The EPO Has Sadly Taken a Side and It’s the Patent Trolls’ Side

Posted in Europe, Patents, RAND at 1:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The European Patent Office is all about money, not science, and it undermines the basis of its very existence

António Campinos patents cash

Summary: Abandoning the whole rationale behind patents, the Office now led for almost a year by António Campinos prioritises neither science nor technology; it’s all about granting as many patents (European monopolies) as possible for legal activity (applications, litigation and so on)

THE António Campinos-led European Patent Office (EPO) is promoting software patents in Europe (it just tells applicants to call these “AI” and other nonsensical, grossly-overused terms). It amasses such applications and then grants bogus patents that courts will almost certainly reject (or would; if the defendant could afford a day in court). Quality of patents isn’t at all mentioned in those ‘results’ that we rebutted or put in context last week. The media, including some of the Battistelli-paid media, keeps relaying that PR. We decided not to link to it this year (like we did in prior years) because it’s a familiar script or spiel. Facts don’t matter; writing these puff pieces is a simple “copypasta” from the EPO.

We have meanwhile noticed that the EPO is again promoting FRAND/SEP agenda. Truly nasty agenda, no doubt, but not surprising as they support patent trolls rather than scientists/scientific progress. It is very much consistent with what Battistelli did and judging by who Campinos chooses to meet (lawyers’ societies, not scientists) we know nothing will change. The EPO said (warning: epo.org link, via) it is looking to “enhance the support they provide to industry and stakeholders in Europe and beyond in the field of standard-essential patents.”

“It is worrying but not surprising that the EPO continues to do this; does anyone still believe that Campinos intends to turn anything around?”EPO ends with the ICT nonsense (ICT means “algorithms” a lot of the time, at least at the EPO): “In view of the growing use of ICT-related technologies in the more traditional technical fields, the ICT standards – as well as the patents considered essential for their implementation – are becoming increasingly important in this context.”

FRAND for code/interoperability shims means software patents. FRAND is a misnomer (each word in the acronym is a lie) and we’ve been writing about it for over a decade, even back when it was called “RAND” (one euphemism/lie fewer). There’s a new press release about it below (just sent to us by a reader):

The question if Open Source Software can be combined with a FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) regime is often at the centre of the debate. Possibly, this question though is not the deciding one, as such a legal compatibility would require that Open Source developers would collaborate under such a regime.

OpenForum Europe is very excited to publish the Opinion Paper by OFA Fellow and President of the Open Source Initiative, Simon Phipps. In this paper Simon posits that the core issue of Open Source Software and FRAND is not a legal one, but that Open Source developers will not collaborate under a FRAND regime.

So yes, it’s about software. It’s about something that can be infinitely replicated free of charge.

“EPO publishes blockchain conference report,” the EPO wrote yesterday, linking to that “blockchain” nonsense which we mentioned some days ago. “This study provides a comprehensive picture of current trends and emerging leaders in self-driving vehicle technologies,” the EPO wrote separately (also yesterday); it’s another newer buzz-phrase/acronym (buzzwords), "SDV" (often means algorithms for vehicle navigation). They like using the physicality of a car to give the impression that the invention is concrete. Similarly, as per Monday’s press release from Israel, here is the EPO granting a patent on “robotics” when in reality this likely deals with computer programs responsible for handling the robot (in addition to imaging modalities whose physical properties have little to nothing pertaining to navigation). From the press release:

XACT Robotics Ltd. today announced that the European Patent Office (EPO) will grant a patent expanding the Company’s patent portfolio to include the use of its robotic system in ultrasound-guided interventional procedures.

That’s basically patenting a computer program. But “with unparalleled accuracy and consistency…”

Whatever. Marketing buzzwords. Or promotional language…

It is worrying but not surprising that the EPO continues to do this; does anyone still believe that Campinos intends to turn anything around?

Yesterday the EPO wrote another bit of nonsense. They call it “EPO Academy” (a big word), but scholars don’t want to work there anymore and academia is ignored in favour of law firms. All that seems to matter to the EPO is money; not scientists’ financial welfare but rather the Office’s and law firms’. What would the public have to say about such an institution? Does it serve Europe?

Where the USPTO Stands on the Subject of Abstract Software Patents

Posted in America, Courtroom, Law, Patents at 12:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Office hands out fool’s gold

Some gold

Summary: Not much is changing as we approach Easter and software patents are still fool’s gold in the United States, no matter if they get granted or not

THIS is a very quick update regarding the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The gist of it all? Well, nothing is changing, certainly not at the courts. We have been watching closely all sorts of case outcomes; all have them bar few have reached the predictable kind of outcome.

Watch out as patent maximalists aren’t telling the whole story. They habitually ignore or hide everything which doesn’t fit their agenda.

Robert Schaffer and Joseph Robinson over at Watchtroll have nitpicked or cherry-picked a Federal Circuit (CAFC) case regarding the patent troll PersonalWeb ‘Technologies’ because it is a rarity; it is a high court’s reversal after a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) after a successful inter partes review (IPR). We also noticed (yesterday) that patent maximalists hope to compel SCOTUS to reconsider a case that resembles Alice (basis of 35 U.S.C. § 101) while cherry-picking a CAFC case similar to Mayo. We said we’d not cover pertinent American patent cases, so for the time being we’re just observing and adding those to our daily links. It is very much possible if not highly likely that nothing at all will change; the US government was simply asked to comment about a pending appeal and there’s no guarantee SCOTUS will go ahead; even if it does, this might simply serve to double down on Alice, even further strengthening the precedent.

Links 19/3/2019: Jetson/JetBot, Linux 5.0.3, Kodi Foundation Joins The Linux Foundation, and Firefox 66

Posted in News Roundup at 12:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Ten Years After Part III – A Storied Conclusion

      Old habits are indeed hard to break, and especially if you don’t really understand the reason why those habits have to change. The idea of a software repository just didn’t make sense to most of our Reglue kids at first. I cannot count the times when I went to troubleshoot a problem on a Reglue computer to find the desktop riddled with .exe files of failed installations.

      What isn’t really surprising is that the kids did eventually pick up the whole installation process on their Linux machines, and mostly came to prefer it. But the parents? Not so much. I wish I had recorded some of the calls I got from irate parents or guardians because they couldn’t install XYZ software on the computer. It didn’t take me long to make sure to make sure that Mom or Dad were present when I explained that part during the orientation. At times, I had to remind those adults that the computer and software was engineered for the benefit of the student, not as a household computer. I mean, get TurboTax on your own machine. It helped some, but still….Adults, right?


      By far the most vocal complaints concerned “needed” software not being available on Linux. We might as well just call out The Terrible Two. Photoshop and Microsoft Office. Now remember, the bulk of my work was done between 2005 and 2009. I never offered any excuses for Photoshop. The Gimp isn’t Photoshop, no matter how you twist or turn it and trying to tell someone who uses Photoshop scholastically or professionally that The Gimp can replace Photoshop is a fools errand. Sure it can do a lot of what Photoshop can do but it’s those pesky little items that The Gimp lacks that everyone got all bunched up over.

  • Server

    • VMware demos hypervisor running on a network card

      VMware has demonstrated Linux running on a network card.

      Speaking at the VMware user group convention in Sydney today, Chris Wolf, chief technology officer, global field and industry demonstrated a VMware’s ESXi hypervisor and a Ubuntu guest VM running on a Mellanox SmartNIC.

    • Aurora Will Be The First Exascale Supercomputer Of America

      The exascale supercomputer has the ability to make use of high-performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence (AI) in various areas such as cancer research, climate modeling, and veterans’ health treatments, and more. Aurora will be specially designed to analyze the large amount of data generated by DOE-owned equipment like particle accelerators, telescopes, and other detectors.

    • Intel Xe Graphics Being Part Of The First US Exascale Supercomputer Is Great For Linux

      Announced on Monday was that the US Department of Energy in cooperation with Argonne National Laboratory will see the “Aurora” supercomputer as the first US Exascale SC coming online in 2021 and featuring Intel’s highly anticipated Xe Graphics.

      The Intel Xe Graphics are expected to put Aurora over the edge in being the first exascale super computer at least within the United States. Aurora will also feature Optane persistent DIMMs and next-generation Xeon processors. Intel is partnered with Cray on this design for the half a billion USD super computer.

    • Career advice for engineers: Step away from the keyboard

      Over the course of my career, I’ve had two to three major mindset shifts in how I approach my work. At first, I just focused on engineering—trying to know the most about whatever language or libraries I was using, being very “trivia” focused, and ultimately ignoring the concerns of others in an effort to just write good code. This wasn’t to say I didn’t try to get along with my coworkers or help them out, but my efforts to improve were all about me; after all, the team and the company do better as I become better. And to be fair, this approach isn’t totally unfounded in its merits. As engineers, we must constantly evolve, learn more, and improve because the industry is getting harder with bigger problems that need more technical solutions every day. This approach worked well enough for me for the first half of my career, where I was junior enough to have such selfish (albeit well-meaning) motivations.

      Then I took a job where I worked with more engineers in one office than I had worked with in my entire career to date. This job nearly broke me. I went from being one of the better people in my role to barely scraping by… for nearly two years. I struggled to succeed, I constantly felt outclassed by the people around me, and many days I couldn’t figure out why they even hired me (a feeling, it turns out, that some of my co-workers shared). But there was no big epiphany, no single defining moment that turned it around. Just a series of hard, abject failures from which I had two choices—give up or learn and grow. I did my best to do the latter. As I moved back to a smaller startup, I saw firsthand just how important it is to cement a culture, from the ground up, based around these lessons.

      My final mindset shift happened when I transitioned into management after the startup was acquired by a larger company. I didn’t choose to be a manager; management chose me, in that I was offered the position. I was also told that, while everyone really believed in me, the ultimate reason they chose me was that they felt it would be less tumultuous to promote someone from within than hiring someone from outside. We had a very aggressive timeframe after the acquisition, and my new company didn’t want to risk things by bringing in an outside leader who didn’t have the team’s trust. I found that this phase reinforced everything I had learned before about being effective in an engineering role—and turned up the dial on how hard I need to apply these lessons every minute of every day.

    • Why you should take the jobs no one else wants

      So often, we describe open organizations as places overflowing with highly engaged people—places where leaders emerge spontaneously to tackle urgent problems, where people opt-in to challenging initiatives they know they can influence and drive, where teams act with initiative and few top-down mandates.

      And it’s all true. I see it regularly at Red Hat.

    • OpenShift 4 ISV Operators

      In Red Hat OpenShift 4, the Operator Hub provides access to community and certified operators that facilitate the deployment and configuration of potentially complex applications. In this video, we take a look at creating and scaling a Couchbase cluster using the operator shipped with OpenShift 4.

    • We did it again – Our HA solution is SAP Certified

      One of the main differences is that the new setup is now also supported for clusters with more than two nodes (n>2). We recommend to use an odd number of nodes to guarantee that always a majority of the cluster could proceed after cluster separations.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 5.0.3

      I’m announcing the release of the 5.0.3 kernel.

      All users of the 5.0 kernel series must upgrade.

      The updated 5.0.y git tree can be found at:
      git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.0.y
      and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:


    • Linux 4.20.17
    • Linux 4.19.30
    • Linux 4.14.107
    • Linux 4.9.164
    • Dataspaces and Paging in L4Re

      The experiments covered by my recent articles about filesystems and L4Re managed to lead me along another path in the past few weeks. I had defined a mechanism for providing access to files in a filesystem via a programming interface employing interprocess communication within the L4Re system. In doing so, I had defined calls or operations that would read from and write to a file, observing that some kind of “memory-mapped” file support might also be possible. At the time, I had no clear idea of how this would actually be made to work, however.

      As can often be the case, once some kind of intellectual challenge emerges, it can become almost impossible to resist the urge to consider it and to formulate some kind of solution. Consequently, I started digging deeper into a number of things: dataspaces, pagers, page faults, and the communication that happens within L4Re via the kernel to support all of these things.

    • Virtio Network Device Failover

      Support for Virtio Network Device Failover which has been merged for linux 4.17 presents an interesting study in interface design: both for operating systems and hypervisors. Read on for an article examining the problem domain, solution space and describing the current status of the implementation.

    • Linux 5.1 will come with Intel graphics, virtual memory support, and more

      The team at Linux has put in a lot of efforts on Linux RC 5.1. Last week, Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux kernel, announced that the two-week long merge window for Linux 5.1 is finally coming to an end. The first Release Candidate of Linux kernel 5.1 is finally ready for testing.

      Let’s have a look at the changes and new features which will be coming in Linux RC 5.1.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Kodi Foundation Joins The Linux Foundation to Help Grow the Open Source Movement

        The Kodi Foundation was proud to announce today that it finally decided to join The Linux Foundation in their attempt to enrich the Open Source software ecosystem.

        As of today, The Kodi Foundation, the makers of the free, open-source, and cross-platform media center software known as Kodi (formerly XBMC), is now an Associate Member of The Linux Foundation in attempt to contribute their code to the Open Source software community and help similar projects evolve.

        “It seemed natural for us to join, given the fact that we are strong believers in the benefits of open-source software. We strongly believe that open-source is the best way to achieve awesome things. That was and still is what moves Kodi forward,” stated The Kodi Foundation in a press release.

      • The Kodi Foundation joined the Linux Foundation

        The Kodi Foundation is very proud to announce that it has joined the Linux Foundation as an Associate Member. It seemed natural for us to join, given the fact that we are strong believers in the benefits of open-source software.

        We strongly believe that open-source is the best way to achieve awesome things. That was and still is what moves Kodi forward. Ever since XBMP, where this project started, a small group of like-minded individuals from different backgrounds have worked together to achieve a goal, taking advantage of each other’s merits and talents.

      • Community Demos at ONS to Highlight LFN Project Harmonization and More

        A little more than one year since LF Networking (LFN) came together, the project continues to demonstrate strategic growth, with Telstra coming on in November, and the umbrella project representing ~70% of the world’s mobile subscribers. Working side by side with service providers in the technical projects has been critical to ensure that work coming out of LFN is relevant and useful for meeting their requirements. A small sample of these integrations and innovations will be on display once again in the LF Networking Booth at the Open Networking Summit Event, April 3-5 in San Jose, CA.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA Shows Off Quake II Path-Traced Using Vulkan RTX/Ray-Tracing

        ne of the demos NVIDIA is showing off this week at their GPU Technology Conference is Quake II being path-traced using a Vulkan port of the game and adapted to handle VK_NV_ray_tracing functionality paired with the latest GeForce RTX GPUs.

        Q2VKPT is a path-traced version of Quake II started by a former NVIDIA intern and is rendered using Vulkan and does support Linux.

      • Orbital: A PlayStation 4 Emulator That Is Emulating The PS4′s AMD GPU Using Vulkan

        Orbital is an open-source project providing a virtualization-based PlayStation 4 emulator that is still in its early stages but what interests us is its technical details including the use of Vulkan/SPIR-V.

        Orbital leverages QEMU and other open-source components. At this stage it’s not running any PS4 games but is able to boot into safe mode on PS4 5.xx kernels.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • MATE 1.22 Released – Inching Towards Wayland Support, Better Systemd Integration

      MATE 1.22 features many updates around adapting MATE-Panel to work with Wayland, a full revamp was done to the MATE display widget, upgraded metacity-themes handling, the session manager now properly terminates all processes on systemd, more programs have been ported to Python 3, and a variety of other improvements. Some of the smaller changes include more keyboard shortcuts, more compression formats being supported by Engrampa, the Caja file manager can display desktop notifications on long-running file operations, and various bug fixes as well as translation updates.

    • MATE 1.22 Linux Desktop Is Here With Improvements And Fixes: Update Now

      The MATE project started as a fork of GNOME 2 long back in 2011 following the poor reception of GNOME 3. Since then, it has come a long way and the latest MATE 1.22 release continues to improve the different desktop components.

      The biggest change in this release is Wayland-related work. The developers have reworked tons of code to make sure that things work with the Wayland backend. Specifically, it involves a complete revamp of the display applet to control the monitor in a better way.


      If you’re currently running some other desktop environment on your distro and you wish to try out MATE 1.22, you can follow their detailed guide on their website. For instance, you can install MATE in the following manner on Ubuntu.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Linux Distribution Review: elementary os

        In the world of Linux, there are a number of distros for various purposes. Some target the new Linux users, some target advanced users. Some of the distros are also for specific fields, for example, medical, science, and even hacking!
        Today, our topic of discussion is elementary OS. For general users, elementary OS is one of the finest distros out there. It aims to be modern, fast and beautiful without sacrificing simplicity and flexibility. You’ll find a ton of similarities with both Windows and MacOS, especially from MacOS. The interface and other tweaks mimic MacOS a lot.

        Currently, the latest version of elementary OS is version 5.0, codenamed Juno. It’s a BIG upgrade over the previous version Loki (version 0.4.1).

        Let’s check out the current latest elementary OS and what you can expect from it. It’s easy to grab and install in your machine right now! Learn how to install elementary OS.

    • Solus Screencasts

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE Inches Towards Independence

        SUSE has completed its move from Micro Focus to EQT, a growth investor firm. As the focus is shifting towards moving up in the stack, towards the cloud, there is a consolidation happening in the market. While Red Hat has become a unit of IBM, SUSE is heading towards becoming an independent entity, again.

        Many would argue that post-IBM acquisition of Red Hat, SUSE has become the ‘biggest’ Linux vendor. While Linux is still the core of SUSE business, the company has built a massive portfolio of emerging technologies like cloud, containers, and IoT.

        “Current IT trends make it clear that open source has become more important in the enterprise than ever before,” said SUSE CEO Nils Brauckmann. “Our genuinely open, open source solutions, flexible business practices, lack of enforced vendor lock-in and exceptional service are more critical to customer and partner organizations, and our independence coincides with our single-minded focus on delivering what is best for them.”

      • Managing Linux in the Cloud

        SUSE Manager extends the ideals of DevOps to the cloud environment, unlocking a world of rapid deployment and automation.

      • Where next for SUSE?

        Where next for SUSE? The company mentioned its independence no less than 12 times in a recent notice to the press. Flush with investor money, can the business finally steer its own ship to success?

      • SUSECON 2019: These Industry Kingpins Have Something to Say

        I really learned a lot at this event. The access to people who know their stuff is something I did not expect. They are really helpful!

        I loved it. It was interesting and fun. Very good to meet other people and exchange experiences.

    • Fedora

      • Contribution opportunity! Quick docs!

        Quick docs are meant to be short articles on the official Fedora documentation site that cover commonly used workflows/tools.

        Unlike wiki pages which are generally unreviewed, information on quick-docs follows the PR (peer-review + pull request) process. So the new information that is added there is more trustworthy and should be too, given that quick docs is listed on the official Fedora documentation website.

      • Introducing flat-manager

        A long time ago I wrote a blog post about how to maintain a Flatpak repository.

        It is still a nice, mostly up to date, description of how Flatpak repositories work. However, it doesn’t really have a great answer to the issue called syncing updates in the post. In other words, it really is more about how to maintain a repository on one machine.

        In practice, at least on a larger scale (like e.g. Flathub) you don’t want to do all the work on a single machine like this. Instead you have an entire build-system where the repository is the last piece.

    • Debian Family

      • Jonathan Carter: Running for DPL

        I am running for Debian Project Leader, my official platform is published on the Debian website (currently looks a bit weird, but a fix is pending publication), with a more readable version available on my website as well as a plain-text version.

        Shortly after I finished writing the first version of my platform page, I discovered an old talk from Ian Murdock at Microsoft Research where he said something that resonated well with me, and I think also my platform.

      • Derivatives

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • foss-north 2019: Training Day

      The 2019 incarnation of foss-north is less than a month away. This year we’re extending the conference in two directions: a training day and a community day. This time, I wanted to write about the training day.

      The training day, April 10, is an additional day for those who want to extend
      the conference with a day of dedicated training. I’m very happy to have two experienced and well known trainers on side: Michael Kerrisk and Chris Simmonds. Both has years of training experience.

      Michael will teach about the details in dynamic linking. The topic may seem trivial, but when you start scratching the surface, there are a lot of details to discover such as how to handle version compatibility, how symbol resolution really works, and so on. You can read more about the Building and Using Shared Libraries on Linux training here.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Open Source Doesn’t Make Money Because It Isn’t Designed To Make Money

        We all know the story: you can’t make money on open source. Is it really true?

        I’m thinking about this now because Mozilla would like to diversify its revenue in the next few years, and one constraint we have is that everything we do is open source.

        There are dozens (hundreds?) of successful open source projects that have tried to become even just modest commercial enterprises, some very seriously. Results aren’t great.

        I myself am trying to pitch a commercial endeavor in Mozilla right now (if writing up plans and sending them into the ether can qualify as “pitching”), and this question often comes up in feedback: can we sell something that is open source?

        I have no evidence that we can (or can’t), but I will make this assertion: it’s hard to sell something that wasn’t designed to be sold.

      • Today’s Firefox Aims to Reduce Your Online Annoyances

        Almost a hundred years ago, John Maynard Keyes suggested that the industrial revolution would effectively end work for humans within a couple of generations, and our biggest challenge would be figuring what to do with that time. That definitely hasn’t happened, and we always seem to have lots to do, much of it online. When you’re on the web, you’re trying to get stuff done, and therefore online annoyances are just annoyances. Whether it’s autoplaying videos, page jumps or finding a topic within all your multiple tabs, Firefox can help. Today’s Firefox release minimizes those online inconveniences, and puts you back in control.

      • This Week In Servo 127

        In the past week, we merged 50 PRs in the Servo organization’s repositories.

      • Passwordless Web Authentication Support via Windows Hello

        Firefox 66, being released this week, supports using the Windows Hello feature for Web Authentication on Windows 10, enabling a passwordless experience on the web that is hassle-free and more secure. Firefox has supported Web Authentication for all desktop platforms since version 60, but Windows 10 marks our first platform to support the new FIDO2 “passwordless” capabilities for Web Authentication.

      • Firefox 66 Arrives – Blocks Auto-Playing Sounds, Hides Title Bar By Default For Linux

        Mozilla this morning released Firefox 66.0 as the latest version of their open-source, cross-platform web browser.

        Firefox 66.0 is now blocking automatically playing sounds, there is an improved search experience, a smoother scrolling experience, better performance for Firefox extensions, Pocket improvements, and there is also a Linux-specific fix around Firefox freezing when downloading files.

        Another notable change for Linux users is the system title bar is now hidden by default to match the GNOME design guidelines.

      • Version 66.0, first offered to Release channel users on March 19, 2019

        Firefox now prevents websites from automatically playing sound. You can add individual sites to an exceptions list or turn blocking off.

      • Firefox 66 Now Available, the Kodi Foundation Joins the Linux Foundation, Nextcloud Founder Writes Open Letter against the EU Copyright Directive, Tetrate Hosting First Server Mesh Industry Conference and SiFive Announces HiFive 1 Revision B Dev Board

        Mozilla announces the release of Firefox 66 this morning. With this new version, Firefox now prevents websites from playing sound automatically, has an improved search experience, smoother scrolling and much more. You can download Firefox from here.

      • Firefox 66 Released with Compatibility for GNOME Desktop, Improved Performance

        Mozilla released today the Firefox 66 web browser for all supported platforms, including GNU/Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows with new features and various performance improvements.
        As you might already know from our previous reports, Firefox 66 is the first release of the web browser to hide the system title bar by default when running on top of the GNOME desktop environment. If you look at the screenshot attached below, you’ll see that Firefox now respects the GNOME guidelines and looks much better.

        Also for Linux users, the Firefox 66 release addresses an issue that prevented the web browser from downloading files without freezing. Furthermore, Mozilla improved the overall performance of its open-source web browser and reduced the crash rates to double the web content loading processes from 4 to 8.

        As far as the new features go, Firefox 66 implements a mechanism that blocks websites from automatically playing audio and video content, which can be very annoying in some situations. Mozilla gave users the ability to choose which websites will be allowed to play multimedia content by adding them to a whitelist.

  • BSD

    • DragonFlyBSD Looking To Pursue 64-Bit ARM Port With Code Bounty

      While NetBSD has more than a half-dozen tier-one supported architectures and dozens more of tier two ports, DragonFlyBSD has been largely centered on x86_64 since their dropping of 32-bit x86 a while ago. Arm has largely remained off their radar but there seems to be some growing interest around seeing DragonFlyBSD on AArch64.


    • Your guide to LibrePlanet 2019, March 23-24!

      Are you planning on joining us for LibrePlanet 2019, coming up this weekend, March 23-24, at the Stata Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)? If you haven’t registered yet, there’s still time — registration is open through Tuesday, March 19 at 10:00 EDT, and we also welcome walk-ins (space permitting)! Remember, students and Free Software Foundation (FSF) associate members get in gratis.

      We also hope you’ll join us for the Friday night open house at the FSF office, here in Boston — you can pick up your badge early to skip the line Saturday morning (more details below).

  • Public Services/Government

    • Will this new openness to open source heed past lessons?

      We set out to demonstrate how open source could work in the NHS for both vendors and users, and to dispel many of the myths that existed about open source. We created the NHS Open Source Foundation (now The Apperta Foundation), a not-for-profit designed to act as a custodian for quality assured NHS open source software, adapting the model developed by OSERA in the US for VistA.

      We identified a number of issues which we worked hard to address.

    • France’s economic council wants a greater European role for free software

      The European Union should encourage the use of free software, for example by setting quotas in public procurement and financing its development, says France’s Economic, Social and Environmental Council (Conseil économique, social et environnemental, or CESE). The constitutional consultative assembly sees free software, sharing and reuse as strategic parts of the European digital culture.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Release of Opinion Paper on Open Source and FRAND by OFA Fellow Simon Phipps

      The question if Open Source Software can be combined with a FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) regime is often at the centre of the debate. Possibly, this question though is not the deciding one, as such a legal compatibility would require that Open Source developers would collaborate under such a regime.

      OpenForum Europe is very excited to publish the Opinion Paper by OFA Fellow and President of the Open Source Initiative, Simon Phipps. In this paper Simon posits that the core issue of Open Source Software and FRAND is not a legal one, but that Open Source developers will not collaborate under a FRAND regime.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • SiFive Rolls Out RISC-V HiFive1 Rev B Development Platform, $49 USD With FE310-G002 SoC

        SiFive has announced an upgraded Freedom Everywhere SoC as well as the HiFive1 Revision B developer board using this FE310-G002 SoC.

        The HiFive1 Revision B isn’t to be confused with their HiFive Unleashed more that retails for $999 USD and is more akin to the traditional Arm developer boards we see that offer video output and other features. The HiFive1 is a mini development board without video output and can be connected to Arduino-compatible accessories and designed for real-time embedded use-cases. But this small embedded development board is available for $49 USD.

      • Lessons in Vendor Lock-in: 3D Printers

        One interesting thing about the hobbyist 3D printing market is that it was founded on free software and open hardware ideals starting with the RepRap project. The idea behind that project was to design a 3D printer from off-the-shelf parts that could print as many of its own parts as possible (especially more complex, custom parts like gears). Because of this, the first generation of 3D printers were all homemade using Arduinos, stepper motors, 3D-printed gears and hardware you could find in the local hardware store.

        As the movement grew, a few individuals started small businesses selling 3D printer kits that collected all the hardware plus the 3D printed parts and electronics for you to assemble at home. Later, these kits turned into fully assembled and supported printers, and after the successful Printrbot kickstarter campaign, the race was on to create cheaper and more user-friendly printers with each iteration. Sites like Thingiverse and YouMagine allowed people to create and share their designs, so even if you didn’t have any design skills yourself, you could download and print everyone else’s. These sites even provided the hardware diagrams for some of the more popular 3D printers. The Free Software ethos was everywhere you looked.

  • Programming/Development

    • Python 3.4.10 is now available

      Python 3.4.10 is the final release in the Python 3.4 series. As of this release, the 3.4 branch has been retired, no further changes to 3.4 will be accepted, and no new releases will be made. This is standard Python policy; Python releases get five years of support and are then retired.

    • Python 3.5.7 is now available
    • Python 3.5.7 and 3.4.10 released
    • Python 3.4.10 is now available

      On behalf of the Python development community, I’m proud–if slightly
      sad–to announce the availability of Python 3.4.10.

      Python 3.4.10 was released in “security fixes only” mode. It only
      contains security fixes, not conventional bug fixes, and it is a
      source-only release.

      Python 3.4.10 is the final release in the Python 3.4 series. As of this
      release, the 3.4 branch has been retired, no further changes to 3.4 will
      be accepted, and no new releases will be made. This is standard Python
      policy; Python releases get five years of support and are then retired.

      If you’re still using Python 3.4, you should consider upgrading to the
      current version–3.7.2 as of this writing. Newer versions of Python
      have many new features, performance improvements, and bug fixes, which
      should all serve to enhance your Python programming experience.

      We in the Python core development community thank you for your interest
      in 3.4, and we wish you all the best!

      You can find Python 3.4.10 here:


      One I completely finish the Python 3.4.10 release process, I will retire
      as Python 3.4 Release Manager. I’ll still be Python 3.5 Release Manager
      for another eighteen months or so.

      Python 3.4 is OVER!


    • Python 3.5.7 is now available

      On behalf of the Python development community, I’m chuffed to announce
      the availability of Python 3.5.7.

      Python 3.5 is in “security fixes only” mode. It only accepts security
      fixes, not conventional bug fixes, and the release is source-only.

      And you can find Python 3.5.7rc1 here:


      Best wishes,


    • 20 Most Useful Tools for Programmers and Developers

      Programming can be a very hectic task, especially if you are handling a complex project. Sometimes even small projects can give you a hard time. Have you ever found yourself at the verge of giving up in the middle of a project?

      There are different programming tools that can simplify the coding process and improve your levels of productivity. Here are the 20 most helpful tools for programmers.

    • 10 Programming Languages That Are In Demand Among Top Hiring Companies

      Coding continues to be one of the most in-demand skills in the job market. Many professionals are considering getting into the field. Possessing the required skills in coding can open doors to some of the highest-paying jobs. One of the main questions that professionals have before getting started is about finding out which programming language to choose and what steps to take to get into coding. The best way to get started is by first understanding which languages are presently in demand, to make this easy online learning platform Simplilearn says that it has come up with a list of ten programming languages that developers and coding enthusiasts should look out for in 2019 to upskill themselves for a bigger paycheck and to excel at their job roles.

    • Google open-sources project for sandboxing C/C++ libraries on Linux

      Google has open-sourced today a project for sandboxing C and C++ libraries running on Linux systems. The project’s name is the Sandboxed API, a tool that Google has been using internally for its data centers for years.

      The Sandboxed API is now available on GitHub, together with the documentation needed to help other programmers sandbox their C and C++ libraries and protect them from malicious user input and exploits.

      For ZDNet users unfamiliar with the term, “sandboxing” refers to running an app or source code inside a “sandbox.”

    • What’s new in OpenMP 5.0

      A new version of the OpenMP standard, 5.0, was released in November 2018 and brings several new constructs to the users. OpenMP is an API consisting of compiler directives and library routines for high-level parallelism in C, C++, and Fortran programs. The upcoming version of GCC adds support for some parts of this newest version of the standard.

      This article highlights some of the latest features, changes, and “gotchas” to look for in the OpenMP standard.

    • Radicle – A P2P Stack for Code Collaboration

      Not too long ago I wrote an article about Codeanywhere, a cross-platform cloud IDE that features code collaboration. I recently came across an experimental project that is bound to change collaboration workflow and it goes by the name of Radicle.

      Radicle is a free and open-source P2P stack for code collaboration designed to be offline first, cryptographically secure, and programmable. It is written in a similarly-named programming language which is a deterministic Lisp derivative designed for creating P2P software.

      Radicle aims to transform the code collaboration experience by giving programmers a platform that encourages experimentation as they shape their workflow around specific contexts or projects.

    • Plotting the average directional movement index rating line with python
    • Get only the latest live match from NBA with python
    • Django Authentication — Login, Logout and Password Change/Reset
    • Linux C Programming Tutorial Part 13 – Bitwise Operators (Basics)
    • Qt 5.13.0 Beta1 released

      I am happy to announce that Qt 5.13.0 Beta1 is released today. As earlier we release updates as Beta N regularly until we are ready for RC. Current estimation for RC is 7th May 2019, see the schedule from 5.13 wiki.

      Beta1 (and later releases) can be installed by using online installer as usual. Commercial users can found online installer from their Qt Account and Opensource users from download.qt.io. We are not planning to blog next Beta releases or RC so please follow mailing lists to get the notification when new ones are available. And of course you can use maintenance tool’s update option to check if there is update already available.

    • Qt 5.13 Beta Released

      The first beta of the Qt 5.13 tool-kit update is now available for testing. The Qt Company still hopes to ship Qt 5.13.0 in May and for that to happen they will be issuing multiple betas until they are ready for the release candidate phase.

      Qt 5.13 is bringing Lottie support as a technical preview feature, experimental Qt WebAssembly, Qt 3D support for importing/exporting OpenGL texture handles, Wayland Compositor updates, Qt Automation enhancements, and a range of other features.


  • Hardware

    • Why foldable smartphones are more fad than forever devices

      I’ve been a part of many industries and, without fail, each industry eventually resorts to gimmicks to sell a product. In some instances, the gimmick convinces consumers that the new product and is the must-have of the industry.


      The smartphone industry is no stranger to such snake-oil salesmanship. We’ve seen pop-up selfie cameras, Samsung Air View, built-in projectors, the HTC kickstand, the Amazon Fire Phone, the Ubuntu Phone, LG Modules, smart scroll, Alcatel disco lights, Blackberry Storm, Samsung edge display, KnockOn Password, HTC U11, and Pixel squeezable sides.

      The point being, the smartphone industry is keen on bringing to light a plethora of gimmicks to try and woo users away from their current devices.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • What’s the world’s most widely used herbicide doing to tiny critters?

      As the active ingredient in Bayer’s Roundup herbicide is increasingly scrutinized for human health impacts, scientists say it also could be altering the wildlife and organisms at the base of the food chain.

      Glyphosate is one of the most widely used herbicides in history. Farmers in 2014 sprayed enough of the chemical to cover every acre of cropland in the entire world with nearly a half-pound of the herbicide, according to a 2016 study published in Environmental Sciences Europe.

      Long thought to be relatively benign to non-target plants and animals, evidence is growing that glyphosate, the active ingredient of Roundup, may impact the metabolism, growth and reproduction of aquatic creatures and could be altering the essential gut bacteria of animals such as bees.

      Such impacts could have serious unexpected impacts on the tiny critters that form the base of the animal food chain, say environmental researchers, who warn the ecological impacts are likely to grow as glyphosate levels build up in the environment.

      “No herbicide in the history of the world has ever been used this heavily. It’s a completely unprecedented case,” Charles Benbrook, an agricultural economist and author of the 2016 study, told EHN.

    • Let Big Pharma Build the Wall

      Allow me to present a modest proposal that should serve to resolve all this anxiety and confusion about where to get the money to build THE WALL along our southern border with Mexico: Let Big Pharma build THE WALL.

      Seriously. This idea should make President Trump deliriously happy. It’s capitalism friendly. Everyone knows you can always trust business to do a better job than government (see Boeing 737 Max 8). Big Pharma has the money and none of the pesky budget problems that bog down our Democratic form of government. And they’ll have even more Benjamins if we follow up construction of a big beautiful wall with appropriate regulations to enable better management of cross border traffic.

      Here’s the thing. Walls serve two functions. Walls keep things/people out, and they keep things/people in. We already have 280 miles of vehicle fencing (that doesn’t stop people) and 374 miles of pedestrian fencing (that doesn’t stop determined people) along our 1,954 mile border with Mexico.

      Our current border security practices and the existing sections of wall are failing to keep people out, but they fail even more miserably at the second function of walls: keeping people in. Big Pharma can’t be happy about that.

      NPR cited a US government trade report that estimated nearly 1 million Californians travel to Mexico every year for healthcare services, including prescription drugs.

      Reportedly 9,000 US citizens cross the border every day from Yuma, Arizona, to Algodones, Mexico, where there is a pharmacy, dentist or eye doctor on every corner. Most of them presumably are not there to enjoy the scenery, which differs far less from the desolate environment on the US side of the border than the drug prices do.

    • 36 Beagles Saved as Controversial Pesticide Test Halted

      A controversial pesticide test that would have resulted in the deaths of 36 beagles has been stopped, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the company behind the test announced Monday. The announcement comes less than a week after HSUS made the test public when it released the results of an investigation into animal testing at Charles River Laboratories in Michigan.

      “We have immediately ended the study that was the subject of attention last week and will make every effort to rehome the animals that were part of the study,” Corteva Agriscience, the agriculture division of DowDupont, said in a statement announcing its decision.

    • Pregnant women shouldn’t have to choose between a job and a healthy baby

      Pregnant women in low-income work often face an unappealing choice: lose their job or perform duties that endanger their health and that of their baby.

      Walmart, the biggest private employer in the U.S., is a case in point. In 2007, the retailer fired Heather Wiseman for carrying around a bottle of water – despite a doctor’s note saying it was necessary for her pregnancy. A decade later Walmart forced Whitney Tomlinson to take unpaid leave after she revealed her pregnancy-related lifting restrictions.

      These aren’t isolated cases. A 2018 New York Times investigation found that some of the largest American companies – including Walmart, AT&T, Merck and Whole Foods – “systematically sideline pregnant women,” “pass them over for promotions and raises” and “fire them when they complain.”

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • US Huawei Blackballing Efforts Stall Due To Lack Of ‘Actual Facts’

      During the Trump era, the US government has dramatically ramped up claims that Chinese hardware vendor Huawei is a nefarious spy for the Chinese government, blackballing it from the U.S. telecom market. From pressuring U.S. carriers to drop plans to sell Huawei phones to the FCC’s decision to ban companies from using Huawei gear if they want to receive federal subsidies, this effort hasn’t been subtle.

      While Huawei should never be confused with a saint (what telecom company would be?) there’s several problems with the effort. The biggest being that despite a decade of hand-wringing and one eighteen month investigation by the US government, there’s still no public evidence Huawei uses its network gear to spy on Americans. That’s not sitting well with countries we’ve asked to join along in the fun.

    • Sorry, Linux. We know you want to be popular, but cyber-crooks are all about Microsoft for now

      Eight out of the ten most exploited vulnerabilities tracked by threat intelligence biz Recorded Future in 2018 targeted Microsoft products – though number two on its list was, surprise surprise, a Flash flaw.

      The most exploited vuln in the firm’s hall of shame was a remote code execution flaw in Windows’ VBScript engine that could pwn users who opened a booby-trapped web page with Internet Explorer.

      “Exploit kits associated with this vulnerability were noted to spread the malware Trickbot through phishing attacks,” said Recorded Future in a report published today.

      The Flash vuln was none other than one exploited by North Korean state-backed hackers – first detected by South Korea’s CERT, which discovered a flood of booby-trapped MS Office documents, web pages, spam messages and more.

    • Two-thirds of Android antivirus apps are worthless or worse

      Yes, you may as well change your wallpaper to say “no viruses allowed:” it’d be just as effective as the 170 antivirus products that detected fewer than 30 per cent of the 2000 malicious apps installed for testing purposes.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Tunisian Children Pay for Jihadist Parents’ Sins

      Truthdig is proud to present this article as part of its Global Voices: Truthdig Women Reporting, a series from a network of female correspondents around the world who are dedicated to pursuing truth within their countries and elsewhere.

      “I lost them forever. I can’t get my grandchildren back from Syria.”

      Tahia Sboui cries as she talks about her son’s children living in a Syrian camp after their father, a Tunisian Islamic State (IS) fighter, was killed. He had been fighting in Boukamal, a city in eastern Syria.

      Sboui, who lives in Kairouan in central Tunisia, tells the distressing story of how she fought for months to bring her grandchildren home but ultimately lost contact with them.

      Sboui’s grandchildren are among the estimated 200 Tunisian children and 100 Tunisian women detained in refugee camps and prisons in Libya, Syria and Iraq, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW). A recent HRW report says these IS family members are being held in squalid—and sometimes violent—conditions and that “Tunisia officials have been dragging their feet on helping bring (them) home.”

      The Tunisian women and children are part of a larger problem that began in 2016 as IS started to suffer military defeats in the region. Currently, an estimated 2,000 children and 1,000 women from 46 nations are detained in Iraqi and Libyan prisons and in Syrian camps. Repatriating these detainees has been painfully slow—hampered by fear of terrorism at home and by a complex web of international relations.

    • The trials and travails of small business owners in Crimea, five years after annexation

      Five years ago, the boldest and bravest entrepreneurs from across Russia flooded Crimea. Shackled by international sanctions, most major businesses stayed away, and the new territory promised to be a land of opportunity for the go-getters undeterred. Existing local businesses also hoped for windfall profits, following annexation by Ukraine’s relatively wealthier neighbor. The past five years have shown, however, that the business climate today is bleaker not only than it was when Ukraine controlled the peninsula, but also in comparison to Russia on the other side of the Kerch Strait. Meduza visited Crimea to learn more about its business environment, and discovered that outsiders are still largely unwelcome.

    • White Nationalists Have Infiltrated the Military, Report Reveals

      Patrick Casey came to the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on a mission. Casey, Executive Director of Identity Evropa, a white nationalist group that was involved in the Unite The Right Rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, believes diversity is harmful to the United States and aims to create a “white supermajority.” He told NBC in an interview at CPAC that his organization aims to “To take over the GOP as much as possible.”

      If Identify Evropa hasn’t taken over the GOP as Casey hoped, his organization, HuffPost reports Monday, has made inroads in another key institution: the military. Seven members have been identified as Identity Evropa members, according to HuffPost’s investigation.

      HuffPost identified these members through leaked online chat logs from a server on Discord, a chat app popular among alt-right groups, which Identity Evropa members have used to communicate with each other for years. The independent media group Unicorn Riot first published the logs last week.

      In its investigation, HuffPost found that “Two Marines, two Army ROTC cadets, an Army physician, a member of the Texas National Guard and one member of the Air Force all belong to … Identity Evropa.”

      After Unicorn Riot released the chat logs, another anti-fascist collective, Identify Evropa, reviewed them and used biographical details from the posts, which were written under pseudonyms, to begin to determine their actual identities. HuffPost then used that research to continue its own, and verified the identities of seven service members. Their messages, HuffPost reporter Christopher Mathias writes, “indicate that they hold deeply racist and anti-Semitic views and participate in Identity Evropa propaganda campaigns, posting stickers and flyers in cities and on college campuses.”

    • The Brutal Legacy of Bloody Sunday is a Powerful Warning to Those Hoping to Save Brexit

      The prosecution of a single paratrooper for allegedly murdering two out of the 13 innocent civil rights marchers in Derry in 1972 has provoked inevitable criticism from knee-jerk defenders of the British army.

      They stubbornly refuse to admit that the greatest recruiting sergeant for the Provisional IRA during the Troubles were the killings carried out by British army troops on Bloody Sunday. The wounds in the nationalist community in Northern Ireland opened on that day have never closed and, thanks to the meagreness of the judicial response to the massacre, they never will do.

      “Massacre” is certainly the right word to use since the 12-year-long Saville Inquiry, published in 2010, concluded that none of the 28 people shot dead or wounded by the soldiers as they took part in a protest march against internment without trial posed any threat to those troops or “was armed with a firearm”.

      All this happened 47 years ago, but the delay was the result of a whitewash by the Widgery tribunal followed by decades of stone-walling by the government. The passage of time has not mitigated what happened or diminished its continuing effect on the present.

    • Truth, Freedom and Peace Will Prevail in Rwanda

      I would first like to thank the International Women’s Network for Democracy and Peace honouring me with this Award that bears the name of a great patriot and fighter for freedom, peace and democracy, Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza. But I would also like to congratulate the Network for its extraordinary work. Like Victoire, you and your work inspire us to keep the faith in this struggle. You are contagious and I thank very much for being so.

      In less than a month we will be commemorating the 25th anniversary of what was the worst terrorist attack of the 1990s, and what has become the biggest political and media scandal of the last quarter of a century. It is a scandal that gets worse every day that goes by.

      You know what I’m talking about: the shooting down on April 6, 1994 of the plane carrying two African heads of State and their entourage. If that plane had not been shot down, we would not be here; Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza would never have been jailed; and very likely Rwanda could have hoped to live in peace over the past 25 years, Rwanda and its neighbours, and particularly the Congo and Burundi.

      The crime committed was threefold. 1) the shooting down of the plane; 2) the cover-up and the lies about that crime; and 3) the unspeakably devastating consequences.

    • Venezuela Beneath the Skin of Imperialism

      Twenty-Five minutes into the Mission Impossible film starring Tom Cruise, there’s a scene of a high-jacked train. Amongst the high-jackers their conversation reveals an exquisite U.S. imperialistic Machiavellian monologue, past and present: “you are defined by who you hate” and “once you know who you hate, everything works.” It is probably one of the most defining mental state descriptions of the mode of operandi by U.S national security advisors towards Venezuela for the past 20 years.

      The application of hate as an instrument of control puts at risk; innocent, political neutral bystanders and everyone else. It is a stored surplus for any power-seeking malevolent intentions to acid strip away any reasonable doubt to question authority and imperial rule. It is the perfect rationale that best camouflages racism, bigotry, cruelty and vengefulness. Its coiled tension when released can cause irreversible damage. Hence, the grip of hate can evolve into violence and evil acts of destruction. It points to an emotional/calculating path of insanity that goes in many directions and can be as permanent as U.S Imperial hegemony with different levels of undiscriminating forms of punishment.

      The Jekyll and Hyde character of empires according to its national security excuses and interest will determine the degree of humane rights violations and destruction with no regrets or remorse what so ever. Past U.S presidents have made it very clear as did H.W Bush during an international incident, “I will never apologize for the United States of America. I don’t care what the facts are.” U.S Imperialism draws its adrenaline from the logic of a biblical syndrome as the chosen one to lead as a divine favor to the world. Not to say the least the rewards that come plundering and domination. The banality of hate normalizes everyday practices with justifications that conceal the inhibited ability to a face-to-face discussion without the vantage point of might or superiority.


      The self-inflicting pain caused by U.S Imperialism is transferred over to the uncritical and consciously naïve citizen: the political neutral bystander, the innocent, and everyone else. Be it left or right, center left or center right, liberals and democrats the absence of an ethical complicity with any victim of empire ventures is complicit with its system. For hate allied with injustice, racism and depravation of basic human needs is a blinding factor that can and has subjected the innocent, the uncritical and consciousness naïve citizen to participate in direct or indirect horrendous acts of human rights violations by allowing it to happen. Under such circumstances hate can be best described when it crystalizes into what Arendt describes as the banality of evil.

      Imperial propaganda, its motives and its persuasive ways are hidden in the colonial details (fine print). There are plenty of historical facts that counter the conjured lies by unscrupulous governments. If anything, taking a closer look at the facts and moving away from any biases towards the global South in this case Venezuela, is an important step to take. It will assist our co- responsibility we owe to ourselves and to others with justice, truth, fairness and dignity for all.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Damage Deepens as Swollen Rivers Inundate Midwestern Towns

      Hundreds of homes flooded in several Midwestern states after rivers breached at least a dozen levees following heavy rain and snowmelt in the region, authorities said Monday while warning that the flooding was expected to linger.

      About 200 miles of levees were compromised — either breached or overtopped — in four states, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said. Even in places where the water level peaked in those states — Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas — the current was fast and the water so high that damage continued to pile up. The flooding was blamed for at least three deaths.

      “The levees are busted and we aren’t even into the wet season when the rivers run high,” said Tom Bullock, the emergency management director for Missouri’s Holt County.

    • Energy and Corporate Trade Associations Spend $1.4 Billion on PR Campaigns

      How much money have the fossil fuel industry’s powerful trade association allies spent to convince the American public that its products are beneficial and necessary — and to stymie progress on climate change that could harm its financial interests?

      To find out, Climate Investigations Center researchers analyzed the public relations expenditures of these trade associations going back to 2008, using data from publicly-available federal Form 990 tax records. The expenditures provide unique insight into fossil fuel trade association priorities and the willingness of public relations firms to represent socially harmful industries.

    • The day the Earth’s climate went berserk

      If you had been in what were then called the Dutch East Indies on 10 April 1815, the day would have been etched indelibly on your memory: it was the day the global climate went berserk.

      Many parts of the world are already feeling the effects of a changing climate. Island nations in the Pacific are seeing their lands eaten away by rising sea levels.

      Whole communities of people in Arctic regions are threatened by rapidly expanding ice melt. The foundations of houses are being swept away. Traditional hunting grounds are being lost.

      Wolfgang Behringer is a climate historian who seeks to draw parallels between what is going on now and events long ago. In particular Behringer, a professor of early modern history at Saarland University in Germany, looks at how changes in climate can influence and shape events – political, economic and social.

    • California Superbloom Is One Town’s #PoppyNightmare

      The hillsides dyed orange with poppies may look like something out of a dream, but for the Southern California town of Lake Elsinore, that dream quickly turned into a nightmare.

      The town of 66,000 people was inundated with around 50,000 tourists coming to snap pictures of the golden poppies growing in Walker Canyon as part of a superbloom of wildfires caused by an unusually wet winter, BBC News reported. The visitors trampled flowers and caused hours of traffic, The Guardian reported.

    • Fire Continues at Texas Petrochemical Plant as Company’s History of Violations Gets Renewed Scrutiny

      A petrochemical plant near Houston continued to burn for a second day on Monday, raising questions about the quality and safety of the air.

      The Deer Park facility is owned by Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC), which said the fire broke out at roughly 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Seven tanks are involved, the company said, and they contain naptha, xylene, “gas blend stocks” and “base oil.”

      “It’s going to have to burn out at the tank,” Ray Russell, communications officer for Channel Industries Mutual Aid, which is aiding the response effort, said at a news conference. It could take “probably two days” for that to happen, he added.

    • Rigorous Report Proves Lack of Need for Williams Fracked Gas Pipeline
  • Finance

    • An Indian Software Firm Calls $480 Million Hostile Bid a ‘Grave Threat’

      India is witnessing its first hostile takeover attempt of a software developer, a move the target says is a “grave threat” to its future.

      Larsen & Toubro Ltd., Asia’s second-largest engineering firm by value, agreed to buy 20.3 percent of Mindtree Ltd. for about 32.7 billion rupees ($480 million) and plans to acquire a controlling stake for as much as 107.3 billion rupees. V.G. Siddhartha, the largest shareholder in Mindtree through Coffee Day Enterprises and affiliated entities, agreed to sell the original stake for 980 rupees apiece.

    • Ola Raises $300 Million to Step Up Battle With Uber in India

      The deal values Ola at about $6 billion, said a person familiar with the matter, asking not to be named because the figures are private. The Bangalore-based company, which had been valued at $4.3 billion according to CB Insights, will continue to raise funds and has term sheets from other investors, the person said. Last month, Ola announced an investment of more than $90 million from Sachin Bansal, co-founder of local e-commerce pioneer Flipkart Online Services Pvt.

    • New Jersey becomes second state to ban cashless shops and restaurants

      On Monday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill banning cashless retail stores and restaurants in the Garden State. Murphy’s signature makes New Jersey the second state in the US to ban cashless stores, after Massachusetts banned them in 1978.

      More recently, New Jersey’s move follows that of Philadelphia, which banned cashless stores earlier this month. Philadelphia’s legislation was a reaction to a growing number of stores that only accept credit cards or require customers to pay with an app, like Amazon’s new Amazon Go stores.

    • Socialism Curiously Trumps Fascism in U.S. Political Threat Reporting

      Don Veto Trumpleone was saying in not-so veiled ways that efforts to impeach or un-elect him will be met with white police- and military-state violence and carnage from right wing-thugs. If “the Left” (as FOX News and the Republicans absurdly describe everyone to the portside of Mitch McConnell) tries to remove him from office through constitutional means, Trump was boasting, then forces of repression and right-wing aggression will rightly come to his defense

      This warning was consistent with Trump’s toxic history of promoting violence against his political enemies. It matches his creepy embrace of authoritarian rulers around the world and his longstanding suggestion that any effort to bring an end his presence in the White House would be illegitimate. From the beginning of his presidency, Trump has been using the hoax of immigrant voter fraud to set up a cancellation of the 2020 election or a refusal to recognize its results.

      His ugly Ameikaner base will back any such moves.. More than half (52%) of Americans who identify as or lean Republican would support postponing the 2020 election “to ensure that only eligible citizens could vote if it was proposed by President Trump.” (The mendacious neoliberal warmonger Hillary Clinton wasn’t all wrong when she called the president’s backers “a basket of deplorables.”)

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • In a First, Palestinians Challenge Israel’s Settlement Enterprise—in a US Court

      Airbnb has yet to implement that policy, as listings in dozens of Israeli settlements offering “biblical views,” a “rustic caravan,” and a “Judean desert lookout” are still active. However, this has not deterred the settlers from pursuing their suit, which is directed at the company’s intention to take down the listings. The settlers argue that removing their listings would violate their right, as Jews or Israelis, under the US Fair Housing Act, to serve either as rental hosts or renters. The Fair Housing Act, a critical piece of civil-rights-era legislation passed in 1968, prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of national origin, religion, ethnicity, gender, and other protected categories of identity.

    • Is Beto O’Rourke Learning How To Troll The Media?

      Roughly two hours later, O’Rourke’s campaign announced that it had raised $6.1 million in the first 24 hours after launch — more than any other Democratic candidate including Sen. Bernie Sanders, who raised $5.9 million.

      Presumably, this was intentional on the O’Rourke campaign’s behalf. Having some good news in its pocket, it waited to announce its fundraising haul until a busier news cycle (Monday morning instead of Friday afternoon) and until the media narrative surrounding his launch had begun to overextend itself. O’Rourke’s $6.1 million in fundraising is important unto itself — more money allows a campaign to hire more staff, open more field offices, run more ads and compete in more states — but it sounded like an even bigger deal to journalists who had begun to hear whispers of fundraising totals that would fall well below that.

    • Has Media Literacy Been Hijacked?

      “What are they doing here?” The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) and NewsGuard were listed as exhibitors at the 2019 International Critical Media Literacy Conference (ICMLC) in Savannah, Georgia, last month. NewsGuard is a for-profit venture aimed at tackling fake news through a browser extension (already on Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome) that rates a news outlet’s trustworthiness based on crowd-sourcing. NAMLE is the largest media literacy organization in the United States. Both share a dependence on corporate funding. NAMLE is currently collaborating with Google and others on MediaWise, a “research-based curriculum to be taught in classrooms and a teen-led fact-checking initiative.” NewsGuard, a project started by Steven Brill, founder of the American Lawyer magazine, and Gordon Crovitz, a former publisher of the Wall Street Journal, relies on investment from corporations and foundations. Critical scholars are typically suspicious of the conflicts of interest that result from corporate funding. Thus, NAMLE and NewsGuard’s presence at ICMLC, which is partially due to the inclusive nature of ICMLC, was surprising as it was indicative of a larger effort to hijack media literacy in the United States.

    • In The NOW and CNN

      In this Project Censored Show we discuss how the video-news service In The Now had its Facebook page suspended after a CNN story accused the host of being biased in favor of Russian government positions due to receiving funding from RT. We discuss why CNN tried to hamper another news organization?

    • Time for Change at NewsGuild?

      The 21,000-member NewsGuild, an affiliate of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), is a rarity in organized labor. It’s one of the few national unions that lets all members vote for its top officers, instead of choosing them at a convention limited to local union delegates.

      Unfortunately, this democratic union, which has recently experienced major growth, may be dimming its luster among journalists in newly organized workplaces by excluding some from a leadership vote that begins this week.

      The good news is that 3,000 staff members of sixty publications or “new media” outlets have won the right to negotiate with management in the last four years.The bad news is that two-thirds of them are still engaged in protracted struggles for a first contract, at papers like the Los Angeles Times.

    • To Ensure Every Vote Counts, Elizabeth Warren Says Amend the Constitution and ‘Get Rid of the Electoral College’

      During a CNN town hall Monday night in Mississippi—where GOP laws and suppression tactics have disproportionately harmed black voters—Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said the best way to strengthen voting rights nationwide is to amend the U.S. Constitution and abolish the Electoral College.

      “I believe we need a constitutional amendment that protects the right to vote for every American citizen and to make sure that vote gets counted,” the Massachusetts senator and 2020 presidential contender said to applause. “We need to put some federal muscle behind that, and we need to repeal every one of the voter suppression laws that [are] out there right now.”

      “We need to make sure that every vote counts….Come a general election, presidential candidates don’t come to places like Mississippi,” Warren continued. “My view is that every vote matters, and the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting and that means get rid of the Electoral College, and every vote counts.”

    • GAO Urges Federal Government to Reveal Key Information on Political Appointees

      The Government Accountability Office, the congressional watchdog agency, is urging the federal government to make information about thousands of political appointees — including their names, titles and federal salary disclosures about their assets, debts and past salaries — publicly available. The GAO’s report, which was released Friday, noted that ProPublica’s Trump Town is the only place people can access much of this information.

      The report portrayed such information as crucial to holding appointees to high standards. “Strong ethics programs are critical to ensuring public trust in government and the integrity of actions taken on the public’s behalf,” it states. “Political appointees, in particular agency heads, have a personal responsibility to exercise leadership in ethics. … [M]embers of the public need access to information on who is serving in political appointee positions. Otherwise, they are limited in their ability to discern whether appointees are performing their duties free of conflict.”

    • Day of Wrath

      I continue to see this repackaged antisemitism appearing everywhere, but perhaps most disturbingly on the left. And it seems tied into a growing cultic response regards the multiple environmental crises. And thirdly, I see the retreat, from so many on the left, to a tacit or even overt endorsement of Democratic Party candidates or office holders. Often from people who claimed they were done with the Democrats, wanted to see them destroyed, etc. But are now describing the new “socialist” (sic) dems as, well… socialist. Suddenly, Tulsi or Omar or AOC are treated with comfortable amnesia. It is more proof, if any were needed, that marketing and advertising works.

      There is no hope in anyone who cannot unequivocally reject all US actions against Venezuela. Unequivocally means stopping the liberal slandering of Maduro. He is the elected president. He represents Venezuela. He has also presided during a time of near constant pressure from U.S. funded and backed fascist opposition. Not to even mention sanctions. All the “mistakes” liberals claim Maduro has made were reactions to either covert attempts at destabilization, or outright assaults on his life. The U.S. has been attacking Venezuela for 18 years, and for the entirety of Maduro’s presidency. But still, there is a constant liberal commentary about his “mistakes”, how he has created chaos and poverty. This is another example of that casual unconscious racism for which the American bourgeoisie is so famous.

      It is time to demand this faux left stop the revanchist position of white saviour — of knowing what decisions to make. I cannot find words for how sick I am of the condescending and subtle but indelible racism of white American liberals. No more perfect stage for this subject position can be found than Maduro and the Bolivarian revolution. And for the record none of the Democrats listed above passed the Venezuela test.

      So why do so many on the left flock to these manufactured sheepdogs of the DNC? AOC and Omar and Bernie have all called Maduro a dictator, and all mediated their anti intervention remarks (some retracting them) with calls for “empowering” the Venezuelan people (because, I guess, voting in free elections is not empowering). All endorse the idea that the U.S. in its strategies for Venezuela, have only good intentions. In fact both Omar and AOC have smeared all official US enemies, from Maduro to Assad to Iran. They are imperialists who have no problem with the slaughter of the global south. They are unambiguously pro Imperialist.

    • Scott Walker’s Failure, Progressive Wisconsin’s Win: Milwaukee’s 2020 Democratic Party Convention

      Still smarting from their Wisconsin gubernatorial loss, Scott Walker’s chief publicist/polemicist, Christian Schneider, advanced an Op-Ed last week in the Washington Post in response to the Democratic Party’s Milwaukee placement of their 2020 convention. The Op-Ed reads like an attempt to position Walker for a political comeback. Milwaukee’s convention threatens Walker’s political future, because despite Milwaukee’s failings, many parts of the city are presently thriving. Walker built his political brand attacking Milwaukee’s progressive past and blowing hard into his dog whistle that called racist voters to his side. John Dean, Richard Nixon’s former chief counsel has called Scott Walker “more Nixonian than Nixon.” A humorless man bereft of the vices that make people interesting, Walker only knows and cares about the algebra of power. It is clear his only goal is to recapture political office. Having only barely lost the 2018 gubernatorial contest by 30k votes, he sees his return readily within reach. The Democrats’ convention will counter his narrative of a city taking the rest of the state down that Walker has disgracefully crafted in the past. Thus, last week, in a typical Nixonian move, Schneider was given the task of taking down the convention, thus leaving Walker above the fray to smile and declare the news of the convention good for the city.

      Scheider’s Washington Post Op-Ed attacking Milwaukee and the convention presented 3 themes: 1) Wisconsin leans conservative, not progressive, therefore don’t expect this convention to do the Democrats any favors for the 2020 Presidential contest. 2) Governor Walker delivered a set of policy victories that show progressive policies will be unpopular in Wisconsin. 3) That Scott Walker should take the victory lap for landing the Dems’ 2020 convention, since he supported funding construction of the conference venue.

    • Turning Algeria Into a Necrocracy

      These are wealthy men with a coterie of friends in both the army and the millionaire-heavy merchants who have villas in Switzerland and apartments in central Paris. And they all know of the crimes beyond description to which the “pouvoir” is heir. They have the files. Men associated with the dreadful years of the 1990-98 civil war – the “eradicateur” General Toufiq, for example – have already been pushed aside with the help of Said Bouteflika.

      So for the moment, Bouteflika must be kept alive. Does he wish to be? It scarcely matters. He must be kept alive until the succession is decided – through a glass darkly – by those around him.

      Support free-thinking journalism and subscribe to Independent Minds

      If there are moments of full sanity, we must assume that perhaps power still has the effect of rejuvenating those who are politically dead. But why did Mubarak hold on when millions of Egyptians demanded his removal? Why do these wretched men not retire, gently, diplomatically, in a dignified way? They surely do not fear death. Presidents attract assassins. Retired presidents do not.

    • ‘Why Educate the Public When You Can Give Billionaires Tax Cuts’: Trump Budget Would Slash All Federal Funding for Media, Arts, Libraries, Museums

      “For the third time in as many years, the White House has proposed a federal budget that would shutter the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting—which supports PBS and NPR—and the Institute of Museum and Library Services,” the Washington Post reported on Monday. “Like last year, the plan provides small appropriations for each agency to facilitate its orderly demise.”

      Framed by the Trump White House as “wasteful or unnecessary spending,” the budget’s proposed cuts to the arts, libraries, and humanities programs would total $897 million.

    • After 30 years in power, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev is resigning

      Nursultan Nazarbayev, the first and only president Kazakhstan has ever known, announced in a national address on Tuesday that he is resigning from office.

      “I have decided to terminate my powers as president. This year will mark 30 years I have spent at our nation’s highest post. The people gave me the opportunity to be the first president of an independent Kazakhstan,” he said, according to the news agency Interfax.

    • Republicans Who Voted Against Trump Are Not “Heroes”

      It has been a bruising run of days for Donald Trump. It began last Thursday with kicks to both kidneys, delivered by a cadre of his Republican Snuggle Bunnies in the House and Senate. The first, from the House, was a rare and resounding show of unity from that chamber when they passed a nonbinding demand that the Mueller report be made public.

      The motion was carried by a thumping margin of 420-0, yet still had to gum its food for lack of teeth — but even its purely symbolic nature was still too powerful for Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), who blocked the demand upon its arrival in the Senate. Why? He wants another investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails first, because of course he does.

      Later that day, 12 Republican senators broke ranks and voted with every Democrat to nullify Trump’s emergency declaration, joining the 13 House Republicans who also voted with the Democrats to nullify it. Trump, in response, threw a tantrum that was incredible even by his lofty standards. In an aftermath interview with Breitbart, he went so far as to threaten the political left with violence from police, soldiers and biker gangs because he didn’t get his way.

      White supremacist terrorism in New Zealand derailed his rant, affording Trump the opportunity to offer victims of that attack something he called “warmest sympathy” (“thoughts and prayers” are apparently only available to stateside victims of white supremacist terrorism). The vote, however, stood, and Trump quickly deployed the first veto of his administration. Personally, I hope it tasted like ashes.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Etinosa: I’ll not cut my live video because somebody decided to go naked – MC Galaxy

      “Please, I beg you don’t call in naked because I won’t cut my live video because of you so please.

    • Devin Nunes sues Twitter for letting ‘Devin Nunes’ Mom’ and ‘Devin Nunes’ Cow’ insult him

      According to Nunes, Twitter’s importance gives it “a duty to exercise ordinary and reasonable care” in policing defamation. “Twitter’s use of its platform as a portal for defamation by political operatives and their clients runs contrary to every tenet of American democracy,” the suit says. “A candidate without Twitter is a losing candidate. The ability to use Twitter is a vital part of modern citizenship,” because “Twitter is not merely a website: it is the modern town square.” He’s requesting $250 million in damages for Twitter’s alleged negligence.

    • GOP Rep. Devin Nunes sues Twitter for $250 million

      Shadow banning is described as purposely making a user’s content undiscoverable to everyone except the original poster, without their knowledge; Twitter had repeatedly denied ever shadow banning any user. His lawyers allege Nunes was shadow banned in 2018 “in order to restrict his free speech,” adding that access to Twitter “is essential for meaningful participation in modern-day American democracy” and a “candidate without Twitter is a losing candidate. The ability to use Twitter is a vital part of modern citizenship.”

    • 76 per cent of Brits have no idea about impending porn block

      Yougov, the polling firm that brought us surveys on such hot button issues as how Santa would vote and whether eating breakfast cereal for dinner is weird has brought out another key insight: 76 per cent of the population is blissfully unaware of the incoming turbulence to their busy masturbating schedule.

      Interestingly, that includes a slight majority in those who consume online porn “every or most days” (47-53) and those who enjoy mucky movies one-to-three times per week (48-52). Presumably the latter are slightly better informed, as they use those extra hours to pick up a newspaper.

    • Jeremy Wright needs to act to avert disasters from porn age checks

      The government rejected Parliamentary attempts to include privacy powers over age verification tools, so DCMS have limited possibilities right now. Last summer, BBFC consulted about their draft advice to website operators, called Guidance on Age Verification Arrangements. That consultation threw up all the privacy concerns yet again. BBFC and DCMS agreed to include a voluntary privacy certification scheme in response.

      Unfortunately, there are two problems with this. Firstly, it is voluntary. It won’t apply to all operators, so consumers will sometimes benefit from the scheme, and sometimes they won’t. It is unclear why it is acceptable to government and the BBFC that some consumers should be put at greater risk by unregulated products.

      There is nothing to stop a an operator from leaving the voluntary scheme so it can make its data less private, more shareable, or more monetisable. It’s voluntary, after all.

    • Cook County Judge Blocks ProPublica Illinois From Publishing Details of Child Welfare Case

      In an unusual move, a Cook County Juvenile Court judge has barred ProPublica Illinois, as well as other media, from publishing any information that could identify families involved in a child welfare case.

      Patricia Martin, presiding judge of the child protection division of juvenile court, issued the order Thursday forbidding news organizations from publishing the names, addresses or any demographic information that would identify the children or the foster parents in a case ProPublica Illinois has been investigating — a rare instance of a judge acting prior to publication.

      Martin has scheduled arguments on her order barring publication for April 5.

      The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a First Amendment right to publish without government interference in numerous cases.

      Martin issued her order in response to a motion from Bruce Boyer, a professor at the Loyola University Chicago School of Law and director of the Civitas ChildLaw Clinic, where attorneys, with assistance from law students, represent children in child protection cases and other matters.

      Boyer represents the children involved in the case ProPublica Illinois is investigating. He told the judge he wants to protect their privacy. Martin, in her order, also has blocked all media from court proceedings in the case.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Nearly 40 advocacy groups press lawmakers over NSA call records program

      Nearly 40 civil rights and civil liberties groups on Monday pressed lawmakers to end the controversial National Security Agency (NSA) call records program and look into whether the government is abusing its other broad surveillance authorities.

      Privacy activists have long argued that elements of the USA Freedom Act — which allows the government to access records on U.S. citizens without a warrant during terrorism investigations — should not be reauthorized.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Puzzling number of men tied to Ferguson protests have died

      Two young men were found dead inside torched cars. Three others died of apparent suicides. Another collapsed on a bus, his death ruled an overdose.

    • 1 Year After Uber’s Fatal Crash, Robocars Carry On Quietly

      And now more than ever, the denizens of this blooming ecosystem are quick to emphasize the difficulty of making their technology work. That the vehicles have to be safe not just when they’re ready for commercial service, but while they’re testing.

    • The Saudi hit squad linked to the Khashoggi murder reportedly asked for a performance-related bonus for torturing and kidnapping so many people

      The hit squad’s day-to-day duties included the kidnap, detention, and torture of critical Saudi clerics, intellectuals, and activists, the officials said.

    • Federal Court Blocks Washington State’s Unconstitutional Cyberstalking Law

      When legislators craft unconstitutional laws, it’s a safe bet the first people to abuse them will be members of the government. We’ve seen this happen with outdated criminal defamation laws and the new wave of “Blue Lives Matter” legislation. Attempts to curb online evils like cyberbullying and revenge porn tend to disregard the First Amendment. If they’re not challenged, they go on to be tools deployed by government officials to silence critics.

      That’s what happened in the state of Washington. A vociferous government critic found himself targeted by a displeased politician who used the state’s cyberstalking law to obtain a very restrictive protective order to silence his online nemesis. As the federal court notes in its decision [PDF], the speech the critic engaged in is the very reason for the First Amendment’s existence.

    • Why Unions Matter to You

      As I travel around the country, I tell people: if you have a job, join a union. And if you don’t have a union, start one.

      You see, it all comes down to the balance of power between business and workers.

      You strengthen the middle class by strengthening unions.

      In the mid-1950s, unions were strong, and wages grew in tandem with the economy. Nearly one third of all workers in the United States were unionized.

      This gave workers across America – even those who weren’t unionized – significant power to demand and get better wages, hours, benefits, and working conditions.

      Yet starting in the 1980s and with increasing ferocity since then, private-sector employers have fought against unions.

    • Women Marchers and Absentees

      A week ago I walked over to Berlin’s central square, Alexanderplatz (nick-named “Alex”) to join in observing International Women’s Day. Berlin, alone among Germany’s 16 states, has declared it a paid holiday, compensating for the fact that the city-state has fewer religious holidays than all the others. A third of the city was once part of the (East) German Democratic Republic, which always marked the day; that may also have contributed to the decision. This was its first year.

      There have already been attempts to commercialize it, á la Mother’s and Father’s Day. But maybe not here at Alex, I reflected: perhaps more would now hear of the German Socialist (and later Communist) Clara Zetkin, a champion of women’s rights (and for all working people), who played a major role in getting a special day of militancy designated in Copenhagen in 1910. A few might even learn of its inspiration – a strike by ten thousands of brutally exploited needle-trades workers in New York in 1908, mostly Jewish immigrant women, who defied weeks of hunger and police violence.

      Frankly, I expected a rally like so many I had joined: for Mumia Abu Jamal, the Easter Peace Marches against war and weapon shipments, against a Trump-Bolton-Adams putsch against Venezuela – with many recognizable friends and fellow fighters, the dedicated “old faithful”, often well-on in years – a courageous bunch but far too few!

      Then – what a surprise! The wide square was jammed with thousands and thousands, mostly young women, maybe 20 % young males, and only a light seasoning of grayheads and graybeards. During an hour’s wait before marching off with sound trucks and big banners I squeezed through the crowd, hunting for a familiar face. I finally found another old-timer, a refugee from Pinochet’s Chile who settled here. Always active, she was currently busy fighting right-wing attempts to seize Berlin’s Venezuelan Embassy. But she took part today, and we were glad to meet.

    • “Lords of Chaos” Brings a White Nationalist’s Book to the Big Screen

      While it happened throughout Europe and the U.S., it was particularly strong among the völkisch movements in Germany that were trying to wrestle with identity around a newly formed nation and a reaction from the countryside to the homogenizing influence of urban life and advancing industrial technology.

      Heathenry, the pagan religions of Germany and Nordic regions, was imbued with a new significance not possible before the modern concept of race took hold. Through this, the Germanic gods were seen as archetypes for the genetic kin of Northern Europe, and monstrosities like the rise of the Third Reich were a certain Odinic spirit taking over the psyche of its people.

    • Blowing the whistle on sexual violence by Hirokawa Ryuichi, a prominent Japanese human rights journalist

      “Those who have power invariably attempt to conceal their victimization, so it is a journalist’s job to go and report to the whole world what they are hiding,” veteran photojournalist Hirokawa Ryuichi said in an interview with author Ochiai Keiko in the Spring, 2019 edition of Tsuhan Seikatsu.1 Tsuhan Seikatsu is a triannual magazine published by mail-order company Catalog House that often runs politically progressive articles on topics such as nuclear power and militarism.

      Ironically, the issue appeared shortly after weekly Shukan Bunshun (January 3 & 10, 2019) went on sale on December 26, 2018. There, journalist Tamura Hideharu, a former Asahi Shimbun reporter, published an article that presented seven women’s testimonies concerning sexual harassment and sexual violence by Hirokawa, the founder of the photojournalism monthly DAYS JAPAN.2 Hirokawa was long a charismatic figure in the realm of progressive journalism. Now, for the first time, journalist Tamura has been able to tell the world what Hirokawa has been hiding.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Myspace apparently lost 12 years’ worth of music, and almost no one noticed

      Myspace has apparently lost most or all of the music files uploaded by its users before 2015, and it told users that the data was corrupted beyond repair during a server migration. Myspace apparently admitted the problem to concerned users seven or eight months ago, but so few people noticed that there wasn’t any news coverage until the past 24 hours.

      Myspace, the once-mighty social networking site, has existed since 2003 but has been fading into obscurity for the past decade. Many musicians used to rely on Myspace to spread their music, and over the years it hosted 53 million songs from 14.2 million artists.

    • MySpace loses all music uploaded between 2003 to 2015 after server migration

      Onetime social networking pioneer MySpace has fessed up to losing all the music its users uploaded between 2003 and 2015.

      The data loss followed a server migration, with the company admitting the loss on its website admitting that “any photos, videos and audio files” more than three years old are probably gone for good.

    • China’s great firewall and the war to control the internet

      But more and more, people who develop or distribute software for tunnelling through the firewall are being arrested. The crackdown is largely down to China’s president Xi Jinping.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Will Brexit have an effect on pending litigation?

      It seems to be a more and more realistic scenario that the UK may leave the European Union on March 29, 2019 without an agreement. A lot has been written about the ef-fect of such a “hard Brexit” on trade in general and –more interesting to us working in the patent field- on the future of the Unified Patent Court. But what effect, if any, will it have on litigation, in particular litigation which is already pending in Germany?

      In Germany, the loosing party has to reimburse the winner the costs of the litigation i.e. statutory attorney’s (and patent attorney’s) fees and court fees. Although in com-parison to other jurisdictions German the costs of patent infringement litigation is considered to be rather reasonable, nevertheless the overall exposure to costs over three instances can be quite significant, it can exceed 1 Million Euro.

      The cost award as such is part of a judgement on the merits. The sum to be reimbursed will be determined in a separate cost reimbursement proceeding which eventually will result in an enforceable court order (Kostenfestsetzungsbeschluß).

    • Trademarks

      • Monster Energy Loses Trademark Opposition As UK IPO Mentions That The Letter ‘M’ Isn’t Distinctive

        Monster Energy: is there no trademark opposition they can’t lose? The drink company, which might be more well known at this point for its trademark bullying than its beverages, has been handed loss after loss after loss after loss in trademark oppositions to everything from industrial paint manufacturers to the NBA and on to other beverage companies. Why the company spends so much time opposing trademarks is literally anyone’s guess, but the losses all amount to the complete lack of potential confusion in the disputed trademark applications, as well as Monster Energy believing it can control words and images that it most certainly cannot.

        The latest of these, in yet another opposition Monster Energy lost, has the UK’s IPO explaining to Monster Energy that it cannot prevent other companies from using the letter “M” prominently in their logos.


        I continue to be baffled as to how paying all of these billable hours, or the salaries and benefits for the in-house legal team, just to handle the load of trademark oppositions that routinely end up as losses, makes any financial sense.

      • Bad faith in registering a trademark when there was a pre-existing relationship and the registrant “hijacked” the mark

        The issue of bad faith in connection with trademark prosecution is a vexing one that continues to challenge practitioners in various jurisdictions. Kat friend Shawn Poon reports on a recent example, this time from Singapore.

    • Copyrights

      • 8 Best Kodi Alternatives In 2019 For Streaming Movies And TV Shows

        The XBMC-owned Kodi is quite popular amongst cord cutters as a media player that also doubles up as a free streaming app thanks to the large number of add-ons available for it. Kodi is known for its media playback capabilities and the options it provides for managing libraries. However, it disappoints in the interface which looks rather boring and lacks elements to make the media player snappy.

        XBMC recently released Kodi 18 Leia, which brings improvements in playback functionality and a couple of other exciting features, but not many changes have been introduced to the interface. If you’re someone who is searching for a replacement to watch free movies and TV shows, here are the best Kodi alternatives that you can install in 2019.

      • As Recording Industry Announces Massive Growth, Why Do We Need Article 13 Again?

        A key claim by those who support Article 13 is that it’s necessary to get “fair compensation” for artists on the internet. Whenever more specifics are needed, supporters almost always point to musicians, and talk about “the value gap” and how internet companies are taking all the money and recorded music has been destroyed by the internet and all of that. And, of course, if you’ve followed the rhetoric in the last 20 years since the introduction of Napster, you’d believe that the recorded music business is in a never-ending death spiral. Of course, as we’ve pointed out, the “recorded music business” is just one segment of the larger music business, and nearly all other aspects of it (especially live music) have continued to grow pretty consistently each year.

        But, a funny thing has happened in the past few years that undermines the doom and gloom message: the recorded music business has been growing. Rapidly. And it’s entirely due to the internet and all of the various services that the RIAA had been slamming for years. Indeed, it did seem notable when the RIAA put out its latest revenue numbers for 2018, showing the incredibly rabid growth over the past four years of the recorded music business.

      • ISP Grande Loses Safe Harbor Over ‘Utter Failure’ to Terminate Pirating Customers

        Texas-based Internet provider Grande Communications has no right to a safe harbor defense in its case against several RIAA backed record labels. The ruling from the Texan federal court puts the ISP at a severe disadvantage for the upcoming trial, where it’s accused of being liable for copyright infringements allegedly committed by its users.

      • Reddit Admins Issue Formal Warning to /r/piracy, Totally Out of the Blue

        After never directing a single complaint to the popular /r/piracy discussion forum, Reddit Legal has now issued its moderators with an official warning concerning its future. Almost no evidence has been provided but apparently 74 complaints in recent months triggered the warning. Reddit has a quarter of a billion monthly users.

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