Sunday, June 25, 2017

UK electricity grid cyber-attack risk is 'off the scale.....Energy industry says current threat coming to the fore because of trend towards decentralised power plants

Concerns over the threat posed by cyber-attacks on power stations and electricity grids is “off the scale” in the UK energy sector, according to a leading industry figure.
No other country in the world has an energy industry as worried about the risk from cyber threats, such as the WannaCry ransomware attack that recently hit the NHS, the former chief of National Grid told the Guardian.

Theresa May’s crackdown on the internet will let terror in the backdoor

There were also a growing number of web-connected devices in energy technology, he added.
One obvious target is the smart meters that are being installed in every home by the end of 2020, to automate meter readings. The Capita-run body set up to handle the data, the DCC, is being treated as critical national infrastructure and the company’s chief technology officer insists the data is safe.
“We don’t hold personal information [on energy supplier customers], we don’t see any form of sensitive data and we are not connected to the internet,” Matt Roderick told a recent industry conference. Holliday’s warning comes as the UK parliament reels from a “sustained and determined” cyber-attack which left MPs unable to access their emails.

Industry trade body Energy UK said there was a central system for logging threats, to help rapidly counter them. “Maintaining the highest level of security against cyber threats is a top priority for the industry,” a spokeswoman said.

Security experts from the National Cyber Security Centre and companies including Siemens also recently attended a summit on cybersecurity and energy infrastructure, hosted by Energy UK and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
The issue is not just a concern for the power sector, but for oil and gas producers too. BP said recently that “we are a target for this activity” when asked by shareholders about how seriously it was taking cybersecurity.
“Cyber is high on the agenda. It is one of the key risks the company identifies,” said Carl-Henric Svanberg, chairman at BP. “We were not affected luckily by this [Wannacry] attack, primarily because everybody had followed procedures of continuous updates.”

Brian Gilvary, chief financial officer at BP, said the firm did not share specific information on the number of attacks it faced. However, he said the company had a strategy of repelling what it could, detecting what got through and then cleansing when cyber-attackers had breached defences.
The World Energy Council, a global network of energy leaders, said cybersecurity in the energy sector had been high on the agenda of a security conference in Munich earlier this year. The issue was also raised in May by the Scottish parliament.

PricewaterhouseCoopers recently found that 65% of UK businesses were “significantly concerned” over cyber risks to energy technology. Three in five businesses would switch energy supplier if they suffered a cyber breach, according to a survey of 500 businesses by the professional services firm.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Girl Pleads With Mother After Castile Killing: 'I Don't Want You to Get Shooted!'

The terrified four-year-old witness to the killing of Philando Castile by a Minnesota cop pleaded with her mother to cooperate with police moments after his death telling her "I don't want you to get shooted," a newly released police video shows.

The video, which came out with a bundle of evidence from the Castile trial, captures the interaction between Diamond Reynolds, Castile's girlfriend, and her daughter as they were held in the back of a squad car shortly after the shooting.

In the heart-wrenching video, a handcuffed Reynolds yells "F---!" — and immediately her young daughter begins to cry begging her mother to "please stop cussing and screaming because I don't want you to get shooted."

The weeping girl then embraces her mother, who tells her to give her a kiss.
"I can keep you safe," says the girl, while wiping away tears from her face.
Related: Authorities Release Police Dashcam Video of Philando Castile Killing
"I can't believe they just did that," Reynolds whispers to herself — to which the girl begins to cry uncontrollably.

Reynolds then attempts to get out of her handcuffs, and the girl again desperately yells for her to be calm, out of fear for her mother's safety.
"No! Please no! I don't want you to get shooted!" she said.
"They're not going to shoot me, I'm already in handcuffs," Reynolds responds in an attempt to pacify the frazzled girl.

The emotional video shines new light on the tragic aftermath of Castile's tragic shooting by Officer Jeronimo Yanez who fired seven bullets into him after he told the officer he had a firearm.
Yanez told investigators and a jury that he believed Castile was reaching for the weapon.
But Reynolds, who live streamed the immediate moments after her boyfriend was shot on Facebook, told authorities that he was only reaching for his wallet.
Police Officer Fatally Shoots Black Man During Traffic Stop Near St. Paul© Diamond Reynolds, holding her daughter, speaks to a crowd outside the Governor's Mansion on July 7, ... Police Officer Fatally Shoots Black Man During Traffic Stop Near St. Paul She is also heard saying "he's not pulling it out!" in the police dashcam video seconds before the gunfire.

Yanez was acquitted by a jury on charges of manslaughter and dangerous discharge of a firearm — sparking outrage in the community as well as with civil rights organizations across the nation.
Reynolds testified during the trial that she recorded the encounter out of fear for her own life.
"Because I know that the people are not protected by police," Reynolds said, according to NBC Minneapolis affiliate KARE. "I wanted to make sure if I was to die in front of my daughter, someone would know the truth."

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

It’s June. California Is Still Covered in Snow

In this photo taken Tuesday, June 6, 2017, Caltrans maintenance worker Paul Jensen removes snow and dirt that is clogging the rotary blower he is operating to clear snow from Highway 120 near near Yosemite National Park, Calif.© AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli 
In this photo taken Tuesday, June 6, 2017, Caltrans maintenance worker Paul Jensen removes snow and dirt that is clogging the rotary blower he is operating to clear snow from Highway 120 near near Yosemite National… The summer solstice is just around the corner, but someone forgot to tell California’s snowpack.

After years of wallowing in drought, this winter walloped California’s Sierra Nevada mountains in a major, record-setting way. And while the calendar says summer, winter still has its grips on the granite spine of the Sierras.

NASA Earth Observatory released satellite imagery on Thursday that shows what a difference a year makes. Snowpack is at 170 percent of normal when averaged across the state and some areas are reporting way higher totals than that, according to the California Department of Water Resources. Alpine Meadows, located just west of Lake Tahoe, reported 288 inches of snow on the ground (no, that’s not a typo) as of early June. Deep green hues of healthy vegetation also extend down the Sierra Nevada western slope, another benefit of all that precipitation.

A storm earlier this week even dropped a few inches of fresh powder to freshen up the slopes for ski resorts that have stayed open to accommodate skiers and boarders who have been starved for snow for five years. California, you’ll may recall, was in an epic drought until this winter helped bust it in a big way.

Beyond making skiers happy, the massive amounts of snow at high elevations and rain at low elevations helped fill reservoirs that were dangerously low. In the case of the Oroville Reservoir, all the rain ended up being too much of a good thing and caused a cascade of events that nearly caused the dam holding waters back to collapse.

Only 8 percent of the state remains in comparatively mild drought. At this time last year, 84 percent of the state was in drought, including 21 percent in the worst type of drought tracked by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

But though drought seems like a distant memory looking at the snowy Sierras, Californians shouldn’t forget it. Precipitation (or lack thereof) is a key ingredient for drought, and while climate change isn’t likely to cause a shift in precipitation for the Golden State, it is likely to have an impact on another key drought ingredient: hot temperatures.

Scientists have already shown that hot years are overlapping with dry years more often and that within a few decades, any dry year will also certainly be a hot one in California. Put a few of those hot, dry years together and you’ve got yourself a recipe for another extreme California drought. That means the Golden State should enjoy the good times like 2017, but be ready for a future where drought conditions happen more often unless carbon pollution is cut.