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Uranium company urged Trump admin. to shrink Utah national monument

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A uranium company sent a letter to the Interior Department earlier this year urging the Trump administration to shrink Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, the Washington Post reports .

The backdrop: President Trump announced on Monday that he would shrink Bears Ears by 85%, cutting more than 1 million acres. Energy Fuels Resources, the uranium company, said the creation of the national monument under Obama could impact "existing and future" projects. Interior Secretary Zinke has said the decision was "not about energy," though critics have raised the possibility that Trump's move will open the area up for mining.



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JimB
1 day ago
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How to Stop Websites From Asking to Show Notifications

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Web browsers now allow websites to show you notifications. On many news and shopping websites, you’ll see a popup telling you the website wants to show notifications on your desktop. You can disable these notification prompts in your web browser if they annoy you.
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JimB
4 days ago
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It had become an annoyance
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The Republican Party Slinks Back to Roy Moore

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The British journalist and sometime-politician Winston Churchill supposedly once said that Americans, having exhausted all alternatives, will do the right thing. If Churchill were writing today, he might offer a parallel formulation: The Republican Party, having exhausted all other alternatives, will do the politically expedient thing—an axiom demonstrated vividly over the last couple days in the GOP’s decision to support U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore in Alabama after all.

On Monday, President Trump made explicit what he had long made clear in practice: He wholeheartedly endorses Moore for Senate, despite multiple allegations of sexual misconduct involving teenage girls. Later in the evening, the Republican National Committee announced it would reopen the money pipeline to Alabama it had shut off when the party at large cut Moore loose—or so it seemed—in November.

Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who had been one of the earliest and most stalwart Moore denouncers, seems to have backed off his most fiery statements. On November 13, McConnell said, “I think he should step aside.” On Sunday, on ABC’s This Week, he hedged: “I’m going to let the people of Alabama make the call,” adding that “the Ethics Committee will have to consider the matters that have been litigated in the campaign should that particular candidate win.”

The belated reconciliation with Moore seems practically inevitable in retrospect. Roughly a month ago, when the first allegations against Moore were reported, I noted that the scenario posed not only a moral test for the Republican Party, but an uncomfortably familiar one. In timing, type, and circumstances, it was remarkably similar to what happened with Donald Trump and the Access Hollywood tape in 2016. About a month before the election, The Washington Post produced a highly damaging report about the candidate, with credible allegations of sexual misbehavior—in Trump’s case, boasting about committing sexual assault; in Moore’s case, multiple stories about him pursuing women under 18, in one case allegedly committing felony crimes with a 14-year-old, and in another allegedly sexually assaulting a 16-year-old. In both cases, the following few days produced even more allegations. In both cases, top Republicans fairly quickly expressed their disgust and withdrew their support.

But eventually, Republicans came back to Trump. Multiple officeholders who said they couldn’t in good conscience support him had by election day quietly reversed their position and reaffirmed their support for the GOP nominee. Nor was Trump the first time this had happened. In 2012, after Senate candidate Todd Akin of Missouri said that women couldn’t get pregnant in cases of “legitimate rape,” the party abandoned him. But it later became clear that the National Republican Senatorial Committee, whose chairman Senator John Cornyn had said there was no chance of a reversal, had quietly funneled three-quarters of a million dollars to Akin late in the race.

Of course, the parallel between the Trump and Moore cases just goes to persuade some backers of both men that it’s all a set up by the press, out to get conservative candidates. But you don’t have to take the liberal media’s word for it. Take McConnell, who said, “I believe the women.” Or Ivanka Trump, who said, “There’s a special place in hell for people who prey on children. I’ve yet to see a valid explanation and I have no reason to doubt the victims’ accounts.” Or Kellyanne Conway, who said, “Whatever the facts end up being, the premise, of course, the principle, the incontrovertible principle, is that there is no Senate seat worth more than a child.” Or even take the White House, which, before Trump weighed in, said that if the allegations against Moore were true, he should step aside.

Since then, no one has offered any evidence that the allegations against Moore aren’t true. In fact, there have only been more—more accusers, many of them with convincing circumstantial evidence, and who told their stories to acquaintances and family members at the time. Other reports have focused on Moore’s well-known taste for young girls and his supposed banishment from the mall in Gadsden, Alabama, for creeping teenagers out.

Moore has flatly denied all allegations but refused to refute them with any evidence; in fact, he has gotten only more brazen, now claiming that he doesn’t even know accusers who he last month admitted having known. That denial led another woman to bring forth evidence of her teenaged ties to Moore. Debbie Gibson had already described their relationship, but upset by his denial, she on Tuesday produced handwritten notes from Moore along with her annotations from the time.

So what has changed? The polling has. When the GOP abandoned Moore, he was leading, but the moral stakes were clear. Then the polling followed, with an NRSC poll showing Democrat Doug Jones with an astounding (and outlying) 12-point lead. But since Thanksgiving, as attention has drifted away from the race, Moore has floated back to a small lead over Jones. And Republican leaders have apparently begun to feel a little remorse over their moral stand, wondering if maybe it’s better to have a Republican in the Senate than a Democrat. After all, if Moore can get away with just pretending nothing ever happened, and Trump can get away with claiming that he isn’t on a tape he clearly is on, why should other Republicans not follow suit?

The one group that remains to be watched is the NRSC. Its chairman, Senator Cory Gardner, was quick to condemn Moore, saying that he should step aside, and if he were elected, the Senate should expel him. NRSC Executive Director Chris Hansen wrote a viral tweet mocking Moore for telling McConnell, “Bring it on,” which Hansen noted was also the title of a movie about high-school cheerleaders. The NRSC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the recent moves; CNN cited an NRSC source who said the group was still staying out.

As for the other leaders of the party, with their brief separation and then reconciliation with Moore, they have set their own trap, establishing abandonment as a moral bar and then breaking their own standard in short order. Politically, they may get away with it, at least in the short term. If the polls are right, Moore will win and head to the Senate. Nor can the GOP lose much credibility for taking sexual assault seriously; after all, as long as Trump is president and the party’s de facto leader, there’s no credibility to lose.

Longer term, there’s more potential for damage. The reversal is more embarrassing because of Moore’s disdain for the party. A deeply flawed candidate even before the sexual-misconduct allegations—Moore was twice removed from the Alabama Supreme Court for defying federal courts, blamed 9/11 on lack of faith, and uses racist slurs casually—he practically reveled in Washington’s denunciations, making plain how little he was beholden to the rest of the GOP. Now much of the rest of the GOP is slinking back to him.

This, too, sounds familiar: It’s just like Trump. If elected, Moore, like Trump, is likely to be an agent of chaos in Washington, frequently defying and wrecking plans of party leaders. Either GOP leaders have decided that they like the way Washington runs under Trump (there’s little evidence to support this), or the president’s takeover of the Republican Party is complete enough that it doesn’t matter. As for the chaos of Trump’s Washington, the Alabama Senate race seems poised to deliver more, and Moore, of the same.

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JimB
6 days ago
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The Republican Party, having exhausted all other alternatives, will do the politically expedient thing
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Why some people can hear this silent gif

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Why are some people able to hear this gif even though it is silent?
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JimB
7 days ago
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Trump Shrinks Two National Monuments

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On Monday afternoon, President Trump signed two presidential proclamations that will reduce the boundaries of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, two national monuments located in Utah. Never before has a president reduced a national-monument designation made by a predecessor by such large margins.

“I’ve come to Utah to take a very historic action, to reverse federal overreach and restore the rights of this land to your citizens,” President Trump told a crowd at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City.

According to leaked documents, Trump’s proposal would shrink the 1.32-billion-acre Bears Ears monument, designated by President Barack Obama in 2016, by about 85 percent. Grand Staircase-Escalante, which was designated by Bill Clinton in 1996, would be reduced by about 50 percent.

Bears Ears has been a point of contention between Utah lawmakers and environmental groups ever since Obama designated it at the end of his presidency. Utah Senator Orrin Hatch has long been campaigning to reduce the size of the monuments, citing federal overreach as well as the possibility for economic development of the land.

A few months after taking office, President Trump ordered Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review 27 national monuments. Zinke later suggested shrinking or modifying 10, including Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante.  

In his speech on Monday, Trump cited “past administrations” as having “severely abused the purpose and spirit and intent of a centuries-old law known as the Antiquities Act.” That act, signed in 1906 by Theodore Roosevelt, gives presidents the unilateral power to protect public land—but nowhere does it explicitly grant the president power to reduce or remove previous designations. On these grounds, several environmental groups have promised to bring lawsuits if Trump followed through on Zinke’s recommendations.

Now that Trump has taken an overt action to do so, all eyes will be on whether or not the courts will allow the president to reduce previous designations. The outcome will set the new precedent for the country’s approach to public lands; and, according to the law professor Mark Squillace, could render the Antiquities Act a “punching bag among presidents going forward.”

According to other historians, the president’s actions may not have far-reaching implications when it comes to actual policy. “It’s one thing for a president to say, ‘I’m going to do this,’” said the historian Michael Kraft. “It’s quite another to look back another three years later and say, ‘What actually happened?’”

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JimB
8 days ago
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The man is a disaster. Some of his actions will be all but impossible to put right later.
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Video: Incredible 1,000fps slow-motion 4K lightning footage

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If you need something to get your week off to an 'epic' start, look no further than DP Dustin Farrell's incredible storm chasing video he just released yesterday. Captured mostly with a Phantom Flex4K slow-motion camera at 1,000fps, it's a slow-motion masterpiece with lightning footage that left this writer's jaw slack.

The video, titled Transient, is a compilation of Farrell's best storm chasing shots from the 2017 season. Over the course of 30 days he says he drove over 20,000 miles—developing a deeper "respect and admiration for storm chasers" all the while. He also shared some technical details in the video's description:

Most of the lightning footage was captured in uncompressed raw at 1000 frames per second with our Phantom Flex4K.

[...]

The Phantom Flex4K is a camera that must be post triggered while shooting high speed. This works out well for capturing lightning because the camera is always recording and rewriting to internal ram. As soon as a bolt appears in my view finder I trigger the camera to save what has been stored in the ram. Shooting at high frame rates requires a lot of light. Therefore, I mostly used my Zeiss Otus 28, 55, and 85mm lenses wide open at f1.4. In all, I captured 10TB of data during this production.

But don't let the plethora of awesome footage fool you, this was an incredibly challenging project:

This is one of the most difficult projects I have ever attempted in my career [...] Chasing storms with a Phantom Flex4K is stressful even when things are going well. There were at least 10 days where I returned home with my tail between my legs and nothing to show after a ten hour chase and 500 miles. There were also a couple of days that I drove home with an ear to ear smile that lasted for hours.

Check out the results for yourself above, but don't forget to do it right: shades drawn, headphones on, volume up, and resolution set to 4K. It is 100% worth it. And if you like what you see, definitely head over to Farrell's website or give him a follow on Facebook and Instagram.

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JimB
8 days ago
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