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11.23.15

Links 24/11/2015: Asus Chromebit CS10, Second Linux 4.4 RC

Posted in News Roundup at 8:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Making an Open Source Project Bloom

    During the first 2 months, it was like a dream: you develop and give life to all the ideas you have in mind. It is pure bliss.

    This phase is what I call the preliminaries. Like in a love affair, that is the best period, just before taking it into more serious territory, where complications can happen.

  • Google open-sources a tool for exporting Thunderbird emails to Gmail
  • 5 open source project management tools to help you collaborate

    This is an open source equivalent of Microsoft Project, in a similar way to how LibreOffice was an open source version of Microsoft Office. It says it has been downloaded 1,750,000 in over 210 countries and is used by major firms such as Cisco, Accenture and Boeing.

  • How GitHub Is Conquering the Coding World

    Open-source coding platform GitHub made it onto this year’s list of unicorns, thanks to impressive fundraising. But can it maintain its strong lead?

  • Analyze, collaborate, and share research with open source tools

    The most powerful free and open source (FOSS) statistics program, though, is R. Originally a FOSS version of the statistics language S, R has shown explosive growth over the last few years, with some 7,000 add-on packages available to handle nearly any statistical requirement and an increasing number of books, courses, and blogs (e.g. R-bloggers) focusing on practical usage. Some websites concentrate specifically on how to use R for psychological research—an example is William Revelle’s Personality Project, which also offers an R package called psych, a toolbox for personality, psychometrics, and experimental psychology.

  • Spiraling head first into open source

    A little while back, Rikki, Jen, and company at Opensource.com told me that they were asking people to share their open source stories about how they got interested in open source and started contributing.

    Well, for the bored among you, here is my story. As usual, share your feedback in the comments. I am curious to hear your mockery of my life choices back then.

  • 10 products that big tech companies have open-sourced recently

    In a very general and somewhat nebulous way, open-source software is on the rise. Acknowledging the importance of its large and growing role in enterprise computing has become an increasingly common activity, thanks to the prominence of open-source technology in everything from containerization to the cloud. A possible consequence of this is that major tech companies have been making more frequent gifts of code to the open-source community of late. Take a look at 10 of the most noteworthy.

  • Open Source Developers Are ‘Too White And Too Male’

    Bowen, who himself grew up in Kenya then later moved to the US, said: “I would like to see far more diversity. I would like to see far fewer projects that are ‘white men’. I would like to see more Africans involved in our projects.

  • How is open source impacting NFV and SDN deployments?

    Open source continues to be a growing influence on the rollout of software deployments across the telecom space, with a greater focus on using open-source platforms to power network functions virtualization and software-defined networking.

  • Q.Rad Meshes Open Source Software, High Performance Computing and Heat

    Can open source software heat your house? High-performance computing (HCP) provider Qarnot thinks so. The company has produced a Linux-based device called the Q.rad that delivers heat while also crunching numbers in the cloud.

  • Events

    • Open Source Enthusiasts to Converge on Asterisk World at ITEXPO East 2016
    • Desktops DevRoom @ FOSDEM 2016: Have you submitted your talk yet?

      FOSDEM 2016 is going to be great (again!) and you still have the chance to be one of the stars.

      Have you submitted your talk to the Desktops DevRoom yet?

    • OSCON Deadline Nears, Linux in High Places & More…

      While the folks at the Southern California Linux Expo are putting the final touches on the speaker schedule for SCALE 14X, which takes place in January in Pasadena, a little further north in Sebastopol in the San Francisco Bay Area, our friends at O’Reilly are watching the clock wind down to the deadline for their speaker submissions for OSCON. OSCON’s proposal deadline is midnight on Nov. 24 for a conference which takes place in mid-May 2016 in Austin, Texas. This, of course, means that while you’re racing to get that proposal in — and we know you are (and that’s okay) — you’re going to want to keep in mind that it’s still going to have to be relevant in a half-year. Your mantra, then, from here on in is “long shelf life.” And good luck with that proposal.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • ClusterHQ Bringing Storage Smarts to Docker Containers

      VIDEO: ClusterHQ CEO Mark Davis discusses the Docker storage opportunity and how his company’s open-source Flocker technology fits in.

      Mark Davis is no stranger to the world of virtualization storage. From 2007 until 2013, Davis was CEO of storage virtualization vendor Virsto, which he sold to VMware. Now Davis is once again in the storage virtualization space, this time as CEO of Docker storage startup ClusterHQ.

    • Container Security, Management Advances Grab DockerCon EU Spotlight

      Few technologies are as hyped today as is the open-source Docker container ecosystem. At the the DockerCon EU conference in Barcelona, Spain, held Nov. 16-17, developers, users and vendors from around the world gathered to not only learn more about Docker, but to also demonstrate new technologies and talk about what’s next. For Docker Inc., the lead commercial sponsor of Docker, the event was an opportunity to highlight its next big commercial service, the Universal Control Plane, which provides enterprise-grade deployment and management capabilities. Meanwhile, one primary topic of discussion in multiple sessions was security, with new capabilities announced including hardware-based key signing for application images as well as enhanced control of applications through user namespace policies. Docker isn’t just about Docker Inc.—it’s a broad ecosystem of vendors, with IBM and Hewlett Packard Enterprise among the big-name supporters. Users of Docker also were front and center at the event, with gaming vendor Electronic Arts talking about how it uses containers to deliver mobile gaming infrastructure and airline software vendor Amadeus discussing how containers can work in a highly regulated, compliance-driven environment. In this slide show, eWEEK takes a look at some of the highlights of the DockerCon EU event.

    • Mirantis Led FUEL Project Gets Installed Under OpenStack Big Tent

      Mirantis first publicly released the FUEL library as an open-source effort in March of 2013. Now the FUEL effort has been formally approved by the OpenStack Foundation to be included under what is known as the ‘Big Tent’ model.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

  • Education

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • DragonFlyBSD 4.4 Up To RC State, DragonFlyBSD 4.5 In Development

      The DragonFlyBSD operating system continues to move along.

      With the kernel being branched for 4.4 and DragonFlyBSD 4.4 RC being tagged, the latest Git code for the DragonFlyBSD kernel has moved onto DragonFlyBSD 4.5.

    • going full pledge

      Looking at Theo’s status of pledge update there’s a lot of programs on the list, including some which may seem a bit silly. But the effort has turned up some interesting bugs and misfeatures along the way.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GCC 5.3 To Be Released Within A Few Weeks

      While GCC 6 is the next major feature release of the GNU Compiler Collection that will come out in 2016, GCC 5.3 will be here in likely about two weeks.

      GCC 5.3 is just the latest point release to GCC 5, per the group’s version handling change that began with the GCC 5 release earlier this year. GCC 5.3 is mainly about bug-fixes and documentation updates.

    • GNU Radio Drives Oscilloscope

      These days we are spoiled with a lot of cheap test equipment. However, you can do a lot of measurements with nothing more than an oscilloscope. Add something like a signal generator and you can do even more. One classic technique for frequency measurement, for example, is using a scope to display a Lissajous pattern. [Franz Schaefer] has a video showing how to generate these useful curves with GNU Radio.

    • Happy 20th Anniversary, The GIMP!

      On November 21, 1995, the announcement that there was a program for image manipulation was made.

      This program, originally named The General Image Manipulation Program and now known as the GNU Image Manipulation Program (The GIMP), in my opinion, is the best software I have ever used to work with images.

    • GnuTLS 3.4.7

      Released GnuTLS 3.3.19 and GnuTLS 3.4.7 which are bug fix releases in the current and next stable branches.

    • October/November GNU Toolchain Update

      The compiler and assembler now have support for the ARC EM/HS and ARC600/700 architectures and the Power9 variant of the PowerPC architecture.

      The GCC mainline sources are now in Stage 3 (bug fixes only) which means that a branch may be happening soon.

      The Binutils sources have branched, getting ready for a 2.26 release soon.

      GDB’s record instruction-history command accepts a new modifier: /s. This behaves exactly like the /m modifier and prints mixed source + disassembly into the history.

    • GNU Parallel 20151122 (‘Bataclan’) released [stable]

      GNU Parallel 20151122 (‘Bataclan’) [stable] has been released. It is available for download at: http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/parallel/

      No new functionality was introduced so this is a good candidate for a stable release.

    • GnuTLS 3.4.x
    • Concurso Universitario de Software Libre 2015-2016
    • Give a talk in GNU Guile’s track at FOSDEM!
    • TPP Article 14.17 & Free Software: No Harm, No Foul

      The first official public release of the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement (known universally as the TPP) on November 5, 2015 generated much heated speculation. The ideal of “open agreements, openly arrived at” remains regrettably unattainable in international affairs. “Fast track” trade negotiating authority in the US means that parties excluded from the negotiating process have a short time in which to mobilize for or against the treaty as a whole in light of their specific concerns. The premium on speed of response to a very lengthy and complex legal document—and the presence of intense public attention—guarantees that hasty judgment and occasional self-promotion will always outrun professional analysis; this is one of the inherent defects of secret legislation.

      In this context, early commentary on the TPP draft included much speculation that one provision in the draft’s chapter on electronic commerce might have serious negative consequences for free software and open source licensing, distribution, or government acquisition. Some lay readers marched immediately to the conclusion that, in less than 200 words ostensibly about something else, the negotiators had (a) abolished free licensing; (b) prohibited governments from acquiring, supporting or preferring free software; or (c) had interfered with the enforcement of free licenses. Other non-professional readers invented complex demonstrations that one or more of these catastrophes had not occurred.

  • Project Releases

    • HarfBuzz 1.1 Released

      This text shaping library used by Firefox, Chromium, LibreOffice, Qt, Pango, and others is up to version 1.1 as its latest stable release. HarfBuzz 1.1 implements a ‘stch’ stretch feature for supporting the Sryiac Abbreviation Mark, implements shaping of various Unicode space characters, fixes resulting from continous fuzzing, and other bug fixes and optimizations.

    • ​Secure Network Time Protocol goes beta

      Network Time Protocol is a vital part of the Internet that’s recently been used in major DDoS attacks. To keep it from misused in the future, the first secure version of NTP beta has just been released.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open source powers South Tyrol eGovernment forms

      The Italian province of South Tyrol is taking into production an eGovernment forms system based on open source software. The province’s form engine is based on Orbeon, running on the CentOS Linux distribution.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • 9 tasty recipes to share, modify, and remix
    • Customize An Open-Source HAL For Your Home

      Engineers Ryan Sipes and Joshua Montgomery wanted their makerspace in Lawrence, Kansas, to be more intuitive. So they borrowed an artificial intelligence system from other makers and used it to do simple tasks, such as controlling the lights or playing music. Then they realized they could create a better one—and sell it.

    • Policy Committee Task Force Unveils Interoperability Suggestions
    • FDA Unveils Open-Source Genomic Data-Sharing Platform

      FDA’s Office of Health Informatics contracted with cloud-based genome informatics and data management company DNAnexus to create the precisionFDA platform.

    • FCC rules for wireless router firmware, open wheelchairs and insulin, and more news
    • Open Source Pharma – An Initiative For The Health Of Poor

      A young boy in some part of India losses both his sisters before their fifth birthday and losses his father before he could complete his 10 year. It all happened because the pharma companies as well as government failed to keep the prices of the drugs under the reach of poor. But one brilliant move can end up this entire situation and may replace the current crippled system and it is named as OPEN SOURCE PHARMA.

      With the advent of social entrepreneurship and propagation of market unsettling ideas, such as open data, open software, and crowd sourcing, it is possible that the Open Source Pharma Conference could be the beginning of the end to generations of pain and suffering that community like us endured. Primarily, we need to stimulate a culture of openness, crowd sourcing and data sharing. Exploiting the input of many and sharing information can truly help get us from A to B as quickly as possible. It can also tell us when we need to stop. The ability to also hold out our data to scrutiny is the only true way to truly validate information. It may also open up new ideas and hypotheses that may subsequently advance the field.

      The basic Vision for Open Source Pharma is “MEDICINE TO ALL”. It can only be achieved by creating a movement that includes existing initiatives and develops an alternative, comprehensive, open source pharmaceutical system driven by principles of openness, patient needs, and affordability.

    • Open Hardware

      • Divide and Conquer

        Well… A few weeks back, I receive a feedback about the main class of the Br-Print project. This main class was friendly called a God Class. The God Class complex is when a class knows too much and does too much. Well, when a problem on this project is shown to me, starts to bug’s me. So I start the Divide and Conquer branch. Breaking the main class in others minor classes, to increase the level of abstraction and make the code more easy to read.

      • Is it time for Open Source Hardware x86 OLinuXino?

        We have been so focused on ARM that somehow we have missed the Intel latest development.

      • MichiganTech Professor, Student Help Bring 3-D Printing to Nicaragua

        With all the technology we have today, there are so many possibilities. The whole world can collaborate and create open-sourced information to help develop thousands of scientific uses for various new technologies like 3-D printing.

      • Michigan Tech and Eric Friesen help bring RepRap open source 3D printing to Nicaragua

        3D printing is quickly becoming a global phenomenon, thanks in large part to open source hardware and software, which enable even those regions seen as resource-poor to freely access the information they need to create functional 3D printing machines and materials. However even with these advances, many developing countries still lack basic access to technology, which can be harmful to their economic development as a whole. One such country is Nicaragua, where the kinds of materials taken for granted in the US are extremely difficult to obtain, slowing the nation’s progress in terms of digital manufacturing at all levels, and particularly for the individual workers and families who could stand to benefit the most. 3D printed tools, repair parts, or even prosthetics could improve people’s work, economic or medical situations—but only if they have access to design and create them themselves.

      • Video: Want to Control Things With Your Mind? Get Some Open Source Hardware

        Anyone with an interest in this futuristic tech can explore it. Open BCI, a collective of engineers and artists, has created affordable open source hardware that allows everyone to experiment with creating an interface between their brain and a computer.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • ODF – the state of play – The future of ODF under OASIS, now that the standards war is won.

      ODF – open document format – is an open, XML-based rich document format that has been adopted as the standard for exchanging information in documents (spreadsheets, charts, presentations and word processing documents), by many governments and other organisations (see, for example, here), including the UK Government. This is despite strong opposition by Microsoft; but I have seen Microsoft’s proposed “open XML” standard and, frankly, it is huge and horrid (in the word of standards, these go together). If I remember correctly, the early draft I saw even incorporated recognition of early Excel leap-year bugs into the standard.

      ODF is now a pukka ISO standard, maintained by OASIS, under the proud banner: “The future is interoperability”.

      My personal thoughts, below, are prompted by an ODF session at ApacheCon Core titled “Beyond OpenOffice: The State of the ODF Ecosystem” held by Louis Suárez-Potts (community strategist for Age of Peers, his own consultancy, and the Community Manager for OpenOffice.org, from 2000 to 2011), and attended by very few delegates – perhaps a sign of current level of interest in ODF within the Apache community. Nevertheless, and I am talking about the ODF standard here, not Apache Open Office (which is currently my office software of choice) or its Libre Office fork (which seems to be where the excitement, such as it is, is, for now), the standards battle, or one battle, has been won; we have a useful Open Document Format, standardised by a recognised and mature standards organisation, and even Microsoft Office supports it. That’s good.

Leftovers

  • 6 Realities In A Super Religious Family That Wants Me Dead

    Children will make choices in life that baffle or enrage their parents. For most of us, these choices never result in anything worse than a few icy dinners before mom finally accepts that the nose ring is a part of you, dammit. But for some young Muslims, mostly women, the cost of disappointing mom and dad is much, much higher. In fact, it can be deadly. Cracked sat down with Azime (not her real name), who lives in fear that her parents will discover her “secret life” as a normal adult woman and murder her for it.

  • Sepp Blatter says he was close to death after being taken to hospital earlier this month

    Sepp Blatter has said he was “close to dying” upon being hospitalised this month following a health scare.

    The Fifa president, who is facing a multi-year ban from football and is currently serving a 90-day provisional suspension, spent several days being treated for stress before being discharged from hospital a week and a half ago.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Break a dozen secret keys, get a million more for free

      For many years NIST has officially claimed that AES-128 has “comparable strength” to 256-bit ECC, namely 128 “bits of security”. Ten years ago, in a talk “Is 2255−19 big enough?”, I disputed this claim. The underlying attack algorithms had already been known for years, and it’s not hard to see their impact on key-size selection; but somehow NIST hadn’t gotten the memo, and still hasn’t gotten it today.

    • Responsible Disclosure Is Wrong

      Unfortunately, the debate is hampered by poor terminology.

      [...]

      The term is a bit of a misnomer really — as researchers our responsibility is to users, though often the term is seen as meaning a responsibility to vendors. This is the biggest issue I have with the term, it’s used as focusing on the wrong group in a disclosure. As a security researcher my responsibility is to make the world a safer place, to protect the users, not to protect the name of a vendor.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • On the trail of terror

      There is no prescription here. Only a warning, a feeling I picked up during that ill wind that blew me from the Bekaa Valley to Brussels, via Paris.

      It’s a simple one: Worse lies ahead down the road that world leaders are currently plotting. A Russian-French agreement to work together to punish IS, while necessarily empowering the remnants of the al-Assad regime to expand back into parts of the country where it is feared and reviled, will not stem the refugee flow from Syria. Nor will it convince the country’s Sunni Muslims that we care about their interests. The same applies in Iraq, where we bolster the Kurds and a hated national army against IS there.

      “Why don’t they stay and fight for their country?” is one barb often aimed at the young men fleeing Iraq and Syria.

      The root of the problem is, they don’t have one.

    • Arsenal Discovered as Belgium Capital Enters Lockdown

      A terrorist arsenal has been discovered during overnight searches in a suburb of Brussels.

      Chemicals and explosives were among the items found in the Molenbeek suburb, a rundown neighborhood where Paris attacker Abdelhamid Abaaoud was suspected of operating a terrorist cell.

      The find came as Belgium’s capital entered a security lockdown. The government has warned that there could be a repeat of Paris-style attacks in the country’s capital, prompting the closure of subways in Brussels and the deployment of heavily armed police and soldiers.

    • Inside the surreal world of the Islamic State’s propaganda machine

      The assignments arrive on slips of paper, each bearing the black flag of the Islamic State, the seal of the terrorist group’s media emir, and the site of that day’s shoot.

      “The paper just gives you the location,” never the details, said Abu Hajer al-Maghribi, who spent nearly a year as a cameraman for the Islamic State. Sometimes the job was to film prayers at a mosque, he said, or militants exchanging fire. But, inevitably, a slip would come with the coordinates to an unfolding bloodbath.

    • Former Drone Operators Say They Were “Horrified” By Cruelty of Assassination Program

      U.S. DRONE OPERATORS are inflicting heavy civilian casualties and have developed an institutional culture callous to the death of children and other innocents, four former operators said at a press briefing today in New York.

      The killings, part of the Obama administration’s targeted assassination program, are aiding terrorist recruitment and thus undermining the program’s goal of eliminating such fighters, the veterans added. Drone operators refer to children as “fun-size terrorists” and liken killing them to “cutting the grass before it grows too long,” said one of the operators, Michael Haas, a former senior airman in the Air Force. Haas also described widespread drug and alcohol abuse, further stating that some operators had flown missions while impaired.

      In addition to Haas, the operators are former Air Force Staff Sgt. Brandon Bryant along with former senior airmen Cian Westmoreland and Stephen Lewis. The men have conducted kill missions in many of the major theaters of the post-9/11 war on terror, including Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

      “We have seen the abuse firsthand,” said Bryant, “and we are horrified.”

    • Exclusive: Air Force Whistleblowers Risk Prosecution to Warn Drone War Kills Civilians, Fuels Terror

      Has the U.S. drone war “fueled the feelings of hatred that ignited terrorism and groups like ISIS”? That’s the conclusion of four former Air Force servicemembers who are speaking out together for the first time. They’ve issued a letter to President Obama warning the U.S. drone program is one of the most devastating driving forces for terrorism. They accuse the administration of lying about the effectiveness of the drone program, saying it is good at killing people—just not the right ones. The four drone war veterans risk prosecution by an administration that has been unprecedented in its targeting of government whistleblowers. In a Democracy Now! exclusive, they join us in their first extended broadcast interview.

    • Hannity Misreads A Pew Study To Claim That “Significant” Numbers Of Muslims Support ISIS

      Radio host and Fox News personality Sean Hannity grossly misrepresented a Pew Research poll detailing views of ISIS in countries with significant Muslim populations to misleadingly claim that there are “significant levels of support for ISIS within the Muslim world.” The survey actually found that Muslim views of ISIS are “overwhelmingly negative.”

    • Shoot to Kill and News Management

      I did not believe the official story of Hasna Ait Buolacehn the moment I saw it. The official line was that she was a suicide bomber who blew herself up when the police stormed the apartment in St Denis where the alleged terrorist ringleader was hiding out. But that story seemed to me completely incompatible with the recordings on which she could plainly be heard screaming “He is not my boyfriend! He is not my boyfriend” immediately before the explosion. She sounded like a terrified woman trying to disassociate herself from the alleged terrorist. It was a strange battle cry for someone who believed themselves on the verge of paradise.

      [...]

      I have no difficulty with the principle that the police should shoot people who are shooting at them. I outraged many friends on the left for example by not joining in the criticism of the police for killing Mr Duggan. People who choose to carry guns in my view run a legitimate risk of being shot by the police, it is as simple as that. Jean Charles De Menezes was a totally different case and his murder by police completely unjustifiable. In Paris it appears plain that the police were in a situation of confrontation with armed suspects.

      [...]

      The media could help if they were in any way rational and dispassionate, or ever questioned an official narrative. It is an urgent and irrepressible question as to why the BBC journalist did not ask the French policeman “and why did you not say this 48 hours ago when you were content to allow the story to run that she was a suicide bomber?”

    • Saudi Arabia, an ISIS That Has Made It

      Black Daesh, white Daesh. The former slits throats, kills, stones, cuts off hands, destroys humanity’s common heritage and despises archaeology, women and non-Muslims. The latter is better dressed and neater but does the same things. The Islamic State; Saudi Arabia. In its struggle against terrorism, the West wages war on one, but shakes hands with the other. This is a mechanism of denial, and denial has a price: preserving the famous strategic alliance with Saudi Arabia at the risk of forgetting that the kingdom also relies on an alliance with a religious clergy that produces, legitimizes, spreads, preaches and defends Wahhabism, the ultra-puritanical form of Islam that Daesh feeds on.

      Wahhabism, a messianic radicalism that arose in the 18th century, hopes to restore a fantasized caliphate centered on a desert, a sacred book, and two holy sites, Mecca and Medina. Born in massacre and blood, it manifests itself in a surreal relationship with women, a prohibition against non-Muslims treading on sacred territory, and ferocious religious laws. That translates into an obsessive hatred of imagery and representation and therefore art, but also of the body, nakedness and freedom. Saudi Arabia is a Daesh that has made it.

    • Relevance of international laws in Geneva process

      If The Island report is correct, the Sri Lanka HRC has concluded that that the conflict was NOT an Armed Conflict as defined by Protocol 3. The impact on Sri Lanka as a result of the position taken by the Sri Lanka HRC would be to categorize acts such as No-Fire Zones, Shelling of hospitals, shortfalls in delivery of food, medicine and other humanitarian aid to the civilians and post-conflict treatment of combatants and non-combatants as Human Rights violations, whereas all of them could be explained and found acceptable under provisions of International Humanitarian Law applicable to Non-International Armed Conflict. Therefore, without arbitrarily declaring that the Geneva process should be based on Human Rights Law, the task for Dr. Udagama and the HRC is to first establish grounds for rejecting the UNHRC’s categorization that the conflict in Sri Lanka was a Non-International Armed Conflict.

    • A Saudi Court orders a Sri Lankan woman be stoned to death

      A Saudi Arabian Court has ordered a Sri Lankan housemaid to be stoned to death for having a clandestine affair with another Sri Lankan man working in Saudi Arabia.

      Sri Lankan Foreign Employment Bureau stated that the Saudi Court has ordered that the man, a bachelor be whipped as punishment.

      However a Ministry official said that the Sri Lankan Embassy in Saudi Arabia has contacted the Saudi Authorities to ascertain whether there would be a possibility of reconsidering the verdict.

    • Policy of Intervention Leads to Paris-Style Massacres – Ron Paul

      The Paris attacks have prompted American war-hawks to advocate even more US intervention in the Middle East; unfortunately, none of them have ever tried to understand the genuine motivation of the attackers, former Republican congressman Ron Paul underscores.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Sanders: ‘To hell with the fossil fuel industry’

      Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Saturday called for Republicans to abandon the corrupting influence of the Koch brothers and other wealthy energy magnates.

      “This is a party that rejects science and refuses to understand that climate change is real,” he said of GOP during the annual Blue Jamboree in North Charleston, S.C.

      “I understand if you stand up to the Koch brothers and the fossil fuel industry, that you’ll lose your campaign contributions,” the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate added.

      [...]

      “When you have people like the Koch brothers and ExxonMobil today spending huge amounts of money trying to deny that reality, it slows up the entire world from aggressively addressing what is an international crisis,” he said late last month. “This is serious stuff.”

    • El Nino-Fueled Drought May Cause More Destructive Wildfires to Ignite Across Indonesia During Winter

      Despite recent rain, the effects of the fires that have been ravaging Indonesia since July have left much of the country in an ecological disaster.

      The fires have taken a toll on the environment with 5.1 million acres scorched. They are also responsible for, “21 deaths, more than half a million people sickened with respiratory problems and $9 billion in economic losses, from damaged crops to hundreds of cancelled flights,” The Associated Press said.

    • [Around the Globe] Tales of Indonesia’s Fire and Haze

      Late last month, authorities raised the alarm after the thick haze has spread and covered many parts of Indonesia and neighboring countries like Malaysia, Singapore and southern part of the Philippines. The haze enveloped the atmosphere, turning the skies into a toxic sepia-color.

      Torrential rains have helped doused the fires but there the Indonesian government said it needed at least three years to tackle the haze problem.

      More than half a million people are affected by the choking smoke. Thousands of Indonesians have inhaled the fumes and are now suffering from respiratory diseases. Six provinces in Indonesia already declared state of emergency. Schools were closed down and there were also flight cancellations in Singapore and Malaysia and even in the Philippines.

  • Finance

    • Hillary is in too deep: Why she’ll never be able to extricate herself from Wall Street

      The highlight of Saturday night’s Democratic debate was when former Secretary Clinton invoked the September 11 attacks to try to defend her courting of Wall Street donors. The awkward defense of her political ties even spawned a rare New York Times editorial criticizing Clinton.

      The fact is, there is no way that Hillary Clinton can pretend she doesn’t have a cozy relationship with an industry that personally enriched her family, formed the basis of political support for her career and is doing everything it can to make her president.

    • Sanders outlines pro-capitalist, pro-war positions in speech on “democratic socialism”

      In a speech Thursday afternoon at Georgetown University, Senator Bernie Sanders made it clear that what he calls “democratic socialism” has nothing to do with either socialism or the defense of democratic rights.

      The candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination explicitly rejected any connection with socialism as a movement of the international working class to put an end to capitalism and establish a society based on collective ownership of the means of production.

    • ‘You Cannot Build a Strong Economy on a Falling Wage Floor’

      Janine Jackson: Whether the federal minimum wage should be raised was the first question of the recent Republican presidential candidates’ debate. Unsurprisingly, the responses ranged from no to hell no, but given a media environment in which some pundits claim that there is no wage too low to pay someone, it’s significant that the question even came up.

      When you think of the fight to raise the minimum wage, you might think of fast food workers who’ve been at the forefront of the Fight for $15 movement that’s put a higher wage on the agenda in places like Seattle and Los Angeles and here in New York. You don’t, most likely, think of business owners, as media’s standard presentation often pits business owners, with their eyes supposedly on profits, against workers looking to earn enough to live on.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Google Counsel Sees Problems With ‘Take Down, Stay Down’

      When content is taken down in response to a DMCA notice, should service providers be required to stop the same content from reappearing? Major copyright holders believe they should but the issue is complex. Speaking at a copyright conference this week a Google counsel outlined several problems, concluding that the system “just won’t work.”

    • Unintended Consequences, European-Style: How the New EU Data Protection Regulation will be Misused to Censor Speech

      Europe is very close to the finishing line of an extraordinary project: the adoption of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a single, comprehensive replacement for the 28 different laws that implement Europe’s existing 1995 Data Protection Directive. More than any other instrument, the original Directive has created a high global standard for personal data protection, and led many other countries to follow Europe’s approach. Over the years, Europe has grown ever more committed to the idea of data protection as a core value. In the Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, legally binding on all the EU states since 2009, lists the “right to the protection of personal data” as a separate and equal right to privacy. The GDPR is intended to update and maintain that high standard of protection, while modernising and streamlining its enforcement.

    • GOP lawmaker calls on FCC to ban social media, other sites

      At an FCC hearing today, Representative Joe Barton (R-TX) asked the FCC if it could take action to shut down social media sites in order to hamper and block terrorist communications. The entire episode seems at least partly sparked by erroneous reports that the Paris terrorists used PS4 games to communicate and coordinate their attacks (those reports have been retracted).

    • War Correspondent and Veteran Michael Yon Calls Out Facebook Censorship
    • Facebook censorship: Had a post removed and don’t know why?

      Another case is the controversial 2012 anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims, which was uploaded to YouTube but then blocked in a number of countries after it sparked riots.

      People who want to report blocked content can answer a series of questions on the Online Censorship website.

      “We will use that data to present more detail about how companies are censoring content,” according to Jillian.

    • What Facebook and Twitter ban: New tool tracks social media censorship
    • Censorship in India always a problem: Sudhir Mishra

      As the CBFC continues to face ire of the society for its extreme censorship policies, filmmaker Sudhir Mishra says censorship in India was always a problem.

    • EFF’s new website keeps an eye on social media censorship

      Facebook, Instagram and other social media websites had been in hot water many, many times in the past for purging content other users deem inappropriate. In order to pinpoint the exact reasons for those takedowns and to determine trends in content removals, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has created a website that tracks censorship across social media outlets. The EFF has built the platform called Online Censorship along with data-driven design company Visualizing Impact. It has resources, such as articles that talk about unjust removal of posts, but it relies on user reports to gather the data it needs.

    • EFF’s Onlinecensorship.org to tackle Twitter and Facebook takedowns
    • Tracking Content Takedowns by Facebook, Twitter, and Other Social Media Sites

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Visualizing Impact launched Onlinecensorship.org today, a new platform to document the who, what, and why of content takedowns on social media sites. The project, made possible by a 2014 Knight News Challenge award, will address how social media sites moderate user-generated content and how free expression is affected across the globe.

    • Why college student protesters are battling free speech, in 1 graph
    • Free Speech Poll: 40% Of Millennials Think Government Should Censor Speech Offensive To Minorities
    • Millennials More Likely to Support Censorship of Offensive Speech Than Older Americans

      While two-thirds of Americans correctly believe the U.S. government should not prohibit speech that offends minorities, a shockingly high number of millennials—40 percent—support such censorship. Young people, it turns out, are more likely to favor suppression of offensive speech than older Americans.

    • Why has Jennifer Lawrence been removed from Hunger Games posters in Israel?

      Posters for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 have reportedly been censored in two Jewish cities, Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, with star Jennifer Lawrence removed to leave only the flaming “mockingjay” background.

      Examples of the Lawrence-free poster, seen below, have been shared by the Israeli newspaper Ynet and on Twitter.

    • Critics of Malaysian Government Cite Censorship Pressure

      Malaysia’s government is raising pressure on journalists and opposition figures who criticize the prime minister’s administration or allege wrongdoing over a development fund he created that is now under investigation, say activists and people affected by the moves.

    • Awesome Stuff: Let’s Bore The Censors
    • Watching paint dry: epic crowfunded troll of the UK film censorship board

      You can’t release a film in the UK without a certificate from the British Board of Film Certification, a censorship authority that’s been rating and banning movies since it was established in 1912 to prevent ‘indecorous dancing,’ ‘references to controversial politics’ and ‘men and women in bed together.”

      It costs £7.09/minute to get your movie rated by the BBFC — about £1000 per movie, out of the budget of many indie filmmaker. But the censors have to sit through whatever you pay them to rate.

    • The Issue of Campus Censorship

      Is the right to free speech truly exercised at University, with students fearful of the repercussions if they do turn to activism and is this fair? Jay Harris comments.

    • Classroom Censorship Does Not Protect Against Real World Experiences

      The idea that educators should attempt to anticipate — and palliate — every variety of subjective response their teaching might elicit is both absurd and unrealistic. It’s also self-deluding. But maybe that’s what Mr. Eosphoros is really proposing: that we redefine education as a comforting mode of self-delusion. Perhaps the new motto would read: “I feel safe, therefore I am safe.”

    • Smith College student group decries ‘censorship’ of campus Black Lives Matter demonstration

      Theresa Meyer, chair of the student group Smith Bipartisan Coalition, said the minorities in this case are not students of color at a largely white campus, but those students who hold opinions that do not march lockstep with those of a liberal majority.

    • China tightens online broadcasting censorship
    • Censorship, Double-Standards, and China’s Hard Sell on Counterterrorism

      Beijing maintains strict control over the narrative surrounding violence in the troubled Xinjiang region.

    • Director at Center of Censorship Scandal Might Head to Seoul Art Museum
    • South Korea’s Art Community Protests Top Candidate for Museum Directorship After Censorship Fiasco

      Those opposing Marí’s candidacy are especially concerned because the South Korean government has increasingly imposed “censorship and bureaucratic restrictions on artistic freedom,” as the Petition 4 Art statement puts it. The group cites allegations against Arts Council Korea (ARKO) of censoring plays; government funding cuts for this year’s Busan International Film Festival, a decision some suspect stems from the screening of a documentary critical of the Sewol passenger ferry‘s sinking; and last year’s sudden removal of South Korean artist Hong Sung-dam’s caricature of the country’s president from the Gwangju Biennale. The group also describes many cultural organizations that seem to value institutional needs over creativity and artistic freedom, claiming instances of “biased financial support and self-censorship” at an array of public art organizations — one of them being MMCA itself.

    • What Indians Think About Religious Freedom in Their Country – Report
    • What’s Behind Facebook’s Censoring Of Atheists In India

      A few days ago a petition popped up on the website Change.org urging Mark Zuckerberg to “support freedom of expression in India” by unblocking an atheist Facebook group there with over 13,000 members.

      Facebook, the petition said, had not given any reason for the blockade. One day users in India who tried to visit the site were simply hit with a message that the content was “unavailable.” This was not the first time a Facebook page for atheists had been censored in the secular state. In June, another atheist Facebook group was reportedly labeled “unsafe” and its members were unable to share its content.

    • Twitter Has Censored Gory Images of the Paris Attacks

      Over the past three days, Twitter has been preventing its users in France from viewing certain images and keywords related to the Paris attacks. The censorship, first reported today by the French newspaper Le Monde, applies to a keyword used by supporters of the Islamic State, tweets advocating terrorism, and, more controversially, graphic photographs taken inside the Bataclan after the terrorist attacks there left dozens dead.

    • Net Neutrality Puts Political Websites in the Crosshairs of Censorship

      When Net Neutrality was sold to the American people, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler promised there would be no regulation of content. No censorship. The rules would allow the FCC to regulate content, but they would “forbear” and leave things alone. Now where have we heard that before? It sounds too much like, “If you like your Internet, you can keep your Internet.” Now, like with Obamacare, the truth is coming forward as lawmakers and experts warn of a coming political censorship of the Internet.

      After having failed twice to enforce Net Neutrality, Wheeler’s most recent attempt began with an op-ed piece written for Wired. The February 4 article was his attempt to make the case for the necessity of government regulation of the Internet. In it he claimed that regulation of ISPs was needed to save the Internet. He also claimed that regulation of “edge providers” — companies that provide content to the Internet — would not be regulated, saying, “My proposal assures the rights of internet users to go where they want, when they want.”

    • Comment: The government’s censorship of Humanism must be challenged in court

      Last week, three parents and their children took the government to court. They asked a judge to affirm that in refusing to allow for the detailed study of non-religious beliefs in the new Religious Studies GCSE, the government improperly marginalised those beliefs, discriminated against those who hold them, and, as a result, failed to treat them equal to their religious fellow-citizens.

    • PEER Sues USDA to End Scientific Censorship

      Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Agriculture.

      PEER says that the USSDA should stop censoring scientific findings for political reasons and significantly strengthen its Scientific Integrity Policy.

      The suit targets official restraints on USDA scientists publishing or speaking about their findings in peer-reviewed journals, before professional societies, and in other unofficial settings.

      This March, PEER filed a formal rulemaking petition pressing USDA to end censorship policies and to bolster its extremely weak Scientific Integrity Policy adopted in 2013.

      The petition asked USDA to adopt “best practices” from other federal agencies’ integrity policies and to end politically driven suppression or alteration of studies.

      In a letter dated June 11, 2015, USDA Chief Scientist Catherine Wotecki wrote that the agency refused to consider the substance of the petition because scientific integrity only affected its “internal personnel rules and practices” and was therefore exempt from the public notice and comment process normally required of agency rules.

    • Poland Censors Commercial Radio Station That Airs Sputnik

      The Polish government has begun censoring independent media in the country. The first one to fall is the Polish commercial radio station Radio Hobby.

      The Polish National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT) canceled the broadcasting license of Radio Hobby, which airs Radio Sputnik Polska.

    • Do Black Voices Matter To Instagram?

      We demand answers as to why our voices are silenced and others are not.

    • 40% of Millennials OK with limiting speech offensive to minorities
    • You can’t ban racism

      The truth is, proclaiming your white guilt or censoring social media won’t stop racism or help minorities. Instead, we must promote moral strength, fortitude and personal autonomy, while expressing solidarity with, and support for, victims. No doubt this is not fair. But – here’s the hard part – life isn’t always fair.

    • Censorship: Turkey’s tangled relationship with social media

      On Saturday, a sudden ban on the social media network Reddit in Turkey was reported by The Verge, causing many to wonder what could have sparked this latest move by authorities to crack down on the Internet. At the time, the site was said to have been blocked on the DNS level, meaning that it was possible to circumvent the ban with a simple foreign DNS service.

    • Media freedom in Northern Cyprus: The Sener Levent case

      Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika reported on 30 August 2015 that the Turkish military forces in Cyprus had accused the paper of being against “the army and the flag”. Afrika’s articles had allegedly offended Turkish forces and made “people alienated from the army”, according to the case.

      Editor-in-chief Sener Levent and writer Mahmut Anayasa, both of whom had shared an Afrika article from July on social media, were called to the prosecutor’s office for questioning. According to Costas Mavridis, a Greek Cypriot Member of the European Parliament, this is not the first time Levent has faced accusations. Both were later released.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Officials Consider Creating European Equivalent of CIA After Paris Attacks
    • EU considers ‘European CIA’ following Paris attacks
    • Paris attacks: EU ministers consider Europe-wide CIA-style intelligence agency and increased border security checks
    • Speaking of Obama administration lawlessness, what about NSA data collection and drone strikes on American citizens?

      It’s no surprise that most criticism of Obama administration lawlessness has come from the right — political opponents of a president have more of an incentive to highlight bad things the administration has been doing, and supporters, in turn, tend to play down, ignore or even defend such things.

      Back in the 1980s, when I was younger and much more naive, I was astounded that so many conservative Republicans defended the Reagan administration’s insane arms-for-hostages deal with Iran. “Iran-contra,” as the scandal came to be known, was not just an embarrassing negation of America’s stated policy of not negotiating with terrorists, but also represented a clumsy but willful attempt to circumvent a duly enacted law that prohibited providing the Nicaraguan contras with weapons.

      Today, I’m hardly shocked by such partisanship. The most common defense of the Obama administration acting through executive order when there is minimal to nonexistent legal authority to do so is that President Obama simply must do so, because Congress is so obstructionist. There is no “Congress won’t act, so the president’s power is expanded” clause of the Constitution, and I’m willing to bet that almost no one making this argument made a similar argument during any of the last three Republican administrations, nor would they make it in a Bush III, Rubio or Cruz administration if a future Republican president found his policies blocked by Congress.

    • Corporate reputation is a pressure point in the fight for digital human rights

      Internet giants Google, Twitter and Facebook were recently subjected to a compliance test by the Open Technology Institute’s Ranking Digital Rights initiative. Cynics will not be surprised to hear that these companies all received failing grades when evaluated on user privacy and data security practices. In a world that has absorbed Edward Snowden’s revelations on the NSA’s snooping on private communications, with the alleged collaboration of the largest internet platforms, we can expect such cynics to be many.

      What’s really surprising here is how little we have come to expect from these companies who once positioned themselves as champions of a “…more open and connected world”, to cite Facebook’s mission statement. One might also wonder how these brands feel about such repeated slights to their image. When it comes to helping or hindering human rights across the world, does reputation still matter to the leading social networks? Or have they, perhaps, simply grown too big to care?

    • Police State Europe

      Churchill once said: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” More recently, former Obama White House chief of staff/current Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel said earlier: “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

    • Paris Attacks Bring Domestic Surveillance Into Presidential Race
    • Will Europe Have A Patriot Act? Security May Trump Privacy Rights After Paris Attacks

      Following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Congress passed a sweeping overhaul of policies that allowed extensive electronic surveillance. A source of controversy ever since, the Patriot Act has been both lauded for thwarting attacks in their planning stages and criticized for allowing the National Security Agency to collect Americans’ call records. Now, following the attacks in Paris on Friday, it seems that the EU and France may pass Patriot Act-like surveillance laws, bringing the debate between security and personal privacy to a head in Europe.

    • Questions of the Week: Are games being used by terrorists? ["Despite the hype there does not seem to be any evidence jihadists use online games"]

      The headlines were sensational. Fox News: “Joystick Jihad.” The Daily Express: “Did Isis terrorists use a PlayStation 4 to plot Paris massacre in the streets?”

      They all seemed to suggest that a games console had played an integral part in planning the Paris terror attacks. Fuelling this were comments made by Belgium’s deputy prime minister, Jan Jambon, about potential tactics of Islamic State and reports that a PS4 console had been recovered from the apartment of one of the suspected attackers.

      PS4 is, according to Jambon, harder to keep track of than popular messaging service Whatsapp.

      Suddenly, there were articles quoting experts talking about how attackers could use all sorts of ways to communicate in games without ever uttering a word: spelling out plans in a hail of bullets was one suggestion.

    • Syrian Refugees & Domestic Spying: How Do You Like Your Red Herring Served?

      This is much like the anti-Semitic arguments against letting Jews into America during the Holocaust. “Well, they are different, and some of them could be communists.” True enough. I know my, now deceased, communist relatives blew up nothing and killed no one. Although you could make the case that some of the more ideological ones might have bored some folks to death. When measured against certain death, the threat posed by a very few should have meant next to nothing.

    • Edward Snowden Addresses Queen’s University in Online Keynote

      “This isn’t about Surveillance, It’s About Democracy”

    • After Paris Attacks, We Must Not Abandon Our Values

      Attacks that shook Paris and Beirut last week make us feel compassion for the survivors, empathy for those who lost loved ones and, yes, fear for our own safety. Political terrorism aims to strike fear in the hearts of millions — and it’s a disturbingly effective tactic.

      So, perhaps it’s not surprising that Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and dozens of other elected officials responded to the Paris attacks with fear, including a call to halt U.S. plans to provide a safe harbor for Syrian refugees.

    • NBC’s Chuck Todd Explains How Only A Dozen Of 785,000 Refugees Admitted To The U.S. Since 9/11 Were Removed Because Of Terrorism Concerns
    • The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA and the Rise of America’s Secret Government

      Peter and Mickey spend the hour with David Talbot, author of “The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA and the Rise of America’s Secret Government.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Why you should understand (a little) about TCP

      A little background: NSQ is a queue that you send to messages to. The way you publish a message is to make an HTTP request on localhost. It really should not take 40 milliseconds to send a HTTP request to localhost. Something was terribly wrong. The NSQ daemon wasn’t under high CPU load, it wasn’t using a lot of memory, it didn’t seem to be a garbage collection pause. Help.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Digital files “property”, says court in “female patronage” case
    • Trademarks

      • ‘Je suis Paris’ and ‘Pray for Paris’ TM applications rejected

        France’s intellectual property office has rejected a number of trademark applications for the terms ‘Je suis Paris’ and ‘Pray for Paris’.

        In a statement published on Friday, November 20, the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) said it has rejected the applications on the grounds that they are contrary to ordre public and the terms cannot be used commercially considering the recent events in Paris.

        ‘Je suis Paris’ and ‘Pray for Paris’ became popular rallying cries for Twitter users following the shootings and bombings in Paris on November 13.

    • Copyrights

      • When words mean what they say: Bob Marley copyrights stay where they are

        It appears that, like a number of reggae artists at the time, Bob Marley may not have been fairly compensated by certain parties for his work, which included (he contended) not receiving royalties under two publishing agreements. As a result, in order to gain control of the copyrights and/or revenue streams, Marley deliberately misattributed songs to various associates. Reportedly, the songwriting credits for “No Woman, No Cry” for example, were given to a friend to use the subsequent royalties to run a soup kitchen in Trenchtown, Jamaica, where Marley grew up.

      • Google Asked to Remove 1,500 “Pirate Links” Per Minute

        Google is facing a never-ending flood of takedown requests from copyright holders, breaking record after record. The company currently processes a record breaking 1,500 links to “pirate” pages from its search results every minute, which is a 100% increase compared to last year.

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