Today in Resistance: safeguarding valuable climate data in Ann Arbor

static1.squarespaceWith the new administration taking aggressive action against climate researchers on several fronts, a group calling itself Ann Arbor Data Rescue has announced that, this Friday and Saturday, they will be coordinating volunteers at the University of Michigans’s Shapiro Undergraduate Library, as part of the Penn Program in the Environmental Humanities Data Refuge Project, to preserve vulnerable data sets, ensuring their availability to researchers in the future.

“With every administration change,” organizers of the local event say, “there is a loss digital content due to the lack of a comprehensive strategy for preserving digital government information. The new Presidential administration, however, presents a level of urgency to this problem, with a feeling of at best ambiguity and at worst threat to the study of specific research areas. This is especially true of materials related to climate change and the environment, though other areas may also be at risk. The national Data Refuge project is an attempt to preserve these vulnerable data sets and address the larger problem of born-digital government information.”

For those in who would like to attend – and you don’t have to be an archivist or scientist to do so – work will commence at 10:00 AM on both days. [Details can be found on Facebook.]

And, speaking of the crackdown on environmental scientists, the following, in case you didn’t see it, was making the rounds today on social media. I have no way of knowing if it was, in fact, authored by an EPA staffer, but, given what’s said, it certainly sounds plausible.

So I work at the EPA and yeah it’s as bad as you are hearing:

The entire agency is under lockdown, the website, facebook, twitter, you name it is static and can’t be updated. All reports, findings, permits and studies are frozen and not to be released. No presentations or meetings with outside groups are to be scheduled.

Any Press contacting us are to be directed to the Press Office which is also silenced and will give no response.
All grants and contracts are frozen from the contractors working on Superfund sites to grad school students working on their thesis.

We are still doing our work, writing reports, doing cancer modeling for pesticides hoping that this is temporary and we will be able to serve the public soon. But many of us are worried about an ideologically-fueled purging and if you use any federal data I advise you gather what you can now.

We have been told the website is being reworked to reflect the new administration’s policy.

Feel free to copy and paste, you all pay for the government and you should know what’s going on. I am posting this as a fellow citizen and not in any sort of official capacity.

Here, by way of background on what will be happening this weekend in Ann Arbor, is an excerpt from a December Motherboard feature about efforts around the world to safeguard environmental data in the age of Trump.

When Donald Trump takes over the federal government on January 21, his administration will also gain complete control over much of the .gov suite of websites, which currently hosts a treasure trove of publicly available, taxpayer-funded scientific research. The academic world is bracing itself: Will that data remain available after his transition?

Scientists and university professors all around the country and in Canada believe we’re about to see widespread whitewashing and redaction of already published, publicly available taxpayer-funded scientific research, databases, and interactive tools, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Sea Level Rise viewer, NASA’s suite of climate change apps, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s maps of the country’s worst polluters. They also expect to see censorship, misrepresentation, and minimization of new government-funded research, specifically regarding climate change.

These fears are not based merely on a sense of dreading-the-worst from a man who has called climate change a Chinese hoax, nominated a climate change denier with close ties to the fossil fuel industry as head of the EPA, the CEO of ExxonMobil as Secretary of State, and will reportedly name the fossil fuel-friendly Rick Perry as Secretary of Energy. During the George W. Bush administration, which similarly denied that climate change is being caused by humans, there was widespread censorship and destruction of public-facing climate change information and research.

“Policies and practices have increasingly restricted the flow of scientific information emerging from publicly-funded climate change research,” a 138-page report published in March 2007 by the Government Accountability Project begins. “This has affected the media’s ability to report on the science, public officials’ capacity to respond with appropriate policies, and the public’s grasp of an environmental issue with profound consequences for our future.”

The investigation found that the Bush administration systematically changed scientists’ press releases, misrepresented scientific findings to Congress, and neglected or deleted information on government websites…

With the Trump presidency looming, many scientists who studied Bush’s policies are starting a mad dash to preserve climate science that has been made available under President Obama based on fears that it might no longer be publicly accessible. Several professors I spoke to say that officials who work for the government’s science departments are privately imploring researchers outside the government to download what they can now, or risk losing access to it later. NOAA and the EPA did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for NASA told me the agency is “apolitical” and that it is “committed to doing whatever we can to assist in making the Executive Branch transition a smooth transition.”…

Scientists who don’t have to worry about upsetting their future bosses, however, tell a very different story.

“My expectation and fear is we are going to see round two of Bush,” Robert Paterson, co-director of the Urban Information Lab at the University of Texas’s School of Architecture, told me. Paterson posted about his concerns on a Facebook group for professors called Planners 2040 earlier this month. “The appointments are hostile to climate change, so I think it’s prudent for folks to download the science that’s easily available now, because you may have to file a [Freedom of Information request] later to get it.”…

One of the main concerns is that a Trump presidency doesn’t even have to purposefully take down these tools—many of them will simply break or become useless without being regularly updated.

“While we may not see the straightforward deleting of data, we expect to see access to data starved out,” Michelle Murphy and Patrick Keilty, who are spearheading a “Guerrilla Archiving” event at the University of Toronto, told me in an email. “It takes effort and money to keep databases and portals updated and maintained, and to make them publicly available. Moreover, data can move from being publicly shared through portals that make it immediately accessible to less accessible, but still technically public forms of availability.”…

And, in somewhat related news, it’s not just the National Park Service [@AltNatParkSer] and NASA [@roguenasa] that have gone rogue on Twitter in response to the anti-science Trump administration. As of today, we also have the EPA represented [@ActualEPAFacts]. Here’s a taste.

altepa1

altepa2

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34 Comments

  1. Kit
    Posted January 27, 2017 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    If you can’t work, they’re also looking for people to drop off food and drinks for those who are.

  2. Linh Song
    Posted January 27, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    I’m dropping off food today and tomorrow. And I’m bringing the kids by to cheer them on. They need to see heroes at work. Please feed the geeks!

  3. Fake Ass Bullshitter
    Posted January 27, 2017 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    This blog becomes more irrelevant every day Trump is in office. Keep fighting though…

  4. M
    Posted January 27, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    “Irrelevant”? How so?

  5. Jean Henry
    Posted January 27, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    This blog becomes more relevant every day Trump is in office. Resist.

  6. EOS
    Posted January 27, 2017 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Trump’s approval rating is up to 59%. He’s gaining support. Seems like the majority are happy with the changes he is making. Can’t wait to hear who will be appointed to the Supreme Court.

  7. kjc
    Posted January 27, 2017 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    yeah, a lot of Trump voters have no idea what he’s actually doing. and the poll was substance free:

    Voters like Mr. Trump’s populist standing: 72 percent agreed with his statement that “For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.” 17 percent disagreed, 11 percent were not sure.

    A majority of the respondents — 52 percent — also agreed with this statement: “From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first.” Thirty-seven percent disagreed, 11 percent were undecided.

    In addition, Rasmussen also reveals that 54 percent of voters favor a proposal that would cut spending up to 10 percent and cut staffing up to 20 percent. in some federal government agencies. Twenty-seven percent oppose such cuts, while 19 percent are undecided.

  8. Jean Henry
    Posted January 27, 2017 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Yes, this is standard for authoritarian regimes, until reality sets in. By then, the opportunities for protest or conveyance of facts (not ‘alternative facts’) are limited and freedom becomes a distant possibility.

    It’s fascinating to watch the right compromise all its stated values for the power to impose its will on others. So much for limited government, limited spending, free trade, or family values. Or reason. or logic. or facts. or rationality. or true leadership. I have no doubt that religious freedom will be limited soon too.

  9. Jean Henry
    Posted January 27, 2017 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    PS the March for Life numbers today were dismal compared to the Women’s March. “Thousands” showed up. 90 buses v. 1200 for the women’s march. maybe a couple of hundred thousand, less than the inaugural and way less than the Women’s March. You were wrong. So please admit it. (I know you won’t… can’t.)

    So your dick measuring contest challenge didn’t really bear out for you against a bunch of pussies.

  10. EOS
    Posted January 27, 2017 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    The number we are all aware of is 58 million lives slaughtered since 1973. And mainstream media is silent.

  11. Jean Henry
    Posted January 27, 2017 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    yes I’ve seen that number bandied about in the right wing press as the alternative to acknowledging poor turn out for the march. You need to stop parroting right wing talking points. It;s much more interesting when you think for yourself. You were wrong about the size of this march. Like Trump you can’t admit it and want to deflect like Conway into some bullshit emotional argument.
    When you want to care for the kids already in poverty in this country (24%) and prevent unwanted pregnancies with adequate funding of women’s health and family planning, I might believe you are prepared to support a govt prepared to take responsibility for 58 million more lives.

    Or is the gov’t not responsible for the impact of its decisions? Corporations aren’t. Neither are rural conservative people who accept more govt subsidy than any other areas. Just poor people of color. They are the ones you love to accuse of being irresponsible.

    Take your cheap moralism about women’s choices and shove it up your ass. It can’t make you any more uptight.

  12. EOS
    Posted January 27, 2017 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    You are delusional. Try not to be so hysterical. No one but the parents are responsible.

  13. EOS
    Posted January 27, 2017 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Are you opposed to rape? Who is responsible for the sexual gratification of the would be rapist? You or the government? Because if you are so self righteous to take away his choice then you had better step up to take care of his needs. Or are you claiming he is irresponsible – you hypocrite.

  14. Jean Henry
    Posted January 27, 2017 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Wha??? EOS you are not making a case for not being delusional. What the hell are you talking about?

    Do you think rapists are sexually gratified? That it’s a sexual act? So much wrong there, beyond the fact that it makes no sense what so ever. Try not to be hysterical.

  15. Hagopian Handmaid
    Posted January 27, 2017 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    EOS has jumped the shark. Sad.

  16. Jean Henry
    Posted January 27, 2017 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    Oh I get it. You are claiming abortion is equivalent to rape. And that rape somehow fulfills a man’s sexual needs rather than being an act of pure violence. And that, even within that questionable proposition, that fulfilling a man’s sexual needs is the same as taking away the freedom and self-determination of a woman for 18 years and her bodily agency for her whole reproductive life. You are equating the suffering of a sentient viable human (possibly child) via rape to the elimination of a zygote with no nervous system development. Do you kill flies? They are more sentient than a zygote. No wonder your side wants to eliminate scientific research. Your circular logic is inpenetrable by facts, much less any larger truth.
    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/06/science-house-abortion-ban-fetal-pain

  17. Jean Henry
    Posted January 27, 2017 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    I know it’s not a zygote, it’s a fetus after 8 weeks. It still is not sentient.

    Also it should say “*not* fulfilling a man’s sexual needs…”

  18. Jean Henry
    Posted January 27, 2017 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    Also– since Viagra is covered under most health care plans but women’s contraception were not until the ACA, apparently the GOP does value a man’s sexual gratification more than a woman’s right to self-determination and bodily agency.

    (Mic drop)

  19. Jean Henry
    Posted January 27, 2017 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    I should have known better to trust EOS’ account of poll numbers. She chose the outlier poll, rather than the average from this week. 46% is better than 36% last week, but that just reflects those who voted for him. He hasn’t won any one over yet, and he’ll lose a whole bunch of his voters once they feel the impacts of his policies. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/president_trump_job_approval-6179.html

    On the other hand Obama’s job approval rating is at 57.2%.
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/president_obama_job_approval-1044.html

    go figure.

  20. Jean Henry
    Posted January 27, 2017 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Actually the outlier showed 55% Trump approval rating. Where did you come up with 59% EOS? Or is that just an alternative fact from your alternative reality? Or are you a liar?

  21. Kristin Schrader
    Posted January 28, 2017 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    I went yesterday and it was a robust turnout that was very productive. Dropped water bottles, stickers and tshirts. Considered dining there because the food looked good.

  22. Posted January 29, 2017 at 1:27 am | Permalink

    Photo from Linh Song. [I hope she doesn’t mind my sharing it.]

    a2datarescue

  23. EOS
    Posted January 29, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jan/25/president-trumps-approval-rating-rises-57-percent/

  24. jean henry
    Posted January 29, 2017 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Again using one outlier poll and ignoring the others. In this case trumps approval rating grew from a historically low 34% to 46% because he is executing his agenda, a 12% increase and so using the Times bs little equation trick 30% of the 34% approval on Inauguration Day. Your percentage formulated to make it sound better than it is.
    Obamas approval rating is 58%, straight up, no trickery or fakery.

  25. stupid hick
    Posted January 29, 2017 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Washington Times. Well, I guess that’s a step up from InfoWars. Does that mean you can’t find the poll results you seek in the WSJ or National Review?

  26. EOS
    Posted January 29, 2017 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    It’s a Rasmussen poll. They are the group that had the best numbers in the presidential election too. It’s a straight 59% approval rating for those who care to read.

  27. stupid hick
    Posted January 29, 2017 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    Exactly! Having to cite Rasmussen means you admit you’re shopping for results.

  28. EOS
    Posted January 29, 2017 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Shopping? No. I just googled it. Google tends to bury WSJ and National Review.

  29. stupid hick
    Posted January 29, 2017 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    It’s the WT that shops for “facts” to support their position. You can do better. Conservatives used to be able to win arguments without having to rely on fake news.

  30. Jean Henry
    Posted January 29, 2017 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    EOS had a secret past life in the WWE :
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFoC3TR5rzI&list=PL7XlqX4npddfrdpMCxBnNZXg2GFll7t5y&index=26

  31. Jean Henry
    Posted January 29, 2017 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    59% is wrong. Rasmussen shows 52%. His overall average in polling is 42%. I’ve already said all of this and provided link on another thread, but EOS chose to repeat the false number anyway. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/trump_favorableunfavorable-5493.html

    It’s true I didn’t open the Times article. The numbers were wrong. Why open? I guess I should have bothered, if only not to give EOS another weasel out of a corner.

    EOS keeps repeating verbatim the talking points from Conway, Fox etc. A few times I’ve heard something from Conway only to hear the exact same spin from EOS the same day. The parroting is intense. And it’s defensive, and that’s obvious for anyone to see.

    Meanwhile, @Trump_regrets on twitter tells a different story.

    Trump will self-implode or be ousted or both soon enough, and then we’ll start hearing from EOS about how she never supported him anyway. The only thing really important to EOS is her own sense that she is right. I can;t imagine anything less Christian.

  32. EOS
    Posted January 30, 2017 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    I don’t support Trump. I have no idea what he will do tomorrow, or next week. But I will support policies that are good for America. I support good ideas. I argue a consistent ideology.

    And I feel bad for Jean when she resorts to personal attacks. Really, your side needs a better spokesperson. Her defense of your ideology can only deter rational people.

  33. jean henry
    Posted January 30, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Were those personal attacks or critical assessment based on a pattern of behavior? Also what you said in reply was essentially the same form of rhetoric. Its points were almost the same. When you point to and inflate Trumps popularity ratings, that has nothing whatsoever to do with detached interest in policy you support.

  34. jean henry
    Posted January 30, 2017 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Ps you pity amuses me.

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