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12.16.18

Links 16/12/2018: DXVK 0.94, WordPress 5.0.1, Fuchsia SDK

Posted in News Roundup at 8:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Best 10 Laptops for Linux

      We’re almost at the end of 2018 with festive season around the corner. If you are looking to buy a new laptop for yourself or gift it to someone then this article is for you. Linux is a flexible operating system and it can accommodate itself on any machine and alongside Windows too. Also Linux doesn’t need high-end computer hardware to run properly, hence if you have old laptops, they can also benefit from Linux.
      So today we are going to have in-depth look at best 10 laptops available in market which can be used to run Linux operating system. Not all the laptops listed here have dedicated hardware required by Linux, but they will be able to run Linux directly or alongside Windows or Mac.

      Many users moving towards Linux as it is more free, secure and reliable operating system as compared others. In addition to this Linux is best platform to work on personal projects and programming tasks.

  • Server

    • Kubernetes’ sprawling ecosystem offers lots of choice – and risk

      If your organization is ready to go all in on the Kubernetes orchestration manager and you’re looking for a way to package applications for easy deployment, you’ll probably gravitate to Helm, an open-source project incubating within the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • LHS Episode #264: The Weekender XXI

      Welcome to the 21st Weekender episode of Linux in the Ham Shack. This time around, we talk about the few contests and special event stations that are around for December. We also touch on Linux distros to try, things to do in the amateur radio and open source world and then we dive straight into hedonism, discussing good food, good music and good spirits. Thank you for listening and Happy Holidays.

  • Kernel Space

    • Mainline Linux Support Getting Squared Away For $129 Intel SoC FPGA Board

      Patches for the board support for the Chameleon96 Intel FPGA board have been published and could soon be found in the mainline Linux kernel.

      Manivannan Sadhasivam of Linaro sent out the patches on Friday to add the necessary DeviceTree files for supporting the Chameleon96 board by the mainline Linux kernel.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA 415.22.01 Vulkan Linux Driver Adds New Improvements & Fixes

        NVIDIA rolled out the 417.42 Windows driver and 415.22.01 Linux driver on Friday that feature their very latest Vulkan components.

        Improvements to their Vulkan driver with the new NVIDIA 415.22.01 (and 417.42) releases include now exposing two transfer queues for Pascal GPUs and newer, increasing the maximum point size to 2047, and increasing the maximum line width to 64.

      • NVIDIA released the 415.22.01 Vulkan driver

        Yesterday, NVIDIA again updated their special beta Vulkan driver pushing it to version 415.22.01 with various improvements. This is the driver where the add in and test new Vulkan features first, before putting them into their main drivers. Usually, you would want to stick with their normal driver series.

      • There’s Certainly Much Interest In Linux On Intel’s Future Discrete Graphics Cards

        Intel’s growing graphics team recently hosted a “Ask You Anything” on Reddit as they solicit more feedback and ideas from the community about their discrete graphics plans. From that, interest in their Linux graphics driver/software stack came in second for popularity.

        The most discussed topic during this Reddit event about Intel graphics was about GPU preferences at 27% followed by the “Linux stack” at 15% and then branding/naming at 13% rounded out the top three — and the only three items to each have more than 10%.

      • Vega 12 Firmware Lands Along With RX 590 Polaris Bits, Updated Zen CPU Microcode

        A big serving of AMD firmware/microcode updates landed on Friday in the linux-firmware.git canonical tree for both AMD Zen processors and Radeon graphics processors.

        On the CPU side, the recent AMD Zen CPU microcode update I wrote about at the end of November is now merged. Though there still isn’t any public change-log that explains what has changed by this microcode update for Family 17h processors.

      • A Look At The LLVMpipe OpenGL Performance On Mesa 19.0 With A 64C/128T Server

        Given the proposed Libre RISC-V SoC that could function as a Vulkan accelerator by running the Kazan Vulkan implementation on it, I decided to have a fresh look at how the LLVMpipe performance is for running OpenGL on the CPU. Here are those tests done on a dual socket AMD EPYC server.

        The proposed Libre RISC-V SoC at this point would be quad-core and clocked at least 800MHz. Their initial performance target is aiming for 25 FPS at 720p and capable of 5~6 GFLOPs. Quite low by today’s standards and more so for a SoC that is likely more than a year or two out.

    • Benchmarks

      • 180+ Benchmarks On Debian GNU/Linux 9.6 Against Debian Buster Testing

        There is the release of Debian 10 “Buster” to look forward to (hopefully) next year for succeeding Debian 9 “Stretch” that debuted back in 2017. Curious about the current performance of Debian Buster, I ran 183 benchmarks on Debian 9.6 stable against the current Debian Buster Testing images for seeing how the performance compares.

        On an AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX box with 32GB of RAM, Samsung 970 EVO NVMe SSD and Radeon RX 580 graphics, I compared the current performance of Debian 9.6 to the latest Debian Testing images. Obviously when the Debian 10.0 release nears I will be testing it on a more diverse selection of hardware while for this benchmarking comparison was just using this Threadripper 2 + Radeon RX 580 Polaris system.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Best KDE/Plasma distro of 2018

        Let us Plasma. A few days ago, we talked about the bestest Xfce distro of 2018. It was an interesting but also somewhat predictable experiment, as things haven’t changed that much on the Xfce scene, with most distros slowly moving along, well set in their grooves, some oiled, some rusty. Now, we need to examine another desktop environment, and the choice de jour is KDE.

        Looking back at yesteryear, there was a flurry of activity including the more than solid 17.04 Zesty, which turned out to be a turning point [sic], one of the most refreshing and complete operating systems to hit the Tux market in a long while. Then, I also wrote, perhaps with mild prophetic genius, that KDE seems to be on the right path, and that good things ought to continue into the future. And today, that future is our past. And explore and judge we must.

      • Krita 4.1.7 Released with HiDPI Support Enabled by Default

        Krita 4.1.7 was released a few days ago as a new bug-fix release for the Krita image editor 4.1 series. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 18.10.

      • KDE apps at the snap of your fingers

        Are you a Plasma fan? And you want to develop KDE applications? This has just become easier and more fun than ever before.

        In early November, we hosted a Snapcraft Summit in our London offices, a forward-thinking software workshop attended by major software vendors and Snapcraft engineers working at every level of the stack. Together, we sat down and helped bootstrap snaps of some really amazing products.
        One of the participants was Harald Sitter, a longtime KDE developer and enthusiast. With more than one notch of experience on his snap belt, Harald joined us to think of innovative ways of making the publication of Qt and KDE applications easier and faster both for experienced developers as well as those just getting involved in this domain

      • KDE Bugsquad – Kdenlive Bug Day on December 15th, 2018 (Today!)

        We will be holding a Bug Day on December 15th, 2018, focusing on Kdenlive. Join at any time, the event will be occurring all day long!

      • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 49

        There’s big news in Usability & Productivity: Firefox 64 can now use native KDE open/save dialogs!

  • Distributions

    • Best Alternatives to Red Hat Linux

      The recent news of IBM’s purchase of Red Hat sent a ripple through the global open source community, sparking fear that it will eventually push either entire Red Hat or at least some of its parts to the scrap heap.

      But we’re not here to make educated guesses about the future of the beloved Linux distribution. Instead, we’re here to list the top 5 best alternatives to Red Hat Linux that you can try right now to see what other options are out there.

    • Top Lightweight Linux Distributions for 2019

      Modern Linux distros are designed to attract a large number of users having machines equipped with the latest hardware. As they’re designed by keeping the modern hardware in mind, they might be a bit too excessive for the old computers. Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about it because experts have been tweaking things to bring out some trimmed and light weighted distros.

      We still have so many lightweight distros available at our hands, from beginner to advance; from gamers to hackers. It can be a headache to decide which distro will be most compatible with the job you need to perform. Worry not! We’ve filtered the top lightweight Linux distributions for 2019.

    • New Releases

      • First NuTyX systemD BASE ISO

        It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to the very first BASE ISO using the SystemD boot system. It’s still in prototype. There are not yet other collections than the basic collection currently.
        We can still get a good idea of ​​our future NuTyX.
        The first good news is that the installation is EXACTLY in the same way as the current NuTyX 10.4.

    • Arch Family

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Fedora

      • F29-20181213 Updated Lives isos Released

        The Fedora Respins SIG is pleased to announce the latest release of Updated F29-20181213 Live ISOs, carrying the 4.19.8-300 kernel.

        This set of updated isos will save about 920MBs of updates after install. (for new installs.)

    • Debian Family

      • Bradley M. Kuhn: What Debian Does For Me

        I woke up early this morning, and those of you live above 45 parallel north or so are used to the “I’m wide awake but it’s still dark as night” feeling in the winter. I usually don’t turn on the lights, wander into my office, and just bring my computer out of hibernate; that takes a bit as my 100% Free-Software-only computer is old and slow, so I usually go to make coffee while that happens.

        As I came back in my office this morning I was a bit struck by both displays with the huge Debian screen lock image, and it got me thinking of how Debian has been my companion for so many years. I spoke about this at DebConf 15 a bit, and wrote about a similar concept years before. I realize that it’s been almost nine years that I’ve been thinking rather deeply about my personal relationship with Debian and why it matters.

      • Debian Package Dependencies

        For Linux distributions such as Debian GNU/Linux, there exist more than 60.000 different software packages. All of them have a specific role. In this article we explain how does the package management reliably manage this huge number of software packages during an installation, an update, or a removal in order to keep your system working and entirely stable.

        For Debian GNU/Linux, this refers to the tools apt, apt-get, aptitude, apt-cache, apt-depends, apt-rdepends, dpkg-deb and apt-mark.

      • Debian Installer Buster Alpha 4 release

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

        Foreword
        ========

        I’d like to start by thanking Christian Perrier, who spent many years working on Debian Installer, especially on internationalization (i18n) and localization (l10n) topics. One might remember graphs and blog posts on Planet Debian with statistics; keeping track of those numbers could look like a pure mathematical topic, but having uptodate translations is a key part of having a Debian Installer that is accessible for most users.

        Thank you so much, Christian!

      • Debian Installer Buster Alpha 4 Released

        The Debian installer team has presented their fourth alpha release of the Debian Installer preparing for the 10.0 “Buster” release.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Lubuntu 18.04 and 18.10: Between LXDE and LXQt

              This is a review comparing two versions of Lubuntu, 18.04 LTS with LXDE and 18.10 with LXQt. It’s about Bionic Beaver and Cosmic Cuttlefish. This means this is the last review of Lubuntu with LXDE. You will find here how they differ in cases of appearance, default applications set, file manager, network manager, package manager, and so on. Very fortunate for us that both version (and even next version Disco Dingo) keep supporting 32-bit architecture so we can still use any of them on our oldest PCs or Macintosh possible. They’re only between +/-250 and +/-350MB in RAM usage. They’re lightweight, computer-reviving, and compete operating systems worth to try. Go ahead, happy reading and happy working with Lubuntu!

            • Download User Guide Books of All Ubuntu Flavors

              This is a compilation of download information of user guide books of Ubuntu and the 5 Official Flavors (Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, and Ubuntu Studio). You can find either complete user guides (even for server edition), installation guide, or tutorials compilation; either in PDF or HTML format; plus where to purchase two official ebooks of Ubuntu MATE. On the end of this tutorial, I included how to download the HTML-only documentation so you can read it completely offline. I hope you will find all of books useful and you can print them out yourself. Get the books, print them, share with your friends, read and learn Ubuntu All Flavors.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Chef co-founder Adam Jacob launches new effort to define “sustainable” open-source software

    As questions continue to swirl around the future of open-source software licensing and business models, Chef co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Adam Jacob wants to figure out a way to keep the best parts of open source while ensuring those principles have a financial future.

    Jacob launched the Sustainable Free and Open Source Communities project Thursday, the last day of the KubeCon open-source conference in Chef’s hometown of Seattle. The project is really a forum for discussion about how software developers can stay true to the community-oriented aspects of open-source software development without resorting to restrictive licenses that some companies now believe are their best way to stay viable in the cloud computing era.

  • How I Quit Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Amazon

    By now, it’s common knowledge that Google, Facebook, and Amazon are harvesting as much of our personal data as they can get their hands on to feed us targeted ads, train artificial intelligence, and sell us things before we know we need them. The results of this ruthless data-driven hypercapitalism speak for themselves: Today, the Big Five tech companies are worth a combined total of $3 trillion dollars. When I started my month without the Big Five in May, Google’s parent company Alphabet, Amazon, and Apple were racing to be the first company in history with stock worth $1 trillion. In August, Apple became the first to reach this milestone and just a few weeks later Amazon’s market cap also briefly passed $1 trillion.

  • What I Learned By Quitting Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft

    In May I made the decision to excise the so-called “Big Five” tech companies from my life for a month. That meant no services offered by Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, or any of their subsidiaries.

    There were a number of reasons I wanted to undertake this experiment, ranging from reclaiming my privacy to learning more about how the technology I use every day actually works. The main reason, however, was simply to see if the Big Five services were actually necessary or merely convenient.

    I found that there were adequate open-source or independent replacements for pretty much every major Big Five service. In some cases, such as mapping software or social media platforms, the gulf between the Big Five and alternative services was so large that it made a noticeable, negative impact on my life. But in most cases, the open-source or independent alternatives worked just fine and it was simply a matter of getting used to their quirks.

    I’ve written a long reflection and extensive guide to quitting the Big Five if you’re interested in hearing more about how the experiment went. If you just want to know some of the main takeaways from my month without Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft, this list is for you:

  • The fourth industrial revolution is under way, and leaders must adopt open source thinking

    For the first time in history, knowledge is free and abundant, ordinary people are more empowered than ever before, and almost every boundary to communication has been lifted.

    [...]

    Welcome to the 21st Century where everyone and everything is connected 24/7, and where exciting progress opportunities and daunting challenges coexist. In this century, life and business have become “open source”. In order to succeed and thrive, our thoughts and actions must also become open source. It is time for business leaders to shed myths of the past, question conventional wisdom, and adopt “open source thinking” around the following fundamental questions/challenges:

  • Can real-world enterprises digest all this open-source, startup stuff?

    Why does the Cloud Native Computing Foundation now host more than 30 projects? Why are cloud-based startups coming out of the woodwork with narrow point solutions? Mostly just so users can have a better time with an application. But it’s all getting a bit weedy. How can enterprises pick out the right technologies from the aisles of them?

    “It’s really easy to forget that infrastructure is not a thing in its own right — it’s solely there to enable applications and to enable other things,” said Steve Herrod (pictured), managing director at General Catalyst Partners LLC.

  • CableLabs Open Source IoT Project Shoots for Scale

    Opening up another chapter in its open source story, CableLabs this week took another shot at the industrial Internet of Things market with its LPWAN Server project.

    The general concept is to create open source LPWAN Server software that can run on off-the-shelf hardware and support a wide range of low-power, IoT wireless technologies designed to transmit small bits of data over long distances. (See Blog: CableLabs Intros Open Source LPWAN Server.)

    “We don’t see one clear winner in the LPWAN space,” said Daryl Malas, principal architect at CableLabs’ advanced technology group. “We don’t see NB-IoT (Narrowband IoT) dominating all use cases. And we don’t see LoRA dominating all use cases.”

  • The 10 Coolest New Open-Source Technologies And Tools Of 2018
  • The fight to keep ideas open to all

    “The only way we can preserve and nurture other and more precious freedoms is by relinquishing the freedom to breed.” This ominous sentence comes not from China’s one-child policy but from one of the 20th century’s most influential—and misunderstood—essays in economics. “The tragedy of the commons”, by Garrett Hardin, marks its 50th anniversary on December 13th.

    The article, published in the journal Science, was a neo-Malthusian jeremiad about uncontrolled population growth. But it is remembered for the image that the title conjures up and for the anecdotes that Hardin used. The idea behind it is as simple as it is profound: a resource freely available to all will be used inefficiently. An actual common will inevitably be overgrazed. Who would restrict their cattle if other herders may not follow suit?

  • Web Browsers

    • Happy birthday, qutebrowser!

      That’s how qutebrowser looked a day after that (and that commit still seems to run!): https://imgur.com/a/xoG1r4G

      Exactly a year later, things were finally ready for a v0.1 release, after spending two weeks of holidays with fixing bugs.

      Originally, qutebrowser was born because the dwb project was discontinued: https://portix.bitbucket.io/dwb/

      That’s what I (and many others) were using at the time, and all alternatives were stuck with an unmaintained WebKit1. Since everything was using WebKitGTK which was horribly buggy (and WebKit2 in WebKitGTK lacked a lot of basic features), I decided to start my own thing, based on Qt instead.

      Back then, there were already discussions about QtWebEngine, and I originally wondered whether I should just wait with starting qutebrowser until it’s ready. QtWebEngine support was finally added in July 2016, a lot later than I imagined. Initially, many features didn’t work yet, but in September 2017 it finally became the default backend.

      Later, it turned out that qutebrowser also was a viable alternative for many Pentadactyl/Vimperator refugees, and qutebrowser got more popular than I ever imagined.

    • Chrome

      • Brave browser switches to Chromium code base for faster performance

        While Brave used Chromium’s back-end code since its inception in 2016, it used the Muon library for its UI. The company says that the new code base translates to a 22-percent performance improvement. It added that users should notice an 8-to-10-second gain on website load times, as compared to the previous version.

      • Brave browser switches base code to Chromium

        Brave browser has announced that it will fully switch to a Chromium base in its latest release, TheNextWeb reports.

        Brave used Chromium code since its inception in 2016, but used the Muon library for its UI.

        Brave joins the likes of Chrome, Edge, Opera, and Vivaldi to use Google’s open source Chromium as the base code for their browser.

        Version 0.57, the upcoming version that will use Chromium, will also support Chrome extensions and will categorise extensions as “allowed and vetted”, “allowed and unvetted”, and “blocked.”

  • Databases

    • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Cassandra integrations from Instaclustr

      Open-source managed solutions-as-a-service company Instaclustr wants to address some gaps in a few key integrations for the Apache Cassandra database management solution with the announcement of three new open-source projects.

      The first piece of the problem was finding a way for Kubernetes to more fully integrate with Cassandra. This is where the company’s newly announced open-source Cassandra operator comes in, it explained. “While running Cassandra on Kubernetes can be relatively simple to begin with, Kubernetes provides only a limited understanding of database functionality: it’s blind to key details of the database being written to, and has incomplete capabilities for storing data in-state,” the company wrote in the release announcement.

    • What is a software ‘connector’?

      Open source news to end the week looks to the somewhat incongruous connection between Menlo Park California and Helsinki — it can only be MariaDB Corporation with that HQ combo.

      Updates to end 2018 see the new availability of the MariaDB Connector for Node.js, giving developers a method to build Node.js applications on top of MariaDB’s enterprise relational database.

      MariaDB uses pluggable, purpose-built storage engines to support workloads that previously required a variety of specialised databases. Node.js is an open-source, cross-platform JavaScript run-time environment that executes JavaScript code outside of a browser.

  • CMS

    • WordPress 5.0.1

      While I missed the WordPress 5.0 release, it was only a few more days before there was a security release out.

      So WordPress 5.0.1 will be available in Debian soon. This is both a security update from 5.0.1 and a huge feature update from the 4.9.x versions to the 5.0 versions.

    • Moved to Jekyll

      WordPress was actually quite good to me and quite easy to maintain and use. As uncomplicated as the Jekyll approach is, aided by its usage of convention to just do the smart thing, there’s still a fair bit of setup and playing around you need to do to get Jekyll sorted out.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • California launches open-source code site

      An open collaboration between agencies, industry partners and civic technologists, Code California aims to take advantage of agency-developed open source code that can be reused across state government. Developed by the California Department of Technology, the program plans to increase security and efficiency by decreasing duplicative acquisitions and vendor lock-in. Making open source software publicly available to developers can also contribute to more stable and secure products, the state said in the site’s accompanying playbook.

    • New GovOps Site Promotes Open Source Opportunities

      The Government Operations Agency is launching the California Code website today. The site will host policies and, eventually, the state’s open source projects.

      “Technology Letter 18-02 outlined the use of custom-developed source code and its reuse through a public code repository that will give agencies more opportunities to work together and eliminate duplication,” the site reads.

    • California Begins Effort to Use More Open Source Technology

      The state of California’s Government Operations Agency has launched the California Code website. The site will host policies and, eventually, the state’s open source projects.

      “Technology Letter 18-02 outlined the use of custom-developed source code and its reuse through a public code repository that will give agencies more opportunities to work together and eliminate duplication,” the site reads.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • After Amazon’s cloud encroaches on its turf, a startup is taking a stand: Open source can’t be ‘free and unsustainable R&D’ for tech giants

      In late November, Amazon Web Services announced it would sell a new service on its market-leading cloud called Amazon Managed Streaming for Kafka — a service that provides software that Amazon didn’t create itself.

      This new service is based on Apache Kafka, an open source software project for handling large amounts of streaming data. AWS took Kafka and repackaged it as a paid cloud service — something completely legal, as open source software is free for anyone to use as they wish.

      Originally created at LinkedIn, the engineers who started Kafka made their own company around the software, called Confluent. At the time the service was revealed, Confluent CEO Jay Kreps told Business Insider that it wasn’t worried about Amazon’s move, saying “I don’t think this announcement will impact our business.”

    • Concerned about cloud providers, Confluent becomes latest open-source company to set new restrictions on usage

      Another open-source enterprise technology company is walling off parts of its software from cloud infrastructure providers.

      Confluent announced Friday morning that it is changing the terms of the licenses around several of the real-time data streaming open-source projects it has developed. Several components will no longer be available under the widely used and very permissible Apache 2.0 license: instead, they will be offered under a new license called Confluent Community License that is very similar to the Apache 2.0 license except for a clear restriction on providing KSQL and several other components as cloud services.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Suriname community uses new open-source app to preserve storytelling traditions

      To prevent that from happening, the local community-based organization Stichting voor Dorpsontwikkeling Matawai has spent the last few years documenting their oral storytelling traditions using video recorders and interactive maps. With support from the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT), the organization trained younger Matawai to record and interview their elders about the numerous named places and sites in their ancestral lands.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Bluespec, Inc. Releases a Second Family of Open-Source RISC-V Processors to Spur Open Innovation

        Flute is a configurable 5-stage application processor complementing the previously released 3-stage Piccolo microcontroller, both of which are suitable for IoT. The initial release provides synthesizable Verilog for a bare metal RV32IMA core and a supervisor level RV64IMA core. Future releases will add floating point and compressed instructions (RV32GC/RV64GC) and run Linux and FreeRTOS. The Flute download (here) provides working Verilator and Icarus simulations and the Verilog has been tested in Xilinx UltraScale/UltraScale+ boards.

  • Programming/Development

    • linl 0.0.3: Micro release

      Our linl package for writing LaTeX letter with (R)markdown had a fairly minor release today, following up on the previous release well over a year ago. This version just contains one change which Mark van der Loo provided a few months ago with a clean PR. As another user was just bitten the same issue when using an included letterhead – which was fixed but unreleased – we decided it was time for a release. So there it is.

      linl makes it easy to write letters in markdown, with some extra bells and whistles thanks to some cleverness chiefly by Aaron.

    • Rust 2019

      The Rust team encouraged people to write blog posts reflecting on Rust in 2018 and proposing goals and directions for 2019. Here’s mine.

      This is knowingly blatantly focused on the niche that is immediately relevant to my work. I don’t even pretend this to represent any kind of overall big picture.

    • Book Review: The Go Programming Language
    • Socorro: migrating to Python 3

      Socorro is the crash ingestion pipeline for Mozilla’s products like Firefox. When Firefox crashes, the Breakpad crash reporter asks the user if the user would like to send a crash report. If the user answers “yes!”, then the Breakpad crash reporter collects data related to the crash, generates a crash report, and submits that crash report as an HTTP POST to Socorro. Socorro saves the crash report, processes it, and provides an interface for aggregating, searching, and looking at crash reports.

      This blog post talks about the project migrating Socorro to Python 3. It covers the incremental steps we did and why we chose that path plus some of the technical problems we hit.

    • Django 2 CRUD Tutorial: Generic Class-Based Views
    • Angular 6|7 Tutorial — CRUD & Python REST API
    • What is your top achievements?

      After the previous article, we have finally been able to create a score scene as I had promised you before in the last article. What this scene does is to list out the latest 5 levels that the player has achieved, if the level count has reached it’s maximum value then the earliest level from the list will be removed and get replaced by the latest level at the end of the list.

    • Learn to program with Minetest on Debian

      A fun way to learn how to program Python is to follow the instructions in the book “Learn to program with Minecraft”, which introduces programming in Python to people who like to play with Minecraft. The book uses a Python library to talk to a TCP/IP socket with an API accepting build instructions and providing information about the current players in a Minecraft world. The TCP/IP API was first created for the Minecraft implementation for Raspberry Pi, and has since been ported to some server versions of Minecraft. The book contain recipes for those using Windows, MacOSX and Raspian. But a little known fact is that you can follow the same recipes using the free software construction game Minetest.

    • Simple way to get data from web page using python

      Can you guess a simple way you can get data from a web page? It’s through a technique called web scraping.
      In case you are not familiar with web scraping, here is an explanation:
      “Web scraping is a computer software technique of extracting information from websites”
      “Web scraping focuses on the transformation of unstructured data on the web, typically in HTML format, into structured data that can be stored and analyzed in a central local database or spreadsheet.”
      Some web pages make your life easier, they offer something called API, they offer an interface that you can use to download data. Websites like Rotten tomatoes and Twitter provides API to access data. But if a web page doesn’t provide an API, you can use Python to scrape data from that webpage.

    • Python quick-fix of broken router

      I have a router which seems to “take the day off” every once in a while, and this started after I filled up all 4 Ethernet ports.

      Rebooting, the only fix I’ve found so far, fixes the problem, so that all 4 Ethernet ports start working again.

      Rebooting the router gets boring and annoying after a while, so I decided to write a script to automatically reboot the router every hour.

    • How to break Python

      Don’t worry, this isn’t another piece about Python 3. I’m fully in favor of Python 3, and on record as to why. And if you’re still not convinced, I suggest this thoroughly comprehensive article on the topic, which goes over not just the bits people get angry about but also the frankly massive amount of cool stuff that only works in Python 3, and that you’re missing out on if you still only use Python 2.

      No, this is about how you as a developer can break Python, and break it thoroughly, whenever you need to.

    • stackoverflow python report
    • Move files from one folder to another folder with python
    • nbdkit inline scripts
    • Fuchsia Friday: A first look at the Fuchsia SDK, which you can download here

      With the significant news this week that the Fuchsia SDK and a Fuchsia “device” are being added to the Android Open Source Project, now seems like a good time to learn more about the Fuchsia SDK. Today on Fuchsia Friday, we dive into the Fuchsia SDK and see what it has to offer developers who might want to get a head start on Fuchsia.

    • Python, signal handlers, and exceptions
    • Create a power bar for pygame project

      In this chapter, we are going to create the last piece of game feature which is the player’s power bar, after this, I will do all the touches up to this game project which certainly includes to tidy up the game code before uploading the game to the pygame portal. Alright, let’s get to work.

      The first file which we will need to edit is the score manager file where we will create a power bar object on the lower right corner of the game scene. What we will do here is to deduct the height of the original power bar whenever an enemy missile hits the player ship.

    • PGI 18.10 Community Edition Compiler Relased For High-Performance Multi-Core CPUs & GPUs

      The PGI 18.10 Community Edition compiler was recently released that is geared for HPC workloads and aims to deliver optimal performance on multi-core processors and GPUs.

    • JFrog to open freebie central repository for Go fans in the new year

      Self-proclaimed “Database of DevOps” JFrog is about to fling open the first central repository for Go modules in the form of GoCenter.

      Originally developed by Google, the open-source language Go, which celebrated its ninth anniversary last month, has seen impressive growth over the years. It hovers in fifth place in Stack Overflow’s 2018 survey of most-loved languages (above the likes of JavaScript) and third in rankings of languages devs most want to learn. Python reigns supreme, of course.

    • GitHub and Kotlin: What is this Fastest Growing Language? [Ed: Another disturbing example of the corporate media treating a privatised site of Microsoft as though it's the complete set of all programming and Free software, licences etc.]

      What’s the fastest growing language on GitHub?

      The repository is seeing a “clear trend toward more statically typed languages focused on type safety and interoperability” the company said this week, including Kotlin, TypeScript and Rust – and it is the former that is surging fastest.

    • The world’s most popular programming language is JavaScript, but why? [Ed: Microsoft as reference again?]

      Much of the work done using JavaScript still seems to be carried out by front-end web developers, despite the language finding new uses in areas such as back-end development in recent years.

      Now the code repository service GitHub has shed further light on what’s fuelling the continued popularity of JavaScript, as part of a round-up of which technologies spawned the most new open-source projects on GitHub in 2018.

      [...]

      “In 2018 alone, we saw more new users than in our first six years combined, and we celebrated hosting over 100 million repositories. All of this growth is thanks to the open source community,” writes Thomas Elliott, data scientist at GitHub

    • Maze Generator Keeps Plotter (and Kids) Busy

      The generator itself is written in Java, and should work on whatever operating system your box happens to be running thanks to the *nix and Windows wrapper scripts [Jon] provides. To create a basic maze, one simply needs to provide the script with the desired dimensions and the paper size. You can define the type of paper with either standard sizes (such as –paper a4) or in the case of a plotter with explicit dimensions (–paper 36x48in).

Leftovers

  • Science

    • The future of science is in your hands: An interview with Michael Nielsen

      Michael Nielsen was a Fulbright Scholar who got his Ph.D. in Physics at 24. He was already tenured when he decided just three years later to shift his attention to helping democratize Science. He’s published three books, most recently Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science. Currently, he’s a Research Fellow at YC Research in San Francisco. Michael’s a friend of mine, so I was happy to discover a new article by him in The Atlantic, authored with Patrick Collison, the CEO of Stripe. I decided to ask him why they’d done the research they describe, and what it meant. –Karl

    • The White House is halting AIDS and cancer research that depends on fetal tissue

      The US Department of Health and Human Resources (HHR) has halted all federal research involving fetal tissue obtained from elective abortions, according to an AIDS researcher working in collaboration with a federal facility. Fetal tissue, which provides stem cells, is a key component of medical research both within and outside government facilities and, while its use is legal, it is vehemently opposed by anti-choice activists.

      In September, the HHR ordered an audit of all National Institutes of Health (NIH) research involving fetal tissue, which the NIH procures through Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR). At the same time, the FDA terminated its contract with ABR, the sole supplier of fetal tissue to federal laboratories, effectively banning its use by government agencies. The impact of the ban on medical research has only recently been brought to light by Science magazine.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Trump Administration Asks to Roll Back Rules Against Water Pollution

      It is doing this by redefining the Waters of the United States rule to exclude so-called ephemeral streams—those that flow only after rainfall and snowmelt—and wetlands not adjacent to or connected by surface water to other bodies of water. A 2015 rule announced by President Barack Obama specified that these ephemeral streams would be protected. Some of the wetlands in question were also protected under Obama and President George W. Bush. According to E&E, environmental groups argue for the protection of some ephemeral streams because when they do flow, they can carry pollution into other water sources.

    • Trump Moves to Gut the Clean Water Act

      With a sweeping proposed revision to the Clean Water Act (CWA), Trump finally made good on a longstanding effort that began with the famously corrupt, now-ousted EPA chief Scott Pruitt: dismantling the federal law that protects the nation’s waterways, aquatic habitats and drinking water.

    • Here’s what’s left for Flint water crisis criminal cases in 2018

      Shekter-Smith, the only state government employee to lose her job for her actions during the water crisis, faces criminal charges of involuntary manslaughter, misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty.

    • They Were Covered by Health Insurance, but Their Newborn Son Wasn’t

      The biggest mistake people can make when it comes to health insurance?

      “Assuming that because they have insurance, they’ll be covered,” said Dr. Robert Pearl, former CEO of The Permanente Medical Group and author of “Mistreated: Why We Think We’re Getting Good Health Care — and Why We’re Usually Wrong.”

    • Effects of Antidepressants Span Three Generations in Fish

      The effects of antidepressant exposure during early development can pass down through three generations of offspring—at least in zebrafish. A new study, published today (December 10) in PNAS, reveals that fluoxetine, a commonly used antidepressant that goes by the brand name Prozac, can alter hormone levels and blunt stress responses in an exposed embryo and its descendants.

    • She Ran Away From Foster Care. She Ended Up in Handcuffs and Leg Irons.

      In Family Court hearings every month, the A.C.S. is quietly being granted arrest warrants to detain foster children like Nevayah, whose only transgression is leaving the agency’s care. The unusually draconian strategy has little precedent in any state’s foster care system, and it is unclear if the A.C.S. even has the authority to use such warrants under New York State law.

    • Flint water crisis: State’s medical chief faces trial for manslaughter

      Dr. Eden Wells, a member of Gov. Rick Snyder’s Cabinet, is among five people facing an involuntary manslaughter charge in connection to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the Flint area in 2014 and 2015. Wells is now the second high-ranking state official, along with Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon, to be ordered to trial.

    • Why life expectancy in America is down again

      But longer-term trends, evident in the data, suggest some reasons for hope. Suicide used to end nearly twice as many lives as drug overdoses; overdoses now end far more. That is a grim reminder of the terrible burden of America’s opioid epidemic. But it also suggests that reversing the direction of the mortality rate could be achieved without waiting for the lives of the unskilled to radically improve.

    • Two Women Erased $1.5 Million of Strangers’ Medical Debt Just Because They Felt Like It
    • One in 8 deaths in India due to air pollution, life expectancy down by 1.7 years: Report

      The estimates show that India with 18 per cent of the global population has a disproportionately high 26 per cent of the global premature deaths and disease burden due to air pollution. Over half of the 12.4 lakh deaths in India attributable to air pollution in 2017 were in persons younger than 70 years. The average life expectancy in India would have been 1.7 years higher if the air pollution level were less than the minimal level causing health loss.

    • Trump moves to relax Obama-era water protections

      The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal would redefine the “Waters of the United States,” a legal term for which waterways are protected from harm and pollution by the federal government under the Clean Water Act.

      The change is a major victory for developers, energy companies and other industries that emit water pollutants and use land. They had complained that under the 2015 rule created by the Obama administration, large swaths of often dry land required permits for routine activities.

    • EPA to propose easing Obama water rule

      The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to propose changing the definition of “Waters of the U.S.” to erase federal protections on some waters. The change would cover wetlands not connected to larger waterways or riverbeds that only flow after rainfall, according to an EPA outline obtained by E&E News.

    • EPA to scale back WOTUS definition — document

      The proposed new definition of “waters of the U.S.,” or WOTUS, will erase federal protections from streams that flow only following rainfall, as well as wetlands not physically connected to larger waterways, according to a copy of EPA talking points obtained by E&E News.

      EPA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

    • We need better reporting of household air pollution

      The recent surge in air pollution levels in New Delhi has once again attracted a lot of attention. In normal conditions, this level of exposure to air pollution — particularly PM 2.5 — witnessed in the capital is a daily instance in households where solid biomass is burnt in poorly ventilated spaces. It is estimated that household air pollution (HAP) related to cooking causes 1.3 million premature deaths in India (WHO, 2018). In addition, it also leads to almost 30% of the ambient air pollution in the country. One of the major constituents of HAP is PM 2.5, which affects local and regional climate change, and can cause environmental degradation.

    • Friday’s papers: Measles case, Tallinn rail tunnel and sauna benefits

      Based on information from the National Institute of Health and Welfare (NIH), those exposed in the municipality of Luoto include the child’s family and relatives. In addition, the unvaccinated preschooler had spent time in day care, the emergency unit of the Kokkola hospital and a religious gathering, HS says.

    • No More Bananas On Your Breakfast Table?

      The Gros Michel was then replaced by the Cavendish banana, the most internationally traded variety now, and the only one most of America and Britain has ever tasted. However, another strain of Fusa­rium wilt, Tropical Race 4 (TR4), is now threatening the Cavendish, and has gen­eticists and scientists across the world scurrying back to their laboratories.

      TR4 has already ravaged farms in Taiwan, where it was first spotted in 1990, and moved westwards while consolidating the eastern front. Cases have been found in China, Malaysia and Australia while the virus spread to Mozambique in 2013, Lebanon and Pakistan in 2015, to Israel, Laos and Vietnam in the following years, and to Myanmar this year.

    • Water wars won’t be won on a battlefield

      And just to drive the point home: A group of retired three- and four-star officers from across the U.S. military issued this report, The Role of Water Stress in Instability and Conflict, detailing the security threats that global water scarcity could pose for the U.S. and allies in coming years. In the next decade, some 2.9 billion people in 48 countries will face water shortages. Currently, 2.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water at home, and six in 10 lack safe sanitation globally.

    • My beautiful death

      One day, I visited the ROM, where I met a curator of invertebrates. He mentioned that bones and shells accumulate toxins in their environment. Upon further research, I discovered that common blue mussels are filter feeders. They pump several litres of water per hour and concentrate chemicals in their tissues. In some countries, mussels are used to read toxicity levels in the water. Suddenly, everything clicked into place.

      In 2015, I was diagnosed with heavy-metal poisoning. Doctors found high levels of arsenic and lead in my blood, the result of chronic exposure. The water where the mussels grew was likely contaminated from industrial waste, and the mussel shells I’d been working with for decades were toxic. Metals can be absorbed through consumption, air or skin. I’d been exposed in every way.

    • The Hidden Struggle to Save the Coffee Industry From Disaster

      What happened to Mario Mendoza Corleto played out all across El Salvador, as well as Honduras and Guatemala: ground zero for the Western hemisphere’s most prized coffees.

    • An Empire of Bases Poisons Water, Threatening Its Own Collapse

      Per-flouro octane-sulfo-nate or PFOS, and Per-flouro-octa-noic acid or PFOA, are the active ingredients in the foam routinely used to train soldiers to extinguish aircraft fires at U.S. military bases around the world. The toxic chemicals are allowed to leach into surrounding soil to poison groundwater. The result is one of the greatest water contamination epidemics in human history.

      Doubt that? Click on Google News and enter: “PFOS PFAO Military Base.” Then, come back and read the rest of this article – and brace yourself. It’s bad.

      The water in thousands of wells in and around U.S. military installations across the globe have been tested and have been shown to contain harmful levels of PFOS and PFOA. The health effects of exposure to these chemicals include frequent miscarriages and other severe pregnancy complications, like long-term fertility issues. They contaminate human breast milk and sicken breast-feeding babies. PFOS and PFOA contribute to liver damage, kidney cancer, high cholesterol, decreased response to vaccines, an increased risk of thyroid disease, along with testicular cancer, micro-penis, and low sperm count in males.

      The Pentagon has known of the disastrous impact PFOS and PFOA have on human health and the environment since 1974, and they continue to use the poisonous foams today.

    • Take It From Me: Tweaks Won’t Fix Healthcare

      Democrats have secured a 40-seat flip of the House of Representatives, based largely on a nationwide call for health care reform. Many Democrats, led by Brian Higgins of New York, are planning to use their newfound control of the House to work on a Medicare buy-in bill.

      I spent 20 years as a health insurance executive before leaving my job as a vice president at Cigna. I can tell you firsthand that by focusing on a half-baked measure like a Medicare buy-in, Democrats would hand a huge gift to the private insurance industry while doing less than the bare minimum to help struggling businesses, workers, families and patients.

      When the next Congress starts in January, House Democrats should use their new majority introduce, debate and vote on significant legislation that would assure universal coverage, protect taxpayers, and dramatically transform our health care system: Medicare for All.

      The Higgins plan to let people aged 50-64 to buy Medicare coverage does nothing to restrict the ability of insurers to profit from our fragmented coverage system. It would allow insurance companies to continue to control prices for almost everyone under 50, while pushing many of their most expensive-to-insure patients out of their risk pool and into Medicare’s — which shifts the cost onto taxpayers.

      The Higgins bill would also allow insurance companies to continue to weaken traditional Medicare while profiting from Medicare Advantage plans — private-sector alternatives to traditional Medicare that are now a primary driver of insurance-company growth.

      Seven in 10 Americans and 85 percent of Democrats are supportive of Medicare for All. Yet Higgins is pushing a bill that not only would fail to reform the broken American health care system, it would almost certainly pad insurance companies’ bottom lines.

      It’s time for Democrats to stop proposing health care reform that relies on insurance companies to play fair. After two decades in the for-profit health insurance industry, I can assure you they never will. They have no interest in doing anything that might in any way jeopardize profits. Their only interest is delivering profits to their shareholders. From that perspective, the status quo is very profitable. For everyone else, not so much.

    • Federal Court’s ‘Disastrous’ Affordable Care Act Ruling Only Bolsters Case for Medicare for All, Advocates Say

      Handing down his ruling in a lawsuit filed this year by Republican governors and attorneys general, Federal District Court Judge Reed O’Connor said Friday night in Ft. Worth, Texas that the ACA’s individual mandate requiring all Americans to buy insurance is unconstitutional and cannot be considered a tax, invalidating the rest of the law.

      Healthcare advocates quickly addressed the concern that the attack on the ACA could harm 133 million Americans who rely on the law’s rule banning insurance companies from refusing coverage based on pre-existing conditions, and the 20 million Americans who gained insurance because of the law. The ruling will likely be repealed, many wrote on social media, and Americans who need coverage through their states can still sign up through Saturday.

    • “Another Daesh”: Superbugs plague Afghan hospitals

      As the conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq evolved, military doctors who were already grappling to treat soldiers maimed by roadside bombs began facing another challenge. Patients were developing multi-drug-resistant infections in their wounds, meaning they couldn’t be treated with usual antibiotics.

      Colonel Clinton Murray, 48, an infectious diseases doctor, was deployed to the region four times between 2003 and 2015, working in military hospitals and clinics across the country, and also ran the infectious diseases department at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas, one of two US hospitals which received soldiers with injuries so bad they had to be evacuated back to America.

      He said drug resistant, or ‘superbug’ infections, meant some soldiers had problems for years after their initial life-altering injury. When common antibiotics failed, higher doses of antibiotics, new drug combinations or alternative drugs with severe side effects were tried, but many suffered repeat and prolonged infections. Some had to undergo extra surgeries or amputations because the bacteria couldn’t be stopped and had spread.

  • Security

    • Iranian phishers bypass 2fa protections offered by Yahoo Mail and Gmail

      Attackers working on behalf of the Iranian government collected detailed information on targets and used that knowledge to write spear-phishing emails that were tailored to the targets’ level of operational security, researchers with security firm Certfa Lab said in a blog post. The emails contained a hidden image that alerted the attackers in real time when targets viewed the messages. When targets entered passwords into a fake Gmail or Yahoo security page, the attackers would almost simultaneously enter the credentials into a real login page. In the event targets’ accounts were protected by 2fa, the attackers redirected targets to a new page that requested a one-time password.

    • Ships are just giant floating computers, filled with ransomware, BadUSB, and worms

      The document recounts incidents in which infected ships were stranded because malware caused their computerized navigation to fail, and there were no paper charts to fall back on; incidents where fleet owners paid off ransomware demands to keep ships at sea safe, and where the entire digital infrastructure of a ship at sea failed due to malware that spread thanks to weak passwords.

    • Are Chinese spying fears just paranoia?

      The arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, and the daughter of its founder, Ren Zhengfei, has highlighted growing fears in the West about China’s ascendancy in advanced technology sectors that will increasingly underpin the global economy. Meng’s arrest (in Vancouver, on a US arrest warrant) is not related to corporate espionage, let alone state espionage.

      Rather, she is accused of using a Huawei subsidiary called Skycom to evade US sanctions on Iran between 2009 and 2014. US prosecutors allege she publicly misrepresented Skycom as being a separate company from Huawei, and deceived banks about the true relationship between the two companies. But although the Meng case is not about spying, it reflects a growing unease among Western policymakers that has been brewing for years. Should the West trust a Chinese telecoms giant to supply us with critical infrastructure?

    • Notes on Build Hardening

      Modern languages (Java, C#, Go, Rust, JavaScript, Python, etc.) are inherently “safe”, meaning they don’t have “buffer-overflows” or related problems.

      However, C/C++ is “unsafe”, and is the most popular language for building stuff that interacts with the network. In other cases, while the language itself may be safe, it’ll use underlying infrastructure (“libraries”) written in C/C++. When we are talking about hardening builds, making them safe or security, we are talking about C/C++.

      In the last two decades, we’ve improved both hardware and operating-systems around C/C++ in order to impose safety on it from the outside. We do this with options when the software is built (compiled and linked), and then when the software is run.

    • Survey Results: Open-Source Repo Managers Should Get Paid

      We asked, you answered: Yes, developers should be paid for open-source repositories they maintain.

      Last week, we asked you whether open-source repository maintainers should be compensated for their time. The catalyst for our survey was an instance where an overworked maintainer for a very popular JavaScript framework decided to bring others in to help them manage the repo. In doing so, one of the managers surreptitiously linked to an outside repo that was pinching cryptocurrency data.

      All indications are the new manager knew what they were doing. The library’s main manager claims they were simply unprepared to continue managing a burdensome repository for free, so they sought help. Open source, after all, is the exchange of data without being compensated.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • German jails ill-equipped to handle inmate radicalization

      Many European Islamist terrorists have a criminal background and were radicalized in jail. The head of Germany’s prison officer union, René Müller, says German prisons need more resources to tackle the problem.

    • Opinion: Behind Bars, Prisoners are Radicalized

      As Daesh has lost militarily, numbers of remaining fighters will seek to come home. The latest numbers from The Soufan Group places the total number of Jordanian fighters at 3000 of which 250 have returned home. In addition, another 900 remain in Syria and Iraq. This is an issue for a number of countries around the world and questions of returnee fighters will shortly be coming to the foreground – it is likely that prison sentences will be handed down.

      While prison reform is required, this is no simple feat. A first stage must include re-training security forces to implement the rule of law indiscriminately, respect the limited rights of prisoners, and eliminate the use of physical violence against them. This will prevent polarization away from the state and reduce the incidence of the production of violent extremists through the collective resentment of state figures.

    • Prison: Militant Jihadist Recruiting Grounds or Refuge for Rehabilitation?

      In the past decades, al-Qaeda ideologues hoped to incite a “leaderless jihad,” in which spontaneous cells and homegrown terrorist plots would emerge. In their vision, however, they failed to account for the difficulty that potential would-be homegrown terrorists would face in executing terrorist attacks. Arguably, nowadays, the leaderless jihad is being infused with knowledge shared within the prison walls, as young and vulnerable new recruits coming from the criminal world continue to fall under the influence of those in prison, who can equip them with terrorist tradecraft and link them with the network of individuals who can assist them in their endeavors following their release from prison.

    • Trump and GOP Attack Vietnam War Veterans and Refugees

      My father had been home from his tour in Vietnam for five years when he, along with the rest of the world, watched US service members shove perfectly good helicopters off the flight deck of the USS Okinawa and into the South China Sea. This was Operation Frequent Wind, the final escape plan for US personnel upon the collapse of the war, and when the endgame finally came, it came fast.

      The choppers were dumped overboard to make room for more choppers to land, drop their human cargo and be likewise dumped because so many people – soldiers and civilians – were running for their lives from the conflagration on the Vietnamese mainland.

      It was the ignominious conclusion to an ignominious war the US had known for years it could not win, but kept fighting anyway for pride and profit. They knew they couldn’t win in Vietnam before my father got there, and yet they let him go anyway, he and nearly three million others who either volunteered like my dad or were pressed into service by the draft.

      The war in Vietnam killed more than 58,000 US military service members. Millions upon millions of Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians and Thais were killed, maimed or displaced. My father kept walking for another 46 years after he came home, but a part of him he could never quite name died there, too.

      The war is not over.

      A needed extension of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act collapsed in the Senate last Monday at the hands of one man. The Act, according to Military.com, “would extend eligibility for disability compensation and health care to ‘Blue Water’ Navy veterans — service members who were aboard aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers and other ships, some of whom have fought for years to prove they were exposed to Agent Orange. The dioxin-laden herbicide has been found to cause respiratory cancers, Parkinson’s disease and heart disease, as well as other conditions.”

    • Can Adopting a Complementary Indigenous Perspective Save Us?

      As we move into mid-December and recognize the only month designated to honor Native American Heritage has passed, we must acknowledge that an Indigenous perspective needs to be considered not just every November, but every month of the year.

      Indigenous cultures have known for thousands of years that a human-centered perspective always leads to dangerous imbalance. Without earnest reflection that seeks complementarity between this Indigenous worldview precept and the anthropocentrism of the dominant worldview, we will continue our death march.

      Traditional, nonhierarchical Indigenous approaches to learning about life skills and values hold the idea of being intimately related to nonhuman life forms as paramount. Honoring and learning from animals, plants, bodies of water and the organisms that dwell in them remains inseparable from any learning experience and from any ultimate application of learning. Moreover, an Indigenous perspective sees humans as the younger brothers and sisters of the nonhuman elders of creation, and the nonhuman elders as our teachers.

      When one lives in such a way as to see a tree as a relative rather than a resource, diversity and inclusion, as relates to fellow human beings, follows. Couple this with the concept of Earth as our “Mother,” as with matrilineal cultures, and we can understand why most pre-contact cultures were organized along more egalitarian lines. The scholars who contributed to Heide Göttner-Abendroth’s edited volume, Societies of Peace, reveal that such societies were also nonviolent and practiced great respect for all living creatures, without exploiting humans, animals or their environment.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • ‘Trust deficit’: UK’s top envoy to Australia on diplomacy in the WikiLeaks era

      Since the WikiLeaks dump, “there’s a real challenge for us when we report what people say to us”, Rawlings says. “I always think to myself: how would I feel if this leaked? Twenty or 30 years ago, you probably didn’t have to think about that.”

      Asked whether that concern about private communication becoming public now impedes diplomatic work, working against candour, Rawlings says there isn’t one answer.

      “I think it’s very important that we can speak truth to power, and if you inhibit yourself too much in terms of your analysis or the extent to which you report private conversations, then you are not doing your job as well as you need to.”

    • History of extradition of fugitives to and from India and some high-profile cases

      Julian Assange: The Australian programmer and internet activist published secret US documents through his site WikiLeaks in 2010 and has been on US federal government’s most wanted list ever since. Assange has taken asylum in the embassy of Ecuador in London since then. His fate hangs in the balance as talks of withdrawing his asylum gain strength between the Ecuadorian president and the British government.

      Edward Snowden: The American computer whizz formerly employed with the CIA turned into a whistleblower in 2013. He leaked classified information about global surveillance programmes US National Security Agency was running in alliance with private companies and European government bodies. He’s currently living in Russia on a temporary asylum grant that’s set to expire by 2020.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Drilled: A Podcast on the Climate Crime of the Century

      As these documents show, some of the largest oil companies, including Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon, were studying the severity of climate change long before it became an issue most people were aware of and well before the policy arena started to take action in the late 1980s.

    • UK’s dream is now its nuclear nightmare

      Thirty years ago it seemed like a dream: now it is a nuclear nightmare. A project presented to the world in the 1990s by the UK government as a £2.85 billion triumph of British engineering, capable of recycling thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel into reusable uranium and plutonium is shutting down – with its role still controversial.

      Launched amid fears of future uranium shortages and plans to use the plutonium produced from the plant to feed a generation of fast breeder reactors, the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant, known as THORP, was thought to herald a rapid expansion of the industry.

      In the event there were no uranium shortages, fast breeder reactors could not be made to work, and nuclear new build of all kinds stalled. Despite this THORP continued as if nothing had happened, recycling thousands of tons of uranium and producing 56 tons of plutonium that no one wants. The plutonium, once the world’s most valuable commodity, is now classed in Britain as “an asset of zero value.”

      Over its lifetime the giant plant at Sellafield in Cumbria, north-west England, has taken spent fuel from eight countries as well as the UK and succeeded in producing a small mountain of plutonium and uranium of which only a tiny fraction has ever been re-used as intended. Instead most has been stockpiled and is now stored under armed guard with no use or purpose in sight.

    • This Radical Plan to Fund the ‘Green New Deal’ Just Might Work

      With what author and activist Naomi Klein calls “galloping momentum,” the “Green New Deal” promoted by Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., appears to be forging a political pathway for solving all of the ills of society and the planet in one fell swoop. Her plan would give a House select committee “a mandate that connects the dots” between energy, transportation, housing, health care, living wages, a jobs guarantee and more. But even to critics on the left, it is merely political theater, because “everyone knows” a program of that scope cannot be funded without a massive redistribution of wealth and slashing of other programs (notably the military), which is not politically feasible.

      That may be the case, but Ocasio-Cortez and the 22 representatives joining her in calling for a select committee also are proposing a novel way to fund the program, one that could actually work. The resolution says funding will come primarily from the federal government, “using a combination of the Federal Reserve, a new public bank or system of regional and specialized public banks, public venture funds and such other vehicles or structures that the select committee deems appropriate, in order to ensure that interest and other investment returns generated from public investments made in connection with the Plan will be returned to the treasury, reduce taxpayer burden and allow for more investment.”

    • Nations at Climate Talks Back Universal Emissions Rules

      After two weeks of bruising negotiations, officials from almost 200 countries agreed Saturday on universal, transparent rules that will govern efforts to cut emissions and curb global warming.

      The deal agreed upon at U.N. climate talks in Poland enables countries to put into action the principles in the 2015 Paris climate accord.

      But to the frustration of environmental activists and some countries who were urging more ambitious climate goals, negotiators delayed decisions on two key issues until next year in an effort to get a deal on them.

    • ‘Morally Unacceptable’: Final Deal Out of COP24 Sorely Lacking in Urgency and Action, Climate Campaigners Say

      Climate action groups slammed the outcome of the 24th annual Conference of the Parties (COP24) in Katowice, Poland on Saturday, calling the agreement reached by about 200 diplomats and negotiators “barely adequate” as a plan to ensure that countries will follow through with their emissions reduction pledges.

      Concluding two weeks of talks on how countries can implement the Paris climate agreement to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), the diplomats reached a deal standardizing how countries measure their carbon emissions and ostensibly ensuring that world leaders will be more aggressive in reaching their emissions targets in time for the next global summit next September.

      The final agreement left out directives on specific reductions in emissions by 2030. While it calls on wealthier countries to clarify how they will provide aid to less well-off nations, many of which are on the front lines of the climate crisis, more in-depth talks about developing countries needs were put off until next year.

      Advocates for bold, concrete reforms and directives—outlined in the People’s Demands for Climate Justice—said the required sense of urgency for avoiding the climate catastrophe that the world’s top scientists warn could take hold by 2030, was missing from the deal.

    • Uncertainty, hope at the 11th hour of COP24 climate talks

      Last weekend at the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait declined to “welcome” that report, instead wanting only to “note” its existence, which is light-years away in diplomat speak. That disagreement, along with events at COP24 that promoted fossil fuel technologies, have cast a cloud over these negotiations, which are being held in Polish coal country.

    • Greenland’s melting snow makes new hockey stick (graph)

      Greenland has experienced a remarkable amount of surface melting over the past couple decades, including the record-setting summer of 2012 that saw virtually the entire ice sheet melting at the surface. Because surface melting had historically been an unusual event akin to newsworthy heat waves, glaciologists wanted to put this into context. How much of Greenland’s recently accelerating ice loss was due to natural variability, and how much was due to human-caused trends?

    • Eleven researchers publish sharp critique of EPA fuel economy logic

      The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Trump has moved to rescind a number of environmentally-minded regulations instituted under the Obama Administration. One of the first in its crosshairs was the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) standards for light trucks and passenger vehicles, which paralleled the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These two regulations (the GHG and CAFE rules) both aimed to force automakers to adhere to gradually-tightening fuel efficiency standards, which were detailed out to 2025.`

    • Swedes’ flight habits carry heavy climate burden

      According to the report, which was commissioned by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, Sweden’s aviation emissions are five times higher than the global average. A full 80 percent of those emissions are the result of private trips.

      Air travel accounts for around four to five percent of global emissions. As a small country, Sweden is only estimated to account for around one percent of that total. While that might not sound like much in the big picture, the report shows that Swedes’ travel habits have an impact much larger than the country’s size.

    • Climate change is already a reality

      The Finnish government must systematically relinquish all fossil fuels and peat in energy production. The government has taken initiative and has suggested a ban on using coal in electricity production starting in May 2029. Our policies regarding the use of energy must be based on banning fossil fuels and peat by 2040.

      The transition time may sound quite long, but considering the massive investments companies must make, the transition time is justified. According to estimates, many industrial fields will accomplish banning coal long before the deadline set by the government.

    • Greenland’s ice sheet is melting at its fastest rate in centuries

      The ice that sits atop Greenland spans an area more than three times the size of Texas and almost two miles deep at its thickest. If this frigid white expanse ridged with crystal blue rivers of meltwater were to thaw completely, it would raise global sea levels by more than 20 feet.

      Which is why it’s alarming that scientists are repoting that this sheet of ice is thawing, and doing so at an accelerating rate not seen for more than 350 years. Already, scientists have found that Greenland’s ice melt is the main reason the rate of average sea level rise has sped up since 1993.

    • A Dangerous Chemical Change Is Happening in Our Freshwater Supply

      A new study has confirmed that in the last 25 years, at least a third of the rivers and streams in the United States have gotten saltier. If nothing is done to curb this trend, the results suggest that more than half of these waterways could contain at least 50 percent more salt than they used to by 2100.

      The findings are a major reality check. This extreme level of salt pollution would likely pose a serious threat to freshwater resources, urban infrastructure, and natural ecosystems across the nation.

    • One suspected driver of the migrant ‘caravan’: climate change

      Overlooked is this factor: climate change.

      The “dry corridor” of Central America, which includes parts of Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua, has been hit with an unusual drought for the last five years. Crops are failing. Starvation is lurking. More than two million people in the region are at risk for hunger, according to an August report from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

    • Congressman Who Shot a Climate Change Bill with a Rifle to Lead Energy Committee

      Manchin votes with President Donald Trump 60.8 percent of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight. And the the League of Conservation Voters gives him a lifetime score of 45 percent when it comes to voting on pro-environment policies.

      Because of this record, many Democrats further to the left of Manchin were critical that he was likely to be named ranking member on the energy committee. Newcomer Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said she had “concerns” about handing the top seat to a pro-coal Democrat, who received $156,240 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industries in 2018. He also still earns money from a coal brokerage company he ran before his life in politics.

    • Another Mass Extinction Is Underway

      Few express similar concern or are likely to be willing to offer financial support to “save” insects. The few that are in our visible space and cause us nuisance, we regularly swat, squash, crush, or take out en masse with Roundup.

      As it happens, though, of the nearly two million known species on this planet about 70 percent of them are insects. And many of them are as foundational to the food chain for land animals as plankton are for marine life. Harvard entomologist (and ant specialist) E.O. Wilson once observed that “if insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.”

      In fact, insects are vanishing.

      Almost exactly a year ago, the first long-term study of the decline of insect populations was reported, sparking concern (though only in professional circles) about a possible “ecological Armageddon.” Based on data collected by dozens of amateur entomologists in 63 nature reserves across Germany, a team of scientists concluded that the flying insect population had dropped by a staggering 76 percent over a 27-year period. At the same time, other studies began to highlight dramatic plunges across Europe in the populations of individual species of bugs, bees, and moths.

    • Climate change: Arctic reindeer numbers crash by half

      “We see increased drought in some areas due to climate warming, and the warming itself leads to a change of vegetation.”

      The lichen that the caribou like to eat grows at the ground level. “Warming means other, taller vegetation is growing and the lichen are being out-competed,” he told BBC News.

      Another very big issue is the number of insects. “Warmer climates just mean more bugs in the Arctic,” said Prof Epstein. “It’s said that a nice day for people is a lousy day for caribou.

      “If it’s warm and not very windy, the insects are oppressive and these animals spend so much energy either getting the insects off of them or finding places where they can hide from insects.”

    • ‘Scary’ Warming at Poles Showing Up at Weird Times, Places

      New studies and reports issued this week at a major Earth sciences conference paint one of the bleakest pictures yet of dramatic warming in the Arctic and Antarctica. Alaskan scientists described to The Associated Press on Tuesday never-before-seen melting and odd winter problems, including permafrost that never refroze this past winter and wildlife die-offs.

      The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Tuesday released its annual Arctic report card, detailing the second warmest year on record in the Arctic and problems, including record low winter sea ice in parts of the region, increased toxic algal blooms, which are normally a warm water phenomenon, and weather changes in the rest of the country attributable to what’s happening in the far North.

    • Suit Filed to Stop Seismic Airgun Blasting in Atlantic Ocean

      Environmental groups filed a lawsuit in South Carolina yesterday (December 11) to prevent seismic airgun blasting to search for oil and gas in the Atlantic Ocean, according to a media release posted by Oceana, one of the participating environmental advocacy organizations. The suit comes in response to federal approval of permits to five companies to probe for fossil fuels off the coast of the eastern seaboard, the first step in a larger plan to offer federal offshore leases to the oil and gas industry and possibly open the Atlantic to offshore drilling for the first time in about 50 years.

    • Scientists Used Satellites to Spot Arctic Methane From Space

      Engram and a team of researchers tapped into radar measurements from Japan’s Advanced Land Observing Satellite. In the last decade, Japan has launched a fleet of satellites designed to monitor changes across Earth’s surface and atmosphere.

      The satellite measured fluctuations in ground height, which allowed the team to see how methane emissions were warping the icy surfaces of Arctic lakes.

    • Satellite spies methane bubbling up from Arctic permafrost

      For the first time, scientists have used a satellite to estimate how much methane is seeping into the atmosphere from Arctic lakes. Preliminary data presented this week at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in Washington DC help to explain long-standing discrepancies between estimates of methane emissions from atmospheric measurements and data collected at individual lakes.

      As icy permafrost melts to form lakes, microbes break down organic matter in the thawing ground beneath the water and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Researchers have measured the amount of methane seeping out of hundreds of lakes, one by one, but estimating emissions across the Arctic remains a challenge. Understanding how much methane is being released by these lakes is crucial to predicting how much permafrost emissions could exacerbate future climate change.

    • Target Fined $7.4 Million for Illegally Throwing E-Waste in the Trash

      The state of California slapped Target with a fine of $7.4 million for breaking state e-waste recycling laws and throwing 2,038 items of hazardous e-waste in the trash between 2012 and 2016, according to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.

    • 95 percent of the Arctic Ocean’s old sea ice is gone. What now?

      “Once the sea ice is gone you put heat in there, and you raise the temperature of the remaining seawater much faster… there’s no place to go, but to heat things up more,” Leslie Field, PhD, founder and CEO of Ice911, and lecturer at Stanford University, told Salon. “It is an interesting, [t]otally alarming [thing] when you are raising the temperature of the ocean faster.”

      NOAA’s latest report showed, among other disconcerting findings, that the oldest and thickest ice in the Arctic has declined by 95 percent over the past three decades. It is one of a handful reports from various agencies over the last couple months sounding the alarm regarding climate change.

    • Look who’s ponying up for climate change

      One answer may lie in a dramatic shift in private financial institutions to see gold in going green. “Awareness of climate risk in the financial sector has increased over the past few years,” states a UN report prepared for the conference. From 2013-14 to 2015-16, climate finance increased by 17 percent.

    • Right to end life on Earth: Can corporations that spread climate change denialism be held liable?

      It’s conventional wisdom that the right to free speech does not permit you to shout “fire!” in a crowded theater – but does that mean you have the right to claim there is no fire when a theater is ablaze?

    • Biggest extinction in Earth’s history caused by global warming leaving ocean animals gasping for breath

      What has been debated until now is exactly what made the oceans inhospitable to life – the high acidity of the water, metal and sulfide poisoning, a complete lack of oxygen, or simply higher temperatures.

      New research from the University of Washington and Stanford University combines models of ocean conditions and animal metabolism with published lab data and paleoceanographic records to show that the Permian mass extinction in the oceans was caused by global warming that left animals unable to breathe. As temperatures rose and the metabolism of marine animals sped up, the warmer waters could not hold enough oxygen for them to survive.

    • What caused ancient mass extinction? Hot ocean water blamed

      The ancient die-off “shows almost exactly what lies at the end of the road we’re on,” Deutsch said. “We’re really doing the same thing to Earth’s climate and oceans.”

      The study calculates that if heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions continue on current levels, by the year 2300, the globe will experience 35 to 50 percent of the extinction level seen in the Great Dying.

    • Sir David Attenborough Warns Civilisation Is Near Collapse Unless We Act Now

      Speaking at the opening of the United Nations COP24 Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland, Attenborough implored the assembled delegates and decision-makers to listen to the voices of those they represent – while there’s still time to act.

    • Global Carbon Emissions Are Predicted to Hit Record High in 2018

      The world’s carbon dioxide emissions reached their apex this year, setting a troubling historic high according to a new report published on Wednesday by an international research cooperative.

      Global carbon emissions are projected to increase by 2.7 percent in 2018, following a growth of 1.6 percent in 2017, the report found. These estimates mean that this year Earth is set to emit roughly 37.1 billion metric tons of carbon, a number the New York Times compared to approximately 100,000 times the weight of the Empire State Building.

    • 15-Year-Old Activist Greta Thunberg Schooled World Leaders on Climate Change at a United Nations Summit

      Greta Thunberg wasn’t messing around when she told off a group of world leaders at the United Nations climate change summit, which started on Monday, December 3.

      “For 25 years, countless people have come to the U.N. climate conferences begging our world leaders to stop emissions, and clearly that has not worked as emissions are continuing to rise. So I will not beg the world leaders to care for our future,” Greta, who is from Sweden, said. “I will instead let them know change is coming whether they like it or not.”

    • A high-profile deep-sea mining company is struggling

      Although the water in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone, a patch of Pacific sea floor in which such firms will operate, is some three times deeper than that at Solwara, the location is out on the high seas. That means it is subject to a clearer set of rules for mining and exploration which is overseen by the United Nations, thereby reducing the scope for wrangling with national governments. Nautilus holds a concession there, too. But if the firm does not secure a fresh infusion of cash, its machines may never venture further than a dock in PNG.

    • Trump admin. approves seismic tests for Atlantic offshore oil drilling

      On Friday, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) approved a plan to make it legal for five companies to conduct seismic testing off the Atlantic coast, in an area stretching from Delaware to Florida.

      The seismic testing is an initial step toward leasing federal offshore waters to oil companies that may want to drill there. In January, the Trump Administration opened up more than 90 percent of the federal offshore area to potential lease sales.

    • Sir David Attenborough: Climate change ‘our greatest threat’

      But a recent study showed that CO2 emissions are on the rise again after stalling for four years.

      In an unprecedented move, four former UN climate talks presidents issued a statement on Sunday, calling for urgent action.

      They say “decisive action in the next two years will be crucial”.

    • 384 tigers killed in India in last decade, reveals RTI

      A total of 384 tigers have been killed by poachers across the country in the last ten years, which translates to over three a month, a reply under the Right to Information has revealed.

      Between 2008 and 2018 (till November), 961 persons have also been arrested for allegedly poaching tigers, it said.

      The information was given by the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau or WCCB in response to a Right to Information (RTI) query filed by Noida-based advocate Ranjan Tomar.

    • Stripes in the snow: At 3,630 meters, India’s only snow tigers are burning bright

      Adhikarimayum credits this to the inhabitants of the region: the Idu Mishmis. “The only reason tigers continue to exist here and in such great numbers is because the tribe not only respects the animal, but have many mythological beliefs regarding it,” says Adhikarimayum, “For the Idu Mishmis, the tiger is like their brother.” Adds Gopi, “Now that we have done this survey, the immediate priority must be to ensure that the newly-discovered populations are protected and monitored to identify potential genetic uniqueness.”

    • Coal scam case: Ex-coal secretary HC Gupta, five others held guilty by Delhi court

      A Delhi court Friday held former coal secretary H C Gupta and five others guilty of corruption and criminal conspiracy in a case relating to the allocation of coal blocks in West Bengal, PTI reported. The court has fixed December 3 for hearing of arguments on the quantum of punishment.

      In May last year, Gupta was sentenced to two years in jail in connection with another coal scam case in Madhya Pradesh.

    • Telsa is suing an ex-employee for $167m for running his mouth off

      Tripp had made claims that the electric car maker was using flawed battery manufacturing processes and was obscuring important information from shareholders. He also apparently noted that damaged battery modules in the Tesla Model 3 posed a risk to drivers.

    • Tesla is seeking $167 million in damages from the former employee Elon Musk accused of sabotage

      The suit in Nevada is separate from a whistleblower complaint involving Tripp. In early July, Tripp filed a formal complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission alleging that Tesla made “material omissions and misstatements” to investors relating to its flawed manufacturing practices and handling of scrap at the Gigafactory.

    • The Oil Industry’s Covert Campaign to Rewrite American Car Emissions Rules

      In Congress, on Facebook and in statehouses nationwide, Marathon Petroleum, the country’s largest refiner, worked with powerful oil-industry groups and a conservative policy network financed by the billionaire industrialist Charles G. Koch to run a stealth campaign to roll back car emissions standards, a New York Times investigation has found.

    • Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to Step Down

      After racking up 17 federal investigations into suspected ethics violations and facing likely questioning by a House panel over his conduct in office, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is set to resign from the Trump administration at the end of the year.

      President Donald Trump announced Zinke’s impending departure in a tweet Saturday morning, saying that a replacement would be announced next week.

      Ethics watchdogs and climate action groups alike applauded the announcement, as Zinke’s close ties to the fossil fuel industry were cause for great concern about his lack of interest in fulfilling the stated mission of the Interior Department, instead giving favorable treatment to oil and gas companies.

    • Major Health Study Shows Benefits of Combating Climate Change

      During the holiday season, people often drink toasts to health. There’s something more we can do to ensure that we and others will enjoy good health now and into the future: combat climate change.

      “Climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century, and tackling it could be our greatest health opportunity,” according to the medical journal The Lancet.

      The Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change, by 150 experts from 27 academic institutions and intergovernmental organizations, including the World Health Organization and the World Bank, is blunt: “A rapidly changing climate has dire implications for every aspect of human life, exposing vulnerable populations to extremes of weather, altering patterns of infectious disease, and compromising food security, safe drinking water and clean air.”

      The report examines the association between health and climate change, including resilience and adaptation, financial and economic implications, the health and economic benefits of addressing the crisis, and the need for political and societal engagement, with a greater role for health professionals.

      Sadly, the researchers conclude that a lack of concerted effort from governments is compromising human health and health infrastructure and services. They note some progress has been made, including a global decline in coal use, rapid growth in renewable energy installation and increasing fossil fuel divestment.

  • Finance

    • Amazon just opened its smallest cashierless store yet — and it reveals it’s looking to take on everything from vending machines to Walmart

      The smaller stores could also be key to Amazon’s reported plan to open thousands of the stores in a few years, as the small versions are modular and take only weeks to set up, making them only moderately more difficult to install than a traditional automated retail device like a vending machine.

    • 17-year-old Walmart employee quits over store intercom: ‘Nobody should work here, ever’

      On December 6th, 17-year old Jackson Racicot posted a video titled, “How I quit my job today,” on Facebook. As of today, the video has been viewed nearly 300,000 times.

      The teen quit his job at the Walmart Grande Prairie Supercentre in Alberta, Canada, by reading a prepared speech into a store-wide intercom system, Insider reports.

    • Saudi Arabia has reportedly been propping up its stock market when things go bad

      The Saudi government has been propping up the stock market when negative news sends the market lower, the Wall Street Journal reported.

      The murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was one such example of final-hour buying by funds linked to the government.

    • A Year After the Crypto Bubble Burst, Will Bitcoin Ever Recover?

      Today anyone can (and will) start a cryptocurrency designed to serve virtually any purpose. All you need to make it work is to copy some existing code and round up some users. Choose a horse, hitch your digital wagon to it, and hope that others come along for the ride. Consensus is the lifeblood of cryptocurrencies, and they shrivel up and die without it. As the universe of crypto believers has grown, it’s become harder for them to agree on what, exactly, they believe. Witness Bitcoin forks, which created new chains of code and currencies and have divided enthusiasts into warring factions. And look at the rapid fall in price of countless other digital tokens, now widely derided as shitcoins.

    • ‘Feel-Good’ Holiday Stories Are Actually Just a Symptom of a Crumbling Society

      Over the Black Friday weekend, Mother Jones editor-in-chief Clara Jeffery saw a need on the popular education crowdfunding site DonorsChoose, where teachers request financial assistance for classroom supplies. For 22 hours, Jeffery tweeted out fundraiser after fundraiser, until her followers raised $60,000 by responding to the lone Twitter thread. They sent paper and pencils to San Francisco, books to fire evacuees in Chico, an instructor’s computer to a tribal school in South Dakota, warm weather gear to East Flatbush, and much more.

      Throughout the thread, Jeffery expressed frustration that teachers’ needs were so dire. “She [is] asking for pencils and gluesticks ffs,” Jeffery commented on a fundraiser for a low-income San Francisco school. On a request for help buying laundry equipment, she said: “These asks for ways to help kids and their families get and clean clothes are so sad. We need to serious[ly] overhaul our society.”

    • Nine Things to Buy with $5 Billion Instead of a Border Wall

      On Thursday Congress passed a stopgap funding measure to keep parts of the federal government open until December 21, when Congress must pass another spending measure or again face a government shutdown.

      President Trump has said that he will veto any bill that doesn’t give him the $5 billion he has demanded for his border wall, even if it causes parts of the government to shut down and send federal employees into the holidays without their regular paychecks.

      Five billion dollars is not huge in a federal discretionary budget of more than $1 trillion. But it’s an incredibly meaningful sum to any number of smaller federal government programs.

    • How to Hold Corporations Accountable

      Charles E. Wilson, the CEO of General Motors in the middle part of the last century, reputedly once said that “what was good for our country was good for General Motors, and vice versa.”

      The idea was that large corporations had a duty not just to their shareholders, but also to their employees, customers, and community. What was good for all of these stakeholders was inseparable from what was good for large corporations like GM.

      But in the 1980’s, this shifted. The only goal of large corporations goal became maximizing profits and returns for shareholders.

      Corporate profits are now a higher share of the economy than they were for most of the past century, and workers’ share of the total economy is the lowest.

      Corporations are now amassing huge control over our economy and fueling widening economic inequality.

      Workers must have more power.

    • No, the Price of Bitcoin Didn’t Drop Because of Bomb Threats

      On Friday, as the Bitcoin price fell by around six percent against the U.S. dollar, several reports claimed that the dominant cryptocurrency dropped in value due to bomb threats.

      One report from Business Insider Australia, for instance, stated that following an email blast of bomb threats in New York, the price of the crypto asset endured a correction.

    • One Month Later, Which Crypto Is Winning the Bitcoin Cash Split?

      One month has officially passed since the bitcoin cash blockchain underwent a hard fork on November 15, resulting in the creation of two distinct networks.

      They’re now commonly referred to as Bitcoin Cash ABC and Bitcoin SV. Yet in the weeks that followed the mid-November fracture, there is still no favorite in terms of overall price.

    • Crypto is for Activists: Why We Need More Cypherpunks, Not Cypherposers

      Emotions were high during bitcoin’s block size debate (each side believing bitcoin would be damaged by the other’s triumph), and they’re high again in this year’s bear market. People are once again listening to the fortune tellers, who shape their crypto outlook on market sentiment, and while there are many that signal allegiance to the cause, some are just here for the quick rewards, both social and monetary.

      It disappoints me to see the toxicity in this small cryptocurrency community, but it doesn’t surprise me.

      Specifically on Crypto Twitter, it’s the environment itself that rewards the group-think we’re seeing. Previously independent thinkers are rewarded for conforming and are punished for their dissent. While it’s easier to resist threats in groups, it’s harder to create and progress without being open-minded. We see similar patterns in politics and even in debates about nutrition.

    • Top Cryptos See Mixed Gains & Losses, Bitcoin Fights to Stay Over $3,200

      Saturday, Dec. 15: the top 20 cryptocurrencies report a mix of moderate gains and losses, with Bitcoin (BTC) briefly dipping under $3,200 before climbing back above the price mark by press time.

    • EU refuses to help British PM over Brexit, says ‘it is not open for renegotiation’

      Britain’s embattled Prime Minister Theresa May will go back to London empty-handed on Friday, after racing to Brussels to try to get a few more concessions from the European Union.

      The prime minister was hoping to get “legal and political” reassurances from the other 27 member countries regarding the Irish backstop — the biggest stumbling block preventing progress in the Brexit process.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Facebook is expanding its video platform while reportedly slashing news show funding
    • In France, School Lessons Ask: Which Twitter Post Should You Trust?

      Ms. Laffont keeps lessons simple. She incorporates Twitter and YouTube, and shares links to websites that students can use as references to check facts. She also explains the basics of how journalists gather and confirm facts, hoping that may help reverse some students’ mistrust of the media, as well as help them develop a more critical eye for what they see online.

      “We realized that we had to go back to the fundamentals before even mentioning fake news and conspiracy theories: what’s news, who makes it, how do you check the sources,” Ms. Laffont said.

      [...]

      “It’s your role to sort things out online,” she told them. “Be attentive to all the subtleties we’ve seen today.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Nicaragua police beat journalists, reports

      Hundreds of people have been killed in clashes between demonstrators and the security forces since April.

    • EU Members Approve Upload Filters for “Terrorist Content”

      The EU is not only cracking down on copyright-infringing content, there’s a strong focus on terrorist material too. The EU Commision recently proposed new regulations that would require hosting platforms to remove terrorist content within one hour, or face consequences. This week member states gave the plan a green light, which goes well beyond Article 13.

      [...]

      The French civil rights group La Quadrature notes that while it’s easy for large tech giants to comply, smaller competitors will be severely disadvantaged. These would all need a point of contact that’s available 24/7.

    • Forget Big Oil. Google Is the New Target for Activists

      On Tuesday, more than 60 human rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, demanded Google end an effort to launch a censored search engine in China, saying the move could make the company “complicit in human rights violations.”

    • The Ministry of Trans Truth

      Then there’s the misogyny. Labour continues to support Lily Madigan in the role of women’s officer for Rochester and Strood, despite his bullying of gender-critical feminists and other women. One of his latest Twitter missives states that TERFs ‘can go fuck themselves’, and he is allowed to say this with impunity not only by the party but by Twitter itself.

    • Putin Calls on Cultural Leaders to Control Rap Music in Russia

      Alarmed by the growing popularity of rap among Russian youth, President Vladimir Putin wants cultural leaders to devise a means of controlling, rather than banning, the popular music.

      Putin says “if it is impossible to stop, then we must lead it and direct it.”

      But Putin said at a St. Petersburg meeting with cultural advisers Saturday that attempts to ban artists from performing will have an adverse effect and bolster their popularity.

    • Vladimir Putin Makes Moves To Control Rap Music In Russia

      Alarmed by the growing popularity of rap among Russian youth, President Vladimir Putin wants cultural leaders to devise a means of controlling, rather than banning, the popular music.

      Putin says “if it is impossible to stop, then we must lead it and direct it.”

      But Putin said at a Kremlin meeting with cultural advisers Saturday that attempts to ban artists from performing will have an adverse effect and bolster their popularity.

      Putin noted that “rap is based on three pillars: sex, drugs and protest.” But he is particularly concerned with drug themes prevalent in rap, saying “this is a path to the degradation of the nation.”

    • Google app helps Muslims report ‘blasphemy’

      With “Smart Pakem,” launched in Indonesia last month at the request of the Indonesian government, users and government officials can report people who hold “misguided” beliefs in violation of Islamic law, reports Big League Politics.

    • Google Openly Helping Fundamentalist Muslims, Approves App To Turn in ‘Blasphemers’

      In November, The Independent reported on the launch of a new mobile app in the Muslim-majority nation of Indonesia. Known as “Smart Pakem,” the app reportedly allows users to report individuals to Indonesian authorities for holding or espouse “misguided” religious beliefs, which could be deemed as “heresy” or “blasphemy.”

    • Indonesia Launches ‘Snitch’ App Targeting Religious Minorities

      The app lists several religious groups, including the Ahmadiyah, Shia, and Gafatar, names their leaders and Indonesian office addresses, and describes their “deviant teachings.” It risks inflaming tensions and increasing the potential for Islamists to abuse Indonesia’s increasingly besieged religious minorities.

    • Indonesian app that allows uses to report ‘misguided’ religious beliefs criticised by human rights groups

      Human rights groups have warned about a newly launched mobile phone application which allows members of the Indonesian public to report religious beliefs they consider “misguided”.

      [...]

      However, rights groups have warned about about the use of strict blasphemy laws against minorities and the targeting of Islamic sects, such as Ahmadiyyah Muslims.

    • Heresy-reporting app may undermine Indonesia’s religious liberty

      Users can report from their phones the practice of any unrecognized religion, or unorthodox interpretations of the country’s six officially recognized religions: Islam, Catholicism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, and Protestantism.

    • Indonesia Launches “Heresy App” to Help Muslims Lodge Blasphemy Complaints

      It’s not all that surprising that this would happen in Indonesia. As we reported earlier this year, some non-believers in the country have admitted to hiding their atheism out of fear of reprisal.

      Perhaps that’s why the government needed to take additional steps to locate those who commit the so-called crime of blasphemy.

    • UK mosque welcomes preachers who support Islamist assassin linked to case of Christian mum Asia Bibi

      A controversial mosque praised by local cops has hosted two preachers who support an Islamist assassin linked to the Christian Asia Bibi blasphemy case.

    • Acquitted of blasphemy and living in fear in Pakistan

      But Saima says her Muslim neighbours launched the case against her, following a petty fight between their children.

      Human rights groups say Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are often used to settle personal disputes.

      According to the Pakistani penal code, anyone convicted of insulting Prophet Muhammad can be sentenced to death, and anyone guilty of insulting “any religion” can be sent to jail for up to 10 years.

    • Ireland’s Vote to Remove Blasphemy from its Constitution and the Case of Asia Bibi

      In a referendum held on Friday, October 26, 2018, the people of Ireland voted to amend the Irish Constitution to remove the word blasphemy from Article 40.6.1, which declared that “[t]he publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law.” This constitutional amendment enables the Oireachtas, Ireland’s National Parliament, to change statutory law so that blasphemy is no longer a crime. It also represents the most recent advance in this predominantly Catholic country toward a more secular society. Same-sex marriage and abortion were legalized in two earlier referenda. And it might constitute an important step in undoing some of the unintentional international consequences of Ireland’s criminalization of blasphemy.

    • Tragic John Dowling ‘insulted Prophet Mohammed’ before being murdered, killer claims

      CCTV footage shows Mr Dowling chatting calmly with Ali at around midday, before the attacker took out a steak knife and plunged it into the Irishman’s throat, and then into his chest.

      Ali claimed to police that the teacher had made fun of his Muslim religion during English classes at the university.

    • TMC Minister Siddiqullah who claimed Quran would prevail over Constitution accuses BJP of creating religious divide

      Amusingly enough, Siddiqullah is the same person who had stated earlier that the Quran will prevail over the Constitution. Expressing his displeasure towards the ordinance banning instant Triple Talaq, he had said, “For us, our holy scripture, the Quran Sharif, is supreme and if any constitutional provision or any law contradicts the Quran, then our scripture will prevail and not the law or Constitution. BJP is playing the religion card and is playing with the Constitution. The ordinance will have no effect on Muslims. No one will adhere to it, but will follow the religion and the holy book.”

    • New Play Titled ‘Christmas Mubarak’ Mixes Christian and Muslim Stories of Jesus’ Birth
    • Iranian Female Billiard Player Gets Snookered On ‘Un-Islamic Conduct’ Charges

      Akram Mohammadi Amini, the first Iranian female billiards player to win an international medal, has been banned from competition for two years for allegedly violating Islamic dress code and smoking during a recent tournament. The decision was issued by the Islamic Republic’s Billiards, Bowling, and Boxing Federation, which has also barred Amini from entering sports arenas for two years. The federation says Ms. Amini has the right to appeal the decision.

      [...]

      “When they did not allow my attorney to attend the hearings, I protested, insisting the proceedings have no legal basis if I’m not allowed a lawyer. They told me I can leave if I don’t recognize the legality of the hearings. I asked for the evidence of my wrongdoing; they just said there was a report of misconduct and I am duty bound to respond to the charges.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Facebook doesn’t care about your privacy, it just wants to farm your personal data – these confidential documents prove it

      Privacy News Online has published a number of stories about privacy problems with Facebook. But what the company’s top management really thinks about the personal information it holds – as opposed to its public statements that “Protecting the privacy of the people on Facebook is of utmost importance to us” – has been something of a mystery. Until now. A senior member of the UK Parliament has released confidential Facebook documents from a court case involving Six4Three, makers of an app that allowed users to search their friends’ photos for bathing suit pictures. The emails and memos provide a rare glimpse of the honest opinions of Mark Zuckerberg and his senior managers.

      Readers of this blog know how important VPNs are for protecting privacy – and how vital it is to be able to trust a VPN supplier. Facebook acquired the VPN Onavo, and claims that “millions of users around the world use Onavo’s mobile apps to take the worry out of using smartphones and tablets.” A Facebook user might naively assume that this demonstrates that the company is not only concerned about privacy, but is generously seeking to protect it by providing a free VPN service. So the revelation that Facebook has been using Onavo to spy on people is pretty shocking.

    • Car Tracking

      At this point I can surmise that:

      FleetCarma will know all the trips I make in the car.

      FleetCarma be subpoenad to give up that information.

      FleetCarma can be hacked to give up all that information.

      Normally this would be a simple, hell no. But I care greatly about electric cars and the infrastructure and this has put me in a bind. The privacy problem here is one that I simply can’t get around.

    • Amazon patents doorbell camera that calls police when it recognizes a “suspicious” person

      Amazon filed a patent application for a doorbell camera that scans the faces of passers by and compares them with a database of suspicious persons. If a match is made the camera calls the cops.

    • Six months after GDPR, firms in Finland still exploiting user data

      The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) launched with great fanfare last spring, but Yle News found that neither Finland’s data protection ombudsman nor European data protection authorities have levied a single fine on companies failing to comply with the new rules.

    • New oversight report critical of spies and highlights legal ‘gap’ in GCSB practices

      Our spies have been pushing the boundaries of a new law meant to provide greater detail and oversight, according to their oversight body.

      Concerns include the possibility the powerful electronic spying agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau, is scooping up information including that which belongs to New Zealanders without the proper legal authorisation.

      Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Cheryl Gwyn issued a report today harshly critical in many regards as to how the GCSB and NZ Security Intelligence Service are meeting the demands of the Intelligence and Security Act.

    • At a New York Privacy Pop-Up, Facebook Sells Itself

      In true Facebook fashion, the event also served as a data-gathering mission. Near the door, a man who described himself as a “brand ambassador” asked me to fill out a short survey. “You don’t have to put in any data,” he reassured me. I think he meant I didn’t need to provide my name, because I was definitely supplying Facebook with information. I tapped through a series of questions about whether I agreed that Facebook was transparent about its privacy and data-sharing policies. While I did that, my mind wandered to the Facebook app on my phone. I wondered whether its location-sharing settings—had I had them enabled—would have allowed the company to figure out I was there. This was almost certainly not what Facebook wanted me to be considering.

    • Privacy Theater – How Privacy Companies Market and What Actually Protects You

      Companies and organizations hide their code by only providing the completed and already compiled code, and this makes it so that their code can’t be fully checked for vulnerabilities or that their security is properly implemented. You just have to “trust them.” In a world where we have demonstrated that you shouldn’t blindly trust these people with your privacy.

      This takes us to the issue of Open Source. Open Source code has the original source code available for anyone to read, and they can compile it into machine code themselves. This is crucially important because it allows a process of public peer review, where people can actually look at your code and verify that it isn’t farming your data or poorly engineered.

    • Facebook gave third party developers access to 6.8 million users’ private photos

      Facebook has notified 6.8 million users that, due to a bug, the company allowed its third-party developers to access all the users’ photos, including those marked as private.

      Facebook says that the bug was active for two weeks in September, but it is only notifying users of this now (you can check if your photos were exposed here).

      The GDPR requires Facebook to notify users of breaches within 72 hours. Facebook waited three months. They say this doesn’t violate the GDPR.

    • Facebook Exposed 6.8 Million Users’ Photos to Cap Off a Terrible 2018

      Friday morning, Facebook disclosed the latest in an ongoing series of privacy and security lapses that have come to define the company in 2018. For nearly two weeks in September, a bug let third-party developers view the photos of up to 6.8 million Facebook users, whether they’d shared them or not.

    • Facebook Bug Gave Developers Broader Access to User Photos

      As many as 6.8 million users and up to 1,500 apps were involved, according to a blog the company posted on Friday. The bug has been fixed and Facebook is alerting people potentially affected.

    • “We’re sorry,” Facebook says, again—new photo bug affects millions
    • Facebook exposed up to 6.8 million users’ private photos to developers in latest leak

      The exposure occurred between September 12th and September 25th. Facebook told TechCrunch that it discovered the breach on the 25th; it isn’t clear why the company waited until now to disclose it. (Perhaps it’s because the company was dealing with a separate and substantially larger breach that it also discovered on September 25th.)

    • Facebook bug exposed up to 6.8M users’ unposted photos to apps

      That it keeps photos you partially uploaded but never posted in the first place is creepy, but the fact that these could be exposed to third-party developers is truly unacceptable. And it seems Facebook is so tired of its failings that it couldn’t put forward even a seemingly heartfelt apology is telling. This company’s troubles are not only souring users on Facebook, but employees and the tech industry as large as well. CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Congress earlier this year that “We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you.” What does Facebook deserve at this point?

    • Why we can’t stop debating whether Facebook sells data

      Of course, it’s unlikely that a significant percentage of Facebook users will modify these settings — and I suspect that Goldman knows that. A more helpful question might be what kind of advertising-based business model the majority of us can live with. As Benedict Evans said Wednesday evening: [...]

    • Congress May Have Fallen for Facebook’s Trap, but You Don’t Have To

      In recent weeks, Facebook confronted yet another privacy scandal, in light of leaked court documents suggesting that its staff discussed the idea of selling user data as long ago as 2012. Facebook’s director of developer platforms and programs, Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, responded, “To be clear, Facebook has never sold anyone’s data.” It was the same denial that Mark Zuckerberg issued before the Senate in April 2018: “We do not sell data to advertisers. We don’t sell data to anyone.”

      As a data scientist, I am shocked that anyone continues to believe this claim. Each time you click on a Facebook ad, Facebook sells data on you to that advertiser. This is such a basic property of online targeted advertising that it would be impossible to avoid, even if Facebook somehow wanted to.

    • Encryption law not smart politics, says Signal developer

      The Federal Government’s encryption law does not seem like smart politics, but then nothing about it seems particularly smart, according to developer Joshua Lund who works for the project developing the encrypted messaging app Signal.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • UN Office of Human Rights defends Papuans right to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression

      In the interview Shamdasani defends the rights of Papuans to excercise their rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of Speech. She puts into context the recent arrests of nearly 600 citizens who were detained for participating in West Papua’s national day, a global event for commemorating the first raising the Morning Star Flag. She also answers questions about development, armed conflict, and trying to gain access to the region.

    • Horrifying video of cops trying to pry baby away from mom all because she sat on the floor

      A 23-year-old woman, Jazmine Headley, was at the Human Resources Administration building waiting in line for hours to receive daycare vouchers for her baby so that she could work. There weren’t any seats left in the waiting room, and as anyone who has had to care for a 1-year-old knows, it’s exhausting to stand for a long period of time holding a baby. So Headley sat on the floor.

      Security told her sitting on the floor was not permitted, but Headley said without any available chairs she would continue to sit on the floor. She was not blocking any doorways or passageways, but that didn’t matter. According to Daily Dot (and as you can see in the video), police jumped all over her, tried to pry her baby away from her, and pandemonium broke out.

    • Police forcefully yank one-year-old baby from mother’s arms during arrest

      “She called five other security guards. All harassing her, bothering her,” recounted Ferguson to ABC 7 NY. “Everyone…was like, ‘Leave the girl alone, she’s not bothering anyone, just sitting there like all day.’ They kept harassing her.”

    • ‘Troubling’: Police rip baby from mother’s arms at New York social services office

      It isn’t unusual for people seeking help to be treated badly by the very agencies they’re turning to, Lisa Schreibersdorf, executive director of Brooklyn Defender Services, said at a news conference.

      “Poor people are often treated very less than, in many, many city-run agencies,” she said. “It is not uncommon for people who are in offices like this … to find themselves arrested because of an incident that wasn’t really criminal.”

    • Jazmine Headley’s Arrest Exposes the Punitive Design of Public Assistance

      The violent treatment of Jazmine Headley and her 18-month-old son in a county assistance office in New York City exemplifies everything that is wrong with the way public-assistance programs work in the United States. It is emblematic of how our government treats low-income women and children of color—as if their every move must be controlled, surveilled, and penalized.

    • Jazmine Headley and the ‘Slow Violence of Everyday Life’

      Headley’s arrest, far from an aberration, is the outcome of two systems that work in concert to punish low-income women, particularly black women and mothers. Consider the case of Shanesha Taylor, a homeless mother in Arizona who was arrested in 2014 after leaving two of her young children in a car during a job interview because she was unable to find childcare. (Her children were unharmed; Taylor was sentenced to 18 years probation.) In the Nation, prison abolitionist Mariame Kaba pointed to Taylor’s case as an example of the ways that in the U.S., “black mothers have been and continue to be disproportionately punished and controlled in various ways,” the result of “criminal, legal, and child welfare systems [that] work together to police and control black women’s bodies and families.”

    • Where’s The Horror About Violence Against Men?

      McElroy nails it with her ending:

      Everyone deserves to be protected against violence — women and men. People who show compassion for only one class of victim are not anti-violence; they are advocates of that particular class.

    • Survey reveals ‘alarming’ attitudes of Britons on rape

      EVAW said the responses of the 3,922 people surveyed shows that “myths about rape are still very common”.

    • Nobel Peace Prize winners prove survivor stories matter

      “Within these past four years, not a single IS member has been brought before the international courts,” Murad said in Norway on Sunday. “The lack of justice and the lack of accountability of criminals will lead to the emergence of other terrorist organizations that are more lethal than the current one.”

      Silence and indifference are no longer options. Instead, we must make lifting up survivors a rule and evading responsibility the exception. The Nobel Peace Prize must mark the start, not the end, of a widespread push for recognizing the unspeakable cruelty so many sexual violence survivors have faced.

    • Prizes are Worthless Without Global Action: Prize Nobel Laureates

      “This prize, one prize cannot remove all the violence and all the attacks on pregnant women, on children, on women and give them justice,” said Yazidi women rights advocate Murad, who narrowly escaped an Islamic State camp where she was held prisoner and sexually abused like thousands of others in her community.

    • Iranian activist on hunger strike dies in prison

      Vahid Sayadi Nasiri, an Iranian political activist, who had been held in Qom Prison for criticizing Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, died on Wednesday, on 60th day of a hunger strike, Human rights group reported on Thursday.

    • China: Repression of Christian Church Intensifies

      On December 9 and 10, 2018, police officers in Chengdu took into custody Pastor Wang Yi and more than 100 congregants of the Early Rain Covenant Church from the church premises or their homes. Early Rain is considered an “underground” church because it is not registered with the government.

    • Opinion: ‘Islamic human rights’ is a false path

      Religious interpretations are slowing down the implementation of the UN human rights charter, which marks its 70th anniversary today. The UN is also part of the problem, writes Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi.

    • ‘Now everyone in Malmö lives under the shadow of gun crime’

      The Local’s Malmö correspondent Richard Orange, whose son attends the daycare right next to the site of Wednesday’s shooting, explains how it feels to live in a city where gangland shootings are no longer confined to the suburbs.

    • The NFL Still Only Cares About Violence Against Women When There’s Video

      Williams is certainly right that the amoral vacuum at the top of society has a ripple effect up and down the social ladder, but that only makes it more important for every institution to rise out of the gutter and not succumb to the general moral rot. In that respect, the only silver lining to the Foster story is that there was in fact an outcry to hold this particular institution in check. They reaped the whirlwind because neither the Washington football team nor the NFL will ever be the moral force of its own self-aggrandizing dreams. They are what they are—no different from Trump—out for the buck and taking no prisoners.

    • Prosecutors seek new murder charge against ex-Mpls. cop in Ruszczyk killing

      Authorities are now arguing there is evidence to support a second-degree murder charge, saying in documents filed with the court that Noor “intended to kill” Ruszczyk when he aimed and fired.

    • Prosecutors seek second-degree murder charge against fired Minneapolis officer Mohamed Noor

      Prosecutors based their argument for the upgraded charge, in part, on the fact that Noor shot at Ruszczyk from close range and with “tragic accuracy,” firing the fatal bullet past his partner, Matthew Harrity, and “through the narrow space of the open driver’s window,” according to the filing.

    • Prosecutors Seek New Charge Against Minneapolis Officer

      In a court filing dated Thursday, prosecutors said they want to charge Mohamed Noor with intentional second-degree murder in the July 15, 2017, death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond. Authorities said Noor shot Damond after she called 911 to report a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her home.

    • Prosecutors Seek New Charge Against Minneapolis Officer

      Damond’s father, John Ruszczyk, has filed a $50 million civil rights lawsuit against Noor, the city and others. That case has been put on hold while the criminal case proceeds.

    • For Pakistan to stay together with India, it will first have to become a secular state: Army Chief

      Gen Rawat also spoke about the scope of increasing the role of women in the Armed forces and said that areas like information warfare, psychological warfare and role as interpreters in military diplomacy are some of the areas where there will be a bigger role played by women in coming days.

    • Army conducts Afforestation Drive

      Army conducted an “Afforestation Drive” at Salwa in Poonch district. The drive was aimed at increasing the green cover in the area and spreading awareness among local population about importance of saving the environment. The plantation drive was also aimed at sensitizing the youth about their social and environmental responsibility to make our region green and clean. Approximately 100 fruit bearing trees were planted during the event.

    • Chicago woman believed to have been tortured, killed in Syria: Human rights group

      A U.S. citizen who had been held in Syria by the regime of Bashar al Assad for nearly three years was killed in its custody, according to a human rights group and the State Department.

    • Syria’s execution of US citizen shows need for accountability

      In September 2015, Syrian-American engineer Layla Shweikani traveled from her home in the Chicago area to Damascus, Syria. Intent on helping internally-displaced persons, she began pouring her energies into humanitarian aid and relief work. A few months later, she was arrested by Bashar al-Assad’s government and thrown into a detention center. Despite the involvement of the Czech ambassador in her case (the Czech Republic serves as the “protecting power” for U.S. interests in Syria), she was referred to a military judge and then executed on Dec. 28, 2016. Nearly two years later — just this week — her family finally was informed of her death.

    • Egyptian Actress to Be Tried for Wearing Revealing Dress

      An Egyptian actress is facing trial next month charged with public obscenity after she attended the closing ceremony of a film festival in Cairo wearing a see-through embroidered gauze dress that revealed the entirety of her legs.

    • Growing up Afghan: ‘My parents were told to swap me for a boy’

      Three years ago I tried to open a school for girls in my native village in Ghazni. I talked to my father about it and he said it would be almost impossible because of cultural boundaries, and even boys have difficulties because of the security situation. My father thought giving it a name of a religious madrassa might have improved our chances.

      In the end I was unable to travel to my native village because it was simply too dangerous. One of my sisters and I still hope to achieve this goal one day.

    • Chief Justice of California Supreme Court leaves GOP over Kavanaugh confirmation

      California Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye told CALmatters that she had been deliberating her decision for a while but made up her mind after watching the backlash following multiple sexual assault allegations leveled against Kavanaugh.

    • Ahed and Malala: Why we revere some girl activists and not others

      After Israeli forces shot her 15-year-old cousin in the head with a rubber bullet last December, Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian girl from Nabi Saleh in the West Bank, stood up to the occupying Israeli forces and was arrested and charged for slapping a soldier. The story of the activist went viral.

      But what Ahed was fighting for was largely buried beneath sensationalized media representations of her.

      Her story is unlikely to circulate in the same elevated spaces granted to Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who survived a brutal attack on her school by the Taliban, even though both Ahed and Malala are fighting for similar rights and freedoms. Both are young women facing down brutal military repression at the hands of fully-armed men, yet their stories could not have been received more differently.

      The reasons for our complicated responses to Malala and Ahed’s stories are as multi-layered as the political realities that shape their lives. They encapsulate a range of ideas about gender and the girl-child, nationalism and education, and about forms of activism that are palatable and therefore deemed legitimate and those which are not.

    • The Troubling Link Between Attacks on Immigrants and Repression of Labor Activists

      The Republican pre-election strategy of exploiting “the caravan” was irredeemably ugly.

      It’s hard to say what was worse: the shameless and farcical framing of a helpless stream of people as a national security threat, or the president’s off-hand suggestion that these people might actually be funded by the prime villain of most anti-Semitic conspiracy theories: George Soros.

      Few commentators have failed to point out the obvious effects of this gutter-politics playbook: the debasement of public discourse on immigration policy; the wink-and-nudge of encouragement offered to the most sinister fringes of the American far-right; or the aggravation of racial animosity against people of color in the United States.

      Yet this country’s history also points to other, often overlooked tendencies. Politically, institutionally, and legally, the targeting of immigrants has almost always figured prominently in wider attacks on labor movements and civil liberties. To a large and alarming extent, it’s the same story today.

    • Holiday Detention

      “Trump has now discovered another group of people he can indefinitely detain in what seems an obvious violation of the constitutional right of all who are in the United States, to not spend lengthy periods in prison without due process of law.”

    • Is France Showing Us What America’s Next Civil War Will Look Like?

      It’s October 2021. America is in a state of turmoil – so much so that the ongoing felony trial of disgraced former president Donald Trump seems only a footnote. The chaos of the 2020 election has meant no honeymoon for Beto O’Rourke, the 47th president, whose narrow win over the GOP’s Nikki Haley (the Republican convention in Charlotte having rejected President Pence) had only enraged both the right and an increasingly angry left, which was still insisting that Democrats had cheated Bernie Sanders out of the nomination at their divided, brokered convention.

      Still, President O’Rourke had small Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, and – after a summer of record heat waves had left more than 250 dead in the Los Angeles wildfires and seen Hurricane Gigi swamp many of the same New Orleans neighborhoods that had been inundated by Katrina – the charismatic, Kennedyesque chief executive had convinced Congress to pass, by exactly one vote in each chamber, a 40-cent-a-gallon gas tax to promote solar and wind power and subsidize electric cars.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Federal Circuit Affirms $140M Reasonable Royalty for Sprint in Nonprecedential Decision

      On Friday, November 30th, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a nonprecedential decision in Sprint Communications Company v. Time Warner Cable in which the panel majority of Circuit Judges Raymond Chen and William Bryson upheld the district court’s damages award of approximately $140 million for Sprint after Time Warner was found to infringe claims of five patents covering technologies related to methods for linking circuit-switched and packet-switched networks within a telecommunications system. Despite the nonprecedential designation, Circuit Judge Haldane Mayer issued a dissenting opinion reflecting his views that the damages award should be vacated and the asserted patent claims found invalid for failing the written description requirement.

      [...]

      The Federal Circuit majority also disagreed with Time Warner that the references to the 25 percent rule of thumb in the 2007 Vonage verdict made it inadmissible as evidence to the jury in district court. The appellate majority found that Time Warner had ample opportunity at district court to challenge the reliability of the verdict on that ground but didn’t take such opportunity. The Federal Circuit also disagreed with Time Warner’s contention that the damages awarded by the jury’s verdict, which totaled the same $1.37 per voice-over-IP (VoIP) subscriber per month award as was in the 2007 Vonage verdict, didn’t determine which portion of the revenues was attributable to patented technology and not unpatentable features. The appellate court determined that the jury’s award was supported by sufficient evidence, including two licenses for the patented technology which were submitted by Sprint and reflected the royalty rate awarded in the Vonage case.

    • Fitness Anywhere win Enhanced Damages and Permanent Injunction as Infringement Continued Post Verdict

      On Tuesday, November 20th, U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman of the Northern District of California entered an order regarding post-trial motions in a patent and trademark infringement case brought by Fitness Anywhere, the makers of TRX Suspension Training fitness equipment, against WOSS Enterprises. The order granted post-trial motions filed by Fitness Anywhere both for enhanced damages on the patent infringement findings as well as a permanent injunction against WOSS. This order came about one month after Judge Freeman granted a motion to reconsider, which reinstated the validity of the “crown jewel” TRX patent previously invalidated in the case.

    • Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. v. Breckenridge Pharmaceutical Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2018)

      On Friday, December 7th, the Federal Circuit handed down two opinions concerning the proper application of the judicially created doctrine of obviousness-type double patenting (OTDP). The first, Novartis AG v. Ezra Ventures LLC (Fed. Cir. 2018), set forth the narrow, albeit important, holding that a terminal disclaimer, or loss of term for a later-expiring patent based on an earlier-expiring patent in relation to which the later-expiring patent recited patentably indistinct claims, did not include extension of term pursuant to the provisions of 35 U.S.C § 156. The Court held that, insofar as patent term extension under § 156 was a statutory grant, and loss of term under OTDP was a judicially created doctrine, the statutory grant was not trumped by OTDP.

      The second case decided by the Federal Circuit that day, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. v. Breckenridge Pharmaceutical Inc., provided the Court with the opportunity to decide whether the operation of the OTDP doctrine was the same for two patents that were granted under U.S. patent law after the term of a U.S. patent was changed from 17 years from the grant date to 20 years from the earliest claimed priority date under the Uruguay Round Agreements Act of 1994 (URAA), compared with circumstances where one patent is subject to pre-URAA term and the other to the post-URAA term.

    • Are Second Medical Use Patents Still Worthwhile In Light Of Warner-Lambert Supreme Court Decision

      On 14 September 2018 the UK Supreme Court unanimously opined that the marketing of generic pregabalin by Actavis would not have been an infringement of Warner-Lambert’s claims directed to a further medical use of pregabalin, namely for the treatment of pain. The judgment, summarised in an earlier post, dealt for the first time with the issue of how infringement of ‘second medical use’ patents should be assessed in the UK. This article explores the implications of this aspect of the judgment and its potential impact on the value of second medical use patents.

    • Copyrights

      • YouTube removed 58 million videos in latest quarter

        The online video platform said 72 percent of the videos removed for violating guidelines in the latest quarter were “spam or misleading,” 10.2 percent were removed out of concern for “child safety” and 9.9 percent were removed for including “nudity or sexual content,” according to its latest report.

      • Tipster Gets $10,000 Reward for Reporting Software Piracy

        An unnamed Australian company has agreed to pay a AU$160,000 piracy settlement to the Software Alliance. The manufacturing outfit reportedly used commercial software without a proper license. The copyright infringement was revealed following a tip from an informant who will receive a healthy AU$10,000 reward.

      • Oops! EU Piracy Watchlist Includes a Perfectly Legal Site

        Earlier this week the European Union published its very first ‘Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List’. The goal is to identify problematic “pirate” sites and encourage foreign enforcement authorities and governments to take action in response. However, things haven’t gone entirely to plan.

      • Yandex and TV Giants Make Peace Over ‘Pirate’ Search Results

        Four lawsuits filed by companies under the umbrella of broadcasting giant Gazprom-Media against leading Russian search engine Yandex are set to conclude in settlement agreements. The signing of an anti-piracy memorandum last month between search engines and rightsholders played a key role in the amicable conclusion.

      • Rightsholders Say Latest Article 13 Text Won’t Close the Value Gap

        Rightsholders including music group IFPI have written an open letter expressing deep concerns over the latest text of the proposed Article 13. According to the industry giants, the current proposal would need fundamental changes to address the so-called ‘Value Gap’ and could, if passed in its current form, end up leaving rightsholders worse off than they currently are.

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  20. Links 15/1/2019: MX Linux MX-18 Continuum Reviewed, Mageia 7 Artwork Voting

    Links for the day



  21. Council of Europe (CoE) Recognises There's No Justice at the EPO

    It’s now the Council of Europe‘s turn to speak out about the grave state of international organisations that exist in Europe but aren’t subjected to European law (which they routinely violate with impunity)



  22. Dominion Harbor -- Armed by Microsoft's Biggest Patent Troll -- Goes After the World's Biggest Android OEMs, Huawei and Samsung

    Dominion Harbor, the patent troll that gets bucketloads of patents from Intellectual Ventures (a patent troll strongly connected to Microsoft and Bill Gates), is still suing using shell entities



  23. Links 14/1/2019: Linux 5.0 RC2 and DXVK 0.95 Released

    Links for the day



  24. Only the Higher Courts -- Not Trump's 'Poster Child' -- Can Bring Back Software Patents

    Software patents are not making a "comeback" as some like to claim; in fact, the latest court cases and notably their outcomes suggest that nothing has changed



  25. “Uniloc is a Lawsuit Factory”

    Apple is a very secretive company, so it is hard to know what goes on with the patent troll Uniloc



  26. European Patent Office a Textbook Example of Lawless, Rogue Institutions

    The tyrannical nature of the EPO is still being demonstrated by the sad fate of Patrick Corcoran; technical judges at the EPO are feeling intimidated by nontechnical politicians and bankers



  27. No, Software Patents Are Not Poised to Make a Comeback Under New US Patent Office Rules

    Poor understanding of the difference between patent courts and patent offices is to blame for widely-spread misinformation from Ars Technica (part of Condé Nast)



  28. IP Kat Has Turned From EPO Critic (to the Point of Being Blocked by the EPO) to EPO Whitewasher That Gags EPO Whistleblowers

    The EPO tried to forcibly gag (block) IP Kat like it blocks Techrights (since 2014); failing that, the EPO got the blog to just act as a whitewashing operation for Team Campinos (more or less the same as Team Battistelli)



  29. Linspire 'Reborn' is Still Working for Microsoft and Facilitating Surveillance on GNU/Linux Users

    GNU/Linux spyware scandals may be back (and it's not about Canonical and Amazon but Linspire and Microsoft); Microsoft is meanwhile exposing innocent kids to pedophiles and it refuses to explain or defend this



  30. Links 12/1/2019: Wine 4.0 RC6, X-Plane 11.30, SuperTuxKart 0.10 Beta, LibreOffice 6.2 RC2

    Links for the day


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