Trump Nominates Andrew Wheeler As Permanent EPA Administrator

President Donald Trump onWednesday nominated Andrew Wheeler as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, setting him up to permanently fill a position the former coal lobbyist has held in an acting role since July. 

Three weeks after the start of a partial shutdown of the federal government shuttered many of the EPA’s services, Trump sent Wheeler’s formal nomination to the Senate for confirmation.

“I am honored and grateful that President Trump has nominated me to lead the Environmental Protection Agency,” Wheeler said in a statement. “For me, there is no greater responsibility than protecting human health and the environment, and I look forward to carrying out this essential task on behalf of the American public.”

Wheeler is the latest former employee of an industry regulated by the agency he now leads to be on the verge of ascending in the president’s Cabinet.

Last year, the Senate confirmed Alex Azar, a former executive at the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. On Jan. 1, former Boeing executive Patrick Shanahan took over as acting secretary at the Department of Defense after Secretary James Mattis’ abrupt resignation. The next day, David Bernhardt, a former oil lobbyist and No. 2 at the Department of the Interior, became acting secretary when the agency’s boss, Ryan Zinke, stepped down amid mounting ethics probes. 

Wheeler’s promotion was expected. Trump announced plans to nominate Wheeler to the job in November. Wheeler, the former deputy administrator, told The New York Times that month that he felt he was “making a difference.” 

“This is a transitional time for the agency,” he said. “We’ve started a number of initiatives that I’d like to see through to conclusion.”

Wheeler took over the agency six months ago when scandal-plagued former Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned in disgrace. Close allies of Pruitt, including Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), swiftly touted Wheeler as an adequate replacement who would reliably carry out Trump’s pro-fossil-fuel agenda. 

Wheeler delivered. In August, he proposed gutting fuel economy standards for new vehicles in a move seen as a “giant giveaway” to oil companies even as electric automobile technology made historic leaps forward. Weeks later, he unveiled a rule to weaken a landmark Obama-era power plant regulation, allowing by the EPA’s own calculus enough pollution to cause an additional 1,400 premature deaths per year.  

In November, when scientists at 13 federal agencies, including the EPA, determined in the annual National Climate Assessment that global warming was rapidly worsening, Wheeler responded by threatening to intervene in the next report’s drafting. 

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Wheeler has been serving as acting EPA administrator since disgraced former EPA chief Scott Pruitt (above) resigned in July.

In December, Wheeler handed two more victories to the coal industry that paid him to lobby until mid-2017. In the first week of the month, he proposed softening a rule requiring coal-fired power plants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. By the end of the month, he announced plans to relax a rule restricting how much mercury and other dangerous pollutants coal-fired plants can release into the air.  

Installing Wheeler as the nation’s 15th EPA chief is a formality. Last month, Wheeler became the longest-serving acting administrator in the EPA’s 48-year history, surpassing Bob Perciasepe’s roughly five-month stint as acting administrator in 2013. Acting rules for the EPA are vague and have generally gone unchallenged, and some argued Wheeler could have remained in his current role for the rest of Trump’s first term.

Yet with a Republican majority in the Senate, Wheeler seems likely to win confirmation. 

His nomination to serve as Pruitt’s No. 2 faced little opposition. Democrats largely overlooked him during the initial confirmation hearing in November 2017. He couched blatant climate change denial in smooth legalese. He appeared moderate next to Kathleen Hartnett White, the right-wing ideologue nominated to serve as the head of the Council on Environmental Quality, whose humiliating performance captured Democrats’ attention at the confirmation hearing she shared with Wheeler. 

Wheeler’s nomination finally came up for a vote in the Senate last April as allegations against Pruitt began to surface. Ahead of the vote, at least one Democratic senator warned that the process seemed “like a shadow confirmation vote for the next administrator of the EPA.” Yet every Republican and three Democrats in the Senate ― more support than Pruitt himself received in his confirmation vote ― confirmed him as Pruitt’s No. 2.

Republican challengers unseated two of those Democrats, and the remaining one, Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), is expected to support Wheeler again.

Reuters
Trump had announced in November that he planned to nominate Wheeler to be the permanent administrator of the EPA.

Wheeler has faced his own controversies. As HuffPost reported in October, the agency chief repeatedly engaged with incendiary, partisan content on his personal Facebook and Twitter accounts over the past five years. The online activity included liking a racist image of former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama on Facebook and retweeting an infamous “Pizzagate” conspiracy theorist. At least two Democratic senators called on him to resign. 

In early February last year, The Intercept reported that Wheeler held fundraisers for Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Inhofe in May, five months before his formal nomination to be deputy administrator came before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, on which the senators serve.

That same month, HuffPost reported that two nonpartisan groups of regional air pollution regulators accused Wheeler of abusing his power as a Senate aide in the early 2000s to “bully” and “intimidate” the organizations when they opposed a bill Inhofe, Wheeler’s boss at the time, introduced.  

In a statement Wednesday, Barrasso, the Environment and Public Works Committee chairman, vowed to push to confirm Wheeler as administrator. 

“Acting Administrator Wheeler has done an outstanding job leading EPA and is well qualified to run the agency on a permanent basis,” he said. “I will work with committee members to get him confirmed.”

This story has been updated with statements from Barrasso and Wheeler.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/epa-andrew-wheeler-trump_us_5c2e7743e4b05c88b70785f2

New technology discovers ladies were included in medieval manuscript making

The discovery challenges previous assumptions that medieval bookmaking was the work of monks alone.A team of

researchers and archaeologists have found proof that recommends females were more frequently associated with the tiresome job of manuscript production in the Middle Ages than was previously believed. The research study made use of new technology to take a look at the oral plaque on the nearly 1,000-year-old remains of a nun.

When co-author Anita Radini took a closer take a look at the tartar developed on the teeth of the remains, exhumed from a females’s monastery in Dalheim, Germany, she noticed fantastic blue specks embedded throughout. She determined the particles of blue pigment to be lapis lazuli, a semi-precious stone that was the primary source of blue in medieval paintings.

NPR reported:

Little bit of blue pigment in a medieval female skeleton were a huge discovery for scientists, recommending that ladies– not simply monks– worked on making lavishly detailed texts. https://t.co/pZdOdw4SJT

— NPR (@NPR) January 10, 2019 While it prevails practice today to brush our teeth frequently, 1,000 years ago plaque and tartar were typically delegated develop and mineralize throughout a life time. The remains of people from so long earlier will have fossilized plaque that still includes particles that inform us of their diets, living conditions, and even their professions. Some of the particles that have actually been recognized through this procedure consist of tree and grass pollen, spores, cotton and bast fibers, medical plants, in addition to diatoms, sponge spicules and micro-charcoal.

The existence of lapis lazuli on this nun’s teeth informs us several things about her history. She was more than likely a lady of note with loan, or a member of a community endowed with wealth, as lapis was only mined from Afghanistan in the Middle Ages and deserved its weight in gold by the time it reached Europe along the Silk Road.

A number of recommendations have been made as to how the lapis discovered its method onto her teeth, from painting to accidental consumption during pigment preparation, or even the consumption of the powder as a medication. The latter explanation appears doubtful, however, as there were over 100 blue particles discovered, suggesting repetitive exposure rather than a one-time intake.

It also does not seem most likely that she was the one who prepared the pigment, as the process was detailed and not practiced in Europe up until a number of a century later on. The lapis lazuli pigment was most likely delivered to Europe as an ended up item, leaving us with simply the theory that she was indeed using the lapis for her creative endeavors. The particles could have made their method onto her plaque when she licked the paint brushes to a point, a middle ages practice that has been well recorded.

The finding suggests that females were more involved with the production of books in the Middle Ages than previously thought. Less than 1% of books produced before the 12th century can be reliably traced back to ladies– not unexpected when we keep in mind that masterpieces were seldom signed prior to the 15th century, and illuminated manuscripts rarely signed at all.

Researcher and co-author of the research study Christina Warinner from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History is hopeful that this brand-new technology will assist to recognize more ladies artists who were lost to history:

“We have this view there was just a handful of extraordinary women in the past that seemed to be different from everyone else but I think that more were involved than we provide credit for. Here we have direct evidence of a lady, not simply painting, but painting with a really unusual and expensive pigment,” she stated. “This woman’s story might have stayed concealed permanently without making use of these techniques. It makes me wonder how many other artists we might discover in medieval cemeteries– if we only look.”

Source

https://aleteia.org/2019/01/13/new-technology-suggests-women-were-involved-in-medieval-manuscript-making/

OMG I Know Why Teaches Don’t Use New Technology

This post might be labeled Part 1 of 873 however I don’t have that much time.

Here is AnnMaria dressed up and looking doctor-ly.

Here is the back story … I chose to teach a more or less initial data class this semester because we make academic video games and I think it is essential to be in the classroom. Now I know students who remain in their first semester of graduate school are not precisely like eighth-graders, however they are more detailed than students taking their last course in a masters in engineering program, which is what I usually teach.

So … 2 months before the course begins, I email the university and inquire about my agreement. They state they are late getting them out. I go ahead and download some data sets, start considering concepts for assignments to make statistics “real” to the trainees, examples from data sets they can find pertinent. I check out the current edition of the book, ensure the statistical software I want to utilize is readily available. Produce a YouTube channel and make some videos.

Two WEEKS prior to the course is supposed to begin I still don’t have a contract and no access to the course website (did I discuss this is an online course?). I compose the very first five lectures, primarily simply updated from when I have actually taught this before. 4 DAYS before the course is supposed to begin I discover out that someone in administration has chosen that teachers will not be able to modify anything on their courses except for the discussion questions due to the fact that there requires to be standardization so the university can evaluate efficiency. Okay, wait, what? Making this even more ironic is that the lectures and assignments I have no authority to customize were initially written by the individual who created the course 5 years back and that would be– me.

Well, I didn’t sign up for this offer. I tell them if I simply wished to stand up in a suit and read somebody else’s lecture notes, I ‘d be teaching at the University of Phoenix, not here. I still do not have an agreement, so I’m going to give it a difficult pass.

Apparently, this decision about teachers not being able to change anything in their courses got rolled back due to the fact that (surprise, surprise!) there was push back from the professors. Because I owe somebody a favor, I wind up consenting to teach and getting access to the course ONE DAY before I am expected to teach it and doing what I can to edit the course tasks, syllabus, and so on as my other half is driving for us to meet family for a long-planned out-of-town get together.

How does this connect to the typical primary/ middle school teacher?

First, there is the last minute modifications about which no one is notified, much less spoken with, enacted by people who have no concept about you or what you teach.

Due to last minute changes and not even knowing if I was going to be teaching the course, there was a great deal of starting and stopping on preparation.

There is the absence of access to make technological choices. Now, I remain in the middle of information collection for a research study job on exactly that and I do understand that schools have their factors for limiting gain access to, but it still continues to amaze me that we rely on someone to be alone with 30 children but we don’t trust that very same person to have administrative access to their computers.

Even though I am very highly smart and started out with the best of the intentions, I am attempting to edit the assignments on my laptop computer utilizing my cell phone hot spot for Internet gain access to while my husband is driving up the side of a mountain. So, did I get everything I desired included as far as new data sets, new lessons? What do you think?

The post OMG I Know Why Teaches Do Not Use New Technology appeared first on < a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.7generationgames.com" > 7 Generation Games.

Source

http://www.7generationgames.com/2019/01/13/omg-i-know-why-teaches-dont-use-new-technology/

‘I use Snapchat to sell sexual videos’


Image caption Jodie Carnall describes herself as a “Snapchat Premium girl”

Snapchat is being used to sell explicit images and videos online, the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme has found. Jodie Carnall says she makes £4,000 a month on the app, but it’s not without a cost to her personal life, and she has been subject to online abuse.

“It’s like a proper business,” the 26-year-old says.

“It’s like people that sing, or go and gig, or artists that sell their own paintings. I’m just selling pictures and videos of me.”

Jodie refers to herself as a “Snapchat Premium girl”.

For a monthly fee – of between £20 and £200 – she sends her subscribers sexually explicit photos and videos via the regular Snapchat app.

She advertises her service on other social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

When people contact her to sign up, they must agree to a series of rules that Jodie herself has written up, and transfer the money for the first month into her account, before she allows them to follow her.

She says she is also careful to check the accounts belong to real people before accepting.


Image caption Jodie sends content several times a week

Jodie started selling explicit content of herself shortly after appearing on ITV’s dating show Take Me Out in 2016, when men began contacting her online.

She initially saw their messages as “creepy”, but eventually changed her mind.

Maintaining her Snapchat has now become her full-time job, she explains, often because her 40 or so subscribers demand extra material.

Content can range from a striptease to videos of her masturbating.

Pornographic content ‘banned’

Lawyers say no laws are being broken by those selling such content, unless they do so to under-18s or upload especially depraved material.

But as a result of the Victoria Derbyshire programme showing Instagram its findings, that social media site has now blocked all hashtags associated with Premium Snapchat that were being used by people to advertise their services.

Snapchat itself said in a statement it does not allow “pornographic content to be promoted or distributed”.

“Accounts that privately distribute pornographic content are an intentional abuse of the terms of service of our platform.

“We remove them when reported.”

Hurtful comments

Jodie sees Snapchat as a safe environment to make money, as she says she never needs to meet her clients.

“I’m not an escort. I’ve been offered thousands of pounds to meet men and I say ‘no’,” she explains.

However, she has received many hurtful comments – sent online from those who object to what she does for a living.

They contain offensive language.

“People call me ‘slut’ and things like that. And it does upset me,” she explains.

Within 20 minutes of filming with the Victoria Derbyshire programme, she receives a message from a man she has never spoken to before that reads: “You are a hoe though. You’re gorgeous, don’t get me wrong, but shame you sell your body or pictures. No morals unfortunately in this world.”

Jodie explains: “I get a message like that every hour, or every half an hour, all day long.

“Tonight my friend will say, ‘How did filming go?’… and then I’ll break down.

“But,” she reflects, “I was miserable in my office job, and I love the money.”


Image caption Jodie’s subscribers pay between £20 and £200 a month

It has also taken a toll on her personal life.

She has not had a boyfriend for months and says many men judge her.

“They don’t really want to date me after [I tell them my job]. Or they do, but for the wrong reasons,” she says.

And she admits her family is concerned about the long-term implications.

Jodie allows her subscribers who pay her £200 a month to save the material she sends them to their phones.

It means she loses control of the content, and does not know how it will be used.

‘Future careers ruined’

Laura Higgins, who founded the Revenge Porn Helpline, argues more protections are needed.

She says the charity receives regular calls from people like Jodie, who have been blackmailed or had their future careers ruined by the resurfacing of sexual content they originally sold online.

And she says the videos they produce can even go on to be used by others for sextortion – luring men to send explicit pictures of themselves to what they think is a good-looking woman, and then blackmailing them.

A spokesperson for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said it expected “online platforms to… ensure the services they offer are age appropriate”.

It added: “Working with tech companies, children’s charities and other stakeholders, we are developing new laws to help make the UK the safest place in the world to be online.”

Image copyright Getty Images

Jodie explains she will continue selling material on Snapchat “until it’s not convenient for me any more”.

She says the money – four times what she earned before – makes it worth it, having struggled to afford to feed herself two years ago.

And it allows her to live a flexible lifestyle.

But she does not hide the downsides.

“When [sexualised comments are] the only attention you’re getting as a woman, it can make you feel quite worthless,” she says.

“All I get is like, ‘show me your boobs’ or ‘I want to see you in underwear now’, or ‘you’re dirty, you’re filthy’.

“I sometimes cry. It’s very upsetting, because I don’t actually get any nice attention.”

Follow the Victoria Derbyshire programme on Facebook and Twitter – and see more of our stories here.

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-46311412

The Ecological And Human Rights Impacts Of New Technology

Ann Arbor, MI, U.S.A.- April 26, 2014: Employees stack electronic equipment at an electronic recycling event in Ann Arbor, MI April 26, 2014.Getty

In 1954, commercial designer Brooks Stevens developed the catchphrase”prepared obsolescence”as a description of the commercial designer’s mission for his talk at a local advertising club in Minneapolis. A significant aspect of style theory, Steven’s developed the notion of planned obsolescence which motivates incremental style updates every year in order to promote the continued usage of consumer items. We see this ideology firmly revitalized today in smart device style where every major business is creating updates when– if not thrice– a year.

This is planned obsolescence in action, but what are the higher ramifications of brand-new innovation on the environment?And how does a strategy going back to the mid 20th century effect our cultural norms of the usage and abuse of technology today?

Aside from design obsolescence, there are technological factors of obsolescence such as vital leaps in battery performance, altering sturdiness (ie. waterproofing), degrading appearance, and the factor of repairability (or non-repairability) all of which adds to how mobile phones are bought or upgraded. While there are consumer lists recommending which cellphones are the which rely on soils naturally enhanced with copper and cobalt in the DRC. Aside from this there are the frequently recognized concerns with the dust which includes numerous metals to consist of cobalt and uranium.Scientist collected blood and urine samples from 72 Kasulo (DRC) locals which consisted of 32 kids and taken a look at in relation to a group with a comparable structure from a neighboring district. The results demonstrated that kids residing in the mining district had 10 times as much cobalt in addition to other much more hazardous minerals in their urine as children living somewhere else, far greater than the appropriate limits set under EU guidelines.

Aside from cobalt, mobile phone and electrical car batteries require other precious minerals such as lithium.Turn to 3 years ago in Tagong, a town on the eastern edge of the Tibetan plateau, where protestors threw countless fish onto the streets in protest of the chemical leakage from the Ganzizhou Rongda Lithium mine. This was among three such occurrences given that 2009. The awful paradox in this, naturally, is that it is electrical batteries set to change fossil fuels which are to be the future of eco-friendly recovery; yet we are seeing a brand-new wave of eco-friendly catastrophe connected to the mining of minerals integral to lithium-ion batteries.

And if the above isn’t depressing enough, the damage triggered by nickel mining is no much better where mining communities, such a that in Cerro Matoso mine in Colombia, are reporting high rates of

birth defects and breathing problems connected with nickel mining and smelting. What is clear is that we require an alternative to lithium-ion batteries, and up until such a replacement is found, we truly must economize in how we use new technology and when and how we acquire it. It makes no sense that people toss their mobiles in the garbage when they break or fall into the pool. These are not environmentally viable ways of recycling mobile phone innovation which can mostly be cannibalized. There are lots of methods to handle old and even broken smart phones. Apple enables you to return your old phone in order to trade it in for a more recent model with a cost upgrade, naturally. Then there are various business where you can offer your iPhone and after that reverse and purchase another. In this way, older smart phones can be recycled or resold, put to continued usage by another.

As e-waste recycling is now ending up being a serious business, it is also struggling to stay up to date with the huge supply as electronic waste anticipated to reach 45 million tonnes in 2017. As the requirement to develop more computer system recycling programs mounts, we must bear in mind that much of this e-waste is environmentally toxic and would best be recycled instead of left to in land fills where a 3rd of e-waste still ends up.

Ultimately, the primary step in eco-friendly conservation with mobile phones needs to be the interrogation of the self: do you actually need this brand-new device?Prior to you plan to buy a brand-new mobile, read up on the and then see if you really new that much better pixel quality or higher resolution of photos. We require to stop belonging to the issue when it concerns environmental and human rights damage and start utilizing new technology wisely, if not frugally.

Source

https://www.forbes.com/sites/julianvigo/2019/01/12/the-ecological-and-human-rights-impacts-of-new-technology/

Dating Sucks, So We’re Making Our Own App Betches

Dating sucks. Our scroll fingers are tired. We’re v much over being assaulted on the daily by d*ck pics. We could write books full of sh*tty pick-up lines. I’ve gone on dates with a guy who claimed to be an art collector (he wasn’t); a very terrible graphic designer (why would you use a cow in a logo?); and a guy who told me on date three that he’d been in prison. Where was that on his profile??? Even if you shell out money on a #legit app, you’re paying for a fancy algorithm that thinks it knows you when, newsflash: it doesn’t. Face it: most of us are destined to sit with our phones and swipe forever.

So we’re making our own f*cking dating app. We’re excited, too. It’s completely different than any other dating app out there, because we’re v smart and understand that going out and meeting people is like, hard, and technology should be here to help us. You’re welcome.

We know you’re literally dying to know more and we can’t reveal much yet because our hair and brains are full of secrets, so enter your email and we’ll send you super fetch updates about when this Betches’ operated dating app is rolling out. Let’s make dating fun again.

Here’s what to do. Click here and enter your email or phone number. When you do, you’ll also be entered to win a super amazing prize a la a 5-day Insta-worthy trip to Melia Punta Cana Beach resort for two with airfare. Sidenote: It’s an all-inclusive adults only oasis, so no screaming 5-year-olds ruining your buzz. It also has four swimming pools, YHI spa, health club, seven bars, and seven restaurants. Praise be.

Even if you don’t get to go to the Dominican Republic (sad), you could be one of ten people to win a $250 Sephora gift card, so you can give yourself beach hair and a fake tan even though you won’t be laying on a beach (not as sad).

Does this all sound super awesome? Do you want to soak up the awesomeness? Grool. Sign up, then bully your friends into signing up, too, since that’ll give you an extra entry into the contest.

Images: Shutterstock

Read more: https://betches.com/?p=44793

‘Jersey Shore Family Vacation Recap: Do You Have No Bra On? Betches

We left off last week (two weeks ago?) of the neverending season of Jersey Shore: Family Vacation with Vin and Ang having horrible sexual tension that annoys everyone around them and Ronnie in a hot tub with yet another trashy girl.

Mike: Ronnie’s doing the same thing he got run over for.

The gang stops spying and goes to sleep as Trashy Barbie and Ronnie retire to his ~*bedroom*~. Except they all share bedrooms soo? Maybe he’s in the smush room.

Ronnie *in shower to himself*: There goes my life. Nothing good can come from this.
Ron: 

The girl is already in his bed. Despite all the MTV promos for this, Ronnie does not join her and instead goes to drink alone outside and text Jen. Trashy Barbie gets in bed with Ang so I guess she gave up. Ang is like, “did he try to hook up with you?” And TB acts totally shocked, like “OMG, NO, he has a girlfriend!” Um. You literally got in his bed. It’s safe to say that is the implication.

Ronnie goes to talk to TB and Ang and looks like absolute sh*t. He didn’t sleep at all because he spent the whole night fighting with Jen. Which is how I assume he spends every night anyway, this is not news. Then he goes, “Apparently, I’m single.”

Oooooh, you know he now has major regrets that he didn’t smush TB. Like is that why he’s in there? He’s trying to recruit her back into his bed? The moment’s passed, Ron.

Ron: Jen is just disrespectful, telling me she can’t wait to find a guy to raise my child the way I can’t.

Angelina acts v shocked but I swear we’ve heard this from Ron like 200 times. Like, yes, dude, she hates you. Ron continues to list more abuse Jen’s spewed at him, and again, all stuff she’s said before. TB leaves and Ronnie begins taking relationship advice from Angelina. It’s the blind leading the blind over here. Ron tells her that’s leaving Jen, which we’ve heard at least 11 times this season. And last season. MTV v compassionately plays a montage of Jen treating Ron like sh*t spliced with footage of Ron with his daughter. V sensitive.

Ang tells Mike and Pauly that Jen was sending Ron screenshots of Sammi Sweetheart with her new bf. This is material for the Petty Olympics. Ang also explains how *this time* Ron is leaving Jen.

Mike & Pauly:

Mike: One minute Ron’s single, then he’s taken. One minute he’s IFF, I’m F*cked Foundation, and then the next he’s on a Ron-page.
Pauly: Tomorrow he’s gonna be like ‘I love her’. The weather today is cloudy with 100% chance of Ronnie’s tears.

Ronnie’s entire personality is now cheating and crying. Meanwhile, Snooki and Mike are arguing about pork roll vs. Taylor ham (???). I’m from California, I have no idea wtf you morons are talking about. Also, I like that the levels of drama this episode are abuse, cheating, and child custody on one side, and over on the other side, we have Hamgate.

Mike: It’s like the status of Ronnie’s relationship. Unsolved.

Vinny is over the roommates’ drama and misses Deena. Snooki decides to kidnap her. TBH, she did nothing but fall down and cry last season, I really didn’t even notice she was gone. Vinny wants to use a trash bag to attack her, Jenni doesn’t want them to assault a pregnant woman. Hard to say who will win.

Vin: These are obviously Angelina’s trash bags because she has an endless supply of them.

Vinny is still bringing up Angelina. Let it go, dude. They decide to put dirty pantyhose over their heads, which is disgusting. The boys write some kind of ransom note. They want millions of dollars and Mike wants deli meat, I guess in exchange for Deena’s safe return? I hope if one of my loved ones ever gets kidnapped, it’s by The Situation. Mike puts together a meat and cheese tray, complete with bread and Cool Ranch Doritos.

Now they all have stupid kidnapper nicknames. Vinny is The Keto Kidnapper, Snooki is The Meatball (which is just her regular nickname, so no one exerted themselves on that one), Mike is The Baguette-Mans (unclear), Ang is Dirty Little Hamster (fitting, as she talks about her swamp ass while this is happening), Jenni is The Boobie-Trapper (Jenni now dresses like a grandma librarian, does she even have breasts anymore?), and Pauly is The Guido Ninja (and he proceeds to kick over a planter, spilling dirt all over the white rug).  I guess Ronnie is excluded.

The Boobie-Trapper: Anyone have eyes on Ron?
The Guido Ninja: He’s crying.

Then we see Ron sobbing in bed with the title: Special Appearance by: Single Ronnie.

Me to MTV: 

Mike: Should we bring Ronnie?
Everyone: No, he’ll ruin it.

They pull up to Deena’s house. Mike opens his Doritos.

Jenni: Leave the salami plate at the front door, ring the doorbell, then have everyone jump the fence at the back and go through the sliding glass door.

Mike steals bits of salami while they try to set the plate down. Ang rings the doorbell. The guidos go through the back door—seriously, why is it just left unlocked? It’s like you guys don’t even listen to Not Another True Crime Podcast. Deena is just sitting on her couch as everyone bursts in. She doesn’t look at all surprised, but to be fair, there was a cameraman sitting with her in the living room to film this happening, so maybe that tipped her off.

Mike is carrying a baguette as a weapon. But like. What’s happening to the meat plate? They bribe Deena to come to the house by giving her the smush room as her own room.

Deena: Did anyone have sex in my bed?
Vin: Well Ronnie almost did, so no.

Then they fill in Deena on the latest Ron scandal. Deena has doubts as to whether she can handle all this BS sober. Same. Vinny comments that Deena and Mike now have the same stomach which is FAT-SHAMING, and is not okay, it’s 2018. They arrive at the house and Deena is like “wow, it’s so nice.” But then she walks inside. The dirt is still all over the white rug.

Deena: It kind of smells garbage-y in here.

Just as I always imagined it did. Deena goes to say hi to Ron who is still crying in his bed. He doesn’t even acknowledge her.

Ron: 

They decide to go to a nice Italian restaurant to celebrate Deena’s return. Ron refuses to go so he can feel sorry for himself. The girls are getting ready and complaining about men, and Jenni announces she’s “going lesbian” (not how that works, again, it’s 2018). OMG, are they finally going to acknowledge Jenni’s divorce, or the fact that she literally has not mentioned Roger at all this whole time? I don’t even think she did last season. Angelina then tells them that her psychic grandmother said she saw Jenni and Roger headed for a divorce. Jenni’s like, “yeah well, I always talk about it.”

I guess just not on camera? Jenni then is like, “haha, I always say that, welcome to marriage.” She has a point, since 50% of marriages go that way, but it seems like she’s trying to play it off like it’s not serious. Which we know that it is. Angelina then claims she is also psychic. K.

Meanwhile, Vinny is ironing his shirt on his bed with a baby iron while Pauly throws his toenail clippings on the shirt. It’s all gross and I have no interest in it. They all go to dinner and Ronnie has not moved. The dinner consists of them complaining about Ron. Next we have to cover Angelina and Vinny’s awkward relationship and then Mike’s eating, since these are the only things going on this season.

Vinny: Oh I’m glad Ron isn’t here because I have this extra chair as a barricade from Angelina.

Right on cue.

Angelina: Hi Vinny.
Ang’s actual face rn: 

Vinny ignores her. Angelina wants to know why Vinny won’t talk to her.

Pauly (to Ang): You should make out with him. Did you get your teeth done? Do you have no bra on?
Pauly: I’m giving Vin a hall pass to sleep with Angelina as long as he washes 100 times with hand sanitizer down there.
Angelina: Well if you want to touch [my breasts], you can, they’re brand-spanking-new. Chris hasn’t even touched them.

Now Vinny is intrigued.

Snooki: WHAT? Chris hasn’t touched your boobs yet? Jionni [bleep]ed mine like a little baby.

F*cking ew. Things I don’t need to hear about. She’s apparently had the new boobs for months. Pauly is v upset by this news. Angelina then tells a way too graphic tale about how the sex with Chris was only good when they first hooked up, and since then, they barely have sex and it’s usually her doing all the work and he has no interest in it. Everyone suggests up Vin for a “good pounding”.

On the cab home, Ang is like, “I’m so honored The King noticed my breasts”, and everyone is like, WTF, The King, Pauly?

Ang: The King of Guidos has noticed my breasteses.
Jenni: The King of your life is your man.
Ang: He’s like The King of the Garbagemen.
The girls: 

Jenni: Angelina should just move on to her fourth engagement because this one is not going to work out.

Dirty Hamster Angelina has been engaged three times and I can’t get a text back, k cool, whatever.

Ang then goes on about how Pauly told her she has nice breasts, and the girls are like um, no, you sad, delusional handwritten book, he said, “Are you wearing a bra?” It’s v scary to see women rewrite history when it’s on film.

In the guys car, the gossip continues.

Vin: Tator Tot just posted something.

Tator Tot is Jen’s Instagram. Sidenote: Why are they allowed to have technology??? They should be stuck together with no one else and no activities like the good old days.

Vin: It says: A man that wants what’s best for you is best for you.

IDK, Jen, at this point I think he just wants to not be run over by cars. They get home and the girls are complaining about how badly they want to go to bed. Like, you guys just went to dinner. You are too old for this show. Then they discover that Ronnie is still in bed and hacking up a lung. As if he couldn’t repulse me more. They go into his room and tell him they brought him food. Ron blows them off.

However, the next day, the guys actually get him out of the house for a haircut. Vin says bye to Angelina, foreshadowing their impending affair. Vin is getting ready to have a tantrum about his hair, as per usual. Mike requests a nose hair waxing, which they just do in front of everyone. Like they literally stick hot wax on a stick, shove it up there, and pull. Ew. Ronnie, in typical breakup fashion, is relying on this haircut to fix his life.

Pauly: He cut all his problems away.
Ron: I need a haircut every day.

I really can’t wait until next week when Ronnie and Jen get back together!

Images: Giphy (7)

Read more: https://betches.com/?p=43012

Russian interference in US elections far from over Heres what to watch for

FILE — Voters cast their ballots early for the midterm elections. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

The arrival of 2019 marks the kickoff of the 2020 presidential election campaign, amid continued worries about foreign influence – particularly from Russia – in our democratic process.

After the lid was blown off Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, we’d be wise to be very concerned about another spate of foreign influence attempts on the upcoming presidential race.

What should we be on the lookout for? Before we look ahead, let’s take a look back.

The Russians have been using campaigns of disinformation long before there were Twitter bots to do it for them. And guess what? They are darn good at it.

Ever since the 1920s when Soviet leader Josef Stalin coined the term “dezinformatsiya” (deliberately French-sounding so that it would be perceived as a Western invention), the Russians have been spreading disinformation.

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In recent decades, some of the Russian campaigns of disinformation have included the false claims that the U.S. invented AIDS and that the U.S. supported apartheid under the former white minority government in South Africa.

As technology has evolved, the Russians have learned how to use data as a lethal weapon. Meanwhile, we have gotten flat-out complacent. So should you be scared?  Yes.

For those of you not up on “bot” speak, let me explain.

During the 2016 election, the Russian government used the International Research Agency (IRA) – a Russian company dedicated to online influence on behalf of Russian business and political interests – to interfere in our presidential election.

The Russians initiated at least 180 million engagements on Instagram and 75 million on Facebook. They created accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers on both platforms, and purchased thousands of ads.

Through these tactics, the Russians made contact with tens of millions of Americans, giving them false information on critical issues.

For example, United Muslims of America appeared to run an ad on Facebook that said 44 percent of Republicans had an unfavorable view towards Islam and linked that to a tripling of hate crimes against Muslim Americans.

The Heart of Texas appeared to run an ad on how rapists, drug dealers and human traffickers were given amnesty by Hillary Clinton and President Obama.

But in fact, both of these groups and the ads they sponsored were actually created by the Russian government.

These are examples of Russian interference that we know about. But you can bet there’s much more that we don’t know about.

As a statistician, I’m usually trying to decode misleading statistics. The problem with these numbers is that the people who know the whole truth aren’t telling it, and when you don’t know the truth, you can’t even begin to quantify it.

So who’s not telling us the truth?

Well, today we have a handful of data barons – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Alphabet (Google) founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey among them. They dominate the fledgling data industry, to which government regulation still has not caught up. And they play fast and loose with their commodity.

For example, after Cambridge Analytica accessed millions of users’ data without their consent and used it for political purposes in the 2016 campaign, Zuckerberg said that the feature the company (and tens of thousands of other apps) had used to access users’ friends’ information was disabled.

However, the truth is that 61 companies were given an “extension” – that is, a loophole to continue to access the data. Keep in mind that Facebook only admitted to doing this after 700 pages of leaked documents reached the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Mail.ru was one of the 61 companies. Even though it has many links to the Kremlin, Facebook defended its decision to grant Mail.ru (along with its hundreds of associated apps) an extension, citing Mail.ru as one of the “top five largest internet companies.”

Many believe that the user data collected by Mail.ru went straight to the Federal Security Service (FSB) for the Russian government. They’re probably right.

Furthermore, the New York Times recently reported that Facebook gave user data access to more than 150 companies – a fact that Zuckerberg previously did not disclose – including Microsoft’s search engine Bing, Spotify and Netflix. The latter two were even allowed to read users’ private messages.

Alarming as that is, I’m most disturbed that the search engine Yandex – the Russian equivalent of Google – was on that list. You can bet that all of our information is going directly to the Kremlin. Even scarier though, in my opinion, is that Facebook is defending this activity, citing “no evidence of abuse” by its partners.

Please. Facebook says it bans developers when it discovers misuse. But I don’t trust Facebook to even know when developers are doing bad things, much less its interest in doing anything about it.

According to the Statistics Portal, Facebook has over 200 million American users, Instagram has over 100 million, and Twitter has about 70 million. While a fair amount of these users will overlap, it is safe to say that statistically, more than 60 percent of the American population has most likely been exposed to foreign propaganda and influences.

This is Russia’s doing, but it is becoming our fault. Russia is simply taking advantage of our government’s lack of regulation of the data industry – and, of course, the political division in our country, in which the Russians surely have had a hand.

Data is the newest, biggest, baddest kid on the block. Even we statisticians haven’t come to terms with the mountain of information in front of us, or the possible ways it will be used for good and bad.

As a child living in Ukraine, my grandmother faced Russian Cossacks raiding her village on horseback. Today we’re facing an entirely new threat from the very same enemy. And escaping to America won’t work this time, because the attackers are already here.

Step back for a moment. Have you ever spoken to President Trump? Have you ever met him? For the vast majority of Americans, the answer is no. The only way we know him, or any other political candidate, is through the media and advertisements.

The foreign entity that is able to interfere with the information upon which we determine who these candidates are, and who among them we vote for, is a terrible and fearsome foe.

The question is not whether Russia is going to try to disrupt the 2020 elections, but rather, if our government is going to let Russia do it.

To read more from Liberty Vittert, click here.

Read more: https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/russian-interference-in-us-elections-far-from-over-heres-what-to-watch-for

San Francisco mayors plea to get older brother, convicted of manslaughter, out of jail 2 decades early denied

California Gov. Jerry Brown, right, turned down the request of San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who asked him in late October to “consider leniency” and commute the manslaughter sentence of her older brother Napoleon Brown, who struggled with drugs from a young age. (Getty)

In keeping with his tradition of granting clemency on or near major holidays, California Gov. Jerry Brown granted 143 pardons and 131 commutations on Christmas Eve. However, he did not show leniency to the older brother of San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who has served nearly two decades of a 44-year sentence for manslaughter, according to reports.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Breed’s brother, Napoleon Brown, was not pardoned despite her family’s request.

Breed said last week that people who break the law should face consequences, but also have a chance at redemption. “Too many people, particularly young black men like my brother was when he was convicted, are not given an opportunity to become contributing members of society after they have served time in prison,” she said.

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Brown, who struggled with drugs from a young age, recently was caught with heroin in prison and had two years added to his sentence, KNTV reported.

Breed, 44, who was a defense witness for her brother at his trial, has spoken out about her rough upbringing in San Francisco public housing.

Her brother, who is now 46, pushed Lenties White from a getaway car on the Golden Gate Bridge after an armed robbery in June 2000. White, 25, was struck by a vehicle and died.

Sandra McNeil, the mother of the victim, said Brown does not deserve early release.

SAN FRANCISCO MAYOR TRYING TO GET BROTHER OUT OF LOCKUP 20 YEARS EARLY

“I don’t think it would be justice,” she said. “She’s the mayor, so she’s got a little power, so she thinks she can get her brother out.”

Among those who were granted Christmas Eve pardons by Brown are five refugees from Cambodia and an immigrant from Honduras — all of whom are facing the possibility of deportation because of criminal convictions — two people who lost their homes in a recent wildfire and a former state official. Brown’s commutations included several former gang members who have renounced their former ties and will now have an opportunity to petition the parole board for early release.

Gov. Brown has now granted 283 commutations and 1,332 pardons since returning to office in 2011, far more than any California governor since at least the 1940s. The governor needs approval from the state Supreme Court to pardon or commute the sentence of anyone twice convicted of a felony. The court in recent weeks has rejected seven clemency requests by the governor, including one Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read more: https://www.foxnews.com/us/san-francisco-mayors-plea-to-get-older-brother-convicted-of-manslaughter-out-of-jail-2-decades-early-denied

An actual engineer explains why the wall is ‘a disaster of numerous types waiting to happen.’

Immigration arguments aside, what about the physical logistics of building Trump’s wall along the border?

Many pundits, politicians, and ordinary people have offered their opinions on whether or not Trump’s proposed border wall should be built. Most of the time, these discussions revolve around the philosophical and economic issues it raises, but what of the actual, physical building of the wall itself?

Enter Amy Patrick, real-life wall expert. In a now viral Facebook post, Patrick explained to those of us who don’t design walls for a living why the planning and building of this wall is much more complicated and potentially much, much more expensive than most of us would ever guess.

Patrick first offered a list of her credentials:

“I’m a licensed structural and civil engineer with a MS in structural engineering from the top program in the nation,” she wrote, “and over a decade of experience on high-performance projects, and particularly of cleaning up design disasters where the factors weren’t properly accounted for, and I’m an adjunct professor of structural analysis and design at UH-Downtown. I have previously been deposed as an expert witness in matters regarding proper construction of walls and the various factors associated therein, and my testimony has passed Daubert. Am I a wall expert? I am. I am literally a court-accepted expert on walls.”

Well then. Here we go.

Wall expert Amy Patrick explains why the wall is “a disaster of numerous types waiting to happen.”

“Structurally and civil engineering-wise, the border wall is not a feasible project,” Patrick began. “Trump did not hire engineers to design the thing. He solicited bids from contractors, not engineers. This means it’s not been designed by professionals. It’s a disaster of numerous types waiting to happen.”

Howdy.

To recap: I’m a licensed structural and civil engineer with a MS in structural engineering from the top program…

Posted by Amy Patrick on Tuesday, January 8, 2019

What disasters, you may ask? Patrick explained:

“Off the top of my head…

1) It will mess with our ability to drain land in flash flooding. Anything impeding the ability of water to get where it needs to go (doesn’t matter if there are holes in the wall or whatever) is going to dramatically increase the risk of flooding.

2) Messes with all kind of stuff ecologically. For all other projects, we have to do an Environmental Site Assessment, which is arduous. They’re either planning to circumvent all this, or they haven’t accounted for it yet, because that’s part of the design process, and this thing hasn’t been designed.

3) The prototypes they came up with are nearly impossible to build or don’t actually do the job. This article explains more:

https://www.google.com/…/mobile.engineering.…/amp/17599.html

Then she explained why the would be a logistical nightmare—and a lot more expensive than initial estimates.

“The estimates provided for the cost are arrived at unreasonably,” Patrick wrote. “You can look for yourself at the two-year-old estimate that you see everyone citing.

http://fronterasdesk.org/…/Bernstein-%20The%20Trump%20Wall.…

It does not account for rework, complexities beyond the prototype design, factors to prevent flood and environmental hazard creation, engineering redesign… It’s going to be higher than $50bn. The contractors will hit the government with near CONSTANT change orders. ‘Cost overrun’ will be the name of the game. It will not be completed in Trump’s lifetime.”

Well, that’s some smelling salts right there. I know I hadn’t taken any of those factors into consideration, and I’m not even a supporter of the wall.

“I’m a structural forensicist, which means I’m called in when things go wrong,” Patrick continued. “This is a project that WILL go wrong. When projects go wrong, the original estimates are just *obliterated*. And when that happens, good luck getting it fixed, because there aren’t that many forensicists out there to right the ship, particularly not that are willing to work on a border wall project—a large quotient of us are immigrants, and besides, we can’t afford to bid on jobs that are this political. We’re small firms, and we’re already busy, and we don’t gamble our reputations on political footballs. So you’d end up with a revolving door of contractors making a giant, uncoordinated muddle of things, and it’d generally be a mess. Good money after bad. The GAO agrees with me.”

(The GAO is the Governmental Accountability Office. Here’s an article from The Hill detailing their report that the Trump administration has not taken all of the economic factors into account.)

Finally, she shared why the wall, even if built successfully, wouldn’t be effective.

“I could, right now,” Patrick wrote, “purchase a 32 foot extension ladder and weld a cheap custom saddle for the top of the proposed wall so that I can get over it. I don’t know who they talked to about the wall design and its efficacy, but it sure as heck wasn’t anybody with any engineering imagination.”

Ouch.

“Another thing: we are not far from the day where inexpensive drones will be able to pick up and carry someone,” she continued. “This will happen in the next ten years, and it’s folly to think that the coyotes who ferry people over the border won’t purchase or create them. They’re low enough, quiet enough, and small enough to quickly zip people over any wall we could build undetected with our current monitoring setup.”

Seriously, though. Our technology is advancing so quickly, and in order to mitigate all of the possible breaches of the wall, we’d have to have border patrol agents set up along the entire border. And if we’re going to do that, let’s do that instead of the wall and save ourselves billions of extra dollars.

“Let’s have border security, by all means, but let’s be smart about it,” Patrick concluded. “This is not smart. It’s not effective. It’s NOT cheap. The returns will be diminishing as technology advances, too. This is a ridiculous idea that will never be successfully executed and, as such, would be a monumental waste of money. 🤷🏻‍♀️”

Thanks for providing even more reasons the government shutdown over funding the wall is ridiculous, Ms. Patrick.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/an-actual-engineer-explains-why-the-wall-is-a-disaster-of-numerous-types-waiting-to-happen