Microsoft is providing "legal advice and assistance" to employees who might be affected by President Donald Trump's executive action on immigration, the company says.

On Friday, Donald Trump signed an executive order for "extreme vetting" that halted the US' refugee program and blocked citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for at least 90 days — even people who already have visas and legal permits to live in the United States.

The countries affected are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

"We share the concerns about the impact of the executive order on our employees from the listed countries, all of whom have been in the United States lawfully, and we’re actively working with them to provide legal advice and assistance," says a Microsoft spokesperson.

Earlier this week, before Trump signed the order in question, Microsoft tucked language into its quarterly earnings report, warning that "we are limited in our ability to recruit internationally by restrictive domestic immigration laws," and that "changes to U.S. immigration policies that restrain the flow of technical and professional talent may inhibit our ability to adequately staff our research and development efforts."

Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have both spoken out against President Trump's immigration action. "It’s painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues," Pichai wrote in an e-mail to Google employees.

Author : Matt Weinberger

Source : http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-donald-trump-immigration-order-2017-1

Categorized in Others

The billionaire head of China's biggest e-commerce retailer met with President-elect Donald Trump on Monday to promote his site by dangling the possibility of a million new U.S. jobs.

Jack Ma met Trump in New York and the two talked U.S.-China trade and specifically small business. Ma promoted Alibaba as a platform through which U.S. small businesses could sell products to consumers in China and Southeast Asia.

[ Give yourself a technology career advantage with InfoWorld's Deep Dive technology reports and Computerworld's career trends reports. GET A 15% DISCOUNT through Jan. 15, 2017: Use code 8TIISZ4Z. ]

By doing that, up to a million new jobs could be created at a million small businesses, Alibaba said. Alibaba didn't commit to hiring new staff in the U.S. itself.

"We mainly talked about small business, and young people and selling American agricultural products to China," said Ma.

He said he envisaged most of the jobs being created in the U.S. Midwest agricultural sector, and also mentioned garments, fruits, and wines as possible goods that could be successfully sold to Chinese consumers.

"Jack and I are going to do some great things," Trump said to reporters after the meeting without commenting further.

Alibaba operates a hugely successful e-commerce site in China and has been expanding overseas to compete directly with Amazon through AliExpress. But it hasn't all been smooth sailing for the company.

At the end of 2016, its Taobao marketplace, a consumer-to-consumer site much like eBay, was placed on the U.S. Trade Representative's list of "notorious markets." These are online and offline market places that enable "substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting."

Taobao had been on the list previously but was taken off four years ago. Its return prompted the company to question whether the decision was based on the election of Trump and what was viewed as his anti-China trade stance.

In recent weeks, Alibaba has announced a crackdown on counterfeit goods on its online marketplaces, including filing lawsuits against Taobao sellers.

Author : Martyn Williams

Source : http://www.infoworld.com/article/3156009/government/alibaba-could-generate-1-million-new-us-jobs-ma-tells-trump.html

Categorized in News & Politics

PALM BEACH, Fla. – President-elect Donald Trump, in the final hours of 2016, restated his doubt about the validity of U.S. intelligence analyses that the Russian government hacked various political organizations with the goal of putting him in the Oval Office.

“I just want them to be sure, because it’s a pretty serious charge, and I want them to be sure,” Trump said in a brief question-and-answer session as he prepared to enter a New Year’s Eve party at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

“And if you look at the weapons of mass destruction, that was a disaster, and they were wrong. And so I want them to be sure,” Trump said, referring to the faulty argument pushed by proponents of the 2003 Iraq invasion that dictator Saddam Hussein possessed banned weapons. “I think it’s unfair if they don’t know. And I know a lot about hacking. And hacking is a very hard thing to prove. So it could be somebody else. And I also know things that other people don’t know, and so they cannot be sure of the situation.”

Trump then stated his belief that extremely sensitive information should not be communicated via computers at all, citing the expertise of his pre-teen son.

“It’s very important, if you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier, the old-fashioned way because I’ll tell you what, no computer is safe. I don’t care what they say, no computer is safe,” Trump said. “I have a boy who’s 10 years old. He can do anything with a computer. You want something to really go without detection, write it out and have it sent by courier.”

President-elect Donald Trump talks to reporters as he and his wife, Melania, arrive for a New Year’s Eve celebration with members and guests at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, on Dec. 31.

When asked what, specifically, he knew about alleged Russian hacking that others did not, Trump said he would reveal his insights into the controversy in due time. “You’ll find out Tuesday or Wednesday,” he said.

The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI this week released a 13-page document outlining how Russian-based hackers stole emails of Democratic officials, which were then released online and to the outlet WikiLeaks in the closing months of the campaign.

Following the release of that report, Trump announced that during the coming days he would meet with U.S. intelligence leaders to discuss Russia’s interference in the election, even though he thought it was better for the country to move on from the election.

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton herself raised the issue of Russia’s involvement during one of the presidential debates. But Trump said it was impossible to know who actually had done the hacking, suggesting it might have been a 400-pound hacker sitting in his bed and, later, that it was someone in New Jersey.

Author: S.V. Date
Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-russian-hacking_us_58686f8de4b0d9a5945bc5e9

Categorized in News & Politics

Donald Trump is a huge angry missile-shooting robot battling Mexicans.

That's the concept of a dark, funny and sharply satirical sci-fi short film from Uruguay that millions are watching online.

Titled "M.A.M.O.N. (Monitor Against Mexicans Over Nationwide) Latinos VS. Donald Trump," production company APARATO used computer generated images and visual effects to lambast Trump's position on Mexican immigrants.

BBC Trending spoke with the director, Alejandro Damiani. And you can watch the complete short film here.

Source:  http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-38186036

Categorized in News & Politics

Google has released 2016 trending results for its search engine. Various categories were created, such as People, Dog Questions, Calorie Counts and Election Moments.

The top overall search terms for the United States were Powerball, Prince, Hurricane Matthew, and Pokemon Go.

In the People category searches for Donald Trump took the lead, followed by Hillary Clinton, Michael Phelps and Bernie Sanders.

The How To questions people searched for included “How to play Pokemon Go?” “How to register to vote?” “How to play Powerball?” “How to make slime?” and “How to move to Canada?”

And on the News front, Olympics, Election, Orlando Shooting, Brexit and Zika virus took the lead.

The full list of Google’s search trends for 2016 can be found here.


Author:  Nuala Sawyer

Source:  http://www.sfexaminer.com/google-reports-2016-search-trends-trump-powerball-olympics-taking-lead

Categorized in Search Engine

Just before Thanksgiving this year, a coalition of meteorologists, climatologists, biologists, ecologists, and other researchers took up a new ritual of thankfulness: tweeting the small and large ways NASA data has helped them understand planet Earth, and attaching the hashtag #ThanksNASA.

For the most part, the scientists avoided mentioning politics or political figures. But context is everything. Bob Walker, a senior adviser to President-elect Donald Trump, had just told The Guardian that the incoming administration planned to strip NASA's earth science programs of funding.

"We see NASA in an exploration role, in deep space research," Walker told The Guardian's Oliver Milman. "Earth-centric science is better placed at other agencies where it is their prime mission."

In the past, the Guardian story notes, Walker has described earth science as "politically correct environmental monitoring."

In reality, earth science goes far beyond direct climate change research — and includes everything from the health of oceans to the threat of devastating solar storms in the upper atmosphere.

Dozens of scientists, including the 13 researchers who spoke to Business Insider for this story and many more who reached out on Twitter and by email, said they were rattled and dismayed by the news.

Several said that cutting earth science would represent a radical change from the mission NASA has carried out for nearly six decades.

"If you go to the Space Act that founded NASA in 1958 and then was amended under President Reagan in 1985, the very first responsibility ascribed to NASA is to understand the Earth and the atmosphere," said Waleed Abdalati, who directs the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado and served as chief scientist at NASA from 2011-12.

"It shows up before putting people in space."

Indeed, it does. The beginning of Section 102(c) of the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 begins to lay out the role of NASA:

"(c) The aeronautical and space activities of the United States shall be conducted so as to contribute materially to one or more of the following objectives:

"(1) The expansion of human knowledge of phenomena in the atmosphere and space;

"(2) The improvement of the usefulness, performance, speed, safety, and efficiency of aeronautical and space vehicles;

"(3) The development and operation of vehicles capable of carrying instruments, equipment, supplies and living organisms through space."

So far, NASA has carried out that mission with gusto under six Republican administrations and five Democratic ones. The agency's trove of satellite data and analysis is the largest in the world and, critically, available freely on the internet for any scientist or interested person to access.

Some researchers said they didn't recognize how much NASA data they used until it was threatened they could lose it all.

"I started going back and trying to think about what I use in my day-to-day work," said Peter Gleick, a hydrologist who looks at the movement of water all over the world to understand and predict droughts and flooding. "The truth is, I didn't fully comprehend the incredible diversity of products that I use that originated with a NASA satellite or an observing platform or a data archive."

The notion of losing that, researchers told Business Insider, had seemed impossible — that is, until they read the news.

Just days before the Guardian piece with Walker's statement was published, NASA climate scientist Gavin Schmidt, who declined to be interviewed again for this story, told Business Insider that he thought NASA climate research was safe from political tampering because it was too intimately connected to the agency's other critical earth science missions.

It doesn't seem to have occurred to most people that earth science itself might be in jeopardy.

The end of an era?

arctic sea ice melting

The 2015 Arctic sea ice summertime minimum was 699,000 square miles below the 1981-2010 average, shown here as a gold line in this visual representation of a NASA analysis. NASA via Reuters

Walker's proposal would ax or redirect more than 34% of NASA's $5.2 billion 2017 science budget request, and almost 10% of its $18 billion overall budget request. This would spell an end to the period that researchers across the world and across a wide range of disciplines refer to simply as "the satellite era" — not the time since Sputnik launched, but the decades of high-quality, consistent, and regular data on the global environment from space.

Marshall Shepherd, who directs the University of Georgia's Department of Atmospheric Sciences and has worked on satellites for NASA in the past, said that the moment a satellite's sensor goes dark without another of the same type to replace it, crucial scientific information will be lost.

An unbroken record is necessary to understand how the past and present fit together, and to make firm judgments about the future.

"If you're trying to detect change in something, you need long and continuous uninterrupted records of things like the sea ice or sea level rise or Greenland's ice sheet," Shepherd said. "By shutting those off, you are literally shutting off your long-term record of the diagnostics of the planet."

goes r_spacecraft_sep

The NOAA Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite provides images of storms and helps predict weather forecasts, warnings, and longer-term forecasting. NASA

Julienne Stroeve, a researcher with the National Snow and Ice Data Center, said those gaps would undermine our ability to make even basic judgments about the health of the planet.

"You need the [satellites] to consistently be processed with the same type of sensors over and over again to have a long-term data record, otherwise you have these data gaps and these long-term uncertainties, and you have no idea what the long-term changes really are," she said.

Looking for alternatives

It's all well and good that NASA has the most complete sources of earth science data in the world. But what's really important, researchers said, is how easy it is to access.

"This is not politically correct to say in Europe, but the US is much better than Europe about sharing data with the whole world," said Jon Saenz, a professor of applied physics at the University of the Basque Country in Spain.

Other agencies tend to tie up their data behind red tape and bureaucracy, Saenz said. He said that if he had to rely on the European Space Agency's limited, difficult-to-access data for his work checking climate model predictions against reality, he'd be "more or less blind" — particularly in the vast, uninhabited stretches of the globe like the Pacific, which are vital for understanding the world climate.


Some scientists said that if the satellite era in their field ended, they would still be able to continue their work. Instead of satellites, they said, they would use a combination of often lower-quality, more difficult-to-access data from satellites operated by other countries and increased data collection at the ground level.

But that can be difficult and even dangerous work, often with much weaker and more uncertain results.

Ulyana Nadia Horodyskyj is a glaciologist who operates a scientific outreach program in Nepal and analyzes lakes that form on melting glaciers high in the Himalayas. If those lakes grow too large or their natural dams become too weak, the dams can burst and flow down-mountain, threatening tens of thousands of lives.

Horodyskyj brings together images and measurements from NASA's Landsat satellites with observations taken on long hikes around the edges of glacial lakes to advise the Nepalese government on how to address the threat.

Without Landsat, "we would be flying blind," she told Business Insider. "We need those eyes in the sky to complement our ground efforts."

Juanita van Zyl is the geographic information system manager at a company called Manstrat in South Africa. She provides information to the South African government and other companies about droughts, wildfires, and grazing conditions in the country. She said she uses data from NASA to help her clients understand where to move resources.

"South Africa isn't a big country," she said. "But when we are in a drought situation like we are in now, the government can only give out so much money out to help subsistence farmers and commercial farmers. Remote sensing is tremendously important in telling them where to send money."

She said the state of the US presidential election in the spring led her to look for ways to build redundancy into her data sources.

"It's scary to think that something might happen and you won't have access to the data anymore," she said.

But — unique among scientists interviewed for this story — the data sets she studies happen to be replicated by a European data set called Copernicus. After some preparation efforts over the course of the last year, she said she's confident that if NASA earth science were to go dark tomorrow, she would be able to keep up a similar level of quality in her work.

No other scientist interviewed for this story said the same

'Like poking out your eyes while driving your car at high speed'

hurricane matthew carolina

North Carolina residents wade through floodwaters after Hurricane Matthew. Reuters

Some scientists said that without NASA earth science, it would likely be impossible for them to work. Huge swaths of the planet go entirely unmeasured on the ground. Only satellites have the bird's-eye view to place weather events in their full context.

Researchers said that entire fields of study would be left hobbled or unable to function without NASA earth science research and data. Here's a sampling:

Global rainfall

Steve Nesbitt, a researcher at the University of Illinois who works on a NASA mission to measure rainfall all over the world, said that without NASA data, he'd have nothing to study.

He could try to use ground measurements, he said, but it would be nowhere near as sufficient for the scope of his research.

"If you were to try to measure global precipitation on the ground — I mean currently I can fit all of the rain gauges on the globe in the area of about a basketball court," he said.

Farmers rely on Nesbitt and his colleagues' work to measure and model global rainfall to decide how to plant and water their crops. Businesses rely on it to make decisions about production. ("Things like 'How many snow shovels are we going to sell in Buffalo?'" he said.) The US and global transportation systems rely on a deep understanding of atmospheric conditions and long-term weather patterns.

Arctic sea ice

Stroeve, the NSIDC researcher, said that NASA satellites have been necessary to show how dramatically the Arctic has warmed and melted since the 1990s.

"You have one record-low sea-ice year after another," she said. "It doesn't fit long-term trends."

The work Stroeve and her colleagues have done over the span of decades is critical to understanding the radical transformation underway at the top of the world. And there are major economic and diplomatic consequences of those results, as countries and corporations vie for new shipping routes and exposed resources.

She said her work is to observe and report hard numbers on what's happening in the world, and that she finds it baffling that politicians would declare that task political.

The health of oceans

Ajit Subramaniam is a Columbia University professor who tracks microscopic plant life in the ocean.

Those tiny floating life-forms produce up to 40% of the world's oxygen and form the basis of the aquatic food web. Understand them, and you can make judgments about the health of a whole fishery. Satellites can track those microscopic plants by watching how the colors of the sea surface change. And Subramaniam said a satellite can examine in two minutes an area that a ship moving 10 mph would take 11 years to cover.

Without Subramaniam's research, fishers, governments, and conservation groups would lose necessary information about sea life. And deadly algae blooms, an increasingly serious threat to human life along coastlines, would become harder to spot and predict.

Sea level rise

Jokulsarlon Lagoon iceland glacier

Peter Neff, a glaciologist at the University of Rochester who travels regularly to the Antarctic, said ground observations would never tell you the full story of what's going on with ice sheets in that part of the world.

Unlike Arctic ice, which floats on water, Antarctic ice sits on land. If those ice sheets were to collapse, global sea levels could change dramatically.

On the surface, Antarctica's ice still looks pretty still and stable. But ice-penetrating NASA satellites and airplane-mounted sensors show that far below the surface, some are melting at a rate of hundreds of meters a year and risking collapse.

"We never thought these kinds of changes happen year to year," Neff said. "It's dumbfounding how much data NASA produces and how quickly they release it. They fly over an area and the next day the data is available."

Neff's research helps us understand the health of massive glaciers with behavior we still don't fully understand but that lock up enough water to drive up global sea levels on the order of meters, not inches.

And none of them would be able to do their work without NASA satellite data.

Other agencies can't pick up the slack

Walker, Trump's adviser who wants to shutter NASA earth science, told The Guardian that other US agencies would be able to pick up where NASA leaves off.

"My guess is that it would be difficult to stop all ongoing NASA programs," he said. "But future programs should definitely be placed with other agencies. I believe that climate research is necessary, but it has been heavily politicized, which has undermined a lot of the work that researchers have been doing. Mr. Trump's decisions will be based upon solid science, not politicized science."

However, researchers familiar with US science initiatives said such a move wouldn't be feasible without massive expenses or losses in capability.

"You can't just send money over to another agency and expect them to be able to launch satellites," said Abdalati, the former NASA chief scientist. "There's an expertise that exists within NASA that isn't particularly portable. But if it were deemed necessary that the capability to go to some other agency, they'd have to move a lot more than the money."

Shepherd said that the problem has to do with the way institutions like NASA work.

"By shutting off NASA's earth sciences program, you are shutting off expertise, institutional knowledge of the Earth's system that cannot just be spun back up," he said. "It's not like training someone to cook burgers in a fast-food joint. You're talking about years and decades of expertise and technical knowledge. Brainware will be lost, and that is critical."

Tourists take pictures of a NASA sign at the Kennedy Space Center visitors complex in Cape Canaveral, Florida April 14, 2010.  REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Tourists at the Kennedy Space Center visitors complex in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Thomson Reuters

Another problem is that NASA earth science is more than people — it's buildings, systems, and machines that are now woven into the framework of the space agency and could not cheaply or efficiently be extracted.

"They'd have to move the people, they'd have to move the systems, the infrastructure, the facilities. And, you know, it currently exists in the framework that supports all the space activities, so to carve out the Earth piece would be inefficient because you would have to build capability twice," said Abdalati.

Another problem is that there isn't another agency within the federal government built for NASA's task.

The closest is probably the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is responsible for the day-to-day tasks of government weather forecasting.

"Certainly NOAA is an organization that provides lifesaving forecasts," Nesbitt said. "I don't want to take anything from NOAA. But they have a different mission and rely on NASA to launch satellites."

The problem, he said, is that NOAA isn't structured for the high-risk, boundary-pushing work NASA does every day.

"It's kind of like if you have a car. Want to fix it? Go to a mechanic (like NOAA). If you want to take it in an auto race, go to someone who is more experimental, and that is NASA. They can develop something that is amazing. It may not work every single day, but then they can scramble and fix things," Nesbitt said. "There's just that cultural divide, and I'm worried that if they take these experimental missions and plug them into NOAA, there's going to be harsh degradation."

A threat to national security?

A pump jack is seen at sunrise near Bakersfield, California October 14, 2014.  REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

A pump jack. Thomson Reuters

NASA's earth science program, several researchers said, is critical to national security.

There are the obvious ways: building and constantly improving the infrastructure necessary to predict hurricanes and other extreme weather, collecting images of disasters to guide emergency response workers, and tracking sea level changes around the world that affect coastlines and the Navy.

But plenty are less obvious — but no less important — ways NASA helps keep the country safe.

In September, Business Insider published a story about the severe and underreported dangerthat space weather poses to modern society. There's a very real threat that a major solar storm could strike Earth and knock out the electric grid, satellites, navigation systems on airplanes, and any other electrical system not hardened to withstand the blast.

These sorts of events aren't all that rare — the last one happened in 1859.

"We'll almost certainly see a major event in our lifetimes," said Morris Cohen, a researcher who studies electrical events in the upper atmosphere. "It's kind of a game of Russian roulette we're playing. Keep playing forever, and eventually you're going to get hit."

solar eclipse


If scientists are on alert, humanity should have a few days to prepare between the start of a solar storm and the moment it reaches Earth, Cohen said. But that prediction will rely on NASA earth science mission data.

"Obviously what's driving the political question of 'Yes to earth science or no to earth science?' is climate change," Cohen said. "That's the motivation behind cutting all this stuff. But what a lot of people don't realize is that earth science data and earth science in general goes way beyond climate change. The same satellite that's capturing data from clouds is also capturing data about what's going on in space and what's coming from the sun."

Cohen said he's working on a project to strengthen the US military that would be impossible without geoscience research of the sort that's threatened at NASA.

Right now, the military relies on satellite GPS systems for navigation, just like civilians. But GPS is remarkably easy to jam. Cohen has worked on an alternative system that would use live data on lightning strikes and the radio waves they emit to build a more resilient navigation system for the military that would be much more difficult to disrupt.

Without geoscience research, he said, the system would never get off the ground.

Researchers resist the idea that their work is politica

Donald Trump

Jacquelyn Gill researches paleoecology and plant ecology — in other words, she studies the history of the global climate over millions of years — at the University of Maine.

She and her students spend their time trying to understand how the atmosphere worked in the ancient world — sometimes finding themselves knee-deep in bogs collecting buried pollen or ash from ancient fires.

"Despite our best efforts, all we see of the Earth's climate is a really narrow snapshot in time," she said. "And to get a more complete and full picture of how Earth operates, we need long-term data."

That long-term data shows that modern climate change is faster and more acute than anything else in Earth's history. But there are also concrete implications for modern-day lobster fishers — and for futuristic endeavors like terraforming Mars.

And none of it would be possible, she said, without NASA data creating a baseline for how the climate works.

"A lot of the work we do in the past is motivated by the world we have in the present," Gill said. "If we don't have that information then [the past data] becomes a kind of novelty. It loses its grounding."

Without NASA's earth science programs, many researchers say they expect to see the American scientific enterprise to become less singular and less great, and to fall into decline.

"It's unfortunate that the politics of climate change have evolved to the point in this country where really serious games of chicken are being played with major agencies in our federal government," Nesbitt said. "These are agencies that have absolutely no political agenda, just collections of scientists that are doing work to better society. And it's really sad that these political forces are trying to exploit this issue."

"Is there a line you can draw between understanding how the Earth works and the so-called politically incorrect environmental monitoring?" Subramaniam said. "If you think of the Earth as a being, knowing how well it's doing is a good thing is how I see it. Why would we not want to do it?

"It's a head-scratcher for me. I simply don't understand what the issue would be."

Giving up on part of what makes us human

international space station iss nasa

Chanda Hsu Prescod-Weinstein is an early-universe cosmologist. That means she works on understanding what happened in the moments after the Big Bang, when the whole universe was hot and physics was bent to the point of breaking.

Her work relies on data from NASA's spaceward missions, and a shift from earth science toward even more space data might offer new opportunities for her research. But she said the idea of a NASA that no longer examines the Earth scares her.

"You know, I am not a parent, but I have a niece who just turned 8, and many of my close friends have children right now. And I want those children to have a beautiful life," she said. "I think that trumps any interest in early-universe cosmology. The work that I do on dark matter, I'm not sure it will have a lot of meaning if those kids don't have an opportunity to learn about it because society has been devastated by global warming. So that's, for me, the priority."

Abdalati said that losing half of NASA's mission would mean giving up on part of what makes us human.

"As human beings, throughout time, we have explored our surroundings, and we have worked to understand our environment, and we looked as far beyond as we could," he said.

And NASA fulfills both drives — to understand and to explore.

"I think both are critical. Both are essential. I wouldn't want to see human space zeroed out to support a whole bunch of earth science" either, he added. "I may differ from some of my colleagues in that, but I think we need it all."

Lori Janjigian contributed to this story.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Walker's proposal would ax or redirect 40% of NASA's budget and operations. This was based on past numbers, and referred only to NASA's science budget, not the agency's total budget. In fact, Walker's proposal would ax or redirect more than 34% of NASA's $5.2 billion 2017 science budget request, andalmost 10% of its $18 billion overall budget request. Thanks to Loren Grush of The Verge for spotting the error.

Author:  Rafi Letzter

Source:  http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-nasa-earth-science-thanksnasa-2016-12

Categorized in Science & Tech

Nearly two weeks after Donald Trump won the 2016 Presidential Election — and month before the Electoral College is set to vote, making the results permanent — a new movement wants to audit the November 8 vote, to investigate whether Trump won the election fair and square, or whether error and even fraud may have placed him in the White House.

One element of the vote audit movement is a Change.org online petition calling for election officials to “double-check the electronic results by conducting a ‘risk-limiting’ audit of the presidential election in every state that uses paper ballots.”

Even a United States Senator, South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, has called for a congressional investigation into possible election tampering, particularly by Russian intelligence agencies.

Audit Vote, #AuditTheVote, Was election rigged, Donald Trump wins election, Russian election hack, vote fraud

A vote-counting computer used to tabulate ballots in the 2016 presidential election.

The petition started by the Verified Voting Foundation seeks 75,000 signatures which will be forwarded to Secretaries of State, election officials, and state governors. As of Sunday morning, November 20, the petition had received 65,199 supporters.

“The FBI determined some months ago that hacking, originating from Russia, was having an influence on our electoral process,” the petition states. “These hackers interfered with our presidential election through attempted and successful penetration of email and voter registration databases, among other systems. This created fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the safety of our electoral processes.”

In fact, it was not only the FBI but the National Security Agency itself — the intelligence bureau responsible for America’s online and digital spying and counter-espionage efforts — which detected attempts to tip the United States election by what NSA chief Michael Rogers called “a nation state,” as seen in the excerpted interview with Rogers in the video below.

“This was not something that was done casually, this was not something that was done by chance,” Rogers said in the Wall Street Journal interview. “This was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily.”

While Russian ties to hacked emails from the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee that were subsequently released online by the document-dumping site WikiLeaks were confirmed by U.S. intelligence agencies as well as independent investigators weeks before the election, hackers connected to the Russian government are also known to have broken into a voter registration system in Illinois.

The Russian hackers also entered at least one other state’s voter database — and in theory could have penetrated many more which have yet to be detected. Once inside, the hackers could have altered voter information to create fake registrations and alter voting patterns.

Audit Vote, #AuditTheVote, Was election rigged, Donald Trump wins election, Russian election hack, vote fraud

Russian President Vladimir Putin, suspected of engineering manipulation of the presidential election that tipped the vote to Donald Trump.

According to Alexandra Chalupa, a consultant to the DNC investigating the Russian hacks, told the Gothamist news site that in Pennsylvania, especially, the voting results appeared strange, with between 50 and 75 percent of provisional ballots rejected. Even more alarming, “a large number of voters who voted for a Republican president and senator, but voted for Democrats down the rest of the ballot.”

“That’s not usually the pattern,” Chalupa said.

Trump ended up beating Clinton in Pennsylvania by a mere 57,588 votes — less than one percentage point — winning the state’s crucial 20 electoral votes, despite the fact that Pennsylvania had voted for the Democrat in six consecutive presidential elections.

A new Twitter hashtag, #AuditTheVote, appeared on Saturday, and one of the hashtag creators, Melinda Byerley, explained that the purpose was to collect public information and data that could either verify or disprove claims of election tampering and fraud.

“This is not about (Hillary Clinton) or (Donald Trump),” Byerley wrote. “This is about national sovereignty and a potential foreign breach of our voting system. “America is a beacon to the world for free and fair elections. Our ability to remain a superpower rests on the trust the world has in us.”

Author:  Jonathan Vankin

Source:  http://www.inquisitr.com/

Categorized in News & Politics

Washington (CNN)President-elect Donald Trump unveiled plans Monday for his first 100 days in office, including proposals related to immigration, trade deals and defense policy, using a video published online to briefly outline his proposals.

Trump promised to withdraw from negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, cancel environmental restrictions put in place by President Barack Obama, ask his national security team to buttress against infrastructure attacks, have the Labor Department investigate federal worker visas and impose broad new bans on lobbying by government employees.

The six items Trump detailed Monday are all somewhat easy lifts inside Washington -- because they can be done with a simple signature by Trump and do not require congressional approval.

But Trump also left out his biggest campaign promises -- including promises to build a wall along the Mexican border, establish a "deportation force," place new restrictions on immigration from some majority Muslim countries, repeal Obamacare and spend $1 trillion on infrastructure.

Mexico readies for possible mass deportations

Mexico readies for possible mass deportations 06:39

Unlike his items unveiled Monday, those measures would require the approval of Congress and are likely to take significantly more work.

Time and speed are very likely to be key factors as the new president looks for bigger, more durable wins in his first year. Republicans control the House and Senate, as well as the White House -- but Democrats struggled to pass key items, like Obamacare, when they were in a similar position eight years ago.

Republicans hold a firm majority in the House, but could struggle in the Senate, where Democrats will hold 48 seats next year, enough to blockade Trump measures.

Trump cast his measures as completely focused on American workers.

"Whether it's producing steel, building cars, or curing disease, I want the next generation of production and innovation to happen right here, in our great homeland: America -- creating wealth and jobs for American workers," Trump said in the two-and-a-half-minute video statement. "As part of this plan, I've asked my transition team to develop a list of executive actions we can take on day one to restore our laws and bring back our jobs."

Among his first actions, the Republican said he would "issue our notification of intent to withdraw from the Transpacific Partnership" and replace it with negotiating "fair bilateral trade deals."

Trump campaigned on a promise to halt the progress of the TPP trade deal, an agreement President Barack Obama had hoped would be a part of his administration's trade legacy.

Some of the first international reaction came from Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

"The TPP without the United States is meaningless," he said during a press conference at the APEC summit in Peru on Monday.

"Renegotiation is impossible, because the TPP without the United States will collapse the balance of the benefit," Abe said, according to a translator.

"As for the policy of the new US government, I don't want to discuss with any assumption."

What the heck is TPP?
What the heck is TPP? 02:03

On immigration, Trump promised to "investigate all abuses of visa programs that undercut the American worker," but did not mention his signature campaign promise of building a wall along the US border with Mexico.

The items are all measures he broadly campaigned on, though Trump has begun moderating some of the toughest stances he took on the campaign trail. In an interview with "60 Minutes," he said that he would likely keep key portions of Obamacare.

Report: 1 in 4 kids lack proper healthcare

Report: 1 in 4 kids lack proper healthcare 01:54

And not long after his election win, his campaign took down the web page with his earlier promise to ban all Muslims from entering the country -- he has since moderated that view greatly, but left major questions on how precisely he would limit immigration.

Author:  Tom LoBianco

Source:  http://edition.cnn.com/

Categorized in News & Politics

As the world turns to prophetic predictions, a Bulgarian blind psychic seems to have foreseen the future of the U.S., while predicting political aspects of the 2016 elections. The psychic was called Nostradamus from the Balkans" and her name was Baba Vanda.

Many of her predictions became increasingly popular after 1996 when she passed away - at 85 years old. The blind woman called a prophet apparently had an 85 percent success rate among her prediction, which makes people around the globe turn to her opinions whenever social or political events raise questions.

 The Blind Prophet Of the Balkans

Among the predictions that made her famous, the woman's idea that the 44th U.S. president will be African-American was by far the most popular. However, she also stated that the man who we know to have been Obama will be the last president of the U.S.

Other predictions included the idea that Muslim people would "invade" Europe in 2016. According to the blind woman ,the increased immigration rates will end in chemical warfare that will be employed against the European population as a result of this trend.

 Currently, people around the U.S. are thrilled to read about her predictions, especially the ones who do not acknowledge Donald Trump as their president. While this problem is related to the way people feel about their national political situation, the dead blind psychic has gained their attention.

The idea that Donald Trump is the man following "the last U.S. president" encourages people to follow the woman's predictions, and read the tremendous amount of information available online about her biography and her ideas, the self-claimed insights on what the world will go through.

Among her predictions, the economic crisis of 2008 was also very popular at that time .The fact that she suggested the economic implications of the Bush Jr. administration is no less than  Surprising, and believers in her gift worldwide had turned to her visions to a better understanding of what will follow.

 Baba Vanga: International Phenomenon

While her words were not always very specific when it came to the event she predicted, people always correlated the woman's words with occurrences from further in time.

"A huge wave will cover a big coast covered with people and towns," for instance, is a phrase that was used in correlation to the tsunamis in 2004.

While, from a scientific point of view, her predictions were merely words that were given context depending on the world's events, it is also true that she gained a lot of popularity, having the website baba-vanga.com exclusively dedicated to her art of predicting the future.

Author:  Livia Rusu

Source:  http://www.techtimes.com/

Categorized in Future Trends

Barely a week has passed since the election of Donald J. Trump — and liberals are preparing for the fight of their lives. 

To defeat what they consider a radical presidential agenda without parallel in modern American history, they've already begun donating to favorite causes, coordinating protests and volunteering at an unprecedented level. Nonprofits and advocacy organizations, including the ACLU, the Anti-Defamation League and Planned Parenthood, have reported a remarkable surge in financial contributions. 

However bleak the prospect, taking on a radical Trump presidency could galvanize a new generation of grassroots activists whose influence would be felt for decades. If organizers succeed, it could herald a golden age of civic involvement on the left unlike anything since the 1960s, when people took to the streets en masse in support of civil rights and in protest of the Vietnam War. 

Only time will render a verdict, but the initial signs are promising. In five days, the nonpartisan ACLU received a record 120,000 donations worth $7.2 million to fund their work protecting civil liberties. Trump's election, said a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood, led to the biggest spike in donations in the past year. Meanwhile the nonprofit health provider's headquarters and affiliates were flooded with volunteer inquiries. Two hundred people reached out to one clinic in Philadelphia that normally gets a two dozen such requests in a week. The ADL, which fights anti-Semitism and bigotry, is seeing a similar effect, with calls to their regional offices coming in at much higher rates than usual. 

"I think people feel many things are under threat and that’s why they’ve rallied," Karin Johanson, national political director of the ACLU, told Mashable. 

While the left traditionally mobilizes against conservative presidents on certain issues, Trump is not a standard-issue Republican with a classic agenda of cutting taxes and regulation while enshrining religious values in policy.

There is justified fear that Trump's administration will attack federal protections and legislation sacred to nearly every group comprising the liberal coalition, including women, people of color, LGBTQ people, environmentalists and immigrants. 

Since the election, the president-elect has already discussed deporting as many as three million undocumented immigrants who he says have been convicted of crimes, though research suggests his estimation is high. If Trump delivers on his promise to conduct mass deportations, advocates worry his efforts will violate civil liberties and lead to racial profiling and illegal detentions.

But perhaps the most alarming development is the KKK's endorsement and embrace of Trump as well as his appointment of Stephen Bannon to a senior White House role. (Bannon is the chairman of Breitbart News Network, which has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a hate-watch group, as a "white ethno-nationalist propaganda mill.") 

Calls to give Trump a chance and a clean slate have been met with the mantra that his rhetoric and his proposed agenda are "not normal." For those who oppose Trump, this is not just the next chapter in another partisan political war, but a grave threat to American democracy. So they are organizing to ensure he's unable to follow through on his promises.

Marcy Stech, vice president of communications for EMILY's List, a Democratic political action committee that works to put women in elected office, said the organization has been inundated with donations and interest in running for office. 

"Women across the country who have been motivated by this election are finding themselves in a position where they realize now is the time to step up," said Stech. 

Last week, 100 women leaders of color already at the forefront of local and nationwide movements published an open letter pledging "unity and determination" in pursuit of "liberty and justice for all." In a joint statement, California legislators also vowed to fight the most radical elements of Trumpism. "While Donald Trump may have won the presidency, he hasn’t changed our values ..." it read. "We will not be dragged back into the past. We will lead the resistance to any effort that would shred our social fabric or our Constitution." 

Such sweeping declarations have been paired with practical calls to action, including lobbying elected officials to denounce Bannon's appointment. A tweetstorm about how to contact one's representatives went viral over the weekend, and lists of companies that supported Trump have been circulated for those interested in boycotting businesses whose leaders appear to support his agenda.

Johanson said those interested in resisting any part of Trump's agenda could focus their energy on holding lawmakers accountable and working to tell the stories of people affected by his administration's policies and practices. That, she said, can "change the fabric of what people believe" by swaying public opinion on important, complicated political issues. 

Jamie Henn, cofounder of 350.org, a grassroots movement to protect the earth's climate, said that activists expect to face of an administration that is hostile to curbing the country's carbon emissions. They plan to fight any efforts on behalf of the Trump administration to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency and withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. The recent appointment of Myron Ebell, a climate-change denier, to Trump's transition team overseeing the EPA, is a sign of battles to come.  

Ebell has called the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan illegal. The plan, which limits carbon emissions from coal power plants nationwide, is the centerpiece of Obama's climate agenda. Ebell has long received funding from the fossil fuel industry for his work to cast doubt on climate science.

"People, including ourselves, were shocked by the outcome of the election and are fired up about protecting the progress we’ve made and pushing back on Trump’s radical anti-environment policies," Henn said. 

"People ... are fired up about protecting the progress we’ve made and pushing back on Trump’s radical anti-environment policies." 

Liberal activists realize there may be opportunities for bipartisanship, and are willing to consider forging a path forward under the right circumstances. Henn, for example, cited the potential of addressing voters' economic woes with federal investments in renewable energy as a way of creating jobs across the country. 

Vicki Shabo, vice president at the National Partnership for Women & Families, said the passage of minimum wage and paid leave laws in a handful of states last Tuesday could provide a new opportunity for local, state and federal representatives to replicate those successes. Even Trump's paid parental leave plan, which Shabo considers highly flawed, could provide a starting point to secure comprehensive paid leave for parents at the federal level.

Yet, Shabo said, many advocates fear stalled progress and lost gains and are poised to mobilize people who have never been involved in the political process. 

"I think we can’t be silent," said Shabo. "These issues are too important and the stakes are too high to be quiet about what’s right."

Source: Mashable.com

Categorized in Others
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