compared to the better-sampled west coast, the results are clear. Radiation in the stratosphere over the northeastern corner of the USA is not only stronger than California, but also intensifying much faster–a 19% increase in New England vs. 13% in California.

What’s happening? Generally speaking, cosmic rays are increasing throughout the entire solar system. This is because of the sunspot cycle. The sun is currently plunging toward a deep Solar Minimum. As it descends, the sun’s weakening magnetic field and flagging solar wind provides less and less shielding against high-energy particles from deep space. Every planet in the Solar System is getting an extra dose.


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Security Breach Saturday


The GOP’s 2016 presidential upset wasn’t surprising just because it put Donald Trump in the White House; it also proved the party had vastly improved its ability to exploit data, including precision ad targeting campaigns on Facebook. Now comes the fallout of all that information hoarding: A California-based security researcher says Republican-linked election databases were inadvertently exposed to the entire internet, sans password, potentially violating the privacy of almost every single registered voter in the United States.

The data trove was apparently made public by accident by one of the data-mining companies that compiled it. It includes a mix of private information and data gleaned from public voter rolls: “the voter’s date of birth, home and mailing addresses, phone number, registered party, self-reported racial demographic, voter registration status” as well as computer “modeled” speculation about each person’s race and religion, according to an analysis provided to The Intercept.

The leak was discovered by Chris Vickery, an analyst at the U.S. cybersecurity firm UpGuard, who last year discovered an enormous breach of Mexican voter data and in 2015 a 300GB leak of records of 191 million voters. This new incident is more extensive, according the analysis, written by UpGuard:

UpGuard’s Cyber Risk Team can now confirm that unsecured databases containing the sensitive personal details of over 198 million American voters was left exposed to the internet. The data, which was stored in a publicly accessible cloud server owned by Republican data firm Deep Root Analytics, included 1.1 terabytes of entirely unsecured personal information compiled by DRA and at least two other contractors, TargetPoint Consulting, Inc. and Data Trust. In total, the personal information of nearly all of America’s 200 million registered voters was exposed, including their names, dates of birth, home addresses, phone numbers, and voter registration details, as well as voter ethnicities and religions as “modeled” by the firms’ data scientists.

@ TI

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FREYEdae funneeZZ


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Tunguska Thursday


Traces of Tunguska event can be seen even now. Pictures: The Siberian Times, Tunguska Page of Bologna University

According to a prominent astrophysics professor from Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland, an asteroid strike to Earth is a matter of time, reported the Belfast Telegraph Wednesday.

Professor Alan Fitzsimmons issued this warning because of Asteroid Day, which is held on June 30 to remember the 1908 Tunguska event in Siberia. On June 30, 1908, an explosion hit the region surrounding the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Siberia. It destroyed 800 square miles of the forest and ripped 80 million trees from the ground.

For years, the cause of the explosion was unknown, but the most widely accepted conclusion was that a space rock hit Siberia. The object weighed 220 million pounds and generated the energy equivalent of 185 Hiroshima bombs.


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Worrisome Wednesday



In the immediate aftermath of the Alexandria shooting on June 14, the New York Times and Vice News joined the rising chorus of right-wing outrage with two pieces denouncing growing “left-wing extremism.” They failed to mention, of course, the rising tide of blood shed due to attacks by far-right activists before and since Trump’s inauguration, the current president’s own endorsement of violence on the campaign trail or the long history of right-wing forces urging their followers to embrace Second Amendment remedies as a solution to politics they oppose. On the surface, these shoddy pieces seem driven by a desire for hits, but lurking behind these words is the very real possibility of a new political panic targeting US progressive and left organizing and action.

Throughout US history, the forces of the left have suffered from numerous political purges, usually referred to as panics or scares, each of which were incited by incidents like the Scalise shooting. The first example was the suppression of the US Socialist Party and the Industrial Workers of the World for their opposition to US participation in the First World War in the First Red Scare. This position was hardly unique to the left, with antiwar sentiment enjoying broad support in US society. The Wilson administration responded harshly with the notorious Espionage and Sedition Acts, giving the state the tools needed to smash organized opposition. These efforts culminated in the brutal Palmer Raids, spearheaded by the FBI, which broke the back of the US left as punishment for their opposition to the war and radical actions, such as the Seattle General Strike.


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Texas Twirp Tuesday


Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Monday he does not believe carbon dioxide emissions are the main driver of the earth’s record-setting warming, a core finding of climate science. Instead, Perry said, the driver is most likely “the ocean waters and this environment that we live in.”

Perry became the second of President Donald Trump’s cabinet members to go on television to publicly dismiss the importance of CO2 in global warming, ignoring the scientific evidence. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt rejected its role in answer to essentially the same question in March, also on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

But Perry went further in his response to CNBC host Joe Kernen—who has expressed his own skepticism about climate science in the past—when asked whether he viewed carbon dioxide as the main “control knob” for climate.

“No. Most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in,” Perry, a former Texas governor, said.

Despite the fuzzy, circular illogic of that reply, Perry went on to say that skepticism about the scientific consensus is a sign of a “wise, intellectually engaged person.”


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Tin Horn Monday


Tin Horn Dicktator-in-Chief

“I need loyalty, I expect loyalty,” Trump told then FBI Director James Comey in January – even though FBI directors are supposed to be independent of a president, and Comey was only 4 years into a 10 year term.

Comey testified before the Senate that Trump tried to “create some sort of patronage relationship,” based on personal loyalty.

After Comey refused and continued to investigate possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives, Trump fired him.

Preet Bharara, who had been the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said Trump tried to create the same sort of patronage relationship with him that he did with Comey.

Bharara’s office had been investigating Trump’s secretary of health and human services, Tom Price, and also looking into Russian money-laundering allegations against Deutsche Bank, Trump’s principal private lender.

When Bharara didn’t play along, Trump fired him.

Bharara said Comey’s testimony “felt a little bit like déjà vu.”

Den sez:
It should be noted that Sessions was the only point of contact for both men


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