While Barack Obama is living his best life hanging out in tropical locales and wearing leather jackets, a gloomy group of Trump loyalists have put their heads together and concocted a plot to get revenge against the former president and members of his administration through an approach being described by one person as a "bag of crazy cats," Foreign Policy reports.
In the wake of The Washington Post's report that Trump gave highly classified information about the Islamic State to Russian officials during their visit to the Oval Office last week, members of Trump's inner circle held a meeting on Wednesday to discuss how to recover from the ongoing repercussions. A person with knowledge of the summit said the team is considering going after Obama's administration by accusing it of sharing sensitive information, too, launching an investigation into a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program called the Automated Indicator Sharing capability. That program gathers information from companies on possible cyberattacks, including malicious IP addresses and emails, that is then shared with foreign partners. The goal of the program is to "identify and block adversary methods that we've never seen before," DHS spokesman Scott McConnell told FP, but the Trump team suggests that the sharing capability can open up sensitive data to Russia and other non-allies.
The problem with this revenge plan is it "doesn't make sense," one former DHS official told FP, after bursting out laughing. "It seems ludicrous," said another former official, who added that the cybersecurity being shared is "beneficial for everyone to have, like, 'Hey, this Windows program has a bug.'" Beyond that, the information in the system is not highly classified but rather "indicators of an attack," the official said. "Nothing is going to be vital to national security." Aside from being "a bag of crazy cats," as the person with knowledge of the meeting judged the approach, Robyn Greene at the Open Technology Institute told FP it's a "massive distraction," and she doesn't understand "how they can draw the line between Trump sharing code-name information with the Russians and this." The White House told FP it is unaware of any meeting or talks. Catherine Garcia
After the disastrous recall of its Galaxy Note 7 phone last year, Samsung on Wednesday unveiled the next phone in its Note line, the Galaxy Note 8. The successor to the discontinued and sometimes flammable phone features a sizable infinity screen measuring 6.3 inches diagonally; two 12-megapixel color cameras; fingerprint, facial, and iris scanning capabilities; an updated S Pen stylus that can now translate full sentences; and an impressive 64 gigabytes of built-in storage.
Samsung also made a point of independently verifying that the Note 8 battery meets safety standards, a key step to winning back consumer trust since the Note 7 battery was prone to overheating. On top of that, the company now completes an "eight-point battery safety check during its manufacturing process," Time reported.
Snapchat plans to host original scripted content through Snapchat Shows before the year is over, Variety reports. The announcement from the company's head of content, Nick Bell, follows Snapchat's successful rollout of TV companion programs for shows like The Voice and The Bachelor.
"Mobile is the most complementary thing to TV that has been around," Bell said.
Snapchat's first attempt at original scripted content, though, was widely panned. Literally Can't Even aired on the app in 2015, Tech Crunch reports, "inspiring headlines including 'We Literally Can't Even with Snapchat's new original series' and 'Snapchat's First Original Series is Here and It's Awful."
Bell said Wednesday the company had been hesitant to break into scripted content — production is expensive — but that it is "an interesting next juncture" for the app and could create "fundamentally a new medium."
As the climate continues to warm, the permanently frozen ground underneath much of Alaska is starting to thaw. While the loss of permafrost would obviously have big consequences for the state's population, wildlife, and infrastructure, perhaps even more alarmingly, it would also have a huge impact on the already increasing global temperature, The New York Times reported Wednesday:
Starting just a few feet below the surface and extending tens or even hundreds of feet down, it contains vast amounts of carbon in organic matter — plants that took carbon dioxide from the atmosphere centuries ago, died and froze before they could decompose. Worldwide, permafrost is thought to contain about twice as much carbon as is currently in the atmosphere.
Once this ancient organic material thaws, microbes convert some of it to carbon dioxide and methane, which can flow into the atmosphere and cause even more warming. Scientists have estimated that the process of permafrost thawing could contribute as much as 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit to global warming over the next several centuries, independent of what society does to reduce emissions from burning fossil fuels and other activities. [The New York Times]
The complete thaw of the Arctic's "always-frozen ground" is estimated to be "millenniums" away, but already the melting ground is believed to be contributing to rising carbon emissions in the region. One calculation estimates that right now, thawing permafrost worldwide emits about 1.5 billion tons of fossil fuel annually, which the Times noted is "slightly more than the United States emits from fossil-fuel burning."
“There's a massive amount of carbon that's in the ground, that's built up slowly over thousands and thousands of years," said Max Holmes, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center studying Alaska's permafrost melt. "It's been in a freezer, and that freezer is now turning into a refrigerator."
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is either slowly transforming into a Proverbs Twitter bot or he has found a particularly clever way to subtweet the president of the United States.
As Newsweek recently observed, this Rubio tweet in June came "the day after Trump tweeted 'The Fake News Media has never been so wrong or so dirty. Purposely incorrect stories and phony sources to meet their agenda of hate. Sad!'"
"A wise man fears the LORD & shuns evil,but a fool s hotheaded & reckless." Proverbs 14:16
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) June 14, 2017
Another Rubio subtweet spotted by Newsweek followed Trump's declaration that "Hillary Clinton colluded with the Democratic Party in order to beat Crazy Bernie Sanders. Is she allowed to so collude? Unfair to Bernie!"
As dogs return to their vomit,so fools repeat their folly. Proverbs 26:11
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) June 26, 2017
There are plenty of other examples:
One who winks at a fault causes trouble,
but one who frankly reproves promotes peace. Proverbs 10:10
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 14, 2017
A joyful heart is the health of the body,
but a depressed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 17, 2017
Fools take no delight in understanding,
but only in displaying what they think. Proverbs 18:2
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 18, 2017
Listen to counsel and receive instruction,
that you may eventually become wise. Proverbs 19:20
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 19, 2017
The latest Rubio subtweet follows Trump's off-script rally in Phoenix, Arizona, on Tuesday:
Your eyes behold strange sights, and your heart utters incoherent things. Proverbs 23:33
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 23, 2017
Subtle? Jeva Lange
A U.N. committee just unsubtly subtweeted Trump by asking American leaders to 'unequivocally' condemn racism
The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) didn't name any names in its statement issued Wednesday, but it didn't need to. In the statement, released the week after President Trump hesitated to directly condemn white supremacists and blamed "both sides" for the violence at the Charlottesville, Virginia, white nationalist rally, the U.N. committee called on "high-level politicians" in the U.S. to "unequivocally and unconditionally reject and condemn racist hate speech and crimes in Charlottesville and throughout the country."
The call was made in conjunction to an "early warning" about the rise of racist displays in the U.S. "We are alarmed by the racist demonstrations, with overtly racist slogans, chants, and salutes by white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan, promoting white supremacy and inciting racial discrimination and hatred," CERD Chairperson Anastasia Crickley said in a statement.
ESPN pulls announcer Robert Lee from covering Virginia football because his name is too similar to Confederate general's
ESPN is pulling college football announcer Robert Lee from covering a Virginia game this season because his name is only one initial away from being shared with the Confederate general, the New York Daily News reports. While Lee's name might have raised eyebrows in Charlottesville, where violence erupted over protests concerning the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, the announcer is Asian-American and shares "no heritage to the former military leader of the Confederacy," the Daily News reports.
Lee was slated to cover a football game between Virginia and William & Mary when protests broke out in Charlottesville earlier this month. ESPN said in a statement that the decision was made due to "the reasonable possibility that because of [Lee's] name, he would be subjected to memes and jokes and who knows what else." The statement went on to say: "No politically correct efforts. No race issues. Just trying to be supportive of a young guy who felt it best to avoid the potential zoo." Jeva Lange
A federal jury in Las Vegas declined on Tuesday to convict any of the four men who participated in the standoff between Bureau of Land Management agents and supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy in 2014. The jury cleared Oklahoma resident Richard Lovelien and Steven Stewart of Idaho of all charges, and dismissed the main conspiracy and extortion charges against Eric Parker and O. Scott Drexler, both from Idaho. Federal prosecutors have not decided if they will retry Drexler and Parker, who was famously photographed aiming a rifle at BLM agents.
This was the second time the four defendants had been tried, after a jury deadlocked on the charges against them in April, while convicting two others of multiple charges. Prosecutors charged the six men and 13 others last year; two took plea deals, and the others were divided into three groups, based on the severity of the charges. The trial that just concluded was the lowest tier in terms of alleged involvement in the 2014 standoff, when Bundy and his supporters threatened violence against federal agents coming to seize some of his cattle to pay off more than $1 million Bundy owed the government for unpaid grazing fees.
Bundy and two of his sons, Ammon and Ryan, will be in the next round of trials. Ammon and Ryan Bundy were acquitted last year of charges stemming from their armed occupation of a wildlife refuge in Oregon. Peter Weber