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Earthquake Storms – John Dvorak

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Earthquake Storms

An Unauthorized Biography of the San Andreas Fault

John Dvorak

Genre: Earth Sciences

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: February 4, 2014

Publisher: Pegasus Books

Seller: OpenRoad Integrated Media, LLC


A geologist explores the fault line that threatens disaster for millions in this “must-read for earthquake buffs—and West Coast residents” ( Library Journal ). It’s a geological structure that spans almost the entire length of California. Dozens of major highways and interstates cross it. Scores of housing developments have been built over it. And its name has become so familiar that it’s now synonymous with the very concept of an earthquake. Yet, to many of those who are affected by it, the San Andreas Fault is practically invisible and shrouded in mystery. For decades, scientists have warned that the fault is primed for a colossal quake. According to geophysicist John Dvorak, such a sudden shift of the Earth’s crust is inevitable—and may be a geologic necessity. In Earthquake Storms , Dvorak explains the science behind the San Andreas Fault, a transient, evolving system that’s key to our understanding of worldwide seismic activity. He traces it from the redwood forests to the east edge of the Salton Sea, through two of the largest urban areas of the country: San Francisco and Los Angeles. Its network of subsidiary faults runs through Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica, and the Hayward Fault slices the football stadium at the University of California in half. As he warns of peril, Dvorak lays out the worst-case scenario, which he believes is coming: an awakening of the fault leading to years of volatile “earthquake storms.” Hailed by Booklist as “a fascinating look at what could be in store,” Dvorak’s comprehensive and accessible study will change the way you see the ground beneath your feet. “A massive earthquake is overdue at the southern end of the San Andreas Fault. Conditions are right for the Big One to hit a 100-mile segment of the fault that would be felt from San Diego to Los Angeles. But the problem is being able to pinpoint when the quake may strike . . .” —NPR Dr. John Dvorak, PhD, worked on volcanoes and earthquakes for the US Geological Survey, first at Mount St. Helens, then as a series of assignments in California, Hawaii, Italy, Indonesia, Central America, and Alaska. He has written cover stories for Scientific American , Physics Today, and Astronomy magazines, as well as a series of essays about earthquakes and volcanoes for American Scientist . Dvorak has taught at the University of Hawaii and lectured at UCLA, Washington University in St. Louis, the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, among others.

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Earthquake Storms – John Dvorak

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‘Diablo Winds’ spark historic wildfires in California wine country

This post has been updated to include revised figures on the number of fires and death toll. 

It’s peak wildfire season in California, and Monday was one of the worst days in state history. More than 60 blazes are currently underway statewide.

At least a dozen wildfires sprung up Sunday night in and around Napa and Sonoma counties—also known as “wine country,” just north of San Francisco — prompting rushed evacuations of more than 20,000 people. In an attempt to speed the flow of relief and firefighting equipment and make the National Guard available, Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency.

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The Northern California firestorm has quickly burned nearly 100,000 acres, and is encroaching on neighborhoods in several places. At around 3 a.m. Monday, a Cal Fire official told a local television station that there was “no hope of containment right now.”

In total, the fires have killed 13 people and destroyed more than 1,500 structures as of Tuesday morning, making them some of the most destructive in state history. More than 100 people have been treated for burns and smoke inhalation at regional hospitals, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, and more than 150 people are still missing. Nationwide, this year’s fire season has cost more than $2 billion, the most expensive on record.

Smoke from the fires is visible from across the Bay Area, with many residents reporting the smell of smoke and even ashes falling from the sky. The National Weather Service says that winds at higher elevations in some parts of Sonoma County exceeded hurricane force, with several areas reporting gusts greater than 50 mph.

Several of the worst wildfires in California history have sprung up during October, near the end of California’s months-long dry season. It’s this time of year when a combination of strong offshore winds and low humidity can quickly fan a seemingly innocent spark into a raging inferno.

These winds are usually formed by a strong inland high pressure center, which pushes air down mountainsides and through canyons, causing it to warm up and dry out — a perfect environment for fast-growing fires. In Northern California, they are generally called “Diablo winds,” after Mt. Diablo in the eastern Bay Area. A 2015 study said that climate change is making these wind events more frequent and more severe in California. According to the Bay Area branch of the National Weather Service, conditions will begin to improve starting on Tuesday morning.

One particularly frightening fire in Northern California, the Tubbs fire near Santa Rosa, jumped the 101 freeway, forcing a hospital to evacuate its patients. Officials report evacuation centers that have been set up have already filled to capacity. Aerial images of Santa Rosa on Monday showed widespread devastation of entire neighborhoods.

“People are running red lights, there is chaos ensuing,” Santa Rosa resident Ron Dodds told a local television station. “It’s a scary time. It looks like Armageddon.”

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‘Diablo Winds’ spark historic wildfires in California wine country

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Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data – Charles Wheelan

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Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data

Charles Wheelan

Genre: Mathematics

Price: $12.99

Publish Date: January 7, 2013

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Seller: W. W. Norton


“Brilliant, funny . . . the best math teacher you never had.”—San Francisco Chronicle Once considered tedious, the field of statistics is rapidly evolving into a discipline Hal Varian, chief economist at Google, has actually called “sexy.” From batting averages and political polls to game shows and medical research, the real-world application of statistics continues to grow by leaps and bounds. How can we catch schools that cheat on standardized tests? How does Netflix know which movies you’ll like? What is causing the rising incidence of autism? As best-selling author Charles Wheelan shows us in Naked Statistics, the right data and a few well-chosen statistical tools can help us answer these questions and more. For those who slept through Stats 101, this book is a lifesaver. Wheelan strips away the arcane and technical details and focuses on the underlying intuition that drives statistical analysis. He clarifies key concepts such as inference, correlation, and regression analysis, reveals how biased or careless parties can manipulate or misrepresent data, and shows us how brilliant and creative researchers are exploiting the valuable data from natural experiments to tackle thorny questions. And in Wheelan’s trademark style, there’s not a dull page in sight. You’ll encounter clever Schlitz Beer marketers leveraging basic probability, an International Sausage Festival illuminating the tenets of the central limit theorem, and a head-scratching choice from the famous game show Let’s Make a Deal—and you’ll come away with insights each time. With the wit, accessibility, and sheer fun that turned Naked Economics into a bestseller, Wheelan defies the odds yet again by bringing another essential, formerly unglamorous discipline to life.

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Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data – Charles Wheelan

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Actually, Apple’s shiny new office park isn’t that cool.

There’s been much high-profile gushing over the spaceship-in-Eden–themed campus that Apple spent six years and $5 billion building in Silicon Valley, but it turns out techno-utopias don’t make great neighbors.

“Apple’s new HQ is a retrograde, literally inward-looking building with contempt for the city where it lives and cities in general,” writes Adam Rogers at Wired, in an indictment of the company’s approach to transportation, housing, and economics in the Bay Area.

The Ring — well, they can’t call it The Circle — is a solar-powered, passively cooled marvel of engineering, sure. But when it opens, it will house 12,000 Apple employees, 90 percent of whom will be making lengthy commutes to Cupertino and back every day. (San Francisco is 45 miles away.)

To accommodate that, Apple Park features a whopping 9,000 parking spots (presumably the other 3,000 employees will use the private shuttle bus instead). Those 9,000 cars will be an added burden on the region’s traffic problems, as Wired reports, not to mention that whole global carbon pollution thing.

You can read Roger’s full piece here, but the takeaway is simple: With so much money, Apple could have made meaningful improvements to the community — building state-of-the-art mass transit, for example — but chose to make a sparkly, exclusionary statement instead.

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Actually, Apple’s shiny new office park isn’t that cool.

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The Trump administration may shrink Bears Ears national monument.

There’s been much high-profile gushing over the spaceship-in-Eden–themed campus that Apple spent six years and $5 billion building in Silicon Valley, but it turns out techno-utopias don’t make great neighbors.

“Apple’s new HQ is a retrograde, literally inward-looking building with contempt for the city where it lives and cities in general,” writes Adam Rogers at Wired, in an indictment of the company’s approach to transportation, housing, and economics in the Bay Area.

The Ring — well, they can’t call it The Circle — is a solar-powered, passively cooled marvel of engineering, sure. But when it opens, it will house 12,000 Apple employees, 90 percent of whom will be making lengthy commutes to Cupertino and back every day. (San Francisco is 45 miles away.)

To accommodate that, Apple Park features a whopping 9,000 parking spots (presumably the other 3,000 employees will use the private shuttle bus instead). Those 9,000 cars will be an added burden on the region’s traffic problems, as Wired reports, not to mention that whole global carbon pollution thing.

You can read Roger’s full piece here, but the takeaway is simple: With so much money, Apple could have made meaningful improvements to the community — building state-of-the-art mass transit, for example — but chose to make a sparkly, exclusionary statement instead.

Source:  

The Trump administration may shrink Bears Ears national monument.

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The Solace of Open Spaces – Gretel Ehrlich

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The Solace of Open Spaces
Essays
Gretel Ehrlich

Genre: Nature

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: February 21, 2017

Publisher: Open Road Media

Seller: OpenRoad Integrated Media, LLC


These transcendent, lyrical essays on the West announced Gretel Ehrlich as a major American writer—“Wyoming has found its Whitman” (Annie Dillard). Poet and filmmaker Gretel Ehrlich went to Wyoming in 1975 to make the first in a series of documentaries when her partner died. Ehrlich stayed on and found she couldn’t leave. The Solace of Open Spaces is a chronicle of her first years on “the planet of Wyoming,” a personal journey into a place, a feeling, and a way of life.   Ehrlich captures both the otherworldly beauty and cruelty of the natural forces—the harsh wind, bitter cold, and swiftly changing seasons—in the remote reaches of the American West. She brings depth, tenderness, and humor to her portraits of the peculiar souls who also call it home: hermits and ranchers, rodeo cowboys and schoolteachers, dreamers and realists. Together, these essays form an evocative and vibrant tribute to the life Ehrlich chose and the geography she loves.   Originally written as journal entries addressed to a friend, The Solace of Open Spaces is raw, meditative, electrifying, and uncommonly wise. In prose “as expansive as a Wyoming vista, as charged as a bolt of prairie lightning,” Ehrlich explores the magical interplay between our interior lives and the world around us ( Newsday ). “Vivid, tough, and funny . . . Wyoming has found its Whitman . . . An exuberant and powerful book.” —Annie Dillard, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek   “[Ehrlich] brings the long vistas into focus with the poise of an Ansel Adams. . . . She has been to the mountaintop and seen the mountain for what it is.” — The New York Times Book Review   “A stunning rumination on life on Wyoming’s high plains . . . Ehrlich’s gorgeous prose is as expansive as a Wyoming vista, as charged as a bolt of prairie lightning.” — Newsday   “Ehrlich’s best prose belongs in a league with Annie Dillard and even Thoreau. The Solace of Open Spaces releases the bracing air of the wilderness into the stuffy, heated confines of winter in civilization.” — San Francisco Chronicle   “The most exciting new prose I’ve come across this season . . . Part travelogue, part meditation, these twelve pieces are lyrical, humorous, and eye-opening.” — Glamour Gretel Ehrlich is an award-winning writer and naturalist. Born and raised in California, she was educated at Bennington College and UCLA Film School. She is the author of thirteen books, including the essay collection The Solace of Open Spaces (1985), the novel Heart Mountain (1988), and the memoirs A Match to the Heart : One Woman’s Story of Being Struck by Lightning (1994) and This Cold Heaven : Seven Seasons in Greenland (2001), as well as The Future of Ice: A Journey into Cold (2004), and, most recently, Facing the Wave : A Journey in the Wake of a Tsunami (2014). Her prose pieces have appeared in Harper’s , the Atlantic , the New York Times Magazine , and National Geographic , among many other publications. Ehrlich lives in Montana and Hawaii.

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The Solace of Open Spaces – Gretel Ehrlich

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Against the Odds, Members of a Refugee Caravan Are Let Into the US

Mother Jones

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Last weekend, dozens of refugees who participated in a caravan that traversed Mexico to seek asylum in the United States, presented themselves at the San Ysidro port of entry in Tijuana and were admitted into the United States. Planned by a coalition of Mexican and American organizers, the caravan began in early April at the Guatemala-Mexico border. Its goal was to raise awareness of the dangers migrants face while traveling through Mexico as well as the reportedly widespread practice of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents illegally turning back refugees at the border. The group reached Tijuana last weekend after suffering a variety of threats and setbacks during nearly four weeks on the road.

In total, 78 asylum seekers were admitted during the weekend border crossing. The group included men, women, and children, most of whom were fleeing violence in Central America. Alex Mensing, one of the caravan organizers and a paralegal at the University of San Francisco’s Immigration and Deportation Defense Law Clinic, says that several families were released on parole to family members and sponsors in the country, while the rest have been sent to immigration detention centers or are in the custody to of the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Only one asylum seeker was turned away at the border, Mensing says. A child with US citizenship crossing with his Guatemalan father was sent back to Mexico when border patrol learned his mother was still there. “Once they found out the mother was in Tijuana, they called her and told her that if she didn’t come get her son, they would take the child away and put him in foster care.” (Under international law, separating children from their parents usually should be avoided, according to the detention guidelines outlined by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.) There were also allegations of refugees receiving poor treatment in CBP custody. Los Angeles resident Dolores Ramirez, who had relatives traveling in the caravan, told the local news outlet KPBS that her relatives were “only getting 10 minutes to eat, they have no blankets, they’re sleeping on the floor in cells, they’re being yelled at… They shouldn’t be treated like animals, they’re not animals, they didn’t cross the border illegally, they’re seeking help.”

Cristobal Sanchez

Not all of the refugees who turned themselves in last weekend had traveled with the caravan. Several, having already been turned back by CBP multiple times, waited in Tijuana to cross with the group.

According to multiple human rights attorneys and a new report from Human Rights First, CBP has been turning away more asylum seekers since the election of President Donald Trump. “In the wake of the election and President Trump’s January executive orders relating to refugees, CPB agents have in some cases claimed the United States is no longer accepting asylum seekers,” Human Rights First reports. By blocking refugees, CBP may be putting them in direct danger. The report adds, “Cartels, smugglers, and traffickers—who control areas around border crossings and wait outside some ports of entry where they see migrants and asylum seekers as easy prey—have kidnapped, raped, and robbed asylum seekers wrongly turned away by the U.S. government.”

B. Shaw Drake, a fellow at Human Rights First and one of the authors of the report, has heard reports that CBP officers turned away two Eritrean refugees on the day after the caravan members turned themselves in. “We had hoped our report and all the media attention would have put them on notice,” Drake says. “But we continue to hear about those cases happening.”

Mensing says that while the caravan was by and large a success, he has concerns that the practice of turning back asylum seekers will continue unchanged. “There’s no doubt in mind that of those 78 people, most if not all of them would have had difficulty being processed if it had not been for the caravan. And clearly, if they were back to rejecting people on Monday, it was not a lasting thing, either.”

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Against the Odds, Members of a Refugee Caravan Are Let Into the US

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A Portrait of Colombia in 26 Gorgeous Polaroids

Mother Jones

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Bay Area photographer Matthew O’Brien documented Colombia from his unique vantage as a long-time visitor, straddling the line between traveler and insider while living in the country off and on from 2003 through 2013. Using a Polaroid camera, O’Brien photographed Colombia in a way that contradicted the stereotype of the country as a war-ravaged narco-state and more closely reflected reality for most who live there, as well as for the tourists who visit. Having a foot in both worlds brings together a body of work that shows many of Colombia’s contours, outside the wars we here in America have heard so much about.

O’Brien collected his Colombian Polaroids in a new book called No Dar Papaya: Fotografías de Colombia 2003-2013 (Icono Editorial/Placer Press). The book’s title comes from a common Colombian expression that has nothing to do with tropical fruit, but instead roughly translates to “show no vulnerabilities and present no easy target.”

As a longtime documentary photographer—O’Brien won the Mother Jones International Fund for Documentary Photography in 1998—he first went to Colombia to work on a project about beauty pageants called Royal Colombia. He later wound up teaching at different schools throughout the country and eventually got a Fulbright to continue working on the project that would eventually become No Dar Papaya.

The book’s 190 images show a depth of appreciation for a country not seen enough in photography, especially by an outsider looking in. Portraits, landscapes and more photojournalistic images work together to given a well-rounded sense of the country.

First shown in Colombia in 2013 and 2014, 24 large prints from the book are now on exhibition at the Colombian Consulate in San Francisco from May 4 to August 3, with a talk and signing on July 19.

Left: Carmen de Viboral, 2010; Right: Santa Marta, 2011

Left: Cartagena, 2003; Right: Bogotá, 2005

Left: Punta Gallinas, 2011; Right: Salento, 2010

Left: Bogotá, 2013; Right: Cali, 2010

Left: Medellín, 2010; Right: Cabo de la Vela, 2011

Left: Cali, 2010; Right: Cartagena, 2010

Left: San Andrés, 2005; Right: Urabá Antioqueño, 2011

Left: Acandí, 2011; Right: Acandí, 2011

Left: Playa Salguero, 2013; Right: San Andrés, 2005

Left: Pereira, 2005; Right: Cartagena, 2010

Left: Capurnagá, 2011; Right: Manizales, 2010

Left: Cartagena, 2010; Right: Medellín, 2004

Left: San Andrés, 2005; Right: Salento, 2010

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A Portrait of Colombia in 26 Gorgeous Polaroids

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Dianne Feinstein Town Hall Shows Why She’s a Conservative by San Francisco Standards

Mother Jones

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Before they could enter the San Francisco Scottish Rite Masonic Center, the roughly 1,200 people who showed up for California Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s town hall meeting yesterday morning had their bags searched and their bodies scanned for metal objects. As they filed into the thickly carpeted auditorium, attendees passed several tables covered with literature laid out by Indivisible, the liberal grassroots group that had helped organize this rare public meeting with the senator. The leaflets included a list of recommended questions for a senator who doesn’t often field questions from constituents, even here in her liberal hometown.

When the 83-year-old Democrat walked onto the stage in a jet black suit, the crowd, largely women, awarded the four-term senator a warm round of applause. But the mood quickly soured and tension between the famously moderate Feinstein and the highly charged, anti-Trump audience was a motif of the 70-minute event. A man interrupted Feinstein’s opening remarks to loudly ask his fellow audience members to “wake up,” before they shushed him and audibly told him “shut up.” Feinstein waved it off and plowed forward with a metered explanation of the need to reform Social Security and Medicare before indicating she was ready to take questions.

Questioners were selected at random by raffle. Once called, they made their way to the front of the auditorium where stood just a few yards from Feinstein. The first was a woman who was worried that “trigger happy” President Donald Trump might deploy her son to Syria, and wanted to know what Feinstein would do to ensure peace in the Middle East. “The world is not an easy place, and it is not a stable place,” Feinstein replied. She continued, somewhat confusingly, with an explanation of how North Korea presents an “existential” threat and an “acute danger” to the United States. After speaking for some time about the “ruthless” Kim Jong-un’s attempts to build a nuclear tipped missile capable of striking “anywhere in the United States,” Feinstein pivoted back to the Middle East. When she mentioned, without reservation, Trump’s recent missile attack on a Syrian air base, the crowd erupted with a cacophony of boos.

A few minutes later, a man asked the senator if she would support a single-payer health care system. “If single payer healthcare is going to mean a complete government takeover over of the healthcare system, I am not for it,” Feinstein replied, again to boos.

After Feinstein was asked to eschew “business as usual” politics and to vocally resist Trump, the senator tried to explain her model of politics. “I would be surprised if you found too many senators, if any, that have gotten more done,” she said, visibly frustrated by the crowd’s repeated interruptions. “I don’t get there by making statements I can’t deliver. I get there through some caution, some discussion, some smart help, our lawyers—and we generally get where we need to go.”

Feinstein found some common ground with her constituents, however. In her response to a question about Trump’s laundry list of ethical conflicts, she hinted at both impending legislation and litigation targeting the president’s conflicts of interest, which elicited broad agreement from the crowd.

Monday’s town hall was the product of more than two months of work by several dozen Indivisible activists. Several Bay Area Indivisible chapters had expressed interest in holding a town hall with the senator in January. Feinstein didn’t show at a meeting at an Oakland high school in late February. The event was branded as an “Empty Chair Town Hall where attendees presented questions to caricature of the senator.

In February, Indivisible members confronted Feinstein at a tony lunch event at the Public Policy Institute of California. Feinstein politely expressed interest in attending a town hall but didn’t commit to a time. After two months of calls and meetings between Indivisible members and Feinstein staffers, two town hall events were announced—this one in San Francisco, and another on Thursday in Los Angeles.

Amelia Cass, one of the leaders of Indivisible East Bay, said the need for a town hall was born out of the senator’s notorious inaccessibility. “It’s our government, and they’ll listen to us if we speak up. There’s a quote I saw in a newspaper that said ‘It’s not that Senator Feinstein doesn’t want to have town halls, it’s that nobody’s ever asked before.’ She has many opportunities to speak her mind. But her constituents don’t have very many opportunities to speak directly to the senator.”

Many who attended the town hall said they were grateful that the senator took the time to listen to their queries. Yet many left the meeting feeling less than confident that Feinstein is really representing their interests on Capitol Hill. “What we’re saying is that we have an existential threat from our own president, not North Korea,” said Steve Rapport of Indivisible San Francisco. “We want to hear some fighting talk and feel like our representatives have our back.”

That sentiment was echoed by Linh Nguyen, an organizer with Indivisible East Bay. “If Feinstein has this coalition that she’s built over the decades that she’s served in the senate working across party lines, I want to see evidence of it,” Nguyen said. “Where is your coalition from the middle and right to push against this? If she does have this large coalition, let us use it to our advantage.”

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Dianne Feinstein Town Hall Shows Why She’s a Conservative by San Francisco Standards

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Clinton Campaign Sent Fake Phishing Emails to Its Own Staff

Mother Jones

Hillary Clinton’s run for the White House will be remembered for many things, but information security isn’t likely to be one of them. Her campaign was buffeted by two major hacking episodes. First, the contents of Democratic National Committee servers were stolen and disseminated through WikiLeaks and other news organizations. Then campaign chairman John Podesta had his personal email account hacked and its contents passed to WikiLeaks, which subsequently released the 50,000-email set in chunks over a period of weeks as the presidential election reached fever pitch. The US government’s intelligence community went on to assert that the hacks had been orchestrated at the behest of the Russian government as a deliberate attempt to hurt Clinton’s chances and boost Donald Trump.

But Robby Mook, the Clinton campaign manager, said this week that the hacks didn’t hit the campaign itself, and that’s because the campaign conducted regular security training for staffers, including sending them fake phishing emails to see how they’d be handled.

“We sent out phishing emails of our own to test people and communicate back to team to see how far they were clicking, to educate people, and show their vulnerability and how much their choices matter,” Mook told Dark Reading, a cybersecurity news website, while attending an information security conference in San Francisco.

Mook said there were at least three phishing tests sent out to staffers, and there were also regular emails sent to staff preaching good IT practices. There were signs in the bathrooms “about not sharing passwords and ‘Don’t clink that link, stop and think,'” Mook said.

The Dark Reading piece doesn’t address when the training took place or whether Podesta and his aides were involved. Podesta and Mook did not respond to requests for comment about the IT training during the campaign.

A phishing attack is an attempt to trick a victim into giving up personal information, including logins for email accounts, bank accounts, and other sensitive information. In Podesta’s case, hackers sent a phony warning from Google alerting him that his Gmail password needed to be reset. According to the New York Times, a campaign IT staffer inadvertently advised Podesta and his aides that the warning was legitimate. By using the fake password reset page, Podesta gave the hackers access to his Gmail account and years’ worth of political communications that eventually found their way to WikiLeaks via the Russian operation, according to the US government.

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Clinton Campaign Sent Fake Phishing Emails to Its Own Staff

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