Parks and Rekt

I was kinda hoping to go Trump-free for at least a while, but here we are. Within days of taking office Donald Trump's administration has ordered a bevy of federal agencies to stop disseminating information without direct approval. In response, yesterday the Twitter account of Badlands National Park started tweeting out facts about climate change.

Donald Trump famously believes that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. Most of the rest of the world in contrast know that climate change is perhaps the biggest crisis facing humanity today.

The tweets didn't last long before being deleted. According to a Buzzfeed reporter the tweets were made by a former employee. Kudos to the former employee. For their sake I hope they were former before the tweets and not after.

There are a few lessons I think we can take away from this on a practical level.

  1. Change your passwords whenever someone who has access to your social media (or CMS or whatever) leaves. It's a pain in the ass but otherwise you're just depending on their good nature to not fuck you over.
  2. Treat your social media people with some respect. Chances are they're young, passionate, underpaid, and wield a disproportionate amount of power. In a world that loves a good social media fueled controversy, and where Twitter and Facebook are the face of your organization, they wield the power to wreck you.

EDIT: a few alternate unoffical National Park Services Twitter accounts have sprung up in the wake of this - @BadHombreNPS and @AltNatParkSer, which has 379k+ followers!

via CBS News

Examing the alt-right

A lot of ink has been spilled about the alt-right this election season. As Trump's star is rising so too is that of the alt-right,  an obscure (relatively speaking) political movement that found a home on websites like 4chan and Reddit. This hodge-podge of technocratic, racist, authoritarians have, scarily enough, gotten themselves a foothold on legitimacy over the past few months.

Vox has by far the the most nuanced look at the philosophy behind the movement that I've seen so far.

But win or lose, Trump has shown that overt contempt for racial equality, naked tribalistic appeals to white racial solidarity, and vaguely authoritarian rhetoric can add up to a very successful campaign, at least within the Republican Party. That gives the alt-right new relevance, and helps convince its members that America might be ready for their ideas.

It also opens the door for a more sophisticated future candidate, one reared on alt-right arguments rather than stumbling into them the way Trump has. Such a candidate could effectively whip up an alt-right base of support, but potentially use it more intelligently and effectively than Trump. If this sounds fantastical, it’s worth remembering that open white supremacists like Strom Thurmond and James Eastland were serving in the US Senate 40, 30, even 20 years ago. Our current period without avowed white nationalists in power, backed by an organized constituency of the same, is the exception, not the norm.
— The alt-right is more than warmed-over white supremacy. It’s that, but way way weirder.