EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

04.24.16

Links 24/4/2016: Google Summer of Code 2016, Year of the OpenBSD Desktop

Posted in News Roundup at 4:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Device Tree Microconference Accepted into 2016 Linux Plumbers Conference

      Device-tree discussions are probably not quite as spirited as in the past, however, device tree is an active area. In particular, significant issues remain.

      This microconference will cover the updated device-tree specification, debugging, bindings validation, and core-kernel code directions. In addition, there will be discussion of what does (and does not) go into the device tree, along with the device-creation and driver binding ordering swamp.

    • Refactoring the open-source photography community

      Generally speaking, most free-software communities tend to form around specific projects: a distribution, an application, a tightly linked suite of applications, and so on. Those are the functional units in which developers work, so it is a natural extension from there to focused mailing lists, web sites, IRC channels, and other forms of interaction with each other and users. But there are alternatives. At Libre Graphics Meeting 2016 in London, Pat David spoke about his recent experience bringing together a new online community centered around photographers who use open-source software. That community crosses over between several applications and libraries, and it has been successful enough that multiple photography-related projects have shut down their independent user forums and migrated to the new site, PIXLS.US.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Is Firefox Search Worth $375M/Year to a Yahoo Buyer?

        That’s because Mozilla is highly dependent on a five-year contract with Yahoo, signed in December 2014, where it receives about $375m per year to make Yahoo the default search provider in the Firefox browser on the desktop. From 2004 to 2014, that contract was exclusively with Google; now it’s Yahoo in the US, Google in Europe, Yandex in Russia and Baidu in China.

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • Year of the OpenBSD desktop

      It is a common theme in the GNU/Linux community to tout the current year as the year of the linux desktop. Every year the same thing happens. The nay sayers nag that Linux is a tiny percentage of the desktop market and that Mac OS X/Windows is superior in so many ways.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • How to build a Linux router, Internet of Things devices, and more news
    • Aravena’s Small Step, Open Source’s Big Leap

      Aravena’s recent initiative to open-source four of his built projects goes a long way to promoting the public and social benefits of collaboration and information-sharing.

    • Open Data

      • CERN Makes 300TB of Large Hadron Collider Data Public

        CERN has recently released the data from the famous 2011 experiment probing the fundamental structure of the Universe to the public. These raw and processed data can be analyzed and verified using CERN Linux virtual environment on a virtual machine.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Lawsuit accuses PACER of milking the public for cash in exchange for access

        The federally run online court document access system known as PACER now finds itself listed on a federal docket. Its overseer, the US government, is a defendant in a proposed class-action lawsuit accusing the service of overcharging the public.

        The suit, brought by three nonprofits on Thursday, claims millions of dollars generated from a recent 25-percent increase in page fees are being illegally spent by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AO). The cost for access is 10 cents per page and up to $3 a document. Judicial opinions are free. This isn’t likely to break the bank for some, but to others it adds up and can preclude access to public records. The National Consumer Law Center, the Alliance for Justice, and the National Veterans Legal Services Program also claim in the lawsuit that these fees are illegal because the government is charging more than necessary to keep the PACER system afloat (as is required by Congress).

      • Lawsuit Filed Over PACER Fees

        For many years we’ve pointed out that the fees charged by PACER were clearly outside what the law allows. If you don’t know, PACER is the electronic filing system for the federal court system. It is great that all filings in federal cases are available online, but the interface looks like it was designed in 1998, the search is ridiculous, and (worst of all) the system charges you 10 cents per page of download — excluding judicial opinions, but including HTML pages including search results and docket reports. There is a cap of $3 per document, but that means that every time I call up PACER on a big case — say the Apple/DOJ encryption battle, there are so many filings that just to look at the docket is basically $3. That adds up.

  • Programming/Development

    • Timezones for programmers

      Timezones are typically based on geographical locations. For example, we have the IANA timezone America/Chicago which can represent Central Time for the United States.

    • When to Rewrite from Scratch – Autopsy of a Failed Software

      It was winter of 2012. I was working as a software developer in a small team at a start-up. We had just released the first version of our software to a real corporate customer. The development finished right on schedule. When we launched, I was over the the moon and very proud. It was extremely satisfying to watch the system process couple of million of unique users a day and send out tens of millions of SMS messages. By summer, the company had real revenue. I got promoted to software manager. We hired new guys. The company was poised for growth. Life was great. And then we made a huge blunder and decided to rewrite the software. From scratch.

    • Doing things that scale

      In the software world, and with internet, we can do a lot of things that scale.

Leftovers

  • Local govt. pleased with Danish eGovernment services

    The increasing digitisation of society requires the stable and secure running of public IT solutions, the agency writes. Denmark’s public administrations expect DIGST to professionally manage the IT systems and to keep them involved. According to DIGST, the agency’s network partners contribute to the dialogue with public administrations.

  • St George’s Day: Who actually is Saint George?

    We all know the basic story of St George, right? English knight who slayed a dragon. Or, wait, there’s a dragon on the Welsh flag, so is that a different myth? Was the dragon Welsh? How do you get to be a saint for slaying a dragon? I thought saints tended to be suffering Christians? Or is that martyrs?

    OK, so maybe we don’t know the ins and outs of St George as much as we think.

    Here’s a quick guide to help you figure out why the George’s cross is George’s cross.

    He’s not even English!

    He was a Greek Christian, born in the third century in what was then Syria Palaestina. Yep, Saint George (or Georgios) was Middle Eastern. Don’t tell Nigel Farage.

  • The case for Europe, 2016

    In an interdependent world, nationalism offers no bolt-hole. The task for all progressives is to find effective ways to engage with continental partners, creating a new blend of national and European politics.

  • Science

    • The Ever-Tightening Job Market for Ph.D.s

      If you’re a grad student, it’s best to read the latest report from the National Science Foundation with a large glass of single-malt whiskey in hand. Scratch that: The top-shelf whiskey is probably out of your budget. Well, Trader Joe’s “Two Buck Chuck” is good, too!

      Liquid courage is a necessity when examining the data on Ph.D.s in the latest NSF report, “The Survey of Earned Doctorates,” which utilized figures from the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center. The report finds that many newly minted Ph.D.s complete school after nearly 10 years of studies with significant debt and without the promise of a job. Yet few people seem to be paying attention to these findings; graduate programs are producing more Ph.D.s than ever before.

  • Hardware

    • Scientists can now make lithium-ion batteries last a lifetime

      Researchers at the University of California at Irvine (UCI) said that’s exactly what they were doing when they discovered how to increase the tensile strength of nanowires that could be used to make lithium-ion batteries last virtually forever.

      Researchers have pursued using nanowires in batteries for years because the filaments, thousands of times thinner than a human hair, are highly conductive and have a large surface area for the storage and transfer of electrons.

      The problem they have encountered, however, is that nanowires are also extremely fragile and don’t hold up well to repeated discharging and recharging, known as “cycling.” For example, in a typical lithium-ion battery, they expand and grow brittle, which leads to cracking.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Marijuana is kosher for Passover, leading rabbi rules

      Cannabis may be used for medical reasons during Passover, despite previously being forbidden

    • Colorado’s First Black Woman Pot Entrepreneur on Edibles, Incarceration & the Industry’s Whiteness

      We are broadcasting live from Denver, Colorado, where in 2012 the state voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Now 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for either medical or recreational use, and the cannabis industry is one of the fastest growing in the United States. But some have questioned who stands to cash in on the billions being generated by cannabis sales. Michelle Alexander, the best-selling author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” addressed the issue in a conversation with the Drug Policy Alliance, saying, “Here are white men poised to run big marijuana businesses, dreaming of cashing in big—big money, big businesses selling weed—after 40 years of impoverished black kids getting prison time for selling weed, and their families and futures destroyed. Now, white men are planning to get rich doing precisely the same thing?” We speak now to Wanda James, CEO of the Denver-based cannabis dispensary Simply Pure. She is the first African-American woman in Colorado to own a cannabis dispensary. She was inspired to start a dispensary by the experiences of her brother, who at 17 was locked up on a petty drug charge—and forced to pick cotton in Texas for four years to earn his freedom.

    • Celebrating 500 Years of German’s Beer Purity Law

      In Germany rules are rules—and they even apply to something as fun as beer. The Reinheitsgebot, Germany’s legendary beer purity law, turns 500 on April 23 in a sudsy celebration known as German Beer Day. Many Germans love the law, but others think it’s an outdated relic that should be chucked. Beer purity is only one part of the Reinheitsgebot story; protectionism, taxes, national pride and marketing all come into play.

    • Chart of the Day: Hillary and Bernie Duke It Out on Soda Taxes

      Finally we have a real difference between Hillary and Bernie. Hillary supports Philadelphia’s proposed tax on sugary drinks of 3 cents per ounce. Bernie doesn’t. “A tax on soda and juice drinks would disproportionately increase taxes on low-income families in Philadelphia,” he said on Thursday.

    • Flint is about how we treat the poor

      As you no doubt know, the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, returned to the headlines last week with news that the state attorney general is charging three government officials for their alleged roles in the debacle. It makes this a convenient moment to deal with something that has irked me about the way this disaster is framed.

      Namely, the fact that people who look like you often get left out of it.

      [...]

      As has been reported repeatedly, Flint is a majority black city with a 41 percent poverty rate. So critics ask if the water would have been so blithely poisoned, and if it would have taken media so long to notice, had the victims been mostly white.

    • The Creepy Way Processed Food Packaging Messes With Your Hormones

      A new study shows common plastic packaging steeps food in industrial chemicals.

    • Flint woman suing over poisoned water crisis found shot to death in home

      On Tuesday, police found the bodies of two women inside of a townhouse, where they also found a one-year-old who was unharmed. Both women were shot, and have been identified as Sasha Bell and Sacorya Reed, though police only said their ages are between 18 and 20 years old, WJRT reported. The child was taken into protective services.

    • Slain Woman Among People To File Lawsuits Amid Water Crisis

      One of two women found shot to death in a Flint apartment was among dozens of people who earlier filed lawsuits over lead-tainted water in the city.

      The Flint Journal reports Thursday that Sasha Bell’s case was one of 64 lawsuits filed by law firms on behalf of 144 children.

      Bell had said her child was poisoned by lead.

      Flint was under state control in 2014 when it switched from Detroit’s water system to the Flint River to save money. The corrosive river water wasn’t properly treated and caused lead to leach from old pipes into homes and businesses.

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • Why I gave your paper a Strong Reject

      Writing a bunch of wordy bullshit that doesn’t mean anything. Trust me, you’re not going to wow and amaze the program committee by talking about dynamic, scalable, context-aware, Pareto-optimal middleware for cloud hosting of sensing-intensive distributed vehicular applications. If your writing sounds like the automatically-generated, fake Rooter paper (“A theoretical grand challenge in theory is the important unification of virtual machines and real-time theory. To what extent can web browsers be constructed to achieve this purpose?”), you might want to rethink your approach. Be concise and concrete. Explain what you’re doing in clear terms. Bad ideas won’t get accepted just because they sound fancy.

    • Computer System Security Policy Debate (Follow-up)

      The challenge is that political people see everything as a political/policy issue, but this isn’t that kind of issue. I get particularly frustrated when I read ignorant ramblings like this that dismiss the overwhelming consensus of the people that actually understand what needs to be done as emotional, hysterical obstructionism. Contrary to what seems to be that author’s point, constructive dialogue and understanding values does nothing to change the technical risks of mandating exceptional access. Of course the opponents of Feinstein-Burr decry it as technologically illiterate, it is technologically illiterate.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • ‘The Japanese Were Already Defeated and Were Seeking Peace’

      Media reports noted that Secretary of State John Kerry was the highest-ranking sitting US official to visit the war memorial in Hiroshima. US ambassadors have shown their respects, and Jimmy Carter went there when he was out of office. But from non-blame-assigning references to “one of the most destructive acts of World War II,” as a New York Times article had it, to an obliviously ethnocentric focus on how these commemorations have, as the Times said, “long troubled American diplomats,” nothing suggests that US media find much to grapple with.

    • New Push for Military Intervention in Libya: Who Will Control the Libyan Central Bank?

      The emails of the former Secretary of State and current Presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton exposed to the world the principal reasons for the NATO intervention and destruction of Libya in 2011. We are informed by one writer who had examined these emails on the traffic between the USA and France over the imperatives for intervening in Libya. In one e mail dated April 2, 2011 Sidney Blumenthal, then an aide to Clinton informed her ‘that sources close to one of Gaddafi sons were reporting that “Qaddafi’s government holds 143 tons of gold, and a similar amount in silver” and the hoard had been moved from the Libyan Central Bank in Tripoli closer to the border with Niger and Chad. “This gold was accumulated prior to the current rebellion and was intended to be used to establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden Dinar. This plan was designed to provide the Francophone African Countries with an alternative to the French franc (CFA).”Blumenthal then added that “According to knowledgeable individuals, this quantity of gold and silver is valued at more than $7 billion. French intelligence officers discovered this plan shortly after the current rebellion began, and this was one of the factors that influenced President Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision to commit France to the attack on Libya.” The email added: “According to these individuals, Sarkozy’s plans are driven by the following issues:

    • Hillary ‘the Hawk’ Clinton

      Mark Landler has an interesting extended article in the New York Times about how Hillary Clinton came to views about the use of military force that have made her, in Landler’s words, “the last true hawk left” in this year’s presidential race.

      Landler poses the question of Clinton’s motivations as a traditional dichotomy between “calculated political maneuver” and “deeply felt core principle,” and suggests that in the case of Clinton’s hawkishness it is more the latter than the former. But much of what the article describes is less a matter of principle than of sociology.

    • Twenty civilians killed in air strikes in Iraq, Syria: U.S. military

      Twenty civilians were likely killed and 11 others injured in nine U.S. air strikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria between Sept. 10, 2015, and Feb. 2, 2016, the U.S. military said on Friday.

    • ISIS executes 250 women for refusing to become sex slaves

      The Islamic State, known for its brutality, has reportedly executed 250 girls in northern Iraq for refusing to become sex slaves , according to a media report.

      The girls had been ordered to accept temporary marriages to the terrorists and were murdered, sometimes alongside their families, for their refusal to be sex slaves in Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul.

      ISIS began selecting women of Mosul and forced them into marrying its militants, calling it temporary marriage since it has taken control over Mosul, and the women who refused to submit to this practice would be executed, said Kurdish Democratic Party spokesman Said Mamuzini.

    • The real reason the British government refuses to call Isis’s killings genocide

      George Osborne announced at a parliamentary reception this week that the Government will increase its support for the Holocaust Educational Trust by £500,000. There will also be funding, he added, for a statue of Frank Foley, a British intelligence officer who helped thousands of Jews to escape from Nazi Germany.

      The Chancellor spoke of the horrors of genocide, of taking his family to see the concentration camp at Dachau last month, and praised the courage of those who had helped the refugees at a time of peril. He raised a few smiles saying that some of the money pledged “would come from fines paid by those who fixed the Libor rates – people who showed the worst of values to those who have the best of British values”.

    • Andrew Bacevich and America’s Long Misguided War to Control the Greater Middle East

      Nothing undermines the American belief in military force. No matter how often its galloping about results in resentment and mayhem, the U.S. gets up again to do good elsewhere. Failure to improve life in Vietnam, Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya stiffens the resolve to get it right next time. This notion prevails among politicized elements of the officer corps; much of the media, whether nominally liberal or conservative; the foreign policy elite recycled quadrennially between corporation-endowed think tanks and government; and most politicians on the national stage. For them and the public they influence, the question is less whether to deploy force than when, where, and how.

    • Military Spending is the Capitalist World’s Fuel

      Not least is this the case with the United States, which by far spends the most of any country on its military. The official Pentagon budget for 2015 was $596 billion, but actual spending is far higher. (Figures for 2015 will be used because that is the latest year for which data is available to make international comparisons.) If we add military spending parked in other portions of the U.S. federal government budget, we’re up to $786 billion, according to a study by the War Resisters League. Veterans benefits add another $157 billion. WRL also assigns 80 percent of the interest on the budget deficit, and that puts the grand total well above $1 trillion.

    • Six Year Anniversary of WikiLeaks Collateral Murder; A Celebration of Free Speech

      On April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks published classified military footage of a July 2007 attack by a US Army helicopter gunship in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad. The video titled Collateral Murder depicted the killing of more than a dozen men, including two Reuters staffers. At the time of release, the WikiLeaks website temporarily crashed with a massive influx of visitors, while versions popped up on YouTube, reaching millions.

      The importance of The Collateral Murder video has often been talked about from the perspective that it provided visual evidence of unaccounted US military power and brutality. Now, on the 6th anniversary of its publication, we will revisit the emergence of WikiLeaks in the public consciousness and explore the significance of this video release for the advocacy of free speech.

      [...]

      The smothering of free speech has cost the public access to the real images of war. Back in the 1960’s, during the Vietnam War, pictures of wounded soldiers and dead civilians flooded through televisions into American homes. Unlike the current situation, the government had not yet learned to keep the press out of war zones, where all could see the horrific images of what in many cases amounted to war crimes.

    • Defending Democracy To the Last Drop of Oil

      The Saudis, who are also petrified of Iran, threw a fit, threatening to pull $750 billion of investments from the US. Other leaders of the Gulf sheikdoms sided with the Saudis but rather more discreetly.

      Ignoring the stinging snub he had just suffered, Obama assured the Saudis and Gulf monarchs that the US would defend them against all military threats – in effect, reasserting their role as western protectorates. So much for promoting democracy.

    • What’s Left of Palmyra — and Syria

      By pouring weapons and money into the Syrian war, the West and its Gulf state allies share in the guilt for the Islamic State’s partial destruction of Palmyra’s historic ruins, which Jeff Klein visited.

    • Ethnic Cleansing in Palestine: Home Demolitions on the Rise

      According to the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions, an Israeli NGO, the Israeli government has demolished 28,000 Palestinian structures since the Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza began in 1967, resulting in the homelessness and suffering of untold numbers of people. There is little ambiguity about the morality of this form of ethnic cleansing, and even most Israeli legal scholars agree that it is in contravention of international law. Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states:

    • Drone Warfare and the Kill Chain

      In the current movie, starring Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman, the human toll and moral dilemma of drone warfare are portrayed in a compelling drama of life and death.

    • After drones: the indelible mark of America’s remote control warfare

      Nabila’s favorite memories of her grandmother come from weddings. It didn’t matter who was getting married – relative or neighbor – her grandmother, Mamana, was an active participant, owing to her matriarchal perch above their village.

      Mamana was as responsible as she was festive. An uneducated woman, she was the local midwife, and served as an impromptu primary care physician, even a veterinarian, when the need arose.

    • Islamic State claims it killed Bangladeshi academic

      Prof Rezaul Karim Siddique, 58, hacked to death in Rajshahi in attack similar to murders of other secular and atheist activists

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Navajo Fight Coal Strip Mine in Four Corners

      A Navajo environmental group sued the federal government this week for allowing a New Mexico coal plant and strip mine to operate for another 25 years without assessing clean-energy alternatives.

    • Looking Back on Deepwater With Journalism as Usual

      It’s standard stuff, as if the paper forgets its own reporting (9/4/14) on the ruling on Deepwater in which US District Court Judge Carl Barbieri cited not a lack of rules but a failure to respect them, calling out the entire industry as “motivated by profit” to operate with “conscious disregard of known risks.” In a case where business as usual is the problem, journalism as usual can’t be the response.

    • The Earth Doesn’t Need To Worry, But The Things That Live On It Do

      When is it time to rebrand? Fortune magazine just ran an Earth Day story “Earth Day 2016 Freebies and Deals.”

      The business magazine wants us to know that “Earth Day, historically, hasn’t been thought of as a retail holiday. But as more and more people become environmentally aware, many major stores are jumping on the bandwagon.” Now while we are nowhere near the over-commercialization that, say, Christmas has achieved, I’m still thinking that Earth Day is probably a good day not to buy anything and instead step back from hypermaterialism.

    • Five Planet-Changing Consequences of Global Warming to Consider on Earth Day—and Every Day

      The entire human population is vulnerable to the threats posed by climate change brought about by global warming, because everyone is susceptible to the effects of drought, flood, heat wave, disease, and famine. No one is immune from the risks posed by climate change.

    • Unprecedented global warming as 2016 approaches 1.5 °C mark

      Global surface temperatures could get close to the 1.5 °C-above-preindustrial limit before the Paris climate agreement even comes into effect.

      That’s alarming news, considering that the deal aspires to limit global warming to no more than this.

      Last week Gavin Schmidt, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, estimated that the average global temperature in 2016 could range from about 1.1 °C above preindustrial to only slightly below 1.5 °C, based on GISS’s temperature record and its definition of pre-industrial (other records and definitions vary).

    • Fracking Executive Says Rich Neighborhoods Safe from Drill Sites

      An executive from a top shale drilling firm told attendees of a fossil fuels seminar in Pennsylvania earlier this month that fracking companies deliberately avoid setting up shop near the “big houses” of the wealthy, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

      Two environmental groups, the Sierra Club and the Center for Coalfield Justice, last week sent a letter to the state Office of Environmental Justice to review Range Resources’ practices to see if it has indeed avoided rich neighborhoods and targeted low-income areas for shale gas development. Attorneys from both organizations were present at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s Environmental Law Forum on April 7.

    • Fracking a Possible Cause of Disturbing Birth Defects and Deaths Found in Horses

      The vets are conducting their own study of what may be causing the epidemic of horse birth defects. The veterinary team cite the presence of a gas well adjacent to Gural’s land that was drilled by Chesapeake Appalachia LLC as the “prime suspect” in the Gural farm problems. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection confirmed that the farm’s water is contaminated, although they failed to cite Chesapeake as the cause.

    • Fabulous Win for Anti-Fracking Movement as Another Major Pipeline Bites the Dust

      For the second time in less than a week, climate activists and fracking opponents in the northeast find themselves celebrating.

      The latest applause comes after a state regulatory agency on Friday—which happened to be Earth Day—announced it was denying a permit for a major fracked-gas pipeline in the state. Just days earlier, another similar project was halted in New England.

      Calling it “amazing news” and a “huge victory” for New York residents and the planet as a whole, the decision by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to reject the controversial Constitution Pipeline project was welcomed as a timely gift by Frack Action, a state coalition opposed to hydraulic drilling and further expansion of fossil fuel projects in the state.

    • Alongside 174 Nations And Holding His Granddaughter, John Kerry Signs Paris Climate Accord

      “More countries have come here to sign this agreement today than any other time in human history, and that is cause for hope,” Leonardo DiCaprio, U.N. Messenger of Peace, said during the opening ceremony which marked the beginning of the signing. DiCaprio also called climate change the “defining crisis of our time,” and called for fossil fuels to remain in the ground in an effort to cut carbon emissions.

    • A Young American Reminds Us How Badly We Are Failing Children on Climate Change

      If Xiuhtezcatl Tonatiuh didn’t have the look and sound of a 15-year-old, one could easily assume he was twice his real age. The indigenous environmentalist talks like a seasoned activist and well-educated adult, rather than the teenager he really is. Perhaps it is because he is so driven by passion for his cause of climate justice.

      In an interview on Rising Up With Sonali, Tonatiuh revealed that he started his political activism at age 6. He explained that it was natural for climate change to be the cause dearest to his heart because “being involved in the climate movement is protecting everything that I love.”

  • Finance

    • Apple should pay more tax, says co-founder Steve Wozniak

      Apple should pay more tax, according to Steve Wozniak, the company’s co-founder.

      Speaking to the BBC, Wozniak expressed discomfort with reports that Apple avoids tax, saying that paying taxes was just “part of life” – something that “every company in the world” should do.

    • Clinton doubling down on transcripts

      Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is doubling down on a strategy of not releasing transcripts of speeches she gave to Goldman Sachs and other investment banks.

      Clinton has refused to release any of the transcripts in the face of a pressure campaign from rival candidate Bernie Sanders, who has relentlessly attacked the Democratic front-runner as being too closely tied to Wall Street.

      “She’s not going to basically create a standard that isn’t applied to anyone else in this race,” said one longtime Clinton ally and confidante of her position on releasing the transcripts.

      The issue has been an effective line of attack from Sanders, who has closed the gap with Clinton in national polls.

      It also appears to have hurt Clinton, who has seen her favorability rating in polls drop below 50 percent. Just as bad, Clinton has seen her marks fall with Americans when they are asked whether they trust her or see her as honest.

    • Elizabeth Warren’s Big Win: The New, Much-Needed Rule that Could Rein in Wall Street Slime

      Are you in the market for some good news? While everyone is being told to follow the excitement of the 2016 campaign to the exclusion of all else, out of the spotlight but not far away, the Obama administration is calmly trying to enact lasting progressive change. In the Labor Department earlier this month, consumer advocates won a big battle, as the vast middle class was “gifted” with a new requirement being placed on the financial services industry. As Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren explained, a glaring conflict of interest has been resolved in the favor of people saving for retirement. No longer can investment advisers recommend funds to their clients that reward them or their firms; instead, they must, without exception, direct customers into the best financial products, with lower or, sometimes, zero fees.

    • “Free Love – Not Free Trade”: With Obama En Route, 90,000 March Against TTIP

      Protesters wearing Obama and Merkal masks were among the tens of thousands who marched against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in Hannover, Germany on Saturday. (Photo: Helga Reimund / Attac.de)

      On the eve of a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama, tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Germany on Saturday to voice emphatic opposition to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement (TTIP), a deal they argue benefits global capitalism and corporate elites at the expense of the public good and local democracy.

      With a 1960′s “Summer of Love” theme informing the march, many participants grooved under banners reading “Freie Liebe – Statt Freihandel” (Free Love – Not Free Trade) as organizers estimated 90,000 people in attendance.

    • One of the nation’s largest pension funds could soon cut benefits for retirees

      More than a quarter of a million active and retired truckers and their families could soon see their pension benefits severely cut — even though their pension fund is still years away from running out of money.

      Within the next few weeks, the Treasury Department is expected to announce a crucial decision on whether it will approve reductions to one of the country’s largest multi-employer pension plans.

    • Greece’s Former Finance Minister Explains Why A Universal Basic Income Could Save Us

      Next time you’re having an fight with somebody who doesn’t like the idea of a universal basic income, you might employ some of these arguments from Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s former finance minister. In an interview with the Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger, he not only refutes the usual arguments against the concept that the government should give everyone a minimum check every month, but he makes them sound quite ridiculous.

      [...]

      Varoufakis agrees with one problem—with $2,500 a month on the table, wouldn’t everyone move to Switzerland? He advocates for regulation, which is almost certainly what will happen.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • BUSTED: Pro-Clinton Super PAC Caught Spending $1 Million on Social Media Trolls

      A Super PAC headed by a longtime Clinton operative is spending $1 million to hire online trolls to “correct” Bernie Sanders’ supporters on social media.

      Correct The Record (CTR), which is operated by Clinton attack dog and new owner of Blue Nation Review David Brock, launched a new initiative this week called “Barrier Breakers 2016” for the purpose of debating supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders — or “Bernie Bros,” as they’re referred to in Correct the Record’s press official release — on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and other social media platforms.

      The “Barrier Breakers” will also publicly thank Hillary Clinton’s superdelegates and fans for supporting her campaign. The paid trolls are professional communicators, coming from public relations and media backgrounds.

    • Clinton’s Image Among Democrats at New Low

      Recent activity in the presidential election campaign is clearly taking a toll on the images of the leading presidential candidates, as Hillary Clinton drops to her lowest net favorable rating among Democrats since Gallup began tracking her in July, and as both Ted Cruz and Donald Trump return to near their all-time lows among Republicans.

      We can start with the Democratic side of the ledger, where Clinton’s current net favorable rating of +36 among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents is based on 66% who give her a favorable rating and 30% who give her an unfavorable rating.

    • Trump’s Campaign Manager Admits His Boss Has Been Playing a ‘Part’ the Whole Time

      “Fixing personality negatives is a lot easier than fixing character negatives. You can’t change somebody’s character, but you can change the way a person presents himself.” – Paul Manafort

      The above quote is from Donald Trump’s new campaign manager. Along with Rick Wiley, Manafort was hired recently to “professionalize” Trump’s operation. What he says here is both revealing and profoundly wrong. How a person presents himself, or more to the point, how far a person is willing to go in order to project an image of himself, says a lot about who he is.

      If a man is willing, as Trump clearly is, to say or do anything in the name of self-promotion, if he shape-shifts and contradicts himself on a whim, if he says things he knows to be untrue and dangerous because he thinks it will win him the news cycle, does that not reveal his character? Trump is either a nihilist or a fraud. In either case, his personality and character are inextricably bound.

    • Sanders: I’ve lost because ‘poor people don’t vote’

      Confronted with poor performance in states with higher populations of low-income people, Bernie Sanders said his losses are due to those people not voting.

      “Well, because poor people don’t vote. I mean, that’s just a fact. That’s a sad reality of American society,” Sanders said in an interview with MSNBC’s “Meet the Press” set to air in full on Sunday.

      Host Chuck Todd had asked about rival Hillary Clinton’s victory in 16 of 17 primary contests in states with the highest levels of income inequality.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Satellite TV is helping Iranians bypass internet censorship

      People who live in countries with a strict nationwide internet filter always come up with ways to get around it. In Iran, according to Wired, people are using satellite TV and a free anti-censorship system called Toosheh. While Iranians do use VPN to bypass the filter, their crippling internet speeds make it hard to stream videos or download bigger files. The system gives them a way to get 1GB of data within 60 minutes. Users simply have to plug a USB stick into the set-top box, access Toosheh’s channel that doesn’t show anything besides text instructions and set the receiver to record.

    • Berwick MP strongly rejects Facebook censorship claims

      Prior to that, her tweets were automatically published onto her public Facebook page, but she had received complaints due to ‘some very offensive comments’ and the idea was to publish fewer updates to Facebook to make it easier for her or her team to keep track of what was being posted by others.

      However, some Facebook users claim that their comments were hidden, not due to their being offensive, but because they were expressing political views opposed to Mrs Trevelyan’s own, for example, on the EU referendum.

    • Utah Lawmaker Says Internet Porn Violates First Amendment

      The Utah lawmaker who introduced a state resolution declaring pornography a “public health crisis” has taken his opposition a step further. During a conservative talk radio appearance on Friday, state Rep. Todd Weiler (R) said that the internet, essentially, violates a person’s First Amendment rights by “delivering pornography” to people who don’t want to view it.

      “Someone may have the First Amendment right, according to the U.S. Supreme Court, to view pornography,” Weiler told Tony Perkins, host of “Washington Watch” radio show. “But what about my First Amendment right not to view it?”

    • California GOP Blathers About Freedom, But Mostly Backs ‘Secrecy Lobby’

      Politicians from the party of Reagan and Lincoln should instinctively know the dangers of giving government officials unaccountable power.

    • A paean to censorship

      It takes a certain mindset for a person to believe that he or she has the right to determine what information, otherwise lawful, that the citizens of Guyana should receive.

    • Donald Trump and His ‘Micropenis’ Expose Problems With Facebook’s Censorship Policies

      California-based artist, Illma Gore, has gotten quite a bit of attention after painting Republican presidential front runner Donald Trump in the nude with a very, very, small penis. Gore told LawNewz.com she’s received nasty threats from Trump supporters, and this week she says Trump’s team even told her she would be getting a cease and desist letter in the mail. Gore says the painting, which is titled Make America Great Again, was not even meant as a political statement per se.

      “The idea was to invoke a reaction from audience to inspire discussion about what is in our pants…our physical being,” she told LawNewz.com.

    • Is censorship bad for business? How trade laws could break through China’s Great Firewall

      The United States has now opened a new line of attack against China’s censorship regime. Human rights arguments aside, could China’s internet controls constitute a trade barrier? In its annual National Trade Estimate Report, the Office of the United States Trade Representative included the Chinese internet filters and blocks in a list of impediments foreign businesses face in China.

    • Does it really mean a free trade?
    • China seizes biggest share of global exports in almost 50 years
    • Chinese censorship fears over Chariots sequel about Liddell
    • Leader comment: Censorship would dishonour Liddell’s memory
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • How Facebook plans to take over the world

      Social network went from digital directory for college kids to communications behemoth – and it’s planning for prosperity with its global takeover

    • Facebook usage over Tor passes 1M per month

      The number of people using the Tor anonymizing browser to access Facebook has passed the one million mark this month for the first time, Facebook has announced.

      Tor (aka The Onion Router) is a network technology designed to increase the privacy of web users by encrypting and randomly routing Internet connections via a worldwide network of volunteer relays — thereby making it harder for individual web connections to be traced back to a particular user.

      Facebook created a dedicated onion address for Tor access back in October 2014, aimed at making it easier for users to connect via Tor, given that the way the network routes traffic can be flagged by site security infrastructure.

    • Lawmakers ask National Intelligence director, ‘How many citizens have you spied on?’

      American lawmakers are getting frisky when it comes to digital frisking. In a recent letter from 14 top members of Congress (including eight Democrats and six Republicans), Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was asked to estimate the number of Americans affected by various surveillance techniques, including email surveillance and other forms of spying. Data espionage remains one of the few issues over which there is bipartisan concern, and the letter comes as part of an ongoing examination into potential surveillance program reforms.

    • Dispatches: US Surveillance Court Opinion Shows Harm to Rights
    • U.S. administration refuses information about spying on Americans
    • Secret court takes another bite out of the 4th Amendment
    • Congress asks the NSA how often it spies on Americans
    • Spy Chief Pressed for Number of Americans Ensnared in Data Espionage
    • DOJ’s Awesome New Trick to Break into Apple Phones

      Use the sentencing process, rather than the All Writs Act, to open up a phone captured two years ago (which probably has even less usable evidence than Syed Rizwan Farook’s phone did.

      These prosecutors are really using some amazing tools these days.

    • ISP Vows to Protect Users From a Piracy Witch Hunt

      Swedish Internet service provider Bahnhof says it will do everything in its power to prevent copyright holders from threatening its subscribers. The provider is responding to a recent case in which a competing ISP was ordered to expose alleged BitTorrent pirates, reportedly without any thorough evidence.

    • Facebook is going to start showing you pieces people actually read

      Facebook is changing its algorithm yet again, and this time it wants to show you more things that you’ll actually spend time reading or watching.

      The social network looks at a wealth of data when deciding which posts you actually see on News Feed, but until now it hasn’t cared too much about what you actually do when you click away from Facebook. It says that’s going to change.

    • EFF and ACLU Expose Government’s Secret Stingray Use in Wisconsin Case

      Thanks to EFF and the ACLU, the government has finally admitted it secretly used a Stingray to locate a defendant in a Wisconsin criminal case, United States v. Damian Patrick. Amazingly, the government didn’t disclose this fact to the defendant—or the court—until we raised it in an amicus brief we filed in the case. In the government’s brief, filed late last week, it not only fails to acknowledge the impact of hiding this fact from the defendant but also claims its warrantless real-time location tracking didn’t violate the Fourth Amendment.

      We first learned about this case when it was already on appeal to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and filed an amicus brief arguing the Fourth Amendment protects all of us from warrantless, real-time location tracking. The government suggested to both Patrick and the trial court that it had relied on location information obtained directly from Sprint. However, we suspected they had instead used a Stingray.

    • The Government Admits 9 Defendants Spied On Under Section 702 Have Not Gotten FISA Notice

      As I noted, in his opinion approving the Section 702 certifications from last year, Judge Thomas Hogan had a long section describing the 4 different kinds of violations the spooks had committed in the prior year.

      One of those pertained to FBI agents not establishing an attorney-client review team for people who had been indicted, as mandated by the FBI’s minimization procedures.

    • Former Top Holder Aide Says Back Door Searches Violate Fourth Amendment; FISC Judge Thomas Hogan Doesn’t Care

      When I first realized that FISA Court Presiding Judge Thomas Hogan picked her to serve as amicus for the review of the yearly 702 certifications last year, I complained that she, not Marc Zwillinger, got selected (the pick was made in August, but Jeffress would later be picked as one of the standing amicus curiae, along with Zwillinger). After all, Zwillinger has already argued that PRISM (then authorized by Protect America Act) was unconstitutional when he represented Yahoo in its challenge of the program. He’s got experience making this precise argument. Plus, Jeffress not only is a long-time national security prosecutor and former top Eric Holder aide, but she has been involved in some actions designed to protect the Executive. I still think Zwillinger might have done a better job. But Jeffress nevertheless made what appears to be a vigorous, though unsuccessful, argument that FBI’s back door searches of US person data are unconstitutional.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Court: Border Search Warrant Exception Beats Riley In The ‘Constitution-Free Zone

      The Supreme Court declared in 2014 that law enforcement could no longer perform searches of cellphones incident to arrest without a warrant. The exceptions to this ruling are making themselves apparent already.

      The area of the United States where the Constitution does not apply — while still being fully within the borders of the US — apparently exempts law enforcement from following this ruling in regards to cellphone searches. The Southern District of California has come to the conclusion that border searches are not Fourth Amendment searches and that the government has no need to seek a warrant before searching a cellphone.

    • VIDEO: Spoken Word Artist Saul Williams Extended Interview on His New Album, “MartyrLoserKing”

      Williams also discusses his appreciation for hacking, Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, and the late net neutrality activist, Aaron Swartz.

    • Washington Launches Its Attack Against BRICS

      Washington has always blocked reform in Latin America. Latin American peoples will remain American serfs until they elect governments by such large majorities that the governments can exile the traitorous elites, close the US embassies, and expel all US corporations. Every Latin American country that has an American presence has no future other than serfdom.

    • Students block Sather Gate on Cal Day in protest of treatment of undocumented UC students

      A group of roughly 30 student demonstrators gathered in front of Sather Gate on Saturday afternoon, protesting UC President Janet Napolitano’s treatment of undocumented students within the UC system.

      The protest was held on Cal Day, a day when the campus opened its grounds for prospective students accepted to the class of 2020.

    • Suicide Rates Are Up, But the Most Obvious Explanations Are Probably All Wrong

      For my money, we flatly don’t know what’s causing the increase in suicides over the past decade. Based on the size of the numbers and the evidence at hand, if you put a gun to my head I’d probably guess opioid abuse was the biggest cause. But I don’t know, and I’m not sure anyone else knows either.

    • Landmark Ruling Will Finally Allow Victims to Hold CIA ‘Torturers to Account’

      Ladin called it “a historic win in the fight to hold the people responsible for torture accountable for their despicable and unlawful actions.”

    • Child Brides ‘Tolerated’ In European Asylum Centres

      Some child brides are living with older husbands in asylum centres in Scandinavia, triggering a furore about lapses in protection for girls in nations that ban child marriage.

      Authorities have in some cases let girls stay with their partners, believing it is less traumatic for them than forced separation after fleeing wars in nations such as Afghanistan or Syria.

    • Open Borders? EU Commission May Pave Path to Millions of Ukrainian Migrants

      The dream of the Maidan revolutionaries -for Ukrainians to be able to travel to Europe without visas, has moved one step closer to reality, with the European Commission proposing to lift visa restrictions on Ukrainians. What might a visa-free regime between Ukraine and the European Union look like for Ukrainians and Europeans? Sputnik investigates.

    • What Happens When Asylum Seekers Are Too Poor to Make Bail

      On April 6, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a class action lawsuit against the federal government for detaining immigrants who remain in jail simply because they are too poor to pay their bond.

    • Fed Up With Officer Violence, San Francisco Residents Go On Hunger Strike Against Police Chief

      “I’ve reached 48 hours now. After the 24-hour mark, you kind of get over the pain of hunger. We get distracted, kind of, with the people that are visiting. We’re trying to stay dry. It was raining last night,” Edwin Lindo told ThinkProgress by phone Friday morning. “I’m hanging in there.”

      Lindo is one of six hunger strikers currently sitting in front of the Mission Police Station in San Francisco, alongside local rapper Equipto, preschool teacher Maria Cristina Gutierrez, local resident Ike Pinkston, and two others. Lindo, who is also running for District 9 supervisor, is one of the four people who initiated the action on Wednesday in protest of Police Chief Greg Suhr, the embattled leader of the San Francisco Police Department.

      Under Suhr’s leadership there’s been a spate of fatal police shootings of residents of color, including Mario Woods, Alex Nieto, and Amilcar Perez-Lopez. Last year, racist and homophobic text exchanges between officers were made public, and similar messages were revealed earlier this month.

      Activists believe Suhr has failed to discipline the officers and allowed police violence to remain the status quo. In addition to Suhr’s resignation, they want the community to have a hand in vetting prospective officers and holding cops accountable. Lindo, Gutierrez, Pinkson, and Equipto wanted to take drastic action, seeing no other way to get the city leadership’s attention.

    • When we mourn the passing of Prince but not 500 migrants, we have to ask: have we lost all sense of perspective?

      Has something gone adrift within the moral compass of our ‘news’ reporting? In the past week, 64 Afghans have been killed in the largest bomb to have exploded in Kabul in 15 years. At least 340 were wounded. The Taliban set off their explosives at the very wall of the ‘elite’ security force – watch out for that word ‘elite’ – which was supposed to protect the capital. Whole families were annihilated. No autopsies for them. Local television showed an entire family – a mother and father and three children blown to pieces in a millisecond – while the city’s ambulance service reported that its entire fleet (a miserable 15 vehicles) were mobilised for the rescue effort. One ambulance was so packed with wounded that the back doors came off their hinges.

    • Amidst Civil War Ghosts, Sanders says: ‘I Worry about Future of Democracy in America’

      While campaigning in Pennsylvania on Friday ahead of next week’s primary in that state, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders took time to visit the Civil War memorial at Gettysburg and invoked the spirit of Abraham Lincoln as he expressed concern about the troubling direction the nation is now heading.

      Standing near where Lincoln, in 1863, gave one of the most famous political speeches in U.S. history about the fundamental importance of unity and democracy, Sanders expressed to reporters his deep concerns about the disintegration of those key pillars amidst surging income inequality and a sustained assault on the people’s right to have their voices heard and wishes honored by elected lawmakers.

    • Truthdiggers of the Week: Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry’s Fame

      Among the 1,400 activists arrested during the recent Democracy Awakening and Democracy Spring protests were two very familiar faces and even more recognizable names: Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, co-founders of the international ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s.

    • Bill Moyers: Campaign Finance Reform — It’s Not Just Liberals Anymore

      Bill sits down with former Bush administration lawyer Richard Painter to discuss why conservatives should care about the influence of money in politics — and how they can fight to get it out.

    • Disturbing New Ad Reveals The Future Of The GOP Under Trump

      Mike Pape, a Republican running for Kentucky’s first Congressional district, released a new TV ad filled with ugly stereotypes about Latino immigrants, complete with huge Mario Bros.-like mustaches, fake accents, and subtitles for the actors, even though they’re speaking in English for the vast majority of the ad.

    • Breaking Through Power: Historic Civil Mobilization Now

      Ever wonder why Presidential and Congressional election campaigns fail to meaningfully connect with civil society? Candidate rhetoric is designed to attract voters and campaign contributions. Candidates go out of their way to ingratiate themselves to their corporate paymasters, whose monetized minds want nothing to do with the civil society. Civil society leaders at the national and local levels and their nonprofit citizen groups form the bedrock of democracy. These civic leaders have significant expertise and experience and are meticulous and precise in their written and oral presentations. They do not traffic in false statements that are unfortunately routine for many candidates for federal office. And unlike most major party candidates who receive round-the-clock coverage for every campaign utterance, the civic stalwarts are too often left on the sidelines by the media during the campaign season.

      [...]

      These Americans did speak up in unprecedented numbers in 2002-2003 against the Bush/Cheney invasion of Iraq but had no infrastructure to increase their numbers and reach to the American people and the cowardly politicians in Congress.

    • More than 10.35 million people are in prison around the world, new report shows.

      There are more than 2.2 million prisoners in the United States of America, more than 1.65 million in China (plus an unknown number in pre-trial detention or ‘administrative detention’), 640,000 in the Russian Federation, 607,000 in Brazil, 418,000 in India, 311,000 in Thailand, 255,000 in Mexico and 225,000 in Iran.

    • The Film ‘In an Ideal World’ Offers a Glimpse Inside Our Broken Prison System

      Prisons “make you a racist,” even if that’s not how you were originally, one corrections officer says in the film. In fact, at one point in the movie, the warden of the prison actually describes the segregation as a tool for keeping order—though he adds that prison officials may have shot themselves in the foot by perpetuating racial divisions that aggravate tensions and can lead to violence.

    • Israeli Arab Lawmaker Refuses Holocaust Day Invite: Israel Today Is Like Germany in 1930s

      Joint Arab List MK Zoabi says that she respects the memory of those killed in the Holocaust, but that the ‘Holocaust obligates us not to be silent when racist laws are legislated.’

    • Bernie’s Most Valuable Lesson: The Democratic Party Does Not Do Enough to Represent the Values of Progressive Americans

      Over the past year, the insurgent political campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders has revealed quite a bit about the reasoning of partisan Democrats, and thus separated the progressives from the liberals. As a populist candidate who has refused support from Super PACs and big monied interests, Sanders has shined a light on the unpleasant reality that the Democratic party — and its likely presidential nominee — is almost as reliant on funding from billionaires and Wall Street as the detested Republican party is.

    • Shifty antisemitism wars

      So why is it wrong to equate anti-Zionism and antisemitism?

      First, it is comparing apples and oranges. Indeed, there have always been Jews opposed to Zionism, for different reasons. See, for example, the current work of the International Jewish Anti-Zionism Network (IJAN), or the new book by US professor Dov Waxman, which, among other things, shows how it was only after the Six-Day War in 1967, “some two decades after Israel’s founding”, that “the American Jewish pro-Israel establishment was built.”

      For Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), a group with more than 200,000 online members and 60 chapters across the US, “equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism obscures the long history of Jewish anti-Zionism and diasporism.” According to the UK-based group Jews for Justice for Palestinians, fusing “Jewishness/Israel/Zionism” enables antisemitism to become “a weapon for imposing conformity on dissidents within the Jewish community.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • An Open Letter to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam

      Last week, I took a drastic step. Instead of going in to work at Verizon, I stood outside with a picket sign. I’m on strike because it’s time for you to listen to us.

      I’m a cable splicing technician in Roanoke, Va., which means I install and fix Internet, cable and phone service. I’m proud to say I’ve volunteered to serve wherever the need is greatest. I went to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and Central Florida after bad storms there.

      Yet on a work call the other day, one of the managers said technicians like me were “tools to accomplish a task.”

      Maybe that manager chose those demeaning words poorly, but that comment stung with more truth than I can easily admit.

    • Saying the Internet makes librarians obsolete is like saying the plague makes doctors obsolete
    • Upside-Down-Ternet

      My neighbours are stealing my wireless internet access. I could encrypt it or alternately I could have fun.

    • Consumer Complaints About Broadband Caps Are Soaring

      Consumer complaints to the Federal Communications Commission about broadband data caps rose to 7,904 in the second half of 2015 from 863 in the first half, notes a new report by the Wall Street Journal. The Journal filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the agency to obtain the data on complaints, which have spiked as a growing number of fixed-line broadband providers apply caps and overage fees to already pricey connections.

    • The Average Webpage Is Now the Size of the Original

      The web is Doomed.

      Today the average webpage is about the same size, data-wise, as the classic computer game Doom, according to software engineer Ronan Cremin.

      A compressed copy of the installer for the shareware version of Doom takes up about 2.39MB of space. Today’s average webpage, meanwhile, requires users to download about 2.3MB worth of data, according to HTTP Archive, a site that tracks website performance and the technologies they use.

  • DRM

    • EFF to FCC: Consumers Need Strong ‘Unlock the Box’ Rules That Bring Competition, Innovation to Set-Top Boxes

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt robust, consumer-friendly “Unlock the Box” rules that will give Americans access to more innovative, useful, and creative devices and software for watching pay cable and satellite television.

      The FCC’s proposed “Unlock the Box” rules will allow any manufacturer to create and market devices or apps that will connect consumers to their cable or satellite TV feeds. The proposal will lead to a new generation of navigation devices that let viewers search and play shows on cable, online services, or over-the-air broadcasts from a single clicker, app, or box.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Book Review: Shakespeare’s Cultural Capital

        In government, the UK uses Shakespeare to promoting regional tourism and a sense of ‘Britishness.’ As part of the government’s ‘Great’ campaign, which apparently contributes £1.6 billion annually to the UK, Shakespeare as a global icon enhances the UK’s cultural diplomacy. Shakespeare’s home of Stratford-upon-Avon, “attracts over five million visitors each year, generating revenues worth over £335 million for the local economy.”

      • UK dead-set on 10-year sentences for P2P pirates

        The UK government has confirmed that it wants to bring in legislation increasing the maximum sentence for online copyright infringement to 10 years of imprisonment, despite widespread objections and doubts about its feasibility.

        Baroness Neville-Rolfe, parliamentary under-secretary of state and minister for intellectual property, writes in her foreword to the document responding to the consultation held at the end of last year: “we are now proposing changes that include increasing the maximum sentence, but at the same time addressing concerns about the scope of the offence. The revised provisions will help protect rights holders, while making the boundaries of the offence clearer, so that everyone can understand how the rules should be applied.”

        As the UK government’s summary of responses reveals, 1,032 submissions were received, of which 938 came through the Open Rights Group. Concerns raised included the fact that there was no requirement to prove that an infringer had intent to cause harm for them to be considered guilty. That meant the proposed offence had an element of “strict liability,” which would result in somebody being held liable even if they had no intention of causing harm.

      • Kim Dotcom hints at Mega shutdown as he warns punters to pull out

        BERET-WEARING copyright controversy courter Kim Dotcom has told his Twitter users to start backing up any data and documents they might have on storage option Mega, because it looks like it is going from mega to micro following a range of problems.

        Dotcom said that the firm has suffered from the withdrawal of support by PayPal, presumably at the behest of the law or the copyright cartels. This had a significant impact on the business that was showing positive signs of growth in the storage market.

      • Why did Prince change his name to a symbol?

        When Prince changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol, it was regarded as both rebellious and foolhardy. Why did he do it?

        For a generation too young to remember his debut in the late 1970s or the impact of Purple Rain in 1984, Prince – who died yesterday – was perhaps best known as the musician who changed his name to a symbol.

        In 1993, Prince announced that he would no longer go by the name Prince, but rather by a “Love Symbol” which was a mash-up of the gender symbols for man and woman.

        “It is an unpronounceable symbol whose meaning has not been identified. It’s all about thinking in new ways, tuning in 2 a new free-quency,” he wrote in a statement at the time.

        According to Neal Karlen, a former Rolling Stone writer who was one of the few journalists the late musician gave access to, together they wrote up a full explanation for the name change to bury in a time capsule at Prince’s Paisley Park estate in Minnesota.

        “So he said,” cautions Karlen. “I never went for any ground break.”

        The controversial decision was derided as “crazy” and “ridiculous”. Record sales declined. It presented all kinds of logistical challenges for the media, resulting in the clumsy title, “Artist Formerly Known As Prince”.

        So why did he do it?

        The symbol was a rebellion against Prince’s record label, Warner Bros. He first signed with the company back in 1977 when he was still a teenager, and together they produced some of his most famous titles, including Purple Rain and Sign O the Times.

        But after inking a new deal in the early 1990s, Prince chafed under the company’s rigid production schedule. A prolific songwriter, he wanted to release material as soon as it was ready – he had 500 unreleased songs in his famous studio vault. But Warner Bros refused, believing it would saturate the market and dilute demand for the artist’s music.

        “He felt the contracts at the time were onerous and burdensome,” says John Kellogg, assistant chair of the music business management department at Berklee College of Music. “He rebelled against that.”

        Prince compared his contractual obligations to slavery, and began performing with the word “SLAVE” on his cheek. He saw his own name as a part of his contractual entrapment.

        “Warner Bros took the name, trademarked it, and used it as the main marketing took to promote all of the music I wrote,” Prince once said in a press release. “The company owns the name Prince and all related music marketed under Prince. I became merely a pawn used to produce more money for Warner Bros.”

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. East Asia's Patent Peril and the Curse of Patent Trolls

    The high cost of China's new obsession with patents and the never-ending saga of Samsung (Korea), which gets dragged into courts not only in the US but also in China



  2. USPTO Starts Discriminating Against Poor People, and Does So Even When They Rightly Point Out Errors

    Even though the burden of proof ought to be on one who grants a monopoly, the legal costs are being offloaded onto those who challenge an erroneously-granted monopoly (even if the court sides with the challenger)



  3. Ambrose Chan Enters Document Security Systems (DSS), a Partly Patent Troll Entity

    The Board of Directors of DSS enlists a man from Singapore, whose lack of technical background suggests that the company is still more of a bully than an innovator



  4. UPC Threatens to Weaponise Software Patents in Countries That Forbade These

    The reality of software patents in Europe and what a Unified Patent Court (UPC) would mean for these if it ever became a reality



  5. The Latest Lies About the Unitary Patent (UPC) and CIPO's Participation in Those

    Team UPC continues to overplay its chances, conveniently ignoring simple facts as well as the Rule of Law



  6. The Patents Policy of Facebook is Causing an Exodus

    Yet another major player walks away from Facebook's code because of software patents



  7. Links 20/9/2017: Wine Staging 2.17, Randa 2017, Redox OS 0.3.3

    Links for the day



  8. When Google Used Alex Converse to Raid the Public Domain With Software Patents

    In its overzealous pursuit of software patents, Google is now turning public domain methods into private 'property' (in defiance of critics)



  9. Mark Kokes, the Man Behind BlackBerry's Patent Aggression, Leaves the Company

    The man behind the patent troll-like behaviour of BlackBerry is leaving



  10. WordPress Demonstrates That Facebook's Patent Strategy is Deterring/Alienating Developers

    React is being dumped following Facebook's attempt to restrict distribution/derivatives using software patents



  11. Links 19/9/2017: Pipewire, Mir Support for Wayland, DRM in W3C

    Links for the day



  12. Links 18/9/2017: Linux 4.14 RC1, Mesa 17.2.1, and GNOME 3.26 on Ubuntu Artful

    Links for the day



  13. Patent Trolls Update: Eolas, Conversant (MOSAID), Leigh Rothschild, and Electronic Communication Technologies

    Patent trolls are still being watched -- as they ought to be -- even though some of them shy away, hide from the media, engage in dirty tricks, and file more lawsuits



  14. Microsoft is Promoting Software Patents in India in Another Effort to Undermine Free/Open Source Software, Microsoft-Connected Trolls Are Still Suing

    The ongoing patent threat to Free/libre Open Source software (FLOSS) and the role played by Microsoft in at least much of this threat



  15. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Under Attack by IBM and Other Patent Parasites Who Undermine Patent Quality

    The PTAB, which has thus far invalidated thousands of abstract/software patents, is under a coordinated attack not by those who produce things but those who produce a lot of lawsuit



  16. Why the Mohawk Tribe Should Fire Its Lawyers and Dump the Patents Which Now Tarnish Its Name

    In order to dodge the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) with its Inter Partes Reviews (IPRs), the Mohawk tribe is being exploited -- very much in direct detriment to its reputation and status



  17. Amazon and Google Have Both Become Part of the Software Patents Problem

    The transition from so-called 'defensive' patents to offensive patents (ones that are used to suppress competition) as seen in Amazon and in Google, which is already suing rivals and is pursuing additional patents by acquisition



  18. Unless Physical, Inventions Are No Longer Patent-Eligible in US Courts, But USPTO Ignores Precedence

    Even though the ability to enforce software patents against a rival (or many targets, especially in the case of patent trolls) is vastly diminished, the US patent office continues to grant these



  19. Citing the European Patent Convention, Spanish Court Tosses Lawsuit With EPO-Granted European Patent

    The quality of European Patents (EPs) -- a subject of growing levels of scrutiny -- as demonstrated in Barcelona this summer



  20. Links 16/9/2017: More of “Public Money, Public Code”, Equifax Failed to Patch for Months

    Links for the day



  21. BlackBerry Has Turned Into a Patents and Licensing Company

    The Canadian company that made fairly reputable phones early in this century is left with nothing but the power to sue other companies -- a power to which it increasingly gravitates



  22. European Patent Office Continues to Paint a Rosy UPC Picture Even Though the UPC May Already be Dead

    The European Patent Office (EPO) doesn't let facts get in the way as another week passes with UPC promotion and further staff repressions



  23. Tax Evasion by Patent Boxes and Lies About Small Businesses (SMEs) in the Corporate Media

    The lobbying effort of the patent 'industry' -- and its largest beneficiaries -- paints its own perks as something that's intended for their small/minuscule competitors (whom they actually attempt to misrepresent and crush)



  24. Links 15/9/2017: Mesa 17.2.1 RC, Wine 2.17, WordPress to Ditch React Over Patents

    Links for the day



  25. The UPC Fantasy is Going Nowhere as Complaints and Paperwork Pile Up

    Many submissions and complaints about the Unitary Patent have time to arrive before the end of October as a decision on the matter seems as distant as 2018



  26. At Event of EPO SLAPP Firm, a Suggestion That the UPC Should be Scrapped Because It's Stuck

    Just like the TPP, the UPC is now in a potentially fatal deadlock, so people with a stake in the outcome consider starting again (almost from scratch)



  27. Watchtroll Helps the EPO Peddle Fake News About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) isn't happening; the EPO, however, keeps on pretending that it can already operate as though the UPC got the green light



  28. Links 14/9/2017: Plasma 5.11 Beta, Q4OS 1.8.8, Orion

    Links for the day



  29. Links 13/9/2017: Blender 2.79, Qt 5.10 Alpha, GNOME 3.26 “Manchester”, Parrot 3.8

    Links for the day



  30. Amazon's Infamous Patent is Dead and the World's Richest Man Failed to Fulfill His Promise on Software Patents

    Amazon continues piling up a lot of software patents even though its founder once pretended (only after enormous public backlash) that he would pursue far shorter terms for software patents


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts