Daily Archives: March 7, 2019

NASA Plane Barred from Monitoring Pollution After Hurricane Harvey

Mar 07, 2019

Texas officials and the Environmental Protection Agency barred NASA scientists from studying the release of toxic chemicals in and around Houston in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in 2017. That’s according to the Los Angeles Times, which reports NASA scientists were stunned after they were barred from flying a jet over Houston equipped with sophisticated air samplers that would have helped to identify areas where toxic releases posed a threat to human health. Hurricane Harvey inundated the Texas coast with record rainfall, dropping more than 60 inches of rain over the course of a few days. The area is home to thousands of oil refineries and petrochemical plants, as well as over a dozen Superfund sites.

ICE Kept “Anti-Trump Protest Spreadsheet” to Track NYC Activists + U.S. Kept Secret List of Journalists and Activists at Southern Border

Mar 07, 2019

A new report finds the investigative arm of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency—ICE—maintained a secret list of New York City activist groups that protested Trump administration policies. A four-page document obtained by The Nation magazine titled “Anti-Trump Protest Spreadsheet” shows Homeland Security Investigations kept tabs on a series of protests held in New York over a 17-day period last summer targeting white supremacy, deportations and the National Rifle Association. None of the demonstrations appear to be linked to HSI’s mandate to investigate “cross-border criminal activity.” One of the protests surveilled by HSI was a rally organized by Congressmember Adriano Espaillat responding to a neo-Nazi group’s display of a racist banner. He told The Nation, “I would like to find out why our event was on that list, and whether it was surveilled or infiltrated, and why the racist, anti-Semitic group was not on the list.”

Mar 07, 2019
Meanwhile, in San Diego, California, newly revealed documents show the U.S. government created a secret database of activists and journalists who were documenting the Trump administration’s efforts to thwart a caravan of migrants hoping to win asylum in the U.S. last year at the San Ysidro port of entry between Tijuana and San Diego. An investigation from San Diego’s NBC 7 revealed the list was shared among Homeland Security Investigations, ICE, Customs and Border Protection and the FBI. It included the names of 10 journalists—seven of whom were U.S. citizens—along with nearly four dozen others listed as “organizers” or “instigators.” Some of the journalists and at least one immigration lawyer had alerts placed on their passports that prevented them from entering Mexico. Others on the list reported they were stopped by Mexican police or were subjected to lengthy interviews and searches when re-entering the U.S.

An artificial intelligence battle is coming between the U.S. and China

 

A future built on artificial intelligence is already here. It’s in the way Netflix chooses the next show for you to binge, how your Gmail account suggests simple email replies, in the technology that protects your credit card purchases. And if we continue to let AI develop the way we do now, says futurist Amy Webb, we’re probably not going to like where it takes us.

She says the future of AI is increasingly divided between the work done by six American companies — Google, IBM, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple — and three Chinese ones — Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba. But neither country has a technology policy that “puts humans at the center and puts the future of humanity at the forefront.” What could happen to us all in the very near future is the subject of her latest book, “The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity.”

…(read more).

Can the ‘Great Green Wall’ stop desertification in China?

Donald Trump faces litany of investigations into business practices | Al Jazeera English

What if women ruled the world? | The Economist

Plants, Lines, and Pipes: Energy Development and the American Public