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03.28.19

Links 28/3/2019: Linux 5.0.5, Mesa 19.0.1

Posted in News Roundup at 10:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • AAEON Reveals UP Xtreme 120-mm Single Board Computer with Whiskey Lake
  • Logic Supply Unveils Karbon 300 Compact Rugged PC, Built For IoT
  • Rugged fanless PC is built for IoT

    Logic Supply has combined the latest vision processing, security protocols, wireless communication technologies, and proven cloud architectures to create the Karbon 300 rugged fanless computer.

  • Cudo Miner launches new OS system for rig miners

    Cudo Miner, a crypto mining software application, today released the latest version of its graphical user interface (GUI) miner as a stand-alone operating.

  • Qtum launches Arch-Linux package for simple use of Linux tools

    Today, Qtum the open-source public blockchain platform, has published an Arch User Repository (AUR) package for Arch Linux-based systems.

  • Altcoin News: Qtum (QTUM) Publishes Arch User Repository for Arch-Based Systems

    Qtum has revealed that the newly published AUR package will enable users to get a complete and functional installation of Qtum…

  • AI module puts twin Movidius Myriad X on m.2 board for vision processing

    That information also says that it needs to work with an x86_64 PC running Ubuntu 16.04 with 1Gbyte of ram and 4Gbyte of free storage – over to any experts out there to say whether this is only for learning, or for use as well. Electronics Weekly has requested a proper data sheet.

  • Laptop Bonanza on Flipkart: Get up to Rs 7,500 off on Lenovo, Dell, HP and other laptops

    The laptop has a 14-inch screen and comes with a 7th Gen Intel Core i3 processor and Ubuntu Linux operating system.

  • Server

    • Kubernetes 1.14 Enhances Cloud-Native Platform With Windows Nodes

      The first major update of the open-source Kubernetes cloud-native platform in 2019 was released on March 25, with the general availability of Kubernetes 1.14.

      Kubernetes is a broadly deployed container orchestration system project that is hosted by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) and benefits from a diverse set of contributors and vendors that support and develop the project. With Kubernetes 1.14, the project is adding 10 new enhancements as stable features that provide new capabilities for users. Among the biggest enhancements is production-level support for Windows nodes.

      “I’m proud of just that fact that in Kubernetes 1.14 there are more stable enhancements than any other previous Kubernetes release,” Aaron Crickenberger, Google test engineer and Kubernetes 1.14 release lead, told eWEEK. “The continued focus on stability speaks to this community’s commitment.”

    • Kubernetes 1.14 Ships With Production-Grade Support For Microsoft Windows Worker Nodes

      The Kubernetes community continues to make brisk progress.

    • Wonderful world of CEPHalopods

      I mean, if you want large quantities of data storage to hold stuff like backups, surveillance videos, archived material, analytical datasets, research data, anything on your user’s PCs; and have that storage almost infinitely scalable, be self-healing, self-managing, highly available, and very cost effective then SES is your answer. It is open source software that installs on industry standard severs and disk to form a highly available cluster with no single point of failure for the data. There is no proprietary hardware or software. No high cost licenses or capacity charges. Only support subscription and that is it.
      There is still a place for storage vendor solutions. Low-latency, high IO operations such as high performance databases may require the level of performance a proprietary storage solution can guarantee to deliver. This Tier 1 data requirement is typically only 20% of an organisations data.

    • Red Hat Satellite 6.5 Beta is now available with support for RHEL 8 Beta AppStreams

      We are pleased to announce that Red Hat Satellite 6.5 is now available in beta to current Satellite customers.

      Red Hat Satellite is a scalable platform to manage patching, provisioning, and subscription management of your Red Hat infrastructure, regardless of where it is running. The Satellite 6.5 beta is focused on adding Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 as a supported version, so that when RHEL 8 is generally available our customers can immediately begin using it.

      RHEL 8 Beta comes with a number of improvements we needed to support with Satellite. For example, RHEL 8’s Application Streams provide “virtual repositories” to allow users to choose specific versions of supported technologies. This requires Satellite to understand AppStreams as well.

    • IBM Project Debater Speaks To The Future Of AI

      The conversational AI created by IBM called Project Debater is designed to have a formal debate with a person. While Project Debater did lose its final.

    • Monitoring distributed systems means first, do no harm

      Most Unix and Linux systems have long exposed hooks that allow less invasive access to system metrics. These metrics are less detailed than logs, but can be extracted more easily, and SREs must know when and how to use each type of tool, he said.

      “I’m not saying don’t log — I’m saying log smarter,” Chen said. “Understand what the costs are as you make decisions.”

    • Continuous response: The essential process we’re ignoring in DevOps
    • OpenShift Commons Briefing: Delivering Transformative Reactive Systems on OpenShift – Karl Wehden (Lightbend)

      In this OpenShift Commons Briefing our guest speaker Karl Wehden, VP of Product Strategy at Lightbend, talked about delivering business transformation at scale and how Lightbend and OpenShift can transform organizations by integrating business rules management into stream-based systems.

      By combining Red Hat Decision Manager and Stream processing using Lightbend Pipelines–a new abstraction to simplify the development of streams processing–businesses can deliver clear decisions on time and with accuracy. By simplifying data delivery, decision processing, and doing these at scale, true change is possible. We’ll be highlighting the use of this technology in a financial services risk management example.

    • At the First Click

      Sys admin columnist Charly freely admits that he doesn’t like SQL and phpMyAdmin any more than he does COBOL. Instead, meet his new best friend; the slim, attractive database tool known as Adminer.

      When I was young and AIX 4 was in its infancy, we had a full-time database administrator at the data center who could not only recite the whole SQL command set forwards, but could also type it backwards. Behind his back, the trainees called him GRANT [1] father. Fortunately, I didn’t inherit his job, because on my popularity scale, SQL ranks at about the same level as COBOL – I learned both once, and I try hard not to use either.

    • Choosing a storage snapshot tool

      Modern operating systems often include more than 100,000 files. In the event of system crash, bringing a system back online by restoring from incremental backups can be a complex and time consuming task. Data may even get lost along the way, if you forgot to back up certain directories or if you only created incremental backups without performing the occasional full backup.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Kernel 4.20 Reached End of Life, Users Urged to Upgrade to Linux 5.0

      Released on December 23rd, 2018, the Linux 4.20 kernel series brought lots of enhancements, including indirect branch speculation control per task to fix issues with the Indirect Branch Prediction Barrier (IBPB) and Single Thread Indirect Branch Predictors (STIBP) mitigations for Spectre security vulnerabilities.

      It also introduced better Spectre Variant 2 userspace-userspace protection, stronger Spectre Variant 4 mitigations for ARM64 (AArch64) CPUs, support for AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20 GPUs, support for the C-SKY CPU architecture, as well as support for Hygon Dhyana x86 CPUs and AMD Radeon Picasso and Raven 2 GPUs.

    • Linux 5.0.5

      I’m announcing the release of the 5.0.5 kernel.

      All users of the 5.0 kernel series must upgrade.

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

      http://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-st…

    • Linux 4.19.32
    • Linux 4.14.109
    • Linux 4.9.166
    • Modern USB gadget on Linux & how to integrate it with systemd (Part 2)

      In the previous post I introduced you to the subject of USB gadgets implemented as machines running Linux. We also talked about modern style of USB gadget creation and integrating that with systemd. In this post, we look at how to implement your very own USB function with FunctionFS and how to integrate that with systemd.

    • NEWS

      Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux kernel, has announced the release of Linux 5.0. Despite any excitement around the major release number, the fact is these numbers really don’t mean much. Torvalds has often said that he chooses a new number when the version number becomes too long. He simply doesn’t want a situation where “the numbers are big enough that you can’t really distinguish them.”

    • 5.1 Merge window part 2

      By the time that 5.1-rc1 was released and the 5.1 merge window ended, 11,241 non-merge changesets had been pulled into the mainline repository. Of those, just over 5,000 were pulled since the first 5.1 merge-window summary. It often happens that the biggest changes are pulled early, with the emphasis shifting to fixes by the end of the merge window; this time, though, some of the most significant features were saved for last.

    • Zack’s Kernel News

      Everyone hates the printk() function, because it’s supposed to do something very simple – print output to the console – but in order to do that it has to overcome tremendous obstacles, like producing its output while the system itself is in the very midst of total destruction. Unlike other functions, printk() can’t rely on any other part of the system actually working. At least, that’s the ideal.

      John Ogness recently tried to improve matters. Specifically, among other things, he wanted to free printk() from the constraint of requiring a global lock. He wanted to make it pre-emptible, so that even the deep, dark parts of the kernel that absolutely needed to be able to interrupt everything could still call printk() in times of crisis.

      It’s a worthy goal. If those deep, dark parts of the kernel can’t use printk(), then they can’t report what went wrong if they were involved in a system crash. Making printk() pre-emptible would allow every nook and cranny of the kernel to give relevant information that could help to debug the crash.

    • The creation of the io.latency block I/O controller

      Sharing a disk between users in Linux is awful. Different applications have different I/O patterns, they have different latency requirements, and they are never consistent. Throttling can help ensure that users get their fair share of the available bandwidth but, since most I/O is in the writeback path, it’s often too late to throttle without putting pressure elsewhere on the system. Disks are all different as well. You have spinning rust, solid-state devices (SSDs), awful SSDs, and barely usable SSDs. Each class of device has its own performance characteristics and, even in a single class, they’ll perform differently based on the workload. Trying to address all of these issues with a single I/O controller was tricky, but we at Facebook think that we have come up with a reasonable solution.

      Historically, the kernel has had two I/O controllers for control groups. The first, io.max, allows setting hard limits on the bandwidth used or I/O operations per second (IOPS), per device. The second, io.cfq.weight, was provided by the CFQ I/O scheduler. As Facebook has worked on things like pressure-stall information and the version-2 control-group interface, it became apparent that neither of those controllers solved our problem. Generally, we have a main workload that runs, and then we have periodic system utilities that run in the background. Chef runs a few times an hour, updates any settings on the system, and installs packages. The fbpkg tool downloads new versions of the application that is running on the system three or four times per day.

      The io.max controller allowed us to clamp down on those system utilities, but made them run unbearably slowly all of the time. Ratcheting up on the throttling just made them impact the main workload too much, so it wasn’t a great solution. The CFQ io.cfq.weight controller was a non-starter, as CFQ did not work with the multi-queue block layer, not to mention that just using CFQ in general caused so many problems with latencies that we had turned it off years ago in favor of the deadline scheduler.

      Jens Axboe’s writeback-throttling work introduced a new way of monitoring and curtailing workloads. It works by measuring the latencies of reads from a disk and, if they exceed a configured threshold, it clamps down on the number of writes that are allowed to go to the disk. This sits above the I/O scheduler, which is important because we have a finite number of requests we can have outstanding for any single device. This number is controlled by the /sys/block/<device>/queue/nr_requests setting. We call this the “queue depth” of the device. The writeback-throttling infrastructure worked by lowering the queue depth before allocating a request for incoming write operations, allowing the available requests to be used by reads and throttling the writes as necessary.

      This solution addressed a problem wherein fbpkg would pull down multi-gigabyte packages to update the running application. Since the application updates tended to be pushed all at once, we would see global latency spikes as the sudden wave of writes impacted the already running application.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Hyperledger Welcomes Nine New Members to its Expanding Enterprise Blockchain Community

        Hyperledger, an open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies, today announced that nine organizations have joined the community. The new members, which includes the first general members from Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, further strengthen the global support for the leading enterprise blockchain project.

        Hyperledger is a multi-venture, multi-stakeholder effort hosted at the Linux Foundation that includes various enterprise blockchain and distributed ledger technologies. With the support of its fast-growing and increasingly diverse community, the organization announced the expansion of its portfolio of Special Interest Groups (SIGs), with the addition of the Hyperledger Social Impact SIG, Hyperledger Trade Finance Special Interest Group and, most recently, Telecom SIG. Hyperledger also welcomed the Smart Contract Working Group. Additionally, Hyperledger released two case studies offering a detailed look at Walmart’s unprecedented advancement of the food supply chain industry using Hyperledger Fabric and British Columbia’s efforts to cut government red tape with Hyperledger Indy.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Mesa 18.3.6 Is Coming With Over A Dozen Fixes To End Out The Series

        Mesa 18.3.6 is expected to be officially released this week as the last point release in the Mesa 18.3 series.

      • mesa 19.0.1
        Hi List,
        
        I'd like to announce the availability of mesa 19.0.1.
        
        This is the first bug fix release of the 19.0 branch. It's been a
        pretty calm cycle, and there's not too much here. I think things are
        looking pretty good overall.
        
        Dylan
        
        shortlog:
        Andres Gomez (4):
              glsl: correctly validate component layout qualifier for dvec{3,4}
              glsl/linker: don't fail non static used inputs without matching outputs
              glsl/linker: simplify xfb_offset vs xfb_stride overflow check
              Revert "glsl: relax input->output validation for SSO programs"
        
        Bas Nieuwenhuizen (2):
              radv: Use correct image view comparison for fast clears.
              ac/nir: Return frag_coord as integer.
        
        Danylo Piliaiev (2):
              anv: Treat zero size XFB buffer as disabled
              glsl: Cross validate variable's invariance by explicit invariance only
        
        Dave Airlie (1):
              softpipe: fix texture view crashes
        
        Dylan Baker (6):
              docs: Add SHA256 sums for 19.0.0
              cherry-ignore: Add commit that doesn't apply
              bin/install_megadrivers.py: Correctly handle DESTDIR=''
              bin/install_megadrivers.py: Fix regression for set DESTDIR
              bump version for 19.0.1
              Add release notes for 19.0.1
        
        Eric Anholt (1):
              v3d: Fix leak of the renderonly struct on screen destruction.
        
        Jason Ekstrand (6):
              glsl/lower_vector_derefs: Don't use a temporary for TCS outputs
              glsl/list: Add a list variant of insert_after
              anv/pass: Flag the need for a RT flush for resolve attachments
              nir/builder: Add a vector extract helper
              nir: Add a new pass to lower array dereferences on vectors
              intel/nir: Lower array-deref-of-vector UBO and SSBO loads
        
        Józef Kucia (2):
              radv: Fix driverUUID
              mesa: Fix GL_NUM_DEVICE_UUIDS_EXT
        
        Kenneth Graunke (1):
              intel/fs: Fix opt_peephole_csel to not throw away saturates.
        
        Kevin Strasser (1):
              egl/dri: Avoid out of bounds array access
        
        Mark Janes (1):
              mesa: properly report the length of truncated log messages
        
        Plamena Manolova (1):
              i965: Disable ARB_fragment_shader_interlock for platforms prior to GEN9
        
        Samuel Pitoiset (3):
              radv: set the maximum number of IBs per submit to 192
              radv: always initialize HTILE when the src layout is UNDEFINED
              radv: fix binding transform feedback buffers
        
        Sergii Romantsov (1):
              d3d: meson: do not prefix user provided d3d-drivers-path
        
        Tapani Pälli (2):
              isl: fix automake build when sse41 is not supported
              anv/radv: release memory allocated by glsl types during spirv_to_nir
        
      • Mesa 19.0.1 Released – Mostly Made Up Of RADV Fixes

        Mesa 19.0.1 comes with just under three dozen patches, which isn’t too bad for being a first point release and the changes are lighter in nature than we’ve seen in some past cycles. Many of the patches are RADV fixes. Besides the Radeon Vulkan fixes there are also some GLSL fixes, V3D, Intel i965, and other minor core changes.

      • Mesa 19.1 Now Supports Intel’s Icelake-Based Elkhart Lake

        Earlier this month the Intel open-source developers sent out their initial Linux kernel patches for “Elkhart Lake” graphics support. Elkhart Lake is a SoC successor to Geminilake based on Icelake and will feature Gen11 graphics.

        Elkhart Lake is still a ways out from being released, but the Intel open-source team is being punctual in their open-source driver enablement work. With Elkhart Lake featuring the same Icelake/Gen11 graphics tech, the driver support in both kernel and user-space primarily comes down to adding in the new PCI IDs and marking them as Gen 11 graphics.

    • Benchmarks

      • Phoronix Test Suite 8.8 Milestone 2 Released For Open-Source Benchmarking

        The second development release of Phoronix Test Suite 8.8-Hvaler is now available for your Linux / Windows / macOS / BSD benchmarking needs.

        Following the big Phoronix Test Suite 8.8 milestone 1 release from two weeks back that was also timed with new test profiles, Phoronix Test Suite 8.8 Milestone 2 offers up some additional changes for this next feature release due out in Q2-2019.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Qt Creator 4.9 RC released

        We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.9 RC!

        Please have a look at the blog post for the Beta for an overview of what is new in Qt Creator 4.9. Also see the change log for a more complete list of changes.

      • Qt Creator 4.9 Is Around The Corner With Expanded Language Server Protocol Support
      • KDE Applications 19.04 Open-Source Software Suite Enters Public Beta Testing

        KDE Applications 19.04 has been in development since early March, and a beta version is now ready for public testing to give the community an early look at the new features and improvements, as well as to help the development team ensure the quality of the user experience of the upcoming release.

        KDE Applications 19.04 entering beta development phase also marks the Dependency Freeze and Feature Freeze stages, which means the KDE team will now focus their efforts only on fixing bugs and polishing the final release of the open-source office suite, which should launch on April 28th, 2019.

      • Guest Post: Improvements to the lock, login, and logout screens in Plasma 5.16

        Here’s a mid-week guest post from two relatively new but very enthusiastic KDE contributors: Filip Fila and Krešimir Čohar. You’ll probably recognize their names from prior blog posts because they’ve been doing a lot of great work lately! And they’d like to share the results of their first major project: refreshing the lock and login screens’ look-and-feel in the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.16 release.

      • Ksnip Screenshot Tool Adds Wayland Support, New Annotation Tools

        Ksnip, a free and open source Qt5 screenshot tool has seen a new major release recently, which adds important enhancements like experimental Wayland support for KDE and GNOME, option to scale the image, and new annotation tools like blur, double arrow, marker rectangle and ellipse. What’s more, with this release the application is no longer Linux-only, adding macOS and Windows support.

      • KDE Bugsquad – Gwenview Bug Day on March 30th, 2019

        We will be holding a Bug Day on March 30th, 2019, focusing on Gwenview. Join at any time, the event will be occurring all day long!

        This is a great opportunity for anyone, especially non-developers to get involved!

      • Shutter – Eyes Wide Tux

        Shutter is a very handy screenshot tool. I’m quite pleased. But then, it also has its tiny flaws that make it imperfect. Most notably, the workflow is slightly more intrusive than if and when you work with something like Spectacle or Gnome screenshot. In this regard, I need something with the flexibility of the former and the simplicity of the latter. Back in the day, I think KSnapshot was that tool.

        Philosophy aside, because we’ve already said all that needs to be said on these other programs, on its own, Shutter is a respectable choice. Powerful, extensible, practical, with lots of good features and options, and the ability to tweak the settings. It allows you to take screenshots en masse, and it’s definitely a smart choice for extensive use. I’d like to see a somewhat faster flow, and since the buttons are there, the use of native desktop plugins for image export. Other than that, a very pleasing surprise. Clearimage Screenshot Revival. Or something.

      • Kdenlive Devs Had a Sprint, Made This Awesome Vid

        Raise the subject of open-source Linux video editors among Linux enthusiasts and chances are someone will mention ‘Kdenlive’.

        Some will opine for OpenShot, prefer Pitivi, or favour Flowblade, but a sizeable set of FOSS-loving creatives will recommend Kdenlive — and for good reason.

        Kdenlive is a Qt-based open-source, non-linear video editor for Linux, Windows and macOS — and it is by far the most competent open-source video editor for Linux (at least in my experience).

        Striking a balance between advanced prosumer features with straight-forward consumer user interface is hard, but Kdenlive manages it.

      • The best Plasma ever

        KDE Plasma 5.14 brings some highly visible improvements for KDE users.

        The two big Linux desktop environments are moving further apart. Gnome stands for simplicity, hiding many of its functions and making other functions accessible only through extensions. Increasingly, functionality is being removed from Gnome, such as lately the ability to place icons for directories or apps on the desktop itself. The Gnome desktop’s operating concept requires that the user adapt to the software instead of the other way around.

        Moving in the opposite direction, KDE developers are deliberately seeking to expand the desktop’s capabilities. Recent releases have seen many continuous, consistent, and meaningful improvements to the Plasma desktop.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Designing for the Librem 5

        So you’re excited about the Librem 5 and GNOME going mobile, and want to start building an app for it. Of course, the first step is to design your app. This can seem quite challenging if you’re just starting out with a new platform, but fear not! In this blog post I’ll walk you through some of the most important UI patterns, and the process of going from idea to mockups step by step. Throughout this I’ll be using a read-it-later app as an example.

      • New GNOME Mockups Of The Librem 5 User Interface Work

        While Purism is engaging with several different open-source communities for supporting different operating systems and interfaces with their in-development Librem 5 smartphone, by default they are planning to use assets from GNOME for their default user experience to jive with their GNOME-based Pure OS desktop Linux distribution. Here are some new mock-ups on the GNOME side for this privacy-minded Linux smartphone.

      • Epiphany 3.32 and WebKitGTK 2.24

        Although Epiphany 3.32 has been the work of many developers, as you’ve seen, I want to give special credit Epiphany’s newest maintainer, Jan-Michael. He has closed a considerable number of bugs, landed too many improvements to mention here, and has been a tremendous help. Thank you!

      • What To Do After Installing GNOME 3.32 Desktop Environment

        This simple compilation of tips introduces you useful things to do after you have a fresh GNOME 3.32 desktop environment on your GNU/Linux operating system. In most case, this tutorial will be useful for Fedora, Arch, or any other distro with vanilla (not customized) GNOME; but you can apply several tips from this to Ubuntu or other distro with custom GNOME as well. Alright, happy working!

      • Layout managers in GTK 4
      • Updating some GNOME 3.32 user documentation

        Apart from replacing many broken links to git.gnome.org or replacing links to GNOME Bugzilla with links to GNOME Gitlab in many code repositories and wiki pages, in the last months I spent some good time updating random GNOME user docs all over the place

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • New computer

        Installing Mageia was annoying. Latest stable didn’t work, latest beta same. Eventually ended up installing it via internet (net install).

        Before buying all the components I wasn’t aware something like fanless existed for such a CPU. It’s nice to do the research and make a pc which mostly follows the tips I found, my preferences and the trade-offs I had to make. Price wise I spent about 800 EUR on the various components (I didn’t list all of them). In case people want to know the exact components I’ll put it into the comments. I’m trying to avoid making this appear as an advertisement.

    • Gentoo Family

      • Gentoo GNOME 3.30 for all init systems

        GNOME 3.30 is now available in Gentoo Linux testing branch.
        Starting with this release, GNOME on Gentoo once again works with OpenRC, in addition to the usual systemd option. This is achieved through the elogind project, a standalone logind implementation based on systemd code, which is currently maintained by a fellow Gentoo user. It provides the missing logind interfaces currently required by GNOME without booting with systemd.

        For easier GNOME install, the desktop/gnome profiles now set up default USE flags with elogind for OpenRC systems, while the desktop/gnome/systemd profiles continue to do that for systemd systems. Both have been updated to provide a better initial GNOME install experience. After profile selection, a full install should be simply a matter of `emerge gnome` for testing branch users. Don’t forget to adapt your system to any changed USE flags on previously installed packages too.

      • Gentoo GNOME 3.30 for all init systems

        GNOME 3.30 is now available in Gentoo Linux testing branch. Starting with this release, GNOME on Gentoo once again works with OpenRC, in addition to the usual systemd option. This is achieved through the elogind project, a standalone logind implementation based on systemd code, which is currently maintained by a fellow Gentoo user. Gentoo would like to thank Mart Raudsepp (leio), Gavin Ferris, and all others working on this for their contributions. More information can be found in Mart’s blog post.

      • Gentoo Gets GNOME 3.30 Running Without Systemd

        For those trying to keep to a systemd-free system, Gentoo developers have GNOME once again working without being dependent on systemd. The developers have managed with GNOME 3.30 the ability to use any init system desired, well, primarily OpenRC as is popular with Gentoo users.

        Gentoo developers managed in their testing branch to get GNOME 3.30 on Gentoo working again with OpenRC and not dependent upon systemd. They are using the elogind project as a logind implementation independent of systemd, which required updates for getting the desktop working with GNOME 3.30.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • 5 Reasons To Attend SUSECON 2019

        Attendees will learn how they can use open software-defined infrastructure and application delivery solutions to reduce costs and complexity, anticipate and quickly leverage the latest advancements, and move the business forward while reducing unnecessary risk.

      • Our Kind of Open: Meet Leostream in Nashville at SUSECON 2019!

        I can’t believe we are just one week away from the event we’ve been looking forward to all year – SUSECON 2019 in America’s Music City, Nashville, Tennessee! Not only is it a perfect setting for a week away in April, but we are thrilled to be meeting with industry leaders to discuss one of our favorite topics – open source technology.

      • SUSECON 2019 MY KIND OPEN is hitting the Nashville Scene!

        SUSECON 2019 is all set to roar loud and as you all know SUSE likes to champion open source as a ‘complete culture’ and insists upon lack of vendor lock-in — and, as such, the company insists that it currently has hundreds of open source projects actively working in research and development.This is a show with a LOT of certification and training… with SUSE Certified Administrator (SCA) Exams and SUSE Certified Engineer (SCE) Exams billed at the top of the list.

      • Oracle Product Certifications with SUSE Linux Enterprise

        Oracle and SUSE have a long history of collaboration as technology partners, resulting in an outstanding experience, including improved efficiency, increased performance and security, and higher availability for clients who choose the combination of Oracle products running on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES). Hundreds of Oracle applications run on SLES across several product families. This blog highlights recent certifications on SLES 15 and SLES 12.

      • YOUR Kind of Open Solutions for SAP Environments at SUSECON

        SAP has fully embraced open source technology and innovation with solutions like SAP Cloud Platform and SAP Data Hub, which they developed on SUSE solutions. So, what better place to highlight all that SAP and SUSE are doing together than SUSECON 2019 in Nashville, TN next week. You’ll get many opportunities to learn more about why SUSE is the trusted and preferred open source platform for SAP’s Digital Enterprise.

      • Meet SUSE at Cloud Foundry Summit in Philadelphia

        Next week is going to be super busy for the SUSE Cloud Application Platform team, with the Cloud Foundry Summit in Philadelphia and SUSECON in Nashville happening at the same time. It’s unfortunate the timing worked out like this, but it happens. The good news is that we’re going to make the best of it and show off our latest in advancements in combining Cloud Foundry with Kubernetes at both events. The bad news is that I will have to miss Cloud Foundry Summit this time because I’ll be at SUSECON. I’ll certainly be at the Cloud Foundry EU Summit later in the year though. In any case, we’ll have a strong team in Philadelphia and they’re eager to tell you what we’ve been working on.

    • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Call for Proposals: Debconf 19, Curitiba, Brazil

        The DebConf Content team would like to call for proposals in the DebConf 19 conference, which will take place in Curitiba, Brazil, between July 21th and 28th. It will be preceded by DebCamp from July 14th to 19th, and Open Day on the 20th.

      • Big Deal

        The problems of aging code are well known to all software developers. Left to its own minimum energy state, a codebase is an artifact of the time in which it was envisioned. The tools and methods used to build the code become an integral part of the product. In some respects, the decentralized nature of a project like Debian forces a kind of continuous evolution, which tends to attenuate some of the aging effects. But, as Stapelberg points out, the decentralization causes other issues, especially for a very large project. The current trend in software development is automation, which puts the emphasis on uniformity and centralization – traits that are de-emphasized in a vast, decentralized project.

        The problems outlined in Stapelberg’s blog post seem to call for decisive action from a committee or individual empowered to impose uniformity and standardization in a culture where these traits have no history. The question is whether a community project like Debian could muster the unity and strong leadership needed for big and decisive changes. Of course, it is fair to say that Stapelberg’s critique is just the opinion of one contributor; many Debian developers might not agree with him. Perhaps more importantly, some developers who agree with him about the headaches of Debian development still might not want to change Debian culture, which has always been based on principle rather than on considerations of efficiency and business.

        Whether or not the Debian developers decide to address the issues raised in Michael Stapelberg’s critique, I hope his blog post starts a fair, open, and honest discussion about what they really want and what kind of development environment would serve them best. Linux distributions come and go, but Debian really is a big deal – just as it was 15 years ago.

      • Removal of jessie-updates and jessie-backports from Debian mirrors

        (There are some discussions about resurrecting the jessie-updates suite to avoid the above errors, but it is probably getting less and less useful as time passes.)

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Kubernetes Day India 2019, Bangalore ee

      I returned to another conference with the jetlag of another conference, FOSSASIA but this conference was something I was very eagerly waiting to attend. Why? Well there are a couple of reasons, but the main reason for which I bought the ticket was to listen to Liz Rice in person.

      The other reason was to see and meet the growing community of Kubernetes in Bangalore.

      23rd March 2019, I woke up early morning and left along with Sayani, and Saptak to this place quite outside of Bangalore. Going to the venue almost felt like a weekend getaway trip.

      Anyways we reached the venue at 8AM, and the Bangalore sun was already killing. CNCF had announced people would be eligible for KubeCon tickets if they came and collected their badges before 8:30AM. This was a nice trick because I could see a huge crowd in-front of me standing and collecting their badges. After collecting the badges, we headed back to the auditorium.

    • Defining “sustainable” for an open-source project

      Bradley Kuhn of the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) first heard the term “sustainability” being applied to free and open-source software (FOSS) four or five years ago in the wake of Heartbleed. He wondered what the term meant in that context, so he looked into it some. He came to SCALE 17x in Pasadena, CA to give his thoughts on the topic in a talk entitled “If Open Source Isn’t Sustainable, Maybe Software Freedom Is?”.

      After wondering what was meant by “sustainability”, Kuhn looked up definitions of it, first in Google, then in Wikipedia, which is freely licensed, unlike Google’s dictionary. Both definitions agreed that “sustainability” is maintaining a balance between resource usage and future needs, particularly with respect to the environment—all of which sounded good to him. So his first thoughts about FOSS sustainability were that people were working on software to help the environment be more sustainable, perhaps by writing forest-management software or software to assist activist organizations. But that is not what was meant.

    • Layers and abstractions

      In software, we tend to build abstraction layers. But, at times, those layers get in the way, so we squash them. In a talk at SCALE 17x in Pasadena, CA, Kyle Anderson surveyed some of the layers that we have built and squashed along the way. He also looked at some of the layers that are being created today with an eye toward where, how, and why they might get squashed moving forward.

      When he thinks about layers, he thinks about abstractions and the separation of concerns principle. Those two are “kind of the same to me”, he said. To set the stage, he put up some quotes about abstraction from computer scientists, which can be seen in the YouTube video of the talk. He also mentioned Rich Hickey’s “Simple Made Easy” talk, which Anderson said was “kind of the opposite” of his talk, so he encouraged attendees to watch it as a counterpoint.

    • Albanian Open Source Conference OSCAL 2019 is Looking for Speakers

      OSCAL is the first annual conference in Albania organized to promote software freedom, open source software, free culture and open knowledge. It is organized by Open Labs, an Albanian non-profit organization dedicated to promote open source. The conference will take place in Tirana, the capital on Albania.

    • Streaming, Epic, first-party support and Linux: Here are the biggest trends from GDC 2019

      This year’s San Francisco-based show was a relatively quiet affair when it came to big announcements – largely thanks to the mystery surrounding Google’s Keynote event in which the tech giant announced the Stadia games platform – but there was still a lot of glean about where the games market is going.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Standardizing WASI: A system interface to run WebAssembly outside the web

        Today, we announce the start of a new standardization effort — WASI, the WebAssembly system interface.

        Why: Developers are starting to push WebAssembly beyond the browser, because it provides a fast, scalable, secure way to run the same code across all machines.

        But we don’t yet have a solid foundation to build upon. Code outside of a browser needs a way to talk to the system — a system interface. And the WebAssembly platform doesn’t have that yet.

        What: WebAssembly is an assembly language for a conceptual machine, not a physical one. This is why it can be run across a variety of different machine architectures.

        Just as WebAssembly is an assembly language for a conceptual machine, WebAssembly needs a system interface for a conceptual operating system, not any single operating system. This way, it can be run across all different OSs.

        This is what WASI is — a system interface for the WebAssembly platform.

  • LibreOffice

    • Discrete Fourier Transform in Calc

      Recently I implemented FOURIER() formula for LibreOffice Calc that computes Discrete Fourier Transform [DFT] of a real/complex data sequence. Computation is done using a couple of Fast Fourier Transform algorithms (all implemented from scratch). I’d like to thank Collabora Productivity for a fully funded hack week and lots of encouragement that enabled me to work on this feature.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • A Worldwide Web of Digital Colonialism: The Internet into the Present (Pt 1/2)

      “That is also, in large part, based on some of the concepts and activism and work by Richard Stallman, who created the free software movement. So those three pillars are free software, free hardware, and free spectrum, or if you want to consider it Internet connectivity.”

    • GNU nano 4.0 was released

      This version breaks with the close compatibility with Pico: nano no longer hard-wraps the current line by default when it becomes overlong, and uses smooth scrolling by default, plus two other minor changes. Further, in 3.0 indenting and unindenting became undoable, and now, with 4.0, also justifications have become undoable (to any depth), making that all of the user’s actions are now undoable and redoable (with the M-U and M-E keystrokes).

    • GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 13 new GNU releases!

      coreutils-9.31
      ddrescue-1.24
      dr-geo-19.2
      gnuhealth-3.4.1
      gnupg-2.2.15
      help2man-1.47.10
      librejs-7.19
      linux-libre-5.0-gnu
      mit-scheme-10.1.6
      nano-4.0
      octave-5.1.0
      parallel-20190322
      unifont-12.0.01

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Amazon Takes Aim at Open Source with Elasticsearch Distribution

      The open source enterprise application space is in a state of transition now as established project face off against the cloud giant.

      In recent months there has been a brewing conflict between large cloud providers (principally Amazon) and various open source enterprise application vendors.

      The application vendors have argued that Amazon and other large cloud providers are benefiting substantially from open source software without properly contributing back, either in terms of code for financial contribution. With open source software, the code by definition is open and available to use by anyone.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • A promise of open hardware

        After 25 years of waiting for open hardware, Maddog predicts the era of closed, proprietary chips as the only option is drawing to an end.

        For close to 25 years, I have been dealing with trying to develop and maintain computer systems over long periods of time. In dealing with the longevity issues, I have been suffering through the use of closed source firmware inherent in GPUs, BIOS, WiFi, Bluetooth, etc. in particular, and closed source in general.

        For the first 20 years, I was very patient. I realized that companies had business plans, and they did not know or trust Free and Open Source Software and Hardware (FOSSH) business plans. Some had contracts that they had signed as they bought and sold intellectual property (IP). Some companies could not expose the sources of the software they bought because of the contracts they had signed with the software or hardware providers. Who could possibly have the expertise to maintain the software provided with the hardware or produce software better than the manufacturer, right? Read that last sentence with sarcasm turned fully on.

      • Open Hardware – Arduino vs. Pi

        When it comes to open hardware projects, the choice of an Arduino or a Raspberry Pi board can determine success or failure. Read on for guidance in selecting the best board for your specific needs.

        Open hardware would not be where it is today without Arduino and Raspberry Pi boards. Compact, powerful, and mostly open source, both Arduinos and Rasp Pis offer a level of functionality in a small footprint that simply did not exist a decade ago. To casual observers, the two may seem interchangeable, but when the time comes to choose which to develop a project around, your choice can make the difference between success and failure. While some overlap exists, at the very least matching the hardware to the project and your intentions can determine how complicated your device can become.

      • Tutorials – OpenSCAD

        Ah! What a joy your first 3D printer … but once you have printed your first benchy, where do you go from there? To building your own pieces, of course!

        If you do a superficial search online, it would seem that there are two things you can do with your new 3D printer: the first is print benchies (castles and skulls with which to adorn your bookshelf); the second is to create the bits of your next Comic Con cosplay costume you can’t make with a sewing machine.

        Then there is a subgroup of people who seem to think that 3D printing is an aim in itself, and that the best use of their filament is to build things that further enhance their machines. I am one of them.

  • Programming/Development

    • leftmouseclickin: Plot triple exponential moving average time series graph with python

      Welcome back again to the ongoing Stock and Forex project, before we start I just want to let you all know that pycharm 2019 is ready for download, I am using pycharm for this project and today mine pycharm editor has just get updated to the pycharm 2019 version which has lots of new features in it. OK so much for that, let get started. In this chapter, we are going to plot the triple exponential moving average time serie graph. As usual, we have created a new method and a button for that method. Below is the revised version of the project.

    • Overusing list comprehensions and generator expressions in Python

      List comprehensions are one of my favorite features in Python. I love list comprehensions so much that I’ve written an article about them, done a talk about them, and held a 3 hour comprehensions tutorial at PyCon 2018.

      While I love list comprehensions, I’ve found that once new Pythonistas start to really appreciate comprehensions they tend to use them everywhere. Comprehensions are lovely, but they can easily be overused!

      This article is all about cases when comprehensions aren’t the best tool for the job, at least in terms of readability. We’re going to walk through a number of cases where there’s a more readable alternative to comprehensions and we’ll also see some not-so-obvious cases where comprehensions aren’t needed at all.

      This article isn’t meant to scare you off from comprehensions if you’re not already a fan; it’s meant to encourage moderation for those of us (myself included) who need it.

      Note: In this article I’ll be using the term “comprehension” to refer to all forms of comprehensions (list, set, dict) as well as generator expressions. If you’re unfamiliar with comprehensions, I recommend reading this article or watching this talk (the talk dives into generator expressions a bit more deeply).

    • This Tiny Pyboard D Series Board Is Based On MicroPython; Now On Sale

      MicroPython has launched its new series of electronic circuit boards – Pyboard D Board. These boards run on MicroPython which is a stripped down version of Python 3that is meant for microcontrollers. The stand-out feature of the ECB is its ultra-low memory requirement of 16KB.

    • Stack Abuse: Python for NLP: Parts of Speech Tagging and Named Entity Recognition

      This is the 4th article in my series of articles on Python for NLP. In my previous article, I explained how the spaCy library can be used to perform tasks like vocabulary and phrase matching.

      In this article, we will study parts of speech tagging and named entity recognition in detail. We will see how the spaCy library can be used to perform these two tasks.

    • How to Stand Out in a Python Coding Interview

      You’ve made it past the phone call with the recruiter, and now it’s time to show that you know how to solve problems with actual code. Whether it’s a HackerRank exercise, a take-home assignment, or an onsite whiteboard interview, this is your moment to prove your coding interview skills.

      But interviews aren’t just about solving problems: they’re also about showing that you can write clean production code. This means that you have a deep knowledge of Python’s built-in functionality and libraries. This knowledge shows companies that you can move quickly and won’t duplicate functionality that comes with the language just because you don’t know it exists.

      At Real Python, we’ve put our heads together and discussed what tools we’re always impressed to see in coding interviews. This article will walk you through the best of that functionality, starting with Python built-ins, then Python’s native support for data structures, and finally Python’s powerful (and often underappreciated) standard library.

    • PuPPy Presents its 1st Annual Benefit featuring Guido van Rossum

      PuPPy, Seattle’s Puget Sound Programming Python user group, presents its 1st annual charity event. The event will feature the creators of C#, Java, Perl, Python, and TypeScript in a conversation about programming language design.

      The charity event brings together this unique group of computer science pioneers, unlike any event held before. These great minds come together for what will surely be a fantastic night of discussion, as the panel delves into the past and future of programming language creation. The event will attract innovators and engineers from Seattle, the nation’s fastest growing technology hub.

    • PyCharm: PyCharm 2019.1 Out Now

      PyCharm 2019.1 is out now: all-new Jupyter Notebook support, ‘recent location’ for navigation, custom theme plugins, and much more.

    • A platform interface for the GNU C Library

      Application developers continue to need newer versions of libraries, including core runtimes like GNU C Library (glibc), for their applications. In this article, I’ll look at some issues related to upgrading glibc in an operating system (OS) distribution, and I also encourage you to read Florian Weimer’s excellent blog post on the topic.

    • Coding in Python 22 – Working with Files
    • Coding in Python 23 – Virtual Environments
    • Coding in Python 24 – Serving an HTML Site with Flask
    • Python for Programmers eBook Giveaway
    • This Week in Rust 279
    • PyCon 2019 Dietary Information [Ed: Everyone welcome, even Microsoft as the key sponsor]

      We are excited to be finalizing plans for PyCon 2019. In our continued efforts to provide you as much information ahead of the conference as possible, we would like to inform you of the planned meals. We are excited to share with you some new features, please visit the website using the button below.

    • PyDev 7.2.0 released

      PyDev 7.2.0 is now available for download.

    • Third and Final (?) Post on Stripping R Libraries

      Back in August of 2017, we wrote two posts #9: Compating your Share Libraries and #10: Compacting your Shared Libraries, After The Build about “stripping” shared libraries. This involves removing auxiliary information (such as debug symbols and more) from the shared libraries which can greatly reduce the installed size (on suitable platforms – it mostly matters where I work, i.e. on Linux).

    • Command-Line – New Commands

      The more basic a command is, the more likely it is to predate Linux. The long history of commands is an advantage in that core commands have had more than four decades to get the bugs out and to make revisions as the expectations and needs of Linux users have evolved. However, more options can also make mastering commands more difficult. At times, all the revisions can make learning and remembering commands absolutely cumbersome.

    • PyCon China 2018: In-Depth Analysis of Mars

      We shared our latest project, Mars, a matrix-based unified computing framework, at the main venue of the PyCon China 2018 conference in Beijing, as well as at its sub-venues in Chengdu and Hangzhou. This article explains the shared content at the PyCon China 2018 conference in the form of text.

      For those who have never heard of Mars, you may wonder what Mars is, what Mars can do, and how Mars work. Today, we answer these questions from the experience with Mars and by using an example.

    • Mars – Matrix-based Universal Distributed Computing Framework

      We are pleased to announce our new project, Mars, which is a matrix-based universal distributed computing framework. The open source code of Mars is already available in GitHub: https://github.com/mars-project/mars .

    • Mars – Alibaba’s Open Source Distributed Scientific Computing Engine

      Recently, Alibaba officially published the open source code for its distributed scientific computing engine – Mars. Developers can download and install Mars from PyPI or obtain the source code from GitHub and participate in the development.

      Alibaba announced this open source project as early as September 2018 at the Computing Conference held in Yunqi, Hangzhou. Mars is different from existing big data computing engines, of which the computing models are mainly based on relational algebra. Mars introduces distributed technologies into the scientific computing/numerical computation field and significantly improves the computing scale and efficiency of scientific computing. Currently Mars has been applied to both business and production scenarios at Alibaba or for its customers on the cloud. This article elaborates on the design objectives and technical architecture of Mars.

    • Water Python
    • Gimp image optimization with Python plugins

      Performing the same Gimp image processing steps again and again is tiresome and error prone. Mike Schilli assigns this task to a Python script via a home grown new menu entry.

      Today’s cellphone cameras record images in giant formats that are hardly suitable for blogging or sending through narrow data pipes. I tend to scale all of these photos down to 2000×1000 pixels, maybe sharpen them a bit, and perform white balancing on each one. The Gimp image editor has been my tool of choice for many years, but it would be nice if it would help me out by performing these repetitive steps automatically.

    • Montréal-Python 74: Virtual Echo

      We will meet up at Shopify for the first Montreal Python of the year. We will start with 4 most interesting presentations, and then we will move up to Benelux to continue the discussion.

    • Tutorials – Shell Scripting

      Often, the real decision-making challenge lies not in figuring out whether your shell script needs a while loop or some nested if statements but rather in determining the conditions that will tell your script when it should stop that loop or which branch of that “if” statement to execute. The main Bash tools for this purpose are a big set of test operators (see the descriptions online [2] [3] [4]) and their corresponding syntax, which can evaluate whether some condition is true or false. By contrast, exit status codes [5] are the traces that built-in commands, or whole scripts, leave behind to communicate their achievements.

    • 17 Practical Python Tuples Examples

      Tuple is similar to List in python language, both are sequential, index based data structure.

      The main difference between tuples and list is that tuples are immutable i.e. we cannot modify a tuple’s content but List is mutable data structure. Also, tuples uses parenthesis and list uses square brackets.

Leftovers

  • Hardware

    • With iPhone sales slowing, Apple bets on video, gaming, news and a credit card

      Apple’s 900m iPhones worldwide, more than six times as many as Netflix has subscribers, grant it access to a massive potential audience. Analysts speculate that Apple will eventually offer them a variant of Amazon Prime, where customers pay a flat monthly fee for some combination of news, games, cloud storage, music and video, and which could possibly connect with the company’s iPhone subscriptions. Mr Cook stopped short of announcing a unique subscription service, promising instead to roll out five separate offerings, some of which are merely older services in nicer packaging. Together, they nevertheless threaten fellow tech giants, Hollywood and banks.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Residents an Afterthought in Public Housing Privatization Coverage

      When governments propose multi-billion-dollar programs, one would hope media coverage would center first and foremost the human beings most directly affected by them—especially when those programs affect the lives of some of the most marginalized people in society. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposal to fill the $31.8 billion five-year funding gap for repairs and replacements of thousands of deteriorating public housing apartments in the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the US’s largest provider of public housing, is a perfect test case.

      The 10-year plan called NYCHA 2.0 will pay for 75 percent of NYCHA’s renovations by handing over the management of 62,000 of NYCHA’s 175,000+ apartments (more than a third of the stock) to private developers; selling NYCHA air rights to private developers; and facilitating “infills,” mostly huge apartment buildings with 70 percent market-rate apartments, to be built on open space in housing developments by—you guessed it—private developers.

      Several alarm bells should have rung when this was announced last November. After all, converting public housing apartments into quasi-private Section 8 housing, selling air rights and inserting private developments into public housing projects sounds a lot like privatization—a direct attack on the public nature of public housing.

      Media have been very clear that thousands of NYCHA residents, mostly black and brown persons, are suffering from lead poisoning (Gothamist, 8/31/18), mold (New York Daily News, 7/5/18), no heat (New York Times, 12/19/18), broken elevators (New York, 2/12/19) or other dangerous, unfulfilled maintenance requests across 326 developments.

    • New medication increases muscle and bone mass in mice

      It is common knowledge that as people grow older they lose a large part of their muscle mass – and neither are their bones what they once were.

    • New medication gives mice bigger muscles
    • A Solution in Search of a Problem [Ed: Cry me a river, Kevin E. Noonan, over patents that price medicine out of reach]

      Political posturing is in vogue and particularly posturing regarding prescription drug prices. ‘Twould be pretty if ’twere so that patents are the problem; bills like this one promote that narrative but at the cost of addressing systemic issues with drug pricing that will be unaffected by any changes or diminution of patent protection that protects biologic drug innovation.

    • Using Psychedelics to Enhance Buddhist Meditation Practice

      Across the country, Buddhist practitioners are gathering to experiment with, and discuss the virtues of consciousness-altering substances in the context of mindfulness training. This new wave of Western-Buddhist teachers holds that meditation practice and psychedelics can inform, augment, and enhance one another.

      We are witnessing a youth-quake within Buddhism, a changing of the guard of teachers following the decline of the hippie baby boomers. Those pushing the boundaries of Buddhism and psychedelics are, for the most part, Generation X teachers and millennials.

      Meditation teacher Jack Kornfield also opined that this new generation is on the cusp of something revolutionary, as long as it is done within the boundaries and ethics that the Buddha offered—not to harm yourself and not to harm others. Lama Urgyen, an American teacher of Tibetan Buddhism, warned to not get involved in psychedelics unless you are willing to have your most deeply held beliefs—about you and your world—not only questioned but also shown to have no basis. Although dissolving belief structures and patterns of thinking plays an essential part of Buddhist practice, doing so with psychedelics is not for every practitioner. The vastness and clarity of pure awareness is there, but it’s sometimes hard to recognize in the chaos, and even terror, of the psychedelic experience.

    • Trump Administration Announces New Expansion of Global ‘Gag Rule’

      U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday announced another expansion of the administration’s anti-choice “Mexico City Policy,” dubbed the global “gag rule” by abortion rights proponents.

      In his remarks, Pompeo said the administration was making “further refinements” on the global gag rule. “As before, we’ll continue to refuse to provide assistance to foreign [nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)] who perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning,” he said. “Now, as a result of my decision today, we’re also making clear we will refuse to provide assistance to foreign NGOs that give financial support to other foreign groups in the global abortion industry. We will enforce a strict prohibition on backdoor-funding schemes and end runs around our policy. American taxpayer dollars will not be used to underwrite abortions.”

    • “The Opioid Crisis Isn’t White”: How the Lethal Epidemic Affects Communities of Color

      As Oklahoma and Purdue Pharma reach a $270 million agreement in a lawsuit claiming the company knowingly helped create the opioid crisis responsible for nearly 50,000 deaths per year in the United States, we look at how the opioid crisis affects communities of color with Abdullah Shihipar, a graduate student of public health at Brown University who wrote an op-ed about his research for The New York Times headlined “The Opioid Crisis Isn’t White.”

    • ‘You’re Damn Right’: Sanders Doesn’t Cower From Call to Get Rid of Private Insurance Companies

      Arguing that piecemeal reforms to America’s for-profit healthcare system will not be sufficient to address the needs of millions who are suffering due to lack of insurance and soaring drug costs, Sen. Bernie Sanders said Tuesday that the U.S. must “get rid of the insurance companies” and move to Medicare for All.

      Asked by MSNBC’s Chris Hayes why he favors single-payer over the incremental Medicare buy-in plans introduced by congressional Democrats in recent weeks—such as the so-called “Medicare for America” bill—Sanders said, “Because ultimately we have to recognize that the current system is incredibly dysfunctional and wasteful.”

    • Pompeo Expands Global Gag Rule, Which May Actually Increase Abortions

      The Trump administration’s opposition to legal abortion just became more aggressive. Reuters reported on Tuesday that the U.S. will expand its “global gag rule,” which prevents the aid groups it funds from performing abortions and even advertising the abortion services of other organizations. “We will refuse to provide assistance to foreign NGOs that give financial support to other foreign groups in the global abortion industry,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said. Pompeo also said he would “enforce federal law forbidding the use of U.S. funding, including foreign assistance, to lobby for or against abortion,” Reuters added.

    • OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma to Pay $270 Million Legal Settlement That Will Fund Addiction Center

      The state of Oklahoma has reached a $270 million agreement with Purdue Pharma—the makers of OxyContin—settling a lawsuit that claimed the company contributed to the deaths of thousands of Oklahoma residents by downplaying the risk of opioid addiction and overstating the drug’s benefits. The state says more Oklahomans have died from opioids over the last decade than have been killed in vehicle accidents. More than $100 million from the settlement will fund a new addiction treatment and research center at Oklahoma State University in Tulsa. “It’s really just the first move in what is a very complicated legal chess game,” says Barry Meier, author of “Pain Killer: An Empire of Deceit and the Origin of America’s Opioid Epidemic.” Meier was the first journalist to shine a national spotlight on the abuse of OxyContin. He asks, “Is this money going to be used wisely in terms of treating addiction?”

    • New Research Establishes Causal Connection between Social Media and Depression

      From home computers to smartphones, the Internet has become more and more accessible. Two news stories, published by Forbes and Healthline in late 2018, raised important questions about whether the benefits of social media outweigh the negative effects and it reviewed some of the most recent research on this topic.

      Various studies have suggested that the overuse of social media can lead to increased levels of depression. And if a heavy social media user tries to break their habits, the “fear of missing out” from reduced use can result in withdrawal-like symptoms including increased anxiety, a rise in blood pressure, and even feeling “phantom vibrations.” These symptoms can result in negative feedback loops where depression leads to self-isolation, further potentiating harmful effects.

    • A New York County Banned Unvaccinated Children From Public Spaces After Measles Outbreak

      Rockland County announced the ban during an emergency declaration on Tuesday, and said that the ban would be in place for 30 days or until unvaccinated children are administered the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. It applies to enclosed spaces including shopping malls, schools and houses of worship, but does not include outdoor areas like playgrounds, Reuters reported. The ban will not apply to people who are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons.

      “We will not sit idly by while children in our community are at risk,” County Executive Ed Day said in a statement reported by Reuters. “This is a public health crisis, and it is time to sound the alarm.”

    • County bans unvaccinated minors in public as measles spreads

      A county in New York City’s northern suburbs declared a state of emergency Tuesday over a measles outbreak that has infected more than 150 people since last fall, hoping a ban against unvaccinated children in public places wakes their parents to the seriousness of the problem.

      “It’s an attention grab, there’s no question about it,” Rockland County Executive Ed Day said at a news conference, noting that he didn’t believe such a drastic step has ever been tried in the U.S. before.

      Day said he was taking the action in hopes of reversing a recent uptick in cases amid disturbing reports that health workers were encountering resistance when investigating cases. Rockland’s outbreak has most heavily affected Orthodox Jewish communities, in which vaccination rates tend to be lower.

      Under the declaration, which lasts for at least 30 days, anyone under 18 who is not vaccinated against measles is barred from public gathering places, including shopping malls, civic centers, schools, restaurants and even houses of worship. Those in violation could be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail.

    • ‘We Can’t Trust the Permafrost Anymore’: Doomsday Vault at Risk in Norway

      Just over a decade after it first opened, the world’s “doomsday vault” of seeds is imperiled by climate change as the polar region where it’s located warms faster than any other area on the planet.

      The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which opened in late February 2008, was built by the organization Crop Trust and the Norwegian government on the island of Svalbard next to the northernmost town in the world with more than 1,000 residents, Longyearbyen.

      “Svalbard is the ultimate failsafe for biodiversity of crops,” said Crop Trust executive director Marie Haga.

      Northern temperatures and environment on the island were a major reason for the construction. According to in-depth reporting from CNN, the project planners hoped that the permafrost around the construction of the underground vault would, in time, refreeze. But the planet has other plans.

      Longyearbyen and, by extension, the vault, is warming more rapidly than the rest of the planet. That’s because the polar regions of Earth—the coldest areas on the planet—are less able to reflect sunlight away from the polar seas due to disappearing ice and snow cover.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Silence That Is Not Silence: On Ilya Kaminsky’s “Deaf Republic”

      IN AN OFT-CITED ESSAY on James Joyce’s Ulysses, T. S. Eliot lauds Joyce for his use of “the mythical method.” Eliot coins this term in reference to how the structure of Joyce’s novel parallels that of Homer’s epic poem. But what Eliot appreciates about Ulysses is not simply its engagement with the past. Instead, he praises its ability to grapple with the present. About this “mythical method,” Eliot writes, “It is simply a way of controlling, of ordering, of giving a shape and a significance to the immense panorama of futility and anarchy which is contemporary history.”

    • Protests continue in Ingushetia amid controversy surrounding border shifts

      In the Ingush capital of Magas, protestors momentarily agreed to leave a central square following multiple attempts to disperse them by force, Kavkazsy Uzel reported. Local authorities promised to permit another protest to begin within five days. Some protestors regrouped after leaving the square and blocked a state highway that runs between Baku and Rostov-on-Don, RIA Derbent journalist Malik Butayev told Znak.com.

    • Mexico Asked Spain to Apologize on 500th Anniversary of Colonial Invasion. Spain: ‘No’

      Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador demanded a formal apology for centuries old imperialist atrocities, but the request was met with a firm “no” from Spain.

      Obrador made the request in letters to Spanish King Felipe IV and Catholic Pope Francis I, he announced in a video posted online Monday. The video was recorded in front of temple ruins at at Comacalco, Tabasco.

    • Israel’s Merciless Bombing of the Gaza Strip

      The bombs start again. Israel, as if on a timer, begins to pulverize Gaza. The bombs strike from one end of the country to another, a warning against the protests that have been ongoing for a year. There is a shudder from Gaza, phone calls to friends who say that they are fearful that this bombing run will escalate. Nothing is beyond Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, who will use these bombs as an advertisement for his campaign to be reelected as Israel goes to the polls on April 9. The phone lines carry the sound of scared children and anxious adults, a building demolished, the warplanes shrieking overhead.

    • Here’s How the 2020 Candidates Stack Up on War and Peace

      Forty-five years after Congress passed the War Powers Act in the wake of the Vietnam War, it has finally used it for the first time, to try to end the U.S.-Saudi war on the people of Yemen and to recover its constitutional authority over questions of war and peace. This hasn’t stopped the war yet, and President Trump has threatened to veto the bill. But its passage in Congress, and the debate it has spawned, could be an important first step on a tortuous path to a less militarized U.S. foreign policy in Yemen and beyond.

      While the United States has been involved in wars throughout much of its history, since the 9/11 attacks the U.S. military has been engaged in a series of wars that have dragged on for almost two decades. Many refer to them as “endless wars.” One of the basic lessons we have all learned from this is that it is easier to start wars than to stop them. So, even as we have come to see this state of war as a kind of “new normal,” the American public is wiser, calling for less military intervention and more congressional oversight.

      The rest of the world is wiser about our wars, too. Take the case of Venezuela, where the Trump administration insists that the military option is “on the table.” While some of Venezuela’s neighbors are collaborating with U.S. efforts to overthrow the Venezuelan government, none are offering their own armed forces.

      The same applies in other regional crises. Iraq is refusing to serve as a staging area for a U.S.-Israeli-Saudi war on Iran. The U.S.’s traditional Western allies oppose Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement and want peaceful engagement, not war, with Iran. South Korea is committed to a peace process with North Korea, despite the erratic nature of Trump’s negotiations with North Korea’s Chairman Kim Jung Un.

    • After mass searches of Tatar homes in Crimea, FSB reports 20 alleged terrorists arrested

      Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) announced today that it had arrested 20 members of the terrorist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami in the Crimean Peninsula. The FSB wrote that those arrested allegedly “promoted terrorist ideology among the residents of the peninsula and carried out recruitment efforts to fill their ranks among Crimean Muslims.”

    • “Grave Concerns” over Trump Administration’s Plan to Transfer Nuclear Technology to Saudi Arabia

      Multiple whistleblowers have raised serious concerns surrounding White House efforts to transfer sensitive US nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia, according to a new report released by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, on behalf of the House Oversight Committee in February 2019. The whistleblowers warned of potential procedural and legal violations by top officials within the Trump administration. According to these accounts, the violations are a consequence of rushing through a plan to transfer nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia without congressional review, as required by law, which would be in violation of the Atomic Energy Act. Based on the whistleblowers’ accounts, email communications, and other leaked documents, the report highlights how White House lawyers and ethics officials repeatedly warned the administration that their actions could be in violation of federal law. The Trump administration has ignored these warnings and pushed forward with the plan.

      The 19-page report includes leaked documents showing correspondence between senior White House figures (including Jared Kushner, Michael Flynn, and retired military officers) that reveals how they worked to bypass standard policymaking procedure to secure a nuclear export deal, referred to informally as the Middle East Marshall Plan. The report focuses heavily on alleged collusion between the Trump administration and members of the American nuclear industry who aimed to secure a $80 billion sale of nuclear weapons to Saudi Arabia. Experts are concerned that this deal could introduce and spread nuclear weapons technology to the highly volatile region. These concerns are underscored by questions about the legitimacy and stability of the Saudi regime under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi as well as the proxy war in Yemen. Salman has not ruled out weaponizing any nuclear facilities. In 2018, he stated: “Without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible.” He has also refused to accept any restrictions on enriching uranium and processing plutonium.

    • ‘They Had Already Decided They Wanted to Invade Iraq’ – CounterSpin interviews with Robert Dreyfuss and Diana Duarte on media and the Iraq War

      Janine Jackson: Welcome to CounterSpin, your weekly look behind the headlines. I’m Janine Jackson. This week on CounterSpin: Many in media were critical of Ari Fleischer, former press secretary for George W. Bush, who used the March anniversary of the US’s 2003 invasion of Iraq, based on what Americans were told was the threat of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, as an opportunity to launch a Twitter tirade to say, “It’s a myth that Bush lied.” He and Bush “faithfully and accurately reported” intelligence community assessments, Fleischer maintained.

      Media seemed concerned that Fleischer was insufficiently respectful of the toll of the Iraq War, including what the Washington Post modestly estimated as “thousands of dead Iraqis”—researchers would put that number at, minimally, half a million.

      But Fleischer’s revision isn’t just wrong in emphasis or in sentiment. And we didn’t have to wait 16 years to know that. In February 2004, CounterSpin spoke with investigative journalist Robert Dreyfuss about that pre-war intelligence on Iraq, and the role of a secret and largely unaccountable organization inside the Pentagon in manufacturing and publicizing it. We’ll hear that interview again today.

    • New details emerge about the deaths of Russian officers in Syria

      Three Russian officers and one Syrian military interpreter were killed on February 22 in Syria after being ambushed in the province of Deir ez-Zor. The Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported today that the soldiers’ UAZ utility vehicle came under fire on a desert road between Palmira and al-Mayadeen. A column of automobiles containing 30 Russian and Syrian fighters was accompanying the officers on their way. However, immediately before the UAZ was attacked about 25 miles away from al-Mayadeen, the officers found themselves without any escort vehicles for unknown reasons.

    • Democrats Urged to Stay Unified Against GOP Effort to Sabotage Yemen War Powers Vote

      A coalition of more than 40 progressive advocacy groups Wednesday warned Democrats to block any Republican attempts to sabotage the effort to end U.S. complicity in Yemen’s humanitarian crisis.

      “We urge you to vote against any motion to recommit (MTR) presented by Republicans,” the groups wrote in a letter (pdf) to House Democrats. “A vote in favor of the MTR is a vote to destroy the viability of the bill, prevent it from reaching the president’s desk, and prolong the conflict.”

      [...]

      The Senate passed the Yemen War Powers resolution earlier this month. The second House vote is expected as early as next week.

      “Republicans will seek to defeat this critical bill to end U.S. support for the coalition’s military campaign, likely by using the procedural vote as an opportunity to introduce non-germane language,” the groups warned. “The Republicans’ weaponization of accusations of anti-Semitism is wrong. Doing so to prolong one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world is unconscionable. Democrats must not abet such a cynical effort.”

    • US-Backed Coalition Bombs Yemen Hospital, Killing at Least Seven Including Four Children

      An airstrike on a hospital in Yemen Tuesday killed seven people including four children, said a humanitarian group.

      The global charity Save the Children, which supports the medical facility, is calling for a swift investigation into the incident and a suspension of arms sales to all parties to the conflict—including American arms-recipent Saudi Arabia.

      “We are shocked and appalled by this outrageous attack,” said Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children, in a statement. “Innocent children and health workers have lost their lives in what appears to been an indiscriminate attack on a hospital in a densely populated civilian area. Attacks like these are a breach of international law.”

      “The Saudi-led coalition, which is backed by the United States, is the only party in the war using warplanes, mostly American and British-made fighter jets,” as the Washington Post noted. Moreover, “the United States helps the Saudi coalition warmakers choose their targets,” wrote peace activist and author Kathy Kelly.

    • Egyptian Mediators in Gaza for Talks With Hamas

      Demonstrations are expected along the frontier Saturday to mark the anniversary of the rallies in which nearly 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire.

    • How the U.S. Navy Made Tom Dooley a Tool to Sell the Vietnam War

      Dr. Tom Dooley, whose best-selling book “Deliver Us From Evil” helped create a favorable climate of opinion for U.S. intervention in South Vietnam, has long been linked to legendary CIA officer Edward G. Lansdale and his black operations in Vietnam between 1954 and 1955. But the real story about Dooley’s influential book, which has finally emerged from more recent scholarly research, is that it was engineered by an official of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Command, Capt. William Lederer.

      Lederer is best known as the co-author, with Eugene Burdick, of the 1958 novel “The Ugly American,” which was turned into a 1963 movie starring Marlon Brando. Far more important, however, is the fact that from 1951 through 1957 Capt. Lederer was on the staff of the commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet (CINCPAC), Adm. Felix Stump.

      Pacific Command’s interest in Dooley was a function of the fact that the Navy had the greatest stake in the U.S. military in the outcome of the conflict between the communists and U.S.-backed anti-communist regimes in Vietnam and China. And it was directly involved in the military planning for war in both cases.

      Adm. Arthur Radford, the former CINCPAC and then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, led the senior officials pressing President Dwight D. Eisenhower to approve a massive U.S. airstrike against the Viet Minh at Dien Bien Phu in April 1954. And between 1954 and 1955, Adm. Stump called for increasing the size of the Nationalist Chinese raids on the Chinese mainland from offshore islands. He also pushed for a U.S. attack on the mainland, including the use of nuclear weapons, if necessary, to defend those same offshore islands.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Guns, Climate Denial and Conspiracies: Al Jazeera Captures Australian Far Right Political Figures Meeting Koch Industries

      Sitting in the offices of Koch Industries in Washington D.C., far-right Australian politician Steve Dickson shows his hand in a request for their cash.

      “This lefty attitude that just thinks solar and wind are going to change the world for the better … it’s sending us all broke,” Dickson, the Queensland leader of the political party One Nation, told Koch Industries director of federal affairs Catherine Haggett.

      The exchange with the petrochemical giants, from September 2018, is part of a blockbuster hidden-camera investigative series released by Al Jazeera.

    • Trump’s Clean Car Rollbacks Would Cost Drivers More Money, Finds Surprised Bush-era Official

      As the Trump administration works to rewrite and weaken clean car standards, the targeted Obama-era rules received an unexpected boost from an unlikely source. A new study by President George W. Bush’s anti-regulatory czar found that the current fuel efficiency and emissions standards are good for the economy as a whole, mostly due to the significant savings that American drivers would see at the pump.

      “The positive effects on the economy are ultimately much larger in magnitude than the negative impacts, primarily because the savings in expenditures on fuel are quite large relative to the vehicle price premium,” according to the study published in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

    • Warren, Sanders, and Gillibrand Top Performers on 2020 Climate Leadership Scorecard

      Scoring 15 presidential candidates on their commitment to climate action, the advocacy group 350 Action found that only three contenders have demonstrated true leadership by supporting key policies to address the crisis of a rapidly warming planet.

      Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) received checkmarks across the board on 350 Action’s 2020 Scorecard, which the group released Wednesday.

      All three support a Green New Deal to shift to a green energy economy while creating millions of jobs; have taken action to end fossil fuel extraction projects; and signed a pledge not to accept donations from the fossil fuel industry.

    • UN to Train Struggling Women in Poor Countries to Battle Effects of Climate Change

      Climate change causes land degradation in most countries, and women and children in poor countries feel the brunt of it.

      Women in developing countries at risk may not have the right to own land. This in turn, leaves them with the inability to support themselves. In developing countries, securing food, water, and shelter is a burden on women who are responsible for collecting these basic – yet crucial – necessities of life. Women can do the same work as men, but they need the training to do so.

    • ‘Watch Every Second of This’: Ocasio-Cortez Makes Powerful Case for Green New Deal Amid GOP Stunts

      After House Republicans on Tuesday derided the Green New Deal as a policy that would only serve “rich liberals,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responded with a powerful call for bold climate action as families across the nation suffer from record flooding, lead-poisoned water, and polluted air.

      “This is not an elitist issue, this is a quality of life issue,” said the congresswoman from New York. “You want to tell people that their concern and their desire for clean air and clean water is elitist? Tell that to the kids in the south Bronx which are suffering from the highest rates of childhood asthma in the country. Tell that to the families in Flint.”

      “People are dying,” she continued. “This is serious. This should not be a partisan issue. This is about our constituents and all of our lives.”

    • ‘Vindictive Behavior’: Trump Complains Puerto Rico Getting ‘Too Much’ Disaster Aid as Over a Million Face Food Crisis

      With over a million U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico facing devastating food stamp cuts as Congress fails to provide necessary hurricane relief funding, President Donald Trump reportedly complained to Republican senators on Tuesday that the island is receiving “too much” aid—a position that was decried as both false and cruel.

      “The president continues to show his vindictive behavior towards Puerto Rico and he continues to make the humanitarian crisis worse,” said San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz. “He is ensuring that people don’t have food to put on the table.”

    • The Best Technology for Fighting Climate Change Isn’t a Technology

      The latest IPCC report does not mince words about the state of our planet: we must act now to achieve global change at a scale that has “no documented historical precedent” in order to avoid the climate catastrophe that would result from a 2 degree C rise in average global temperature. Climate change already disproportionately affects the world’s most vulnerable people including poor rural communities that depend on the land for their livelihoods and coastal communities throughout the tropics. Indeed, we have already seen the stark asymmetry of suffering resulting from extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, floods, droughts, wildfires and more.

      So far, advocates and politicians have tended to focus on reducing fossil fuel consumption through technology and/or policy, such as a steep carbon tax, as climate solutions. These proposals are, of course, essential to reducing manmade carbon emissions—71 percent of which are generated by just 100 fossil fuel companies. For this reason, fossil-fuel–related emissions reductions rightly figure heavily in the national climate commitments of the 181 nations that signed the global Paris Agreement.

      Yet the international focus on fossil fuels has overshadowed the most powerful and cost-efficient carbon-capture technology the world has yet seen: forests. Recent scientific research confirms that forests and other “natural climate solutions” are absolutely essential in mitigating climate change, thanks to their carbon sequestering and storage capabilities. In fact, natural climate solutions can help us achieve 37 percent of our climate target, even though they currently receive only 2.5 percent of public climate financing.

    • Senate Dems Vote ‘Present’ on Green New Deal to Foil McConnell’s Ploy

      The Green New Deal ― an ambitious 10-year plan to transition the U.S. away from fossil fuels while promoting green jobs and greater equality ― failed to advance in the Senate Tuesday after most Democrats voted “present” in an attempt to forestall a Republican ploy to exploit disagreements within the party.

    • ‘What Climate Leadership Looks Like’: Democrats’ Bill Would Stop Trump From Ditching Paris Accord

      “The Climate Action Now Act sends a powerful message to the rest of the world that when it comes to climate change and the Paris agreement, President Trump is out of step with the strong majority of Americans who want the U.S. to be a global leader, not a rogue nation,” Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said in a statement.

      The bill (pdf), also known as H.R. 9, comes nearly two years after Trump sparked global outrage by declaring his intent to withdraw from the Paris deal. Under the terms of the agreement, the earliest possible withdrawal date is November 4, 2020.

      If passed, the Democrats’ legislation would block Trump from using federal funds to pull the U.S. from the Paris deal and require the president to develop a plan to meet the accord’s emissions targets.

      The bill was unveiled at a press conference Wednesday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), and other House Democrats.

    • ‘BirthStrike’ Movement Encourages People to Stop Having Children in the Face of Climate Change

      A growing movement is encouraging future parents to reconsider their decision to conceive and instead vow not to procreate in the face of climate change. As the world’s increasing population pushes the boundaries of natural resource extraction and carbon emissions, the organization hopes its proclamation will bring attention to addressing the world’s ecological crisis.

      UK-based BirthStrike is a voluntary organization comprised of around 200 members globally who have decided not to have children in response to “climate breakdown and civilization collapse,” reports The Guardian. Founder Blythe Pepino discussed the group in March shortly after U.S. congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) voiced her own concerns over procreating because of the current climate situation and lack of government action.

    • The Secret Usefulness of Avocado Pits

      A couple of years ago, following the whole avocado toast thing, there was a trend of eating the pit (technically a seed). People would dry them out, chop or blend them into a powder, and treat them basically as a supplement, full of fiber and antioxidants. Now, research indicates that the avocado pit has some other impressive properties.

    • Trump’s Pick to Head Interior Blocked Report Warning of Pesticide Risk to 1,000+ Endangered Species

      Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, who faces a Senate confirmation hearing Thursday after President Donald Trump nominated him to head Interior permanently, acted to block a report that found that two pesticides “jeopardize the continued existence” of more than 1,200 endangered species, according to documents obtained by The New York Times and the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD).

      In 2017, Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) scientists completed a report on the threat posed by three pesticides to endangered species. But before they could make it public that November, they were stopped by top political appointees including then-Deputy Secretary Bernhardt, who instead initiated a new process using a narrower standard for assessing risk, The New York Times reported. The Times’ investigative report is based on more than 84,000 pages of Interior Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) documents obtained via a Freedom of Information Act requests by the Times and CBD.

    • Writer’s notes show climate impact on plants

      Henry David Thoreau, author of the memoir Walden, or Life in the Woods, in 1854, did more than just observe the oaks, the aspens, the “golden-rods, pinweeds and graceful wild grasses”: he left precise writer’s notes on the natural world he found during his wilful exile in the Massachusetts wilderness.

      And thanks to these, US researchers now know that as the world warms, the native ecosystem that Thoreau observed and recorded is out of step.

      At the close of winter, the trees now leaf at least two weeks earlier. But the wildflowers that depend on their moment in the sun for a head start now form leaves only one week earlier.

      Researchers from Tennessee, Massachusetts, Maine and New York State report in the journal Ecology Letters that they combined observations around Walden in 1852 with a sequence of observations made in 37 separate years up to 2018, and with separate field experiments in a Pennsylvania forest, to conclude that wildflowers could not keep pace

  • Finance

    • Elizabeth Warren’s Plan to Lift Up Family Farmers Includes Barring Big Ag Mega-Mergers Like Monsanto-Bayer

      The Democratic presidential hopeful released her plan exclusively to the Des Moines Register before publishing a Medium post on Wednesday detailing the proposal. The plan was introduced ahead of her latest trip to Iowa to meet with farmers and discuss rural issues at a forum with other candidates.

      “Iowa feels this very directly,” Warren told the Register in a recent interview.

      Thanks to monopolies, she added, “The number of purchasers of soybeans or hogs has shrunk dramatically. The number of seed providers has shrunk dramatically, and the diversity of the seeds has shrunk. Concentration in those industries has put a real squeeze on small- and medium-sized farms in Iowa.

    • The Washington Post Trashes the Left: Imagine If a Billionaire Paid People to Trash the Center

      Fred Hiatt, the editorial page editor of the Washington Post, used his column today to say that people on the left had developed Trumpian ways of viewing the world. For example, he said they value “the simple over the complex,” using the example of people pushing the universal Medicare system in Canada as a solution to U.S. health care problems. He warns about choosing “scapegoats over solutions,” telling readers, “if your candidate starts telling you that everything would be fine if we just went after billionaires, or big banks, or big tech, or . . . be nervous.” And he also warns of “winner-take-all politics over compromise.”

      Hiatt of course works for Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, who owns the Washington Post. While it is unlikely that such a billionaire, or even hundred millionaire exists, imagine one ran a newspaper where people got paid to ridicule centrists like Hiatt. There certainly is much material in Hiatt’s column and which appears regularly in the Washington Post.

      Starting with Hiatt’s last point, if a Democratic candidate is running on a platform where they claimed they would work with senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, that person is dangerously out of touch with reality. There was a Democratic presidential candidate who tried this, named Barack Obama.

      When he proposed his stimulus package he got openly said that it was a starting position. He asked for Republican input. He said that he wanted the package to pass the Senate with 80 votes. After much work, and compromise, he got three Republican votes in the Senate, one of whom subsequently switched parties to become a Democrat. He got zero Republican votes in the House.

      Obama tried the same approach with the Affordable Care Act, delaying the vote for many months as he allowed Republicans to debate and amend the bill. This got zero Republican votes in either the House or Senate. (One House Republican cast his vote in favor after the bill already had a majority.)

      Perhaps Hiatt is too young to remember this history.

    • The offshore company that allegedly received millions of dollars stolen by a former Russian government minister is now racing to rewrite its registration records in Cyprus

      The offshore company “Blacksiris,” which is mentioned in the case materials against former Open Government Minister Mikhail Abyzov, started changing its registration records in Cyprus, immediately following Abyzov’s arrest on Tuesday, Meduza has learned.

      [...]

      Meduza obtained registrar records about Blacksiris from state officials in Cyprus indicating that the government received two notifications concerning alterations to the company’s office address and officers on March 27 — a day after Abyzov’s arrest.

    • Top 5 Reasons Why the House Should Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act

      The law would give working women the legal tools they need to challenge discrimination and close the gender pay gap.
      More than 55 years after the Equal Pay Act was passed, women working fulltime and year-round, on average, are paid only 80 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. The disparity for women of color is even more severe. This wage gap has remained stagnant for years and continues to squeeze women’s pocketbooks, erode their earning potential, and deprive them of the means to improve their own lives and support their families.

      It’s long past time to update the Equal Pay Act to give working women the legal tools they need to challenge discrimination and to encourage employers to comply with the law. That’s exactly what the House of Representatives is poised to do when it takes up the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 7) this week.

    • UK Lawmakers Prepare to Vote on Alternatives to Brexit Deal

      British lawmakers are preparing to vote on alternatives for leaving the European Union on Wednesday, seeking to end an impasse following the overwhelming defeat of the deal negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May.

      The House of Commons is scheduled to debate the various alternatives, after which lawmakers will be asked to vote for all of the options they could accept. The most popular ideas will move to a second vote on Monday in hopes of finding one option that can command a majority.

      The debate comes two days after lawmakers took control of the parliamentary agenda away from the government amid concern May was unwilling to compromise. May has said she will consider the outcome of the “indicative votes,” though she has refused to be bound by the result.

    • Demand Surges for DeVos to Cancel ‘Unconscionable’ Plan to Cut Special Olympics Funding

      Twenty-four hours after Education Secretary Betsy Devos defended cutting $18 million from the Special Olympics program—while spending more than three times that on expanding charter schools and increasing salaries for department executives—it is quite clear that people are not happy about it.

      After Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.), demanded to know how DeVos justified slashing funds for the program, which serves athletes with disabilities, while also requesting a 15.6 percent increase in executive salary increases at her department, the congressman circulated a petition officially denouncing the move.

    • Why the College Admissions Scandal Threatens the Disability Community

      The college cheating scandal involving multiple U.S. universities may have a number of consequences when it comes to the future of college admissions. One potential impact has disabled students very worried: the possibility that the incident may be used as a pretext to crack down on legally-mandated disability accommodations.

      One of the ways the scam’s coordinators smoothed the way for students who couldn’t get into college in their own right — or who had parents that wanted a guaranteed pass — was to make a false claim that a student had a learning disability. This made it possible to get into an SAT testing center with a cooperative proctor who would look the other way and enable cheating.

      In other words, students and their families were faking disability, along with the collusion of medical providers, in order to leverage the system that allows disabled students to receive accommodations.

    • Labor Leader Demands Tax Code for Working People to Replace GOP Tax Scam for the Rich

      Chris Shelton, president of Communications Workers of America (CWA), said in a written testimony (pdf) to the House Ways and Means Committee that recent tax cuts for the wealthy aren’t benefiting the working class.

      To illustrate his point, Shelton used telecommunications giant AT&T’s treatment of its workers—including CWA members—post-tax cuts as an example.

      “For too long, the tax code has been structured to benefit the super wealthy, private equity, major corporations, and Wall Street rather than working people and main street,” Shelton said.

      His remarks came as part of a hearing on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA)—which critics call the Trump or GOP “tax scam”—that the GOP enacted in December of 2017.

      When President Donald Trump signed the TCJA into law over a year ago, he infamously said, “Corporations are literally going wild over this.” One of the many ways the law benefited the nation’s ultra wealthy was slashing the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent.

      In an unprecedented and undemocratic approach to crafting tax legislation, Republican lawmakers—who, at the time, controlled both chambers of Congress—forced through the TCJA in just 51 days without holding any hearings on the actual substance of the bill, which was written in private.

    • N. Ireland Party Refuses to Support Brexit Deal

      A Northern Ireland party that props up Prime Minister Theresa May’s government says it won’t support her Brexit divorce deal, a blow to May’s hopes of winning approval for the agreement in Parliament.

      The Democratic Unionist Party said Wednesday it won’t support the deal because of a provision designed keep an open border between EU member Ireland and the U.K.’s Northern Ireland after Brexit.

      The pro-British Unionist party opposes the provision because it fears it would weaken the bonds between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K.

      DUP leader Arlene Foster said, “We cannot sign up to something that would damage the Union.”

      May wants to try again to get her twice-rejected Brexit deal through Parliament. Many pro-Brexit lawmakers have said they will back it, but only if the DUP agrees.

    • Theresa May Pitches Her Resignation in Exchange for Brexit Deal ‘No One Supports’

      In the latest development of the seemingly never-ending Brexit saga, beleaguered British Prime Minister Theresa May promised to step down from office—but only once Parliament accepted her deal to leave the European Union, a caveat that generated frustration from the country’s fed-up population and opposition parties.

      The announcement marks the beginning of the end of the May era, which began after her predecessor David Cameron resigned after the British people chose Brexit in a stunning vote on June 23, 2016.

    • Theresa May Says She’ll Step Down if Brexit Deal OK’d

      British Prime Minister Theresa May offered up her job in exchange for her Brexit deal Wednesday, telling colleagues she would quit within weeks if the agreement was passed and Britain left the European Union.

      May’s dramatic concession that “there is a desire for a new approach—and new leadership” was a last-ditch effort to bring enough reluctant colleagues on board to push her twice-rejected EU divorce deal over the line.

      It came as lawmakers sought an alternative to May’s unpopular deal after wrestling control of Parliament’s agenda away from her Brexit-weakened government.

      May has been under mounting pressure from pro-Brexit members of her Conservative Party to quit. Many Brexiteers accuse her of negotiating a bad divorce deal that leaves Britain too closely tied to the bloc after it leaves.

      Several have said they would support the withdrawal deal if another leader took charge of the next stage of negotiations, which will determine Britain’s future relations with the EU.

      In a packed meeting of Conservative legislators described by participants as “somber,” May finally conceded she would have to go, although she did not set a departure date.

    • What Is Aion? Introduction To The Blockchain Interoperability Token

      Aion is both a Canadian multi-tier blockchain 3.0 platform focused on interoperability between other blockchains, and the coin that fuels tokenized network transactions. The AION coin is used for value and data exchanges, enabling a smart-contract network similar to Ethereum and NEO. Using a combined Byzantine Fault Tolerance and Delegated Proof of Stake algorithm, combined with a neural network-powered Proof of Intelligence for consensus, Aion wants to be the glue holding blockchains together.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Now Team Trump is out for vengeance: It’s crucial that Democrats push back, hard

      Too much has probably been written about Donald Trump’s twisted psychology. It’s clear he has many “issues.” But while it’s interesting to try to unravel what makes him tick, it may be more useful to consider his philosophy if one wants to figure out how to successfully oppose him. Many people assume that the Trump ur-text “The Art of the Deal” offers a window into Trump’s worldview. But that book and the others that followed were ghostwritten to sound like something Trump would believe, not what he actually thinks.

      It seems clear that Trump’s philosophy of life is zero-sum primitive domination and not much else. And there is one credo in “The Art of the Deal” he does live by: “I fight when I feel I’m getting screwed, even if it’s costly and difficult and highly risky.” Over the years that’s evolved into something a little bit more elemental. It’s no longer about just fighting. It’s about vengeance.

      In 2012, Donald Trump gave a speech at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University. It seemed weird at the time because he was still considered a libertine gadfly who appeared on Howard Stern’s show and bragged about his sexual exploits. It later turned out that he had given a substantial sum to the place so that explained the invitation. Since then, the younger Falwell has become one of Donald Trump’s most ardent followers.

    • Russia Was Never the Real Scandal

      Robert Mueller won’t be filing any more indictments related to the “Russiagate” investigation.
      Though the search unearthed ample evidence that Russia wanted Trump to become president — and hints that some members of Trump World were perhaps aware of this — the recent summary declared no concrete findings that the two camps knowingly “colluded.”
      The president, naturally, is declaring victory. And his anti-Mueller attorney general is preemptively clearing the president of related obstruction charges, it seems.
      Of course, this won’t end the president’s legal troubles. Lawsuits have piled up related to emoluments and sexual harassment. And legal and congressional inquiries into his taxes, business dealings, and possible campaign finance violations are, in various stages, underway.
      What it should end, however, is the incredibly naive belief that someone was going to wave a magic wand and make all this “Trump stuff” go away.
      This was a hope that “the system” itself was fundamentally sound and would correct itself, expelling all this unpleasantness like a bad burrito. Trump himself cast the investigation as an effort to de-legitimize his electoral college victory, and this wasn’t entirely incorrect.
      The thing is, evidence of much more serious “collusion” — with corporations and the wealthy — has always been hiding in plain sight. Though these unique excesses of the Trump era have gotten some coverage, they were never treated as the threat to his legitimacy that Russia was.

    • Mueller Report Does Not Disprove that Trump Is a Crook

      The report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which does not establish that Donald Trump or his campaign actively took part in a conspiracy with Russia to subvert the 2016 presidential election, is a major blow to Trump’s political opponents.

      Trump, of course, is taking it to the hoop, claiming that the report is a “total exoneration” (despite an official summary that states that it is not) and saying that the entire investigation was driven by people who did “very, very evil” and “treasonous things against our country” and promising a counter-investigation.

      Critics on the left and the right have attacked news outlets that pumped up the Russia investigation, inflating hopes for defeating Trump based on the theory that he was a real-life Manchurian Candidate, elected by conspiring with Russia to subvert the outcome of the 2016 election.

      The truth is less dramatic, but more sordid: It’s not that Trump engaged in secret dealings with the Russians in order to become President of the United States; it’s that Trump ran for President as a publicity stunt, figuring he would lose, all the while focusing on his real goal: a secret hotel deal he was working out with the Russians to build his Trump Tower Moscow.

    • Imposing a Modern-day Version of a Poll Tax is a New Low

      Until 2018, Florida — the state vital to the presidential victories of George Bush and Donald Trump — deprived one in 10 voters, and two in 10 African-Americans, of the right to vote with a constitutional provision banning felons from voting, even after they had fulfilled their sentences.

      Many with nonviolent drug felonies, enforced by a systematically biased criminal justice system, are kept from the polls. The discriminatory effect and intent of this exclusion is obvious.

      In a stunning act of decency in 2018, Floridians voted overwhelmingly to amend their constitution and restore the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions “after they complete all terms of their sentence, including parole or probation.” According to the Tallahassee Democrat, the “Voting Restoration Amendment” would “grant most of the 1.7 million convicted felons the right to vote and help select their leaders for local, state and federal offices.”

      Voting rights activists drew up plans to help contact and register them, with the charismatic young leader, former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum committed to leading the effort.

    • Former minister charged with fraud and organized criminal activity kept under arrest amid support from public figures

      Moscow’s Basmanny Court has ordered former Open Government Minister Mikhail Abyzov to be kept under arrest until May 25. Abyzov has been charged with large-scale fraud and organizing a criminal organization. He led the Open Government project, an initiative intended to provide oversight over the actions of Russia’s executive branch, from 2012 to 2018.

    • Barr Is a Distraction. We Must Insist on the Moral Indictment of Trump.

      Since Attorney General William Barr’s “summary” of the report by Robert Mueller was issued, there’s been a lot of hand-wringing among progressives about what went wrong, and a lot of gloating from conservatives, and of course, from Donald Trump himself, about how Trump has been “exonerated.” Sean Hannity has talked of taking down Trump accusers one by one; Trump has called his opponents treasonous and “evil.”

      This is, quite simply, utter nonsense. First off, Barr’s memo is so brief and cryptic, so cherry-picking in its use of quotes, and so devoid of the broader context in which Mueller presumably placed those quotes, as to be next to useless. We don’t know how much corruption, if not collusion, Mueller discovered, or how many spin-off cases were forwarded to other prosecutors. We don’t know where the Southern District of New York investigations are now heading, or which members of the Trump inner circle are likely to face prosecution down the road as these other investigations gather steam. Until the full report, or at the very least a comprehensive summary, is released, which I have no doubt at some point will be the case, these questions remain open.

      But, for the sake of argument, let’s say that all of these end up being legal dead-ends, and that none of the people closest to Trump end up being convicted of any crimes.

    • Trumponomics: Batman … or Dracula?

      It’s shocking, I tell you, shocking that some millionaires and billionaires would brazenly lie and cheat in a corrupt nationwide scheme to rig the entrance procedures of top colleges.

      As recently reported, these self-entitled elites were gaming the system in order to weasel their undeserving children into prestigious schools, displacing more-qualified students. Where do these privileged grown-ups get the idea that truth and integrity don’t matter, that they can just make up facts and bend any rules for their personal advantage?

      For one answer, look no further than the Economic Report of the President, which was released at the same time the college admissions scandal was making the news. Rather than real analyses, these annual forecasts by the White House’s handpicked economists have become political documents puffing up a president’s record. But even by partisan public relations standards, Trump’s report is shamelessly grandiose, replete with flagrant fabrications of facts and pretensions that his failed trickle-down policies are record-setting successes.

    • “Happy to Do It”: Emails Show Current FAA Chief Coordinated With Ex-Lobbyist Colleagues on Policy

      More than two years ago, the man who is now acting head of the Federal Aviation Administration, Dan Elwell, got a work email from one of his former lobbyist colleagues. She wanted an update on the airline industry’s push to roll back rules on mishandled baggage and extra fees, among other Obama-era regulations.

      “We are anxious to know when we’ll have a yes or no,” wrote Sharon Pinkerton, the top lobbyist for Airlines for America, in a Feb. 3, 2017, email.

      Elwell, a former airline lobbyist himself who had worked with Pinkerton at Airlines for America, wrote back 31 minutes later. He said had he “checked with” the Department of Transportation’s top lawyer. “We’ll keep an eye on them.”

      Elwell was working at the time on a secretive deregulation task force. Weeks after the emails, the industry got a yes and the regulations were nullified.

    • “Happy to Do It”: Emails Show Current FAA Chief Coordinated With Ex-Lobbyist Colleagues on Policy

      More than two years ago, the man who is now acting head of the Federal Aviation Administration, Dan Elwell, got a work email from one of his former lobbyist colleagues. She wanted an update on the airline industry’s push to roll back rules on mishandled baggage and extra fees, among other Obama-era regulations.

      “We are anxious to know when we’ll have a yes or no,” wrote Sharon Pinkerton, the top lobbyist for Airlines for America, in a Feb. 3, 2017, email.

      Elwell, a former airline lobbyist himself who had worked with Pinkerton at Airlines for America, wrote back 31 minutes later. He said had he “checked with” the Department of Transportation’s top lawyer. “We’ll keep an eye on them.”

      Elwell was working at the time on a secretive deregulation task force. Weeks after the emails, the industry got a yes and the regulations were nullified.

    • Forget Mueller. Forget Impeachment. A Million People Should Surround the White House and Demand Trump’s Resignation

      Special Counsel Robert Mueller spent almost two years to produce a $25 million report that is a flat tire. Still unreleased in full to the American people, Trump’s acolyte, Attorney General William Barr, a longtime friend of Republican Mueller, gave us what Trump long craved—by stating that “the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities” during the 2016 election. As for obstruction of justice by Trump, Attorney General Barr cryptically burped, that “The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him”—whatever that means. Give people the whole report now, as the House of Representatives voted 420 to 0 to do.

      What a farce and distraction this whole exercise turned out to be! Mueller’s assigned subject was Trump. So, does this prosecutor demand to interview Trump, to subpoena Trump? No. Does this special investigator conclude with any legal recommendations at all? No. He just wants to be forgotten as he slinks away into deliberate silence (unless he is made to testify before the House Judiciary Committee).

      Really, what should we have expected from someone who, as FBI Director, testified before Congress as part of the Bush/Cheney regime, pushing for the criminal invasion of Iraq in 2003?

    • Senate Urged to Reject ‘Walking, Talking Conflict of Interest’ David Bernhardt to Run Interior

      The calls come ahead of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s Thursday morning hearing to consider his nomination.

      “David Bernhardt is a walking, talking conflict of interest,” said Alissa Weinman, a senior organizer for the nonprofit Corporate Accountability. “Between his Big Polluter ties and corporate lobbying connections, it’s clear Bernhardt will continue to serve the corporate interests to whom he owes his career, not the people or our public lands.”

      Bernhardt has been under fire for his fossil fuel past since the Senate confirmed him as the agency’s deputy administrator in July of 2017. He currently serves as the department’s acting administrator, a position he has held since scandal-ridden Ryan Zinke resigned in December. President Donald Trump nominated Bernhardt to the permanent post last month.

      “David Bernhardt heading the Interior Department would be a dream come true for fossil fuel companies, but a nightmare for the American people,” warned Greenpeace USA climate and energy campaign director Janet Redman.

      Noting that “people who care about clean air, safe water, and a healthy climate have been sounding the alarm about Bernhardt’s history” for the past two years, Redman charged that “he’s done nothing since but prove he’s not fit for this job.”

    • Despite McConnell Vow to Obstruct, Senate Democrats Introduce Democracy Reform Bill

      Three weeks after a nearly identical measure passed the House, Senate Democrats introduced sweeping pro-democracy legislation—but the path to the floor may be blocked by the GOP.

      HR1, the For the People Act, would enact reforms including banning partisan gerrymandering, establishing automatic voter registration, strengthening the Voting Rights Act, and shining a light on so-called dark money.

      The House already passed its version March 8 in a 234-193 vote along party-lines.

      The measure, however, faces big hurdles ahead, namely Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

    • Learning the Downsides of Candidates Is a Big Upside of Modern Media

      You’ve probably noticed that we live in a society where some people have a great deal of power, and most people have very little. And that this works out well for the few and not so well for the many.

      This plays out in the political realm with the few using their power to support candidates who would maintain that power. In the past, we knew very little about these transactions, because the powerful also owned and/or funded almost all the outlets we got our information from. As a result, those outlets told us very little about which candidates were beholden to whose interests. When they did talk about candidates’ funding, such reports were inconspicuously placed and seldom amplified via commentary—thereby ensuring that few people outside the donor class were aware of who was doing the donating.

      A funny thing happened in the 21st century: The development of digital technologies made it much cheaper to create and distribute information, via email, blogs, podcasts and social media. Though these technologies were largely developed by for-profit corporations for their own profit-seeking ends, they also enabled horizontal communication on a scale never before possible.

    • Ralph Nader: Americans Should Be Demanding Trump’s Resignation

      Special Counsel Robert Mueller spent almost two years to produce a $25 million report that is a flat tire. Still unreleased in full to the American people, Trump’s acolyte, Attorney General William Barr, a longtime friend of Republican Mueller, gave us what Trump long craved—by stating that “the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities” during the 2016 election. As for obstruction of justice by Trump, Attorney General Barr cryptically burped, that “The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him”—whatever that means. Give people the whole report now, as the House of Representatives voted 420 to 0 to do.

      What a farce and distraction this whole exercise turned out to be! Mueller’s assigned subject was Trump. So, does this prosecutor demand to interview Trump, to subpoena Trump? No. Does this special investigator conclude with any legal recommendations at all? No. He just wants to be forgotten as he slinks away into deliberate silence (unless he is made to testify before the House Judiciary Committee).

      Really, what should we have expected from someone who, as FBI Director, testified before Congress as part of the Bush/Cheney regime, pushing for the criminal invasion of Iraq in 2003?

      The assignment to Mueller was doomed from the start. Its charge was far too narrow and proof in such matters is very difficult to find. Intent to collude requires direct examination of the President himself. But why would Trump have to collude at all? The Russians interfered in his favor in various ways to the detriment of Hillary Clinton and all he had to do was accept such foreign largess.

      An inquiry into Trump and all his business deals and business proposals with various governments point to Trump’s disregard for the law. By the way, whatever happened to the IRS audit that Tricky Donald kept using as an excuse in 2016 for not releasing these voluminous tax records depicting suspicious relations that Pulitzer Prize winner David Cay Johnston has written about for years (see his book The Making of Donald Trump)?

    • Bill Kelly: If Trump is innocent, why did so many of his people lie?

      While Donald Trump and his acolytes do their victory dance over William Barr’s tilted assessment of the Mueller Report, one outstanding question that remains: if Trump and his team did no wrong, why did they lie ?

      Why did Trump insist that he had no business dealings in Russia when, in fact, he was negotiating a deal for a Trump Tower in Moscow?

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Trump tweets in official capacity, but blocking users is a personal matter, DOJ argues in court

      Though the panel didn’t rule on the matter, the judges appeared to question the Justice Department’s argument. If Trump blocked people in his personal capacity, “it is curious to me that the Justice Department is here representing him,” Judge Peter Hall said in response to the government’s attorney, Jennifer Utrecht.

    • Thomas Goolnik Again Convinces Google To Forget Our Story About Thomas Goolnik Getting Google To Forget Our Story About Thomas Goolnik

      With that out of the way, if you haven’t guessed, Thomas Goolnik has once again sent a Right to be Forgotten request to Google over our earlier articles about Thomas Goolnik and his use of the Right to be Forgotten system to try to delete previous articles about Thomas Goolnik abusing the Right to be Forgotten system to… you get the picture.

      Tragically, Google has complied with this latest request, meaning that if you were searching for Thomas Goolnik within the EU, some of those historical articles may not be easily findable. Some of us find this to be an affront to free speech and an abuse of legal process to suppress information that, potentially, may be embarrassing to someone like Thomas Goolnik. But others — such as Thomas Goolnik — appear to have a different opinion. Thomas Goolnik is, of course, free to express his own opinion on his own site, but apparently feels the need to make sure that others who express their opinions should be silenced. We disagree.

    • Texas: Don’t Let the Legislature Gut Your State’s Free Speech Laws

      A bill is moving forward in the Texas Legislature that would make it easier to bring baseless lawsuits against Internet users in the state who review businesses, speak anonymously, or otherwise exercise their First Amendment rights. If you’re a Texan, we need you to contact your lawmakers and speak up for free speech.

      The bill, HB 2730, would gut key protections of the Texas Citizens Participation Act, or TCPA. The TCPA was passed in 2011 to help fight back against lawsuits meant to silence free speech, which are sometimes called SLAPPs—which stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. The Texas anti-SLAPP law’s robust speech protections have made it a national model.

      Properly crafted anti-SLAPP laws provide critical protections for speech. While the state laws are different, they generally allow individuals targeted by the suits to get them thrown out early and allow targets of the lawsuits to recoup their costs and attorneys’ fees from the party that sued them.

      The TCPA contains these provisions and others that make it a powerful tool for everyday Texans who get dragged into court for exercising their First Amendment rights. Even meritless lawsuits targeting speech fully protected by the Constitution are expensive, time consuming, and intimidating to defend against. The biggest motivator for litigants bringing a SLAPP suit is often to inflict financial and other damage on their targets rather than vindicate legitimate legal claims, making it a battle that many people simply can’t afford.

    • Facebook Bans Far Right — “White Nationalism and White Supremacy Synonymous”

      The biggest Social Media platform, Facebook announced that it no longer separates the terms ‘White Nationalism’ and ‘White Supremacy.’ In an official statement, Facebook revealed that they have been in regular discussion with experts on race relations and members of civil society regarding the issue of race-related hate speech.

      In its first move, Facebook avoided the corporate jargon and objectively stated that the hate groups have ‘no place’ on the platform. Furthermore, the platform now considers ‘White Nationalism,’ ‘White Separatism’ and ‘White Supremacy’ synonymous with each other.

    • Facebook is finally banning white supremacy that goes by other names

      Facebook is abandoning a longstanding policy of allowing white supremacy to flourish on its platform under the guise of terms like white nationalism and white separatism.

      Motherboard first reported that the decision came out of a conversation on platform moderation out of Facebook’s Content Standards Forum yesterday and will go into effect next week. Under the new rules, detailed in a Facebook Newsroom post, the company will direct users who search for content related to white supremacy to Life After Hate, an organization that helps individuals leave violent far-right groups.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • 5 best desktop cloud sync apps [Ed: Surveillance platforms as fake 'personal' storage]

      If you’re a cloud storage user, and you’re looking for the best desktop client app available, here’s a list of my top five clients on the market.

    • Pre-installed Android Apps Are The Biggest Danger To Your Privacy [Ed: Wrong. The biggest danger to your privacy is/are those so-called 'phones' themselves. They track movement 24/7 and have remotely-accessible back doors for microphone, cameras etc. A lot of today's co-called 'phones' are a 'bargain' or a deal with the devil. You give away more than you're getting, even if you pay nothing whatsoever for the so-called 'phone' (e.g. a 'gift'). They gradually become listening devices that you consent to.]
    • Facebook and Google: This is What an Effective Ad Archive API Looks Like

      On March 28 — after urging from dozens of civil society organizations — Facebook is set to launch its advertising archive API. This tool is intended to provide researchers, journalists, and users with transparency into political ads and audience targeting on Facebook.

      Google also pledged to launch a similar tool ahead of the May 2019 EU Parliamentary elections (but postponed their initial March launch date.) As disinformation continues to spread across online platforms with the potential to interfere with democratic elections, it’s critical that these tools are accessible and effective.

      So today, Mozilla and a cohort of 11 independent researchers are publishing five guidelines that these APIs must meet in order to truly support election influence monitoring and independent research.

    • Hearing Friday in Jewel NSA Spying Lawsuit: EFF Asks Court to Let Case Proceed to Determine Constitutionality of Mass Surveillance

      On Friday, March 29, at 9:00 am, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will tell a federal court that its clients should be allowed to proceed with their case challenging the constitutionality of NSA spying. The government’s latest attempts to prevent the court from evaluating the legality of surveilling millions of innocent Americans should be rejected, EFF will argue.

      Friday’s hearing is an important milestone in EFF’s long-running lawsuit alleging that the government’s mass interception and collection of people’s communications violates the U.S. Constitution. After years of government efforts to delay and block our ability to bring the NSA to account for spying on Americans emails, phone call information, and other communications, the government is asking the court to grant judgment in its favor because, it contends, the plaintiffs cannot prove that they were spied on. The court cannot rule on the issue one way or the other without disclosing state secrets, the government argues. EFF is asking the court to allow the plaintiffs to move forward to the merits of the case—whether the spying was illegal—using the special procedure Congress created for resolving cases which might involve national security information.

    • The Russian government has announced a plan to create digital profiles for its citizens. How is this going to work?

      Russia’s Communications Ministry has announced a public comment period on a new bill that would amend a number of the country’s federal laws. On paper, the proposal is just “a clarification of identification and authentication procedures,” but a large portion of the text is devoted to the development of digital profiles. Before long, every Russian citizen will have one: the bureaucratic infrastructure for digital profiles has already been laid out in Russia’s nationwide Digital Economy project.

    • Vigilant And Its Customers Are Lying About ICE’s Access To Plate Records

      Everyone’s hooking up ICE with automatic license plate reader (ALPR) data. And everyone’s misleading the public about it, starting with ALPR manufacturer, Vigilant. The EFF has been investigating California law enforcement’s data sharing claims with relation to its Vigilant ALPRs and finding their public statements are directly contradicted by internal communications obtained with public records requests.

      Vigilant tries to keep as much information about data sharing under wraps by forcing purchasers to sign restrictive non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreements. Law enforcement agencies are secretive by default, so this allows them to double down on opacity. Vigilant has taken a hardline approach to negative press, threatening journalists with lawsuits for asking too many questions and publishing the answers they’ve received.

    • Workplace Surveillance Is Central to Capitalist Exploitation

      Surveillance of employees in the workplace through the use of advanced technology represents the latest phase in the long history of capitalism to maintain control of workers and to increase productivity through intensified forms of exploitation. Is surveillance capitalism an updated version of Big Brother or something even more sinister? Does it really increase productivity? Are workers accepting of surveillance? And how do we ensure that surveillance capitalism does not completely wipe out privacy and individual rights? In this exclusive Truthout interview, Ivan Manokha, a lecturer at Oxford University and a leading scholar in surveillance studies, offers penetrating insights into the above questions.

    • McDonald’s Bites on Big Data With $300 Million Acquisition [Ed: Big Data as corporate media-cherished euphemism for corporate surveillance]

      McDonald’s is set to announce that it has reached an agreement to acquire Dynamic Yield, a startup based in Tel Aviv that provides retailers with algorithmically driven “decision logic” technology. When you add an item to an online shopping cart, it’s the tech that nudges you about what other customers bought as well. Dynamic Yield reportedly had been recently valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars; people familiar with the details of the McDonald’s offer put it at over $300 million. That would make it the company’s largest purchase since it acquired Boston Market in 1999.

    • A future visit to a McDonald’s drive-thru will soon be similar to shopping on Amazon

      The fast-food giant announced Monday that it has an agreement to acquire Dynamic Yield, a company considered a leader in personalization and “decision logic technology.”

      [...]

      The technology was tested in several restaurants in 2018 and will begin to be rolled out to all U.S. locations in 2019 after the acquisition closes, the company said in a statement.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • More than 400,000 People in US Live in Modern Slavery, Report Finds

      The number of people living in modern slavery in the US is seven times higher than in 2014, according to the 2018 Global Slavery Index report. Modern slavery is often a hidden crime, associated with forced or state-imposed labor, human trafficking, sexual servitude, and marriage. The report noted that the US “does not provide one definitive set of statistics on identified victims,” due to federal privacy laws and agency policies; nonetheless, the Global Slavery Index (GSI) report indicated that figures for the US had increased from an estimated 60,000 people in 2014 to 403,000 people in 2016.

      As the Guardian reported, the GSI report argued that the US figures understate the US’s role in contributing to the global slavery problem, because the US imports many products—including laptop computers, mobile phones, clothing, fish, cocoa and timber—that are “at risk of being produced through forced labor.”

      The GSI report made specific recommendations for how the US government could strengthen legislation, improve victim support, strengthen coordination and transparency, address risk factors, and eradicate modern slavery from the economy.

      The Global Slavery Index is published by the Walk Free Foundation in Australia. GSI ranks countries by calculating the vulnerability of individuals within each country to enslavement, measuring the total number of slaves in every country, and assessing the overall quality of government responses to modern slavery.

    • Modern Slavery: Migrants Forced to Work Grueling Hours at Hand Car Washes

      Across the United Kingdom, the exploitation of trafficked laborers has led to an explosion of cheap hand car wash businesses, according to recent articles in the Guardian. For around $7 USD, any customer can have their car washed. According to these reports, business owners keep their prices low due to gross practices of slave labor and unsanitary work environments. Laborers often live in unsanitary, shared rooms, on floors with a single mattress, that a court described as “abject squalor,” according to a January 2017 article in the Times. With a lack of provided food, and little money to go buy their own, these laborers are often subject to a cycle of illness, malnutrition, and hopelessness. One laborer, Sandu Laurentiu, was electrocuted and subsequently killed while using a shower in his dilapidated, rat-infested living quarters, according to the Guardian. Each illegal business employs approximately twelve workers, however the estimated number of businesses in the United Kingdom ranges from 10,000-20,000.

      Although there are an estimated thousands of illegal businesses in the United Kingdom, only one case has led far enough to an arrest; there are still countless victims that live in subhuman conditions. According to the Guardian, the Modern Slavery Helpline received 493 reports of potential cases of labor exploitation in hand car washes across the country, with 2,170 potential victims. In 2017, the helpline received a majority of its tips from illegal car wash businesses. A rise in the amount of illegal activity is a consequence of affordable land for car wash facilities, as well as changes in the EU labor market. These changes have seen an influx of migrant workers, and a car wash is a common first job for visitors. To business owners, migrants are vulnerable and easy to exploit for work.

    • Mass Incarceration Since 1492: Native American Encounters With Criminal Injustice

      The recent right-wing militia occupation of federal land in Oregon once again reminds us that we actually live in what historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz refers to as the US “settler colonial state.” Amazingly, Ammon Bundy and his clan took over this land with the claim that they were the rightful owners. With typical settler arrogance, they neglected the historical truth – that the Indigenous people of the Northern Paiute nation were there long before a single imperialist ship set sail from Europe. As journalist Simon Moya-Smith has pointed out “for Native America being overlooked is nothing new. Our voices are seldom in the mainstream, our issues disregarded … this country has yet to recognize our humanity.”

      Critical accounts of police abuse and mass incarceration often suffer from a similar syndrome, albeit with much better intentions. They overlook the particulars of structural violence that have been visited upon Native peoples for many centuries, and how this violence relates to but also differs from the experience of Black people. Adding the Native American dimension to framing the analysis of the criminal legal system adds new insights and offers some important lessons for alternatives.

    • Lithuanian court sentences former Soviet defense minister in absentia to 10 years for January 1991 violence

      A court in Vilnius has convicted former USSR Defense Minister Dmitry Yazov of war crimes and crimes against humanity, sentencing him in absentia to 10 years in prison. He is being held responsible for the events on January 13, 1991, when Soviet troops stormed a television tower in Vilnius after Lithuania declared its independence from Moscow in March 1990. The soldiers killed 14 civilians in the raid and injured more than 600 people.

    • IBM Accused of Violating Federal Anti-Age Discrimination Law

      A group of former employees has filed a lawsuit against IBM that accuses the tech giant of failing to comply with a federal law that requires companies to disclose the ages of people they lay off who are 40 or older. The suit, filed in federal district court in New York City, also alleges that the company has improperly prevented workers from combining to challenge their ousters.

      It is the second broad legal action against IBM since a 2018 ProPublica story that documented widespread age discrimination by the company in its global restructuring. The former employees are asking the court to invalidate a written agreement that IBM requires its employees to sign to receive severance pay. Under the document’s provisions, workers agree to give up any right to challenge their dismissal in court.

    • ‘Epitome of Religious Intolerance’: GOP Lawmaker Begs ‘God Forgive Us’ Prior to Muslim Colleague Being Sworn In

      A Pennsylvania Republican lawmaker delivered a fire and brimstone prayer aimed at an incoming Muslim member of the statehouse Monday, prompting outrage and accusations of bigotry.

      Rep. Stephanie Borowicz, a Republican from central Pennsylvania’s Clinton County, opened the day’s session with a prayer that called for the country to ask for God’s “forgiveness” for, in her view, turning away from Christianity.

      “God forgive us, Jesus, we’ve lost sight of you, we’ve forgotten you, God, in our country, and we’re asking you to forgive us,” said Borowicz.

      The meaning of the prayer wasn’t lost on state lawmakers. Monday marked a historic first in the state as state Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell, a Philadelphia area Democrat, was sworn in as the state’s first Muslim woman representative.

      “It blatantly represented the Islamophobia that exists among some leaders, leaders that are supposed to represent the people,” Johnson-Harrell told the Pennsylvania Capital-Star in a statement.

      In remarks to reporters on the statehouse floor, Johnson-Harrell expressed disappointment with Borowicz’s behavior.

    • ‘Unethical, Dangerous, and Unacceptable’: Trump-Pence Regime Broadens Attack on Women Across the Globe

      Healthcare providers and human rights advocates sounded alarm after the Trump administration announced Tuesday moves to attack reproductive and healthcare rights including a further expansion of the global gag rule, which blocks U.S. aid funding to groups that facilitate or work on abortions.

      “This is unethical, dangerous, and unacceptable,” said Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

    • The Bottomless Cruelty of the U.S-Mexico Border

      Borders are cruel. I know this because I’ve been studying the U.S.-Mexico border for more than 40 years. It features prominently in two of my books, written in different decades. It keeps pulling me back. Every time I cross that border, I say to myself that this is no big deal — I’m used to it. And every time, I feel that familiar fear-or-flight jolt of adrenaline and hear the inner warning: Watch out! Things go wrong here.

      The border is cruel because it gives some people what they want and denies the needs of almost everybody else. Still, the hopeful come, lately in swelling numbers. Sadly, the cruelty of the border has ratcheted upward. It didn’t have to. U.S. policies have added unnecessary meanness to the innate hurt of the dividing line we share with Mexico. Here are a dozen “realities” of the border that I try to keep in mind while mulling the latest disasters

    • Ukraine’s Ultra-Right Increasingly Visible as Election Nears

      As Ukraine’s presidential election draws near, its ultranationalist groups are becoming increasingly visible, posing a dilemma for the West.

      Thousands of far-right activists marched to incumbent President Petro Poroshenko’s administration headquarters earlier this month, chanting about alleged corruption and throwing funeral-style bouquets and toy pigs to symbolize the embezzlement of state funds. Ultranationalists have also gone to campaign rallies where they fight with police and heckle Poroshenko, who is running for a second five-year term in the March 31 presidential election. And earlier this month, the ambassadors of the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations sent a letter to the Interior Ministry voicing concern about the ultra-right’s assertive posturing ahead of Sunday’s presidential vote.

      The protests reflect the growing presence of far-right groups in Ukraine and their power in shaping the nation’s political agenda, leaving the West in a quandary. On the one hand, the ultranationalists have played a key role in fighting Russia-backed separatist rebels in the east and are now challenging government corruption. On the other, they are pushing with increasing boldness for changes that go against traditional democratic ideals.

    • The Department of Homeland Security’s Attack on Asylum Seekers at the Border Continues

      The U.S. is systematically violating the rights of asylum seekers and turning them back into Mexico where they are often abused.
      In a desperate attempt to escape immediate threats to their life, the Castro* family fled their home country of El Salvador, hoping to make it to the U.S.-Mexico border to seek refuge. What they found instead at the port of entry in Eagle Pass, Texas, were cruel U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and no protection to be found.

      After being physically pushed back into Mexico by CBP officers, the Castro family was told that they must get on a list in Mexico and wait. In the months that followed, terrified and with no resources or community support, a nightmare transpired for the five of them, including three young children. The family was kidnapped, extorted by Mexican officials, separated in immigration detention, and threatened in Mexico by their past persecutors. To make an already terrible situation bleaker, the medical conditions of one of their children worsened due to lack of health care.

      The Castro’s family’s ordeal is the result of CBP’s policy of turning away asylum seekers at ports of entry, known as “metering.” In its current iteration, the policy includes CBP officers stationed on the international boundary at ports, where they reject arriving asylum seekers and instruct them to seek Mexican immigration officials to be put on waiting lists, just to begin their asylum process. The policy illegally denies access to the asylum system and forces migrants to wait in untenable conditions, vulnerable to abuse like the Castro family, even before beginning any asylum procedure in U.S. courts.

      The resulting horrors foreshadow the dangers faced by those subjected to DHS’s new policy known as “Remain in Mexico,” technically called the “Migrant Protection Protocols” (MPP). Under the MPP policy, which has already begun across California and is being expanded to El Paso, asylum seekers are sent back to Mexico after starting their asylum process and forced to wait there for the completion of their immigration court proceedings in the U.S., effectively denying them access to U.S. humanitarian protection and placing them back in danger.

    • Because There Is No Difference: On Bikers, Headscarves, Haka and Unity

      In need of a glimmer of light, we looked to New Zealand, where in the face of a bloody cataclysm the country has risen together in extraordinary strength and grace to steadfastly proclaim, “We are one.” The nationwide acts of solidarity have offered both solace to those in pain and a way forward to a country that refuses to be broken. Even as the mourning goes on apace in the aftermath of the Christchurch attack, the government has swiftly stepped up to help: They have promised to fund mental health treatment for survivors, even those without physical injuries; offered financial support, including payment for funerals, to those in need; organized a memorial ceremony for Friday; and, putting a paralyzed U.S. to shame, moved to ban assault weapons within days.

      They were led in all endeavors by their exemplary Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who has spoken up with heart and courage at every turn, declaring of the victims that “they are us” even as she refuses to recognize the perpetrator: “We will give him nothing, not even his name.” Ardern opened the first Parliament after the attacks with the Arabic “As-Salaam-Alaikum,” or “Peace Be Unto You,” and then invited an imam to lead lawmakers in prayer. Donning a headscarf in a show of solidarity, she has laid wreaths at memorials for the victims, and wept with and embraced their relatives, and visited a Muslim early childhood center owned by a critical injured victims whose son died in the attack. She ordered the first Friday prayers after the shootings to be broadcast nationally, along with a two-minute silence to be observed in honor of the victims. In her brief, solemn appearance at what became a massive outdoor gathering, she vowed, “New Zealand mourns with you. We are one.”

      Much of the country followed her empathetic lead. After consulting with Muslim groups, a doctor began “Headscarves for Harmony” to encourage all women to wear headscarves to support their Muslim sisters fearful of wearing hijabs in public. Muslim families held gatherings for victims’ relatives and friends, cooking their loved ones’ favorite foods. Groups, from students to street and biker gangs, performed stirring haka, the ancient Māori war dance to express pride, strength and unity. A human chain of love was organized to stand guard around mosques during Friday prayers; at the Jamia Masjid Mosque, the protectors included members of the Māori-dominated gang Mongrel Mob, along with Hells Angels and King Cobras. “We will support and assist our Muslim brothers and sisters for however long they need us,” said Mongrel leader Sonny Fatu; he stressed they would be peaceful and unarmed “to allow them to feel at ease.” Asad Mohsin, head of the Waikato Muslim Association, thanked them and invited them to join those at prayer, unafraid. “We want you to be inside, with us,” he said. “Our differences are the glue that hold us so tightly together.”

    • Stupid Law Making Assaulting Journalists A Federal Crime Revived By Congress

      Yes. Swalwell’s official statement on his zombie legislation contained a hashtag. Here’s what the “Journalist Protection Act” [PDF] does: turns an existent crime into a slightly worse crime if the victim is someone the federal government considers a journalist. “Bodily injury” or “serious bodily injury” are the flavors of the felony enhancement, adding 3-to-6 years to violators’ sentences respectively.

      Fortunately, the definition for journalist is broad enough to keep bloggers and livestreamers in the loop. Unfortunately, this just means more people are going to face enhanced sentences for harming members of our nation’s newest protected group.

      Once again: this isn’t a good idea for anyone. It’s never a good idea to give extra protections to people who practice certain careers, whether they’re journalists or cops. Blues Lives Matter laws elevate cops above the people they serve. The Journalist Protection Act makes journalists’ lives worth more than those of the people they cover. One set of laws is “justified” by an imaginary “war on cops.” The other is “justified” by a bunch of boneheaded public statements by the Blowhard in Chief.

      In both cases, the only thing happening is legislators scoring easy points preaching to the converted… and hoping the converted remember the stupidity they enacted in their names when reelection time comes around.

      No real journalist should want this. Unfortunately, a bunch of journalistic groups are acting like it’s just the thing this nation’s been missing. The Society of Professional Journalists is offering its endorsement. So is the NewsMedia Alliance. Scrolling through the feed of tweets referencing this law reveals a disappointing number of journalist groups buying into this bullshit. This administration does pose a threat to journalism, but it takes the form of a crackdown on whistleblowers and placing journalists under surveillance, if not under indictment. It has very little to do with Trump encouraging physical violence against members of the press.

    • Government officials in Yakutia spoke in support of recent anti-migrant protests. Now, they’re blaming external provocations for the unrest.

      On March 17, a 23-year-old man from Kyrgyzstan forced a young woman into his car, drove her to an unpopulated area, and raped her. He then forcibly brought her with him to the residence of two of his friends, where the woman managed to escape. The next day, three men were arrested. One was charged with rape and kidnapping, and the other two were charged with holding a person against their will.

      News about the young woman’s kidnapping and rape became a source of turmoil in Yakutsk, the capital city of Yakutia. Word spread quickly through messenger apps, and that same evening, approximately 200 people gathered on the city’s Komsomolskaya Square in an unplanned protest.

    • Bureau Of Prisons Transfers Imprisoned Activist And Journalist Marty Gottesfeld To CMU In Terre Haute

      Marty Gottesfeld, an activist serving a 10-year prison sentence for offenses stemming from a digital sit-in he engaged in against the Boston Children’s Hospital, was transferred to a Communications Management Unit (CMU) in Terre Haute, Indiana.

      When Gottesfeld found out Justina Pelletier was institutionalized in a psychiatric ward in 2013 against her parents’ wishes, he allegedly organized with members of Anonymous and participated in a distributed denial of service (DDOS) operation that disrupted the donation portal for the hospital website.

      A jury convicted Gottesfeld in August 2018 of “conspiracy to intentionally damage a protected computer” and “intentional damage to a protected computer,” a violation of the outdated Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). However, they refused to conclude that Gottesfeld’s actions impaired the ability of the hospital to provide medical care to any patients.

      Gottesfeld was sentenced to just over 10 years in prison in January and imprisoned at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York until February, when he was temporarily moved to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn until the Bureau of Prisons could place him in a CMU.

      CMUs are experimental social isolation units that were initially created in 2006 and 2008. As the Center for Constitutional Rights describes, “Individuals detained in the CMUs are completely banned from any physical contact with visiting family members and friends.”

    • Noam Chomsky on Moral Relativism and Michel Foucault
    • New York City Apartment Residents Sue Landlord Over New Smart Locks

      One longtime resident — a 93-year-old man — has decided to become a shut-in, rather than wrangle with the tech. There’s still a standard lock guarding another entrance to the building, but it does not provide access to the elevator. Three flights of stairs isn’t really an option, so he’s chosen to forgo venturing out of the building.

      In addition to limiting access to those with compatible smartphones, the new locks require tenants to sign an 84-page agreement with the manufacturer. The smart locks also notify landlords of tenants’ entrances by default. This “feature” can be turned off by end users (renters), but it really seems like something that should be opt in for renters, rather than opt out.

      While building owners are given plenty of leeway when it comes to security, replacing physical locks with a smartphone-dependent product isn’t really the way to go. As ubiquitous as smartphones are, there are still renters who don’t own one. The thing about this case is that there’s still a regular lock in place. It’s just that the landlord won’t give tenants that prefer the old school approach keys for the lock.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Google is rolling out AMP for Gmail to let you shop and fill out forms without leaving your inbox [iophk: "it is spreading, as warned; lock-in proceeds"]

      A year after Google announced it would begin supporting AMP in Gmail, the company is now releasing a beta to the general G Suite audience. AMP for Gmail is designed to make emails feel more like an interactive webpage without punting users to a browser. Users can browse image carousels, RSVP to an event, or fill out a form without leaving their inbox. Google calls these “dynamic emails.”

    • Dem net neutrality bill clears first hurdle in House

      The bill would reinstate the FCC’s 2015 order that prohibited internet service providers from blocking or throttling web content or from creating internet fast lanes.

    • Bill That Would Restore Net Neutrality Moves Forward Despite Telecom’s Best Efforts to Kill it

      Greer told Motherboard that several last minute amendments were introduced by lawmakers during the markup period in an attempt to water down the bill, but all were pulled in the wake of widespread public interest in the hearing.

      “It seems like the GOP retreated a bit given after the huge swell of public support,” said Greer, who told Motherboard that 300,000 people watched the organization’s livestream of the markup process. That attention “really emboldened the Democrats and shored up the ones that were wobbling,” Greer said.

    • Bill To Restore Net Neutrality Moves Forward, And The Public Is Still Pissed
    • Websites that Keep Loading, and Loading and Loading….

      Have you ever wondered what happens when you minimize the browser on your phone? Does the website stop loading? What happens if the website has a periodic ping, for analytics, or ads, or another process? On a mobile phone, this could lead to excess data usage — which on a metered connection can be costly.

      On a mobile device using the cellular network the radio does not turn off right away due to the Radio Resource Control state machine (read the Wikipedia article or watch this video I made a few years ago when I was at AT&T). If a website keeps pinging a server, the radio is unable to turn off, and this can lead to excess battery drain.

      So, what do I see when I test websites? [...]

    • Comcast’s New Rented Streaming Box Is A Flimsy Attempt To Remain Relevant

      Like countless other cable giants, Comcast continues to bleed cable TV subscribers at an alarming rate. These users, tired of sky-high prices, continue to flee to more competitive streaming alternatives and better customer service. That’s not great news for Comcast, which has spent decades enjoying a stranglehold over traditional TV, thanks in part to the industry’s walled gardens and monopoly over the cable box. And while cable giants could counter the streaming threat by competing on price, they instead continue to double down on ideas that don’t make a whole lot of sense.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • ITC Again Recommends Exclusion Based on a Patent Likely to be Found Invalid

      International Trade Commission (ITC) Administrative Law Judge McNamara issued a Notice of Issuance of Initial Determination today, explaining that, based on a complaint from Qualcomm, she had found that Apple infringed claim 1 (but not claim 8) of U.S. Pat. No. 8,063,674, and that the claim was valid. Based on that, she stated that she would recommend issuing an exclusion order banning the importation of Apple iPhones using Intel baseband processors.

      The only problem? Two months ago, three judges from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)—the agency whose entire purpose is to determine whether patents are valid or not—determined that claim 1 is reasonably likely to be proven invalid.

      The ITC has been reticent to defer to the USPTO’s expertise in the area of patent validity, refusing to stay exclusion orders to allow the USPTO to complete its work, and in some cases refusing to lift an exclusion order already imposed until after all appeals are exhausted regarding the USPTO’s decision. Ultimately, the ITC is a trade court and deep technical issues of validity are outside of its core competence. Deference to the competence of the USPTO in this arena would be appropriate, given the ITC’s statutory mandate to consult with other agencies in the course of its investigations. It would also prevent the ITC from ending up in a situation like this—a situation that harms the public interest that the ITC is also statutorily required to consider.

    • Qualcomm wants ITC to reconsider patent invalidity finding because jury decided otherwise after Apple “abandoned” invalidity defense

      Also, there’s really nothing that Qualcomm stands to gain from “reconsideration” by the ITC in practical terms. It’s just about vindication and probably meant to be a signal to the appeals court (the Federal Circuit) that Qualcomm hasn’t given up. But practically, it will now take some time for the ITC to decide on whether or not to reconsider, and even if the ITC did, it would then take time to make a decision. Apple already has a workaround for the ’490 patent in place. If the ITC had decided that Qualcomm was entitled to an import ban (based on the merits, which the ITC didn’t see, and on not being against the public interest, a question that the ALJ answered with “no” and the Commission didn’t even reach), the only practical question here would have been the length of a grace period so Apple could have sought a determination of non-infringement by devices with newer iOS versions. The more time passes, the less sense it makes to even think and talk about outdated iOS versions. Those older versions are not entering the U.S. market anymore, and presumably stopped entering it months ago. So in practical/commercial terms, it’s a waste of time–it’s ultimately just about the “principle” of proving infringement. Even the San Diego patent infringement damages award is insignificant relative to the overall dispute between the parties.

      [...]

      Should the fact that the PTAB instituted some IPRs against the ’490 patent have played a persuasive role here (I would think so!), then that doesn’t bode well for Qualcomm’s second ITC case against Apple, where a judge ruled yesterday that Apple was deemed to infringe a valid patent, though the ITC staff disagreed on infringement and the PTAB considers the patent likely invalid. I, for my part, very much doubt that the other ITC case would ever result in an import ban. The final Commission decision in that one is scheduled for July 26.

    • Qualcomm loses first ITC case against Apple, recent San Diego infringement verdict loses credibility

      Earlier today, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) of the United States International Trade Commission (USITC, or just ITC) issued a preliminary ruling in Qualcomm’s favor with respect to one of the three remaining patents-in-suit (out of five originally asserted patents) in the investigation of Qualcomm’s second ITC complaint against Apple. But that finding is still subject to review.

      A final (apart from a possible appeal) Commission decision just came down at 5 PM Eastern Time in the investigation of Qualcomm’s first ITC complaint against Apple. A different ALJ, Thomas B. Pender, had identified a violation of one patent (out of six patents originally asserted in that case), but recommended that, even if this finding had been affirmed, no import ban should have issued in light of Qualcomm’s anticompetitive intentions (as the complaint targets only Intel-powered iPhones). The final ruling (PDF), however, is that there is no violation.

      Apple’s petition for a review of the infringement holding had been granted in December, while Qualcomm’s petition for review had been denied.

      As a result of the ITC finding that the sole remaining patent-in-suit being invalid (in the ITC’s opinion, it fails to meet the nonobviousness requirement for patentability), any further public-interest analysis became unnecessary.

    • ITC judge disagrees with ITC staff, sides with Qualcomm against Apple: one patent held infringed, import ban recommended; but patent likely invalid

      In 2017, Qualcomm filed two ITC complaints (requests for U.S. import bans) against Apple. In the earlier-filed case, a final determination by the Commission (the six-member decision-making body at the top of the U.S. trade agency with quasi-judicial authority) is due at 5 PM Eastern Time today, and the outcome of that one will be inconsequential as Apple has already worked around the sole remaining patent-in-suit.

    • USPTO conference on Artificial Intelligence and IP: a report
    • Copyrights

      • Netflix Asks Court To Dismiss Chooseco’s Lawsuit For All The Obvious Reasons

        You will recall that Chooseco LLC, the company behind the Choose Your Own Adventure books that people my age remember with such fondness, decided quite stupidly to sue Netflix over Black Mirror’s audience-influenced production called Bandersnatch. The lawsuit is silly for any number of reasons, including that the whole thing rests on a character in Bandersnatch mentioning a CYOA book as the inspiration behind his fictional video game coupled with the fact that the film (a third medium) lets viewers choose how the story progresses. How Chooseco thinks any of that legal pixelation resolves into an actual trademark or copyright violation is anyone’s guess, because it most certainly does not. Storytelling mechanics are most definitely not protectable as intellectual property. On top of that, Chooseco subsequently announced its own licensed deal with Amazon for Alexa. The timing of it all sure seems to indicate that Chooseco might have wanted to send Netflix a thank you for revitalizing interest in its products, rather than filing a lawsuit.

      • European Parliament approves controversial Copyright Directive

        “This is a very bad day for free expression, for copyright and democracy. Millions of people have voiced their opposition and thousands have protested against it. If copyright filters go ahead, large numbers of mistaken takedowns will impact what we do and say online. The EU Parliament has made a serious error of judgement here. We will go on doing everything we can to stop this being the disaster it promises to be.”

      • Controversial Online Copyright Law Article 13 Passed By EU Parliament

        n Monday 27 March 2019, the European Parliament passed the controversial EU copyright law. However, two clauses within the law, namely Article 13 and 11, are the cause of concern for millions of internet users in the EU.

      • Aren’t AMP Caches committing copyright infringement?

        Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are specially formatted web pages that companies like Cloudflare, Google, and Microsoft copy off publishers’ websites and make available through their own AMP Cache web servers. There is no redistribution license agreement between the AMP Caches and the publishers, so how come AMP Caches aren’t considered copyright infringement on a massive scale?

      • Promoting open source innovation: Red Hat urges U.S. Supreme Court to support free use of software interfaces

        Red Hat recently filed an amicus brief (a “friend of the court” brief) in support of Google’s petition for certiorari, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn two rulings by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Oracle v. Google. These decisions, we believe, incorrectly extended copyright to programming interfaces and created unhelpful uncertainty around the doctrine of fair use. If left uncorrected, the lower court rulings could harm software compatibility and interoperability and have a chilling effect on the innovation represented by the open source community.

        Open source software has been one of the great technological success stories of recent decades. The rapid pace of innovation resulting from the open source collaborative development model is facilitated by the ability to generally use interfaces, such as APIs for software libraries and web services, unrestricted by copyright protection. Unencumbered interfaces are vital to developing programs that interoperate with computer products, platforms and services. Interoperability is critical to innovation and a core feature of the internet and of internet-dependent devices and services.

      • EU Parliament Adopts Copyright Directive, Including ‘Article 13’

        First up was a proposal to reject the entire Copyright Directive. This was rejected with 443 votes against and 181 in favor. A subsequent vote to allow amendments to the text of the directive was also rejected, although that was very close with 317 in favor and 312 against.

        Parliament then moved on to vote on the entire text of the Copyright Directive without any changes, including the renumbered Article 13 and Article 11.

        With 348 Members of Parliament in favor, 274 against, and 36 abstentions, the Copyright Directive was adopted.

      • Article 13: Europe approves controversial copyright law despite protests

        The backbone of the protests involves Article 13 – now renamed ‘Article 17 in the revised text – which many have claimed threatens an open internet. It clamps down on copyright avoidance in such a way that it would make user-generated content almost impossible, and memes a thing of the past.

      • European Parliament passes new copyright rules

        New copyright rules have been passed by the European Parliament in Brussels overnight, making Internet publishers liable for content that is uploaded by users.

      • After yesterday’s ACCIDENTAL vote, EU copyright bill faces three HUGE legitimacy issues–not counting lobbying and Putin’s pipeline

        The lesson from yesterday’s European Parliament vote on copyright reform is that no one is ever beaten unless he gives up the fight. In fact, the vote was not just very close on whether or not to allow amendments but it turns out we only lost the vote on whether to proceed to the votes on amendments because various MEPs accidentally pushed the wrong button, resulting in an incorrect 317-312 “majority” against allowing amendments! More on this further below.

        Going forward, there are actually some opportunities to derail or delay adoption of the directive by the EU Council (by simply delaying adoption into the new EUJ legislative term, new procedural opportunities would arise, and it shouldn’t be too hard to delay adoption of an incredibly unpopular measure during the hottest phase of the election campaign). And even if this didn’t work out, the efforts going into this would highlight and underscore the illegitimacy an ill-conceived bill with a view to national adoption.

        It’s not even like we’d have to create facts that delegitimize the bill. The facts are already there, out in the open, well-documented, indisputable, and incontrovertible. It’s our job–as the defendants of a reasonable, fit-for-the-future balance between traditional creativity and 21st-century creativity–to take those silver bullets and use them wisely, forcefully, and swiftly.

        We have some very powerful silver bullets and I want to focus on only the top three aspects here. I wouldn’t emphasize the impact of “lobbying”, or of alleged threats by conventional media. Both camps were quite aggressive in their ways, and threats that were made against Axel Voss MEP (and possibly others) are not just unacceptable: they’re illegal, and I hope such behavior will have consequences. (I once received a threatening email in the United States when I was fighting there and in the EU against Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems in 2009, from someone who just identified himself as a Sun employee.)

      • Federal Prosecutors Recommend Paul Hansmeier Spend The Next 12 Years In Prison

        Cue the Ron Paul “It’s Happening!!!!” gif. The wheels of justice have been grinding away for years now, but they’ve finally generated several years for longtime copyright troll/supervillain Paul Hansmeier. After making a career out of extorting settlements from alleged porn-watching infringers, extorting settlements from small businesses with bogus ADA complaints, attempting to hide his wealth from his creditors (some of which were owed money for sanctions imposed in copyright trolling cases), and otherwise putting on a one-man show entitled “Why We Hate Lawyers,” Hansmeier is facing the possibility of spending the next decade in prison.

      • France wants urgent implementation of Internet upload filters: three government agencies to collaborate on this

        Without going into details here in public, I am in a position to tell you that there are certain dynamics in German politics across multiple parties that ultimately might prevent the German government from allowing the EU Council, where there is no qualified majority without Germany’s support, to rubberstamp the triply-illegitimate current version of the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (“EU Copyright Directive”). I attended and was, without prior notice, invited to speak at a small impromptu demonstration in Munich last evening against the European Parliament’s copyright vote.

        By contrast, the Macron regime, whose police forces commit extremely violent acts even against grandmas and other peaceful citizens joining the Yellow Vests protests, is as excited as government officials possibly could be about the prospect of filtering uploads by Internet users as soon as possible.

        Yesterday, Benjamin Henrion, the president of the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII), alerted me to a tweet by French journalist Marc Rees according to which the French government will start with the promotion and definition of a legal framework for upload filtering technologies in a matter of days. As per my suggestion, Benjamin asked Marc Rees for the source, not because I doubted the accuracy of the information but because I did want to see the specific context.

      • Conservative MEP Zdechovský, change.org petition call on European Parliament to REPEAT copyright vote that went wrong

        While the proponents of Article 13 (now Article 17) such as the Macron regime are already pushing for the rapid implementation of Internet upload filters and putting pressure on Switzerland to adopt a similar set of rules (so as to avoid the relocation of many EU web servers to the non-EU member states in the heart of Europe), it may turn out soon that those people were simply jumping the gun. There are some dynamics, and this triply illegitimate piece of legislation can still be prevented from being passed into law if we all do what it takes. We’ll see in the coming days whether the movement that opposed Article 13 (now Article 17) gets its act together. Most members of that movement apparently haven’t understood the opportunities yet, but some have. There clearly are political and procedural ways to turn this around.

      • The freedom to listen: Rute Correia on the power of community radio

        Academic, producer, and open culture enthusiast, Rute Correia is a Lisbon-based doctoral candidate who produces the White Market Podcast, which focuses on free culture and CC music. As both a student of radio and producer herself, she is deeply connected to the Netlabel and CC music communities, utilizing her significant talents to showcase free music, culture, and Creative Commons through community radio and open source.

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  27. Nothing Says 'New' Microsoft Like Microsoft Component Firmware Update (More Hardware Lock-in)

    Vicious old Microsoft is still trying to make life very hard for GNU/Linux, especially in the OEM channel/s, but we're somehow supposed to think that "Microsoft loves Linux"



  28. Bill Gates and His Special Relationship With Jeffrey Epstein Still Stirring Speculations

    Love of the "children" has long been a controversial subject for Microsoft; can Bill Gates and his connections to Jeffrey Epstein unearth some unsavoury secrets?



  29. Links 16/8/2019: Kdevops and QEMU 4.1

    Links for the day



  30. The EPO's War on the Convention on the Grant of European Patents 2000 (EPC 2000), Not Just Brexit, Kills the Unitary Patent (UP/UPC) and Dooms Justice

    Team UPC continues to ignore the utter failures that have led to lawlessness at the EPO, attributing the demise of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) to Brexit alone and pretending that it's not even a problem


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