07.23.15

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Links 23/7/2015: New RHEL Release, Capital One Releases Code

Posted in News Roundup at 8:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Enjoy Your Romaine—While It Lasts

      The mighty Central Valley hogs the headlines, but California’s Salinas Valley is an agricultural behemoth, too. A rifle-shaped slice of land jutting between two mountain ranges just south of Monterey Bay off the state’s central coast, it’s home to farms that churn out nearly two-thirds of the salad greens and half of the broccoli grown in the United States. Its leafy-green dominance has earned it the nickname “the salad bowl of the world.” And while the Central Valley’s farm economy reels under the strain of drought—it’s expected to sustain close to $2.7 billion worth of drought-related losses—Salinas farms are operating on all cylinders, reports the San Jose Mercury News.

  • Finance

    • At Wall Street Journal, Government-Enforced Monopolies = ‘Free Market’

      Those folks at the Wall Street Journal are really turning reality on its head. Today it ran a column by Robert Ingram, a former CEO of Glaxo Wellcome, complaining about efforts to pass “transparency” legislation in Massachusetts, New York and a number of other states.

      This legislation would require drug companies to report their profits on certain expensive drugs, as well as government funding that contributed to their development.

      [...]

      This would eliminate all the distortions associated with patent monopolies, such as patent-protected prices that can be more than 100 times as much as the free-market price. This would eliminate all the ethical dilemmas about whether the government or private insurers should pay for expensive drugs like Sovaldi, since the drugs would be cheap. It would also eliminate the incentive to mislead doctors and the public about the safety and effectiveness of drugs in order to benefit from monopoly profits.

    • What do Angela Merkel and Mitt Romney have in common?

      In May 2012, when Mitt Romney was campaigning for president, he made a statement that summed up his economic views — and came to define his run for office:

      “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,” he said. These people “are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them … I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

      Germany’s current leaders — and most of Europe’s, as well — seem to fully agree with this philosophy. They treat Greece exactly as though the country fit Romney’s description of that lazy, greedy 47 percent of Americans. And Greece’s experience prefigures what looms elsewhere: like Romney, many European leaders appeal to their publics to embrace that perspective, often effectively. This involves leading the hard-working 53 percent to rise up and refuse to pay taxes that sustain the lazy and irresponsible, recipients of public support and overindulged public employees who deliver it. Romney’s portrayal of the 47 percent matches, in words and tone, many European leaders’ portrayal of Greeks (and also Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Irish and the peoples of whatever other country happens to be in an economic rut.)

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • 20-year-old SNP MP Mhairi Black isn’t happy about Tony Blair calling her party ‘cave men’

      Tony Blair’s criticism of the SNP for having a “cave man” ideology is ridiculous considering his “primitive” policy on Iraq, one of the Scottish nationalists’ rising stars has said.

      The former prime minister said on Wednesday morning that Scottish nationalism was “reactionary” and consisted of “blaming someone else” for Scotland’s problems.

    • ALEC Admits School Vouchers Are for Kids in Suburbia

      School vouchers were never about helping poor, at-risk or minority students. But selling them as social mobility tickets was a useful fiction that for some twenty-five years helped rightwing ideologues and corporate backers gain bipartisan support for an ideological scheme designed to privatize public schools.

    • Donald Trump And Fox & Friends’ Symbiotic Relationship

      Fox & Friends has emerged as Donald Trump’s biggest cheerleader and defender in the media, a role the presidential candidate is rewarding with lavish public praise.

    • ‘Media Have Been Applying a False Narrative to the Entire Issue’ – CounterSpin interview with Gareth Porter on the Iran deal

      NBC’s David Gregory said the international community, divided on many things, are united on this: “They think Iran is up to no good and wants to build a nuclear weapon.”

      US corporate media have a habit when discussing Iran, though not only then, of presenting what are overwhelmingly US points of view as those of the whole world–a less-than-helpful quality as we try to understand the deal with Iran currently making headlines.

      Here to help us sort through it is investigative journalist Gareth Porter, author of Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare and a regular contributor to Middle East Eye.

  • Censorship

    • New Facebook video controls let you be sexist, ageist or secretive

      Videos on Facebook are big business. As well as drugged up post-dentist footage, there is also huge advertising potential. Now Facebook has announced a new set of options for video publishers — including the ability to limit who is able to see videos based on their age and gender.

    • New Censorship Bill Passed in Australia

      Having lived in Australia this Kat tries to turn his attention to the Land Down Under as often as he can. Although the Australian intellectual property law regime takes a lot from its UK and common law counterparts, they have often been a step ahead (or to the side, depending on your perspective) in one way or another. Recently the Australian Parliament passed the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015, which aims to give the Australian courts more tools to combat online copyright infringement, or the facilitation thereof. While the provision is not necessarily hugely pertinent to those of us working here in the UK, it is still an interesting one.

  • Privacy

    • Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales Accuses David Cameron Of ‘Technological Incompetence’ over Encryption Bill

      The founder of Wikipedia accused David Cameron of “technological incompetence” on Tuesday, telling the British Prime Minister the idea of banning encryption was “just nonsense.”

      Speaking on HuffPost Live in New York, Jimmy Wales responded to a question about the British government’s push to gain access to encrypted sites for reasons of security.

      He called increased online security of “critical importance” in the face of “real threats from cyber crime.”

      “That means end-to-end encryption everywhere. That’s what he [Cameron] should be campaigning for,” Wales said.

      “The idea that you could ban encryption… it is just nonsense, it’s impossible, it’s math, you can’t ban math,” he added.

    • [on Washington Post]

      The Washington Post again demanded that tech companies create special ‘golden keys’ for authorities to keep and use for access to private communication. Protected by a warrant, of course. For the benefit of this discussion (which is really getting old), I just put together the reasons why it is a dumb idea.

    • Is the NSA lying about its failure to prevent 9/11?

      On March 20, 2000, as part of a trip to South Asia, U.S. President Bill Clinton was scheduled to land his helicopter in the desperately poor village of Joypura, Bangladesh, and speak to locals under a 150-year-old banyan tree. At the last minute, though, the visit was canceled; U.S. intelligence agencies had discovered an assassination plot. In a lengthy email, London-based members of the International Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders, a terrorist group established by Osama bin Laden, urged al Qaeda supporters to “Send Clinton Back in a Coffin” by firing a shoulder-launched missile at the president’s chopper.

    • UK Court rules DRIPA unlawful

      The successful judicial review was brought by Liberty, represented by David Davis MP and Tom Watson MP, with ORG and PI acting as intervenors.

    • How to Create a Burner Account on Ashley Madison (And Other Sketchy Sites)

      In brief, these masked cards are burner card numbers that are linked to your real credit card—but the third-party site will have no access to your personal information (though Abine will have all your data stored—so, just hope they don’t ever get hacked). A masked card lets you use any name you want (e.g. Joe Smith, Kevin Bacon, Barack Bush—go nuts), and for the billing address, you just use Abine’s address in Boston. The cost on your real credit card will just show up as “Abine” on your card statement.

    • Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg moves step closer to becoming world’s richest person
  • Civil Rights

    • Woman recruited by Google four times and rejected, joins suit
    • “Between the World and Me”: Ta-Nehisi Coates Extended Interview on Being Black in America

      We spend the hour with Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of “Between the World and Me,” an explosive new book about white supremacy and being black in America. The book begins, “Here is what I would like for you to know: In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body—it is heritage.” It is written as a letter to his 15-year-old son, Samori, and is a combination of memoir, history and analysis. Its publication comes amidst the shooting of nine African-American churchgoers by an avowed white supremacist in Charleston; the horrifying death of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old African-American woman in Texas who was pulled over for not signaling a lane change; and the first anniversary of the police killings of Eric Garner in Staten Island and Michael Brown in Ferguson. Coates talks about how he was influenced by freed political prisoner Marshall “Eddie” Conway and writer James Baldwin, and responds to critics of his book, including Cornel West and New York Times columnist David Brooks. Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

    • ‘I will light you up!’: Texas officer threatened Sandra Bland with Taser during traffic stop

      According to newly released police video, a Texas trooper threatened Sandra Bland with a Taser when he ordered her out of her vehicle during a traffic stop on July 10, three days before she was found dead in a county jail.

      Bland — a 28-year old African American woman — was stopped for failing to signal while changing lanes, but the routine traffic stop turned confrontational after the officer, Brian Encinia, ordered Bland to put out her cigarette.

    • In ‘White People,’ an Attempt to Break the Cycle of Ignorance

      It turns out, according to Vargas, that white students are eligible for 96 percent of scholarships and are more than 40 percent more likely to receive private scholarships. As Katy comes to terms with reality, she begins to see her frustrations for what they truly are: resentment about limited resources in the academic arena. The fact that these statistics were so readily available to Vargas also potentially points to Katy’s poor research abilities, which may be a factor in her inability to find scholarships. What is truly frightening—but not at all shocking—is the tendency for the white millennials in the film to place blame on minorities before engaging in critical research to substantiate their beliefs.

    • ‘Selma’ director Ava DuVernay says dashcam video of Sandra Bland arrest was doctored

      Ava DuVernay, who directed the Oscar-nominated civil rights movement film Selma, suggested on Tuesday that the dashboard camera footage of Sandra Bland’s arrest earlier this month was altered.

    • Bernie Sanders becomes the first candidate to speak out on Sandra Bland: “We need real police reform”
    • 1. Whisper to NYT 2. Demand Anonymity 3. Truth!

      Glenn Greenwald (The Intercept, 7/21/15) traces the transmission of a demonstrably false claim–that ISIS’s “top leaders now use couriers or encrypted channels that Western analysts cannot crack to communicate” as a result of “revelations from Edward J. Snowden”–from nameless “intelligence and military officials” to a front-page piece by the New York Times‘ Eric Schmitt and Ben Hubbard (7/20/15) to other journalists gleefully retweeting and reprinting the false claim as fact.

    • The Spirit of Judy Miller is Alive and Well at the NYT, and It Does Great Damage

      One of the very few Iraq War advocates to pay any price at all was former New York Times reporter Judy Miller, the classic scapegoat. But what was her defining sin? She granted anonymity to government officials and then uncritically laundered their dubious claims in the New York Times. As the paper’s own editors put it in their 2004 mea culpa about the role they played in selling the war: “We have found a number of instances of coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been. In some cases, information that was controversial then, and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged.” As a result, its own handbook adopted in the wake of that historic journalistic debacle states that “anonymity is a last resort.”

    • “Your Border War Stuff Is Ridiculous”: Fox’s Stossel Demolishes O’Reilly’s Anti-Immigrant Stats from CIS

      Stossel: “You’re Citing Statistics From The Center For Immigration Studies … They Spin Them”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

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