Here in Alberta, Canada, it's been a frigging miserable summer so far: cold, full of rain and precious little sun. For weeks, I've been mumbling under my breath, in tooth-grinding resentment, that I should have stayed in Mexico for the rest of the year. I'm not asking for much, just a few weeks of clear skies and a temperature that peaks over 20°C for a few days in a row. Not everyone in the world, however, have the same aspirations. According to data interpreted by the Copernicus Climate Change Service (a European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts joint,) This past month was the hottest June in recorded European history.
From The CCCS:
Summer has barely begun, but temperature records are already being broken. Data released today show that the European-average temperature for June 2019 was higher than for any other June on record. Average temperatures were more than 2°C above normal and it has become the hottest June ever recorded.
Although not as persistent as that of summer 2018, this short heat wave, caused by a mass of hot air coming from the Sahara Desert, was intense. The five days of unusually high temperatures followed days with record-breaking temperatures further east in Europe. This led to the month as a whole being around 1°C above the previous record for June, set in 1999, and about 1°C higher than expected from the trend in recent decades.
The report goes on to mention that linking the temperature increase directly to climate change is a bit tricky as "...such extreme weather events are expected to become more common as the planet continues to warm under increasing greenhouse gas concentrations." So uh, yeah... Read the rest
On May 26th, Europeans will vote for the next EU Parliament, and the region's far-right, "nationalist/anti-establishment" parties (AfD Germany, UKIP/Brexit UK, PiS/Poland, etc) are expected make large gains, possibly prompting a realignment of power in the EU; the far-right parties have campaigned as "anti-establishment," tapping into frustration with elites and their corruption.
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Security services firm FireEye says two hacker groups known to be sponsored by the Russian government of Vladimir Putin are waging cyber-attacks currently against European government systems. Read the rest
With only days to go before the planned conclusion of the new EU Directive on Copyright in the Single Digital Market, Europe's largest and most powerful rightsholder groups -- from the Premier League to the Motion Picture Association (MPA) and the Association of Commercial Television in Europe -- have published an open letter calling for a halt to negotiations, repeating their message from late last year: namely, that the Directive will give the whip hand to Big Tech.
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MEPs in European Parliament want Facebook to submit to a full audit by European Union bodies to determine whether the U.S. based social media company adequately protects users’ personal data. The demand made in the form of an EU resolution adopted Thursday, October 25, 2018, follows the company's recent breach scandal, in which data belonging to 87 million Facebook users around the world were improperly obtained and misused. Read the rest
Transnistria, officially the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, is an Eastern European territory with a strong Soviet vibe. Technically, the country does not exist. Transnistria is considered a part of the Republic of Moldova, and isn't an officially recognized nation of its own, despite declaring independence in 1990, followed by a war in 1992. I attended this year's Independence Day celebrations in Transnistria, hoping to understand what the place and the people are all about. Here's what I saw. Read the rest
For nearly two months now, the people of Poland have been captivated by the tale of a missing 16-foot python that is believed to be slithering around Warsaw still. Read the rest
Anti-vaccine shenanigans have lowered Europe's average vaccination rate below the threshold to adequately provide for herd immunity. Following the decade's lowest year of measles cases in 2016, the rate of measles cases in Europe in 2018 is already headed for the stars. Read the rest
Spring has finally arrived, and JF1LMS is celebrating by releasing a hyperlapse of some great footage shot all winter in the Slovak village where he grew up, all shot manually in bitter cold. Crank it up to 4K. Read the rest
The EU is mooting a new copyright regime for the largest market in the world, and the Commissioners who are drafting the new rules are completely captured by the entertainment industry, to the extent that they have ignored their own experts and produced a farcical Big Content wishlist that includes the most extensive internet censorship regime the world has ever seen, perpetual monopolies for the biggest players, and a ban on European creators using Creative Commons licenses to share their works.
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The marbled crayfish (Procambarus virginalis) is a mutant slough crayfish (Procambarus fallax) an American species; the mutation that allowed slough crayfish to reproduce asexually by cloning itself occurred a mere 25 years ago, and it came to Germany as an aquarium pet in 1995, sold as "Texas crayfish."
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Stan Chang just released the second in his Magical Europe series. Warning: you may want to travel Europe after watching. Read the rest
The European Broadcasters' Union polled 500,000 18-25 year olds on the question, "Would you actively participate in a large scale uprising against the generation in power if it happened in the next days or months?" 53% answered yes. Read the rest
Roman Robroek takes beautiful photos at abandoned sites all over Europe, including the thousands of abandoned churches across the continent as much of Europe becomes more secular. Read the rest
A truck crashed into a crowd of people in Nice, France, leaving an unknown number of people dead and many others injured. Authorities are calling it an act of terrorism, and treating it as an active attack. [UPDATE, Fri 8am PT] “At least” 84 people are confirmed dead, with scores more injured. Among the dead are children. It is the third major attack in France in less than 18 months. Read the rest
Austrian designer Moriz Büsing created this grim interactive map of migrant and refugee deaths on the way to Europe, or trying to stay in Europe; over 32,000 deaths in 15 years. Read the rest
Often shared as a map of Europe at midnight from the International Space Station (or with some other cosy story) this is actually a composite produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration revealing a decade in European economic development and decline.
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"Europe at night, showing the change in illumination from 1993-2003. This data is based on satellite observations. Lights are colour-coded. Red lights appeared during that period. Orange and yellow areas are regions of high and low intensity lighting respectively that increased in brightness over the ten years. Grey areas are unchanged. Pale blue and dark blue areas are of low and high intensity lighting that decreased in brightness. Very dark blue areas were present in 1993 and had disappeared by 2003. Much of western and central Europe has brightened considerably. Some North Sea gas fields closed in the period."