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09.20.10

Links 20/9/2010: Oracle Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel, Amarok 2.3.2 “Moonshine”, PostgreSQL 9.0, Firefox 4 Claimed Very Fast

Posted in News Roundup at 6:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • 40 Fascinating Quotes on Technology, Linux and Microsoft

    Who doesn’t like quotes especially if it’s about Linux and Microsoft. Here are some fascinating, funny, intriguing and totally awesome quotes on technology, Linux and Microsoft.

  • The geek who guides Linux Australia’s fortunes

    The presidency of Linux Australia fell his way recently in rather unusual circumstances when the man holding the job, James Turnbull, decided to accept a billet in the United States.

    Ferlito was not next in line, Lindsay Holmswood, the vice-president was. But he opted out due to the impending arrival of an addition to his family. Ferlito put up his hand, and the rest, as they say, is history.

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • Need some supercomputer power for your datacenter? Check the cloud.

      PEER 1 Hosting in the UK has launched a supercomputing cloud service based on the Nvidia Tesla S1070 and M2050 GPU computing systems. We’re talking serious computing power here; the S1070 is a 1U rack mount that contains 960 processor cores and four teraflops of computing power.

    • KVM: Your Key to Open Source Server Virtualization

      Considering a switch to a virtualized infrastructure strikes fear into the hearts of even the most educated among today’s CIOs. Technology confusion and vendor choices aside, the physical-to-virtual transition dread stems from security concerns, performance uncertainty and scalability questions. Red Hat’s Kernel Virtual Machine (KVM) attempts to answer those trepidations positively.

      KVM is Red Hat’s commercial competition for Citrix XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware ESX/vSphere. Like the others, KVM is a full virtualization technology. Full virtualization means that virtual machines (VMs) built with KVM fully abstract computer hardware, so the operating systems that run inside the VMs “think” they’re running on physical hardware. Memory, CPU, disk, peripherals, NICs and graphics adapters compose VMs using full virtualization technology.

  • Ballnux

    • More Information Leaked About The HTC Tablet Coming Q1 2011

      It looks like that Taiwanese component maker that previously ran their mouth about the HTC tablet coming in Q1 had a few more details to get off their chest. The folks over at DigiTimes – the previous rumor source – are now reporting that their source inside Pegatron Technology has now revealed some specs of this HTC tablet rumored to be launching in Q1.

  • Kernel Space

    • Oracle Debuts Oracle’s Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel for Oracle Linux

      Oracle today announced the availability of Oracle’s Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel, a fast, modern, reliable Linux kernel that is optimized for Oracle software and hardware.

    • Oracle’s Ellison Debuts Linux Kernel, Says Red Hat Is Too Slow

      Oracle has developed its own Linux kernel software and will offer customers both the new Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel as well as the Red Hat Linux-compatible kernel Oracle has provided for several years.

      The move could result in more fragmentation of the Linux industry.

      Oracle debuted its own version of Linux four years ago, basing the operating system on Red Hat Linux and maintaining compatibility with that OS ever since.

    • Graphics Stack

      • 2010 XDS Toulouse

        The X.Org Developers’ Summit in Toulouse finished up over the weekend. It is now time for PhoronixFest at Oktoberfest in Munich, but here is a recap of what was discussed at this French X.Org event along with some photos.

      • Most Drivers Won’t Be Merged Into X Server 1.10

        The last talk of the 2010 X.Org Developers’ Summit was regarding X.Org Server 1.10. The good news is that nearly every X.Org graphics driver will not be merged back into the xorg-server repository.

        The release schedule for X.Org Server 1.10 was talked about, which has the final release set to arrive in February. Some of the features for this next major X.Org Server release include libxkb, RandR 1.4, input clean-ups, threaded input events, and other clean-ups. “It’s pretty much our job right now to remove system-level code out of the server and into a share-able environment.” Such work also directly benefits the Wayland Display Server, like the XKB common library that was talked about.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • http://ivan.fomentgroup.org/blog/2010/09/18/stripes-arch/

        Previous wallpapers were just posted as previews here on the blog, but since this was not requested by the distro-art-managers of Arch, but only users, it will probably not end up as a part of the distro.

      • Lets Make the Dot Better

        Well, now I’m on the other side (so to speak) I’m painfully aware of the following: KDE.News relies on you, that is KDE promo contributors and the wider community, for its existence.

        Being a Dot editor is a busy job. We have to receive your articles, make them nice (or worse, depending on whether you like our edits), upload them into Drupal and add html tags, adjust pictures and often source them too. Complex articles can take an hour of work and a few days of emails – that’s just the stuff we do, after the article is written.

      • Are Kopete’s Days Numbered?

        Most KDE users use Kopete for their IM needs. There’s a reason why it’s the default IM client in Linux Mint KDE as well as nearly every other KDE-based distro out there. It works, it’s stable, supports plug-ins, and incorporates just about every major protocol out there. I’ve used it for years, and still do.

      • The wonders of Digikam

        As I am sure you can tell, this is simply a very high level introduction to Digikam. I consider it an impressive application with loads of features and very much encourage that you give it a try. Having said so, there is already news about the soon to come Digikam 2.0, the next production version of this high quality photograph manager.

      • Amarok 2.3.2 “Moonshine” released

        The Amarok Team is happy to announce the release of Amarok 2.3.2.

        This release brings with it much requested bugfixes for some long-standing bugs. Specifically, Dynamic Collection has received fixes and should now work better with hard drives and USB mass storage devices (Collection directories on these media will need to be rescanned for the changes to take effect). The Collection Browser now refreshes properly after a full rescan, fixing a bug where it would show incorrectly cached entries until Amarok was restarted.

      • Amarok New stuff – 2.3.2 Release, Insider 15
      • We’re back, baby!

        After a summer hiatus with lots of… well, not Amarok hacking… we are back with a fresh release. I won’t list all of the changes here in my blog, as you might as well head over to the official release notes.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Editor’s Note: Linux and Too Many Choices

      It must be the season for recycled anti-Linux whinges, because in the past few weeks I have had the pleasure of wading through a flurry of stories about Linux has too many choices, Linux is not ready for prime time, Linux is too expensive just like proprietary software, and FOSS is amateur hour and all insecure. We’ve heard it all before.

      The one that is worth a bit of discussion is “Linux has too many choices.” I rather like that the Linux/FOSS ecosystem is huge, messy, and highly productive. I understand that standing before such a vast colorful feast can be overwhelming. But there is one key point that has not been addressed: how could any kind of simplification be achieved? Think about it– how would this work? All I can think of is some kind of central clearinghouse run by an iron-fisted tyrant who approves or disapproves everything. It’s absurd. FOSS is a giant wonderful cat herd. There is no single turtlenecked dictator. By design it is decentralized and distributed. Anyone can play, and the only entry requirements are ability and desire to learn.

    • Best Linux Distro for 3D Performance

      Across all three tests Chakra scored the highest (With PCLinuxOS and Sabayon in close second and third). Ubuntu 10.04 was at the very bottom (over 10% behind Chakra). While I think Ubuntu is a great distro it appears that if you are a Linux Gamer, you are better off using a non-Ubuntu distro.

    • Security

      • IA32 System Call Entry Point Vulnerability
      • Monday’s security updates
      • Canonical and others close kernel holes

        Canonical has released updated kernels for Ubuntu versions 10.04 LTS, 9.10, 9.04, 8.04 LTS and 6.06 LTS to close the recently discovered holes in the Linux kernel. The updates are also for the equivalent versions of Kubuntu, Edubuntu and Xubuntu and should be available through Ubuntu’s Software Update system.

        [...]

        Red Hat have evaluated their Enterprise Linux offerings and say only RHEL5 is vulnerable to CVE-2010-3081; RHEL4 and Red Hat Enterprise MRG have similar validation issues but lack the “compat_mc_sockopt()” function used by the exploit. The company plans an update to RHEL5 as soon as the fixes have passed testing and will address issues in RHEL4 and Enterprise MRG in a later update. The company says that no version of RHEL is vulnerable to CVE-2010-3301.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS Magazine: KDE 4 SC Special Edition Released
      • PCLinuxOS – Rolling on a river

        PCLinuxOS is a community driven distribution of GNU/Linux, which began in 2003 with the objective of creating a Linux that was radically simple, “worked out of the box, looked fabulous and didn’t require a technical degree from college to get it working.”

        At the time, the idea of a live CD – a version of Linux that ran from RAM and didn’t need to be installed on the hard disk – was still a novelty. Klaus Knopper’s Knoppix had been around since 2000, but the better-known Linux distributions had yet to pick up on the idea.

        The inspiration behind PcLinuxOS, also known as PCLOS, is Bill Reynolds, who is known to fans of PCLinuxOS as Texstar. PCLinuxOS began as an offshoot of Mandrake/Mandriva, to which Texstar had been a long time contributor of third-party packages.

        The objective was to build a fast, reliable distribution of Linux, that was both a Live distribution on the model of Knoppix and a fully installable and flexible Linux desktop, driven by Reynolds’ passion to make the perfect software package.

      • Mandriva is now forked as Mageia

        Apparently they want development be governed by a non-profit organisation or developer cooperative. A main concern of them seems to be the past business decisions of the Mandriva management. The business model looks unclear.

        Consider that Mandriva currently competes with a Russian consortium on a Russian National Operating system contract.

      • Controlling Interest in Mandriva Sold To Russian Firm; Former Developers Fork Distribution

        Last Friday the newspaper Vedomosti reported that a Russian firm, NGI, has purchased a controlling interest in Mandriva. The Quintura blog published a short English language summary of the article today. NGI had previously purchased a 5% stake in Mandriva in July for an undisclosed sum as part of the €3 million financial rescue of the company according to the Vedomosti article. NGI and Ceychas Fund are investing an additional €2 million to acquire controlling interest, including purchasing shares currently held by two other investors.

      • Forking Mandriva Linux: The birth of Mageia

        I usually view these developments with caution, but this one I am actually happy about. Here are my reasons:

        * Mandriva’s management has done a very lousy job with the resources they have. It is pretty appalling. Mandriva was supposed to be to the desktop space what Red Hat is to the server market. But no, the company got stuck somewhere between 1998 and 2005. There were no new ideas. They could have done what Steve Jobs did with Apple, if only they had the vision and a good understanding of the technology and community they had at their disposal.

      • Mageia: MandrivaLinux fork
      • Mageia – A New Linux Distribution
      • Mandriva news by the board

        The Mandriva Community will be autonomous and governance structures will be created to ensure freedom. The Mandriva enterprise is just an element of this independent community.

        A community manager will be hired by Mandriva to help the community to implement these plans.

        The next version of the Mandriva community distribution will be available in spring 2011.

    • Gentoo Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat looks out of state for expansion

        Red Hat’s heady growth has led it to explore out-of-state options for a whopping 300,000 square feet of office space.

        Officials with the Raleigh-based Linux software business recently looked at office space about that size in Atlanta and Austin, Texas.

        The amount of space is substantially more than the 188,000 square feet the company occupies at its headquarters on N.C. State University’s Centennial Campus, sparking speculation about whether the company is considering a relocation of its headquarters.

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • What Makes Debian One of the Most Popular Distros Out There: 5 Good Reasons

        Debian is one of the oldest and most popular distributions among the Linux users. There are probably hundreds of distributions which are based on Debian, or others which are based on distributions which in turn are based on Debian. Although I’m not a Debian developer, I use it for over two years or so, and slowly got to love this OS.

      • Linux Mint, Debian Edition

        All in all, there are definitely some changes in the beta version of Ubuntu 10.10, but for some reason I’m not as impressed with it as I thought I would be. However, I think that Ubuntu is heading in the right direction by polishing up the interface before jumping into large changes. Additionally, it is my understanding that the GUI-based installer has been significantly improved in Ubuntu 10.10, however I have yet to experience this myself because I use the “alternate” text-based installer.

      • Linux Mint, Debian Edition

        I have loaded Mint Debian on my three main laptop/netbooks so far – Fujitsu Lifebook S6510 (Intel Core2 Duo), HP Pavillion dv2-1010ez (AMD Athlon Neo) and Samsung N150 Plus (Intel Atom), and it loads and runs very nicely, and it looks and feels exactly like the Ubuntu-based Mint 9 (Isadora) distribution.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Artwork Team – What are we doing here?

          I am amazed at the high quality artwork produced by Canonical for Ubuntu which permits Ubuntu to complete against other commercial products such as OSX and Windows. The problem is these products are created and release with little if any community involvement.

        • “Sent From Ubuntu” Removed From Evolution In An Update Today [Ubuntu 10.10]

          Well that was quick. The “Sent from Ubuntu” default email signature for Evolution in Ubuntu 10.10 has been removed – as you can see in the latest Evolution package changelog.

        • Logitech G15 tool for Ubuntu feeds Rhythmbox, CPU & more to your keyboard LCD
        • Ecolo switching to Ubuntu

          Ecolo is switching to Ubuntu desktops.

        • Who would win in a struggle between all the Mac OS X cats and all the Linux animals?
        • Previewing Moovida 2.0 on Ubuntu

          To me, that sounds like it means Moovida will not be entirely open-source. This fact may complicate its status for Ubuntu users, ruling it out as a replacement for Rhythmbox/Totem and driving ideologically minded users away.

          On the other hand, the flexible nature of the plugin licensing could prove beneficial to Linux users by making it easier for proprietary developers to reach them. Commercial programmers have a tendency to stay away from open-source applications because the viral nature of the GPL often makes it difficult to bring proprietary code anywhere near open-source programs. Moovida might make that barrier a little easier to overcome.

          For the time being, though, we can only wait and see what develops, since there’s been little word on when we can expect an official Linux release (the Moovida website promises an OS/X release in summer 2010, but the summer is just about officially over and the Mac build has yet to appear, so development may be running behind schedule).

        • Uniteee: 7 days with Ubuntu Unity on a 7” screen

          If you’re not already aware of Ubuntu 10.10’s new netbook interface, called ‘Unity’, then I would sincerely ask you to point to the rock under which you have been living.

        • Ubuntu Software Centre has great potential

          Also, the Ubuntu Software Centre should start charging for open source software and help out the hard working programmers that bring us great apps for the GNU/Linux desktop. This would enable the programmers and the many great open source projects to earn a revenue from the software they produce. Advanced games would be more plentiful and complex software would be available as well. The Ubuntu Software Centre has a lot of potential to create a great market for excellent GNU/Linux software and a great stream of revenue for open source programmers that are struggling to turn a profit. I hope that the next few versions of Ubuntu will have these great features implemented. The Software Centre can spur a new class of great applications for the GNU/Linux platform and bring more users to use Linux as their primary operating system.

        • Mark Shuttleworth on Ubuntu and Dell Tie Up

          Mark Shuttleworth interview about Ubuntu and Dell Tie Up

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Rolling in Mint

            There are a lot of things I like about the Linux Mint distribution. One is that they aren’t reinventing the wheel. Linux Mint is less an independent from-the-ground-up distro and has been more of the icing on the Ubuntu cake. It’s changing (I think improving) the Ubuntu experience without starting over from scratch. Essentially this means that the Mint team is able to introduce new ideas and features to the user without wasting resources on the underlying base. Another point in its favour is that I can easily slap an install on a new computer in twenty minutes and have all the basics right there with no configuring, no tweaking and no adding extra repositories. It’s really the pizza delivery to your door in under thirty minutes distro.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Kmart and Augen Still Kicking Up Dust

        They have just released a new netbook running Android and it promptly sold out. This puts the lie to the revisionist history some recount of the netbook as released in 2007 by ASUS. These things will sell and in the USA. There is always a market for smaller and cheaper computers.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source: a savvy bet, even in tough times

    Even as the economy slouches its way toward another bout of recession, the software industry has been in comparatively rude health. Earnings across the board have been impressive and, as a recent SIIA and OPEXEngine study (warning: PDF) shows, software companies are returning to robust profitability after years of red ink.

    In other words, when the economy has boomed proprietary software companies have also boomed. When it went bust, so did they, to varying degrees.

  • Software And Other Legacy Of The Baby Boomer Generation

    We can blame the baby boomers for proprietary software. (We can also blame them for C++ and Java, and I write two chapters detailing why they have been a total disaster for the industry. I recommend everyone use Python today.) We can also blame boomers for outlawing nuclear power, never drilling in ANWR despite decades of discussion, never fixing Social Security, destroying the K-12 education system, and numerous of the other long-term problems that have existed in this country for decades, that they did not fix, and the ones they created. Linus Torvalds is a Generation X-er, having been born in 1969. It is this generation that is coming into its own now that will invent the future, as we incorporate more free software, cooperation, and free markets into society.

  • 58 Open Source Replacements for Commercial Communications Apps

    So without further ado, here are 58 open source replacements for popular commercial communications software…

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Home Now Available Worldwide

        Firefox Home, a free app that syncs your Firefox browsing history, bookmarks and open tabs to your iPhone or iPod touch, is now available in 15 languages worldwide. Get Firefox Home in your language now!

      • Firefox 4 For Linux Video / Screenshots Preview (Beta 7 Pre)

        Firefox 4 won’t have the menu it has on Windows – according to THIS bug report, but it does have the other new features.

      • Mozilla Labs pops out JavaScript language tool for coders

        Mozilla has released a JavaScript engine strictly for testing purposes to allow web developers to gain deeper access to – and better understanding of – the code underpinning its browser.

        The Narcissus engine and Zaphod script look-up tool have been added to Mozilla Labs to help the open source outfit develop new ideas for the JavaScript language.

      • Pixlr Grabber, Firefox Screenshot Taking Add-On

        The free Firefox add-on Pixel Grabber makes it dead easy to take screenshots in the browser. How does it work? Simply right-click on a page, or click on the status bar icon to grab a screenshot of the whole page, custom or visible area.

        The first and last option display a selection menu to download the screenshot to the local computer, copy it to the clipboard, share it with the image hosting service imm.io or send it to an online editor for immediate image editing.

      • Free my memory
      • Firefox 4 startup gets faster

        Firefox 4 shutdown is already almost instant, but Mozilla has had their sights set on faster start-up times for quite a while. Over the summer, a pair of Mozilla interns looked at simple tweaks which would make Firefox appear faster. It now looks as if at least one of the suggested changes will make its way in to Firefox 4.

      • Firefox 4 now with optimized session restore
      • Boomerang Effect: Firefox 4 is 7x Faster than IE9

        … at least if we believe Mozilla. Mozilla has published new benchmark results that aim to prove that IE9 is not quite as fast as Microsoft claims. In fact, Firefox has gained the edge again.

  • Databases

    • PostgreSQL 9.0 released

      PostgreSQL 9.0 is here! The PostgreSQL Global Development Group announces the availability of our most eagerly awaited release. PostgreSQL 9.0 includes built-in, binary replication, and over a dozen other major features which will appeal to everyone from web developers to database hackers.

    • PostgreSQL 9.0 Final Release Available Now!
    • Oracle MySQL rival PostgreSQL updated

      While Oracle trumpets its open source MySQL database management system this week at the company’s OpenWorld conference, the creators behind MySQL’s rival, PostgreSQL, have released a major new version of their rival database software.

      The newly released version 9 of PostgreSQL includes a number of new features that are potentially appealing to enterprise users. It includes the ability to do streaming replication, the upgrade process has been made considerably easier, and for the first time, it can run natively on clients running the 64-bit version of Microsoft Windows.

    • First release candidate of MySQL 5.5 with InnoDB as a default

      Clearly, the new owner has left its mark in the new default for the database engine. The transaction-capable InnoDB is used, instead of the old MyISAM engine. Oracle says it is much faster than the previous version, thanks partly to multiple roll-back segments and the use of asynchronous I/O under Linux. In particular, MySQL does not come to a standstill as often when there are simultaneous connections on multi-core machines. The developers have changed the threading that the server uses, for example, by using dedicated locks for individual tasks instead of the former global lock.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Talk about Sugar in Software Freedom Kosova 2010 Conference

      FLOSSK has invited me to talk about Sugar in the upcoming Software Freedom Kosova 2010 Conference that will take place next weekend (25th-26th September) in Prishtina.

    • Gnash needs more support

      I’ve just tested Gnash 0.8.8 in a recent firefox beta and it works very well with youtube here. Other famous video (e.g. vimeo) sites, checked some pr0n sites as well, don’t work (properly) though. Now the Gnash developers pointed out on their blog that a) many people, especially debian users, use way too old versions or don’t follow the informations given on setup and therefore don’t remove their youtube cookies, so they get a blank screen and b) many people seem to be barely interested in a free flash player, so they quickly install adobe flash, when gnash does not work or they simply don’t see any reasons to open that technology up. Now since both Google and Apple have turned away from Adobe flash player, Google by actually supporting them, but by breaking their main monopoly with patent-free html 5 video and powerful javascript runtimes and Apple by also focusing on open Webstandards and Html 5 video, flash’s days seem to be counted.

  • Project Releases

  • Government

    • Cenatic report: “Europe leading in development and use of open source”

      Europe is leading in the development and adoption of open source, according to a report by Cenatic, Spain’s national competence centre on this type of software, published yesterday at an IT conference in Palma de Mallorca. “Government support is key for the adoption of open source.”

    • Uncle Sam meets open source with open arms

      Examples of open source in the U.S. government abound. The Smithsonian and Search.USA.gov use Solr/Lucene open source enterprise search. The White House re-launched whitehouse.gov using Drupal. The DoD and the Intelligence Community have proposed an Open Technology Development roadmap “to increase technical efficiency and reduce software lifecycle costs within DoD,” and the DoD has developed forge.mil to “enable continuous collaboration among all stakeholders including project managers, developers, testers, certifiers, operators, and users.” In fact, my own company, Lucid Imagination, is funded in part by In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the CIA, further evidence that open source and government are going hand in hand.

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Visual 6502: a visual simulation of a vintage microprocessor, in Javascript
  • No Poaching?

    He said he worked in Microsoft’s Valley office and at some point in the conversation told me that you couldn’t jump either way between, specifically, Microsoft and Apple; that if you were talking to a recruiter from the one, they’d drop you if you came from the other. He said “They do that to keep people from going back and forth to get raises.”

  • Johann Hari: Suffocating the poor: a modern parable

    They democratically elected a president to stand up to the rich and multinational corporations – so our governments have him kidnapped

  • A Quick Review: Windows 7

    Should you get Windows 7 over a Linux distro? It really and truly depends on your needs. In terms what what you get for price, Linux is amazing. You get tons of programs for free. Your drivers are mostly all already installed. It runs faster on an SSD drive. This version of Windows cost me $99 for an OEM license. I bought it because I like to play computer games and because I want to run Adobe Photoshop Lightroom at maximum efficiency (not via Wine or VirtualBox). Although my wife still has bits here and there where she wishes she had Windows XP instead of Ubuntu, it’s usually because something is different, not because it’s lacking. So she’d be giving most of the same complaints if I had moved her to Windows 7. And, I use my Linux, Fedora-based computer for EVERYTHING that isn’t photography or video games. Sometimes I go for days without booting up my Windows computer.

  • Science

    • Brain’s grey matter helps you introspect

      What happens in our brain when the mind is considering itself? Until now, it has been unclear what happens during a navel-gazing session. Now a team of neuroscientists has shed light on the process by identifying an area of the brain that is larger in more introspective individuals.

      Introspection is the act of assessing or thinking about one’s own thoughts, decisions and feelings. Stephen Fleming from University College London and his colleagues were interested in how the act of introspection – thought to be a crucial component of consciousness – links to the physiology of the brain.

    • 3-million-year-old whale fossil unearthed in CA

      Unearthed during a construction dig at the San Diego Zoo in California last Thursday: The fossilized remains of a 24-foot-long baleen whale that lived 3 million years ago.

      The age of the find is remarkable, but what makes this even more rare is the fact that the entire skeleton appears to be more or less intact: head, vertebrae, flippers, and all.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • How to save women’s lives – the lessons from Sierra Leone

      Before, Fudia would have been taken to the hospital in the midst of labor, and when complications arose, the medical care would have stopped. Someone would have called Alex saying he needed to get to the hospital to pay for a C-section delivery before the operation could take place. The operation would cost between $200 and $500. Alex would have turned to me and asked for help. I would have searched around for someone to deliver the money to the hospital. All that time would have passed before a doctor and nurses could deliver the baby. All that time was endangering the Fudia’s life, and the unborn baby’s.

      Now, because of free health care, a team at the hospital delivered their baby boy. The only phone call Alex received was to tell him that mother and child are healthy. This is one example among many. We are saving the lives of mothers and their children. That is something to celebrate not only in Sierra Leone, but around the world.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Remembering the US Soldier Who Committed Suicide After She Refused to Take Part in Torture

      With each revelation, or court decision, on US torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and Gitmo—or the airing this month of The Tillman Story and Lawrence Wright’s My Trip to Al-Qaeda—I am reminded of the chilling story of Alyssa Peterson, who died seven years ago this week. Appalled when ordered to take part in interrogations that, no doubt, involved what most would call torture, she refused, then killed herself a few days later, on September 15, 2003.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • The battle to save Russia’s Pavlovsk seed bank

      In 1929, Russian botanist Nikolai Vavilov traveled to Central Asia on one of the many seed-collecting expeditions that took him to five continents over more than two decades. In what is now present-day Kazakhstan, Vavilov — the father of modern seed banks — found forests of wild fruits and numerous cultivated varieties. Around the city of Alma Ata, he was astonished by the profusion of apple trees, writing in his journal that he believed he had “stumbled upon the center of origin for the apple, where wild apples were difficult to even distinguish from those which were being cultivated.”

      [...]

      The fate of the station is now in limbo as, after an intense lobbying campaign by botanists and conservation groups around the world, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has announced that the government is investigating the effort to uproot one of the most valuable botanical collections on Earth.

      The priceless nature of the Pavlosk station can be traced directly back to Vavilov and his painstaking efforts to collect seeds from what he viewed as hot spots of plant diversity around the world, now known as Vavilov Centers. His insights into the importance of preserving botanical genetic diversity, particularly among food crops, are highly relevant today as that diversity faces unparalleled threats from industrial agriculture dominated by monoculture crops, destruction of wild habitats, and climate change.

    • Exclusive: Journalism professor Jay Rosen on why climate science reporting is so bad

      Rosen wrote a terrific comment for my August 29 post, “What’s the difference between climate science and climate journalism? The former is self-correcting, the latter has become self-destructive.” Since it was #52, I suspect many missed it, so I’ll repost it below.

      First, though, here are a couple of choice excerpts from Rosen’s Economist interview that readers identified:

      I do not think journalists should “join the team”. They bridle at that, for good reason. Power-seeking and truth-seeking are different behaviours, and this is how we distinguish politics from journalism. I think it does take a certain detachment from your own preferences and assumptions to be a good reporter. The difficulty is that neutrality has its limits. Taken too far, it undermines the very project in which a serious journalist is engaged.Suppose the forces that want to convince Americans that Barack Obama is a Muslim or wasn’t born in the United States start winning, and more and more people believe it. This is a defeat for journalism—in fact, for verification itself. Neutrality and objectivity carry no instructions for how to react to something like that. They aren’t “wrong”, they’re just limited. The American press does not know what to do when neutrality, objectivity, balance and “report both sides” reach their natural limits. And so journalists tend to deny that there are such limits. But with this denial they’ve violated the code of the truth-teller because these limits are real. See the problem?

      … When journalists get attacked from the left and the right, they take it as confirmation that they’re doing something right, when they could be doing everything wrong. There’s a certain laziness that creeps up too, which you can hear in phrases from the commentariat like “extremists on both sides”. No attempt to actually examine centre and margin and compare them across parties; instead, this sorry act of positioning, in which the political centre is associated with truth, common sense and realism. This is a very common prejudice in political journalism.

    • ‘We will have no water and that will be the end of the world for us’

      Peru is said to be the 56th richest country in the world, with 28 of the world’s 35 climates and more than 70% of the tropical glaciers on earth. Most are in rapid retreat, leaving behind devastated farmers and communities short of water.

      Julio invited us to his home, but we are in the hands of Oxfam and heading for another region far from the retreating glaciers but where climate change is impacting communities hard.

    • Sainsbury’s taken to court over ‘excessive’ packaging of beef joint

      A council has launched a landmark legal case against the supermarket giant Sainsbury’s for using too much packaging on a fresh joint of beef.

      Lincolnshire council’s trading standards claim “excessive” wrapping around the meat is damaging to the environment. The case is believed to be the first time a major supermarket has been prosecuted for failing to stay within acceptable levels of packaging.

    • Obama administration accused of helping BP hide the oil in the Gulf

      The Obama administration is facing two new charges of suppressing information about the BP oil spill.

      Independent scientists, environmental organisations and local groups in the Gulf have repeatedly accused government agencies of helping BP to under-estimate the amount of oil that spewed out of its well and play down its effects on marine life.

      The emergency phase of the spill may now be all but over: administration officials say the well could be permanently sealed by Sunday. But the Obama administration still faces a big trust gap over its handling of the spill, with environmentalists and scientists growing more vocal about their suspicions that the US public is being spun.

    • Where’s The Oil? On The Gulf Floor, Scientists Say
    • BP well threatens ancient Libyan sites

      Plans by the energy giant BP to sink an oil well off the Libyan coast could have disastrous consequences for the region’s rich heritage of coastal ancient city sites and shipwrecks – already under threat from oil tankers, coastal erosion and tourist developments – archaeologists from around the world have warned.

    • The US must show leadership on biodiversity

      If the world has been reminded of anything through the tragedy of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, it is that biodiversity and the health of ecosystems is neither an abstract scientific concept nor the pet project of a green elite. Biodiversity and healthy ecosystems are the vital underpinnings of human society.

      Food and energy production on land and from the sea; medicine; tourism, and real estate: these industries and many others have been shown to be starkly vulnerable to the destruction of marine and terrestrial ecosystems. And yet, while the link between biodiversity and human well-being is better understood now than ever before, the news from the frontlines of the global effort to preserve the world’s biodiversity is bleak. The web of life that we all rely on for our very survival is being torn apart at an increasingly alarming rate and action to address this global crisis is still distressingly lacking and slow.

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs: Bullies on the Block
    • How Goldman Sachs Makes Its Money

      From PBS comes this video which reviews how Goldman Sachs takes great pleasure in making money in whatever way presents itself while at the same time ignoring the sufferings of those from whom they obtain their money.

    • The Angry Rich

      Anger is sweeping America. True, this white-hot rage is a minority phenomenon, not something that characterizes most of our fellow citizens. But the angry minority is angry indeed, consisting of people who feel that things to which they are entitled are being taken away. And they’re out for revenge.

      [...]

      For one thing, craziness has gone mainstream. It’s one thing when a billionaire rants at a dinner event. It’s another when Forbes magazine runs a cover story alleging that the president of the United States is deliberately trying to bring America down as part of his Kenyan, “anticolonialist” agenda, that “the U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s.” When it comes to defending the interests of the rich, it seems, the normal rules of civilized (and rational) discourse no longer apply.

    • Confronting Our Complicity

      Building the Big Banks

      So, let’s start with me. I have a checking account at a Wells Fargo Wachovia bank and I regularly make deposits, withdrawals and debit purchases with it. A few months ago, Wachovia settled a case with the Department of Justice for $160 million on the charge of laundering potentially billions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels. High-level Wachovia executives would have us believe they had no prior knowledge of this serious criminal activity which helped keep their company afloat (at least for a little while), but evidence suggests there were numerous red flags they were made aware of and chose to ignore. At the very least they had been extremely negligent in establishing and maintaining money laundering “detection systems”, and why wouldn’t they be when due diligence may cost them millions in bonuses. [2]. Thousands of innocent Mexican and American citizens die every year at the hands of Mexican drug cartels and violence associated with their activities. The drug trade also contributes greatly to socioeconomic ills in both societies, such as the social costs resulting from habitual drug abuse and economic costs from medical treatment and prosecuting the “war on drugs”. [3]. I feel an acute sense of guilt for depositing my money at Wachovia banks, supporting their business activities and aiding them in growing to the extent that their managers can get away with financing murder, even though the amount in my checking account alone is negligible to their overall worth. There are obviously millions of other people in this country who also support Wachovia and other major financial institutions like it, and all that cash adds up to serious capital.

    • S.E.C. Seeks to Reinstate a Debt Rule

      The Securities and Exchange Commission unanimously approved on Friday a proposal to reinstate a requirement that publicly traded companies disclose more information about their short-term borrowings.

    • Chances of a Double Dip

      I look forward at the beginning of each month to getting Gary’s latest letter. I often print it out and walk away from my desk to spend some quality time reading his thoughts. He is one of my “must-read” analysts. I always learn something quite useful and insightful. I am grateful that he has let me share this with you.

    • Unofficial Problem Bank List increases to 854 institutions
    • Gold company sticking with Glenn Beck, other conservative pundits

      A gold trading company has no plans to end its high-profile sponsorship of conservative commentators despite coming under congressional scrutiny.

      Scott Carter, executive vice president of Goldline International, Inc., told The Hill that the firm is “very pleased” with its advertising relationship with Glenn Beck and other radio and television pundits that are popular among conservatives.

    • Greenspan@CFR – Freaking Doomed

      “We’re all freaking doomed.”, says Alan Greenspan.

    • A Conversation with Alan Greenspan (Video)
    • Poverty rate climbs to 14.3 percent, 15-year high

      The overall poverty rate climbed to 14.3 percent, or 43.6 million people, the Census Bureau said Thursday in its annual report on the economic well-being of U.S. households. The report covers 2009, President Barack Obama’s first year in office.

      The poverty rate increased from 13.2 percent, or 39.8 million people, in 2008.

    • The Poverty Census: The poor get poorer & the rich get richer

      IN TODAY’S AMERICA, the poor are apparently getting poorer.

      Then again, so is the middle class. And just like in the days leading up to the Great Depression, the rich are getting even richer.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • On the Advice of the FBI, Cartoonist Molly Norris Disappears From View

      The gifted artist is alive and well, thankfully. But on the insistence of top security specialists at the FBI, she is, as they put it, “going ghost”: moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping away her identity. She will no longer be publishing cartoons in our paper or in City Arts magazine, where she has been a regular contributor. She is, in effect, being put into a witness-protection program—except, as she notes, without the government picking up the tab. It’s all because of the appalling fatwa issued against her this summer, following her infamous “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” cartoon.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • International Internet Treaty proposed by Europe

      Europe has proposed an Internet Treaty to protect the net from political interference which threatens to break it up.

      The draft international law has been compared to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which sought to prevent space exploration being pursued for anything less than the benefit of all human kind. The Internet Treaty would similarly seek to preserve the Internet as a global system of free communication that transcends national borders.

      An early draft of the Treaty has come into our possession as governments around the world pile pressure on the United Nations to bring the Internet under political control. Their various hare-brained schemes threaten to make communication on the Internet conditional on criteria set by narrow political interests.

    • US Senators Propose Bill To Censor Any Sites The Justice Depatement Declares ‘Pirate’ Sites, Worldwide

      The entertainment industry’s favorite two Senators, Patrick Leahy (who keeps proposing stronger copyright laws) and Orin Hatch (who once proposed automatically destroying the computers of anyone caught file sharing) have now proposed a new law that would give the Justice Department the power to shut down websites that are declared as being “dedicated to illegal file sharing.” Other Senators signed on to sponsor the bill are: Sens. Herb Kohl, Arlen Specter, Charles Schumer, Dick Durbin, Sheldon Whitehouse, Amy Klobuchar, Evan Bayh and George Voinovich. Perhaps these Senators should brush up on their history.

      They do realize, of course, that Hollywood (who is pushing them for this law) was established originally as a “pirate” venture to get away from Thomas Edison and his patents, right? Things change over time. Remember, that YouTube, which is now considered by Hollywood to be mostly “legit,” had been derided as a “site dedicated” to “piracy” in the past. It’s no surprise that the Justice Department — with a bunch of former RIAA/MPAA lawyers on staff — would love to have such powers, but it’s difficult to see how such a law would be Constitutional, let alone reasonable.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The Gallo report will be voted next week

      Wednesday next week the European Parliament will be voting on the Gallo report on intellectual property enforcement.

      Unfortunately, there is a major risk that the parliament will adopt the report, which would be bad news for the Internet community. I am one of the signatories on an alternative resolution submitted by the Green, Social Democrat and Left groups, but it is doubtful if we will be able to get a majority for it. But we will keep on trying until the final vote.

    • Copyrights

      • Swedish Pirate Party Fails To Enter Parliament

        The Swedish Pirate Party has failed to replicate last year’s massive victory in the European elections. The Party, which promised it would host Wikileaks and The Pirate Bay inside the Swedish Parliament if it was voted in, lost the majority of last year’s support and won’t reach the threshold that would allow it to enter Parliament.

      • Abstract Logix: Changing the music experience for everyone with the open source way

        Since its inception in 2003, Abstract Logix has consistently positioned itself at the cutting edge of every element of music–sales, production, and distribution. In addition to traditional record label functions, Abstract Logix has fostered a vital community of musicians and fans via its online portal, constantly taking advantage of the ever-expanding possibilities of the digital revolution. Yet, we understand that nothing can replace the exhilaration of master musicians performing in concert. Thus the idea behind The New Universe Music Festival. Our artists will connect with the fans at the festival. The artists will be approachable and will be interested in trading ideas with their fans.

      • 4chan attacks MPAA’s website with DDoS

        Members of the notorious 4chan image board have launched a coordinated a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack against mpaa.org, the website of the Motion Picture Association of America. The attack began at 9:00 PM EST and is still ongoing. It only took eight minutes for the MPAA website to go down. According to an announcement posted on the Internet, 4chan members consider this a retaliation against film studios who paid an Indian company called Aiplex Software to attack torrent websites in a similar manner.Last week, Aiplex’s managing director boasted in the media that when websites refuse to respond to DMCA takedown notices sent by his company, on behalf of local and international film studios, his team resorts to DDoS.

      • Fox News Took ‘Dramatic Step’ In Suing Political Campaign, Says Copyright Expert

        Fox News’ decision to sue a Democratic candidate over her campaign’s use of footage first aired on the network in an ad is an apparent escalation of such fair use battles — bringing disputes between media companies and campaigns from YouTube to the courtroom.

        The suit the network filed against the campaign of Robin Carnahan, a Democrat challenging Rep. Roy Blunt (R) for a Senate seat in Missouri, appears to be the first time such a fair use fight between a media company and a political campaign has been taken to court. It is much more common for media companies to flag the videos to YouTube and assert their copyright.

      • Talk Like A Pirate Day marred by DDoS Attacks

        Kids (of all ages) around the world revel in a whole day in which they can “Talk Like A Pirate”. Arrr. Be a pirate. Sing and play pirate songs like the Arrogant Worms classic pirate tune Last Saskatchewan Pirate. Dress up in pirate gear. There is even an online Pirate Translator for assistance with pirate talking. It is nothing to do with politics, or copyright. The point of “Talk Like A Pirate Day” is fun. Yo ho ho.

        This year, not so much.

        The MPAA has been unsuccessfully trying to convince people that sharing is a bad thing by spending vast sums of money on ‘anti-piracy’ advertising. Of course it doesn’t help that they what they call piracy is not just commercial bootlegging, but includes personal use sharing and any number of things that users feel justified in doing. (Some copyright “reformers” say that we need to purchase copies of the same book for every member of the family.) Or format shifting. (Some copyright “reformers” say we should purchase copies of the same song for every device we would play it on.)

      • Linux Journal be Taken Over by Pirates, ARRRR!

        Happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day everyone!

      • Digital Economy (UK)

        • Julian Huppert MP interview, part one: fighting the Digital Economy Act

          With a new Government telling us massive spending cuts are inevitable, and an old Government that forced through a shoddy piece of legislation called the digital Economy Act before it shuffled off, it hasn’t been looking good for broadband.

          However, each new intake of MPs brings with it new and younger blood, which hopefully has a better handle on the desperate need to keep this country’s broadband infrastructure up to date – or at least close – with our neighbours.

          One of those MPs is Cambridge’s Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert. A tech savvy newcomer to Parliament with a PhD in Biological Chemistry, he’s just the kind of character we need to ensure the voice of gadget loving consumers and tech reliant businesses is heard.

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