Trash talking — Americans create the most waste in the world, they’re among the worst at recycling it.
So why not add infamy to idiocy? That’s clearly what Trump figured when he hailed America’s military and declared the US “is stronger today than it ever was before” in a Fourth of July speech with patriotic themes underscored by flyovers from fighter jets and displays of tanks near the stage at the Lincoln Memorial. [At least now we know what he learnt from Kim Jong-Un in that quick visit to North Korea.]
That mighty US Air Force, which is really really powerful, dropped dummy bombs on Florida by mistake on July 1st. The public has been asked not to touch them. [Hoorah!]
Fewer than 40% of Americans have ever had an HIV test, according to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These rates are even lower in states with rural areas where the disease is disproportionately more common.
Frack that — A sweeping report that evolved from work that helped ban fracking in New York State has been released to help the American public fight the practice as it pops up elsewhere across the country.
Massive wiretap — A single court-authorised wiretap order resulted in authorities in the Southern District of Texas, USA, scooping up more than 9.2 million communications.
NSA improperly collected US phone call data even after saying problem was fixed.
Data wars — ‘Impartial’ Zuckerberg doesn’t want Facebook broken up: the US government shouldn’t break up Facebook because that wouldn’t address the real problems that people face in the age of social media, according to CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg, a man who is currently worth an estimated $US71.5 billion ($102 billion) precisely because the social media company is so large.
Civil rights leaders unimpressed at Facebook’s attempts — Many civil rights leaders directly involved in discussions with Facebook say the company has only agreed so far to half-steps unlikely to effect substantive change.
Italy slaps Facebook … with wet bus ticket — Italy’s privacy watchdog announced its decision to fine world-swallowing social platform Facebook €1 million (about $NZ1.7 million) for the catastrophic mishandling of data associated with now-defunct Cambridge Analytica. [Wow, yeah, that’s only going to affect the lunch buffet for a few weeks.]
Alexa keeps your conversations — Next time you use Amazon Alexa to message a friend or order a pizza, know that the recording could be stored indefinitely, even if you ask to delete it.
Google’s toxic data mess — Google’s internet freedom moonshot has gotten glowing attention for its ambitious projects. But current and former employees, leaked documents, and internal messages reveal a grim reality. “The mission of the team is to save the day for the poor brown people.” Yikes!
Bitcoin uses as much energy as the whole of Switzerland — That’s according to a new online tool from the University of Cambridge.
Iranian authorities have seized about 1000 bitcoin mining machines in two abandoned factories, state television reported, after warnings that the activity had led to a spike in consumption of government-subsidised electricity.
New Zealand anger at Google — Government officials in New Zealand are angry and considering legal options after Google sent newsletter subscribers information about a murder case last year.
Mental health suffers with social media use — In a survey of over 22,000 people in Indonesia, researchers have found that heavy social media usage is linked to poor mental health there.
Heat — Hot world, hot France: The small, quaint town of Villevieille, southern France, the temperature soared to 45.11°C (113.2 degrees F). Météo-France, the national weather service, issued its highest warning level for four French regions.
Temperatures climbed to 32°C (90°F) in Anchorage, Alaska — This broke the all-time heat record for the northerly city. It was also the driest June on record.
Indian water apocalypse — A combination of climate change, bad policies and political apathy is steadily pushing India into a catastrophic water crisis that threatens stability in South Asia.
Less ice — Floating ice off the southern continent steadily increased from 1979 and hit a record high in 2014. But three years later, the annual average extent of Antarctic sea ice hit its lowest mark, wiping out three-and-a-half decades of gains — and then some, a NASA study of satellite data shows.
US wasps enjoy the extra heat — Typical yellow jacket nests might contain up to a few thousand workers in a cavity, but if the weather doesn’t get cold enough in the winter to kill off many of these insects, the nests can live on. This has produced car-sized nests containing 15,000 insects or more.
Cockroaches getting harder to kill — The cockroaches that plague our homes are even more indestructible than we thought, according to a recent study by researchers at the University of Purdue in Indiana.
But planting more trees could really help with climate change — We’d need to add a US-sized chunk of trees, though. As trees grow, they absorb and store the carbon dioxide emissions that are driving global heating. Tree planting is “a climate change solution that doesn’t require President Trump to immediately start believing in climate change, or scientists to come up with technological solutions to draw carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere”, professor Tom Crowther said. “It is available now, it is the cheapest one possible and every one of us can get involved.”