technology, national security, spying, digital dust
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Traditional Spying Has Become Obsolete, Expert Says. The Culprit Is Technology. (Maria)

The author writes, “The CIA’s decades-old spying model has been overtaken by technology, according to a former CIA officer who studied the matter for the agency. … The main culprit, [Duyane] Norman says, is technology. Everyone spews ‘digital dust’ that reveals key facts about their movements, patterns of life and associations. And the number of sensors spitting out data — phones and cars, thermostats and smartwatches — is growing by the year.”

Texas Has Raised $54 Million in Private Donations for Its Border Wall Plan. Almost All of It Came From This One Billionaire. (Dan)

From The Texas Tribune: “An out-of-state billionaire who has previously bankrolled attempts to defend controversial immigration laws is responsible for nearly all the donations to Gov. Greg Abbott’s $54 million border wall fund. A member of one of America’s richest family dynasties, Timothy Mellon, contributed nearly 98% of the fund’s total donations when he donated $53.1 million in stock to the state in August, according to public records. Mellon is the 79-year-old Wyoming-based grandson of banking tycoon and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon.”

More Than Half of US Police Killings Are Mislabelled or Not Reported, Study Finds (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “More than half of all police-involved killings in the US go unreported with the majority of victims being Black, according to a new study published in the Lancet, a peer reviewed journal. Research at the University of Washington School of Medicine’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation found that in the US between 1980 and 2018, more than 55% of deaths, over 17,000 in total, from police violence were either misclassified or went unreported.”

WHO Endorses Use of World’s First Malaria Vaccine in Africa (Dan)

The author writes, “The World Health Organization has recommended the widespread rollout of the first malaria vaccine, in a move experts hope could save tens of thousands of children’s lives each year across Africa. Hailing ‘an historic day,’ the WHO’s director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that after a successful pilot programme in three African countries the RTS,S vaccine should be made available more widely.”

The Maps That Steer Us Wrong (Dana)

The author writes, “Too many of our digital maps are sellouts. Just like the projection maps we’re all familiar with that inaccurately depict Greenland dwarfing South America, the digital maps that orient our lives on smartphones and laptops are the result of a series of compromises or half-truths and don’t always accurately represent the world as it is. As a result, we too often misunderstand the true contours of the world and then make poor decisions based on misinformation. As our reliance on digital maps increases — for instance, with the proliferation of driverless cars — the gap between the world as it is and the world as our maps represent it risks growing ever wider.”

Vanishing UK (Laura)

From the Mirror: “The climate crisis often seems like a distant threat, something that happens to those in developing countries or to melting ice caps thousands of miles away. While the British weather has always been changeable there is now a proven link that global heating is playing a role in events, once considered rare or unprecedented, which are now becoming more common and more extreme. In the past 12 months the UK has experienced severe floods, temperature extremes, increased coastal erosion and wildfires affecting the moorlands.”

A Beluga Whale in Puget Sound? Rare Visitor Startles Boaters in First Sighting Here Since 1940 (Reader Steve)

From The Seattle Times: “In a flash of white out of the blue, a beluga whale has been seen at least six times around Puget Sound since Sunday, the first such sightings since 1940. It began Oct. 3 with a report from the south end of Fox Island, then another from Point Defiance, and then in Commencement Bay. In the fourth sighting, the whale was reported at West Seattle and on the fifth it was aglow in the waters of the Bremerton Ship Yard, according to Michael Milstein, spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration West Coast Region.”

Drinking Water Won’t Really Help You Avoid Hangovers, a Molecular Biologist Says (Russ)

The authors write, “According to molecular biologist Patrick Schmitt, drinking water wouldn’t have helped anyway. Neither did my sorry attempt to ease the threatening symptoms by drinking copiously after the event. ‘It’s a misconception that drinking water helps you avoid a hangover,’ said Schmitt. According to the results of a study published in the 1950s, it’s true that the body excretes more water while drinking alcohol.”


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