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10.09.17

EPO Protest at 12:30 in Munich and Why EPO Staff Should Attend

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: SUEPO, the staff union of the EPO, has just released a call for protest, scheduled to coincide with the Administrative Council’s meeting

TOMORROW there will be another EPO protest. To quote SUEPO:

Dear colleagues,

We invite you to a demonstration during the next Administrative Council meeting which will take place tomorrow Tuesday 10 October 2017, 12:30 at the Isar building to:

show your discontent with the abusive management style of the present administration

demonstrate against the irrational reforms and the new decision against staff to abolish national holiday, ‘purely for production gains’.

Your SUEPO Committee Munich

Tomorrow we’ll also publish the final part of a series, previous parts of which are as follows:

SUEPO’s announcement appeared in the RSS feed but not in the main HTML version of the site (SUEPO central). Here is the document explaining reasons to attend the protest [PDF]:

Ortssektion München . Local Section Munich . Section locale de Munich

09.10.2017

su17013mp – 0.2.1/0.2.2/0.3.2

DEMONSTRATION

TUESDAY 10 OCTOBER 2017

12.30h in front of the Isar building

There are at least 14 reasons why you should participate to the demo:

Unfair and illegal immediate dismissal of three staff representatives (Els Hardon, Ion Brumme and Laurent Prunier).

Unfair and illegal downgrading of one staff representative (Malika Weaver).

Unlawful composition of the internal appeals committee in 2014-2016 (= no timely justice for EPO staff).

Unlawful composition of the disciplinary committee (= no timely justice for EPO staff).

Lack of bona fide consultation of the staff representation for all past, present and future reforms.

Forced new career system for examiners (1700 ILOAT appellants)

Cronyism (Inner circle of Mr. Battistelli)

Arbitrary team rewards, steps, double steps and boni (but not for all)

Ever-increasing production targets (resulting in a rat race amongst examiners and a continuous increasing production pressure)

Unnecessary reform of DG1 and DG2 (with 3 COO’s directly under Mr. Battistelli, mega directorates and team managers)

Banning of the Union SUEPO of the EPO premises (but SUEPO represents 50% of EPO staff)

Change of the strike regulations (making it de facto impossible for SUEPO or any other union to organize a strike)

Continuous reforms of the staff representation system (leading to de facto no existing/workable staff representation anymore)

Not respecting German law, the EPC, the EPO Codex and the code of conduct for the EPO

Your SUEPO Committee Munich

And here’s more [PDF] background regarding the protest:

Ortssektion München . Local Section Munich . Section locale de Munich

04.10.2017

su17012mp – 0.2.1 – 0.2.2 – 0.3.2
DEMONSTRATION
Tuesday 10 Oktober 2017
(12:30 Isar building)

“We act with professionalism and a sense of social responsibility in observing the applicable laws, and respecting customs and traditions of the countries in which we work contributing responsibility to the welfare of society.”
(Code of conduct for the EPO)
,

Dear colleagues,

The above text is from the so called ‘Code of conduct for the EPO’ published on the intranet by Mrs. Bergot. It is a vein attempt to persuade the readers that this administration is actually respecting the law, customs and traditions of the country in which we work. As we all know this is however, in stark contrast to what this administration is actually doing.

It acts clearly in breach of: the EPO Codex, the German law, the International law.

It never consults: the EPO staff representation, the Unions (recognised or not).

Decides always: against the staff and their rights (DG1-DG2 reform)

The EPO administration shows its appreciation for the enormous production rise in the last
years (40% and 25%) by obliging the EPO staff to work also during National holidays.

“Adding a further day to the list of public holidays for the place of employment already
enjoying the most favourable situation was therefore not deemed necessary.”
(HR matters September 2017)

VP4 put it even more bluntly during the last meeting with the Munich Staff Representation:
‘The national holiday has been abolished purely for production gains

We invite you to a demonstration during the next Administrative Council meeting on Tuesday, 10.10.2017, to show your discontent with the abusive management style of the present administration, to demonstrate against the irrational reforms and the new decision against staff to abolish their well-deserved national holiday, ‘purely for production gains’.

Your SUEPO Munich Committee

VP4, who is mentioned above, is a known thug in his home country. We’ll get back to legal cases against him some time in the near future.

The EPO is run by a cabal of very bad people. Protests aren’t just justified; they’re almost moral imperative.

Links 9/10/2017: SDDM v0.16.0, New Linux RC4, fwupd 1.0.0

Posted in News Roundup at 6:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • City of Rome is getting ready for open source

      The city of Rome (Italy) is taking well-orchestrated steps to increase its use of free and open source software, aiming to reduce lock-in to IT vendors. A key change is an overhaul of the way IT solutions and support services are contracted; in all future contracts, Rome will require IT service providers to help the city switch to alternatives to proprietary software.

      This means change is coming soon. Many of the current IT contracts will need to be renewed next year, and by 2020 all current contracts will have been renewed, says Cecilia Colasanti, who works for Rome’s city councillor for Digital Innovation.

      [...]

      In 2018, Rome will run a pilot to test the use of workstations running Linux. Some of the IT support staff already have much experience with Linux servers and workstations, which should help resolve possible issues with network drives, shared folders and peripherals such as printers.

      Rome’s IT department is supporting the city council’s wish to get rid of IT vendor lock-in, says Ms Colasanti, “We are working together closely, for without their support, change won’t happen.”

      Commencement of the switch to open source was announced by the city in early September. “Currently, about one-third of our IT spending is distributed among just six IT vendors, some of which have been operating within the administration for more than three decades”, the announcement quotes Councillor Flavia Marzano as saying. “Our choice to implement free software intends to end the oligarchy in this industry.”

      Rome’s city council decided to switch to open source in October 2016.

  • Server

    • Reasons Kubernetes is cool

      When I first learned about Kubernetes (a year and a half ago?) I really didn’t understand why I should care about it.

      I’ve been working full time with Kubernetes for 3 months or so and now have some thoughts about why I think it’s useful. (I’m still very far from being a Kubernetes expert!) Hopefully this will help a little in your journey to understand what even is going on with Kubernetes!

      I will try to explain some reason I think Kubenetes is interesting without using the words “cloud native”, “orchestration”, “container”, or any Kubernetes-specific terminology :). I’m going to explain this mostly from the perspective of a kubernetes operator / infrastructure engineer, since my job right now is to set up Kubernetes and make it work well.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • 10 layers of Linux container security

      Containers provide an easy way to package applications and deliver them seamlessly from development to test to production. This helps ensure consistency across a variety of environments, including physical servers, virtual machines (VMs), or private or public clouds. These benefits are leading organizations to rapidly adopt containers in order to easily develop and manage the applications that add business value.

    • Linux 4.14-rc4

      Another week, another -rc.

      This release does seem to continue to be more active in the rc’s than
      usual, but it actually feels like it’s calming down. So rc4 is larger
      than an rc4 release usually is (about 400 non-merge commits, when
      usually at this stage we should be at ~300), but at the same time it
      feels fairly normal. There was the watchdog merge that I already
      mentioned in the rc3 release, but other than that it looks much more
      like a normal rc than rc3 did, for example.

      In particular, ignoring that core watchdog thing, it’s the usual
      “mostly drivers and arch updates”. This time most of the arch updates
      (by far) are arm, and the driver5s are dominated by networking, but
      there’s other stuff in there too (USB, MMC, HID..). And then the usual
      random stuff elsewhere.

    • Linux 4.14-rc4 Arrives With This LTS Cycle Still Being Very Busy
    • What the data says about how Linux kernel developers collaborate

      When I worked in the Open Source Technology Center at Intel, we had quite a few kernel developers on the team, and I was always interested in how they worked so closely with people from a wide variety of companies, including our competitors.

      One of the interesting things about the Linux kernel is that the vast majority of people who contribute to it are employed by companies to do this work; however, most of the academic research on open source software assumes that participants are volunteers, contributing because of some personal need or altruistic motivation. Although this is true for some projects, this assumption just isn’t valid for projects like the Linux kernel. To learn more, I interviewed 16 kernel developers to talk about how people work together in the kernel.

    • AMD Packs In More AMDGPU Features For Linux 4.15

      The Linux 4.15 kernel is looking to be a very exciting update for AMDGPU DRM driver users.

      AMDGPU for Linux 4.15 is already very exciting as it should finally have the DC display code and enabled by default for RX Vega users. On top of that there’s also been other AMDGPU Direct Rendering Manager work including an increased fragment size and a variety of other changes.

    • 2018 will be the year of the RISC V Linux processors

      Linux fanboys tend to announce a lot of “year of” events. There is the year of the desktop which appears to be every year and still never happens and now there is the year of RISC V Linux processor.

    • Linux Gets Its First Multi-Core, RISC-V Based Open Source Processor

      Last year, Silicon Valley Startup SiFive released the first open source SoC (system on a chip), which was named Freeform Everywhere 310. Now, going one step ahead from the embedded systems, the company has released U54-MC Coreplex IP, which is the world’s first RISC-V based 64-bit quad-core CPU that supports fully featured operating systems like Linux.

      Before telling you about the new U54-MC, let me introduce you to the basics of RISC-V CPUs. The traditional Complex Instruction Set Computing (CISC) and Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC) do justice to their names and focus on the difficulty level of instructions as well as optimizations.

    • Linux Kernel 4.14 LTS Expected to Arrive Early Next Month, RC4 Ready for Testing

      A day later than expected, the fourth RC (Release Candidate) build of the upcoming Linux 4.14 LTS kernel series has been announced earlier today by Linus Torvalds, who gives us an insight into the development cycle.

      According to Linus Torvalds, things are starting calming down for the development cycle of Linux kernel 4.14, which will be the next long-term support (LTS) release, and while today’s RC4 milestone is bigger than a Release Candidate should be at this stage, it’s still fairly normal, with the exception of a large watchdog merge.

      “In particular, ignoring that core watchdog thing, it’s the usual “mostly drivers and Arch updates”. This time most of the arch updates (by far) are ARM, and the drivers are dominated by networking, but there’s other stuff in there too (USB, MMC, HID..). And then the usual random stuff elsewhere,” said Linus Torvalds in the mailing list announcement.

    • Linux Foundation Adds 15 New Silver Members

      99Cloud: The largest OpenStack community in China and China’s largest professional OpenStack training institution.

      AIG Technologies: A developer and manufacturer of personal care, cosmetic, OTC (over-the-counter) and pharmaceutical topical drug products.

      Aqua Security: Security company focused on container-based applications from development to production.

      Dynamic Coin: An open sourced, fully decentralized, peer-to-peer (P2P) currency.

      Dynatrace: A digital performance management provider offering AI-powered, full stack, automated monitoring.

      Fiberhome Technologies Group: A leading equipment vendor and global solution provider the field of information technology and telecommunications.

      GameCredits: A universal currency and virtual wallet for 2.6 billion gamers worldwide.

      Gigaspaces: Provides a leading in-memory computing platform for fast data analytics and extreme transaction processing.

      Huizhou Desay SV Automotive: Research, development and manufacturing of in-vehicle infotainment systems, climate control, driver information display systems, automotive display modules/systems, body control modules and advanced driver assistance systems.

      iconectiv: Provides solutions for the interconnection of networks, devices, and applications.

      LogDNA: A cloud-based log management system that allows engineering and DevOps to aggregate all system and application logs into a single platform.

      NGINX: A web server that is also used as a reverse proxy, load balancer and HTTP cache.

      Openet: A company that provides software solutions and consulting services primarily to telecoms.

      The Patientory Foundation: Promotes and develops new technologies and applications, especially in the fields of new open and decentralized software architectures.

      Trend Micro: is a leader in hybrid cloud, endpoint, and network security solutions.

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • Mining Ethereum With AMD Threadrippers Paired With Four RX Vega 64 GPUs

        If you do not have time to read the full article here the short version in one sentence: No, it is not practical to run Ethereum on AMD Vega 64 graphics cards on Linux because the ROCm OpenCL stack in the AMDGPU-PRO 17.30 is very slow in Ethereum so the whole system with four Vega64 cards make 16-23Mh/s and even a single old AMD-RX470 with the old Closed-source OpenCL AMDGPU-PRO stack run ~20+ Mh/s… This all could be the effect of the exponential function Ethereum-ICE-AGE Bomb…

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Qt 5.10 Beta Released

        I am pleased to announce that Qt 5.10 Beta 1 is now released. Convenient online binary installers are available for trying out features coming in Qt 5.10. We will follow similar Beta process as with Qt 5.9 and provide multiple Beta releases via the online installer.

      • Qt 5.10 Beta Released

        Qt 5.10 Alpha had arrived last month as two weeks late while The Qt Company has managed to tighten things up and deliver Qt 5.10 Beta now less than one week later than originally scheduled.

      • KMyMoney’s WebConnect

        Recently, I opened a new online account at a new institution. Unfortunately, they do not provide a direct online access using a protocol such as HBCI or OFX which are already integrated into KMyMoney, but only a web frontend. So what, I thought, I won’t use it on a daily basis and can probably live with manually entering the transactions into the ledger.

      • QupZilla 2.2 Released As The Browser’s Last

        QupZilla 2.2 has been released as the last feature release for this open-source web-browser project prior to its re-branding initiative under the KDE umbrella as the Falkon project.

      • QupZilla 2.2.0 released!

        Final release of QupZilla is now available!

        As already stated, QupZilla will now get only bugfix releases and next major release will be under the Falkon name.

      • KMail User Survey Results, Part 1

        Back in August, we ran a survey to get input from our users and get a better understanding of how they use KMail. First, let me start by thanking everyone who took their time to fill in the survey. We collected over 3000 responses which is much more than we expected. Thank you very much! We got some interesting numbers and data from the survey, which I’ll analyze later, but to my big surprise, the most interesting part was the comments that many of you left at the end of the survey. We got over 1000 comments which provided us with a consistent feedback from the userbase. In this and the next blog posts, I want to address the common themes, complaints, and remarks that appeared in the comments, address the concerns raised and present some action plans that we are going to take to address those.

      • KTextEditorPreviewPlugin 0.2.0

        The KTextEditorPreviewPlugin software provides the KTextEditor Document Preview Plugin, a plugin for the editor Kate, the IDE KDevelop, or other software using the KTextEditor framework.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • KaOS 2017.09

        KaOS is a rolling release distribution built from scratch. It’s stated aim is “to create the highest quality distribution possible”. For that, it uses the Linux kernel, the KDE Plasma desktop and Arch’s Pacman package manager. Interestingly, the project’s website states that they are hoping to one day replace the Linux kernel with the Illumos kernel.

      • BunsenLabs Linux Deuterium review – Too much work

        Debian base, kernel 3.X, a desktop and some apps. That’s pretty much that. This is true in 90% of the cases, and the distinguishing factor is tiny, if any. But I’d like to believe there should be more, so that I can feel like I’m not just repeating same old stuff over and over without any real benefit or unique advantage. BunsenLabs Deuterium gives us a lightweight setup, it truly is that, but on any moderately decent hardware, the advantage goes away, and in its place, you get the horrible ergonomics of Openbox, which is simply not suited for any reasonable, modern work.

        Hardware support is mediocre, the installation process is quirky, it’s very hard to customize the desktop, network support is average, and in the end, you need to invest energy to achieve something you get out of the box with any other desktop environment. There’s really no justifiable reason for that. Perhaps Deuterium will appeal to a small base of users, who want the flexibility and simplicity of Openbox, but for the vast majority of people, it’s a hassle.

        So much in fact that I gave up. There wasn’t anything cardinally wrong with the distro. But it’s like walking into a store, seeing something, and then you move on, because there was no magic. Something like 2/10. Well, maybe next time. Or perhaps a different desktop environment.

    • New Releases

      • Chakra 2017.10 “Goedel” released

        We are excited to announce the second Chakra release of 2017, which you can download now via torrent or https.

      • Chakra GNU/Linux 2017.10 “Goedel” Released with KDE Plasma 5.10.5, Linux 4.12.4

        If you’re planning on trying out the Chakra GNU/Linux distribution, which is originally based on Arch Linux and built around the KDE desktop environment, you should know that there’s a new installation image available to download.

        Dubbed “Goedel” after the philosopher, mathematician, and logician Kurt Goedel, Chakra GNU/Linux 2017.10 was launched this past weekend as the most recent ISO image or installation medium of the Linux distro, packed full of updated technologies and core components for those who want to deploy the OS on new computers.

      • 4MParted 23.0 Disk Partitioning Live OS Enters Beta Based on Latest GParted Tool

        After he released last week the third minor maintenance update for the stable 4MLinux 22.0 operating system series, developer Zbigniew Konojacki‏ today informed us on the availability of a Beta version of his upcoming 4MParted 23.0 disk partitioning live system.

        Based on the forthcoming 4MLinux 23.0 operating system series, 4MParted 23.0 Beta is using the latest Gparted 0.29.0 open-source and free disk partitioning tool at its core, giving users an independent live system for all sorts of disk partitioning tasks, supporting numerous filesystems.

    • Arch Family

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian GNU/Linux 9.2 “Stretch” Live & Installable ISOs Now Available to Download

        As expected, the recently released Debian GNU/Linux 9.2 “Stretch” maintenance update is now available to download from the official mirrors as installable and live ISOs for those who want to deploy the Linux OS on new PCs.

        Debian GNU/Linux 9.2 is the second point release of the Debian Stretch operating system series, coming two and a half months after the first maintenance update. As initially reported, it brings more than 150 security and bug fixes combined, offering users an up-to-date installation medium.

      • Debian 9.2 ‘Stretch’ Linux-based operating system is here — download the distro now

        Debian is one of the most important Linux-based operating systems. It is a great distribution in its own right, but it is also the foundation of many other distros. For instance, Ubuntu is largely based on Debian, and then many operating systems are based on Ubuntu. If you were to look at a Linux “family tree,” many roads would lead back to the wonderful Debian.

        The most recent version of Debian is 9.x, code-named “Stretch”. The second point release for the operating system, version 9.2, is now available. There are many bug fixes — plus significant security patches — so despite being a point release, it is still very important.

      • Debian GNU/Linux 9.2 “Stretch” Released With Tons Of Fixes
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Is the rise of open source connected to a decline in selfishness?

    In an age of political animus, increasing hostility toward “others,” and 24/7 media coverage that seems to focus on the negative, a recent article in Frontiers in Psychology provides a glimmer of hope, particularly for those who live in the United States.

    Written by Yale University academic Gabriel Grant, “Exploring the Possibility of Peak Individualism, Humanity’s Existential Crisis, and an Emerging Age of Purpose” aims to clear up two competing views of today’s cultural narrative in the United States. First is the traditional view of the next generation—millennials—whom many view as individualistic, materialistic, and narcissistic. Some even refer to millennials as “Gen Me” in response to those who develop their “personal brand” with selfies and social media posts.

  • A step change in managing your calendar, without social media

    Have you been to an event recently involving free software or a related topic? How did you find it? Are you organizing an event and don’t want to fall into the trap of using Facebook or Meetup or other services that compete for a share of your community’s attention?

    Are you keen to find events in foreign destinations related to your interest areas to coincide with other travel intentions?

    Have you been concerned when your GSoC or Outreachy interns lost a week of their project going through the bureaucracy to get a visa for your community’s event? Would you like to make it easier for them to find the best events in the countries that welcome and respect visitors?

    In many recent discussions about free software activism, people have struggled to break out of the illusion that social media is the way to cultivate new contacts. Wouldn’t it be great to make more meaningful contacts by attending more a more diverse range of events rather than losing time on social media?

  • Three Steps to Gaining Influence in an Open Source Project as a New Enterprise Contributor

    When The Linux Foundation started OpenDaylight, our first networking project, nobody that I was working with had ever done open source before. Four years later there has been a significant shift in the entire networking industry. And we’re watching this transformation happen from one industry to the next.

    In those four years, I’ve also witnessed many large organizations with significant engineering investments blunder their way into open source. For example, they might just fly in and drop 20,000 awesome lines of code into a project and then get upset that nobody actually picked it up.

  • OpenDaylight sets focus on accelerating time to market for Nitrogen, Oxygen open source initiatives

    As OpenDaylight gears up for its ODL-Developer focused event to introduce ideas and planning activities during the Oxygen development cycle, a key focus of the group is to accelerate the time it takes to release new projects into the open source community.

    The organization has continued to move quickly on new projects like its latest release of Nitrogen and upcoming ones like Oxygen.

  • How CBC Radio Canada wants to create open-source SMPTE 2110 software

    Many of the people who journeyed to IBC to affirm their plans for moving to IP will have been at the EBU’s open source event to extend their ambitions once they had caught wind of CBC Radio Canada’s plan to create an open source solution for the integration of the SMPTE ST 2110 interface.

    [...]

    “We strongly believe in true open standards and interoperability between multiple vendors. In production, separate multicast streams for video and audio are a must. We also believe that the pace of innovation of Ethernet technologies is such that compression is not required for most of our real-time production requirements,” said Legrand. “Our first objective was to help TR03/ST2110 became the de facto standard by providing the market with an OSS implementation. We chose FFmpeg because it’s an open source media pipeline used in a large number of consumer and professional media products.”

  • Free Software Efforts (2017W40)

    In this week I have looked at censorship in Catalonia and had my “deleted” Facebook account hacked (which made HN front page). I’ve also been thinking about DRM on the web.

  • The EME Debacle: A Moodler’s Perspective. Open Source News Roundup

    Last September, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), representing “major organizations such as Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Mozilla, Apple, [and] Adobe,” published specifications for Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) and recommended its adoption as a modern web standard. According to the Consortium, EME will allow playback and streaming of encrypted media content. Among EME features, there are content protection mechanisms, encryption/decryption modules, the concept of “licensing servers,” and distribution packaging services for EME-compatible content. While EME serves many purposes, it clearly supports Digital Rights Management (DRM) practices that bind reproduction of media to a client or user with the proper key or license.

    [...]

    In Moodle, an active movement of openness in technology and educational resources seems to protect us from any negative consequences of this predicament, at least for the time being. Just like when commercial LMS started to appear after Moodle, competitive open source solutions continued to thrive and do to this day. Still, no purely economic argument for openness exists that is fully convincing. Until more satisfying evidence appears, it’s best to assume that the existence of technologies like Moodle relies on ideology and values –even at the risk of looking paranoid– rather than strictly financial sense, for open source’s own sake.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • The most important Firefox command line options

        The Firefox web browser supports a number of command line options that it can be run with to customize startup of the web browser.

        You may have come upon some of them in the past, for instance the command -P “profile name” to start the browser with the specified profile, or -private to start a new private browsing session.

        The following guide lists important command line options for Firefox. It is not a complete list of all available options, as many are used only for specific purposes that have little to no value to users of the browser.

  • Databases

    • PostgreSQL says SCRAM to MD5 authentication

      release of PostgreSQL 10, the open source database’s developers are farewelling the deprecated MD5 in their authentication mechanism.

      Released late last week, PostgreSQL 10 instead uses an SHA-256 implementation of the Salted Challenge-Response Authentication Mechanism (SCRAM-SHA-256, described in RFC7677).

      The database has also gained the ability to distribute workloads across multiple nodes.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Collabora Online 2.1.4 released

      Collabora Productivity, the driving force behind putting LibreOffice in the Cloud, is excited to announce a new release of its flagship enterprise-ready cloud document suite – Collabora Online 2.1.4, with new features and multiple improvements.

      The Collabora Online Development Edition (CODE) has been updated to version 2.1.4 as well.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • gnURL 7.56.0 released

      Merges from cURL 7.56.0 upstream release and some gnURL specific fixes.
      For more info you can read the git log or the generated CHANGELOG file (only present in the tarball).

  • Programming/Development

    • GitLab raises $20M Series C round led by GV
    • GitLab raises $20 Million Series C Round Led by GV to Complete DevOps
    • GitLab raises $20 million in funding to create DevOps software, tools
    • Why I still choose Ruby

      So putting the performance aspect of these environments aside we need to look at the syntactic nature of these languages as well as the features and tools they offer for developers. The last is the easiest to tackle as these days most notable languages come with compilers/interpreters, debuggers, task systems, test suites, documentation engines, and much more. This was not always the case though as Ruby was one of the first languages that pioneered builtin package management through rubygems, and integrated dependency solutions via gemspecs, bundler, etc. CPAN and a few other language-specific online repositories existed before, but with Ruby you got integration that was a core part of the runtime environment and community support. Ruby is still known to be on the leading front of integrated and end-to-end solutions.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • OpenDocument Format Plugfest and test site

      We will be checking how well ODF supported in different software packages. Anyone can participate on-line, because we have built a website to do this testing.

      In this blog, I will explain what this website does so you can participate. The first twenty people that participate on-line tomorrow will receive a ‘thank you’ postcard.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • A Program from a 35 Year Old Magazine for “BASIC Month” and a Chat with Its Author
    • Universities must rediscover the passion for knowledge

      It’s up to universities to produce well-rounded students, but when courses are forced upon students, they end up doing the opposite. In the US, as it is everywhere, there are more and more students who go to university without a clue of what they want to do with their life. After graduation, many more end up in jobs that have nothing to do with their degree. When they start university, they are forced to sit through a series of subjects they have no interest in because it is said this will help guide them into their career. But these compulsory general-education courses have become pure academic profit-seeking. Instead of swaying students into a career path, they have led to increased apathy and confusion among students.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Galveston’s BioLab Amid Global Warming

      Ken Kramer grew up in the 1950s and 1960s in Houston. As a child he spent a lot of time on Galveston, an island about 50 miles away in the Gulf of Mexico. Kramer experienced Hurricane Carla in 1961 with gusts of 175 mph and a storm surge of 22 feet. It destroyed 120 buildings on Galveston, though the eye was 120 miles away. He also studied the 1900 storm that devastated the island. The Great Hurricane of Galveston is still the worst humanitarian, natural disaster in U.S. history. Somewhere between 8,000 and 12,000 people were killed.

    • Trump’s Hurt Feelings over Puerto Rico

      The federal response to Hurricane Maria’s devastation of Puerto Rico has come under harsh criticism, including President Trump’s delay in even recognizing the extent of the catastrophe and then his foisting blame on San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz Soto, who literally has been waist-deep in working against the flood.

  • Security

    • Forget stealing data — these hackers broke into Amazon’s cloud to mine bitcoin

      A report from the security intelligence group RedLock found at least two companies which had their AWS cloud services compromised by hackers [sic] who wanted nothing more than to use the computer power to mine the cryptocurrency bitcoin. The hackers [sic] ultimately got access to Amazon’s cloud servers after discovering that their administration consoles weren’t password protected.

    • Disqus discovers hack [sic] of 17.5m user details after five years

      The biggest Web comment hosting service Disqus was breached in 2012 but the company only knew of it last week, according to an announcement made on Friday.

    • A Mysterious Virus Has Infiltrated America’s Drone Program

      There’s something deeply wrong at Creech Air Force Base, the notorious home of America’s drone program, where pilots remotely order US Reaper and Predator drones to unleash destructive missile strikes on unsuspecting villagers in Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and other war zones.

      Less than a week after the Department of Homeland Security advised all federal agencies using anti-virus software created by Kaspersky Labs to remove the programs from their systems immediately, Ars Technica reports that two weeks ago the Defense Information Systems Agency detected mysterious spyware embedded in the drone “cockpits” – the control stations that pilots use to control the deadly machines.

    • CyberShaolin: Teaching the Next Generation of Cybersecurity Experts

      Reuben Paul is not the only kid who plays video games, but his fascination with games and computers set him on a unique journey of curiosity that led to an early interest in cybersecurity education and advocacy and the creation of CyberShaolin, an organization that helps children understand the threat of cyberattacks. Paul, who is now 11 years old, will present a keynote talk at Open Source Summit in Prague, sharing his experiences and highlighting insecurities in toys, devices, and other technologies in daily use.

    • [Open Source Security Podcast] Episode 65 – Will aliens overthrow us before AI?
  • Defence/Aggression

    • UK trade department draws half its secondees from arms industry

      Half of the private sector employees seconded to the Department for International Trade have strong links to the defence industry, according to new figures.

      The revelation has drawn accusations that Liam Fox’s department, which promotes Britain’s commercial exports, is “shamelessly cosy” with arms traders and ignoring other industries.

      The department said its secondees from the private sector provided “valuable business insight and experience”.

    • War, Rumours Of War, And Stupidity

      This is a very dangerous game as NK has some nukes that will be used or lost, hordes of artillery, infantry and armour that will be used if hostilities break out. Indeed, if Kim decides Trump will attack, Kim may well decide to attack first with artillery including rockets and nukes against the South. Hundreds of thousands could die in the first day. USA does not have the manpower and neither does the South to hold back Kim’s hordes so tactical nukes are almost certain to be used. If USA applies air-power over the North, Russia and China may attack and a royal mess will happen including four sources of tactical nukes. The Korean war may be fought over the last cinder behind which a Korean is hiding.

      Checks and balances are not working in USA. Congress is powerless to impeach Trump until stuff really hits the fan.

    • America’s Long History of Warfare

      Often this is aimed at controlling foreign resources, thus forcing upon others the consequences of their own capitalist avarice. At other times the violence is spurred on by an ideology that confuses U.S. interests with civilization and freedom. Only very rarely is Washington out there on the side of the angels. Regardless, the bottom line seems to be that peace has never been a deeply ingrained cultural value for the citizens of the United States. As pertains to foreign policy, America’s national culture is a war culture.

      It is against this historical backdrop that the recent Ken Burns 18-hour-long documentary on the Vietnam War comes off as superficial. There is a subtle suggestion that while those American leaders who initiated and escalated the war were certainly deceptive, murderously stubborn and even self-deluded, they were so in what they considered to be a good cause. They wanted to stop the spread of Communism at a time when the Cold War defined almost all of foreign policy, and if that meant denying the Vietnamese the right of national unification, so be it. The Burns documentary is a visual demonstration of the fact that such a strategy could not work. Nonetheless, American leaders, both civilian and military, could not let go.

      What the Burns documentary does not tell us – and it is this that makes the work superficial – is that none of this was new. Almost all preceding American violence abroad had been rationalized by the same or related set of excuses that kept the Vietnam slaughter going: the Revolutionary War was about “liberty,” the genocidal wars against the Native Americans were about spreading “civilization,” the wars against Mexico and Spain were about spreading “freedom,” and once capitalism became officially synonymous with freedom, the dozens of bloody incursions into Central and South America also became about our “right” to carry on “free enterprise.” As time went by, when Washington wasn’t spreading “freedom,” it was defending it. And so it goes, round and round.

    • At Bannon’s Behest, Blackwater Founder and War-Profiteer Erik Prince Mulling Senate Run

      Encouraged by former White House chief strategist and current executive chairman of Breitbart Steve Bannon, Blackwater founder and “notorious mercenary” Erik Prince is reportedly considering a 2018 Senate run in Wyoming against incumbent Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.).

      Prince’s plan was first reported by the New York Times on Sunday. Though Prince has few personal or political ties to Wyoming, the Times notes that the state is “attractive” to him “because it has none of the personal political entanglements he would face in his home state of Michigan.”

    • Iranian President: ‘Entire World Will Condemn America’ if Trump Kills Nuclear Deal

      “We have achieved benefits that are irreversible. Nobody can roll them back, neither Trump, nor 10 other Trumps,” Rouhani said in an address to students at Tehran University. “If the United States violates [the nuclear deal], the entire world will condemn America, not Iran.”

      Right-wing hawks within and outside of the Trump administration have for months urged the president to scrap the accord, which he repeatedly slammed on the campaign trail.

      Critics have argued that withdrawing from the deal would represent an embrace of “war over peace.”

    • Iran warns U.S. against imposing further sanctions

      Iran warned the United States against designating its Revolutionary Guards Corp as a terrorist group and said U.S. regional military bases would be at risk if further sanctions were passed.

      The warning came after the White House said on Friday that President Donald Trump would announce new U.S. responses to Iran’s missile tests, support for “terrorism” and cyber operations as part of his new Iran strategy.

    • “Sonic Attacks” in Cuba: Who Benefits?

      Consider this. The United States government doesn’t know who’s responsible for the so-called acoustic attacks on its embassy personnel in Havana. Then consider this. Cuban president Raúl Castro didn’t simply claim his government had nothing to do with the incidents, he did the unthinkable and invited the FBI to investigate. FBI agents haven’t been able to figure it out. Neither have American acoustics specialists or medical experts. Even Canada’s Mounties, whose own diplomats reported similar attacks, are stymied.

    • Trump Threatens War on North Korea, Saying, “Only One Thing Will Work!”

      The president’s spat with Sen. Corker came as Trump repeated threats of war against North Korea throughout the weekend, tweeting, “Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements made and massive amounts of money paid hasn’t worked, agreements violated before the ink was dry, makings fools of U.S. negotiators. Sorry, but only one thing will work!” In brief comments to reporters Saturday, Trump was asked to clarify that remark—as well as a cryptic comment he made last week during a meeting with top generals in which he warned about about the “calm before the storm.”

    • How I Never Learned to Stop Worrying and Always Hated the Bomb

      In 2012, at a local chapter meeting of a national veterans group soon after the article “The Legacy of the Nuclear Freeze Movement” appeared at CounterPunch, the chapter head of the organization criticized me for downplaying the ongoing threat to world peace that nuclear weapons posed. The major premise of the piece was that the Nuclear Freeze Movement of the early 1980s was only a marginally effective campaign against nuclear weapons and their proliferation. In 2012, it seemed to me that the threat of their use was not high on the list of a cause for action. By then, the peace movement was so weak that the threat of nuclear war was not high on the list of those who still were antiwar protesters.

      Fast-forward to Donald Trump’s meeting on October 5, 2017 with military leaders. Speaking to reporters, Trump said, “This is the calm before the storm.” When questioned about what he meant by that statement, Trump’s retort was “You’ll see.” (“In meeting with military, Trump talks of ‘calm before the storm,’” Reuters, October 5, 2017).

    • What America Taught the Nazis

      There was no more extravagant site for Third Reich political theater than the spectacular parade grounds, two large stadiums, and congress hall in Nuremberg, a project masterminded by Albert Speer. From 1933 to 1938, he choreographed massive rallies associated with the annual conference of the Nazi Party, assemblies made famous by Leni Riefenstahl’s stunning documentaries of 1933 and 1935, The Victory of Faith and Triumph of the Will. Nuremberg was the setting for the September 1935 “Party Rally of Freedom,” at which a special session of the Reichstag passed, by acclamation, legislation that disqualified Jews as Reich citizens with political rights, forbade them to marry or have sex with persons identified as racial Germans, and prohibited any display by Jews of national colors or the new national flag, a banner with a swastika.

      Just eight days after the Reich Citizenship Law, the Law on the Protection of German Blood and German Honor, and the Reich Flag Law were formally proclaimed by Adolf Hitler, 45 Nazi lawyers sailed for New York under the auspices of the Association of National Socialist German Jurists. The trip was a reward for the lawyers, who had codified the Reich’s race-based legal philosophy. The announced purpose of the visit was to gain “special insight into the workings of American legal and economic life through study and lectures,” and the leader of the group was Ludwig Fischer. As the governor of the Warsaw District half a decade later, he would preside over the brutal order of the ghetto.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • The Sam Adams Associates – the Weirdest Club in the World

      Since 2002 a unique award ceremony has taken place annually in either the USA or Europe: the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence. This year it occurred in Washington DC on 22 September and was given to veteran journalist and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Seymour Hersh.

      Why unique? Well the group comprising the Sam Adams Associates is made up of former Western intelligence, military and diplomatic professionals, many of whom have spoken out about abuses and crimes committed by their employers. For their pains, most have lost their jobs and some have also lost their liberty.

      Laureates include US army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley (Time person of the year in 2002 and the first SAA laureate), publisher Julian Assange, UK Ambassador Craig Murray, and co-ordinator of the US National Intelligence Estimate on Iran in 2007, Dr Tom Fingar.

      The common theme that binds this disparate group together into a rather weird, wonderful and very informal global club is that they have all attempted to shine a light on the dark corners of government, to speak truth to power and expose wrongdoing and “fake news” for the greater good of humanity. It is appalling that they have to pay such a high personal price for doing this, which is why the Sam Adams Associates provides recognition and presents as its annual award – a candle stick, the “corner brightener”.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Trump: Anomaly in Continuity

      If its environmental policies are not soon reversed, the Trump administration will do incalculable harm to future generations. And, as the custodian of America’s nuclear arsenal and Commander-in-Chief of what is potentially the most lethal military force in the history of the world, the harm Trump could do, and seems always on the brink of doing, to persons now living is, if anything, even more grave. So far, though, what the Donald has harmed most is the office he holds and America’s standing in the world.

    • Hurricane Nate Brings Power Outages and Flooding to Gulf Coast

      On the Gulf Coast, Hurricane Nate made landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River in southeastern Louisiana Saturday night as a Category 1 storm, making a second landfall later that night near Biloxi, Mississippi. The storm brought power outages and flooding to parts of the region but did not result in the sorts of damage seen by this year’s far more powerful hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

    • Carbon emissions from warming soils could trigger disastrous feedback loop

      Warming soils are releasing more carbon into the atmosphere than previously thought, suggesting a potentially disastrous feedback mechanism whereby increases in global temperatures will trigger massive new carbon releases in a cycle that may be impossible to break.

      The increased production of carbon comes from the microbes within soils, according to a report in the peer-review journal Science, published on Friday.

      The 26-year study is one of the biggest of its kind, and is a groundbreaking addition to our scant knowledge of exactly how warming will affect natural systems.

  • Finance

    • How Big Corporations Game Our Democracy Into Their Plutocracy

      A major chapter in American history – rarely taught in our schools – is how ever larger corporations have moved to game, neutralize and undermine the people’s continual efforts to protect our touted democratic society. It is a fascinating story of the relentless exercise of power conceived or seized by corporations, with the strategic guidance of corporate lawyers.

      Start with their birth certificate – the state charters that bring these corporate entities into existence, with limited liability for their investors. In the early 1800s, the Massachusetts legislature chartered many of the textile manufacturing companies. These charters could be renewed on good behavior, because lawmakers then viewed charters as privileges contingent on meeting the broad interests of society.

    • Puerto Rico Needs Aid, Not an Occupation

      DONALD TRUMP couldn’t resist taking the opportunity of his visit on Tuesday to lecture the people of Puerto Rico about how grateful they should be–to him, of course–and how horrible they are for daring to suffer.

      Unbelievably–or perhaps all too believably, considering who we’re talking about–Trump declared that the island’s 3.4 million inhabitants, who are still trying to survive without basic necessities two weeks after being hit head-on by Hurricane Maria, aren’t enduring a “real catastrophe.”

    • Brexit has led to falling real wages in the UK

      The UK has not yet left the European Union and the long-term economic effects of Brexit remain unknown. However, one of the trends which has attracted attention so far is a drop in real wages for UK workers, which many economists have put down to the immediate depreciation of the pound after the referendum and a subsequent rise in the cost of imports. Simon Wren-Lewis (Oxford University) explains that the picture is more complex than this, and that UK firms are anticipating a decline in the terms of trade following Brexit by not allowing nominal wages to rise to compensate for higher import prices.

    • Your money or your morals: capitalism and fossil fuel divestment

      The fossil fuel divestment campaign has become one of the most rapidly growing divestment movements in history and has unified an impressive diversity of supporters—from liberal Californian universities to the Rockefeller’s family trust. But the contradictions between divestment and the logic of neoliberalism are enduring, and arguments between campaigners and their opponents are typically framed by questions relating to efficiency, feasibility, and the ethics of using fossil fuels.

      Such questions are certainly important to ask, but we should also look beyond them, because by doing so we can uncover the deeper ethical contradictions inherent to capitalism which shed important light on strategies for change.

      Economists and philosophers have long disputed whether capitalism’s theoretical potential to harness human self-interest for the greater good of society is a virtue or a vice. Many argue that capitalism doesn’t just harness a natural human inclination towards self-interest, but rather systematically cultivates it. Others point to the vast increases in material wealth experienced around the world over the past centuries as all the proof we need of capitalism’s superiority; in this view, debates about the morality of self-interest as the driving force of change become irrelevant.

    • An ISDS lobbyist in the EU Court of Justice?

      EU Court of Justice’s Advocate General (AG) Melchior Wathelet finds that investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) agreements between EU countries are compatible with the EU treaties. (Opinion in the Achmea v. Slovak republic, the ruling of the Court will follow later.) ISDS gives private parties access to the supranational level to challenge government decisions. The AG sees the ISDS tribunal in question as a court or tribunal common to two EU Member States.

      Unfortunately, as I will explain below, in his Opinion the AG disregards known issues and options. I will argue that if the AG wouldn’t have disregarded these issues and options, he couldn’t have reached his conclusion. Specifically, the AG disregards known issues regarding independence and impartiality of ISDS tribunals.

    • Theresa May refuses to deny receiving secret legal advice that Brexit can be stopped

      Theresa May is refusing to deny she has received secret legal advice that Brexit can be stopped if MPs vote against any exit deal she secures.

      The Prime Minister’s spokesman dodged questions about the controversy, insisting the Government does not “comment on government legal advice”.

      No 10 has been accused of suppressing advice that the Article 50 notification can be withdrawn unilaterally (if necessary), which would leave the UK in the EU on its current terms.

    • Equifax Breach Fallout: Your Salary History

      In May, KrebsOnSecurity broke a story about lax security at a payroll division of big-three credit bureau Equifax that let identity thieves access personal and financial data on an unknown number of Americans. Incredibly, this same division makes it simple to access detailed salary and employment history on a large portion of Americans using little more than someone’s Social Security number and date of birth — both data elements that were stolen in the recent breach at Equifax.

    • Green MEP urges members to back Stop Brexit position

      Molly, who is Green Party speaker on Brexit, has reaffirmed a commitment to a ratification referendum at the Party’s conference in Harrogate and has told members it is the best way to reverse the decision to leave the EU.

      In her speech to conference, Molly said:

      “I believe that the historic mistake to leave the EU can and must be reversed. It is through championing our ratification referendum and campaigning to remain in the EU in such a referendum that the people will bring an end to this damaging and dangerous chapter in our county’s history. I believe as Greens we must add our voices to the growing chorus demanding that we can – and we must – Stop Brexit!”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Spain: shall we talk?

      Independent of their views on Catalan independence, many were horrified by the police brutality and the authoritarian stance taken by the Popular Party against peaceful people who were expressing their right to express themselves through a vote. The increase in repression against peaceful protest notably since the mass mobilizations following 15-M is unfortunately not restricted to the recent and most visible manifestation in Cataluña, but has been a source of concern for human rights observers and activists mobilizing against the recent passage of the Law for the Protection of Citizen Security, more commonly known as the Gag Law (or Ley Mordaza). As if that weren’t bad enough, following the fiasco, neither side showed signs of sitting down and opening dialogue, with Catalan Parliament Carles Puigdemont threatening to carry out his original threat to unilaterally declare independence (DUI) following a favourable outcome in the referendum, despite participation of only 43% of the electoral census under conditions that do not guarantee the validity of the results (contrast with the 75% who voted in the 2015 Catalan elections) and the PP government threatening to invoke the never before used article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, which authorizes the state to dissolve the powers of the autonomous community by force if necessary in the case of a threat to the general interest of Spain.

    • We wondered why Trump was behaving like he is, but now we know: it’s all about revenge

      I and many non-imbeciles have wondered before if Trump took a far more monumental decision that night than Obama’s about bin Laden. Was that the moment he resolved to become President purely to punish Obama by dismantling his legacy?

      With each week that passes, it is more certain that it was. The longer it hurtles towards wherever it’s headed, the more transparently this festering excrescence of a presidency is revealed as a monstrous revenger fantasy brought to life.

    • Why Facebook is in a hole over data mining

      It’s Mark Zuckerberg’s business model that allows Facebook to be manipulated by political activists – no wonder he’s in denial about it

    • The 6 Most Downright Evil Things Done By Huge Companies

      Being a global-scale asshole with no conscience or regard for human life isn’t technically a requirement for running a major corporation, but it sure helps. While most companies will settle for screwing lots of people in little ways across many years, others simply say “Eh, what the hell” and go full supervillain in the name of profit.

    • Greens ‘are changing the debate’, co-leader tells members

      Greens have changed the political weather on issues from fracking to austerity, co-leader Jonathan Bartley will tell the party’s conference later.
      He will count the introduction of the Living Wage and keeping climate change high up the agenda as successes of the Green Party of England and Wales.
      It “will be the most influential” party in 21st Century politics, he will add.
      The conference in Harrogate comes four months after the snap election in which the Greens saw their vote share fall.
      Like the Lib Dems, SNP and UKIP, the Greens suffered as 82% of voters backed the Conservatives or Labour.

    • Brazilians in the south asked to vote on secession

      Voters in the south of Brazil have been asked in an informal vote whether they want to be part of a new country.

      The referendum was organised a week after a similar vote in Catalonia by a secessionist movement called “The South Is My Country”.

      The movement said it set up polls in more than 1,000 municipalities across the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná.
      The group’s leader, Celso Deucher, says he hopes to gather three million votes.

    • ‘Art Of The Deal’ Author Just Tweeted The Most Chilling Trump Warning Yet

      While the tweet in itself clearly is threatening war on North Korea, Schwartz’s comments just after it, only solidifies the fact that the President is using threats and attacks on Twitter to shift the media and the nation’s attention away from his own shortcomings. Considering Schwartz’s comments, one can only guess what the President’s response may be, should Special Counsel Robert Mueller recommend an indictment of any number of his family members, or even the President himself.

    • We can no longer pretend the British press is impartial

      Finally: there’s a debate about media bias. It’s becoming an unfortunate missed opportunity, though, because so far it’s only focusing on the leftwing blogs that have emerged in the past couple of years. Whatever the failings of, say, the Canary, it only gained traction because there is a substantial body of opinion in Britain which feels marginalised, unheard, and attacked by the broader media.

      The reason for that is this. Britain’s press is not an impartial disseminator of news and information. It is, by and large, a highly sophisticated and aggressive form of political campaigning and lobbying. It uses its extensive muscle to defend our current economic order which, after all, directly benefits the rich moguls who own almost the entire British press. Whether it’s the Sun, the Telegraph, the Times, the Daily Mail or the Daily Express, that means promoting the partisan interests of the Conservative party. The press has been instrumental in upholding the political consensus established by Thatcherism: deregulation, privatisation, low taxes on the rich and weak trade unions. It has traditionally defined what is politically acceptable and palatable in Britain, and ignored, demonised and humiliated individuals and movements which challenge this consensus.

      Rather than challenging powerful interests, the press is more interested in punching down, disseminating myths and outright lies in the process: from Hillsborough to immigrants to benefit claimants. Polling shows widespread acceptance of myths on everything from the true levels of benefit fraud and teenage pregnancies to how many immigrants there actually are in Britain, and media coverage plays a critical role in spreading these dangerous misconceptions. In the first two years of the Tory-Liberal Democrat government, a coalition of disability charities reported a surge in hate crimes against disabled people, partly because of inflammatory media coverage.

    • Mike Pence pisses away $200K+ in taxpayer money at staged protest

      United States’ top toady spent over $200K of taxpayer money flying to a football game he never intended to watch. Just another demonstration that the Trump administration continues to actively try and divide the country over race.

      I do not know much about football, but the two things I’ve come to understand will happen at a San Francisco 49ers game is that a) some players will take a knee and b) the San Francisco 49ers will lose. I’ve never seen a game. If you go, you expect to see players take a knee. Pence knows this.

    • Russian operatives used Twitter and Facebook to target veterans and military personnel, study says
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Twitter shuts down Blackburn campaign announcement video

      Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s Senate campaign announcement ad has been blocked by Twitter over a statement the abortion rights opponent makes about the sale of fetal tissue for medical research.

      Blackburn, who is running for the seat being opened by the retirement of Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, boasts in the ad that she “stopped the sale of baby body parts.” A Twitter representative told the candidate’s vendors on Monday that the statement was “deemed an inflammatory statement that is likely to evoke a strong negative reaction:

      Twitter said the Blackburn campaign would be allowed to run the rest of the video if the flagged statement is omitted. While the decision keeps Blackburn from paying to promote the video on Twitter, it doesn’t keep it from being linked from YouTube and other platforms.

    • Pierre Omidyar: 6 ways social media has become a direct threat to democracy
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Congress must take action to protect whistleblowers from the NSA

      At the end of this year, Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act is due to expire unless it is renewed by Congress. The provision is known for authorizing mass surveillance programs operated by the National Security Agency. If Congress renews the program, it should ensure strong whistleblower protections are in place to guard against abuse. Unfortunately, whistleblowers in national security and intelligence agencies today are specifically excluded from the protections applicable to employees and contractors of other federal agencies.

      Originally passed in 2008, the provision was hastily renewed in 2012 under the pressure of its looming expiration, and the doomsday predictions of government officials. “The FISA Act not only legitimated almost every thing president Bush had told me to do,” former NSA Director Michael Hayden said of the law, “but in fact gave the National Security Agency a great deal more authority to do these kind of things.”

    • The one change we need to surveillance law
    • [Old] The anonymous letters that started a decade-long stoush

      The question was absurd, and at the same time deadly serious. Australian intellectual property guru Francis Gurry was on the warpath and no stone was to be left unturned in unmasking the authors of the ugly, anonymous letters being sent to him – with copies landing on dozen of desks up and down Geneva’s diplomatic row.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Miami Beach Police Arrest Man for Making Parody Police Twitter Account
    • Let People Vote: Fighting to Restore America’s Voting Rights

      The four most common barriers to voting and how to tear them down.

      After President Obama’s election in 2008, some state legislatures responded to the increased turnout among young people and people of color by attempting to curb voting rights.

      The wave of voter suppression measures accelerated after the 2010 elections, with politicians enacting new laws that made it more difficult to register to vote and curtailed access to the ballot box. This effort got a boost from the Trump administration, which launched its own attacks on voting rights. Following President Trump’s baseless claim that 3 to 5 million people committed voter fraud during the 2016 election, the administration created the sham Pence-Kobach commission to push for restrictive voting laws.

      Voting restrictions disproportionately affect the elderly, low-income voters, young people, people with disabilities and communities of color. Many places that have imposed such restrictions also have a long and shameful history of racial discrimination. In the face of these growing attacks on constitutional rights, it is time to go on offense.

    • Why Trump Slaps Down Minority Protests

      First, when it comes to sports, Trump adores a big fat spectacle. He would have loved the Coliseum of ancient Rome. Can’t you just see him ruling over the games? Lions versus Christians or maybe one of the re-creations of a great Roman naval victory when they flooded the bottom of the arena with water and set ships ablaze, slaves giving up their lives for show business and special effects?

    • Filling Gaps Left By Trump, Nurses and Labor Unions Join Puerto Rico Relief Efforts

      As President Donald Trump continues to come under fire for failing to deliver sufficient help to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria—which killed dozens and left millions without power and running water—nurses, doctors, engineers, and other workers affiliated with various unions including National Nurses United (NNU) and the AFL-CIO have teamed up to assist with relief and recovery efforts.

    • How a network of citizen-spies foiled Nazi plots to exterminate Jews in 1930s L.A.

      On July 26, 1933, a group of Nazis held their first public rally in Los Angeles. As Jewish groups in the city debated how they should respond to Adolf Hitler’s persecution of Jews in Europe, L.A.’s Nazis, many of them German emigres, gathered at a biergarten downtown, wearing brown shirts and red, white and black armbands with swastikas.

      The Nazis belonged to a growing movement of white supremacists in L.A. that included many American brothers in hate: the Ku Klux Klan, a group of Hitler supporters known as the Silver Shirts, and a dozen like-minded organizations with vaguely patriotic names such as the American Nationalist Party, the Christian American Guard, and the National Protective Order of Gentiles.

      Some weeks ago, white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., chanted “Jews will not replace us.” Their predecessors were even less subtle: They called for “death to Jews.”

      Unwilling to wait and see if any of them would act on their threats, Leon Lewis, a Jewish lawyer and World War I veteran who had helped found the Anti-Defamation League, decided to investigate the anti-Semitic hate groups. In August 1933, mere weeks after the rally, Lewis recruited four fellow World War I veterans, plus their wives, to go undercover and join every Nazi and fascist group in the city.

    • 49ers’ Eric Reid: VP Pence leaving Colts game due to anthem protest was ‘PR stunt’

      “First of all, does anybody know the last time he went to a football game? With that being said, he tweeted out a three-year-old photo from the Colts game,” Reid told reporters, referring to what appears to be Pence reusing a photo that was originally taken during the 2014 season.

    • Dubai: British tourist faces jail ‘for accidentally touching man’s hip’ in bar

      A Scot is facing a three-year jail sentence in Dubai after putting his hand on a man in a bar so he did not “bump and spill drinks”, according to his representatives.

      Campaign group Detained in Dubai said Jamie Harron, from Stirling, was arrested for public indecency after touching a man on his hip.

      Mr Harron has reportedly spent more than £30,000 in expenses and legal fees, having been detained in the UAE since July.

    • The Sanitizing of Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks

      A lot of the debate around black NFL players kneeling to protest police killings and racism seems to take place in a historical vacuum. The history of athletes and protest is seldom mentioned and, what’s worse, the reason why Colin Kaepernick and his comrades began protesting during the national anthem has been drowned out in the shouting. On #MAGA twitter, flooded in recent weeks with angry mobs calling for a boycott of the NFL, various images have been making the rounds depicting Martin Luther King Jr. with his hand over his heart in respect for the American flag. One photo was accompanied by a message saying MLK “didn’t take the knee in protest of the flag or the anthem, he took the knee in prayer to God.” It was followed by the hashtag #BoycottNFL.

    • Have You Ever Unfriended Your Right-Wing Facebook Friends Out of Anger and Frustration?

      In 2015, Headlee, the host of Georgia Public Broadcasting’s “On Second Thought,” gave a TEDx talk on what we can do to have better conversations — and why we absolutely need to — that racked up nearly nine million views. On a recent episode of “Salon Talks,” she spoke about our fondness for echo chambers, and why they’re so detrimental to true discourse.

      “What we’re doing when we try to unfriend people in real life, and when we try to tailor life the way you tailor your Twitter feed,” she explained, “is you’re trying to strategize discomfort out of your life. You’re trying to never see opinions you don’t agree with; you’re trying to never have conversations that might devolve into an argument, and that means you’re going to surround yourself with people who agree with you.”

    • Pence Departure From NFL Game Slammed as ‘PR Stunt’ Orchestrated by Trump

      Vice President Mike Pence made headlines Sunday afternoon for leaving an Indianapolis Colts game after more than a dozen players on the opposing team—the San Francisco 49ers—kneeled during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality.

      While Pence implied that he left the game of his own volition, President Donald Trump tweeted an hour later that he “asked” Pence to “leave [the] stadium if any players kneeled.”

    • Inside The FBI’s Half-Secret Relationship With Hollywood

      When director Henry-Alex Rubin requested the FBI’s help with his 2012 cyber drama Disconnect, he wanted notes on the screenplay’s accuracy. But he suspected they wanted something more.

      “They understand that perception is everything,” he told BuzzFeed News of the FBI. “The more they are perceived well, the easier their job is.”

      He recalled that the FBI employee who reviewed the shooting draft of his film proposed changes to a scene in which two agents aggressively questioned a journalist.

    • “Human Flow”: World-Renowned Artist & Activist Ai Weiwei on His Epic New Documentary on Refugees

      The United Nations says there are now more refugees worldwide than at any time since World War II. The journey and struggle of these 65 million refugees is the subject of Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei’s epic new documentary. It’s called “Human Flow.” For the documentary, Ai Weiwei traveled to 23 countries and dozens of refugee camps. We speak to world-renowned Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei.

    • WPP companies lobbied for NRA – as ad firm claimed to oppose gun violence

      The British advertising and public relations company WPP has been one of the National Rifle Association’s most important political advocates in the last decade, with companies it owns collecting $1.46m (£1.1m) in lobbying fees since 2007 to further the US pro-gun group’s agenda.

      At the same time as companies owned by WPP helped the NRA block gun control legislation in Washington, WPP sought to portray itself as being opposed to gun violence. A sustainability report on its website points to a 2013 pro gun-control advert that one of its advertising companies produced pro bono as part of WPP’s human rights work.

      Last week the US had its deadliest mass shooting in recent history, when a man with a stockpile of weapons opened fire on concertgoers in Las Vegas, killing 58 people and wounding 500.

    • Christopher Columbus is No Hero

      What do the following cities and towns—Burbank and Los Angeles, California; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Oak Park, Illinois; Davenport, Iowa; Portland, Maine; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Farmington, New Mexico; Ithaca, New York; Charlottesville, Virginia; and Edmonds, Washington—have in common?

      They have all, within the last month, replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. In so doing, these municipalities have joined the cities of Denver, Phoenix, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Seattle; the states of Alaska, South Dakota, and Vermont; and various countries in South America that have taken a dramatic first step toward foregrounding the history of Indigenous peoples in the Americas.

      Perhaps it is time for other cities, towns, states, counties, businesses, colleges, universities, and school districts throughout the United States to do the same.

    • Antifa in Theory and in Practice

      In recent weeks, a totally disoriented left has been widely exhorted to unify around a masked vanguard calling itself Antifa, for anti-fascist. Hooded and dressed in black, Antifa is essentially a variation of the Black Bloc, familiar for introducing violence into peaceful demonstrations in many countries. Imported from Europe, the label Antifa sounds more political. It also serves the purpose of stigmatizing those it attacks as “fascists”.

      Despite its imported European name, Antifa is basically just another example of America’s steady descent into violence.

    • Charlottesville, VA: White Nationalists Return 8 Weeks After Violent Protests

      In Charlottesville, Virginia, a few dozen white nationalists carrying torches gathered near a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee Saturday night, eight weeks after far-right protesters at a larger rally attacked anti-fascist protesters, injuring dozens and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. Saturday’s rally was the third in Charlottesville organized by white nationalist Richard Spencer. It came after city officials covered the statue of Robert E. Lee in a black tarp last month in the wake of August’s violence, and after President Trump blamed “both sides” for the attacks, claiming there were “very fine people” among far-right protesters.

    • Voting Restrictions Could Affect Alabama’s Special US Senate Election

      Roy Moore’s win in the Sept. 26 Republican primary runoff for Alabama’s US Senate seat previously occupied by Jeff Sessions has put an afterthought of a race back into the national spotlight. In a special election to be held on Dec. 12, Moore — a far-right former chief justice of the state Supreme Court who defeated the appointed incumbent Luther Strange — will face Democrat Doug Jones, a former US attorney who successfully prosecuted KKK members for the 1963 Birmingham church bombing.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Correa: Academics Disagree With Assumptions About IP, Innovation And Development

      The event featured Prof. Carlos Correa, special advisor on trade and intellectual property at the South Centre and director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies on Industrial Property at the Law Faculty of the University of Buenos Aires. He gave an academic perspective on the relationship between intellectual property and development.

    • Copyrights

      • SOPA Ghosts Hinder U.S. Pirate Site Blocking Efforts

        US music and movie industry companies helped to get pirate sites blocked in many countries but on their home turf, legal action is surprisingly absent. For years we have wondered why local ISPs are being left alone and we now have an answer. Former RIAA executive Neil Turkewitz says that SOPA’s ghosts have been a major stumbling block.

      • How Some Private Torrent Sites Are Using Cryptocurrency Mining For Your Benefit

        Last month, it was reported that popular torrent website The Pirate Bay was mining Monero digital currency from the CPUs of the visitors. This move was received with much flak as the users weren’t made aware of such steps.

      • Private Torrent Sites Allow Users to Mine Cryptocurrency for Upload Credit

        As cryptocurrency mining becomes more closely associated with ‘pirate’ sites, some private torrent trackers are implementing an interesting solution to their own economic problems. Through the use of miners, users are able to generate revenue for a site but they’re also given so-called ‘upload credit’ in return, which in itself is a virtual currency variant used to ‘buy’ content.

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