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05.24.16

Links 24/5/2016: CRYENGINE Source Code is Out on GitHub, Jono Bacon Leaves GitHub

Posted in News Roundup at 11:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Ask Safia: How do I move from a proprietary software background into open source?

    Your inexperience with open source tools definitely is not going to prevent you from participating in the open source community. Regardless of the closed nature of the platforms that you’ve worked with previously, you have all the skills needed to be a valuable open source contributor. If you’ve learned a thing or two about documentation, consider addressing documentation issues on projects. If you had experience in QA or testing, you can start off by user testing the software and identifying areas for improvement or for improving code coverage. Valuing your skill set and the nature of the environments that you have worked in is important.

  • Apache Elevates TinkerPop Graph Computing Framework to Top Level

    As we’ve been reporting, The Apache Software Foundation, which incubates more than 350 open source projects and initiatives, has been elevating a lot of interesting new tools to Top-Level Status recently. The foundation has also made clear that you can expect more on this front, as graduating projects to Top-Level Status helps them get both advanced stewardship and certainly far more contributions.

    Now, the foundation has announced that a project called TinkerPop has graduated from the Apache Incubator to become a Top-Level Project (TLP). TinkerPop is a graph computing framework that provides developers the tools required to build modern graph applications in any application domain and at any scale.

    “Graph databases and mainstream interest in graph applications have seen tremendous growth in recent years,” said Stephen Mallette, Vice President of Apache TinkerPop. “Since its inception in 2009, TinkerPop has been helping to promote that growth with its Open Source graph technology stack. We are excited to now do this same work as a top-level project within the Apache Software Foundation.”

  • Why a Buffer developer open sourced his code

    If you look for the official definition of open source, you’ll likely stumble upon this outline from the board members of the Open Source Initiative. If you skim through it, you’re sure to find some idea or concept that you feel very aligned with. At its heart, openness (and open source) is about free distribution—putting your work out there for others to use.

    It’s really about helping others and giving back.

    ​When we started to think about open source and how we could implement it at Buffer, the fit seemed not only natural, but crucial to how we operate. In fact, it seemed that in a lot of ways we’d be doing ourselves a disservice if we didn’t start to look more seriously at it.

    But what I didn’t quite realize at the time were all the effects that open source would have on me.

  • Events

    • How to make a culture change at your company

      I attended an interesting talk by Barry O’Reilly at the Cultivate pre-conference at OSCON 2016 about “how to push through change in an enterprise.” Though I think the title should have been: “What the enterprise can learn from open source.”

    • Two OSCON Conversations, And A Trip Report Between Them

      My last visit to OSCON was in 2011, when I had worked for the Wikimedia Foundation for under a year, and wanted to build and strengthen relationships with the MediaWiki and PHP communities. I remember not feeling very successful, and thinking that this was a conference where executives and engineers (who in many cases are not terribly emotionally passionate about open source) meet to hire, get hired, and sell each other things.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Struggling to open a document or photo? Here’s how to do it

      Things are a bit trickier if you have a file from a productivity application you don’t have access to —such as a Word document and no Word application, either to open it or re-save it. The solution is still simple, though — download Libre Office. Libre Office is a free and fully functional office suite that’s more than a match for Microsoft Office, and it can open (and save in) Office file formats.

  • Networking/SDN

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD/loongson on the Lemote Yeeloong 8101B

      After hunting for Loongson based hardware for the first half of 2015, I was finally able to find an used Yeeloong in July, in very good condition. Upon receiving the parcel, the first thing I did was to install OpenBSD on this exquisitely exotic machine.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Call for GIMP 2.10 Documentation Update

      With the upcoming GIMP 2.10 release we intend to finally close the time gap between releases of source code, installers, and the user manual. This means that we need a more coordinated effort between the GIMP developers team and the GIMP User Manual team.

      For the past several months we’ve already been working on GIMP mostly in bugfix mode. It’s time to start updating the user manual to match all the changes in GIMP 2.10, and we would appreciate your help with that.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Mobile Age project: making senior citizens benefit from open government data

        On 1 February 2016, ten European partners launched the Mobile Age project. Aiming to develop inclusive mobile access to public services using open government data, Mobile Age targets a group of citizens that are usually marginalised when it comes to technical innovations but which is rapidly growing in number and expectations: European senior citizens.

        While more and more public services are made available online only, older persons’ needs and wishes towards digital services are rarely understood and taken in account. This deficit is often exacerbated by their lower digital skills and poor access to the internet. In order to cope with this, Mobile Age is based on the concept of co-creation: it will develop mobile open government services that are created together with senior citizens.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Protecting IP in a 3D printed future

        3D printing might just change everything. At least John Hornick, who leads Finnegan’s 3D printing working group and wrote 3D Printing Will Rock the World, certainly thinks so. Introduced by Bracewell Giuliani’s Erin Hennessy, Hornick spoke to INTA registrants yesterday morning about the dramatic consequences he believes the proliferation of 3D printing could have for intellectual property.

  • Programming/Development

    • Google reveals nationalities of students in open source-focused Summer of Code 2016

      Every summer, many students get excited for some well-deserved time off from studies; well, if their region practices such a vacation, that is. In some cultures, school is year-round. While this is unfortunate from the standpoint of socializing and having fun, it arguably keeps the students on track for great success.

      For students that are particularly motivated and education-focused, Google hosts its legendary Summer of Code. This program pairs future developers with open source projects. Not only do these young folks learn, but they get to contribute to the projects as well. Today, the search giant shares the nationalities of the students participating in Summer of Code 2016. For the first time ever, Albania has a representative — woo-hoo! This may surprise you, but the USA is not the most-represented nation. The top country, however, may shock you — or not.

    • Google GSoC, Outreachy Kick Off Their Summer 2016 Coding Projects

      Yesterday marked the official start of the projects for this year’s Google Summer of Code and the summer round of the Outreachy (formerly the Outreach Program for Women) projects.

      The Google Open-Source Blog announced the start of GSoC 2016 with this being their 12th year and having around 1,200 students with 178 different open-source organizations participating.

    • Japan Just Made Computer Programming A Compulsory Subject In Its Schools

      With an aim to improve children’s creative and logical thinking, Japan has decided to make programming a compulsory subject in its schools. To start this program from 2020, the Japanese government has constituted panels to decide the programming syllabus and incorporated the matter in its growth strategy agenda.

    • GitLab Container Registry

      Yesterday we released GitLab 8.8, super powering GitLab’s built-in continuous integration. With it, you can build a pipeline in GitLab, visualizing your builds, tests, deploys and any other stage of the life cycle of your software. Today (and already in GitLab 8.8), we’re releasing the next step: GitLab Container Registry.

      GitLab Container Registry is a secure and private registry for Docker images. Built on open source software, GitLab Container Registry isn’t just a standalone registry; it’s completely integrated with GitLab.

    • Moving on From GitHub

      Last year I joined GitHub as Director Of Community. My role has been to champion and manage GitHub’s global, scalable community development initiatives. Friday was my last day as a hubber and I wanted to share a few words about why I have decided to move on.

      My passion has always been about building productive, engaging communities, particularly focused on open source and technology. I have devoted my career to understanding the nuances of this work and which workflow, technical, psychological, and leadership ingredients can deliver the most effective and rewarding results.

      As part of this body of work I wrote The Art of Community, founded the annual Community Leadership Summit, and I have led the development of community at Canonical, XPRIZE, OpenAdvantage, and for a range of organizations as a consultant and advisor.

    • My time with Rails is up

      Last year I made a decision that I won’t be using Rails anymore, nor I will support Rails in gems that I maintain. Furthermore, I will do my best to never have to work with Rails again at work.

      Since I’m involved with many Ruby projects and people have been asking me many times why I don’t like Rails, what kind of problems I have with it and so on, I decided to write this long post to summarize and explain everything.

      This is semi-technical, semi-personal and unfortunately semi-rant. I’m not writing this to bring attention, get visitors or whatever, I have no interest in that at all. I’m writing this because I want to end my discussions about Rails and have a place to refer people to whenever I hear the same kind of questions.

    • An overview of Lean, Agile and DevOps

      The lunch of big corporate IT is being stolen by smaller, nimbler companies. Big IT, with its greater resources, should have crushed the competition. Rather it is playing catch-up. But things are changing. There is a quiet revolution in corporate IT. Big organisations are learning from small companies and are beginning to use it at scale. Goliath is back but acting like David.

Leftovers

  • Time for a new Acronym for Mobile, Digital, Media & Tech: Our New Tech Industry Sectors Are: SCIAM – Social Media, Cloud Computing, Internet of Things, Analytics, and Mobile

    There are plenty of great acronyms in our industry. For example a recent one is SMAC (Social, Mobilty, Analytics and Cloud) which is a nice way to remember what all are the real hot tech ‘industries’ already viable in tech (compared to emerging promising tech which is not yet established as a viable global (and profitable) industry such as 3D printing, drones, augmented reality, virtual reality, nanotechnology etc. Most of those will probably also grow to be big but they are TRIVIAL in size, compared to say Social Media – haha Facebook alone is bigger than global 3D printing industry plus drones plus AR plus VR plus nanotechnology combined). Recently I have been thinking about this and calculating and doing some deep analysis, and have now started to discuss my thoughts in my private customer seminars. Eventually this will become a public conference item and a chapter in an upcoming book. But right now, I want to just introduce a new acronym for our industry. The problem with SMAC is that it is clearly missing a major component… where is IoT? Where is one of the biggest tech opportunities – definitely already a giant global industry – the Internet of Things? All the stuff about Smart Cities and Connected Cars – thats all part of the IoT slice of the tech future – and that CERTAINLY is of the scale to be included within ‘SMAC’ for example. I have the solution. Easy:

  • The UKIP MEP using Brussels privilege to frustrate a UK court process and an Act of Parliament

    23rd May 2016

    In a High Court judgment handed down last week we have the splendid irony of a UKIP MEP using the privileges of the European Parliament so as to stay a case in the English courts where the court is applying an Act of Parliament.

    The case is one about libel damages and the statutory provision is that which governs “offers to amend” under the Defamation Act 1996.

    One would think that this is exactly the sort of Brussels interference with national legal sovereignty – the court process and the effect of primary legislation – that UKIP would be against.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Federal Government Must Stop Catholic Hospitals From Harming More Women

      Unfortunately, it’s increasingly a common story. A woman who is expecting a baby rushes to the hospital knowing that something is going horribly awry. Her heart rate is elevated, and she is bleeding. Sadly, the pregnancy is doomed. Crying and upset, she realizes she needs an abortion because she knows the pregnancy won’t make it to term. And she knows she is getting sicker.

    • Putin is Taking a Bold Step against Biotech Giant Monsanto

      Russia’s Vladimir Putin is taking a bold step against biotech giant Monsanto and genetically modified seeds at large. In a new address to the Russian Parliament Thursday, Putin proudly outlined his plan to make Russia the world’s ‘leading exporter’ of non-GMO foods that are based on ‘ecologically clean’ production.

    • Monsanto’s 50 Years of Death From Above and Below Is About to End

      For over 20 years, Monsanto has exercised almost dictatorial control over American agriculture. But many people now believe the company is contaminating our food supply and destroying the environment–and public opinion has increasingly turned against the company.

      Now, for the first time in those two decades, the number of acres planted with genetically modified (GMO) crops is down. Efforts to label GMO foods are gaining momentum. Family and community farms are taking off. Nearly 40 countries have banned GMO crops and use of Monsanto’s keystone product, Roundup (glyphosate), may not be re-approved by the Food and Drug Administration, while the European Union has done so on a restricted basis.

    • ‘March Against Monsanto’ Activists Rally in Cities Around the World (Video)

      Hundreds of thousands of anti-GMO activists took the streets in hundreds of cities around the world calling for bans on genetically modified food.

    • Monsanto Threatens Argentina Over Recent Food Inspection Decision

      In yet one more example of how Monsanto will stop at nothing to achieve total domination of the food supply, the major agricultural corporation is now attempting to use its toxic product as leverage against the Argentinian government.

      After a dispute between Monsanto and Argentina regarding the inspection of genetically modified soybeans, Monsanto has now announced that it intends to suspend future soybean technologies in Argentina. Monsanto’s move will leave many Argentine farmers who used the company’s biotech products without the new Xtend technology scheduled to be deployed in Argentina allegedly aimed at increasing soy yields as well as controlling glyphosate-resistant, broad-leaf weeds, another problem created by Monsanto itself. The dispute centered around the fact that Monsanto was demanding that private exporting companies act as inspectors to ensure that agricultural products trademarked to the company (although even this is disputed by farmers) were not being sold. The Argentine government ruled that only the government had the authority to act as a food inspector.

    • NYPD Commissioner Has Some ‘Extremely Dubious’ Claims About Marijuana

      NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said on a local radio show over the weekend that marijuana is responsible for the “vast majority” of New York City’s violence, adding that it makes him “scratch [his] head” as to why states want to legalize marijuana.

      “Interestingly enough here in New York City, most of the violence we see — violence around drug trafficking — is involving marijuana,” Bratton said. “Here in New York the violence we see associated with drugs, the vast majority of it, is around marijuana, which is ironic considering the explosion in the use of heroin now in the city.”

    • [Last month] ‘Karoshi’ cases on rise in Japan

      In a country that has no legal limits on working hours, an increasing number of people are taking their lives or dying from work-related stress

    • When the drugs don’t work

      How to combat the dangerous rise of antibiotic resistance

    • WHO Director Advocates Strong Health Systems, Warns Against Profit-Oriented Mechanisms

      The World Health Assembly opened today with World Health Organization Director General Margaret Chan repeating that this year has a record number of agenda items and over 3,000 participants. She slapped at profit-seeking mechanisms leading to “slow-motion disasters,” which put economic interests above concerns about well-being. In particular, she underlined the lack of research and development for antimicrobial treatments and the rise of chronic non-communicable diseases.

    • Health Systems, Collaboration, Research Funding Before Innovation, Speakers Say

      The fight against epidemics cannot only rely on innovation, according to speakers at an event organised by the pharmaceutical industry alongside the annual World Health Assembly’s opening day. Strong health systems, collaboration of all stakeholders, preventive measures, and the ability to fund research are prerequisite to innovation, they said.

      The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) organised an event on the side of the 69th World Health Assembly on 23 May, looking at how global health threats such as the Ebola and Zika viruses prompt innovation.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • What’s the point of (InfoSec) Certifications?

      When I did the GSE, I absolutely loved the hands-on lab more than anything-else I’d done in the world of SANS or GIAC, outside of Mike Poor’s 503 Packet Work book (if you like packets, this is heaven, literally :) ) and the “Capture the Flag” exercises created by Ed Skoudis in 504 and 560. I’ve also had some amazing instructors like Arrigo Triulzi (Arrigo teaching SEC504 actually convinced me that my future was in InfoSec) and Stephen Sims, however, I am questioning more than ever the value of certifications and to a lesser degree the training courses (which are priced to be exclusive to a tiny minority who are already fairly well off or lucky – I often recommend Coursera or the Offensive Security stuff to candidates when cost is a real issue).

    • Linux Kernel Website Kernel.org Banned By Norton

      Symantec’s automated threat analysis system, Norton Safe Web, claims that Linux kernel’s website kernel.org contains 4 threats and shows a red flag to the users. Looking at Norton’s past record, this threat detection could be just another false warning.

    • Oplcarus: An Anonymous Hacker Reveals The Motivation Behind Latest Attacks

      Here is an account of the operation against banks and financial institutes, named “OpIcarus”, by Anonymous. It reveals the purpose of the cyber attacks, their targets, and the future of OpIcarus operation as told by one of the Anonymous hacktivists with an online name of “The Voice” .

    • Systemd Reverts Its Stance On Letting Users Access Frame-Buffer Devices

      Last week’s release of systemd 230 ended up shipping with a change that made it more easy for processes running as a user to snoop on frame-buffer devices. That change has already been reverted for the next systemd update.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Jeremy Corbyn ‘still prepared to call for Tony Blair war crimes investigation’

      Jeremy Corbyn is prepared to call for an investigation into Tony Blair for alleged war crimes during the Iraq War, according to reports.

      The Chilcot Inquiry into conflict will be released on 6 July this year after years of analysing evidence about how the Government acted in the run-up to and during the conflict.

      During the Labour leadership election Mr Corbyn said he was convinced the Iraq War was illegal and that anyone who had committed a crime should be put on trial.

    • Tony Blair calls for ground forces to fight ‘proper’ war against Isis

      Isis will not be defeated without the deployment of ground forces against them, Tony Blair has said.

      Speaking at an event hosted by Prospect magazine, the mastermind of Britain’s involvement in 2003 invasion of Iraq reiterated his call for greater military involvement in the conflict.

      “If you want to defeat these people, you’re going to have to go and wage a proper ground war against them,” he said.

    • Turkey´s Kurdish peace process: regional implications

      In Turkey, the pro-Kurdish People´s Democratic (HDP) Party won an unprecedented 13 percent of the national vote during Turkey’s General Election on June 7, 2015. For the first time since 2002, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its parliamentary majority. Though this trend was reversed in the November election, with the AKP regaining political dominance and exhibiting increasing authoritarian tendencies, Turkey´s political landscape had clearly shifted. The growing influence of Kurds in the country both politically and militarily, for better or worse, means Turkey is holding the key to either fostering peace and stability in the region, or more violence and chaos.

      These political developments in Turkey are influencing the peace negotiations with the armed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which are currently at a standstill. The Kurdish conflict and recent developments in Turkey are also affected by larger conflict dynamics in the region; even though Kurds’ situation varies from country to country, they are all in the end interconnected. The escalating violence in Syria has displaced millions, resulting in an influx of refugees to Turkey, the region, and particularly to Europe. This has focused international attention on the need for a political solution both in Turkey and in Syria.

    • Dear Grads, Don’t Join the Military

      There are many reasons why it is immoral to place yourself in a position in which you are compelled to kill on command, or to facilitate such killing. But in this letter, I will focus on why, even if you accept the morality of war, you should stay out of military life for the sake of your own personal development and flourishing.

    • Is Scarborough Shoal Worth a War?

      If China begins to reclaim and militarize Scarborough Shoal, says Philippines President Benigno S. Aquino III, America must fight.

      Should we back down, says Aquino, the United States will lose “its moral ascendancy, and also the confidence of one of its allies.”

      And what is Scarborough Shoal?

      A cluster of rocks and reefs, 123 miles west of Subic Bay, that sits astride the passageway out of the South China Sea into the Pacific, and is well within Manila’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone.

      Beijing and Manila both claim Scarborough Shoal. But, in June 2013, Chinese ships swarmed and chased off a fleet of Filipino fishing boats and naval vessels. The Filipinos never came back.

      [...]

      High among them is that the incoming president of the Philippines, starting June 30, is Rodrigo Duterte, no admirer of America, and a populist authoritarian thug who, as Mayor of Davao, presided over the extrajudicial killing of some 1,000 criminals during the 1990s.

      Duterte, who has charged Aquino with treason for abandoning Scarborough Shoal, once offered to set aside his country’s claim in exchange for a Chinese-built railroad, then said he might take a jet ski to the reef to assert Manila’s rights, plant a flag and let himself be executed to become a national hero.

    • Why is the government so close to BAE Systems?

      The British government has a very cosy relationship with the people arming Saudi Arabia.

    • Trajectory of US Policy in Vietnam Offers a Roadmap for the Mideast

      The pivot is an attempt by the United States to contain China by supporting countries in East Asia against its rising power and also to augment U.S. military forces and bases in the region. Yet the pivot has never been fully completed because the United States has been bogged down needless nation-building wars in the greater Middle East for a decade and a half.

      Obama, supposedly the antiwar president, has failed to recognize that Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria are unwinnable nation-building quagmires. The war in Afghanistan – of which the assassination of Taliban leader Mansour in Pakistan is a part – has surpassed the Vietnam War as the longest war in American history. Obama first surged US force levels there and then halted a promised complete withdrawal to continue the fight indefinitely against the Taliban with 11.000 American troops. In Iraq, initially, Obama wisely carried out George W. Bush’s timetable for complete American withdrawal and then decided to send US forces back in to fight ISIS (5,000 troops and increasing), which is largely a threat to the Mideast and Europe. Obama has also sent a limited number of US forces into Syria for the same purpose.

    • What The Gun Industry Thinks Women Want

      Across the exhibit hall with “seven acres of guns and gear” at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Louisville this weekend, the gun industry’s attempts to market to women were not hard to spot. Just look for the pink.

    • Will The November US Presidential Election Bring The End Of The World?

      If Hillary becomes US president, the neoconservative threat to Russia will escalate. The Atlanticist Integrationists will be eliminated from the Russian government, and Russia will move to full war standing.

      Remember what an unprepared Russia did to the German Wehrmacht, at that time the most powerful army ever assembled. Imagine what a prepared Russia would do to the crazed Hillary and the incompetent neoconservatives.

    • Hammering for Peace

      As one of the manufacturers with the largest share of the global Unmanned Aerial Systems market, (18.9%), Northrop Grumman profits immensely from peddling complex weapon systems often designed to be eyes in the skies monitoring targets for assassination. This kind of surveillance and extrajudicial execution generates intense anger and backlashes in other lands. It also promotes proliferation of robotic weapons. But the U.S. military and acquiescent institutions encourage us to feel that we’ve been made safer by complex weapons of destruction, and we should instead be frightened of a young woman wielding a sledgehammer to break a plate glass window.

    • US Centcom Commander in Syria to Coordinate Kurds, Arabs against ISIL

      Robert Burns of AP reported on the visit inside Syria of the head of the US Middle East Command (Centcm), Army Gen. Joseph Votel, to assess the progress in US training of the Syrian Democratic Forces division. It is said to comprise 25,000 Kurdish fighters of the leftist YPG or People’s Protection Units along with 5,000 or 6,000 Arab fighters allied with the Kurds against Daesh (ISIS, ISIL).

      A few dozen US troops are on the ground there, training the SDF, but the latter complain that Washington has provided them with no medium or heavy weaponry.

    • Obama in Hanoi: Vietnam Arms Embargo to Be Fully Lifted

      What other nation on earth would signal its intent to “bury the hatchet, and what it believes to be the start of a new relationship, other than the United States, by lifting an arms embargo?

      The United States is rescinding a decades-old ban on sales of lethal military equipment to Vietnam, President Obama announced at a news conference in Hanoi on Monday, ending what the New York Times called “one of the last legal vestiges of the Vietnam War.”

      “The decision to lift the ban was not based on China or any other considerations,” Obama said. “It was based on our desire to complete what has been a lengthy process of moving toward normalization with Vietnam.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Elephants continue to suffer in ‘humane’ wildlife sanctuaries

      For 15 years she ferried tourists around Cambodia’s famous landmarks before dropping dead at the side of the road.

      As holiday-goers posed for photos and made their wish of riding an elephant come true, the elderly animal who was thought to be aged 40 to 45, dutifully plodded on.

      But three weeks ago on Apr. 22, as the sweltering summer heat reached 40 degrees Celsius, Sambo suffered a heart attack and died on her way to famed Siem Reap temple Angkor Wat.

    • North Yorkshire council backs first UK fracking tests for five years

      Fracking is set to take place in Britain for the first time in five years after councillors approved tests in North Yorkshire, sweeping aside thousands of objections from residents and campaigners.

    • What’s the True Cost of Fracking? This Eye-Opening Infographic May Surprise You

      Arsenic. Cadmium. Chromium. Radon. Lead. These are just a few of the toxins used in hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, a controversial drilling process to retrieve oil and natural gas from shale deposits under the surface of the Earth.

      Concerns about the process have been mounting, as studies have linked it to a host of environmental and public health problems, from increased infant mortality and low birth weight babies to the release of cancer-causing radioactive gas, contamination of drinking water and earthquakes. Fracking also releases methane, which is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

    • Brexit campaign leadership dominated by climate-sceptics

      The group’s three leaders Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and figurehead Lord Nigel Lawson have cast doubt over man-made climate change, which is backed by most of the world’s credible experts.

      Lawson founded the Global Warming Policy Foundation in 2009 and is a noted climate sceptic. Both the foundation, which broke UK Charity Commission rules for anti-climate bias, and Vote Leave share rich donors.

    • Programmers Aren’t Writing Green Code Where It’s Most Needed

      Confession? I don’t write green code. I mean, it might be green code just by coincidence, but I’ve never really thought too much about the relative energy consumption demanded by this design pattern or algorithm versus some other. Sadly, this is true even when I’m working with actual hardware and low-level software, such as that written in plain C for embedded devices (in my case, for an Arduino board or other microcontroller platform). What’s more, I don’t think the green code idea has ever come up in my years of computer science classes.

      I’m hardly the exception, according to a paper presented this week at the 38th International Conference on Software Engineering. In interviews and surveys conducted with 464 software engineers from a range of disciplines—including mobile, data center, embedded, and traditional software development—researchers found that where green coding most matters, its practice is rare.

    • Study: Humans to blame for big water losses in region

      A new study blames human-caused evaporation for water losses in the Colorado River Basin.

      More water is lost across the seven-state basin to evaporation due to human factors such as irrigation during July — about 8.5 million acre-feet — than what flows downriver from Lake Powell to Lake Mead in an average year, says the study, from seven researchers in Southern California, Taiwan and China.

    • GE to Invest $1.4 Billion in Saudi Arabia

      General Electric Co. on Monday announced a raft of investments worth at least $1.4 billion in Saudi Arabia as the Persian Gulf kingdom seeks to reduce its oil dependence by further opening up its economy to international businesses.

    • Saudi Arabia asserting writ in region like mafia crime family

      What passes for a government in Saudi Arabia has just threatened that unless things change in Syria they will resort to ‘Plan B’, thus proving that the arrogance and impertinence of this medieval dictatorship knows no bounds.

      Let us be clear: if the religious extremism that has engulfed the Arab world in recent years is a snake, responsible for the most heinous and wanton acts of brutality and barbarity it has ever experienced, the head of this snake lies in Riyadh.

      This is not to argue that Saudi Arabia should be lined up for invasion and occupation – surely we’ve seen enough of such invasions and occupations to know they only make the situation worse rather than better. But it does require that countries such as the US, UK, and France reappraise foreign policies that have long placed an emphasis on maintaining close relations to a government that has done more to destabilize the region with the poison of religious sectarianism than any other.

    • Parts of New Orleans Are Sinking Fast, Study Finds

      New Orleans is sinking fast — with one neighborhood losing as much as an inch per year, a new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research found.

      The study, which was conducted between 2009 and 2012 and published last week, used GPS and radar, including one device that captured images from seven miles above ground.

      The most threatened section of the already-below-sea level city is Michoud, a neighborhood that sits between Lake Ponchartrain and Lake Borguen, and is being swallowed up at a rate of half an inch to just over one inch per year, the researchers found.

      Another neighborhood, the Upper 9th Ward, is losing just under half an inch to nearly one inch per year.

    • North Yorkshire fracking vote: Council approves fracking in Ryedale

      The North Yorkshire County Council planning committee voted seven to four in favour of an application by UK firm Third Energy to frack for shale gas near the village of Kirby Misperton

    • Brazil prepares to roll back green laws

      Taking advantage of Brazil’s present political turbulence, as the battle to impeach President Dilma Rousseff reached its climax, reactionary politicians were quietly rolling back environmental and indigenous protection laws in defiance of the country’s commitments under the Paris Agreement.

      Environmentalists say that if the bill known as PEC (constitutional ammendment project) 65/2012, now at the Senate committee stage, is approved, it means that major infrastructure projects will be able to go ahead regardless of their impacts on biodiversity, indigenous areas, traditional communities and conservation areas.

      Instead of a careful if somewhat slow licensing process which involves scientific assessments including biological, botanical, anthropological and archaeological studies, developers will merely have to present a proposed study of environmental impact to be allowed to begin – without actually having to carry out the study. And once a project is under way it cannot be cancelled or suspended by the environmental protection agencies.

    • Indian Point Nuclear Plant: It Doesn’t Take a Meltdown to Harm Local Residents

      The Indian Point nuclear power plant is located just 35 miles from midtown Manhattan. About 18 million people live within 50 miles of the site. The two reactors at the site are over 40 years old – ancient in nuclear years. Recently Indian Point has been plagued by increasing problems; nearly 25% of the bolts in the reactor vessel were found to be damaged or missing and 65,000% spike in tritium levels one of its test wells. These mechanical problems raise the concern of a catastrophic meltdown. Any large release from the red-hot cores or pools of nuclear waste were to occur from human error, mechanical failure, or act of sabotage, would exceed Chernobyl or Fukushima in fatalities.

    • “Energy Without Injury”: From Redwood Summer to Break Free via Occupy Wall Street

      On Sunday, May 15, more than a hundred climate change kayaktivists took to the waters of Padilla Bay in Anacortes, Washington, risking arrest to land on the banks of the Tesoro oil refinery. In the shadow of the refinery smoke stacks, they unfurled banners calling attention to the potentially lethal risks that fossil fuel workers confront each day on the job. “Seven Dead, No More Casualties, Tesoro Explosion April 2, 2010” read one banner focused on Tesoro’s checkered workplace safety record. “Solidarity is Strength, We are all workers,” read another banner. Yet another called for a “Just Transition,” as kayaktivists knelt on the ground, paddles in hand, in what organizers described as a demonstration of respect for the workers killed at the refinery, and for those still working in the refinery. The messaging on the banks of the refinery signaled the central challenge that climate change activists confront in trying to find common ground—if not common cause–with refinery workers.

  • Finance

    • European Parliament to tackle virtual currencies and Blockchain

      This week, the European Parliament will debate (Wednesday) and vote (Thursday) on a report on virtual currencies.

      First of all, this is a report – not legislation. But it will be handed over to the European Commission for consideration.

    • Make Scandinavia one nation, says Norwegian tycoon

      Speaking with Swedish daily Göteborgs Posten, the Norwegian owner of the Nordic Choice Hotel Group was full of praise for his country’s eastern neighbours, hailing their capacity for innovation and suggesting that combining that with Norway’s sense of adventure could be a recipe for success.

      Stordalen went on to suggest that Norway should incorporate not only Sweden but Denmark as well and create one nation out of the three Scandinavian countries.

    • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg replacing 4 next-door Palo Alto homes

      Four houses surrounding Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s home in Palo Alto will be demolished and replaced by smaller ones, according to an application filed with city planners Tuesday.

      Zuckerberg bought the homes in the Crescent Park neighborhood in 2013 after he learned of a developer’s plan to build a house next door tall enough to have a view of Zuckerberg’s master bedroom.

      Concerned about privacy, Zuckerberg paid more than $30 million total for the properties.

      One of those sales led real estate developer Mircea Voskerician to sue the Facebook co-founder in 2014, alleging a breach in the terms of their property deal. Voskerician settled the fraud lawsuit in March without getting any money from the settlement.

    • Fast Food Workers Are Starting To Win The Fight For $15. What About The Battle For Union Rights?

      Ever since fast food workers staged their first strike in 2012, their basic demands have been twofold: an increase of their pay to at least $15 an hour, and the right to form a union.

      They’ve made significant headway on the first demand, helping to secure the passage of a $15 minimum wage in two states and a handful of cities. But now they plan to make good on the second half.

    • Rise of the robots: 60,000 workers culled from just one factory as China’s struggling electronics hub turns to artificial intelligence

      The manufacturing hub for the electronics industry, Kunshan, in Jiangsu province, is seeking a drastic reduction in labour costs as it undergoes a makeover after an industrial explosion killed 146 people in 2014.

      The county, one-seventh the size of neighbouring Shanghai and the mainland’s first county to achieve US$4,000 per capita income, was adjudged the best county for its economic performance by Forbes for seven years in a row.

      However, the blaze, blamed on poor safety standards and haphazard industrialisation, dented Kunshan’s pride.

    • Uber’s Conscientious Objectors

      One Saturday night after staying out too late in the West Village’s seedy bars, a close friend asked me to share an Uber with her back to Brooklyn.

      A pit developed in my stomach. I couldn’t untangle what exactly about the app made me uncomfortable, but I felt guilty about taking an Uber. There’s the cost, for one thing. The app seems like a luxury in Manhattan, where taxis are plentiful and the subway runs all night. But that wasn’t it. I just had a feeling that Uber, the company, was bad.

    • The New Agenda For Taking On Wall Street

      More than 20 progressive organizations representing millions of voters are putting their weight behind a five-point agenda for the next stage of Wall Street reform. What these groups will formally announce Tuesday, in an event featuring Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, sets a high but practical standard for what a candidate would have to embrace to be considered a progressive on reining in the financial sector.

      [...]

      It also comes as many in the Wall Street financial community turn to Clinton as the sane alternative to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in the general election campaign. These money interests will want Clinton to assure them that her get-tough rhetoric is nothing more than political red meat to assuage an angry populist electorate; their hope is that if the pivot to a centrist posture doesn’t happen in the general election, it will surely happen once she secures the presidency. But broad support for the Take On Wall Street agenda will limit Clinton’s ability to pivot, especially if this agenda helps elect new Senate and House members committed to not allowing Wall Street to keep rigging the economy against the rest of us.

    • Two Decades Later, Democrats Say Giuliani Was Wrong About Rent Limits

      Since 1995, developers in lower Manhattan have relied on a letter written by former Mayor Giuliani to justify receiving tax breaks without rent restrictions. Former lawmakers who wrote and voted for the law say the practice violates the intent and clear meaning of the statute.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Why Bernie Sanders Will Be a Significant Force at the Democratic Convention

      The Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July seems set to continue the fierce nomination battle—and launch a major debate about what the party stands for.

      Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, won the Oregon primary handily on Tuesday and was barely edged out in Kentucky. Last week, he took West Virginia by almost 16 percentage points. Yet, supporters of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are already calling for him to stand down.

    • Mob Politics: the Democrats Have a Problem and It’s Not the Sandernistas

      It’s the entire fault of Bernie’s kids, have you heard? A wild mob of them in Nevada went on a rampage during the Nevada Democrat Convention and hurt “Democracy” as we know it.

      To hear the horrific description of events, they nearly killed it dead.

      They wrote nasty social messages to a VIP!

      They did some other bad stuff, unlike anything Hillary Clinton’s robots would do. Voting and delegate stuff, trying to steal the limelight—and perhaps an election.

      They’re as bad as pro athletes going off the handle on Twitter!

      Millennials and other Sanders’ supporters are suddenly the degenerate generation if you hear it told by the Democratic National Committee and the lackluster scribes working for the mainstream media.

      Sounds like a night of cocktails and toadying around got out of hand.

      It is both intriguing and disgusting the way Clintonites and the Madam’s corporate-media backers attack Sanders’ campaign and youthful supporters while repeatedly letting her off the hook for her crookedness, the likes of which we have not seen since the infamous “Robber Barons” came on the American scene after the Civil War.

      Well, crooks love other crooks they say.

      What is wrong with this picture? It’s a sad commentary on where we are—and a “fuck you” in the face of reality.

      Let’s measure this overblown Nevada riot of rudeness in coffee spoons, shall we? Forget Clinton and Bernie for a second, though they are both major shareholders in the madness; let’s consider the way things are and have been for too long.

    • Virginia Republicans Sue To Stop 200,000 Ex-Felons From Voting

      Republican lawmakers in Virginia filed a lawsuit Monday to block the governor from restoring the voting rights of more than 200,000 residents with felony convictions. The case now before the Virginia Supreme Court argues that the Gov. Terry McAuliffe exceeded his constitutional power by signing an executive order restoring the full civil rights of all residents who have already served their felony sentences and completed supervised parole or probation. Until April, Virginia had been one of just four U.S. states that permanently disenfranchised most people with felony convictions.

      “The Governor is authorized to restore the voting rights of any convicted felon through an individualized grant of clemency, but he may not issue a blanket restoration of voting rights,” the lawsuit states.

    • Labor’s Sell-Out and the Sanders Campaign

      Early last Fall, I received a surprising circular email from a high union officer and erstwhile leader of SDS, way back in the early 1960s. It contained an urgent appeal: get behind Hillary, because this is an era for defensive struggles. The letter-writer had also been an early and articulate opponent of the US invasion of Vietnam. I puzzled at his conversion to the War Candidate. I winced, some months later, as his union staffers crossed the border from my own Wisconsin to work feverishly in Iowa against….the labor candidate, Bernie Sanders, who lost by a hair (perhaps a hair that did not exist!). And again back in Wisconsin, where the best or worst efforts of his union, joined to the purported idealists of the labor movement, SEIU, failed somehow to keep the state in line for Hillary. They could not carry the working class vote.

    • This is How the Strongman Wins: Donald Trump’s Single Greatest Weapon is America’s Hatred for its Press

      Distrust in the media is at an all-time high, and Trump plans to ride that enmity all the way to the White House.

    • Obama’s Biggest Corruption Charade

      The Obama administration wants Americans to believe that it is fiercely anti-corruption. “I have been shocked by the degree to which I find corruption pandemic in the world today,” declared Secretary of State John Kerry at the Anti-Corruption Summit in London on May 12. Kerry sounded like the French detective in Casablanca who was “shocked” to discover gambling. Six years ago at the United Nations, President Obama proclaimed that the U.S. government is “leading a global effort to combat corruption.” Maybe he forgot to send Kerry the memo.

    • A Harvard MBA Guy Is Out to Bring Down the Clintons

      In a 9-page letter dated yesterday and posted to his blog, Ortel calls the Clintons’ charity the “largest unprosecuted charity fraud ever attempted,” adding for good measure that the Clinton Foundation is part of an “international charity fraud network whose entire cumulative scale (counting inflows and outflows) approaches and may even exceed $100 billion, measured from 1997 forward.” Ortel lists 40 potential areas of fraud or wrongdoing that he plans to expose over the coming days.

    • Chris Hedges: Taxpayers Pay for Primaries, but DNC Determines Rules in Order to Steal Votes (Video)

      “It is our job to make the powerful frightened of us,” the Truthdig columnist said in a discussion about the future of the Bernie Sanders movement held at the Left Forum in New York City. “That is what movements do. Movements keep power in check, and as any good anarchist will tell you, power is always the problem, no matter who holds it.”

    • How corporate America bought Hillary Clinton for $21M

      “Follow the money.” That telling phrase, which has come to summarize the Watergate scandal, has been a part of the lexicon since 1976. It’s shorthand for political corruption: At what point do “contributions” become bribes, “constituent services” turn into quid pro quos and “charities” become slush funds?

      Ronald Reagan was severely criticized in 1989 when, after he left office, he was paid $2 million for a couple of speeches in Japan. “The founding fathers would have been stunned that an occupant of the highest office in this land turned it into bucks,” sniffed a Columbia professor.

    • NYT: Protesters and Prosecutor Should Be Friends

      The editorial board argued Thompson had stopped prosecuting low-level marijuana cases (marijuana has been decriminalized since 1977), launched a warrant-clearing program (a renaming of a similar program started under his predecessor) and pushed to reverse wrongful convictions (not including his convictions). Speaking to public defenders in Brooklyn, however, you’d be hard-pressed to find any who shared the sentiment that Thompson is anything other than an enforcer for a criminal justice system that still crushes people of color. Dozens of attorneys staged a protest in front of his office (another set of critics the editorial board ignored) to rail against Thompson and his aggressive prosecution of poor New Yorkers.

      The Times editorial board acknowledged that “Mr. Thompson’s critics say he continues to seek unfairly harsh sentences for poor and black defendants, refusing to extend to them the leniency he offered Mr. Liang.” But, they countered, “the facts of every case are different, and need to be considered individually.”

      They’ve obviously never spent much time in Brooklyn criminal court, which still looks and operates like a conveyor belt of punishment with an overwhelming amount of black and brown bodies being loaded onto it. One lawyer told me that her clients get worse plea deal offers under Thompson than they did under the former Brooklyn DA, Charles Hynes, whose record Thompson ran against. In fact, she said, Thompson might be the most hard-charging district attorney in the city when it comes to punishing low-level offenders, the majority of whom are poor people of color.

    • Clinton’s ‘Broken Promise’ on California Debate Called ‘Insult’ to Voters

      Bernie Sanders calls it an “insult” to the people of California while many others consider it a promise broken.

      With no apparent upside for her campaign and despite an agreement earlier this year, Hillary Clinton has said she will not participate in a debate with Sanders in California ahead of that state’s crucial primary next month.

      “We believe that Hillary Clinton’s time is best spent campaigning and meeting directly with voters across California and preparing for a general election campaign that will ensure the White House remains in Democratic hands,” Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s communications director, said in a statement.

    • Twilight of the Grifter: Bill Clinton’s Fading Powers

      In the warm twilight of a spring evening 15 years ago, in the quiet, green garden of Rhodes House at Oxford, I watched Bill Clinton give an impromptu talk to a group of graduate students who had gathered around him with their glasses of wine after an official function earlier in the day. (I was there in a service capacity.) He was pushing the same line he espoused last week while campaigning for Hillary, when he declared that he had “killed himself” to get a state for the Palestinians at the high-stakes Camp David summit in 2000.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • EU data protection chief: We have serious concerns about Privacy Shield

      The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) will issue his opinion on the controversial Privacy Shield proposals on Monday and negotiators shouldn’t expect an easy ride.

      Speaking at the presentation of the EDPS annual report on Tuesday, Giovanni Buttarelli said that his view was “in full synergy with the A29 working group opinion” that was issued last month.

      “We have serious concerns. We do. But now our task is not simply to copy and paste or repeat what our colleagues have said. We would like to be more proactive by focussing on potential solutions, for example what an ‘essentially equivalent test’ really means,” he said.

      The A29—or Article 29—group is made up of data protection authorities from across the EU and its report was extremely critical of the planned Privacy Shield deal to facilitate the transfer of EU citizens personal data to the US. The Privacy Shield plan was drawn up after the European Court of Justice ruled the Safe Harbour agreement invalid last year, saying that there were not sufficient safeguards for personal data under the voluntary scheme.

    • Exclusive: Source Reveals How Pentagon Ruined Whistleblower’s Life and Set Stage for Snowden’s Leaks

      In a Democracy Now! broadcast exclusive, we speak with a former senior Pentagon official about how his superiors broke the law to punish a key National Security Agency whistleblower for leaking information about waste, mismanagement and surveillance. His account sheds light on how and why Edward Snowden revealed how the government was spying on hundreds of millions of people around the world. John Crane worked 25 years for the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, which helps federal employees expose abuse. He now says whistleblowers have little choice but to go outside the system, and is speaking out about what happened to NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, who revealed the existence of a widespread illegal program of domestic surveillance. Crane describes how in December 2010 Drake’s lawyers filed a complaint with the inspector general alleging he had been punished in retaliation for his whistleblowing, and that the crimes Drake was later charged with were “based in part, or entirely,” on information he provided to the Pentagon inspector general. Mark Hertsgaard recounts Crane’s story in his new book, “Bravehearts: Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden,” and shows how Drake’s persecution sent an unmistakable message to Edward Snowden: Raising concerns within the system meant he would be targeted next. Edward Snowden has responded to Crane’s revelations by calling for a complete overhaul of U.S. whistleblower protections. “To me, the main issue is: Can we have a workable system that lets whistleblowers follow their own principled dissent without having them destroyed in the process?” asks John Crane. We are also joined by Mark Hertsgaard.

    • Why the UK government’s latest Snoopers’ Charter bid is wrong

      I’d like to preface what follows by saying that I am by no means an IT expert or technologist by any stretch of the imagination. As Members of Parliament we are often asked to debate and scrutinise legislation outside of our own areas of expertise, and the Investigatory Powers Bill is such a case.

      When you are scrutinising one of the most complex and important pieces of legislation in recent Westminster history, you are very reliant on—and grateful for—experts that explain various technical provisions within the bill to help understand whether they are possible, affordable, and potentially overly burdensome on the industry.

      You also need to listen to the various agencies set out their case as to why they need these powers, and what these powers will enable them to do that they can’t do at the moment. All in order for us to judge whether or not the powers are necessary, proportionate, and in accordance with rule of law.

    • Cyber attacks a constant threat, says GCSB boss
    • New GCSB director – a consummate public servant
    • New GCSB head talks ‘next generation’ cyber programme
    • ‘Innate tension’ stops GCSB helping other agencies
    • GCSB links to NSA unsurprising – new spy boss
    • GCHQ infosec group disclosed kernel privilege exploit to Apple [Ed: Portraying GCHQ as “Good Guys” using CESG (which is more benign)]

      Communications and Electronics Security Group (CESG), the information security arm of GCHQ, was credited with the discovery of two vulnerabilities that were patched by Apple last week.

    • When Is NSA Hacking OK? [Ed: the “Good Guys” defence]

      The National Security Agency attempts to stay a step ahead of threats by occasionally using a software flaw to hack computers and online networks, but both privacy advocates and one of the agency’s top officials acknowledge the potential risks of keeping these security gaps secret.

      NSA Deputy Director Rick Ledgett tells U.S. News the agency alerts tech companies about discovered gaps in their cybersecurity “more than 90 percent of the time,” while government officials at several agencies vet the merits of disclosure in the remaining instances.

    • FBI Agent Testifies That The Agency’s Tor-Exploiting Malware Isn’t Actually Malware

      It wasn’t supposed to go this way. The same tactics that are causing the FBI problems now — running a child porn website, using local warrants to deploy its spyware to thousands of computers around the US (and the world!) — slipped by almost unnoticed in 2012. In a post-Snowden 2016, the FBI can hardly catch a break.

      Just recently, a judge presiding over one of its child porn cases agreed the FBI should not be forced to hand over details on its Network Investigative Technique to the defendant. Simultaneously, the judge noted the defendant had several good reasons to have access to this information. While this conundrum spares the FBI the indignity of the indefinite confinement it’s perfectly willing to see applied to others, it doesn’t exactly salvage this case, which could be on the verge of dismissal.

      In related cases, judges have declared the warrant used to deploy the NIT is invalid, thanks to Rule 41′s jurisdictional limits. If a warrant is issued in Virginia (as this one was), the search is supposed to be performed in Virginia, not in Kansas or Oklahoma or Massachusetts.

    • Beware of keystroke loggers disguised as USB phone chargers, FBI warns

      FBI officials are warning private industry partners to be on the lookout for highly stealthy keystroke loggers that surreptitiously sniff passwords and other input typed into wireless keyboards.

    • FBI Wants Biometric Database Hidden From Privacy Act

      The FBI is working to keep information contained in a key biometric database private and unavailable, even to people whose information is contained in the records.

      The database is known as the Next Generation Identification System, and it is an amalgamation of biometric records accumulated from people who have been through one of a number of biometric collection processes. That could include convicted criminals, anyone who has submitted records to employers, and many other people. The NGIS also has information from agencies outside of the FBI, including foreign law enforcement agencies and governments. Because of the nature of the records, the FBI is asking the federal government to exempt the database from the Privacy Act, making the records inaccessible through information requests.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • After migrants, German nationalist party takes aim at Islam

      Weeks after declaring that there is no place for Islam in Germany, a surging nationalist party has sharpened its rhetoric against prominent Islamic groups and suggested limiting the religious freedom of the more than 4 million Muslims in the country.

      Senior members of Alternative for Germany cut short a meeting Monday with the Central Council of Muslims, accusing the group of failing to renounce religious beliefs that they claim clash with the German constitution.

      The confrontation came days after the party — known by its acronym AfD — launched a campaign against the construction of a mosque in the eastern state of Thuringia, joining up for the first time with the group known as the Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West.

    • Austria election result: Alexander Van der Bellen celebrates narrow victory over right-wing candidate Norbert Hofer

      Alexander Van der Bellen has narrowly beaten his far-right rival Norbert Hofer to become Austria’s new head of state.

      Despite two different exit polls giving Mr Hofer of the right-wing Freedom Party the lead, Austria’s interior minister announced independent candidate Mr Van der Bellen will become the country’s next president.

      Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said Mr Van der Bellen collected 50.3 per cent of the votes, compared to 49.7 for Mr Hofer.

    • Narooma butcher says he didn’t mean offence with bacon bomber sign

      Narooma butcher Jeff Rapley says he meant no offence with a sign meant to boost bacon sales.

      Mr Rapley earlier this month put up a sign in his shop window stating: “Eating two strips of Rapley’s award-winning bacon for breakfast reduces your chance of being a suicide bomber by 100 %”.

      A local resident who noticed the sign complained to the butcher and he removed it later that day and has not displayed it since.

    • Brother of Guantánamo Diary Author Barred from Entering U.S.

      The brother of a prominent Guantánamo Bay prisoner was denied entry to the United States this weekend as he attempted a trip to advocate for his brother’s release.

      Mohamedou Ould Slahi is one of the most famous of the 80 men left at Guantánamo. Last year, Guantánamo Diary, his brutal memoir of imprisonment and torture by the United States and its counterterrorism allies became a bestseller. Held in Guantánamo for nearly 14 years without being charged with a crime, Slahi is scheduled to go before the prison’s Periodic Review Board on June 2. The interagency panel will review his case and could possibly recommend his release.

      Mohamedou’s younger brother, Yahdih Ould Slahi, lives in Düsseldorf, Germany, and has been trying to secure his brother’s freedom for years. He was planning to come to the United States to meet with journalists and for a series of public events ahead of the review board hearing.

      Yet when Yahdih, a German citizen, arrived at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York on Saturday, May 21, he was immediately taken into custody by Customs and Border Patrol. He was held overnight, questioned for hours, and then sent back to Germany on Sunday evening.

      “He was asked questions about his family, his brother, and what he knew about why his brother was in Guantánamo,” said Hina Shamsi, director of the National Security Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. “It was a harrowing, stressful, and exhausting experience.”

    • Justice Thomas Doesn’t See Anything Wrong With Excluding Jurors Based On Race

      It is tough to imagine a more egregious case of jury discrimination than Foster v. Chatman. The prosecutor’s office in this Georgia death penalty case struck every single black member of the jury pool. They made four copies of a list of prospective jurors, highlighting every African-American on the list in green next to a legend indicating that such highlighting “represents Blacks.” An investigator working for the prosecution advised prosecutors that “if it comes down to having to pick one of the black jurors,” then one in particular “might be okay.” A note on one of the prosecution’s internal documents suggested that the office did not want a particular juror to be seated because of the juror’s membership in a “Black Church.”

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Guilty As Charged? Pakistan And The Special 301 Reports

      The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) issued its annual Special 301 Report in the last week of April. This report discusses the impediments faced by the US nationals and companies due to lack of intellectual property protection in foreign countries. This report is issued every year under Section 182 of the amended US Trade Act, 1974. Under this Section, the USTR is required to identify countries that fail in providing adequate and effective protection to intellectual property rights or restrict market access to the US nationals relying on IPR protection in the host countries. Countries thus identified are considered Priority Foreign Countries. According to this Section, a country may be considered a priority foreign country even when it is fully compliant with the WTO Agreement on the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), the main multilateral agreement on IP rights today. Hence, this legislation and the determinations made in the Special 301 reports prioritize protection of commercial interests of the US nationals.

    • Trademarks

      • EUIPO provides update on trademark reforms

        Representatives from the EUIPO provided registrants with a guide to the substantial changes to EU trademark law and practice that came into force in March in a Users Meeting on Sunday.

    • Copyrights

      • Google’s closing argument: Android was built from scratch, the fair way

        Google attorney Robert Van Nest made his closing argument to a panel of jurors here today, asking them to clear Android of copyright infringement allegations as a matter of “fairness and fair use.”

        “This is a very important case, not only for Google but for innovation and technology in general,” Van Nest told the jury. “What Google engineers did was nothing out of that mainstream. They built Android from scratch, using new Google technology, and adapted technology from open sources. Android was a remarkable thing, a brand-new platform for innovation.”

      • The Pirate Bay Returns To Its Original And 13-Year-Old .ORG Domain

        It looks like that after about a half-decade-long journey of shuffling domain names, The Pirate Bay website is now back to its original .ORG domain. This decision has been made after a Swedish court has ordered the seizure of two .SE domains belonging to The Pirate Bay.

      • Are academic publishers liable for ginormous damages?

        Now assume, for argument’s sake, that the teacher exception to the work made for hire doctrine does not apply after the coming into force of the 1976 Copyright Act, and universities do own the copyright in the work of their faculty, provided the individual employment contract does not stipulate anything to the contrary. The wording of the relevant § 101 Copyright Act is certainly broad to entertain this possibility. It appears that up to 1990s, most employment contracts with university professors did not address copyright ownership in works created by faculty, but maybe some reader has more insight. So we have a potential 20 year or so window in which the universities, not the professors, own the copyright in the scholarly writings of the professors.

      • Take-Two Says Tattoo Artist Can’t Get Statutory Damages Because He Only Registered Copyright In 2015

        Back when I first wrote about the copyright lawsuit between a tattoo artist and Take-Two Software, makers of the highly successful NBA2K basketball series, over the faithful depiction of LeBron James’ image including his ink, I had been hopeful that perhaps this case could be a step towards resolving whether fair use applies when presenting images of people with tattoos in creative works. And that might still happen, but the defense Take-Two has decided to start things off with won’t do the trick. Rather than asserting the work’s status as fair use, the video game maker has led with a challenge to whether the tattoo artist can claim statutory damages based on when he had registered the copyright for the tattoos in question. It’s a play on a technicality, one which seems to strangely play on what counts as an independent work.

        Solid Oak Sketches had sued for damages nearing $1.2 million, claiming eight works had been infringed upon in the game NBA 2K16, including tattoo designs for LeBron James and two other players. According to Take-Two’s most recent filing with the court, Solid Oak Sketches registered the copyright for those tattoos in 2015. The game company’s argument is that it has been depicting those players and their tattoos since 2013, therefore there is precedent that statutory damages are not in play.

      • Shameful: House Panel Votes Down Plan To Make Public Domain Congressional Research Public

        For many, many years, we’ve complained about the fact that research reports from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) are kept secret. CRS is basically a really good, non-partisan research organization that tends to do very useful and credible research, when tasked to do so by members of Congress. The results, as works created by the federal government, are in the public domain. But the public never gets access to most of them. The reports are available to members of Congress, of course, but then it’s up to the members who have access to them to actually release them to the public… or not. And most don’t. Back in 2009, Wikileaks made news by releasing almost 7,000 CRS reports that had previously been secret. Since at least 2011, we’ve been writing about attempts to release these reports publicly, and nothing has happened.

      • Taylor Swift’s symbolic victory: Spotify still hasn’t figured out how to turn a profit

        Like a lot of the disruptors, when the music-streaming services came onto the scene, they made a lot of noise about how they had figured out the future. The old world of CDs and recorded music was antique: They knew that listeners wanted more access to music than any record store could offer, and they would pay substantial royalties to musicians and labels. There was utopian spirit to some of the talk.

        In the case of Spotify, its Swedish founder, Daniel Ek, spoke often about his love of music and how he would save the music industry. Even as musicians like Taylor Swift, Thom Yorke, and Prince kept their music off Spotify and criticized its business model, Ek kept talking about the way giving music away for free would help everyone.

      • Revealed: How copyright law is being misused to remove material from the internet

        Writing a bad review online has always run a small risk of opening yourself up to a defamation claim. But few would expect to be told that they had to delete their review or face a lawsuit over another part of the law: copyright infringement.

        Yet that’s what happened to Annabelle Narey after she posted a negative review of a building firm on Mumsnet.

        Narey, who is the head of programme at an international children’s charity, had turned to London-based BuildTeam for a side return extension, but almost six months later, the relationship had turned acrimonious. The build, which was only supposed to take 10–14 weeks, was still unfinished, she wrote. “On Christmas day a ceiling fell down in an upstairs bedroom,” she says, apparently due to an issue with the plumbing. “Mercifully no one was hurt. [That] there seem to be so many glowing reports out there it is frankly curious. Proceed at your own risk,” the review concluded.

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    Rumours and speculations surrounding the fate of the EPO's leadership now that the UPC gravy train is stuck again and Battistelli's protector, Jesper Kongstad, is about to leave



  5. Martijn van Dam is Wrong to Believe That Battistelli's Abuses Are Somehow Acceptable or Tolerable Because His Term is Possibly Ending

    Coverage of Martijn van Dam’s stance (he is the Dutch State Secretary for Economic Affairs) reveals that economic gain trumps ethics and justice, irrespective of what the law says



  6. Media and Staff Association Elections at EPO and WIPO Are Compromised

    A campaign of abuse (legal bullying) and gifting to the media, combined with a wide-ranging assault on critics who represent the interests of staff, have led WIPO and EPO down the route to totality



  7. New Documents Help Demonstrate That ILO Delivers Institutional Injustice to EPO Employees and Cushions Team Battistelli

    The International Labour Organisation Administrative Tribunal (ILOAT) delivers not justice but merely the illusion of justice, probably in defiance of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)



  8. Leaked: 2017 European Inventor Award Finalists, or Stooges Whom the Tyrant Battistelli Exploits for PR Purposes and Media Manipulation

    The stupidest ceremony in Europe (turning serious science into something sketchy such as Eurovision) is disliked among EPO staff and is exploited by the person who destroys the EPO (Benoît Battistelli) to pretend all is fine and dandy, at huge expense to the Office (as extraordinary as about 5 million Euros for a ~2-hour show)



  9. EPO: Can the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) Still Save It?

    Genuine concerns about the slow process at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the lack of progress at ILO, which coincide with weakening of the unions and threat to jobs of patent examiners (leaving ordinary Europeans more vulnerable to meritless patent lawsuits)



  10. Links 21/5/2017: Linux 3.18.53, Tizen 4.0

    Links for the day



  11. Cloudflare's Enemy is Software Patents, Not Just One Software Patent or One Patent Troll

    With a bounty of $50,000, which is likely less than the cost of legal defense, Cloudflare looks for help with its own case rather than the underlying issues that need tackling worldwide



  12. Patent Laws -- and Especially Eligibility of Software Patents -- Are Being Hijacked by Large Corporations and Their Front Groups

    Intervention by large multinational corporations and their lawyers, front groups, etc. (like the classic lobbying model) gives room for concern in multiple continents where most software development is done



  13. Links 18/5/2017: Catching Up With the Past Three Days

    Links for the day



  14. The US Supreme Court Consults USPTO Director Michelle Lee Regarding the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Which is Invalidating Software Patents With CAFC's Approval

    Software patents continue to get knocked out by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) whose introduction of PTAB gave a helping hand to companies that are susceptible to abusive litigation (with bogus patents)



  15. IBM and Its Revolving Doors Lobby Are Plotting to Undermine Supreme Court Rulings to Restore Patentability of Software

    IBM has become so evil that it is now trying to steal democracy, label programmers "thieves", and basically attack the rule of law by extra-judicially overturning a Supreme Court decision



  16. 3 Years After the Alice Case at the Supreme Court the Plague of Software Patents is Easier to Cope With

    Litigation figures are down, rejection rates of software patents remain high, and only spin (e.g. cherry-picking) or constant lobbying can save those who used to profit from software patents



  17. The Attacks of Patent Trolls as Outlined in the Media This Past Week

    An outline of some of the latest troll cases to be aware of and their consequences too (e.g. software patents being used to literally shut down entire programs)



  18. Links 14/5/2017: Linux 4.12 RC1 and KDE Frameworks 5.34.0

    Links for the day



  19. Industry Giants Challenge Qualcomm's Patent Practices While the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Closely Examines Such Behavior

    Scrutiny of Qualcomm's patent aggression and coercion -- scrutiny that can profoundly change the way software patents, SEPs and FRAND are viewed -- as seen in various amicus briefs (amici) from industry giants that are affected



  20. Professor Lisa Larrimore Ouellette Questions Whether Patents Work When Patent Scope is Too Broad

    Citing MIT economist (and MacArthur “genius”) Heidi Williams, Professor Lisa Larrimore Ouellette from Stanford challenges old myths and quotes: “we still have essentially no credible empirical evidence on the seemingly simple question of whether stronger patent rights—either longer patent terms or broader patent rights—encourage research investments.”



  21. OIN is Still a Distraction Unless We Want GNU/Linux to Coexist With Software Patents (Rather Than Eliminate Those)

    Another wave of media coverage by/for the Open Invention Network (OIN) necessitates a reminder of what OIN stands for and why it is not tackling the biggest problems which Free/Open Source software (FOSS) faces



  22. Links 13/5/2017: Neptune Plasma 5 ISO, a Shift to Free (FOSS) Databases

    Links for the day



  23. Countries With a Dozen European Patents Are an Easy Photo-Op 'Sell' for Battistelli While the EPO's Demise is Largely Ignored by the Patent Microcosm

    Behind the façade of legitimacy, the EPO suffers from an incompetent, insecure and delusional boss, whose actions will almost certainly lead to the collapse of both the Office and the entire Organisation (whose founding document he routinely shreds to pieces)



  24. Our Assessment: Unitary Patent (UPC) Will Crumble Along With Battistelli's Regime at the EPO

    A reflection and an opinion on where the EPO stands and what it means for the UPC, which doesn't seem to be going anywhere (it's all talk and lobbying)



  25. The European Patent Office Has a Long History/Track Record of 'Screwing' Contractors

    The European Patent Office (EPO) appears to have quite an extensive track record/reputation for ‘screwing’ contractors and then misusing immunity to get away with it



  26. Links 12/5/2017: Wine 2.8, Kdenlive 17.04.1, NHS Windows Syndrome

    Links for the day



  27. Links 11/5/2017: New OpenShot, GIMP, and GNOME (3.24.2)

    Links for the day



  28. The Sickness of the EPO – Part IX: Using Confidential Medical Records as a Weapon Against Staff

    In defiance/violation of labour laws and medical oaths etc. the EPO is passing around medical information, either for dismissal pretexts or a sort of blackmail -- a serious abuse in its own right



  29. The EPO is in Disarray and Additional Complaints to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) May Be Imminent

    Team Battistelli reaps what it has sown, as complaints are being made to a court with “47 member states [that] are contracting parties to the Convention,” (European Convention on Human Rights) according to Wikipedia



  30. By Promoting the UPC, in Defiance of Public Will, the EPO Has Become Patent Trolls' Best Friend

    The patent–industrial complex, aided by the EPO under Battistelli's iron-fisted reign, is trying to convince us that the UPC is coming soon and that it is desirable (it's neither of those things)


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