Podcasts are a great way to get news


Listening to podcasts on mobile device is an easy way to keep up with news, especially since Apple is ditching iTunes and now has a iPhone podcast app that is actually easy to use and useful. Browsing and subscribing is intuitive, unlike the kludgy mess that was iTunes.

However, huge thanks to Apple. Because they mainstreamed podcasting. I was at Gnomedex 2005 when Apple announced iTunes would support the new fledging world of podcasts. Until then, podcasting was fringe and struggling. Then Apple made podcasts easily available to all. And they didn’t make a dime off any of it. Thank you, Apple.

There are so many quality podcasts now. Here’s a few that I’m listening to. What are you listening to?

FiveThirtyEight politics has in depth reporting on polls, trends, and what to expect in 2020.

Illuminators tracks how big power companies are are forced to reinvent themselves now, as the industry transitions to renewable energy. Change or die. Seriously.

NVIndy is Nevada news from Jon Ralston and The Nevada Independent, a nonprofit that delivers seriously good reporting and analysis, unlike Sheldon Adelson’s fishwrap, the Review Journal.

The Qanon Anonymous Podcast tracks what Qanon and other conspiracy loonies are doing. Shows are solidly researched, funny, and lordy, there are some wackos out there. The podcast happily goes after leftie nutjobs as well as righties, as witness their recent takedown of the Krassenstein grifters. Follow Travis View (@travis_view) on Twitter for more.

This podcast is available only as a premium on Patreon. It’s worth it. They have a url that can be cut and pasted into podcast apps to make listening easy.

More podcasts

The Breakdown is Shaun King, hardcore leftie organizer who is bring back The North Star and turning it into a powerhouse.

The Bulwark is a conservative mostly Never Trump site. A recent podcast had George Will on conservative sensibility.

Vital Vegas is Scott Roeben. It’s all about Vegas, delivered humorously, and authoritatively. He does social media outreach for Fremont Street, pretty much knows everyone and often has Vegas news before anyone else. The podcast gre out of his website and Twitter feed (@vitalvegas)

Your Website Engineer covers WordPress in depth

What podcasts are you listening to?

Navajo Water Project brings water to families

Navajo Water Project. Water truck and tank

40% of Navajo families on their reservation have no running water. Some Navajo families who live there have not had running water for generations. The Navajo Water Project (a project of Dig Deep) is changing that. They started by trucking in water to remote areas, then expanded to providing home systems with water storage, running water, indoor plumbing, and solar power to remote areas.

Their reservation is vast, 17,000,000 acres, and is in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. Some parts are extremely remote. The Navajo Water Project began in New Mexico and is now expanding to Utah. They’ve brought water to hundreds of families.

Imagine the difference that running water, indoor plumbing, and electricity would make to people who have never had it. 100% of donations goes to providing water.

The Navajo Water Project is a community-managed utility alternative that brings hot and cold running water to homes without access to water or sewer lines.

we develop new sources where water is pumped, treated and stored locally

we deliver water in food grade trucks to hundreds of families living close to each source

our home water systems provide 1200 gallons of hot and cold running water and solar power

the entire project is guided by a council of clients and local leaders

Russian Twitterbots and their propaganda campaign for Trump

Internet Research Agency. Home of Russian Twitterbots
Internet Research Agency. Home of Russian Twitterbots

Some of you who aren’t knowingly compromised and corrupted by Russia influences still might think, Gosh did Russia really interfere in our elections in 2016? Symantec answers that with a resounding Yes, After analyzing the data released by Twitter of what the Internet Research Agency posted during the 2016 campaign, Symantec concluded Russian Twitterbots interfered massively. The IRA essentially was an arm of the Russian government. It had hundreds of employees working to destabilize the election and tilt public opinion towards Trump. Several of its top people (who were also military) were indicted by Mueller.

IRA interference was well-planned, methodical, often playing both sides of the political fence to create chaos, but always with a deliberate intent of helping Trump. And anyone who claims the Trump campaign didn’t know about IRA and didn’t amplify what Russian bots and trolls were doing probably also howls that Julian Assange and Glenn Greenwald are fearless fighters for freedom – and certainly not in any way influenced by Russia, even if Wikileaks servers are in Russia and Greenwald appears on totally unbiased RT and Fox News. Oh, that.

I’ve folllowed all this on Twitter since before the 2016 election. Early on it became obvious that some accounts were not what they appeared to be. They had fake news names, and pushed out content to auxiliary accounts who retweeted it, and then it was cheerfully retweeted by actual Trump supporters, none of whom of course had a clue they they were being conned. Heaven forfend they should retweet content they knew was bogus!

One of the most egregious accounts was TEN_GOP, who pretended to be Tennessee Republicans. They got retweeted 6 million times. Earluy on Never Trump Twitter called bullshit on this account, saying it was controlled by Russia. There as of course laughter that Never Trumpers would say such crazy things.

Except, TEN_GOP was a IRA bot. The data Symantec analyzed proves it.

Perhaps the most overt aspect of the propaganda campaign was the IRA’s organization of a number of political rallies in the U.S. Despite the fact that the accounts comprised of fake personas and organizations, they nevertheless succeeded in mobilizing people to attend events. Besides its online activities, the campaign’s operators also organized rallies supporting positions on both sides of the political spectrum.

Venice Beach homelessness. Gentrification. Johnny Rotten ranting

Venice Beach homelessness. Johnny Rotten

Yeah, I know, Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten ranting about Venice Beach homelessness at his presumably pricey home in Venice seems comical. Except it’s not. Not when they come over the gate into his yard and put tents up on his doorstep. Not when there are a lot of them, and they can be aggressive, and there are needles and poop on the beach and elsewhere. He’s not making any of that up.

They moved in en masse. They’re all young, they’re all like 24,” Rotten told to Newsweek. “They’re aggressive, and because there’s an awful lot of them together they’re gang-y.”

Venice has the largest concentration of homeless anywhere on the Los Angeles Westside (and probably anywhere in L.A. County except for the Nickel downtown which is just third world conditions.) I lived in Venice for a while and am not surprised by its burgeoning homelessness . Venice has a reputation for tolerance. Geographically, it’s easy to walk from the beach to elsewhere to crash. A huge issue is decreasing numbers of places to live due to Snapchat, which is headquartered there, buying hundreds of homes to use for offices plus homes and apartments being used by AirBnB. This means fewer places to live, which jacks up prices to ridiculous levels. Gentrification in Venice means affordable housing is non-existent. And if you lost your apartment in Inglewood where rents are much less and are homeless, it might as well be on the beach in Venice, among the $5000 a month 2 bdr apartments.

Los Angeles has genuinely been trying, if belatedly, to do something about homelessness and its accompanying health and sanitation issues and was staggered when newly released numbers showed homelessness up 12% in L.A. County over last year and up 16% in the city.

One of the largest increases [in homelessness], however, was among people 18 to 24 years old. Lynn said a 24% jump was partly the result of a change in the methodology of the count. But still, he said, “there was a significant increase, many more unsheltered. We were able to house more youth this year than last year, but this is an overflow population.”

Also exceeding the county average was a 17% spike of the chronically homeless — people with a mental or physical impairment who have been on the street or in shelter for more than a year.

Bracing for what appeared to be difficult years ahead, L.A. city and county officials have backed off their one-time mantra of “ending homelessness,” and are fully linking the crisis on the region’s streets to a housing crisis that is beyond their control.

World’s largest renewable energy storage project coming to Utah

Grid scale batteries
Grid scale batteries

Utah is planning a 1 GW renewable energy storage project which, when completed, will create and store zero emission electricity. That is a huge amount of power, and it will be able to store enormous amount of power too.

The project will use renewable hydrogen to power turbines to create electricity. Excess hydrogen and compressed air will be stored in underground salt caverns to be used as needed to generate power. Excess electricity will be stored in a variety of ways with time scales from seconds to months. The site is near the Intermountain Power Project so power can go directly into the grid backbone.

Energy storage technologies include renewable hydrogen, Compressed Air Energy Storage, large scale flow batteries, solid oxide fuel cells

The technologies we are deploying will store electricity on time scales from seconds to seasons of the year,” said Paul Browning, President and CEO of MHPS Americas. “For example, when we add gas turbines powered with renewable hydrogen to a hydrogen storage salt-dome, we have a solution that stores and generates electricity with zero carbon emissions.”

As a next step in decarbonization, MHPS has developed gas turbine technology that enables a mixture of renewable hydrogen and natural gas to produce power with even lower carbon emissions. The MHPS technology roadmap aims to use 100 percent renewable hydrogen as a fuel source, which will allow gas turbines to produce electricity with zero carbon emissions.