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San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz finally agrees with President Donald Trump on something: the U.S. government's response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico was a 10. Only for the mayor it's out of 100 — a failing grade, compared to Trump's perfect 10 out of 10 that he gave himself at a White House meeting with the Puerto Rico governor Thursday. SEE ALSO: Mayor of San Juan tells Trump that he is leaving Puerto Rico to die "I think the president lives in an alternative reality world that only he believes the things that he is saying," Cruz said about her "grade" for Trump. Cruz spoke to CNN on the one-month anniversary of the deadly hurricane blowing through the island nation. With about 3 million residents (out of a population of 3.4 million) still without electricity a month later, Cruz is critical of any praise to the response. Adding to the slow recovery is a lack of basic services like water, with only barely 70 percent of the nation back to proper water resources. In the northern part of the territory only 36 percent of residents have access to clean drinking water. The death toll is at 49 and growing. After a month of federal aid and relief, these numbers paint a different story than Trump's 10 out of 10. WATCH: Pitbull sends his private jet to Puerto Rico cancer patients
Mexico captured a rare vaquita marina porpoise as part of a bold program to save the critically endangered species, but released it because it was too young to be separated from its mother, officials said. The vaquita, the world's smallest porpoise, has been pushed to the brink of extinction by illegal fishing. "The successful rescue made conservation history," Mexican Environment Minister Rafael Pacchiano said in a statement.
On April 28, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) abruptly took down its long-standing treasure trove of online climate change resources, and put up a message stating that they were being updated to reflect the new priorities of the Trump administration. It's becoming more and more clear that one of those priorities is to downplay the threat of climate change. And one way way to do that is to ignore it altogether. To that end, on Friday, a group that monitors federal websites for changes in climate change content reported that the some of the climate websites taken down in April have returned to the EPA's site, with all references to climate change removed. SEE ALSO: Now we know how the EPA's Scott Pruitt will replace science advisors with industry According to the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative's website monitoring group (EDGI), an EPA website that previously offered climate and energy resources for state, local, and tribal governments has been stripped of its references and links to climate science and policy. Prior to April 28, the site had contained programs and tools to assist these government entities in becoming more energy efficient, using more renewable energy, and developing climate change policies. Instead, that main site is now a page on "energy resources," including a "Clean Energy Finance Tool," Energy Information Administration state reports, newsletters, and other resources with links to previously existing EPA climate sites removed as well. The new webpage, which went online in late July, but was just analyzed in detail on Friday, omits about 15 mentions of the word "climate" from the main page for local governments. Original version of the climate and energy resources page.Image: EDGI/EPA.gov New version of the climate and energy resources page.Image: EDGI/epa.gov "Large portions of climate resources that were formerly found on the previous website have not been returned, and thus have ultimately been removed from the current EPA website," the EDGI web monitoring group stated. The new website’s main page has no links to pages such as the “State Climate Action Framework”, “Local Climate Action Framework”, and “Climate Showcase Communities," among others, the report found. In addition, the urls epa.gov/climatechange and epa.gov/climateimpacts continue to redirect to a notice page about forthcoming updates, though no dates are given as to when these sites may be back. An archived version of the EPA's old climate change websites is still available, however. According to EDGI, the pre-April 28 version of the state, local, and tribal governments website contained 380 webpages, whereas the new one has just 175. Links to resources and tools for planning for climate change impacts at the local and regional levels were among the pages scrubbed entirely from the new version, inhibiting the ability of such governments — many of which are led by governors, mayors, or tribal entities in favor of taking action on climate change — to adequately plan for climate impacts. The EPA's website changes might seem insignificant when compared to other administration actions on climate change, like announcing its intention to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement. However, by making it harder for Americans to prepare for global warming-induced phenomena, such as heat waves and sea level rise, the Trump administration is effectively putting people at greater risk. EPA's Scott Pruitt, left, shakes hands with coal miners.Image: AP/REX/ShutterstockClimate change is already resulting in an uptick in extreme weather events, particularly heat waves and precipitation extremes, across much of the U.S., and coastal states are increasingly having to grapple with rising sea levels. The Obama administration spent years trying to develop materials to help local governments take climate science and put it to use protecting their communities, but those have all been taken down in the new version of the Trump administration's climate site. The EPA's voluminous climate change website had previously been maintained under both Republican and Democratic administrations dating back at least to the first Bush administration, and it had served as a valuable tool for teachers and students, researchers, and government officials looking for data and advice on climate resilience efforts. However, the site has become another casualty of an administration that appears hellbent on erasing as much climate science and climate policy from the books as possible. Since becoming EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt has pursued an aggressive agenda of dismantling the Obama administration's climate change regulations, culminating in his action on Oct. 10 to withdraw the Clean Power Plan, which would limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Pruitt has said he doesn't believe that science shows greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels are the main cause of global warming, even though scientific evidence demonstrates exactly that link. Pruitt instead wants to hold televised "red team, blue team" debates between climate scientists and deniers to contest the merits of mainstream climate science research. “The American people deserve, in my view, an objective, transparent, honest discussion about what we know and what we don’t know about CO2," Pruitt told the conservative Heritage Foundation on Wednesday. "It’s never taken place.” Scrubbing agency websites of climate information is therefore in line with Pruitt's ideology, as well as that of the president, who has called global warming a "hoax." WATCH: Only in Dubai—police now have hovercrafts
Uber is asking drivers to ante up for their future earnings. The company is offering some drivers in Houston, Texas, a chance to “Celebrate Halloween early” by buying a week of “accelerated earnings” for an upfront payment of $115. The promotion, spotted by Data & Society researcher Alex Rosenblat, promises drivers 33% more on every…
A unique citizen science project in which volunteers will be trained to move a piece of steel machinery using the power of their mind begins on October 27. The Mental Work project uses brain-machine interfaces developed at EPFL (Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne), as Jim Drury discovered.
NASA has been offering virtual-reality tours of Mars for years — but now, with Google’s help, the space agency has come up with one of the most accessible tours yet. “Access Mars” lays out a 3-D terrain for five of the spots scanned by NASA’s Curiosity rover, ranging from its landing site to the place where it’s hanging out now, more than five years later. The tour can be experienced via a desktop browser, on mobile devices as a head-tracking display seen through a Cardboard-style viewer, and on virtual-reality and augmented-reality headsets. You can jump from one spot to another, teleport… Read More