Jack Smith reveals sweeping scope of bid to debunk Trump election machine claims (KYLE CHENEY, 12/09/2023, Politico)

Special counsel Jack Smith on Saturday sharply rejected Donald Trump’s contention that foreign governments may have changed votes in the 2020 election, laying bare new details about his team’s extensive probe of the matter and its access to a vast array of senior intelligence officials in Trump’s administration.

In a 45-page filing, Smith’s team describes interviewing more than a dozen of the top intelligence officials in Trump’s administration — from his director of national intelligence to the administrator of the NSA to Trump’s personal intelligence briefer — about any evidence that foreign governments had penetrated systems that counted votes in 2020.

“The answer from every single official was no,” senior assistant special counsel Thomas Windom writes in the filing.


Climate Change Is Breaking Insurance. Here’s How Tech Could Save It. (Christopher Mims, 12/10/23, WSJ)

Owners of homes and businesses have watched with alarm as major insurance companies have stopped offering coverage in California, Florida, and other parts of the country prone to natural disasters. But this shift has also created an opportunity for new types of insurers.

The secret sauce of these startups is technology. They are using better data science and incorporating artificial intelligence. Some, like FloodFlash, use on-the-ground sensors that enable an automatic payout when a catastrophe occurs.

The need for new ways to insure against catastrophes arises from the increasingly extreme nature of our planet’s weather. As we put more infrastructure of every kind into harm’s way, that’s leading to bigger losses for insurers. In the 1980s, the U.S. suffered an extreme weather event that cost $1 billion every four months. Now, one is happening every three weeks, according to the U.S. National Climate Assessment, released in November.

“If you had to pick a canary-in-the-coal-mine industry to measure the extent to which climate change is real, I think insurance is probably the best one I can think of,” says Max Clarke, chief executive of Plover Parametrics, which uses data to structure parametric coverage offered by insurance companies. “The balance sheets—they’re not going to lie.”