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05.03.16

Links 3/5/2016: Mozilla Firefox 46.0.1, More Jolla Funding

Posted in News Roundup at 6:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Contributing to open source software with Ian Varley of Salesforce

    With open source, you’re expanding the sphere of people who might potentially care a lot about your code. You find others who have similar problems, and who can leverage your work and maybe even extend it. The knowledge that you’ve helped someone avoid “rebuilding the wheel” is really gratifying, and it’s amplified when those people actually start getting so involved that they give you contributions of code or ideas. The project picks up steam, and you might even get unforeseen help tackling those issues you didn’t have bandwidth to tackle yourself. Really, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

  • Why open source is growing – and dying – at the same time

    So, how come 90%-98% of all open source code is thrown away after 12 months?

  • ownCloud 9.0.2 Released with Lower-Severity Security Patches and Hardenings

    A few moments ago, May 3, 2016, ownCloud Inc. announced the general availability of multiple maintenance releases for all of its supported branches of the ownCloud self-hosting cloud server.

    ownCloud 9.0.2, 8.2.4, 8.1.7, 8.0.12, and 7.0.14 were made available for download for existing users, who are urged to update their installations to these new versions as soon as possible. Thus, they are bringing fixes for reported bugs, as well as various lower-severity security patches and hardenings.

  • Appreciating the full power of open

    Last year was a big year for open source. As Wired put it, 2015 was the year open source software “went nuclear”. More people than ever seem to realize the power of open—not just as a programming methodology, but as a better way to accomplish just about anything.

  • 7 lessons from DuckDuckGo’s Instant Answers project

    DuckDuckGo is a search engine known for putting privacy first for users. So, when we passed 3 billion annual searches last year, we knew it was critical that we continue to serve users without sacrificing their privacy. The key, we realized, was open source.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Releases Firefox 46.0.1 to Fix Bugs and Limit Sync Registration Updates

        Today, May 3, Mozilla has pushed the first point release of the recently launched Firefox 46.0 web browser to all supported platforms, including GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows.

        Mozilla announced the release of Firefox 46.0 on April 26, 2016, bringing the long-anticipated GTK3 integration for the GNU/Linux platform. Other interesting features are enhanced security for the JavaScript JIT (Just In Time) compiler and improvements to the screen reader behavior with blank spaces for Google Docs.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • As Investment in Apache Spark Continues, SnappyData is a New Beneficiary

      At a regular cadence, startups focusing on Apache Spark are getting significant funding. The latest startup to benefit is SnappyData, based in Oregon, and its investors are heavy hitters too. The company announced that it has secured $3.65 million in Series A funding, led by Pivotal, GE Digital and GTD Capital.

      SnappyData bills itself as “developers of the world’s first in-memory hybrid transactional analytics database built on Apache Spark.” Officials say the funding will allow the company to further invest in engineering and sales. The SnappyData leadership team includes, Richard Lamb, Jags Ramnarayanan and Sudhir Menon, who worked together during their time at Pivotal to build Pivotal GemFire into a widely adopted in-memory data grid product.

    • Google Cloud Dataflow Stacks Up with Spark in Benchmark Tests
  • CMS

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • If Open Sharing Of Data Is A Great Idea For Combatting A Dangerous Plant Disease, Why Not For All Human Diseases?

      It’s a rather sad state of affairs when publishing concerns and patents are getting in the way of producing treatments and cures for serious human diseases that could improve the lives of millions of people. Protecting crops from wheat blast is, of course, welcome, but is it really the best we can do?

    • Open Data

      • Helsinki to enhance open democracy technologies through a hackathon

        The International Open Data Day brings together citizens and developers in major cities around the world to develop tools and applications based on Open Data. In 2016, Open Data Day took place on the 5-6 March.

      • Dutch government organisations not ready for open data requests

        Dutch government organisations are generally unable to process requests under the new ‘Law for re-use of government information’ in a timely and correct manner. According to inventories made by the Open State Foundation and Open Archives, government at all levels took months to decide on the requests, had problems providing the information in an open and machine-readable format, and failed to forward requests that should be handled by other organisations.

      • Hungarian Post charging high costs to frustrate right to public information

        The issue was brought before Péterfalvi Attila, President of the National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, by Tóth Bertalan, Deputy Faction Leader for the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP). Tóth argued that citizens are restricted in exercising their right of access to public information if an agency asks that much money for its data.

  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Prince’s Death Being Used to Sell Painkiller Panic

      Was Prince addicted to painkillers, and is that what killed him? That’s one of the latest issues surrounding Prince’s sudden and surprising death (along with his failure to have a will). TMZ has tracked down a lot of circumstantial evidence for the possibility, but we probably won’t know Prince’s actual cause of death for a few more weeks.

    • The richest Americans now live 10-15 years longer than the poorest.

      Rich people live longer than poor people. No big news there — we’ve known that health tracks wealth for quite some time now.

      But here’s what we haven’t known: The life-expectancy gap between rich and poor in the United States is actually accelerating.

      Since 2001, American men among the nation’s most affluent 5 percent have seen their lifespans increase by more than two years. American women in that bracket have registered an almost three-year extension to their life expectancy.

      Meanwhile, the poorest five percent of Americans have seen essentially no gains at all.

    • Prominent Democratic Consultants Sign Up to Defeat Single Payer in Colorado

      INFLUENTIAL DEMOCRATIC CONSULTANTS, some of whom work for the Super PACs backing Hillary Clinton, have signed up to fight a bold initiative to create a state-based single-payer system in Colorado, according to a state filing posted Monday.

      Coloradans for Coloradans, an ad-hoc group opposing single payer in Colorado, revealed that it raised $1 million over the first five months of this year. The group was formed to defeat Amendment 69, the ballot measure before voters this year that would change the Colorado constitution and permit a system that would automatically cover every state resident’s health care.

    • The Flint Chess Game: The Politics of the Battlefield

      So far, only a few pawns have been sacrificed, and one minor knight has fallen, in the Machiavellian chessboard game that is being played with the lives of thousands who were poisoned by the water in Flint, Michigan. Governor Rick Snyder has not even been question by state or federal prosecutors. “It will only be through political activism and unrelenting protest that the actual political players will be charged and held accountable.”

    • Lead Water Pipes in 1900 Caused Higher Crime Rates in 1920

      Last year I wrote about a paper that looked at the relationship between childhood lead poisoning and violent crime rates in a whole new way. James Feigenbaum and Christopher Muller compared cities from the early 20th century that installed lead water pipes with those that installed iron pipes, and found that cities with lead pipes had higher homicide rates.

    • Weekly Flint Water Report: April 23-29

      Here is this week’s Flint water report. As usual, I’ve eliminated outlier readings above 2,000 parts per billion, since there are very few of them and they can affect the averages in misleading ways. During the week, DEQ took 450 samples. The average for the past week was 5.50.

    • EPA Using Industry-Funded Research to Determine if Glyphosate Causes Cancer

      Nor is this the first time that the EPA has been caught using biased research to approve of dangerous chemicals. Last November, the Intercept’s Sharon Lerner reported that the agency used Monsanto’s own research to determine that there was “no convincing evidence” glyphosate was an endocrine disruptor.

      An EPA spokesperson said Friday that the document was posted to the website prematurely and was removed “because our assessment is not final,” and that the agency would release a completed, peer-reviewed analysis by the end of 2016.

  • Security

    • Linux Foundation launches badge program to boost open source security

      The Linux Foundation has released the first round of CII Best Practices badges as part of a program designed to improve the quality and security of open-source software.

      Announced on Tuesday, the non-profit said the Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII), a project which brings tech firms, developers and stakeholders together to create best practice specifications and improve the security of critical open-source projects, has now entered a new stage with the issue of CII badges to a select number of open-source software.

    • Linux Foundation’s Badge Program Launches to Boost Security of Open Source Apps

      Today, May 3, 2016, Linux Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting Linux and open source projects, has announced the general availability of its free badge program.

    • Free Badge Program Signals What Open Source Projects Meet Criteria for Security, Quality and Stability
    • How to Conduct Internal Penetration Testing

      The best way to establish how vulnerable your network is to a hacker attack is to subject it to a penetration test carried out by outside experts. (You must get a qualified third party to help with penetration testing, of course, and eSecurity Planet recently published an article on finding the right penetration testing company.)

    • SSH for Fun and Profit

      In May last year, a new attack on the Diffie Hellman algorithm was released, called Logjam. At the time, I was working on a security team, so it was our responsiblity to check that none of our servers would be affected. We ran through our TLS config and decided it was safe, but also needed to check that our SSH config was too. That confused me – where in SSH is Diffie Hellman? In fact, come to think of it, how does SSH work at all? As a fun side project, I decided to answer that question by writing a very basic SSH client of my own.

    • Security advisories for Tuesday
    • Aging and bloated OpenSSL is purged of 2 high-severity bugs

      Maintainers of the OpenSSL cryptographic library have patched high-severity holes that could make it possible for attackers to decrypt login credentials or execute malicious code on Web servers.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • ‘Shadow World’—Investigating the Huge Corruption of the Billion-Dollar Global Arms Trade

      The website for the film explains that, “The film unravels a number of the world’s largest and most corrupt arms deals through those involved in perpetrating and investigating them. It illustrates why this trade accounts for almost 40 percent of all corruption in global trade, and how it operates in a parallel legal universe, in which the national security elite who drive it are seldom prosecuted for their often illegal actions.”

    • Seymour Hersh: The CIA and Media Lied to Us About How Bin Laden Was Killed—What Can We Trust Them About?

      Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh broke the story of the My Lai massacre in 1969. He was the first to report the atrocities at Abu Ghraib prison, back in 2004.

    • Five years on, bin Laden doctor languishes in Pakistan jail

      Five years after his fake vaccination programme helped the CIA track and kill Osama bin Laden, Pakistani doctor Shakeel Afridi languishes in jail, abandoned by the US, say supporters, in its bid to smooth troubled relations with Islamabad.

      Afridi, believed to be in his mid-50s, has no access to a lawyer, and his appeal against a 23-year prison sentence has stalled.

      “I have no hope of meeting him, no expectation for justice,” his elder brother Jamil told AFP.

    • Fatwa against 2 families for denying land for madrasa

      The Mukami panchayat of Deshvaliyan community of Sarwar block of the district issued fatwa against two families and imposed fine of Rs 1,51,000 for denying to part with their land for a ‘social cause’. The fatwa was issued when these families denied to give their one hectare land to the madrasa society. The community went a step ahead and restricted these families from even participating in the mass marriage celebration on May 20 and 21 at Sarwar, and published posters stating the same.

    • Shying Away from 9/11 Evidence

      Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton wrote an opinion piece last week in USAToday, trying to “temper” feelings surrounding the release of “the 28 pages.”

      Kean and Hamilton wrote, “The 28 pages have generated a lot of public speculation over the years and have been described as a ‘smoking gun’ implicating the Saudi government in the deadliest terrorist attack carried out on U.S. soil.”

    • Happy bin Laden Day! CIA ‘Live Tweets’ bin Laden Killing to Celebrate Fifth Anniversary

      Think about how much has changed since that momentous day. In 2011 the U.S. was at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, facing the threat of a vicious global terror organization that had already killed Americans. Oh, wait, that looks just like 2016, only now we are also at war in Syria, too, still at war in Afghanistan (16 years in!) and back at war in Iraq. And al Qaeda is known as ISIS, and the Homeland remains a jittery mess on the verge of electing either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, both of whom have enthusiastically endorsed lots more war in the Middle East.

      It’s as if Nothing. Has. Changed.

      Anyway, the CIA’s anniversary tweets open up the idea of live tweeting other American victories. How about a minute-by-minute live tweet of a waterboarding session? Or maybe, for a really special date, a live tweet on August 6 of the Hiroshima bombing?

    • The End of American Iraq: Poor Shiites invade Parliament over corrupt Spoils System

      Baghdad is under a state of emergency on Sunday a day after members of the Sadr Trend stormed the Green Zone and invaded the parliament building, briefly imprisoning parliamentarians in the chamber (and some in a basement) before letting them go. Some apparently were beaten as they left. Most of the protesters, though, were relatively peaceful and had been ordered to avoid violence by their leader, Muqtada al-Sadr. As at Tahrir Square in Cairo in 2011, of which the invasion of the Green Zone was a distant echo, they chanted “peacefully, peacefully” ( silmiyyah, silmiyyah).

    • A Dweller in Peace: the Life and Times of Daniel Berrigan

      On October 22, 1967, Berrigan was arrested for the first time with hundreds of students protesting the war at the Pentagon. “For the first time,” he wrote in his journal in the D.C. Jail, “I put on the prison blue jeans and denim shirt; a clerical attire I highly recommend for a new church.” In February, 1968, he traveled to North Vietnam with Howard Zinn to receive three U.S. Air Force personnel who were being released. While they awaited their meeting with the VietCong, they took cover in a Hanoi shelter as U.S. bombs fell around him. His diary of his trip to North Vietnam, “Night Flight to Hanoi” was published later that year.

    • Chris Hedges on Why Daniel Berrigan’s Most Important Contribution Wasn’t Activism but Writing
    • Father Daniel Berrigan Sought to ‘Build a World Uncursed by War, Starvation, and Exploitation’

      Father Daniel Berrigan, who has died at age 94, was a beautiful man with a beautiful vision that he made real by engaging in radical acts of conscience that sought not merely to end wars but to achieve the justice that has always been essential to peacemaking. Born on the Minnesota Iron Range into a family of trade unionists, he and his brother Philip (who died in 2002) brought to the slowly opening national discourse of the 1960s a deep understanding of the linkages between militarism and imperialism abroad and racism and poverty at home. As they came to prominence as fierce opponents of the Vietnam War, the Berrigan brothers taught generations of Americans to identify intersections of injustice and to get clear of them.

    • Russia declines to ask Syria to halt Bombardment of East Aleppo

      Western Europe wants to see the Baath government of Bashar al-Assad unseated, because it is a seedy one-party state and guilty of massive war crimes. Merkel was speaking for many in the EU in this regard, but not all. Czechia, for instance, sees the Syrian opposition as, if not al-Qaeda, the next thing to al-Qaeda, and so is supporting al-Assad.

    • Paddy Ashdown slams government for refusing entry to Afghan interpreter

      Paddy Ashdown has accused the government of acting dishonourably in the case of an Afghan interpreter who reportedly killed himself while facing deportation from Britain.

      Nangyalai Dawoodzai is understood to have worked for the British army in Afghanistan for three years, before fleeing the country after receiving death threats from the Taliban.

      The 29-year-old, who paid people smugglers to reach the UK, was told his request for asylum in Britain had been rejected when it was found he had been fingerprinted in Italy on arrival in Europe, according to the Daily Mail.

      Under the EU’s Dublin regulation, aimed at preventing multiple asylum claims by individuals, Dawoodzai had to pursue his claim in the first country he applied in.

    • The American Jewish scholar behind Labour’s ‘antisemitism’ scandal breaks his silence

      Once the Nazi holocaust became the cultural referent, then, if you wanted to touch a nerve regarding Palestinian suffering, you had to make the analogy with the Nazis, because that was the only thing that resonated for Jews. If you compared the Palestinians to Native Americans, nobody would give a darn. In 1982, when I and a handful of other Jews took to the streets of New York to protest Israel’s invasion of Lebanon (up to 18,000 Lebanese and Palestinians were killed, overwhelmingly civilians), I held a sign saying, ‘This son of survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Auschwitz, Maijdenek will not be silent: Israeli Nazis – Stop the Holocaust in Lebanon!’. (After my mother died, I found a picture of me holding that sign in a drawer among her keepsakes). I remember, as the cars drove past, one of the guys protesting with me kept saying, ‘hold the sign higher!’ (And I kept replying, ‘easy for you to say!’).

    • The Failures of Capitalism, Donald Trump and Right Wing Terror

      Bernie’s politics, however, are a revival of FDR’s New Deal. He seeks to empower poor and working people (regardless of so-called “race”) to participate in the process of freeing our society from the control of the big rich by voting for a candidate of the Democratic Party. Whether he can do this from inside that Wall Street-dominated party is questionable. Even if by some miracle he overcame the power of Wall Street and the corporate media to become president, he would have to work within the institutions established in our history to ensure the rule of capital and its minions.

      Meanwhile, on the right, the Republican Party has been using its “Southern Strategy” since Richard Nixon to divide people by making veiled racist appeals, coupled with reactionary “culture wars” ideas and attacks on abortion and women’s rights; they continue to deny global warming while promulgating policies that de-regulate any governmental oversight of corporate power and hand over large tax cuts to the already wealthy. Recently we are also seeing a more open revival of the kind of racist and fascist movements that have always lurked beneath the surface in the post-Civil War U.S. Older organizations like the Ku Klux Klan are now being joined by Neo-Nazis—both with long histories of racist murder and genocide. And for this election, the Republicans have fielded a candidate in Donald Trump who has put aside the usual veiled racist appeals and is openly signaling his affinity with these white supremacist organizations.

    • Donald Trump in South Sudan

      The world’s youngest nation, South Sudan gained its independence in 2011 and just two and a half years later plunged into civil war. Since then, an estimated 50,000 to 300,000 people have been killed in a conflict pitting President Salva Kiir, a member of the country’s largest tribe, the Dinka, against Riek Machar, an ethnic Nuer and the vice president he sacked in July 2013. That December, a fight between Dinka and Nuer troops set off the current crisis, which then turned into a slaughter of Nuers by Kiir’s forces in Juba. Reprisals followed as Machar’s men took their revenge on Dinkas and other non-Nuers in towns like Bor and Bentiu. The conflict soon spread, splintering into local wars within the larger war and birthing other violence that even a peace deal signed last August and Machar’s recent return to the government has been unable to halt.

      The signature feature of this civil war has been its preferred target: civilians. It has been marked by massacres, mass rape, sexual slavery, assaults of every sort, extrajudicial killings, forced displacement of local populations, disappearances, abductions, torture, mutilations, the wholesale destruction of villages, pillaging, looting, and a host of other crimes.

    • “A Moral Giant”: A Democracy Now! Special on the Life & Legacy of Father Daniel Berrigan
    • Bernie Sanders should push for a new realism in foreign policy

      Donald Trump’s formal foreign policy address last week hurled a stick into the hive of the foreign policy establishment. Republican and Democrat foreign policy mavens erupted and buzzed around to attack the intruder. Anyone not reading the text would think it was a contradictory spewing of nonsense, another in the long line of Trump outrages. In fact, the reaction to the speech was far more revealing than Trump’s address itself.

    • The Pentagon Shouldn’t Get to Absolve Itself for Bombing a Hospital

      No war crime, despite the U.S. military having full knowledge of the hospital’s location before the bombing. No war crime, despite desperate hospital staffers calling military liaison officers while the rampage was underway. No war crime, despite their calls being routed without response through layers of lethal bureaucracy for an hour or more as the deadly bombing continued.

    • “The Assassination Complex”: Jeremy Scahill & Glenn Greenwald Probe Secret US Drone Wars in New Book

      As the Obama administration prepares to release for the first time the number of people it believes it has killed in drone strikes in countries that lie outside of conventional war zones, we look at a new book out today that paints a very different picture of the U.S. drone program. “The Assassination Complex: Inside the Government’s Secret Drone Warfare Program” is written by Jeremy Scahill and the staff of The Intercept, and based on leaked government documents provided by a whistleblower. The documents undermine government claims that drone strikes have been precise. Part of the book looks at a program called Operation Haymaker in northeastern Afghanistan. During one five-month period, nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets. The book is based on articles published by The Intercept last year. It also includes new contributions from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and The Intercept’s Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald. We speak with Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • A Setback in Longmont Will Only Lead to More Victories

      We must keep up the pressure on decision-makers to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

    • Backtracking on Clean Energy, Clinton Turns Chameleon on Coal

      Campaigning in Appalachia on Monday, Hillary Clinton claimed she “misspoke” when previously declaring her opposition to coal, telling voters that as president she would work to ensure that the dirtiest of the fossil fuels will “continue to be sold and continue to be mined.”

      Arriving in Williamson, West Virginia—the heart of coal country—the Democratic frontrunner was greeted by a wall of protesters who were angry over remarks she made in March foretelling the end of the coal industry.

    • “Nature Won’t Wait”: Break Free 2016 Begins with UK Coal Mine Occupation

      Hundreds of climate activists shut down the UK’s largest open-cast coal mine on Tuesday morning—the first of a wave of peaceful direct actions spanning six continents and 12 days, targeting the world’s most dangerous fossil fuel projects.

      Mining work has now been halted at the Ffos-y-fran mine in south Wales, where the mass civil trespass by climate action network Reclaim the Power began at 5:30am local time. Hundreds of demonstrators wearing red boiler suits used their bodies to form a massive red line across the mine, while nine individuals are locked to each other, blocking road access to the controversial facility.

    • Scientists Aren’t Just ‘F*cking With You’: Jimmy Kimmel Takes On Sarah Palin’s Climate Denial

      On Monday evening’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, the ABC late-night host tackled something that isn’t in your average topical monologue: the scientific consensus on climate change. And he made a video featuring real climate scientists responding to climate denial in a fashion one doesn’t see in the National Academy of Sciences.

      The catalyst involved a climate denier-produced movie, “Climate Hustle,” which has been called “amateurish” and “not very watchable.” Specifically what Kimmel seized on were comments former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin gave last month while promoting the movie.

    • California And Florida Governors Duel On Climate Denial

      When it comes to climate change — and climate-denying politicians — California Gov. Jerry Brown doesn’t mince words.

      Brown sent a letter to Florida Gov. Rick Scott Monday, in time for Scott’s visit to California — a trip in which Scott aims to convince West Coast businesses to consider moving to Florida. But Brown had some business advice of his own for Scott, who’s long been known for his climate-denying, anti-clean energy record.

    • Record Heat Threatens India’s Poor and Elderly

      One year after India experienced the fifth-deadliest heat wave ever recorded, temperatures are again soaring to deadly extremes. Local governments are scrambling to address rising death tolls and dwindling water supplies.

      The drought and blistering heat, some 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, has claimed 300 lives since early April. Towns on India’s eastern side have been hit with record-setting temperatures — 119.3 degrees in the town of Titlagarh, Orissa, which is the highest temperature ever recorded in that state during April.

    • Arctic Death Spiral Update: What Happens In The Arctic Affects Weather Everywhere Else

      This was the hottest four-month start (January to April) of any year on record, according to newly-released satellite data.

      The Arctic continues its multi-month trend of off-the-charts warmth. So it’s no surprise that Arctic sea ice continues to melt at a record pace. New research, however, finds that warming-driven Arctic sea ice loss causes high-pressure systems to get stuck in places like Greenland, leading to accelerated melt of the land-locked ice that drives sea level rise worldwide.

      Let’s start with the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) satellite data, which show that the lowest part of the atmosphere (the lower troposphere) was an impressive 1.3°F (0.71°C) above the historical (1981-2010) average — a baseline that is itself 0.8°F (0.45°C) hotter than pre-industrial levels.

    • A Growing and WINNING Climate Movement

      The growing rallying cry of the climate movement, to keep fossil fuels in the ground, is taking hold, and not just in the form of chants and headlines, but in the form of cancelled gas pipelines, rejected LNG terminals, shelved lease sales – all of which would’ve perpetuated the fossil fuel status quo, but which faced mounting and unprecedented public opposition. Emboldened by the successful campaign against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and motivated by the growing scientific consensus that we must keep at least 80% of fossil fuel reserves in the ground if we hope to avoid a climate disaster, communities are increasingly pushing back against fossil fuel projects that would not only threaten their backyards, their water, and their health, but threaten our very ability to maintain a livable planet.

    • Gripped by Climate Disruption, World on Brink of Global Water Crisis

      Global water shortages, exacerbated by human-caused climate change, are likely to spur conflict and migration across the Middle East, central Asia, and Africa—all while negatively impacting regional economies, according to a new World Bank report published Tuesday.

      Rising demand combined with increasingly “erratic and uncertain” supply could reduce water availability in cities by as much as two thirds by 2050, compared to 2015 levels, the report warns. Meanwhile, “food price spikes caused by droughts can inflame latent conflicts and drive migration,” a World Bank press statement reads.

    • Bank of North Dakota Soars Despite Oil Bust: A Blueprint for California? [Ed: mentioned here before]
    • The Massive, Tragic Trashing of Our Oceans: Is There Still Time to Do Something About It?

      It’s impossible to overestimate how critical the oceans are to the overall health of life on Earth. For one thing, tiny marine plants called phytoplankton provide up to 85 percent of the world’s oxygen, according to EarthSky.org. But the oceans don’t just give us good stuff like oxygen; they take away bad stuff, like carbon dioxide. A 2011 international study led by the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, estimated that the oceans absorb 27 percent of the CO2 produced by the fossil fuel combustion.

  • Finance

    • Detroit Schools Shuttered as Lawmakers ‘Illegally’ Withhold Teacher Pay
    • BREAKING: TTIP leaks confirm dangers for digital rights

      While the European Commission claims to be very transparent in its reports, the public receives a non-complete state of play after each round of negotiations. The leak is a real, internal state of play on the negotiations, clearly reflecting the lobbying efforts of certain parts of industry from both sides of the Atlantic.

    • TTIP: The NO must get louder and stronger

      The most recent TTIP leak provides ample proof of one core fact: The contradictions between the official positions of both sides are far greater than the European Commission has ever publicly acknowledged. To insist under these circumstances as the Commission does – that the negotiations should be finalized by the end of this year – either signals a belief in political miracles or an implicit willingness to cave in. The Commission has some explaining to do.

      Every single publicly voiced suspicion concerning the lack of transparency in these TTIP negotiations has been justified by the revelations stemming from the leak. If the Commission had the intention to really stand up for the interests of European consumers, European manufacturing industries and in particular small and medium-sized enterprises, they should welcome critical contributions from many NGOs and the broader public in general. But instead, by keeping the public ignorant about the truth of the negotiations they only manage to weaken the European negotiating position. Obviously, the Commission cannot be trusted to be a good steward for European interests in the political battle over TTIP. Not on ISDS, not on regulatory cooperation, not on good protection standards.

    • Australian Craig Wright claims to be Bitcoin creator

      Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright has publicly identified himself as Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto.

      His admission follows years of speculation about who came up with the original ideas underlying the digital cash system.

      Mr Wright has provided technical proof to back up his claim using coins known to be owned by Bitcoin’s creator.

      Prominent members of the Bitcoin community and its core development team say they have confirmed his claims.

    • Aid Group Backed by Bill Gates and Bono Draws Senate Scrutiny

      A U.S. Senate panel is examining whether a global aid group funded partly by billionaire Bill Gates and rock star Bono misled U.S. officials about its anti-corruption practices to retain government funding.

      The inquiry stems from the handling of allegations of corruption that surfaced four years ago at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a multibillion-dollar charity with private and public support. Seth Faison, a Global Fund spokesman, categorically rejected any implication that the aid organization had engaged in misconduct.

      In the Senate, the staff of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations recently questioned at least one former official of the Global Fund, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter. The questions relate to the firing of an inspector general for the charity who published reports alleging corruption and to subsequent affirmations by the charity that it had an independent inspector general.

    • ‘Burning Man for the 1%’: the desert party for the tech elite, with Eric Schmidt in a top hat

      A red Ferrari with the top down swerved past on the winding dirt road, heading to what looked like a small Mars encampment. Helicopters landed on the side of the road and greeters darted across. At a farmers’ market with overflowing baskets full of raspberries, watermelons, and focaccia, I asked for a mango, and the farmer started cutting it in half for me: “That’ll be $7.”

      This weekend, outside Las Vegas, a group of Burning Man veterans put on a festival called Further Future, now in its second year. Across 49 acres of Native American land over three days, with around 5,000 attendees, the event was the epitome of a new trend of so-called “transformational festivals” that are drawing technologists for what’s billed as a mix of fun and education. While tickets started at $350, many attendees opted for upgrades to fully staffed accommodation and fine dining.

    • Supreme Court Tells Industry Group Attacking The $15 Minimum Wage To Go Away

      Once upon a time, International Franchise Association v. City of Seattle was going to be an epic showdown over government’s ability to regulate employers. The case presented a series of arguments against Seattle’s $15 an hour minimum wage ordinance that ranged from ambitious to an outright assault on lawmakers’ power over businesses. One of the plaintiffs’ arguments, for example, suggested that the minimum wage violates the First Amendment because it forces companies to spend money on wages that could otherwise be spent on advertising.

      Really. We’re not making that up. That was an actual argument advanced by top lawyers in a federal court.

      On Monday, however, the Supreme Court announced that it will not hear an appeal from a federal circuit court’s decision refusing to halt Seattle’s minimum wage. That doesn’t end this lawsuit altogether, but it is only the latest in a series of embarrassments for the plaintiffs in this case. And it most likely means that this effort to undermine Seattle’s protections for low-income workers will gain no traction in federal court.

    • The Supreme Court Just Refused To Shield Corporate America From A $15 Minimum Wage. What Happens Now?

      With the Supreme Court’s decision Monday not to hear the fast food industry’s lawsuit against Seattle, the nation’s first $15 minimum wage law is safe – and opponents of higher pay floors for U.S. workers are running low on options.

      The decision upholds two previous rulings that Seattle’s law does not discriminate against franchise firms like McDonald’s. The case was the most prominent legal challenge to a large minimum wage hike in recent years, and one of several to fail.

      But while the hugely profitable industries that oppose Fight for $15 workers and their allies aren’t making much progress on the legal front, they’re far from done fighting. The minimum wage battleground reaches far beyond the legal arguments that have failed in Seattle, New York, and Washington, D.C.

    • Alleged Leaked TTIP Report Reveals Differences, Convergence On IP Issues

      Encryption

      The text states (p. 16): “The EU and the US continued to discuss conformity assessment principles for ICT products that use cryptography. The discussion was based on the TPP text, which the US linked to the World Semiconductor Council (WSC) principles.

      The EU noted the sensitivities of Member States, which are competent in this area and which would not like to see its right to regulate curtailed in a security-related area. The EU went on to present a set of questions, derived from previous contacts with Member States. As the US was not ready to provide a reply on the spot, the EU will be sending the set of follow up questions in written form.

      Given the complexity of the subject, both sides agreed on the need to further deepen the issue on both policy and technical aspects before the next TTIP round.”

    • Greenpeace Netherlands Releases TTIP Documents

      That’s why I was so excited when I heard that Greenpeace Netherlands was releasing to the public secret documents from the United States’ current trade negotiations with the European Union. The deal is called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP for short) and once it’s agreed upon it will govern the U.S.-European economic relationship for years.

    • Time for Radical Action, Not National Therapy

      We don’t need to bridge the class divide — we need to end it.

    • Italian Court Rules Stealing Food is Not a Crime If You are Poor and Hungry

      Stealing food if you are hungry and poor is not a crime, Italy’s highest appeals court ruled on Monday.

      Judges with the Supreme Court of Cassation overturned a theft conviction against a Ukrainian man who stole $4.50 (€4.07) of sausage and cheese from a supermarket in Genoa in 2011, finding that he had taken the food “in the face of immediate and essential need for nourishment.”

      In 2015, the man, Roman Ostriakov, was sentenced to six months in jail and ordered to pay a $115 (€100) fine.

      “The condition of the defendant and the circumstances in which the merchandise theft took place prove that he took possession of that small amount of food in the face of the immediate and essential need for nourishment, acting therefore in a state of need,” the court ruled on Monday. For that reason, the theft “does not constitute a crime.”

    • Blocking Wall Street’s Revolving Door

      At a surreal meeting in Bermuda, the AFL-CIO convinced 40 percent of Lazard shareholders to support a ban on golden parachutes for bank executives who go to work for financial regulators.

    • Why Student Loan Debt Harms Low-Income Students the Most

      Four years ago, student loan debt in America topped $1 trillion. Today, that number has swelled even further, with some 43 million Americans feeling the enduring gravity of $1.3 trillion in student loan debt.

      While student debt may not intuitively register as something that plagues the poor, student debt delinquency and defaults are concentrated in low-income areas, even though lower-income borrowers also tend to have much smaller debts. Defaults and delinquencies among low-income Americans escalated following the Great Recession of 2008, a period when many states disinvested from public colleges and universities. The result was higher costs of college, which has led to larger loans.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Want To Know Trump’s General Election Strategy? Check Out Who He’s Having Lunch With.

      More importantly, though, Klein is also a expert on smearing Democratic politicians — particularly the party’s current presidential frontrunner, Hillary Clinton. After relatively respectable stints at New York Times Magazine and Newsweek, Klein essentially turned into a gossip columnist with a vendetta, writing negative and often salacious books on both Hillary and Bill Clinton, Barack and Michelle Obama, and the Kennedy family. Most of his books’ more controversial claims are based on quotes from anonymous sources, causing both conservative and liberal writers alike to raise serious questions about his credibility.

    • Bernie and the Greens

      Let us place the Green party’s reach in the proper perspective: Not being on the ballot in 25 states is the important statistic. This shows how seriously Green Party leadership appears to take electoral success. The RepubLicans of 1860, though they had been at it less than a decade, were far more electorally entrenched.

    • In First, Trump Ekes Ahead of Clinton in New National Poll

      As the presidential nominating contests enter their final stretch, a troubling new trend has developed for Democratic voters as recent polling indicates that Hillary Clinton may be losing her lead over Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.

      In a hypothetical matchup, the New York billionaire would defeat the former secretary of state 41 to 39 percent, according to the new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey, which was released on Monday.

    • 6 Most Hilarious Examples of Anti-Trump Art

      The negative reactions to Donald Trump’s campaign range from nausea, fear and anxiety to an increase in celebrities threatening to move to Canada. For those of us aghast and despairing that America has lost its collective marbles as he continues to win primaries, fear not: there is a silver lining. Artists have found delightful ways to protest the Donald. Read on for six examples of how artists, musicians and even sex-toy makers have subverted the image and message of the bewildering candidate.

    • Trump Fills a Vacuum Left by the GOP

      The Donald Trump rampage—still hard to believe, after nearly a year—is a symptom of something deeper and more profound: the Republican Party’s slide into complete incoherence.

      Rarely has a major party’s establishment been so out of touch with its voting base. Rarely have so many experienced politicians (Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Rick Perry et al.) been so thoroughly embarrassed, and so cruelly dispatched, by a political neophyte. Rarely have feelings been so raw that one leading Republican (John Boehner) would publicly describe another (Ted Cruz) as “Lucifer in the flesh.”

      What does the GOP believe in? There was a time when anyone with a passing interest in politics could have answered that question. Today, who knows?

    • In Race for London Mayor, Donald Trump’s Anti-Muslim Playbook Seems to Be Failing for Zac Goldsmith

      STOP ME IF you’ve heard this one: an outsider politician who owes his station in life to the hundreds of millions he inherited from his father is running a failing campaign for office based on stoking fear of Muslims.

      The word “failing” — as in 20 points down in the polls days before the election — is a clue that we are speaking about someone other than Donald Trump.

      In this case, the politician’s name is Zac Goldsmith, and he is the millionaire scion of a prominent British family. He was thought of, until recently, as a mild-mannered Conservative member of Parliament, known mainly for his environmentalism and his sister’s friendship with the late Princess Diana.

      For the past two months, however, he has generated waves of disgust and, polls suggest, not much sympathy, by pursuing a mayoral campaign filled with racially divisive innuendo about the supposed danger of electing his Labour Party rival, Sadiq Khan, a son of Pakistani Muslim immigrants.

    • Irony Alert: Latinos May Determine Donald Trump’s Fate

      After serving for months as punching bags for Republican candidates, Latinos may ultimately decide the outcome of the race. An upcoming report from two GOP consulting firms argues that Latino votes in California could prove decisive in 11 of the state’s 53 congressional districts—a swath that confers more delegates than 20 other states combined. “If Trump is going to be held under 1,237″—the number of delegates needed to avoid a contested convention—”it will largely be the result of Latino Republicans voting against his candidacy,” says Mike Madrid, whose firm, Grassroots Lab, co-authored the report with the GOP analytics firm Murphy Nasica.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy Resumé: What the Record Shows

      Yes of course, one has to acknowledge it. Barring an indictment, or the surfacing of some extremely embarrassing Goldman Sachs speech transcripts before July, Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee and Bernie Sanders a historical footnote of yet indeterminate significance.

      Then—unless scandal hits her between July and November (which Trump could exploit mercilessly), or her cell phone electrocutes her in the shower—Hillary will become the next Commander-in-Chief. People should of course ask themselves and others what that will mean to them and the world. Here are some suggestions about what may be in store.

      Hillary sells herself to the electorate first and foremost as a woman, whose time has come. The first woman president to follow the first Black president. A woman who has fought for women, girls, children and families—including especially people of color—all her life. That’s her brand. As required she identifies as liberal and progressive, and she has campaigned as these in the contest with Sanders.

    • George Carlin Exposes the Truth About American Government and Its System of Oligarchy (Video)

      George Carlin would have had a field day with the 2016 United States presidential election if he were alive today. The comedian and social critic died on June 22, 2008, but his spirit and wisdom remains eternal.

    • Some Indiana Counties Closed Two-Thirds Of Their Polling Places Ahead Of Record Turnout Election Day

      Some 4 million Indiana voters are expected to head to the polls today in record numbers, as the state takes an unexpected spotlight in a primary where candidates in both parties are fighting it out until the bitter end. The state has already seen extremely high turnout in early voting; over 50 percent more people have cast early ballots than when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama went head-to-head in 2008.

    • Strong Majority of Democratic Voters Agree: Sanders Should Fight to the End

      The majority of left-leaning voters want Bernie Sanders to stay in the presidential race, a new poll reveals.

      Just as the Vermont senator is promising to take his candidacy all the way to the Democratic convention in Philadelphia in July—and contest the delegate allocation if necessary—voters around the country are expressing just how much they believe in him and what his candidacy represents.

    • It’s time for Channel 4 to set the indies free – again

      Somewhere between childhood and early middle age, Britain’s Channel 4 lost sight of the importance of giving its indie producers free rein. Today’s leaders could learn a lot from the legacy of the channel’s founder, Jeremy Isaacs.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Judge Tells Twitter Revealing Classified Stats Isn’t Protected By 1st Amendment… But Says Twitter Can Challenge Classification

      Back in late 2014, we wrote about Twitter suing the US government over whether or not it was allowed to publish just how many National Security Letters and FISA Court orders it receives in its transparency report. This came after a bunch of other tech companies had settled a similar lawsuit with an agreement that they could reveal certain “bands” of numbers, rather than the specific number. It still boggles the mind that merely revealing the number of NSLs and/or FISC orders received would create any problem for national security, but the government seems hellbent on keeping that information secret. Probably because they don’t want the public to understand how widely this system is used to obtain info.

      We had mentioned this case just a few weeks ago, noting that a bunch of companies had filed an amicus brief pointing out that it’s unclear if they can even admit that they’ve never received such a request (i.e., it’s possible that warrant canaries are illegal).

      Meanwhile, the DOJ has been trying to get the entire case thrown out because that’s what the DOJ does. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has now given a mixed ruling denying some of the DOJ’s motion, but granting a key part concerning Twitter’s First Amendment claim. The good news, though, is that the issue there is at least partially procedural, allowing Twitter to try again.

    • National Intelligence Office’s Top Lawyer Fires Off Spirited Defense Of Bulk Surveillance, Third Party Doctrine

      The thing is that while people may voluntarily agree to hand over certain information to service providers (and it’s safe to say the “agreement” is anything but “voluntary”), they do not naturally assume the service provider will share this — no questions asked or warrants demanded — with anyone else who comes asking for it. That’s where the reliance on Smith v. Maryland fails. “Choose to disclose” is much different than “forced to disclose.” And it’s not as if it can truly be said phone users relinquish all ownership of that data. It’s specifically tied to them and they “share” it with service providers — which if that’s how Litt wants to interpret the interaction, he should at least be honest and give both parties some sort of ownership, along with the privacy expectations that go with it.

      A lot of the rest of it is given over to Litt’s displeasure that courts have even granted plaintiffs standing in bulk metadata program lawsuits. Whatever the Third Party Doctrine doesn’t shut down, the plaintiffs’ inability to claim anything more than theoretical rights violations by programs the government refused to discuss publicly should have seen the cases tossed immediately. He agrees the framework is there for massive violations of privacy but these actually damaging acts simply never occurred. But abuses did occur and were covered up by the NSA, nearly resulting in the program being shut down back in 2008 by FISC Judge Reggie Walton.

    • What’s Your ‘Insider Threat Score?’ It Could Determine If You Keep Your Clearance

      Your eligibility to perform secret government work could one day be decided by a number that looks like a credit score, and factors in your social media activities.

    • NSA to Spy On Own Employees Everywhere, All the Time

      A National Security Agency official is seeking the ability to track employees on their personal computers, as well as at office workstations, to ensure they are not participating in illegal activities, including downloading child pornography, or leaking state secrets.

    • America’s surveillance court rubber-stamped every single surveillance warrant in 2015

      The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) is a secret court that hears warrant requests from America’s spy agencies when they want to wiretap people in the USA.

      The court — which is non-adversarial, hearing only from the spies, and not from anyone representing those they wish to spy upon — is supposed to serve as a check upon uncontrolled secret powers.

      A document released by the DoJ this week shows that the FBI and NSA made 1,457 warrant requests to the court.

    • Why Activists Today Should Still Care About the 40-Year-Old Church Committee Report

      Today, if you go on Twitter, you can find the NSA tweeting about its commitment to recycling, or the CIA joking about still not knowing the whereabouts of Tupac. Why are these once-sinister and little-known spy agencies so eager to put on a friendly face for us? The answer can be traced back to the Church Committee of 1975-76, which forever changed the way Americans looked at the intelligence agencies meant to serve them.

    • NSA and CIA Double Their Warrantless Searches on Americans in Two Years

      FROM 2013 to 2015, the NSA and CIA doubled the number of warrantless searches they conducted for Americans’ data in a massive NSA database ostensibly collected for foreign intelligence purposes, according to a new intelligence community transparency report.

      The estimated number of search terms “concerning a known U.S. person” to get contents of communications within what is known as the 702 database was 4,672—more than double the 2013 figure.

    • Samsung SmartThings Platform Latest To Highlight Internet Of Things Security Is A Joke

      Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: a new study has found that the “Internet of Things” may bring some added convenience, but at the high price of severe security vulnerabilities. Researchers at the University of Michigan say they’ve uncovered (pdf) some major new vulnerabilities in Samsung’s SmartThings platform that could allow an attacker to unlock doors, modify home access codes, create false smoke detector alarms, or put security and automation devices into vacation mode. Researchers say this can be done by tricking users into either installing a malicious app from the SmartThings store, or by clicking a malicious link.

    • Woman ordered to provide her fingerprint to unlock seized iPhone
    • Twitter Hasn’t Been A Great Traffic Source For Publishers

      Twitter, compared to Facebook, Google, and even Yahoo, really isn’t very good for driving referral traffic. This is at least the case when it comes to news publishers as new data from Parse.ly finds.

      This week, Nieman Lab shared data from the company, which looked at 200 of its client websites. These include Upworthy, Slate, The Daily Beast, and Business Insider. While Twitter’s value for breaking news is certainly acknowledged, it concludes that Twitter is a small source of traffic for most publishers with less than 5% of referrals coming from Twitter in January and February.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Celebrating Mother Jones

      This week commemorates the anniversary of the Haymarket Affair, International Workers’ Day, and the claimed birthday of Mother Mary Harris Jones. While the United States’ official Labor Day falls in September, the international community celebrates workers and workers rights on May 1st, in recognition of actions taken by Americans in 1886, and the events that led up to the Haymarket Massacre.

    • Whistleblowing Is Not Just Leaking — It’s an Act of Political Resistance

      One of the challenges of being a whistleblower is living with the knowledge that people continue to sit, just as you did, at those desks, in that unit, throughout the agency, who see what you saw and comply in silence, without resistance or complaint. They learn to live not just with untruths but with unnecessary untruths, dangerous untruths, corrosive untruths. It is a double tragedy: What begins as a survival strategy ends with the compromise of the human being it sought to preserve and the diminishing of the democracy meant to justify the sacrifice.

    • The Proper Channels For Whistleblowers Are Still A Joke

      This administration has made it clear whistleblowing isn’t tolerated. It has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other administrations combined. It’s even planning a “Welcome Home” prosecution for the nation’s most famous whistleblower — Edward Snowden — should he ever decide to return to the US.

      Officials, of course, claim to love whistleblowing. That seems to be the main objection raised to Snowden’s activities: “If only he’d gone through the proper channels, we wouldn’t be seeking to jail him the moment he returns to American soil (or the soil of any country with a favorable extradition policy).”

      But there are no official channels — or, at least, no channels whistleblowers feel safe using.

      Foreign Policy has the story of another NSA whistleblower the agency has chosen to make miserable rather than investigate the source of her complaints. It started with an FBI raid of her house — something she found out via a phone call from an FBI agent already in her house. From there, it got worse.

    • Another Theater Mounts A Legal Battle Against Law Saying It Can’t Serve Customers Beer And R-Rated Films At The Same Time

      In the US, you can be given a gun and a chance to catch bullets for your country at age 18. Three years after that, the US government will finally allow you to purchase your own alcohol. At 21, you can finally be the “adult” in “adult beverages.” Except in some states. Some states tie booze purchases to morality. (I mean, even more so. It’s subject everywhere to “sin taxes.”)

      As we covered here earlier, the state of Idaho says adults can drink booze and watch movies meant for mature audiences, but not always simultaneously. In Idaho, state police have been busting theaters for showing certain movies while serving alcohol, thanks to statutes that say it’s illegal to serve up both booze and “simulated sexual acts.”

      In Idaho, theaters are trying to get the law ruled unconstitutional — pointing out that the law is only selectively enforced (cops raid theaters showing “Fifty Shades of Gray” rather than “American Sniper,” even though both contain depictions of sexual acts) and allows the state to use liquor statutes to regulate speech.

    • Tuesday 10 May: Lauri Love ruling may create dangerous new police powers

      On 10 May 2016, a UK judge will make a decision that will have serious implications for journalists, advocates, activists, whistleblowers, members of the legal profession and other groups who handle sensitive communications or other data. At 10am on that date, British student Lauri Love returns to Westminster Magistrates’ Court for Judge Tempia’s ruling. Tempia will decide whether Love should be ordered to surrender his encryption keys to the National Crime Agency, following oral arguments presented on 12 April. Should Judge Tempia rule in the NCA’s favour, this will give the police new powers to compel people to decrypt their electronic devices, even if they are not suspected of a crime.

      Love’s computers were seized in October 2013 in connection with an NCA investigation, which was eventually dropped. Love, who is now facing extradition requests from three separate US court districts, has taken the NCA to court to try to get five of his items returned to him. The NCA says that some of these items contain encrypted files that they have not been able to read.

    • United Nations Questions Israel’s Use Of Solitary Confinement Of Palestinian Prisoners

      The United Nations Committee Against Torture questioned an Israeli delegation over the country’s prevalent use of solitary confinement, particularly against Palestinian prisoners, after reports that the number of cases in Israeli jails nearly doubled from 2012 to 2014.

      Solitary confinement, which is regularly used against Palestinian prisoners, including children, is likened to a form of torture by the UN, with many experts calling to “ban the solitary confinement of prisoners except in very exceptional circumstances and for as short a time as possible, with an absolute prohibition in the case of juveniles and people with mental disabilities.”

    • Cops Arrest High Schooler on 69 Counts of Indecent Exposure for Dumb Prank

      Is Osborn a serial sexual predator, or deviant? Not exactly. The sum total of his criminal activities is this: he exposed himself, very briefly—and almost imperceptibly—in a football team photo for the high school yearbook.

      He did so on a dare, according to ABC15. Just before the photo was taken, Osborn pulled his pants down, ever-so-slightly exposing his privates. Photos of the photo are now blurring at Osborn’s midsection, but people who saw it claimed the crime was barely noticeable. School staff didn’t even notice until after the yearbook had been distributed to 250 people. But a parent took notice, informed the school, and then the police were called.

    • Tennessee Approves Guns On College Campuses

      Without widespread approval from its student leaders, regents, or police, Tennessee empowered full-time staff and faculty to carry firearms at public universities and colleges. On Monday, following months of heated debate about how to keep schools safe, Gov. Bill Haslam allowed Tennessee’s General Assembly to expand campus gun rights without his signature. pparently Melisandre ain’t the only one that got some advanced aging issues cuz Bran look like he’s gotten a couple of kids, a mortgage and a divorce since the last time we saw him.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • ICANN CEO Atallah: Gearing Up For Next Round Of New Internet Domains

      One controversial issue from early days of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) could come to final closure ten years later: the decoupling from US oversight of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), which manages the central root zone for the domain name system. Meanwhile, the next round of new internet domains is being teed up, but is a few years out, the head of the domain name system oversight body has said.

    • WSIS Forum: Support For General Assembly Decisions On Internet Governance

      Besides much applause for the convening of the WSIS Forum and much optimism on next steps, there were also some voices calling for more concrete steps and some who warned against a deteriorating situation of human rights violations.

      The head of the Polish Telecom Regulatory Body, Magdalena Gaj, underlined that 60 percent of people are still offline and many countries still struggle with basic challenges. She challenged the represented administrations on longstanding commitments unfulfilled, for example with regard to gender equality.

    • Verizon Accused of Deceiving Customers as Historic Strike Perseveres

      Three weeks after roughly 40,000 Verizon workers began a historic work stoppage to protest the “corporate greed” of the telecom company, the union behind the strike joined pubic interest groups in charging Verizon with “systematically deceiving customers” as part of its push to transfer users from copper telephone wires to fiber service.

      The informal complaint (pdf) to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was filed Tuesday by Common Cause, Public Knowledge, the Communications Workers of America (CWA), and several other groups.

      It charges that the internal Verizon policy known as “Fiber Is the Only Fix” both deceives customers and constitutes “unjust and unreasonable practices” that violate federal law. It also alleges that Verizon has been giving retail customers as little as 15 days notice before ending their copper service, when FCC rules say they must be given at least 90 days notice.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Rights of Trade Secret Owners in Federal Cases

      By longstanding tradition, US courts are open, transparent in proceedings, and transparent in judgment. The FISA courts that I cover in my internet law course are so controversial because they are so contrary to that tradition. Courts are also sensitive to the disclosure of trade secrets and, in the past, have liberally allowed parties to file documents under seal to avoid destroying those rights. Most recently, for instance, the Supreme Court permitted Shukh to file redacted public briefs to avoid discussing secret information regarding his invention rights. See Supreme Court Rule 5.2.

    • Trade secrets come to the fore in the US and Europe with new legislation set to hit the statute books [Ed: criminalising whistleblowers]

      Following the unusually swift and bipartisan passage of the Defend Trade Secrets Act through Congress, the US is only a presidential signature away from a wide variety of civil trade secrets cases being litigated in federal courts for the first time. This comes just as the European Parliament has voted in favour of the European Union’s first-ever trade secrets directive, which sets minimum standards of protection across all member states of the EU.

    • Trademarks

      • Zappa Threatens Zappa Over Zappa Plays Zappa

        Another week, another story about the abuse of intellectual property. This one, like many, involve the “estate” of a famous, but deceased, creator. In this case, it’s the estate of Frank Zappa, which apparently is managed by two of his four children: Ahmet and Diva. The other two children are beneficiaries of the estate, but not trustees. The issue here is that one of the other siblings, Dweezil Zappa, wanted to go out on tour under the name “Zappa Plays Zappa” in which he plays songs by Frank Zappa. Sounds reasonable… and, in fact, he’s been playing under that moniker for a while. Except, this time, Ahmet has said that it’s not allowed and forced Dweezil to change the name to “Dweezil Zappa Plays Frank Zappa” which is not nearly as catchy.

    • Copyrights

      • Universal Music secures summary judgment against IFP for copyright infringement

        This Kat hates long-haul flights, but is grateful that airlines have improved entertainment packages in an effort to make the journey less dull. She recently learnt that this in-flight entertainment is not just a source of boredom relief, but also, copyright contention. A group of record companies and music publishers brought a claim for copyright infringement against IFP, a producer of these entertainment packages. The plaintiffs, which included UMG Recordings, Capitol Records and Universal Music Publishing Group, claimed that IFP infringed copyright in numerous works by failing to secure appropriate copyright licences. The court’s tentative ruling which granted the plaintiffs summary judgment was subsequently adopted as the final judgment.

      • National Assembly ‘Kills’ French Three-Strikes Anti Piracy Law

        The French three-strikes anti-piracy law “Hadopi” is heralded by copyright holders as an effective way to curb piracy. However, in France the legislation has often been criticized and in a surprise move against the will of the Government, the National Assembly has now voted to dismantle it in a few years.

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    A look back at Apple's and Microsoft's use or misuse of bogus software patents in bargaining (in effect excluding those who have not amassed tens of thousands of patents)



  22. Standards and Choices

    GNU/Linux is a very standards-based platform; having lots of choices (e.g. distros to choose from) isn’t the principal problem — or nowhere near the extent sabotage and illegal tactics by Microsoft have been



  23. IBM's “Emb(RACE)” Campaign is an Insult to History and Historians

    IBM wishes to be seen as some heroic saviour and warrior for black girls; this requires serious if not torturous revisionism to be believed



  24. There Are Too Many Types of Cars...

    "Choice is malicious," say the antagonists



  25. Reversal of Narratives by Internet Trolls (Spinning Reaction to Their Trolling as 'Abuse')

    Organisations that engage in demonisation of people (typically those who expose the abuses of such organisations) somehow evade the standards of Codes of Conduct, as if Codes of Conduct are covertly designed not to protect individuals but to empower those who already have all the powers (or front for powerful people/corporations)



  26. Ongoing (Albeit Secret) Campaign of Patent Extortion Against GNU/Linux Distributions Using Software Patents, Even Expired Ones in Europe

    GNU/Linux distros attacked by software patents, even in Europe where no such patents are supposed to exist (or have any legal bearing)



  27. Links 19/10/2020: Linux 5.9-ck1/MuQSS, Linux Kodachi 7.3

    Links for the day



  28. Java's James Gosling is Wrong. Free Software Advocates Never Suggested or Insinuated That Money-Making Was Ethically Wrong.

    The honorable James Gosling mischaracterises the stance of Free software advocacy, portraying it like it is an issue of money rather than respect for users



  29. Maybe This is What Codes of Conduct Were Made for? Or to Prevent? (Updated)

    When people bemoan the abuse they receive from a so-called 'anti-harassment' team (covering up corporate corruption in a project by ousting people) this is the kind of thing they receive from colleagues or former colleagues



  30. Media Contradicts Itself, Redefines Proprietary Software as 'Open'... for Microsoft

    Proprietary GitHub is being spun as Microsoft going "open" (nothing could be further from the truth) in another EEE-type move with diffusion and confusion


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