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03.26.19

Links 26/3/2019: Python 3.7.3, New Copyright Nightmares

Posted in News Roundup at 11:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Google Releases Chrome OS 73 with Support for Sharing Files with Linux Apps

      Google has promoted today the Chrome OS 73 operating system to the stable channel for Chromebook devices, a release that adds several new features, improvements, bug fixes, and security updates.
      Coming hot on the heels of the Chrome 73 web browser, which Google released last week for desktops, including GNU/Linux, macOS, and Windows systems, as well as Android mobile devices, the Chrome OS 73 operating system is here to add a number of enhancements to further enrich your Chromebook experience.

      New features include support for sharing files and folders with Linux apps, improved native Google Drive integration in the Files app thanks to the addition of support for the Drive > Computers root, better out-of-memory management, native media controls for the video player, and audio focus support on CrOS.

    • Chrome OS 73 rolling out w/ improved out-of-memory management, Linux for enterprise, & more

      This release continues Chrome 72’s push to simplify settings by adding a new “Sync and Google services” section. It consolidates options — previously under “Privacy” — related to data that Google collects in Chrome, while adding three new features. However, the new grouping is not yet widely rolled out.

      If Chrome Sync is enabled when you log-in with your Google Account, there is a new “Enhanced spell check” and “Safe browsing extended reporting” feature. There is also a new “Make searches and browsing better” option that lets Chrome collect anonymized URLs.

  • Server

    • Kubernetes 1.14: Production-level support for Windows Nodes, Kubectl Updates, Persistent Local Volumes GA

      We’re pleased to announce the delivery of Kubernetes 1.14, our first release of 2019!

      Kubernetes 1.14 consists of 31 enhancements: 10 moving to stable, 12 in beta, and 7 net new. The main themes of this release are extensibility and supporting more workloads on Kubernetes with three major features moving to general availability, and an important security feature moving to beta.

      More enhancements graduated to stable in this release than any prior Kubernetes release. This represents an important milestone for users and operators in terms of setting support expectations. In addition, there are notable Pod and RBAC enhancements in this release, which are discussed in the “additional notable features” section below.

      Let’s dive into the key features of this release:

    • Kubernetes 1.14 is here: Expanding the ecosystem while increasing stability

      The Kubernetes project has always been about managing workloads at scale using Linux containers. While many sub-projects have sprung up over time to handle everything from data storage, to networking to monitoring, one thing has always remained the same: Kubernetes ran Linux containers.

      In a major shift for Kubernetes as a whole, version 1.14 graduates support for managing Windows containers from beta to stable. This is the culmination of a tremendous amount of work over the past year across a number of Kubernetes Special Interest Groups (SIGs) including Windows, Node, and Architecture. The result is that Kubernetes, the de facto most popular open source container orchestration platform for Linux, now comes to Windows. Red Hat congratulates Microsoft and the extended community for reaching this significant release milestone.

      The community has worked hard to enable this major expansion of the Kubernetes ecosystem. For Red Hat, this means an open commitment to supporting workloads across clouds. These changes are planned for future releases of the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform.

    • Kubernetes 1.14 now available from Canonical

      Canonical announces full enterprise support for Kubernetes 1.14 using kubeadm deployments, its Charmed Kubernetes, and MicroK8s, its popular single-node deployment of Kubernetes.

      MicroK8s provides Kubernetes 1.14 on any Linux desktop, server or VM – over 40 Linux distros. Mac and Windows are supported too, with multipass.

      Existing Charmed Kubernetes users can upgrade smoothly to Kubernetes 1.14, regardless of the underlying hardware or machine virtualisation. Supported deployment targets include AWS, GCE, Azure, VMware, OpenStack, LXD, and bare metal.

      “With this release, Canonical makes sure all container orchestration deployments and developers on Ubuntu benefit from the latest features of Kubernetes, as soon as they become available upstream.“ commented Carmine Rimi, Kubernetes product manager at Canonical.

    • Kubernetes Project Releases Version 1.14

      Today, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) announced the latest release of Kubernetes, version 1.14, is now available. Many individuals and organizations, including SUSE engineers, contributed to this release, and many new features were introduced as alpha, managed to beta status, and graduated to stable.

    • Kubernetes v1.14: What you need to know

      This feature, which was previously available as a beta, is now classified as stable. The primary use cases for persistent local storage are databases and distributed file systems. Obviously, local storage performs better than remote disks, whether that storage is a local SSD delivered by a cloud provider or a disk attached to a bare metal system. This has been in the works since Kubernetes v1.5, so its promotion to stable status is a significant milestone.

    • OpenShift Commons AIOps SIG Kick off Meeting Recap (Video & Slides included)

      OpenShift Commons hosted the first AIOps SIG meeting today with guest speakers from Red Hat, Siscale and Prophetstor. This AIOps SIG group will be meeting on the last Monday of each month. Please join the AIOps google group to receive notices of upcoming meetings and events.

    • Data explosion, or data implosion?

      Data. It’s here. It’s everywhere. It is, as I’ve said before, the dawn of the Data Economy. With data permeating our lives—and business—it makes sense to say that data, and the ability to use it wisely for insights, is important to many organizations’ success. In this post, I’ll examine some of the barriers organizations face in the Data Economy and how they’re overcoming them.

    • Kubernetes Now Supports Windows Containers In Production
    • Bringing Kubernetes to the bare-metal edge

      Kubespray, a community project that provides Ansible playbooks for the deployment and management of Kubernetes clusters, recently added support for the bare-metal cloud Packet. This allows Kubernetes clusters to be deployed across next-generation edge locations, including cell-tower based micro datacenters.

      Packet, which is unique in its bare-metal focus, expands Kubespray’s support beyond the usual clouds—Amazon Web Services, Google Compute Engine, Azure, OpenStack, vSphere, and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. Kubespray removes the complexities of standing up a Kubernetes cluster through automation using Terraform and Ansible. Terraform provisions the infrastructure and installs the prerequisites for the Ansible installation. Terraform provider plugins enable support for a variety of different cloud providers. The Ansible playbook then deploys and configures Kubernetes.

      Since there are already detailed instructions online for deploying with Kubespray on Packet, I’ll focus on why bare-metal support is important for Kubernetes and what’s required to make it happen.

    • The evolution of serverless and FaaS: Knative brings change

      Are serverless and Function as a Service (FaaS) the same thing?

      No, they’re not.

      Wait. Yes, they are.

      Frustrating, right? With terms being thrown about at conferences, in articles (I’m looking at myself right now), conversations, etc., things can be confusing (or, sadly, sometimes misleading). Let’s take a look at some aspects of serverless and FaaS to see where things stand.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • LOCKDOWN Aiming To Be In Linux 5.2 For Tightening Up Hardware/Kernel Access

      Google developer Matthew Garrett recently took over work on the long-standing “LOCKDOWN” kernel patches with a goal of preventing the running kernel image from being modified and strengthen the boundary between UID 0 and the kernel. These patches, which have been around for years and shipped by some Linux distributions, didn’t make it into the recent Linux 5.1 merge window but now a pull request has been issued in trying to ship it with Linux 5.2.

    • Intel’s Iris Gallium3D Driver Working On Better GPU Recovery Handling

      While Intel’s Iris Gallium3D driver is not enabled by default and considered still experimental in its support of Broadwell graphics and newer, in all of our tests thus far it’s been working out very well and haven’t encountered any hangs so far in our tested OpenGL workloads. But with no OpenGL driver being immune from potential GPU hangs, a patch series is pending to improve the GPU recovery heuristics.

      Longtime open-source Intel Linux graphics developer Chris Wilson sent out a set of three patches this morning for handling of GPU recovery within the Iris driver. In particular, to opt-out of the Linux kernel’s automatic GPU recovery and replay. That approach doesn’t work out well for Iris where its batches are constructed incrementally and thus the replay following a reset would likely cause issues due to missing state. With this patch series, the Iris driver will instead re-construct a fresh context for the next batch when the kernel indicates a GPU hang.

    • Intel Icelake Graphics Driver No Longer Considered Alpha Quality, Cometlake Ready Too

      It’s just one week past the end of the Linux 5.1 merge window and the Intel open-source developers have already sent out their first pull request to DRM-Next of new graphics driver material they are planning for the Linux 5.2 release this summer.

    • Alpha Status Removed from Intel Ice Lake Gen11 Graphics Driver

      The first release candidate (rc1) of Linux Kernel 5.1 was debuted last week, containing changes such as enabling Intel Fastboot by default on Skylake (and later) and support for HDCP 2.2. But Intel’s Linux software engineers have already sent out their first pull request for Linux 5.2, which is planned for this summer (as Phoronix reports) and contains several Ice Lake fixes. A pull request tells others about changes the developer made to a branch in a code repository.

      The removal of the alpha support flag is an obvious next step in Intel’s Linux enablement as Ice Lake gets closer to launch. Intel has repeated for the last year, and most notably at their December Architecture Day and later at CES, that Ice Lake would be on shelves for the holidays, but a leak last month suggested that that might already happen as soon as June. With the new Sunny Cove and Gen11 CPU and GPU architectures, Ice Lake is the first significant architectural revision of Intel’s CPUs since Skylake debuted with its Gen9 graphics in 2015.

    • SUSE Develops New Driver That Exposes DRM Atop FBDEV Frame-Buffer Drivers

      SUSE developer Thomas Zimmermann has posted his work on “FBDEVDRM” as a new Direct Rendering Manager driver for exposing the DRM interfaces on top of legacy “FBDEV” frame-buffer drivers. For old frame-buffer drivers not ported to modern DRM/KMS interfaces, this could open up some interesting possibilities and at least allow these vintage display drivers to work with the likes of Plymouth and other programs only supporting the DRM interfaces.

    • Linux Tests Of The QNINE M.2 NVMe SSD Enclosure To USB-C Adapter

      The QNINE NVMe SSD enclosure is an M.2 NVMe to USB-C/USB-3.1 adapter that retails for about $40 USD from the likes of Amazon. Only Windows and macOS support is mentioned, but the drive was detected just fine and working under Linux. This QNINE adapter is just one of many M.2 NVMe to USB-C adapters on the market and most in the $40~60 USD price range.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMDVLK 2019.Q1.9 Driver Enables Memory Priority & Budget Extensions Plus Optimizations

        AMD’s Vulkan driver team this morning issued their AMDVLK 2019.Q1.9 Linux driver update as the latest tagged release for this official open-source Radeon Vulkan driver that does include a binary driver build for Ubuntu systems.

        The AMDVLK 2019.Q1.9 changes are namely what I talked about last week with enhancing the performance of Mad Max on Linux in CPU-bound scenarios, enabling a skip-fast-clear-eliminate optimization by default, GFX9/Vega changes, and other fixes.

      • NVIDIA Lands Fix To Avoid High CPU Usage When Using The KDE Desktop

        For nearly six years there has been a bug report about high CPU load when using the NVIDIA proprietary driver causing high CPU load when running the KDE desktop and making use of double buffering. This issue has been finally resolved.

        Bug #322060 has finally been closed following a recent commit to KWin by NVIDIA engineer Erik Kurzinger — this is the same developer working on the EGLStreams code for KDE/KWin, albeit in this case this bug fix is on the X.Org side and unrelated to that effort. The mentioned bug has been open since the summer of 2013 for double buffering with NVIDIA GPUs causing high CPU load. As mentioned in that posting, a workaround has been to set the __GL_YIELD=USLEEP environment variable to avoid the excessive CPU resource usage. But Kurzinger has worked out the underlying issue after the problem eluded KDE developers for years.

      • Intel Iris Driver Gets ~5% Performance Boost With Direct3D 9 Support On Gallium Nine

        The Gallium Nine state tracker providing Direct3D 9 API support for Windows games/applications running on Linux under Wine will now be a little bit faster when using Intel’s new Iris Gallium3D driver.

        Simply having access to Gallium Nine is already a big advantage to the new Intel Iris driver where as Intel’s current i965 “classic” Mesa driver isn’t Gallium3D based and thus doesn’t work with the state tracker. While Gallium Nine has been working out well with Iris ever since the state tracker landed NIR support to complement the TGSI IR support but now it’s going to be even faster.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Making crochet animation in Krita and Kdenlive

        I’ve only recently become anywhere decent at crochet. That is, making fabric stuff from yarn with a crochet needle. My stepmother taught me how to do the basic slipknot and chain stitch in finger crochet when I was a little girl, but my attempts at getting any better at it failed for the longest time.

        The issue was that whenever I would try to learn how to do crochet from a book, the instructions were always incredibly vague. To the point that when I finally learned a stitch beyond the chain stitch, it was not the single/double stitch I was trying to learn, but instead ended up being a sort of weird slip stitch that lead to a very stretchy fabric resembling knitted work rather than crochet.

        Videos on the other hand tend to have a little bit too much information going on for me. Like the tutor’s voice, anything wrong with the video lighting wise, any blurriness.

        So I really wanted to do some animations that show how a given stitch is done, without too much noise surrounding it.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Gnome Email Notifications App Mailnag 1.3 Adds Support For Mbox and Maildir Backends

        Mailnag, an email notification daemon that integrates with Gnome Shell through an extension, has seen a new release over the week-end.

        Mailnag is an email notification daemon for POP3 and IMAP servers. It comes with predefined settings for Gmail, GMX, Web.de, and Yahoo email services, and it offers features ranging from triggering popup or sound notifications on new email arrival, a spam filter, or running an user defined script when receiving new emails.

        Over the years, Mailnag has supported a wide range of desktop environments: Gnome Shell, Unity, Pantheon, Xfce and Cinnamon. Nowadays though, only the Gnome Shell extension is actively maintained (and the only plugin in the Debian/Ubuntu repositories).

        The Gnome Shell Mailnag extension (needs Mailnag daemon to be installed on the system) shows an unread email indicator in the top panel. The indicator menu shows new email details like the sender, email title, date, and a small email body excerpt, as well as options to mark all emails as read, and to check for new emails.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • NuTyX 11 available with cards 2.4.96

        I’m very please to announce the new NuTyX 11 release.

        The NuTyX 11 is a complete recompilation of all the available binaries on NuTyX.

        Since everything has been recompiled, most of the packages have been update as well.

        The base of NuTyX comes with the new kernel LTS 4.19.28 and the very new kernel 5.0.3.

        The toolchain is completely rebuild around glibc 2.29, gcc 8.3.0 and binutils 2.32.

        The graphical server is now in xorg-server 1.20.4, the mesa lib in 18.3.4, gtk3 3.24.3, qt 5.12.1.

        The python 3.7.2 and 2.7.16 are updated as well

      • Puppy Linux 8.0 Released

        Puppy Linux is one of the tiniest Linux distros. It loads into RAM and runs from it making it faster than most Linux distributions. Puppy Linux 8.0 “Bionicpup” came out yesterday with a couple of new features and latest software.
        As the codename ‘Bionicpup” suggests, this release is based on Ubuntu 18.04.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • openSUSE Board Alumni Peter T. Linnell died on March 18th

        Peter was widely known as founder of Scribus, the Libre Graphics Meeting and enthusiastic contributor to countless other Free Software projects. For openSUSE he took over responsibility as an active member of our package review team and has served as openSUSE Board member twice, from 2011-2012 and 2014-2016. Peter passed away a week ago after lengthy battle with cancer, he is survived by his wife Pauline and his daughter Stella. His obituary mentions ways to honor his life.

        We will always remember Peter as fellow tinkerer, with an boundless passion to understand the inner workings and meanings of software and people. Farewell Peter, you’ll be missed by the openSUSE Community.

      • Peter T. Linnell

        Peter Thomas Linnell of West Harwich was born May 24, 1963 to Judith (Stalker) Sullivan and Thomas Linnell at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, Massachusetts. He died on March 18th, after a lengthy battle with cancer.

      • Happy Birthday SAP Linux Lab!

        This year marks the 20th anniversary of the SAP Linux Lab, and Suse was there from the beginning. Here are some highlights of two decades of collaboration.
        When the SAP Linux Lab was founded in 1999, many could not be convinced of its importance in the SAP realm.

        The reason for that is simple. At the time, Unix and Windows were the dominant SAP IT infrastructures. However, SAP Linux Lab was only supposed to ensure that SAP solutions running on the open source operating system Linux would be optimally supported. Consequently, many people questioned why they would even need another operating system for SAP, especially an open source one.

    • Fedora

      • Even more fun with SuperIO

        There were a few slight hickups, in that when you read the data back from the device just one byte is predictably wrong, but nothing that can’t be worked around in software. Working around the wrong byte means we can verify the attestation checksum correctly.

        Now, don’t try flashing your EC with random binaries. The binaries look unsigned, don’t appear to have any kind of checksum, and flashing the wrong binary to the wrong hardware has the failure mode of “no I/O devices appear at boot” so unless you have a hardware programmer handy it’s probably best to wait for an update from your OEM.

      • Mono 5 Might Come For Fedora 30 While Other Fedora 31 Features Discussed

        Earlier this month was the feature proposal for Fedora 31 to finally upgrade to Mono 5, which has been out for nearly two years for this open-source .NET environment. This feature request has been approved for Fedora 31 while it’s also been decided to allow it into Fedora 30 if it can land within the next week.

        The transition from Mono 4 to Mono 5 was blocked due to the build process depending upon some binary references that complicated the process for distributions like Fedora and Debian. But they’ve now overcome those challenges and are ready to introduce Mono 5 to Fedora users.

      • Contribute at the Fedora Test Day for Fedora Modularity

        Modularity lets you keep the right version of an application, language runtime, or other software on your Fedora system even as the operating system is updated. You can read more about Modularity in general on the Fedora documentation site.

        The Modularity folks have been working on Modules for everyone. As a result, the Fedora Modularity and QA teams have organized a test day for Tuesday, March 26, 2019. Refer to the wiki page for links to the test images you’ll need to participate. Read on for more information on the test day.

      • NeuroFedora update: 2019 week 13
      • GRUB2 EFI Support In Fedora 31 Likely To Include New Security Modules

        Another change being sought for Fedora 31 is including some newer GRUB2 modules as part of the distribution’s GRUB EFI boot-loader build to provide some additional security functionality.

        Peter Jones and Javier Martinez Canillas, both of Red Hat, are looking to have Fedora 31′s GRUB2 EFI package include the verify, cryptodisk, and LUKS modules. This inclusion is being pursued since those using UEFI SecureBoot cannot manually insert modules not already in the grubx64.efi and thus losing out on these possible options for improving the integrity of the early-launch code.

    • Debian Family

      • Bits from Debian: Google Platinum Sponsor of DebConf19

        We are very pleased to announce that Google has committed to support DebConf19 as a Platinum sponsor.

        “The annual DebConf is an important part of the Debian development ecosystem and Google is delighted to return as a sponsor in support of the work of the global community of volunteers who make Debian and DebConf a reality” said Cat Allman, Program Manager in the Open Source Programs and Making & Science teams at Google.

        Google is one of the largest technology companies in the world, providing a wide range of Internet-related services and products as online advertising technologies, search, cloud computing, software, and hardware.

      • DPL 2019 Election: Rebuttals

        Writing rebuttals is not easy. You have to scrutinise the ideas of the people you admire and highlight the flaws in the ideas that they have put a lot of thought in to. At first I wanted to hold back a bit, because I don’t like being mean, but I think it may be a healthy part of the process to offer a critique towards the fellow candidates. I hope that the other candidates will understand that and not take it personally, my feelings towards them have not changed during this process.

      • Many random blurbs on Debian

        For personal and selfish reasons, I am very, very happy to have a reason to go back to Israel after over two decades. Of course, as everybody would expect, there is a bothering level of noise that’s not going to quiet down until probably late August 2020… DebConf has often taken controversial turns. Israel is not the toughest one, even if it seems so to some readers. And… Well, to those that want to complain about it — Please do understand that the DebConf Committee is not a politically-acting body. Two bid submissions were presented fully, and the Israeli one was chosen because its local team is stronger. That is probably the best, most important criteria for this conference to be successful. No, it’s not like we are betraying anything — It’s just the objective best bidding we got from completely volunteer teams.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • What to expect from Ubuntu 19.04

            It’s March and that means we’re one month away from the release of yet another iteration of Ubuntu Linux. This time around, we’re looking at an interim release (aka a non-Long Term Support release), which means support for 19.04 will extend only to 2020. It is important to remember that interim releases introduce new capabilities from Canonical as well as upstream open source projects, and serve as a proving ground for these new capabilities. That means these non-LTS releases don’t enjoy the same level of stability, but they also tend to be a bit more exciting—as far as releases are concerned.

            Does that mean we can look forward to Canonical bringing back the thrill of old-school releases? I wouldn’t hold your breath. However, Ubuntu 19.04 does have a few nifty tricks up its sleeve.

          • The Fridge: Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 571
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Deb Nicholson Receives the Award for the Advancement of Free Software

    Deb receives the Award for the Advancement of Free Software for her work to bring free software to artists and musicians with GNU MediaGoblin as a Community Liaison and as a founding board member of Open Hatch, whose mission was to build a welcoming committee for free software. She’s also a founding organizer of the annual Seattle GNU/Linux (SeaGL) conference which is committed to surfacing new voices and she works with Conservancy’s many projects to help them achieve their goals. She became part of the free software movement in 2006, when she accepted a job with the Free Software Foundation in downtown Boston.

    Deb joined the Conservancy team a little less than a year ago. “Free software is critically important for autonomy, privacy and a healthy democracy — but it can’t achieve that if it is only accessible for some, or if it is alienating for large swathes of people. That’s why it’s so important that we continue surfacing new voices, making room for non-coders and welcoming new contributors into the free software community. I also find that in addition to helping us build a better, bigger movement, the work of welcoming is extremely rewarding.” said Nicholson.

    John Sullivan, Executive Director at the Free Software Foundation adds, “I couldn’t be happier about this opportunity for the FSF to publicly honor and appreciate Deb Nicholson. In the many years I’ve known Deb, I have seen her directly make so many positive changes in the free software movement that I can’t keep track: successfully connecting institutional and financial resources with free software projects that need them, organizing impactful conferences, driving program user interface improvements, and many other initiatives that have both brought more users and developers to free software and helped everyone get more work done in critical areas.”

  • Run-off Election Results

    Christine’s victory places her into the fourth open Individual Member seat, joining Hong Phuc Dang, Elana Hashman, and Carol Smith. These winners of Individual Member seats join, Pamela Chestek and Molly de Blanc, who were elected by the Affiliate Membership.

    Voting in OSI elections is open to all OSI Individual Members, and the (one) representative of each OSI Affiliate Member. Only Individual Members may vote in the election of Individual Member seats. Only Affiliate Member Representatives may vote in the election of Affiliate Member seats. Five Directors of the Board are appointed based on Individual Members’ votes (2 year term, maximum 3 consecutive terms). Five Directors of the Board are appointed based on Affiliate Members’ votes (3 year term, maximum 2 consecutive terms). One seat on the Board of Directors is dedicated to the General Manager, ex officio, with the term to last the length of employment.

  • 20 innovative Apache projects

    As the world’s largest and one of the most influential open source foundations, the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) is home to more than 350 community-led projects and initiatives. The ASF’s 731 individual members and more than 7,000 committers are global, diverse, and community-driven.

    The ASF was founded on March 26, 1999, and to celebrate its 20th anniversary, applaud its all-volunteer community for their Herculean efforts, and thank the billions of users who make the projects under the ASF umbrella successful, we’ve assembled the following list of 20 ubiquitous or up-and-coming Apache projects.

  • Events

    • Learn about SUSE Cloud Application Platform at SUSECON

      Since this is a work blog, I suppose the first two reasons are the most important. I’ll be at the SUSE Cloud Application Platform kiosk most of the time, giving demos and answering questions about the product. There may be exciting news about it on the first day too. You’ll just have to wait and see. We also have a number of interesting, informative, and (hopefully) entertaining sessions planned in various categories:

    • DjangoCon US 2019 Returns to San Diego
    • Save the Date: OpenShift Commons Gathering at CNCF Kubecon/EU in Barcelona, Spain, May 20, 2019

      The OpenShift Commons Gathering at Red Hat Summit brings together experts from all over the world to discuss the container technologies, operators, the operator framework, best practices for cloud-native application developers and the open source software projects that underpin the OpenShift ecosystem to help take us all to the next level in cloud-native computing. This next gathering will feature 300+ developers, project leads, cloud architects, operator builders, sysadmins, and cloud-native practitioners coming together to explore the next steps in making container technologies successful and secure at scale.

    • Fedora Community Blog: Outreachy 2019 with Fedora Happiness Packets: application period

      Outreachy provides remote internship under Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Communities to the under represented groups in technology. It runs twice an year, mid-year and end of year. I decided to participate in its summer run.

    • Fedora at SCaLE 17x (2019) Event Report – Pasadena, California

      SCaLE is a rip-roaring, immersive four-day convention covering a variety of free and open source topic presentations, training, and entertainment. This year marks the seventeenth annual event in the general Los Angeles (LA) area, specifically Pasadena.

      The SCaLE conference exhibits groundbreaking general technology and Linux ideas from around the globe. The Conference Chair, Ilan Rabinovitch, and Bala (Hriday Balachandran) led our team throughout the registration process and coordinated an enlightening, orchestrated, and all-around fun event.

    • Sayan Chowdhury: FOSSASIA 2019

      I was back to FOSSASIA this year after a gap of an year and nothing had changed other than the venue. The event had the same level of enthusiasm as before, though the crowd seemed to be less compared to the previous years.

      This FOSSASIA was more special for the participants, organizers and the volunteers because this was the 10th year of the event. Kudos, to the organizing team for doing it successfully for last 10 years!

      Day zero, the speakers informally gathered at the Lau Pa Sat street, where we shared some nice discussions along with sea food.

      Sadly, the first day started out bad for me, with me waking up to bloodshot red eyes and burning sensation. I went back to have more some rest and later in the day headed to the conference after waking up.

      The first day was a single-track event with the talks lined up one after another. Martin, from Debian, shared the varied differences and similarities within the open source communities. The panel on “What Opportunities Does “Open” Bring to Society?” was an interesting panel to sit through and listen to bunnie, Hong, Shanker, Dr. Graham, and Carsten share their opinions. Being there is the industry for long and embracing open source they shared their thoughts on how their employers embrace open source over time.

  • Web Browsers

    • 6 Excellent Graphical Web Browsers

      A web browser is the quintessential desktop application. Everyone needs one, and there is not a desktop Linux distribution around that does not make a web browser available.

      This type of software application is responsible for retrieving and presenting information held on the World Wide Web, a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the internet. Web browsers allow users to view web pages which often contain a mixture of text, images, videos, and other multimedia.

      There are many different web browsers available for Linux, the most popular of which are Google Chrome and Firefox. However, the market dominance of Google Chrome and Firefox does not mean that they are necessarily the best web browser for every situation.

      Everyone has their own needs, some preferring heavyweight browsers packed with a large number of features and add-ons, other users still wanting an attractive graphical browser but with a smaller footprint. Many graphical browsers consume large amounts of memory. Some users find this not acceptable, especially if they are using a machine with low specifications. We’ll cover lightweight web browsers (including console based web browsers) separately.

      While we recognize that Google Chrome, Opera and Vivaldi are closed source proprietary software (free to download), they are nevertheless worthy of inclusion in this article.

      To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 6 excellent graphical web browsers.

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Thunderbird 60.6.1 Released with Critical Security Fixes

        Mozilla Thunderbird 60.6.1 comes with the same security patches that were released as part of Firefox 66.0.1 last week.

        As explained in the official advisory here, Mozilla resolved two different security flaws, both of which were reported by Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative.

  • BSD

    • How to use NetBSD on a Raspberry Pi

      Do you have an old Raspberry Pi lying around gathering dust, maybe after a recent Pi upgrade? Are you curious about BSD Unix? If you answered “yes” to both of these questions, you’ll be pleased to know that the first is the solution to the second, because you can run NetBSD, as far back as the very first release, on a Raspberry Pi.

      BSD is the Berkley Software Distribution of Unix. In fact, it’s the only open source Unix with direct lineage back to the original source code written by Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson at Bell Labs. Other modern versions are either proprietary (such as AIX and Solaris) or clever re-implementations (such as Minix and GNU/Linux). If you’re used to Linux, you’ll feel mostly right at home with BSD, but there are plenty of new commands and conventions to discover. If you’re still relatively new to open source, trying BSD is a good way to experience a traditional Unix.

    • a2k19 hackathon report from Ken Westerback (krw@)
    • using syncthing between my OSX laptop and my FreeBSD server

      We know the routine. You have a desktop, and a laptop, or perhaps two laptops. You want your files in both places. A shared, remotely mounted directory is not ideal. Instead, let’s have the systems synchronize themselves.

      That’s where syncthing comes in: [...]

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Programming/Development

    • py3status v3.17

      I’m glad to announce a new (awaited) release of py3status featuring support for the sway window manager which allows py3status to enter the wayland environment!

    • An Intro to Threading in Python

      Python threading allows you to have different parts of your program run concurrently and can simplify your design. If you’ve got some experience in Python and want to speed up your program using threads, then this tutorial is for you!

    • Mu 1.1.0-alpha.1 Released

      We have just released the first “alpha” of the upcoming 1.1 version of Mu. To try it, follow the links on Mu’s download page. Mu is a team effort, so many thanks to all the volunteers who have contributed in innumerable ways to make this happen.

      This is the first of several “alpha” releases for the next version of Mu. Over the coming weeks we intend to release newer versions based upon feedback from you, our users. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have comments, suggestions or have found a problem (bug). The more feedback we get, the better. While we carefully read all feedback, we can’t always respond to nor address such feedback (remember, we’re all volunteers). If you’re interested in what we’re up to, all our development work happens in the open on GitHub and you can even chat directly with us (we’re friendly, so come say, “Hi”).

      What exactly do we mean by “alpha”..?

    • R vs Python | Best Programming Language for Data Science and Analysis
    • A Quick Python Check-in With Naomi Ceder
    • Plot the Aroon Oscillator values with python
    • Python 3.7.3 is now available

      Python 3.7.3 is now available. 3.7.3 is the next maintenance release of Python 3.7, the latest feature release of Python. You can find the release files, a link to the changelog, and more information here:

      https://www.python.org/downloads/release/python-373/

      See the What’s New In Python 3.7 document for more information about the many new features and optimizations included in the 3.7 series. Detailed information about the changes made in 3.7.3 can be found in its change log.

      Thanks to all of the many volunteers who help make Python Development and these releases possible! Please consider supporting our efforts by volunteering yourself or through organization contributions to the Python Software Foundation.

    • Display the live NBA match with python
    • Plot the average true range values line with python
    • Python 3.8.0a3 is now available for testing

      Python 3.8.0a3 is the third of four planned alpha releases of Python 3.8, the next feature release of Python. During the alpha phase, Python 3.8 remains under heavy development: additional features will be added and existing features may be modified or deleted. Please keep in mind that this is a preview release and its use is not recommended for production environments. The last alpha release, Python 3.8.0a4, is planned for 2019-04-29.

    • Image Captioning using Jupyter

      Image captioning is a process in which textual description is generated based on an image. To better understand image captioning, we need to first differentiate it from image classification.

    • Linux C Programming Tutorial Part 16: Switch, Break, and Continue statements

      We’ve already discussed some of the basic loops used in the C programming language, including for, while, and do…while. In this part of our Linux C Programming tutorial series, we will show you how to use switch, break and continue statements in C.

    • Rust is not a good C replacement

      I have a saying that summarizes my opinion of Rust compared to Go: “Go is the result of C programmers designing a new programming language, and Rust is the result of C++ programmers designing a new programming language”. This isn’t just a metaphor – Go was designed by plan9 alumni, an operating system written in C and the source of inspiration for many of Go’s features, and Rust was designed by the folks at Mozilla – whose flagship product is one of the largest C++ codebases in the world.

    • A tour of the Read the Docs Sphinx theme

      Today I want to take you on a tour of the Read the Docs theme for Sphinx. We’ll look into what goes into it and then look at what web technologies are being used to make this theme happen. In a different take from the theme’s own documentation, our journey will take us through the internals of the theme, not its use.

    • Quiet down ‘faker’ in pytests

Leftovers

  • How YouTube is changing toys

    While YouTube does not release specific data about how many of its users are kids, one study found that kids age 8 or younger spend 65 percent of their time online on YouTube. In 2017, the Pew Research Center reported that 81 percent of American parents with kids age 11 or younger let their kids watch YouTube, even though the site is technically for children age 13 or older. YouTube even has an app specifically for children’s content, YouTube Kids.

    Of course, the toy industry wants to meet children where they live. A decade ago, the success of a toy was typically determined by how fast it was flying off shelves at Toys R Us (RIP), but the life cycle of a toy today is about its popularity in YouTube’s stratosphere. Because of the platform’s influence, companies now create toys with YouTube in mind, and earmark large pockets of cash to pay toy influencers for reviews.

    [...]

    One online petition to ban toy channels on Youtube called toy unboxing “capitalist brainwashing.” It asks the site to “explain to the public that [YouTube] is an adult/teen video networking site that children should not be using anyways.” In Brazil, the public prosecutor’s office in São Paulo is suing Google over unboxing videos, accusing the tech giant, which owns YouTube, of “engaging in abusive advertising practices toward children.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Rural America Needs Medicare for All, and Fast

      We’ve got a rural health care emergency on the horizon.
      Rural hospitals are closing or teetering on the brink of closure at an alarming rate. More than a hundred have closed since 2005 and hundreds more are on life support. Long-term care facilities are vanishing across rural America or being bought up by large corporations who care about profit, not the care of our loved ones.
      Most rural hospitals have even stopped delivering babies — you’ll need to go to the city for that, so plan ahead.
      I know firsthand. I’m a registered nurse and lifelong Iowan from the country. I’ve kept a close eye on where we’ve been with health care, and where it appears we’re headed. It’s not looking too good for my community and others if we stay on our current failed path.
      Medicaid expansion was supposed to help here in Iowa. It sure didn’t — because we handed the program over to private, for-profit “managed care organizations.” What we got in return was less care — and more services denied, facilities shuttered, and lives lost to corporate greed.
      Hospitals that were already struggling now have to submit and re-submit claims to these private companies and wait months, if not years, to get paid. Even without privatized Medicaid, we’d still be facing an impending rural healthcare emergency. Privatization merely hastened what was already happening.
      Americans spend about twice as much on health care than any other developed country, but we live shorter lives — even as we create “health care billionaires” that get profiles in magazines like Forbes.
      The for-profit healthcare system is an extractive industry, helping to suck the wealth and life out of communities, especially in rural areas. We’re being left behind because the for-profit insurance industry doesn’t see us as worth their time.

    • ‘Medicare for America’ Will Not Get Us Where We Need to Be

      With so much written about the politics and some about the policy of Medicare for All, it seems we’re having a real debate about the key issues.

      But appearances deceive.

      Instead, it’s more of a struggle over the semantics of “Medicare” – #M4A – is it for America or is it for All? Proponents of “Medicare for America,” the latest talking point elevated to policy – “you can keep your private insurance!” – claim that it provides universal coverage, and thus insures everyone has healthcare.

      But is universal coverage guaranteed healthcare?

      To address that question means actually debating the role of US based private insurance, it’s business model, relationship to the healthcare industry and finance sector. This approach reveals much more about the bi-partisan politics and policy choices of healthcare reform.

    • Putting ‘Millions of Lives’ at Risk, Trump DOJ Pushes Full Repeal of Affordable Care Act

      In a legal filing as part of a Texas lawsuit led by Republican governors, the Trump Justice Department said it supports the complete repeal of the ACA, broadening its earlier position that only the law’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions should be invalidated.

      “Big shift in legal position from last year—with millions of lives in balance,” noted Politico’s Dan Diamond.

      Progressives were quick to denounce the Trump administration’s filing as “outrageous”—and further evidence that the U.S. must expand and strengthen its healthcare system by moving to Medicare for All.

      “Never a better to moment to join up with Bernie Sanders to win Medicare for All,” tweeted organizer Melissa Byrne.

  • Security

    • Peeling the Onion — Security Onion OS

      In a world where security threats feel out of control, the security professional needs some help to do their job. Security tools are an important part of the armory for those professionals. But there is quite a bit of choice, including open-source enterprise toolkits. The question being asked is do you build your own setup, or do you look to other solutions to give you what you need to tackle cyberthreats?

      Security Onion is a Linux distro that is based on Ubuntu and contains a wide spectrum of security tools. It is so named because these tools are built as layers to provide defensive technologies in the form of a variety of analytical tools. When you install Security Onion, you are effectively building a defensive threat-hunting platform.

    • Network Awareness Using ARPwatch | Roadmap to Securing Your Infrastructure

      Unless you already have a network access control (NAC) solution in place, most of you probably don’t know when a new device is put on your network. Yes, we know the dangers that exist, such as rogue DHCP servers or “drop boxes” that attackers leave behind to gain a foothold inside your network. The question remains, how can we identify when something new is put on our network without spending a ton of money and time on a NAC? One word: ARPwatch.

      So, what is ARPwatch and what does it do? ARPwatch is a tool that watches for ARP traffic on a network and then records every MAC address it sees in a database. Every time it sees a new MAC address, it can send you an email alert to let you know there’s a new device on the network. It’s a great tool for identifying not only new devices but also ARP spoofing and network flip/flops, for which you’ll receive email notifications.

    • Which are the most insecure languages? [Ed: A Microsoft partner basing it only on a Microsoft site. Lots of so-called 'studies' are 'analysing' 'FOSS', where by FOSS they mean everything that's on Microsoft's site. If it's not there, it does not exist. GitHub is -- and has been -- a source of Microsoft propaganda for years. Hijacking FOSS voice.]

      From top to bottom, technology is riddled with security errors. At the lowest level, we have hardware errors such as Intel’s Meltdown and Spectre bugs. Just above those, we have programming language security holes, and boy, do we have a lot of those!

      WhiteSource, an open-source security company, recently did a study of open source security vulnerabilities in the seven most widely used languages over the past decade. To find the bugs, the company used it language security database. This contains data on open-source vulnerabilities from multiple sources such as the National Vulnerability Database (NVD), security advisories, GitHub issue trackers, and open-source projects issue trackers.

    • How Lockergoga took down Hydro — ransomware used in targeted attacks aimed at big business

      Each impacted system had three key elements:

      • They all ran Microsoft Windows.
      • Files, including some system files, had been encrypted.
      • The network interface on every system had been disabled.
      • The local user accounts on every system had their password changed.
    • Exploiting systemd-journald Part 2

      In this post, we explore how to compute the hash preimages necessary to write a controlled value into libc’s __free_hook as described in part one. This is an important step in bypassing ASLR, as the address of the target location to which we redirect execution (which is system in our case) will be changing between each instance of systemd-journald. Consequently, successful exploitation in the presence of ASLR requires computing a hash preimage dynamically to correspond with the respective address space of that instance of systemd-journald. How to disclose the location of system, and writing an exploit to completely bypass ASLR, are beyond the scope of this post.

    • Introducing IPFire’s new Intrusion Prevention System

      With the next IPFire release, we are going to release huge changes to our Intrusion Detection System. Those bring packet analysis that IPFire does to a new level and we are very excited to tell you more about it in this announcement!

    • ShadowHammer: Hackers Installed Backdoor On 1 Million ASUS Devices
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Sandy Hook and Parkland Grieve Once Again, Following Three Suicides

      Monday morning, Jeremy Richman, the father of one of the 20 first graders killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, was found dead in an apparent suicide, according to Newtown, Conn., police. His death was the third suspected suicide in a week in which the victims were connected to a mass school shooting.

      “He was a brokenhearted person, as we all are,” Neil Heslin, whose own son, Jesse, was killed at Sandy Hook, told the Hartford Courant. He added that the grief from losing a child never fully leaves.

      Richman became a fierce advocate for mental health care following his daughter’s death, establishing a foundation in her name, committed to “exploring the underpinnings of the brain that lead to violent behaviors,” according to the Avielle Foundation’s website. Just weeks after his daughter’s murder he was at the Connecticut state legislature calling on elected officials to fix what he believed is a broken system for addressing mental health in America. He said, according to the Courant, “We must act to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

      Richman’s body was found at Edmond Town Hall, where the Avielle Foundation has office space. Many of the officers who responded at the scene were among those who responded to the shooting at Sandy Hook, Lt. Aaron Bahamonde of the Newtown Police Department told The New York Times. “This is devastating to our community. I can’t stress that enough,” he said.

    • Fukashima Meltdown Site With Anri and Maggie Gundersen and US Military Plans to Dominate Outer space with Bruce Gagnon

      Nuclear-power experts Arnie and Maggie Gundersen return to the show to publicize the ongoing damage the Fukushima meltdown site is inflicting on Japan and the Pacific. They also rebut the idea that nuclear power is part of the answer to climate change.

      In the second half of the program, Bruce Gagnon describes the how and why of US military plans to dominate outer space.

    • Sheriff Decides The Best Way To Prep Teachers For School Shootings Is To Frighten And Injure Them

      Indiana law enforcement has apparently figured out a solution to the school shooting problem: round up the teachers and shoot them. Here’s a jolly little anecdote from the Indiana State Teachers Association, detailing an issue brought up during a recent state Senate education committee meeting.

    • St. Petersburg activist investigated for trying to kill ‘Putin’s chef’ is now under arrest for trafficking bombs

      Roughly a year ago, police detained nearly a dozen people in Moscow on charges of belonging to an illegal extremist movement called “New Greatness” that was supposedly plotting a coup, relying on the diabolical tools of leaflets and online chat. The suspects and many of their parents, however, say they’re being framed for crimes they never committed by at least one undercover police source who tried to goad them into illegality. According to a new report by Novaya Gazeta journalist Denis Korotkov, a version of this same story is now unfolding in St. Petersburg, where suspicious characters linked to catering magnate Evgeny Prigozhin are apparently involved in a police operation against an activist named Vladimir Ivanyutenko, who’s accused of planning a bomb attack against Prigozhin. Meduza summarizes Korotkov’s article below.

    • How ISIS’s Brutal Project in the Middle East was Finally Overthrown

      Up to its dying days the self-declared Islamic State has retained the ability to top the news agenda, even as its fighters were losing their last battle for bomb-shattered villages in the deserts of eastern Syria. When their spokesman promised retaliation for the massacre of Muslims in the Christchurch mosques his threat was taken seriously.

      Given the record of Isis atrocities it is not surprising that nobody can discount its ability to exact revenge through existing adherents, new converts or those using its name to spread terror. This is not just western paranoia: in Syria and Iraq people speak continually of Isis sleeper cells waiting to emerge and exact revenge.

      There is a largely sterile debate about whether or not Isis – whose territory once stretched from the outskirts of Baghdad to the hills overlooking the Mediterranean – is dead and buried, as Donald Trump claims. Could it be reborn if the pressure against it is relaxed? The answer is simple enough: Isis is defeated as a state apparatus that once ruled eight million people, but it can persist as a terrorist and guerrilla organisation.

      I was in Baghdad in June 2014 when Isis was advancing south towards the capital, capturing cities and towns like Tikrit and Baiji with scarcely a shot being fired. The rout of the Iraqi army seemed total and for several days there was no defensive lines between us and Isis advance patrols. As many as 1,700 Shia air force cadets were massacred amid the ruins of Saddam Hussein’s old palaces on the banks of the Tigris river near Tikrit.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Chelsea Manning Once Again In Solitary And Denied Due Process To Challenge Mistreatment

      helsea Manning is once again detained in conditions of solitary confinement while United States authorities deny this reality to the press.

      Individuals with the support group, Chelsea Resists, visited Manning at the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center, where she has been detained since March 8 after she refused to answer questions before a federal grand jury investigating WikiLeaks.

      The group learned she is in “administrative segregation,” which the jail claims is standard for “high-profile” individuals like Manning.

      The “administrative segregation” policy for the detention center—as outlined in an inmate handbook from July 2017—is to house an individual for up to 22 hours per day. A break is given on an established schedule that typically lasts for two hours. A person can “make personal phone calls” and “attend” to “hygiene needs.”

      According to Chelsea Resists, Manning has been granted a break every day from 1 am to 3 am. She vomited during their 45-minute visit because the stimulation of being outside of her 22-hour lockdown made her nauseous.

      Manning is in the same facility as Maria Butina and Paul Manafort, two other “high-profile” detainees who have been held for months in similarly harsh conditions.

    • EFF, Coalition Urge Supreme Court to Maintain Public Access to Government’s Use of Privately Developed Technology

      Some of the most controversial technologies government agencies use to surveil the public or automate decisions about them are developed or overseen by private parties.

      Whether it’s automated license plate readers (ALPRs), cell-site simulators, or algorithmic tools used by federal courts and other agencies to make decisions about people’s life and liberty, the federal government increasingly purchases the technology from private contractors.

      But a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case before the U.S. Supreme Court threatens to further restrict the public’s ability to learn about when government uses technology. That’s why EFF, along with a coalition of other organizations, filed a friend-of-the-court brief on Monday asking the court to decline an effort to expand a FOIA exemption that prohibits the disclosure of private parties’ trade secrets and confidential business information.

      FOIA must permit the public to access to this information, the brief argues, because “private-sector technologies increasingly define how government programs operate, how they affect individuals, and whether they may infringe on constitutional rights and liberties.”

      The underlying case, Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media, concerns a FOIA request by a newspaper that sought records on government funds paid to grocery stores and other retailers as part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or what was formerly called the food-stamp program. The reporter was interested in seeing records about potential retailers defrauding the program.

    • After Pressure on Twitter, Christine Assange’s Account is Restored; Venezuela’s Telesur Now Hit
    • Chelsea Manning held in solitary confinement for more than two weeks

      On Saturday afternoon, Chelsea Manning’s support committee issued a press release reporting that she has been subjected to solitary confinement since her incarceration at Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria, Virginia beginning March 8.
      Manning was jailed more than two weeks ago by US Eastern District Court of Virginia Judge Claude Hilton on charges of contempt for refusing to testify before a grand jury empaneled for the purpose of crafting frame-up charges against WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange. The WikiLeaks founder and publisher has himself been living under extremely isolated conditions in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012 under a grant of asylum.

    • Assange’s embassy treatment request denied
    • Human rights agency rejects Assange complaint against Ecuador

      An international human rights organisation has turned down a request by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange that Ecuador, which has sheltered him for more than six years at its embassy in London, ease the conditions it has imposed on his residence there.

      A spokeswoman for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which is linked to the Organization of American States, said the group rejected Assange’s complaint.

      Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson had no immediate comment.

      [...]

      Last year, U.S. federal prosecutors in the state of Virginia mistakenly made public a document saying that Assange had been secretly indicted. Officials have since declined to confirm or deny he has been charged.

      U.S. federal prosecutors in Alexandria, Virginia, have maintained a long-running grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks. One source said it includes a probe into leaks of Central Intelligence Agency documents to the WikiLeaks website.

    • Ecuador Imprisons US Journalist In Room As Ambassador Tells Assange to ‘Shut up’ and Accept Spying

      It was meant to be a routine visit by a journalist to another journalist. Instead, I found myself locked in a cold, surveilled room for over an hour by Ecuadorian officials, as a furious argument raged between the country’s ambassador and Julian Assange.

      The room was inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where 2019 Nobel Peace Prize nominee Julian Assange currently lives under the ostensible protection of political asylum. Yet the WikiLeaks publisher was barred from entering the room, where he was supposed to join me for a pre-approved meeting, because he refused to submit to a full-body search and continuous surveillance.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Sir David Attenborough Set to Present BBC Documentary on Climate Change

      Beloved nature broadcaster Sir David Attenborough will produce a new documentary for BBC One focused entirely on climate change, the network announced Friday.

    • Delayed and Over Budget Fracked Gas Pipeline Faces ‘Triple Threat,’ New Briefing Warns Investors

      “The risks and growing costs of this major methane gas pipeline project look increasingly unwise to ratepayers, regulators, and investors alike,” warns the investor briefing (pdf).

      The Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) would carry fracked gas 600 miles from Appalachian Basin in West Virginia through Virginia to North Carolina. Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, and Southern Company make up Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC, the company formed to construct and run the pipeline.

      “The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is an environmental, climate, and human rights boondoggle,” said Donna Chavis, a campaigner with Friends of the Earth, which put out the briefing with Oil Change International on Monday, as Dominion investors were scheduled to meet.

    • ‘It’s Getting Worse’: Melting Ice Is Exposing More and More Bodies as Mount Everest Warms

      “Due to the impact of climate change and global warming, snow and glaciers are fast melting and dead bodies are increasingly being exposed and discovered by climbers,” former Nepal Mountaineering Association President Ang Tshering Sherpa told CNN in a March 21 report.

      More than 200 people have died on Mount Everest since the first climbing death was recorded in 1922. Most of those bodies are believed to be buried beneath glaciers and snow, but now warmer temperatures are melting glaciers throughout the Himalayas, studies have shown.

      A 2015 study found that ponds on Everest’s Khumbu glacier, where the majority of bodies have been discovered recently, were growing larger and joining together. In 2017, a research team drilled the glacier, took its temperature and found it was warmer than they expected, BBC News reported.

    • ‘Simple Laws of Economics’ Doom Remaining US Coal Plants as Solar and Wind Are Now Cheaper for American Households

      In propping up the coal industry, the Trump administration is not only contributing to dangerous pollution, fossil fuel emissions, and the climate crisis, it is also now clinging to a far more expensive energy production model than renewable energy offers.

      That’s according to a new report from renewable energy analysis firm Energy Innovation, showing that about three-quarters of power produced by the nation’s remaining coal plants is more expensive for American households than renewables including wind, solar, and hydro power.

      Energy Innovation based its study on companies’ financial filings data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). It found that coal has become more expensive as maintenance and anti-pollution compliance costs have risen, while technological advances have made solar and wind power cheaper.

      Those trends are expected to continue, and the group predicts that by 2025, 86 percent of coal plants will be producing electricity that is more expensive than renewable energy.

      “America has officially entered the ‘coal cost crossover’—where existing coal is increasingly more expensive than cleaner alternatives,” reads the report.

    • ‘State of Emergency’: Pine Ridge Reservation Flooding Exposes Racial Divide in Climate Crisis

      Flooding has inundated the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, leading to a serious crisis for its Native American population—and a slow government response that, critics say, exposes the racial imbalance in American disaster relief.

      “This is a state of emergency right now,” said Pine Ridge resident Henry Red Cloud.

      Rapidly melting snow from a recent blizzard is soaking the reservation and already damaged water lines, cutting the community off from safe drinking water. Roads are mostly impassable mud pits.

    • Ahead of Key Vote, Belgians ‘Occupy for Climate’ to Demand Constitutional Amendment

      Belgian activists in Brussels are participating in Occupy for Climate to pressure members of parliament to support a constitutional revision that would allow the country to adopt an ambitious climate law with binding targets.

    • Oil Industry Ponders Getting ‘Dragged into Low-Carbon Future’ While Claiming it ‘Stepped up’ on Climate

      The fossil fuel industry’s faith that the modern world economy will be powered by its products for the indefinite future is usually unwavering. But cracks in that faith recently appeared in Houston at the top annual oil industry conference, known as CERAweek.

      The trade publication Platts S&P Global noted that “talk of oil at CERAWeek felt a bit more lackluster this time around,” according to several attendees. Various pressures — from climate-anxious investors to competition from renewables — apparently are tempering the oil and gas industry’s usual optimism.

    • The Fox in the Henhouse: Bernhardt at Interior

      Everyone has heard the old saying about “the fox guarding the hen house” — which generally means you wind up with a fat fox and dead chickens. That’s something Montana’s senators should keep in mind when the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee weighs Donald Trump’s nomination of former oil, gas and mining lobbyist David Bernhardt to be the next Secretary of the Interior following the December resignation of ethics-plagued Ryan Zinke. And yes, that means Republican Sen. Steve Daines is going to have to decide if putting Trump’s raper-scraper in charge of 245 million acres of America’s public lands and their wildlife is in the best interests of his Montana constituents and future generations.

      There’s no question that Bernhardt is very, very familiar with the structure and duties of the Department of the Interior. After all, the function of a lobbyist is to understand the law, rules, regulations and mission of the federal agencies with which they interact. And when it comes to industry lobbyists, make no mistake, their primary interest is to serve the interests of their clients.

      Unfortunately for the rest of the populace, these highly skilled and very well-funded operatives generally have myopic vision when it comes to the ancillary consequences of their actions. In that regard, Bernhardt has already shown his true colors — and no surprise, they’re the color of money in the form of profits for extractive industries.

      Since Bernhardt has already been inserted into the Interior Department, his track record is known — and it isn’t pretty. First off, as one might expect from a fossil fuel lobbyist, Bernhardt is a climate change denier. That, in and of itself, should be reason enough to disqualify him as the nation and planet struggle with ever-increasing impacts from an obviously warming climate.

    • China and India are making a greener Earth

      Despite climate change, water scarcity and the many ills affecting the planet, this generation is living on an increasingly greener Earth.

      Measurements from space show that some parts of the northern hemisphere, notably China and India, are a lot greener than they used to be, which is potentially very good news for the climate.

      Growing vegetation takes up a great deal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, so the more that plants and trees can use, the greater the chance of slowing global warming.

      The new findings appear especially positive in the light of earlier studies of global vegetation trends. Science has already found that climate change can affect the Earth’s vegetation pattern adversely.

  • Finance

    • Dr. Dre Boasts About Daughter Getting Into USC ‘All on Her Own,’ Then Remembers $70 Million Donation

      None of this indicates that Truly was not accepted to USC entirely on her own merits, or that Dre’s contribution was not completely above board. However, anyone with a teenaged daughter will understand the doghouse Dre is presumably in at the moment.

    • The Apple Card is Apple’s thinnest and lightest status symbol ever

      Or, maybe, you only give off the appearance of wealth. This being a credit card, the Apple Card is also a symbol for the United States’ addiction to debt, both at the national and personal level. Acquiring and using one may sink you deeper into debt, and any bank that issues a credit card relies on its users’ financial tardiness or illiteracy to generate exploitative interest on unpaid balances. There’s something fundamentally un-Apple-like about trying to profit from people’s weaknesses.

    • Apple’s Shift From Gadgets to Services Tests Investor Patience

      The announcements show Apple is serious about being a leading provider of digital services, not just a seller of beautiful, pricey devices. But the shift is pushing the company into new territory where it has less experience.

    • As Brexit Threatens to Widen Northern Ireland’s Divides, Activists Offer Hope for a More Equal Future

      As turmoil around Brexit continues, the 1998 “Good Friday Agreement,” which concluded over 30 years of conflict in Northern Ireland, hangs in the balance.

      A “hard border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland might result from the fallout of Brexit, which could heighten tensions and has led some to ponder the likelihood of a return to scenes of violence and unrest that many assumed were consigned to the past. For many, however, the past never really went away.

      Social and economic inequality in areas such as employment and housing played a key role in originating and sustaining the conflict in Northern Ireland and little has changed on that front in the communities that suffered most.

      Twenty years after the peace agreement, the areas that experienced the highest number of conflict deaths (West Belfast) and second-highest (North Belfast) remain the most impoverished, even though they now sit cheek by jowl with the new Belfast campus for the University of Ulster and glittering office blocks delivered through publicly funded incentives to big business.

    • U.K. Lawmakers Seize Brexit Agenda in Bid to Break Deadlock

      British lawmakers seized a measure of control over the stalled Brexit process from Prime Minister Theresa May’s foundering government Monday, setting up a series of votes that could dramatically alter the course of the U.K.’s departure from the European Union.

      The move came after May conceded that Parliament would defeat her twice-rejected divorce deal with the EU again if she put it to a third vote.

      With Brexit delayed and the new departure date up in the air, the House of Commons voted to give itself temporary control of the parliamentary timetable starting on Wednesday so lawmakers can vote on alternatives to May’s withdrawal deal. The government usually controls the scheduling of votes in Parliament.

      Lawmakers who backed Monday’s motion, which passed 329-302, hope the planned “indicative votes” will narrow the options down to one that can secure majority support. Possible options include a “soft Brexit” that maintains close economic ties with the EU or scrapping Britain’s departure altogether.

    • Michael Avenatti Charged With Extortion and Bank Fraud

      U.S. prosecutors on two coasts have charged President Donald Trump critic and attorney Michael Avenatti with extortion and bank and wire fraud.

      A spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles said Avenatti was arrested Monday in New York.

      Spokesman Ciaran McEvoy says the lawyer best known for representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against Trump faces federal charges in New York and California.

      In the New York case, he was accused of threatening to use his ability to get publicity to harm the sports apparel giant Nike.

    • Military Joins Police as Yellow Vest Protesters March On in France

      Burnt debris litters the street following a March 23 clash between police and a group of yellow vest protesters near the 10th Arrondissement in Paris, France. (Donald Kaufman)

      President Emmanuel Macron, along with French government officials, increased security, replaced Paris’ police chief and called in Opération Sentinelle, a counterterrorism unit of the army. More than 100 luxury shops, an exclusive restaurant, a bank and multiple small news kiosks were looted or set on fire the previous weekend.

      Both police and military presence were felt throughout Paris on Saturday. Tanks stood by on the street while helicopters flew overhead. Even streets away from any gathering spots were blocked off by rows of police vehicles. Despite these measures, Gilets Jaunes protesters gathered and chanted against the government’s recent decision to involve the military.

      Interior Minister Christophe Castaner estimated that 40,500 people took part in protests around France, including in Nice, Lille, Montpellier, Toulouse and Lyon, up from about 32,300 people who participated last week.

      The Saturday protests in Paris were mostly peaceful, although tear gas was used late in the day when a small group walking from the 10th arrondissement to Place de la Republique (a central spot for political gatherings in Paris) started a small fire.

    • The Poisonous History of Neo-Classical Economics

      The U.S. and other western nations are blindly marching themselves into an intractable societal conflagration. Debt rating agencies have been measuring social-cohesion as a risk factor across the U.S. and Europe for over a decade. However, the unnamed risk is not just poverty but uber-wealth concentrations at levels not seen since the French revolution or the height of the British Empire.

      Headlines in January 2019 claim that 26 individuals have as much wealth as half of the earth’s population (here). This is a stunning reversal of the previous 240 years, over which time classical economics expanded the economy, resulting in massive wealth creation, broad income opportunities and an upward shift in the standard of living for all.

      This reversal of fortunes, from the many to the few, happened under the stewardship of neo-classical economic policies over the last 40 years. Much like the feudal and aristocratic past, this concentration of wealth has led to the accumulation of massive debts, economic stagnation and the subordination of sovereign states under an increasingly rentier-based (here)economy. It is everything that classical economics set out to eradicate.

      All broad measures of economic outcomes across the U.S. and other western economies that have adopted neo classical economics confirms that the long-term application of these policies increasingly serves the interests of financial actors at the expense of everyone else, resulting in the concentration of wealth into fewer and fewer hands.

    • Corporate Bullshit

      Business bullshit is about the meaningless language conjured up in schools, in banks, in consultancy firms, in politics, and in the media. This language drives thousands of business schools. It is this language that is handed down to MBAs. It releases MBAs happy to spread the managerial buzz-word language of business bullshit. When pro-business management academics, management writers, CEOs, and other upper level managers invent bullshit language, they fabricate something that gets in the way of businesses.

      The historical origins of business bullshit and its pathological language came with Kroning and AT&T’s management guru, who was hired to change the AT&T corporation. According to Colvin’s Fortune Magazine obituary of Peter Drucker, Drucker once said a management guru is someone named so by people who can’t spell charlatan. In the case of AT&T’s business bullshit, it was the Russian mystic George Gurdjieff and his ideas that introduced an entire new set of bullshit language to management.

      It might certainly be true that Kroning may have been killed off while Kronese has lived on. Management charlatans like Gurdjieff, even when changing just one company (AT&T), may have had an global impact. It contributed to managerial bullshit language. Bullshit language is part of an ideology that is used to legitimise and stabilize capitalism. Ideologies are not concerned with the truth. Instead, they are designed to eliminate contradictions and stabilize domination. Hence, the managerial bullshitter has a lack of connection or concern for the truth.

      Needless to say, it is true that bullshitters are not concerned that their grand pronouncements might be illogical, unintelligible and downright baffling. All they care about is whether people will listen to them. Their jargon can become a linguistic barbed wire fence, which stops unfortunate amateurs from trespassing on territory already claimed by experts. Not surprisingly, one finds that many managerial practices are not adopted because they work, but because they are fashionable. And the bullshit merchant can find a lucrative trade in any large organization.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Centrists Are Using Calls for Civility to Silence the Left

      Many members of the civility police come from the beleaguered center-right of the party, and their calls for unity are often just forewarning progressives to lower their sights and curb their tongues. The chiding often comes with shots at Senator Bernie Sanders specifically or the left more generally.

    • Trump of Toad Hall

      If you believe in Old Testament-style omens, please note that a plague of poisonous toads has infested the Florida town of Palm Beach Gardens, about 15 miles from Mar-a-Lago. And they’re on the move.

      I am not making this up.

      You have to admit that killer toads are a much more dramatic and appropriate harbinger of doom than the way the conclusions of the Mueller report were first rolled out this weekend. Late Friday afternoon, word came that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had delivered his report on Donald Trump to Attorney General William Barr. Barr then sent a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate judiciary committees saying he’d let them know more as soon as he’d had time to study it. He’d also issue a summary to the public. And there would be no further indictments issued.

      After all these months, that big moment seemed anticlimactic, a pop gun when we what we wanted was the cannon’s roar.

      On these few flimsy facts were spun hour after hour of cable news coverage over the weekend. But on Sunday afternoon came the three-and-a-half page letter to the judiciary committees from the attorney general. This time, the gun was loaded, loud and had a recoiling kick; no evidence of Trump conspiring with Russia around the 2016 elections and although Mueller did not exonerate the president on charges of obstruction of justice, Attorney General Barr and Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein decided there was no reason to charge him.

      And so the appointment of Bill Barr to replace Jeff Sessions paid off big time for Donald J. Trump. Barr did just what the president wanted him to do and what the attorney general had intimated he would do when he wrote that unsolicited 19-page memo to the Department of Justice last year, the one stating that a sitting president can’t be guilty of obstruction or interviewed about such a charge by prosecutors unless there’s proof of a crime he was trying to obstruct. Which there can’t be because he’s president. Follow?

    • In Plain Sight: Bolsonaro, Moro and the CIA

      On March 18, Brazil’s extreme-right President Jair Bolsonaro made history. Outside the official agenda of his first official trip to the United States he paid a visit to CIA Headquarters, becoming the first ever Brazilian President to do so. In contrast, Bolsonaro has never visited ABIN, Brazil’s moribund equivalent of the CIA.

      On the agenda, it is assumed, were the ongoing coup attempt in Venezuela, in which the United States wants further Brazilian assistance, unrest in Nicaragua, Cuba, and Bolivia’s coming election. More pertinent is what role, if any, the CIA had in Bolsonaro’s own.

      “No Brazilian president had ever paid a visit to the CIA, This is an explicitly submissive position. Nothing compares to this.” remarked former Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, one of the world’s most respected diplomats.

      In June 2013, the scandal broke that Brazil, President Rousseff, several of her ministries and Oil Giant Petrobras, were all under surveillance by the National Security Agency. Brazil was supposed to be a U.S. ally, and as a result Rousseff cancelled her scheduled official visit to the United States.

    • Trump, The Mueller Report, and Democracy

      The issue has always been the need to defend democracy by addressing its weaknesses and limits, and to improve and deepen democracy by defending it from its enemies.

      I have been arguing for over two years that Donald Trump is an aspiring autocrat, and perhaps even an aspirational fascist (William Connolly’s apt phrase), who endangers important constitutional, legal, and normative features of liberal democracy. In this regard he can be likened to a range of similar right-wing political leaders–sometimes called right-wing authoritarian or right-wing populist—who currently hold governmental power in countries such as Hungary, Poland, Brazil, and Turkey, and who contend for political power in most other liberal democracies. Trump is neither an aberration nor a demon. He is a malevolent political leader who emerged from a dysfunctional political system and must be defeated by political means. The controversies surrounding the Mueller investigation, and the scurrilous and dangerous behavior it has disclosed, have always been simply a part of this much broader process of politically opposing Trump and of seeking to end or at least mitigate the conditions that helped bring him to power.

      In January of 2017, within days of Trump’s inauguration, I published a piece at Public Seminar entitled “Thoughts on Trump and Putin: Democratic ‘Interference’ and the Transnational Contest for ‘Democracy.’” In that piece I argued that while the questions of Russian “interference” and even possible “collusion” are important, more important are the political and ideological circumstances that define the Trumpist moment…

    • Will Corruption Scandal Sink Netanyahu Weeks Before Election?

      The upcoming election in Israel is increasingly focused on the corrupt arms deals between Israel and Germany, from which Prime Minister Netanyahu personally profited millions of dollars. TRNN’s Shir hever discusses the implications

    • As Trump Gives Thumbs Up to ‘Illegal Annexation,’ Israel Starts Bombing Gaza Again

      Israel announced Monday that it began bombing Gaza again.

      Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking at a joint press conference at the White House alongside President Donald Trump, announced that his country was “responding forcefully” to a rocket fired earlier in the day from Gaza that injured seven people near Tel Aviv.

      An unnamed senior Hamas official told Haaretz that the rocket may have been a mistake or a decision by an individual member of the group.

      The Israeli military said the rocket was fired by Hamas and that it was directing its bombing at “Hamas targets.”

    • Israel Strikes Hamas After Gaza Rocket Attack; U.N. Chief ‘Gravely Concerned’

      The U.N. says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is “gravely concerned” at the latest developments in Gaza and is urging Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers “to exercise maximum restraint.”

      U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric called Monday’s firing of a rocket from Gaza that hit a house in central Israel, wounding seven people, “a serious and unacceptable violation.” He said the U.N. is monitoring the latest reports of Israeli strikes on Gaza.

      Dujarric said the U.N. is continuing to work with Egypt and other concerned parties to try to de-escalate the situation. He says “further escalation is likely to make an already bad situation worse, in particular for civilians in and close to Gaza.”

      Dujarric noted that U.N. Mideast envoy Nikolay Mladenov will meet Guterres and brief the U.N. Security Council Tuesday, as previously scheduled.

    • Romanian Prime Minister Is Staying at Trump’s D.C. Hotel

      The prime minister of Romania stayed at President Donald Trump’s hotel during her trip to Washington over the weekend. She is the first foreign government leader known to have booked a room at the property in more than a year.

      The stay at the Trump International Hotel by Viorica Dancila, who is attending the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference, provides the latest piece of evidence that Trump’s company continues to do business with foreign officials. Such payments could violate the Constitution’s anti-corruption provisions, which prohibit the president from accepting gifts or “emoluments” from foreign governments.

      Dancila was seen Friday night inside the hotel’s atrium surrounded by a group of about eight people after leaving the hotel’s BLT Prime restaurant. She made her way to one of the building’s elevators, which are operated with room keys of hotel guests. She was seen again on Sunday, entering an elevator shortly after 6 p.m. On Monday she tweeted a picture of herself meeting with Vice President Mike Pence at AIPAC.

      Trump still owns the hotel through a trust from which he can draw money at any time. Trump’s lawyers have rejected the idea that a hotel visit from a foreign official can be construed as an emolument, saying instead that it is a “fair value exchange” not addressed in the Constitution. Trump faces several lawsuits over the emoluments issue, filed by the attorneys general of the District of Columbia and Maryland, Democratic lawmakers and a government watchdog.

    • Trump Demands Networks Retaliate Against Guests Who Discussed Evidence of Collusion

      President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign attempted to intimidate cable news networks who covered Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe on Monday but earned only derision from journalists and others.

      Tim Murtaugh, communications director for Trump’s campaign, sent a memo to TV news producers at networks including CNN and MSNBC, imploring them to either ban guests who had claimed there was evidence that Trump and his campaign colluded with Russia, or challenge them on their claims.

    • Mueller Report Ends a Shameful Period for the Press

      The Mueller report’s categorical statement that Donald Trump and his campaign did not collude with Russia ends one of the most shameful periods in modern American journalism, one that rivals the mindless cheerleading for the Iraq War by most of the press. It further erodes and may prove fatal to the credibility of a press that has steadfastly rendered most of the country invisible and functions as little more than an array of gossiping courtiers to the elites.

      “The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election,” U.S. Attorney General William Barr wrote in an official letter summarizing the findings of the inquiry by Robert Mueller.

      The charge that Russia stole the election, that Vladimir Putin has secret “pee tapes” of Trump cavorting in a Moscow hotel with prostitutes or that Trump has been a longtime “Kremlin agent,” repeated by reporters whose work I admired in the past, is demagoguery as pernicious as the vile taunts and racist tropes that come out of the White House. The press endlessly repeated such allegations while ignoring the expanding social inequality and suffering of a country where half the population lives in poverty, as well as the collapse of our democratic institutions. These facts, not Russian manipulation, saw enraged American voters elect a demagogue who at least belittles the elites, including those in the press, who sold them out. The charge that Trump was a tool of Russia is entertaining. It attracts billions in advertising dollars. It allows the press to posture as a moral crusader. But over the past three years this obsession blotted out most of the real crimes committed by this administration and the reality most Americans endure.

    • “Trump, Inc.” Goes Beyond Collusion

      Collusion was never the only thing. For the last year and a half, we have been looking at the conflicts of interest that pervade President Donald Trump’s administration. That trail has led us from Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, to Panama, India and, yes, Russia, where we reported on how Trump’s associates appealed to the Kremlin for help at the same time the Kremlin was preparing an attack on the 2016 elections.

    • Dems Grapple With Mueller’s Findings; GOP Exclaims ‘Move On’

      Democrats grappled Monday with special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings, holding strategy sessions as Republicans gleefully called for them to “move on.” President Donald Trump accused those responsible for launching Mueller’s Russia probe of “treasonous things against our country” and said they “certainly will be looked into.”

      Trump said the release of Mueller’s full report “wouldn’t bother me at all” as the Democrats clamored for the Justice Department to release the entire document and not just Sunday’s four-page summary from Attorney General William Barr.

      Barr’s letter said Mueller did not find that Trump’s campaign “conspired or coordinated” with the Russian government to influence the 2016 presidential election — knocking down arguments from Democrats who have long claimed there was evidence of such collusion.

      But Mueller reached no conclusion on whether Trump obstructed the federal investigation, according to Barr’s summary, instead setting out “evidence on both sides” of the question and stating that “while this report does not conclude the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” Absent a recommendation from Mueller, Barr stepped in and decided there wasn’t sufficient evidence to establish that the president obstructed justice.

    • The Homeless 8-Year-Old Chess Champion and Other Horrific ‘Uplifting’ Stories

      There’s a certain genre of light-hearted human-interest stories that are common across most news platforms. Soft news, such as an autistic Arkansas teen winning a basketball scholarship (NBC, 11/29/18), a Tampa Bay area photographer helping animals get adopted (ABC Action News, 3/20/19) or an injured tortoise receiving a new 3D-printed shell (Huffington Post, 5/23/16) are designed to pique interest and raise viewers’ spirits.

      However, in the worsening economic climate, a growing number of these supposedly “uplifting” stories become unintentionally horrifying after a moment’s reflection. A case in point is the New York Times’ recent article (3/16/19) about Tanitoluwa Adewumi, a homeless 8-year-old New York chess champion—a story, the headline assures, will “make you smile.” The Times details Adewumi’s refugee background, his personal drive and his aggressive playing style, but neither it nor the many other outlets (USA Today, 3/19/19; NBC New York, 3/19/19; London Independent, 3/17/19) that also picked up the story pondered how it was possible for a child in one of the richest cities in the world to be homeless, and what that said about an economic and political system that allows this in the first place.

    • As Mueller Finds No Collusion, Did Press Overhype Russiagate? Glenn Greenwald vs. David Cay Johnston

      As congressional Democrats call on the Justice Department to release the full Mueller report, we speak to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists who have closely followed the probes into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election: Glenn Greenwald, a founding editor of The Intercept and a leading critic of the media coverage of alleged Russian collusion, and David Cay Johnston, formerly of The New York Times, now founder and editor of DCReport.org, who has written critically about Donald Trump for decades. His most recent book is “It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America.”

    • The “Barr Summary” Is Meaningless. Release the Entire Report.

      From the moment the Mueller investigation began to the moment Attorney General William Barr released his “summary” of Mueller’s labors, Donald Trump acted like the guiltiest man on Earth. His efforts to obstruct the inquiry were egregious, vocal and constant, his denials facile and unconvincing in their serial repetitions. His now-notorious Twitter eruption the weekend before the report’s conclusion was every inch the child frantically deflecting blame after pushing his sister down the stairs.

      The third week in January of this year provided a perfect example of the phenomenon when it was revealed that Trump made a habit of confiscating the translators’ notes after every meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin before swearing the translators to absolute secrecy. This was unprecedented behavior with potentially staggering implications, and never mind the hypocrisy; had Barack Obama done something similar during his tenure, the outrage on the right would have been visible from space. With Trump, however, it was business as usual.

      The announced completion of Robert Mueller’s investigation on Friday launched a 48-hour period of media mayhem not seen since a certain white Bronco was on the loose in California 25 years ago. Those who were expecting a detailed impeachment map to be immediately revealed endured a number of existential crises after exposing themselves to the television coverage. DEAR GOD WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN was the going media refrain, and no answers were forthcoming until the attorney general released his review on Sunday afternoon.

    • To Defeat the Far-Right and the ‘Inane Establishment,’ Progressives Launch ‘Citizen Takeover of the EU’

      Featured speakers at the “Citizen Takeover of the EU” gathering included former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, actress and political activist Pamela Anderson, Croatian philosopher Srećko Horvat, and human rights lawyer Laura Alvarez, wife of U.K. Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn.

      The Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25)—which organized the event—said the goal was to present a long-term vision for a democratic European Union that can defeat both the “xenophobic, anti-European, forces gaining ground” and the “inane establishment.”

      “Europeans are losing their faith in the possibility of European solutions to European problems. At the same time as faith in the EU is waning, we see a rise of misanthropy, xenophobia, and toxic nationalism,” DiEM25 said in a statement. “If this development is not stopped, we fear a return to the 1930s.”

    • How Trump and Barr could stretch claims of executive privilege and grand jury secrecy

      What it really does is set the stage for a battle royale with Trump and Barr doing everything in their power to keep secret the full report and, equally important, the materials underlying the report. They’re likely to fight Democrats in Congress, if not both parties, over the materials’ release. And while they’ll probably cite a range of reasons for their objections to revealing the report, they also share an expansive view of a president’s right to keep his discussions secret.

      The public and Congress are unable to judge whether Barr’s conclusions are justified because Barr’s letter is mostly silent about the underlying Mueller report conclusions and evidence. This would be remedied in time if Barr were required to provide the full report and its supporting witness and documentary evidence.

      But Trump and Barr each have tools to minimize the access of House investigations to the report and evidence. Despite the end of Mueller’s probe, those investigations continue: Democrat Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, made it clear on Sunday that he plans to “move forward” with his committee’s investigations, “into obstruction of justice, abuses of power, corruption, to defend the rule of law, which is our job.”

    • YouTubers Play a Key Role in Far-Right Extremism of Online Forums

      This month, a far-right nationalist from Australia murdered 50 people in a terrorist attack on two mosques in New Zealand. In a rambling manifesto littered with memes, the alleged shooter cited YouTuber Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, also known online as PewDiePie, as an influence, and referenced Spyro 3 — a videogame for children — as a force that taught the gunman ethno-nationalist views. PewDiePie is irrevocably connected to gamer culture himself, having amassed most of his 90 million subscribers from videos of him talking over footage of his video-gaming. These are important connections, but they need to be discussed without falling back into the old arguments about videogames and violence.

      PewDiePie, the most-subscribed YouTuber ever and one of this generation’s most significant influencers, posted a tweet on March 14, disavowing the shooter and showing a vague solidarity with the victims, though he was back online that day doing his normal viral spiel, his follower count rising ever higher. More than 1 million Twitter users placated PewDiePie’s ego, assuring him he had nothing to do with the massacre and that he was remiss to have even spared a second of thought on it. Other prominent YouTubers have a long history of supporting PewDiePie too, embodied by Markiplier’s “You have nothing to do with it” tweet of support this month (a support he has offered in previous controversies too). Any suggestion that there might be a valid connection is immediately dismissed out of hand.

      To understand what is really at play here, we need to think not about whether PewDiePie himself is to blame for the massacre in New Zealand, but about what ingredients combine to produce such horrific results. We know that PewDiePie was not directly responsible for the mass shooting, just as we know that games themselves do not cause violence or school shootings (as Donald Trump claimed, along with many ’80s parents). Nevertheless, there is a connection between gaming, far-right extremism and the “mainstream” influencers with whom their jokes and arguments intersect.

      This event should remind us of another of today’s popular influencers born out of YouTube: Jordan Peterson, who was, incidentally, speaking in New Zealand earlier this year. Peterson, a professor at the University of Toronto, has amassed a huge following in far-right and even neo-Nazi circles online because his views can easily be taken advantage of by those wishing to push a transphobic and misogynistic ideology. Such views can appear under the guise of serious philosophical academia, and Peterson’s status as accomplished academic is used to lend credibility and weight to opinions much more extreme than his own.

    • Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Is the Political Opportunity of a Lifetime

      Bernie Sanders wrapped up a weekend campaign swing through California with a Sunday afternoon speech to 16,000 of us a few miles from the Golden Gate Bridge. News coverage seemed unlikely to convey much about the event. The multiracial crowd reflected the latest polling that shows great diversity of support for Bernie, contrary to corporate media spin. High energy for basic social change was in the air.

      Speaking from the podium, Bernie 2020 co-chair Nina Turner asked and answered a question about the campaign: “What’s love got to do with it? Everything.”

    • Three Lessons for the Left from the Mueller Inquiry

      1. The left never had a dog in this race. This was always an in-house squabble between different wings of the establishment. Late-stage capitalism is in terminal crisis, and the biggest problem facing our corporate elites is how to emerge from this crisis with their power intact. One wing wants to make sure the pig’s face remains painted, the other is happy simply getting its snout deeper into the trough while the food lasts.

      Russiagate was never about substance, it was about who gets to image-manage the decline of a turbo-charged, self-harming neoliberal capitalism.

      The leaders of the Democratic party are less terrified of Trump and what he represents than they are of us and what we might do if we understood how they have rigged the political and economic system to their permanent advantage.

      It may look like Russiagate was a failure, but it was actually a success. It deflected the left’s attention from endemic corruption within the leadership of the Democratic party, which supposedly represents the left. It rechannelled the left’s political energies instead towards the convenient bogeymen targets of Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin.

    • Devin Nunes to “Fox & Friends”: “We can just burn” special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report
    • The Russia investigation is over, but there’s a lot we still don’t know
    • Promises, Tamales and Even Truth-Telling: Chicago’s Mayoral Race Hits the Final Stretch

      Lori Lightfoot was running early. Most political campaigns struggle to stay on schedule, especially as Election Day speeds closer. But in the final stretch of the runoff election for Chicago mayor, Lightfoot appeared to be rolling with such confidence that her campaign started holding rallies well ahead of their announced start times.

      Meanwhile, Toni Preckwinkle, fighting the perception that Lightfoot had all the momentum, showed flashes of the candor and personality many voters wish they had seen from her throughout the mayoral race.

      “This has been an —” Preckwinkle paused during our interview last week before finishing the sentence: “interesting campaign.”

      Chicagoans don’t have much experience with open mayoral elections — this is the first in decades that doesn’t include an incumbent or anointed heir. But it turns out that all sorts of things can happen when democracy moves in. After Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced in September that he wouldn’t seek a third term, 14 candidates made the ballot to succeed him. Because none received a majority in the first round of voting in February, the top two finishers — Lightfoot and Preckwinkle — went into the April 2 runoff.

      Whoever wins will become Chicago’s first black woman mayor.

    • To Celebrate or to Not? The Mueller Question

      Finally, it’s over. Well, sort of, anyway. Late Sunday afternoon, Attorney General Bill Barr released his much-anticipated summary of Bob Mueller’s Russia investigation. The big news, of course, was that nobody in Trump’s orbit “knowingly” coordinated with Russian efforts to disrupt the 2016 election. Trump won’t be charged with obstruction of justice and not a single American was indicted for conspiracy.

      To the delight of Russiagate skeptics, it was a complete vindication. To the dismay of the liberal establishment and MSDNC — who all cashed in on the chaos — it was an enormous letdown.

      Much of the celebration, however, took on a twisted form. Matt Taibbi was the most contorted, writing in a column that, “WMD was a pimple compared to Russiagate. The sheer scale of the errors and exaggerations this time around dwarfs the last mess.”

      There’s no question Russiagate was a colossal abstraction, but comparing Russia-mania to the WMD deception, which led to an illegal war that killed a half million people while germinating ISIS, was a depraved mischaracterization.

      The Intercept‘s $500,000 man Glenn Greenwald wasn’t far behind Taibbi’s glee, exclaiming on Democracy Now! that the last two years was “the saddest media spectacle I’ve ever seen.” Like Taibbi, Greenwald appears to have a memory lapse, forgetting just how culpable mainstream media was in perpetuating the lies that led us into the bloody war on Iraq. Maybe we should cut him some slack. It could just be that Greenwald wasn’t keeping tabs on the media’s mishaps back then, as he never abandoned his “trust in the Bush administration,” and accepted Bush’s “judgment that American security really would be enhanced by the invasion of this sovereign country.”

    • My Russia Hot-Air Balloon
    • Has “Cover-Up General” William Barr Struck Again?

      Back in 1992, the last time Bill Barr was U.S. attorney general, iconic New York Times writer William Safire referred to him as “Coverup-General Barr” because of his role in burying evidence of then-President George H.W. Bush’s involvement in “Iraqgate” and “Iron-Contra.”

      General Barr has struck again—this time, in similar fashion, burying Mueller’s report and cherry-picking fragments of sentences from it to justify Trump’s behavior. In his letter, he notes that Robert Mueller “leaves it to the attorney general to decide whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime.”

      As attorney general, Barr—without showing us even a single complete sentence from the Mueller report—decided there are no crimes here. Just keep moving along.

      Barr’s history of doing just this sort of thing to help Republican presidents in legal crises explains why Trump brought him back in to head the Justice Department.

      Christmas day of 1992, the New York Times featured a screaming all-caps headline across the top of its front page: Attorney General Bill Barr had covered up evidence of crimes by Reagan and Bush in the Iran-Contra scandal.

      Earlier that week of Christmas, 1992, George H.W. Bush was on his way out of office. Bill Clinton had won the White House the month before, and in a few weeks would be sworn in as president.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Chinese censors incinerate entire run of a kickstarted Call of Cthulhu RPG sourcebook

      Julio writes, “Sons of the Singularity is a small RPG publisher. Last year, they kickstarted The Sassoon Files, a sourcebook for the popular Call of Cthulhu RPG and Trail of Cthulhu RPG. As a lot of publishers, theydid the printing in China. The same day that the print was finished, a Chinese Government decided that it was “problematic”, so they burned the entire print run. Targeting foreign publications is a first, specially when it seems there wasn’t anything problematic (the supplement was based on Shanghai but was respetful and documented carefully). Will this be a new sign of Beijing tightening its iron grip or just a show of bravado with a small publisher used as an example?”

    • Federal Funding, the First Amendment, and Free Speech on Campus

      According to the White House, more than $35 billion in grants will come under scrutiny with this Executive Order (this does not include funding associated with Federal student aid programs that cover tuition, fees, or stipends), and individual agencies enjoy considerable leeway to decide how to enforce free speech protections. In future, universities that fail to uphold free speech could be punished by the Federal Government withholding or delaying payments, prematurely ending a contract, suspending eligibility for future contracts, or by filing a lawsuit for a contractual breach. This dependence on research dollars and the responsibility of a public entity to maintain the rights of American citizens, will give research institutions “skin in the free speech game” and encourage them to demand that other parts of the university start to behave.

    • Egyptian singer banned after claiming lack of free speech

      A video clip circulated online shows Sherine Abdel-Wahab, during a performance in Bahrain, saying: “Here I can say whatever I want. In Egypt, anyone who talks gets imprisoned.”

      Egypt’s Musicians Union responded late Friday by barring the singer, popularly known by her first name, from performing. It also summoned her for questioning.

    • Facebook Failing To Curb Rise Of Neo-Nazi Groups, Suggests Report

      Facebook was under harsh critique due to the recent Christchurch Terror attack in New-Zealand. The perpetrator that carried out the attack live-streamed his heinous act on the social media platform. The unfortunate event drew attention towards the lack of responsibilities of social media sites like Facebook and outraged the global community.

      A recent report from The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) suggests (via The Independent) the renewal ascent of Neo-Nazi groups on Facebook is real and concerning.

    • Facebook shields neo-Nazi groups despite complaints

      Facebook is not removing neo-Nazi groups from the site because they do not violate its “community standards”, an investigation by a British newspaper has found.

    • Neo-Nazi groups allowed to stay on Facebook because they ‘do not violate community standards’

      Neo-Nazi groups have been allowed to remain on Facebook because the social media giant found they did not violate its “community standards”, it has been revealed.

      Pages operated by factions of international white supremacist organisations including Combat 18 and the Misanthropic Division were reported, but Facebook refused to remove the content and told researchers to unfollow pages if they found them “offensive”.

      A Counter Extremism Project report, seen exclusively by The Independent, showed the same response was received for chapters of Be Active Front USA, a racist skinhead group, and the neo-Nazi British Movement.

    • New Zealand Censors Declare Christchurch Shooting Footage Illegal; Start Rounding Up Violators

      In both cases, those arrested appear to be sympathetic (if that’s the right word — it seems so wrong) with the shooter’s hatred of Muslims and preference for a whiter tomorrow. The 18-year-old’s “target acquired” comment suggested, at minimum, they saw nothing wrong with targeting members of certain religions.

      Philip Arps appears to be a long-time proponent of white nationalism — even going so far as to use a symbol appropriated by neo-Nazis as the logo for his business. Arps apparently spent the days after the shooting praising the shooter and refusing to apologize for his views. A review of Arps’ business by Stuff Magazine shows Arp hasn’t exactly kept his personal beliefs and his company’s public presence from intermingling.

    • Disinviting Jordan Peterson: the Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge and Approved Ideas

      He has sent so many cliques and groups into titters of anger, and the indignant have attempted to turn on him. The university environment should be the last place where dangerous ideas, and views, are stifled and stomped upon. In actual fact, we are seeing the reverse; from students unions to middle- and upper-managerial parasites and administrators, the contrarian idea must be boxed, the controversial speaker silenced and sent beyond the pale. Dissent and disagreement are lethal toxin to such affected notions as “diversity” and “inclusiveness”.

      It should be very clear that meaningless terms such as diversity and inclusiveness do very little to the content of actual intellectual conversation. Ideas are there to be debated, not accepted by high caste strictures. The modern academic environment suggests something quite opposite: a policing rationale, an insistence on thought control that is insidious and all too common in managed structures. When incorporated into the university structure, the bureaucrat takes precedence over the intellectual, the mindless cherry picker over the polymath. The more ideas you have, the more of a threat you will be, requiring regulation and the occasional ostracising. In broader public spaces, this may even require you losing a platform altogether.

      Which leads us, then, to Jordan Peterson, agent provocateur and psychology professor at University of Toronto who was led to believe that he would be taking up residence for two months at the Faculty of Divinity in Cambridge University in Michaelmas Term. In a statement to the Cambridge student newspaper, Varsity, a University spokesperson confirmed “that Jordan Peterson requested a visiting fellowship, and an initial offer has been rescinded after a further review.”

      In a bitter irony that should have been apparent, the Canadian academic had his invitation rescinded in the name of “inclusiveness”, a baffling justification given its very opposite interpretation. In a statement to the Guardian, the University spokesman proclaimed Cambridge “an inclusive environment and we expect all our staff and visitors to uphold our principles. There is no place here for anyone who cannot”. Now there speaks the virtue of an intolerant tolerance.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Smart watches: a helping hand or sinister culture of surveillance?

      Use of smart watch technology is on the seemingly inexorable rise. One need only think of the use of a smart watch. A brief look around the office will show a growing proportion wearing some form of smart watch to track one’s steps, monitor their heartbeat and distinguish their daily movements. With 71 million smartwatches reportedly sold in 2018 it was only a matter of time before this technology reached the younger generation. But the watches contain notable amounts of ‘personal data’ as defined by the Data Protection Act 2018, including location, call logs and phone numbers.

      Enter the ‘Enox Safe-Kid-One’, produced by ENOX Production Services GmbH. This watch is designed to allow parents to track the location of their child and contact them through an accompanying app. At first glance, this might be seen as a parents’ dream, enabling them to easily contact their child and ensure that they can monitor that their child is in a safe location at all times. The app even allows parents to “draw a geographical fence” around their child, which notifies a parent when their child exits that ‘safe’ area.

    • Another Step to a Google-free Life

      I watch a lot of YouTube videos. So much, that it starts to annoy me, how much of my free time I’m wasting by watching (admittedly very interesting) clips of a broad range of content creators.

      Logging out of my Google account helped a little bit to keep my addiction at bay, as it appears to prevent the YouTube algorithm, which normally greets me with a broad set of perfectly selected videos from recognizing me. But then again I use Google to log in to one service or another, so it became annoying to log in and back out again all the time. At one point I decided to delete my YouTube history, which resulted in a very bad prediction of what videos I might like. This helped for a short amount of time, but the algorithm quickly returned to its merciless precision after a few days.

      Today I decided, that its time to leave Google behind completely. My Google Mail account was used only for online shopping anyways, so I figured why not use a more privacy respecting service instead. Self-hosting was not an option for me, as I only have a residential IP address on my Raspberry Pi and also I heard that hosting a mail server is a huge pain.

    • Second California Appeals Court Refuses To Review Police Unions’ Challenge Of State Public Records Law

      California law enforcement’s losing streak continues. Since the new state law went into effect at the beginning of the year, California police unions have been battling the new transparency, claiming the public records law does not apply to historical records of police misconduct or use of force.

      So far, the unions are finding no one who agrees with them. The law’s author says the law is retroactive. So have a couple of state courts. The only person siding with unions on the retroactivity issue is the state’s top cop, Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

      The state’s Supreme Court has turned down two requests by law enforcement unions to step in and clear up the retroactivity question. In both cases, it rejected the petition without comment. Now, a second state appellate court has refused to review a lower level decision finding the state’s new law applies to old misconduct records.

    • Why Are Creators Paying for TikTok’s Mistake?

      TikTok is an app that makes it easy for people to make short lip-synching videos, which unsurprisingly makes it a goldmine of creativity and memes. TikTok recently got in hot water with the Federal Trade Commission because it failed to comply with Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). COPPA requires online services that are either “directed at” children under the age of 13 or have knowledge that they have users who are under 13 to arrange for parental permission before they start collecting personal information about those users.

      The FTC fined TikTok $5.7 million and ordered it to delete personal information of young users, with the option to transfer copies of the videos back to them. The FTC required TikTok to “destroy” the “personal information” of any account belonging to someone currently 13 or under, or who was under 13 when they joined. In other words, the account, its videos, the fans, everything that had been built up by the users, would be deleted. However, the FTC also gave TikTok the option to give users copies of their videos.

      TikTok’s attempt to comply was riddled with problems. Users logging in for the first time after the order were prompted to give their birthdate, but TikTok’s own interface defaulted to putting in the current date while also not making crystal clear to users why it needed that information and what could result. A number of users had trouble getting the date to change, giving the system the impression that they were zero years old and resulting in the deletion of their accounts and losing their videos. Other users—including many older than 13—found everything deleted without ever being asked their age at all.

    • ‘Break up the web giants, they’re sucking the life out of UK business’: Advertising mogul Sir John Hegarty launches attack on Facebook and Google [iophk: "This ignores Microsoft , which is doing at least as much damage"]

      ‘They don’t pay taxes and things like that. And they’re not putting back into the economy. They’re sucking all this money out and it’s not going back into the economy,’ he says.

      [...]

      Facebook denies it is a media company and claims it only hosts content from news sites. But it already decides which sites its users should be reading more of.

    • Facebook, Google Face Steeper Privacy Fines Under Australia Plan [Ed: And Microsoft as well? If not, why not?]

      Australia’s government will introduce measures to increase fines for breaches, strengthen disclosure policies and embolden its privacy regulator to crack down on data misuse, according to a statement Sunday.

    • Christchurch fallout: Govt says bigger fines for privacy breaches

      The Federal Government will fine social media and online platforms operating in the country $10 million for serious breaches of the Privacy Act, or thrice the value of any benefit derived from the breach.

    • Mosque Attack Streaming Spurs Planned Law Change in Australia

      The legislation will “seek to apply criminal penalties to companies that don’t act in the interests of the safety of Australians,” Morrison told reporters. “What I’m looking for is for these companies to come to the table as responsible corporate citizens and make sure their products are safe here in Australia.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Thank You, Gavin Newsom, From a Death Row Inmate

      Many people believe that taking a human life is a primal exercise of real power, whether on a massive scale through war or the murder of one person by another in a single act of violence. Then there is a system of death that flows in this country’s bloodstream, from the cop who murders an unarmed innocent person to the prison executioner who murders a fellow citizen when his or her time is up.

      But real power is not in taking a life, as many people mistakenly think; it is in saving a life. Anyone can take a life; the ease of doing so is proved every day by the number of homicides that occur. But saving or sparing a life, when there is tremendous pressure from powerful forces to not save that life, can be much more difficult.

      There is a difference between genuine courage and power, and few politicians in this country and the state of California have shown they can muster both when faced with truly difficult decisions. Courage is having the mind to carry on despite danger, and the moral courage to speak out against injustice when no one else will.

      Gov. Gavin Newsom has shown that he has courage, both moral and otherwise, as well as real power, in calling for a moratorium on executions in California.

      I am one of the 25 people on death row in this state who have no appeals left, and the political pressure that runs deep in the hearts of pro-death penalty politicians and their supporters to torture and murder people in my situation knows no bounds.

    • Pennsylvania Is Jailing Mentally Ill People Who Belong in Treatment

      The people in jail have disabilities so severe they cannot be prosecuted under the Constitution.
      For the third time in less than four years, the ACLU of Pennsylvania and co-counsel from Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer asked a federal judge last week to order Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services to reduce the time that people with severe psychiatric disabilities spend waiting in jail for treatment beds. These people’s mental disabilities are so significant that under the Constitution they can be neither prosecuted nor punished, which means they cannot be kept in a prison or jail.

      How disabled are our clients?

      Most are floridly psychotic. This means that they see people who are not in the room, hear people who are not talking, and feel things — like armies of spiders crawling on them — that are not there. Jail conditions only exacerbate these symptoms and make them deteriorate further. They spread feces on themselves and eat it. Some become violent.

      These people are also very alone. Many of our clients’ families have abandoned them — not because they are bad people necessarily, but because the societal and medical supports to help both their loved one and themselves are not there. And the clients’ illness prevents them from advocating for themselves. These people are helpless, often without anyone even trying to help them.

      Our clients also share in common criminal charges for a range of transgressions, from stealing peppermint candies from a convenience store — I kid you not; check out our lead plaintiff’s story — to murder. But because they are too sick to understand the charges or assist in defending against them, the Constitution prohibits them from being prosecuted or imprisoned.

      If the criminal court determines that mental health treatment will likely make them competent within a reasonable time period, however, the court can order them into “competency restoration treatment.” This treatment need not involve expensive hospital beds; for some people, the treatment can be provided in the community.

    • Ardern’s Response to Christchurch has Put Other Leaders to Shame, But Not for Its Compassion Alone

      Ardern was different. She fought from the start like a real politician, scorning the killer, attacking racism and slapping back at Turkish president Erdogan’s revolting election propaganda – which used the murderer’s own video – then hitting out at US president Trump. And insisting that New Zealand’s gun laws would change forever.

      That was the measure of her. Humanity came armed with political leadership. And what a sorry lot Ardern showed our own hapless “leaders” to be.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • honk preview

      I don’t know how other people use Mastodon, but I found the web experience terrible. You visit an instance, it fires off 100 requests to load styles, and scripts, and sockets, oh my. In the mean time, I’m looking at a blank window wondering if my network is broken. This could be 30 seconds or more, then finally some boxes and windows start to appear. People on medium tell me M is really fast. Not my experience at all. Not sure how to explain the discrepancy.

      [...]

      I had a more responsive experience running Prodigy on a 386 over a 2400 baud modem. Considering the end goal here is to transmit a few hundreds of characters, I think we’ve lost our way. honk is far from done, but I endeavor to keep it usable by people with only 8GB of RAM.

    • FCC (Read: Taxpayers) Forced To Pay Journalist’s Legal Bills After Tap Dancing Around FOIA Requests

      You may or may not remember that FCC boss Ajit Pai promised to operate the “most transparent” FCC ever. Initially, Pai lived up to that promise by changing FCC policy so that FCC orders would be released before they were voted on; a pretty obvious improvement of benefit to both consumers and ISP lobbyists alike. But in the year or two since, Pai has shown that genuine transparency is the very least of the chairman’s priorities.

      For example, Pai’s FCC has actively refused to aid law enforcement inquiries into who was behind the millions of bogus comments that polluted the net neutrality repeal public comment period. Similarly, the Pai FCC’s general response to FOIA requests has been to stall, delay, and ignore said requests whenever possible, resulting in numerous lawsuits by media outlets attempting to get to the bottom of all manner of bizarre FCC policy decisions (like that fake DDOS attack emails show they made up to try and downplay public anger over the net neutrality repeal).

      One of those lawsuits was filed by journalist Jason Prechtel, whose analysis recently helped shed some light on the telecom and Trump-linked organizations who stuffed the FCC ballot box during the net neutrality public comment period — in some cases using stolen identities. The Pai FCC repeatedly ignored or stalled in response to Prechtel’s FOIA requests regarding this data, so he sued the agency back in 2017. Last week, a court ruled that the FCC (read: taxpayers) will be forced to reimburse Prechtel’s legal costs to the tune of $43,000.

    • Cable Industry Embarrassed By The Word ‘Cable,’ Stops Using It

      In a bid to modernize its reputation as one of the least liked industries in America, the cable industry has a novel solution: to stop calling itself the cable industry. The industry’s biggest lobbying and trade organization, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, first got the ball rolling in 2016 when it renamed itself the The Internet & Television Association. Despite the lion’s share of its last mile still being on coaxial cable, the industry apparently hoped that eliminating “cable” from its name would somehow modernize the sector for the fiber era.

  • DRM

    • ‘I finally cracked it’: An abridged history of Apple’s TV efforts over the years

      Apple has been trying to do something big with TV for more than a decade, dating all the way back to when it first previewed the “iTV” streaming box in 2006. Years later, Apple is still trying to break into the TV industry with its biggest push yet: a streaming service expected to be announced at the company’s upcoming “It’s show time” event on March 25th, complete with original Apple-produced TV shows and movies that will be exclusive to the service.

      But it’s been a long road for Apple to get to this point, one filled with shifting strategies, corporate disagreements, and outright failures in negotiating with both cable companies and content providers. Below is an abridged history outlining how we got here, from rumors to hardware to software.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Transition At IP-Watch: A New Path Forward

      Regrettably, however, financial considerations compel us to suspend reporting for a one-year transition phase. Despite considerable efforts, we have not been able to secure sustainable long-term funding for the public service we provide to the international community. The financial challenges of providing reliable, independent and professional on-line journalism are now common to most modern media endeavours. At IP-Watch, these challenges have been compounded by our steadfast commitment to providing a non-profit public service to the global IP community and to making the majority of our content freely accessible to all.

      Nonetheless, we see this turning point as an opportunity. The suspension of reporting for one year will enable a clear transition period, which the IP-Watch Board will use to retool the publication’s strategy for the new digital media age and the shifting tides of global policymaking. The Board is committed to devising a more sustainable organisational, publishing and financial model that can support a new chapter and enable us to continue to serve our readers.

    • Health Policy Watch – Continuing The IP-Watch Tradition Of Vibrant Health Reporting

      Following today’s announcement of a one-year pause on IP-Watch reporting, we invite all IP-Watch readers to sign up here for free daily, weekly or monthly news bulletins from our sister publication, Health Policy Watch, which will include health-related IP reporting as part of its portfolio.

      [...]

      Health Policy Watch was launched with the assistance of an ear-marked start-up grant in 2018, and will continue the IP-Watch tradition of independent, impartial and unfiltered reporting, aiming to serve and engage readers from developing and developing countries on a level playing field. Health Policy Watch’s Managing Editor, Elaine Fletcher, is keen to hear your ideas and thoughts on coverage. You can contact her at info@hp-watch.org.

    • Everything Is Obvious

      For more than sixty years, “obviousness” has set the bar for patentability. Under this standard, if a hypothetical “person having ordinary skill in the art” would find an invention obvious in light of existing relevant information, then the invention cannot be patented. This skilled person is defined as a non-innovative worker with a limited knowledge-base. The more creative and informed the skilled person, the more likely an invention will be considered obvious. The standard has evolved since its introduction, and it is now on the verge of an evolutionary leap: Inventive machines are increasingly being used in research, and once the use of such machines becomes standard, the person skilled in the art should be a person using an inventive machine, or just an inventive machine. Unlike the skilled person, the inventive machine is capable of innovation and considering the entire universe of prior art. As inventive machines continue to improve, this will increasingly raise the bar to patentability, eventually rendering innovative activities obvious. The end of obviousness means the end of patents, at least as they are now.

    • Inventive yet Not: Reconciling Eligibility and Obviousness

      Mario and Jose Villena have thus far been stymied in their attempt to obtain patent protection for their claimed “system for distributing real-estate related information.” The pair filed an international PCT application in 2004 followed by a U.S. non-provisional in 2005 that has been abandoned, and finally the present application in 2011. U.S. Patent App. No. 13/294,044.

      The Examiner issued a final rejection in 2014 on several grounds – obvious and anticipated / indefinite / failed written description / ineligible subject matter. The PTAB sided with the applicant on most grounds — but affirmed the rejection based on failed eligibility. The Federal Circuit then affirmed — holding that the three claims on appeal “directed to the abstract idea of property valuation and fail to recite any inventive concepts sufficient to transform that abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention.”

      [...]

      One quirk of the Alice/Mayo framework stems from the disconnect between the purpose of the limitation and the elements of the test itself. As far as purposes, the Court has primarily focused on the potential that patent rights preempt the public use of basic building blocks of society and inquiry. In Alice, for instance, the court wrote: It is “the preemption concern that undergirds our §101 jurisprudence. . . . We have described the concern that drives this exclusionary principle as one of pre-emption.” Although the concern may be preempation, the test itself as implemented by the Federal Circuit does not actually consider preemption in its analysis — going so far as to hold that evidence of no-preemption is irrelevant to the eligibility analysis.

    • Chen v. Jung (C.D. Cal. 2019)

      Earlier this month, in Chen v. Jung, District Judge Manuel L. Real of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California issued an order denying a motion for summary judgment filed by Defendants, finding that genuine issues of material fact existed with respect to Plaintiff’s contribution to the conception of the claimed inventions of U.S. Patent Nos. 8,445,507, 8,802,689, and 9,388,159. Plaintiff Degui Chen, Ph.D., had filed suit against Michael Jung, Ph.D., and Charles L. Sawyers, M.D., seeking correction of inventorship of the ’507, ’689, and ’159 patents, which are directed to pharmaceutical compositions comprising the chemical compounds, A51 and A52 (“the A-series compounds”), and methods of administering those compounds.

      [...]

      Ouk that states that “Dr. Ouk and Dr. Chen have both confirmed that they two together conceived the structure of A51 in early October of 2004 on the lunch table at the bombshelter at UCLA.”

      With respect to the third issue, Dr. Chen contended that he was responsible for developing three bioassays that were used to test A51, that the development of these bioassays took six months, and that the bioassays were novel tests. Judge Real noted that Drs. Jung and Sawyers “have not provided evidence sufficient to rebut Plaintiff’s claims that the assays were non-public and non-routine, or that Plaintiff’s alleged development and utilization of the bioassays were so essential to the A-series project as to confer inventorship.” Finding that “Defendants have not met their burden of negating an essential element of Plaintiff’s claim or showing that Plaintiff lacks sufficient evidence of an essential element to carry his ultimate burden of persuasion at trial,” the District Court denied the motion for summary judgement filed by Drs. Jung and Sawyer.

    • Copyrights

      • No Allies for Oracle’s Win Against Google

        The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has received over a dozen amicus briefs in support of Google against Oracle in a long-lasting battle for Java API (software interface) usage. Among others, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Microsoft, Red Hat, Mozilla, Python Software Foundation, Developers Alliance, along with IP scholars, computer scientists, software innovators, start-ups, and investors raised their concerns about the rulings of the Federal Court of Appeals in 2014and 2018.

      • Support for Google mounts as its Oracle petition is considered

        Google’s argument that it used Oracle’s copyright fairly – with $8.8 billion in the balance – finds support as it hopes for US Supreme Court review

        Google’s petition for certiorari at the Supreme Court represents its last effort in a protracted copyright battle with software company Oracle. The near-decade-long conflict centres on Oracle’s Java programming application, which Google admitted to using…

      • Copyright reform: it’s the final countdown

        This Tuesday MEPs will cast the final vote in a long running process to reform the EU’s copyright law. Their decision will define whether consumers will be able to continue enjoying the internet as a place where they can easily share content with friends and family or be at risk of seeing their uploads systematically blocked by automated filters.

      • Swedish MEPs Announce Support For Article 13, Demonstrate Near Total Ignorance Of What It Actually Entails

        As MEPs get ready to vote on the EU Copyright Directive — and specific amendments concerning Articles 11 and 13 — many have not yet said how they are going to vote. However, two Swedish MEPs, Jytte Guteland and Marita Ulvskog, who many had believed would vote against the plan, have suddenly switched sides and say they plan to vote for it. In a rather astounding interview with reporter Emanuel Karlsten the MEPs reveal their near total ignorance of what Article 13 does and what it would require.

        Guteland spoke to Karlsten by phone, and he asked all the right questions. It’s worth reading the entire conversation, but here are a few snippets with my commentary.

      • New Report: Germany Caved To France On Copyright In A Deal For Russian Gas

        In the hours leading up to the vote in the EU Parliament on the EU Copyright Directive, the German publication FAZ (which has been generally supportive of the Directive) has released quite a bombshell (in German), suggesting that the reason Germany caved to France on its terrible demands concerning copyright was in order to get France’s approval of the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia.

        If you don’t recall, the German delegation had actually pushed back on the more extreme versions of Article 13 — and, in particular, had demanded that a final version have a clear carve-out for smaller companies, so as not to have them forced out of business by the onerous demands of the law. However, after some back and forth, Germany caved in to France’s demands, with many left scratching their heads as to why. However, some noted the “coincidence” in timing, that right after this, France also withdrew its objections to the pipeline which is very controversial in the EU (and the US, which is threatening sanctions).

      • EU Copyright Directive Vote, GNU nano 4.0 Released, Redox OS 0.5.0 Announced, Sailfish OS 3.0.2 “Oulanka” Now Available and Linux Kernel 5.1-rc2 Released

        Members of the European Parliament vote tomorrow on the Directive on Copyright. Those in the EU can go to SaveYourInternet to ask their representatives to vote against Article 17 (previously Article 13). See this Creative Commons blog post for more information. From the post: “The dramatic negative effects of upload filters would be disastrous to the vision Creative Commons cares about as an organisation and global community.”

        [...]

        Sailfish OS 3.0.2 “Oulanka” is now available. Named after the Oulanka national park in Lapland and the Northern Ostrobothnia regions of Finland, this new version fixes more than 44 bugs. In addition, “With this new update you will find that the Top Menu has a new switch for silencing ringtones and there’s a new battery saving mode to make the most out of low battery in those moments you need to stretch productivity. Email app supports now sending read receipts to inform that you have read the senders’ email. Connectivity was improved in terms of firewall and global proxy. As for the user interface, home screen had memory optimizations for handling wallpapers, freeing memory for running other apps.”

      • Inside GitHub’s fight to protect devs from EU’s disastrous Copyright Reform [Ed: Microsoft is a patent and copyright maximalist, this time it just doesn't suit one site.]
      • European Parliament to vote on EU Copyright Directive
      • How #Article13 is like the Inquisition: John Milton Against the EU #CopyrightDirective

        Fundamentally, policing of speech can happen at one of two points: before content disseminates, or after. Policing content after it disseminates involves human agents seeing and reporting content and taking action or requesting action. This can happen on a huge scale or a tiny one: Facebook’s content flagging system, obscenity law in much of the EU and USA, parents who object to books assigned in schools, and China’s 50 Cent Army of two million internet censors, all these act to silence content after it disseminates.

      • The EU votes on a confusing new copyright law Tuesday

        Both provisions are maddeningly vague—laying out broad goals without providing much detail about how those goals can be achieved. This is partly because the EU’s lawmaking system occurs in two stages. First, EU-wide institutions pass a broad directive indicating how the law should be changed. Then each of the EU’s member nations translates the directive into specific laws. This process leaves EU-wide legislators significant latitude to declare general policy goals and leave the details to individual countries.

        Still, if the legislation’s goals are incoherent or contradictory, then something is going to have to give. And critics warn that the package could wind up damaging the Internet’s openness by forcing the adoption of upload filters and new limits on linking to news stories.

      • Music Labels Forgot Their ‘Secret’ Article 13 Weapon, So Dan Bull Used it Against Them

        Music is widely acknowledged as one of the most potent and emotive ways to tell a story and send a message. Yet, inexplicably, no major artists in favor of Article 13 have used their talent to tell the world why it should pass. In that silence, UK rapper Dan Bull (with support from Grandayy and PewDiePie) has now seized the day – to explain why it shouldn’t.

      • EU backs controversial copyright law

        The European parliament has backed controversial copyright laws which critics say could change the nature of the internet.

      • Even after today’s EU Parliament vote, we can still kill Article 13 through pressure on German government to prevent formal adoption by EU Council

        Under normal circumstances, today’s outcome of the European Parliament’s plenary vote would mean we lost the fight against Article 13 (“upload filters”) definitively because a 348-274 majority adopted the bill without amendments after an incredibly narrow 317-312 majority disallowed votes on individual amendments. The latter result indicates a majority against Article 13 was in striking distance, given that no amendment had nearly as much as momentum as the one that would have deleted Article 13 (now named Article 17). Some folks may have given up prematurely, but that’s another story.

        If we organize another and even bigger round of street protests in Germany, work with opposition parties, and put maximum pressure on Merkel’s junior partner (the Social Democratic Party of Germany, SPD), we may be able to prevent Germany from allowing the directive to pass into law. But we only have two weeks to make it happen. Let me explain step by step.

      • EU’s Parliament Signs Off on Disastrous Internet Law: What Happens Next?

        In a stunning rejection of the will five million online petitioners, and over 100,000 protestors this weekend, the European Parliament has abandoned common-sense and the advice of academics, technologists, and UN human rights experts, and approved the Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive in its entirety.

        There’s now little that can stop these provisions from becoming the law of the land across Europe. It’s theoretically possible that the final text will fail to gain a majority of member states’ approval when the European Council meets later this month, but this would require at least one key country to change its mind. Toward that end, German and Polish activists are already re-doubling their efforts to shift their government’s key votes.

        If that attempt fails, the results will be drawn-out, and chaotic. Unlike EU Regulations like the GDPR, which become law on passage by the central EU institutions, EU Directives have to be transposed: written into each member country’s national law. Countries have until 2021 to transpose the Copyright Directive, but EU rarely keeps its members to that deadline, so it could take even longer.

      • ISPs: We’re Definitely Not the Internet Police, Until We Decide We Should Be

        For mainly legal reasons, it’s prudent for ISPs to describe themselves as dumb pipes, with no control over or responsibility for the content that traverses their networks. The reality is, however, that is not only an untruth but a stance that can be undone in an instant, should emotions run high enough. Trouble is, no important actions exist in a bubble.

      • Spotify to be muted in Swedish churches

        From the beginning of next month, anyone who plans to play music at a wedding, baptism or funeral will have to find an alternative source to the streaming option, radio station P4 Kristiansand reports.

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    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 11, 2019



  11. EPO Promoting Software Patents in Countries Where These Are Illegal

    The EPO's vision of 'unitary' software patents (patents on algorithms in countries that disallow such patents, as per their national laws) won't materialise, but in the meantime a lot of Invalid Patents (IPs) are granted in the form of European Patents (EPs) and this is wrong



  12. We Support GNU and the FSF But Remain Sceptical and Occasionally Worry About an RMS-less FSF

    Richard Stallman (RMS) is not in charge of the FSF anymore (it's Stallman who created the FSF) and there's risk the decisions will be made by people who don't share Stallman's ethics or the FSF's spirit



  13. Links 11/12/2019: Huawei Lobbied by Microsoft (Because of GNU/Linux) and Microsoft Still Googlebombs Linux to Promote 'Teams'

    Links for the day



  14. Links 11/12/2019: Edge Native Working Group, CrossOver 19.0 Released

    Links for the day



  15. Instead of Fixing Bug #1 Canonical/Ubuntu Contributes to Making the Bug Even More Severe (WSL/EEE)

    Following one seminal report about Canonical financially contributing to Microsoft's EEE efforts — celebrated openly by GNU/Linux opponentsclosing bug #1 Ubuntu basically decided not that it was fixed but that it would no longer attempt to fix it (“wontfix”)



  16. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, December 10, 2019

    IRC logs for Tuesday, December 10, 2019



  17. Today's Example of Microsoft's Faked 'Love'

    “On 7 September 2017, users began noticing a message that stated “Skype for Business is now Microsoft Teams”. This was confirmed on 25 September 2017, at Microsoft’s annual Ignite conference,” according to Wikipedia



  18. Links 10/12/2019: Kubernetes 1.17, Debian Init Systems GR

    Links for the day



  19. 'Cancel Culture' as 'Thoughtpolice' Creep

    Richard Stallman spoke about an important aspect of censorship more than 2 decades ago (before “Open Source” even existed); it was published in Datamation (“Censoring My Software”) 23 years before a campaign of defamation on the Internet was used to remove him from MIT and FSF (censoring or ‘canceling’ Stallman himself)



  20. Microsoft Still Hates GNU/Linux and Mark Shuttleworth Knows It (But He is Desperate for Money)

    We're supposed to believe that a PR or image management (reputation laundering) campaign alone can turn Microsoft from GNU/Linux foe into friend/ally



  21. Actions Against EPO Corruption and Unitary Patent (UPC) Injustice/Lobbying

    The EPO is apparently going on strike again and an action against the UPC is scheduled for later this week (protest in Brussels)



  22. “The Fifth Freedom as a Meme”

    The issue with systemd (or SystemD) has provoked or at least stimulated discussions about the limits of the famous Four Freedoms



  23. IRC Proceedings: Monday, December 09, 2019

    IRC logs for Monday, December 09, 2019



  24. Demonstration Against Unitary Software Patents, Thursday 12 Dec in Brussels

    FFII's call to demonstrate against the UPC



  25. Links 9/12/2019: China on GNU/Linux, Canonical Wants Help to Improve Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  26. Links 9/12/2019: Linux 5.5 RC1, EasyOS Buster 2.1.9

    Links for the day



  27. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, December 08, 2019

    IRC logs for Sunday, December 08, 2019



  28. Mandatory Education for Those Who Use and Misuse Buzzwords Would Go a Long Way

    In an age of substitution — where marketing terms replace meaningful words and concepts — it has gotten more difficult to have honest debates, for example about the scope of patents



  29. Once Upon a Time Banter Was Allowed on Mailing Lists

    Hours ago Torvalds announced RC1 of the next Linux (kernel) release; it has been a while since he last said something ‘controversial’ (following his month at the penalty box); free speech deficit can make us weaker, not stronger (advantage to those who work in the dark)



  30. Links 8/12/2019: Debian Init Systems GR, NomadBSD 1.3

    Links for the day


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