A zombie apocalypse, as portrayed in popular culture, would likely be caused by some sort of outbreak or virus that turns people into zombie.
A virus like the rabies virus, which already exists, may have undergone a mutation as one potential cause. Rabies is a fatal virus that spreads through saliva and is known to make those who have it act violently. It would be simple to spread and result in widespread infection if a strain of rabies were to mutate to the point where it could be transmitted through the air.
Another possible cause could be the emergence of a new virus that is specifically designed to create zombies. This could be the result of bioweapons research gone wrong, or it could be the work of a malicious individual or group.
A parasite, such as a protozoan, which invades the human brain and changes the animal’s behavior to make it more aggressive and less reasonable, is another possible cause. Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that may infect rats and alter their behavior by making them less frightened of cats, is one illustration of this. A zombie apocalypse might occur if a parasite like that infected people.
Additionally, a zombies apocalypse could also be caused by a bacterial infection, such as the one caused by Necrotizing fasciitis, it is a fast-moving flesh-eating bacteria, which causes severe tissue damage, this could lead to zombie-like symptoms.
A zombies apocalypse could also be caused by a neurological disorder, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), it is a rare, degenerative, fatal brain disorder, it is caused by abnormal proteins called prions. These prions cause nerve cells in the brain to die, leading to a loss of brain function. Symptoms of CJD include aggressive behavior, which could be mistaken for zombie-like symptoms.
And finally, a number of circumstances might combine to bring forth a zombie apocalypse. For instance, a parasite may propagate a virus that makes people aggressive and enhances the infection’s effects. In addition, the virus’s effects could be strengthened by a bacterium that induces tissue death, leading to even more severe symptoms resembling zombies.
Overall, a zombie apocalypse is a hypothetical scenario that could be caused by a number of different factors, including viruses, parasites, bacteria, and neurological disorders. Each of these factors alone could cause severe problems, but combined they could lead to an outbreak of zombies on a massive scale.
The COVID-19 pandemic has provided some insights into how a real-life zombie apocalypse may unfold. The way the virus spread and affected people’s behavior are similar to the way a zombie outbreak would progress.
One of the most significant lessons from the epidemic is the importance of early discovery and prompt action. After the virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, the World Health Organization (WHO) took some time to proclaim a pandemic. By the time the virus was detected, it had already spread to neighboring countries, making containment considerably more difficult. This highlights the need for rapid and decisive action in the case of a further breakout.
Another important lesson learned is the importance of international cooperation in dealing with a global threat. The virus quickly spread to every corner of the globe and it became clear that no country could deal with it alone. The way different countries responded and cooperated with each other was a big influence on how the pandemic played out, with some countries having greater success than others.
The pandemic also brought to light the necessity for health systems to be prepared and their susceptibility. Many nations were unprepared for a pandemic of this magnitude and were forced to race for supplies like hospital beds, ventilators, and personal protective equipment. This made combating the virus considerably more difficult and contributed to more fatalities. This shows how important it is to have a functioning healthcare system that is capable of handling pandemics and other emergencies.
The COVID-19 pandemic also highlighted the effects of false information and false information. The spread of false information during the pandemic, including conspiracy theories and false news, has made it more difficult to fight the infection. Due to the difficulty in getting correct information out to the public, there was misunderstanding, mistrust, and to some extent, a lack of cooperation. This demonstrates how crucial proper information is during an outbreak and how harmful disinformation can be.
Long-term meat storage can be challenging, but with the correct methods and equipment, you can preserve your meat fresh and fit for consumption for a considerable amount of time. Here are some strategies for long-term beef storage:
Freezing: This is one of the most effective ways to store meat long-term. It slows down the growth of bacteria and helps to preserve the flavor and texture of the meat. You can freeze both raw and cooked meat, but it’s important to wrap it properly to prevent freezer burn.
Canning: When preparing for the zombie apocalypse, canning is an excellent technique to conserve meat for longer periods of time. Using this technique, meat is heated to a high temperature in jars, killing microorganisms and forming a vacuum seal that preserves the meat’s freshness.
Dehydration: By eliminating moisture from the meat, this method of preservation reduces the growth of bacteria and enables longer-term storage of the product. Making your own jerky or other dry meat snacks is a breeze when you cure meat using a dehydrator or even the sun.
Curing: Meat is preserved through the process of curing, which involves seasoning it with salt and other curing chemicals. By removing moisture, this generates an environment that is unfriendly to microorganisms. The most popular cured meats are salami, ham, and bacon.
Smoking: Smoking is a method of preserving meat by exposing it to smoke, which can help to kill bacteria and add a smoky flavor to the meat. This method is best for tougher cuts of meat like pork shoulder or beef brisket.
Pressure Canning: This is another great method of canning meat, It uses a pressure cooker to heat the meat to a higher temperature which kills any bacteria and creates a sealed environment for storing the meat for long term.
Fermenting: Fermenting involves cultivating meat with advantageous microbes. This may enhance the meat’s flavor and aid in its preservation. Sauerkraut and kimchi are two examples of fermented meats.
Brining: Similar to curing, brining involves adding salt, sugar, and spices to meat in a liquid solution, which helps to preserve it and add flavor. The process of brining can also make the meat more tender.
Vacuum sealing: This is another effective way to store meat long-term by removing the air and creating an airtight environment around the meat. It keeps the meat fresh and stops it from getting freezer burns.
And lastly, good old fashioned Salt curing: This method is one of the oldest ways of preserving meats, it is also one of the most effective. This method involves rubbing salt, sugar and various other spices on the meat and then let it sit for some time. This process draws out the moisture, kills bacteria and preserves the meat for a long period of time.
While each of these methods can be useful for long-term meat storage, it’s crucial to use the right one for the kind of meat you’re preserving and to handle food safely to avoid contamination. Always be ready and have some solutions available because you’ll need to be able to safeguard and preserve your meats in the event of a zombie apocalypse.
(CNN) A winter storm and lengthy cold snap have crippled power facilities in Texas and caused about 2.3 million outages as of Wednesday evening, leaving residents in the cold and dark for several days.
Barbara Martinez said she had been burning firewood to try to heat her suburban Houston home, which had been without power from early Sunday until Tuesday.
“We got power for four hours and then it went off again and it stayed off for a few hours, came back for like two hours then went away,” she said Wednesday morning. “It’s currently off.”
The outages cover the areas served by Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, from the counties bordering Mexico up to those touching Oklahoma, and from Houston in the east to rural Big Bend in the west. Yet areas outside of ERCOT’s coverage zone, including the eastern border with Louisiana, the northwest panhandle and El Paso in the west, are basically unaffected.
Texas officials pointed the blame at the power company and called for investigations. US Rep. Marc Veasey, a Democrat who represents parts of Fort Worth and Dallas, said he’s learned from an industry executive that the power grid was just minutes from failing on Monday before state agency officials initiated emergency rolling outages.
“I want people to know that we were minutes away from the entire grid crashing,” he told CNN’s Ed Lavandera, criticizing ERCOT and Republican leaders for not better preparing for the freeze.
“They certainly could have taken some precautions that would have prevented what we’re having to deal with now,” Veasey said.
An ERCOT spokesperson did not immediately return a CNN request for comment. But earlier Wednesday, CEO Bill Magness said the issue largely was a lack of energy supply as the cold weather shuttered power facilities. ERCOT’s controlled power outages, he said, had in fact averted the system’s collapse.
“If we had waited, and not done outages, not reduced demand to reflect what was going on, on the overall system, we could have drifted towards a blackout,” he said. “People feel like what we’re seeing feels like a blackout, but the blackout that can occur if you don’t keep the supply and demand in balance could last months.”
The power issues are likely to continue, especially given that the cold temperatures will last for another day or two. Over 21 million people, or nearly 70% of Texas’s population, are currently under some sort of winter weather alert.
The controlled outages have created rotating power issues as ERCOT has tried to spread around the pain, pushing people to rely on warming centers or the kindness of neighbors.
“We have power for about 30 or 15 minutes and then we get a blackout for about five to six hours,” said Eder Lemus of San Antonio.
The pipes in his house froze, so he, his wife and three children are relying on others for water.
“As of now, we are using a neighbor’s faucet to refill a bucket of water to drain our toilets,” he told said. “When and if the lights come back on, we try to take showers and refill our drinking water gallons so that we can stay hydrated.”
Gov. Greg Abbott said that he has spoken with both the lieutenant governor and the state House speaker, and that an investigation of ERCOT is slated to begin next week.
“ERCOT is an independent private entity that, candidly, I have both investigated and prosecuted before when I was attorney general of Texas, and we’re now investigating again,” Abbott said. “I’m not suggesting any way that there’s been any criminal activity or anything like that, but it is something that needs to be looked at.”
Abbott said a news conference Wednesday that 6,000 megawatts have been added to the state’s grid — enough power for about 1.2 million households.
There will be additional onboarding coming from the South Texas Nuclear Project and additional operations will increase from coal-produced power, Abbott said.
These sources will add more than 2,000 megawatts to the grid and provide additional power for about 400,000 homes, according to Abbott. About 17,200 megawatts of renewable generated power remain out on Wednesday afternoon, due to “freezing of the wind, or because of lack of sun for the solar,” Abbott said.
A winter weather system brought unusually frigid temperatures to much of the central US over the past few days, including in Texas, the country’s energy leader. The deep freeze caused demand for power and heating to skyrocket even as it knocked out the state’s natural gas, coal, wind and nuclear facilities, which were not ready to function in such cold weather.
This summer, we asked readers to send us their climate change questions. A lot of those questions sat squarely under umbrella topics we expected: how climate science works, what individuals can do to prevent greenhouse gas emissions and what crazy technological solutions might actually be effective. We’ll be coming back to those later. But first, we wanted to address a different sort of question: Who is winning climate change? Sure, climate change is a very bad thing in a larger, existential sense. But are there animals and plants whose habitats will expand in a warmer world? Is there anybody who has figured out how to profit off the coming apocalypse? Won’t some places be nicer to live in than others? You wanted to know. We’re going to find out.
Matthew Kahn has dreamed about buying a climate change retreat. If anybody would know where to go, you’d think it would be an environmental economist who literally wrote the book on which cities will adapt to a warming world and how they’ll do it. But rather than investing in land that’s safe from the risks of coastal flooding, midwestern downpours and crippling drought — Kahn was thinking Bozeman, Mont. — he’s instead settling into a new job in Baltimore, a city that’s expected to be flooding daily by the end of the century.
When we asked for your climate change questions, we ended up with 20 different responses that were all asking a version of the same thing: Where should I move if I want to avoid the worst of it?
Turns out, finding a place in the U.S. that is benefiting from climate change is both easy and hard, researchers say. It’s not difficult to find the places at the lowest risk of experiencing the biggest hazards. Popular Science has mapped it using data from a variety of scientific research papers and risk assessment reports. Economists have mapped it based on projected changes in various quality of life indexes. Nonprofits are working on projects that will map it based on flooding risks.
But it’s one thing to look at these maps and start dreaming of your climate condo in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It’s another thing entirely to say that it is a place you should move now. Or that the Upper Peninsula is necessarily going to “win,” just because in the long term it’s less subject to the negative side effects of a changing climate. The problem is one of both personal preferences and economics. We don’t all like the same weather. We seldom make investment choices on long time scales. We value things about our hometowns, other than whether they’re safe from a wildfire. It’s hard to predict which regions might win climate change when we don’t all agree on what “win” means.
“There are a couple of areas, in the short run, that actually improve,” said David Albouy, professor of economics at the University of Illinois. In 2016, he published a paper that compared the places Americans currently prefer to live with the predicted environmental change under global warming. In doing so, he produced maps of how quality of life might change in various parts of the country. “It’s still a generation away,” he said. But according to his estimates, Northern Minnesota, Seattle, Portland, Ore., and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan could all end up with more moderate temperatures and weather patterns than they currently have.
His maps, which include upstate New York and much of New England among the regions improved by climate change, somewhat align with estimates of the safest places to live made by mapping disaster risk alone. That’s especially true for the Upper Peninsula, a region fortunate enough to avoid increased risks of sea level rise, drought, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires and disease-carrying mosquitoes.
But despite the occasional trend story about coastal millennials moving to places that seem better positioned to ride out the ravages of climate change, there’s no real evidence that the Upper Peninsula is attracting new residents due to its climate prospects. In fact, nearly every county in the region has lost population in the last decade. Somebody found the place you should move. But nobody is moving there. So what gives?
That’s partly because real estate investing works at a different pace than climate change does, Albouy and Kahn told me. The maps that show the Upper Peninsula winning against other parts of the country are forecasts of the year 2100. “But why does it matter that [the value of the land] will go up in 100 years?” Albouy said.
Even coastal Florida, a region that’s been repeatedly affected by rising sea levels and storm surge from hurricanes, hasn’t yet seen a decrease in property values, said Matthew Eby, founder and director of First Street Foundation, a nonprofit that’s attempting to improve and expand flood risk mapping in the United States. The value of those homes aren’t rising as fast as homes further inland, he told me. His modeling suggests hundreds of millions of dollars in lost appreciation value. But the prices are still rising, and coastal property continues to be worth more than inland property. Just as climate scientists have long warned about the way climate change’s slowly raising stakes make them easier for politicians to ignore, real estate investors are also subject to the frog-in-a-pot-of-boiling-water problem.
That’s not the only reason there’s not a run on real estate in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., however. Let’s back up to the study that Albouy published. His approach was based on calculating the financial drawbacks Americans are willing to put up with in exchange for pleasant weather today. For instance, wages are basically average in Hawaii and the cost of living is exceptionally high. But lots of people live there anyway. “Why? Because the weather is perfect,” he said.
But here’s where spotting the climate winners gets tricky, Albouy told me. When people talk about the best place to move to avoid climate risks, he thinks they’re usually thinking about places that are currently too cold becoming, well, more like California and other parts of the country in which Americans are willing to take economic losses in order to enjoy today.
But that’s not how climate change works. Michigan is getting warmer and wetter, but it’s still colder than Albouy’s calculations — or 30 years of data on American internal migration — suggest Americans really want it to be. Meanwhile, climate change tends to exacerbate extremes and increase the risk of probabilistically rare disaster events — things that don’t really make a place better even if they make it warmer. Imagine a Chicago with winters that aren’t much different than they are today, but summers that are more like those of Memphis. “Climate change doesn’t deliver quite the climate change they’d like to see,” he said.
Even if it did, Kahn said, there are all kinds of incentives — both social and economic — that make staying in a riskier region attractive. Consider the citizens of New Orleans, who have for generations known their city was prone to flooding and saw rising sea levels for years before Hurricane Katrina. Research since that disaster has shown that survivors who were displaced by the storm ended up making more money in their new cities. So why not move sooner? New Orleans had their families and their communities, and moving itself is expensive, Kahn said.
In the end, leaving a risky city before you have to might not look like a great option, even if you stand to economically benefit in the long run. If your climate “win” is at odds with where your family and friends are, it might not actually be a win.
Maggie Koerth is a senior science writer for FiveThirtyEight.
An unidentified hacker has accessed the computer systems for the water treatment facility in the city of Oldsmar, Florida, and has modified chemical levels to dangerous parameters.
News of the attack was disclosed today in a press conference by city officials.
The intrusion took place on Friday, February 5, when the hacker accessed a computer system that was set up to allow for the remote control of water treatment operations.
The hacker first accessed this system at 8 am, in the morning, and then again for a second and more prolonged intrusion at 1:30 pm, in the afternoon.
This second intrusion lasted for about five minutes and was detected right away by an operator who was monitoring the system and saw the hacker move the mouse cursor on the screen and access software responsible for water treatment.
HACKER MODIFIED LYE LEVELS
“Sodium hydroxide, also known as lye, is the main ingredient in liquid drain cleaners. It’s also used to control water acidity and remove metals from drinking water in the water treatment plant,” said Oldsmar Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.
“The hacker changed the sodium hydroxide from about 100 parts per million to 11,100 parts per million. This is obviously a significant and potentially dangerous increase.”
Oldsmar city staff said that no tainted water was delivered to local residents as the attack was caught in time before any lye levels could be deployed.
According to Sheriff Gualtieri, the hacker disconnected as soon as they modified the lye levels, and a human operator set the chemical level back to normal right away.
Officials didn’t attribute the attack to any specific hacker group or entity. The timing of the attack is also of note as the city of Oldsmar is located near the Tampa urban center, which hosted the Super Bowl LV game on Sunday.
NOT THE FIRST TIME
This is the second incident of its kind where a hacker has accessed a water treatment facility and modified chemical levels.
A similar incident was reported back in 2015-2016 at an unnamed water treatment facility, but investigators said the intruders didn’t seem to know what they were doing, making random changes, and investigators classified the intrusion as an accident rather than an intentional attack.
Another set of attacks took place earlier this year, but without as dire consequences. In the spring and summer of 2020, Israeli officials reported attacks against local water treatment facilities, water pumps, and agricultural irrigation systems.
Tel Aviv officials, which blamed the attacks on the Iranian government, said hackers tried to access the management panels of several types of smart water management systems and asked local organizations to change their passwords.
None of the attacks were successful, officials and local media reported at the time.
Have you ever googled yourself? A crush? Your neighbors? 57% of Americans admit to keeping an eye on their online reputation, and 46% admit to using the internet to look up someone from their past.
But Google is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to finding personal information. There’s a new website going around that users are calling “creepy,” “scary,” and “awesome.”
Have you ever been issued a speeding ticket? Failed to stop at a stop sign? Do you know someone who’s had a run-in with the law? If you’re like most of us, the answer to at least one of those questions is “yes.” Most of us have slipped up at least once or twice. In fact, one in four Americans has an arrest or a criminal record.
TruthFinder can search through hundreds of millions of public records in a matter of minutes. TruthFinder members can literally begin searching in seconds for sensitive data like criminal, traffic, and arrest records. Plus, they are able to check as many records as they want (think: friends, family, neighbors, enemies, etc. etc.).
Previously, if you needed to research somebody’s arrest records, it involved a lot of work. First, you’d need to know where the arrest records were located. Then you’d have to travel to the appropriate county court office — in person! After filling out long and boring paperwork, you’d have to wait for the results.
Searching arrest records could take days, weeks, or even months. And what if somebody was hiding an arrest in an unknown county? You might never find it.
But with websites like TruthFinder, a background check is simple and easy. With just a few clicks of your mouse, you can find detailed and explicit information not readily available through a standard search engine.
I decided to test it out for myself and discover what information TruthFinder might expose about me. The search was easy, and after a few minutes, I found myself staring at my background report — and it wasn’t pretty!
There was that mortifying blog that I’d started in high school, still up for all the world to see! My report even included embarrassing photographs of myself that I’d totally forgotten about. I couldn’t believe that TruthFinder even found my secret social media profiles that I’d created under an alias. The sheer volume of data about me was definitely scary. I feel like a perfect stranger could look me up on TruthFinder and find out my entire life story.
After conducting just one search, I was totally hooked. I just couldn’t believe that it was legal to have this many personal details online! One of my friends from back home has pretty much dropped off the map entirely for the past three years. I’ve been kind of worried about him, and nobody seemed to know where he had gone. So, I typed his name into TruthFinder and was absolutely devastated by the search results.
My “friend” had gone to jail. TruthFinder had every single detail on the case, from the date he was arrested to which prison he was currently in. But the gruesome description of his offence made me realize that I probably needed to reevaluate who my friends were. This guy’s records listed charge after charge for battery, assault, and child abuse. His criminal record read like an infinite scroll of total depravity. I just couldn’t believe it.
From now on, I’m looking up everybody — no matter how normal they seem. Luckily for me, TruthFinder offers unlimited searches, so I’ll never be fooled again.
Although TruthFinder can show deeply shocking criminal records, I’ve really been surprised by just how practical it is as an everyday tool. I’ve used it to look up addresses, phone numbers, birthdates, estimated income levels, assets — heck, I’ve even found Amazon wishlists on TruthFinder. One time I looked up Todd Kohlhepp, the scary serial killer from South Carolina who confessed to seven murders. Well, guess what? His Amazon profile came up in his background report, and let me tell you, it was downright chilling. He literally left reviews on knives and shovels, discussing how he used them in the murders. It was one of the creepiest things I’ve ever found online.
My own report came back with an interactive map of local sex offenders in my neighborhood, complete with mugshots and explicit details of their crimes. I was seriously grossed out to learn that my last apartment building was absolutely infested with perverts, rapists, and total scumbags.
It isn’t all scary — After reading more about TruthFinder, I’ve heard lots of positive stories, too. Apparently, people have reunited because of this website. Estranged families have used public records to contact long-lost family members to get back in touch. Military friends have reunited after years of lost contact because they found the right phone number or email address on their report.
All in all, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend TruthFinder to my friends and family. In today’s world, you need to take precautions to keep yourself and your family safe. But if you’re going to look up someone that you know using TruthFinder, I have to warn you: the information you might find could forever change how you feel about someone. Make sure that you’re emotionally prepared for the consequences if you find something you don’t want to see. To get started with your search, click here.
Apple is urging iPhone and iPad users to promptly update their operating systems to fix security bugs that may have already been exploited by hackers.
On its support webpage, the company said three security flaws “may have been actively exploited.” It did not reveal too many specifics about the bugs, noting “Apple does not disclose, discuss, or confirm security issues until an investigation has occurred and patches or releases are available.”
The issue is a link in an exploit chain, meaning a hacker would need to exploit further bugs for it to be fully executable. The company declined to comment further on any attacks.
The company pushed out the security patches on Tuesday as part of its new iOS 14.4 software, which also includes fixes for keyboard lag and allows smaller QR codes to be read by the camera.
Apple said two security issues stem from its WebKit, an open source browser engine used by Safari and iOS browsers. “A remote attacker may be able to cause arbitrary code execution,” the company said in the description notes. Meanwhile, Kernel, an Apple developer framework, was also affected.
The exploits were reported by “an anonymous researcher,” according to the webpage.
Apple prides itself on device security but it’s not immune to exploits. Last year, Google researchers found several websites with code that allowed hackers to quietly infiltrate iPhones. Meanwhile, an iOS13 bug exposed contact details stored in iPhones without requiring a passcode or biometric identification — a flaw that the company did not publicly address until several months after it was first reported.
While most of us are lamenting what are, if any, limitations of free speech in our democracy, one thing is certain – it does not come without consequences! While the first amendment states that our democracy gives its citizens the freedom of speech and to peaceful protest. There are in fact limitations to the first amendment in our country. Nothing online is protected for “free speech”, all platforms, hosts, apps, and Internet companies are exactly that – companies who have the ability to limit, as they see fit, speech from any American. Just like the company you work for has rules and limitations of your work environment, companies like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, Google, Apple, and more are within their rights to limit anything on their platforms or devices they feel or see as unfit for publication.
In fact there are limitations in this country for Free Speech. They are as follows:
Inflammatory words that are either injurious by themselves or might cause the hearer to immediately retaliate or breach the peace. Use of such words is not necessarily protected “free speech” under the First Amendment.
Obscenity, defined by the Miller test by applying contemporary community standards, is a type of speech which is not legally protected. It is speech to which all the following apply: appeals to the prurient interest, depicts or describes sexual conduct in a patently offensive way, and lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. (This is usually applied to more hard-core forms of pornography.)
The government speech doctrine establishes that the government may censor speech when the speech is its own, leading to a number of contentious decisions on its breadth.
Public employee speech
Statements made by public employees pursuant to their official duties are not protected by the First Amendment from employer discipline as per the case of Garcetti v. Ceballos. This applies also to private contractors that have the government as a client. The First Amendment only protects employees from government employers albeit only when speaking publicly outside their official duties in the public interest Pickering v. Board of Ed. of Township High School Dist., updated and clarified by Lane v. Franks. Speech is not protected from private sector disciplinary action.
A number of cases consider speech related to or required by an employer, or speech retaliated against by a third party such as an employer. The case Lane vs. Burrows (previously Lane vs. Franks) considers a number of these matters and summarizes the outcome. A person who testifies in a court, and where that testimony is not part of their employment duties, testifies as a citizen and has First Amendment protection, whereas a person whose speech is an actual part of their duties and is not merely related to their duties may have no such protection.
The issues raised in such cases include the overriding need for persons in court to feel safe to speak the truth, and to in fact speak the truth; the requirement of employers to be able to act in the event that an employee speaks in a manner damaging to the employer; the rights of whistleblowers; the benefit to society if people who know the reality of a matter and are well informed of it, are able to speak of it.
In Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969), the Supreme Court extended broad First Amendment protection to children attending public schools, prohibiting censorship unless there is “substantial interference with school discipline or the rights of others”. Several subsequent rulings have affirmed or narrowed this protection. Bethel School District v. Fraser (1986) supported disciplinary action against a student whose campaign speech was filled with sexual innuendo, and determined to be “indecent” but not “obscene”. Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier (1988) allowed censorship in school newspapers which had not been established as forums for free student expression. Guiles v. Marineau (2006) affirmed the right of a student to wear a T-shirt mocking President George W. Bush, including allegations of alcohol and drug use. Morse v. Frederick (2007) supported the suspension of a student holding a banner reading “BONG HiTS 4 JESUS” at a school-supervised event which was not on school grounds. In Lowry v. Watson Chapel School District, an appeals court struck down a school dress code and literature distribution policy for being vague and unnecessarily prohibitive of criticism against the school district.
Such protections also apply to public colleges and universities; for example, student newspapers which have been established as forums for free expression have been granted broad protection by appeals courts.
Publishing, gathering, or collecting national security information is not protected speech in the United States. Information related to “the national defense” is protected even though no harm to the national security is intended or is likely to be caused through its disclosure. Non-military information with the potential to cause serious damage to the national security is only protected from willful disclosure with the requisite intent or knowledge regarding the potential harm. The unauthorized creation, publication, sale, or transfer of photographs or sketches of vital defense installations or equipment as designated by the President is prohibited. The knowing and willful disclosure of certain classified information is prohibited. The unauthorized communication by anyone of “Restricted Data”, or an attempt or conspiracy to communicate such data, is prohibited. It is prohibited for a person who learns of the identity of a covert agent through a “pattern of activities intended to identify and expose covert agents” to disclose the identity to any individual not authorized access to classified information, with reason to believe that such activities would impair U.S. foreign intelligence efforts.
In addition to the criminal penalties, the use of employment contracts, loss of government employment, monetary penalties, non-disclosure agreements, forfeiture of property, injunctions, revocation of passports, and prior restraint are used to deter such speech.
The Voluntary Tender Act of 1917 gave the Commissioner of Patents the authority to withhold certification from inventions that might harm U.S. national security, and to turn the invention over to the United States government for its own use. It was replaced in 1951 with the Invention Secrecy Act which prevented inventors from publishing inventions or sharing the information. Both attached criminal penalties to subjected inventors. The United States was under a declared state of emergency from 1950–1974, after which peacetime secrecy orders were available.
The government issued between approximately 4,100 to 5,000 orders per year from 1959 to 1974, a peak of 6,193 orders in 1991, and approximately 5,200 per year between from 1991 to 2003. Certain areas of research such as atomic energy and cryptography consistently fall within their gamut. The government has placed secrecy orders on cold fusion, space technology, radar missile systems, and Citizens Band radio voice scramblers, and attempts have been made to extend them to optical-engineering research and vacuum technology.
The Atomic Energy Act of 1954 automatically classifies “all data concerning (1) design, manufacture, or utilization of atomic weapons; (2) the production of special nuclear material; or (3) the use of special nuclear material in the production of energy”. The government has attempted and failed to prohibit publication of nuclear information, including bomb design, in Scientific American in 1950 and The Progressive in 1979.[circular reference]
Pub.L.106–54 (text)(pdf) of 1999, a bill focused on phosphateprospecting and compensation owed to the Menominee tribe, added 18 U.S.C.§ 842(p) making it an offence “to teach or demonstrate the making or use of an explosive, a destructive device, or a weapon of mass destruction, or to distribute by any means information pertaining to, in whole or in part, the manufacture or use of an explosive, destructive device, or weapon of mass destruction” either intending or knowing that the learner/viewer intends “that the teaching, demonstration, or information be used for, or in furtherance of, an activity that constitutes a Federal crime of violence”. This is in addition to other federal laws preventing the use and dissemination of bombmaking information for criminal purposes. The law was first successfully used against an 18-year-old anarchist in 2003, for distribution of information which has since been republished freely.
Despite the common misconception that the First Amendment prohibits anyone from limiting free speech, the text of the amendment only prohibits the US Congress (and, by extension, those that derive their powers from Congress) from doing so. A major issue in freedom of speech jurisprudence has been whether the First Amendment should be interpreted to merely run against state actors, or whether it can run against private actors as well. Specifically, the issue is whether private landowners should be permitted to use the machinery of government to exclude others from engaging in free speech on their property (which means balancing the speakers’ First Amendment rights against the Takings Clause). The right of freedom of speech within private shopping centers owned by others has been vigorously litigated under both the federal and state Constitutions, most notably in the cases Lloyd Corp. v. Tanner (1972) and Pruneyard Shopping Center v. Robins (1980).
Some observers have decried an erosion of free speech due to widespread use of the Internet and social media, which has allowed large groups of people who disapprove of particular speech have been able to swarm upon certain speakers and harass them with death and rape threats, send SWAT teams by making false reports to police, trigger boycotts of businesses, and in at least one case motivate a shooting. Targets have included a Massachusetts businessman who was seen in a photo apparently supporting Donald Trump, female video game designers and commentators, a diner where an anti-Trump employee made a negative comment to a pro-Trump customer, a public relations executive who tweeted an offensive joke before boarding a plane, and even victims of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting accused by anti-gun-control activists of faking the event.
In 2002, the United States was ranked 17th of 167 countries in the annual worldwide Press Freedom Index of Reporters Without Borders. “The poor ranking of the United States (17th) is mainly because of the number of journalists arrested or imprisoned there. Arrests are often because they refuse to reveal their sources in court. Also, since the September 11 attacks, several journalists have been arrested for crossing security lines at some official buildings.” In the 2006 index the United States fell further to 53rd of 168 countries; indeed, “relations between the media and the Bush administration sharply deteriorated” as it became suspicious of journalists who questioned the “War on Terrorism“. The zeal of federal courts which, unlike those in 33 U.S. states, refuse to recognize the media’s right not to reveal its sources, even threatened journalists whose investigations did not pertain to terrorism. The United States improved, moving up to 48th place in 2007, however, and to 20th in 2010. In the following years, the rank again declined, placing the United States 45th in 2020.
Internet access has changed the game in communication across the world and has opened new opportunities for Americans to express their First Amendment Rights. Internet speech takes place in a digital environment where both speakers and listeners can participate via computers, smart phones, and other electronic devices, being able to network and communicate with anyone at anytime.
Governments have offered many proposals to privately controlled online platforms for regulatory rules that can be enacted to ensure users First Amendment rights are upheld on the internet. If these regulations are infringed upon, the platform has the right to remove content that is copyright material or is offensive. Laws that regulate online harassment, defamation and so on face a delicate balancing act. Most online content, as such, limits risk by suppressing adult speech as well. They must be written narrowly to avoid encroaching on speech protected by the First Amendment while still restricting the undesirable conduct in practice.
The ICCPR which inhibits international laws for human rights enforces a strict clause that ‘[a] ny advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.’Discrimination and hate speech of any kind is not tolerated according to this clause and accounts for online forums. Even with laws in place monitoring online harassment, defamation and so on face a delicate balancing act. They must be written narrowly to avoid encroaching on speech protected by the First Amendment while still restricting the undesirable conduct in practice.
In a 9–0 decision, the Supreme Court extended the full protection of the First Amendment to the Internet in Reno v. ACLU, a decision that struck down portions of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, a law that prohibited “indecent” online communication (that is, non-obscene material protected by the First Amendment). The court’s decision extended the same Constitutional protections given to books, magazines, films, and spoken expression to materials published on the Internet. Congress tried a second time to regulate the content of the Internet with the Child Online Protection Act (COPA). In 2002, the Court again ruled that any limitations on the internet were unconstitutional in American Civil Liberties Union v. Ashcroft.
In Facebook v. Sullivan, a neo-Nazi turned a Charlottesville, V.A. rally deadly when running over an innocent bystander in the crowd of people, later taking to Facebook about his actions with pride. The social media platform took down his profile and any posts related to this incident that portrayed it in any other way besides tragic. Even though this platform is not bound by the First Amendment, the platform has regulations based on preserving free expression but also omitting harmful speech.
Most online forums are censored by the governments as a means of media regulation in the U.S. Because internet networks are unfathomably large and accessible at one’s fingertips, not every piece of online content can be watched and regulated. If governments suddenly impose censorship on previously uncensored information, people become accustomed to acquiring this information through methods of censorship evasion which is deemed unconstitutional and illegal. The more online censorship being enforced, more effort is being made by citizens at bypassing the firewalls, and in China round 18 million Internet users are using online tools to bypass the Great Firewall and access unblocked online content.
4 dead after US Capitol breached by pro-Trump mob during ‘failed insurrection’
Four people are dead following Wednesday’s violent protests in Washington, D.C., where supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol.
One woman and two men suffered “medical emergencies” during the anarchy and have subsequently died, according to Robert Contee, chief of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia.
Another woman was shot and killed during a standoff inside the Capitol between law enforcement and protesters, Conte said. An angry mob of Trump supporters had breached the building, forcing a lockdown with members of Congress holed up inside the chambers.
The woman was shot by a U.S. Capitol Police officer in plainclothes, after “multiple individuals forced entry into the Capitol building” and “attempted to gain access to the House room, which was still in session,” according to Conte. She was transported to an area hospital where she was pronounced dead, Conte said.
Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., told ABC News he saw the shooting happen, saying he “never thought” he would witness such a scene unfold in the United States.
“I get people being passionate and being frustrated, but there’s a right way and and wrong way to do things and yesterday was wrong. There was absolutely no excuse for it,” Mullin said in an interview Thursday on “Good Morning America.”
“We’re very fortunate a lot more people didn’t actually lost their life,” he added. “One is way too many.”
The rioting began Wednesday afternoon after Trump and his allies held a rally earlier in the day, urging Congress to not certify the results of the November presidential election. Trump vowed to “never concede” and urged his supporters “to fight,” as he continued to push baseless claims of election fraud.
“All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by emboldened radical Democrats,” Trump told the crowd on the Ellipse park, just south of the White House. “We will never give up. We will never concede. It will never happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore.”
Protesters — some of who were seen wearing body armor — made their way up the Capitol steps around 2:15 p.m. ET, pushing their way through barricades, officers in riot gear and other security measures that were put in place in anticipation of the protest. Once inside the Capitol building, the pro-Trump mob moved freely and shouted chants while holding “Trump 2020” flags. One person was also seen waving a Confederate flag inside the building.
Law enforcement officers inside the building instructed elected officials, staff and journalists to shelter in place as the protesters broke in. In a bulletin sent to Capitol building staff, the U.S. Capitol Police ordered people to lock their doors, remain quiet and silence their electronics.
“If you are in a public space, find a place to hide or seek cover,” the bulletin said.
As the mob breached the Capitol building, Trump took to Twitter, saying Vice President Mike Pence “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution,” and that the “USA demands the truth!” He also tweeted, “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”
Meanwhile, Pence, who was escorted out of the Capitol building, pleaded for the “violence and destruction” to stop and for anyone involved to “immediately leave the building.”
Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., tweeted that he and his colleagues inside the House chamber were told by police “to be prepared to get under our chairs” and to put on gas masks because “there has been tear gas used in the rotunda.”
Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., tweeted that the “Electoral College ballots were rescued from the Senate floor.”
“If our capable floor staff hadn’t grabbed them, they would have been burned by the mob,” he added.
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, told reporters who were with him in a secure position that “this is what the president has caused today, this insurrection.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., released a joint statement around 3:50 p.m., calling on Trump “to demand that all protestors leave the U.S. Capitol and Capitol Grounds immediately.”
Trump’s former chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, even called out the president for not doing enough to put an end to the violence.
“He can stop this now and needs to do exactly that. Tell these folks to go home,” Mulvaney tweeted.
Following repeated calls from leaders on both sides of the aisle, Trump finally released a video message via Twitter on Wednesday afternoon, telling his supporters to go home. But he also continued to push baseless, false claims about the election.
“I know you’re in pain, I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us,” the president said in the one-minute, prerecorded video. “But you have to go home now.”
Twitter removed Trump’s tweet with the video, along with two other tweets. At 7 p.m., Twitter announced that it has locked Trump’s account for 12 hours and will continue to keep it locked until the tweets are deleted.
“Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account,” the social network company tweeted.
Later in the night, Facebook announced that it would not allow Trump’s official page to post for 24 hours.
The move came just as Trump’s successor, President-elect Joe Biden, held a news conference to address the situation. He called on the outgoing president to tell his supporters to stop.
“This is not dissent, it’s disorder. It’s chaos. It borders on sedition, and it must end now,” Biden said. “I call on this mob to pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward.”
The entire District of Columbia National Guard was activated and the Metropolitan Police Department was deployed to assist the U.S. Capitol Police in dispersing the protesters and restoring order. Several other law enforcement agencies in the region were also deployed to help.
A source told ABC News that Pelosi requested the National Guard’s help to secure the Capitol building.
Police declared the scene a riot “due to the violent behavior towards the police officers there and their intent on gaining access to the Capitol,” Conte, the D.C. Police chief, said at a press conference Wednesday night.
Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a citywide curfew that began at 6 p.m. and ended Thursday at 6 a.m. She called the violence “shameful, unpatriotic” and “unlawful.” Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam also declared a 6 p.m. curfew in the nearby cities of Alexandria and Arlington.
It took hours for law enforcement to clear the Capitol building and establish a perimeter around the area. Later in the evening, authorities fired tear gas to disperse the rioters.
As of 9:30 p.m., police had made “in excess of 52 arrests” related to the protests, 26 of which were made on Capitol grounds, according to Conte.
Conte said two pipe bombs were recovered, one at Republican National Committee headquarters and the other at Democratic National Committee headquarters, both of which are located near the Capitol building. A cooler was also recovered from a van on Capitol grounds containing a long gun as well as Molotov cocktails, according to Conte.
Meanwhile, Conte said more than a dozen D.C. Police officers were injured while responding to the protests.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a bulletin on Wednesday night, calling for witnesses to submit information to assist in identifying individuals who were involved with the “rioting and violence” at the Capitol building and in the surrounding area.
Almost exactly 12 hours after the protests began, the U.S. Capitol Police sent a notice to all staffers on Capitol Hill, stating that the threat was cleared and operations could return to normal while police “continue to maintain a security perimeter.”
The Senate resumed its session at around 8 p.m., where both Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell condemned the violence.
“We will not be kept out of this chamber by mobs or thugs or threats. We will not bow to lawlessness or intimidation,” McConnell said. “We are back at our posts. We will discharge our duty under the Constitution and for our nation — and we’re going to do it tonight.”
McConnell went on to describe Wednesday’s event as a “failed insurrection.”
Both the Senate and the House ultimately went on to vote against Republican objections to certify Electoral College votes in the presidential election, with Pence declaring Biden the winner early Thursday morning.
In a statement tweeted by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino following the news, Trump said: “Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th. I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!”
It was the first time Trump has publicly accepted Biden’s victory and agreed to a peaceful transfer of power.
ABC News’ Luke Barr, Jack Date, John Parkinson, Allie Pecorin, Ben Siegel and Trish Turner contributed to this report