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Links 2/5/2014: Graphics/GPU Source Code for Linux, Drones With Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 11:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Why American Apples Just Got Banned in Europe

      Back in 2008, European Food Safety Authority began pressing the chemical industry to provide safety information on a substance called diphenylamine, or DPA. Widely applied to apples after harvest, DPA prevents “storage scald”—brown spots that “becomes a concern when fruit is stored for several months,” according to Washington State University, reporting from the heartland of industrial-scale apple production.

    • Antibiotic-resistant superbug arose in northern Manhattan

      Human skin is a garden of microbes that is home to about 1,000 bacterial species. Most are benign, but some invade the skin and cause illness—of these, antibiotic-resistant bacteria are particularly dangerous.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Finance

    • Organized Labor, Public Banks and the Grassroots: Keys to a Worker-Owned Economy

      Before his death in February, Jackson Mississippi Mayor Chokwe Lumumba was helping his constituents chart an economic plan whose main component was worker-owned cooperatives. In her recent article about Lumumba and cooperatives, Laura Flanders cites Collective Courage author Jessica Gordon Nembhard’s point that African-American leaders from Marcus Garvey to W.E.B. DuBois were proponents of cooperatives. DuBois, Garvey and Lumumba understood that worker democracy was necessary for economic sovereignty and community solidarity.

    • Beyond Piketty’s Capital: Richard Wolff Warns us Not to Band-Aid Capitalism

      Wolff warns that we cannot band-aid capitalism. However laudable and even attainable may be suggestions from economists like Piketty or Dean Baker, to name just two, piecemeal policies designed to stop the system from funneling wealth upwards will not work for long. The elites are fully focused on preserving and expanding their fortunes, and the structure of the contemporary economy puts in the hands of a very few people in large corporate enterprises “both the incentive and the resources to roll back whatever adjustments a movement from below is able to make.”

    • IMF Confirms $17bn Loan to Ukraine with Conditions That Will Devastate the Economy

      The IMF has confirmed a conditional loan of $17bn to Ukraine in what it touts as a rescue package aimed at stabilizing Ukraine as it seeks to maintain independence from a belligerent Russia. Instead, we are witnessing the final stages of the US-EU coup of Ukraine, and by implementing the conditions of the loan, the nation will be left destitute and dependent.

    • Kshama Sawant, Seattle City Councilwoman: McDonald’s Doesn’t Need Time To Phase In $15 Minimum Wage

      Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, an outspoken socialist, claimed a victory Thursday after Mayor Ed Murray announced a plan to hike the city’s minimum wage to $15, which Sawant was a driving force behind. But she told HuffPost Live’s Alyona Minkovski that she isn’t totally happy with the plan, which gives big corporations years to phase in the new wage.

    • Demanding ‘Just and Sustainable’ Economy For All, Thousands March on Congress

      In an expression of a “new populist” energy, thousands of demonstrators shut down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC on Monday as they demanded a livable wage and an end to the corporate domination of the national economy and politics.

    • The Big Tip That America’s Servers Never See

      A good many Americans now know the high-finance games that JPMorgan Chase and other big banks like to play — at our expense. And big oil giants like ExxonMobil have been outraging Americans for years.

      But plenty of other corporate giants that inflate our inequality have been flying under the radar screen. Who, for instance, has ever heard of Darden? Or Yum! Brands?

      These little-known outfits just happen to rate as two of the biggest corporate behemoths in the restaurant industry. They’ve been squeezing workers — and soaking taxpayers — as relentlessly as any enterprises in America. Yet they barely have any national profile at all.

      That may be about to change.

      Last week, on the eve of the National Restaurant Association annual meeting, two top think tanks — the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington and Demos in New York— released new studies that detail how America’s food-service giants are growing the gap between the nation’s rich and everyone else.

      This week protesting restaurant workers will be taking that message to the streets. Many of these workers are currently laboring at the $2.13 hourly federal minimum wage for tipped workers, a base that hasn’t budged since 1991.

    • Any talk of economic recovery is pure fiction

      Down is up. Sick is healthy. The RMS Titanic is seaworthy. Topsy-turvy logic is a speciality of the austerity brigade, and here they come dishing up a third helping. First, in 2010-11, they pledged that making historic cuts amid a global slump would definitely, absolutely secure a strong recovery. Then things went predictably belly-up, forcing Cameron and Osborne to dump their deficit-reduction plans and the eurocrats to make more bailouts. Yet these reversals were, naturally, “sticking to the course”. Now things don’t look quite as awful as they did a couple of years ago – and this somehow gets chalked up as a miraculous rebound.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Science Media Centre Spins Pro-GMO Line

      Since consumer campaigning got GMOs labeled and crop restricting implemented in the United Kingdom, Cameron will likely have a hard time convincing UK consumers that all is well. However, Cameron is getting help in that quest from a little known group called the Science Media Centre (SMC), which helped release the report to great fanfare. The Guardian and The Independent published prominent coverage of the report, and it was featured by the BBC. The Independent and BBC coverage were both entirely uncritical, quoting the scientists handpicked by the SMC for its reporters’ briefing. The Guardian report was less glowing, but still quoted the SMC scientists and buried the reactions of critics below the fold. None of them mentioned that the report briefing was held by the SMC.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • FCC’s Wheeler Says That If These Lame Net Neutrality Rules Don’t Work, He’ll Implement The Real Rules Next Time

      Following his weak attempt to diffuse concerns about his bogus “open internet” rules, FCC boss Tom Wheeler has decided to try again, by basically repeating what he said last week with slightly stronger language about how he won’t let broadband providers violate net neutrality. Of course, as many people have explained, the problem is that the new rules clearly aren’t strong enough, and leave open all sorts of ways to kill off basic neutrality online. Of course, the real problem is that the original 2010 “open internet” rules (which were really crafted by the telcos in the first place) didn’t really protect net neutrality in the first place, and the new rules are basically an even weaker version of those rules. But, have no fear, claims Wheeler, if these rules don’t work, he promises he’ll actually pull out the big gun, Title II, and reclassify broadband players as telco services rather than information services, allowing the FCC to put them under common carrier rules.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Dotcom Thanks RIAA and MPAA for Mega’s Massive Growth

        Mega.co.nz, the cloud storage company founded by Kim Dotcom, has seen the number of uploads triple in the past six months. Mega users now upload a total of half a billion files per month. According to Kim Dotcom, the MPAA and RIAA deserve some credit for the unprecedented growth.

      • Lawsuit Against First US Copyright Trolls For Extortion Ends In Victory

        A few years ago, we wrote about how a guy named Dimitry Shirokov, with help from the law firm of Booth Sweet had taken on the “fathers” of copyright trolling in the US, Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver, who had formed an organization called US Copyright Group, which initiated the first round of mass copyright trolling in the US (before the likes of Prenda and others entered the space). Shirokov had tried to make his lawsuit a class action against the lawyers, claiming fraud and extortion. And while the class action part was unfortunately rejected, the case has ended with a victory for Shirokov, with the judge ordering DGW to pay $39,909.95 ($3,179.52 to Shirokov and the rest in attorneys’ fees to Booth Sweet).

      • Books and more are relicensed to Creative Commons

        I began working with the Wikimedia Foundation in January 2012 for program and community support in India. With the Centre for Internet and Society’s Access To Knowledge program, we focus on open access for scholarly publications to help communities enrich Wikipedia entries for Indic languages.

        While I was negotiating with a few authors to relicense their copyrighted books to a Creative Commons license (a license that allows anyone to reuse, modify and use content), I began identifying certain areas of motivation for an author to donate their work as free content.

        We worked closely with Goa University, Manik-Biswanath Smrutinyasa Trust, and the Institute of Odia Studies and Research.

      • Aereo Can’t Be Bound by Secret Interpretations of Copyright Law

        It may seem like a wishy-washy answer, but there’s an alarming point nested within it: the Solicitor General’s office’s position that the interpretation of the law—which the executive branch has worked into our international trade obligations—is the only way for the law to be “properly construed.”

        That in turn suggests that the executive branch believes it is responsible for properly constructing the law. Of course, that position stands in conflict with Marbury v. Madison, the case that established judicial review in 1803: “It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.”

        That has serious implications for the democratic process. Here’s how it seems to work: the executive branch comes up with an interpretation of U.S. copyright law and then negotiates it into international agreements. It conducts these negotiations in secret, insisting that it needs no meaningful oversight because it doesn’t require a change in U.S. law.

      • Ballots 2009 for the Swedish Pirate Party’s election to the European Parliament

        More or less overnight, betting companies slashed their odds of the Swedish Pirate Party’s re-election to the European Parliament. Where a re-election scenario used to give you 8x your money back in a bet with them, it now gives a mere 1.25x. It appears the betting companies know something that Swedish oldmedia haven’t picked up on yet.

      • Kim Dotcom: On the road with Hollywood’s biggest enemy

        Kim Dotcom, the multi-millionaire hacker-turned-entrepreneur, was on the roof of his New Zealand mansion, handcuffed and surrounded.

        One by one, his luxury cars were rolled out of garages and taken away. Dotcom’s accounts, in various different countries, were frozen.

        His website, file storage service Megaupload, was shut down.

        Filings made in a court in Virginia outlined the accusation. Dotcom, US authorities said, was the man behind a “criminal enterprise” which used Megaupload to profit from piracy on a “massive scale”. He faces more than 20 years in prison.

      • Tarantino is Back, Now Claiming Gawker is an Illegal Downloader

        After landing an early victory last week against Quentin Tarantino in their leaked screenplay row, Gawker is facing a new attack. In an amended complaint, Tarantino accuses Gawker of committing not only contributory infringement, but also direct infringement, after it illegally downloaded his script from a file-hosting site.

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