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03.10.19

Europe Will Pay a High Price for Software Patents Advocacy by António Campinos in Europe’s Patent-Granting Authority

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 11:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A fish rots from the head down(wards)

High price

Summary: EPO President António Campinos — like Iancu at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) — is still promoting software patents in Europe even though such patents are clearly detrimental to Europe’s interests

THE LAW (or the rule of law) and the interests of Europe do not matter to the EPO. All the EPO cares about is making money (for itself). That money is in turn being misused, e.g. 'smuggled' to the bank accounts of EPO officials and their relatives, colleagues elsewhere, friends…

“Remember that today’s EPO is all about money. Just money.”The EPO, suffice to say, is often acting more like a crime syndicate than a patent office. It’s a nice “cover” though.

Remember that today’s EPO is all about money. Just money. Management of the European Patent Office/Organisation (EPO) is pressuring examiners not to do their job properly but only fast, with particular numbers of “products” reached (otherwise it's "incompetence" and may lead to unemployment).

What do lawyers and attorneys have to say? Not much. They can’t complain much. More patents mean more money for them, too. Unless this whole system collapses at a later stage (which is the only thing that sometimes worries them). They keep selling us the lie that under Campinos everything is back to normal and everything is fine. They strive for stability in patent maximalism, human rights be damned.

“It’s basically a lawyers‘ lobbying entity and obviously they love Iancu.”
      –Patent blogger
In “Mission Impossible? How to Effectively Draft the Background Section of a Patent Specification in Compliance with Both USPTO and EPO Practice” Enrica Bruno now gives tips for tricking examiners. Watchtroll is a toxic site, so such articles are a perfect fit. “Enrica Bruno is the founder and managing partner of Steinfl + Bruno LLP,” the bio says. “Enrica is an EPO-qualified U.S. Patent Attorney…”

Moreover, yesterday morning Patent Docs published yet more ads (which make up the majority of the blog nowadays), including Strafford’s “Webinar on Drafting Software Patents” that says:

Strafford will be offering a webinar entitled “Drafting Software Patents to Survive Section 101 and AIA Challenges — Anticipating and Minimizing the Risk of 101, 103 Rejections, Recent Court Guidance” on March 20, 2019 from 1:00 to 2:30 pm (EDT).

Rather than accept the stance of SCOTUS, which is repeatedly ‘affirmed’ from the bottom at the Federal Circuit and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), the patent maximalists are looking for yet more workarounds. Are they pursuing honest legal conduct or just trickery? The same question can be asked about the EPO’s (mis)interpretation of the EPC.

We see that Watchtroll’s latest article is promoting patents on life or patent monopolies on human genetics in “Post-Myriad Legal and Policy Considerations for Patenting Genetic Inventions” (Myriad is related to Alice and Mayo in § 101, more so the latter).

A reader has meanwhile sent us this headsup on “Licensing Executives Society’s take on Alice,” which can be found here. Like others in the patent microcosm they are trying to solicit more letters and calling every single letter which opposes software patents “EFF” (as if only the EFF opposes these!).

“It’s basically a lawyers‘ lobbying entity and obviously they love Iancu,” someone has told me, stating that he would spend more time covering this issue. LES and LESI are mates with Campinos, who met with them on the same journey undertaken to meet Iancu just weeks ago. As reported last month:

The European Patent Office has signed a bilateral cooperation agreement with the Licensing Executives Society International (LESI).

We already wrote (at the time) why this should be interpreted as Campinos being ‘in bed’ with the patent trolls’ lobby rather than science and technology — a worrying but consistent trend from him. Europe’s future will suffer greatly from this man and the person who gave him the job (Battistelli) in another grotesque act of nepotism.

António Campinos — Like His Father — Lacks Support From Colleagues, Endorsed Only From the Top

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

History lessons from Wikileaks

Jorge Campinos
Source

More diplomatic material from that time:

EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE OPENING

SOVIET STATEMENT ON EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE AND ALLIED RESPONSE

EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE IN BERLIN

EUROPEAN PATENT CONVENTION ENTRY INTO FORCE

Links 10/3/2019: GNU and GNOME Releases

Posted in News Roundup at 12:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • An Ultimate List of Linux Blogs for Beginners and Professionals

    Linux is an open source versatile operating system. If you are a tech guy and want to make your dream career in the technology world, leaning Linux can be a great deal. You can make yourself qualified and efficient as per today’s tech trends. Now the world is run on the wheel of machine learning, artificial intelligence, data analysis, big data computation, etc. And learning Linux will help you to cope up with all these open source trends and technology. So today, I will be sharing the most comprehensive list of best Linux blogs for both beginners and professionals. All these Linux blogs will discuss everything of Linux system that an open source enthusiast needs to know.

    [...]

    Tux Machines is one of the most popular Linux blogs around the world. It describes open source software, GNU/Linux, and its various applications since the year 2004. Besides these, it focuses on some other complex systems like Android, Tizen, Chrome OS, and the tools. It has a well-structured forum where you can get the related information from the experts.

    [...]

    Moreover, there are other useful and amazing Linux blogs and sites available online. If you in touch with those Linux blogs, don’t forget to mention the links in the comment section. And at last, Don’t forget to share this list with your friends, family, and colleagues. Let the knowledge and information shared among us.

  • Kernel Space

    • A New Effort Trying Again To Mainline Linux Kernel Support For The Lemote Yeeloong

      The Lemote Yeeloong netbooks came out a decade ago and based on the MIPS Loongson 2F processor clocked up to 900MHz, offered up to 1GB of RAM, some models featuring an 8GB SSD, and driving the display was a Silicon Motion controller. The Yeeloong netbooks/laptops were even used by Richard Stallman for being open-source friendly and he used the devices as his own system for several years. Finally in 2019, better mainline Linux kernel support is being worked on.

    • Linux Kernel 5.0 Released | Download Now

      Latest version of the Linux Kernel is out now. Yes, You heard it right. Linux Kernl 5.0 has been released. Linux Torvalds announces the release of latest version of Linux Kernel.

    • Icelake Support Added To Intel’s PMC Core Driver With Linux 5.1

      The x86 platform driver updates were sent in Friday for the Linux 5.1 kernel.

      The linux-platform-drivers-x86 pull isn’t particularly exciting this time around but does offer up several minor fixes to the ASUS/Dell WMI drivers, adds various Lenovo devices to the list of devices not having hardware RF kill switches, a number of Mellanox platform additions, the Chuwi Hi8/Hi10 Air tablets are now known in the Touchscreen DMI driver, and various other fixes.

    • x86 ASM Changes For Linux 5.1 Pin Sensitive Bits To Help Fend Off Recent Exploits

      Linux 5.1 is bringing another change to help bolster the security of Linux systems in light of recent exploits.

      Covered recently was the work by Google’s security engineers to better fend off exploits that end up disabling SMAP / SMEP / UMIP protections.

      Some exploits have used the kernel’s native_write_cr4 function to disable these Supervisor Mode Execution Protection / Supervisor Mode Access Prevention / User-Mode Instruction Prevention features as part of their exploit path. In addition to the CR4 SMAP/SMEP/UMIP bits, the WP (Write Protect) CR0 bit is also receiving similar treatment with the native_write_cr0 function given the trajectory of recent exploits.

    • Linux 5.0.1 Lands Fixes For AMD Zen CPB, MacBook Pro Booting Issue

      It’s been just one week since the debut of the big Linux 5.0 kernel release and today that’s been succeeded by Linux 5.0.1 as the first fix-things-up release.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Automotive Grade Linux Updates Open Source Speech Recognition APIs

        The Linux Foundation’s Automotive Grade Linux project is an open source project aiming to build an industry standard for infotainment and telematics.

      • With cloud basics covered, organizations embrace the disruption of open source

        The cloud swept through businesses and fundamentally restructured how many compute and operate. Today, open source is making many businesses rethink their software development approach.

        “Open source is defining the future of the cloud more so than any other technology today,” according to Cloud Foundry Foundation Executive Director Abby Kearns.

        More businesses are coming into their own and moving past just getting comfortable with cloud and multicloud systems to proficiency in cloud native architectures and technologies, Kearns said in an interview with CIO Dive. They are beginning to leverage the cloud at scale.

        “It’s no coincidence that digitization, digital transformation is happening at the same time as open source is really coming into its own in the enterprise,” Kearns said. “I see a lot of synergy between those two initiatives because it’s really rethinking the way your company communicates and collaborates both internally as well as externally.”

      • Cloud Foundry CTO on the key to DevOps transformation

        By its nature, DevOps improves collaboration among teams (business, dev and ops) by increasing transparency and revealing working practices –- and this is essential for effective decision making.

        Essentially, it applies Agile principles throughout the development cycle, leading to faster development of software, at higher quality, to ensure faster and more frequent delivery.

        DevOps and Agile are both fundamentally about achieving a more responsive approach to technology changes.

        Agile is about the development process of getting ideas manufactured into software, and DevOps is about being nimble with both deployment and changes to IT environments.

      • Cloud Foundry Foundation Kicks off 2019 With New Members

        Cloud Foundry Foundation, home to a family of interoperable open source projects for the enterprise, announced today that Atomist, LogDNA, SkySilk Cloud Services and Zettaset have all joined as Silver Members since November 2018. The companies join Dell EMC, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Pivotal, SAP and VMware, in addition to prominent end user members American Airlines, Charles Schwab, Comcast, Fidelity, Home Depot, and more than 60 other technology innovators, as Foundation members.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel’s New Driver Is Now Working With Gallium’s Direct3D 9 State Tracker

        Following the Gallum Nine “TTN” support landing to allow a TGSI-to-NIR code path to be used rather than requiring Gallium3D drivers support the conventional TGSI intermediate representation, Intel’s new “Iris” driver now is working with Gallium D3D9 after the final bit of code was merged.

        The Iris driver has added the TGSI to NIR integration and with this “the Gallium Nine state tracker now works on Iris.”

      • NVIDIA Kepler Mainline Driver Support Nears Retirement, Starting With Notebook GPUs

        NVIDIA will no longer be officially supporting Kepler mobile/notebook GPUs by their mainline driver. For now at least they will continue supporting Kepler desktop GPUs by their mainline driver.

        On Friday was a knowledge-base article by NVIDIA outlining the support plan for Kepler GeForce GPUs for notebooks. Beginning next month (April), Kepler notebook GPUs will no longer be supported by the company’s GameReady drivers but they will continue providing critical security updates through April 2020.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Fresh KDE snaps for February 2019

        During February 2019 we celebrated another fine Plasma release with our friends at KDE by showcasing a month of KDE snaps on the Snapcraft Twitter and other social accounts.

        The KDE developers have done amazing work to create an SDK that simplifies making snaps of KDE applications and they also publish a common KDE framework snap that all KDE snaps consume. This makes it easy for developers to create KDE snaps and also keeps the size of the individual snaps down for users. You can read more about how to create KDE snaps in our blog post; KDE apps at the snap of your fingers.

        The work that the KDE developers have done means that anyone can now enjoy the latest KDE applications, regardless of distro and desktop environment. The KDE snaps are neatly isolated from the rest of your OS so can be safely installed without fear of introducing system library incompatibilities.

      • KDE Frameworks 5.56.0

        KDE today announces the release of KDE Frameworks 5.56.0.

        KDE Frameworks are over 70 addon libraries to Qt which provide a wide variety of commonly needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms. For an introduction see the KDE Frameworks web page.

        This release is part of a series of planned monthly releases making improvements available to developers in a quick and predictable manner.

      • KDE Frameworks 5.56 Brings Another Month Worth Of Improvements
      • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 61

        In week 61 for KDE’s Usability & Productivity initiative, the MVP has got to be the KDE community itself–all of you. You see, Spectacle has gotten a lot of work thanks to new contributors David Redondo and Nils Rother after I mentioned on Reddit a week ago that “a team of 2-4 developers could make Spectacle sparkle in a month“. I wasn’t expecting y’all to take it so literally! The KDE community continues to amaze.

      • KDE Continues Getting Polished For Showing Off This Spring

        The KDE stack continues seeing a lot of bug fixing and polishing in time for the spring Linux distribution updates.

        KDE contributor Nate Graham continues doing a splendid job capturing these improvements being made to the KDE ecosystem on a weekly basis. Some of the highlights for this past week include:

        - Continued work on the KDE System Settings area, including for the libinput page to be able to configure the click method and switching modes under Wayland.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.34 Release Schedule – Next Desktop Release Due Out On 11 September

        With GNOME 3.32 now buttoned up for release next week, the developers are already getting ready to kick off the GNOME 3.34 development cycle.

        The GNOME 3.34 development cycle is expected to conclude with the 3.34.0 release on 11 September, which is a week later than usual for GNOME’s six month releases. Due to the developers’ GUADEC conference being later than usual, the release cycle is about a week longer to accommodate for the different milestones around this conference.

      • GNOME 2.32rc2 (2.31.92) RELEASED

        The second release candidate for 3.32 is here! Remember this is the
        end of this development cycle; enjoy it as fast as you can, the final
        release is scheduled next Wednesday!

        We remind you we are string frozen, no string changes may be made
        without confirmation from the l10n team (gnome-i18n@) and notification
        to both the release team and the GNOME Documentation Project
        (gnome-doc-list@).

        Hard code freeze is also in place, no source code changes can be made
        without approval from the release-team. Translation and documentation
        can continue.

      • GNOME 3.32-RC2 Released Ahead Of Official Release Next Week

        The GNOME 3.32 release is due out next Wednesday while over the weekend are the RC2 packages up for testing.

        GNOME 3.32-RC2 is now available for any final testing of this six-month GNOME3 desktop update. Highlights of this final development release include:

        - Fractional scaling support with updates to GNOME Shell and Mutter. There is also an updated screen-casting API as well as some final performance work.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • ExTiX 19.3 (190307) is based on Ubuntu 19.04 Disco Dingo, uses Linux kernel 5.0, and has Kodi Leia pre-installed

        Here’s the deal, folks — there are far too many Linux distributions out there nowadays. It used to bother me, but over time, I made peace with it. Look, it’s the nature of the beast — we will never have a single Linux distro, as it is impossible to come to any consensus. For instance, I prefer Fedora and GNOME, but at the same time, other people like Ubuntu and KDE. If you were to poll the Linux community you would see a very segmented group of people. And so, there are an obscene number of operating systems based on the open source Linux kernel.

      • ExTix 19.3 Linux Distro Released With Kernel 5.0, Kodi 18.2, And Xfce 4.13

        ExTiX is a Ubuntu-based Linux distribution that has been slowly gaining popularity in recent years. The developer of this operating system has recently released the updated version of the distro, and it’s packed with features.

        The latest release is also being called ExTiX 19.3 Xfc4/Kodi Live DVD. It’s based on the development branch of Ubuntu 19.04 Disco Dingo and features Xfce 4.13 desktop environment for a lightweight desktop experience that’s user-friendly as well. Xfce is one of my favorite desktops, which makes this release even more exciting for me.

        Talking about the other features, it ships with the latest Linux kernel 5.0. While the numerical jump from 4.x to 5.x didn’t bring tons of new changes to the kernel, it surely ensures better hardware support and graphics performance.

        Another highlight feature of ExTiX 19.3 Linux distro is the pre-installed Kodi 18.2 Leia. This gives you the flexibility of using your system like a regular Linux system running Xfce or simply fire up Kodi and use it as a full-fledged entertainment system. Some popular Kodi add-ons like Netflix, Nvidia proprietary Graphics driver 418.43, etc., have also been pre-loaded by the developer.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Fedora

      • Fedora 31 Aims To Finally Offer Mono 5 For Open-Source .NET Support

        The Fedora developers feel they have a path forward now as outlined via this change proposal and will be working to get Mono 5 into Fedora 31. This upgrade will allow cross-platform applications relying upon Microsoft’s .NET to now work if they have required .NET Framework 4.7 or later. Mono 4.8 also hasn’t worked on PowerPC 64-bit but Mono 5 should, among other benefits to upgrading this open-source .NET stack.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Haiku Most long-standing XHCI (USB 3.0+) issues resolved!

    Last month, I sat down and decided to at the very least attempt to fix our XHCI (USB 3 host controller) bus driver. Issues with it have been the most significant problem users have been facing, as most hardware made post-2012 has an XHCI chip as the system’s primary USB chip, and most hardware made post-2014 (or so) has exclusively an XHCI chip and no EHCI (USB 2.0) or prior chipsets (which we do support very well.)

    This has been a long-standing problem; in fact kallisti5 made a blog post back in mid-2017 calling for help on exactly these issues. A few people stepped up and contributed some small fixes, which brought the driver to the point where it could at least boot Haiku within QEMU, and on certain bare-metal installs use flash disks, but this was not enough. It still caused device lockups (e.g. USB mouse/keyboard stalls) without any errors or other information as to what was going on, it still caused kernel panics on the insertion of certain devices (or, more unluckily, after medium- or long-uptimes with common ones) and on boot on others, or simply refused to function at all on quite a lot of hardware.

  • Haiku’s USB 3.0+ Support Is Finally In Great Shape
  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Ghidra

    The NSA announced at the 2019 RSA Conference in San Francisco this week that it is making its software reverse engineering tool Ghidra available to the public and open source. According to the agency, the project is aimed at making reverse engineering software more attainable with tools designed, among other things, to model processor activity to see how machine code runs on a chip.

    The framework has been a part of NSA’s cyber security mission and used to analyze malicious code and malware.

  • NSA releases its Ghidra reverse-engineering tool open source
  • NSA releases Ghidra open source reverse-engineering tool

    The National Security Agency released an open source version of its reverse-engineering toolkit for malware, providing security professionals with free software that offers features only found in high-end, expensive commercial products.

    The U.S. intelligence agency launched the Ghidra modular toolkit at the RSA Conference here on Tuesday. The highly anticipated release demonstrated a continued willingness on the part of the NSA to build better relations with the IT security community.

  • Ghidra, the NSA’s homegrown decompiler tool, is now open source

    Ghidra, the NSA’s own reverse-engineering software, is now open source and freely available for download. The Agency voluntarily open-sourced the decompiler in an effort to benefit the cybersecurity community. Ghidra is a software decompiler that allows users to more easily see how a computer executes a program and is finely-tuned to be more user-friendly.

  • NSA Releases Ghidra Open Source Cybersecurity Reverse Engineering Toolkit For Infosec Ninjas

    In somewhat of a surprise, the National Security Agency announced the release of Ghidra, a free and open source software reverse engineering toolkit, at the RSA security convention. Ghidra is what the NSA has been using for years, though it is not clear if the public release is the exact same version that it uses internally.

  • NSA releases Ghidra reverse engineering tool into the open source
  • The NSA Makes Its Powerful Cybersecurity Tool Open Source
  • NSA open-sources Ghidra, a tool for reverse-engineering malware
  • ReactOS inches toward becoming a viable open source Windows clone

    ReactOS is an open source operating system designed to let you run Windows applications without installing, you know… Windows.

    It’s been in development for more than two decades, and it’s still pretty rough around the edges — there’s a lot of Windows software that doesn’t run on ReactOS, and the operating system lacks a lot of the features you’d expect from a modern OS.

    But today the developers released ReactOS 0.4.11 and it brings a number of improvements that make the operating system a little more useful. It supports more Windows programs than ever. Menu elements should be displayed more accurately. And you can finally upgrade from an earlier version of ReactOS to a new build without doing a clean install and losing all of your data.

  • ReactOS 0.4.11 makes great strides towards running Windows apps without the Windows

    Those keen to indulge in a bit of open-source Windows in the form of ReactOS will be delighted to learn that there is a raft of improvements in the latest version.

    We last looked at the project in July 2018 and came away impressed by the nostalgia factor of running what resembles Windows 9x, if still a little confused by the point of it when the Windows apps it was created to run decades ago have mostly been superseded by the modern Linux platform.

    However, as with many a mountaineer replying “because it’s there” to the inevitable “why?”, the team behind ReactOS has continued chipping away at the Windows API to create a reverse-engineered NT kernel, free of Microsoft’s code.

  • Running TV news with free/open-source software

    Previously, most TV channels in Bangladesh and around the world had to purchase expensive software solutions called News Room Control Systems (NRCS) to produce and run their news. These systems have to be bought from proprietary foreign vendors, and require steep annual maintenance fees; however, Deepto TV has been able to replace its expensive foreign-supplied NRCS software with free/open-source alternatives, saving foreign currency and allowing the TV industry to be more technologically independent.

    TV news production involves several tasks which need synchronization. First, reporters and cameramen have to go out every day to gather news stories. News cameras record video footage which has to be saved on to the hard drive of a computer for editing down to a usable length using video editing software.

    At the same time, the reporter has to write up news text to accompany the video, which will be displayed on a teleprompter and read aloud by a news reader. A news editor has to modify or approve the news text, decide the sequence of the news stories, and schedule the news text and videos to air at the same time.

  • Jack Dorsey Praises Open Source, Buys Trezor Bitcoin Hardware Wallet

    Little is known about the size of Dorsey’s investment in Bitcoin, which is likely his sole cryptocurrency venture in light of comments that he would not consider holding any new altcoins in the future.

  • Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Reveals His Latest Bitcoin Purchase to 4 Million Followers
  • What ATMs And Open Source Have To Do With Payments Innovation

    It might be the case that 2019 takes shape as a watershed year for payments regulation, marked by PSD2 and GDPR. Stakeholders in the financial services and payments arenas are navigating new rules about how data is collected, stored and shared.

    However, the way payments innovation is pursued — and becomes reality — is changing, too. The rise of Open Banking is helping to open up payment ecosystems, encouraging collaboration between traditional financial firms and smaller, tech-focused upstarts. Part of that collaborative movement involves working with open source technology, where, generally speaking, software is made (freely and publicly) available for users to develop and modify as they see fit.

  • SF to upgrade voting machines, but keeps eye on developing an open-source system

    New voting machines will allow voters to pick up to 10 candidates in ranked choice contests this November including the mayor’s race.

    While San Francisco continues to develop plans for an open source voting system, city supervisors are expected to approve a new contract next week for machines from Dominion Voting Systems that come with some new features.

    Instead of being able to rank three candidates in ranked choice voting contests, as they have been able to do since 2004, city voters will now have the opportunity to rank up to ten.

    The new system will be in place in time for this November’s election when Mayor London Breed is up for re-election — although it doesn’t appear she faces a competitive race. There is a competitive District Attorney’s contest with an open seat.

  • Explained: What is an Open Source Software?

    Open source software ( OSS ) is distributed under a license agreement, allowing the sharing, viewing, and editing of computer code by other users and organizations. Continuous support is a key point of sale for users with low technical skills and a major reason for choosing closed sources over open source software. Like open source software, closed source software also has dedicated web communities that share ideas and strategies through forums and surveys, promote innovation and customize the product to meet changing needs.

  • Open Source Benefits to Innovation and Organizational Agility
  • Obsidian celebrates open source milestone

    bsidian Systems is celebrating its 24th anniversary this year, heralding a remarkable journey in the market that is reflective of how open source has permeated virtually every facet of business today.

  • Rakuten selects Red Hat’s tech for new mobile network

    Rakuten aims to implement an end-to-end cloud-native network to provide differentiated services to its mobile subscribers

    Red Hat announced that its open source technologies will be used by Japan’s Rakuten Mobile Network as it launches its new mobile network In Japan.

  • AT&T Claims Open ROADM Success Validates Interoperability Work

    Ciena and Fujitsu this week showed cross-vendor interoperability of optical equipment using Open ROADM Multi-Source Agreement (MSA) standards. AT&T, which is a big part of the Open ROADM initiative, said the demonstration highlights the benefits of using the open source community to enhance greater software control over optical assets.

    The University of Texas at Dallas is operating the demonstration at this week’s Optical Fiber Communications (OFC) Conference in San Diego. It’s using Fujitsu’s 1FINITY ROADM and transponder blades, Ciena’s 6500 ROADM and transponders, and control plane services from the Transport PCE project, which is part of the Fluorine OpenDaylight SDN controller release.

  • Biotech firms turns to open source for speed

    Founded 10 years ago by a group of MIT scientists, Massachusetts-based biotech firm Ginkgo Bioworks has found great success in leveraging a number of open-source technologies to speed up and automate a wide variety of synthetic biology laboratory tasks. The organization’s main focus is the genetic engineering of compound-producing bacteria for a range of industrial applications and Ginkgo senior software engineers Dan Cahoon and Chris Mitchell spoke with SD Times about how their combined computer and life science backgrounds have given them a unique opportunity to flex their skills and utilize their specific educations outside of more traditional routes for programmers.

    Cahoon, whose background is in chemical and physical biology, as well as computer science, is part of the ‘Decepticon’ automation sprint team at Ginkgo. Presently, they’re collaborating with automation company Transcriptic to begin incorporating robots into the laboratory pipeline. Cahoon works on the front and back end as well as architectural aspects of the robotics platforms.

    “We’re working on onboarding what they call work cells, which are basically a collection of several robots that we’ve put together in the lab (with the big robot arms) to essentially automate all of these lab tasks that [the scientists] would normally have to do,” Cahoon said. Most of these tasks involve handling fluids — transporting, mixing and centrifuging chemicals.

  • Digital Locations Provides Post-Acquisition Update on EllisLab and ExpressionEngine

    EllisLab has seen significant increase in website traffic and ExpressionEngine downloads after going open source.

  • Managing Values-driven Open Source Projects

    Nick O’Neill covers the unusual parts of starting a company with passion instead of money, including: what to do when 100 volunteers show up, when to take a stand on values, the boom and bust cycle of non-profits, and supporting a non-profit by starting a for-profit.

  • OPRECOMP Now Accepting Proposals for Open Source Projects on Transprecision Computing

    The deadline for submission of proposals is 16 March 2019.

    Accepted proposals will be announced 1 May 2019, and participants will be expected to attend the OPRECOMP Summer school in Perugia, Italy to present their results in September 2019. Participants also have the chance to attend the Week of Open Source Hardware organised in Zurich 11-14 June 2019, to participate, meet and discuss with members of OPRECOMP as well as get free hands-on training and experience on open source projects being developed through the OPRECOMP project.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Brave Browser: Preview of ads developer channel enters second phase

      Brave Browser, an open-source web browser based on the Chromium web browser, announced the transition of Brave Ads Developer Channel Preview from phase one to phase two, in an official blog post. Phase one of the project was about creating a public opportunity for brands, marketers, developers, and the community to test the mechanisms of Brave Ads via its developer channel.

      The platform stated that advertisers, such as BuySellAds, Fluidity, Uphold, TAP Network, and AirSwap, from its Early Access Program, were part of an important testing and learning phase. The second phase of the platform enables users to earn tokens as rewards for their attention. It also introduces “anonymous-but-accountable campaign reporting for brands” on Brave. The announcement read,

  • SaaS/Back End

    • The Shift From Open Source To Commercial Data Analytics Is Placing Cost Over Accuracy [Ed: Open Source is also "commercial"; Forbes propagandists are trying to imply, as usual, that only proprietary software with its back doors suits commerce.]
    • TIBCO Acquires SnappyData Spark-Based Data Platform

      TIBCO Software has acquired SnappyData, provider of a high-performance in-memory data platform built on Apache Spark.

    • Sardina Systems OpenStack running in the uniCORE Slovakia open source to enable self-provisioned environment

      FishOS was recently deployed at the top Sardina Systems’ partner in the Slovakian market, uniCORE, to enable flexible multi-tenant self-provisioned and programmable OpenStack software development environments.

      Sardina Systems and uniCORE are strategic partners since 2018. The goal of their partnership is to help uniCORE, a company that operates as an experienced IT and software development company with a focus on serving the finance and insurance industry, to facilitate customers access to a simplified OpenStack deployment process. The partnership is enabling to all their customers to build a flexible and scalable enterprise private cloud, with zero down-time operations and cost savings.

  • CMS

  • Education

    • Sakai 12, Struggling Open Source LMS, Is More Important Than Ever

      The latest article by the Apereo Foundation Board reads like a case study. Also, as a promotion for the benefits of Open Source, Free Open Source Software (FOSS) in particular. And given the recent troubles of Apereo’s flagship LMS Sakai, it also read as an attempt for relevance.

      “The Value of Open Source Software for Education” has good intentions. But it will be hard to influence anyone. It uses the NYU example to draw general conclusions about Sakai’s user experience. It extrapolates facts to pretend every user can enjoy what the NYU has.

      [...]

      At a fraction of Moodle’s userbase, US-based Sakai’s reported 4 million global user figure is still the envy of many. Some estimates place it as high as the fifth most popular LMS worldwide by installations.

    • Free and Open Source Software for Colleges and Universities to Use in Their Strive for Digital Transformation

      The digitization of education is a phenomenon that has transformed the education sector globally, while Liberia continues to play “catch up”. Nowadays, academic institutions explore the potential for digitizing education through, virtual universities, online courses (AME University recently ran a pilot project), education portals, courseware and so forth. Furthermore, the advent of the Internet and its technologies has kindled more opportunities to combine educational and economic goals on a common, globally accessible platform. But such a platform requires extensive technical support to create and sustain the software infrastructure on which digital education primarily depends.

      In Liberia, many of our colleges and universities continue to struggle with the integration of ICTs in their institutions. This is primarily due to the lack of resources (financial and technical) and to some extent, the lack of will and vision on the part of some of our leaders. To address this (in my own way), I have invited a group of ten students to come to my training and development lab to apprise them of the thousands of free and open source academic resources, (especially educational software)that are available on the Internet. The second reason is to train them in the use and development of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), and create an environment that allows them to test, develop, deploy and use open source software at their various colleges and universities. The third reason for inviting these kids is to build a team of evangelists who will go out and evangelize the need for the infusion of ICTs in our colleges, universities and the entire nation, so as to leapfrog social and economic development.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Elastic

    • Elastic shares fall after software company’s post-IPO lock-up period expires

      Elastic shares dropped 3.5 percent Wednesday after the software company’s initial post-IPO lock-up period expired, allowing insiders to sell stock for the first time.

      Elastic, which provides open-source search software used by businesses, went public in October at $36 a share and the stock has since surged, closing on Tuesday at $87.14. Last week the company said that 25 percent of the shares that have been subject to lock-up agreements will be released and available for sale, so long as the stock’s closing price on Monday was at least 33 percent higher than the IPO price.

    • empow Announces Launch of Open-Source Attacker Intent Search Module to the Elastic Community
    • empow Announces Launch of Open-source Attacker Intent Search Module to the Elastic Community
    • Elastic: The Future Of Search

      Founded in 2012 by Shay Banon, Elastic is a search company, but not just any search company. When people think of search, they tend to think of Google (GOOG) (GOOGL), which helped index the Internet. Elastic created the means to do enterprise search or search within the company’s own walls to derive the most efficient use of their data.

      When asked about the business strategy going forward, Banon often responds that he doesn’t want to define the company’s strategic path too narrowly as it may limit its potential. Enterprise search has a ton of different use cases and all which open worlds of possibilities. One constant problem for companies is matching up data from different sources. There could be multiple disconnected databases, a website, a web application, and then a mobile device. Elastic ties everything together and allows it to be searched upon seamlessly.

      The use cases seem endless. Current use cases are Tinder matching profiles as they swipe, giving recommendations on Instacart, finding the next ride in Uber, machine learning such as forecasting server utilization or speech recognition, and Application Performance Management to monitor user behaviors within applications. One of the newer use cases is entering network security by scanning millions of logs of data.

  • Google

    • New tool searches for misconfigured Google cloud storage

      GCPBucketBrute – the open source tool recently released by Rhino Security – allows pen testers to discover open buckets found on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). The tool can also determine if privilege escalation can occur on a particular cloud instance.

      “There are countless AWS S3 bucket enumerators out there online, but none (that we could find, at least) that targeted other similar storage services, such as Google Storage,” said Rhino in a blog post on February 26.

    • Google is staking its claim in the next big thing after cloud computing with a new line of AI-powered hardware for developers

      On its website, Google Coral has product listings for a $150 motherboard, a $75 USB device to bring AI to existing systems, and a $25 camera that slots into the board. The listings were first spotted by the Verge.

      “Coral offers a complete local AI toolkit that makes it easy to grow your ideas from prototype to production,” writes Google in a blog post announcing Coral.

      In theory, it’s more than a little bit like the Raspberry Pi, the pioneering $35 minicomputer, which is mega-popular among hackers as an easy and cheap way to build experimental hardware and other oddities.

    • Google open-sources GPipe, a library for efficiently training large deep neural networks

      If you’re in the business of training large-scale AI systems, good news: Google’s got your back. Google’s AI research division today open-sourced GPipe, a library for “efficiently” training deep neural networks (layered functions modeled after neurons) under Lingvo, a TensorFlow framework for sequence modeling. It’s applicable to any network consisting of multiple sequential layers, Google AI software engineer Yanping Huang said in a blog post, and allows researchers to “easily” scale performance.

    • Google AI division open sources GPipe neural network library

      Google open sourced GPipe, a scalable machine learning library designed to enable users to train large-scale deep neural networks faster, more accurately, and potentially with less compute power.

      The tech vendor made the library available on GitHub March 4, open sourced under the Lingo framework, a TensorFlow-based deep learning framework designed specifically for linguistic sequence models.

    • Google Open-Sources GPipe Library for Training Large-Scale Neural Network Models

      Deep neural network (DNN) models such as BigGAN, BERT, and GPT 2.0 have demonstrated that larger DNN models produce better task performance. These huge models are however becoming increasingly difficult to train. Google this week introduced GPipe, an open-source library that dramatically improves training efficacy for large-scale neural network models.

      In 2014, GoogleNet finished first in the ImageNet visual recognition challenge. The winning model consisted of four million parameters and achieved 74.8 percent accuracy. Three years later, Squeeze-and-Excitation Networks scored 82.7 percent to win the challenge with a model containing 145.8 million parameters — some 36x more than GoogleNet.

    • Is Google’s New Lingvo Framework a Big Deal for Machine Translation?

      Neural machine translation experts weigh in on Google’s open sourcing of Lingvo, a sequence modeling framework built on TensorFlow.

    • Google Open-Sources Lingvo Framework for Sequence-To-Sequence Modeling

      Natural language processing has made significant progress in the past year, but few frameworks focus directly on NLP or sequence modeling. Google Brain recently released Lingvo, a deep learning framework based on TensorFlow. Lingvo focuses on sequence-to-sequence models of language-related tasks such as machine translation, speech recognition, and speech synthesis; and significantly enhances code reuse and iteration speed. Lingvo-supported frameworks include traditional RNN sequence models, transformer models, and models that include VAE components. Lingvo is now open-sourced on GitHub.

    • AI Weekly: Google’s federated learning gets its day in the sun

      New versions of TensorFlow, including TensorFlow 2.0 with tf.keras as a central API and TensorFlow Lite 1.0 for mobile devices, were released, as was a $150 Coral board for edge TPU applications.

      Speed optimization for AI on mobile devices and a cleanup of TensorFlow’s cluttered APIs is more than cosmetic — these changes will shape how developers and businesses train AI systems. But the news that caught my eye was the release of TensorFlow for federated learning.

    • Google Makes Machine Learning Library Open Source

      To help developers train AI agents with strong privacy guarantees, Google just released a machine learning library called TensorFlow Privacy. The library, which is open source, can be downloaded on GitHub.

      Aside from training AI models with privacy, TensorFlow aims to “advance the state-of-the-art in machine learning with strong privacy guarantees.”

      [...]

      TensorFlow Privacy operates on the principle of differential privacy. This is a statistical technique to maximize accuracy while balancing user information.

      Differential privacy ensures that an AI model cannot encode information unique to a developer. This blocks all chances of a breach releasing a user’s identity.

      Instead of gathering and storing information to learn, differential privacy enables an AI agent to acquire knowledge from patterns that show up en masse.

    • Google announces TensorFlow 2.0 Alpha, TensorFlow Federated, TensorFlow Privacy, and the Coral development platform

      Google is fully invested in advancing the potential of artificial intelligence. The company has released a bunch of tools, documentation, tutorials, and platforms to help developers utilize machine learning for applications. TensorFlow is one of their most important projects in this field. It’s an open-source development platform, helping teams and individuals to train models via machine learning. At the 3rd annual TensorFlow Developer Summit, Google announced the first alpha release of TensorFlow 2.0. The summit also introduced a lot of other stuff, which we’ll summarize below.

    • Google launches TensorFlow 2.0 alpha with fewer APIs

      The world’s most popular open source framework for machine learning is getting a major upgrade today with the alpha release of TensorFlow 2.0. Created by the Google Brain team, the framework is used by developers, researchers, and businesses to train and deploy machine learning models that make inferences about data.

      A full release is scheduled to take place in Q2 2019.

      The news was announced today at the TensorFlow Dev Summit being held at the Google Event Center in Sunnyvale, California. Since the launch of TensorFlow in November 2015, the framework has been downloaded over 41 million times and now has over 1,800 contributors from around the world, said TensorFlow engineering director Rajat Monga.

    • Google previews TensorFlow 2.0 alpha with focus on simplicity and ML beginners

      At the 2019 TensorFlow Dev Summit today, Google announced a number of updates for its open-source machine learning library aimed at research and production. The TensorFlow 2.0 alpha provides a preview of upcoming changes aimed at making ML easier for beginners.

    • Google tool lets any AI app learn without taking all your data

      A new computing tool developed by Google will let developers build AI-powered apps that respect your privacy.

      Google on Wednesday released TensorFlow Federated, open-source software that incorporates federated learning, an AI training system. It works by using data that’s spread out across a lot of devices, such as smartphones and tablets, to teach itself new tricks. But rather than send the data back to a central server for study, it learns on your phone or tablet itself and sends only the lesson back to the app maker.

    • Google is making it easier for AI developers to keep users’ data private

      Google has announced a new module for its machine learning framework, TensorFlow, that lets developers improve the privacy of their AI models with just a few lines of extra code.

      TensorFlow is one of the most popular tools for building machine learning applications, and it’s used by developers around the world to create programs like text, audio, and image recognition algorithms. With the introduction of TensorFlow Privacy, these developers will be able to safeguard users’ data with a statistical technique known as “differential privacy.”

    • The AI-Art Gold Rush Is Here
    • How an engineer’s accident at Google changed the art industry

      Why? To make this image, the artist group Obvious used the source code and data that another artist, Robbie Barrat, had shared freely on the web.

      Obvious had every right to use Barrat’s code and claim authorship of the work. Nonetheless, many criticized Christie’s for elevating the artists who played only a small part in the creation the work. This was generally read as a failure of Christie’s, particularly in the misleading way it promoted the work, rather than a need to rethink authorship of AI art.

    • Open-source HPC Workload Manager, Slurm Now to Have Improved Deployment Scalability on Google Cloud

      Google is now sharing a new set of features for Slurm running on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) including support for preemptible VMs, custom machine types, image-based instance scaling, attachable GPUs, and customizable NFS mounts. In addition, this release features improved deployment scalability and resilience.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • MariaDB CEO on the open source enterprise – we can bridge the gap between bare metal and microservices

      MariaDB CEO Michael Howard prides himself on his database geek chops, but he’s not too shabby at grabbing headlines either.

      He certainly pulled off that off at this year’s MariaDB OpenWorks keynote, as in: MariaDB CEO accuses large cloud vendors of strip-mining open source, by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols.

      Behind the open source fisticuffs is an argument worth having. I won’t get into all of it here, as Vaughan-Nichols already got that job done. But: a MariaDB benchmark on AWS during the keynote stirred the pot.

      Howard told me something I didn’t expect. He said Amazon’s fear of MariaDB’s traction is in play here. Yep, it’s art-of-war time folks. I wanted to know: what type of MariaDB traction are we referring to? No, Howard isn’t talking about classic open source metrics like number of downloads.

    • Cloud vendors ‘strip mining’ open source: MariaDB’s CEO

      While open source made what appeared to be an indelible mark on Wall Street in 2018 with deals involving acquisitions and listings valued at around $107 billion, it has not all been plain sailing.

      According to Michael Howard, CEO of MariaDB – the organisation behind the popular open source relational database management system – the community driven project still faces significant challenges from a variety of quarters, including large cloud vendors, who, he said, were ‘strip mining’ open source technology.

      Delivering the keynote address at the third annual MariaDB OpenWorks user and developer conference in New York last week (26 February), he did not name the culprits – “you know who they are” – but maintained that they “really abuse the licence and the privilege (of open source), not giving back to the community (and) forcing some (open source) companies to have awkward and weak responses.”

    • Amazon Releases Corretto 8 GA: A Downstream Distribution of OpenJDK

      Corretto was introduced as a preview release last November at Devoxx Belgium by Arun Gupta, principal open source technologist at Amazon Web Services, and Yishai Galatzer, senior engineering manager at Amazon Web Services. Also at Devoxx was a surprise appearance by James Gosling, father of Java and distinguished engineer at Amazon Web Services, who delivered a special keynote address introducing Corretto. The timeline, shown below, for the GA releases of Corretto 8 and Corretto 11 was presented at Devoxx Belgium.

    • SAP builds its own Java distribution [Ed: IDG keeps posting this in more domains it has. SAP and other proprietary software companies now rebrand Java for themselves, sort of.]
    • Azul Systems Announces Extended Java Support Offerings and New Capabilities for Open Source Zulu Enterprise
    • VMware Touts Dismissal of Linux GPL Lawsuit

      Karen Sandler, attorney and the Conservancy’s executive director, told ZDNet that “We strongly believe that litigation is necessary against willful GPL violators, particularly in cases like VMware where this is strong community consensus that their behavior is wrong. Litigation moves slowly. We will continue to discuss this with Christoph and his lawyers and hope to say more about it in the coming weeks — after the courts provide their rationale for their decision to the parties (which has not yet occurred).”

      Meanwhile, VMware stated that it “continues to be a strong supporter of open source software development,” adding that it’s been “actively” working on removing vmklinux from vSphere in an upcoming release as part of a multi-year project — “for reasons unrelated to the litigation.”

    • VMware Essential PKS: Use upstream Kubernetes to build a flexible, cost-effective cloud-native platform [Ed: Openwashing below; it's a GPL violator whose parent company works for the NSA (so assume more uncovered back doors)]

      VMware contributes to multiple SIGs and open-source projects that strengthen key technologies and fill up the gaps in the Kubernetes ecosystem.

    • Kernel source code available for Nokia 1 Plus

      HMD Global published the kernel source code for the newly announced Nokia 1 Plus. Under the GPL, LGPL or any other type of license for the open source code HMD is using, the company is obligated to provide the changes they made to the public. For that purpose, Nokia Mobile has a dedicated site Nokia.com/phones/opensource, where all the source codes should be posted.

    • TÜV SÜD certificate confirms compliance with FOSS licences

      Companies are increasingly incorporating Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) in their business operations. However, even the use of Free and Open-Source Software is governed by licensing agreements that must be followed. TÜV SÜD has developed a ground-breaking certification process based on the OpenChain[1] specification, which enables companies to review their underlying processes and document their compliance with licensing agreements. Hitachi, Ltd. was the first company in the world to receive the new TÜV SÜD certificate.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Conti, Kordsa to share new textile/rubber-bonding technology through ‘open source’

      The partners, which disclosed in mid-2017 they were working on such a solution, said they are offering the new bonding system technology to other interested parties as an “open-source,” no-cost solution under the brand name “Cokoon.”

      Separately, Continental said it plans to have series-produced tires using this technology on the market this year, although it did not specify which tires would be first.

    • Utopian Colony – Empowering Open Source Innovation Beyond the Code

      Analysis of the contributions submitted revealed that only 7% of the contributions facilitated by Utopian were code-related. The remaining 93% were contributions by graphic designers, translators, content writers and marketers – people who previously had few ways to contribute to the open source ecosystem and participate in the community.

    • Open Data

      • China: lunar data from Chang’e-4 ‘open source’

        Beijing has offered to make all information collected by its Chang’e-4 lunar probe, on the far side of the moon since early January, accessible to astronomers and scientists worldwide as “open source data”.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Ryerson Library publishes new Web Design Primer open-source textbook

        Web Design Primer is a new open-source eBook published by Toronto’s Ryerson University Library by authors Richard Adams, Associate Professor at the School of Graphic Communications Management, and Ahmed Sagarwala, Manager of Industry Relations at the Digital Media Zone (DMZ). The book explains the basics of the HTML and CSS codes used to create web pages, as well as related technologies – including JavaScript, jQuery, audio, video, and animation. The book was designed to accompany a one-semester course on web design. Users can read the book online or download it in ePub and PDF versions from https://pressbooks.library.ryerson.ca/webdesign/. Printed versions can also be ordered from the site. The eBook has been published under a Creative Commons “Share and Share Alike with Attribution” copyright license (CC BY, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). This enables other instructors to download, edit and use the book for their classes royalty-free – the only requirement being to credit the original authors.

      • Open Educational Resource program aims to increase textbook affordability for students

        According to the UI’s estimated expenses, students at the University of Iowa can expect to spend $950 a year on textbooks and supplies on top of the costs of tuition and housing. Schmidt said the open-resources program could save students up to $225,000 by the end of its second year.

        “If an instructor redesigns a whole course, that’s a whole textbook a student doesn’t have to buy, a homework solution a student doesn’t have to buy. But it ranges from a textbook to a whole entire course an instructor can design,” Schmidt said. “This saves students so much money in so many different ways. We had a great step with ICON direct — this goes another step further in saving student dollars.”

      • The high cost of college textbooks, explained

        Open source textbooks: how students are fighting back

        Student advocates don’t expect the move toward truly affordable course materials to be led by publishers. Instead, they’re encouraging professors to adopt — and help develop — free, open source textbooks. Kharl Reynado, a senior at the University of Connecticut and the leader of PIRG’s affordable textbooks campaign, told me she’s had to pay “upward of $500” for books and access codes and has dropped courses because she couldn’t afford the costs. “I’ve had friends who spend entire paychecks on just their textbook costs in the beginning of the semester and had little money left over to cover food, gas, and sometimes, in extreme cases, rent because of it,” she said.

        “We work closely with students and campus partners such as the UConn Library to promote open textbooks to different professors and educate students on their options,” she added.

        The real challenge is getting professors, who are ultimately responsible for which books get assigned, to adopt the free options. Professors don’t assign books by major publishers or books with access codes because they want students to suffer — they do it because, more often than not, it’s easier.

        As Vitez noted, an increasing number of universities are replacing full-time, tenured staff with adjunct professors. Adjuncts, many of whom are graduate students, are paid by the course, typically don’t receive benefits, and occasionally find out they’re teaching a class a few weeks before the semester begins. In other words, they don’t necessarily have the time or resources to spend the summer developing a lesson plan or to work alongside librarians to find quality materials that won’t come at a high cost to students.

      • The topsy turvy tale of a man who gave Indian researchers streamlined access to 50,000 journals from across the world

        It might be difficult to believe this today, but in the pre-Internet era, researchers would have to wait for days or even months for information to stream in before they could make any progress. In the snail mail era, researchers would send their work to publications, who would take their time to complete a review. Then, you had to wait for those to be delivered to you. Basic information could be had by the tele-printer terminal connected to telephones; detailed papers came by post.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Review: Pulsar Labs Open Source Function Generator DIY Kit

        In this review we first describe the assembly of the module, because this is not dealt with in the supplied manual. The assembly should be fairly straightforward, even for those with little experience. There is no need to solder any SMD parts. It is important to check everything thoroughly before soldering the components. Of course we will share a few of our experiences of working with the module. In the photos we show the contents of the box, the components and the most important stages of the assembly process.

      • Alias: a smart-speaker “parasite” that blocks your speaker’s sensors until you activate it

        Alias is an open source hardware/free-open firmware “parasite” that fits over your smart speaker’s sensors and fills them with white noise; the Alias has its own (non-networked, user-controlled) mic and speaker and when you speak a magic phrase, the Alias temporarily stops the white noise and transmits your commands to the speaker; Alias also lets you specify strings of commands and other useful utilities that restore control over your smart-speaker to you.

      • A Digital Mayfly Swarm Is Emerging

        Low-cost, open-source data collectors and a suite of collaborative online tools are making big leaps in the field of watershed monitoring.

      • New open source groovebox OTTO is inspired by the OP-1

        The OTTO is an upcoming open source hardware synth and sampler that takes its cues from Teenage Engineering’s OP-1.

      • Otto affordable open source portable synthesiser unveiled

        Inspired by the Teenage Engineering’s OP-1 a new Otto hardware synth and sampler currently under development may provide a more affordable alternative to the OP-1.

      • Could the Otto synth be a more affordable alternative to the OP-1?

        In a nutshell, Otto is designed to be a “complete hardware and software solution, with synths, samplers, effects and a sequencer with an audio looper.”

        One of the designers behind the Otto, Tobias Pisani, goes on to mention that the workflow is also inspired by the OP-1, with experimentation encouraged by its very design. We just have to look at it to see that the similarities also run through the on-screen graphics.

        The brains of the machine will be powered by a Raspberry Pi Model 3 B Plus, and the hardware will also feature a screen, a DAC, four rotary encoders and some 30+ buttons/keys. See below for the full list of planned features.

      • RISC-V Business

        Last week’s RISC-V Tech Symposium, held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, had all of the spirit of a tent revival meeting, which is appropriate because microprocessor ISA supporters tend to sound a lot like religious zealots. The open-source RISC-V ISA is no different in this respect. Although begun for the most grounded of purposes – the education of future processor designers – the RISC-V ISA is rapidly growing far beyond its origins and is bumping along the road to become a full-blown, commercial microprocessor ISA despite its open-source underpinnings. The underwriter of the worldwide series of RISC-V Tech Symposiums, SiFive, is one of the loudest cheerleaders for the RISC-V ISA’s trek towards commercial relevance and, perhaps, world dominance.

        My July 19, 2018 EEJournal article titled “RISC-V Aims for World Domination” contains a long history of microprocessor ISAs. In this article, I quoted Dr. David Patterson, the professorial godfather of RISC-V, who said: “Why should there be open-source compilers but not open-source ISAs?” That article quoted Patterson as he discussed the idea that the open RISC-V ISA could be a cure to microprocessor ISAs’ hacking vulnerability. The quote came from a presentation Patterson made at the 2018 annual dinner meeting of the IEEE-CNSV (IEEE Consultants’ Network of Silicon Valley). Patterson concluded that presentation with a simple statement about RISC-V: “That’s my simple goal for RISC-V: world domination.”

  • Programming/Development

    • Linux 5.1 Will Play Nicer With The LLVM Linker (LD.LLD)

      The Kbuild updates for the in-development Linux 5.1 kernel have a few worthwhile improvements including the ability to pass optional flags to dpkg-buildpackage when spinning up a Debian kernel package, some minor optimizations, and preparations around LD.LLD support in using the LLVM linker to link the Linux kernel.

      Nick Desaulniers of Google, one of the engineers there who has been part of the renewed effort to build the Linux kernel with LLVM’s Clang compiler, upstreamed a new patch to fix an issue that held back using the LLVM linker in some configurations.

    • Ian Jackson: Rust doubly-linked list

      I have now released (and published on crates.io) my doubly-linked list library for Rust.

      Of course in Rust you don’t usually want a doubly-linked list. The VecDeque array-based double-ended queue is usually much better. I discuss this in detail in my module’s documentation.

    • The screenshot mechanism

      I have just completed the screenshot mechanism for this latest pygame project. Basically, we will need to edit a few files in order to implement that mechanism. The first file we need to edit is the scene class which will show all the screenshots that player has taken when he presses on the s key during the game stage! from BgSprite import BgSprite from GameSprite import GameSprite from pygame.

    • Multiple File/Image Upload with Django, Angular 7 and FormData
    • Return a list of divisible numbers
    • Talk Python to Me: #202 Building a software business
    • 12 Practical Array Examples in GoLang Go Programming Language
    • GoLang Array vs Slice – 17 Slice Examples in Go Programming Language
    • Ctrl-Alt-Delete: The Planned Obsolescence of Old Coders

      Although starting salaries in tech are famously high, their advantage compared to other fields is halved in the first decade of employment. “This is something most economists just don’t know,” Noray says. A 2017 report from Hired.com found that salary offers were actually lower for tech workers over 50 than for younger ones. Therefore, many STEM workers switch to professions that change more slowly in search of sustained salary growth. At the age of 24, 89 percent of STEM majors have STEM jobs, but at 35 years old, the number declines to 71 percent and continues to fall thereafter.

    • 7 Tips To Make Your Data Science GitHub Portfolio Perfect [Ed: Analytics India Magazine promoting Microsoft lock-in.]
    • Top Data Science Learning Resources On Github For Beginners & Experts [Ed: Analytics India Magazine promotes that idea or the concept that FOSS does not exist or does not count unless it’s on a Microsoft site.]
    • 10 Most Popular Open Source Projects on GitHub [Ed: So if a piece of FOSS isn't controlled by Microsoft, then it doesn't count?]
    • Fortanix Releases Open Source SDK for Intel SGX Enclaves

      Runtime encryption company Fortanix has launched a free and open source software development kit (SDK) for building Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX) applications.

      The company’s Enclave Development Platform (EDP) provides a native Rust-based SDK that allows writing Intel SGX enclaves, helping developers build applications secure from development vulnerabilities and outsider attacks.

    • Fortanix Adds Open Source Rust SDK to Build Encrypted Apps

      There’s a lot of focus these days on DevSecOps as part of an effort to fix what’s generally acknowledged as a broken cybersecurity paradigm. But instead of trying to ensure every potential vulnerability is addressed before an application is deployed, another idea is gaining momentum among the DevOps community: Build applications that are secure in the first place, using modern programming languages.

    • Bagisto E-commerce Platform

      Bagisto is an open-source E-commerce platform built on top of Laravel and Vue.js by Webkul.

    • Install Laravel with Apache and MySQL

      Laravel is one of the open source frameworks easier to implement and assimilate for PHP. His philosophy is to develop PHP code in an elegant and simple way based on a model MVC (Model-View-Controller). It has a modular and extensible code through a package manager and robust support for database management.

    • See how to use OS languages effectively and get the best results

      Last year’s acquisition of Red Hat by IBM underscores the importance of open source in today’s business world. Its wide usage places it at the forefront of technological innovation. Coders of all stripes have enthusiastically adopted open source and, therefore, most programming languages are open sourced. Coders who have embraced open source are also contributors to open source language projects and are building versions of languages like Python, PHP, Ruby, Perl, JavaScript, Go, and Tcl; to mention a few.

    • 10 Popular JS IDEs Java Developers Can Use

      Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is crucial while coding for larger programming projects as they help in handling the code smoothly by providing syntax highlighting, auto-completion of code, tools debugging and other features. JavaScript is a dynamic language that also has gained prominence for backend development with Node.js. In this article, we list down 10 top integrated development environment for JavaScript. Some of them are cross-platform IDEs.

    • Java, meet Kubernetes and serverless computing

      Red Hat is looking to bring Java into more-modern computing paradigms by providing a tool tuned to Kubernetes and serverless environments.

      Currently in beta, Red Hat’s open source Quarkus framework is aimed at a container-first, cloud-native world. It uses a unified reactive and imperative programming model to address distributed application architectures such as microservices and serverless. Java can be challenging to run in serverless environments, where compute services are called on demand.

    • Joget Low-Code Application Platform Now Available as a Certified Container Image for Red Hat OpenShift

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Which cities lead the nation for women founding venture-backed startups?

      Compare those numbers to female representation in the workforce (47 percent), business ownership (36 percent), high-tech industry employment (30 percent), or as alumni of the relatively small number of feeder institutions (particular universities, degree programs, or corporations) that tend to dominate the sector (various percentages). [2] It quickly becomes clear that particular barriers exist for women in entrepreneurship in addition to those they already face in related fields. All is definitely not well.

      And yet, when one looks beyond these headline numbers, there are reasons for optimism. That’s a key message from a new report I authored for the Center for American Entrepreneurship last month, titled The Ascent of Women-Founded Venture-Backed Startups in the United States.

      The report analyzes patterns of venture-backed startup activity between 2005 and 2017 with a focus on the gender composition of founding teams. Instead of looking at topline aggregates of venture deals and funding, as others have done, I focused on the number of companies raising a first round of venture capital. I took this approach for two reasons. First, it allowed me to assess the flow of new companies entering the venture-backed pipeline each year—those closest to “starting up.” Second, by grouping startups into cohorts along a common dimension—in this case, companies raising a “first financing” during the same year—I was able to track performance over time in a meaningful way.

    • Many pioneers in computing were women of color. Here are 5 you should recognize

      Technology is about access. Every new innovation inevitably opens another door to new ideas, more information, and increasingly novel methods for mundane and extraordinary tasks alike.

      But this access doesn’t come from nowhere, especially not in the world of computing. It requires something groundbreaking. It requires trailblazers.

  • Hardware

  • Security

    • Citrix says its network was breached by international criminals

      Citrix said it still doesn’t know what specific data was stolen, but an initial investigation appears to show the attackers may have obtained business documents. For now, company officials said, there’s no indication that the security of any Citrix product or service was compromised. The company has commenced a forensic investigation and engaged a security firm to assist. Citrix has also taken unspecified actions to better secure it internal network.

    • Citrix says internal network breached, business docs stolen

      Multinational software company Citrix Systems says its internal network has been penetrated by “international cyber criminals” who managed to access and steal business documents.

    • Facebook iframe bug allowed hackers to see who you were messaging

      In a new blog post, security firm Imperva demonstrated how an iframe bug in Messenger would allow hackers to find out exactly who you’ve been talking to on the platform. Hackers wouldn’t be able to see what you were saying or when, just that you’d ever spoken to someone on it.

    • Google: Phishing Attacks That Can Beat Two-Factor Are on the Rise [Ed: Google is no security either. It's in NSA PRISM.]
    • Notepad++ No Longer Code Signed, Dev Won’t Support Overpriced Cert Industry [Ed: Well, this software only runs on an NSA platform with back doors (Windows), so pretending it can offer real security was a futile endeavour all along]
    • Windows 10 IoT Core Test Interface Lets Attackers Take Over Devices
    • Europe’s Open Source Bug Bounty: A Wrong Start [Ed: Microsoft's partner in FUD WhiteSource slams Europe for supporting security in FOSS]
    • Do bug bounties help open source security? [Ed: Mac Asay repeating Microsoft partners who badmouth Free software and speak against the EU's plan. There has been a lot of FUD from another Microsoft partner this past week. Microsoft can "love Linux" having outsourced the FUD to other firms (that don't "love Linux"). Microsoft isn't stupid. It knows how to play the "suits" with lies such as "Microsoft Loves Linux".]

      The more “software eats the world,” the more porous your company’s defenses become. If it connects to the internet, it’s hackable and almost certainly is in the process of getting hacked. Right now.

      If you’re lucky, you employ the hackers trying to crack your code. Or, if you’re like a swelling number of organizations, you’re contributing to the roughly $42 million in bounties paid in 2018, based on data published in HackerOne’s annual report. The latter option is growing in popularity as enterprises race to hire the white hats to out-code the black hats. This security-inspired feeding frenzy is turning into steady income for a rising number of developers, though it remains to be seen whether bug bounties are the ideal way to resolve our security problems.

    • Hackers have started attacks on Cisco RV110, RV130, and RV215 routers

      The vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2019-1663, was of note when it came out on February 27 because it received a severity score from the Cisco team of 9.8 out of a maximum of 10.

    • Sysdig Wins Three 2019 Cyber Defense Magazine InfoSec Awards at RSA
    • The inside story of the world’s most dangerous malware

      Experts say the same hackers behind the Saudi intrusion are probing U.S. petrochemical plants and refineries, positioning themselves for dangerous, even deadly, future strikes. Earlier this year, top U.S. intelligence officials warned that multiple hacking groups, backed by foreign spy agencies, are poised to disrupt American electricity and pipeline networks in the event of war with the United States.

    • New Threat Group Using Old Technique to Run Custom Malware

      The technique exploits the predictable manner in which Windows loads dynamic link libraries (DLLs) when an application itself does not explicitly specify the path. Attackers can abuse the process to get Windows to load a malicious DLL instead of the legitimate one.

      “If the import name of the DLL matches the name of an authorized library, the OS will map the DLL to the process in memory of the victim system,” DiMaggio says. With Vcrodat, for instance, what Whitefly frequently has been doing is using DLLs with the same name as DLLs belonging to legitimate security software. “Defeating search order hijacking on its own can be difficult since it is not a recognized vulnerability but instead a legitimate OS component being misused,” DiMaggio says.

    • DirectAdmin 1.55 – ‘CMD_ACCOUNT_ADMIN’ Cross-Site Request Forgery
    • Whitefly identified as hacker group behind SingHealth cyberattack, says Symantec [Ed: Wrong. It's the fault of the management at Microsoft with complicity of dumb technicians in hospitals in Singapore. They put back doors where patients are. Hold both accountable. Notice how HealthcareITNews tries to blame "open-source hacking tools" rather than the back doors that intentionally exist in Microsoft products.]

      The hacker group compromises its victims using custom malware alongside open-source hacking tools and living off the land tactics, such as malicious PowerShell scripts.

    • Cryptocurrency miners exploit Docker flaw

      A container flaw discovered just last month has been exploited by hundreds of attackers, including cryptocurrency miners, cybersecurity company Imperva says.

    • Imperva Researchers Find Hundreds of Vulnerable Docker Hosts Exploited by Cryptominers

      The researchers, Vitaly Simonovich and Ori Nakar, wrote in a blog post that currency miners were relying on a Docker runC vulnerability discovered in early February (later patched by Docker Inc.) in combination with an exposed remote Docker API.

    • Equifax defends against scathing Senate report

      Equifax chief says firm did take cyber security seriously in a response to a scathing Senate report on the credit rating agency’s 2017 data breach…

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Boston Globe: We’re Edging Closer to Nuclear War

      Last month two nuclear-armed countries, India and Pakistan, came to the brink of war. Their border skirmish was a scary message from the future. If controls on nuclear weapons continue to weaken, more countries will probably develop those weapons. Each time one does, its rivals are likely to do the same. Local conflicts will suddenly have the potential to explode into nuclear war.

      Like more than a few neighbors, India and Pakistan have a property dispute. Theirs is over Jammu and Kashmir, a former princely state nestled against the Himalayas. India is in control and Pakistan sponsors militant raids under a fig leaf of deniability. Conflicts like these exist around the world. They are a natural consequence of geography and politics. If contending parties arm themselves with nuclear weapons, these regional quarrels will suddenly have apocalyptic potential.

      That was chillingly clear along the India-Pakistan border last month. The crisis erupted after a suicide bomber drove a car packed with explosives into an Indian military convoy, killing more than 40 soldiers. India blamed Pakistan, which has a long history of supporting such attacks. In retaliation, it sent a dozen planes to bomb what it said were terrorist camps inside Pakistan. One plane was shot down and its pilot captured. Then the crisis, which might have raced out of control, unexpectedly eased. It turned out that India’s air raids had been just for show and may not have killed a soul. The downed pilot was released and called his captors “thorough gentlemen.”

      It’s easy to imagine even more dangerous faceoffs elsewhere in the world. The most terrifying new nuclear powers would be Iran and Saudi Arabia. Iran has enough scientific talent to develop a bomb, and Saudi Arabia could buy what it needs. Hearing the leaders of those countries snarl at each other is scary enough today. If both had nuclear weapons — not a far-fetched scenario if present trends continue — war between them could be devastating. So could a war over Taiwan, if Taiwan were to build a nuclear arsenal to compete with China’s. Serbia and Kosovo are in bitter conflict over disputed territory. So are Armenia and Azerbaijan.

      Once while waiting for a flight at an airport in Ecuador, I stared at a giant map of the country that was painted on the terminal wall. It looked odd. Ecuador seemed much larger than I remembered. Finally, I realized that on this map, its borders had been drawn to include territory in the Amazon that Ecuador lost to Peru in the 19th century and still claims. A banner over the map proclaimed: “Ecuador Was, Is and Will Always Be an Amazon Nation.” The dispute over this territory has set off several wars between Peru and Ecuador. The last one, in 1995, led to several hundred casualties. In a world where nuclear weapons are widely spread, political passion could turn an obscure dispute like this into global catastrophe.

    • ‘Open challenge’: North Korea slams US-S Korea military drills

      North Korea has attacked the ongoing joint military exercises between Seoul and Washington as an “open challenge” to the efforts towards peace on the Korean Peninsula.

      On Saturday, the US and South Korea agreed to replace two major annual war games – the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle drills – with a shorter “Dong Maeng” or “Alliance” exercise which kicked off this week.

      The move was designed to further ease tensions with Pyongyang following the dramatic detente since early 2018.

      “The ill-boding moves of the South Korean military authorities and the US are a wanton violation of the DPRK-US joint statement [in Singapore] and the North-South declarations in which the removal of hostility and tensions were committed to,” the North’s official news agency, KCNA, said.

    • Nearly 100 civilians killed or wounded every week in Yemen: UN

      Almost 5000 civilians were killed or injured in 2018, with children accounting for a fifth of all casualties.

    • Photos suggest North Korea rebuilding missile facility

      Satellite images appear to show that North Korea has begun rebuilding a portion of a facility previously used to test long-range missile engines.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Chelsea Manning Jailed for Refusing to Cooperate with Wikileaks Grand Jury

      Chelsea Manning said her testimony before her court martial is all she has to say, standing by her resistance to secret grand juries as her activist ancestors did before her. Kevin Gosztola, Managing Editor of Shadowproof, discusses the case

    • Chelsea Manning is in jail. Our silence is shameful

      The DoJ’s persecution of Manning is simply judicial cruelty. It deserves our full attention.

    • The prisoner says ‘no’ to big brother

      The refusal by Australia’s foreign ministry to honour the UN’s declaration that Julian Assange is the victim of ‘arbitrary detention’ is a shameful breach of the letter and spirit of international law.

    • How The Establishment Smear Corbyn, Gabbard, Omar, Assange, And Other Dissenters

      Establishment smear campaigns serve an important and politically strategic purpose. Their aim is to delegitimize social movements not by countering the ideas behind these movements-which are often very popular in themselves-but by destroying the reputations of the people who lead these movements. This is why every major anti-war, socialist, and otherwise dissident public figure will necessarily be smeared; if these people can be discredited in the mind of the public, the causes they represent will be hurt too.

      This was the fiendish logic behind the anti-Bernie Sanders smear effort of the Clinton campaign in 2016. Sanders’ ideas about economic justice were and are very popular among the American public, especially among Democratic voters. But to some extent, the Clinton campaign and/or their allies convinced Clinton’s supporters to stick with Hillary by painting Sanders as a sexist, by propagating bizarre theories about Sanders being a Russian asset, and by spreading the absurd meme about his supporters being “Bernie Bros” who opposed Clinton out of misogyny. The cynical playbook of David Brock’s Correct the Record troll operation, which gave Clinton supporters talking points and instructions on how to smear Sanders online, was created to help reinforce this echo chamber of manufactured anti-Sanders vitriol.

      Brock’s methods of bullying and character assassination mirror how the political and media establishments tear down other disfavored public figures. The details of these smear campaigns are as fascinating as they are odious, and studying them can teach us how to combat them. So I’m going to recount the following additional examples of how the centers of power ruin the reputations of their enemies.

    • Courage nominates Julian Assange for the 2019 GUE/NGL Award
    • Assange May Be Elephant in Room as Chelsea Manning a Fights Federal Grand Jury Subpoena

      Whistleblower Chelsea Manning is fighting a grand jury subpoena in Alexandria, Virginia. On Tuesday, Manning spoke to reporters after she and her lawyer unsuccessfully motioned to quash the subpoena.

      The subpoena is widely believed — but not confirmed — to be related to sealed charges against WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange, whose prosecutors were seen at the courthouse in the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) on Tuesday. Charges against the journalist were inadvertently revealed in a filing error in the district last year.

      “They call EDVA the ‘rocket docket’ because the judges there are committed to pushing cases through the system as quickly as possible,” CIA-torture whistleblower John Kiriakou told MintPress News. Kiriakou spent nearly two years in prison for exposing the CIA torture program, and was tried at the Alexandria, Virginia rocket docket.

    • Vatican to open archives on WWII-era Pope accused of staying silent during Holocaust

      At a time when the Catholic Church – rocked by a litany of child abuse scandals that span the globe and go back decades – is under intense pressure to be more transparent, Pope Francis has decided to open up the Vatican archives on one of his most controversial predecessors.

      [...]

      The Vatican usually waits 70 years after the end of a pontificate to open relevant archives. But the pope has been under pressure to make the Pius XII documentation available sooner and while Holocaust survivors are still alive.

      Jewish leaders welcomed the announcement. They are among those who have been pushing for the archives to be open for many years.

    • Vatican to open secret archives on World War II-era and Pope Pius

      Pope Francis has announced that the Vatican next year will open its secret archives containing World War II-era documents from the controversial papacy of Pope Pius XII.

      The archives cover the years 1939-1958 and consist of several hundred thousand letters, cables and speeches. Critics of Pius say he did not do enough to publicly combat the rise of fascism in Germany and Italy. Supporters say he worked diligently behind the scenes to save Jews from the Holocaust.

    • The Foilies 2019

      The cause of government transparency finally broke through to the popular zeitgeist this year. It wasn’t an investigative journalism exposé or a civil rights lawsuit that did it, but a light-hearted sitcom about a Taiwanese American family set in Orlando, Florida, in the late 1990s.

      In a January episode of ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat, the Huang family’s two youngest children—overachievers Evan and Emery—decide if they sprint on all their homework, they’ll have time to plan their father’s birthday party.

      “Like the time we knocked out two English papers, a science experiment, and built the White House out of sugar cubes,” Evan said. “It opened up our Sunday for filing Freedom of Information requests.”

      “They may not have figured out who shot JFK,” Emery added. “But we will.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Global Warming ‘Hiatus’ Is the Climate Change Myth That Refuses to Die

      The record-breaking, El Niño-driven global temperatures of 2016 have given climate change deniers a new trope. Why, they ask, hasn’t it since got even hotter?

      In response to a recent US government report on the impact of climate change, a spokesperson for the science-denying American Enterprise Institute think-tank claimed that “we just had […] the biggest drop in global temperatures that we have had since the 1980s, the biggest in the last 100 years.”

      These claims are blatantly false: the past two years were two of the three hottest on record, and the drop in temperature from 2016 to 2018 was less than, say, the drop from 1998 (a previous record hot year) to 2000. But, more importantly, these claims use the same kind of misdirection as was used a few years ago about a supposed “pause” in warming lasting from roughly 1998 to 2013.

    • GOING BACKWARDS: Trump To Slash Renewables Funding in New Budget

      A senior Trump administration official has told Bloomberg News that the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy would see its $2.3 billion budget slashed by about 70 percent, to $700 million, under President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2020 budget request, which will be released on Monday.

      Trump, who rejects the overwhelming scientific consensus regarding the climate crisis, has repeatedly vowed to zero out federal spending on clean energy research and development (R&D). Trump proposed similarly dramatic cuts to EERE’s budget in both his fiscal year 2018 and fiscal year 2019 proposals.

      “It’s a shutdown budget,” said Mike Carr, who served as the No. 2 official within the division under President Barack Obama. “That’s apparently what they want to signal to their base — they still want to shut these programs down,” Carr told Bloomberg.

      The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which provides hundreds of millions of dollars a year in grants and other financial assistance for clean energy, has financed research into technologies ranging from electric vehicles to energy projects powered by ocean waves. It has been credited with financing research to help make the cost of wind power competitive with coal and cutting the costs of LED lighting.

    • Trump Again Seeks Deep Cuts in Renewable Energy Funding

      The Trump administration is again seeking severe cuts to the U.S. Energy Department division charged with renewable energy and energy efficiency research, according to a department official familiar with the plan.

      The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy would see its $2.3 billion budget slashed by about 70 percent, to $700 million, under President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2020 budget request, which is set to be released on Monday.

      The request is unlikely to be granted by Congress, especially with Democrats in charge of the House, but the figure represents an opening bargaining position for negotiations by the White House.

      The Energy Department declined to comment and the White House Office of Management and Budget didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

      “It’s a shutdown budget,” said Mike Carr, who served as the No. 2 official within the division under President Barack Obama. “That’s apparently what they want to signal to their base — they still want to shut these programs down.”

    • Fracking linked to increased hospitalizations for skin, genital and urinary issues in Pennsylvania

      Fracking may put Pennsylvania communities at greater risk for skin, genital, and urinary diseases, according to new research.

      The study, which will be published in the March issue of the journal Public Health, looked at hospital records in Pennsylvania’s 67 counties from 2003-2014.

      Researchers found that the more fracking wells were in a county, the more hospitalizations the county saw for genital and urinary problems like urinary tract infections, kidney infections, and kidney stones. Fracking, another name for hydraulic fracturing, is a process of extracting oil and gas from the Earth by drilling deep wells and injecting liquid at high pressure.

    • Plastic Is Probably Harming Your Health — Here’s How

      How often are we told something is bad for us, yet we continue to keep it in our lives? Sure, a little bit every now and then won’t kill you, but it’s tough to say what is a little and what is a lot. The trouble for most of us comes down to convenience. It’s just easier to live our normal lives, not overthinking consumption habits — until the consequences are impossible to ignore. Take plastic.

      A statement published earlier this year by the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks identified 14 emerging health and environmental issues. Right near the top of that list was plastic waste. What was the nature of that concern? This was precisely the question raised by the statement, which emphasized the “urgent” need “for a better assessment of hazard and risk” associated with exposure to plastics of different shapes and form.

      Before we unpack the pestilence of plastic though, let’s begin with a few basic facts. During World War II, US plastic production increased by 300 percent. Since then, plastic has become ever more ubiquitous, and by 2014, according to market research firm PlasticsEurope, had surpassed 300 million tons produced per year. There’s a good reason for that. The wondrous nature of plastic is that it’s lightweight, highly malleable and — here’s the real kicker — resistant to biodegradation. It’s already well known that this last property is turning out to be a huge problem as the plastic piles up, but what is less understood are the exact reasons why.

      Plastic is made up almost entirely of hydrocarbon chains, which are an incredibly stable type of molecular bond. In cases where hydrocarbon chains occur naturally, that stability is a necessary component of an organism’s function and generally forms part of a greater ecosystem. Plastics, however, are synthetic, which means they’re no good as a food source for microorganisms (with at least one rare exception), and as we’ve so tragically come to learn, that is a major problem.

    • UN leads united push on green tech solutions as global temperatures rise

      The UN, tech giants, and policy, finance and science communities yesterday teamed up to launch major new pushes on using cutting-edge technology to create cleaner, greener and more efficient solutions to sustainable development.
      Key figures from these sectors are joining civil society representatives in Nairobi at the second UN Science-Policy-Business Forum on the Environment, meeting for three days in advance of the fourth UN Environment Assembly.
      The Assembly kicks off tomorrow and runs to Friday, bringing together players from all over the world to deliberate on environmental matters.

    • “The Last Pig” Doesn’t Offer Any Easy Answers on Animal Farming

      When I sat down to watch The Last Pig, I did so with the slight trepidation of a seasoned environmental filmgoer. But my worries were unfounded. While films about factory farming are known for using gruesome exposé footage to proclaim an ardent animal rights message, director Allison Argo’s picturesque, meditative documentary does the opposite. The film gives us idyllic scenes of the relationship between a small-scale pig farmer and his happy herd — and then it gradually unravels the logic of this utopia.

    • A Green New Deal Must Not Be Tied to Economic Growth

      The Green New Deal bill is an audacious 10-year mobilization plan to move the U.S. to a zero-carbon economy. Bold and ambitious interventions like it are necessary, in the U.S. and elsewhere, if we are to unsettle the current complacency with climate breakdown. Academics like economist Robert Pollin, who kept alive the idea of a Green New Deal in the past years and provided the science to back it up, are to be congratulated for their efforts.

      Pollin has for years now proposed his simplified version of a Green New Deal — an investment of between 1.5 to 2 percent of global GDP every year to raise energy efficiency and expand clean renewable energy. This would be the moment for him to celebrate that his cause has been taken up, and contribute to working out the specifics. Instead though, he chooses to focus on the differences between his proposal and a “degrowth agenda,” which he finds “utterly unrealistic” — a waste of time for the Left at best and dangerously anti-social at worst. Whereas this is not the moment to split hairs, Pollin’s insistence on degrowth is inadvertently productive. It lets us see a sore point in the Green New Deal narrative, and this is that it risks reproducing — unless carefully framed — the hegemonic ideology of capitalist growth, which has created the problem of climate change in the first place.

      To begin with, Pollin never explains why growth is a necessary ingredient for his proposal. It is not clear why he has to argue that a Green New Deal will be good for growth instead of simply advocating cutting carbon while meeting needs and fostering wellbeing. The only reason he provides for his preference for growth is that “higher levels of GDP will correspondingly mean a higher level of investment being channeled into clean energy projects.” If Pollin seriously means that he shares “the values and concerns of degrowth advocates,” then he could simply tweak his model and come up with a fixed amount of investment (independent of GDP) that would produce the same decarbonization. Higher levels of GDP will not only lead to higher levels of clean investment, but also higher levels of dirty investment — and the majority of investment is dirty. One percent growth in GDP leads to a 0.5 to 0.8 percent increase in carbon emissions, and this is as statistically robust a relation as it gets (clean energy investment has no statistically significant effect on emissions yet, though, of course, this could and should change in the future). If we continue to grow at 3 percent per year, by 2043, the global economy will be two times larger than it is now. It is difficult to imagine creating a renewable energy infrastructure for our existing economy in a short time span, much less doing so for an economy that is 50 percent larger. The smaller our economic output is, the easier the transition will be.

  • Finance

    • As Budget Deficit Balloons, Few in Washington Seem to Care

      The federal budget deficit is ballooning on President Donald Trump’s watch and few in Washington seem to care.

      And even if they did, the political dynamics that enabled bipartisan deficit-cutting deals decades ago has disappeared, replaced by bitter partisanship and chronic dysfunction.

      That’s the reality that will greet Trump’s latest budget, which will promptly be shelved after landing with a thud on Monday. Like previous spending blueprints, Trump’s plan for the 2020 budget year will propose cuts to many domestic programs favored by lawmakers in both parties but leave alone politically popular retirement programs such as Medicare and Social Security.

      Washington probably will devote months to wrestling over erasing the last remnants of a failed 2011 budget deal that would otherwise cut core Pentagon operations by $71 billion and domestic agencies and foreign aid by $55 billion. Top lawmakers are pushing for a reprise of three prior deals to use spending cuts or new revenues and prop up additional spending rather than defray deficits that are again approaching $1 trillion.

    • Beware the soft hand of capital

      These days, it seems customary to begin any political commentary with the laundry list of indicators of global decline: exploding wealth inequality, looming environmental collapse, and the resurgence of overt racial terror in far-right governments. We are familiar enough with the mechanics of capitalism’s iron fist to know that we live in a world of precarity, so much so that sometimes we welcome capitalism’s soft hand in mitigating crises of its own making.

    • Looming Recession Inspires Silicon Valley Innovator to Open Source Tools and Strategies to Drive Growth
    • Can Venezuela Be Saved?

      Unfortunately, as oil became the primary source of income for Venezuela, other industries suffered, the government borrowed a lot to cover the extensive social programmes that it could not afford, and the Venezuelan people became increasingly dependent on the government for food, water, and medicines.
      There are ways to help Venezuela by a donation to finance Project HOPE‘s humanitarian aid efforts, such as the 2018 Venezuelan Crisis.

      The plan was so successful, coupled with a few geopolitical events between Iran and the USA and China and the USA, and Libya, Nigeria, and the unintentional manufacturing interruptions, OPEC conspired to increase production in mid – 2018.
      While the Venezuelan economy and oil production and exports are falling, they will never collapse, as China and Russia, both of them, who have to pay more than 30 bn or loan debt, will never let the Venezuelan economy collapse due to economic and geopolitical reasons.
      Besides, China wants to maintain long-term links with Venezuela, if for no other reason than the enormous oil reserves in Venezuela and the continuing demand for various oil partners.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Is Sanders’ Democratic Socialism … Socialism?

      Sanders says that medicare for all, a living wage, and other reforms is the socialism that’s possible, but is he too reserved on strengthening public ownership? – with Jacqueline Luqman, Eugene Puryear, Norman Solomon and host Paul Jay

    • Making American Journalism Great and Different

      A great divide is shaping up in the newspaper business between those who want to make American Journalism “great again” and those who believe it has never been great but could be. It’ll come as no surprise to anyone where I fall.

      Local papers have taken a hit. There’s no debate about that. The same miserable mob that mauled Main Street banks has plundered and pillaged newspapers across the country. Pursuing only profits, private hedge funds bought and stripped even long-lived legacy papers, leaving them for dead. One in five local papers has shut up shop in the last 10 years, according to a recent report from the Knight Foundation.

      In response, Knight has announced a record-breaking $300 million investment in local news. At its annual Media Forum this March in Miami, CEO Alberto Ibargüen told the crowd that trust in news media is at an all-time low, but despite this, “There is strength in local and local leads to trust.”

      The same forum featured a slew of speakers who never had that trust—people like Bettina Chang of the City Bureau in Chicago, a bottom-up reporting operation founded and operated by young inner-city residents.

    • Right-Wing Funded Groups Battle New State Governors

      If the corporate-funded influence groups on the Right have their way, there will be no honeymoon for newly elected Democratic governors.

      Affiliates of the State Policy Network (SPN), a network of right-wing “think tanks” in 49 states bankrolled by the Kochs and other billionaires and big corporations, have already been deployed to oppose legislation introduced by Democratic governors in states that previously had GOP governors.

      Last week the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) wrote about the battle over Medicaid in Wisconsin, where the newly elected Democratic governor, Tony Evers, who replaced the GOP’s Scott Walker, has introduced a measure to expand Medicaid in the state.

      The article showed how right-wing “think tanks,” in this case the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) and the Center for Research on the Wisconsin Economy (CROWE), and state legislators quickly rolled out a flawed study to exaggerate the costs of Medicaid expansion to the tune of $600 million. The “research” was released without noting that the paper supported the anti-Medicaid expansion position taken by the groups’ major funders: the Bradley Foundation and the Koch brothers.

    • White Supremacists Are Infiltrating the GOP From the Ground Up

      After it was over, Department of Homeland Security Secretary (DHS) Kirstjen Nielsen got most of the attention for the astonishing barge of deceptive nonsense she piloted into the Homeland Security Committee’s immigration hearing last Thursday, and justly so. Leave it to a Trump appointee to refuse to acknowledge that children who are clearly being housed in cages at the southern border are actually being housed in cages at the southern border.

      Rep. Clay Higgins (R-Louisiana) very nearly upstaged the DHS secretary, however, when he delivered a truly antic braincramp analogy to the assemblage. “Perhaps the most famous invasion in the history of the world — D-Day — 73,000 American troops landed in the D-Day invasion,” intoned Higgins. “We have 76,103, according to my numbers, apprehensions along our southern border last month. We have D-Day every month on our southern border.”

      Yes, because men, women, and children undertaking a long and perilous journey to flee economic chaos and unchecked violence in search of a better life with little more than the clothes on their backs are exactly like thousands of soldiers running headlong into a wall of flying steel in order to defeat Nazis. Thank you for your input, Representative Higgins. If you listen very closely, you can hear the souls interred at Colleville-sur-Mer whirling in their graves.

      [...]

      Even the laziest white supremacist can make a difference by joining the GOP.
      “Today I decided to get involved with my county’s Republican party,” reads another “Bennet” post from October of 2017. “Everyone can do this without fear of getting doxed. The GOP is essentially the White man’s party at this point (it gets Whiter every election cycle), so it makes far more sense for us to subvert it than to create our own party. If we’re going to win this, it’s going to take time, effort and sacrifice. If you’re unable to do activism for various reasons, I’d like to encourage you to join your local Republican party. Present as a Trump supporter/nationalist. No need to broadcast your radical views.”

      Translation: Even the laziest white supremacist can make a difference by joining the GOP. “It’s actually quite easy to run for and win local offices,” concludes “Bennet.” “Let’s make this happen!”

      To be fair, a number of local Republican organizations have been confronted with overt white nationalists who have boll-weeviled their way into the party, and have summarily bounced them. “One person involved with both IE and College Republicans had relative success making his way through the ranks of his county GOP,” reports Splinter News, “though he was promptly ejected.” A white nationalist YouTube personality named James Allsup managed to get himself elected as a precinct committee officer for the Whitman County GOP in Washington State before he also was discovered and ejected.

      “Nonetheless,” continues the Splinter News report, “Allsup set a precedent for other members of IE. As one member of the Discord server said in an October 2018 conversation: ‘Once I graduate I plan to infiltrate my local GOP Allsup style.’” While Republican organizations may be credited for purging these people from their ranks, it is easy to believe that more than a few fish have slipped the nets. Indeed, one look at men like Stephen Miller, Sebastian Gorka and Steve Bannon leaves you wondering if that infiltration has not already reached the highest levels of government.

      Plenty of ripe examples of vocal, overt racis

    • Activists Are Pushing to Remove Donor Influence From College Campuses

      Students and faculty across the U.S. have begun to push back against undue donor influence on campuses — particularly when orchestrated by a network of conservative Libertarian donors including David and Charles Koch — arguing that such influence violates faculty governance and compromises academic freedom and integrity.

      The Koch brothers — billionaire businessmen whose fortune comes from the oil and gas industries, and whose gospel of unregulated capitalism has been promulgated through a network of groups — have far-reaching tentacles that extend into academia. In fact, a report released in October 2018 by the Center for Biological Diversity and UnKoch My Campus revealed that the Charles Koch Foundation has, in recent years, donated $200 million to support 800 faculty positions on 300 campuses throughout the U.S.

      Indeed, since the Great Recession of 2007-2009, a wide swath of public institutions including George Mason University (GMU), West Virginia University, Florida State, Utah State, Kansas State, the University of Arizona and Western Carolina University have received Koch network funding.

      What’s more, the Mercatus Center at GMU has become the prototype for other donor-created campus think tanks. As the Kochs see it, Mercatus is “the world’s premier university source for market-oriented ideas.” It provides them with an easily replicated platform to disseminate conservative Libertarian ideas to both undergraduate and graduate students — ideas that include opposition to virtually all government regulation, from mandates on environmental protections to limits on oil extraction on public lands.

    • Millionaire “Justice”: 5 Petty Shoplifting Charges sentenced more harshly than Manafort’s Hiding Millions

      Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was given 47 months in prison for his crimes on Thursday, in a jaw-dropping ruling that treated him as a good family man without priors. He only didn’t have priors because white collar criminals are so coddled in an American firmly under the thumb of the big business classes. The judge said he was “a good friend” and had lived “an otherwise blameless life.”

      Even this admiring judge admitted that it was startling that Manafort showed no remorse at all.

      Manafort was a lifelong lobbyist for vicious dictators with lakes of blood on their hands– his firm was known as “lobby of the Dictators.” They included Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines and Angola’s Jonas Savimbi. (Manafor was accused of lengthing Angola’s civil war).

    • The Wall Isn’t the Worst Part of Trump’s Immigration Policies

      The current administration has bent over backwards to force-feed its anti-immigrant agenda to the American public. That agenda remains broadly unpopular, but they’ve tried every trick in the con artist book to impose it anyway.
      Despite years of hysterical anti-immigrant propaganda, most Americans continually report positive views of immigrants and immigration in opinion surveys. Yet we’ve been faced with constant threats of government shutdowns or made-up “national emergencies” if we don’t give the administration money for a wall most of us oppose.
      While politicians debate these things, real people die.
      Jakelin Caal Maquin, a 7-year-old, was separated from her father, kept in a cage, and died in Border Patrol custody. Felipe Gomez Alonzo, an 8-year-old, died just weeks later in custody in New Mexico.
      Roxana Hernandez, a trans woman seeking asylum from Honduras, died in ICE custody last spring, with an autopsy showing signs of abuse. Thousands of migrants, in fact, have reported sexual abuse and other mistreatment in ICE and CBP custody.
      When big injustice occurs, a bigger plan for resistance must follow. To be effective, we must recognize where the core of the injustice lies.
      This is true of policy, too. And the inescapable conclusion is that funding for the agencies that detain, abuse, deport, and sometimes kill migrants needs to be every bit as toxic as many Democrats regard funding for the wall.
      The American public recognizes this. The administration’s “zero tolerance” and family separations policies drew protests across the country and political spectrum. And despite an anti-immigrant advertising blitz by Republicans late last year, voters repudiated this brutal extremism in the midterm elections, flipping seat after seat in the House of Representatives (and a Senate seat in the border state of Arizona).

    • What constitutes a constitutional crisis?

      Does it mean that the GWI and GPL will not serve the people? Does constitutional crisis mean the markets will close and food security will become an issue? Does it mean schools and post-secondary institutions and UG will stop educating the nation’s mind? What is this meaning ascribed to constitutional crisis, or is it another political gimmick to add phobia to the populace?

      The ordinary people of our nation are not interested in fancy terms without prudent meaning; we do not want passages in our newspapers and our radio frequencies and television transmissions to be punctuated with loose irresponsible terms.

    • What Trump Should Have Learned from His Aborted 2012 Presidential Run

      Trump may have been a co-conspirator in Michael Cohen’s campaign finance crimes, argues Brennan Center Fellow Ciara Torres-Spelliscy.

      Last week, President Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen gave dramatic testimony before the House Oversight Committee on a range of topics that included the president’s potential campaign finance crimes and bank fraud.

      Cohen’s testimony was a marathon, not a sprint. Hour after hour, he testified as committee members alternated between grandstanding and asking actual substantive questions. One of Cohen’s claims that seemed to generate incredulity from ranking member Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH) was that Cohen himself had encouraged Trump to run for president back in 2011.

      But this claim was true. In 2011, Cohen set up a webpage called ShouldTrumpRun.com. And back in 2011, Trump tweeted about the website. At the time, Cohen’s efforts around ShouldTrumpRun generated a complaint to the FEC from a Ron Paul campaign staffer. According to the complaint, ShouldTrumpRun should have been registered as a political committee under federal campaign finance law—and the website violated bans against corporate involvement in a federal campaign by using resources from the Trump Organization like its plane.

    • Senate Democrats Enabled the Biggest Bank Merger Since the 2008 Crash

      When Senate Democrats teamed up with Republicans last year to pass banking deregulation, they went all in, parroting conservative talking points about running to the rescue of Main Street. More than half of the Democrats who backed the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S.2155) invoked “credit unions and small banks” when explaining their vote.

      Less than nine months after it was signed into law, however, the legislation has already paved the way for the largest bank merger since the 2008 financial crisis — the proposed purchase of SunTrust by BB&T. Their integration would create the sixth-largest bank in the country.

      Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of campaign donations last election cycle from those two banks to Senate Democrats went to supporters of “regulatory relief,” according to campaign finance disclosures aggregated by the Center for Responsive Politics.

      Individuals and entities related to BB&T gave $10,331 to Senate Democrats; 93 percent of that went to supporters of S.2155. SunTrust affiliates gave $39,762 to Senate Democrats, 97.3 percent of which went to backers of the bill. The majority of the money came from the firms’ political action committees, not from employees.

    • The 2020 Democrats of the ‘Anti-Green New Deal Coalition’

      Support for the ambitious Green New Deal proposal has uncovered widening rifts within the Democratic Party as presidential candidates begin fleshing out their 2020 platforms. To date, the Green New Deal (GND) resolution introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) has attracted 68 co-sponsors from Democratic congressmembers.

      However, according to a recent report from Public Accountability Initiative (PAI), centrist Democrats and party leadership are part of what it calls an “anti-Green New Deal coalition” that could seriously impede the GND’s goal to transition the country to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

      Here’s the breakdown of how the 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls fall in their less-than-full-throated support for the GND.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • YouTube fought Brie Larson trolls by changing its search algorithm

      This week, YouTube recategorized “Brie Larson” as a news-worthy search term. That does one very important job: it makes the search algorithm surface videos from authoritative sources on a subject. Instead of videos from individual creators, YouTube responds with videos from Entertainment Tonight, ABC, CBS, CNN, and other news outlets first.

    • Facebook won’t accept ads for Hump, Dan Savage’s delightful homebrew porno film-festival

      Hump is in its 14th year, and has only gone from strength to strength, celebrating sex-positivity for all bodies, gender expressions and identities. I saw it last week in Los Angeles and it was fantastic, and as Savage points out, the best part was the audience reactions, which are warm and appreciative and enthusiastic.

      However, Hump is largely dependent on targeted Facebook ads for ticket sales, and thanks to Facebook’s overreaction to the admittedly terrible SESTA/FOSTA law passed by the US Congress in 2018, it will not accept ads for the festival any longer, despite the fact that the ads themselves are G-rated and are only targeted at adults.

    • What a Kamala Harris Meme Can Teach Us About Fighting Fake News in 2020

      Will fake news tarnish the 2020 election as much as it did in 2016? It’s tempting to think that we’ve started to solve the problem. After the 2016 election, the big social media platforms pledged to root out mis- and disinformation through self-regulation. Facebook is tripling the size of its safety and security teams to help protect election integrity. YouTube promised to reduce the spread of “borderline content.” Twitter published large data sets of potential foreign information operations for researchers to analyze. And Reddit increased the scope of its quarantine and ban policies for content such as Holocaust denial, conspiracy theories and misogyny.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Recommendation for cryptographic key generation

      Cryptography is often used in information technology security environments to protect sensitive, high-value data that might be compromised during transmission or while in storage. It relies upon two basic components: an algorithm (i.e., cryptographic methodology) and a cryptographic key. NIST has developed a wide variety of Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) and guidance to specify, approve, and manage cryptographic algorithms and keys for Federal Government use.

    • Elizabeth Warren proposes breaking up Amazon, Google, and Facebook

      In a blog post, Warren said she’ll pursue the plan if she wins the presidency. The first part of the plan is legislation that would designate the companies as “platform utilities” and break them apart “from any participant on that platform.”

    • Elizabeth Warren Fires a Warning Shot at Big Tech

      Warren also wants to unwind what she calls “anti-competitive mergers,” specifically naming Facebook’s acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp, Amazon’s acquisitions of Whole Foods and Zappos, and Google’s acquisitiosn of Waze, Nest, and DoubleClick. Though it wasn’t mentioned in the post, Warren’s campaign also confirmed to WIRED that Google’s acquisition of YouTube would be reviewed, and that YouTube could be considered a platform utility in its own right.

      Finally, Warren seeks to prevent these so-called “platform utilities” from sharing data with third parties. That would simultaneously shift Facebook and Google’s position as the center of the data economy and also go a long way toward protecting user privacy.

    • Sorry Amazon: Philadelphia bans cashless stores

      The law takes effect July 1, and it will not apply to stores like Costco that require a membership, nor will it apply to parking garages or lots, or to hotels or rental car companies that require a credit or debit card as security for future charges, according to the Wall Street Journal. Retailers caught refusing cash can be fined up to $2,000.

    • Email marketing outfit exposes 809 million ‘unique’ personal records

      The leak includes 798 million email records, more than 4 million email addresses with phone numbers, and more than 6 million pieces of information identified as “businessLeads.”

    • Zuckerberg’s So-Called Shift Toward Privacy

      It’s also worth noting that encrypted messaging, in addition to releasing Facebook from the obligation to moderate content, wouldn’t interfere with the surveillance that Facebook conducts for the benefit of advertisers. As Mr. Zuckerberg admitted in an interview after he posted his plan, Facebook isn’t “really using the content of messages to target ads today anyway.” In other words, he is happy to bolster privacy when doing so would decrease Facebook’s responsibilities, but not when doing so would decrease its advertising revenue.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Senators Demand Investigation Into Sexual Abuse at Immigrant Children’s Shelters

      Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., called on Wednesday for a federal investigation into what they termed “the alleged widespread and long-term pattern of sexual abuse” in the facilities holding immigrant children.

      In a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General’s Office, the senators said they were particularly concerned that allegations of sexual assault aren’t being properly investigated.

      The issue received new attention last week when the House Judiciary Committee released HHS records detailing 4,556 allegations of sexual abuse by children in federally funded immigration facilities from October 2014 to July 2018.

      Last summer, ProPublica reported that police nationwide had received hundreds of calls reporting possible sex crimes at shelters that serve immigrant children. An Arizona shelter worker was sentenced to 19 years in prison after being convicted of molesting seven boys over nearly a year.

      In December, ProPublica followed up that reporting to show that while many children had reported sexual assaults, records show the police weren’t investigating, often closing the cases within days or even hours.

    • A Tale of Two Incarcerated Women

      On International Women’s Day yesterday Chelsea Manning was imprisoned yet again, this time for refusing to testify against Julian Assange before a Grand Jury. Chelsea has already suffered over seven years of total imprisonment – no American had ever previously spent more than three years in jail for releasing government secrets to the public, in a land which had historically valued free speech.

      I am in awe of Chelsea’s courage in refusing to testify, and shocked at a system that imprisons somebody for contempt of court for maintaining dignified silence.

      Chelsea has also done a great service in finally stripping away the last vestige of excuse from the figures who refuse to support Julian Assange, pretending that they do not believe he faces extradition to the United States, and that the legal issue is not about Wkileaks’ right to publish.

      The potential charges in Sweden – always based on quite ludicrous accusations – were dropped years ago after he was finally interviewed in the Ecuadorean Embassy by Swedish police and prosecutors, and it became very plain indeed there was no viable case against him.

      Chelsea has gone to prison for refusing to participate in the prosecution of Wikileaks for publishing materials that revealed war crimes in the American occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Chelsea is a whistlebower, not a publisher. Assange is a pubisher, not a whistleblower. If Assange can be prosecuted for publishing official secrets, then so can every newspaper editor or television editor involved in the receipt of whistleblower material. There is a massive, a fundamental, media freedom issue at stake here. Even so, the MSM in the UK do not even have the guts to state the truth about what causes Julian to be confined to the Ecuadorean Embassy, let alone to support his right to publish.

    • Chicago Police open internal investigation into alleged leaks in Jussie Smollett case

      Reports of leaks about the Jussie Smollett case have prompted an internal investigation of the Chicago Police Department.

    • ‘Open prison’: The growing despair of refugees stuck in Indonesia

      Earlier this month Sajad Jacob, an asylum seeker from Afghanistan who had been living in an Indonesian detention centre for nearly two decades, died in the hospital. The 24-year-old had doused himself in petrol and set himself on fire.

      Jacob was a Hazara, a Shia Muslim minority that has suffered violent persecution in Afghanistan.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Internet turns 30. Creator warns web is an ‘out of control monster’

      The internet is 30 years old this month, but the man responsible for bringing it to life is worried about its future.

    • As the Web Turns 30, Is It an ‘Out-of-Control Monster’?

      Thirty years ago this month, a young British physician working at a lab near Geneva invented a system for scientists to share information that would ultimately change humanity.

      But three decades after he invented the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee has warned that his creation has been “hijacked by crooks” that may spell its destruction.

      Berner-Lee’s old office at Europe’s physics lab CERN now looks no different than the others lining the long, nondescript corridor within the expansive compound.

    • WWW @ 30: Why the Web needs to remain open

      While the internet existed way before the Worldwide Web (WWW), the web changed everything.

      Its success has as much to do with the simplicity of using an HTTP web browser, as the fact that it was put into the public domain and the timing of its invention.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Government innovation report ignores NZ tech

      So what steered the Productivity Commissions wrong in their report?

      Partly I think they focused on the wrong things. For example, one conclusion the report made is that “patents indicate where innovation is happening”. It goes on to state, “in Australia and New Zealand, ICT-related patents as a proportion of total country patents are below the OECD average”.

      I’d argue that patents are a weak measure of innovation, especially on the internet. There are many large companies in countries like China and the US that spend large on filing thousands of patents a year. IBM, for example, was granted 9,100 patents in 2018 alone.

      How many patents has our top internet company, Xero, got? I don’t know for sure, but I only found two attributed to Xero on the Justia Patents website. It may well have more, but even so not even a lawyer could argue that patents are the reason Xero is successful.

      Xero is successful because it built a great product and got millions of customers to pay for it. That’s the kind of activity that grows our digital economy, not filling out patent applications.

    • Patent case: University of Florida Research Foundation Inc. v. General Electric Co., USA

      Patent for automating the collection and manipulation of bedside medical data did not provide any specific improvements to the way conventional computers operate. Therefore, the patent claims were invalid.

    • Outline of Japan’s patent and design law amendment 2019

      Courts will be able to issue the inspection order, in response to the patent holder’s motion, by which neutral experts inspect the facility of the alleged infringer to gather evidences.

      [...]

      The amendment of the design law is likely to provide some motivation to file more design applications, especially because of the expansion of the scope of protection of design.

      On the other hand, the effects of the amendment of the patent law is uncertain. The inspection is allowed under strict conditions, considering trade secret leakage and burdens of “alleged infringers”. The inspection is allowed only when (i) it is required to prove infringement, (ii) it is probably infringement, (iii) the patent holder cannot gather evidences by other means, and (iv) it does not place excessive burdens on the alleged infringer. Also, the patent holder is required to identify the location of evidences. Therefore, it seems that courts will control the success of the introduction of the inspection procedure, as well as the new damage calculation methods. We should watch how courts will operate the new system.

    • Apple’s PTAB Win Axed As Fed. Circ. Cites Scant Evidence

      The Federal Circuit on Friday reversed Apple Inc.’s successful challenge to a software developer’s data processing patent, finding for the second time that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board didn’t supply…

    • BlackBerry not becoming a ‘patent troll,’ says CEO
    • Qualcomm will face criminal charges in Korea over refusal to license chipset makers once the KFTC’s saintly patience is exhausted

      Qualcomm presently has to defend itself against antitrust cases around the globe, and is awaiting, like the industry at large, Judge Lucy H. Koh’s upcoming ruling following the FTC v. Qualcomm trial held in San Jose in January. But while most of the industry is eagerly anticipating the decision, Qualcomm is still lobbying hard to avoid it. The “national security” concerns purportedly voiced by Department of Defense and Department of Energy officials in this context are the non sequitur of the decade, given that any security issues would relate to actual products (and would have to be addressed at that level, such as by taking a “trust but verify” attitude toward Huawei’s base stations), not to patent licensing practices. ACT | The App Association has thankfully already debunked that BS with a short post that points to a more detailed write-up by a Gibson Dunn lawyer (PDF). I recommend both documents strongly. They are so good that I really don’t feel I have anything to add at the moment.

      In five weeks, the huge Apple, Foxconn et al. v. Qualcomm trial will commence in San Diego (Southern District of California), where a trial of a sideshow lawsuit is currently taking place even though the way the mirror case in the ITC went suggests the complaint has very little or no merit. A second trial will be held in July over Apple’s patent infringement counterclaims, and to be honest, I don’t have any opinion on those claims yet for lack of having performed even the most superficial analysis so far.

    • Copyrights

Koch Brothers’ Oil Money is Poisoning Academia and Distorting Scholarly Work/Research on Patents

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 12:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Koch gift for SMU

SMU's David O. Taylor, Associate Professor of Law at SMU Dedman School of Law

Summary: Meddling in patent law by the Kochs, the oil tycoons who can be seen everywhere Conservative think tanks are, shows no signs of abatement

David O. Taylor, Associate Professor of Law at SMU Dedman School of Law, has a new paper about patents. Patently-O promoted it before the weekend. The number of blog posts in Patently-O has generally sunk sharply over the past year or two (that’s good because it’s a patent maximalists’ blog that pressures the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to grant software patents and constantly lobbies against the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)). Sign of the times for US patents as Jason Rantanen has just posted this propaganda from Texas, soon to be criticised by several people.

Not too shockingly, as we expected right from the start, the Kochs gave this law school many millions of dollars; Josh from the CCIA found many issues with this paper. It’s detached from reality. This ought to be a treated as Koch-funded work, just like the work of Adam Mossoff (Scalia Law School) and his colleagues, who pressure courts. These fools then brag about it! They actually take pride in what they are doing for these billionaire polluters. Justice Gorsuch was later citing him at SCOTUS (the Koch-funded school even wrote a whole news article to brag about it). Such influence inside the highest court in the US is troubling. Are courts too up for sale? Through academia and appointments? We wrote about this subject before in the following posts:

Academic integrity can never be assured when one receives millions in “gifts” from the Kochs. These aren’t gifts; they want something in return.

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