No free lunch for renewables: More wind power would warm US
WASHINGTON — Ramping up wind power in America would also dial up the nation’s temperatures, a new study from Harvard found.
While wind energy is widely celebrated as environmentally friendly, the researchers concluded that a dramatic, all-out expansion in the number of turbines could warm the country even more than climate change from burning coal and other fossil fuels, because of the way the spinning blades disturb the layers of warm and cold air in the atmosphere.
Some parts of the central United States are already seeing nights that are up to 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) warmer because of nearby wind farms, said study lead author Lee Miller, an environmental scientist at Harvard.
“Any big energy system has an environmental impact,” said Harvard engineering and physics professor David Keith, a study co-author. “There is no free lunch. You do wind on a scale big enough … it’ll change things.”
The researchers and other scientists stressed that climate change from greenhouse gas emissions is clearly a far bigger threat globally and over the long term than turbine-caused warming, which is temporary and stops when the blades aren’t turning.
Kavanaugh says he ‘might have been too emotional’ at hearing
WASHINGTON — Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh acknowledged Thursday he “might have been too emotional” when testifying about sexual misconduct allegations as he made a bid to win over wavering GOP senators on the eve of a crucial vote to advance his confirmation.
The 53-year-old judge said in an op-ed that he knows his “tone was sharp, and I said a few things I should not have said” during testimony last week to the Judiciary Committee. He forcefully denied the allegations.
“Going forward, you can count on me to be the same kind of judge and person I have been for my entire 28-year legal career: hardworking, even-keeled, open-minded, independent and dedicated to the Constitution and the public good,” he wrote in The Wall Street Journal.
Kavanaugh’s column appeared aimed at winning over the three GOP senators who remain undecided. He got an additional boost late Thursday from President Donald Trump, who praised his nominee’s “incredible intellect” and scoffed at detractors during a campaign rally in Minnesota.
Trump said the protesters and “their rage-fueled resistance is starting to backfire at a level nobody has ever seen before.” He was referring to polling that shows some improvement for Republicans heading into the midterm election.
New York AG fires another salvo at Trump Foundation
NEW YORK — New York has a strong case that President Donald Trump ran his charitable foundation with disregard for state and federal law, the state’s attorney general said Thursday in a new court filing.
Attorney General Barbara Underwood is suing the foundation, saying it broke rules prohibiting charities from engaging in political activity.
“The law is clear — private foundations cannot use their funds for the personal or business benefit of their directors, and they cannot engage in political activities,” the court filing argued.
Trump’s lawyers have asked a judge to dismiss the case, saying it was politically motivated.
In its latest salvo, state lawyers reiterated their demand that Trump be barred from being involved in running any charities for 10 years.
West accuses Russian spy agency of scores of attacks
LONDON — The West unleashed an onslaught of new evidence and indictments Thursday accusing Russian military spies of hacking so widespread that it seemed to target anyone, anywhere who investigates Moscow’s involvement in an array of criminal activities — including doping, poisoning and the downing of a plane.
Russia defiantly denied the charges, neither humbled nor embarrassed by the exceptional revelations on one of the most high-tension days in East-West relations in years. Moscow lashed back with allegations that the Pentagon runs a clandestine U.S. biological weapons program involving toxic mosquitoes, ticks and more.
The nucleus of Thursday’s drama was Russia’s military intelligence agency known as the GRU, increasingly the embodiment of Russian meddling abroad.
In the last 24 hours: U.S. authorities charged seven officers from the GRU with hacking international agencies; British and Australian authorities accused the GRU of a devastating 2017 cyberattack on Ukraine, the email leaks that rocked the U.S. 2016 election and other damaging hacks; And Dutch officials alleged that GRU agents tried and failed to hack into the world’s chemical weapons watchdog, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
The ham-handed attempted break-in — involving hacking equipment in the trunk of a car and a trail of physical and virtual clues — was the most stunning operation revealed Thursday. It was so obvious, in fact, that it almost looked like the Russians didn’t care about getting caught.
From wire sources
Crew recount terror of tsunami that dumped ferry in village
WANI, Indonesia — The captain and crew sailing the Sabuk Nusantara ferry to new owners got the task done and then some.
The hulking ship was bounced like a basketball as a massive earthquake rocked an Indonesian island.
A week after the magnitude 7.5 quake and tsunami, the captain and 20 crew remain on the ferry, waiting for a decision on whether it can be put back to sea.
To the crew, the sudden drop in water level was bewildering and it seemed like the Earth was rising. Petty officer Imat saw the ground get higher and the pier had collapsed, then “I could see a wave, a dark high wave” he couldn’t imagine.
The captain estimated the ferry now lies about 50 yards from its original position at the dock.
Juan Romero, busboy who aided wounded Robert Kennedy, dies
LOS ANGELES — When Robert F. Kennedy decided to duck through the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles after declaring victory in the 1968 Democratic presidential primary, Juan Romero reveled at his good fortune.
It meant the 18-year-old busboy might get to shake hands with his hero — the man he’d assured himself would be the next president of the United States — for the second time in two days.
Romero had just grasped Kennedy’s hand when gunshots rang out, one of them striking the senator in the head.
Kennedy would die the next day and the teenage Mexican immigrant who had idolized him would carry the emotional burden of that encounter for most of his life.
“I remember him one time saying he felt guilty,” his daughter, Josefina Guerra, said Thursday. “He thought it was his fault.”
Scientists: US military program could be seen as bioweapon
NEW YORK — A research arm of the U.S. military is exploring the possibility of deploying insects to make plants more resilient by altering their genes. Some experts say the work may be seen as a potential biological weapon.
In an opinion paper published Thursday in the journal Science, the authors say the U.S. needs to provide greater justification for the peace-time purpose of its Insect Allies project to avoid being perceived as hostile to other countries. Other experts expressed ethical and security concerns with the research, which seeks to transmit protective traits to crops already growing in the field.
That would mark a departure from the current widely used procedure of genetically modifying seeds for crops such as corn and soy, before they grow into plants.
The military research agency says its goal is to protect the nation’s food supply from threats like drought, crop disease and bioterrorism by using insects to infect plants with viruses that protect against such dangers.
“Food security is national security,” said Blake Bextine, who heads the 2-year-old project at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, an arm of the U.S. Department of Defense.