catastrophic events we are not ready for

A Sheep No More

A Catastrophe We’re Not Ready For

Posted: 13 Jun 2018 01:59 AM PDT

Imagine if electrical power suddenly went out for hundreds of millions of people. A blackout not just for hours, but for months, throwing our world into chaos and impacting everything from communications to food and water distribution. While a global blackout sounds like the start of an apocalyptic movie, there’s a possibility it could happen.

A massive solar storm hitting the earth is a ‘Low-Probability, High-Consequence’ event. It has the potential to knock out electrical power for a prolonged period and wreak havoc on nearly every aspect of modern life. Yet, it’s not something we’re really prepared for.

The last massive solar storm to hit the earth was in 1859, and is often referred to as the Carrington Event ( after astronomer Richard Carrington first observed the solar flare). It lit up the night sky with brilliant colors and caused telegraph wires to spark. There was very little reliance on electricity in the mid 19th Century, but had the solar storm hit just a few decades later, it’s disruptive impact would have been far greater.

A solar storm is a catch-all term that can include Solar flares and Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), among other phenomena. A CME can cause real chaos for our electrified society. It is an eruption of the sun’s magnetized plasma that is then carried to the earth by solar wind, where it can overwhelm the earth’s magnetic field. Geomagnetically induced currents can damage hundreds of high-voltage electrical transformers all at one time, crippling the electrical grid. The impact of that could be catastrophic.

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US Airstrikes Kill 18 Civilians in NE Syria

Posted: 13 Jun 2018 12:42 AM PDT

As US and Kurdish forces carried out offensives against ISIS in the area, US warplanes carried out airstrikes against the town of Khoeberah, in the mostly Kurdish Hasakeh Province of northeast Syria, killing 18 civilians.

Details are still emerging on the incident, which the Syrian government has confirmed. The majority of the slain civilians are, by their accounts, Iraqi refugees who had fled into Syria during the fighting in western Iraq.

This is a common occurrence on both sides of the border, as ISIS controlled territory straddling the Iraq-Syria border, and offensives against each side tended to send civilians scattering to any place remotely safer than where they were at.

US airstrikes carried out anywhere in the vicinity of suspected ISIS forces have tended to lead to large civilian casualties, and while the US has yet to comment on this latest incident, the Pentagon rarely acknowledges the full toll of errant airstrikes.


‘Threat to Americans’: AT&T, Time Warner Merger Consolidates Media PLUS Goodbye Net Neutrality

Posted: 12 Jun 2018 10:53 PM PDT

A judge has just ruled that AT&T can acquire Time Warner.

The Trump administration opposed the merger while the justice department has sued to block it.

The merger unites one of the nation’s largest telecom providers with a media giant.

Mike Papantonio, host of America’s Lawyer, breaks down the threat to Americans with RT America’s Manila Chan.

Net Neutrality Ended on June 11, 2018

The Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality rules took effect June 11, 2008.

The rules prohibited internet providers from charging more for certain content of from giving preferential treatment to certain websites.

For more on this RT America’s Natasha Sweatte with more.

Magma Amassing Beneath Supervolcano at Yellowstone National Park, Scientists Say

Posted: 12 Jun 2018 09:16 PM PDT

Fairley said measuring the amount of magma amassing beneath Yellowstone directly informs researchers on the likelihood of an imminent eruption. If magma is coming up slowly, an eruption is probably a long way off, Fairley said.

Scientists with Washington State University and the University of Idaho have devised a new way to estimate the amount of magma beneath Yellowstone National Park’s supervolcano by measuring the heat lost through the park’s various geologic features.

Jerry Fairley, a professor with the department of geological sciences at the UI and one of the lead researchers on the study, said the new method involved dosing several hot springs with a benign, stable hydrogen isotope called deuterium.

Deuterium, Fairley explained, is a pervasive chemical throughout nature. He said scientists measured the amount of time it took for deuterium levels to return to normal as well as the temperatures of the hot springs to estimate the amount of water running through the system and the amount of heat lost.

READ MORE: Strange Line of Earthquakes Across US, Hawaii Volcano Hit by Another 5.4M Quake

While their conclusions are still subject to debate, Fairley said the research has shown the magma beneath Yellowstone may be amassing much more quickly than was previously estimated.

“The work that we’ve done, it seems to indicate that there could potentially be up to twice as much heat being discharged as was previously thought,” Fairley said. “If there is twice as much heat coming up as we thought previously, that means there’s twice as much magma coming up.”

Produced by Mary Greeley:

Why We Should All Be Alarmed That Israeli Troops Are Training US Police Forces

Posted: 12 Jun 2018 08:01 PM PDT


The Israeli forces mowing down unarmed Palestinian protesters also train U.S. police forces that brutalize communities of color.

(FPIF) — Razan al-Najjar is the latest victim in Israel’s onslaught of Palestinians to go viral. The 21-year-old nurse was shot dead by a sniper. Her only weapon? A wad of medical gauze. She’d been treating protestors who’ve been rallying for their right to return to homes they were expelled from as refugees.

Unfortunately, the death of another unarmed civilian is hardly even news to Palestinians.

May 14, the day the United States moved its embassy to Jerusalem in symbolic support of recognizing the city as Israel’s capital, was also the bloodiest day in this recent wave of demonstrations. In just one day, at least 50 Palestinians were killed and 2,400 more injured by the Israeli military. (Other counts put those figures even higher.)

This isn’t an anomaly. In this latest wave of demonstrations, Israeli forces have killed dozens of unarmed protesters and wounded thousands more. And they’re not apologizing.

The violence has additionally troubling implications for the United States—and not just for its foreign policy, but at home. That’s because U.S. police forces actually train extensively with the Israeli military. In fact, hundreds of federal, state, local, and even some campus law enforcement departments across the country have trained in some capacity with the Israeli forces now gunning down Palestinian protesters in droves.

Some notable ones include the Chicago police, responsible for shooting and killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. The Baltimore police too, who were responsible for killing 25-year-old Freddie Gray. And the St. Louis department, which was deployed in Ferguson when protests erupted after police killed 18-year-old Michael Brown—prompting Palestinians halfway across the world to begin tweeting advice for minimizing injuries when police deploy tear gas.

U.S. police departments are sent to Israel, or sometimes Israeli forces come to the United States, under the pretense of counter-terrorism training.

Apparently that training includes learning the benefits of “skunk water”—a liquid developed by Israel that’s used to break up anti-occupation protests like the ones occurring right now. After protests in Ferguson, the St. Louis department started stockpiling the stuff.

And that now infamous NYPD Muslim surveillance program? The NYPD Intelligence Division Chief responsible for that one got the idea from a similar program used to spy on Palestinians.

It begs the question of whom the U.S. police consider terrorists.

The former head of Shin Bet (Israel’s internal security service) Avi Dichter—who has advocated dropping heavy bombs on civilian-occupied Gaza apartment buildings—believes there’s “an intimate connection between fighting criminals and fighting terrorists.” He calls these threats “crimiterrorists.”

But this isn’t a one-sided transfer of tactics. Dichter likes to think of the war on terror and the war on drugs in the same category. And when Israeli forces visit the United States, they also receive training from our police forces on the drug war tactics that have targeted Black and brown communities.

And just as well-documented as the U.S. police killings of Black Americans are the Israeli military killings, torture and surveillance of Palestinian adults and children.

Take 15-year-old Mohammed Tamimi. He was shot during a protest and had to have part of his skull removed. He was then taken by Israeli forces in the middle of the night, and beaten into confessing that they didn’t shoot him in the face, despite medical records and eyewitness accounts proving otherwise.

Of course, this story has an ending that Black Americans can also relate to — those in uniform will rarely be held accountable by the government.

While these connections may be new to some, the activists fighting both against the occupation of Palestine and for Black lives are not strangers to how their struggles are linked.

In 2015, Black and Palestinian artists and activists released a video and statement of Black-Palestinian solidarity in the face of state-sanctioned violence. And the Movement for Black Lives platform includes demands for the U.S. to divest from the occupation of Palestine.

The movement is taking root in many cities. In Atlanta, the group #ATLisReady released a list of demands following the police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile — the first calling for the termination of the Atlanta Police Department’s involvement in Israeli training programs. And Jewish Voices for Peace launched “Deadly Exchange,” a campaign to end the sharing of the worst practices of policing.

And now, these movements are starting to notch some victories. Durham, North Carolina recently became the first city to ban trainings of U.S. police by the Israeli military.

The success of Durham’s training ban, spearheaded by Demilitarize from Durham2Palestine, is even more extraordinary when you consider the efforts of both the powerful pro-Israel and police lobbies to crack down on Black and Palestinian-led activist organizations.

While the joint forces of the Israeli military and the U.S. police are a terrifying and oftentimes deadly affront, a joint Black and Palestinian force for good is emerging as quite powerful itself. And as the death toll rises here and in Gaza, it’s needed now more than ever.

By / Creative Commons / Foreign Policy In Focus / Report a typo

H/T: The Anti-Media

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