Mon. Aug. 13

Click this link for the stories we noted last week that just might matter 10 years from now. Have you seen them all?


Google lies: They track your movements no matter what
— Google wants to know where you go so badly that it records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to.
— An Associated Press investigation found that many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you’ve used privacy settings that say they will prevent it from doing so.
— Computer-science researchers at Princeton confirmed these findings at the AP’s request.

Pirates of the Caribbean — 2018 version
The Washington Post
— Political and economic crises are exploding from Venezuela to Nicaragua to Haiti, sparking anarchy and criminality. As the rule of law breaks down, certain spots in the Caribbean, experts say, are becoming more dangerous than they’ve been in years.

FBI agent fired over Trump criticism
Raw Story
— Federal Bureau of Investigation on Monday fired agent Peter Strzok, whose text messages critical of President Donald Trump and other politicians were used by the president as evidence that the FBI was biased against him.
— The Washington Post reports that “FBI Deputy Director David L. Bowdich ordered the firing on Friday,” despite the fact that the office initially only recommended that he face demotion and a 60-day suspension.

Trump admits he kept Omarosa because she “only said great things about me.”
> Reuters

Demented Trump tweet: 
While I know it’s “not presidential” to take on a lowlife like Omarosa, and while I would rather not be doing so, this is a modern day form of communication and I know the Fake News Media will be working overtime to make even Wacky Omarosa look legitimate as possible. Sorry!

All-American guy from Wisconsin deported on goofy technicality
The Intercept
And he’s among tens of thousands vulnerable to a loophole.
deportedxxx— Cappelli enjoyed a typical suburban upbringing in the Midwest. He was a Cub Scout, played little league baseball, and enjoyed the outdoors. He was the only adopted sibling of the three Cappelli children, but, like them, he was an American. Or so everyone thought. He had a social security card and a document known as a “certification of birth facts” issued by the state of Wisconsin.

Toxic water across the US and …
White House sees it as PR problem
HORSHAM, Pa. — Lauren Woeher wonders if her 16-month-old daughter has been harmed by tap water contaminated with toxic industrial compounds used in products like nonstick cookware, carpets, firefighting foam and fast-food wrappers.
— Henry Betz, at 76, rattles around his house alone at night, thinking about the water his family unknowingly drank for years that was tainted by the same contaminants, and the pancreatic cancers that killed wife Betty Jean and two others in his household.
— Tim Hagey, manager of a local water utility, recalls how he used to assure people that the local public water was safe. That was before testing showed it had some of the highest levels of the toxic compounds of any public water system in the U.S.
— “You all made me out to be a liar,” Hagey, general water and sewer manager in the eastern Pennsylvania town of Warminster, told Environmental Protection Agency officials at a hearing last month.

Hothouse Earth — what would it be like?
The Conversation

— The biosphere thrived, though equatorial regions tested the thermal limits of life. Much of the low-lying land had been claimed by the sea, which was now a worldwide warm bath in which animals steered a course to avoid the large, oxygen-depleted regions, a result of the sluggish ocean currents typical of an ice-free world. Even this type of Earth is not so unpleasant, though – once you’re there.
— But it’s the transition that’s tricky. Some combination of unrestrained carbon emissions and the natural feedbacks of greenhouse gas released from melting permafrost and forest die-back might set us on such a trajectory in little more than a century. Humanity, in such a world, might crowd on to the remaining land and mourn its drowned cities.

Taken for a ride
Uber drivers and “longhauling”
Wall Street Journal
— When ferrying passengers to and from Phoenix’s airport, Uber driver Michelle Blandy had a decision to make: Go the short way or take the longer route.
— “If they were from out of town, I would take advantage of it by going the longer route,” said Ms. Blandy, who drove for Uber for about two years before moving to Harrisburg, Pa., earlier this year. “It’s the only way I could get what I was owed.”
— In a modern twist on an age-old practice from the yellow cab industry, many drivers like Ms. Blandy are employing a practice known as longhauling—taking an unnecessarily longer route to a destination in order to drive up a fare. But unlike with taxis where passengers “get taken for a ride,” it’s ride-hailing companies like Uber Technologies Inc. that are responsible for covering the bigger bill.

FBI warns banks of “cashout” ATM thieves
Krebs on Security
… cybercriminals are preparing to carry out a highly choreographed, global fraud scheme known as an “ATM cash-out,” in which crooks hack a bank or payment card processor and use cloned cards at cash machines around the world to fraudulently withdraw millions of dollars in just a few hours.

Where even Walmart won’t go: how Dollar General took over rural America
The Guardian
As the chain opens stores at the rate of three a day across the US, often in the hearts of ‘food deserts’, some see Dollar General as an admission that a town is failing.
√ And of course, city councils everywhere are eager to subsidize these stores with tax dollars. Why? Don’t ask.

The top states in crumbling infrastructure are…
USA Today
Top 5: Rhode Island, Hawaii, W. Virginia, Pennsylvania, California.

The political cause of Florida’ disastrous algae blooms
Center for American Progress
— Researchers from the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami have shown that harmful algae blooms in Southwest Florida are affecting more areas and occurring 15 times more frequently compared with 50 years ago. The culprit? Nutrient pollution from the land.
— All that nutrient pollution—most notably, nitrogen and phosphorus—is coming from agricultural products running off a vast area of Southwest Florida. These nutrients are meant to fertilize crops, but when they flow into waterways, they also supercharge algal growth. The federal government’s and Florida’s long history of draining rivers and digging canals for agricultural use merged the main Southwest Florida watershed system with Lake Okeechobee and its watershed, ballooning the watershed to four times its original size. This created a vast region of agricultural lands stretching from Palm Beach County up into Orange County, all of which flow into Southwest Florida coastal waters.

whale shark
A whale shark necropsy is performed on Sanibel Island by staff from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, July 2018.


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