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05.04.14

Links 4/5/2014: XBMC 13, Warsow 1.5

Posted in News Roundup, Site News at 11:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Vantrix Launches f265.org for Open Source HEVC Encoder
  • Events

    • GCI 2013 and Grand Prize Trip

      How does one become a contributor of Open Source development? Some start with the wish to fix that certain annoying bug in their favorite software. Others want to extend it by a new feature. However you arrive, the path to go to get that seemingly easy task done is often not clear. Where’s the source for that button? How do I make my changes take effect in the software that is run? Finding the right path can be a frustrating journey many are not willing to endure. Google Code-In (or GCI for short) aims to help out: Pairing prospective contributors with mentors from established open source organizations builds a path to successful contributions. KDE has participated in GCI as a mentoring organization since its start in 2010, and did so again in the most recent 2013 edition.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Possible Features To Find In OpenGL 5.0

      There’s a big belief that OpenGL 5 will be about optimizing this cross-platform, widely-used graphics API. All of the major hardware companies are working towards reducing OpenGL driver overhead and making other OpenGL improvements as a result of AMD’s Mantle API. Mantle is still Windows-only and used by just a handful of games for now with AMD’s Catlayst driver on GCN GPUs, but it’s ignited a conversation about increasing the performance potential out of OpenGL. DirectX 12.0 is also going to be optimizing the performance potential of Microsoft’s 3D graphics API.

Leftovers

  • Banksy condemns ‘disgusting’ Stealing Banksy exhibition on opening day

    As press and street art fans were allowed in to take a first look at an exhibition claiming to be “the most expensive collection of Banksy artworks ever assembled”, the artist posted a statement on his website condemning it.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Those Military Observers

      If you think you get the truth on CNN and BBC you are not paying attention.

    • World Domination

      Add together the cities of Donetsk, Kharkiv and Lugansk and you don’t reach the economic output of Dundee. World domination it isn’t. Unfortunately both in the Kremlin and on Capitol Hill they, and their satraps, think it is. Neither side cares at all about the millions of ordinary people in the zone of potential conflict.

    • Iraqi army strikes ‘jihadist convoy’ in Syria

      Iraqi army helicopters have hit what they believe was a jihadist convoy in eastern Syria, killing at least eight people, in a show of strength days before the country’s first national elections since 2010.

    • Worse than Iran-Contra? Why the White House is Desperate to Bury Benghazi

      Cover-up is about shielding details of arms smuggling to terrorists in Syria

    • US ships 300,000 MREs to Ukraine military

      The United States delivered 300,000 meals ready to eat to the Ukranian military, the first delivery of American aid to the former Soviet republic, following Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

    • Chomsky: US Leaders’ Panic Over Crimea Is About Fear of Losing Global Dominance

      The current Ukraine crisis is serious and threatening, so much so that some commentators even compare it to the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.

      Columnist Thanassis Cambanis summarizes the core issue succinctly in The Boston Globe: “[President Vladimir V.] Putin’s annexation of the Crimea is a break in the order that America and its allies have come to rely on since the end of the Cold War—namely, one in which major powers only intervene militarily when they have an international consensus on their side, or failing that, when they’re not crossing a rival power’s red lines.”

    • David Ignatius: Putin steals CIA playbook on anti-Soviet covert operations

      The West has made NATO’s military alliance the heart of its response to Russia’s power grab in Ukraine. But we may be fighting the wrong battle: The weapons President Vladimir Putin has used in Crimea and eastern Ukraine look more like paramilitary “covert action” than conventional military force.

    • Is the Western narrative obscuring what’s really going on in Ukraine?

      Washington and Brussels are the heroes of the Ukrainian saga, if you believe the Western media. Russian President Vladimir Putin is cast as the Big Bad Russian Bear, US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are the Democratic A-Team. Russia is supposedly using dirty KGB-inspired tactics: secret agitators backed by masked paratroopers. The West makes the same tired claims to back democracy and freedom and denounces Putin’s foul play.

      The hyperbole is extraordinary. Is it really appropriate to invoke the memory of Anschluss, or compare Putin to Saddam Hussein? Kerry has called Ukraine an “incredible act of aggression”, conveniently ignoring drone strikes, the Iraq War, and the numerous illegal coups the US has pulled off since World War II.

    • Condoleezza Rice Backs Out of Rutgers Commencement After Student Protests

      Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has decided not to participate as the speaker for Rutgers University’s commencement ceremony after students began protesting the invitation earlier this year based on Rice’s involvement with the Iraq War.

      It’s no secret that Americans today tend to be less supportive of the war in Iraq than they were back in 2003, and that decline in support has caused some serious negative backlash for Rice.

    • Condoleezza Rice declines to speak at Rutgers after student protests
    • Obama’s new Ukraine – a Russophobic failed state ruled by fascists

      The chaos, terror and civil war in Ukraine is the deliberate creation of the Washington war machine, writes Mike Whitney. It is just step one of an offensive aimed at Russia – and that should raise loud alarms among all who care about our Earth’s future.

    • Camp X Was the Basis for the CIA ‘Farm’

      Between 1941 and 1944, Americans and Canadians trained as secret agents at Camp X in Whitby, Ontario learning from the finest intelligence specialists the arts of espionage, sabotage, subversion, unarmed combat, silent killing, weapons training and various forms of communications. Employing the finest intelligence specialists, Camp X turned highly qualified recruits into covert operatives trained for clandestine Allied missions, and in so doing played an integral role in the development of international and domestic intelligence training.

    • Troops on the Ground: U.S. and NATO Plan PSYOPS Teams in Ukraine

      Effort reminiscent of CIA’s Radio Free Europe during Cold War

    • Washington responsible for fascist massacre in Odessa

      In what can only be described as a massacre, 38 anti-government activists were killed Friday after fascist-led forces set fire to Odessa’s Trade Unions House, which had been sheltering opponents of the US- and European-backed regime in Ukraine.

      According to eye-witnesses, those who jumped from the burning building and survived were surrounded and beaten by thugs from the neo-Nazi Right Sector. Video footage shows bloodied and wounded survivors being attacked.

      The atrocity underscores both the brutal character of the right-wing government installed in Kiev by the Western powers and the encouragement by the US and its allies of a bloody crackdown by the regime to suppress popular opposition, centered in the mainly Russian-speaking south and east of Ukraine.

      As the Odessa outrage occurred, US President Barack Obama, at a joint White House press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, explicitly endorsed the military offensive being carried out by the unelected Kiev government against protesters occupying official buildings in eastern Ukraine.

      Despite Western media attempts to cover up what happened in Odessa—with multiple reports stating that “the exact sequence of events is still unclear”—there is no doubt that the killings in the southern port city were instigated by thugs wearing the insignia of the Right Sector, which holds positions in the Kiev regime, along with the like-minded Svoboda party.

    • Israel police challenge US ‘terror’ findings

      Israeli police on Thursday challenged Washington’s inclusion of Jewish extremist attacks on Palestinians in a global terror report, saying such incidents could not be likened to militant attacks.

      For the first time, the State Department’s 2013 Country Reports on Terrorism, published Wednesday, included a reference to a growing wave of racist anti-Palestinian vandalism, euphemistically known as “price tag” attacks.

    • Tony Blair: to bomb or not to bomb people we don’t like in the Middle East

      Blair urges the world to “intervene” more in the Middle East, just as he and Bush “intervened” in Iraq. Trouble is, he admits, public opinion opposes his addiction to war

    • The Enemy of Your Enemy is Not Always Your Friend

      The next time you’re influenced by a facebook meme or a heart-wrenching youtube video about human rights violations by an “enemy” of the West, think about the atrocities by the pro-Western side that we are not seeing. Study the history of the country to learn what parts of the so-called democratic opposition might draw their lineage to militant groups (such as the Ukrainian Insurgent Army) that have massacred ethnic, religious, or political minorities in past decades. If the U.S. continues to back these crazies just because they attack the West’s enemies, blowback is again going to be inevitable.

    • The ‘Hook’ and Awlaki: a tale of two imams

      As the latest trial opened, his US lawyer, Joshua Dratel, noted that western governments, including the US, and his client were once on the same side, fighting in defence of Muslims in Afghanistan and in Bosnia against the Serbians. Dratel, who is Jewish, would not be defending Hamza if he was promoting anti-Jewish hatred, which he was accused of during his UK trial. While Hamza’s views were extreme, Dratel said, it was not illegal to hold them. At one point, he likened Hamza to Nelson Mandela, who was “once considered a terrorist. Now he’s an icon.”

    • Dozens of FBI, CIA agents in Kiev ‘assisting Ukraine security’

      Numerous US agents are helping the coup-appointed government in Ukraine to “fight organized crime” in the south east of the country, the German newspaper Bild revealed.

      According to the daily, the CIA and FBI are advising the government in Kiev on how to deal with the ‘fight against organized crime’ and stop the violence in the country’s restive eastern regions.

    • CIA, FBI consulting Kiev government, says German weekly
    • CIA, FBI agents advising Ukraine government: Report
  • Transparency Reporting

    • Leaked US Cable Notes ex-BPK Chief’s ‘Notoriety’ for Corruption

      Hadi, recently named a suspect by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in a decade-old tax case, served as the director general for taxation at Indonesia’s Ministry of Finance between 2001 and 2006.

      The 2006 diplomatic cable, published by Wikileaks on its website, commented on his replacement as the tax director general by Darmin Nasution.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Being cute ‘won’t save the penguins’

      Campaigners dressed as penguins marked World Penguin Day outside Norway’s parliament. They called on Norway and other nations active in the Antarctic to do more to save the world penguin population from a rapid decline.

    • Biodiversity offsetting is a license to trash

      A proposal in the UK to destroy ancient woodland to make way for a £40 million motorway service station clearly reveals the flaws of biodiversity offsets.

    • DAVID VS. GOLIATH: A TINY TRIBE TAKES ON BIG ENERGY

      Coal ash is the waste material left over after coal is burned. It’s often laced with pollutants, but it isn’t covered by any federal rules. In fact, no one paid much attention to coal ash until 1 billion gallons of it poured into the rivers around the Tennessee Valley Authority Kingston Fossil Plant in 2008 and blanketed more than 300 acres of land. The tragic spill ignited a debate over whether to regulate coal ash and how.

    • The Aussie Big Four, Third World Land Grabs and Ethical Capitalism

      Oxfam Australia has released a report showing that the big four Australian banks have financial connections with agri-business interests that are involved in major land grabs and exploitation.

    • Koch brothers decline invitation to debate climate change

      A group supporting the political views of retired billionaire investor Tom Steyer bought a full-page color advertisement Friday in The Wichita Eagle — the Koch brothers’ hometown newspaper — inviting the brothers to a public debate on climate change.

  • Finance

    • Justice Puts Banks in a Choke Hold

      When you become a banker, no one issues you a badge, nor are you fitted for a judicial robe. So why is the Justice Department telling bankers to behave like policemen and judges? Justice’s new probe, known as “Operation Choke Point,” is asking banks to identify customers who may be breaking the law or simply doing something government officials don’t like. Banks must then “choke off” those customers’ access to financial services, shutting down their accounts.

      Justice launched the effort in early 2013…

    • Activists decry lack of affordable rooms in Vancouver
    • Report: More Than 92 Million Americans Remain Out Of Labor Force

      Despite the unemployment rate plummeting, more than 92 million Americans remain out of the labor force.
      The unemployment rate dropped to 6.3 percent in April from 6.7 percent in March, the lowest it has been since September 2008 when it was 6.1 percent. The sharp drop, though, occurred because the number of people working or seeking work fell. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not count people not looking for a job as unemployed.

    • Crossrail managers accused of ‘culture of spying and fear’

      Leaked documents reveal that workers on new rail link are too scared of being sacked to report injuries

    • Seattle’s $15 Wage Plan Proves Power of Radical Pressure

      City’s watered-down version, embraced by political elites and business class, a ‘testament to how working people can push back against the status quo of poverty, inequality, and injustice’

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Why the Alex Jones industrial complex must be dismantled

      I went after Jones specifically because almost all of his propaganda plays into the hands of the extreme right wing in the United States. He dismisses feminism and gay rights as part of a New Word Order plot to reduce the population. He dismisses climate change as a hoax, and backs it up by giving weather reports on Mars. He attacks non-existent, nameless, faceless organizations like the Illuminati but ignores the evils being done by right-wing billionaires like the Koch Brothers.

      His supporters are certified experts on the Bilderberg Group, but they seem to know nothing about the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group that literally writes laws for corporations and passes them into law. Who needs the Illuminati when you have people like that? What if we just do away with the word “Illuminati” and start talking about capitalism and the state?

      You will never hear conspiracy theorists talk about class war; they are far more concerned with preserving their own status in this economic system. Like missionaries and populist demagogues of the past, they prey on the young and downtrodden, give them an all-encompassing worldview, call it “truth, and and label everyone who doesn’t believe it a “sheep” who needs to “wake up.”

      I attack Infowars because it is not a revolutionary movement. It is chasing a mirage. It imagines the good ol’ days of ‘merica, when white slave-owners wrote a constitution for other property owners, before they pushed west, killed multitudes of Native Americans (historical estimates range between 30-100 million) and stole their land. Those are the glory days of 1776 that the right-wing conspiracy crowd holds up as an ideal that we need to return to.

    • How Presidents and the Public Have Ignored Right Wing Terrorism
    • Book Buzz: ‘Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt’

      Two books about computer shenanigans this week. Michael Lewis’ “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt” takes on the high-frequency traders who have made ghost “towns” of stock exchange floors and created a market that is impenetrable to common understanding.

      In high-frequency trading, milliseconds count (if you could count that fast) so Wall Street traders now jockey for fiber-optic proximity to exchanges in order to execute trades and change pricing within one/one-thousandth or some such of the blink of an eye, so as to ensure that traders made a profit regardless of what happened to their customers. Nothing new there, right? Except now it’s being done at light-like speeds.

  • Privacy

    • What Edward Snowden didn’t disclose

      For one thing, Snowden did not have access to any specific ECIs (Extremely Classified Information compartments) that protect specific sources of information, including the identities of companies that partner with the NSA. The larger ones can be inferred, but the details of their cooperation, along with the details of hundreds of other relationships, are ECI-controlled.

    • ​Everyone is under government surveillance now – Snowden

      Government surveillance no longer targets individuals, but entire populations, former CIA contractor Edward Snowden has said. The whistleblower appeared via video link in a Toronto debate over the NSA intelligence gathering programs.

      Commenting on the antics of the National Security Agency, which have been described in the past as “Orwellian in nature,” Snowden said every citizen is affected by intelligence gathering programs

      “It’s no longer based on the traditional practice of targeted taps based on some individual suspicion of wrongdoing,” Snowden said in the brief video. “It covers phone calls, emails, texts, search history, what you buy, who your friends are, where you go, who you love.”

    • Want to stop creepy online tracking? Help the EFF test Privacy Badger

      Privacy Badger is a new tool from the Electronic Frontier Foundation designed to stop creepy online tracking.

      It’s an extension for Firefox and Chrome that “automatically detects and blocks spying ads around the Web, and the invisible trackers that feed information to them.”

    • Google Glass – Why I’m not interested.

      Its reported that Google Glass advocates are coming to your town and that was the catalyst for writing this article. I am quite happy for Google Glass users to love their devices, however I don’t want them ranting on at me about it and I certainly don’t want their camera’s pointed at me.

      There’s something very strange about Google Glass “advocates” and its something akin to Justin Beiber fans.

      Hopefully the novelty of Google Glass will wear off, or at-least be limited to their own forums and fan pages.

      For the record, I am not a Google “hater” (its one of the ways a Google Glass Advocate rationalizes someone not interested in their toy) infact quite the opposite, I’m currently writing this on a Chromebook and am a very heavy user of many Google services – Doc’s, Drive, Groups, G+, Google, Gmail. I was also an early adopter of the ill fated GoogleWave and certainly no “hater” of Google products and my smartphones are Android, as are the tablets that I use.

    • Digital arms makers follow money for NSA arsenal

      On Florida’s Atlantic coast, cyber arms makers working for U.S. spy agencies are bombarding billions of lines of computer code with random data that can expose software flaws the U.S. might exploit.

    • Technology law will soon be reshaped by people who don’t use email

      There’s been much discussion – and derision – of the US supreme court’s recent forays into cellphones and the internet, but as more and more of these cases bubble up to the high chamber, including surveillance reform, we won’t be laughing for long: the future of technology and privacy law will undoubtedly be written over the next few years by nine individuals who haven’t “really ‘gotten to’ email” and find Facebook and Twitter “a challenge” .

      A pair of cases that went before the court this week raise the issue of whether police can search someone’s cellphone after an arrest but without a warrant. The court’s decisions will inevitably affect millions. As the New York Times editorial board explained on the eve of the arguments, “There are 12 million arrests in America each year, most for misdemeanors that can be as minor as jaywalking.” Over 90% of Americans have cellphones, and as the American Civil Liberties Union argued in a briefing to the court, our mobile devices “are in effect, our new homes”.

    • Merkel not ready to say trust restored after NSA spying affair

      On a day when she spent more than four hours face-to-face with Barack Obama at the White House, Merkel last Friday listened to the US president in his own verdant Rose Garden tell the world how important their relationship is.

    • North Korea Invokes the NSA, Zimmerman to Call U.S. a ‘Living Hell’

      You would think North Korea wouldn’t be in any place to lecture the United States about human rights abuses, right? Well, think again, because according to The Washington Post, a North Korean state news agency has responded to accusations leveled against them of human rights abuses by flipping the script by calling the United States a “living hell”, citing the NSA, prison privatization, and, for some reason, George Zimmerman.

    • Captain America, step aside: Justices are on the case

      In the real world, who are our superheroes? People such as Assange or Edward Snowden seem candidates but actually are more akin to prophets, warning of misfortune but without the authority to stop it. Our elected officials? Some perhaps, but not those now in power. Indeed, it is the Obama administration — the same one that has so greatly stepped up the use of drones — that supports searching smartphones without warrants. We’re left with an improbable bunch: the nine justices of the Supreme Court.

    • Facial recognition: is the technology taking away your identity?

      Although the use of facial recognition tools is still relatively new in the consumer sector, that is where much of the visible innovation will take place over the coming years. “The stakes are lower, so companies are free to take more risks,” says Kelly Gates, professor in communication and science studies at UC San Diego and author of Our Biometric Future: Facial Recognition Technology and the Culture of Surveillance. “As a result, there are a lot of experiments in the commercial domain. So what if you identify the wrong person by accident when you’re targeting an ad? It’s not that big a deal. It happens all the time in other forms of advertising.”

    • DC Thinks It Can Silence a New Snowden, But the Anti-Leak Hypocrisy is Backfiring

      After Edward Snowden caught the US government with its pants down, you would think the keepers of this country’s secrets might stand up for a little more transparency, not bend over backwards trying to control the message.

      Instead, this week we found out the Most Transparent Administration in American History™ has implemented a new anti-press policy that would make Richard Nixon blush. National intelligence director James Clapper, the man caught lying to Congress from an “unauthorized” leak by Snowden, issued a directive to the employees of all 17 intelligence agencies barring all employees from any “unauthorized” contact with the press.

  • Civil Rights

    • Shocking Kids into Compliance

      The Judge Rotenberg Center, a residential school in northern Massachusetts, prides itself on teaching students with disabilities who have the most challenging behavioral issues. The school takes kids with severe intellectual disabilities – autism, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and a range of psychiatric disabilities – and then its employees attach electrodes to their arms, legs, and stomach, and shock them into submission.

    • Wonder Girl’s head-sized breasts illustrate the sexism problem in comics

      It’s Free Comic Book Day today – the North American comic book industry’s annual push to bring in more readers by distributing popular all-ages comics for free through thousands of retailers. Unfortunately, while comics may be for everyone, the culture around them has a lot of growing up left to do.

    • Segregation Now

      Though James Dent could watch Central High School’s homecoming parade from the porch of his faded white bungalow, it had been years since he’d bothered. But last fall, Dent’s oldest granddaughter, D’Leisha, was vying for homecoming queen, and he knew she’d be poking up through the sunroof of her mother’s car, hand cupped in a beauty-pageant wave, looking for him.

    • Shabak Torture Drives Israeli Palestinian Lawyer to Suicide

      Amjad al-Safadi was an East Jerusalem defense attorney whose clients were Palestinian security prisoners. Two months ago, he himself was arrested by the Shabak and detained for 45 days. He was charged with aiding Palestinian militant groups and their detainees. During his detention he was tortured by Shabak interrogator goons. Among his claims were that electric shocks were used against him. He was released from prison and placed under house arrest (the same process used in the case of Majd Kayyal). Yesterday, five days after his release, he hung himself at his home and died.

    • Egypt court jails 102 Morsi supporters for 10 years: Report

      An Egyptian court sentenced 102 supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi to 10 years in prison on Saturday over protest violence, state television reported.

      The army-installed government has rounded up thousands of Morsi supporters and put them on mass trials since overthrowing him in July.

    • Why Donald Sterling and Cliven Bundy Are Not the Problem

      In her heartfelt dissent in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, which upheld a Michigan ballot initiative forbidding schools from considering race as one factor in admitting students, Justice Sandra Sotomayor wrote “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race.”

    • Report on CIA provides evidence Djibouti was a ‘black site’
    • Three Presidents Who Ordered Mass Torture of Prisoners And Two Who Failed to Stop Torture

      For most of US history, torture was something the enemy did, and their doing so was widely regarded as a sure sign of their evil. US troops might be ordered into unjust wars of aggression. They even carried out massacres. But torture of prisoners was something beheld as evil.

      American Indians were often massacred, but not tortured, and the claim that some of them tortured was seen as evidence of their barbarism. Mexican civilians were also massacred, but not tortured. Union soldiers did not torture Confederate prisoners. In fact, the Civil War saw the first rules of war, formulated by Lincoln. Confederates did massacre Union troops if they were Black, but even these traitors never tortured. Germans, Japanese, Koreans, and Chinese were all killed in great numbers, but never tortured. In fact, the torture of US POWs by North Koreans was held up as a great evil.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • What Inefficient Airline Boarding Procedures Have To Do With Net Neutrality

      Search the internet and there are tons of articles about more efficient ways to board airplanes. Many will point to the work of astrophysicist Jason Steffen who algorithmically tested a variety of boarding methods to come up with his optimized version. The best demonstration of this particular method is in this YouTube video where the Steffen method was tested.

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