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Eugene

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Russian hackers who stole DNC emails failed at social media. WikiLeaks helped.

Related: Potemkin Pages & Personas: Assessing GRU Online Operations, 2014-2019 (Stanford Internet Observatory)

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Source: Washington Post

Russian hackers who stole DNC emails failed at social media. WikiLeaks helped.

By Craig Timberg
11/12/2019, 10:19:00 p.m.

The Russian military hackers who stole tens of thousands of sensitive Democratic Party documents in 2016 struggled to disseminate their bounty online — at least until anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks joined the effort, according to a report released Tuesday night.

The report, prepared by analyzing data Facebook provided to the Senate Intelligence Committee, found that the Russian military hackers sought to publicize the documents as early as June 14 that year through a post on Facebook that said, “Check restricted documents leaked from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign staff,” and provided a link to an online trove. But despite the potentially explosive contents, the post on the “DCLeaks” page generated just 11 “likes,” 17 shares and zero comments.

Direct messages to American journalists, made through a fictitious Twitter persona called Guccifer 2.0, generated a spate of news coverage soon after. But that was modest compared to the deluge that came five weeks later, on July 22, when WikiLeaks published the documents and tweeted a link to its 3.2 million followers.

The revelations from the stolen documents, many of which were embarrassing emails showing party officials appearing to favor Clinton over her rival for the presidential nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders, soon spread widely enough to prompt the Democratic chairwoman to resign on the eve of the party’s national convention.

The hacking campaign’s outreach efforts, executed by the Russian military intelligence agency known as the GRU, underscore how marrying stolen documents with sophisticated social media outreach can generate outsize results. It also underscored the unwitting role American journalists played in a Russian intelligence operation to interfere in a U.S. election.

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Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/russian-hackers-who-stole-dnc-emails-failed-at-social-media-wikileaks-helped/2019/11/12/751690ae-0580-11ea-a5e2-fccc16fa3576_story.html

Alex Jones threatened to name a Roger Stone juror. Experts say that might be jury tampering.

Source: Washington Post

Alex Jones threatened to name a Roger Stone juror. Experts say that might be jury tampering.

By Deanna Paul
11/7/2019, 5:33:46 p.m.

On the first day of political consultant Roger Stone’s trial in federal court in Washington, D.C., on charges of false statements and witness tampering, Judge Amy Berman Jackson cautioned people in the courtroom against releasing jurors’ names.

But Infowars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was undeterred, the Daily Beast first reported. Ignoring her warning, Jones broadcast on his show the name and face of an individual who he believed had been seated on Stone’s jury, calling the person an anti-Trump “minion” and launching a flurry of witness tampering and obstruction of justice allegations.

Although Jones held up a photo of a person who had no connection to the Stone trial, legal experts maintained the effect was the same as if the person had been a juror.

Jury tampering is an intentional effort to sway a juror’s opinion or decision in a case by communicating with him or her either directly or indirectly through an improper channel, outside of legal arguments and evidence presented in court.

It doesn’t matter whether he revealed the right or wrong name or image, according to Mimi Rocah, a former federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York. His actions were not about a particular juror, but rather they were aimed at intimidating the others on the jury, she said.

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Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/11/07/alex-jones-threatened-name-roger-stone-juror-experts-say-that-might-be-jury-tampering/

Antarctica likely to drive rapid sea-level rise under climate change

Source: Australian National University

NOVEMBER 6, 2019

Antarctica likely to drive rapid sea-level rise under climate change

by Australian National University

Scientists from The Australian National University (ANU) have shown that ice melt from Antarctica drives rapid and high sea-level rise, offering a forewarning of what to expect under human-driven climate change.

The researchers examined historical and new data from the 'last interglacial', which took place 125,000 to 118,000 years ago and saw sea levels rise up to 10 metres above current levels.

Interglacials are periods of warmer global temperatures that can last thousands of years.

The study, published in Nature Communications, shows that sea levels rose up to three metres per century, largely driven by ice loss in the Antarctic ice sheet.

Lead author, Professor Eelco Rohling, said that the last interglacial sea-rise was due to natural climate instabilities.

"These were smaller and slower than the human-caused climate disturbance of today," he said.

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Read more: https://phys.org/news/2019-11-antarctica-rapid-sea-level-climate.html

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Related: Asynchronous Antarctic and Greenland ice-volume contributions to the last interglacial sea-level highstand (Nature Communications)

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The headlines from other outlets are much more sensational:
Scientists looked at sea levels 125,000 years in the past. The results are terrifying (The Conversation)
Scientists Study Sea Levels 125,000 Years Ago And It's a Terrifying Look at Our Future (Science Alert)

Climate change: 'Clear and unequivocal' emergency, say scientists

Source: BBC

Climate change: ‘Clear and unequivocal’ emergency, say scientists

By Matt McGrath
Environment correspondent

6 November 2019

A global group of around 11,000 scientists have endorsed research that says the world is facing a climate emergency.

The study, based on 40 years of data on a range of measures, says governments are failing to address the crisis.

Without deep and lasting changes, the world is facing "untold human suffering" the study says.

The researchers say they have a moral obligation to warn of the scale of the threat.

Released on the day that satellite data shows that last month was the warmest October on record, the new study says that that simply measuring global surface temperatures is an inadequate way of capturing the real dangers of an overheating world.

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Where it differs is in showing that while things might be bad, they are not hopeless. The researchers show six areas in which immediate steps should be taken that could make a major difference.

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Read more: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-50302392

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Related: World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency (BioScience)

NYT Editorial Board: The Mess at D.H.S.

Source: New York Times

The Mess at D.H.S.

The Department of Homeland Security, about to lose its fourth leader in three years, is a laboratory of Trumpian chaos.

By The Editorial Board
The editorial board is a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values. It is separate from the newsroom.

Oct. 31, 2019, 6:57 p.m. ET

Thursday was supposed to be the last day on the job for Kevin McAleenan, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. The fourth person to head the department under President Trump, Mr. McAleenan tendered his resignation three weeks ago, after a brief, turbulent stint in which he — not infrequently — found himself at odds with the president’s more radical immigration policies, statements and advisers.

In announcing Mr. McAleenan’s impending departure via Twitter, the president congratulated him on “a job well done” and said he would name a new acting secretary the following week. That didn’t happen, threatening to leave rudderless the government’s third-largest department, with a portfolio ranging from border protection to disaster management to transportation safety to counterterrorism to election security. In an appearance before a House committee on Wednesday, Mr. McAleenan said that, if asked, he would stay on until a successor was found. “If necessary,” he said, “I’ll absolutely ensure a smooth transition.”

While noble, this seems overly ambitious. In the Trump administration, little at Homeland Security has gone smoothly, with high turnover, vacancies in key posts and a growing number of “acting” officials running major divisions. At D.H.S., the top jobs being filled in a temporary, unconfirmed capacity include the deputy secretary, the under secretary for management, the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the head of Customs and Border Protection and the head of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. There has been feuding among senior officials, and lines of authority have become hopelessly tangled.

Mr. Trump has made clear he likes things this way; he can exert greater control over what amounts to glorified temp workers, and he doesn’t have to bother with obtaining the Senate’s approval of his appointees. But it is a lousy way to run a department — especially one so sprawling — fueling instability, eroding morale and draining vital agencies of experienced, competent leaders.

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Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/31/opinion/department-homeland-security.html
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