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02.25.18

Links 26/2/2018: Chrome OS With Linux Containers/VMs, New Stable Kernels

Posted in News Roundup at 9:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • gvSIG 2.4: New version of gvSIG open source GIS is now available

    gvSIG Desktop 2.4, the new version of the open source Geographic Information System, is now available. You can access both the gvSIG Desktop 2.4 installable and portable versions from the download section of the project website [1], with distributions available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.

  • Web Browsers

    • iOS Gopher Client 17+

      This is is a modern Gopher browser for iOS. Built from the ground up, it lets you access the wealth of data available via Gopher from your favorite devices.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

  • Smoke bomb forces skunks out and leads to Ferndale house fire

    A Ferndale man who used a smoke bomb to try to rid his crawlspace of skunks succeeded — but also nearly burned down his house.

    “We suggest citizens hire pest control professionals, however if one is an absolute die-hard do-it-yourselfer, please read and understand the directions and warning labels before applying an incendiary (smoke bomb) to your home or garage,” Ferndale Fire Chief Kevin P. Sullivan said.

  • Science

    • How Cells Pack Tangled DNA Into Neat Chromosomes

      A human cell carries in its nucleus two meters of spiraling DNA, split up among the 46 slender, double-helical molecules that are its chromosomes. Most of the time, that DNA looks like a tangled ball of yarn — diffuse, disordered, chaotic. But that messiness poses a problem during mitosis, when the cell has to make a copy of its genetic material and divide in two. In preparation, it tidies up by packing the DNA into dense, sausagelike rods, the chromosomes’ most familiar form. Scientists have watched that process through a microscope for decades: The DNA condenses and organizes into discrete units that gradually shorten and widen. But how the genome gets folded inside that structure — it’s clear that it doesn’t simply contract — has remained a mystery. “It’s really at the heart of genetics,” said Job Dekker, a biochemist at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, “a fundamental aspect of heredity that’s always been such a great puzzle.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • America Should Have Stayed Home This Flu Season

      Influenza isn’t just widespread — the strains in circulation are also severe. As the following chart illustrates, the share of doctor visits for flu and flu-like illnesses has not been this high since the 2009-10 season, when the flu hit early and hard but then quickly declined. (The flu season typically begins around October, peaks somewhere between December and February and peters out by the end of May.)

      Still, there’s some good news out this week. Data released Friday shows that, after a steep and steady rise over the past weeks, doctor visits for flu and flu-like illnesses are finally dropping.

    • Idenix Loses Patent on HCV Treatment that Supported $2.54 Billion Infringement Verdict

      On February 16th, the District of Delaware granted a motion for judgment as a matter of law filed by Foster City, CA-based pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) to invalidate a patent owned by Idenix, a subsidiary of Kenilworth, NJ-based pharma firm Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK). In invalidating the Idenix patent, the Delaware district court effectively overturns what had been the largest award for royalty damages in a U.S. patent infringement case ever handed out. After a two-week trial in December 2016, the jury had awarded Index $2.64 billion in damages, which was based on finding Gilead infringed the Idenix patent – U.S. Patent No. 7,608,597 — by selling the hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatments Harvoni and Sovaldi.

    • Swiss Panel Looks At Value-Based Drug Pricing, Link Between R&D And Prices

      Some products are too cheap, generic drug companies do not invest in them because they do not make enough money out of them. Others seem astronomically expensive, and are said to include the costs of all research, successes and failures alike. Panellists at a recent Swiss-organised expert event in Bern concurred that something must done about pricing, and explored some surprising ways to do it.

    • Inside the fight over the sugar conspiracy

      In a paper published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2016, researchers suggested that in the 1960s, the sugar industry paid scientists to obscure the relationship between sugar and heart disease, derailing the course of nutrition science and policy for years to come. Now, two researchers at Columbia University say that those claims are not backed by the historical evidence, and by promoting the idea of a “sugar conspiracy,” they hinder our understanding of how science is actually done.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The 9/11 Hijackers Were Iraqis, Right?

      I was teaching the day the airplanes hit the World Trade Center. It was the second meeting of “The Communist Manifesto for Seminarians,” a course for my fellow graduate students. By the time I got to class, both towers had collapsed. A few hours later, Building 7 came down as well. We dispensed with a planned discussion about what Marxists mean by “idealism” and “materialism” and talked instead about the meaning of this particular example of the “propaganda of the deed.”

      We already sensed that, with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney in the White House, the attacks would mean war. But like the rest of the world, we didn’t yet have the faintest idea how long that war would last. And 16 years on, we still don’t know.

      A few years later, I found myself in front of 40 undergraduates on the first day of the first ethics course I would ever teach. You know how sometimes you have no idea what you’re going to say until the words are out of your mouth? That day, I opened my mouth and this came out: “I was so excited about this class that I couldn’t sleep last night.” Eighty horrified eyes stared back at me. “I guess it wasn’t like that for you,” I added, and felt the blush creep up my face. Most of them had the grace to laugh.

    • Police say more deputies waited outside school during Stoneman Douglas shooting

      The allegations emerged a day after another deputy, assigned to guard the school, resigned under fire, also for failing to enter the building during the shooting.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • The terrifying phenomenon that is pushing species towards extinction

      There was almost something biblical about the scene of devastation that lay before Richard Kock as he stood in the wilderness of the Kazakhstan steppe. Dotted across the grassy plain, as far as the eye could see, were the corpses of thousands upon thousands of saiga antelopes. All appeared to have fallen where they were feeding.

      Some were mothers that had travelled to this remote wilderness for the annual calving season, while others were their offspring, just a few days old. Each had died in just a few hours from blood poisoning. In the 30C heat of a May day, the air around each of the rotting hulks was thick with flies.

    • Coral Reefs at Risk of Dissolving as Oceans Get More Acidic, Finds Study

      Coral reefs could start to dissolve before 2100 as man-made climate change drives acidification of the oceans, scientists said on Thursday.

      Acidification will threaten sediments that are building blocks for reefs. Corals already face risks from ocean temperatures, pollution and overfishing.

      “Coral reefs will transition to net dissolving before end of century,” the Australian-led team of scientists wrote in the US journal Science. “Net dissolving” means reefs would lose more material than they gain from the growth of corals.

    • How General Electric gambled on fossil fuel power, and lost

      Last March, executives at General Electric Co’s power-plant business gave Wall Street a surprisingly bullish forecast for the year. Despite flat demand for new natural gas power plants, they said, GE Power’s revenue and profit would rise.

      Showing data from financial firm Lazard and other sources, their presentation said natural gas, coal and even some nuclear power plants were the lowest-cost producers of electricity on the planet, cheaper than wind or solar.

      “Gas is the most economical energy source today,” one slide read. In the days following the conference, GE’s shares rose 2 percent.

  • Finance

    • Dropbox Files for $500 Million IPO a Decade After Launch

      Dropbox on Friday filed for an initial public offering (IPO), seeking to raise an estimated $500 million (roughly Rs. 3,240 crores) for the Silicon Valley cloud computing storage startup. The San Francisco company claimed 500 million users in 180 countries and $1 billion (roughly Rs. 6,480 crores) in annual revenues in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Dropbox said its shares will trade on the Nasdaq under the symbol “DBX.”

    • Dropbox to go public 10 years after launch

      The company’s losing money, but [...]

    • Dropbox files for public stock offering of $500 mln (Update)

      Dropbox filed Friday for an initial public offering, seeking to raise an estimated $500 million for the Silicon Valley cloud computing storage startup.

      The San Francisco company claimed 500 million users in 180 countries and $1 billion in annual revenues in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    • Labour alliance piles pressure on Corbyn over Brexit stance

      Labour’s divisions over Brexit are exposed today as an alliance of more than 80 senior figures from across the party warn Jeremy Corbyn that he will be unable to fund his promised investment in schools, hospitals and social care unless the UK stays in the EU single market.

    • Capitalism as Obstacle to Equality and Democracy: the US Story

      The Cold War displaced the legacies of the New Deal. Time and Trump are now displacing Cold War legacies. Where capitalism was questioned and challenged in the 1930s and into the 1940s, doing that became taboo after 1948. Yet in the wake of the 2008 crash, critical thought about capitalism resumed. In particular one argument is gaining traction: capitalism is not the means to realize economic equality and democracy, it is rather the great obstacle to their realization.

      The New Deal, forced on the FDR regime from below by a coalition of unionists (CIO) and the political left (two socialist parties and one communist party), reversed the traditional direction (to greater inequality) of income and wealth distributions in the US. They shifted toward greater equality. US history thus illustrates Thomas Piketty’s argument in his 2014 Capital in the 21st Century about long-term deepening of inequality that can be punctuated by interruptions. Indeed, the New Deal reversal was such an interruption and featured just the sorts of taxation of corporations and the rich that Piketty favors now to correct/reverse capitalist inequalities.

    • Rovio loses 50% of share value in one day

      Rovio will publish its full-year results statement on 2 March.

    • Is China ready for what US could unleash in trade war?

      As rumblings of a trade war between Washington and Beijing grow louder, the Trump administration appears to be gearing up for renewed confrontation with China.

      The signs have been clear. Last month, Donald Trump’s move to slap punitive tariffs on solar panels and washing machines, mostly on imports from China, was an opening salvo, while the “renegotiation” of the Nafta and Korea-US (KORUS) free trade agreements has drawn the most attention.

    • Tech companies should stop pretending AI won’t destroy jobs

      I took an Uber to an artificial-­intelligence conference at MIT one recent morning, and the driver asked me how long it would take for autonomous vehicles to take away his job. I told him it would happen in about 15 to 20 years. He breathed a sigh of relief. “Well, I’ll be retired by then,” he said.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump and the weird attention economy of Facebook

      When you try to buy online ads from Facebook’s self-serve ad-auctioning platform, merely being the highest bidder isn’t enough to guarantee that your ads will get through: Facebook multiplies your bid by a software-generated prediction about how responsive the audience will be to it, so the clickbaitier your ad is, the less it costs to place it.

    • How Trump Conquered Facebook—Without Russian Ads

      During the run-up to the election, the Trump and Clinton campaigns bid ruthlessly for the same online real estate in front of the same swing-state voters. But because Trump used provocative content to stoke social media buzz, and he was better able to drive likes, comments, and shares than Clinton, his bids received a boost from Facebook’s click model, effectively winning him more media for less money. In essence, Clinton was paying Manhattan prices for the square footage on your smartphone’s screen, while Trump was paying Detroit prices. Facebook users in swing states who felt Trump had taken over their news feeds may not have been hallucinating.

    • The Mueller Indictments: The Day the Music Died

      Fads and scandals often follow a set trajectory. They grow big, bigger, and then, finally, too big, at which point they topple over and collapse under the weight of their own internal contradictions. This was the fate of the “Me too” campaign, which started out as an exposé of serial abuser Harvey Weinstein but then went too far when Babe.net published a story about one woman’s bad date with comedian Aziz Ansari. Suddenly, it became clear that different types of behavior were being lumped together in a dangerous way, and a once-explosive movement began to fizzle.

    • First Impressions of Russia’s Upcoming Presidential Election

      In the West, election news from Russia carried by mainstream media has centered on Alexei Navalny. Prior to his disqualification as a candidate by the Central Election Commission in December, he was characterized as posing the only real threat to Vladimir Putin’s hold on power through his popular exposes of official and corporate corruption disseminated virally on social media and YouTube. All others in the race were put down as Kremlin controlled and tolerated only to give sham elections an appearance of authenticity.

    • Manafort Left an Incriminating Paper Trail Because He Couldn’t Figure Out How to Convert PDFs to Word Files

      There are two types of people in this world: those who know how to convert PDFs into Word documents and those who are indicted for money laundering. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is the second kind of person.

      Back in October, a grand jury indictment charged Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates with a variety of crimes, including conspiring “to defraud the United States.” On Thursday, special counsel Robert Mueller filed a new indictment against the pair, substantially expanding the charges. As one former federal prosecutor told the Washington Post, Manafort and Gates’ methods appear to have been “extensive and bold and greedy with a capital ‘G,’ but … not all that sophisticated.”

    • What Do Jotted Talking Points Say About Trump’s Empathy?

      For more than an hour on Wednesday, President Trump listened quietly to entreaties for action, personal stories of grief and loss, and expressions of raw anger, clutching a white notecard with talking points written on it.

      “I hear you,” one said. “What would you most want me to know about your experience?” said another.

      Mr. Trump’s use of notes, captured by news photographers who covered the extraordinary listening session with parents, students and teachers who lost loved ones in the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., was not unusual.

      But the nature of Mr. Trump’s written prompts was atypical. Composed beneath a heading that read “The White House,” they seemed to suggest that the president needed to be reminded to show compassion and understanding to traumatized survivors, an impression that Mr. Trump has sometimes fed with public reactions to national tragedies that were criticized as callous.

      On Wednesday, the president never uttered the talking points, but appeared by turns sympathetic, attentive, determined to take action and angry on behalf of his distraught guests. “I just grieve for you,” Mr. Trump told the group. “I feel so — it’s just, to me, there could be nothing worse than what you’ve gone through.”

    • They Came, They Saw, They Tweeted

      My sense of anticipation was hyped. Robert Mueller had just indicted the Russian troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency, along with several of the trolls who had slaved tirelessly from their cyber-cubicles in St. Petersburg in a plot to despoil American democracy. Having recently survived a hit-and-run collision with a suspected Russian troll, who had recklessly driven the internet highways using a false ID (Alice Donovan), I was eager to see what the former FBI man had uncovered.

      My appetite was further whetted by an NBC News producer who proclaimed the Mueller indictment “one of the most important political documents in US history.” Right up there with the Monroe Doctrine, the majority opinion in Plessy v. Ferguson, and the Starr Report, I suppose.

      I greedily downloaded a pdf of the 33-page filing, expecting to finally get answers to questions that had been nagging me for months, such as: How could the Russians have been so sloppy as to get caught with their hands in Trump’s pockets? Did they believe Trump was smart enough to effectively collude with them? Did they really think Hillary needed any help blowing a sure thing? And, most importantly, what was Alice Donovan’s real name?

      I was quickly disappointed. The Mueller indictment doesn’t charge any collusion between Trump and the Russians. In fact, it doesn’t even mention the word. Mueller also doesn’t draw any direct links between the troll farm in St. Petersburg and the Putin government in Moscow. And, most significantly, Mueller doesn’t allege that any of the nefarious trolling had the slightest “Butterfly effect” on the outcome of the 2016 elections. If there’s a conspiracy here, it’s looking more and more likely to be a conspiracy of dunces. Since there are many, many dunces in the White House, it’s still too early to rule out future charges against Team Trump. Thankfully, lack of evidence for collusion isn’t lack of evidence for criminal stupidity.

    • The challenge to “winner-take-all” launched

      Beginning today, in four states across the country, lawsuits will be filed to challenge the way presidential electors are selected in America. The plaintiffs in these suits charge that the “winner-take-all” system—the system by which the candidate who wins the popular vote in a state gets all of the electoral college votes in that state—violates both the 14th Amendment’s principle of “one person, one vote,” and the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.

      [...]

      Two of the lawsuits filed today are in traditionally “blue” states —Massachusetts and California. Two are in “red” states—Texas and South Carolina.

    • 5 Key Takeaways From the Democratic Rebuttal Memo

      Three weeks ago, House Republicans publicly released a much-hyped memo written by representative Devin Nunes of California. It alleged, through a series of allusions, tangential facts, and seeming misdirections, that law enforcement officials had abused their power in obtaining a surveillance warrant against former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page. Now, in a 10-page memo of their own, House Democrats are attempting to set the record straight.

    • China Moves to Let President Xi Stay in Power, Ending Term Limit

      China’s Communist Party has cleared the way for President Xi Jinping to stay in power, perhaps indefinitely, by announcing on Sunday that it wants to abolish the two-term limit on the presidency — a dramatic move that would mark the country’s biggest political change in decades.

      The party leadership “proposed to remove the expression that the president and vice president of the People’s Republic of China ‘shall serve no more than two consecutive terms’ from the country’s Constitution,” Xinhua, the official news agency, reported.

      With each term set at five years, the Constitution currently limits Mr. Xi, who became president in 2013, to 10 years in office. But the announcement appears to be the strongest signal yet that Mr. Xi, 64, intends to hold onto power longer than any Chinese leader in at least a generation.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Russia VPN Blocking Law Failing? No Provider Told To Block Any Site

      In 2017, Russia introduced tough new legislation that compels VPN providers to restrict access to sites blocked by regular ISPs or get blocked themselves. Now, several months on, not a single VPN provider has had any action taken against them, despite an estimated 25% of local Internet users using such products.

    • Sales at Arco Madrid unscathed by censorship controversy

      Galleries reported that sales at the Arco Madrid fair (21-25 February) proceeded undeterred even after controversy broke out over the removal of a polemical Santiago Sierra work just as the aisles opened to VIPs on Wednesday this week.

    • The Walrus Wants Google to Strangle Globalresearch.ca: Lessons in the New McCarthyism

      When David Berlin and Ken Alexander launched The Walrus in September 2003, their ambition was to create a Canadian equivalent to American monthly magazines like The New Yorker or Harper’s, which was then under the legendary editorship of Lewis W. Lapham. Who could have anticipated that not quite fifteen years later, The Walrus would be dipping its tusks into the tepid sludge of McCarthyist witch-hunting? It’s not an orientation Lapham would have recommended when David Berlin consulted with him about possibilities of collaboration a year before the magazine’s launch: as Lapham wrote in Gag Rule: On the Suppression of Dissent and the Stifling of Democracy (2004),

    • Censorship termed ‘absurd’

      The recent controversies over censorship of films took centre stage on Saturday at a debate on the second day of Bengaluru International Film Festival (BIFFes). Most film-makers strongly opposed it, instead arguing that the industry should practice self-censorship.

      At a panel discussion ‘Censorship in India’, several film-makers, led by M.S. Sathyu, recounted the ordeal they had to face in their creative careers.

    • ‘Super censorship’ of films is worrying: Sathyu

      Bengaluru: Veteran filmmaker and art director MS Sathyu on Saturday said he is concerned about ‘super censorship’ of Indian movies, a practice under which anyone can violently oppose a film even before it’s released. He cited the example of the recent controversy surrounding the Bollywood period drama Padmaavat.

    • Self-regulation must replace film censorship, says M S Sathyu
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Apple to Start Putting Sensitive Encryption Keys in China

      The keys are complex strings of random characters that can unlock the photos, notes and messages that users store in iCloud. Until now, Apple has stored the codes only in the U.S. for all global users, the company said, in keeping with its emphasis on customer privacy and security.

      While Apple says it will ensure that the keys are protected in China, some privacy experts and former Apple security employees worry that moving the keys to China makes them more vulnerable to seizure by a government with a record of censorship and political suppression.

    • US, Britain in cybersecurity divide over Chinese tech firm Huawei

      Washington is cranking up pressure on Huawei Technologies Co., the Chinese telecommunications-equipment maker that U.S. officials view as a potential tool for state-sponsored spying.

      But across the Atlantic, one of America’s closest allies has taken a different approach. British Prime Minister Theresa May met Huawei Chairwoman Sun Yafang in Beijing earlier this month. Days later, Huawei announced it would invest £3 billion ($4.2 billion) in the U.K. over the next five years.

      Britain’s embrace of Huawei is widening a gulf between the U.S. and several important allies over American allegations the company poses a cybersecurity threat. Some Washington lawmakers have recently expressed worry that Huawei’s inroads in countries with close security ties to the U.S. could make their telecommunications networks more vulnerable to Beijing snooping.

    • How the NSA Can Greatly Reduce Mass School Shootings

      Instead of spying on Americans to crush dissent, consolidate power, or gather sensitive information for blackmail, the NSA could actually do something useful.

      The NSA could reduce the number of mass shootings using existing technology and resources.

      Remember, virtually all school shooters are males in their teens or early twenties.

    • State Insecurity: Why Are Top NSA Personnel Leaving in Droves?

      America’s intelligence bodies haven’t particularly enjoyed their time in the spotlight these last few years. The National Security Agency, or NSA, occupies a particularly complicated and frustrating place in the collective unconscious: It’s an institution we must trust with our wellbeing on a daily basis, but it is also fundamentally unaccountable and untrustworthy. When was the last time you voted for an NSA director?

      Beginning with the Edward Snowden leaks in summer 2013, we’ve watched this formerly hidden bureaucratic appendage grow more and more visible to the public – and what we’ve seen isn’t encouraging. We now know that the NSA regularly colludes with domestic internet service providers and spies indiscriminately on the heads of foreign governments, usually without justification. We also know that low morale within the agency has resulted in the leak of sensitive state secrets. Some of those secrets involve the way the NSA holds basic freedoms like privacy in contempt.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Happy International Blog Remembrance Day

      The general decline of the blog—not the news blog, but the BLOG BLOG—is a bummer. No offense to the many cool and worthwhile bloggers still posting to WordPress, Tumblr, XANGA(?), and good ol’-fashioned websites, but for the most part, the best blogs of our generation are being wasted in tweetstorms, Facebook rants, and reddit comments. I am not just making this up: There are entire conferences dedicated to preserving Web 1.0, back before our computers had become Facebook and Twitter machines.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Venerable Brands Snuffed Out as IPH Group Merges Firms Into Flagship Spruson & Ferguson

      Merger AheadOn 6 February 2018, Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) listed company IPH Limited (ASX:IPH) announced [PDF, 156kB] that two of its smaller group businesses – Fisher Adams Kelly Callinans (FAKC) and Cullens – are to be merged into its original and largest firm, Spruson & Ferguson (S&F). Operation under the single S&F brand is expected to commence in April 2018, with full integration to be completed by July 2018. The merger announcement comes on the heels of IPH’s settlement of its acquisition of New Zealand IP firm AJ Park on 31 October 2017 [PDF, 189kB].

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Holders Call Out Costa Rica Over ThePirateBay.cr

        The MPAA, RIAA and other entertainment industry groups want Costa Rica to step up its efforts to combat copyright infringement. They inform the US Government that the South American country is failing to meet its trade agreement obligations, calling out the local domain registry as a “safe haven” for sites like ThePirateBay.cr.

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    Now that emacs is being 'rebranded' this kind of meme seems apt


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