Taxpayers and the environment have been the losers.
Trading the online nation for the open road.
More than 20 vehicles were involved after a windstorm caused “near-blackout” conditions, the authorities said.
The country’s oldest national park is considering whether to route its north entrance road away from the Gardner River.
The decision was the latest in a series of rulings forbidding the exclusion of religious institutions from government programs.
Federal legislation has stalled, so states are stepping in. In some places, that could mean looser regulations, like 16-year-olds caring for children, without supervision.
The deluge of rain has shut down a park entrance that is a lifeline for neighboring tourist communities. “Seventy-five percent of my business has been cut off at the knees,” one shop owner said.
Record rainfall and mudslides forced closures just as tourism season ramped up. Virtually none of America’s national parks are untouched by extreme weather and climate change.
The state’s oldest continually open general store serves customers in Fishtail from all walks of life, from ranchers and miners to doctors and C.E.O.s.
Scientists describe a new species of vampyropod from a 328-million-year-old, 10-armed fossil found in Montana.
Issues in the beef industry that were exposed by the pandemic reflect decades of economic transformation in the U.S.
Wolves have thrived since returning to the Northern Rockies. Now they face relentless assault by hunters and trappers.
The bison will be slaughtered, shot by hunters or relocated under a plan to address a booming population in the national park that has led to overgrazing.
It’s time to ditch the grand ideological narratives and talk to voters about their real needs.
Two dozen homes and businesses burned in the town of Denton as unseasonably warm temperatures descended from the Great Plains to the Mid-Atlantic.
Civic boosters in central Montana hoped for some federal money to promote tourism. A disinformation campaign got in the way.
Over four days in Montana, members honored Chief Earl Old Person, who led the tribe and preserved its history for more than 60 years.
Five were still hospitalized on Sunday following the crash in Montana that killed three passengers.
The derailment, involving five cars of the Empire Builder train, happened near Joplin, Mont., on Saturday afternoon.
The jaw of the Tyrannosaurus Rex had sensitive nerves that may have allowed it to differentiate between parts of its prey, a new study found.
Excessive heat and wildfires could disrupt the booming outdoor travel industry, as travelers now have to take a hotter and longer fire season into account.
Excessive heat and wildfires could disrupt the booming outdoor travel industry, as travelers now have to take a hotter and longer fire season into account.
The state is imposing more restrictions on fishing this year as the combination of extreme conditions, including low river levels, fish die-offs and the crush of anglers, poses long-term problems.
When a Northern Cheyenne family questioned their daughter’s untimely death, official indifference deepened their pain — and their suspicions.
A bear fatally attacked a camper in western Montana, the latest in a handful of serious incidents between humans and bears in the state.
Restrictions passed by the Republican-led Montana Legislature could have stark effects on Native American reservations, where voting in person can mean a two-hour drive.
Last year, mountain resorts were overrun by travelers in search of space and fresh air. The visitors are expected back, but now the towns have expanded activities and plans in place to deal with the crowds.
According to BuzzFeed News, Democratic Senator Ron Wyden and Representative Ted Lieu will introduce legislation later today that seeks to restrict police use of international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) catchers. More commonly known as Stingrays, police frequently use IMSI catchers and cell-site simulators to collect information on suspects and intercept calls, SMS messages and other forms of communication. Law enforcement agencies in the US currently do not require a warrant to use the technology. The Cell-Site Simulator Act of 2021 seeks to change that.
IMSI catchers mimic cell towers to trick mobile phones into connecting with them. Once connected, they can collect data a device sends out, including its location and subscriber identity key. Cell-site simulators pose a two-fold problem.
The first is that they’re surveillance blunt instruments. When used in a populated area, IMSI catchers can collect data from bystanders. The second is that they can also pose a safety risk to the public. The reason for this is that while IMSI catchers act like a cell tower, they don’t function as one, and they can’t transfer calls to a public wireless network. They can therefore prevent a phone from connecting to 9-1-1. Despite the dangers they pose, their use is widespread. In 2018, the American Civil Liberties Union found at least 75 agencies in 27 states and the District of Columbia owned IMSI catchers.
In trying to address those concerns, the proposed legislation would make it so that law enforcement agencies would need to make a case before a judge on why they should be allowed to use the technology. They would also need to explain why other surveillance methods wouldn’t be as effective. Moreover, it seeks to ensure those agencies delete any data they collect from those not listed on a warrant.
Although the bill reportedly doesn’t lay out a time limit on IMSI catcher use, it does push agencies to use the devices for the least amount of time possible. It also details exceptions where police could use the technology without a warrant. For instance, it would leave the door open for law enforcement to use the devices in contexts like bomb threats where an IMSI catcher can prevent a remote detonation.
“Our bipartisan bill ends the secrecy and uncertainty around Stingrays and other cell-site simulators and replaces it with clear, transparent rules for when the government can use these invasive surveillance devices,” Senator Ron Wyden told BuzzFeed News.
The bill has support from some Republicans. Senator Steve Daines of Montana and Representative Tom McClintock of California are co-sponsoring the proposed legislation. Organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Electronic Privacy Information Center have also endorsed the bill.
This article was originally published on Engadget.
Since Silver Little Eagle was robbed last month, she said she had been bullied and harassed, and failed by the very tribal systems she had campaigned to change.
Maryland and Montana have become the first U.S. states to pass laws that make it tougher for law enforcement to access DNA databases.
The new laws, which aim to safeguard the genetic privacy of millions of Americans, focus on consumer DNA databases, such as 23andMe, Ancestry, GEDmatch and FamilyTreeDNA, all of which let people upload their genetic information and use it to connect with distant relatives and trace their family tree. While popular — 23andMe has more than three million users, and GEDmatch more than one million — many are unaware that some of these platforms share genetic data with third parties, from the pharmaceutical industry and scientists to law enforcement agencies.
When used by law enforcement through a technique known as forensic genetic genealogy searching (FGGS), officers can upload DNA evidence found at a crime scene to make connections on possible suspects, the most famous example being the identification of the Golden State Killer in 2018. This saw investigators upload a DNA sample taken at the time of a 1980 murder linked to the serial killer into GEDmatch and subsequently identify distant relatives of the suspect — a critical breakthrough that led to the arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo.
While law enforcement agencies have seen success in using consumer DNA databases to aid with criminal investigations, privacy advocates have long warned of the dangers of these platforms. Not only can these DNA profiles help trace distant ancestors, but the vast troves of genetic data they hold can divulge a person’s propensity for various diseases, predict addiction and drug response, and even be used by companies to create images of what they think a person looks like.
Ancestry and 23andMe have kept their genetic databases closed to law enforcement without a warrant, GEDmatch (which was acquired by a crime scene DNA company in December 2019) and FamilyTreeDNA have previously shared their database with investigators.
To ensure the genetic privacy of the accused and their relatives, Maryland will, starting October 1, require law enforcement to get a judge’s sign-off before using genetic genealogy, and will limit its use to serious crimes like murder, kidnapping, and human trafficking. It also says that investigators can only use databases that explicitly tell users that their information could be used to investigate crimes.
In Montana, where the new rules are somewhat narrower, law enforcement would need a warrant before using a DNA database unless the users waived their rights to privacy.
The laws “demonstrate that people across the political spectrum find law enforcement use of consumer genetic data chilling, concerning and privacy-invasive,” said Natalie Ram, a law professor at the University of Maryland. “I hope to see more states embrace robust regulation of this law enforcement technique in the future.”
The introduction of these laws has also been roundly welcomed by privacy advocates, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Jennifer Lynch, surveillance litigation director at the EFF, described the restrictions as a “step in the right direction,” but called for more states — and the federal government — to crack down further on FGGS.
“Our genetic data is too sensitive and important to leave it up to the whims of private companies to protect it and the unbridled discretion of law enforcement to search it,” Lynch said.
“Companies like GEDmatch and FamilyTreeDNA have allowed and even encouraged law enforcement searches. Because of this, law enforcement officers are increasingly accessing these databases in criminal investigations across the country.”
A spokesperson for 23andMe told TechCrunch: “We fully support legislation that provides consumers with stronger privacy protections. In fact we are working on legislation in a number of states to increase consumer genetic privacy protections. Customer privacy and transparency are core principles that guide 23andMe’s approach to responding to legal requests and maintaining customer trust. We closely scrutinize all law enforcement and regulatory requests and we will only comply with court orders, subpoenas, search warrants or other requests that we determine are legally valid. To date we have not released any customer information to law enforcement.”
GEDmatch and FamilyTreeDNA, both of which opt users into law enforcement searches by default, told the New York Times that they have no plans to change their existing policies around user consent in response to the new regulation.
Ancestry did not immediately comment.
- Justice Department has issued draft rules on using consumer genetic data in investigations
- Ancestry.com rejected a police warrant to access user DNA records on a technicality
- A popular genealogy website just helped solve a serial killer cold case in Oregon
- GEDmatch confirms data breach after users’ DNA profile data made available to police
Temperatures in Northern California could hit 107 on Tuesday and areas across Washington could reach the lower 100s, the National Weather Service said.
Maryland and Montana have passed the nation’s first laws limiting forensic genealogy, the method that found the Golden State Killer.
A federal judge said Randall Menges should be removed from a sex-offender registry, but the Montana attorney general plans to fight to keep him on it.
DNA analysis has identified the remains of a woman, who for decades was known only as Christy Crystal Creek, as those of Janet Lee Lucas, who was last seen in Spokane, Wash., in 1983.
A group of guest workers from Jamaica had accused the Yellowstone Club and Hospitality Staffing Solutions of shortchanging their wages and tips.
The two founders of Crusoe Energy think they may have a solution to two of the largest problems facing the planet today — the increasing energy footprint of the tech industry and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the natural gas industry.
Crusoe, which uses excess natural gas from energy operations to power data centers and cryptocurrency mining operations, has just raised $128 million in new financing from some of the top names in the venture capital industry to build out its operations — and the timing couldn’t be better.
Methane emissions are emerging as a new area of focus for researchers and policymakers focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and keeping global warming within the 1.5 degree targets set under the Paris Agreement. And those emissions are just what Crusoe Energy is capturing to power its data centers and bitcoin mining operations.
The reason why addressing methane emissions is so critical in the short term is because these greenhouse gases trap more heat than their carbon dioxide counterparts and also dissipate more quickly. So dramatic reductions in methane emissions can do more in the short term to alleviate the global warming pressures that human industry is putting on the environment.
And the biggest source of methane emissions is the oil and gas industry. In the U.S. alone roughly 1.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas is flared daily, said Chase Lochmiller, a co-founder of Crusoe Energy. About two thirds of that is flared in Texas with another 500 million cubic feet flared in North Dakota, where Crusoe has focused its operations to date.
For Lochmiller, a former quant trader at some of the top American financial services institutions, and Cully Cavmess, a third generation oil and gas scion, the ability to capture natural gas and harness it for computing operations is a natural combination of the two men’s interests in financial engineering and environmental preservation.
The two Denver natives met in prep-school and remained friends. When Lochmiller left for MIT and Cavness headed off to Middlebury they didn’t know that they’d eventually be launching a business together. But through Lochmiller’s exposure to large scale computing and the financial services industry, and Cavness assumption of the family business they came to the conclusion that there had to be a better way to address the massive waste associated with natural gas.
Conversation around Crusoe Energy began in 2018 when Lochmiller and Cavness went climbing in the Rockies to talk about Lochmiller’s trip to Mt. Everest.
When the two men started building their business, the initial focus was on finding an environmentally friendly way to deal with the energy footprint of bitcoin mining operations. It was this pitch that brought the company to the attention of investors at Polychain, the investment firm started by Olaf Carlson-Wee (and Lochmiller’s former employer), and investors like Bain Capital Ventures and new investor Valor Equity Partners.
(This was also the pitch that Lochmiller made to me to cover the company’s seed round. At the time I was skeptical of the company’s premise and was worried that the business would just be another way to prolong the use of hydrocarbons while propping up a cryptocurrency that had limited actual utility beyond a speculative hedge against governmental collapse. I was wrong on at least one of those assessments.)
“Regarding questions about sustainability, Crusoe has a clear standard of only pursuing projects that are net reducers of emissions. Generally the wells that Crusoe works with are already flaring and would continue to do so in the absence of Crusoe’s solution. The company has turned down numerous projects where they would be a buyer of low cost gas from a traditional pipeline because they explicitly do not want to be net adders of demand and emissions,” wrote a spokesman for Valor Equity in an email. “In addition, mining is increasingly moving to renewables and Crusoe’s approach to stranded energy can enable better economics for stranded or marginalized renewables, ultimately bringing more renewables into the mix. Mining can provide an interruptible base load demand that can be cut back when grid demand increases, so overall the effect to incentivize the addition of more renewable energy sources to the grid.”
Other investors have since piled on including: Lowercarbon Capital, DRW Ventures, Founders Fund, Coinbase Ventures, KCK Group, Upper90, Winklevoss Capital, Zigg Capital and Tesla co-founder JB Straubel.
The company now operate 40 modular data centers powered by otherwise wasted and flared natural gas throughout North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado. Next year that number should expand to 100 units as Crusoe enters new markets such as Texas and New Mexico. Since launching in 2018, Crusoe has emerged as a scalable solution to reduce flaring through energy intensive computing such as bitcoin mining, graphical rendering, artificial intelligence model training and even protein folding simulations for COVID-19 therapeutic research.
Crusoe boasts 99.9% combustion efficiency for its methane, and is also bringing additional benefits in the form of new networking buildout at its data center and mining sites. Eventually, this networking capacity could lead to increased connectivity for rural communities surrounding the Crusoe sites.
Currently, 80% of the company’s operations are being used for bitcoin mining, but there’s increasing demand for use in data center operations and some universities, including Lochmiller’s alma mater of MIT are looking at the company’s offerings for their own computing needs.
“That’s very much in an incubated phase right now,” said Lochmiller. “A private alpha where we have a few test customers… we’ll make that available for public use later this year.”
Crusoe Energy Systems should have the lowest data center operating costs in the world, according to Lochmiller and while the company will spend money to support the infrastructure buildout necessary to get the data to customers, those costs are negligible when compared to energy consumption, Lochmiller said.
The same holds true for bitcoin mining, where the company can offer an alternative to coal powered mining operations in China and the construction of new renewable capacity that wouldn’t be used to service the grid. As cryptocurrencies look for a way to blunt criticism about the energy usage involved in their creation and distribution, Crusoe becomes an elegant solution.
Institutional and regulatory tailwinds are also propelling the company forward. Recently New Mexico passed new laws limiting flaring and venting to no more than 2 percent of an operator’s production by April of next year and North Dakota is pushing for incentives to support on-site flare capture systems while Wyoming signed a law creating incentives for flare gas reduction applied to bitcoin mining. The world’s largest financial services firms are also taking a stand against flare gas with BlackRock calling for an end to routine flaring by 2025.
“Where we view our power consumption, we draw a very clear line in our project evaluation stage where we’re reducing emissions for an oil and gas projects,” Lochmiller said.
When the bear charged at Montana officials who were investigating the attack, they shot and killed it.
The politics of predators seem poised to enter a new chapter in the state, which now seems intent on reviving some of the practices of a century ago that virtually exterminated wolves from Montana.
Greg Gianforte did not complete a trapping certification course before trapping and killing a black wolf last month, a state wildlife official said.
The North Coast Hiawatha hasn’t run through Montana since 1979. Now cities like Billings, Bozeman, Helena and Missoula are hoping that “Amtrak Joe” will help fund new rail service.
Alone on a 10,000-mile road trip across the United States, a Times journalist found an America cloaked in solitude — and a country on edge.
Casa Verde Capital, the investment fund co-founded by cannabis connoisseur Snoop Dogg (also known as Calvin Broadus), has closed on $100 million for its second investment fund, according to documents filed with the SEC.
The fund, whose managing director, Karan Wadhera declined to comment for this article, has managed to raise more cash just as the market for cannabis-related products seems poised for another period of expansion.
“What happened to the public perception of the cannabis industry is not too dissimilar to the dotcom bubble of the late ’90s, where there was a lot of hype — a lot of it driven by public companies — and a lot of speculative trading and valuations that weren’t really founded in reality. [We’re talking about] projections multiple years out into the future, and then crazy revenue multiples on top of that,” Wadhera said of the last bust when he spoke to TechCrunch in July. “Things just got really frothy, and that eventually burst, and last April or May was sort of the apex of that moment. It’s when things started to trade off. And it’s been those names, the public names in particular, that have been hit particularly hard.”
Since then, the industry has come roaring back.
“Sitting here today, four-plus months into COVID, cannabis has really proved itself to be a non-cyclical industry. Cannabis has been deemed an essential business everywhere across the U.S. We had record sales in March, April and May, and the trend has continued,” Wadhera said in July. “And now that we are getting into an environment where governments are going to be looking for additional sources of tax revenue, the potential urgency around cannabis legalization is going to be there, which is going to be massively positive for the industry.”
There’s no indication of the target for the new venture capital fund, but with the new fundraising, Casa Verde more than doubles the size of its initial investment vehicle.
Since Broadus, Wadhera and a third partner and the founder of Cashmere Agency and Stampede Management Ted Chung launched their debut fund in 2018, weed businesses have endured a roller-coaster business cycle of boom and bust.
In spite of those market vagaries, Casa Verde has managed to build a portfolio that is now worth at least $200 million, according to people with knowledge of the firm. That money has come through several special purpose vehicles and other fundraising mechanisms raised alongside the flagship fund.
The overall market for cannabis and cannabinoid derivatives is expected to hit $34 billion by 2025 according to an analyst report seen by TechCrunch from the investment bank Cowen.
With Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota all passing adult-use cannabis legalization measures in their states, the investment bank predicted roughly 30 percent growth to their total addressable market estimates.
For its part, Casa Verde has always taken a broad view on the potential addressable market that cannabis and its chemical compounds could capture.
Nowhere is that more on view than in the firm’s latest investment in the sleep company, Proper.
“[Cannabis] is an input as well and its use case will go beyond how people think of cannabis stigmatically,” Wadhera said. “At its core, [Proper] is a company that’s helping us target this sleep epidemic. We think CBD and cannabis at large can play a big role in addressing that in a way that traditional products haven’t been able to.”
And what’s true for sleep is true for a number of other different applications as well, Wadhera has said in the past.
Casa Verde has already invested heavily across the pure-play opportunities in cannabis, with investments spanning delivery, supply chain logistics, brands, and retail.
But the health benefits that cannabinoids could have for all kinds of ailments open up a much larger market — as do the broad consumer opportunities should Congress accede to the wishes of more than 60 percent of the American electorate and legalize recreational cannabis use nationally.
And, as Wadhera told us in July, a Biden administration presents a potentially much more positive regulatory environment for the industry than the previous Trump administration did.
“I think Biden will be very helpful. He has laid out many of the things that he wants, and [while] he isn’t taking it as far as full-scale legalization, he’s certainly in favor of full-scale decriminalization, [meaning] letting states have full authority over what happens with their businesses, and also the rescheduling of cannabis down from the current Schedule 1 level,” Wadhera had said. “So all of that will be incredibly helpful and will bring a lot more players who will feel comfortable investing in the space and, potentially, acquiring some of these businesses, too.”
Mr. Tester, a Montana farmer, said in an interview that Democrats had failed to connect with much of the country: “You cannot have Chuck Schumer talking rural issues to rural people.”
In a video of the 2018 incident in Havre, Mont., a Border Patrol agent is heard telling the two American women he detains that speaking Spanish in the small city is “very unheard-of.”
These under-the-radar resorts offer plenty of room to turn, and plenty of challenge amid a winter of social distancing.
As urbanites flock to forests and rivers to escape coronavirus threats, trailheads are cramped with parked cars and fishing on the Madison River is like a Disneyland ride.
Modern Love in miniature, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words.
Liberals got “trounced” in Montana, and the party will spend the next few years in the wilderness.
Greg Gianforte’s victory is another step in the Republicans’ ideological conquest of the American West.
Republicans are battling to hold off losses by warning of the risks of unified Democratic power in Washington, but they concede their majority is in peril.