For technical reasons, this episode ran on Oct. 6 and again on Oct. 13. I’m sorry for any inconvenience.
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- An educated electorate is a prerequisite for a democracy.
- You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.
POSSIBLE TOPICS: VOTETEXAS.GOV—Voter Information; Texas has a constitutional amendments election this year. The last day to register to vote [was] Oct. 4. A statewide election on Nov. 2 will feature eight constitutional amendments that address topics ranging from religious freedom to taxes to judicial eligibility. Here’s what you need to know to vote. First-time homeowner program offering $15K towards down payment for Houston residents; Texas appears to be paying a secretive Republican political operative $120,000 annually to work behind the scenes on redistricting; Energizing Texas: From power grid reform to solar, electric cars and more; Sunnyside Solar Farm: From landfill to power source; Tesla battery storage in Texas: Why Elon Musk picked Angleton; Battery storage: Solution to intermittency; Grid congestion: Getting power where it needs to go; Texas the ‘electricity island’: Why other grids couldn’t help; Federal report finds more work is needed to prevent power outages during future winter storms; A New 450-Mile Undersea Cable Can Help Power the UK With Norwegian Energy; Britain’s Christmas Lament: Meat Shortages and Delivery Delays; The U.K.’s Gas Crisis Is a Brexit Crisis, Too; Jan. 6 rioters exploited little-known Capitol weak spots: A handful of unreinforced windows; Facebook’s Apps Went Down. The World Saw How Much It Runs on Them; Why Facebook and Instagram went down for hours on Monday; More.
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- Make sure you are registered to vote! VoteTexas.GOV – Texas Voter InformationTEXAS SoS VOTE-BY-MAIL BALLOT APPLICATION (ALL TEXAS COUNTIES) HarrisVotes.com – Countywide Voting Centers, (Election Information Line (713) 755-6965), Harris County Clerk
- Harris County “Vote-By-Mail’ Application for 2021
- Fort bend County Elections/Voter Registration Machine takes you to the proper link
- GalvestonVotes.org (Galveston County, TX)
- Liberty County Elections (Liberty County, TX)
- Montgomery County (TX) Elections
- Brazoria County (TX) Clerk Election Information
- Waller County (TX) Elections
- Chambers County (TX) Elections
- For personalized, nonpartisan voter guides and information, Consider visiting Vote.ORG. Ballotpedia.com and Texas League of Women Voters are also good places to get election info.
- If you are denied your right to vote any place at any time at any polling place for any reason, ask for (or demand) a provisional ballot rather than lose your vote.
- HarrisVotes.com – Countywide Voting CentersHARRIS COUNTY – IDENTIFICATION REQUIRED FOR VOTING: Do not possess and cannot reasonably obtain one of these IDs?
- Fill out a declaration at the polls describing a reasonable impediment to obtaining it, and show a copy or original of one of the following supporting forms of ID:
- A government document that shows your name and an address, including your voter registration certificate
- Current utility bill
- Bank statement
- Government check
- A certified domestic (from a U.S. state or territory) birth certificate or (b) a document confirming birth admissible in a court of law which establishes your identity (which may include a foreign birth document)
- You may vote early by-mail if:You are registered to vote and meet one of the following criteria:
- Away from the county of residence on Election Day and during the early voting period;
- Sick or disabled;
- 65 years of age or older on Election Day; or
- Confined in jail, but eligible to vote.
- Make sure you are registered:
- Ann Harris Bennett, Tax Assessor-Collector & Voter Registrar
- CHECK REGISTRATION STATUS HERE
- CLICK How to register to vote in Texas
- Outside Texas, try Vote.org.
- Do make sure you’re registered to vote! Now is a great time!
- Texas has a constitutional amendments election this year. The last day to register to vote [was] Oct. 4. A statewide election on Nov. 2 will feature eight constitutional amendments that address topics ranging from religious freedom to taxes to judicial eligibility. Here’s what you need to know to vote. by Elvia Limón | TEXASTRIBUNE.ORG | Sept. 27, 202117 hours ago
- First-time homeowner program offering $15K towards down payment for Houston residents; Leaders say the program could counteract economic struggles in Houston and across the country. By Briahn Hawkins | KHOU.COM | Published: 12:54 PM CDT October 5, 2021, Updated: 1:44 PM CDT October 5, 2021
- For the third time in Houston, the city is launching a program for first-time homebuyers.
- Wells Fargo is donating $5 million to their collaborative NeighborhoodLIFT Program. The banking company is partnering with Avenue and NeighborWorks America to open the program to low- and middle-income Houstonians that want to buy a home. The grant will provide $15,000 in down payments for more than 300 first-time buyers. Other agencies approved for the program will also hold homebuyer’s education classes.
- The first round of funding will open online at 9 a.m. on November 8th. If you apply, you must meet the following requirements to qualify for a down payment:
- Have an annual income no higher than $63,840
- Attend 8 hours of Homebuyer Education from an agency participating in the program
- Get pre-approval from a lender approved by NeighborhoodLIFT
- Plan to purchase a property in Houston
- MIKE: You can link to the article on today’s show post. The article has further links to help you apply.
- Texas appears to be paying a secretive Republican political operative $120,000 annually to work behind the scenes on redistricting; by Alexa Ura | TEXASTRIBUNE.ORG | Sept. 29, 2021, 2 hours ago
- [Adam Foltz,] A Republican redistricting operative whose clandestine work helped drag Wisconsin into a legal morass last decade appears to now be on the payroll of the Texas Legislature as lawmakers work to redraw maps that will determine the distribution of political power for years to come. …
- Foltz may now be playing a behind-the-scenes role in Texas. The Capitol’s internal staff directory, to which The Texas Tribune obtained access, shows Foltz is working for the House Redistricting Committee… but at least one Democrat on the committee said they had not been advised of his involvement. Foltz has not been a visible part of the committee’s public-facing work.
- Though Foltz is assigned to the House Redistricting Committee, state employment records show that Foltz is actually on the payroll of the Texas Legislative Council, a nonpartisan state agency that supports the Legislature in drafting and analyzing proposed legislation — and manages the internal mapping tool lawmakers use to redraw political maps. During the redistricting process, the council also plays a crucial role in providing demographic and election results for lawmakers’ proposed maps.
- Records show Foltz was hired by the agency under the title of “legislative professional” on May 17 at a $120,000 annual salary. But Kimberly Shields, the council’s assistant executive director, said in an email that Foltz reports to state Rep. Todd Hunter, the Corpus Christi Republican who chairs the redistricting committee. …
- Hunter did not respond to questions about Foltz’s involvement in the mapping process.
- [Hunter said in a February statement]: “The work of redistricting is never easy, but I am fully committed to a fair process and I look forward to working with my fellow members of this committee on the task at hand.” …
- The redistricting process has always been complex and contentious in Texas, requiring repeated federal intervention to protect Hispanic and Black voters. In each of the last four redistricting cycles, either a federal court or the U.S. Department of Justice determined that Texas did not comply with federal protections for those voters. …
- Foltz’s involvement in Wisconsin’s 2011 redistricting was shrouded in controversy. …
- He held meetings there under what a federal court called a “cloak of secrecy” with every Republican member of the State Assembly — but no Democrats — who were each required to sign confidentiality agreements that bound them from discussing what was said.
- Despite Republican efforts to keep them secret, documents released during the litigation over the maps Foltz helped draw showed that he was also asked to help witnesses prepare their public testimony in support of them. …
- ANDREW: This is obviously bad, and a clear indicator that these district maps are gerrymandered. The fact that he is answering to members of the legislature, yet being paid by a nonpartisan state agency, seems suspicious to me. I wonder if any of this information can be used to aid legal challenges against these new district maps.
- Energizing Texas: From power grid reform to solar, electric cars and more; … By Jeremy Rogalski, Cheryl Mercedes, Tiffany Craig, Grace White, Marcelino Benito | KHOU | © 2021 KHOU-TV. All Rights Reserved.
- MIKE: This is a super-extensive study piece with lots of parts. I recommended going to the linked article. It added several points to the Community Impact article
- Sunnyside Solar Farm: From landfill to power source, By Marcelino Benito
- …[F]rom 1937 to the mid 70s. Sunnyside was where the city dumped its garbage. … The dump has been shut down for decades, now it’s just hundreds of acres of overgrown trees. … The former landfill will soon be home to a 240-acre urban solar farm. …
- … Dori Wolfe, co-developer of the Sunnyside Solar Project … says Sunnyside Energy will lease the former dump site from the city and transform it into a stunning array of solar panels. …
- It’s all part of the city’s Climate Action Plan and Mayor Turner’s Complete Communities Initiative. … Tens of thousands of solar panels will line an area the size of 200 football fields and produce enough energy to power 5,000 homes. That means discounted power rates for Sunnyside residents. …
- The city of Houston known for having one of the highest number of greenhouse gas emitters suddenly through this solar farm alone will be able to offset 120 million pounds of CO2 per year. …
- Most significant, building out the solar farm will lead to new job training opportunities and hundreds of new jobs. … It’s a game changing green project fueling Sunnyside’s next chapter. Construction is slated to begin before the end of 2022.
- ANDREW: Interesting project. Hopefully they’ll source as many recycled components for the solar panels as possible.
- Tesla battery storage in Texas: Why Elon Musk picked Angleton, By Grace White
- Elon Musk, has a new adventure, and it involves becoming a power player in Texas. [and]Tesla picked Angleton, a small town south of Houston …
- The same battery technology used to power cars is what Tesla wants to use to power homes. The benefit to being in Angleton is a substation that forms a critical entry point to Texas’ energy grid. …
- ANDREW: Sound idea, but I wish someone else was doing it. Many reasons to dislike Musk and his company nowadays, but the relevant ones here are lack of environmental concern (see SpaceX’s Boca Chica launch site) and hostility to labor.
- Battery storage: Solution to intermittency, By Jeremy Rogalski
- … Battery storage is not only “hybrid” or paired with wind and solar farms, developers are building “stand alone” projects. They buy power directly from the grid when prices are low, then store and sell it back to the grid when prices are high. …
- The biggest challenge is how long grid-scale batteries can last. Currently, the storage limit is four to six hours. The holy grail in the energy world is to develop a battery that can store and discharge power for days.
- ANDREW: Hopefully a longer-term battery on this scale will convince some of the anti-renewables crowd (the ones who aren’t getting paid, anyway).
- Grid congestion: Getting power where it needs to go, By Jeremy Rogalski
- Another challenge for the future of the Texas power grid is getting power where it needs to go. In the Panhandle, West Texas and the Rio Grand Valley, towering wind turbines have sprouted up everywhere, making Texas the number one wind-power producing state in the nation. …
- [O]n nearby transmission lines, there’s often a roadblock of sorts to get it all there. Think of those lines as electricity highways that can safely handle only so many cars. When they get congested with power generators trying to get on, the grid operator ERCOT, much like a traffic cop, limits or constrains the amount of traffic (electrons) flowing on the road. …
- Jay Temple, regional senior direct for asset optimization, testified February 26 hearing before the Senate Business and Commerce Committee.
- “Additional megawatts of generation were available but could not be delivered because over 90 percent of the highway was blocked,” Temple said.
- ERCOT has put such a block, known as a generic transmission constraint, on 16 transmission lines across the state. Seven of those are in the Rio Grand Valley. Behind the bottlenecks, electricity, mostly cheap wind and solar power, is essentially trapped. …
- On some of the electricity highways, the constraint is severe. EDF Renewables said the export transmission line out of the Rio Grande Valley is rated to handle 6,000 megawatts, but ERCOT has throttled back the allowable traffic down to 650 megawatts. …
- The solution seems obvious-build more transmission lines. But that is expensive and takes time. Between lengthy regulatory approvals and construction, a high voltage line can take six years to get off the ground. A wind or solar farm can be up and running in less than two. …
- In July, ERCOT issued a 60-point roadmap to improving grid reliability …, “up to and including the construction of new transmission capacity.
- The roadmap did not offer further details on that process, or a timeline for when changes might happen, but last week ERCOT did come up with a plan to ease congestion in the Rio Grande Valley. It would involve building 350 miles of new, high-voltage transmission lines with a 1.2-billion-dollar price tag. The project would take until the year 2027 to complete.
- ANDREW: Lengthy regulatory approvals? In Texas? That plus the throttling makes me wonder if oil and gas business interests are also a factor for ERCOT’s decision making here.
- Texas the ‘electricity island’: Why other grids couldn’t help, By Jeremy Rogalski
- Texas’ energy independence, what many call a “go-it-alone” approach, dates back to when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president. Congress passed a law to regulate interstate electricity, but Texas utilities choose to keep power within state lines. It shaped the nation’s power grid system as it looks today. …
- Pattern Energy has spent a decade trying to change that with a two gigawatt transmission line called Southern Cross. The project will connect Texas to states in the southeast, and the company said it will do so without jeopardizing the independence of ERCOT.
- “Congress has set a very narrow path, a road map for how you can do an interconnection between ERCOT and a non-ERCOT region,” said attorney and Pattern Energy lobbyist Michael Jewell.
- “Pattern and Southern Cross were able to thread the needle of the federal requirements in order to get that order,” he said.
- The order from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gives Pattern Energy clearance to build the 400-mile high-voltage direct current line from Mississippi to the Texas-Louisiana border. It would connect to the ERCOT grid another 35 miles east in Rusk County, near the town of Henderson. …
- While two gigawatts of additional electricity would not have solved the massive failures of the February storm, it could have powered a few hundred thousand homes and bought the Texas grid some breathing room. …
- ANDREW: Ridiculous that loopholes are required to connect Texas to the rest of the national grid. The freeze is all the proof we need that we can’t go it alone. Rugged individualism will be the death of us all.
- Federal report finds more work is needed to prevent power outages during future winter storms; By Darcy Sprague | COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM | 8:06 PM Oct 4, 2021 CDT | Updated 9:14 PM Oct 4, 2021 CDT
- Preliminary findings from federal regulators indicate that more needs to be done to weatherize the Texas power grid to prevent an outage similar to the one that happened in February.
- Staff from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [FERC]and the North American Electric Reliability Corp. drafted the report after reviewing the multiday outages Texas and some Midwest residents faced.
- [Said FERC Chair Rich Glick in a press release], “This is a wake-up call for all of us. There was a similar inquiry after Texas experienced extreme cold weather in 2011, but those recommendations were not acted on. We can’t allow this to happen again. This time, we must take these recommendations seriously, and act decisively, to ensure the bulk power system doesn’t fail the next time extreme weather hits. I cannot, and will not, allow this to become yet another report that serves no purpose other than to gather dust on the shelf,” [Glick said].
- The team examined the weather and its correlating effect on the power supply from Feb. 8-20 with the worst blackouts occurring from Feb. 15-18.
- According to the report, the event was the largest controlled load shed—meaning companies reduced power availability more severely than ever before—and the third-worst blackout in the country. …
- In Texas, Oklahoma and Lousianna [sic], natural gas production was reduced by more than 50% compared to its production levels earlier that month. Per the report, that loss accounted for 80% of the total power reduction seen throughout the lower 48 states from Feb. 15 to 20. In Texas, the available power during those days was half what it would normally be, the report authors found. At the lowest point, the state had access to about 20% of its normal power supply.
- According to the report’s authors, this loss was due in large part to freezing infrastructure; much of the Southern U.S. generators’ infrastructure is exposed to the elements.
- The problem in Texas was exacerbated by Texas’ independent grid, per the report. If Texas had an existing network to import power from other states, its blackouts would not have been so severe, though that would have reduced the extra energy available to other Southern and Midwestern states experiencing similar issues generating their own power.
- The team drafted a list of 28 recommendations with suggested deadlines ranging from November 2021 to November 2023.
- MIKE: When TX gov said the problem was wind power failure, they simply lied: “In TX, OK & La, natural gas production was reduced by more than 50% compared to production levels earlier that month. [T]hat loss accounted for 80% of the total power reduction …” And then there’s this, “The problem in Texas was exacerbated by Texas’ independent grid, per the report. If Texas had an existing network to import power from other states, its blackouts would not have been so severe, though that would have reduced the extra energy available to other Southern and Midwestern states experiencing similar issues generating their own power.” So if Texas wasn’t so determined to be separate from the United States, we might have seen much less human misery, suffering, property damage, injury and death, no to mentions trauma and post-traumatic stress.
- ANDREW: “A wake-up call for all of us”. True, but how many of us will actually wake up to it? How many of those will be in the state government? Even if every other idea in the report is untenable to Republicans, at least spend the money necessary to get Texas’ generators more resistant to, if not out of, the elements.
- A New 450-Mile Undersea Cable Can Help Power the UK With Norwegian Energy; The world’s longest power cable will help the UK reduce carbon emissions. By Ameya Paleja | INTERESTINGENGINEERING.COM | Oct 04, 2021
- Residents in the U.K. who were worried about rising gas prices and power uncertainties during the winter can now relax. After this new 450-mile (724 km) undersea cable is switched on, Britain will be able to source power from Norway, the BBC reported.
- The decision to tap into a country in the EU could not be more timely for the island nation but sourcing electricity is not as easy as sourcing barrels of gas. The infrastructure to achieve this has been in the works for over six years now, through the North Sea Link project. …
- First tested in June, the interconnector cable is currently being operated at a capacity of 700 megawatts which can be further doubled over the next three months to power 1.4 million homes, BBC reported.
- Initially, power is expected to flow into the U.K. but with the scaling up of offshore wind farms, the region hopes to supply power to Norway and even reserve the hydel [hydro-electric]-power generation for a later day. The U.K. has similar plans of connecting to the power grids of Denmark and Germany over the next couple of years, New Scientist reported. …
- … The U.K. plans to go carbon neutral by 2050 and the power generated in Europe is more eco-friendly than conventional coal-fired plants that the U.K. currently relies on.
- ANDREW: So they left the EU but are still relying on them to keep the heating on. Where else have we heard about non-citizens relying on a larger community to keep them alive?
- Britain’s Christmas Lament: Meat Shortages and Delivery Delays; Military personnel are driving transport trucks. Pig farmers may start culling their stock. Even the government says shortages will affect Christmas, as Britons brace for a challenging winter. By Jenny Gross | NYTIMES.COM | Oct. 4, 2021
- To understand the deep sense of anxiety Britons feel about the supply shortages currently afflicting the nation — and threatening disruptions to the Christmas dinner table — one need only travel to Simon Watchorn’s pig farm, about two hours northeast of London.
- In 2014, Mr. Watchorn was England’s pig farmer of the year, with a thriving business. But this year, he said, the outlook for the fall is bleak.
- Slaughterhouses are understaffed and are processing a smaller-than-usual number of pigs. There is a shortage of drivers to move pork to grocery stores and butcher shops. And there are fewer butchers to prepare the meat for consumers.
- If the problems persist, Mr. Watchorn may have to start culling some of his 7,500 pigs by the end of next month. Pigs grow about 15 pounds each week, and after a certain point, they are too big for slaughterhouses to process.
- Watchorn said the last time he can remember things being this bad was during an outbreak of mad cow disease in the late 1990s. …
- The chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, acknowledged on BBC Radio on Monday that there will shortages at Christmastime. He said the government was doing “everything we can” to mitigate the supply chain issues but admitted there was no “magic wand.”
- Watchorn, who prides himself on running a farm where all adult stock live outside, is convinced that Brexit is responsible for the current distress, saying the exodus of European workers from Britain had led to damaging labor shortages. The British people voted to break with the European Union to reduce immigration, he believes, without realizing how damaging a cliff-edge exit from the bloc would be for businesses.
- “They didn’t vote for supermarket shortages,” he said on Sunday as dozens of pigs gathered around him to be fed. “They didn’t understand that was going to be a probable, likely outcome.”
- Sunak and other Conservative leaders say supply problems are a global issue largely attributable to the pandemic and not limited to Britain. Indeed, businesses around the world are facing rising energy prices, product shortages and labor shortages.
- But the challenges in Britain are acute, with many industries facing a shortage of workers — in part because of the pandemic, but also, many business owners say, because of stricter immigration laws that came into effect after Britain’s exit from the European Union on Jan. 1. …
- The U.K.’s Gas Crisis Is a Brexit Crisis, Too; Until now, the government has blamed Covid-related restrictions for a spate of shortages. But as virus restrictions ease and fuel runs short, the focus is shifting to Britain’s exit from the E.U. By Mark Landler | NYTIMES.COM | Published Sept. 28, 2021, Updated Oct. 4, 2021
- Few things are more likely to set teeth on edge in Downing Street than the tentative winner of an inconclusive German election declaring that Brexit is the reason Britons are lining up at gas stations like it’s 1974.
- But there was Olaf Scholz, the leader of the Social Democratic Party, telling reporters on Monday that the freedom of movement guaranteed by the European Union would have alleviated the shortage of truck drivers in Britain that is preventing oil companies from supplying gas stations across the country. …
- [T]he coronavirus, and the months of economic shutdown that it forced, also masked the ways that Brexit has disrupted commerce. That disguise fell away last weekend when gas stations across the country began to run out of gasoline, sparking a panic and serpentine lines of motorists looking for a fill up.
- While it would be wrong to blame a crisis with global ramifications solely on Brexit, there are Brexit-specific causes that are indisputable: Of the estimated shortfall of 100,000 truck drivers, about 20,000 are non-British drivers who left the country during the pandemic and have not returned in part because of more stringent, post-Brexit visa requirements to work in the country, which took effect this year.
- Prime Minister Boris Johnson acknowledged as much when he reversed course last weekend and offered 5,000 three-month visas to foreign drivers to try to replenish the ranks (while also putting military drivers on standby to drive fuel trucks, a move he hasn’t yet taken.) …
- This is not the first trade disruption to hit Britain since it left the single market in 2020. …
- But it is the first disruption to occur since life returned to a semblance of normalcy after 18 months of pandemic-forced restrictions. … In that sense, it is the first post-Brexit crisis that has not been masked by the effects of the coronavirus.
- It is also geographically selective. Gas stations in Northern Ireland, which has an open border with the Irish Republic (a European Union member), are not reporting panic buying. Similarly, Northern Ireland was unaffected by the recent shortage in supplies of carbon dioxide because its soda bottling plants had access to shipments from continental Europe. And yet, Brexit has figured remarkably little in the public discussion. …
- After four and a half years of feuding, even Brexit’s most ardent opponents show little appetite to relitigate the 2016 referendum. …
- ANDREW: Most rejoiners seem to be focused on smaller victories right now, for instance, the Greens of England and Wales are pushing to return to the Customs Union, rather than the second referendum they were pushing for a few years ago. I would imagine the issue fatigue has set in by this point, and hopefully rejoiners will pick back up the second referendum banner after people are ready to consider it again.
- 6 rioters exploited little-known Capitol weak spots: A handful of unreinforced windows; By Sarah D. Wire, Staff Writer | LATIMES.COM | Oct. 4, 2021, 2 AM PT
- Four major access points that Jan. 6 rioters used to break into and overtake the U.S. Capitol had something unusual in common: They were among a dozen or so ground-floor windows and glass-paned doors that had not been recently reinforced.
- The majority of the Capitol’s 658 single-pane windows were quietly upgraded during a 2017-19 renovation of the historic building. The original wooden frames and glass were covered with a second metal frame containing bomb-resistant glass.
- But planners skipped about a dozen ground-floor windows, including some located in doors, because they were deemed to be low risk in the event of implosion, largely due to their discreet or shielded location, or because the building couldn’t structurally handle the load of the heavier frames.
- And whether by sheer luck, real-time trial and error, or advance knowledge by rioters, several of those vulnerable windows and two glass-paned doors — protected with only a thin Kevlar film added after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks — became easy entry points for hundreds of Trump supporters who overran and ransacked the building on Jan. 6.
- IMAGE LINK:
- Video shows some of the first rioters to break through the police line running past 15 reinforced windows, making a beeline for a recessed area on the Senate side of the building, where two unreinforced windows and two doors with unreinforced glass were all that stood between them and hallways leading to lawmakers inside who had not begun to evacuate.
- A rioter’s fist cracked the glass of one window, video posted to social media shows. A stolen police riot shield and a wooden pole finished the job. In seconds, the unreinforced glass gave way in a single sheet. Rioters poured through the window. Similar methods were used to break glass in at least three other locations. …
- But despite the unintended effectiveness of bomb-resistant windows as a deterrent against attackers on foot, it remains unclear whether the board responsible for Capitol security will now upgrade those remaining single-pane windows and unreinforced doors.
- The access points that rioters passed through have so far been repaired with single-pane glass — but without Kevlar. …
- When asked about the decision not to reinforce certain windows, a spokesperson for the architect of the Capitol said upgrades are made in consultation with security officials and details “are not released to ensure the physical security of the campus is not compromised.” …
- ANDREW: I remember seeing video of Capitol Police officers letting the rioters past barricades. I also remember seeing video of state officials opening doors for rioters when state houses were attacked. I think it’s very possible that sympathizers let them know ahead of time which windows were weak.
- Facebook’s Apps Went Down. The World Saw How Much It Runs on Them; by Raymond Zhong | THE NEW YORK TIMES VIA NEWS.YAHOO.COM | October 5, 2021
- … The Facebook outage Monday was a planetary-scale demonstration of how essential the company’s services have become to daily life. Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger have long been more than handy tools for chatting and sharing photos. They are critical platforms for doing business, arranging medical care, conducting virtual classes, carrying out political campaigns, responding to emergencies and much, much more. …
- … In Latin America, Facebook’s apps can be literal lifelines in rural places where cellphone service has yet to arrive but the internet is available, and in poor communities where people cannot afford mobile data but can find a free internet connection.
- Across Africa, Facebook’s apps are so popular that for many, they are the internet. The company has stuck [sic] deals with many carriers to make its services accessible on phones without data charges. …
- … WhatsApp, easily the continent’s most popular messaging app, has become an effective one-stop shop for people to communicate with friends, colleagues, businesses, fellow worshippers and neighbors. …
- … In Mexico, many small-town newspapers cannot afford print editions, so they publish on Facebook instead. That has left local governments without a physical outlet to issue important announcements, so they, too, have taken to Facebook, said Adrián Pascoe, a political consultant. …
- ANDREW: For as much cheering as there was at the misfortune of Facebook and Zuckerberg, the outage caused a lot of issues both annoying and potentially dangerous. Facebook is a de facto infrastructure company in many parts of the world, and for some people, a library of precious memories or a last connection to an estranged family member or friend. Calls to break it up will only increase from this, as the dangers of too many people relying on one company so heavily are laid bare.
- Why Facebook and Instagram went down for hours on Monday; by Jonathan Franklin | NPR.ORG | October 5, 2021
- … An update to Facebook’s routers that coordinate network traffic went wrong, sending a wave of disruptions rippling through its systems. As a result, all things Facebook were effectively shut down, worldwide.
- The problem was made worse — and its solution more elusive — because the outage also whacked Facebook’s own internal systems and tools that it relies on for daily operations. Employees also reportedly faced difficulty in physically reaching the space where the routers are housed. …
- … [Facebook’s] explanation suggests the problem arose between Facebook and the Border Gateway Protocol, a vital tool underlying the Internet. …
- … Similar to ideas like map coordinates or ZIP codes, the [Border Gateway Protocol] tells the rest of the world where to route traffic and information.
- When a company can’t use the gateway protocol, it’s as if their online domains simply don’t exist. …
- ANDREW: The update erased the gateway protocol information for Facebook’s servers, both public and internal ones, meaning nobody, not even employees, could access them without physically plugging into them. I heard that this included security door control systems, which is why employees had trouble getting to the servers. There were backup systems to allow access, but it took a while to let the people in charge of the backups know to activate them, because the company’s internal communications were down.