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Links 31/1/2016: OpenELEC 6.0.1, Linux Lite 2.8

Posted in News Roundup at 1:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Get your own copy of Torrent search engine as Strike search engine goes open source

    Now everyone can have their own torrent search engine as Strike torrent search goes open source

    Somebody’s loss is always somebody’s gain. The same happened in the case of the popular torrent search engine Strike which has just gone open source. Now, torrent lovers and film fans can build their own custom torrent search engine based on Strike code.

  • Strike Torrent Search Goes Open Source, After RIAA Debacle

    The popular torrent search engine Strike has shut down permanently. Following a lawsuit from the RIAA, developer Andrew Sampson decided to stay away from torrent released projects. To mark the end of a turbulent period, he has now released the search engine’s source code to the public.

  • TiddlyWiki: A free, open source wiki revisited

    TiddlyWiki has become a very polished piece of free, open source software engineering and I was delighted to find that the latest version could even import my ancient version’s content. My old TiddlyWiki was a fairly large collection of recipes and other than some minor formatting issues (the latest version supports a type of markdown called WikiText so my old version’s content wasn’t correctly formatted) everything was easily imported and upgraded.

  • Snowden Leak Proves That NSA And GCHQ Spied On Israeli Drones Using Open Source Tools

    GCHQ used open source software like AntiSky to break down commercial satellite encryption. AntiSky was developed by Dr. Markus Kuhn, Computer Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. The software allows anyone to peep through the satellite signals and then use his expertise to come up with some meaningful outcome. However, digital video signals used by some drones might pose difficulty for the analysts appointed by the security agencies.

  • Events

    • OpenStack Summit Austin: Call for Speakers

      The next OpenStack Summit will take place in Austin, TX, US from April 25-29, 2016. The Call for Speaker period is still open and will close on February 1st , 2016, 11:59 PM PDT (February 2nd, 08:59 CEST). You can submit your presentations here.

  • BSD

    • Exploiting The Full Potential Of ZFS On BSD Systems

      With ZFS file-system support continuing to spread via OpenZFS, you may be one of the many out there still wondering about the benefits of ZFS.

      Allan Jude, a FreeBSD server administrator, is presenting at FOSDEM this weekend about “interesting things you can do with ZFS.” His presentation covers ZFS features like data integrity checking, multi-level cache, copy-on-write behavior, snapshots, quotas, transparent compression, incremental replication, and more.



  • The End of Twitter

    It wasn’t that long ago that I—and many other people I know—would have argued that Twitter was more than just another social network. I would have told you that Twitter was more like a utility, a service so fundamental that I could imagine a scenario in which it was literally underwritten. Twitter needed to exist. A stream of those hundred-and-forty-character tweets was how you found the most crucial, critical, and thought-provoking stories of the moment.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • OpenSSL patches a severe but not widespread problem

      The OpenSSL project has patched a problem in the cryptographic library but one that likely does not affect many popular applications.

      OpenSSL enables SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security) encryption. Most websites use it, which is indicated in Web browsers with a padlock symbol.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • What’s In A Name? Iraqis Change Names to Avoid Being Targeted by Militias

      Fear of those Shiite Muslim militias is driving many locals in Diyala Province, where the population is mixed, to change their names to more neutral formulations.

      The reason is simple survival. “Just over the past two months our department has received between 150 and 200 applications for a name change,” said an official working for Diyala’s Directorate of Nationality. “Most of the applications are being submitted by people whose names reveal their sect or the areas from where their family or tribe comes.”

    • Bombs Damage Pipelines in Iraq as 41 Are Killed

      A pair of bombs near Kirkuk damaged a pipeline that delivers gas used for electricity production in Kurdistan and caused power outages.

    • The Grim Fight Against War

      Every candidate running for president accepts war as a necessity.

    • ISIS Kidnap 30 Children; 139 Killed in Iraq
    • Saudi Arabia funding 24,000 Pak madrassas, says American senator

      About 24,000 madrassas in Pakistan are funded by Saudi Arabia which has unleashed a “tsunami of money” to “export intolerance”, a top American senator has said, adding that the US needs to end its effective acquiescence to the Saudi sponsorship of radical Islamism.

      Senator Chris Murphy said Pakistan is the best example of where money coming from Saudi Arabia is funnelled to religious schools that nurture hatred and terrorism.

    • Airmen get computer ‘weapon system’ just in time for Colorado Springs symposium

      Air Force Space Command has declared its first cyber “weapons system” operational as a conference of computer warfare experts gets ready to kick off in Colorado Springs.

      The weapon, deemed fully operational this month, is basically a big firewall designed to protect the Air Force’s internal 1 million-user network from hackers. It will be a hot topic at the Rocky Mountain Cyber Symposium, which is expected to draw hundreds of computer experts to The Broadmoor for a four-day confab starting Monday.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • The Leak Hypocrisy of the Hillary Shadow Cabinet

      Now, as I have said before, one thing that is going on here is that CIA is acting just like CIA always does when it declares publicly known things, including torture and drones, to be highly secret. It appears likely that these Top Secret emails are yet another set of emails about the worst kept secret in the history of covert programs, CIA’s drone killing in Pakistan. And so I am sympathetic, in principle, to Hillary’s campaign claims that this is much ado about nothing.

    • 22 Clinton Emails Deemed ‘Top Secret’ by State Department (VIDEO)

      Confirming that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private computer server held highly classified material, the U.S. government Friday censored 22 emails.

      The seven email chains from the Democratic presidential front-runner will be withheld from the public because information in them has been deemed “top secret,” announced John Kirby, State Department spokesman. However, “These documents were not marked classified at the time that they were sent,” he said, having been upgraded at the request of intelligence agencies.

    • Hey, Have You Heard About the Top Secret US Drone Program?

      Hmmm. A news article? Here’s a Politico piece from a couple of weeks ago, when we heard that the inspector general’s office was concerned about some of Clinton’s emails.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Cloud blanket warms up melting icecap

      Researchers have identified another piece in the climate machinery that is accelerating the melting of the Greenland ice cap. The icy hills are responding to the influence of a higher command system: the clouds.

      An international research team led by scientists from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium report in Nature Communications journal that cloud cover above the northern hemisphere’s largest single volume of permanent ice is raising temperatures by between 2° and 3°C and accounting for 20-30% of the melting.

    • Here is the weather forecast for the next five years: even hotter

      Global temperatures will continue to soar over the next 12 months as rising levels of greenhouse gas emissions and El Niño combine to bring more record-breaking warmth to the planet.

      According to the Met Office’s forecast for the next five years, 2016 is likely to be the warmest since records began. Then in 2017 there will be a dip as the effects of El Niño dissipate and there is some planet-wide cooling.

      But after that, and for the remaining three years of the decade, the world will continue to experience even more warming. The forecast, which will be released this week, is the first such report that the Met Office has issued since it overhauled its near-term climate prediction system last year.

  • Finance

    • Same as the old boss: Justin Trudeau ready to sign Harper’s EU free trade deal

      CETA is a Canada/EU “free trade agreement,” negotiated in secret and containing the notorious “Investor-State Dispute Settlement” (ISDS) clause, which lets corporations sue governments in confidential tribunals in order to force them to repeal their environmental, safety and labour laws.

      If that sounds familiar, it should: CETA was negotiated in the same corrupt, secretive process that the old Harper government deployed for the Trans Pacific Partnership and the Canada/China deal.

    • The Perils of Privatization

      Make no mistake: The purpose of privatization is to make a profit. The promise of privatization is efficiency. But in its pursuit of both profits and efficiency, privatization creates perverse incentives. It encourages privately managed charter schools to avoid or get rid of “expensive” students” (unless the reimbursement formula makes them profitable to keep); it encourages for-profit hospitals to over diagnose patients and perform unnecessary surgeries; it encourages private preschool providers of special education to misdiagnose children as in need of services to produce profits.

    • Hillary’s Corporate Democrats Taking Down Bernie Sanders

      Before announcing for President in the Democratic Primaries, Bernie Sanders told the people he would not run as an Independent and be like Nader—invoking the politically-bigoted words “being a spoiler.” Well, the spoiled corporate Democrats in Congress and their consultants are mounting a “stop Bernie campaign.” They believe he’ll “spoil” their election prospects.

    • Some Things Change With Time … While the Gender Wage Gap Remains Relatively the Same

      Despite the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009, the equal pay needle hasn’t moved much at all.

      It’s hard to believe it’s been seven years since President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the first piece of legislation to become law during his presidency. Back in 2009, we celebrated the law’s potential for turning the rallying cry of “equal pay for equal work” into a reality.

      But sadly – as President Obama’s announcement today to hold companies accountable for paying women and people of color less makes evident – the momentum created by Ledbetter’s namesake legislation hasn’t moved the equal pay needle all that much.

      Who was Lilly Ledbetter? In 2007, the Supreme Court threw out a jury’s verdict that she suffered pay discrimination during her nearly 20 years as one of the only female managers at an Alabama Goodyear Tire plant. In a 5-4 opinion authored by Justice Samuel Alito, the court found that Ledbetter waited too long to sue, even though she didn’t know about the disparity between her pay and that of her male peers until she was close to retirement.

    • The West Is Reduced To Looting Itself

      Accountable government in the West is history. Nothing but failure and collapse awaits Western civilization.

    • New York Times Gets it Wrong: Bernie Sanders Not “Top Beneficiary of Outside Money”

      The New York Times caused a stir by publishing a classic man-bites-dog style campaign finance story in its Friday editions titled “Bernie Sanders Is Top Beneficiary of Outside Money.” The article charges that despite his fiery campaign rhetoric against Super PACs and big money in politics, Sanders has gained much more from Super PAC spending than his Democratic opponents.

      “In fact,” the Times reports, “more super PAC money has been spent so far in express support of Mr. Sanders than for either of his Democratic rivals, including Hillary Clinton, according to Federal Election Commission records.”

    • How the Homeless Population Is Changing — and Becoming Much More Vulnerable

      On any given night in the United States, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, over half a million people are without a home. That number may have decreased nationwide in the past few years, but California remains on the forefront of the problem, accounting for 20 percent of the country’s homeless in 2014.


      The common perception of homelessness is that it is a problem that afflicts only those with mental health and substance use problems. But this description doesn’t describe the experience of older adults, particularly those who first experienced homelessness late in life.

    • The ugliest Bernie smear yet: Washington Post shows its corporate colors with new Sanders hit piece

      The Washington Post has been on something of an anti-Sanders kick lately. Its latest editorial, Bernie Sanders’s fiction-filled campaign, is somehow worse than its last one, which derided his single-payer plan in tabloid-like terms. It’s entirely predictable that an establishment gatekeeper publication like The Post would not approve of Sanders’ relatively radical policy proposals, but the degree to which it keeps offering up hysterical, and often times totally disingenuous critiques, is surprising even by its standards.

    • Cheap cab ride? You must have missed Uber’s true cost

      To understand why we see so few genuine alternatives to US technology giants, it’s instructive to compare the fate of a company like Uber – valued at more than $62.5bn (£44bn) – and that of Kutsuplus, an innovative Finnish startup forced to shut down late last year.

      Kutsuplus’s aspiration was to be the Uber of public transport: it operated a network of minibuses that would pick up and drop passengers anywhere in Helsinki, with smartphones, algorithms and the cloud deployed to maximise efficiency, cut costs and provide a slick public service. Being a spinoff of a local university that operated on a shoestring budget, Kutsuplus did not have rich venture capitalists behind it. This, perhaps, is what contributed to its demise: the local transport authority found it too expensive, despite impressive year-on-year growth of 60%.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Is Bernie Sanders the American Jeremy Corbyn?

      He is the veteran socialist that no one gave a prayer to – but now Bernie Sanders is starting to be seen as a serious contender to be the Democrats’ presidential candidate. Does that remind you of anyone?

    • Hillary, Bernie and Jill

      Lest anyone begin to believe that this writer is indicating support for Mr. Sanders, please disabuse yourself of any such notion. The fact that Mrs. Clinton is an unabashed corporate shill, and Mr. Sanders, perhaps, isn’t, or is less so, doesn’t cause this writer to reject the one and embrace the other. He agrees that Mr. Sanders is probably the lesser of the two Democratic evils, but there are alternatives.

    • Trump and the Conservative Establishment Deserve Each Other

      The bankrupt political establishment has given us Trump as surely as Victor Frankenstein gave his community the monster. I’m all for revolting against the establishment, but we will regret making the authoritarian and boorish Trump the standard bearer of that revolt.

    • INFOGRAPHIC: The Conservative Civil War Over Donald Trump

      Conservative pundits are bickering over Donald Trump’s campaign, especially after National Review’s “Against Trump” issue and the backlash it engendered. On one side are pundits who want to stop Trump’s candidacy in its tracks.

    • Can the new Charter protect the BBC’s independence

      Let’s be frank: the status quo does not offer sufficient safeguards for BBC independence.

  • Censorship

    • Rowena Kincaid: Cancer patient attacks Facebook over ‘censorship’

      A terminally ill woman has hit out at Facebook after a “potentially life-saving” photograph showing one of her nipples was removed from her page.

      Rowena Kincaid, who has secondary stage-four breast cancer, said the decision to remove the image could prevent thousands people from learning about the symptoms of the disease.

    • Facebook Cracks Down On Private Gun Sales

      Still, this marks another step by the company to limit the sale of firearms on its service. As the Verge reported in 2014, Facebook previously limited posts about gun sales to people over the age of 18.

    • Elite students receive a lesson in self-censorship

      Teeraporn Suwanvidhu had a tough decision to make five years ago as president of the Thai Student Association in the UK: remove an article, or lose all support from the Thai Embassy next year.

    • Reformers to demand censorship from Facebook, Line

      Executives of the giant social media outlets Facebook and Line have been called to a meeting by the national reform assembly over monitoring and removing content considered a security threat to Thailand.

      The meeting called by the assembly’s media reform committee follows a similar one with Google executives on Jan 22 in which they were asked to remove content without a court order.

    • Thai junta wants online content removed without order

      A report claims that a Thai junta-appointed committee is to ask Facebook and online communication device Line to immediately remove content deemed threatening to national security or the monarchy, if it wants to continue operating in the Kingdom.

      The removal would be carried out without the need for a Computer Crime Act court order — previously needed before any action is taken against anyone posting “threatening” content online.

      The Bangkok Post reported Sunday that a document claimed to have been leaked and obtained by Thai cyber activists reveals details of the February plans.

    • Confirmed: 1984-style censorship in Sweden

      Here is a screenshot of a story in the Daily Mail, titled EXCLUSIVE – Swedish social worker was stabbed in the back and thigh as she tried to break up a fight between two teenage migrants: Police officer reveals shocking new details of the killing. Note how it appears just fine through my regular Internet service:

    • Bill Gates sold rights to the Tiananmen 1989 pictures to a Chinese company

      The photos went as part of the deal that sold Corbis Entertainment’s licensing arm to Visual China Group.

      Few subjects are more heavily censored in China than mention the 1989 Tiananmen uprising and massacre.

    • Bill Gates has sold a set of iconic images to a Beijing firm—including of Tiananmen in 1989

      The sale of politically sensitive pictures to a Chinese company raises the question of whether they will become harder to access. The answer depends partly on your location. Within mainland China the issue of who owns sensitive images is a somewhat academic matter. Censorship—both government-led and self-imposed—means that images such as “Tank Man” rarely see the light of day anyway.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • James Ridgeway’s Solitary Reporting

      Each week, Ridgeway leaves his home in Washington, D.C., walks to his local post office, and returns with about fifty letters from men and women locked in solitary-confinement units in prisons around the country. The letters began arriving in 2010, soon after Ridgeway launched a Web site, called Solitary Watch, with an editor named Jean Casella. “When we started, there was nobody writing about this,” she said. Ridgeway was then seventy-three years old. He dug into his retirement fund to help cover startup costs, and now, when he goes to the post office each week, he pushes a walker.

    • Watch An Atheist Voter Confront Ben Carson About Separation Of Church And State

      Asked by an atheist voter about how his Christian faith would play a role in his presidency, Republican candidate Ben Carson said he believes there is inherently “no conflict” between God’s law and the laws of America.

      “Fortunately, our Constitution, the supreme law of the land, was designed by men of faith, and it has a Judeo-Christian foundation,” the retired neurosurgeon told a packed room of potential caucusgoers in Iowa City on Friday afternoon. “Therefore, there is no conflict there. So it is not a problem.”

    • Discriminatory New Visa Law Keeps German-Iranian Professor Out of U.S.

      ON JANUARY 29, Dr. Amin Shokrollahi was planning to do something he had done many times before: take a flight from his home in Switzerland to the United States. Shokrollahi, a dual German-Iranian citizen, is a renowned mathematician, computer scientist, and a professor at the prestigious École Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne. Once in the U.S., he was to deliver an address at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSC) in San Francisco.

    • State Rep. Praises KKK, Wants New Holiday To Honor Confederacy

      The Ku Klux Klan has gotten a bad rap, according to one Georgia lawmaker. He says the terror group “was not so much a racist thing but a vigilante thing to keep law and order” that “made a lot of people straighten up.”

      That leader is now hellbent on stopping the “cultural cleansing” of the South’s heritage. So far this year, State Rep. Tommy Benton (R) has co-sponsored two bills to preserve the Confederate’s legacy.

    • Cops Caught on Camera in Cowardly Gang-Style Beating of an Unarmed Man Lying Face Down

      In August of 2014, multiple deputies with the Marion County Sheriff’s office conducted a drug bust. During the bust, Derrick Price ran from deputies Jesse Terrell, Trevor Fitzgerald, James Amideo, Cody Hoppel and Adam Crawford. However, once he realized he could not outrun the pickup truck, he quickly stopped, put his hands up, and laid face down on the ground — completely surrendering.

      Upon reaching the unarmed, nonviolent, completely compliant, and prostrate man, the deputies proceeded to unleash a furious beating composed of kicks to the head, knees to the body, and countless blows from fists.

    • Father Arrested For Theft After Taking Daughter’s Phone Vindicated

      Arrested on a theft charge for disciplining his daughter by taking her cell phone away, a North Texas father said “justice” was finally served.

      Ronald Jackson was arrested by Grand Prairie police after investigators attempted to retrieve the phone, but were never successful in their efforts.

      A judge at the Dallas County Courthouse found Jackson not guilty on Tuesday, citing a lack of evidence to move forward with the case.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate Party Risks Future to Protect Hyperlinks

        Earlier this week it was revealed that the Czech Pirate Party is being prosecuted for running a pirate TV show site. The party faces 200,000 euros in damages and could even be dissolved as a legal entity, but according to the chief of the party’s International Department, defending Internet hyperlinking is worth the risk.

      • Welcome to the divergence

        And it is a huge trend — vinyl sales are at a 26-year high in the US, and they represent more revenue to the music industry than streaming right now.

      • The Commerce Department Has Good Recommendations For Fixing Copyright Law – But More is Needed

        This paper grew out of a series of hearings in 2013 and 2014 in which EFF and other public interest organizations and academics gave evidence, along with people from the media and publishing industries. The Commerce Department panel deserves praise for inviting many different viewpoint. It covers three issues: remixes, the ability to re-sell and lend digital goods (called “first sale” rights), and copyright’s civil penalties (called “statutory damages”). The paper makes some recommendations to Congress that will help promote innovation and free speech, and will hopefully help begin a conversation about other needed fixes. And the Commerce Department panel did a good job of inviting and hearing many different viewpoints. Still, their recommendations in these three areas don’t go far enough to fix the problems they identify.

      • Could you be a Local Pirate?

        In 2014 we stood in the North-West Region for the European Elections. At last year’s General Election we had candidates in Manchester, Sheffield, South Wales and London. This year we want to consolidate in those areas, and branch out to new ones as well. This means that even if you are the only Pirate in your area it’s still worth standing as a candidate as a way of putting the Pirate name and brand out there – hopefully it will lead to kick-starting a branch in your area if people come forward and are interested.

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