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- 'Rogue' national park Twitter account wasn't so rogue after all, emails show
Ever since the National Park Service's main Twitter account appeared to "go rogue" on President Donald Trump's inauguration day, people have been using the department and its various park-specific social media accounts as a rallying point in the anti-Trump resistance. However, according to emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, that's not the full story. SEE ALSO: Twitter users finding hope in 'badass' national parks The emails show that staff at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area were actually coloring inside the lines of their guidance from the Trump administration when the park's official Twitter account tweeted climate change facts on Jan. 23, three days after the inauguration. 2016 was the hottest year on record for the 3rd year in a row. Check out this @NASA & @NOAA report: https://t.co/rLJUC56xqi pic.twitter.com/AKhFzYw6l6 — Golden Gate NPS (@GoldenGateNPS) January 23, 2017 Based on a review of Park Service emails concerning social media policies during the presidential transition, at the time the tweets were sent, there didn't appear to be specific guidance directing the park not to tweet about this subject. "As far as I know, there hasn't been any guidance related to avoiding that subject sent out from us or NRSS [the Natural Resource Stewardship and Science Directorate]," National Park Service public affairs specialist Amber Smigiel wrote in an email sent on Jan. 23. Users on Twitter didn't know that at the time, however. The tweets came amid news of a social media gag order imposed at the Environmental Protection Agency and rumors of similar communication bans at other agencies as the Trump team moved in. In addition, the Trump administration's new White House website had omitted climate change from its list of priorities, which made the Park Service tweets stand out even more. @GoldenGateNPS @Only1marcia @NASA @NOAA We need to preserve and get these out quickly before they are deleted. Employees are risking jobs! — Thomas Almirall (@DRUMR48) January 24, 2017 @GoldenGateNPS @NASA @NOAA pic.twitter.com/Lx1YApG5yH — NastyWoman (@outdoorgirl_27) January 24, 2017 @GoldenGateNPS @NASA @NOAA Thank you for your service. We will fight for you. — Greg van Eekhout (@gregvaneekhout) January 24, 2017 Thanks to its tweets on climate change, Golden Gate was hailed as a beacon of resistance shining from within the federal government itself alongside Badlands National Park's Twitter account. Rallying around the Park Service makes sense, too, considering other concurrent events. The service itself was on-edge after the department's main Twitter account retweeted two seemingly anti-Trump posts related to the size of the crowd attending the inauguration. Those tweets sparked a full investigation into the matter and a sweeping order to stop tweeting from official accounts across the agency. The Park Service's crowd size estimate of the inauguration even prompted a highly unusual call from Trump himself to the agency's acting director the morning after the inauguration. But things didn't quite calm down for the service after those initial retweets were deleted and the Twitter moratorium was lifted on Jan 21. Effectively, the floodgates opened and Twitter users across the social network started reading intent into tweets that would have been relatively innocuous if not for Trump's inauguration. Twitter users were also primed for this kind of reaction thanks to the reported gag orders at other government agencies. Using tweets to peek inside government While the tweets sent by Golden Gate do appear to be in line with other posts sent out from the account before the inauguration, under the current administration, they appeared to troll a new president who has famously claimed that climate change is a hoax. Plus, to make matters worse, the Badlands National Park Twitter account also tweeted out information about climate change, yet its tweets were deleted on Jan. 24. Deleted tweets from Badlands National Park on Jan. 24. Image: twitter It's unclear exactly what separated the tweets from Badlands from Golden Gate and why the Badlands tweets were removed. We might get more clarity on that in the coming weeks when a set of Badlands-specific emails are expected to be released. But emails released this week make it clear that even people in the agency weren't exactly sure what to expect of the new administration. One exchange between National Park Service employee Matt Holly and Smigiel is indicative of the fraught transition between administrations. In an email sent on Jan. 23, Holly, who works in the NRSS, explained that going forward, Park Service staff would need to be even more diligent about shying away from advocacy on topics like climate change. "There were a couple times I knew I was pushing it but felt like we had that support for wiggle room in the past," Holly wrote. "Now we know we just have to play it slightly safer." A drastic change in the political climate Holly was right to expect a shift on climate change with the new administration. Trump's proposed budget guts climate research across the federal government and reduces the Park Service's budget as well, including the agency's climate change programs. In fact, when the budget was rolled out on March 16, Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, told reporters that the administration won't spend money on climate anymore. "Regarding the question as to climate change, I think the president was fairly straightforward," Mulvaney told reporters on March 16. "We're not spending money on that anymore. We consider that to be a waste of your money." Our national parks represent some of the places in the United States that are most vulnerable to the worst effects of human-caused climate change. As glaciers retreat and sea levels rise, they threaten the national parks and other areas maintained by the National Park Service. For example, Glacier National Park in Montana is not expected to contain actual glaciers by the middle to end of this century, due to increasing temperatures. WATCH: Mick Mulvaney on climate change.
- Crop-destroying armyworm caterpillars spread to Uganda
A plague of crop-destroying fall armyworm caterpillars has spread to East Africa where officials confirmed their presence for the first time in Uganda on Friday. An outbreak of the caterpillars in several southern African nations has already raised alarm with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation warning they pose "a huge threat to food security". Uganda's Agriculture Minister Vincent Ssempijja said the presence of the innocuous looking but hugely destructive brown caterpillar had been confirmed in over 20 districts of the country.
- Bad breath: Study find array of bacteria when orcas exhale
- Richard Branson-backed ‘Baby Boom’ jet will go from London to New York in three hours
A new supersonic jet known as ‘Baby Boom’, backed by Sir Richard Branson, will be faster than Concorde – and will take its first test flight this year. Boom Supersonic says that the XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator will take off on a test flight earlier this year – and planes could carry passengers by the early 2020s. ‘I have long been passionate about aerospace innovation and the development of high-speed commercial flights,’ Sir Richard Branson said.
- Earth’s newest cloud is terrifying
In 2014, I spoke with Gavin Pretor-Pinney, the founder of The Cloud Appreciation Society, about his quixotic mission: to get recognition for a new category of cloud called the “undulatus asperatus.” For years, individuals from across the world had been sending him pictures of the unusual formations, trying to figure out what they were. But they had no official name. ...
- Why Tesla CEO Elon Musk Is Among the World’s Greatest Leaders
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- Stephen Hawking appears as hologram in Hong Kong
Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has spoken to a Hong Kong audience by hologram, showcasing the growing reach of a technology which is making inroads into politics, entertainment and business. The British scientist appeared Friday before an audience of hundreds who cheered and snapped pictures with their phones as he discussed his career and answered questions about the possibility of life on other planets, the use of technology in education and the impact of Brexit on Britain. The 75-year-old said the election of US President Donald Trump was one in a string of "right-wing successes" that would have grave implications for the future of scientific innovation and discovery.
- California air regulators vote to keep tough fuel standards
- Scientists just switched on the world’s largest ‘artificial sun’
Scientists in Germany just switched on the world’s largest ‘artificial Sun’ for the first time – producing light 10,000 times more intense than natural sunlight on our planet. The machine is 45 feet high and 52 feed wide – and produces temperatures above 3,500 degrees Centigrade, hotter than a blast furnace. It's called #synlight and is located in Jülich, Germany.
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- Save the bees: EU plans blanket ban on destructive pesticides
The European Commission (EC) is reportedly mulling over new legislation that would ban a majority of insecticides used in fields across the continent. The phenomenon is known as colony collapse disorder, with most scientists in agreement that it is caused by the effects of plant-protecting chemicals, in addition to habitat loss and natural diseases. The most damaging pesticides in question are called neonicotinoids and according to leaked drafts of the plans, acquired by the Guardian, the EC is considering a blanket ban.
- The Detonation Detectives
On the morning of March 6th, local time, at least four missiles were prepped for launch in North Korea. The test launch escalated rising military tensions already heightened by ongoing US and South Korean military exercises. North Korea threatened to retaliate with nuclear weapons if either the US or South Korea fires even “a single flame” inside its borders.
- Giant, hyper-detailed Moon model is now making its way around the world
It takes just about 27 days for the Moon we all know and love to make its way around the Earth, but it's going to take far longer for a giant model of the Moon to do the same. Museum of the Moon is an art exhibit that provides visitors with an up-close-and-personal look at our planet's only natural satellite, and it's currently traveling between festivals and universities so that everyone can experience its awesomeness. https://vimeo.com/186381069 Created by artist Luke Jerram, Museum of the Moon is described as "a fusion of lunar imagery, moonlight and surround sound composition." In practical terms, it's a huge model of the Moon measuring 30 feet in diameter, with every square inch of its sphere covered in ultra high-resolution NASA imagery of the lunar landscape. At 1:500,000 scale, each centimeter of the manmade Moon represents just over three miles of the real lunar surface. https://vimeo.com/173586070 The idea behind the project is to showcase how the Moon has impacted civilization since the dawn of mankind. To that end, the touring artwork will collect new bits of Moon lore from each place it visits, bringing new stories, beliefs, and traditions to every new location. The mini Moon has already visited France, the UK, Belgium, and the Netherlands, and will hop between festivals in Europe for much of the remainder of 2017.
- Where the World’s Happiest and Healthiest Are Living: Five Things We Learned This Week
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- Is there really water on Mars? New theory suggests those icy streaks may be sand
When NASA announced locating hydrated salts and intriguing dark icy streaks on Mars, they put a strong case for historical presence of water on Mars. A new study, now suggests that water's presence on Mars is doubtful and those icy streaks that NASA is referring to may just be sand. In a paper published in the journal Nature Geoscience, a team of researchers, led by Frederic Schmidt of Paris-Sud University in France say the long and narrow features, known as recurring slope lineae (RSL), may be sand avalanches that are triggered by sunlight alone with changes related to shadowing.
- MIT's color-changing robot 'skin' was inspired by the golden tortoise beetle
- New Zealand quake study reveals ruptures can be much bigger than we thought possible
- Disproven Theories About the Causes of MS and Its Flare-ups
You may hear about a lot of potential causes of multiple sclerosis, the progressive, incurable disease that damages the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. Theories have ranged from genetic to environmental triggers, some as simple as living with a pet. "If there were just one thing that caused MS, I believe we would have figured it out by now," says Dr. Robert Shin, a professor of neurology at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.
- Artificial Intelligence: The Park Rangers of the Anthropocene
In Australia, autonomous killer robots are set to invade the Great Barrier Reef. Their target is the crown-of-thorns starfish—a malevolent pincushion with a voracious appetite for corals. To protect ailing reefs, divers often cull the starfish by injecting them with bile or vinegar. But a team of Australian scientists has developed intelligent underwater robots called COTSBots that can do the same thing. The yellow bots have learned to identify the starfish among the coral, and can execute them by lethal injection.
- Drones will go dinosaur hunting to help scientists track prehistoric footprints
Dinosaur research just got more high tech, thanks to drones which will now be used by researchers to track the footprints of the prehistoric creatures. Drone mapping of dinosaurs' tracks is expected to revolutionise the way researchers investigate the ancient crutures as they allow scientists the ability to create digital maps, which in turn provide more in-depth data. Australian researchers have begun using UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) to track dinosaurs' footprints in remote locations.
- Why Did This Supermassive Black Hole Leave Its Galactic Core?
Weighing more than 1 billion suns and about 8 billion light-years away, the black hole was likely kicked out of its place by gravitational waves with energy equivalent to 100 million supernovas exploding simultaneously.
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- Mass Effect: Andromeda's achingly slow travel animations help me savor the universe
The spacefaring races of the Mass Effect games can travel at faster-than-light speeds, allowing them to get to distant planets in seconds, far-off stars in minutes, and even entirely new galaxies in years. The corner of Andromeda selected for initial colonization — the Heleus Cluster — is laid out on a galaxy map, allowing you to hop between solar systems at will.
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- Is it a bird? Is it a bug? No it’s a biomimetic microdrone with flapping wings
UK biomimetic engineering startup Animal Dynamics is building a microdrone with wings inspired by the flapping flight of a dragonfly. The project, which started in June 2015 with a feasibility study, is being funded with £1.5 million from the UK Ministry of Defence, via DSTL, the Defence Science and Technology Lab.Last fall the...