Welcome to Saturday's Potluck - 4-23-2022
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
The data centers run 24 hours a day, humming along with power from Bonneville Dam. The systems are kept cool using outdoor air on cold days and nights, when insufficient there is water.
People and communities need to communicate with each other. Large data centers assist in the broad goals of efficiency and monitoring.
Meta seeks ways to boost water reserves in Crook County The Bulletin Dec 10, 2021
Facebook parent company implementing two water projects
Technological developments in the last decade, as well as the use of outside air for cooling, have allowed Meta’s data centers “to operate 80% more water efficiently on average compared to the industry standard,” said Melanie Roe, a spokesperson for Meta.
“We see opportunities for additional gains in the coming years, particularly as our infrastructure grows, and we’ll need to develop water-efficient designs for different climates,” Roe added.
Meta is under a microscope in the places where it operates as its data centers use large amounts of water to cool their servers and maintain optimal humidity levels. In Prineville, data centers source their water from the municipality.
In Prineville last year, Meta used 445,000 cubic meters of water, equivalent to 117.5 million gallons of water — enough water to fill 178 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Meta’s use of water is increasing. The data center, a collection of buildings, is still under construction and when complete will be a 4.6 million square foot campus.
To counter that water use, Meta is helping to fund an aquifer recharge project with the city of Prineville. A second project is restoring the degraded Ingram Meadow in the Ochoco National Forest.
Meta says the aquifer recharge project utilizes the natural storage found underground in the city to store water during cooler, wetter winters. A portion of the water can be recovered during hotter summer periods when water is less available.
The project, which became operational earlier this year, works by conveying a portion of winter stream flows in the Crooked River to the local groundwater supply through injection and extraction wells.
Authorities in Prineville are confident that the work being done won’t leave Prineville high and dry.
The Bulletin recently reported on an aquifer recharge project by the city of Prineville, which has received funding from Facebook and Apple, which use significant amounts of water to cool servers at their data centers in Prineville.
While efficiency is improving, data centers continue to use enormous amounts of water. According to the Oregon Water Resources Department’s Well Report Mapping Tool, the well on Facebook’s data center site has dropped 53 feet between 10/29/2010 and 4/2/2020. Further, Prineville has inadequate water supplies to meet its long-term needs for growth.
Prineville’s Aquifer Storage and Recovery project injects water underground for subsequent use. You can find the details of the project on the OWRD website. In summary, the purpose of the ASR project is to take groundwater from other locations and store it in the highly contained “Upper Aquifer” near the airport. The primary source of recharge water is new wells adjacent to the Crooked River just southeast of Meadow Lakes golf course. This transfer between aquifers will occur from Nov. 1 through March 31, essentially the nonirrigation season.
The Bulletin mistakenly reported that the source of the recharge water is the Crooked River itself. In fact, it is taken from wells recently drilled very close to the river that tap into alluvial deposits that are themselves recharged in the winter. Water is being moved from one aquifer to another. This will benefit Prineville’s municipal water supply and the data centers that use it, but there are associated environmental impacts.
In a healthy riparian ecosystem, wetlands and aquifers absorb water in wet periods that is later released, creating desirable habitat for fish and wildlife year -round. Unfortunately, wetlands have been drained and aquifers widely utilized in the Crooked River Basin for agricultural and municipal use. As a result, the Crooked River has been on life support for decades.
Withdrawing water in the winter from aquifers near the river negatively impacts their natural hydrologic function. The Bulletin’s article credits the ASR with recharging a single aquifer for municipal benefit and states there has been no negative impact on agriculture but does not consider environmental impacts.
In the summer, most of the Crooked River below Prineville is an ecological disaster with low flows, high temperatures and significant levels of pollution. Portions literally went dry last summer as spring chinook attempted to swim upriver to spawn. In the winter, the Deschutes Basin Habitat Conservation Plan requires water to be released into the river from Prineville Reservoir, but at flows lower than necessary for healthy fish habitat according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and lower than called for in the 2014 Crooked River Act.
The bottom line is that data centers have provided economic benefits to Prineville, but they continue to be a drain on our environment.
Social media banning has replaced excommunication by religious authorities and physical exile by communities as the modern day method of control to purge infectious ideas from the public arena.
PEPE ESCOBAR – Big Tech’s ‘Cancel Culture’ Love Affair Consortium News April 21, 2022
Cancel culture is inbuilt in the techno-feudalist project: conform to the hegemonic narrative, or else. Journalism that does not conform must be taken down.
This month, several of us – Scott Ritter, myself, ASB Military News, among others – were canceled from Twitter. The – unstated – reason: we were debunking the officially approved narrative of the Russia/NATO/Ukraine war.
As with all things Big Tech, that was predictable. I lasted only seven months on Twitter. And that was long enough. Contacts in California had told me I was on their radar because the account grew too fast, and had enormous reach, especially after the start of Operation Z.
I celebrated the cancelation by experiencing an aesthetic illumination in front of the Aegean Sea, at the home of Herodotus, the Father of History. Additionally, it was heart-warming to be recognized by the great George Galloway in his moving tribute to targets of the new McCarthyism.
Cancel culture is inbuilt in the techno-feudalist project: conform to the hegemonic narrative, or else. In my own case regarding Twitter and Facebook – two of the guardians of the internet, alongside Google — I knew a day of reckoning was inevitable, because like other countless users I had previously been dispatched to those notorious “jails”.
On one Facebook occasion, I sent a sharp message highlighting that I was a columnist/analyst for an established Hong Kong-based media company. Some human, not an algorithm, must have read it, because the account was restored in less than 24 hours.
But then the account was simply disabled – with no warning. I requested the proverbial “review”. The response was a demand for proof of ID. Less than 24 hours later, came the verdict: “Your account has been disabled” because it had not followed those notoriously hazy “community standards.” The decision was “reviewed” and “it can’t be reversed”.
At the time, I discussed the matter with several Western analysts. As one of them succinctly put it, “You were ridiculing the U.S. president while pointing out the positives of Russia, China and Iran. That’s a deadly combination”.
Others were simply stunned: “I wonder why you were restricted as you work for a reputable publication.” Or made the obvious connections: “Facebook is a censorship machine. I did not know that they do not give reasons for what they do but then they are part of the Deep State.”
The “censorship trend” is a fact – for quite a while now. Take this U.S. State Department 2020 report identifying “pillars of Russia’s disinformation and propaganda ecosystem.”
State Dept. Directive
The late Pompeo-era report demonizes “fringe or conspiracy-minded” websites who happen to be extremely critical of U.S. foreign policy. They include Moscow-based Strategic Culture Foundation – where I’m a columnist – and Canada-based Global Research, which republishes most of my columns (but so does Consortium News, ZeroHedge and many other U.S. websites). I’m cited in the report by name, along with quite a few top columnists.
Every silicon fragment in the valley connects Facebook as a direct extension of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)’s LifeLog project, a Pentagon attempt to “build a database tracking a person’s entire existence.” Facebook launched its website exactly on the same day – Feb. 4, 2004 – that DARPA and the Pentagon shuttered LifeLog.
No explanation by DARPA was ever provided. The MIT’s David Karger, at the time, remarked, “I am sure that such research will continue to be funded under some other title. I can’t imagine DARPA ‘dropping out’ of such a key research area.”
Of course a smokin’ gun directly connecting Facebook to DARPA will never be allowed to surface. But occasionally some key players speak out, such as Douglas Gage, none other than LifeLog’s conceptualizer: “Facebook is the real face of pseudo-LifeLog at this point (…) We have ended up providing the same kind of detailed personal information to advertisers and data brokers and without arousing the kind of opposition that LifeLog provoked.”
So Facebook has absolutely nothing to do with journalism. Not to mention pontificating over a journalist’s work, or assuming it’s entitled to cancel him or her. Facebook is an “ecosystem” built to sell private data at a huge profit, offering a public service as a private enterprise, but most of all sharing the accumulated data of its billions of users with the U.S. national security state.
Which came first chicken or the egg? Does the order really matter? While everyone argues strength of censoring nonconforming voices or exploration of new ideas grows.
Former Intelligence Officials, Citing Russia, Say Big Tech Monopoly Power is Vital to National Security Glenn Greenwald April 20, 2022 (pretty sure my path to this link started with Evening Blues)
A group of former intelligence and national security officials on Monday issued a jointly signed letter warning that pending legislative attempts to restrict or break up the power of Big Tech monopolies — Facebook, Google, and Amazon — would jeopardize national security because, they argue, their centralized censorship power is crucial to advancing U.S. foreign policy. The majority of this letter is devoted to repeatedly invoking the grave threat allegedly posed to the U.S. by Russia as illustrated by the invasion of Ukraine, and it repeatedly points to the dangers of Putin and the Kremlin to justify the need to preserve Big Tech's power in its maximalist form. Any attempts to restrict Big Tech's monopolistic power would therefore undermine the U.S. fight against Moscow.
The ostensible purpose of the letter is to warn of the national security dangers from two different bipartisan bills — one pending in the Senate, the other in the House — that would prohibit Big Tech monopolies from using their vertical power to "discriminate” against competitors (the way Google, for instance, uses its search engine business to bury the videos of competitors to its YouTube property, such as Rumble, or the way Google and Apple use their stores and Amazon uses its domination over hosting services to destroy competitors).
This letter by former national security officials is, in one sense, an act of desperation. The bills have received the support of the key committees with jurisdiction over antitrust and Big Tech.
This is where these former intelligence and national security officials come in. While these former CIA, Homeland Security and Pentagon operatives have little sway in the Senate Judiciary and House Antitrust Committees, they command great loyalty from Congressional national security committees. Those committees, created to exert oversight of the U.S. intelligence and military agencies, are notoriously captive to the U.S. National Security State. The ostensible purpose of this new letter is to insist that Big Tech monopoly power is vital to U.S. national security — because it is necessary for them to censor “disinformation” from the internet, especially now with the grave Russian threat reflected by the war in Ukraine — and they thus demand that the anti-Big-Tech bills first be reviewed not only by the Judiciary and Antitrust Committees, but also the national security committees where they wield power and influence, which have traditionally played no role in regulating the technology sector:
It is unsurprising that Silicon Valley monopolies exercise their censorship power in full alignment with the foreign policy interests of the U.S. Government. Many of the key tech monopolies — such as Google and Amazon — routinely seek and obtain highly lucrative contracts with the U.S. security state, including both the CIA and NSA. Their top executives enjoy very close relationships with top Democratic Party officials. And Congressional Democrats have repeatedly hauled tech executives before their various Committees to explicitly threaten them with legal and regulatory reprisals if they do not censor more in accordance with the policy goals and political interests of that party.
Needless to say, the U.S. security state wants to maintain a stranglehold on political discourse in the U.S. and the world more broadly. They want to be able to impose propagandistic narratives without challenge and advocate for militarism without dissent. To accomplish that, they need a small handful of corporations which are subservient to them to hold in their hands as much concentrated power over the internet as possible.
Perhaps because of their current desperation about the support these bills have attracted, they are now just nakedly and shamelessly trying to channel the anger and hatred that they have successfully stoked toward Russia to demand that Big Tech not be weakened, regulated or restricted in any way. The cynical exploitation could hardly be more overt: if you hate Putin the way any loyal and patriotic American should, then you must devote yourself to full preservation of the power of Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon.
What is on your mind today? (Responses to Covid questions and dialog to be conducted at The Dose diary)