Category Archives: Technology

Plan to Release Radioactive Fukushima Wastewater Into Pacific Ocean Panned by Critics

“Another reason to not build nuclear power plants.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-10-2019

Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior sailing past the destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, five years after the plant’s accident. (Photo: Christian Åslund/Greenpeace)

The far-reaching dangers of nuclear power were on full display Tuesday as Japan’s environmental minister recommended releasing more than one million tons of radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi plant into the Pacific Ocean nearly a decade after a tsunami caused a meltdown at the coastal facility.

“There are no other options” other than dumping the water into the ocean and diluting it, Yoshiaki Harada said at a news conference in Tokyo. Continue reading

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You’d be better off lighting your money on fire than giving it to a politician to spend on TV ads

Hillary Clinton may have lost to Donald Trump because she bought the wrong kind of ads. AP/David Goldman

Liberty Vittert, Washington University in St Louis

Alright, you want to make this country a better place for yourself, your children and the many generations to come. So you make a donation to a political candidate you believe will fight for a better country.

But, in reality, you are wasting your money. Here’s why.

Television has long been the golden goose of political advertising. The conventional wisdom is that the candidate who can spend the most on it will most likely win. Continue reading

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A Month Ahead of Global Climate Strike, Thousands Pledge to Attend Rallies Across Planet to ‘Turn Up the Political Heat’ and Demand Action

“Time is running out. This decade is our last chance to stop the destruction of our people and our planet… This is why we strike.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-20-2019

Photo taken at the Global Climate Strike in London on Friday 15th March 2019. Next month, thousands of people from all over the world plan to rally to mark the one-year anniversary of the climate strike movement, which teenaged advocate Greta Thunberg began last year. Photo: Garry Knight/flickr

Organizers behind the global climate strike movement—from teenage students to adults who have fought for climate action for decades—on Tuesday called on all people who want to halt the climate crisis to join the worldwide action on September 20.

350.org, one of dozens of international, national, and local groups organizing the strike, announced Tuesday that with a month to go before the demonstration, thousands of people have already signed up to take part in the strike and the Week of Action that’s planned for the days that follow. Continue reading

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Global Temps Continue to Soar Upward as NOAA Confirms July 2019 Was Hottest Month Since Records Began in 1880

“We are seeing record after record after record.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-15-2019

NOAA revealed Thursday that July 2019 was the hottest month on record since the U.S. government began recording temperature date in the lat 19th century. Photo: Martin/flickr

As climate scientists raise alarm over hotter and hotter global temperatures, a top U.S. weather agency reported on Thursday that July 2019 was the hottest month the planet has ever experienced since the government began recording global temperatures nearly 140 years ago.

NOAA’s monthly Global Climate Report revealed that last month the average worldwide temperature was 1.71 degrees Fahrenheit above the average temperature observed in the 20th century. Continue reading

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To Stave Off ‘Climate Disaster,’ 29 States and Major Cities Sue Trump EPA Over ‘Dirty Power’ Rule

“President Trump’s attempt to gut our nation’s Clean Power Plan is foolish. It’s also unlawful.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-13-2019

Xcel Energy’s Sherburne County (Sherco) Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant, near Becker, Minnesota. Photo: Tony Webster/Wikimedia/CC

A coalition of 22 states and seven major American cities sued the Trump administration Tuesday over its repeal of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan and a replacement that critics have dubbed the “Dirty Power” rule.

The lawsuit (pdf), filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, targets the administration’s so-called Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, which eases restrictions on coal plants imposed by the Obama plan, the first national policy to limit power plants’ carbon emissions. Continue reading

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Leaked Draft of Trump Executive Order to ‘Censor the Internet’ Denounced as Dangerous, Unconstitutional Edict

“In practice, this executive order would mean that whichever political party is in power could dictate what speech is allowed on the Internet.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-11-2019

“It’s hard to put into words how mind bogglingly absurd this executive order is,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, following a leaked White House draft of what her group has dubbed the ‘Censor the Internet’ order. Image: Public domain

Civil liberties groups are warning of a major threat to online freedoms and First Amendment rights if a leaked draft of a Trump administration edict—dubbed by critics as a “Censor the Internet” executive order that would give powerful federal agencies far-reaching powers to pick and choose which kind of Internet material is and is not acceptable—is allowed to go into effect.

According to CNN, which obtained a copy of the draft, the new rule “calls for the FCC to develop new regulations clarifying how and when the law protects social media websites when they decide to remove or suppress content on their platforms. Although still in its early stages and subject to change, the Trump administration’s draft order also calls for the Federal Trade Commission to take those new policies into account when it investigates or files lawsuits against misbehaving companies.” Continue reading

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Privacy Advocates Celebrate Court Ruling on Class-Action Suit Targeting Facebook’s Facial Recognition Tech

“Both corporations and the government are now on notice that this technology poses unique risks to people’s privacy and safety.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-9-2019

A federal court ruled Thursday that a class-action suit targeting Facebook’s use of facial recognition technology can continue. (Photo: Legal Loop)

Civil liberties advocates celebrated after a federal court in San Francisco ruled Thursday that Facebook users in Illinois can sue the social media giant on the grounds that its facial recognition technology violates a strict state privacy law.

“This decision is a strong recognition of the dangers of unfettered use of face surveillance technology,” Nathan Freed Wessler, staff attorney with the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, said in a statement after the ruling. Continue reading

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In Wake of Nuclear Treaty Collapse, Putin Says if US Pursues Previously Banned Missiles, Russia Will Also

“The collapse of the INF Treaty last Friday opens up a Pandora’s Box of dangerous possibilities.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-5-2019

Photo: moi 84/flickr

Days after the U.S. ditched a Cold War-era weapons treaty with Russia, President Vladimir Putin on Monday said his country would move to develop new intermediate-range nuclear missiles if the U.S. did so first.

“If Russia obtains reliable information that the United States has finished developing these systems and started to produce them,” Putin said in a statement, “Russia will have no option other than to engage in a full-scale effort to develop similar missiles.” Continue reading

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‘A Dystopian Surveillance State Being Built in Plain Sight’: Pentagon Tests Radar-Equipped Balloons to Spy on Vehicles Across Midwest

“These programs are not about stopping violence, they’re about social control.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-2-2019

The Pentagon is experimenting with the use of radars attached to high-altitude balloons this summer, sending up to 25 balloons across six Midwestern states to conduct surveillance on vehicles over a 25-mile swath under each balloon. (Photo: Tony Webster/Flickr/cc)

Millions of Americans across the Midwest this summer are being subjected to surveillance from above as the Pentagon experiments with the use of surveillance radars attached to high-altitude balloons.

As The Guardian reported Friday, the defense and aerospace contractor Sierra Nevada Corporation was authorized by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to send up to 25 balloons across six states to track vehicles. Continue reading

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Trump DOJ Denounced for Approving ‘Anti-Competitive, Anti-Consumer’ Merger of Sprint and T-Mobile

If the merger is allowed to move forward, critics warn, “consumers can expect to see higher prices, fewer choices, and less innovative offerings across the board.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-26-2019

As the Justice Department struck a deal with Sprint and T-Mobile on Friday, consumer advocates vowed, “we’ll continue to fight to stop this dangerous merger from going through.” Photo: Isriya Paireepairit/flickr

Consumer advocates decried the Department of Justice’s decision Friday to sign off on T-Mobile and Sprint’s proposed merger, warning that allowing the nation’s third- and fourth-largest wireless carriers to join forces will drive up prices and negatively impact low-income and marginalized communities.

In a statement, the DOJ announced that it had reached an agreement with five state attorneys general and the companies that makes the merger contingent on the divestment of “Sprint’s prepaid business, including Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and Sprint prepaid, to Dish Network Corp., a Colorado-based satellite television provider.” Continue reading

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