Roughly 3000 miles off the Eastern coast of New Zealand, 2000 miles north of Antarctica, and 2.5 miles deep, the Spacecraft Cemetery is truly in the middle of nowhere. This isolated spot in the ocean is technically called the Oceanic Pole of Inaccessibility–the point on Earth farthest from any land mass. This spot was chosen for obvious reasons, as it greatly reduces the risk of human casualties from scorching hot space debris. (According to NASA’s Orbital Debris Office, any objects re-entering Earth’s atmosphere cannot exceed a 0.0001 chance of impact with humans, meaning that if the entry were to occur 10,000 times, there would only be one human casualty expected.)
Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) on Tuesday spoke with CNN’s Don Lemon about the phone call between Donald Trump and the widow of U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson, explaining she “was gonna curse” the president out after hearing his remarks.
Wilson was with Johnson’s widow just before the soldier’s remains arrived at Miami International Airport, ABC 10 reports. That’s when Trump called the pregnant mother of two and told her that her husband “knew what he signed up for.”
“We were in the car together, in the limousine headed to meet the body at the airport,” Wilson told Lemon. “So I heard what he said because the phone was on speaker.”
“This is a young, young woman, who has two children, who is six months pregnant with a third child,” Wilson said. “She has just lost her husband. She was just told that he cannot have an open casket funeral, which gives her all kinds of nightmares how his body must look, how his face must look. And this is what the president of the United States says to her?”
With each new story of the Russians creating fake online support for Trump I suspect more and more that it was Russian actors behind the fake Mitt Romney Facebook likes of the last election.
In early 2016, while researching some of the most popular U.S. secession groups online, I stumbled across one of the Russian-controlled Facebook accounts that were then pulling in Americans by the thousands.
At the time, I was writing on Russia’s relationship with American secessionists from Texas, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. These were people who had hitched flights to Moscow to swap tactics, to offer advice and to find support. They had found succor in the shadow of the Kremlin.That was how I eventually found my way to the “Heart of Texas” Facebook page (and its @itstimetosecede Twitter feed as well). Heart of Texas soon grew into the most popular Texas secession page on Facebook — one that, at one point in 2016, boasted more followers than the official Texas Democrat and Republican Facebook pages combined. By the time Facebook took the page down recently, it had a quarter of a million followers.
The page started slowly — just a few posts per week. Unlike other secession sites I’d come across, this one never carried any contact information, never identified any of the individuals behind the curtain. Even as it grew, there was nothing to locate it in Texas — or anywhere else, for that matter. It was hard to escape the suspicion that there might be Russian involvement here as well.
It was a warm Sunday afternoon in October, 2016.
I’ve just left the Amtrak station in downtown Raleigh. Unable (or too cheap) to call a cab, I drag my overnight back behind as I trudge up Dawson Street toward my home 2 miles away. The rhythm of my pace and the grinding of my bag’s battered wheels along the sidewalk lulls me into a sort of trance.
As I reach the corner of Hargett, I see a rough-looking man approaching. As I’m starting to make room for him on the sidewalk, a woman on a bicycle passes me (safely) from behind. As she passes, the man catcalls her and makes loud, suggestive comments.
In a blink it was over. The man, possibly drunk, stumbles on behind me. The woman, wearing headphones, was immune to his drunken come-ons and was long gone. I pause to think what I should have done or what I might have done.
Had the man been dumb enough to touch that woman I would’ve certainly jumped him. I’m a pretty friendly guy but I don’t like bullying of any sort, yet I was also stunned at what I just heard. It’s 2016. Some men still do this shit? I mean, really? What did this guy hope to accomplish with his clumsy come-ons?
He was clearly a loser and a drunk one at that. She was oblivious and went on with her ride. I continued walking, pondering how the world still needed some work.
Traditional TV is dying.
On Wednesday, AT&T told regulators that it expects to finish the quarter with about 90,000 fewer TV subscribers than it began with. AT&T blamed a number of issues, including hurricane damage to infrastructure, rising credit standards and competition from rivals. The report also shows AT&T lost more traditional TV customers than it gained back through its online video app, DirecTV Now. And analysts are suggesting that that’s evidence that cord-cutting is the main culprit.
Announced last year, DirecTV Now was AT&T’s answer to Netflix and Hulu. AT&T initially sought to drive aggressive adoption by offering deep discounts, and it bundled it with unlimited data plans for cellphone users.
While those efforts have helped offset losses in DirecTV’s main satellite-based service, it’s that traditional TV package that remains the most lucrative product for providers. Streaming apps don’t do as much to bolster the bottom line — meaning AT&T would be in tough shape even if it were replacing TV subscribers on a one-to-one basis with digital app users, which it isn’t.
A cautionary tale for those cities vying to be the second headquarters of Amazon. Raleigh, be careful what you wish for.
“Seattle was a great place to live before Amazon. If you can afford it, it’s a great place to live now. That’s the caveat — if you can afford it,” said Knute Berger, a Seattle native and historian who is a columnist for Crosscut.com and editor at large for Seattle Magazine.
Mr. Berger wrote a commentary for Crosscut titled “Bidder beware,” warning the countless cities, including Pittsburgh, competing for a shot at Amazon’s second headquarters and its promise of 50,000 jobs that they may end up with more than they bargained for.
“That sounds crazy because of the success of the company. But Amazon has come with costs, too, for the community. Not everyone is a winner in the Amazon economy,” he said.
It’s sad to read of the devastation to the El Yunque rainforest. It is a national treasure.
LUQUILLO, P.R. — When you looked up, you could once see nothing but the lush, emerald canopy of tabonuco and sierra palm trees covering El Yunque National Forest.
That was before Hurricane Maria obliterated the only tropical rain forest in the United States forest system. Left behind was a scene so bare that on a recent visit, it was possible to see the concrete skyline of San Juan about 30 miles west — a previously unimaginable sight.
El Yunque, pronounced Jun-kay, has been an enormous source of pride in Puerto Rico and one of the main drivers of the island’s tourism industry. The 28,000-acre forest on the eastern part of the island has over 240 species of trees; 23 of those are found nowhere else. Over 50 bird species live among the forest’s crags and waterfalls.
But sunlight now reaches cavities of the forest that have not felt a ray of light in decades, bringing with it a scorching heat.“Hurricane Maria was like a shock to the system,” said Grizelle González, a project leader at the International Institute of Tropical Forestry, part of United States Department of Agriculture. “The whole forest is completely defoliated.”