Have you ever wondered why a country could be collectively stupid enough to elect someone like Donald Trump to office? A new Gallup poll shows 40% of American adults comply to a strict view of creationism, in which God brought humans into existence within the last 10,000 years. This despite over 150 years of scientific inquiry including studies of transitional fossils and vestigial traits to the discovery of DNA and empirical observations of evolution in action. [Good Lord!]
Five Columbus, Ohio, police officers are facing departmental punishment for their roles in arresting Stephanie Clifford — better known as Stormy Daniels — in a strip club last summer. They include a police commander, a lieutenant, a sergeant, and two of the officers who arrested Daniels. [‘Stormy’ being someone allegedly stupid enough to have had an affair with the aforesaid Donald Trump.]
Another US chemical plant aflame — A mere four months after a Houston chemical plant fire made headlines, another Houston area plant has exploded into flames.
No Ratcliffe after all — President Trump abruptly dropped his intention to nominate Republican (Texas) John Ratcliffe, to serve as director of national intelligence.
Tensions between the president and the intelligence community appear to have worsened over the Ratcliffe episode, as some people in the spy world had made clear how unqualified they believed he was and just how unwelcome he would be atop the sprawling alphabet soup of US domestic and foreign spy agencies. [Ratcliffe’s main qualification appeared to have been that he was a clear Trump supporter.]
Massive US hack — A hacker swiped credit card applications, Social Security numbers and bank account information affecting more than 100 million people in the US and Canada from Capital One’s server.
Tech companies load up on people’s data — Washington Post tech columnist Geoffrey Fowler listened to four years’ worth of audio that Amazon had captured and stored from his Alexa smart speaker. He was surprised by what he found. [He was surprised, and yet he’s a ‘tech columnist’? Back to school for you, buddy.]
Climactic melt — Last week, Greenland’s ice melt reached new heights as the heatwave that battered Europe swept across the icy island. According to estimates, 12 billion tons of Greenland’s ice melted on Thursday 1st of August — equivalent to over 4 million Olympic swimming pools of water. You can watch it …
World of pain — Hong Kong protesters are going to considerable lengths to defeat surveillance. During one demonstration, some reportedly aimed laser pointers at cameras and spray painted surveillance cameras outside of the government liaison office. [Hey China, it’s much harder to make personal fortunes after free and fair elections, right?]
Russian protests — Police in Moscow have arrested hundreds of people for demonstrating outside of City Hall. Protesters are calling for fair elections and for opposition candidates to be allowed to run for the city council. [Yeah, you know, it’s much harder to make personal fortunes after free and fair elections.]
Ebola — The challenges of containing ebola two years on have been immense. The virus is spreading in a deeply impoverished part of the Democratic Republic of Congo which has been ravaged by various militias since the final days of the Mobutu Sese Seko dictatorship in the mid-1990s.