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Links 25/3/2013: GNU/Linux Migration in Boston Education, KDE in Outreach Program for Women

Posted in News Roundup at 12:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Hardware

    • Thinking aloud: The Price of Hardware Quality

      Some years ago, we had (one may say) good, classic brands of computers, and others not so good. The price of ones and others vary. An original IBM PC was very expensive (all computers were, at the beginning), but clones came cheaper.

      Quality was also quite well divided by boundaries, and followed the quality and durability of the equipment. A Toshiba, or HP, Compaq, etc., machine was considered of good (hardware) quality, and last as long as what you expected for the money you had paid. Maybe some of you still have one of those running a minimal GNU/Linux distribution today because the hardware lasted. (Image Credit: http://www.whitesettlement.lib.tx.us)

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Miracle grow: Indian farmers smash crop yield records without GMOs

      What if the agricultural revolution has already happened and we didn’t realize it? Essentially, that’s the idea in this report from the Guardian about a group of poverty-stricken Indian rice and potato farmers who harvested confirmed world-record yields of rice and potatoes. Best of all: They did it completely sans-GMOs or even chemicals of any kind.

  • Security

    • Windows Malware Takes Advantage of Weak Linux Setups
    • NSA Critiques Public Key Cryptography

      Revelation of the early public key cryptography work of James Ellis, Malcolm Williamson and Cliff Cocks at GCHQ occurred in 1997, eleven years after this secret 1986 review cites them. Whitfield Diffie, one of the inventors or PKC, commented in 1999 on the British precursors:

    • NSA INFOSEC Excitement

      Some time ago, while I was having lunch with the Director of Security of one of our NATO allies and we were discussing the rash of books on intelligence agencies such as the CIA and Britain’s MI-5 and MI-6 that were flooding bookstores, he asked, “Why aren’t there more best selling books on INFOSEC?” I replied, “It’s because the best days we have in INFOSEC are when nothing exciting happens in the outside world. When we are successful, which we are most ofthe time, the result is a non-event.”

    • CMU, NSA search for student hackers

      …participants must reverse engineer, break, hack, decrypt, or do whatever it takes to solve the challenge.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Cablegate

    • Wikileaks: Power and Consent. Raimond Gaita
    • ‘Pentagon Papers’ whistleblower defends WikiLeaks ‘hero’ Manning

      Sydney, Mar 25 (ANI): Former American military analyst and Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg has backed US Army private accused Bradley Manning for spilling secrets to website WikiLeaks.

    • Vietnam whistleblower defends WikiLeaks

      PENTAGON Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg waited decades for someone like Bradley Manning to follow in his footsteps.

      He hails the US Army private accused of spilling secrets to website WikiLeaks as a champion of truth and not a betrayer of his country.

    • In Leak Case, State Secrecy in Plain Sight
    • New York Times Understand Historical Import of Manning Trial – FINALLY
    • Only a Few Reporters Have Bothered to Truly Confront Secrecy in Bradley Manning’s Court Martial

      Just over one year ago, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) sent a letter to the military judge presiding over Pfc. Bradley Manning’s court martial that decried the “lack of openness” in proceedings. It condemned the fact that “documents and information filed in the case” were “not available to the public anywhere.” It complained about the failure to give the public proper “notice of issues to be litigated in the case.”

      The US Army did not respond appropriately to the letter. The military court at Fort Meade rebuffed an attempt by a CCR attorney to make a statement on press and public access to proceedings on April 24. The same day the military judge, Army Col. Denise Lind, issued a ruling that invoked Nixon v. Time Warner, a case involving press access to the Watergate tapes, to justify secrecy in the proceedings, and she said the Freedom of Information Act was available to the press if they wanted records. CCR filed a lawsuit in May about a month later (which I signed on to as a plaintiff).

  • Finance

    • Russian Billionaire In Exile Boris Berezovsky Commits Suicide – The First Cyprus Casualty?

      Just your ordinary run of the mill Russian billionaire oligarch in exile who had so much money he was terminally depressed… or just the opposite, and the first tragic casualty of the Cyprus capital controls which are about to eviscerate a whole lot of Russian wealth (and ultraluxury Manhattan real estate prices)?

    • The Cyprus Cartoon Catalog
    • The future of the NHS—irreversible privatisation?

      JILL MOUNTFORD: Lucy, can you explain to us what is going on right now? The Health and Social Care Act has been law now for almost a year, and we thought surely that’s all going to go ahead. All of a sudden there is a lot of movement, a lot of anxiety and a lot of agitation around something that’s happening in parliament that’s going to have a big effect on the National Health Service. What is it and why?

    • Will Goldman Sachs Celebrate Its Latest Victory at a Strip Club?

      Goldman Sachs won a huge victory yesterday. A federal court ruled that Lisa Parisi, a former managing director, must take her gender-discrimination lawsuit against the firm to arbitration.

      With the ruling, Parisi — who had sued Goldman in 2010, along with two other women — can kiss her chances of victory goodbye. Arbitration is where plaintiffs’ dreams go to die, which is probably why it was in her Goldman Sachs employment contract.

      These plaintiffs aren’t renegade feminists. They’re mainstream financial types who played by the rules and hoped to reap the rewards. The men who fought them are simply corporate types who prefer to keep Wall Street an old boys’ club.

      Some of the allegations in the suit are straight out of “Mad Men.” During their work at Goldman Sachs, the women were subject to sexual banter, which is what passes for conversation among traders, as well as to come-ons and sexual assaults. They were passed over for promotions and bonuses, excluded from some male outings and included in others designed to embarrass them. A celebration for new managing directors was held at a topless bar. Afterwards, a married male colleague pinned one of the plaintiffs to a wall and sexually assaulted her.

    • Goldman gets go-ahead for ‘banking factory’

      Goldman Sachs has been granted approval to build a new “banking factory” in the City, ending a protracted bid to develop the site that was held up by protected murals on the existing building.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • On corporate persons

      And like other giant corporations it already has personhood.

      What makes Google so all-powerful? So Visible? So very Google?

      Are various administrations and Yes, I’m thinking Obama’s, simply afraid of it and the people who run it?

      Is it grandiose?

      Is it a part of the Gobal Elite?

      If Google was Good …

      Google could be everything it touts itself as being — a good company providing genuine services, constantly trying to improve the ‘user experience’.

      It could revolutionise the world of business by being completely transparent in all respects, completely open in its dealings with the people it depends on — you and I — and completely up-front about what it does and how it does it.

      It certainly has enough in the way of hard cash and other reso

    • O’Reilly Demands Respect for the Pagan Goddess Eostre

      Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly (O’Reilly Factor, 3/21/13), claiming victory in the “War on Christmas,” declares that the new battle is the “War on Easter.”

  • Censorship

    • Groups unite to condemn Leveson law

      The Leveson Inquiry was set up to address “the culture, practices and ethics of the press, including contacts between the press and politicians and the press and the police”. Our views diverge on whether the outcome of the Leveson process — and the plans for a new regulator — are the best way forward. But where we all agree is that current attempts at regulating blogs and other small independent news websites are critically flawed.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • “Gaming” can be avoided: bloggers can be protected from the Crime and Courts Bill

      We’re told that politicians are concerned, exempting small and medium size businesses from the Bill could lead to “gaming”. That is, a large publisher could create small subsidiaries to avoid the Leveson sticks applying to them. We believe this can be avoided. The Companies Act anticipates “gaming”, and includes protections against it.

    • Constable wants tougher stance on US defense act

      The American Civil Liberties Union describe the 2012 NDAA as “codifying indefinite military detention without charge or trial into law for the first time in American history. The NDAA’s dangerous detention provisions would authorize the president – and all future presidents – to order the military to pick up and indefinitely imprison people captured anywhere in the world, far from any battlefield,” it continues. “The ACLU will fight worldwide detention authority wherever we can, be it in court, in Congress, or internationally.”

      Quiggle made it a written policy last May that he would not cooperate with this portion of the NDAA in his position as constable.

    • Letter: An affront to freedom

      Even the U.S. secretary of defense has expressed misgivings about the NDAA.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Google sued for trademark infringement by ‘Android’ watchmaker company

        It seems suing for trademark infringement is really a prevalent game in the business world. Oko International, the maker of a wide range of watches and timepieces sold under the brand name ‘Android,’ is suing the giant Google for trademark infringement.

        A recent rumor in many tech sites is that Google is reportedly building a smartwatch to compete with Apple and Samsung.

    • Copyrights

      • Spanish Government Bows Down To US Pressures Again, Pushes SOPA-Like Law To Appease Hollywood

        While Spain actually has a fairly vibrant culture and entertainment industry, Hollywood has really had it in for the country for some time, in part because Spanish courts had a more evolved recognition of secondary liability protections, such that they ruled that linking is not infringement, and that neither was basic file sharing. Hollywood flipped out, said all sorts of nasty things about Spain, and US diplomats basically handed the Spanish government a new copyright law. The first few attempts to pass the bill failed, after the public spoke out, economists explained how it would hurt the economy rather than help and even the head of the Spanish Film Academy noted that the American movie industry seemed to be fighting the internet and the public.

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