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04.18.16

Links 18/4/2016: Linux 4.6 RC4, Tomb Raider for GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 8:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Keeping the Blockchain Open in the Shadow of Tech Giants

    You’ll find it parroted most in the open source community, particularly when Microsoft pulls stunts like their recent “partnering” with canonical to implement an Ubuntu-like Posix environment in Windows Ten. The phrase originates from the DOJ’s findings during the United States v. Microsoft Corp. antitrust case in 2003, as an internal standard for their technology development. Examples of Microsoft’s attempts at this methodology are pervasive in their offerings, including ActiveX and DirectX in the web and graphics software ecosystems, and recently, their involvement with the Linux community.

  • MEF, China Unicom, ON.Lab, Huawei Sign Open Source Agreement

    The MEF, China Unicom, ON.Lab, and Huawei are pleased to announce a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on using open source solutions to transform Central Offices and accelerate the industry transition to Third Network services. MOU partners will develop Proof of Concept use cases that illustrate how operators can deliver agile, assured, and orchestrated MEF-defined services by using open source software and open specification hardware. These use cases will serve as a stepping stone for deployable Third Network services that yield productivity-enhancing benefits for end customers.

  • Events

    • Mixing Linux and ZFS, LinuxFest NorthWest and More…

      It’s LinuxFest NorthWest time! I’ve never been to LFNW, but I have a soft spot in my heart for it’s hometown of Bellingham, Washington. Back in the day — we’re talking the late 1960s and early 70s — Bellingham was home to a hippie underground newspaper, Northwest Passage, that was known in counterculture circles of the day across the continent. Alas, the Passage has been gone since ’86, but its spirit seems to live on in a high techy, Linuxy sort of way at LFNW. From what I’ve seen, LFNW seems to be the most community driven and for-the–people of the major festivals in the U.S.

    • Reflections on Starting a Local FOSS Group

      Last Wednesday was no less than the third time the local FOSS group in Aalborg met. Today I’m looking back at how it all started so I thought I would share some thoughts that may help others who would like to spread free and open source software in their local area.

    • BrickHack 2016

      Last month at the Rochester Institute of Technology, BrickHack 2016 came to a close. BrickHack is an annual hackathon organized by students at RIT. Close to 300 people attend every year. This year was BrickHack’s second event.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • An introduction to Redox

        Back in March, a young operating system project attracted attention in the open source community. The project is called Redox and its developers are working on a Unix-like operating system written in the Rust language. The Redox operating system features a microkernel design (like MINIX), the permissive MIT license and some interesting design ideas.

        While I read a lot of opinions in March about the developers and their design goals, I encountered very little commentary on what it was like to use the young operating system itself. This lead me to become curious and download the project’s small installation ISO which is just 26MB in size.

      • Firefox 45.0.2 Has Been Released
      • Thunderbird 45.0 Has Been Released, Bringing New Features And Bug-Fixes
      • ‘BLATANTLY ILLEGAL’: 17 newspapers slam ex-Mozilla CEO’s new ad-blocking browser [Ed: means he does it right!]

        A group of the biggest US newspaper publishers — including Dow Jones, The Washington Post, and The New York Times Co. — have cosigned what they are calling a “cease and desist” letter (read it in full below) sent to the former Mozilla CEO’s new browser company.

      • A nail in the coffin for Firefox? Mozilla struggles to redefine browser

        A quiet announcement about a new Mozilla project sounded like a death knell for the Firefox browser.

        It wasn’t. But the project, called Tofino, reveals the technology challenges Mozilla faces more than a decade after Firefox’s debut. Hundreds of millions of people still use the browser, but its star is fading compared with Google’s Chrome.

        Mozilla released details about the Tofino project Friday, saying a six-person team at Mozilla will consider how to radically revamp Web browsers.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • LibreOffice

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Richard Stallman on Free Software: Freedom is Worth the Inconvenience

      Dr. Richard Stallman is an inductee of the internet hall of fame as well as the founder of the “Free Software” movement. In the words of Robert Grüning “Richard Stallman is like the Socrates of software, the money making colleagues are the sophists.” Another member of my audience said that Stallman is like Tron – he fights for the users. Yet Richard himself disliked both characterizations and called them misleading. So I suggest you check out my Singularity 1on1 interview with Richard Stallman, learn about the Free Software movement and judge for yourself.

    • DejaGnu 1.6 released

      DejaGnu 1.6 was released on April 15, 2016. Important changes include decent SSH support, many bug fixes and a much improved manual. Many old and defunct board files have been removed.

    • Libgcrypt 1.7.0 released
  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Free, high-quality education resources from the National Science Digital Library

        The use of open educational resources is growing. Open education involves making learning materials, data, and educational opportunities available to all without the restrictions of copyright and proprietary licensing models. According to U.S. Secretary of Education John King, “Openly licensed educational resources can increase equity by providing all students, regardless of zip code, access to high-quality learning materials that have the most up-to-date and relevant content.”

    • Open Hardware or OS

      • Redox: a Rust-based microkernel

        Creating a new operating system from scratch is a daunting task—witness the slow progress of GNU Hurd, for example. But it would be hard to argue that the existing systems are the be-all and end-all of how we interact with computer hardware. At least some of the deficiencies in today’s offerings can arguably be traced to the language used to implement them; C, for all its power, has some fairly serious flaws that lead to bugs and security holes of various sorts. So it is interesting to see a new entrant that uses the Rust language, which is focused on memory safety. The result is Redox, which is still far from ready for everyday use, but may provide an interesting counterpoint to Linux, the BSDs, OS X, Windows, and others.

      • Announcing Kestrel-4

        Based on the recent and wild success of the Kestrel-3 home-brew computer project, I am happy to announce my next project for the open computing masses. Say hello to the Kestrel-4.

      • An Open-Source Steam Controller Driver is in Development

        What properly holds me back from buying one is the fact I need to use Steam to use the controller, and the few games I do play aren’t available on Steam (e.g, SuperTuxKart, MAME, etc).

      • Open-source 3D printed WireBeings robot allows for voice controlled wifi functionality at a bargain

        When I was a child growing up in the 1980s robots were something found exclusively in the realm of science fiction. As time passed, the 1990s emerged and Honda’s Asimo started making appearances in tech-centric television programming on the Discovery Channel or TLC (this, during an era when those networks still focused on educational content).

  • Programming/Development

    • RFC: EfficiencySanitizer

      We plan to build a suite of compiler-based dynamic instrumentation tools for analyzing targeted performance problems. These tools will all live under a new “EfficiencySanitizer” (or “esan”) sanitizer umbrella, as they will share significant portions of their implementations.

    • Google Is Working On An Efficiency Sanitizer To Improve Performance Problems

      Derek Bruening of Google has announced the company’s interest in creating an “Efficiency Sanitizer” for LLVM/Clang for analyzing targeted performance problems.

      Worked on Google and other compoanies have been Address Sanitizer, Memory Sanitizer, Thread Sanitizer, Leak Sanitizer, Data Flow Sanitizer, and other sanitizers found in LLVM/Clang some of which have also been ported to GCC. These sanitizers have been incredibly helpful for developers in catching various problems within program code-bases, including many security issues. The latest focus being pursued by Google’s compiler engineers is on an Efficiency Sanitizer.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • 10 Inventors Who Died Because Of Their Own Inventions

      These people made contributions to the mankind but they would have never thought that their own creation would be held accountable for their last breath.

    • Actor Wil Wheaton Brings Love of Arts to STEM Festival

      Actor and writer Wil Wheaton wants to “add an A to the STEM acronym and make it STEAM.” He’ll be speaking at the USA Science and Engineering Festival April 16-17 in Washington about why he thinks the arts should be represented in the acronym commonly used when referring to the science, technology, engineering and math fields.

      Wheaton, 43, best known for his role as Wesley Crusher on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” in the 1980s and ’90s and more recently as a fictionalized version of himself on “The Big Bang Theory,” says that he has always been fascinated by science and technology, and has made it a goal of his to ensure that kids get the encouragement they need to pursue those fields.

    • Kettering Cosmos: How school children exposed Soviet secret

      The existence of the Plesetsk site was not admitted by the USSR for a further 17 years.

      It was reported at the time that the schoolboys had “beat the Americans” in discovering the site. Bob Christy, another pupil who participated in the experiment, thinks they probably knew of its existence, but the school’s work made sure the information was made public.

      “It wasn’t about studying the Russian space programme, it was about helping children understand space,” he said.

  • Hardware

    • Intel planning for thousands of job cuts, internal sources say

      Intel is preparing a significant round of job cuts across business units this spring, according to multiple sources inside the company familiar with its plans.

      The cutbacks will reduce employment in some parts of the business by double-digit percentages, according to Intel insiders, amounting to thousands of job cuts across the company by the end of the year. The planned downsizing could begin soon after Intel reports its first-quarter financial results Tuesday, though sources say timing and specifics remain fluid.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Monsanto’s Most Dangerous Product?

      On 13 April, the EU Parliament called on the European Commission to restrict certain permitted uses of the toxic herbicide glyphosate, best known in Monsanto’s ‘Roundup’ formulation.

      Glyphosate was last year determined to be “probably carcinogenic” by the WHO, and the resolution calls for no approval for many uses now considered acceptable, including use in or close to public parks, playgrounds and gardens and use where integrated pest management systems are sufficient for necessary weed control. The resolution falls short of an outright ban called for by many and also calls for the renewal of the licence for glyphosate to be limited to just seven years instead of the 15 proposed by the Commission.

      Nearly 700 MEPs voted on the seven-year licensing of glyphosate and the vote was passed by 374 votes in favor to 225 votes against.

    • This is what a dying NHS looks like

      If you don’t believe the Tories would destroy the NHS it’s time to face reality. It’s happening right now. The NHS is critically unwell, and whether it’s deliberate or not, death’s door is open.

  • Security

    • Backdoor in JBoss Java Platform Puts 3.2 Million Servers at Risk
    • Let’s Encrypt: threat or opportunity to other certificate authorities?

      Let’s Encrypt is a certificate authority (CA) that just left beta stage, that provides domain name-validated (DV) X.509 certificates for free and in an automated way: users just have to run a piece of software on their server to get and install a certificate, resulting in a valid TLS setup.

    • Making it easier to deploy TPMTOTP on non-EFI systems

      On EFI systems you can handle this by sticking the secret in an EFI variable (there’s some special-casing in the code to deal with the additional metadata on the front of things you read out of efivarfs). But that’s not terribly useful if you’re not on an EFI system. Thankfully, there’s a way around this. TPMs have a small quantity of nvram built into them, so we can stick the secret there. If you pass the -n argument to sealdata, that’ll happen. The unseal apps will attempt to pull the secret out of nvram before falling back to looking for a file, so things should just magically work.

    • Badlock Vulnerability Falls Flat Against Its Hype

      Weeks of anxiety and concern over the Badlock vulnerability ended today with an anticlimactic thud.

    • Samba 4.4.2, 4.3.8 and 4.2.11 Security Releases Available for Download
    • The Internet of bricks

      One of the promises of the “Internet of things” is that it gives us greater control over our homes, gadgets, and more. Free software also offers that sort of promise, along with the idea that, if necessary, we can support our own gadgetry when the manufacturer moves on to some new shiny object. The currently unfolding story of the Revolv hub shows that, in many cases, these promises are empty. The devices we depend on and think we own can, in fact, be turned into useless bricks at the manufacturer’s whim.

      The Revolv “M1″ home-automation hub was one of many products designed to bring home control to the Internet. It is able to control lights, heating, and more, all driven by smartphone-based applications. The product was sufficiently successful to catch the eye of the business-development folks at Nest, who acquired the company; Nest was acquired in turn by Google, and is now a separate company under the “Alphabet” umbrella.

    • Underwriters Labs refuses to share new IoT cybersecurity standard

      UL, the 122-year-old safety standards organisation whose various marks (UL, ENEC, etc.) certify minimum safety standards in fields as diverse as electrical wiring, cleaning products, and even dietary supplements, is now tackling the cybersecurity of Internet of Things (IoT) devices with its new UL 2900 certification. But there’s a problem: UL’s refusal to freely share the text of the new standard with security researchers leaves some experts wondering if UL knows what they’re doing.

      When Ars requested a copy of the UL 2900 docs to take a closer look at the standard, UL (formerly known as Underwriters Laboratories) declined, indicating that if we wished to purchase a copy—retail price, around £600/$800 for the full set—we were welcome to do so. Independent security researchers are also, we must assume, welcome to become UL retail customers.

    • Combined malware threat is robbing banks of millions every day

      THE SECURITY attack dogs at IBM have uncovered two normally solo malware threats working together to rob banks in the US and Canada.

      IBM’s X-Force division has dubbed the combined malware Stealma and Louise GozNym by merging the names of the individual, but now friendly, Gozi ISFB and Nymaim.

      “It appears that the operators of Nymaim have recompiled its source code with part of the Gozi ISFB source code, creating a combination that is being actively used in attacks against more than 24 US and Canadian banks, stealing millions of dollars so far,” said IBM in a blog post.

    • Flaw-finding Ruby on Rails bot steams past humans
    • Future of secure systems in the US

      Security and privacy are important to many people. Given the personal and financial importance of data stored in computers (traditional or mobile), users don’t want criminals to get a hold of it. Companies know this, which is why both Apple IOS and Google Android both encrypt their local file systems by default now. If a bill anything like what’s been proposed becomes law, users that care about security are going to go elsewhere. That may end up being non-US companies’ products or US companies may shift operations to localities more friendly to secure design. Either way, the US tech sector loses. A more accurate title would have been Technology Jobs Off-Shoring Act of 2016.

    • Software end of life matters!

      Anytime you work on a software project, the big events are always new releases. We love to get our update and see what sort of new and exciting things have been added. New versions are exciting, they’re the result of months or years of hard work. Who doesn’t love to talk about the new cool things going on?

    • JBOSS Backdoor opens 3 million servers at risk of attacks
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Hillary’s Neocon Problem

      Hillary Clinton has a dark history in foreign policy. Indeed, if the Nuremberg principles were applied evenly, her name would certainly be on the docket, along with her former boss in the White House, who is actually less of a hawk than she. When Donald Trump publicly expressed a willingness to negotiate with Russia over international conflicts, she referred to such an idea as putting “Christmas in the Kremlin.” She’s red-baited Bernie Sanders for his support for the Cuban and Nicaraguan revolutions back in the 1980s. Clinton basically backs not “political realism,” but the more imperial tradition of neoconservative “American exceptionalism,” a chauvinist mindset by which the US sets the political, economic, and military priorities of the world and the places and times of its interventions, sometimes with allied support, sometimes without, at its own discretion.

    • Is Hillary Clinton Above the Law?

      Secretary of State Clinton was harsh on subordinates who were careless with classified information, but those rules apparently weren’t for her, a troubling double standard, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

    • Young Iraqis Overwhelmingly Consider U.S. Their Enemy, Poll Says

      The poll was conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, a public relations and market research firm co-founded by controversial strategist Mark Penn, and was sponsored by a Dubai-based affiliate of Burson Marsteller, once described as “the PR firm for evil.” Still, the undertaking, as outlined by organizers, sounds ambitious. It included 250 face-to-face interviews in three Iraqi cities, plus another 3,250 interviews in 15 other countries throughout the Arab world, all with men and women ages 18-24 “selected to provide an accurate reflection of each nation’s geographic and socio-economic make-up.” It claims an error rate of plus or minus 1.65 percent.

    • Pope Francis Takes On ‘Just War’ Theory

      The Catholic Church, which over the centuries has blessed many dreadful wars, is shifting to an anti-war position favored by Pope Francis and more in line with Jesus’s teachings, writes ex-CIA official Graham E. Fuller.

    • Deadly Myths: Iraq ‘Surge’ General Calls for ‘Surge 2.0’

      There is no question that the neocons in the room, whose lavish sinecures come to them courtesy of the military-industrial complex, were hyperventilating in anticipation of another major US invasion of Iraq (and Syria). War is the greatest DC jobs program and the hits just keep coming.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Lawsuits Charge that 3M Knew About the Dangers of Its Chemicals

      FOR DECADES, 3M was the primary producer of C8, or PFOA, and was the sole producer of a related chemical known as PFOS. But while DuPont was caught up in a massive class-action suit over C8, 3M has largely avoided public scrutiny and serious legal or financial consequences for its role in developing and selling these industrial pollutants.

      In February, however, a state court in Minnesota, where the company is headquartered, allowed a lawsuit against 3M to move forward. And late last year, lawyers filed a class-action suit in Decatur, Alabama, home to one of 3M’s biggest plants. Both lawsuits charge that 3M knew about the health hazards posed by the perfluorinated chemicals it was manufacturing and using to make carpet coating, Scotchgard, firefighting foam, and other products — and that the company knew the chemicals were spreading beyond its sites. With PFCs cropping up in drinking water around the country and all over the world, the two lawsuits raise the possibility that 3M may finally be held accountable in a court of law.

    • WWF: Finland has spent its natural resources for 2016

      The environmental group WWF Finland says that as of today, the country has already used up its share of natural resources for the entire year. Energy production, traffic emissions and food production are the top ills.

    • We Just Crushed The Global Record For Hottest Start Of Any Year

      NASA reports that this was the hottest three-month start (January to March) of any year on record. It beat the previous record — just set in 2015 — by a stunning 0.7°F (0.39°C). Normally, such multi-month records are measured in the hundredths of a degree

      Last month was the hottest February on record by far. It followed the hottest January on record by far, which followed the hottest December by far, which followed the hottest November on record by far, which followed the hottest October on record by far. Some may detect a pattern here.

    • Going out, I found I was really going in: John Muir’s spiritual and political journey

      However, his friends were worried. Muir’s siblings pleaded with him to abandon his “clouds and flowers” for more practical pursuits. “You must be social John,” Jeanne Carr, a transcendentalist friend and spiritual mentor had written him, trying to coax him to leave the mountains and re-enter public life. “I could envy you your solitude, but there may be too much of it.” Carr felt strongly that Muir had a singular gift for carrying the transcendentalist vision of a sacred nature to a wider public, a vision she believed could help to dismantle the industrial consensus that saw nature only as a commercial resource to be exploited.

  • Finance

    • US Corporate Tax Cheats Hiding $1.4 Trillion in Profits in Offshore Accounts

      The biggest tax dodger is technology giant Apple, with $181 billion held offshore. General Electric had the second-largest stash, at $119 billion, enough to repay four times over the $28 billion GE received in federal guarantees during the 2008 Wall Street crash. Microsoft had $108 billion in overseas accounts, with companies like Exxon Mobil, Pfizer, IBM, Cisco Systems, Google, Merck, and Johnson & Johnson rounding out the top ten.

      Overseas tax havens have been the focus of recent revelations about tax scams by wealthy individuals, based on the leak of the “Panama Papers,” documents from a single Panama-based law firm, Mossack Fonseca, involving 214,000 offshore shell companies. The firm’s clients included 29 billionaires and 140 top politicians worldwide, among them a dozen heads of government.

    • Paul Krugman Is Proof That To Be Successful Even As An “Objective” Academic You Must Serve The One Percent
    • Bernie Sanders publishes tax returns showing $205,000 earnings following Hillary Clinton’s challenge

      Bernie Sanders has revealed he earns $205,000 dollars (£145,000) a year, after being challenged by Hillary Clinton to publish his tax returns.

      Mr Sanders’ annual income, which is shared with his wife, is less than his multimillionaire rival made for three recent speeches delivered to Goldman Sachs employees.

      The banking giant paid Ms Clinton $675,000 (£475,000) for the appearances. She and her husband have an estimated net worth of $110m (£77m), far surpassing the Sanders, who are worth around $300,000 (£210,000).

    • Hillary’s Bold Plan to Financially Penalize Recidivist Super-Predators

      The other day Hillary promised she would appoint Attorneys General like Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch. “I will appoint an Attorney General who will continue the courageous work of Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch.” Given that the comments came at an Al Sharpton event, I assumed the comment meant to invoke Holder and Lynch’s efforts to reform criminal justice and, presumably, their even more laudable support for civil rights.

      Nevertheless, it was a disturbing comment, given that Holder and Lynch have also both coddled the bankers who crashed our economy. Indeed, when Hillary tries to defend her huge donations from bankers, she always points to Obama’s even huger ones, and insists that there’s no evidence he was influenced by them. But the Obama DOJ record on bank crime is itself the counter to Hillary’s claim those donations didn’t influence the President.

    • 99% Party: Sanders Supporters Shower Clinton Motorcade with 1000 $1 Bills

      Actor George Clooney hosted a couple of obscenely expensive fundraising events for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign on Friday and Saturday nights. 1%er couples needed to pony up $353,400 to buy access. Saturday’s event was at Clooney’s home at 7:00 pm.

      At the same time, Howard Gold, a next-door neighbor of Clooney, hosted a $27 per person fundraiser in support of Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s rival for the Democratic nomination, according to The Hill.

      Gold, whose family founded the 99 Cents Only store chain, called his event the “99% Party.” The email invitation to the 99% party read, “Swimming pools, Movie Stars and merriment for all! This is happening right next door to Clooney’s party for Hillary!” according to The Hill.

    • Here’s a Way to Shut Down Panama Papers-Style Tax Havens — If We Wanted To

      IT WOULD HAVE been infuriating at any time of the year to learn about the massive tax evasion by the global 0.01 percent revealed by the Panama Papers leak. But it’s especially maddening for regular American schlubs to hear about it in April, just as we’re doing our own taxes.

      According to estimates by Berkeley economist Gabriel Zucman in his book The Hidden Wealth of Nations, rich individuals and big corporations use various machinations to pay at least a third of a trillion dollars less than they owe every year. For everyone else, this translates directly into higher taxes, more national debt, and less government spending.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Facebook denies that it would ever try to influence the election

      Gizmodo published a screenshot Friday of an internal poll that Facebook employees were purportedly using to decide what questions to ask CEO Mark Zuckerberg at a meeting in March.

    • Like it or not, Mark Zuckerberg is now Silicon Valley’s ambassador to the rest of the world

      The company’s main product announcement, its attempt to turn Messenger into a hub little programs for businesses to chat with customers, was greeted by puzzlement from users and skepticism from the developers who were the main audience for the show.

    • To Protect Hillary Clinton, Democrats Wage War on Their Own Core Citizens United Argument

      FOR YEARS, THE Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Citizens United was depicted by Democrats as the root of all political evil. But now, the core argument embraced by the Court’s conservatives to justify their ruling has taken center stage in the Democratic primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders — because Clinton supporters, to defend the huge amount of corporate cash on which their candidate is relying, frequently invoke that very same reasoning.

    • Superdelegates have destroyed the will of the people: As a political activist and hopeful millennial, I won’t support a broken system by voting for Hillary

      Four years ago, I attended a College Democrats conference in Chicago. I set foot inside Obama’s campaign headquarters and felt the enthusiasm about his presidency first-hand. For the first time, I called myself a Democrat with confidence. Democracy empowered me. I wanted to share my enthusiasm with the entire world.

      Throughout my college career, I was actively involved with the College Democrats. I served as president. I recruited friends to attend meetings, volunteer for voter registration drives, petition for candidates, canvass in local neighborhoods and spread the word about upcoming presidential debates. I even formed close relationships with fellow Democrats through it. Civic engagement and active citizenship was my life. I wanted to empower everyone around me to exercise their political power.

      [...]

      In a truly democratic system, we’d have more competent, diverse candidates. Voting no longer provides me the indulgence and satisfaction it once did. I feel it does more harm than good with our current political climate. If I vote for Clinton as a rejection of Trump, or vote for Sanders to dodge a Clinton vote, what duty am I actually performing? When I vote for a president I don’t support, I support a flawed political system. I refuse that system.

    • New York Observer Reporter Who Resigned Over Trump Ties And Endorsement: For Me, “A Line Had Been Crossed”
    • Wall Street Journal Slimes Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, Forgets About George W. Bush’s Monumental Blunders

      In an article titled “Islam and the Radical West” published in the Wall Street Journal, columnist Bret Stephens raises the important issue of the radicalization of Western Muslims. But as far as responsible and informed journalism goes, the piece’s credibility ends there. Stephens goes on to make a number of stereotypical and weakly supported claims regarding Islam while taking amateurish pot shots at some of America’s most important thinkers, including Noam Chomsky.

    • Yes, Hillary Clinton Is a Neocon

      Beyond sharing this neocon “regime change” obsession, former Secretary of State Clinton also talks like a neocon. One of their trademark skills is to use propaganda or “perception management” to demonize their targets and to romanticize their allies, what is called “gluing white hats” on their side and “gluing black hats” on the other.

    • Meet The Protesters Who Crashed Donald Trump’s Private Event

      Maya Randolph and Aru, who declined to give her last name, were two of the few dozen New Yorkers arrested Thursday evening at a massive protest of Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump. The young women were part of a group of 10 people who were arrested and charged with criminal trespass after they stormed the hotel where Trump was speaking at a private event.

    • Trump Manager Said Apologizing To Reporter He Allegedly Assaulted Would Be ‘Unrealistic’

      Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump’s campaign manager, refused to apologize on Sunday for his alleged assault of former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields.

    • The Best Reporting on Bernie Sanders Over the Years

      Bernie Sanders became the first socialist mayor of Burlington, Vermont, and ran successfully as an Independent for the House of Representatives and then the Senate. Now, the Democratic challenger to Hillary Clinton has young voters “feeling the Bern.”

      The political career of Bernie Sanders nearly ended before it began. In the early 1970s, he lost his first four races — two for the Senate and two for governor — running on the ticket of Vermont’s radical Liberty Union Party, while espousing positions such as ending the Vietnam War and abolishing the CIA. But when he ran as an Independent for mayor of Burlington in 1981, the socialist Sanders beat the five-term Democratic incumbent.

    • Barack Obama Never Said Money Wasn’t Corrupting; In Fact, He Said the Opposite

      DURING THURSDAY’S DEMOCRATIC debate in Brooklyn, Bernie Sanders asked this question about Hillary Clinton: “Do we really feel confident about a candidate saying that she’s going to bring change in America when she is so dependent on big money interests?”

      Clinton’s response was to invoke Barack Obama. “Make no mistake about it, this is not just an attack on me, it’s an attack on President Obama,” she said. “President Obama had a Super PAC when he ran. President Obama took tens of millions of dollars from contributors. And President Obama was not at all influenced when he made the decision to pass and sign Dodd-Frank, the toughest regulations on Wall Street in many a year.”

    • Breaking Up the Banks: Why Sanders is Right

      Now Krugman has always been a defender of the banks and always in denial that banks can be crooked. A few years ago, Iceland had a problem. The banks were very crooked. They controlled the government that was about to give enormous amounts of money to the banks. I had gone over and met with the Prime Minister and former Prime Ministers and convinced them not to pay Britain and the sort of crooked depositors. They hired Krugman at a very high fee and gave him the handouts and he said no, the Icelandic banks are not crooked. Iceland should really bankrupt itself and pay for the Icesave and the British bank affiliates that went under, even though these were not bank branches but bank affiliates.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Online censorship on the rise: Why I prefer to save things offline

      It took me some time to trust the cloud. Growing up with digital technologies that were neither resilient nor reliable — a floppy drive could go kaput without you having done anything, a CD once scratched could not be recovered, hard drives malfunctioned and it was a given that once every few months your PC would crash and need a re-install — I have always been paranoid about making backups and storing information. Once I kicked into my professional years, I developed a foolproof, albeit paranoid, system, where I backed up my machines to a common hard drive, made a mirror image of that hard drive, and for absolutely crucial documents, I would put them on to a separate DVD which would have the emergency documents. It was around 2006, when I discovered the cloud.

      [...]

      Turkey, recently, demanded that German authorities remove a satirical German video titled Erdowie, Erdowo, Erdogan mocking their President. In response, Germany reminded the Turkish diplomacy of that lovely little thing called freedom of speech, and in the meantime, Extra 3, the group that had released the video on YouTube, added English subtitles to the video. Just for perks. I hope you gave a brownie point to Germany, even as you scrambled to see the video.

    • Decision to hide UAlbany student newspapers ‘inappropriate’

      The decision to hide issues of a student-run newspaper at the University at Albany that called attention to a rise in reported campus sexual assaults — coming during a visit by accepted students — was inappropriate, a top college official said.

    • Silent censorship

      JUST living in Australia for a few months and watching television, makes you see clearly, how the Fiji public is so badly denied by the poverty of Fiji media offerings and silent censorship

      There are wonderful Australian media programs such as Q and A, Insiders, Catalyst, Landline, Insights, Foreign Correspondent, Four Corners, to name just a few, not even mentioning the many specials every week on ABC and SBS.

      Just in the past two months alone, Landline explored how an Australian sugarcane farmer, successfully intercropped rice to pander to his Vietnamese wife. Another intercropped with sunflowers for the seeds and oil, and mung beans (which Fiji farmers have also tried on a very small scale).

    • Soaring Subsidies and Nutritional Censorship Highlight Food Policy Disasters: New at Reason

      Recently, a pair of controversial federal food issues has made the news. The unpredicted increase in USDA farm subsidies and continuing fallout from the new dietary guidelines have captured headlines. They’re worth focusing on together, as they represent some varied and truly awful federal food law and policy.

      Earlier this week, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway (R-Tx.) blasted critics of farm subsidies, claiming we live in a “fantasyland” where such subsidies aren’t needed.

    • IHT Retrospective | 1941: Roosevelt Tells Press He Wants No Censorship
    • UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi Told To Resign After Censorship Of Pepper-Spray Google Results

      UC Davis chancellor Linda Katehi may be forced to resign after documents were released earlier this week which show the school paying $175,000 of university funds to scrub Google results of references to the 2011 pepper-spray incident.

    • Pepper-sprayed students outraged as UC Davis tried to scrub incident from web

      The California university is being accused of censorship after paying a firm to try to hide references to the incident in which police sprayed protesters in 2011

    • On UC Davis and Erasing Things from the Internet

      This week, I and much of the internet learned that UC Davis paid at least $175,000 to a Maryland firm by the name of Nevis & Associates to disassociate the pepper spray incident of 2011 — in which footage of a campus police officer very casually and callously covering student Occupy protesters with pepper spray at close range was caught on video and disseminated — from both the name of the university and its chancellor in Google search results.

    • From draconian censorship to wilful conformity

      A discussion on Pakistan’s media on Sunday found that the industry, while certainly more independent than years past, is also following dangerous patterns of conformity and is no longer a watchdog for public interest.

      New Delhi-based activist Saif Mahmood moderated a session titled “Media: More Independent, Less Responsible’. He began by quoting an IBA-USAID study where Pakistan’s media was given a responsibility score of 5.46, and an independence score of 5.74, and added that these were reasonably good scores in his opinion.

    • Censorship on films meaningless in internet era

      “Censorship on films is futile in India. There are several other media these days which provide inappropriate content to youngsters for free,” said Bollywood director Sudhir Mishra, who is known for directing critically acclaimed films like Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, Dharavi and Chameli.

    • Google refuses to censor search results that identify PJS and YMA

      The British press has played ball, agreeing not to name YMA, his husband PJS and the two others, AB and CD with whom a threesome is supposed to have taken place but it is impossible for law enforcement agencies to control what appears online. Google has been the first port of call for many curious-minded people eager to learn the names of those involved, and the search giant has said that — despite many requests to do so — it will not censor search results that could lead people to the names.

      Spend a little time on Twitter, Facebook, and numerous other websites and it won’t be long before you learn — if you don’t already know — the identities of the four people involved. Web Sheriff is not happy about this, and has requested that Google remove search results in a way that is reminiscent of the Right To Be Forgotten. As noted by Torrent Freak, Web Sheriff is usually associated with copyright-related takedown notices, but now also seeks to remove data that could harmful to reputations.

    • Merkel Vows to Repeal Law, After It Is Used to Prosecute Comic for Insulting Erdogan

      CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL alienated a broad swathe of the German public on Friday by approving a request from Turkey to prosecute Jan Böhmermann, a comedian who insulted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by reading an obscene poem about him on late-night television.

      In the same statement, however, Merkel said that her government would move to repeal the law Böhmermann appears to have violated, an obscure provision of the German penal code that makes it a crime to insult foreign heads of state. If approved, the change would not take effect until 2018.

      In the meantime, Böhmermann now faces possible prosecution both for breaking that law — an artifact of the ancient prohibition on hurting the feelings of monarchs, known as lèse-majesté — and for ordinary defamation, because Erdogan has also filed a separate defamation complaint with a state prosecutor.

    • Hard to satire: Turkey forcing censorship abroad
    • Angela Merkel is now silencing German satirists to please Erdogan. This is what the EU has wrought
    • Erdogan’s attitude to Europe is looking more and more like Putin’s
    • Great Ashby councillor’s campaign over ‘unjust’ censorship

      Terry Tyler, a member of Great Ashby Community Council, says the communications policy he and other members must adhere to is so restrictive it is preventing him from doing his job.

      The policy, seen by the Comet, says ‘correspondence with the public from individual councillors should be avoided’ and states ‘the clerk should clear all comments to the media with the chair of the council’.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Trade Secrets: who voted what

      As expected, the European Parliament approved the Trade Secrets Protection directive by a large majority (503 in favour vs. 131 against).

    • Why Has The World Forgotten Islamic State’s Female Sex Slaves?

      Twenty months ago the Islamic State (ISIS) abducted thousands of Yezidi women and girls as the extremist group swept through their villages in northern Iraq in the middle of a terrible summer. Many were forced to become sex slaves for the group’s fighters. Hundreds remain enslaved and many of those who have escaped are still reliving the trauma and often not getting the help they desperately need.

    • Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems

      Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism. The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name. Mention it in conversation and you’ll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it. Neoliberalism: do you know what it is?

      Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007‑8, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which the Panama Papers offer us merely a glimpse, the slow collapse of public health and education, resurgent child poverty, the epidemic of loneliness, the collapse of ecosystems, the rise of Donald Trump. But we respond to these crises as if they emerge in isolation, apparently unaware that they have all been either catalysed or exacerbated by the same coherent philosophy; a philosophy that has – or had – a name. What greater power can there be than to operate namelessly?

    • Confessions of a Former Torturer

      [...] Sleep deprivation, as I’ve said before, can be accomplished in a matter of hours. You can let someone go to sleep in a dark room with no windows, and you can wake them up in 15 or 20 minutes. They have no idea how long they’ve been asleep. And with no windows, they have no idea what time of day it is. You can let them go back to sleep, and you can wake them up in 20 minutes. They still have no idea. And they’ve since—within 45 minutes, they’ve lost all sense of time. Two or three hours later, you can convince this person that he’s been living for four or five days, when it’s really only been an hour.

    • The Telegram Criticising Bush That Got Me Sacked

      As this blog is now read daily by tens of thousands of people who had not heard of me before, some idea of where I come from might be in order. After a diplomatic career of rapid promotion (senior civil service age 36, my first Ambassadorship in Uzbekistan age 42) my opposition to Bush/Blair’s immoral and counter-productive foreign policy got me sacked.

      This telegram (diplomatic communications are called that; cable in the USA) I am with retrospect very proud to have sent. To have made at the time the observation that the Bush/Blair policy of invasion, oppression and torture would not suppress fundamentalism, but would create it, was prescient. I should say I understood very well I would be sacked. Some things are worth being sacked for.

      On provenance, after being kicked out I typed this up from my handwritten draft which I had in my briefcase; hence it does not carry the identifiers it would gain when sent. I assure you it is genuine, and by now I expect it should be obtainable under a Freedom of Information request. If someone makes one I would be grateful – the date on it is the day I wrote it, it might have got sent a day or two later, so give them a range.

    • Green Party proposes prosecuting Northern Irish men under the abortion laws for ‘reckless conception’

      The Deputy Leader of the Green Party for Northern Ireland has suggested making “reckless conception” a criminal offence for men “in the interests of equality”

    • Iraqi Man Removed From Southwest Flight For Speaking Arabic

      While on the plane, he called his uncle to tell him about the dinner and ended the phone call by saying “inshallah” — a common term used in Arabic that translates to “God willing.” But after he hung up, he noticed a female passenger eyeing him suspiciously. The passenger reported Makhzoomi, who was then removed from the flight and searched.

    • Student Thrown Off Flight After Passenger Heard Him Say ‘God Willing’ in Arabic

      So once again people from The World’s Most Frightened Country (C) fully overreacted to nothing. One of the 230 million people worldwide who speak Arabic happened to be on an airplane and happened to use one of the most common expressions in his language.

      [...]

      Makhzoomi explained he was talking on the phone with his uncle and, as he said goodbye, he used the phrase “inshallah,” which translates as “if God is willing.” The student said that after hung up, he noticed a female passenger looking at him who then got up and left her seat.

      Moments later an airport employee made Makhzoomi step off the plane into the arms of security officers. Makhzoomi was told the woman thought he said “Shahid,” meaning martyr. Because in-shal-lah and sha-hid sound the same, at least to a dumb ass who speaks no apparent Arabic and likely learned the term shahid when it was last mispronounced on AM talk radio.

    • Racial Justice Takes Center Stage in New York Primary

      AS IT HAS grown in volume and influence, the movement reaffirming the value of black lives has raised its cry for racial justice from the streets and the internet to the race for the Democratic nomination, especially in the New York primary, where talk of police accountability, mass incarceration, and structural inequality has become an integral part of the candidates’ pitch to voters.

      At the Democratic debate on Thursday night, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders spoke frankly about racism, with Clinton calling on white people to “recognize that there is systemic racism,” and Sanders again criticizing Clinton’s 1996 comments about “super predators,” saying that “it was a racist term and everyone knew it was a racist term.”

      But while competition for the so-called black vote continues to heat up ahead of Tuesday’s primaries, and the generational gap that has defined the primary race persists, members of Black Lives Matter remain determined to keep all candidates in check on matters of race and racism.

    • Are the Economic Pins to the Saudi-US Relationship Still in Place?

      So on the one hand, Obama is making a big show of declassifying the 28 pages. On the other hand, he is lobbying (privately until this NYT report) to ensure that nothing legal will come of the release of those pages.

      It feels kind of like Obama’s treatment of torture, allowing very limited exposure of what happened, all while ensuring there will be no legal accountability (legal accountability, I’d add, that would threaten to expose others higher up in the US executive branch; and note that while the Administration is permitting a lawsuit of James Mitchell and Bruce Jesson, I’m skeptical this well get very far either).

      Against this background, the Saudis are trying to negotiate an oil freeze to bring up prices, but apparently have delayed doing so, ostensibly because of rising animosity with Iran but also, analysts suggest, to hurt US capacity.

    • Bernie Sanders: US “Can’t Be Blackmailed” by Saudi Arabia

      “It’s stunning to think that our government would back the Saudis over its own citizens,” said Mindy Kleinberg, whose husband died in the World Trade Center on September 11.

    • Obama Appeases Saudi Head-Choppers

      Do we have a more unattractive “ally” than the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia? In order to find one, we have to go all the way back to World War II, when the US was allied with the Soviet Union while “Uncle” Joe Stalin was murdering millions in the gulag.

    • George Clooney Bemoans Big-Money Politics After Hosting Big-Ticket Fundraisers for Clinton (Video)

      Hollywood star and Democratic Party booster George Clooney pulled off a clever script-flipping trick on Sunday’s edition of “Meet the Press.” When confronted with Bernie Sanders’ recent critique of the cost required to attend the two fundraisers he and his wife, human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, hosted over the weekend for Hillary Clinton in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, Clooney completely agreed with it.

    • George Clooney on Hillary Clinton Event: ‘There Is a Difference Between the Koch Brothers and Us’
    • Over 7,800 Prosecutions Questioned After NJ Lab Tech Caught Faking Drug Test Results

      If Shah wasn’t concerned about putting a possibly innocent person behind bars, it’s unlikely his yearly salary of $101,039 would have been much of a motivating factor for better work either. It could be that this was an isolated incident — the one time Shah cut corners to increase throughput. (Which, truth be told, is kind of how our entire criminal justice system operates: throughput is preferable to diligent effort.)

      But odds are that if Shah got caught, it’s something that happened eventually, rather than immediately. Bad habits are easy to develop and tend to spiral out of control until the inevitable happens. There’s no way to tell if this was a one-off. Conversely, there’s no way to positively state this didn’t happen all the time. Hence the thousands of criminal cases now being viewed as questionable.

    • The Bernie Sanders Miracle: American Crowd in Brooklyn Cheers Palestinian Dignity

      The Israeli propaganda line is that the Palestinians are natural, intrinsic terrorists who are always attacking Israelis out of blind hatred for Jews and who casually deploy terrorism on a mass scale and refuse to recognize the inexorability and naturalness of several million European and North African and other Jews living in Palestine.

    • Arab-Americans, including ‘Watan’ Newspaper, Endorse Bernie Sanders

      It notes that Sanders’s demand for even-handedness in US policy toward Israel and Palestine is unusual in the Democratic Party.

    • ‘I have a conscience’: the Wall Streeters fighting for Bernie Sanders in New York

      He may be an investment banker himself, but Ryan prefers Sanders’ pledge to begin breaking up the banks in his first 100 days in the White House over Clinton’s more indirect promises.

      “She has a thousand talking points, but when the lights are turned off and all the glare of the election fades, politics-as-normal will return, the lobbyists will get to work, and nothing at all will happen,” he said.

      Frank, still speaking anonymously, agrees. “Hillary Clinton is paying lip-service to Wall Street changes. Maybe in her heart she means business, but for me income inequality is the civil rights issue of our time, and I feel strongly we need a president who is totally committed to making this happen.”

    • ACLU Sues Bureau of Prisons Over Missing Torture Documents

      The ACLU lawsuit alleges that either the bureau conducted an inadequate search, or is illegally denying the existence of documents.

    • Liberals for Hillary: There is Nothing Stranger

      Meanwhile, since the 1960s, when African Americans secured the right to vote in practice, not just theory, Republicans have been recruiting displaced and alienated white voters into their ranks, taking advantage of racist and nativist animosities, and anything else that they could put to use.

    • I Feel a Political Revolution Coming

      The media often would like us to believe that Sanders’ promises to continue his quest for equality are too lofty and unrealistic, and even impossible. Is it really impossible to treat Black people like humans instead of just votes? Is it really so impossible to make an investment in our students instead of the $17 billion the Clintons invested in police, military grade weapons and prisons? Is it really impossible to invest in the healthcare of the American people instead of the $26 billion wasted training foreign armies under Clinton as Secretary of State? Is it really impossible to demand transparency from our police departments and our criminal justice system in an effort to bring life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to fruition once and for all? Is it really impossible to take the necessary steps to get more teachers and counselors in our schools instead of labeling them super predators and putting them on the school to prison pipeline?

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Working on HTML5.1

      HTML5 was released in 2014 as the result of a concerted effort by the W3C HTML Working Group. The intention was then to begin publishing regular incremental updates to the HTML standard, but a few things meant that didn’t happen as planned. Now the Web Platform Working Group (WP WG) is working towards an HTML5.1 release within the next six months, and a general workflow that means we can release a stable version of HTML as a W3C Recommendation about once per year.

    • Obama Urges Opening Cable TV Boxes To Competition

      President Obama is throwing his weight behind a plan that would lead to competition in the market for set-top cable and satellite TV boxes. Most viewers now rent the boxes from their TV providers. The Federal Communications Commission wants to make it easier for viewers to buy the devices.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

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