Eight prototypes for Trump’s wall near US-Mexico border pass military tests for impenetrability

February 13, 2018 by  
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Filed under the category of depressing news, eight prototypes for Trump’s border wall have been erected at the US-Mexico border in San Diego’s Otay Mesa area for testing. Over the past few months, the 30-foot wall sections have been assessed for breach-ability by the US Customs and Borders Protection agency, using sledgehammers, pickaxes, saws and various power tools. The result? Totally impenetrable, according to military testing. Muro de oro, sueño americano A post shared by Jill Marie Holslin (@jillholslin) on Oct 24, 2017 at 12:32am PDT The prototypes were submitted by the six companies that were chosen out of 250 by the Department of Homeland Security during the bidding process launched in February of 2017. The winning design may or may not serve to help Donald Trump fulfill his campaign promise of strengthening the border between the US and Mexico . Related: Solar-powered ‘ecotopia’ proposed as alternative to Trump’s border wall All of the eight designs are made from concrete , which was specified in the tender process. Other materials include steel reinforcements, as well as metal and an unspecified transparent material. One solid concrete wall is even topped with steel mesh and spikes. No word yet on whether the winning design will be outfitted with solar panels, as Trump has suggested. Tactical teams have spent the past few months attacking the wall to determine if it can stand up against penetration. Now, the teams have determined that the walls all pass muster. No word on which design Trump favors, but the testers said that the design with see-through steel barriers at the top was particularly “good”. It is likely that the final wall will include the best elements of each design. However, the wall installation is still far from reality. The various proposals for the project’s funding, which has an estimated price tag of $1.6 billion, have been stalled in the Senate for months and the state of California has filed a lawsuit to block its construction. Trump’s recently submitted budget proposal includes funding for the wall, but the budget has to pass congress approval before it would go forward. Via Dezeen and the LA Times Images via Wikipedia and EdmondMeinfelder

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Eight prototypes for Trump’s wall near US-Mexico border pass military tests for impenetrability

Trump bewilders scientists, says ice caps are "setting records"

January 29, 2018 by  
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The president of the United States raised eyebrows once again over his thoughts on climate change . In an interview with British journalist Piers Morgan on United Kingdom television channel ITV, Donald Trump said ice caps are setting records – without offering data to back up his statement. Morgan asked Trump, “Do you believe in climate change? Do you think it exists?” Trump said, “There is a cooling and there is a heating and look, it used to not be climate change. It used to be global warming . Right? That wasn’t working too well. Because it was getting too cold all over the place. The ice caps were going to melt, they were going to be gone by now, but now they’re setting records, okay, they’re at a record level.” Related: This map shows how uninformed Trump’s global warming tweet is There are several errors in Trump’s statement, for which he failed to offer scientific evidence. Reuters spoke with a few scientists about Trump’s claims, and World Glacier Monitoring Service director Michael Zemp told them, “ Glaciers and ice caps are globally continuing to melt at an extreme rate…maybe [Trump] is referring to a different planet.” Trump also talked about the Paris Agreement in the interview, saying, “Would I go back in? Yeah, I’d go back in. I like, as you know, I like Emmanuel,” referring to the president of France Emmanuel Macron . “I would love to, but it’s got to be a good deal for the United States.” Bloomberg pointed out Trump made similar remarks following a meeting with Erna Solberg, prime minister of Norway. So what are some of Trump’s beliefs on the environment ? The president told Morgan, “I’ll tell you what I believe in. I believe in clean air, I believe in crystal clear, beautiful water, I believe in just having good cleanliness.” Via The Independent , Bloomberg , and Reuters Images via Gage Skidmore on Flickr and Pixabay

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Trump bewilders scientists, says ice caps are "setting records"

2017 was the hottest year on record for Earth’s oceans

January 29, 2018 by  
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Last year was the hottest year on record for Earth’s oceans , according to two scientists at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (IAP/CAS). The increase in ocean heat led to a 1.7-millimeter global sea level rise – and other consequences like “declining ocean oxygen, bleaching of coral reefs, and melting sea ice and ice shelves.” The ocean absorbs over 90 percent of the planet’s “residual heat related to global warming ,” according to the researchers, Lijing Cheng and Jiang Zhu, whose work recently came out as an early online release in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences . While they said the increase in ocean heat content for last year happened in most of the world’s regions, the Atlantic and Southern Oceans displayed more warming than the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Related: Rising ocean temperatures are cooking the Great Barrier Reef to death According to National Geographic , the two scrutinized ocean temperature data from multiple institutions, including the United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Scientists started gathering the data during the 1950’s – and in the late 1990’s, ocean temperatures started to take off, per the publication. The IAP ocean analysis reveals “the last five years have been the five warmest years in the ocean.” National Geographic pointed out people visiting the beach probably wouldn’t notice the temperature rise, but a warming ocean could still have damaging impacts. Sea ice coverage and thickness have both taken a hit. And the window to save Earth’s coral reefs is closing quickly . The researchers said in their paper, “The global ocean heat content record robustly represents the signature of global warming…The human greenhouse gas footprint continues to impact the Earth system.” + Advances in Atmospheric Sciences Via Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences , The Guardian and National Geographic Images via Deposit Photos ,  Ant Rozetzky on Unsplash and Tim Lautensack on Unsplash

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2017 was the hottest year on record for Earth’s oceans

NASA is returning to the Moon – but they don’t know how

January 9, 2018 by  
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NASA is returning to the Moon . President Donald Trump signed a directive in December to “refocus America’s space program on human exploration and discovery” using the Moon as something of a first step before a mission to Mars . But not everyone is pleased with the idea – and the space agency doesn’t know how they’ll go back. How will NASA return to the Moon? When will they go? How much will it cost? These are questions that are as of yet unanswered. The Washington Post spoke with acting administrator Robert Lightfoot, who said the agency would partner with other countries, but didn’t specify which ones. He also said the effort would be a public-private partnership, but didn’t name any companies. The Washington Post said he offered “no specifics about the architecture of a moon program;” he told them, “We have no idea yet.” Related: Trump signs directive to send astronauts to the Moon and Mars The president’s yearly budget request to Congress could bring more details to light, according to Lightfoot. As for now many specifics are open to speculation – and the agency still doesn’t have a permanent administrator, just another top science position still unfilled in Trump’s administration, according to The Washington Post. Trump nominated United States Representative Jim Bridenstine, a Republican of Oklahoma, in September, but Florida’s two senators Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Bill Nelson criticized the choice. Some people say the top position in NASA – which has received bipartisan support for years – shouldn’t be handed to a politician. Other people expressed frustration the agency’s direction has been changed once again – the third time in this century. Former astronaut Scott Kelly told The Washington Post, “We’re always asked to change directions every time we get a new president, and that just causes you to do negative work, work that doesn’t matter. I just hope someday we’ll have a president that will say, ‘You know what, we’ll just leave NASA on the course they are on, and see what NASA can achieve if we untie their hands.” Via The Washington Post Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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NASA is returning to the Moon – but they don’t know how

Trump signs directive to send astronauts to the Moon and Mars

December 12, 2017 by  
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President Donald Trump’s administration has made overtures about sending American astronauts back to the Moon . Yesterday, he signed Space Policy Directive 1, calling for a United States-led program with private sector partners to do just that, and then send humans to Mars . Harrison Schmitt, the most recent living human to walk on Earth’s satellite, was present at the signing, which happened 45 years to the minute after he landed on the Moon. Space Policy Directive 1 says the NASA administrator should “lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities.” The policy halts NASA’s current work to send astronauts to an asteroid . Related: Mike Pence says America will send humans back to the moon Trump said, “The directive I am signing today will refocus America’s space program on human exploration and discovery. It marks a first step in returning American astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972…This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprints – we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars, and perhaps someday, to many worlds beyond.” In their statement on the directive, the White House said Trump is refocusing the space program on feasible goals. They also said the country isn’t the accepted leader in human space exploration any longer, but “should be a leader in space.” The White House aims to send astronauts to space aboard American-made rockets in upcoming years, and said American companies will provide rockets and engines to the Pentagon for national security payloads. The policy was inspired by a unanimous recommendation from the National Space Council , which the White House says Trump revived after 24 years. Vice President Mike Pence chairs the council. Via NASA and The White House Images via NASA/Aubrey Gemignani and NASA HQ PHOTO on Flickr

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Trump signs directive to send astronauts to the Moon and Mars

Patagonia is suing the Trump Administration over Bears Ears: "The President Stole Your Land"

December 5, 2017 by  
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Patagonia won’t let President Donald Trump shrink Bears Ears and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments without a fight. After the president announced yesterday he aims to slash the monuments by around by two million acres, Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario said they’ll continue the fight to protect the land in court. Today, the company’s home page – instead of featuring photographs of adventurers exploring nature – is black, bearing the stark statement “The President stole your land.” Patagonia calls Trump’s move illegal, and says his decision marks “the largest elimination of protected land in American history.” Trump aims to reduce Bears Ears from 1.35 million acres to a mere 220,000 acres, and cut Grand Staircase-Escalante, which is nearly two million acres, in half. The area, which includes sacred Native American lands and archaeological sites, could be opened up to energy exploration and coal mining . Related: President Trump shrinks Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments by 2 million acres Patagonia points to overwhelming public support for public lands – there were more than 2.7 million public comments during the Department of the Interior’s 60-day period – and over 98 percent supported maintaining or even expanding national monuments. The company also says it’s a myth that America needs to open more public lands for oil and gas development. They quoted a 2017 statistic from The Wilderness Society: “90 percent of U.S. public lands are open to oil and gas leasing and development; only 10 percent are protected for recreation, conservation , and wildlife.” Meanwhile, the company pointed out the value of the outdoor recreation industry. According to Patagonia, relying on information from the 2017 Outdoor Industry Association Economic Report, the industry contributes 7.6 million jobs and $887 billion in consumer spending every year, “far outpacing the jobs and spending generated by the oil and gas industry.” Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard told CNN , “I’m going to sue him. It seems the only thing this administration understands is lawsuits. I think it’s a shame that only four percent of American lands are national parks . Costa Rica’s got 10 percent…We need more, not less. This government is evil and I’m not going to sit back and let evil win.” Patagonia has a take action page on their website allowing users to tweet to the administration telling them they can’t take these lands away. They also listed 15 organizations fighting for public lands that you can support. + Patagonia Images via Patagonia , Depositphotos , and IIP Photo Archive on Flickr

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Patagonia is suing the Trump Administration over Bears Ears: "The President Stole Your Land"

Cards Against Humanity buys land on the US-Mexico border to block Trump’s wall

November 15, 2017 by  
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You may have gotten some laughs from the irreverent Cards Against Humanity game in the past, but now the people behind the “party game for horrible people” have a higher objective: stop Donald Trump’s border wall. The company bought land on the border and worked with a law firm to make it harder for the Trump administration to act on its plan – and they asked fans to chip in $15 for a piece of the land in their new Cards Against Humanity Saves America campaign. Cards Against Humanity doesn’t want to see a United States-Mexico border wall erected, so they’re working to thwart Trump with their recent land purchase. On their campaign page, they said, “Donald Trump is a preposterous golem who is afraid of Mexicans. He is so afraid that he wants to build a twenty-billion dollar wall that everyone knows will accomplish nothing. So we’ve purchased a plot of vacant land on the border and retained a law firm specializing in eminent domain to make it as time-consuming and expensive as possible for the wall to get built.” Related: Provocative street art installation shows baby peering over US-Mexico border wall Those who gave Cards Against Humanity $15 earned “six America-saving surprises” during the holidays. The company has been quiet about most of the surprises, but they did say backers could expect an illustrated map of the land they purchased, new cards, and a certificate of their promise to battle Trump’s border wall. Other surprises are set to be delivered in December. The campaign seems to have resonated with Americans – The Washington Post reported it sold out in hours. This isn’t the first time Cards Against Humanity has gotten political , using humor to draw attention to current issues. For example, earlier this year they created a Weed Pack and donated proceeds to the Marijuana Public Policy Project to fight for legalization. They also sent potatoes to Republican Wisconsin senator Ron Johnson to persuade him to hold a town hall about the Affordable Care Act. + Cards Against Humanity Saves America Images via Cards Against Humanity Saves America and Anthony Albright on Flickr

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Cards Against Humanity buys land on the US-Mexico border to block Trump’s wall

10 Trumpkins that are making Halloween great again

October 16, 2017 by  
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As Halloween draws near, it’s time once again to revisit our new favorite Halloween past time – Trumpkins. People all over the country are decorating their jack-o-lanterns to look like President Donald Trump , and it’s easy to understand why. On a superficial level, Trump’s orange-hued complexion makes him a perfect model for pumpkin-based creativity. On a deeper level, for those of us who care about the environment or basic human decency, the Trump presidency is a disaster. But there’s something to be said for facing your fears through artistic expression. With over 6,000 spooky photos on Instagram, it’s clear the “Trumpkin” has become a trend. Here are a few of the Inhabitat team’s favorites from around the web. The first Trumpkin on our list, and possibly the most terrifying entry, is painted on the face of the pumpkin rather than carved. A tuft of real hair finishes off the eerie image. It was posted on Instagram by user @ktmod with the tasteful caption, “Grab ’em by the pumpkin.” #Trumpkin lol 🎃🍁Happy Hump Day!!!🕸🍂🍁 A photo posted by lucymorey3 (@lucymorey3) on Oct 26, 2016 at 9:45am PDT This Trumpkin by @lucymorey3 really encapsulates The Donald’s natural speaking style: shouting hatefully.   Last night, there was a note attached that read "our president is a pumpkin #impeach #trumpkin" My neighbors know what's up ? A post shared by Ally Nickert (@ally.likes.cats) on Oct 15, 2017 at 12:58pm PDT This Trumpkin – also shouting – captures the Cheeto-in-Chief’s essence in all its orange glory. Family pumpkin carving night… Everyone agreed Chris's #trumpkin won the prize #orangecheeto #colorofhomedepot A post shared by Christina Cain (Nunes) (@cainname) on Oct 15, 2017 at 4:34pm PDT Instagrammer cainname’s  is a hopeful expression of the future: Is this a jack-o'-lantern of a 'human' equivalent of cargo pants that zip away into shorts, a sentient orange mop, a man-sized sebaceous cyst, a Neo-fascist real estate golem, a turd, or all of the above? Asking for a friend. #trumpkin A post shared by Amela (@msamelak) on Oct 15, 2017 at 8:13pm PDT We’ll just let msamelak’s Trumpkin speak for itself: “Is this a jack-o’-lantern of a ‘human’ equivalent of cargo pants that zip away into shorts, a sentient orange mop, a man-sized sebaceous cyst, a Neo-fascist real estate golem, a turd, or all of the above? Asking for a friend.” This next Trumpkin by Instagram user @petermartindk takes a more classic approach, transforming the presidential candidate into a glowing jack-o-lantern. We dig the minimalist approach here. Spotted this on the way home tonight #trumpkin A photo posted by @bubbeemonkey on Oct 26, 2016 at 12:29pm PDT Instagram user @bubeemonkey may not be responsible for carving this smug-looking Trumpkin, but we’d like to thank them for sharing it with the world. Reddit user Shazkitten decided to take a more photorealistic approach – a surprisingly detailed portrait, considering the medium. Good effort @sainsburys. 🎃😂 #Trumpkin #Hilary #PresidentialDebate #Halloween A photo posted by Divya 🌺🔮? (@divyadancer) on Oct 26, 2016 at 10:52am PDT These Sainsbury’s pumpkins have an almost sculptural quality — they’re definitely not your average pumpkin carving. They both look a bit too happy, though, given how the election last year went. This painted masterpiece is the work of John Kettman of LaSalle, Illinois. Kettman has been painting portraits on pumpkins for about 6 years, but this autumn he took a political turn with his gourd art. In addition to his Trumpkin, he’s also created Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders pumpkins. Happy National Pumpkin Day! #nationalpumpkinday #NYCpumpkin #nychalloween #trump #clinton #trumpkin #election2016 #election2016🇺🇸 A photo posted by PaulsdaBurgerJoint (@paulsdaburgerjoint) on Oct 26, 2016 at 8:05am PDT Another pair of matching Hillary and Donald pumpkins courtesy of @PaulsdaBurgerJoint . These two look like they just stepped onto the floor of the debates. Ohio pumpkin artist Jennette Paras chooses someone in the news as her source of inspiration in a personal tradition dating back 25 years. Last Halloween, she transformed a massive, 374-pound pumpkin into a likeness of Donald Trump – an effort that took six separate blond wigs attached to the gourd. Nearby, she’s placed a sign suggesting visitors “make pumpkins great again.” #trumpkin is done. My sissy is going to dab some yellowish…crap on its head to make the hair look like his head. #acrylicpainting #smashthetrumpkin #fuckofftrump #anyonebuttrump #artsy A photo posted by Cassie Tucker (@tangledinreverie) on Oct 24, 2016 at 9:57pm PDT This Trumpkin by @tangledinreverie really captures Trump’s luxurious, windswept locks. David Jones’ Trumpkin takes a minimalist, pop-art approach that captures Trump perfectly. Unlike some of the others on this list, he’s avoided using a wig to depict Trump’s famous hair, instead repurposing the inside of the pumpkin to form some kind of squash toupee. #trump #pumpkin #fall #diy #justbecause #funny #hilarious #lol #Trumpkin #trumppumpkin #trending #potd #picoftheday #photoofday #halloween #October #autumn A photo posted by Tiffany Marz 🌟🎙🎬🕆? (@tiffany_marz) on Oct 25, 2016 at 3:03pm PDT This Trumpkin by @tiffany_marz takes an interesting new approach, with the outside of the pumpkin modified with what appears to be sculpted clay, rather than painted or carved. Imgur user Fizzgig posted a more somber approach with this contemplative Trumpkin created by their mother. Still dying from one of our winning pumpkins today! 😂😂😂😂 #haha #pumpkin #ThatHairTho #trumpkin #worklife A photo posted by Jacqui🔵YouTuber/Blogger (@jduran1313) on Oct 25, 2016 at 2:39pm PDT Another creative new approach to the art of pumpkin decorating by @jduran1313 — collaged instead of painted, this time. This superb Trumpkin is the work of master pumpkin carver Hugh McMahon . If you’d like to learn how to create your own pumpkin-based masterpiece, he walked HuffPost through his process in this fantastic tutorial . Hard days work at the lab #trumpkin #surgeonsmakegoodcarvers #drumpf thanks @twiskle for capturing the glory A photo posted by Erika WS (@erika_whartonshumthing) on Oct 25, 2016 at 12:42pm PDT This defensive Trumpkin by @erika_whartonshumthing looks like it’s had better days. If you’d like to revisit your favorite moments from last year’s debates, look no further than Valerie Miller’s Trumpkin. We can almost hear this pumpkin shouting “Wrong!” at approaching trick-or-treaters. Images via The Daily Beast (1, 2), Reddit (3), NBC News Chicago (4), NBC San Diego (5), Dangerous Minds (6), Yahoo! News (7,9), Huffington Post (8), and Instagram  (embedded)

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10 Trumpkins that are making Halloween great again

EPA cancels plan to clean up polluting Texas coal plants

October 6, 2017 by  
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Big Brown, a coal -fired Texas power plant, spews out sulfur dioxide at rates as much as 50 times higher than coal plants fitted with newer technology. Under President Barack Obama , the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) aimed to clean up Big Brown and six other Texas plants in three to five years. But President Donald Trump’s EPA, headed by Scott Pruitt , just released a final rule that will enable these polluting plants to keep on pumping lung irritants into the air. Big Brown and the other six plants together generate more sulfur dioxide pollution than power stations from over 25 states combined, according to Sierra Club senior attorney Elena Saxonhouse. She wrote the former EPA had slated the stations for cleanup, “setting emission limits for sulfur dioxide consistent with modern scrubbers,” equipment that can yank out sulfur dioxide before it billows out of a plant’s smokestacks. The two boilers at Big Brown and nine other coal-fired boilers don’t have scrubbers at all. Four other boilers also part of the proposal do have scrubbers, but they’re from the 1970’s and don’t work as well as modern technology. Related: Trump administration halts study on health risks of living near coal mining sites But it seems Pruitt doesn’t care about harmful pollutants. He tossed out the proposed rule for a final rule Sierra Club described as a do-nothing plan, where Big Brown and the other plants can go on polluting as normal. Saxonhouse wrote in an article for Sierra Club, “Pruitt’s decision to scrap the proposed clean air protections fits a pattern of backward-looking decisions in this Administration , which has tied itself in knots trying to prop up the coal industry .” The cleanup plan would have implemented the Clean Air Act’s Regional Haze program. The proposed upgrades would have removed over 180,000 tons of sulfur dioxide pollution a year. One analysis found the proposal could have saved over 600 lives every single year. But the final rule means the coal plants can keep polluting, potentially leading to harmful health impacts for humans. According to Saxonhouse, “In making this about-face, EPA had to shove aside reams of technical and scientific data prepared by the previous administration, and ignore the legal framework of the Regional Haze program. And EPA failed to take any public comment on the new plan, despite the fact that thousands of citizens had written in to support the strong proposal.” Via Sierra Club Images via Larry D. Moore/Wikimedia Commons and Roy Luck on Flickr

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EPA cancels plan to clean up polluting Texas coal plants

Why moms (and the rest of us) must fight for EPA’s future

September 19, 2017 by  
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Women control 85 percent of spending power in the United States. Time to mobilize.

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Why moms (and the rest of us) must fight for EPA’s future

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