Day: August 1, 2017


N. Korea's nuke tests are of seismic proportions – Green Party's Jill Stein concerned about 'demonization' of North Korea – VIDEO: Officials say US in range for some North Korean missiles

As North Korea continues to develop its nuclear program, ramping up tension around the globe, a group of scientists provides the world with information on the actual size and scope of nuke tests inside the hermit kingdom – and stands ready if Kim Jong Un plans another test soon.

As North Korea continues to develop its nuclear program, ramping up tension around the globe, a group of scientists is trying to determine the actual size and scope of the tests going on inside the hermit kingdom.

According to the Seismological Society of America, most of what the world knows about the country’s past nuclear tests comes directly from work by seismologists  — scientists who study earthquakes and energy waves moving through the ground — who are using a variety of tools to try and pinpoint the location, depth and size of these nuclear explosions. 

“There’s this building of knowledge that helps you understand the capabilities of a country like North Korea,” Delaine Reiter, a geophysicist with Weston Geophysical Corp. in Lexington, Mass told ScienceNews. “They’re not shy about broadcasting their testing, but they claim things Western scientists aren’t sure about. Was it as big as they claimed? We’re really interested in understanding that.”

“In the most basic terms, seismologists analyze the seismic waves recorded at various seismic stations, to identify the precise time that seismic energy arrives at each station, and how much energy is represented by the waves.” Richard Stead, a seismologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory told Fox News in an e-mail. 

“To determine the size of a nuclear test, seismologists use techniques that are basically the same as they use to determine the size of any seismic event, including earthquakes,” he added.  “In the most basic sense, we start by determining the magnitude.”

North Korea is the only country to perform nuclear tests this millennium, and all have taken place underground.  Stead says that means seismologists are “indeed essential” in confirming nuclear tests.

“There is a possibility that North Korea is likely to test its nuclear warhead and missile capabilities through a nuclear test with more explosive power,” South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense said in a report to the National Assembly Monday, according to  Yonhap News.

Forensic seismologists’ work can determine whether activity was natural or man-made, such as a nuclear test. One way to make that determination is the depth of the activity. Anything deeper than about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) is almost certain to be natural.

In 2006, three years after the regime withdrew from the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, North Korea announced it had conducted an underground nuclear test in the northeastern part of the country.

Seismologists were able to confirm that claim by concluding the blast had come from shallow depths, no more than a few miles down, by analyzing scientific data gathered by monitoring stations in the area.  They were also able to narrow the location of the test and determine the explosion to be a small one, reportedly about one-fifteenth the size of the bomb the United Stated dropped on Hiroshima, Japan during World War II.

In 2009, 2013 and twice in 2016, Pyongyang set off more underground nuclear explosions, and seismologists concluded that the blasts were getting progressively larger. 

According to ScienceNews, the second 2016 blast was “deeply buried and hence probably at least as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb for it to register as a magnitude 5.2 earthquake.”

Stead said pinpointing the exact size and location of a nuke test is difficult to quantify. He added, “What is more important is whether the seismic results are sufficient for policy makers and decision makers in our nation’s capital to act upon.  That is not a scientific determination.

“This information is used in many offices in the U.S. government. It obviously would have implication for national defense, diplomatic relations and decision-making up to and including the president.  Any government elected or appointed official, or civil servant whose duties have anything to do with nuclear tests and the implications foreign nuclear tests may have for national security, defense, international relations and other topics will likely be interested in the results of seismic analysis of the events.”

On September 10, 1996, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) which “bans nuclear explosions by everyone, everywhere on the Earth’s surface, in the atmosphere, underwater and underground. The Treaty has a unique and comprehensive verification regime to make sure that no nuclear explosion goes undetected,” according to The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).

Part of that verification system is their International Monitoring System (IMS) which has over 300 monitoring facilities around the world, 170 of which are seismic stations similar to those that measure earthquakes.

The last declared North Korean nuclear test was detected at over 100 of the IMS seismic stations. It was reported that with current knowledge, the location of a nuclear test can be determined with very high confidence to within a few miles.

CTBTO said the 183 states that are signatories to the CTBT — including the USA — receive both the raw data from the IMS and the results of the analysis conducted by a small international staff of experts.  Some states augment this data and analysis with their own national sources and analysis by their own experts. 

This data and analysis can form a common basis for nations to use in political debate and multilateral decision making regarding possible violation of the treaty. 

According to the CTBTO, when North Korea tested in 2006, 2009 and 2013, the data was processed and distributed to their member states who “received information about the location, magnitude, time and depth of the tests within two hours – and before the actual test had been announced by North Korea.”

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Princeton asks students to pick from six 'genders'

Princeton University is giving its students the option of picking a gender or, reportedly, several genders.

The Ivy League’s student services interface, known as TigerHub, allows — but does not require — students to select one or more of the following: “Cisgender,” “Genderqueer/gender non-conform[ing],” “Trans/transgender,” “Man,” “Woman,” and “Other”.

“Students use TigerHub to provide the University with personal information on a confidential basis,” a university spokesman told Fox News.  “This information includes emergency contacts, their preferred name, and, if they wish to provide it in response to an optional question, the gender with which they identify.”

Princeton students can chose to be both male and female.

“You may select multiple gender identities,” the form reads. “Your gender identity is confidential and is not generally available.”

Princeton is not alone. More than 50 colleges or universities allow students to choose their genders without documentation of medical intervention, the Washington Post said.

Besides being male and female simultaneously, some schools offer students the option of creating their own designated pronouns. One such school is the University of Michigan.

In response to that option — and as a protest against it — one undergraduate chose “His Majesty.” Reportedly, some of His Majesty’s professors now address this student according to the royalty he identifies as.

Academics and activists are divided over the legitimacy of the relatively recent distinction between sex and gender.

“The idea that sex and gender are distinguishable is just not true. It’s a lie,” Chris Gacek, senior fellow at the Family Research Council, told Fox News.

“The purpose of the distinction ultimately is eliminating the difference between the sexes.”

But Susan Maasch, director of the Trans Youth Equality Foundation, praised the elite school for implicitly endorsing the distinction between sex and gender.

“The Ivy League schools have all taken a big role in helping trans students,” she told Fox News. “It starts there and trickles down to other students.”

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Arkansas man arrested, accused of having sex with family's pet donkey

An Arkansas man is accused of having sex with a family’s pet donkey on multiple occasions, authorities say.

Everett Lee Compton, 49, faces charges of bestiality, criminal trespassing and cruelty to animals following his arrest in Siloam Springs on July 16.

Investigators say the donkey’s owners, Emert and Joyce Whitaker, told officers that they’d had issues with trespassers harassing their pet donkeys over the past three years. 

The problem got so bad that Emert Whitaker posted several “No Trespassing” and “Do Not Feed Animals” signs around the property. He also placed a game camera in a field south of his house where the female donkeys are kept.

According to court documents, the camera captured images of a man coming onto the Whitakers’ property early on May 27 and June 4. The pictures show the man placing a bag over a donkey’s head, then getting behind the donkey and placing his pelvis against the rear of the animal.

More images were captured early on July 5 and July 6. These showed the same man feeding the donkeys from bags that appeared to be bread bags before approaching the animals from behind and placing his pelvis against them.

According to an incident report seen by KHBS, an officer arrived at the Whitaker’s property and found Compton hiding in the bushes. Compton initially claimed he was feeding the donkeys some carrots and denied having sex with the animals.

When told about the surveillance footage, Compton allegedly said he smoked a lot of marijuana and claimed the drug made him do “sick things.” He also promised the officer that he would get help if he was not charged.

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Conn. residents get hate mail for flying American flags

Homeowners in a Connecticut neighborhood claim they’ve been receiving hate mail after prominently displaying American flags. 

According to WFSB-TV in Hartford, at least two residents of Marlborough say they received envelopes containing anti-American and anti-government fliers.

One resident, Ashley Meyer, says the hate mail called her a “typical ignorant flag supporter,” with references to the national debt, drone attacks overseas and the Iraq War. 

“Someone took all this time to send all this through the mail. Clearly, they have no patriotism and aren’t proud of our country,” Meyer said

Meyer and a neighbor, Ken Hjulstrom, notified police about the mailings, believing others have also been targeted for flying Old Glory. 

Hjulstrom said the fliers contained racist and anti-Semitic content as well.

Both say they will still fly their flags and hope their neighbors will put out flags as a show of support.

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Popular UCLA Prof Who Taught Free Speech Says He Was Fired For Conservatism

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Shark caught in 'fish tornado'

An underwater photographer has captured stunning images of a ‘fish tornado’ surrounding sand tiger sharks off the coast of North Carolina.

The Telegraph reports that Tanya Houppermans, an award-winning underwater photographer, took photographs of sharks swimming through what has been described as a “fish tornado.” 

The images show the fish banding together to create a “bait ball” formation. The fish form “bait balls” as a defensive measure to surround predators.  


The shots were captured on July 10 and 11, 2017, in the waters of Morehead City, where Tanya has been shooting for eight years.

Houppermans said that she had never seen a bait ball as large as the one she photographed last month.

The images provide a fascinating glimpse into sharks’ incredible world. “I am always amazed by how incredibly graceful and beautiful sharks are,” Houppermans said. “Here is an animal that has been around in one form or another for a few hundred million years, and is so perfectly suited for its environment that you can’t help but be awestruck seeing one in the wild.”



Houppermans told the Telegraph that while her favorite subject is sharks, “I really enjoy photographing most anything underwater from tiny shrimp to massive shipwrecks.”

“I hope to capture images that inspire people to care about the ocean and the creatures that live in it,” continued Houppermans.


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Chris Evans blasts Trump

Chris Evans lashed out at President Trump on Tuesday, calling him a “reckless moron” on Twitter.

The “Captain America” star was apparently fired up after White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said during a briefing on Monday that POTUS’ remarks to Long Island law enforcement Friday were a “joke.”


Evans shared a video of the President’s speech last week.

“You reckless moron. Do you have any idea what you’re encouraging? You think a ‘joke’ makes it ok?? ZERO societal awareness and understanding.”

The 36-year-old’s post was met with various reactions.

One social media user replied, “I am still shaking my head thinking that a man like that is in power. He is a low life.”

While another piped up, “He wasn’t joking. He’s encouraged violence against citizens many times before, including at his own rallies.”

But a fan was not impressed with Evans political musing and asked where the “Infinity War” trailer was.

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McD's brings back obscure item

McDonald’s occasionally releases products that coincide with major films or pop culture phenomena, e.g., the McJordan burger in celebration of Michael Jordan, the neon yellow and blue ice cream cone for “Despicable Me” fans, or the double Batman burger at McDonald’s Japan, just to name a few.

These tie-ins are usually just flash-in-the-pan promotions that come and go several times a year. People come in, try what’s new, and then move on to the next thing.


However, one cartoon couldn’t accept the cyclical ways of the fast food world, and vowed to bring back a limited-edition item through whatever means available.

That cartoon? Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland’s foul-mouthed “Rick and Morty.” The sauce? A sweet Szechuan sauce introduced as a promotion for the Disney movie “Mulan” in 1998. And the means? A viral internet campaign 37,000 fans strong.

In the third-season premiere of the sci-fi-themed Adult Swim cartoon, which aired on April 1, the character of Rick — a mad scientist-type — professes his love for the discontinued sauce. Since then, fans have been clamoring for the return of this 19-year-old condiment. Two packets even fetched over $14,000 on eBay after that first episode, called “The Rickshank Rickdemption,” first aired.

Well, McDonald’s listened. This Sunday, before the season’s second episode finally aired on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, co-creator Justin Roiland announced on Twitter that a McDonald’s rep sent him a huge jug of the discontinued sauce.


The label on the bottle included several references to the television show, which Roiland photographed and posted on social media, along with a victorious message that he finally “got the sauce.”

But not all “Rick and Morty” fans shouldn’t be celebrating the comeback of their beloved sauce just yet. McDonald’s has only agreed to release three jugs of the sauce to a “few lucky fans,” but they have yet to specify how. There are also no official plans to bring it back to stores — though some fans are still holding out hope, as a live-action version of “Mulan” is scheduled to hit theatres in 2018. Only time will tell if the film will once again push the franchise into action, 20 years after the initial Szechuan-sauce launch.

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Bill Shine to White House?

Mr. Shine, 54, did not respond to a request for comment. The White House did not return inquiries on Tuesday morning.

Mr. Hannity, through a Fox News spokeswoman, said that the topic of Mr. Shine’s employment did not arise at their dinner with the president. “Bill Shine is talented enough that he doesn’t need my help in getting a job in the White House or any other position,” Mr. Hannity said in a statement.

The president’s public-relations team has been in a state of flux, between Mr. Scaramucci’s abrupt exit on Monday and the resignation last month of the first press secretary, Sean Spicer.

Unlike the bombastic Mr. Scaramucci, Mr. Shine is known as a low-key operator with a nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic and an allergy to the spotlight. At Fox News, he was seen as embodying the channel’s typical viewer, pitching stories about meat-and-potatoes issues like the gas tax and boasting to colleagues about his commute from Long Island on an early-morning train filled with construction workers.

Mr. Hannity, who speaks frequently with Mr. Trump, is close to Mr. Shine, and the two men spend time together with their families. At Fox News, the pair talked several times a day, and Mr. Hannity, in an unusual move, publicly defended Mr. Shine when the executive’s job was in jeopardy, saying that his exit would mark “the total end” of Fox News “as we know it.”

Mr. Shine was also a loyal deputy to Mr. Ailes, an association that eventually led to his departure from the network. Although Mr. Shine denied knowing that Mr. Ailes had sexually harassed employees, his presence at the network was eventually seen as a symbol of a tainted era that the Murdoch family, which controls Fox News, was trying to leave behind.

Mr. Scaramucci, during a profanity-laced interview with The New Yorker last week, seemed to signal that he was considering Mr. Shine for a position, suggesting that Reince Priebus, the now-ousted chief of staff, would attempt to capsize the appointment.

“‘Oh, Bill Shine is coming in,’” Mr. Scaramucci told the reporter Ryan Lizza, apparently in an impersonation of Mr. Priebus. He added, in colorful language, that Mr. Priebus would likely try to leak it.

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US to conduct intercontinental ballistic missile test, US Air Force says

Less than a week after North Korea’s record setting intercontinental ballistic missile test, the U.S. Air Force plans to conduct an ICBM test of its own early Wednesday morning.

A U.S. Air Force spokesman said the test was “long planned” and “routine.”  It will be the fourth test of a Minuteman-3 ICBM from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California this year. It is set to fly over 4,000 miles to a test-range in the Pacific.

While much of the focus lately has been on missile defense, it’s worth noting that the U.S. has a significant missile offense — with 400 ICBMs in silos across Air Force bases in Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota. Some Navy submarines can fire ICBMS, too, and other nukes can be delivered from a fleet of B-52 and B-2 bombers.

Air Force spokesman Capt. Mark Graff said in a statement the launch “affords the Air Force the ability to assess the reliability of our ICBM force in order to maintain a credible nuclear deterrent capability.”

Lucas Tomlinson is the Pentagon and State Department producer for Fox News Channel. You can follow him on Twitter: @LucasFoxNews

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'Black America' alternate-history series in the works at Amazon

On the heels of the backlash HBO has been receiving for their planned series “Confederate,” news has now broken that Amazon has been planning a similar alternate-history series that explores that same time period.

Deadline reported Tuesday that the project, titled “Black America,” is a drama led by producer Will Packer of “Straight Outta Compton” fame, as well as “The Boondocks” creator and “Black Jesus” co-creator Aaron McGruder. The project has reportedly been in the works for more than a year. 

The story envisions an alternate history where newly freed slaves have successfully secured the southern states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to shape their own destinies as African-Americans. They form a nation called New Colonia, which has had a tumultuous relationship with the United States or “Big Neighbor.” As New Colonia thrives, America “slides into rapid decline.” Consequently, “the fate of two nations, indivisible, hangs in the balance.”

It was HBO’s announcement of “Confederate” this month that prompted the “Black America” team to reveal the show’s premise.


“It felt like this was the appropriate time to make sure that audiences and the creative community knew that there was a project that preexisted and we are pretty far down the road with it,” Packer told Deadline.

Packer added “Black America” is in “very, very active development” with McGruder “off and writing.”

He also said the idea of a utopia for African-Americans isn’t a new concept.

“It was something that was personally intriguing for me as a black American,” he explained. “You would be hard press to find many black Americans who have not thought about the concept of reparation, what would happen if reparations were actually given.

“As a content creator, the fact that that is something that has been discussed thoroughly throughout various demographics of people in this country, but yet never been explored to my knowledge in any real way in long-form content, I thought it was a tremendous opportunity to delve into the story, to do it right.”

Packer also revealed historians have been brought in as consultants on the project, working with producers.

This isn’t the first time Amazon has tried out an alternate history series. “The Man in the High Castle,” an adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s novel, imagines a world where the United States lost World War II and is occupied by Nazi Germany on the east coast, as well as Imperial Japan on the west coast. The Hollywood Reporter wrote in 2015 that the show was Amazon’s most-streamed original series.

“Game of Thrones” creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss received criticism after they announced “Confederate” for HBO.

Their drama will chronicle the events leading to the Third American Civil War, taking place in an alternate timeline, where the southern states have successfully seceded from the Union, giving rise to a nation in which slavery remains legal and has evolved into a modern institution.

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