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Mark Welch
Lives in Bonny Slope, OR, USA
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Mark Welch

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The Friday ruling is a huge win for voting rights activists in a closely watched case in a potential 2016 swing state. The appeals court reversed the ruling of a district court siding with the state.

"In holding that the legislature did not enact the challenged provisions with
discriminatory intent, the court seems to have missed the forest in carefully surveying the many trees," the opinion said. It permanently blocked provisions in a 2013 North Carolina law that required certain photo IDs to vote, limited early voting, eliminated same day registration, ended out-of-precinct voting and prohibited pre-registration of young voters.

In the opinion, the panel of judges said that the law restricted voting in ways that "disproportionately affected African Americans" and that its provisions targeted "African Americans with almost surgical precision." It said the state's defense of the law was "meager."

"Thus the asserted justifications cannot and do not conceal the state’s true motivation," the opinion said.
A three-judge panel of the U.S Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit has found North Carolina's controversial GOP-backed voting restrictions were intended to discriminate against African American voters. The Friday ruling is a huge win for voting rights activists in a closely watched case in a potential 2016 swing state. The appeals court reversed the ruling of a district court siding with the state. "In holding that the legislature did not enac...
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Mark Welch

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Bruce Schneier:

Retaliation is politically fraught and could have serious consequences, but this is an attack against our democracy. We need to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin in some way — politically, economically or in cyberspace — and make it clear that we will not tolerate this kind of interference by any government. Regardless of your political leanings this time, there’s no guarantee the next country that tries to manipulate our elections will share your preferred candidates.

Even more important, we need to secure our election systems before autumn. If Putin’s government has already used a cyberattack to attempt to help Trump win, there’s no reason to believe he won’t do it again — especially now that Trump is inviting the “help.”

Over the years, more and more states have moved to electronic voting machines and have flirted with Internet voting. These systems are insecure and vulnerable to attack.

But while computer security experts like me have sounded the alarm for many years, states have largely ignored the threat, and the machine manufacturers have thrown up enough obfuscating babble that election officials are largely mollified.
If Russia really is responsible, there's no reason political interference would end with the DNC emails.
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No presidential candidate has ever made this kind of a request before. This seems a lot like treason to me.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Mr. Trump said, essentially encouraging a foreign power’s cyberspying.
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It's "treason" to try to get people health coverage; it's "business as usual" to sell arms to Iran because SAINT RONNIE. (Or, in short, IOKIYAR.)
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The “USA Freedom Kids,” a cheese-ball youth performance troupe, appeared at a Trump rally last summer and became an instant sensation, partly because of the contrast between the adorableness of the performers and the quasi-fascistic undertones of their lyrics (such as “Deal from strength or get crushed every time”). Jeff Popick, the group’s (adult) manager, told Claire Landsbaum he was attracted to Trump not only for reasons of customer synergy but also personal conviction — “[Trump] knows what he's doing, and he makes the right decisions,” Popick explained.

You’ll never guess what happened next. Yes, Trump refused to pay the group for its time and expenses, reports Philip Bump. First, the USA Kids were told they could have a free table to sell CDs instead of $2,500, they accepted the deal, and no such table was provided. Then they were asked to fly to Iowa to appear at Trump’s rally to help veterans, and not only were they not paid, but Trump failed to reimburse the cost of their travel. Popick is rethinking his previous analysis of the campaign ...
USA Freedom Kids is just another word for kids with nothin' left to lose.
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George Lakoff, Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics Emeritus at UC Berkeley:

I will begin with an updated version of an earlier piece on who is supporting Trump and why — and why policy details are irrelevant to them. I then move to a section on how Trump uses your brain against you. I finish up discussing how Democratic campaigns could do better, and why they need to do better if we are to avert a Trump presidency.
There is a lot being written and spoken about Trump by intelligent and articulate commentators whose insights I respect. But as a longtime researcher in ...
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Mark Welch

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Something strange happened on the last night of the Democratic National Convention. After the GOP nominee lambasted the Democrats on Twitter for displaying what he viewed as too few American flags, there was a sea of waving flags as far as the eye could see when Hillary Clinton became the first woman to accept a major party's nomination on Thursday. A small faction of protesters chanting "no more war" as General John Allen spoke were quick...
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It isn't clear from the article how efficient or expensive this process happens to be, but if it can be done cheaply and at scale, it may render fossil fuels obsolete.

While plants produce fuel in the form of sugar, the artificial leaf delivers syngas, or synthesis gas, a mixture of hydrogen gas and carbon monoxide. Syngas can be burned directly, or converted into diesel or other hydrocarbon fuels. ...

Chemical reactions that convert CO2 into burnable forms of carbon are called reduction reactions, the opposite of oxidation or combustion. Engineers have been exploring different catalysts to drive CO2 reduction, but so far such reactions have been inefficient and rely on expensive precious metals such as silver, Salehi-Khojin said. ...

Salehi-Khojin and his coworkers focused on a family of nano-structured compounds called transition metal dichalcogenides—or TMDCs—as catalysts, pairing them with an unconventional ionic liquid as the electrolyte inside a two-compartment, three-electrode electrochemical cell. The best of several catalysts they studied turned out to be nanoflake tungsten diselenide.

"The new catalyst is more active; more able to break carbon dioxide's chemical bonds," said UIC postdoctoral researcher Mohammad Asadi, first author on the Science paper. In fact, he said, the new catalyst is 1,000 times faster than noble-metal catalysts—and about 20 times cheaper.
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have engineered a potentially game-changing solar cell that cheaply and efficiently converts atmospheric carbon dioxide directly into usable hydrocarbon fuel, using only sunlight for energy.
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Somehow I only think this helps get us to carbon neutrality. I'm not convinced that we won't still do all the other things that are likely to extinguish humanity from the earth.
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Via Benjamin Pixie.
Can you love me in the blinding heat of a birthing star, when I shower warmth on distant moons? Can you love me in the hole of the cosmic Black, where no one can reach me? Not even you? Can you love me then too?
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The day after Senator Bernie Sanders spoke at the Democratic National Convention and urged his supporters to work to ensure his former rival wins the presidential race, we host a debate between Clinton supporter Robert Reich, who served as labor secretary under President Clinton, and Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who backs Sanders.
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Just these seven names are enough to expose the problem for climate denialists. If climate science is [a] hoax and the Crop Science Society of America signed the letter, then doesn't that make crop science suspect, too? And, of course, you can't have modern, advanced agriculture without understanding soil. That's the domain of the Soil Science Society of America. They've signed on to the AAAS letter, too. But that must mean we shouldn't trust any of their claims about how to grow food. Then there's the American Meteorological Society. If they are urging Congress to take action on climate change, it must mean they and their science is corrupted as well. If that were the case, then we would do well to ignore things like their hurricane warnings.

Of course, ignoring warnings of an impending hurricane — the result of meteorological science — would be stupid. No one in their right mind would do it. But that is the point, isn't it? Those who espouse climate denial say one thing and then act in an entirely different way if someone tells them a hurricane is coming. Why? Because it would be crazy to do otherwise.

Climate denialists, like everyone else, enjoy the fruits of science. But it's only when those fruits run up against pre-conceived political antagonisms that the cognitive dissonance begins.
People who benefit from science daily somehow manage to find a place to simultaneously reject it: Whether climate or vaccines, the same contradiction between words and action arises, says Adam Frank.
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Bonny Slope, OR, USA
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Columbus, OH, USA - Durham, NC, USA - Lebanon, NH, USA - Cambridge, MA, USA - San Francisco, CA, USA - Seattle, WA, USA
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I make things and tell stories.
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20+ years in software/startups/technology, and counting. Trained voice actor. Originally from central Ohio, now living in Oregon.
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Software developer, toymaker, storyteller, voice actor, musician
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I called the night before I needed a ride. The driver showed up just ahead of schedule, waited for me to drop my car off at the shop, then took me home without any trouble. I was satisfied with the service I received.
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