We have created scores of entirely new creatures, such as the hundreds of breeds of domestic cats and dogs living alongside us. We have intentionally and unwittingly transported all sorts of organisms — bacteria, ants, rodents, cattle, crops, garden plants, and roadside weeds — across the globe, to places they could never have reached on their own.
We have formed numerous new environmental niches in our cities and suburbs, which many hardy critters have used to their advantage. And we have even spurred the hybridization of wild species, resulting in new chimeras, such as the Italian sparrow, yellow-flowered Yorkwort, and apple flies.
Ultimately, humans may be responsible for what Thomas calls a “sixth mass genesis” — a nearly unprecedented branching and blooming of life on this planet.
Source: The case that humans are creating new species despite killing off so many – Vox
Amazon.com Inc has received 238 proposals from cities and regions across North America vying to host the company’s second headquarters, it said on Monday.
The number of applicants underscores the interest in the contest, which Seattle-based Amazon announced last month. The world’s largest online retailer said it would invest more than $5 billion and create up to 50,000 jobs for “Amazon HQ2”.
Source: Amazon receives 238 proposals for its second headquarters
Federal agencies need to “lean in, to watch how it progresses,” Debbie Bucci said.
They especially need to understand the security implications if a password key expires, is lost or is compromised, whether these systems are secure enough to exchange sensitive personal information, and how to get disparate ledgers to link to each other.
Source: Beware of Blockchain Hype But Keep Eyes on the Tech, HHS Official Says – Nextgov.com
What’s it like to be near Ground Zero in a nuclear blast?
Recently it was my privilege to interview one of the survivors of one of those blasts, retired Col. Richard Rowland, a career US Army veteran, who was less than a mile from the detonation of a nuclear device.
The Washington Examiner recently published an article headlined How to survive a nuclear bomb in DC (yes really). Much of my work takes me into DC so I found that headline a real attention-grabber.
My primary locus when in Washington DC is in this exact corridor, just half a block north of L Street NW.
Comforting to know that, by offering instant death, it “may be the best place to be.”
Source: 100, 99, 98, 97… On Nuclear War: What It’s Like To Be At A Nuclear Bomb Detonation
Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.
They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.
Source: FBI uncovered Russian bribery plot before Obama administration approved controversial nuclear deal with Moscow | TheHill
Removing Comey is also convenient, of course.
Getting rid of Comey removes the guy who is running the Russia investigation.
It removes the guy who can look Congress in the eye and say credibly that the FBI is investigating whether anyone in the Trump orbit was actively working with the Russians.
It removes the guy who, in February, reportedly refused the White House’s request to publicly knock down stories about Trump and Russia while congressmen in key positions of investigatory responsibility allegedly complied.
It removes the one person of stature (figurative as well as literal) in the government whom everyone knows will—even when he’s wrong—do what he thinks is the right thing and damn the torpedoes.
It removes, in other words, the essential person for a credible investigation.
Source: The Nightmare Scenario: Trump Fires Comey, the One Man Who Would Stand Up to Him – Lawfare
In the fog of war, distinguishing between friend and foe can be perilous.
Allies and enemies are commingled on the battlefield. What looks like an insurgent from data gathered from spy satellites or surveillance planes may be a more complicated target.
Source: Why American Airstrikes Go Wrong – The New York Times
.. the report’s praise is short-lived. It goes on to say:
“DOD personnel too often treat network defense as an administrative function, not a war fighting capability. Until this paradigm changes, and the change is reflected in the Department’s approach to cybersecurity personnel, resource allocation, training, accountability, and program and network management, the Department will continue to struggle to adequately defend its systems and networks from advanced cyberattacks.”
The report states that red teams emulating even moderate-level adversaries are able to penetrate DOD networks and move around undetected for “extended periods of time.”
Source: Report: Combatant commands vulnerable to cyber attacks — FCW
What are we really talking about when we debate the existence of God?
I think it can become a shortcut, a way of side-stepping more necessary and more difficult questions. Denouncing others as atheists, or as believers in a false God, can become an excuse to treat them as less than human, as undeserving of real consideration.
When terrorists attack in the name of a certain God, it can seem easier to blame their religion than to consider their stated grievances about foreign military bases in their countries and foreigners backing their corrupt leaders.
When religious communities reject scientific theories for bad reasons, it can seem easier to blame the fact that they believe in God, rather than to notice that other believers might accept the same theories for good reasons.
Good ideas and bad ideas, good actions and bad actions – they’re all on either side of the God divide.
Source: How much does it matter whether God exists? | Aeon Ideas
“Cyberspace is both a resource and a liability; an increasingly connected world creates tremendous opportunities but also many vulnerabilities,” Sen. Dan Coats said in his opening remarks.
A number of senators stated they were concerned by President Donald Trump’s executive order that removed the director of national intelligence from the National Security Council’s principals committee.
“You’re one of the most likable, affable, easy going people I’ve ever met,” Sen. Angus King (D-Maine) said. “I’m not sure likability and affability are the qualities I want in this position. I want somebody who’s crusty and mean and tough, because you’re riding herd on 17 agencies that will always want to be going in different directions, and you’re going to be reporting to a president who may or may not want to hear what you have to say.”
Source: Is Coats too nice to lead ODNI? — FCW