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G Kochanski
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At a confirmation hearing yesterday, President Trump’s pick for deputy secretary of Interior told a Senate panel that the president’s political positions will be prioritized over the science when deciding agency policy -- such as drilling offshore or on public lands.
For 6000 years, autocrats and oligarchs ruled badly because (being human) they suppressed facts. Their reign of error and terror ended when we found a better way, actually arguing and negotiating based on evidence. But the oligarchs are swarming back, financing a War on Science and every other fact-based profession.

This is life-or-death people. Look at the endless chain of horrors called "history," run by self--indulgent, cranky asshole-babies called "kings" and "lords" and owner aristocrats. Do you want that era back, but armed with atom bombs and genetic engineering?
The War on science is waged by enemies of your children. Stand up.

https://secure.314action.org/page/s/call-out-trump-s-anti-science-nominees?utm_source=interior_petition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20170519_em_sn

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Do you know how rare it is for shareholders to override the recommedations of management? Here, we're seeing billions of dollars of big money that are worried about climate change.

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“The swamp that Trump kept mentioning in the campaign is not really one of tangled bureaucratic mangroves, but of moral indifference. Washington always had a touch of that — after all, its business is politics — but Trump and his people have collapsed the space between lies and truth. The president uses one and then the other — whatever works at the time.”

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Today, we have some political news which is made slightly better by Unicode. Let me explain how.

During his meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak earlier this week, Trump apparently revealed code-word intelligence to them.¹ In particular, he revealed intel with enough details for Russia to work out our sources and methods - the most sensitive possible level.

Except it wasn't our sources and methods. It was someone else's.

The Washington Post (who originally broke the story) is withholding sensitive details, for reasons obvious to everyone except Trump, but reading between the lines, it probably came via "Five Eyes" (our intel sharing agreement with Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK²) or a similar program. Which is to say, we just blew someone else's intel sources and methods, which we had access to only under treaty.

Which, I suspect, they will not be happy about. And retaliate for, e.g. by cutting off our access. Since we have a leak.³

Now, this probably isn't illegal; the President does have the right to declassify things, after all. (Although it may violate the treaty) But what does this have to do with Unicode, you say?

Well, it turns out that Russian - specifically, the medieval Russian used in certain religious manuscripts - has a special variant of 'о' used only in the phrase "серафими многоочитїи," "many-eyed seraphim," in some 15th-century texts. It's called "multiocular O:" ꙮ Unicode added it back in 2008, just in case you needed to type an O with seven eyes in it.

So I am glad to report that there's already a symbol for when your Five Eyes turn out to have some extra (Russian) eyes in them. We might call it "Путин многоꙮчитї."

Unicode: Being prepared for every possible linguistic eventuality across a wide range of platforms. As it is written: 🇷🇺ꙮ + 🍊👺= 🇦🇺🇨🇦🇬🇧🇳🇿😤😤😤😤


¹ This was broken by a story in the Washington Post earlier today, and independently confirmed by both Reuters and BuzzFeed. National Security Advisor McMaster and Secretary of State Tillerson both publicly appeared to give Suspiciously Specific Denials of things which were not alleged by these articles, while saying nothing about what was actually alleged. The article linked below, from Lawfare, gives an excellent summary of what happened, along with plenty of context and links.

WP story: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-revealed-highly-classified-information-to-russian-foreign-minister-and-ambassador/2017/05/15/530c172a-3960-11e7-9e48-c4f199710b69_story.html

BuzzFeed story, with the additional info that this apparently required an emergency briefing of the Senate Intelligence Committee: https://www.buzzfeed.com/jimdalrympleii/trump-highly-classified-information-russians

Reuters story, with more details about exactly what was leaked: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-russia-idUSKCN18B2MX

² https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Eyes

³ I was wondering why we kept getting those FVEY queries about "MOOSE and SQUIRREL."

h/t to +Andreas Schou for pointing me at the story.

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“Calling Bullshit”: Watch Lectures for the College Course Designed to Combat the BS in our Information Age.

A real course from the University of Washington. 10 video lectures.

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