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09.04.17

Links 4/9/2017: Linux 4.13, WebKitGTK+ 2.17.92, Vala 0.38

Posted in News Roundup at 3:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.13 Kernel Released

      Linus Torvalds has gone ahead and released the Linux 4.13 kernel.

      As of writing, he hasn’t yet published anything to the kernel mailing list but the new kernel can be fetched via Git.

    • Linux 4.13

      So last week was actually somewhat eventful, but not enough to push me
      to delay 4.13.

      Most of the changes since rc7 are actually networking fixes, the bulk
      of them to various drivers. With apologies to the authors of said
      patches, they don’t look all that interesting (which is definitely
      exactly what you want just before a release). Details in the appended
      shortlog.

      Note that the shortlog below is obviously only since rc7 – the _full_
      4.13 log is much too big to post and nobody sane would read it. So if
      you’re interested in all the rest of it, get the git tree and limit
      the logs to the files you are interested in if you crave details.

      No, the excitement was largely in the mmu notification layer, where we
      had a fairly last-minute regression and some discussion about the
      problem. Lots of kudos to Jérôme Glisse for jumping on it, and
      implementing the fix.

      What’s nice to see is that the regression pointed out a nasty and not
      very well documented (or thought out) part of the mmu notifiers, and
      the fix not only fixed the problem, but did so by cleaning up and
      documenting what the right behavior should be, and furthermore did so
      by getting rid of the problematic notifier and actually removing
      almost two hundred lines in the process.

      I love seeing those kinds of fixes. Better, smaller, code.

      The other excitement this week was purely personal, consisting of
      seven hours of pure agony due to a kidney stone. I’m all good, but it
      sure _felt_ a lot longer than seven hours, and I don’t even want to
      imagine what it is for people that have had the experience drag out
      for longer. Ugh.

      Anyway, on to actual 4.13 issues.

      While we’ve had lots of changes all over (4.13 was not particularly
      big, but even a “solidly average” release is not exactly small), one
      very _small_ change merits some extra attention, because it’s one of
      those very rare changes where we change behavior due to security
      issues, and where people may need to be aware of that behavior change
      when upgrading.

      This time it’s not really a kernel security issue, but a generic
      protocol security issue.

      The change in question is simply changing the default cifs behavior:
      instead of defaulting to SMB 1.0 (which you really should not use:
      just google for “stop using SMB1″ or similar), the default cifs mount
      now defaults to a rather more modern SMB 3.0.

      Now, because you shouldn’t have been using SMB1 anyway, this shouldn’t
      affect anybody. But guess what? It almost certainly does affect some
      people, because they blithely continued using SMB1 without really
      thinking about it.

      And you certainly _can_ continue to use SMB1, but due to the default
      change, now you need to be *aware* of it. You may need to add an
      explicit “vers=1.0″ to your mount options in /etc/fstab or similar if
      you *really* want SMB1.

      But if the new default of 3.0 doesn’t work (because you still use a
      pterodactyl as a windshield wiper), before you go all the way back to
      the bad old days and use that “vers=1.0″, you might want to try
      “vers=2.1″. Because let’s face it, SMB1 is just bad, bad, bad.

      Anyway, most people won’t notice at all. And the ones that do notice
      can check their current situation (just look at the output of “mount”
      and see if you have any cifs things there), and you really should
      update from the default even if you are *not* upgrading kernels.

      Ok, enough about that. It was literally a two-liner change top
      defaults – out of the million or so lines of the full 4.13 patch
      changing real code.

      Go get the new kernel,

      Linus

    • The 4.13 kernel is out

      Linus has released the 4.13 kernel, right on schedule. Headline features in this release include kernel hardening via structure layout randomization, native TLS protocol support, better huge-page swapping, improved handling of writeback errors, better asynchronous I/O support, better power management via next-interrupt prediction, the elimination of the DocBook toolchain for formatted documentation, and more. There is one other change that is called out explicitly in the announcement: “The change in question is simply changing the default cifs behavior: instead of defaulting to SMB 1.0 (which you really should not use: just google for ‘stop using SMB1′ or similar), the default cifs mount now defaults to a rather more modern SMB 3.0.”

    • Linux Kernel 4.13 Released By Linus Torvalds — Here Are The Biggest Features

      Linux kernel 4.12 was released in early July, which was the second biggest release in terms of commits. It came with the support for new AMD Vega graphics support. Following Linux kernel 4.12, Linux boss Linus Torvalds has released Linux kernel 4.13 after seven release candidates.

      The Linux Kernel Mailing List announcement of kernel 4.13 turned out to be a little bit personal as Torvalds had to go through “seven hours of pure agony due to a kidney stone.” He expressed relief as kernel 4.13 wasn’t delayed.

    • Linus Torvalds passed a kidney stone and then squeezed out Linux 4.13

      Linus Torvalds has released Linux 4.13 to a waiting world and in so doing detailed a tricky work week in which he endured “seven hours of pure agony due to a kidney stone”.

      “I’m all good, but it sure _felt_ a lot longer than seven hours,” he wrote on the Linux Kernel Mailing List, “and I don’t even want to imagine what it is for people that have had the experience drag out for longer. Ugh.”

      Far happier news is that this release of the Linux Kernel emerged after the seven release candidates to which Torvalds aspires.

    • GNU Linux-libre 4.13-gnu is now available

      GNU Linux-libre 4.13-gnu sources and tarballs are now available at

      http://www.fsfla.org/selibre/linux-libre/download/releases/4.13-gnu/.

      It didn’t require any deblobbing changes since -rc7-gnu. Binaries are
      expected to show up over the next few days, though I might be slow in
      making them available because I’m traveling for the GNU Tools Cauldron.

      This release had a larger than usual assortment of new drivers dependent
      on blobs: Cavium Nitrox CNN55XX, Inside Secure’s SafeXcel cryptographic
      engine, Qualcomm Venus V4L2 encoder/decoder, Mellanox Technologies
      Spectrum, Quantenna QSR10g, and Qualcomm ADSP and WCNSS.

      Minor changes to the per-release deblobbing logic was required for
      AMDGPU, IWLWIFI, and Redpine Signals WLAN drivers, due to source code
      rearrangement. New blobs are required by them, and also by Adreno A5xx,
      Intel i915 CSR, ath10k, brcmfmac, wil6210 and Silead DMI.

      For up-to-the-minute news, join us on #linux-libre of irc.gnu.org
      (Freenode), or follow me (@lxoliva) on Twister http://twister.net.co/,
      GNU social at social.libreplanet.org, Diaspora* at pod.libreplanetbr.org
      or pump.io at identi.ca. Check my web page (link in the signature) for
      direct links.

      Be Free! with GNU Linux-libre.

    • GNU Linux-libre 4.13-gnu Deblobs More Drivers

      Immediately following Linus Torvalds’ release on Sunday of Linux 4.13, the GNU Linux-libre 4.13-gnu was outted for those wanting a fully-free system with driver binary blob support removed and eliminating other code that could depend upon non-open microcode/firmware support or the loading of binary kernel drivers.

    • Linux 4.14 To Get 5-Level Paging, AMD Secure Memory Encryption

      Ingo Molnar has sent in his many pull requests of new feature work targeting the Linux 4.14 merge window.

      One of Ingo’s pull requests of interest to us are the memory management updates, which include some interesting feature work. First up, 5-level paging is now in place for upcoming Intel CPUs. Five-level paging allows the CPUs to support up to 128PB of virtual address space and 4PB of physical RAM. It’s an interesting improvement from Intel and actually needed for the modern demands of x86 super computers beginning to hit the existing memory limitations.

    • ORC Unwinder For Linux 4.14, Boosts Kernel Performance By Disabling Frame Pointers

      Ingo Molnar submitted the Linux x86 Assembly updates today for the 4.14 merge window. What’s interesting with the x86/asm code changes is the introduction of the ORC Unwinder.

    • Linux 4.13 Released, This Is What’s New
    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Interview with Miri

        I made the switch to Linux in early 2016, finding out that Sai and CS6 wouldn’t be available unless I used WINE to emulate them, I just started looking for a free software that fit my taste. GIMP was okay, but it had a few quirks I couldn’t really iron out, and it was a bit simple for me. I think I found out about Krita through an art thread on some imageboard for taking requests, tried it out, it ran like a smoother SAI and I haven’t looked back.

      • Rust Qt Binding Generator

        This code generator gets you started quickly to use Rust code from Qt and QML. In other words, it helps to create a Qt based GUI on top of Rust code.

        Qt is a mature cross-platform graphical user interface library. Rust is a new programming language with strong compile time checks and a modern syntax.

      • GSoC- Final month analysis

        So, the final month of GSoC just wrapped up, and in this post I will be talking about the last month, the implementation of tutorial mode for the Digital Electricity activity.

      • KDE Plasma 5.10 Desktop Reaches End of Life as Plasma 5.11 Debuts Early October

        Being a short-lived branch, the KDE Plasma 5.10 desktop environment has reached end of life at the end of August 2017 with the release of the fifth and last maintenance update, versioned 5.10.5.

        KDE Plasma 5.10.5 was published last month and includes a total of 40 changes across multiple core components, such as the Plasma Discover graphical package manager, KWin window and composite manager, as well as Plasma Desktop, Plasma Workspace, Plasma Addons, the Plymouth KControl Module, and the KDE hotkeys.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • WebKitGTK+ 2.17.92 released!
      • WebKitGTK+ 2.17.92 Brings Improved Wayland Support

        The WebKitGTK+ build of the WebKit rendering engine for GNOME desktop applications has seen measurable Wayland improvements ahead of this month’s GNOME 3.28 debut.

      • Working with Buttons and Labels with GTK Python

        We have another meeting with the GNOME + Fedora local group in Lima, Peru to prepare ourselves in coding to offer better workshops and conferences.

      • A Late GUADEC 2017 Post

        It’s been a little over a month since I got back from Manchester, and this post should’ve come out earlier but I’ve been swamped.

        The conference was absolutely lovely, the organisation were a 110% on point (serious kudos, I know first hand how hard that is). Others on Planet GNOME have written extensively about the talks, the social events, and everything in between that made it a great experience. What I would like to write about is about why this year’s GUADEC was special to me.

  • Distributions

    • What’s the current state of Linux distros for kids?

      When she was only two years old, my daughter was fascinated by the old Eee PC running Ubuntu Studio I was using as one of my main computers. She would climb on my lap to hammer away at the keyboard, so—even though she was a bit young—I decided to search for Linux distributions made for children. To my surprise, I found a few distros made for kids as young as two.

      I downloaded DoudouLinux, booted it from a USB, and put it in front of my toddler. She tried a few games and puzzles, but she’d grown familiar with the iPad’s touch screen (which she had been using at preschool) and didn’t understand the laptop’s dinosaur method of swiping a touchpad and clicking a button to make things to happen.

    • Reviews

      • Review: Nitrux 1.0.2

        Nitrux is a fairly new addition to the DistroWatch database. The distribution features a custom desktop environment, called Nomad, which is based on KDE’s Plasma 5 desktop. The Nomad desktop reportedly features a simplified system tray and a friendly, graphical front-end for the UFW firewall utility. Nitrux also ships with a custom software manager called NX Software Center and a music player called Babe. The Nitrux project previously featured the Anbox utility for running Android apps on GNU/Linux desktop distributions, but Anbox has been removed in recent versions of the Nitrux distribution.

        Nitrux is available in just one edition and is built for 64-bit x86 computers exclusively. Originally I tried to download Nitrux from the project’s website and found my download kept getting disconnected partway through. I switched to downloading the project’s ISO file (1.0GB in size) from a SourceForge mirror and this download completed successfully.

        Booting from the Nitrux installation media brings up a menu asking if we would like to launch the distribution’s live mode or start the system installer. Taking the live mode option, we are brought to a graphical login screen. We can sign into the Nomad desktop by using “nitrux” as both the username and password.

        The Nomad desktop appears to use KDE’s Plasma desktop software, but with a high degree of customization. The main desktop panel containing the application menu and system tray is placed at the top of the screen. A quick-launch bar is displayed at the bottom of the screen. The launch bar at the bottom of the desktop displays icons, but no tool tips or text to indicate what clicking on each icon will open. The application menu is displayed as a large grid of icons. The first page of the menu displays commonly used (or “favourite”) applications. The second page lists all installed applications. The desktop’s default background is mostly white with red and purple at the corners in shades that remind me of cotton candy.

    • New Releases

      • 4MLinux 22.2 STABLE released.

        This is a minor (point) release in the 4MLinux STABLE channel, which comes with the Linux kernel 4.9.43. The 4MLinux Server now includes Apache 2.4.27, MariaDB 10.2.7, and PHP 7.0.22 (see this post for more details). Additionally, some popular programs (Audacious, Dropbox, FileZilla) have been updated, too.

      • IPFire 2.19 – Core Update 113 released

        This is the official release announcement for IPFire 2.19 – Core Update 113. The change log is rather short, but comes with a big new feature…

      • NuTyX 9.0.94 Available [Ed: walled]
      • Tiny Core v8.1
    • Arch Family

      • Manjaro Gellivara 17.0.3 Arch-based Linux distro now available — final 32-bit release

        Tomorrow is Labor Day, meaning for many of you, this is a three-day weekend. While some folks will use this time to relax, we computer geeks will instead tinker with hardware and try new software. If you like to install and play with various Linux-based operating systems, Labor Day Weekend is perfect for this!

        Today, version 17.0.3 of the Manjaro Gellivara Linux distribution becomes available. This Arch-based operating system is quite the satisfying experience — I highly recommend it. This will be the final “Gellivara” release, which also means it is the final 32-bit version of Manjaro. Yes, folks, for the next major version of the operating system, you will need 64-bit hardware to use this distro. If your hardware is still 32-bit only, please buy a new machine already!

      • Manjaro Linux Drops 32-Bit Support, Manjaro 17.0.3 Is The Last 32-bit Release

        Manjaro Linux is one of the fastest growing Linux distros around. It’s known for its user-friendliness and power of Arch base. Since its inception, it has been loved by the Linux enthusiasts who wished to see something fresh on their machines. Earlier this year in March, Manjaro 17.0 Gellivera was released.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Linux pioneer SUSE marks 25 years in the field

        The Germany-based SUSE Linux marked a milestone over the last few days: on Friday, 2 September, the company turned 25, a remarkable achievement in an industry where the remains of software companies litter the landscape around the world.

      • OpenSUSE Leap 42.3 Plasma – No Linux, No Love

        So what do we have here? Well, in the end, I have a working system, with 95% of all my original issues and woes fixed. It took me a single day to do all this. Which means the devs and the QA can do so much more. OpenSUSE Leap 42.3 in its default form is not usable. It has terrible hardware support – all the basics are screwed, wonky package management with conflicts and issues, codec problems, bad customization, performance issues, battery issues, filesystem misbehaving, etc. Completely unusable in this form really.

        I managed to overcome all these, because I had a free day and I wanted to see what I can do. But then, my version of SUSE has little with the original. A new kernel, different looks, tons of extra software, lots of configuration changes and fixes. Except the name, it’s not really a Leap, now is it. Just a Linux with Plasma and such. Thus, my sad summary is that while my games with openSUSE 42.3 were fun, the core product is not suitable for day to day use. You’re better off with Kubuntu or even Fedora. Or anything. The amount of problems here was among the biggest in years. Very sad, because SUSE will always have that special place in my heart. Grade 3/10. With my changes 9/10. And lights.

      • SUSE Pulls ‘Game of Thrones’ Parody From YouTube to Foil FOSS Force

        Hmmm…so SUSE pulled the video without explanation. What they didn’t pull, however, was a video about the video, which I’m presenting here so you can get a weak inkling of what you missed.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Installer Buster Alpha 1 release

        The Debian Installer team[1] is pleased to announce the first alpha release of the installer for Debian 10 “Buster”.

      • The First Alpha Of Debian 10 “Buster” Installer

        While it will be quite some time before Debian 10 “Buster” is released, the first alpha of its installer is now available.

        Debian Installer Buster Alpha 1 is now available with a variety of updates, some EFI fixes, machine database entries for various ARM boards, and a variety of other niche improvements and fixes.

      • My Debian Activities in August 2017

        This month I accepted 217 packages and rejected 16 uploads. Though this might seem to be a low number this month, I am very pleased about the total number of packages that have been accepted: 558.

      • Summary of the DebConf 2038 BoF

        Steve McIntyre reports from a BoF session on the year-2038 problem at DebConf 17. “It’s important that we work on fixing issues *now* to stop people building broken things that will bite us. We all expect that our own computer systems will be fine by 2038; Debian systems will be fixed and working! We’ll have rebuilt the world with new interfaces and found the issues. The issues are going to be in the IoT, with systems that we won’t be able to simply rebuild/verify/test – they’ll fail. We need to get the underlying systems right ASAP for those systems.”

      • FOSScamp Syros 2017 – day 1

        During Debconf17 I was asked by Daniel if I can attend FOSScamp Syros to help with Debian’s l10n in the Balkans. I said I would be happy to, although my visit would be short (2.5 days) due to previous plans.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Here’s What Ubuntu 17.10′s Default GNOME Shell Theme and Login Screen Look Like

            Soon after it entered Feature Freeze development stage on August 24, 2017, the upcoming Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) operating system is yet to receive a polished and final default desktop session which resembles that of previous releases running Unity.

          • Ubuntu GNOME Shell in Artful: Day 9

            A very visual update today on our new Artful default session! This one is, as promised about our new GNOME Shell theme and you can see below some examples of those changes. For more background on this, you can refer back to our decisions regarding our default session experience as discussed in my blog post.

          • This is what the Ubuntu 17.10 GNOME Shell Theme looks like

            Having decided to keep Ambiance as the default GTK theme in Ubuntu 17.10 it was only a question of when devs would extend the gradated brown palette to the rest of GNOME Shell.

          • Meet the Improved Ubuntu 17.10 Login Screen

            As releases go, Ubuntu 17.10 is going be defined by the huge number of changes it makes — and that includes changes to the default login screen.

            Making a wholesale switch to GNOME for Ubuntu 17.10 means the login screen that greets you after boot up is no longer LightDM and the Unity Greeter but GDM, the GNOME display manager.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • San Francisco could become first local government to use open-source voting system

    San Francisco has taken a tentative step toward deciding on whether it will become the first local government in the country to run its voting machines on open-source software.

    The notion of shifting away from using proprietary technology sold by private companies to computer code made freely available for anyone to use and modify has been talked about for years. But it’s been getting more attention since the city allocated $300,000 to study the issue.

    Last week, Elections Director John Arntz opened discussions with Slalom, a consulting group selected by the city to prepare a detailed report on what San Francisco would face if it decides go to an open-source voting system. The report is expected to be finished by January at a cost of around $175,000.

  • Ask LH: What’s The Deal With Open Source?

    People also often see open source endeavours as being run by a few unkempt coders in their parents’ basements on a budget of nothing, updating when they get a chance (if ever). While many open source projects are run by less than a handful of contributors, larger open source systems like the Mozilla Foundation and the several Linux distributions clearly show that the system can work on a large-scale as well. In these cases, greater understanding of the underlying code can lead to more customisations and further development without actually requiring more money.

    Open source isn’t necessarily right for every piece of software out there, but we do love open source. It can provide (and has provided) the world with some excellent software that anyone who knows what she’s doing can change to suit her desires. In the end, the software isn’t necessarily better or worse, but just different from a point of view that most users will never see.

  • Facebook promised to open up its log storage system

    Sysadmins struggling to manage lots of logs may want to Like a new “friend”, after Facebook last week decided to share its distributed log management system.

    If you’re just running one site, Zuck’s “LogDevice” code might not be for you: it’s how Facebook makes sense of its 10 data centres, including how The Social Network™ brings those logs back into sync when something goes wrong.

    Perhaps the most impressive number is in that operation: Facebook claims that after a failure, LogDevice can rebuild logs to “fully restore the replication factor of all records affected” at between 5 Gbps and 10 Gbps per second.

  • Reddit turns off access to its main source code

    Reddit has made its website source code available since 2008 in a bid to keep the community alive no matter what, but it’s having a change of heart now that it’s older and larger. The company has announced that it’s turning off access to a monolithic source code for its site and mobile apps, and will instead offer “many” smaller code bases. This is partly because the team hasn’t done a great job of keeping this centralized code up to date, Reddit says, but it’s also due to competitive reasons. It’s difficult to develop features like video uploading in open source code without telegraphing your plans to your competitors, according to Reddit.

    The firm argues that this isn’t really a change in its behavior, but it’ll still have an effect — you’re only going to get access to bits and pieces of Reddit, rather than everything all at once. And some in the community have pointed out that Reddit could theoretically develop features behind closed doors and still release source code once it’s officially ready.

  • What does /r/linux feels about Reddit no longer being open source?
  • Reddit closing access to main code base
  • Reddit is killing off access to its main source code, because open source is bad for competition
  • Reddit is killing off access to its main source code
  • Reddit’s Main Source Code Is No Longer Open Source — Here’s Why
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • OECD examines open government strategies

      The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is surveying the open government strategies in countries across the globe. The goal is to create a common approach to open government – a toolkit for the design and implementation of successful open government programmes.

      The OECD is asking for public input on its draft recommendations. It has published an online survey. Deadline for participation is 10 September.

    • Open Access/Content

      • How WikiFundi is helping people in Africa contribute to Wikipedia

        In developed countries, the ability to access and edit Wikipedia easily is taken for granted, but in many African countries, where access to reliable electricity and broadband are limited, that’s not the case. I recently interviewed Florence Devouard, who is working on several open source projects to help close gaps caused by poor access to online information. She is co-leader of the WikiFundi project, as well as other projects related to Wikipedia and Africa, including Wiki Loves Women, a women’s information initiative, and Wiki Loves Africa, a media contest that invites the public to contribute photographs, videos, and audio to Wikipedia. All projects are part of the WikiAfrica movement.

        Florence brings to these projects her 15 years of experience in project management, online communities, and knowledge sharing, as well as a passion that is palpable and drives her vision to empower people (and particularly women) in Africa with information.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Havenlabs releases open-source Utility Band to help amputees

        New York-based not-for-profit Havenlabs has announced the release of its Utility Band assistive device. The open-source 3D printed device currently has two different preset attachments that amputees can use to hold tools, with more yet to be announced.

  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

  • Science

    • 800 engineering colleges to close in India
    • Neanderthals were distilling tar 200 thousand years ago in Europe

      Despite many recent discoveries that show Neanderthals were technologically and socially sophisticated, there’s still a popular idea that these heavy-browed, pale-skinned early humans were mentally inferior to modern Homo sapiens. Now we have even more corroboration that they were pretty sharp. A fascinating new study reveals that Neanderthals were distilling tar for tool-making 200 thousand years ago—long before evidence of tar-making among Homo sapiens. And an experimental anthropologist has some good hypotheses for how they did it, too.

      One of humanity’s earliest technological breakthroughs was learning to distill tar from tree bark. It was key to making compound tools with two or more parts; adhesives could keep a stone blade nicely fitted into a wooden handle for use as a hoe, an axe, or even a spear. Scientists have discovered ancient beads of tar in Italy, Germany, and several other European sites dating back as much as 200 thousand years, which is about 150 thousand years before modern Homo sapiens arrived in Western Europe. That means the people who distilled that tar had to be Neanderthals.

    • People treated for putting sun cream on eyeballs to watch eclipse

      As the solar eclipse passed over the US on August 21, millions of Americans donned protective glasses to protect their eyes when looking directly at the spectacle, however, some individuals decided to use sun cream instead.

      According to health professions in California, patients came into one clinic experiencing pain after they put sunscreen in their eyes as they didn’t access to any glasses to watch the eclipse.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Spyware Dolls and Intel’s vPro

      For a number of years now there has been growing concern that the management technologies in recent Intel CPUs (ME, AMT and vPro) also conceal capabilities for spying, either due to design flaws (no software is perfect) or backdoors deliberately installed for US spy agencies, as revealed by Edward Snowden. In a 2014 interview, Intel’s CEO offered to answer any question, except this one.

      The LibreBoot project provides a more comprehensive and technical analysis of the issue, summarized in the statement “the libreboot project recommends avoiding all modern Intel hardware. If you have an Intel based system affected by the problems described below, then you should get rid of it as soon as possible” – eerily similar to the official advice German authorities are giving to victims of Cayla the doll.

      All those amateur psychiatrists suggesting LibreBoot developers suffer from symptoms of schizophrenia have had to shut their mouths since May when Intel confirmed a design flaw (or NSA backdoor) in every modern CPU had become known to hackers.

      Bill Gates famously started out with the mission to put a computer on every desk and in every home. With more than 80% of new laptops based on an Intel CPU with these hidden capabilities, can you imagine the NSA would not have wanted to come along for the ride?

    • Inside the Massive 711 Million Record Onliner Spambot Dump

      Last week I was contacted by someone alerting me to the presence of a spam list. A big one. That’s a bit of a relative term though because whilst I’ve loaded “big” spam lists into Have I been pwned (HIBP) before, the largest to date has been a mere 393m records and belonged to River City Media. The one I’m writing about today is 711m records which makes it the largest single set of data I’ve ever loaded into HIBP. Just for a sense of scale, that’s almost one address for every single man, woman and child in all of Europe. This blog posts explains everything I know about it.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Is Public Diplomacy the Key to Unlocking China-South Korea Relations?

      It has been 25 years since China and South Korea established diplomatic relations in the embers of the Cold War, despite obvious differences in their ideologies and political values. Symbolically, China-South Korea relations might have been regarded as a model in China’s relations with its neighboring countries: a certain level of political trust, highly complementary economies, and massive civil exchanges. There once were over 1,200 flights between China and South Korea, representing almost 30 percent of all overseas flights in the South Korean civil aviation market.

      But the relationship seems to have been suffocated by South Korea’s decision to deploy the U.S. THAAD missile defense system in its territory, after North Korea’s provocative nuclear tests and missile launches in previous months. Consequently, the number of Chinese tourists bound for South Korea has significantly dropped in the past few months, indicating a change in South Korea’s image among the Chinese public.

    • North Korea shaken by strong tremors in likely nuclear test

      Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono later said in a briefing broadcast by NHK that it concluded the tremors were a nuclear explosion. Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said during the broadcast that Japan had sent at least three military jets to test for radiation.

      [...]

      A hydrogen bomb is much more powerful than the simpler types of atomic weapons tested by North Korea five times previously, or the bombs dropped on Japan during World War II. H-bombs are also harder to develop.

      [...]

      Meanwhile, Japan’s meteorological agency said the tremors were at least ten times as powerful as the North’s previous test, which was in September of last year, Reuters reported. But South Korea’s meteorological agency put the energy at five to six times the fifth nuclear test, Reuters reported.

    • The Risk of NATO’s H-Bombs in Turkey

      As the world nervously assesses North Korea’s claims about having a hydrogen bomb, another danger point is in Turkey where an erratic leader could seize NATO’s H-Bombs, warns Jonathan Marshall.

      [...]

      As I warned more than a year ago, he controls overall access to NATO’s largest nuclear storage facility — a stockpile of some 50 B-61 hydrogen bombs at Incirlik air base in southeastern Turkey. Each weapon has a yield of up to 170 kilotons, nearly 12 times greater than the atomic bomb that wiped out Hiroshima in 1945.

      The bombs are a holdover from the Cold War, with no current stWhat the Media isn’t Telling You About North Korea’s Missile Testsrategic rationale. They represent a growing risk to U.S. security, not a safe deterrent.

      As Erdogan’s relations with the United States and Western Europe go from bad to worse, the case for withdrawing those weapons of mass destruction from his reach grows ever more urgent.

    • An Empire Upside Down

      New directions in Trump’s approach to Latin America reveal the changed status of U.S. influence in the region.

    • Echoes of Reagan: Another Nuclear Buildup

      Thirty years ago Americans endured an absurd expansion of the US nuclear-weapon force under President Reagan. The announced weapons modernization program was accompanied by a huge increase in the military budget, the President’s warning to the Soviet Union that he was willing to spend it into oblivion, and crazy talk from some of his advisers about the potential to fight and win a nuclear war. So here we are evidently back to the future as the Trump administration forges ahead with nuclear “modernization,” without a set strategy for the weapons but with billions of dollars to burn.

    • Nuclear weapons modernised as nations prepare to ban them

      North Korea’s sixth nuclear test, which it apparently conducted today, comes while the world’s other nuclear powers are arming up. All nine of the world’s countries with nuclear weapons are investing massively in modernising them, according to a new report out last week by SIPRI. This is despite a reported 3% reduction of 460 weapons in 2017.

      The USA and Russia between them hold 93% of the world’s arsenal, with thousands on hair-trigger alert and ready to be launched within seconds of the order being given. According to SIPRI, to take one example, the USA is due to spend up to $1 trillion over the next 30 years.

      This terrifying statistic stands against another published by the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), who are holding their international congress on September 4 in the UK city of York. Their 2013 report, prepared for a conference studying the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons, indicates that a limited nuclear war with the use of 100 warheads dropped on cities would lead to a nuclear winter that could end the lives of up to 2 billion people.

    • How Did Anti-Assad Protests Turn to War in Syria?

      He does not dispute the Assad government’s killing of the innocent – though he suggests this came about through the inherent and untamed brutality of the regime’s security apparatus rather than a policy decision by Bashar al-Assad himself. Faisal Mekdad, the deputy foreign minister whom Assad sent to Dera’a (the minister’s home town), after the torture of children and killing of demonstrators, admitted to me that “bad mistakes” had been made there. But such “discoveries” were useless. Within months, the public’s demand for “reforms” had turned into an uprising determined to overthrow a regime that then resorted to all out-war against its enemies. Early reports of a massacre of Syrian troops by armed men at Jisr al-Chagour, dismissed by government opponents as the killing of army deserters by the regime, were, Van Dam concludes, true. The soldiers were murdered by those whom we would soon call “rebels”.

      Exactly when – and, more important, why – peaceful protest turned to armed uprising and then, inevitably, to an Islamist insurgency against the supposedly “secular” rule of the regime is one of the most important historical questions about Syria’s war. And it remains largely unanswered. There are clues enough. Van Dam is scalpel-sharp in his condemnation of Western policies, which breathed fire into the bosom of the opposition – the American and French diplomats who travelled to Homs to join the demonstrators immediately lost their neutrality, he says – and then left them to the mercy of their enemies. Van Dam praises the work of my colleague Patrick Cockburn, who has often pointed out how those two ambassadors told the protestors not to negotiate with the Assad regime on the basis that it would soon collapse.

      But the West closed its embassies, abandoning its new opposition friends. “Had they remained in Damascus, the ambassadors might have been a kind of last contact through whom attempts might have been made to influence the regime,” Van Dam says.

    • Donald Trump’s Reckless Response to North Korea’s Nuclear Test

      It ’s not clear what time Donald Trump, our restless President, was told of the latest North Korean nuclear test, which took place close to midnight Saturday, Washington time, and was that nation’s largest yet—Kim Jong-un’s first hydrogen bomb, apparently. But it only took until 7:30 a.m. for Trump to make an extremely dangerous and volatile situation worse. He did so, in part, by attacking South Korea, America’s ally and a country at risk in any confrontation—its capital, Seoul, home to ten million people, is close to the border, within range of the North’s artillery—for a supposed lack of toughness. Even at a moment of historic crisis, Trump can’t shake his bully’s instincts: disdain those who you think are weak; home in on and mock the vulnerable; blind yourself to the realities of your own circumstances and character; and pretend that a brawl will make it all better, despite the certainty that it won’t.
      The first tweet was relatively straightforward: “North Korea has conducted a major Nuclear Test. Their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States…..” “Major” is an apt word: tremors of the underground test, including an aftershock suggesting the collapse of whatever cave or chamber it was in, were felt in both South Korea and China, and detected as far away as Argentina. North Korea has falsely bragged about the size of its bombs before, and the stage management of this test—a picture of Kim inspecting a mystery weapon, shown on North Korean television hours before—might have signalled that this, North Korea’s sixth nuclear test, was exaggerated. But the seismic measurements indicate that its power is many times that of North Korea’s previous detonations, and also about a half dozen times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. But, as Trump’s elongated ellipsis suggested, he wasn’t just going to talk about the facts. He had some blame to dole out.

    • Language Wars

      If it is a truism that after a war the victor writes the history, then it could be argued that the victor also chooses the language in which the history will be written. If it is a war of the colonised against the coloniser then the language takes on a special significance as typically the coloniser imposes their language on the colonised.

      Paulo Freire described the way in which cultural conquest leads to the cultural inauthenticity of those who are invaded. They then start to take up the outlook of the invader in terms of their values, standards and goals. In Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Freire wrote that cultural invasion would only succeed if the invaded believed in their own cultural inferiority. When convinced of their own inferiority they would see the coloniser and his culture as being superior. Over time, as people become more alienated from their own culture they would see only positives in the culture of the invader and desire to become more and more like them, “to walk like them, dress like them, talk like them.”[1]

      However, post-revolutionary, post-colonial situations are complex and reversal of cultural norms a difficult process. The African writer Chinua Achebe wrote about the problems of communication in post-colonial African countries asserting that African writers wrote in English and French because they are “by-products” of the revolutionary processes that led to new nations-states and not just taking advantage of the global French and English language book markets.[2]

    • ‘Great danger’: Ex CIA boss warns Trump’s loose talk with North Korea could prove catastrophic
    • Former CIA, NSA head: Trump’s tough N. Korea talk ‘could lead to great danger’
    • Undercover in North Korea: “All Paths Lead to Catastrophe”

      The most alarming aspect of North Korea’s latest nuclear test, and the larger standoff with the U.S., is how little is known about how North Korea truly functions. For 65 years it’s been sealed off from the rest of the world to a degree hard to comprehend, especially at a time when people in Buenos Aires need just one click to share cat videos shot in Kuala Lumpur. Few outsiders have had intimate contact with North Korean society, and even fewer are in a position to talk about it.

      One of the extremely rare exceptions is the novelist and journalist Suki Kim. Kim, who was born in South Korea and moved to the U.S. at age thirteen, spent much of 2011 teaching English to children of North Korea’s elite at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology.

      Kim had visited North Korea several times before and written about it for Harper’s Magazine and the New York Review of Books. Incredibly, however, neither Kim’s North Korean minders nor the Christian missionaries who founded and run PUST realized that she was there undercover to engage in some of the history’s riskiest investigative journalism.

      Although all of PUST’s staff was kept under constant surveillance, Kim kept notes and documents on hidden USB sticks and her camera’s SIM card. If they had been discovered, she almost certainly would have been accused of espionage and faced imprisonment in the country’s terrifying labor camps. In fact, of the three Americans currently detained in North Korea, two were teachers at PUST. Moreover, the Pentagon has in fact used a Christian NGO as a front for genuine spying on North Korea.

      But Kim was never caught, and returned to the U.S. to write her extraordinary 2014 book, “Without You, There Is No Us.” The title comes from the lyrics of an old North Korean song; the “you” is Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un’s father.

    • What the Media isn’t Telling You About North Korea’s Missile Tests

      What the media failed to mention was that, for the last three weeks, Japan, South Korea and the US have been engaged in large-scale joint-military drills on Hokkaido Island and in South Korea. These needlessly provocative war games are designed to simulate an invasion of North Korea and a “decapitation” operation to remove (Re: Kill) the regime. North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un has asked the US repeatedly to end these military exercises, but the US has stubbornly refused. The US reserves the right to threaten anyone, anytime and anywhere even right on their doorstep. It’s part of what makes the US exceptional.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Talk of Assange pardon worries intelligence community

      While a pardon for Assange seems unlikely, Trump has offered praise for WikiLeaks and Assange’s own efforts to question U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia sought to influence last year’s presidential election.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • AP pushes back against EPA’s criticism of Superfund story
    • Dumb and Dumber: Foregrounding Climate Justice from Harvey to Haiti’s Matthew

      Yes, to not ask questions about climate change is indeed dumb, as Senator Sanders pointed out.

      It is dumber to not also question the current global economic system and policies perpetuating racial inequalities. The conversation must shift toward climate justice.

      We cannot pretend to be surprised by the impacts of Hurricane Harvey when policies have consistently prioritized corporate over public interests. Preceding Hurricane Harvey, Republican lawmakers delayed implementing safety rules for a local plant while just days before Trump removed Obama’s Flood Protection orders in favor of quick for-profit infrastructure developments.

      Houston residents have been feeling the impacts of increased flooding for years.

      Yes, Hurricane Harvey must be a turning point in the discussion on climate change.

    • Texas Wind turbines went right on Turning under Harvey’s impact, as Refineries Shut Down

      Extreme weather is in our future. Caribbean hurricanes of the future will be more and more violent and destructive because of manmade global heating. Sea level rise will open the coast to bigger storm surges. The number of coastal floods has already doubled since the 1980s because of people driving their gasoline cars and running their air conditioners off burning lumps of coal. Hotter air over hotter water will have more moisture in it, setting the stage for regular flooding. Hotter water creates more powerful winds within hurricanes.

      So the bad news is that a fossil fuel energy system does not deal well with extreme weather.

      Even just by Thursday, Harvey had shut down so many oil refineries that it had taken 20% of daily US gasoline production off line. By Friday it was being announced that so many refineries had been damaged that the major pipeline that brings 3 million barrels a day to the east coast, had been shut down. Altogether, 4.4 mn b/d of refinery capacity is off line now. About half a million barrels a day of refining capacity will remain shut down well into next winter.

    • 12 Years After Katrina, Hurricane Harvey Pummels Gulf Coast and Its Climate Science-Denying Politicians

      As the remnants of Hurricane Harvey (now a tropical storm) continue to flood Houston — just days before the 12th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina — I visited Shannon Rainey, whose house was built on top of a Superfund site in the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans. Rainey is worried about family members in Houston. She knows all too well how long it can take to get back what is lost in a storm. “I still live with Katrina every day,” she told me.

      New Orleans remains threatened by bands of rain extending from Harvey, causing many residents with fierce memories of Katrina to remain on edge.

    • Floods and Fires: The New Normal of Destabilization

      In just the past week, we’ve seen record-breaking rainfall and wildfires plague parts of the United States. Globally, such extreme events appear to be increasing in frequency and magnitude. Droughts, floods, fires, and more can be seen as warning signs of impending ecosystem collapse at the planetary scale, with impacts felt in locales and regions around the world. While no single event may be able to draw a causal line directly from climate change, the cumulative correlation indicates escalating destabilization.

    • Harvey, Hell, and High Water

      Katrina, Sandy, Harvey. Three record-breaking storms in a dozen years. Harvey is a 1,000 year storm, Sandy had the largest diameter of any hurricane on record to strike the US, and Katrina had the largest storm surge ever recorded.

      Meanwhile, the fire map for California covers the entire state, and for much of August, British Columbia’s record-breaking wildfire season blanketed the entire northwestern portion of the US and Canada with a dense, impenetrable layer of smoke and haze. Driving through western North Dakota, Montana, Idaho and Washington recently felt and looked like a trip to Mordor.

  • Finance

    • In NAFTA Talks, Canada Demands US Drop Anti-Union ‘Right to Work’ Laws

      “One group of negotiators spent all day Sunday working on the labor file,” The Globe and Mail noted. “One source familiar with the discussions said Canada wants the United States to pass a federal law stopping state governments from enacting right-to-work legislation; the source said the United States has not agreed to such a request.”

      In addition, Canadian negotiators are reportedly pressuring both the United States and Mexico “to offer a year of paid family leave, as Canada does.”

      The reports came just ahead of Labor Day, as thousands of workers throughout the U.S. and across the globe walked out of their jobs and took to the streets demanding a living wage and the right to organize.

    • Jeremy Corbyn backs McDonald’s staff first ever UK strike action

      As McDonald’s employees gather on the picket line for the first time ever in the UK, the Labour leader has come out in support of the disgruntled workers.

      The burger chain employees want secure shift patterns and pay of at least £10 an hour.

      A rally is expected to go ahead in central London with 40 striking workers will attend a rally in Westminster, with Jeremy Corbyn lending his support.

    • ‘Can’t Survive on $7.25′: On Labor Day, Nationwide Calls for $15 Minimum Wage

      Marches are taking place in hundreds of cities throughout the United States on Monday to celebrate the achievements of organized labor, call attention to President Donald Trump’s war on workers, and demand a living wage and a union.
      #FightFor15 Tweets

      “Rampant racism. Wage cuts. Attacks on unions. It’s time to fight back,” declared Fight for $15 ahead of Labor Day.

      Workers in America’s major cities are doing just that.

    • The State of Labor on Labor Day

      The state of labor on Labor Day, 2017, is precarious, and can only be rectified by a Left, that reasserts class politics and takes its lead from a “universalizing” anti-stystemic labor movement.

      Severe problems began with the Reagan revolution, which enshrined a ruthless global capitalism and sought to destroy unions. While the GOP and their corporate allies were destroying New Deal worker protections, the Democrats were doing little to stop them. The Clintons’ centrist Third Way took the Democrats out of a New Deal frame and into an embrace of Wall Street and the corporations, cementing the US as the only advanced Western nation with no party of labor.

      Outsourcing and robotics, as well as deep cultural divides among workers, have intensified the problem, but they also have political solutions.

    • Britain’s biggest banks have paid their bosses more than £177m in the decade since the financial crisis

      Britain’s biggest banks have paid their bosses more than £177million in the decade since the financial crisis.
      Chief executives at Barclays, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds have pocketed vast sums while millions of families have struggled in the aftermath of the Great Recession.
      The bank chiefs have shrugged off money laundering and mis-selling scandals, taxpayer rescues and fraud probes to keep their gravy train going. Ten years on from the run on Northern Rock in 2007, some are even being paid more now than they were before the crisis.

    • Roku files for IPO of up to $100 million

      The filing did not say how many shares will be available or how much each share will cost. The company applied to list its stock on the Nasdaq using the ticker symbol “ROKU,” according to Reuters.

    • Video streaming device maker Roku files for IPO

      Roku filed for an IPO of up to $100 million. The amount of money a company says it plans to raise in its first IPO filings is used to calculate registration fees. The final size of the IPO could be different.

    • The Coming Tax Fight — and Why We Need You!

      We’ve now reached show-down time, says the director of the coalition rallying Americans against the Trump tax cut giveaway to Corporate America.

    • This Labor Day, Remember That Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign Was for Workers’ Rights

      Most Americans today know that Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was killed in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968, but few know why he was there. King went to Memphis to support African American garbage workers, who were on strike to protest unsafe conditions, abusive white supervisors, and low wages — and to gain recognition for their union. Their picket signs relayed a simple but profound message: “I Am A Man.”

      Today we view King as something of a saint, his birthday a national holiday, and his name adorning schools and street signs. But in his day, the establishment considered King a dangerous troublemaker. He was harassed by the FBI and vilified in the media. He began his activism in Montgomery, Alabama, as a crusader against the nation’s racial caste system, but the struggle for civil rights radicalized him into a fighter for broader economic and social justice.

    • Who’s Really Winning? A Look at Trump’s Infrastructure Initiative

      In Trump’s first address, he promised that American infrastructure would become “second to none.” He committed to investing in urban centers, rebuilding highways and bridges, and improving schools. Yet, the administration’s infrastructure initiative released in May doesn’t make good on this promise. Though this initiative is currently scant in details, the administration champions infrastructure investment as a top policy priority with promises to release a more detailed proposal in early fall. Regardless, what the administration has revealed so far shines light on the kind of plan they intend to pursue. Trump’s infrastructure initiative will likely put large corporations at the forefront amid slashed funding for state and local government infrastructure, cuts to programs that help rural and underserved communities, and the leveraging of public private partnerships that aren’t in the interest of the general public and also undermine revenue generation. The plan in its current form does not go far enough to achieve the inclusive economic growth and prosperity the U.S. economy desperately needs — and the public deserves. An inclusive infrastructure agenda would invest in rural and underserved communities, universal broadband, and green energy.

      [...]

      The administration’s plan has two components that result in reducing Federal programs while helping corporate America: financing this initiative through tax breaks and privatizing key services.

    • Sweatshop Lobbyist Nominated for High Position in the Labor Department

      Odds are that you haven’t heard the name Patrick Pizzella before, but you probably should get to know it. Pizzella is President Donald Trump’s nominee for deputy labor secretary, which would make him the second most important man in the Department of Labor.

      That’s an awfully powerful position for a man who formerly lobbied to maintain sweatshop labor on U.S. territories. Mother Jones did a deep dive into Pizzella’s past, and what the publication found is hardly befitting of a man tasked with looking out for workers’ rights.

      In the late ‘90s, Pizzella worked for Jack Abramoff. Odds are that you have heard Abramoff’s name, because he subsequently and famously went to prison for four years for corruption and bribery; 21 of Abramoff’s associates were also convicted on similar charges.

    • [Older] IRS Rehires 213 Employees Ousted for Falsifying Documents, Avoiding Taxes, Other Offenses

      The Internal Revenue Service rehired 213 employees who ducked taxes, falsified documents, were convicted of theft, or made unauthorized use of taxpayer data, an inspector general’s report says.

      The Office of Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, which also first discovered the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups in 2013, examined the agency’s hiring from January 2015 through March 2016.

      For these 15 months, the IRS official in charge was Commissioner John Koskinen, an appointee of President Barack Obama.

    • In shift, Merkel backs end to EU-Turkey membership talks

      German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday she would seek an end to Turkey’s membership talks with the European Union in an apparent shift of her position during a televised debate weeks before a German election.

      “The fact is clear that Turkey should not become a member of the EU,” Merkel said in the debate with her Social Democrat (SPD) challenger Martin Schulz.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Forget Wall Street – Silicon Valley is the new political power in Washington

      It used to be banks, but now it is tech giants that dominate the US lobbying industry. Can money buy them what they want: less competition, less tax … and more data?

    • Taking Stock of Trump’s Cybersecurity Executive Order So Far

      Experts fear that some combination of infighting and staffing shortages at federal agencies could slow the executive order’s momentum.

    • How do I teach my tween about clickbait?

      Clickbait actually does damage. It’s almost always age-inappropriate for kids, it’s potentially harmful to your computer, it spreads misinformation, fake news, and dubious sources, and it degrades everyone’s collective experience of the internet.

    • Trump Picks Another Non-Scientist for Science Post and Makes ‘A Disastrous Choice’ for Drug Czar

      President Donald Trump’s newly-announced nominee to head the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an elected official with no science credentials.

      Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Ohio), who serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, is “unlike previous NASA administrators,” Newsweek notes, as “the 42-year-old Michigan native does not have any formal qualifications in science or engineering, having earned a triple bachelor’s degree in economics, psychology, and business from Rice University, and later an MBA from Cornell University.”

    • Tory claims Theresa May will be ‘taken out and shot’ as poll shows 48% want her to quit

      Tories have privately vented their fury at Theresa May’s bid to cling to power – with one dramatically saying she’ll be “taken out and shot”.

      The shocking, violent-sounding rebuke is one of a string of devastating briefings from anonymous Conservatives to the Sunday Times.

      Mrs May made a surprise vow last week to lead her party into the 2022 election saying “I’m not a quitter”. Previously she told MPs she’d only stay “as long as you want me”.

    • After a disastrous few months, can anyone fathom why Theresa May would want to stay on as Prime Minister?

      Thanks to the obvious link between hunger for power and undiagnosed personality disorders, the sanity question hovers over national leaders.

      Although some (Jim Callaghan, John Major, David Cameron) have escaped it, most could only postpone it.

      Margaret Thatcher had been in Downing Street for eight years before the whispers became audible, and Tony Blair for less for five when his post-9/11 musings on the kaleidoscope being in flux activated the sirens.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • China censors discussion of North Korea’s bomb test

      Chinese censors appear to be stifling online discussion of North Korea’s latest missile launch, a move apparently linked to China’s hosting of this week’s Brics summit.

      Posts on the popular microblogging network Sina Weibo and the mobile messenger WeChat which highlight or make jokes about the bomb test coinciding with the summit have been censored.

    • Datavalet Wi-Fi Blocks TorrentFreak Over ‘Criminal Hacking Skills’

      Datavalet, a public wi-fi provider that offers its service to several major companies and organizations, is actively blocking TorrentFreak. According to the company, the blockade is triggered by “criminal skills” and “hacking,” which sounds rather ominous.

    • The far right is losing its ability to speak freely online. Should the left defend it?

      Matthew Prince had the power to kill the white supremacist hate site the Daily Stormer for years, but he didn’t choose to pull the trigger until 16 August. That’s when the chief executive of website security company Cloudflare “woke up … in a bad mood and decided to kick them off the Internet”, as he told his employees in an internal email. Without Cloudflare’s protection, the Daily Stormer was forced to retreat to the darknet, where it is inaccessible to the majority of internet users.

      Cloudflare is just one of many internet companies that cleaned house amid a wave of public outrage following a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. Critics charge that technology platforms have enabled a disparate network of racist extremists to seek one another out, raise funds, and plan and execute such rallies. But unlike consumer facing companies such as Facebook, YouTube, PayPal and Discord, and even as liberal voices – including the Guardian editorial board – applaud it, Cloudflare won’t defend its actions.

    • China’s Communist Party Steps Up Censorship Efforts

      Cambridge University Press recently sparked a backlash from scholars and historians when it removed hundreds of articles from a Chinese website, at the request of the Communist Party in China. The articles dealt with some of China’s painful history, including the government crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, and were later restored.

    • BBC Burma pulls Myanmar TV deal over Rohingya ‘censorship’

      The BBC’s Burmese language service on Monday said it was pulling a broadcasting deal with a popular Myanmar television channel citing “censorship”, with insiders saying the partners had clashed over coverage of the Muslim Rohingya minority.

      The announcement is the latest blow to struggling press freedoms in the country and a remarkable turnaround for a news organisation that famously kept Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi up to date during her long years of house arrest under junta rule.

      Since April 2014, BBC Burmese broadcast a daily news programme on MNTV with 3.7 million daily viewers.

    • WHAT IS MUSIC CENSORSHIP?
    • Zodwa ban — Too much censorship emerging in Zim
    • “Censorship Is Always Arbitrary”: An Interview with an Art Critic in Singapore
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • US leads UK in VPN use and some security awareness, according to survey

      A recent security study shows VPN use on the rise in both the United States and the United Kingdom. Wombat Security surveyed roughly 1,000 adults in the United States and 1,000 adults in the United Kingdom on their internet security habits – showing a clear leader in common VPN use.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • US breaks diplomatic protocol

      With very little notice, the US has ejected Russian diplomats and broken diplomatic protocol to raid the sovereign premises….

    • Colin Kaepernick’s Prostest is Part of a Patriotic Tradition
    • Australia’s ‘modern slavery’ proposal falls short

      Australia is the latest country to propose combatting ‘modern slavery’ through corporate reporting rather than effective regulation.

    • Martin Luther the Man-Devil

      October 31, 2017 will be the 500-year anniversary of Luther’s nailing his 99 theses to the door of the Cathedral at Wittenberg. Perhaps it was the date that gave Danish author and public intellectual Peter Tudvad the idea for his latest book, Manteuffel. “Manteuffel” is an actual German surname that literally means “man-devil.” There could not be a more appropriate name for the protagonist of Tudvad’s novel about a fictional, villainous contemporary and friend of Martin Luther, Friedrich von Manteuffel.

      If it wasn’t the date of the anniversary of the birth of Protestantism that inspired Tudvad to write Manteuffel, then it was probably what he learned about Luther while doing the research for his earlier book Stadier på antisemitismens vej (stages on the way of anti-Semitism). Denmark, which still has a state church, The Danish Lutheran Church, tends to downplay Luther’s moral failings such as his anti-Semitism. Virulent anti-Semitism wasn’t Luther’s only moral failing, however. Tudvad goes into detail in Manteuffel concerning Luther’s approval of a horrifically brutal and bloody suppression of a peasant revolt led by his own fellow protestant reformer, the unfortunate Thomas Müntzer, who was tortured and executed because of his role in the revolt.

      [...]

      Unfortunately, the book has yet to be translated into English. Fortunately, there is no more opportune time for an English-language publisher to seize upon it. Increasing attention is going to be deservedly focused on Luther this fall and some of the revelations to which that attention will give rise, including the social-political ramifications of Luther’s alliance with feudal authority against peasants, will guarantee continued interest in Luther for a long time to come.

    • In Chechnya, a ruthless strongman orders family reunification

      Chechnya’s strongman, Ramzan Kadyrov, launched a program in June to reunite families divided by divorce. Ostensibly concerned with rising divorce rates and the impact of such break ups on children, Kadyrov created local councils “for harmonising marriage and family relations.” Made up of public officials and Muslim religious authorities, the councils draw up lists of divorced couples in their districts and approach the spouses, suggesting reconciliation.

      By 12 July, Chechen media applauded the reunification of six families, by 25 July the number had risen to 240, and on 21 August, Chechnya’s state television and radio broadcaster triumphantly reported that the council’s work resulted in the reunification of 948 families.

      Embracing this new “family reunification” program may be the only way these women can get access to the children they lost to divorce

      The claim that close to 1,000 divorced couples have chosen to reunite two months after a ruthless and abusive autocrat declared such family reunifications a priority, should be treated with scepticism and concern that they are not all voluntary. And yet many Chechen women discussing the new initiative on messaging apps, including some reunited with their ex-husbands, express enthusiastic support for Kadyrov’s initiative.

    • Protest Alone Won’t Stop Fascism

      When news struck that anti-Muslim protests with ties to white supremacists cancelled rallies across the country — in response to the huge anti-fascist rally in Boston — a clear victory was celebrated by the Left. A further anti-fascist victory was won in San Francisco, where a giant mobilization outnumbered a tiny smattering of far-right protesters who scurried away scared.

      But these victorious battles won’t end the war. The cockroaches that crawled back under the floorboards will resume their work underground, where they join a mass of fascist termites eating away at the base of the U.S. political system.

      The more conscious leaders of the budding fascist movement study history’s lessons. After Boston they made a strategic retreat, recognizing the balance of forces shifted against them. They’ll return to fight another day on more favorable terrain. Meanwhile they’re organizing.

    • “Life is filled with opportunities for individuals to make a difference”

      Aristides de Sousa Mendes saved 30,000 people during World War II, 12,000 of whom were Jews facing certain death. As Europe faces another refugee crisis, his grandson argues that Sousa Mendes’ courage and compassion is needed now more than ever.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

    Links for the day



  11. BlackBerry Has Turned Into a Patents and Licensing Company

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



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

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



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

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



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

    Links for the day



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

    Links for the day



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

    Links for the day



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

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



  21. EPO Gets Together With Patent Radicals to Promote Software Patents

    Watchtroll, a widely-known site of patent extremists with the agenda of promoting software patents, gets together with the EPO for a puff piece in the form of an "exclusive" interview



  22. Patent Boxes Are for Tax Avoidance, But in the Land of Tax Avoidance (Switzerland) No Avoidance for Software Patents

    The world leader in European Patents (EPs) refuses to acknowledge software patents or barely respects these



  23. Latest Attempts to Blow Air Into the Sails of the Sinking Unitary Patent (UPC)

    A survey of the latest media mentions and interpretations of the UPC, which don't quite stack up when compared to reality



  24. Links 12/9/2017: Linux 4.13.1, digiKam 5.7.0

    Links for the day



  25. Patent Maximalism Duo: Watchtroll and Patently-O Now Conjoined and Mutually Referencing One Another

    Radical sites like Watchtroll are spreading their ideology and harassment tactics to sites such as Patently-O, run by Dennis Crouch from the University of Missouri School of Law



  26. Complaints About Google Patents, R3 Patents, and the EFF's Campaign of Exposing/Disarming Patent Trolls

    A mix of interesting developments surrounding patents, including a nasty campaign by Dominion Harbor Group to smear patent reformers



  27. Latest Assaults on PTAB and More PTAB Bashing, This Time by Anticipat

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which helps eliminate patents granted in error (a lot of software patents), is still besieged by the patent 'industry'



  28. “Reprehensible” Judge Rodney Gilstrap Ignores the Supreme Court of the United States

    In spite of the TC Heartland case, Rodney Gilstrap continues to facilitate and embolden patent trolls, whose experience suggests that Gilstrap is their ally, not quite an objective judge



  29. Ingve Stjerna's Complaint Casts a Shadow Over the Unconstitutional Unified Patent Court (UPC)

    The Unitary Patent is un-Constitutional, according to a lawyer who used to work for UPC-friendly firms but can now say the truth about this abomination



  30. Upcoming EPO Series: Benoît Battistelli's 'Club Med'

    Ahead of the expected coronation of António Campinos Techrights will publish a long series regarding Battistelli and his network of connections (politics the École nationale d'administration way)


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