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06.11.10

Links 11/6/2010: GNOME 2.31.3, $100 Android Phones

Posted in News Roundup at 9:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Pros and Cons of Migrating to “7″ or GNU/Linux

    This conclusion was delivered after some gems, referring to “7″, like

    * It’s not XP
    * Compatibility is always an issue
    * It’s the same old
    * Productivity will slip in the short-term

    On the pro side of “7″ the authour mentions improved security over XP or Vista but totally neglects to mention that GNU/Linux had better security than XP nine years ago and it is getting better.

  • Not a Programmer? Linux Needs You!

    Inspired by a comment I received yesterday explaining the problems with non-programmers getting involved in helping Linux projects, I have decided to give a little guidance on how to help out if you are not the code monkey type.

  • Opinion: Why Linux Should Not Get a Free Ride

    I refuse to review a distro and say “ooh a nice distro that I really liked and looks nice and you should try it…” without making sure that I compare it to the best out there. The teams behind each and every Linux distribution deserves our respect, and by comparing them with the best we show that we admire their effort enough to expect the best from them.

    But… Don’t We Get What we Pay For?

    We get more. Over the past years Linux has come along in leaps and bounds. And it has been hard going. Only within the last five years have Linux become really mainstream. Sure you could have yourself a desktop OS with minimal fiddle since the days of Mandrake Linux that came in those blue boxes, and who featured the venerable Drake the Wizard to help you through the new experience.

    Now you get the most full featured and best operating systems around only a download away. You get the best desktop compositing that money will not buy, you get the most stable kernel that is used on high end servers across the world running your netbook. You get security, features, stability, looks, compatibility and speed – at no cost.

  • What is the best Linux Version for the Enterprise?

    While Linux is taking the world by storm, I often get asked what the best version of Linux is for enterprises of all sizes. Red Hat, Suse and Ubuntu are always top notch distributions but then so are Fedora, CentOS, Mint, OpenSuse, and SlackWare. Which distro is the best depends largely on what software you will be running on your Linux installation. For most companies, standardizing on a distribution seems like it should be the final goal. As with most things we discuss, the answer is maybe as well as it depends. We are going to limit our scope in this CTO Brief to three of the top Business/Enterprise backed distributions.

  • Desktop

    • Cassidy: Linux could ease schools’ tech crunch

      Maybe the answer for local schools facing daunting technology challenges lies with the penguins.

      You know, penguins — those who worship free and open-source software, including Linux and the operating system’s mascot, a penguin named Tux.

      I’ve been hearing from the penguins since I wrote recently that if Silicon Valley CEOs want the state to improve K-12 education, then they should take a bigger role in helping those schools deploy classroom technology from this century.

      “One viable solution to getting the old computers working again is to install Linux on them,” Peter Perpich, a San Jose Web application engineer, wrote in an e-mail. “Linux needs significantly less processing power than Windows and is free. There is also a wealth of free open-source software for the platform.”

    • Linux Against Poverty Now Accepting Donations

      To donate a computer, check out the specs here and the drop off locations around town where you can leave your old machine and pick up a tax receipt. If you have five or more computers to donate, Linux Against Poverty can make arrangements to pick them up.

  • Audiocasts

  • Google

    • Is Chromoting the future of Computing?

      Sorry, I just could not resist a really lame title like that. For those of you who do not already know we will describe what Chromoting is. Not a whole lot of information has been released about Chromoting and it is still in development. But so far what we know is that Chromoting is a feature that is being developed for Chrome OS, Google’s spin of the Linux operating system. What it will do is enable

  • Ballnux

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • join the game

        KDE: A Thriving Community Based on Participation

        KDE thrives in direct relationship to the health and vibrancy of its community. The most obvious manifestation of this is when people contribute software development time to the various projects KDE undertakes. In fact, when KDE was founded 15 years ago that was pretty much the only way to get invovled. Since then the number of ways one can participate within KDE has exploded and the KDE community has grown to include groups of people working on translation and internationalization, art and graphic design, usability, documentation, communication, project management and more.

      • KDE 3 vs. KDE 4: Which Linux Desktop Is Right for You?

        Two and a half years after the KDE 4 series of releases began, many users are still using KDE 3. A preference for the familiar seems to motivate some; while others seem influenced by the rumors that began with the botched 4.0 release. Still others want a feature that the KDE 4 series has yet to implement — or, sometimes, a feature they have been unable to find because of reorganization.

        For whatever the reasons, several distributions continue to cater to the preference, including aLinux, Knoppix and MEPIS, all of which offer GNU/Linux with KDE 3.0 as the desktop.

        This raises the question: How do the two series of KDE releases compare? The answer is not nearly as simple as you might assume.

      • KOffice 2.2: Is It Ready Yet?

        KOffice 2.2 was recently released and can be “used for real work”. Conveniently, just after 2.2 was released, I found myself needing to put together a presentation for Akademy – so what to use?

      • Rekonq: Konqueror Killer?

        rekonq is a relatively new project aimed at creating a native KDE browser that addresses some of the perceived shortcomings in Konqueror, which has served as KDE’s main file browser–and sometime-file browser–for many years.

      • kde activities on multiscreens
      • KDE PIM Goes Mobile

        Today a prototype version of mobile variants of the KDE PIM suite was demoed at LinuxTag (expect more information some time next week). These applications along with GNU/Linux, Mac OS and Windows versions of Kontact accessing a Kolab Server will be on show for the duration of LinuxTag. The application packages themselves can be downloaded by anyone willing to test them out. Since the last update about KDE PIM Mobile, there have been many visual and functional improvements to the applications.

    • GNOME

  • Distributions

    • Gentoo

      • gentoo cube

        Since composite becomes famous the desktop-cube was one of the top showcase-effects.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Dutch Hosting Provider Oxilion Launches Public Cloud Service Based on Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization
      • Red Hat notches up another KVM cloud win

        Oxilion, a hosting provider located in Enschede, in the Netherlands near the German border, that is morphing (as many are) into a virtual infrastructure public cloud provider, has tapped Red Hat’s Enterprise Virtualization, the enterprise-grade implementation of the KVM hypervisor, as the foundation for the pay-as-you-use Virtual Data Center cloud launched today.

      • Tell your story with opensource.com at the Summit

        Earlier this year, Red Hat launched opensource.com as a way to shine a light on the places where the open source way is multiplying ideas and effort beyond technology. The open source way is more than a development model; it defines the characteristics of a culture. Openness. Transparency. Collaboration. Diversity. Rapid prototyping.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora’s lucky 13

          I could continue on forever and a day about how Fedora 13 brings a world of improvement to the Fedora/Linux experience. But the best thing I can say is that Ubuntu better watch out or Fedora might well usurp it as the king of Linux for new users. And since Fedora is already one of the most popular distributions with experienced users…you get the picture.

        • The correlation of Mirabelles and sustainability

          Starting with the most recent release of Mirabelle, Sugar on a Stick is a Fedora Spin [1]. While this may sound strange at first, it contributes essentially to our goal of achieving both sustainable development and stable releases — it allows both Sugar Labs and the Fedora Project to leverage the mutual work and results in a great upstream / downstream relationship: Fedora benefits from an easily deployable implementation of the most recent version of the Sugar Learning Platform, while Sugar on a Stick gains access to Fedora’s extensive resources in terms of engineering and testing, with automated nightly builds containing the latest components just being one example.

        • A new contributor agreement for Fedora

          The FICLA, which has been used for a number of years, is based closely on the Apache Software Foundation’s Individual CLA, with some minor changes. So far as I can tell, the Apache CLA has worked well for ASF projects in the several years since its adoption, and Fedora is not the only project to reuse its text. It is not difficult to see why the Apache CLA was originally assumed to be a good model for Fedora. On the assumption, which can be questioned, that some sort of formal contribution agreement was advisable at all, there were, and are, few other models with a genuine free software pedigree.

        • Roll Out a Fedora Remix
    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phoenix’s virtualization tech flies to HP

      Phoenix claims to have over 200 patents awarded or pending. Its firmware has shipped in over one billion computers.

    • HP to buy slim Linux OS from Phoenix

      Hewlett-Packard will buy Linux-based quick-boot OS and client virtualization assets from Phoenix Technologies for US$12 million, Phoenix said on Thursday.

    • Nokia/MeeGo

      • MeeGo Gains Industry Momentum

        Intel and Nokia have released version 1.0 of the MeeGo Core Software Platform and the MeeGo Netbook User Experience. This release provides developers with a stable core foundation for application development and a rich user experience for Netbooks.

    • Android

      • HelloSoft Announces TriPhone, $100 4G Android Phone

        VoIP and Convergence company HelloSoft has announced that they are releasing a 4G tri-band “reference” phone for deployment in WiMAX markets. A $100 4G Android phone? Hard to believe, right? But wait, there’s more: this handset is going to be fully VoIP ready! Read on after the break.

      • Google TV Is A Bigger Deal Than You Think

        Because TV matters in a way that nothing else does. Each year, the TV drives roughly $70 billion in advertising and an equal amount in cable and satellite fees, and another $25 billion in consumer-electronics sales. Plus, viewers spend 4.5 hours a day with it—which is, mind you, the equivalent of a full-time job in some socialist-leaning countries (I’ll refrain from naming names).

      • Why the iPhone Cannot Keep up with Android

        And don’t even get me started on the fact that the Android code is already starting to appear in totally new segments, bringing yet more innovation, yet more players….

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Lessons from One Laptop Per Child

        Video of Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairman of One Laptop per Child, talking on the successes and lessons of the project.

      • Linux-powered iPad-like tablets can’t come quickly enough

        If any Linux company comes close to appreciating Apple’s appeal to average users with its focus on making the interface a pleasure to use, it’s Canonical. After all, it was Canonical’s founder and Ubuntu’s guiding light, Mark Shuttleworth, who said Ubuntu’s goal was to deliver “a user experience that can compete with Apple in two years.”

        Shuttleworth was talking about the desktop. Today, it’s all about competing on devices. The day of the PC is fading into the afternoon. With Apple making enemies of one-time partners and closing its software circle ever tighter, now is the time for Linux not only to push forward with its historical advantages of lower prices and open software and standards, but to show the world that Linux devices can be every bit as attractive and user-friendly as its Apple competition.

Free Software/Open Source

  • 2020 FLOSS Roadmap

    2020FLOSSRoadmap.org is an open collaborative site designed to discuss, comment and update the 2020 FLOSS Roadmap published in 2008 at Open World Forum. This site is supported by the 2 Paris Region’s Competitiveness Clusters. 2020 FLOSS Roadmap is divided in one synthesis and several themes each under the responsibility of a different director who were responsible to take the comments into account to produce the updated 2009 version.

  • Radically Simple IT with Dr. David Upton

    We were extremely fortunate to have Dr. David Upton, chair in Operations Management at Oxford University, kick off our first ever Open Your World forum. Dr. Upton’s presentation, entitled “Radically Simple IT … or, a Strategic Argument for Open Source in Business” was a highly relevant and insightful commentary on how open source principles can help business leaders transform how they approach and engage the more traditional strategic planning process.

  • Mozilla

  • SaaS

    • Three Cloud Lock-in Considerations

      2010 is definitely the year of the cloud, The IT world is abuzz with the benefits of cloud computing and rightfully so. Cloud computing, the logical extension of network storage and virtualization, is probably the biggest IT leap forward since pervasive use of the Internet. Despite the buzz all that glitters isn’t gold. Despite a widespread interest in cloud computing there may be some pitfalls including cloud lock-in.

  • Databases

    • What is new in PostgreSQL 9.0

      PostgreSQL 9.0 beta 2 just got released this week. We may see another beta before 9.0 is finally released, but it looks like PostgreSQL 9.0 will be here probably sometime this month. Robert Treat has a great slide presentation showcasing all the new features.

  • CMS

    • South African Government using Drupal

      The South African Government is using Drupal for their official 2010 FIFA World Cup website at http://www.sa2010.gov.za. With the start of the 2010 World Cup just hours away, this is a timely discovery and a nice win for Drupal. The site was built by eConsultant.

  • Business

    • Why No Billion-Dollar Open Source Companies?

      Indeed, I would go so far as to say that very few open source startups will ever get anywhere near to $1 billion. Not because they are incompetent, or because open source will “fail” in any sense. But because the economics of open source software – and therefore the business dynamics – are so different from those of traditional software that it simply won’t be possible in most markets. Red Hat stands a chance because it has (wisely) colonised the biggest sector, that of enterprise infrastructural products – “we are plumbers”, as Whitehurst put it with brutal frankness.

  • BSD

    • New “lldb” Debugger

      I’m happy to announce a great new subproject of LLVM: LLDB. LLDB is a modern debugger infrastructure which is built (like the rest of LLVM) as a series of modular and reusable libraries. LLDB builds on existing LLVM technologies like the enhanced disassembler APIs, the Clang ASTs and expression parser, the LLVM code generator and JIT compiler.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • [Harald Welte:] My take on the FSF action against Apple over GNU Go

      I personally very much support the action the FSF has taken. Anyone involved in distribution of copyrighted material is required to do due diligence on checking that he actually has a license to do so. This is not really related to the GPL.

      Yes, this means that I can take GPL enforcement action to a retail store that is selling/distributing infringing products, and I can make them provide a declaration to cease and desist from further infringements. Of course, that declaration would only be valid for this single retail store. This is why in our gpl-violations.org work, we always try to go after whatever entity is responsible for the majority or all of those infringements, rather than after a single store owner.

  • Government

    • Kroes gives backing for open standards

      European Commission digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes has furthered her backing of open standards.

      In a speech to the Open Forum Europe summit, Kroes said that new standards for information and communication standards are more open to third parties and easier to share across multiple platforms.

      “When the Commission mandates standards bodies to draw up a standard it should have the right to be more demanding on the standardisation process, to ensure that standards are less demanding when it comes to their adoption,” she said.

    • EU’s Internet chief warns states against choosing proprietary software as standards

      The European Union’s top Internet official took aim at Microsoft Corp. on Thursday, warning that governments can accidentally lock themselves into one company’s software for decades by setting it as a standard for their technology systems.

      EU Internet Commissioner Neelie Kroes, in her previous post as EU antitrust chief, fined Microsoft hundreds of millions of euros (dollars) in a lengthy row over the company’s refusal to share some data with rivals and the tying of a Web browser to a best-selling operating system.

      She now says she wants to draw up detailed guidelines for European governments to encourage them to require other software, especially programs based on open source code that is freely shared between developers.

    • Scottish Parliament Written answers, 7 June 2010

      Work is underway on the future options for desktop computers that will include testing of open source and will provide guidance and sourcing options for boards. This is part of wider review activity aimed at developing sustainable approaches to IT enabled improvements in patient care.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • California’s P2P Carsharing Bill Passes Assembly 63-0

      Carsharing just took a step forward on June 3rd in California when AB1871 passed the Assembly with zero opposition. The bill now goes to the Senate and could become law before the year is out. We talked about the potential for this bill to accelerate the already fast growing carsharing industry here.

      Below is the press release by California Assemblymember Dave Jones who is spearheading the bill. You can voice your support for the bill at peer-to-peer carsharing startup Spride Share’s petition page here.

      Personally, I live in California and can’t wait for the bill to pass. We’ve just gone to a one car family. I’d love to have the flexibility to rent a neighbor’s car.

    • Monotype Imaging Contributes Chinese Font to Symbian Foundation
    • Clay Shirky’s COGNITIVE SURPLUS: how the net lets us share and do more than ever

      Clay Shirky’s second book, The Cognitive Surplus, picks up where his stellar debut, Here Comes Everybody left off: explaining how the net’s lowered costs for group activity allow us to be creative and even generous in ways that we never anticipated and haven’t yet fully taken account of.

      Shirky’s hypothesis is that a lot of the 20th century stuff we used to take for granted — most people didn’t want to create media, people didn’t value homemade and amateur productions, no one would pitch in to create something for others to enjoy unless they were being paid — weren’t immutable laws of nature, but accidents of history. The Internet has undone those accidents, by making it possible for more people to make and do cool stuff, especially together.

    • Open Data

    • Open Access/Content

      • Lung Cancer Alliance Launches First Open Access Patient Driven Website for CT Scans and Clinical Data

        Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA), the only national non-profit dedicated to providing support and advocacy for those living with or at risk for lung cancer, announced today the launching of the first open access website for CT scans and clinical data donated by patients, called Give a Scan, that will increase and accelerate research for lung cancer screening, diagnosis, treatment and drug development.

      • Open Clip Art Library Spring 2010 Release!

        The Open Clip Art Library has seen tremendous growth and change during the initial half of the year. Today, the platform continues it’s evolution with the Spring 2010 Release!

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The Battle Over the Next-gen Open Smart Grid

      Will the smart grid eventually follow the path of the Internet with truly open standards? Several up-and-coming companies are betting that the answer will be a resounding “yes” and are in the process of looking to sign up utilities and customers that want to embrace the open-standards smart grid vision. Among them is newcomer Arch Rock, which has been selling wireless network products for data centers and buildings for the past five years, and on Monday morning plans to announce its first smart grid wireless network product based completely on open standards.

    • Cisco Pushes Open-Source Telepresence Standard

Leftovers

  • Council Of Europe Wants In On ICANN Government Body
  • BCS Leadership Targets Member Rights

    On Monday I wrote about the crisis facing the British Computer Society (BCS) as its current leadership tries to jettison the old name. I found out about the move in an expensively-produced glossy mailing I received on the subject. Just a few days later, the actual voting papers arrived. They contain an ill-considered Quick Vote option that BCS Professional Members need to carefully avoid.

    I mentioned Monday that the resolutions for the EGM of the BCS include a resolution that effectively takes away the right of Members to call an EGM again. The current EGM was hard to call, since it turned out that the ‘requisition’ needed the physical signatures of fifty Professional Members and not just their clear consent provided electronically. Despite being a member for many years I’ve rarely been to a BCS meeting with that many people present, and collecting 50 signatures thus forms an effective barrier against frivolous meetings. The people calling the EGM make a good case for this mechanism. Regardless of what you may think about the other resolutions, the final resolution is a bad idea that reduces the accountability of the BCS leadership.

  • ☞ BCS Rebels Finally Get A Voice
  • Restaurant tells diners to eat up or else

    An Australian restaurateur fed up with the waste left by diners has ordered her customers to eat everything on their plates for their sake of the earth or pay a penalty and not return.

    Chef Yukako Ichikawa has introduced a 30 percent discount for diners who eat all the food they have ordered at Wafu, her 30-seat restaurant in the Sydney suburb of Surry Hills, that describes itself as “guilty free Japanese cuisine.”

  • Science

  • Security/Aggression

    • Experiments in Torture: Physicians group alleges US conducted illegal research on detainees

      The group says such illegal activity would violate the Nuremburg Code, and could open the door to prosecutions. Their report is based on publicly available documents, and explores the participation of medical professionals in the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation program.”

    • The men who stare at airline passengers

      OVER the past four years, some 3,000 officers in America’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have been specially trained to spot potential terrorists at airports. The programme, known as SPOT, for “Screening Passengers by Observation Technique,” is intended to allow airport security officers to use tiny facial cues to identify people who are acting suspiciously. The British government is currently launching a new screening regime modelled on the Americans’ SPOT. There’s just one problem with all this: there’s no evidence that SPOT is actually effective.

    • Illegal stop and searches could mean compensation for thousands

      The 14 forces are trying to contact tens of thousands who were unlawfully searched on the streets in operations going back to 2001, when the powers were introduced. Home Office figures show that searches under these powers were carried out 148,798 times last year.

    • Anti-speed camera activist nabs Bluff City PD’s expiring web domain

      Brian McCrary found the perfect venue to gripe about a $90 speeding ticket when he went to the Bluff City Police Department’s website, saw that its domain name was about to expire, and bought it right out from under the city’s nose.

      Now that McCrary is the proud owner of the site, http://www.bluffcitypd.com, the Gray, Tenn., computer network designer has been using it to post links about speed cameras – like the one on U.S. Highway 11E that caught him – and how people don’t like them.

    • America versus the hacker

      Gary McKinnon, still suffering from Asperger’s, has one last chance to avoid extradition to the US to face charges of hacking into Nasa and Pentagon computers. Will the new government keep its word and help him avoid a savage punishment?

  • Environment

    • So who’s really behind the anti-BP hysteria in the US?

      The answer, as hinted in this NYTimes piece, is Exxon, which sees a once-in-a-lifetime chance to exterminate a commercial rival.

      The idea that BP might one day file for bankruptcy, particularly as part of a merger that would enable it to cordon off its liabilities from the spill, is starting to percolate on Wall Street. Bankers and lawyers are already sizing up potential deals (and counting their potential fees).

    • Gov’t and BP Unresponsive on Requests for Data on Sick Cleanup Workers

      Getting statistics on worker illness related to the Gulf oil spill is proving to be difficult, as federal agencies continually refer requests either to another federal agency or to BP.

      When we asked for statistics on health complaints related to the Gulf spill, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told us to ask the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA has told us to ask BP. The Environmental Protection Agency recommended via e-mail that we contact someone at the Department of Homeland Security. When we called the EPA back to confirm that the agency is not itself keeping these statistics, the same spokeswoman who told us to ask elsewhere said, “I’d have to clarify on that. Let me check on that.”

    • Post BP Disaster: Support grows for comprehensive energy bill that makes carbon polluters pay

      As the BP oil disaster drags on, the public’s desire for clean energy investments and increased oversight of corporate polluters has greatly intensified. CAP’s Daniel J. Weiss and intern Ariel Powell have the important data and charts from a major new poll.

    • BP Refuses to Provide Oil Samples to Scientists Investigating Underwater Plumes

      The giant deepwater plumes of oil in the Gulf of Mexico have been confirmed by the government, but one thing the testing couldn’t confirm was that the oil below the surface is definitively from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. (The other possibility is the plumes are the result of natural seepage.)

      According to a lead scientist involved in the testing, an oil sample from the BP well would have helped ID the origin of the plumes, but BP refused to provide any samples, reported the St. Petersburg Times. “I was just taken aback by it,” said the scientist, David Hollander, who’s a professor of chemical oceanography at the University of South Florida. “It was a little unsettling.”

    • Oil Industry Expert Simmons on Worst Case Scenario for BP Rig: Open Hole Spewing 100-150,000 Barrels a Day

      This is really horrifying news. If oil industry expert Matthew Simmons that appeared on the Dylan Ratigan show and Sen. Ben Nelson’s worst case scenarios turn out to be true the situation in the Gulf truly looks dire. Simmons said that they have grossly underestimated the size of the disaster and that it appears to be the result of the biggest blowout in the world and that most of the oil is not coming from the leak the BP cameras are showing, but instead “an open hole with no casing in it which sits about seven miles away from where BP had been trying to fix these little tiny leaks in the drilling riser”.

    • Scientist Awed by Size, Density of Undersea Oil Plume in Gulf

      Researchers aboard the F.G. Walton Smith vessel briefed reporters on a two-week cruise in which they traced an underwater oil plum 15 miles wide, 3 miles long and about 600 feet thick. The plume’s core is 1,100 to 1,300 meters below the surface, they said.

      “It’s an infusion of oil and gas unlike anything else that has ever been seen anywhere, certainly in human history,” said Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia, the expedition leader.

      Bacteria are breaking down the oil’s hydrocarbons in a massive, microorganism feeding frenzy that has sent oxygen levels plunging close to what is considered “dead zone” conditions, at which most marine life are smothered for a lack of dissolved oxygen.

    • BP, Forrest Gump, Mr. Bean and the White House

      Goldman Sachs or BP, the politicians’ reaction remains the same. Screw whoever’s not in your circle, and use (your power over) their money to pay off who is. Corporations rule this planet, not the people that live on it.

    • BP attempts damage control, buys search phrases on Google and Yahoo

      As BP sweats to clean up the oil spill in Gulf of Mexico, it is simultaneously waging a public relations (PR) war, trying to fend a wave of negative attention, by buying search phrases like “oil spill” on Google and Yahoo.

    • Pitt Researcher Says Simple Polymer-based Filter Successfully Cleans Water, Recovers Oil in Gulf of Mexico Tests

      In response to the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, a University of Pittsburgh engineering professor has developed a technique for separating oil from water via a cotton filter coated in a chemical polymer that blocks oil while allowing water to pass through. The researcher reports that the filter was successfully tested off the coast of Louisiana and shown to simultaneously clean water and preserve the oil.

    • What Price Pelican?

      Our energy subsidy from the stored sunlight in fossil fuels is gigantic. The chemical and kinetic energy embodied in the thick gooey condensed organic matter from past eons is, for all human intents and purposes, indistinguishable from magic. Once in a while, like now, we see the downsides to our dependency on this elixir, in this case the ecological degradation of increasing areas of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystems, and collateral damage to other species.

    • U.S. confirms underwater oil plume from Deepwater Horizon well

      An underwater three-dimensional map of the oil spill is closer to becoming a reality, now that the U.S. has for the first time confirmed the discovery of a subsurface oil plume resulting from the ruptured BP well.

    • Facing a freeze

      WHEN BP’s Macondo well began spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the firm was in the midst of an effort to persuade Canada’s energy regulator that safety standards for offshore drilling in the Canadian Arctic were expensive, impractical and should be relaxed. Hearings on the subject were promptly suspended and the regulator declared that no new drilling permits would be issued pending a review of existing rules. “We have a duty to pause, to take stock of the incident,” says Gaétan Caron, head of the National Energy Board.

    • Raspberries, Pears and Chocolate: A Fresh Understanding of the Bee Crisis

      So how does this economic explanation square with the clear and present biological crisis that Eric Olson faces on the ground in Yakima, Washington? “We are not denying that there are serious biological problems, like in the U.S. with colony collapse disorder, et cetera,” Harder said. “But our argument is that this sort of thing is a short-term episode in a much-longer declining trend that’s probably more related to the economics of the honey industry.”

    • New Emissions Measurements Show “Green” Consumerism Failing

      The most intriguing part of his presentation was his exploration of ‘consumer emissions,’ which are not usually included in emissions reporting. His central question was, “Who’s responsible for emissions: the producers or the consumers?”

    • Uzbekistan: Gazelles may perish of starvation in the Bukhara reservation

      “Dear friends! This year turned out to be successful for the animals in the environmental center. We expect the number of gazelles to grow to 1200, kulan – to 80, horses of Przhevalskiy – to 24. This is just splendid. However, we face serious challenges, rescuing them. Why?

    • Japanese cinemas drop dolphin slaughter film

      Cinemas in Japan have cancelled plans to show an Oscar-winning film about the country’s annual slaughter of thousands of dolphins after far-right campaigners threatened to disrupt the screenings.

    • EU orders industrial tuna fishing ban until year’s end

      In the wake of huge depletion in stocks of bluefin tuna, EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki decided yesterday (9 June) to ban large-scale bluefin tuna fishing in the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic. The ban has already come into effect.

    • Gulf Oil Spill Disaster: Spawn of the Living Dead for Atlantic Bluefin Tuna?
  • Finance

    • An Updated List of Goldman Sachs Ties to the Obama Government Including Elena Kagan

      This essay shows the pervasive influence of Goldman Sachs and its units (like the Goldman-Robert Rubin-funded Hamilton Project embedded in the Brookings Institution) in the Obama government. These names are in addition to those compiled on an older such list and published here at FDL. In the future, I will combine the names here and those on the earlier article but I urge readers to look at the earlier list too (links below). Combined, this is the largest and most comprehensive list of such ties yet published.

    • Stiglitz Calls for ‘Goldman Sachs Amendment’

      Joseph E. Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, wants the financial regulatory bill to bar financial firms that give up their government-backed bank charters from ever being able to seek government assistance again.

    • The Brown Stinky Stuff is Splattering Off the Fan Blades and Landing on That Shiny New Building on the West Side Highway.

      So, How Many Banks and Analysts Were Bearish On Goldman Before Today? and Is the Threat to the Banks Over? Implied Volatility Says So. Some may ask why I’m being so generous in regards to the extent of this quarter’s earning review. Well… A European institutional subscriber recently stated he was able to get the same content found in my offerings from his investment bank research.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • European Parliament duped over sex offences Declaration

      MEPS are being deceived into signing a Written Declaration which they believe is a statement on child abuse and sexual violence against women. In fact, it is a Trojan Horse for extending the Data Retention Directive. It reflects gutter-lobbying of the worst kind.

  • Labour/Asia

    • iPhone manufacturer to shutter China factories

      Foxconn – the massive Taiwan-based contract manufacturer whose clients include Apple, Dell, HP, Intel, Sony, and others – will shutter its mainland China operations in a restructuring that could move as many as 800,000 workers into the ranks of the unemployed.

    • As China’s Wages Rise, Export Prices Could Follow

      Coastal factories are increasing hourly payments to workers. Local governments are raising minimum wage standards. And if China allows its currency, the renminbi, to appreciate against the United States dollar later this year, as many economists are predicting, the relative cost of manufacturing in China will almost certainly rise.

    • Worries mount over China’s ‘rare earth’ export ban

      Beijing’s plan to ban exports of key raw materials called ‘rare earths’ as of 2015 should cause concern among manufacturers of high-tech products ranging from computers to electric car batteries and wind turbines, experts warned.

    • Responsibly Destroying the World’s Peasantry

      The World Bank, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Secretariat recently presented seven “Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment.” The principles seek to ensure that large-scale land investments result in “win-win” situations, benefiting investors and directly affected communities alike. But, though well-intended, the principles are woefully inadequate.

      It has been several years since private investors and states began buying and leasing millions of hectares of farmland worldwide in order to secure their domestic supply of food, raw commodities, and biofuels, or to get subsidies for carbon storage through plantations. Western investors, including Wall Street banks and hedge funds, now view direct investments in land as a safe haven in an otherwise turbulent financial climate.

      The scope of the phenomenon is enormous. Since 2006, between 15 and 20 million hectares of farmland, the equivalent of the total arable surface of France, have been the subject of negotiations by foreign investors.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Parliament set to derail EU-US anti-terror talks

      A new EU-US anti-terror agreement still infringes the European Union’s laws on data protection and civil liberties, say MEPs who, following talks with the European Commission today (10 June), plan to vote against the accord.

    • Vietnam’s New Green Dam?

      Vietnam is continuing its steep fall down a slippery slope of Internet censorship and filtration and is raising more concerns over its new cyber-technology implementation.

      Internet censorship is nothing new to Vietnam, yet its policies have remained very much out of the public spotlight in other parts of the world. The Communist government of Vietnam has taken many opaque technological and regulatory steps to control its citizens’ access to Internet content. With an above average Internet penetration rate of 25.7%, and a relatively high literacy rate for the adult population, the Internet would be potentially poised to allow substantial free expression that may oppose the government regime.

    • China defends internet censorship

      China has defended its right to censor the internet in a document laying out the government’s attitude towards the web.

    • Rooney’s Gold: A Publishing Tale
    • John McDonnell apologises for Margaret Thatcher assassination comment

      Labour leadership candidate John McDonnell has apologised for joking that he would like to have killed Margaret Thatcher and hinted that he might stand down from the race to give fellow leftwinger Diane Abbott a chance of getting on to the ballot.

    • Are SSIDs and MAC addresses like house numbers?

      While I agree that Kim’s asserted facts are true, I disagree with his conclusion.

      * I don’t believe Google did anything wrong in collecting SSIDs and MAC addresses (capturing data, perhaps). The SSIDs were configured to *broadcast* (to make something known widely). However, SSIDs and MAC addresses are local identifiers more like house numbers. They identify entities within the local wireless network and are generally not re-transmitted beyond that wireless network.

      [...]

      Your house number is used – by anyone in the world who wants to find it – to get to your house. Your house was given a number for that purpose. The people who live in the houses like this. They actually run out and buy little house number things, and nail them up on the side of their houses, to advertise clearly what number they are.

    • Google patent is a shocker

      There are many who have assumed Google’s WiFi snooping was “limited” to mapping of routers. However an article in Computerworld reporting on new developments in an Oregon class action law suit links to a patent application that speaks volumes about what is at stake here. The abstract begins (emphasis is mine):

      “The invention pertains to location approximation of devices, e.g., wireless access points and client devices in a wireless network. “

    • Bill defines ‘personal information’ to avoid strengthening DPA penalties

      So it is with the repeal of the ID Card Act and the abolition of the National Identity Register by the Identity Documents Bill 2010-11, which has its second reading today. We all know that from their respective manifestos, both Lib-Con coalition partners wanted to scrap ID Cards and strengthen the penalties in the Data Protection Act. We know that the previous government had draft legislation on the stocks which provided for custodial penalties for misuse of personal data under the Data Protection Act.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Cory Doctorow: My computer says no

      Yes. It is hypocritical to say “don’t copy” when everybody I know is a copyist. I’m certainly on the wrong side of copyright law at least once a day for things like pasting articles into emails. I’ve been an avid copyist all my life, if it wasn’t for mix tapes, my entire adolescence would have been celibate! I can’t do my job unless I have the source material around so I scan records and photocopy library books I can’t take out. It’s how we all learn to do stuff. That’s how we are, we are descendents of molecules formed a million years ago because they figured out how to replicate themselves. We have a name for things that don’t copy themselves: dead.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • WIPO study on the public domain published

      As part of the its Development Agenda, the World Intellectual Property Organisation has published a report entitled “Scoping Study on Copyright and Related Rights and the Public Domain” by the always wonderful Séverine Dussolier. In the interest of full disclosure, I would like to point out that I was consulted about Costa Rican law, so you may want to ignore my enthusiasm for this work and examine it yourself. This is a thorough and comprehensive study.

    • The Mega-Money World Of MegaUpload

      MegaUpload is one of the most prominent file-hosting services on the Internet. It is owned by an unbelievably colorful individual who is probably better known for his multiple convictions for computer fraud, embezzlement and insider trading. He owns several luxury cars, for which he is currently under investigation, and has just acquired New Zealand’s most expensive house – a snip at just over $20m.

    • British Library Heeds Murdoch’s Digital Newsprint Warning

      When we reported from a lecture James Murdoch delivered a couple of weeks back (full transcript), he had criticised a British Library plan to digitise 40 million old newspaper pages.

      Murdoch said: “This is not simply being done for posterity, nor to make free access for library users easier, but also for commercial gain via a paid‐for website. The move is strongly opposed by major publishers. If it goes ahead, free content would not only be a justification for more funding, but actually become a source of funds for a public body.”

      But Patrick Fleming, a British Library associate director, quoted on Guardian.co.uk, says the accusation is “patently not true”…

    • Poll: No Public Support For FTC Proposals To Help News Organizations

      There’s basically zero popular support for several already unlikely initiatives the FTC is looking into in order to support the “reinvention of journalism.” Rasmussen Reports polled 1,000 people on whether they would support proposals—like a tax on consumer electronics to help news organizations or a taxpayer-funded program to support young journalists through AmeriCorps—and the answer was a decisive no. A monthly tax on cell phone bills? 90 percent no! A tax on consumer electronic devices? 84 percent no! The young reporter program? 70 percent no! A White House commission to help save journalism jobs? 55 percent no! (Via MediaPost)

  • Copyrights

    • Lawyers Warn WordPress Over File-Sharing News Blog

      A law firm which previously sent threatening letters to alleged file-sharers in order to receive cash settlements has complained to WordPress over a hosted blog. According to the complaint, Automattic Inc. can be held liable for copyright infringement and defamation due to the fact it hosted a FaceBook-sourced picture of one of the firm’s lawyers which had been Photoshopped into a ‘Wanted’ poster.

      British law firm Tilly Bailey & Irvine (TBI) which began a file-sharing settlement letters scheme earlier this year, later withdrew from the business due to masses of bad publicity. A staff member from the company later tried to rewrite history on its Wikipedia page by removing any references which showed its connection to this work.

    • Top Public School Signs Multi-Million Dollar Deal To Copyright & Sell Its Curriculum

      If you go back to the original intent of copyright law, it was to improve learning and knowledge. “Promoting the progress of science” really mean “knowledge” at the time it was written. But, these days, we’ve lost pretty much all touch with that original intention. Last year, we noted that there was a growing battle over whether or not teachers could sell their lesson plans, with some districts claiming copyright over all teacher curricula and lesson plans to make sure that only they could determine how those plans were used. Of course, in the past (and, for many, the present) teachers often freely shared curricula and lesson plans with each other, in an effort to spread the knowledge and help each other out.

    • Judge may dismiss 4,576 of 4,577 P2P defendants from lawsuit

      Federal judge Rosemary Collyer sits on the DC District Court, where several of the recent US Copyright Group lawsuits against alleged P2P users have been filed. A few of those lawsuits ended up on Judge Collyer’s calendar, one of them filed against over 4,000 anonymous “John Does” at once.

    • Judge to movie studios: Why shouldn’t I dismiss piracy lawsuits?

      A federal judge has ordered attorneys representing movie studios to explain why they lumped thousands of alleged copyright violators into just two lawsuits, an indication she is seriously considering claims by ISP Time Warner and civil liberties advocates that the actions violate well-established court procedures.

    • Human Rights Eroding in the Name of Copyright Protection

      Microsoft’s WAT component for Windows 7 validates a user’s computer, every 90 days, against its constantly updated database. The motivation looks innocent — it’s just a technical measure deployed against potential piracy. After all, people who respect Microsoft’s copyright have no need to worry, right? Yet Microsoft’s track record of disrespecting users’ fair use right (g: “fairuse4wm controversy”) and disrespecting users’ will not to upgrade (g: “windows stealthy update”) indeed provide reasons for us to be worried. Imagine that a world-wide government installs tiny robots at everybody’s home, constantly watching for wrong-doings of your family. And the software of the robots can be remotely upgraded by the government whether you like it or not. If we can accept WAT, we can certainly also accept such invasion of human right and privacy by the government.

      Apple’s customers cannot exercise their rights over their own physical properties — the iPhones for which they have paid Apple. Apple forbids its customers to install software programs other than those provided by Apple’s iTunes App Store. (g: “eff jailbreak”) Imagine buying a house and being forbidden to put any furniture into it except those explicitly allowed by the construction company. If we can accept Apple’s control over its customers, we can certainly also accept such invasion of human right by the construction company.

      Amazon’s Kindle e-book has a piece of software that not only sends user’s information back to Amazon but also sends Amazon’s commands to Kindle whenever the user connects to its online bookstore WhisperNet. What commands have been sent? Instructions to delete books (with a corresponding refund), for example, in the name of Amazon’s respect for the publisher’s copyright. (g: “kindle Orwell”) Imagine that the Big Brother collects everyone’s reading habits and notes as well as deleting any books/articles/forwarded emails that he deems “ungood” and harmful to the society. If we can accept Kindle’s remote removal of already-purchased books, we can certainly also accept such invasion of human right and privacy by the Big Brother. Speaking of Big Brother, the books deleted happen to be George Orwell’s “1984″ and “Animal Farms”.

    • The Death of the Library: Read It and Weep
    • Judges Liken P2P To The Ancient Practice of Lending Books

      After raids in 2005, Spanish police arrested four people and dismantled a popular file-sharing site. The case has been dragging on ever since but now has finally been closed. Three judges decided that no offense had been committed and likened file-sharing to the ancient practice of sharing books.

    • Music In Real Time: Keep Up Or Get Left Behind
    • Copyright: The Elephant in the Middle of the Glee Club

      The absence of any mention of copyright law in Glee illustrates a painful tension in American culture. While copyright holders assert that copyright violators are “stealing” their “property,” people everywhere are remixing and recreating artistic works for the very same reasons the Glee kids do — to learn about themselves, to become better musicians, to build relationships with friends, and to pay homage to the artists who came before them. Glee’s protagonists — and the writers who created them — see so little wrong with this behavior that the word ‘copyright’ is never even uttered.

      [...]

      These worlds don’t match. Both Glee and the RIAA can’t be right. It’s hard to imagine glee club coach Will Schuester giving his students a tough speech on how they can’t do mash-ups anymore because of copyright law (but if he did, it might make people rethink the law). Instead, copyright violations are rewarded in Glee — after Sue’s Physical video goes viral, Olivia Newton-John contacts Sue so they can film a new, improved video together.

    • The copyright wars come to “Glee”

      Mulligan’s conceit is that if a “real” glee club tried to get away with creating, say, “a near-exact copy of Madonna’s Vogue music video,” it could be liable for huge fines — as much as $150,000, or worse, if those reckless teenagers posted their work online. Don’t scoff — as Mulligan notes, “In the 1990s, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) asked members of the American Camping Association, including Girl Scout troops, to pay royalties for singing copyrighted songs at camp.”

    • Does LimeWire owe the RIAA $1.5 trillion?

      Now it looks as though one Kelly M. Klaus (right) of Munger, Tolles & Olson, yet another RIAA posse, wants Wood to order LimeWire owner Mark Gorton to pay $1,500,000,000,000 for 200,000,000 alleged downloads, at $750 per.

    • Cost

    • ACTA

      • ACTA and the Specter of Graduated Response

        This short paper, prepared for a workshop on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and the Public Interest at American University’s Washington College of Law, considers the draft Internet provisions of ACTA in the context of concerns raised in the media that the treaty will require signatories to mandate graduated response regimes (à la France’s controversial HADOPI system) for online copyright enforcement. Although the Consolidated Text of ACTA, released in late April, confirms that mandatory graduated response is off the table for the treaty’s negotiators, the treaty in its current form both accommodates and promotes the adoption of graduated response. Moreover, opponents of graduated response should be wary of the fact that public law mechanisms – be they domestic or international – are not the only means by which graduated response can effectively become the law for Internet users. The United States and Ireland provide examples of the trend toward private ordering in the project of online copyright enforcement.

      • India Comes Out Swinging Against ACTA at WTO

        The Government of India came out forcefully against ACTA this week in an intervention at the World Trade Organization. The India position, which may well reflect the views of other ACTA-excluded countries, demonstrates that ACTA is emerging as a contentious political issue that extends well beyond civil society and business groups concerned with the agreement. Countries excluded from the ACTA process have to come to recognize the serious threat it represents both substantively as well as for the future of multilateral organizations.

        This growing concern from countries such as India represents a major new pressure point on the ACTA discussions. The notion that ACTA countries could negotiate an agreement that would ultimately be used to pressure non-ACTA countries to conform without attracting opposition from those very countries was always unrealistic. If the April ACTA round of talks was marked by the mounting pressure for greater transparency, the late June ACTA round of talks will undoubtedly have developing country opposition as its core concern.

Clip of the Day

Alan Pope on Wikis


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