Pluto’s famous heart powers icy winds on the dwarf planet | Live Science

Pluto’s icy heart is beating.

The dwarf planet’s famous heart-shaped feature, which NASA’s discovered during its epic July 2015 flyby, drives atmospheric circulation patterns on Pluto, a new study suggests.

Most of the action comes courtesy of the heart’s left lobe, a 600-mile-wide (1,000 kilometers) nitrogen-ice plain called Sputnik Planitia. This exotic ice vaporizes during the day and condenses into ice again at night, causing nitrogen winds to blow, the researchers determined. ( is dominated by nitrogen, like Earth’s, though the dwarf planet’s air is about 100,000 times thinner than the stuff we breathe.)  

These winds carry heat, particles of haze and grains of ice westward, staining the ices there with dark streaks.

“This highlights the fact that Pluto’s atmosphere and winds — even if the density of the atmosphere is very low — can impact the surface,” study lead author Tanguy Bertrand, an astrophysicist and planetary scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California, . 

And that westward direction is interesting in itself, considering that Pluto spins eastward on its axis. The dwarf planet’s atmosphere therefore exhibits an odd “retrorotation,” study team members said.

Bertrand and his colleagues studied data gathered by New Horizons during the probe’s 2015 close encounter. The researchers also performed computer simulations to model Pluto’s nitrogen cycle and weather, especially the dwarf planet’s winds.

This work revealed the likely presence of westerly winds — a high-altitude variety that races along at least 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) above the surface and a fast-moving type closer to the ground that follows Sputnik Planitia’s western edge.

That edge is bounded by high cliffs, which appear to trap the near-surface winds inside the Sputnik Planitia basin for a spell before they can escape to the west, the new study suggested.

“It’s very much the kind of thing that’s due to the topography or specifics of the setting,” planetary scientist Candice Hansen-Koharcheck, of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, said in the same statement. 

“I’m impressed that Pluto’s models have advanced to the point that you can talk about regional weather,” added Hansen-Koharcheck, who was not involved in the new study.

New Horizons’ Pluto flyby revealed that the dwarf planet is far more complex and diverse than anyone had thought, featuring towering water-ice mountains and weird “bladed” terrain in addition to the photogenic heart (whose official name, Tombaugh Regio, honors the discoverer of Pluto, ).

The , which was published online Tuesday (Feb. 4) in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, reinforces and extends that basic message.

“Sputnik Planitia may be as important for Pluto’s climate as the ocean is for Earth’s climate,” Bertrand said. “If you remove Sputnik Planitia — if you remove the heart of Pluto — you won’t have the same circulation.”

Mike Wall’s book about the search for alien life, “” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by), is out now. Follow him on Twitter . Follow us on Twitter or

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Nats double down on commitment to coal, Joyce rants against wind and solar | RenewEconomy

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If there were any questions over the National Party’s commitment to the coal sector after the loss of Matt Canavan from the resources portfolio, they were quickly answered by new deputy leader David Littleproud who reasserted his party’s commitment to a new coal generator in Queensland on his first day in the job.

In an interview with ABC’s RN Breakfast program on Wednesday, Littleproud trotted out the three consistent assertions of the coal lobby; that you can reduce emissions using more coal, that more coal generation is necessary to lower electricity prices and that baseload power is a necessary feature of the future energy system.

Each of these three assertions have been repeatedly debunked, but it confirms that it’s business as usual in a Morrison cabinet that will continue to face internal divisions over a need to act on climate change and the fossil fuel advocates within its ranks.

It is understood that Queensland Nationals MP Keith Pitt is the front runner to take over Canavan’s former positions as the minister for resources and Northern Australia when new ministerial appointments are announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday.

Pitt himself has been an outspoken advocate for a new coal-fired power station in Queensland, so while Canavan – who liked to describe himself as “Mr Coal” – has exited the federal cabinet, the pressure to push forward with the Collinsville project is likely to continue.

Pitt has also been a strong supporter of a nuclear industry in Australia, and will have the backing of failed Nationals leadership candidate Barnaby Joyce, who again argued for nuclear power to be considered as part of Australia’s efforts to reduce emissions as part of a bizarre Facebook rant against renewable energy.

“We have to recognise that the public acceptance of wind towers on the hill in front of their veranda is gone, and the public dissonance on that issue is as strong as any other environmental subject,” Joyce said.

“If zero emissions are the goal then surely nuclear energy should be supported, but it is not. If wind towers are a moral good and environmentally inoffensive, why can’t we have them just off the beach at Bondi so we can feel good about ourselves while going for a surf? It would cause a riot.”

“Do you want a 3,000ha solar farm next door to you? Lots of glass and aluminium neatly in rows pointing at the sun. I am not sure others will want to buy that view off you when you go to sell your house.”

The coal industry might have lost its most enthusiastic advocate from the federal cabinet, but the Nationals were quick to show that it won’t lead to any changes on the party’s energy and climate change policies.

In his interview, Littleproud, who is also tipped to take on the now vacant agriculture portfolio, told the ABC that investments in new coal generators would help lower emissions and lower electricity prices.

“You need to make sure that you create an environment in the marketplace with a mix of renewables and coal-fired power stations, and if you can improve the emissions of coal fired power stations, you should make that investment if it means that we hit our targets and we reduce energy prices,” Littleproud claimed.

It has been well established for some time that the cheapest source of new electricity generation capacity are renewable sources like wind and solar.

A recent update to the CSIRO’s GenCost assessment of the costs of different generation technologies re-confirmed that new wind and solar are, by far, the cheapest sources of electricity generation. Even when additional storage is accounted for, prices of firmed renewables are competitive with fossil fuel generators when the costs of carbon emissions are considered.

Renewables are already helping to drive down electricity prices.

This week, the ACT, which has recently achieved its 100 per cent renewable electricity target, is also set to see an almost 7 per cent fall in its electricity prices this year, as the territory’s investments in wind and solar projects have helped deliver lower electricity prices for Canberra households, ensuring they continue to pay some of Australia’s lowest electricity prices.

But this also didn’t stop Littleproud asserting that it is possible to achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions while still embracing coal.

“You can invest in clean coal technology in and reduce emissions,” Littleproud said.

“I’m not disputing the science, what I’m saying is I’m not gifted academically to have that science background myself.” – @D_LittleproudMP when asked about his recent statement that he didn’t know if climate change was man made. #abc730 @leighsales #auspol pic.twitter.com/sFh44eNP2a

— abc730 (@abc730) February 4, 2020

Again, there are fundamental limits to how much emissions from coal-fired power stations can be improved. Even with a complete transition to the Coalition’s favoured high-efficiency low-emissions (HELE) coal power station technologies, the most generous estimates put the amount of emissions reductions at 20 per cent.

In his review of the National Electricity Market, chief scientist Dr Alan Finkel compared the emissions intensity of different generation technologies, showing that the HELE coal-fired power stations promoted by the Nationals will still produce 0.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent for each megawatt-hour of electricity produced, and is only slightly below the NEM’s current average emissions intensity.

When the science, and the international commitments made under the Paris Agreement, are calling for governments to achieve zero net emissions by 2050, a 20 per cent cut in coal power station emissions is going to be grossly insufficient.

It’s a position that leaves the Nationals at odds with science, but also the business community which is undergoing an accelerating exit from the coal industry. This includes BlackRock, which manages USD$7 trillion (A$10.15 trillion) in investments, which announced in January that it was divesting its portfolios from thermal coal companies.

Littleproud argued for the need for “baseload” power, suggesting that coal-fired power stations are necessary, as Australia currently lacks sufficient levels of battery storage.

“We’ve still got to have baseload, the thing is that we don’t have battery storage to the capacity that we need to be able to keep the lights on,” Littleproud said.

With the emergence of new energy management technologies, a growing market for energy storage that is outpacing growth in coal generation in Australia, demand response platforms and the falling prices of renewables, the concept of baseload is quickly becoming outdated.

With system planners recognising the crucial role that a ‘flexible’ energy system will have into the future, pushing new inflexible baseload power stations, like a new coal generator, into the energy system will only be counterproductive.

Chair of the Energy Security Board, which has been tasked with redesigning Australia’s energy market in response to the widescale transformation underway in the energy sector, labelled Australia’s existing “baseload” generators as “dinosaurs”, singling out coal-fired generators Bayswater and Liddell saying that their inflexibility made them poorly suited to a future energy system.

There has been a surge of installations of large-scale battery storage systems, and new investments continue to be made in deploying storage projects, while coal-fired generators are readying to exit the market.

The renewed push from the Nationals for a new coal generator appears to have been bolstered by the findings of a $10 million feasibility study into a potential new coal-fired power station in Collinsville. The feasibility study was funded as part of the government’s Underwriting New Generation Investments initiative and has yet to be released publicly.

“Collinsville, there’s a there’s now a report that’s come back to say that that business case should advance and then obviously, that will be backed by the economics of it,” Littleproud told ABC’s RN Breakfast.

The saga of the Collinsville power station has been a source of tension within the Coalition party room. Outgoing resources minister Matt Canavan had been desperate to get the project off the ground, and confronted prime minister Scott Morrison when he thought progress on the proposal was progressing too slowly.

Those tensions continue to play out in the party room, with a fiery confrontation occurring during the first coalition party room meeting of the year, and after a summer dominated by bushfires and calls for stronger climate action.

Several Nationals members shouted down calls from moderate Liberal MPs, who called for the Morrison government to demonstrate that it was taking climate change seriously.

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First male birth control injection almost ready; it will be injected directly into the p3nis and last up to 13 years – Davina Diaries

banana person

The Indian Council of Medical Research, a government-funded biomedical research agency, has successfully completed a clinical trial on an injectable male contraceptive, the Hindustan Times reported.

“The product is ready, with only regulatory approvals pending [from the government],” Dr. R.S. Sharma, a senior scientist with ICMR, told the local news outlet. “The trials are over, including extended, Phase 3 clinical trials for which 303 candidates were recruited with a 97.3% success rate and no reported side effects. The product can safely be called the world’s first male contraceptive.”

The birth control method, which lasts approximately 13 years, involves injecting a polymer, called styrene-maleic anhydride, into the vas deferens, effectively blocking sperm from leaving the testicles. The shot, preceded by a dose of local anaesthesia, is designed to supplant a traditional vasectomy.

Researchers in the US have developed a similar contraceptive, called Vasalgel, which has not yet been brought to market. A male birth control pill also exists, though researchers anticipate it’ll be about 10 years before the drug makes it to market. Also, drugs such as these can only prevent pregnancy and do not protect against STDs.

“The polymer was developed by Professor S.K. Guha from the Indian Institute of Technology in the 1970s. ICMR has been researching on it to turn it into a product for mass use since 1984, and the final product is ready after exhaustive trials,” said Sharma. Researchers call this reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance.

Drugs Controller General of India V.G. Somani said, because of pending regulatory approval, it “will still take about six to seven months … before the product can be manufactured,” they told Hindustan Times.

In the meantime, Vice asked several Indian men if they were open to the idea of a shot in the groin to prevent pregnancy. Many agreed that more options would be a boon for men and women, though many weren’t keen on needling their nether regions.

“When I think about this whole concept of contraception that you have to inject … it’s too graphic,” said 33-year-old Abhay. “Our [testicles] are like family jewels, so if I have to resort to using any kind of contraceptive, I’d rather go for a pill.”

Shreyes, 24, liked the idea of a male contraceptive because women are “already burdened enough,” but he thinks an injection may be too much for men, adding that he’d “rather not have sex at all” in that case.

“Men are not too used to making changes in their routine, so it has to be marketed in a way that doesn’t seem so intense or difficult,” he said.

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Russians Praise Trump, Taunt Zelensky, as Ukraine Signs On to Peace-Plan Proposal

Existential dread washed over the face of the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, as he sat next to the American president during their joint press conference on the sidelines of the UN. Donald Trump, as the face of Ukraines most powerful ally in its struggle against Russian aggression, was telling him: I really hope you and President Putin get together and can solve your problem.

Having lost more than 13,000 people in an ongoing conflict with its belligerent neighbor, Ukraine was now being told to make a deal with the aggressor, becauseaccording to President TrumpPresident Putin would like to do something.

During the same conference, Zelensky pleaded with Trump for help with returning the territories occupied and annexed by Russia, and, egged on by Trumpand contrary to the factscomplained that Europe wasnt doing as much as the United States to help Ukraine. In reality, European institutions spent nearly double the amount supplied by the United States: $425.2 million in 2016-2017, as compared to $204.4 million spent by the U.S.

While that disclosure infuriated Ukraines European allies, Trump in the now infamous July 25 phone call with Zelensky blamed Ukraines troubles on the Obama administration, dismissively concluding its just one of those things and directing Zelensky to ask for more help from Europe. Since the calls release, Ukrainians have nicknamed their president Monica Zelensky, as a jab referring to his part in the ongoing impeachment proceedings against Trump.

Backed into the corner and seeming to stand alone there, Zelensky made a step toward a deal with Putin by officially signing up Ukraine to the Steinmeier Formula. The agreement provides the pathway to a summit that would bring Zelensky face-to-face with Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Russia demanded written codification of the Steinmeier Formula by Ukraine as a key precondition to the next Normandy summit. It interprets the clauses of the Minsk accords (agreements between the Ukrainian authorities and Russia-backed separatists) in line with Russias preferences andtherefore enjoys the Kremlins seal of approval.

We know what happened in the United States. You have nowhere left to go.
Russian TV Host Olga Skabeeva addressing Ukraine

The formula further calls for elections to be conducted under the supervision of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in the territories held by Russian-backed separatists in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. It was signed on Oct. 1 by representatives of Ukraine, Russia, the separatist pseudo-republics of Luhansk and Donetsk (LPR and DPR), and the OSCE in Minsk.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the signing of the Steinmeier Formula agreement as a positive development. Senator Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the Federation Councils foreign affairs committee, who is under U.S. sanctions for worldwide malign activity, said the signing represents without a doubt, a victory for common sense and an overall success. In stark contrast to Russias jubilation, hundreds of Ukrainians in Kyiv have protested, demanding no capitulation to the Kremlin and its proxies.

The most controversial aspect of the Steinmeier Formula is that it provides for local elections to take place in the occupied parts of Ukraine before Kyiv has control of the border and prior to the withdrawal of the Russian-backed forces.

This condition doesnt seem to match up with Zelenskys understanding of the agreement. After signing on to the Steinmeier Formula, the Ukrainian president declared during a news conference that the elections would not be held under the barrel of a gun and would take place only when no troops remain in the separatist-held areas.

What Ukraine was so afraid of has happened Zelensky doesnt understand what he signed, concluded Vladimir Soloviev, the host of the nightly The Evening With Vladimir Soloviev on Russian state television.

The heads of Russia-backed separatist pseudo-republics in eastern Ukraine openly proclaimed in a public statement that the Kyiv authorities wont get any control over the border and vowed that LPR and DPR will make decisions about integration with Russia of their own accord. Forget about controlling the border, once and for all, exclaimed political scientist Sergey Kurginyan, appearing on The Evening.

During a panel discussion at the Russian Energy Week forum, Putin said that Zelensky will have to decide how the relations between Ukraine and Donbas will develop, pointedly referring to Ukraines own region as a separate geopolitical entity. Putin opined that Ukraine did much better when it was a part of the Soviet Union, along with Russia.

Appearing on Russias state television program 60 Minutes, Oleg Nilov, member of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, asserted that Ukraine was forced to sign the Steinmeier Formulaand proceeded to threaten the country with the Israeli formula of taking all the land Russia wants, if Kyiv reneges on the deal.

Come back to the Soviet Union, urged Karen Shakhnazarov, CEO of Mosfilm Studio, appearing on The Evening. The talk-show host Soloviev concurred and reminded the guests that the USSR was originally formed by a treaty that united the Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian and Transcaucasian republics.

Trump let Zelensky down. Three times he told him: Go meet with Putin, said Olga Skabeeva, the host of 60 Minutes. During the same program, Nikolai Platoshkin, head of the International Relations Department at Moscow University for the Humanities, predicted that once all the formulas have been exhausted, LPR and DPR will ultimately become a part of the Russian Federation. Skabeeva concurred: The sooner the better.

She surmised: After his triumphant meeting with the American president, Zelensky had no choice but to lie back and enjoy it We know what happened in the United States. You have nowhere left to go.

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Atlantic Coral Grown In Lab For The First Time Offers Hope To Save Wild Reefs

Coral conservationists at the Florida Aquarium successfully spawned Atlantic pillar coral for the first time in a lab setting earlier this week, a historic breakthrough that could help save wild species and reefs from extinction.

Sexual reproduction of corals is a notoriously finicky process and can occur both asexually, when new clonal polyps bud off of existing ones, and sexually. Many sexual corals are broadcast spawners, which means that corals produce many male and female gametes to eventually release enormous clouds of sperm and eggs into the water column, according to NOAA. The conditions for such a massive synchronized event have to occur under just the right circumstances, and scientists are still uncertain of all the variables but believe most have to do with temperature, day length, and perhaps even moon cycles – all conditions that have made sexual reproduction in the lab exceedingly difficult.

As part of Project Coral, scientists at the aquarium’s Center for Conservation in Apollo Beach were able to induce spawning in captive corals using innovative technology. Coral experts mimicked the natural environment of corals by manipulating the lighting of their habitat, including reproducing the timing of the rising and setting of the Sun and Moon.

Apollo Beach
A coral spawning event can result in the release of millions of eggs and sperm into the water column. Florida Aquarium

“The massive and fully synchronized spawning at The Florida Aquarium’s Center for Conservation, which occurred exactly at the predicted wild spawning time, indicated perfect aquatic conditions for pillar corals in our Project Coral system,” said Senior Coral Scientist Keri O’Neil. “When you have great husbandry, great water quality, and all of the right environmental cues, this is what you can do, you can change the game for coral restoration.”

Coral conservationists say their work will help inform and save corals around the world, including the endangered Florida Reef Tract, a national marine sanctuary located in the Florida Keys. Measuring 2,800 square nautical miles, this diverse area of coral is experiencing a multi-year, disease-related mortality event that has affected as many as 25 coral species, including those listed under the Endangered Species Act, that have shown tissue loss lesions, reports the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.

Florida Aquarium says their program will offer a “head start” for corals, allowing staff to raise juveniles long enough in captivity before repopulating them in reef systems that offer a better chance of survival.

“When history is made, there is hope, and today’s scientific breakthrough by The Florida Aquarium’s team of coral experts gives us real hope that we can save the Florida Reef Tract from extinction,” said Roger Germann, Florida Aquarium President and CEO, in a statement. “And, while many coral experts didn’t believe it could be done, we took that challenge to heart and dedicated our resources and expertise to achieve this monumental outcome. We remain fiercely committed to saving North America’s only barrier reef and will now work even harder to protect and restore our Blue Planet.”

The team first managed to artificially induce a spawn in 2013 and have since spawned 18 species of Pacific corals, but spawns for Atlantic were a challenge up until now, said the aquarium in a blog post

Association of Zoos & Aquariums
Project Coral hosts four tanks each measuring 2.4 meters (8 feet) long that are home to around 15 corals. Florida Aquarium

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It’s official. Watching soccer can be good for your health

(CNN)With every painstaking second that ticks by you get that bit closer to the edge of your seat. This could be it, this could be the week your beloved soccer team wins that all-important three points.

All of a sudden, the whistle sounds, and the game is over. You leap into the air celebrating the win like some feral animal, confused by those who don’t get this invested into 22 people kicking a ball around a field.
Watching soccer is special, there’s simply nothing quite like it. But now, thanks to new research led by the University of Leeds, it gets even better.
    The recent study, due to be released soon, suggests watching your beloved soccer team romp home to victory has a positive impact on your health, with spectators experiencing physical stresses equivalent to going for a brisk 90-minute walk.
    Results also found that a win lifts a spectators mood for a whole 24 hours after the game has finished.
    “Ultimately supporting your team at a football match gives you a moderate cardiovascular workout and depending on the result of the match, a psychological boost or slump,” said Dr. Andrea Utley, the sports scientist who led the study in conjunction with BetVictor.

    ‘Good stress’

    The experiment monitored 25 Leeds United fans, aged between 20 and 62, throughout three key games during the Championship last season.
    One game was watched in a controlled environment while the other two were watched live in the stadium during the team’s chaotic playoff finals, with promotion to the English Premier League at stake.
    Researchers analyzed the participants’ heart rates before the game, at halftime and after the match had finished — noticing that on average heart rates increased by 17 percent.
    “There is good stress and there is bad stress and there’s a level of arousal which is actually good for you and the level of arousal that takes you over the edge,” Utley told CNN Sport.
    “Although people think watching football takes you over the edge, it doesn’t. We found it just kept people at a good level of arousal.”
    Heart rates particularly peaked around goal scoring opportunities, with rates increasing 27 percent after a Leeds United goal and 22 percent after an opposition goal.
    Ultimately, the more the game matters, the bigger the reactions are.

      COPA90: Wilfried Zaha on Croydon and Palace

    Long term benefits

    If this wasn’t good news enough, the research also indicates that watching soccer can have long term benefits.
    Even though blood pressure increased during the game, findings revealed that, as a whole, fans had a lower blood pressure long after the match had finished.
    “There is this belief that you are in agony watching the game,” added Utley.
    “The reality is that it’s not actually true. I think we quite enjoy this, we enjoy being passionate.”
    However, this was not the case after watching a loss, with blood pressure continuing to rise long after the final whistle.

    ‘Severe slump’

    The study also noticed how people’s mood is hugely affected by the outcome of the match.
    Participants filled out a short mood survey before and after each game which revealed just how hard a loss can hit supporters.
    When their team wins, fans experience “an absolute high” with the euphoria lasting a day. However, when their team loses, the slump can “actually be quite severe.”
    One of the participants said losing a match felt like a “low hum”.
    “That disappointment of Friday meant that the first thing I thought of when I woke up on Saturday morning was, ‘I don’t believe we lost that game,'” they said in a focus group after the game.
      “That sort of sets the mood for the rest of that morning until you can pull yourself out of it.”
      Another participant said the loss felt like “a friend has died.”

      Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

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      Climate change and the US south for a year

      I crisscrossed a region my own that is mired in a culture of denial and delay. The conversation on the climate crisis has not changed fast enough

      atmosphere

      Its 96 degrees in downtown Beaufort, North Carolina, a place where I spent much of my childhood. The sidewalk is too hot for dogs to walk on. The iconic wild horses, visible on Shackleford Banks, wade in the marsh, munching cordgrass. Ive been watching the horses since I was in elementary school, and now Im sharing them with my elementary school-aged daughters on summer vacation.

      My girls love them, as I did. The legend is that the horses swam to safety from an old Spanish shipwreck. Its moving to watch the small, strong horses grazing on the dunes. For now, theyve survived the latest big hurricane, and theyre free.

      The 100 or so wild horses have one square kilometer of high ground on which to weather hurricanes and sea level rise, and a shortage of fresh water endangered by encroaching salt water and storm surge. Some scientists recommend that the Shackleford horses be relocated, although they have been there for centuries.

      The story is a familiar one that will be told in a thousand different ways as the atmosphere warms in the years to come: we must think creatively and quickly to save the things we love.

      I wrote my Climate Changed column between hurricane seasons, in the wake of Hurricane Florence and before the start of Hurricane Barry. I close the column from Beaufort, a place where Florence brought a record storm surge; it caused $17bn in damage to the state. As my daughters and I drive over the bridge into Morehead City, I see bulldozers still clearing the last of the Channel Marker restaurant, a fixture of Atlantic Beach flooded during Florence.

      I thought that Hurricane Florence might serve as a turning point in the conversation about the realities of climate change in a region still mired in a culture of denial and delay. After a year of research and reporting, I am not convinced that the conversation has changed fast enough, if much at all. Here in Beaufort, like Miami and Charleston, I encounter deniers, continued waterfront development, hurricane damage and blistering temperatures.

      A
      A great blue heron is silhouetted by the reflection of the rising sun at Lake Johnson Park in Raleigh. Photograph: Alamy

       

      If there is any part of the south where technology, tax dollars and public opinion are aligning to make changes, its Miami, even though new waterfront real estate is still being built. But for the most part, climate change discussions continue to fall along party lines in a divided nation. To many rural southerners, the bigger, well-funded environmental movements seem to be rooted in California and New England. The conversations appear to be taking place in the echo chamber of privileged believers.

      I saw more of the south while reporting for this column than I ever saw in my 30 years of living there. My travel reinforced what I already knew: there is no one south. In 2019 it is multitudinous, diverse and still reckoning with its plantation economy and cruel social history. It has PhDs, evangelicals, Trump enthusiasts, environmentalists, artists and activists. Its this very tension that has often made the south the genesis of social movements; one hopes it might happen again, and soon.

      Social and environmental racism, income inequality and poverty are as present as they have ever been, and are only weaponized by climate change, as I reported from Virginia and Natchez, Mississippi.

      I found that in places like eastern North Carolina, the river parishes of Louisiana, Miami, and Mississippis Gulf coast, chronic exposure to natural disasters has resulted in psychological resilience, and created a desire in some to go down with the ship. In places like New Orleans, trauma strengthens the sense of community. As Tropical Storm Barry moved in to New Orleans, I emailed with former interviewees who shared forecasts and concerns. Im gritting my teeth, one wrote. But Im not evacuating. Home is sometimes more an emotional than a rational commitment.

      In eastern North Carolina, where I grew up and write from, climate change was never a polite topic of conversation. I was told the same in a coffee shop in Mississippi, and by a minister in Georgia. Too many southerners are still dancing around the reality of climate change, and the cost of avoiding the conversation is going to be steep.

      What does a better and more inclusive conversation look like? Non-traditional environmentalists can be critical allies in addressing the culture of climate change denial below the Mason-Dixon Line, like hunters in Arkansas and evangelical Christians in places like St Simons, Georgia. But too often, the perspectives and interests of frontline communities are ignored, further exacerbating the environmental racism so pervasive in the south.

      When it comes to climate change preparedness in this region, part of the continued challenge is that the power structures of the old south remain in place. A Pew survey indicated that white evangelical protestants are the least likely to profess a belief in climate change. Power companies, developers and conservative politicians have a vested interest in deregulation and maintaining the environmental status quo, and many paint environmental concerns as nothing but liberal pagan ideas.

      When I began this column, I felt more of a duty to listen to all sides, but frankly I do not believe that climate change is an issue of which one can pretend, or afford, to hear both sides. I believe that to deny climate change and delay productive action in 2019 is malicious and akin to governmental malpractice. A government that is not actively protecting its citizens from the future challenges of climate change (property loss, food system collapse, increased intensity of storms, flooded infrastructure, extreme heat, economic disruption) is not acting in the interests of its citizens. A politician who delays climate action is not acting in his or her constituents best interests, and may be going so far as to actually cause harm.

      We do not need to hear another word from deniers, or cater to their anti-science position. Something the progressive south has always struggled to do: take the megaphone away from the people who want to live in the past.

      Now that Ive seen more of the south, I cant help but feel losses and concerns in a specific way. As I began to write this final column, a fire raged through the Everglades, which I had driven through just months before. Storms threatened to challenge the already saturated Mississippi and its river control structures. I thought about the gators in the marsh, the last wild panthers darting to safety in the Everglades, the bartender who was kind to me in an ancient pub on Natchez-under-the-hill. The loss of life and landscape in climate change scenarios has always troubled me, but now it is real and urgent in a way it has never been before.

      When the wild horses of Shackleford Banks weather storms, the dominant male gathers his harem on high ground or in the deep parts of the maritime forest, and they turn their backs to the wind and rain. A researcher observed that while wild herds are typically divided into harems, the divisions break down in extreme weather. The horses gave up their internal political dynamics, he said, staying together on the relatively highest ground of that site. That is how they survive.

      To navigate the decades ahead, and save the places we love and call home, southerners will need to dismantle old political dynamics and build new, inclusive alliances.

       

       

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      5G Is Hereand Still Vulnerable to Stingray Surveillance

      High-speed 5G mobile data networks may still very much be a work in progress, but they've already started rolling out in some US cities. As researchers comb through the 5G standard to see if it delivers not just on lightning speeds but improved security, they're finding that it still needs some shoring up.

      At the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas next week, a group of network communication security researchers will present findings on flaws in the 5G protections meant to thwart the surveillance devices known as stingrays. Also called "IMSI catchers" after the international mobile subscriber identity number attached to every cell phone, stingrays masquerade as legitimate cell towers. Once they trick a device into connecting to it, a stingray uses the IMSI or other identifiers to track the device, and even listen in on phone calls.

      "One good thing in 5G is it was developed to fix the issues that allow fake base station attacks," says Ravishankar Borgaonkar, a research scientist at the Norwegian tech analysis firm SINTEF Digital. "The idea is that in 5G, stealing IMSI and IMEI device identification numbers will not be possible anymore for identifying and tracking attacks. But we found that actually 5G does not give the full protection against these fake base station attacks."

      In the Clear

      One of the 5G network's main improvements to thwart stingrays is a more comprehensive scheme for encrypting device data, so that it doesn't fly around in an easily readable, plaintext format. But the researchers found enough lapses in this setup to sneak a pair of 5G stingray attacks through.

      When a device "registers" with a new cell tower to get connectivity, it transmits certain identifying data about itself. As with the current 4G standard, 5G doesn't encrypt that data. As a result, the researchers found that they could collect this information with a stingray, and potentially use it to identify and track devices in a given area.

      The researchers found that they could use that unencrypted data to determine things like which devices are smartphones, tablets, cars, vending machines, sensors, and so on. They can identify a device's manufacturer, the hardware components inside it, its specific model and operating system, and even what specific operating system version an iOS device is running. That information could allow attackers to identify and locate devices, particularly in a situation where they already have a target in mind, or are looking for a less common model.

      That degree of data exposure is problematic but not necessarily urgent, since it's general enough that only some devices would be specifically identifiable. Fifteen CCTV cameras in an area, or nine iPhone 8s, would likely be difficult to differentiate. But the researchers also found a second problem that compounds the issue.

      It turns out that the same exposure that leaks details about a device also creates the opportunity for a man-in-the-middle, like a stingray, to manipulate that data. The telecom industry divides types of devices are divided into categories from 1 to 12 based on how sophisticated and complex they are; something like a smartphone is a 12, while simplistic Internet of Things devices might be a 1 or 2. One purpose of that categorization is to signal which data network a device should connect to. More complex, higher-category devices look for the 5G or 4G network, but low-category devices only accept 2G or 3G connections, because they don't need faster speeds.

      The researchers found that they could use their first stingray attack to modify a device's stated category number during the connection process, downgrading it to an older network. At this point, older stingray attacks would apply, and a hacker could move forward with communication surveillance or more specific location tracking.

      "For the attack, you are, say, connecting an iPhone as a simple IoT device," says Altaf Shaik, a researchers at the Technical University of Berlin. "You downgrade the service and bring the speed down. At that point a classic IMSI catcher will work again. This should not happen."

      The ability to modify category data is actually not a flaw in the 5G specification itself, but an implementation issue perpetuated by carriers. If the system were set up to launch its security protections and data encryption earlier in the connection process, the attack would be moot. But carriers are mostly leaving this data in the clear and at risk for manipulation. Out of 30 carriers the researchers evaluated in Europe, Asia, and North America, 21 offered connections that were vulnerable to downgrading attacks. Only nine elected to build their systems for launching security protections earlier in the connection process.

      The researchers even found that with a similar attack they could block devices from entering a "Power Saving Mode" usually triggered by a network message. Once a device has a stable data connection, it will often wait for a message from its network saying that it can stop scanning for cell connectivity and trying to reconnect, a power-hungry endeavor over time. But the researchers found that they could manipulate the unprotected device information exposed in 5G to suppress these messages and drain a device's battery five times faster than if it were in power saving mode—a potential safety issue for embedded devices like sensors or controllers.

      Pencils Up

      The researchers disclosed the issues to the telecom standards body GSMA and hopes to work with carriers to encourage 5G implementations that apply security and data protections to the cell tower connection process as early in the interaction as possible.

      "The GSMA is aware of these findings and is working with the wider community and relevant standards body (3GPP) to revise the specifications," Jon France, GSMA's head of industry security, told WIRED. "The revision will prevent this type of attack, as outlined, as it requires encryption to be setup before the information is sent."

      Previous research has found other 5G protocol flaws that could have also been exploited for a stingray attack, but those have since been fixed. The hope is that these will be as well.

      "GSMA acknowledged that they need to take action," SINTEF Digital's Borgaonkar says. "We weren't sure how 5G would change, but now we know that basically we can still build an IMSI catcher for 5G and pinpoint a target. Discussions are going on now, so hopefully they will change the standard."

      There’s no doubt that 5G introduces many important, and long-needed, security protections. But with hundreds of millions of devices on the verge of joining the new network, there's precious little time left for rough drafts.

      Updated August 5, 2019 at 2:30 pm ET to include comment from GSMA and to clarify that SINTEF Digital is a Norwegian company.


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      A Battered Professor Leads Moscows Growing Grassroots Protests Against Putin

      MOSCOWYulia Galyaminas unraveling life illustrates all too well the risks of opposition politics in Russia, even on a local level.

      Police broke her teeth and jaw and gave her a serious concussion in 2017 when she was caught in a violent street protest. She has suffered from pain in her jaw ever since.

      Undaunted, Galyamina struggled this summer to take part in a Moscow City Council election scheduled for September. On Tuesday she called The Daily Beast on the phone from a police van driving her away from the Russian capital to jail in the provincial town of Mozhaisk.

      Galyamina is a 46-year-old linguistics professor at a prestigious university here and on the phone she sounded almost as if she were lecturing students about the dying Ketsky language. But clearly she had a message she wanted to get out.

      I have a few minutes left before they take my phone away and cut me off from all communication with my supporters, she said.

      Earlier in the day, a court arrested her and eight other key opposition leaders for calling on protesters to stage a rally in downtown Moscow without government authorization. To support the verdict, the judge read aloud a dozen or so of Galyaminas Facebook posts about opposition demands to allow independent candidates, including herself, to run in September.

      Now from the van she told The Daily Beast, Putin and [Moscow Mayor Sergey] Sobyanin must be afraid of responsible citizens and I am not surprised to get arrestedI always knew that criminal prosecution would be the price for my opposition activity.

      You are working for a fascist power, for those who rule for money, not for your sake.
      Yulia Galyamina berating police last Saturday.

      Putins Russia has seen many courageous women fighting against injustice. But instead of embracing their constructive criticism, the Kremlin chose to silence them with police clubs and prison bars. There have also been several brilliant women, including journalist Anna Politkovskaya and activist Natalia Estemirova, who fell victim to assassins. But more women join the demonstrations.

      Last weekend, for instance, a 17-year-old protester named Olga Misik sat cross-legged in the street and read articles from the Russian Constitution to riot cops arrayed around her about the right to assemble peacefully, without weapons, hold rallies, meetings, demonstrations and marches. The image already is an icon of protest.

      Two years ago I visited Galyamina at the Botkin Hospital in Moscow, where she was recovering from a concussion. She had severe headaches after a Moscow OMON (Special Police) cop smashed her face. Then, too, it was striking to see pale Galyamina on the phone from her hospital bed, calling for her supporters to come out to the next rally.

      At the time, crowds of demonstrators had turned out in the center of Moscows to fight against the city halls renovation plan for the displacement of residents from hundreds of apartment blocks slated for demolition. People did not want to move from the central districts to the outskirts of the capital.

      Factories closed, leaving millions without jobsbut at least people had their apartments, their property, Galyamina told me at the hospital in 2017. The new law allows the state to deprive thousands of Moscow families of their beloved apartments and move them to wherever officials want.

      Last year Galyamina won a seat in the Moscow municipal elections. Residents of Temiryazevsky region, where she sat on the district council, know their candidate well. She led her electorate in battles about fundamental causes in local politics like saving Dubki Park from development and demanding garbage recycling. She was building her political platform on that public support to run for the Moscow City Duma, a regional parliament, in September this year.

      The men in power grow fat, while you work for kopecks [pennies]. You beat women, you beat sick people. Do you realize what you are doing?
      Yulia Galyamina berating cops last weekend, before her arrest.

      We spent last month collecting almost 4,000 signatures from Yulias supporters but authorities rejected hundreds of real voters to ban her from running for the election, Nikolay Kosyan, one of Galyaminas supporters, said. Kosyan was angry, as are many young activists protesting in the streets in support of the arrested leaders. When the mayoral office realized that we had actually collected real signatures and not fake ones, they still decided to shut her up in fear of her powerful spirit.

      On Saturday Galyamina became a hero for thousands of protesters. Facing rows of National Guard riot police, she said: You are working for a fascist power, for those who rule for money, not for your sake, she told men covered in body armor. The men in power grow fat, while you work for kopecks [pennies]. You beat women, you beat sick people. Do you realize what you are doing? Galyamina continued in a lecturing tone while the police looked like mischievous, slightly terrified students. (Video here in Russian.)

      Galyamina was wearing her usual red dress and a white jacket and was holding a little Russian flag in her hands. I am a woman, I feel ashamed of you, strong men, who beat ordinary peoplethese people came out to the streets, because they strive to have independent institutes of power, which would not rob people like you, the deputy continued. Ten minutes later two policemen grabbed her, twisted her arms behind her back, and dragged her away from the rally.

      Back in 2013, the Russian opposition leader Aleksey Navalny won 27 percent in a mayoral election in Moscow, even without access to state television channels, coming in second after the incumbent from the ruling United Russia party, Sergei Sobyanin. This time, apparently, Sobyanin wants to avoid the mistake of allowing a strong opposition showing. Nine key candidates for September election are currently behind bars. So is Navalny.

      Galyamina had been playing by the rules. She collected the necessary number of signatures in her support but authorities turned her candidacy down, claiming signatures were falsified. Police detained up to 1,400 protesters on Saturday, Russian courts opened 200 legal cases against the opposition.

      She is stubborn and she is good at creating responsible communities in Moscow, her friend Denis Bilunov, a political scientist, told The Daily Beast. The Kremlin is scared of Galyamina.

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