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04.09.10

Links 9/4/2010: PS3 GNU/Linux Refund, Ubuntu 10.04 @ Beta 2

Posted in News Roundup at 6:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Promoting Free Software in Developing Countries

    That’s a reasonable price, but still $190 too much for most people in developing countries. The best solution remains sending out CDs and DVDs that can be copied and handed out locally among people who want them.

    It would be easy to create a Web site where people from around the world applied for free CDs/DVDs, and where those in the countries with more resources could burn those discs and send them out. But there are a few problems here. First, there are issues of privacy: people might not want to send their addresses to a site such as this. Then there is always the danger that the discs sent out might not be “real” distros, but might include malware. That can be addressed using MD5 hashes from the distros concerned (for example UbuntuHashes), but that’s a slow process, especially on older machines.

    [...]

    As well as the purely philanthropic aspect, there are good selfish reasons why people might want to help spread free software in developing countries. It would increase the market share of core software like Firefox, OpenOffice.org and GNU/Linux, which would help persuade more companies to support them, and more governments to adopt them. It would increase the pool of programmers who can contribute to free software projects, making them better for everyone. It would also make it more likely that entirely new, indigenous applications would be created for developing countries and their particular needs. It might even lead to a whole new era of free software creation and use.

  • Sony

  • Events

    • Linux Users Group hosts free quarterly Installfest

      A room strewn with slightly worn, yet comfortable couches, donated computer equipment and a collage of CDs spelling out “UCLA” hanging on the back wall is a haven for the technologically savvy and the technologically inept alike.

      The Linux Users Group office,in Boelter Hall 3820 is home to volunteers who provide software and hardware help to students and faculty in need.

      This Saturday, the Linux Users Group is holding its quarterly Installfest, where members will provide free Linux installations for students required to have it for class or those curious about how Linux works. Group members will give instruction on the basics of the operating system, and for those wary of putting a new operating system on their computer, will put the system on a USB drive, if provided.

    • Linux Users Group hosts free quarterly Installfest

      This Saturday, the Linux Users Group is holding its quarterly Installfest, where members will provide free Linux installations for students required to have it for class or those curious about how Linux works. Group members will give instruction on the basics of the operating system, and for those wary of putting a new operating system on their computer, will put the system on a USB drive, if provided.

    • The Linux Box To Launch New Email Archiving And Retrieval System

      The Linux Box will be launching an open source email archiving and retrieval solution at the AIIM International Exposition + Conference.

  • Desktop

    • A Good Evening

      For a young man a good evening is getting “lucky”. For me it was freeing two PCs from the Wintel monopoly.

      A few community members brought in a sick PC. It was a Lose 2000 box from 2000. Since the OS will soon no longer be supported and they did not like the performance anyway, I suggested using GNU/Linux.

    • Stats from Distros

      Recent estimates based wholly or partially on such data gives 24 million for Fedora and 12 million for Ubuntu. With that information and the rapid growth we all see, the 1% figure bantered about on the web is a joke.

    • Ubuntu Linux has over 12 million users
  • IBM

    • IBM on GNU/Linux

      The difference in costs is largely due to the fine work done by FLOSS developers and the package maintainers at Debian GNU/Linux. While I do not count the time it takes me to be conversant with FLOSS, which is something I would do whether paid or not, it is obvious my organization gets the benefits of software which would cost hundreds of dollars for just a few dollars, so the saving is a very high percentage. The difference in costs is very easy to estimate at around 90%. If we include maintenance, the difference is huge.

    • Voxware Adds IBM WebSphere And Red Hat Enterprise Linux Support To Popular Voxware 3 Software Product

      Voxware, Inc., a leading supplier of voice picking software for warehousing operations, announced support for the IBM WebSphere application server and Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system. A major US retailer has chosen this technology stack for the rollout of their Voxware 3 voice picking solution.

  • Google

    • Google Updates Chrome Browser for Linux

      The amazing Chrome developers at Google Inc., announced today (April 9th) the immediate availability for testing of the Google Chrome 5.0.371.0 Alpha web browser for Linux.

  • Kernel Space

    • Next-Gen Linux File Systems: Change Is the New Constant

      With support for over 50 file systems, excluding user space implementations, GNU/Linux has been extremely successful at supporting file system innovation. That success has no doubt been aided by open source development. However, the storage industry is experiencing major architectural changes, and understanding emerging file systems — and how to apply them — is critical to keeping up with today’s demands.

    • R500 Mesa Is Still No Match To An Old Catalyst Driver

      Now with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS we have only the open-source driver to test. The Catalyst 9.3 driver that was the last to support the ATI Radeon Mobility X1400 graphics processor is not compatible with Ubuntu 10.04 (or even Ubuntu 9.10) due to the newer kernel / X Server. With our Lucid Lynx testing we ran our same OpenGL benchmarks using its default Linux 2.6.32 kernel (but it has the 2.6.33 kernel DRM), X.Org Server 1.7.6, xf96-video-ati 6.12.192, Mesa 7.7 configuration found in a clean Ubuntu 10.04 LTS installation.

  • Instructionals

  • Games

    • CrossOver 9.0 Linux [Review] Part 2: The CrossOver Experience

      Wine and CrossOver are brilliant products once you accept the flaws as part of the package, and consider it more a product to ease migration to Linux than an instant replacement for Windows. There will be pains, as users switching from Windows to Linux + CrossOver will surely need to adjust to Linux, CrossOver won’t help there. It can however let you make the best of old software licenses, which might have been preventing a full migration to Linux, and let you use Office 2007 in case OpenOffice does not suit your needs.

  • Distributions

    • Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva Linux Names New CEO

        Recapturing mindshare in an era where Ubuntu’s fearless leader makes bold predictions and Red Hat’s enterprise Linux generates over a half billion dollars a year in revenue is no easy task.

      • Mandriva 2010 Spring (2010.1) Beta Available

        Functionally, as I said, I have had mixed results with installation, but on the systems where it did install it has woked very well. It is still fairly early in the development cycle, the final release is not scheduled until early June. If things keep going as they are now, this could be one of the best Mandriva releases in a while.

    • Red Hat Family

      • LinuxIT tempts new customers with Red Hat service

        Specialist Linux VAR LinuxIT has added a new service to its repertoire, targeting Red Hat customers with 10 or more servers.

        The basic-level service is free for all new clients, whether they are existing users of Red Hat or not.

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx Beta 2 available
      • Canonical’s newest Linux operating system to be released April 29

        Every two years, Canonical releases a new “long-term support” version of its Linux operating system and on April 29, it will release the next one, 10.04 LTS, according to Gerry Carr, head of platform marketing for Canonical. Named for the month/year of its release, it will include a Desktop Edition as well as a Server Edition and with the latter, Canonical believes it is ready to replace whatever competitor (Linux, Windows or Unix) you’ve got on your servers now.

      • Ubuntu 10.04 facilitates cloud-based file storage and social media

        The open source OS already had a reputation for being easy to use, so the new features “aren’t earth shattering, must-have improvements,” said John Locke, head of the Seattle-based open source product company Freelock Computing. The listed enhancements are “just the next set of small niceties that get constantly added to Ubuntu and other Linux distributions” every six months, he said.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • EnSilica – New development suite for of eSi-RISC processor embedded application designs

      Debugging is seamless with communication over a USB interface to a host PC with GDB, the GNU project debugger, running inside Eclipse.

    • Timesys Partners with Digi International

      Digi International (News – Alert) has selected Timesys Corporation as the preferred commercial Linux solutions provider for the company’s new ConnectCore Wi-i.MX51 wireless System-on-Module (SOM). Timesys is the provider of LinuxLink, a high-productivity software development framework for embedded Linux applications.

    • Phones

      • Palm

        • Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein still believes in Palm’s Success

          Amidst the takeover rumors, this interview is quite reassuring that Palm is able to make it. Rubinstein also mentions that Palm still has $590m in the bank. This means they still have time to hang in there and mature their smartphones.

      • Nokia

      • Android

        • Watch as Droid Does All Kinds of Wonderful Things [VIDEO]
        • HTC Incredible User Guide Leaks [EXCLUSIVE]!

          The Incredible User Guide was brought to you courtesy of AndroidForums Member and Forum Phone Guide – Anonimac. To see the entire 200+ page guide you’ll want to head over to the HTC Incredible Forum Announcement where, as Anonimac puts it, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE!

        • Motorola Release: Bell Gets DEXT, Rogers Gets Quench

          Enter the Motorola DEXT and Motorola DEXT (Round of applause). Despite MotoBlur not being among the most popular of the Android flavours, I am quite excited to see it enter the Canadian market. We will see soon, as there is no official release date, what MotoBlur is all about when Rogers launches the Motorola Quench, to Bell the Motorola DEXT, and recently as well to Telus the Motorola Backflip.

        • Truckbot: An Autonomous Robot based on Android

          The robot builders over at Cellbots have been busy cranking out robots based around the Google Android OS. Their latest effort is Truckbot, an acrylic differential drive robot that relies on a Google G1 phone running the GNU/Linux-based Android OS combined with an Arduino.

        • Google Android Powered TV Coming in Fall

          Swedish based manufacturer, People of Lava, set to release an HDTV with a built in Android OS to let you surf the web.

        • Swedish company to launch world’s first Android-based TV
        • Clash of the titans: Apple, Google battle for the mobile Web

          Which platform wins remains uncertain, despite all the hobgoblining around from Apple defenders insisting it will be iPad/iPhone/iPod touch. There also are hints Google is directionally changing towards Apple. Google is unifying applications and services and offering more mobile apps for different mobile platforms. Google also is integrating apps and services around Android handsets. The winning platform, if one is to dominate will make lots of people rich. While I’ve focused here on Apple and Google as titans, Nokia is still the reigning mobile device maker by a huge margin, Research in Motion dominates the smartphone market and Microsoft is plotting a comeback. There are plenty of platforms in play, but Apple and Google are the most opposing.

        • iPhone OS 4 vs Android: Why Apple just lost the game.

          Android market share is going through the roof. With it, we’re seeing developers shifting their attention to Android, and releasing applications that are higher quality every day. Instead of getting wrapped up in politics, Android developers have the autonomy that Apple needs to give. Because let’s face it, approving every application does not mean that every application will be of good quality.

          For those who have crossed over from iPhone to Android, today’s announcements likely come as too little too late. We users shouldn’t have to wait years for basic features, or for nagging problems to be fixed. We should have the ability to find something that works better, if we don’t like what you’re offering, and we should be able to use it on our existing device.

          The Apple xenophobia, in this case, might be alienating iPhone OS 4 from gaining buyers.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • The Coming War: ARM versus x86

        The ARM Cortex-A8 achieves surprisingly competitive performance across many integer-based benchmarks while consuming power at levels far below the most energy miserly x86 CPU, the Intel Atom. In fact, the ARM Cortex-A8 matched or even beat the Intel Atom N450 across a significant number of our integer-based tests, especially when compensating for the Atom’s 25 percent clock speed advantage.

      • Lenovo’s ARM-Based Linux Skylight Smartbook Delayed

        The report states that the only market that Lenovo’s product will reach before June, in May to be exact, is that of China.

    • Tablets

      • ICD’s Tegra 2-powered Gemini is the most feature-complete tablet we’ve seen yet

        Multitouch displays will be available in both resistive and capacitive flavors, with the 1,366 x 768 resolution being filled by Google’s snappy Android OS.

      • Tablet Wars: iPad vs WePad vs Nokia slate

        However, the WePad is also a good looking device and, because it’s Linux-based, it could certainly win over the hearts and minds of technology purists – although, the WePad is slightly heavier than the iPad at 800 grams and the iPad isn’t what you’d call light either!

        At present, very little is known about the Nokia tablet – although, online reports have said that the device will be done in partnership with Intel and it will be powered by the Linux-based MeeGo platform. However, if the picture of the proposed device is anything to go by, it’d certainly be our third choice out of the big three.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Upgrading the motivational operating system: A conversation with Daniel Pink

    And then getting to open source, you have this business model that would have seemed fanciful if not insane 25 years ago, which is built not so much around these carrot-and-stick-motivators but around other sorts of drives becoming very popular.

    So I think that more broadly the operating system that’s used–the kind of societal behavioral operating system that is undergirding open source–is in many ways a model for the upgraded motivational operating system that all organizations need.

  • Mozilla

    • Firefox Lorentz beta available for download and testing

      A beta of the Firefox “Lorentz” project is now available for download and public testing. Firefox “Lorentz” takes the out of process plugins work from Mozilla Developer Previews and builds it on top of Firefox 3.6.3. This beta offers uninterrupted browsing for Windows and Linux users when a problem causes a crash in any Adobe Flash, Apple Quicktime or Microsoft Silverlight plugin instance. If a plugin crashes or freezes when using Firefox “Lorentz”, it will not affect the rest of Firefox. Users can submit a plugin crash report, and then reload the page to restart the plugin and try again.

    • Firefox 3.6.4 Coming May 4 with Out of Process Plugins

      Pressure from Google Chrome and, increasingly, from other main players in the web-browser market is forcing Mozilla to change its ways. Most notably, it’s starting to rethink its update schedule and system for Firefox and favoring small incremental updates, a la Chrome, instead of major releases months or years apart.

    • Firefox 3.6.4 (Lorentz) beta coming tomorrow with out of process plugins

      In recent days, the Firefox 3.6 branch became Lorentz, the code name for the first Firefox release to feature out of process plugins, which aims to improve overall stability by running plugins like Adobe Flash, Silverlight, and Java in their own independent process.

    • Firefox Lorentz Beta Isolates Plug-in Crashes for Uninterrupted Browsing
  • Oracle

    • OpenSolaris on System z mainframe hangs in the balance

      The future of OpenSolaris on the IBM System z mainframe seems shaky at best now that Oracle has acquired Sun Microsystems, but the platform’s supporters are still pleading their case.

    • OpenSolaris, Still Open-Source Software Ready to Serve

      ZFS is an advanced filesystem that offers high performance, near-zero administration, file integrity, scalability, reduced costs and backward compatibility. Without going into a lengthy and complicated discussion of storage pools and block allocation algorithms, realize that ZFS’s design features have the enterprise server in mind to extract every bit of performance possible from a disk-based system. ZFS is an intelligent filesystem that can actually adapt its read behavior on the fly for complex read patterns. ZFS also provides built-in compression and encryption.

    • Databases

      • Brian Aker on post-Oracle MySQL

        BA: There hasn’t been a roadmap for MySQL for some time. Even before Sun acquired MySQL, it was languishing, and Sun’s handling of MySQL just further eroded the canonical MySQL tree. I’m waiting to see what Oracle announces at the MySQL Conference. I expect Oracle to scrap the current 5.5 plan and come up with a viable roadmap. It won’t be very innovative, but I am betting it will be a stable plan that users can look at.

      • Oracle to Outline Strategy for MySQL
      • The future of MySQL in a post-Sun world

        Oracle’s absorption of Sun is complete. Now that the European Commission has blessed the merger, the Oracle logo is proudly displayed to anyone who types “sun.com” into a browser. Yet if you visit mysql.com, you’ll see hardly any mention of Sun, the company that purchased MySQL for $1 billion in 2008, and Oracle’s logo is buried deep at the bottom of the pages.

        [...]

        There’s good news for fans of MySQL: It won’t be left to wither and die any time soon. Oracle has made very public assurances that it will spend more on developing the database than Sun ever did, at least for the next three years. The Community Edition will continue to see improvements, which will be released under the GPL at no charge with all of the source code.

      • Are open source politics behind the delay of JDK7?

        The strong community of volunteer developers is often cited as an advantage to adopting open source technology. But these communities can also be a drawback. The involvement of many developers can lead to disagreement and confusion that can prevent a project from moving forward.

      • Oracle to update about MySQL
      • Oracle to Answer Questions on MySQL, but Will It Be Enough?
      • Consult the Oracle and then Hide Your Money
  • Education

    • Open Source Education

      Open source or software freedom isn’t simply another way of procuring software, it’s more a state of mind, a particular attitude to technology. Of course, you can just treat it as a cheap way of getting high quality, robust code, and there’s certainly no requirement to grow a beard, wear sandals or drink real ale in order to install open source applications. However, the philosophies that lie at the core of open source as a movement are important, and, I think have much to offer to education more generally; furthermore, open source approaches to development can apply to things even more important than software, such as curriculum resources, school policies and even the curriculum itself. This brief paper seeks to explore some of these areas.

    • SunGard Higher Education Launches Industry’s First ERP Community Source Initiative

      SunGard Higher Education and its customers have launched a Community Source Initiative — the first and only vendor-supported community source forum dedicated to higher education Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. The initiative is designed to bring together the insights and experience of SunGard Higher Education’s extensive user community for the benefit of all institutions; make functionality available faster; and help ensure product quality through functional and technical review.

    • Netlive,a complete Free Software lab in the pockets of every teacher

      Endless cuts to Public Education budgets are creating survival problems to many italian Public Schools, forcing them to ask more or less “voluntary” contributions to parents every year. How can you guarantee quality education in such conditions, especially when many teachers, either because they only get very short term assignments, every time in a different school, or because their school has more than one campus, work every day in a different neighborhood?

  • Business

    • Market finally catching up with OSBI

      Open source business intelligence (OSBI) burst onto the market several years ago, but only now are we starting to see signs of real traction among enterprises at both “ends” of the BI spectrum – front-end reporting and analysis, and back-end data integration. This, coupled with growing awareness, acceptance, and commercial product development, will help push OSBI into the corporate mainstream.

  • BSD

    • Dru Lavigne’s ‘The Definitive Guide to PC-BSD’ is helping me update my packages and ports

      The FreeBSD Handbook appeared cryptic on how exactly to update packages and ports. I’m sure the answer is in there, but I just couldn’t find it.

      However, I do have Dru Lavigne’s new book, “The Definitive Guide to PC-BSD,” and I’m following her instructions on pages 247-251 on how to use csup and portupgrade to update both packages and ports on my FreeBSD 7.3-release installation.

  • Releases

    • Open Source Asterisk 1.8 Aiming for Long-Term Support

      The Ubuntu Linux distribution isn’t the only open source project with a long-term-support release on the horizon. The Asterisk open source VoIP PBX (define) project is moving ahead with its own long-term support (LTS) plans with its 1.8 release.

  • SaaS

    • Open Source Cloud: Usharesoft

      Open source cloud is getting hype, and looking at the different slices of the “burger cloud” among SaaS cloud providers I happened to step into UShareSoft, a French company based in Grenoble providing an appliance factory to design, build and deploy software appliances in virtual and cloud environments.

    • Twitter opens data system to developers

      Twitter is making its Gizzard data management system open source to help developers provide efficient access to large amounts of data stored across multiple locations.

  • Openness

Leftovers

  • Business Has Killed IT With Overspecialization

    What happened to the old “sysadmin” of just a few years ago? We’ve split what used to be the sysadmin into application teams, server teams, storage teams, and network teams. There were often at least a few people, the holders of knowledge, who knew how everything worked, and I mean everything. Every application, every piece of network gear, and how every server was configured — these people could save a business in times of disaster.

  • Bribery Act passed by Parliament

    A new bribery law has been passed by the Houses of Commons and Lords but is not yet in force. The Bribery Act can penalise companies whose employees engage in bribery if the company did not have adequate policies in place to prevent it.

  • Wis. prosecutor: Teachers risk arrest over new sex-ed classes

    A Wisconsin district attorney has warned schools in his county that if they proceed with new state sex-education courses, teachers could face criminal charges for encouraging minors to have sex, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Target real criminals not drivers, judge tells police

      A judge has criticised a police force for concentrating on harassing motorists rather than dealing with serious crime.

      Judge Richard O’Rorke hit out after being told a hearing to confiscate the assets of a convicted fraudster would have to be postponed.

      He was told Lincolnshire police did not have the manpower to value a catalogue of items worth hundreds of thousands of pounds seized from Tina Crowson.

    • Public being misled over DNA benefits

      The genetics ethics group Genewatch has accused the Home Secretary Alan Johnson of misleading voters.

      On a campaign visit to Stevenage, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Johnson were pictured with the mother of Sally Ann Bowman, whose killer was caught after his DNA was registered.

      But GeneWatch said their praise for the DNA database in this instance is misleading.

    • DNA database debate is ‘confused’

      Gordon Brown has been accused of confusing the role the DNA database played in the capture of murdered Sally-Anne Bowman’s killer.

      Earlier, he appeared with Ms Bowman’s mother as he criticised Tory plans to remove profiles of people who have not been convicted of a crime.

    • Clarifying our position against ID Cards and the National Identity Register

      To put the record straight, our manifesto clearly states “We strongly oppose compulsory ID cards, and pledge that we will never introduce them.” Some political opponents have tried to twist our use of the world ‘compulsory’ to imply that we want to introduce non-compulsory ID cards, but this simply isn’t the case. Many different voluntary ID cards already exist and are very useful, for example when borrowing a library book, or proving to a foreign hospital that the NHS will cover your medical expenses. The usefulness and unintrusiveness of these voluntry cards is the reason we do not propose a knee-jerk blanket banning of current, non-compulsory, cards that can be used to prove identity.

    • Conservatives compromise on DNA retention

      Instead of blocking the bill, the shadow home secretary Chris Grayling made a fresh commitment that the Tories would bring in early legislation to ensure the DNA profiles of innocent people arrested for minor offences would not be retained on the national police DNA database, reports The Guardian.

    • Spies caught plundering secret Indian docs

      An espionage gang that infiltrated Indian government computer networks across the globe has been pilfering highly classified documents related to missile systems, national security assessments and the United Nations, according to researchers who tracked the intruders for eight months.

    • Veteran of “Collateral Murder” Company Speaks Out

      Josh Stieber, who is a former soldier of the “Collateral Murder” Company, says that the acts of brutality caught on film and recently released via Wikileaks are not isolated instances, but were commonplace during his tour of duty.
      
“A lot of my friends are in that video,” says Stieber. “After watching the video, I would definitely say that that is, nine times out of ten, the way things ended up. Killing was following military protocol. It was going along with the rules as they are.”


    • U.S. Military Releases Redacted Records on 2007 Apache Attack, Questions Linger

      What’s more, the military indirectly blamed the reporters for being in the company of “armed insurgents” and making no effort to identify themselves as journalists. An investigating officer with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team (BCT), 2nd Infantry Division, concluded that “the cameramen made no effort to visibly display their status as press (.pdf) or media representatives” and added that “their familiar behavior with, and close proximity to, the armed insurgents and their furtive attempts to photograph the Coalition Ground Forces made them appear as hostile combatants to the Apaches that engaged them.” A long telephoto lens, the officer says, could have been mistaken for a rocket-propelled grenade.

    • Security Guru Richard Clarke Talks Cyberwar

      The antiterrorism czar who foresaw 9/11 discusses Obama’s cybersecurity plans and North Korea.

    • Securing the smart grid

      Smart meters are arriving at homes and causing a stir. Consumers in California and Texas have complained about higher bills due to smart meters not working properly. And for a second time in about a year, researchers discovered holes in the meters.

      It’s enough to make one wonder: are these devices going to become a security nightmare, allowing attackers to do everything from vandalize home area networks to cause power outages?

  • Environment

    • World Bank to Fund Giant New Coal Plant

      The World Bank yesterday approved a $3.75 billion loan to South African public utility Eskom to fund what will become the world’s seventh-largest coal plant—a move that has frustrated many who have pushed for the development bank to start taking greenhouse gas emissions into account in its funding decisions.

      [...]

      The decision highlights ongoing tensions surrounding the World Bank and other multilateral development banks and their continued funding of dirty energy projects. Despite the fact that climate changed caused by the build up of greenhouse gases will hurt those in the developing world the most, the banks tend to pay little or no attention to the carbon footprint of energy projects in funding decisions. The World Bank and other multilateral development banks and export credit agencies have directed $37 billion to the construction or expansion of 88 coal-fired power plants since 1994, according to an Environmental Defense Fund study released last year. Another $60 billion from private funders and local governments has also been provided to dirty power projects. It is estimated that those 88 plants will spit 791 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year.

    • Save the whales, not the whalers

      IN 1986, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) implemented a moratorium on commercial whaling. Many people believed that this would save the whales and end forever the industrial slaughter that had decimated entire species.

      Not so. A proposal before the IWC could lead to the resumption of commercial whaling as early as next year. If it passes – and there is a real chance that it will – one of the greatest conservation successes of our time will be wiped out.

    • Does Paul Krugman Vastly Understate the Economic Argument for Climate Action?

      Here’s the reality with which our economy is colliding:

      * Climate change is already unfolding much more quickly than we thought it would.

      * The models upon which we’re basing our discussions today (largely the IPCC models) are known to be seriously out-of-date and overly conservative in predicting the speed and consequences of climate change.

      * Steady losses that are climate-related (such as losses of ecosystem services) are already exacting a serious economic cost, while droughts, heat waves, flooding and freak storms grow steadily more common and expensive.

    • Swiss solar-energy plane in maiden test flight

      The Solar Impulse aircraft, a pioneering Swiss bid to fly around the world on solar energy, successfully completed its first test flight in western Switzerland on Wednesday.

      “There has never been in the past an aeroplane of that kind to fly. It was a huge question mark for us and it’s an extraordinary relief,” said Bertrand Piccard, pioneering round-the-world balloonist who co-founded the project.

  • Finance

    • A Tax Day Protest We Can All Get Behind

      Indeed, Americans have lost $14 trillion in wages, savings and housing wealth since the start of the financial crisis. According to our Wall Street Bailout Table, we are still $2 trillion in the hole for the bailout, and read with astonishment that the bailout enabled Wall Street to pay out $140 billion in bonuses in 2009 to top executives. With tax lawyers and accountants up the wazoo, big bankers know how to dodge taxes on their earnings and bonuses leaving middle class Americans holding the bag.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Supreme Discomfort: Doubting the Thomases

      In addition to possible conflicts of interest arising from Justice Thomas hearing a case related to the group’s political activities, concerns would also arise if he were to face a decision involving one of Liberty Central’s donors. This concern is exacerbated by the Supreme Court’s recent Citizens United decision, which permitted corporate dollars to flow into political campaigns: Ms. Thomas’ Liberty Central can now accept donations from corporations, and be permitted to spend those funds advocating for candidates. What’s more, because Liberty Central is organized as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, the group can raise unlimited amounts of corporate money and largely avoid disclosing its donors.

    • It’s an “Educational” Ad (Wink, Wink)

      If the ad was considered an attack on Brown, the Chamber would face a slew of cumbersome obstacles to broadcasting them, like having to disclose who is paying for the ads, and how much they are spending.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Lawsuit Says McAfee Plays Loose With Customer Data

      McAfee, a household name for computer virus-protection, is facing accusations it dupes customers into purchasing third-party services, and hands over consumer banking information to enable those transactions.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • EU-India free trade deal ‘will hurt AIDS patients’

      A new Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and India could make it more difficult for the world’s poorest patients to access antiretroviral drugs, according to humanitarian aid group, Médecins Sans Frontières.

      The deal, which is close to being signed by both sides, is likely to curb sales of generic a three-in-one AIDS drug made in India where there are no patent constraints to stop the sale of combination therapies.

    • Court Rules that DNA Is Information, Not Intellectual Property

      A federal judge in New York ruled yesterday that patents on a set of human genes are invalid. U.S. District Court Judge Robert Sweet handed down his decision in favor of the case brought buy a coalition of groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation. The lawsuit argued that patents owned by Myriad Genetics on two genes connected to breast and ovarian cancer both stunt genetic research and limit access to health care for women.

    • The Pirate Party: how to bypass the great Australian firewall
    • Copyrights

      • Citizen Journalism Platform AllVoices Sets Up News Desks In 30 Cities Around The World

        AllVoices, a fast-growing citizen journalism platform, is announcing significant expansion today. The startup is launching global news desks in 30 different cities around the world, where both professional and citizen journalists will provide regular in-country reports from the ground. With the news desks, citizen reporters will be able to receive assignments from professional journalists. Cities with news desks include Baghdad, Beijing, Islamabad, London, Nairobi, and Shanghai.

      • The Associated Press in Traffic Hunt, Inspired by Mine Tragedy

        First, it was not AP’s place to put together such a list. If a list was needed, the best entity to release it to the media, free of charge, under a GNU license, is the very MSHA, the source of AP’s information. The MSHA is the main source, yet AP doesn’t have the courtesy even to cite it, writing “AP archives, federal mining safety statistics” as the source instead.

        Then, we have the “all rights reserved” issue, AP’s power over the media. To qoute 5 – 25 words from this article would cost $12.50 for profits, and $7.50 for non-profits. If you want to quote more, you have to pay more, naturally. If you want to publish the article for a whole year, that will cost you $750.00 no less. Nothing against paying the price, if the information wouldn’t be copied from the MSHA. The question is, how much did the AP pay the MSHA for the facts?

      • Earliest Known Led Zeppelin Live Recording Hits YouTube

        Before they were busying themselves with supergroups and arguing about reunion tours, the four members of Led Zeppelin were a fierce, inventive rock’n’roll band that helped lay the framework for heavy metal and hard rock. At their peak, Zeppelin were one of the biggest bands in the world. Now, their humble beginning has been documented with their earliest ever recording.

    • ACTA

      • How ACTA will change the world’s internet laws

        This matters because various governments, including the EU, Canada, and the USA, have argued that there is nothing in ACTA that will change domestic law — that it’s just a way of forcing everyone else to adopt their own laws. What we see here, though, is a radical rewriting of the world’s Internet laws, taking place in secret, without public input. Public input? Hell, even Members of Parliament and Congressmembers don’t get a say in this. The Obama administration’s trade rep says that the US will sign onto ACTA without Congressional debate, under an administrative decree.

    • Digital Economy Bill

      • The Digital Economy Bill passed

        Do we have any means of proving we did not download any infringing material? We first need the answers to the previous questions for that.

        Do we know who will intercept our private communications and how personal data will be stored?

        How the Deep Packet Inspection or filtering will operate to catch potential infringers? In other words, how the internet censorship will be organised?

      • Digital Economy Bill passes as critics warn of ‘catastrophic disaster’

        The controversial Digital Economy Bill was forced through the House of Commons last night after behind-the-scenes agreements between Labour and Conservative whips – prompting the Bill’s opponents to warn that it could lead to innocent people having their internet connections cut off, the end of public WiFi, and sites such as Wikileaks blocked.

      • Doublethink – The Digital Economy Bill against the digital economy

        Tonight the UK Labour governement, together with the Conservative arty, forced through the controversial Digital Economy Bill. The Bill now gets a ‘third reading’ in the House of Lords, which means it is almost certain to become law. The government did a deal with the Conservative leadership, which got a number of provisions it didn’t like removed. In other words, it was, to use an old British phrase, a “stitch up.”

        [...]

        Despite opposition from the Liberal Democrats and a handful of Labour MPs, notably long time Internet savvy MP Tom Watson, the government won two crucial votes allowing it to control the content of the bill and its further progress.

      • Twitter crowd redresses #DEBill balance
      • The Technology newsbucket: DEBill Twitterstreamed, Conficker lives!, iPad Luddites and more
      • Did My MP Show Up or Not?

        Since the Digital Economy bill tragically passed, and people seemed to be getting confused about whether the site was about the Second Reading or the session in Parliament when the bill was rammed through I have decided to take the site down. It may return if Parliament gives us access to something which I feel strongly would improve transparency, a proper hour by hour, minute by minute register of attendance of MPs.

      • Yet Another Letter to My MP

        It seems my MP was not at the Second Reading of the Digital Economy Bill. Here’s what I’ve just fired off:

        Following my long conversation with your assistant yesterday (who was very sympathetic) about the Digital Economy Bill, I was disappointed not to see your name on the list of MPs that attended the Second Reading yesterday. The full list is here:

        http://debillitated.heroku.com/

        Now, perhaps your name has been left off by mistake, in which I apologise for the false accusation. But if you were in fact absent, I’d like to ask why a Bill that is so important that it must be rammed through the wash-up with only the barest scrutiny is not something that is worth turning up for?

        I think it is important to recognise that things have changed in politics: that many more of us can – and do – follow closely what is happening in Parliament, and write, blog and tweet about it. This means that politics is becoming more open, and much more public, which I think is a good thing. But it does mean that we are all much more aware of what our representatives are doing at all times.

        Against that background, I would urge you to do all you can, even at this late stage, in pushing for the Bill to be dropped so that it can be debated properly after the election.

      • An Open Letter to Siôn Simon, Pete Wishart, David Lammy, Peter Luff, John Robertson, Stephen Timms

        Dear Sirs,

        This evening, as the Second Reading of the Digital Economy Bill was heard in the House of Commons, you were watched by a great many people. Many of these people had never watched Parliament in session before. Almost universal was the horror and anger at the affront to the democratic process which was unfolding before our eyes.

        This letter is addressed to you because you stated your support for the bill, and helped ensure its passage to the compressed “wash-up” stage of proceedings, despite the wide-ranging, contentious and to many unknown provisions it includes. Some of you expressed your dismay at the contempt shown for the House, the lack of scrutiny which has been afforded, and your deep concerns with respect to certain provisions. Despite this, you pledged your support for the bill, in one case claiming to “do so under duress”.

      • They Work For The BPI
      • What we do next

        What a debacle. Measures to allow disconnection of individuals from the internet, for undefined periods of time, web blocking laws; all with no real scrutiny and limited debate.

      • The Digital Economy Bill has passed

        Fortunately such a party already exists, the Pirate Party. Everyone who cares about these issues should join it. (If you doubt the truth of this assertion, just ask yourself what would IFPI, the BPI, the RIAA, or the MPAA want you to do? Would they want you to join the Pirate Party, or would they prefer it if you despondently admitted defeat and gave up?)

      • Digital Economy Bill passes

        Something important and wonderful was happening online. This is the type of democratic engagement that politicians supposedly dream of. They want our votes, they want us to care, they want us to be involved. Unless it is about something that has already been decided and negotiated by the powers-that-be, in that case we just become a nuisance, part of an annoying self-referential minority that can be easily ignored. It’s back to business as usual. It is precisely this disconnect between genuine public interest and the vested interest of powerful lobbyists what is destroying democracy. When people tuned in to watch the debate online, they could witness with their own eyes just how undemocratic the entire system is. Letters do not matter, what matters is the sickening toadying MP making reference to Feargal Sharkey’s Undertones, while sycophantily winking at him in the stands.

      • Minister for Digital Britain thinks an IP address is an “Intellectual Property address”

        The Right Honourable Stephen Timms is the UK’s “Minister for Digital Britain.” He’s the guy behind the Digital Economy Bill, which makes the US DMCA look good by comparison. Seriously, this is some terrible, terrible lawmaking.

        Here’s what appears to be a letter the DigiMini sent to another MP, explaining why the Digital Economy Bill needs to go forward. It reads, in part, “Copyright owners are currently able to go on-line (sic), look for material to which they hold the copyright and identify unauthorised sources for that material. They can then seek to download a copy of that material and in so doing capture information about the source including the Intellectual Property (IP) address…”

        If this letter is genuine (and it seems to be), it means that the guy who’s in charge of Britain’s digital future thinks that the “IP” in “IP address” stands for “Intellectual Property.”

      • The DEBill, and why we’re *really* screwed

        Last night, along with most of the geeks in the country, I watched the Digital Economy Bill get rammed through the Commons thanks to a combination of a whipped vote and some supine opposition. It’s not really worth me trying to articulate the combination of rage, frustration and disappointment that I felt, because others have done this far better than I can already. But once I’d had a few hours sleep, while I was walking the dog I managed to gather some thoughts coherent enough to be worth trying to type out.

Clip of the Day

SourceCode Season 3 – Episode 4: State of the Oceans (2006)


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