Life is Not Always Black and White
June 21, 2019
“It is too difficult to think nobly when one thinks only of earning a living.”
“Why should we build our happiness on the opinions of others, when we can find it in our own hearts?”
– Jean-Jacques Rousseau
And The Hackers Gonna Hack Hack Hack Hack Hack
- The FBI’s Internet Crime Compliant Center (IC3) reports that extortion by email is growing significantly. In 2018 extortion complaints rose 242 percent to 51,146 reported crimes and total losses of $83 million.
- An agency spokesperson said: “The majority of extortion complaints received in 2018 were part of a sextortion campaign in which victims received an email threatening to send a pornographic video of them or other compromising information to family, friends, coworkers or social network contacts if a ransom was not paid.”
- The advice from experts is — Don’t fall for it. While real sextortion exists — stolen real nude photos or real videos — scammers send hoax sextortion emails out as form letters, complete with all kinds of shameful claims.
- A former assistant US attorney who prosecuted cybercrimes observes: “You will read personalization into any generic statement. And if you believe that there are hackers out there that know every aspect of your life, and maybe they even know your life better than you do, you might actually pay even if you’ve done nothing at all.” (CNBC)
No, Iceland Is Actually The Green One… Greenland Is The One That Used To Have Ice (or Will We Kill Ourselves)
- Climate change is real — a continuing rise in global temperatures and sea levels is fact — and it’s occurring before our eyes. With each new or full moon, coastal cities like Miami experience the effects of rising sea levels as residents undergo more severe flooding from higher tides.
- For the past twenty years Greenland has been increasingly contributing to global sea level rise. Last week over 40 percent of Greenland experienced melting ice, with an estimated total ice loss of 2 billion tons on Thursday alone. In late May an ice climatologist at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland predicted that this year “will be a big melt year for Greenland.” 2019 could exceed 2012’s record-setting melt year. (CNN)
- I Spy, Via Spy Satellite: Melting Himalayan Glaciers (NPR)
- With More Storms and Rising Seas, Which U.S. Cities Should Be Saved First? (NYT, $)
- Global heating to inflict more droughts on Africa as well as floods: New UK research predicts extremes of weather will hit food production (Guardian)
- More Bad Buzz For Bees: Record Number Of Honeybee Colonies Died Last Winter (NPR)
- US agency runs out of burial space after spike in gray whale deaths: Landowners asked to help as authorities struggle with largest number of strandings in nearly two decades. (Guardian)
- Hundreds of dolphins have died along Gulf Coast since February, scientists say: At least 279 animals have been stranded, triple the usual figure, and 98% have died, prompting investigation. (Guardian)
- Stricken polar bear turns up in Siberian city, hundreds of miles from home: Visibly weak female bear spotted in Norilsk in northern Siberia, Climate emergency has damaged polar bears’ sea-ice habitats (Guardian)
- Environment reporters facing harassment and murder, study finds: Tally of deaths makes it one of most dangerous fields for journalists after war reporting (Guardian)
- The Greens Are Germany’s Leading Political Party. Wait, What? As the country took climate change to heart, it was only a matter of time before its politics did too. (NYT $)
- A fascinating and highly recommended read on the similarities between privacy law and environmental law: The New Wilderness (Idle Words)
We’ve Got a Mystery on Our Hands
- The FBI has begun investigations surrounding the mysterious deaths of three United States tourists in the Dominican Republic in the past few weeks. Four other cases which occurred in the past year have also raised concerns.
- Though some similarities were found amongst the seven, most are described as having happened suddenly, and a majority happened after alcohol was consumed. Officials have not discovered any connections between the incidents.
- Robin Bernstein, the U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic, said the FBI is conducting toxicology analysis, a process that could take up to a month to complete. Bernstein made an official statement saying that “The safety and security of U.S. citizens that live in, work in, and visit the Dominican Republic remains our highest priority.”
- More than 6 million people visit the Dominican Republic every year, according to the country’s tourism officials, with nearly half of them coming from the United States. The Dominican Republic’s minister of tourism, Francisco Javier García, cautioned against speculating over the cause of deaths for the Americans who have recently died. (NPR)
I’m No Chicken
- Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated, in a rare meeting with journalists, that he is expecting to resolve disagreements with the United States. The major focus of a one-on-one meeting with President Trump, planned for the end of the month, will be on the purchase of the Russian S-400 missile system.
- The two leaders are expected to meet during the Group of 20 summit meeting in Osaka, Japan, with potential plans in the works for President Trump to visit Turkey in July.
- With hostility between the United States and Iran roiling the region, Erdogan warned that the Trump administration’s hard-line toward Iran was a problem for Turkey and other countries that rely on Iranian oil.
- Mr. Erdogan acquired sweeping new powers last summer when the country switched to a presidential system, and in recent years he has shown no hesitation to rule in an authoritarian style, making the meeting quite surprising and near unprecedented. In discussing foreign policy, Mr. Erdogan talked at length about how the war in Syria continued to drive a need to engage with Russia, in part to manage the fallout from the war and prevent millions more refugees fleeing into Turkey and Europe. (NYT)
- Hypersonic Missiles Are Unstoppable. And They’re Starting a New Global Arms Race: The new weapons – which could travel at more than 15 times the speed of sound with terrifying accuracy – threaten to change the nature of warfare. (NYT $)
A Migration Layover In South America
- You may justifiably suspect that most if not all of the refugees attempting to cross the United States’ southern border are from South America, that isn’t completely true. Recently Border Patrol agents in the Del Rio sector of South Texas took hundreds of migrant families from Africa into custody.
- Randy Capps, the director of research for U.S. programs at the Migration Policy Institute explains, “The migrant crisis at the U.S. border has been so well-publicized, and because of all the chaos over policymaking in Washington, D.C., it really gives the impression that the U.S. border is open for business right now,”
- Many African migrants are unable to stay in their country or migrate to Europe. While the trek to the United States is incredibly risky, it often seems worth it – or is their final option.
- Texas isn’t the only state with an influx of African migrants, cities like Portland, Maine, with large communities of African immigrants have become safe havens for the refugees. (NPR)
Life is Not Always Black and White
- Trump Is Changing the Shape of the Democratic Party, Too: In reaction to his provocations, many white Democrats are seeing race relations in a new light. (NYT, $)
- Biden refuses to apologise for working with racist senators: Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has refused to apologise for reminiscing on his work with two long-dead racist senators. (BBC)
- As Downtowns Prosper, Voters Ask Mayors: What About My Neighborhood? (NYT, $)
- The Nonwhite Working Class: Talking to the people in Youngstown, Ohio, that the national media usually ignores. (Slate)
- Black Poverty Is Rooted in Real-Estate Exploitation: A new study in Chicago shows how the dream of homeownership was converted into a poverty trap. (Bloomberg, $)
- Old Town Road: A Story of Black Life and Allyship in America: Lil Nas X Song enters 11th straight week at No. 1. (Psychology Today) Here’s a really great remix we recently discovered: Country Summer (Nelly Vs Jai Wolf)
- A Muslim In Rural, White Minnesota On How To ‘Love Thy Neighbor’ (NPR)
- Your Professional Decline Is Coming (Much) Sooner Than You Think: Here’s how to make the most of it. (The Atlantic)
- “Perhaps We’re Being Dense.” Rejection Letters Sent to Famous Writers: Some Kind, Some Weird, Some Unbelievably Harsh (LitHub)
- A fascinating read on what is valued in today’s markets. Real assets vs. intangible assets: intellectual property and brand: When Everything That Counts Can’t Be Counted (The Reformed Broker)
- What Silicon Valley Can Learn From Bill Walsh’s The Score Takes Care of Itself (Sachin Rekhi) Should one focus on process or outputs? We say let’s split the difference.
- This Town Comes Alive Once a Year, as Thousands of Snakes Mate: More than 70,000 snakes slither out of dens to breed each spring at a Manitoba wildlife area, and thousands of people just can’t keep away from the writhing show. Just don’t call it an orgy. (NYT, $)
“Those that are most slow in making a promise are the most faithful in the performance of it.”
– Jean-Jacques Rousseau
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