Links 30/4/2019: Fedora 30 Available and Ubuntu 19.10 Release Date Noted

Posted in News Roundup at 2:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • The Best of Both Worlds

    Linux desktop users can now use an estimated two million Android apps that were previously unavailable on Linux with VolksPC OS.

    Open source enthusiasts have spent years waiting for the Linux desktop revolution. The Linux environment now supports hundreds of useful, stable, and secure desktop tools that are available for no cost, but Linux still has not displaced Windows or macOS in the race for desktop marketshare.

    Android, however, which uses the Linux kernel, has actually become mainstream and is competing quite well. In fact, if you combine desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile usage, Android has reached 38 percent of marketshare, narrowly overtaking Windows as the most popular operating system in the world.

  • Desktop

    • Complete PureBoot Demo and More Progress

      The video, as you can see, starts with powering on the Librem Laptop with a Librem Key inserted. PureBoot then starts by checking the firmware for tampering and authenticating itself to the Librem Key, which blinks green to indicate the system is safe.

      Next we select the Default Boot option, and PureBoot scans the /boot directory for any tampering – and if and when it doesn’t find any, it starts booting the OS as normal.

      Once the OS boots, you see a prompt show up on the screen requesting the user’s GPG PIN, which demonstrates PureBoot unlocking disk encryption using the Librem Key instead of a passphrase. We find this approach to be more convenient for the user than typing in a long passphrase; and being a 2-factor authentication, it’s more secure too.
      Finally we reboot the machine and simulate tampering, by storing a new shared secret in the TPM chip without the Librem Key inserted. Once we do reboot, PureBoot detects and warns us that the Librem Key isn’t inserted. We could skip this warning and boot anyway, but we insert it and then the Librem Key flashes red to warn us that there was tampering.

    • Purism’s PureBoot Advancing, Closer To Shipping With Their New Laptops

      Announced earlier this year was Purism PureBoot for the company’s bundle of safeguards for protecting a user’s boot process by having Intel ME disabled, Coreboot in place of a proprietary system BIOS, a USB Librem Key as their security token, and other mechanisms for securing the boot process and preventing theft/rootkits/security risks.

  • Server

    • Rancher Labs Adds OS Optimized for Kubernetes

      Rancher Labs has made available a beta release of a lightweight operating system on which it envisions IT organizations will deploy its previously announced lightweight instance of Kubernetes dubbed k3s.

      Company CEO Sheng Liang says the main goal is to make it more convenient for IT organizations to use the same set of tools to deploy an instance of Kubernetes along with a k3OS operating system based on the open source Ubuntu kernel. Rancher Labs doesn’t envision IT organizations replacing instances of Linux that have already been deployed in with K3OS, but in circumstances where there has been no operating system standard set, k3OS should provide a more frictionless deployment option, he says.

      In fact, Liang notes the ability to deploy and update Kubernetes and the operating system it runs on from within the same user interface to access a common set of YAML files should be especially appealing to IT organizations that have embraced best DevOps processes to deliver ongoing rolling upgrades to their IT environments.

    • Manage your APIs deployed with Istio service mesh

      And, as explained in “Distributed microservices architecture: Istio, managed API gateways and, enterprise integration”, a service mesh does not relieve the need for an API management solution. A service mesh manages services and the connections between them, whereas an API management solution manages APIs and their consumers. In this article, I’ll describe how to manage APIs using the Red Hat Integration adapter for Istio.

      Red Hat Integration offers an API management capability that let companies build an ecosystem of consumers around their APIs and then drive new revenue from them.

    • MySQL on OpenShift Container Storage performance and failover under heavy load
    • OpenStack Looks to Help Define the Future of Open Infrastructure

      The OpenStack Foundation is continuing to grow its open-source efforts, including confirming new top-level projects and expanding its Ironic bare metal program, as part of the kickoff for the Open Infrastructure Summit.

      The Kata Containers secure container effort and the Zuul Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) projects have now been confirmed as top-level projects at the OpenStack Foundation, joining the group’s namesake OpenStack cloud. While not yet a top-level project, the Airship lifecycle management project is also celebrating a major milestone with its 1.0 release.

      Additionally, the OpenStack Foundation is promoting its Ironic bare metal program as a way for organizations to deploy cloud resources on physical hardware.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Episode 18: KidOYO

      Doc Searls talks to Zhen, Devon and Melora Lofretto of KidOYO and Doctor Michael Nagler, superintendent of the Mineola Public School system in Mineola Long Island.

    • Linux Voice Introduction

      Today’s computer magazines talk about big ideas and new age concepts, like containers, cloud computing, and software-defined infrastructure, but we at Linux Voice know that one of the reasons you own you computer in the first place is to take care of everyday tasks more efficiently and without the clutter.

      Linux is home to dozens of useful tools for taking notes and managing to-do lists. This month we feature Joplin, a powerful open source note-taking app that organizes your notes in a searchable form and even supports synchronization with several popular cloud platforms. We also investigate the Unforeseen Incidents point-and-click mystery game, and our tutorial series continues with a look at Bash math functions and more on designing 3D objects with OpenSCAD.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 5.2 Will Be A Huge Release: EXT4 Case Insensitive, NVIDIA AltMode, Fieldbus + More

      Assuming Linux 5.1 manages to ship next weekend, the Linux 5.2 merge window will immediately kick off following that release. In our close monitoring of the different development branches in recent weeks, the Linux 5.2 kernel is shaping up to be an outright massive release.

    • A Conversation with Kernel Developers from Intel, Red Hat and SUSE

      Like most Linux users, I rarely touch the actual code for the Linux kernel. Sure, I’ve looked at it. I’ve even compiled the kernel myself on a handful of occasions—sometimes to try out something new or simply to say I could do it (“Linux From Scratch” is a bit of a right of passage).

      But, unless you’re one of the Linux kernel developers, odds are you just don’t get many opportunities to truly look “under the hood”.

      Likewise, I think for many Linux users (even the pro users, sysadmins and developers), the wild world of kernel development is a bit of a mystery. Sure, we have the publicly available Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML.org) that anyone is free to peruse for the latest features, discussions and (sometimes) shenanigans, but that gives only a glimpse at one aspect of being a kernel developer.

      And, let’s be honest, most of us simply don’t have time to sift through the countless pull requests (and resulting discussions of said pull requests) that flood the LKML on a daily basis.

      With that in mind, I reached out to three kernel developers—each working at some of the most prominent Linux contributing companies today—to ask them some basic questions that might provide a better idea of what being a Linux kernel developer is truly like: what their days look like and how they work with kernel developers at other companies.

    • Zack’s Kernel News

      Since its introduction by Brendan Higgins in October 2018, the KUnit unit testing framework has seen a lot of activity, and Brendan has implemented a lot of enhancements and documentation. Recently, he submitted some patches to support the bailing out of any given unit test, which he said was needed for implementing assertions. An assertion is a useful and cute debugging tool, where at a certain point in your code you claim that a particular value or condition is true, because at that point in the code you really expect it to be true. You’re not branching execution based on a conditional; you’re just saying, “I think the world looks like this.” Then, if it doesn’t look like “this,” the program can crash or throw an exception or do whatever you told it to do in case an assertion turns out to be false.

      You can see how unit tests and assertions might get in each other’s way. If you write a unit test to feed bogus inputs into a function to make sure it handles that case properly, the bogus inputs could end up triggering the assertion and short circuiting your goal, which is to test the actual code, not the assertion.

      Brendan wanted unit tests to abort in the event of triggering an assertion within the code. At that point, there would be no reason to continue that particular test. As he put it at some point deep in the conversation, “The idea with assertions is that you use them to state all the preconditions for your test. Logically speaking, these are the premises of the test case, so if a premise isn’t true, there is no point in continuing the test case, because there are no conclusions that can be drawn without the premises.”

    • Graphics Stack

      • OpenBLAS 0.3.6 Boosts AMD Zen Performance For GEMM, Other CPU Optimizations

        A new release of OpenBLAS is now available, the widely-used open-source BLAS implementation for optimized linear algebra kernels. With OpenBLAS 0.3.6, work has continued on maximizing the BLAS performance for a variety of CPU architectures.

        OpenBLAS 0.3.6 is shipping with CMake build system improvements, various POWER optimizations, support for the HiSilicon TSV110 processors, disabling of the AVX-512 DGEMM kernel once again due to unsolved problems, auto-detection for Intel Denverton CPUs, auto-detection for Hygon Dhyana Zen CPUs, and improved GEMM performance on AMD Zen processors.

      • Mesa 19.1 Flipping On Fast Color Clears For Intel Gen 11 Graphics

        While it’s looking like we are months out from seeing Intel “Gen 11″ graphics in any Icelake parts and the Iris Gallium3D driver should be the default driver before year’s end, the current “i965″ Mesa driver has enabled fast color clears support for these next-generation graphics processors.

        The Iris Gallium3D driver should be the default by year’s end, roughly when we expect to see the first of the Icelake mobile processors. But with the i965 Mesa driver already offering Gen11 support currently, the support will likely be left in there for the foreseeable future until if/when Intel decides to drop support for Broadwell “Gen 8″ graphics and newer when the Iris Gallium3D driver is so mature there is no reason left to use this current driver except for pre-Gen8 graphics support.

      • Intel Is Looking For Feedback On Their Open-Source OpenCL Linux Driver Support

        In addition to investing in their new “Iris” Gallium3D OpenGL driver and continuing to mature their “ANV” Vulkan driver, they do continue bolstering their OpenCL “NEO” open-source Linux driver that doesn’t receive as much attention by the community but is beginning to appear within Linux distribution repositories as the successor to their earlier “Beignet” OpenCL driver.

        Intel open-sourced their OpenCL “NEO” driver at the start of 2018 and it’s made rapid progress on OpenCL 2.x support, maturing their LLVM compiler back-end, and all-around being a fairly well-rounded driver that is now arguably more mature than the former Beignet driver.

    • Benchmarks

      • Strange Brigade Is Running Well On Linux Via Steam Play – Benchmarks With 22 NVIDIA/AMD Graphics Cards

        Strange Brigade is a third-person shooter game released last August for Microsoft Windows and game consoles. This game is powered by Rebellion Developments’ Asura Engine and while there is no native Linux port, is running well on Linux via Steam Play. Here are benchmarks with twenty-two different graphics cards looking at the current performance on Ubuntu Linux.

        A Phoronix reader pointed out that Strange Brigade is now running on Linux. While I hadn’t been familiar with the game myself, it was pointed out that it’s benchmark-friendly and meets my requirements around benchmarking. After picking up the game, I was indeed pleased to see this latest title running so smoothly along the likes of F1 2018 and DiRT Rally 2.0. I ran some initial benchmarks of this game when using Ubuntu 19.04 with the Linux 5.0 kernel and testing with Mesa 19.1-devel (via the Padoka PPA) on the Radeon graphics cards and the NVIDIA 430.09 beta driver with the GeForce GPUs.

  • Applications

    • Open source note taking with Joplin Listed and Distributed

      If you are looking for an open source alternative to Evernote, why not switch to Joplin?

      Long before the digital age, it was commonplace to quickly jot something down, perhaps on a yellow sticky note. Today, there are countless electronic note-taking apps for every operating system. Some even reproduce the yellow stickies visually, while others offer additional functions such as to-do lists or reminders.

      Well-integrated programs of this kind exist for the popular Linux desktops. However, exchanging data between different systems is often problematic. For example, the Xfce Notes app does not save changes immediately. If you synchronize the file with the notes at the wrong time, errors are inevitable. Furthermore, mobile operating systems are usually ignored.

    • An alternative to Docker, Snap, and company

      When setting up complex web-based services such as Drupal or Plone, there are many hurdles to overcome. Bitnami will make your job easier.

      The task of installing servers – even on Linux – is often fraught with pitfalls; amateur admins face serious issues with finding all the dependencies and putting all the necessary pieces in place. Bitnami reduces the installation and configuration overhead associated with setting up a fully configured web server. The Bitnami project [1] provides complete packages, including the required infrastructure, and lets you install the whole stack all at once.

      Bitnami is jointly developed and maintained by BitRock [2] and Bitnami, both from San Francisco, and it is available as free software under the Apache license. The individual stack components consist of the BitRock graphical installation program and the required server applications. Bitnami integrates the Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP (LAMP) environment, which is often used with web applications, into the stack up front. Since the stacks run autonomously, like virtual machine (VM) appliances, they do not require clumsy and error-prone modifications to your Linux system.

    • Best Linux IP Address Management Tools In 2019

      No one other than Network administrator can acknowledge the important of IP address management better. In this article, we are going to review some of the useful and best IP address management tools for Linux in 2019. These are the tools that you can use to manage IP address.

    • The sys admin’s daily grind: Log File Navigator
    • Excellent Console Log File Analyzers

      Almost everything that happens on a Linux system is logged in some way. These log files traditionally were stored plain ASCII text in a standard log file format, although they can be in binary format. Most logs are stored in the traditional system log subdirectory /var/log. Logs keep track of events, such as system errors, user activities, and transaction histories. These log files are everywhere.

      For many years system and kernel logs were handled by a utility called syslogd. Most Linux-based operating systems have since moved to systemd, which has a journal. It’s a giant log file for the whole system. Various software and services write their log entries into systemd’s journalctl.

      Applications capture an enormous amount of information to log files, especially as a server may generate multiple logs. It is important to review log files to obtain feedback about the activity and performance of the server, and to identify hints to solve any problems that may arise. Logs are essential for system auditing, debugging and maintenance.

      We can use the tail utility to monitor a plain text log file. But it’s often not that effective. An administrator of a system can suffer from information overload. Reviewing the log files in an efficient way can be a very time consuming task. There’s a need for an alternative.

      Linux has a good range of logging tools, although many are designed for large-scale deployments. They need to be installed and configured for servers. Instead of a belt and braces approach, there’s still a need for a good log file analyzer for the terminal.

      The software featured in this article are all released under an open source license, and offer a lot more functionality than tail.

    • Indie Web Server 9.0.0: Housekeeping

      I just released Indie Web Server version 9.0.0.

      This is mostly a housekeeping release and nearly all the changes are under the hood.

    • Indie Web Server 9.1.0: Better error handling
    • Most Used CLI Based Linux Network Management Tools

      If you are a system administrators or a network administrators then you must be aware of all the commands that we are going to mention in this post.

      Even if you don’t know or you are newbie in system admin domain than this post is for you.Let’s see some of the most used command line based tools for network management in Linux.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Unforeseen Incidents combines suspense with easy puzzles Point-and-Click Mystery

        In Unforeseen Incidents, a deadly virus and a spooky government quarantine are the prelude to an exciting point-and-click adventure for adults.

        The phone rings as the protagonist, Harper Pendrell, reluctantly gets up from a mattress on his hobby room floor. It’s Professor MacBride on the line (Figure 1), and once again, he is having problems with his laptop, which is urgently needed to evaluate research results. Harper grabs his universal multitool, which resembles a large Swiss army knife, and sets off for MacBride’s lab – unaware that an adventure is about to begin.

      • If Epic Vs Steam Is To Be A PR War, Epic’s Boss Just Issued A Brilliant Retaliatory Strike

        Things are getting interesting. For the past few months, we’ve been discussing the emergence of a new player in the digital games distribution business, in which Valve’s Steam platform has been dominant for roughly a decade. Epic Games’ platform has begun gobbling up new AAA game releases, signing them to 6 month exclusivity deals. Those deals have generally angered the majority of gamers, leading to the kind of review-bombing of already-released titles on Steam that Valve has previously pledged to prevent.

        It has appeared for all the world that a new era of game exclusivity has begun in the PC gaming space. This is not a development that gamers like. Nobody wants to find out that a PC game that by nature cannot be hardware exclusive has suddenly become distributor exclusive. But even as the outrage has grown, most have seen this as a business model competition, with Epic trying to ramp up its user numbers by signing these deals, which themselves are signed by offering developers a flat 88% of the revenue generated, whereas Steam only offers anywhere from 70%-80%.

      • ‘Minecraft’ Creator Excluded From Anniversary Due to ‘Comments and Opinions’

        “Minecraft” creator Marcus “Notch” Persson, who sold the title to Microsoft for $2.5 billion in 2014, won’t be part of 10-year anniversary plans for the game because of his “comments and opinions,” Microsoft tells Variety.

      • id Software Classic Shooters Ported to iOS and tvOS

        The history of id Software’s relationship with open source goes back all the way to 1997, when they first released the source code for Doom. At first, it was under a not-for-profit license, and later it fell under the GNU GPL license in 1999. Over the years, John Carmack kept releasing the source code for several other id Software classic shooters. The source code of all these games is now available under id Software’s official GitHub. Then, in 2009, id Software also brought official versions of Wolfenstein 3D and the original DOOM to the iOS App Store. However, those ports are no longer supported since 2014. In 2017, the iOS version 10.3 officially stopped supporting any apps based on the deprecated 32-bit architecture.

      • Id Software’s open source shooters get ported to Apple’s iOS, tvOS

        A lone coder has ported many of id Software’s classic shooters to Apple’s iOS and tvOS, though you’ll have to do a bit of work to get them working on your iDevices.

        The porting story goes back to 2009, when id Software brought official versions of Wolfenstein 3D and the original Doom to the iOS App Store. Updates for those ports stopped in 2014, though, and that became a problem in 2017, when iOS 10.3 officially stopped supporting “legacy” apps developed with a deprecated 32-bit codebase.

      • Character-driven, procedurally-generated tactical RPG ‘Wildermyth’ adds Linux support

        Wildermyth looks like quite a unique tactical RPG, one with visuals that make it seem like the game is made out of paper-craft and it’s now on Linux.

        The visuals really do look interesting, as it has hand-painted 2D character art and scenery which they’ve placed into a 3D world which gives it the unique styling.

        It’s currently in Beta so it’s not yet finished but that’s already there does look and sound very promising. The choices you make in the game sound very interesting too, with each choice changing your story and having lasting effects. It offers what they say is a different approach to death as well, as a character doesn’t have to die right away. You can choose between them being maimed “that can open up opportunities for transformation later” or have them go out “in a blaze of glory to be remembered for generations to come”.

      • The Glass Staircase, a homage to classic survival horrors and Italian zombie movies adds Linux support

        Super-retro looking horror title The Glass Staircase added official Linux support earlier this month and it looks pretty freaky.

        Developed by Puppet Combo, they said they were inspired by older survival horror games like Silent Hill, Rule of Rose and the Clock Tower series. They also sprinkled in some inspiration from Italian zombie movies like Burial Grounds: Nights of Terror, House by the Cemetery and The Beyond (the 1981 film, not the newer sci-fi one of the same name).

      • Third time’s a charm? Heroes Ravage – Rise of an NPC heads back to Kickstarter

        I have to hand it to Pixel Dinos, they don’t give up without a fight. Heroes Ravage has once again appeared on Kickstarter, for the third time.

        Developed as a sort of satire to the action-RPG genre, it will see you take on the role of a village NPC. Your task will be to setup traps and protect your belongings from a bunch of “Heroes” smashing up the town. It’s quite an amusing idea, one that does flip the usual theme on its head.

      • Assault Android Cactus just had a big free update, continuing my love of this twin-stick shooter

        Assault Android Cactus is easily one of the absolute best indie twin-stick shooters around and it’s now bigger and better again. Note: My key was originally from a PR team years ago.

        Just today, Witch Beam released the Assault Android Cactus+ update which includes a new Campaign+ game mode. This newer mode, originally in the Nintendo Switch version mixes the gameplay up something fierce, giving you a fresh challenge with rebuilt stages and new enemy waves along with “amped up boss fights”.

      • The absolute classic physics-based puzzle game ‘World of Goo’ is getting a little revamp soon

        World of Goo, a serious classic that released on Linux back in 2009 is coming back with a little revamp.

        Announced on the official Tomorrow Corporation blog post, developer Kyle Gabler goes into some detail about what’s coming and yes, the update includes the Linux version too of course.

      • TwinCop sounds hilarious with two people controlling one character, should come to Linux later

        Many co-op games get you and a friend to work together, not many have you do it in a way like TwinCop.

        Communication really is going to make or break your gameplay in this one, as you both control the same character. The story is pretty hilarious too, after a horrific boat accident you were basically stitched together and now you fight for control. This might be the only time fist-bumping yourself is acceptable.

      • Some thoughts on Overcooked! 2, the chaotic cooking game available for Linux

        With thanks to Team17 sending over a copy, I checked out the chaotic cooking game Overcooked! 2. Coming in totally fresh, since I had never played the original.

        Add one part pasta, one part tomato and—oh frick, something is on fire again. Overcooked! 2 puts you (and friends) in the shoes of a chef, no experience necessary here as you will learn on the job. Overcooked! 2 is not a new game, being released back in August of last year, coming with same-day Linux support from developer Ghost Town Games and publisher Team17 but it has been updated constantly with new content and DLC expansions.

      • SKYHILL: Black Mist announced with fun looking stealth and action, confirmed for Linux but releasing later

        SKYHILL: Black Mist from Mandragora and Klabater looks like a promising survival-action game with some stealth elements and the good news is a Linux version is planned.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • The Future of AST-Matching refactoring tools (EuroLLVM and ACCU)

        I recently made a trip to LLVM in Brussels and ACCU in Bristol. It was a busy week. I gave a talk at both conferences on the topic of the future of AST Matchers-based refactoring.

        As usual, the ‘hallway track’ also proved useful at both conferences, leading to round-table discussions at the LLVM conference with other interested contributors and getting to talk to other developers interested in refactoring tooling at ACCU.

      • Qt 5.13 Will Still Try To Ship In May

        The third beta of the Qt 5.13 tool-kit is now available for testing as the developers try to get this update ready to ship as stable in May.

        Jani Heikkinen of The Qt Company announced this third beta today. A fourth beta is expected as they are still working to update from OpenSSL 1.0 to 1.1 this cycle. Following that, a release candidate will come once their blocker bugs are addressed. As of writing, there are just nine blocker bugs at present ranging from Android crashes to pulling in new Chrome patches to WebAssembly issues.

      • FOSSPicks

        Kdenlive is one of those applications that catches you by surprise. One minute it seems little more than a quick Qt-built GUI wrapped around some command-line tools to concatenate video files, and the next minute it’s spending months on hiatus being rewritten and refactored into something that can genuinely start to compete with Final Cut Pro on macOS. This is what’s happening with Kdenlive; you’ll find the all new version in the KDE Applications 19.04 release. To be fair, it already was the best open source video editor available, barring perhaps Blender if you needed absolute power and had the patience to master its idiosyncratic user interface.

        Many who have perhaps not used Kdenlive for a while won’t realize that it now includes some rather advanced features. One, for example, allows you to use low quality copies of a clip as proxies for edits you want to make. This saves CPU and storage resources and is perfect for our 8K future. There’s also a brilliant Title Editor toolbar that enables you to create 2D text frames without having to resort to an external package. This important function is always overlooked in open source video editors, as they often focus on performance and clip editing. However, adding titles is equally important. You only have to look at the most popular YouTube videos to see how words, spacing, shadows, gradients, and images are spliced into video segments to create a professional and snappy video. Dropping an alpha-blended Gimp text render doesn’t really cut it, unless you’re creating a video about Gimp. Kdenlive has done all this for some time, which has perhaps been our only criticism: It was difficult to see where new developments were taking the project.

      • Craft: Platforms and Compiler

        While my last post was still about the new cache and which compilers we should support, the pre built binaries for Craft (the cache) are now 2 years old. They are used for continues integration and to speed up user builds.

        We now provide binaries for Windows, MacOS and Linux.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • MakuluLinux Core OS Is Dressed to Impress

        have charted the progress of Core’s development through sometimes daily ISO releases over the last few months. I can attest to the near constant revisions and design tweaks Raymer has applied.

        The more I used Core, the better choice it became over its LinDoz and Flash kin. That, of course, is purely a personal observation. But the features I loved in the other two MakuluLinux options either were even better when integrated into Core, or were surpassed by the Core-only innovations.

        MakuluLinux Core’s rebuilt Xfce desktop is so well tweaked it looks and feels like something new.

        Given the amount of forking Raymer did to Xfce, he could call the desktop something new. For me, referring to it as “the new Core desktop” makes perfect sense.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Debian 9.9 KDE Run Through

        In this video, we look at Debian 9.9, the KDE edition. Enjoy! For links and more, look here: https://www.linuxmadesimple.info/2019/04/debian-990-kde.html Background Music: 1973 by Bruno E.

      • Kubuntu 19.04 overview | Making your PC friendly

        In this video, I am going to show an overview of Kubuntu 19.04 and some of the applications pre-installed.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Help promote openSUSE Leap 15.1!

        The release of openSUSE Leap 15.1 is about three weeks away. To help spread the word about the release, we have counters available at counter.opensuse.org and more artwork on https://github.com/openSUSE/artwork/. You can put these items on your social media or blog pages to make sure everybody knows that the Release is Coming!

      • SUSE’s Embrace Of OpenStack Airship | Matthew Johns Interview

        In this interview, Matthew Johns – Global Product and Solutions Marketing Manager at SUSE talks about OpenStack Airship and why SUSE is embracing the project. We also talked about the evolution of the OpenStack Project itself.

        Airship, a collection of loosely coupled but interoperable open source tools that declaratively automate cloud provisioning, is available in its first release today. Airship 1.0 delivers a wide range of enhancements to security, resiliency, continuous integration and documentation, as well as upgrades to the platform, deployment and tooling features.

      • Going to @SAPPHIRENOW 2019? Don’t miss out visiting SUSE Booth #2246
      • 40+ sessions you shouldn’t miss at SAPPHIRE NOW 2019 [Ed: It's almost as if SAP owns SUSE now. Every single day there's a SAP puff piece in SUSE's official blog, today even two.]
      • New energy at SUSE’s annual SUSECON conference

        The SUSE community pondered new challenges and the path ahead at its annual SUSECON convention in Nashville, Tennessee.

        The past 12 months have been a whirlwind of change for SUSE. Former parent company Micro Focus announced last July that it was spinning off SUSE as an independent company [1], and since then, the leading European enterprise Linux vendor has been in a flurry of reinvention. In addition to embracing a new emphasis on growth, SUSE is also finding its way through the changes in the Linux space following IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat.

    • Fedora

      • Check Out The New Features in Fedora 30 Release

        The latest and greatest release of Fedora is here. Fedora 30 brings some visual as well as performance improvements. Check out the new features.

      • Fedora 30 Now Available With GNOME 3.32, Flicker-Free Boot, Zchunk Metadata

        Fedora Workstation 30, Fedora Server 30, and friends are now shipping this morning. Among the many changes to Fedora 30 include using Dbus-Broker by default for DBus, finishing up the flicker-free boot work from Fedora 29, upgrading to the bleeding-edge GCC 9 compiler, using LUKS2 as the default meta-data format for cryptsetup by default, supporting Zchunk metadata for the repository information, handling UEFI for ARMv7 hardware, adding the Deepin Desktop Environment / Pantheon Desktop / LXQt 0.14 to the desktop options, offering OpenJDK 12, and many other improvements.

      • Fedora 30 Is Here, Raspberry Pi Foundation Announces the Gender Balance in Computing Project, Open ZFS/ZFS On Linux Working on a Code of Conduct, Docker Hub Breach and Help Promote the Coming openSUSE Leap 15.1 Release

        Fedora 30 was released today. TechRepublic reports that this version brings some “quality-of-life improvements”, such as the flicker-free boot process. It includes GNOME 3.32 with all new app icons, but it also includes Fedora spins for KDE, XFCE, LXQT, MATE-Compiz, Cinnamon, and LXDE. In addition, “New to Fedora 30 include packages for DeepinDE and Pantheon, the desktop environments used in Deepin Linux, called “the single most beautiful desktop on the market” by TechRepublic’s Jack Wallen, as well as elementaryOS, which Wallen lauded as “spectacularly subtle.” While these are only packages—requiring simple, though manual, installation—packaging these desktops is the first step to building a full independent spin.” Go here to download, and see the full changelog here.

      • Fedora 30 Released with GNOME 3.32 and Linux Kernel 5.0, Here’s What’s New

        After more than six months in development, the Fedora Linux 30 operating system is finally here to give fans access to some of the latest and greatest GNU/Linux technologies and Open Source software. Besides up-to-date components, Fedora 30 comes with many new features, optimizations, and several other improvements for a richer Fedora Linux experience.

        There are some great additions in Fedora 30, such as the ability to install the Deepin and Pantheon desktop environments alongside existing and renowned flavours like GNOME, KDE Plasma, Xfce, LXQt, MATE, Cinnamon, and others. Of course, Fedora 30 ships with the latest GNOME 3.32 and KDE Plasma 5.15 desktop environments, and it’s powered by Linux kernel 5.0, GCC 9, Bash 5.0, and PHP 7.3.

      • Fedora 30 Now Generally Available

        The Fedora Project, a Red Hat, Inc. sponsored and community-driven open source collaboration, today announced the general availability of Fedora 30…

      • Fedora 30 Linux distro is here

        Fedora may not be the prettiest Linux distribution (that honor belongs to deepin), but it is still the overall greatest such operating system. Why? Well, not only is it the best representation of what a Linux distro should be (thanks to its focus on truly free and open source packages), but it is fast, modern, and very stable. Not to mention, it showcases the best desktop environment, GNOME. It should come as no surprise that the controversial father of Linux, Linus Torvalds, chooses Fedora as his daily operating system.

        Today, following a fairly short beta period, Fedora 30 is officially here! The most exciting aspect, for workstation/desktop users at least, is the update to GNOME 3.32. Of course, that is hardly the only notable update — the DNF package manager is getting a performance boost, for instance. In other words, this is a significant operating system upgrade that should delight both existing Fedora users and beginners alike.

      • Announcing the release of Fedora 30

        Fedora Editions are targeted outputs geared toward specific “showcase” uses. Since we first started using this concept in the Fedora 21 release, the needs of the community have continued to evolve. As part of Fedora 30, we’re combining cloud and server into the Fedora Server edition. We’re bringing in Fedora CoreOS to replace Fedora Atomic Host as our container-focused deliverable in the Fedora 30 timeframe — stay tuned for that. The Fedora Workstation edition continues to focus on delivering the latest in open source desktop tools.

        Of course, we produce more than just the editions. Fedora Spins and Labs target a variety of audiences and use cases, including the Internet of Things. And, we haven’t forgotten our alternate architectures, ARM AArch64, Power, and S390x.

        Fedora Workstation features GNOME 3.32 — the latest release of this popular desktop environment. GNOME 3.32 features an updated visual style, including the user interface, the icons, and the desktop itself. New to Fedora Server are Linux System Roles — a collection of roles and modules executed by Ansible to assist Linux admins in the configuration of common GNU/Linux subsystems

        No matter what variant of Fedora you use, you’re getting the latest the open source world has to offer. GCC 9, Bash 5.0, and PHP 7.3 are among the many updated packages in Fedora 30. We’re excited for you to try it out. So go to https://getfedora.org/ and download it now. Or if you’re already running a Fedora release, follow the easy upgrade instructions.

      • Fedora 30 brings immense quality of life improvements to Linux on the desktop

        Fedora 30 brings the usual mix of performance improvements and new packages, though progress in Fedora and associated projects makes Linux on the desktop easier to use.

        Fedora 30, the newest release of the venerable Linux distribution that serves (in part) as the staging environment for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, was released Tuesday, bringing with it a number of improvements and performance optimizations. Fedora 30 uses GCC 9.0, bringing modest performance improvements across all applications that have been recompiled using the new version, as noted by Linux benchmarking website Phoronix.

        The new version includes some quality-of-life improvements, for which work began in previous versions. These include the new flicker-free boot process, which hides the GRUB loader/kernel select screen by default, and relies on some creative theming to incorporate the bootsplash image from your hardware into the loading process. This also makes updating software through the Software Center a more seamless process.

      • Remote access to Wayland desktops under Fedora 29

        In Fedora 29, you can enable a VNC server on Wayland with a few mouse clicks, thus enabling remote desktop access.

        On Linux, the X Window System (short X11) still draws the graphical user interface on the screen in most cases. Thanks to its integrated network functions, it can even transport program windows from remote computers onto the screen if required. This facilitates remote maintenance and simplifies thin client setup. While the computationally intensive application runs on a powerful computer, the user looks at the output on their local PC, which requires very little in terms of resources.

        In Wayland, the newly-developed X11 successor, these neat network functions are missing in the plain vanilla version. Although Wayland is leaner and significantly more secure than X11, it lacks some proven functions. If you want to share your desktop on Wayland, you need separate remote desktop software.

      • Test Day: Fedora Media Writer 2019-04-30
      • Peter Czanik: syslog-ng is coming to Red Hat Summit

        With about two thirds of syslog-ng users running their logging application on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (or CentOS), it is one of our most important platforms both for the open source edition (OSE) and the premium edition (PE) of syslog-ng. Next week syslog-ng is back to the Red Hat Summit again to meet our users. Our booth is #1129. Come and visit us there for lively discussions and some swag (we will have T-shirts and stickers)!

        You can come to us with any type of logging questions. I help maintaining the syslog-ng package in Fedora and EPEL, and also have my own experimental packages in the Copr build service: https://copr.fedorainfracloud.org/coprs/czanik/ . If you have questions, comments, requests related to any of these, I’ll be happy to answer and discuss them in person at the booth.

    • Debian Family

      • Dirk Eddelbuettel: RcppArmadillo 0.9.400.2.0

        A new RcppArmadillo release based on the very recent Armadillo upstream release arrived on CRAN earlier today, and will get to Debian shortly.

        Armadillo is a powerful and expressive C++ template library for linear algebra aiming towards a good balance between speed and ease of use with a syntax deliberately close to a Matlab. RcppArmadillo integrates this library with the R environment and language–and is widely used by (currently) 587 other packages on CRAN.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Samsung DeX helps their top phones (and tablets) stand out with a full desktop (or Linux) experience

            When comparing Android powered tablets, they seem much more alike than different. There’s not too many different ways you can really present a black slate with a glass-covered display, right? Well, that’s true, but Samsung found differentiation in the form of DeX – Samsung’s Desktop Experience.

            At the outset, DeX wasn’t a cheap thing to get into – on top of spending $1000 on a compatible smartphone or tablet, you had to spend extra to get a DeX dock. Perhaps because of this, DeX didn’t really take off when it was first announced a couple of years ago, but that’s changed a bit since.

            The latest flagships don’t need that expensive dock; in fact I’m using the same USB C to HDMI Cable for my Tab S4 as I do to extend my Macbook display. So, it’s not a big outlay and it’s got multiple purposes when you do buy the cable, so this makes it far less of a cost outlay.

          • Full Circle Magazine: Full Circle Weekly News #128
          • Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth doubles down on OpenStack

            At Open Infrastructure Summit in Denver, Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical and Ubuntu Linux’s founder, said in his keynote: “I’m here because I believe OpenStack is one of the most extraordinary projects in the history of open source. I’m here to double down on my commitment to OpenStack.”

            He didn’t just praise OpenStack which turns 10 this year. He also praised open source itself: “The great thing about open source — the important thing about open source — is that it enables innovation to come from everywhere: Developers, users, and customers. We have to make sure that the bright ideas, the best ideas are the ideas that spread the fastest.”

          • Ubuntu’s Shuttleworth urges open-source foundations to stop fighting each other and focus

            At the newly branded Open Infrastructure Summit (formerly the OpenStack Summit) in Denver, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth opened his keynote with a pointed joke about the difficulty in deciding which newly graduated project’s branded freebie socks to wear, making an appeal for the OpenStack Foundation to retain its focus on OpenStack.

            Rather than empire building, trying to draw as many projects and sponsors as possible under their umbrellas, open source foundations should concentrate on what makes them different from the proprietary walled gardens of traditional enterprise vendors, he said.

          • How to install kernel 5.0 on Ubuntu and Ubuntu-based distributions

            Kernel 5.0 has been out for a while now, and although it has found its way into the likes of Ubuntu 19.04, it has yet to trickle into Ubuntu 18.04 LTS or 18.10. All is not lost. Because this is Linux, it is possible to get the latest, greatest kernel installed on your machines. And, chances are, because you are only interested in installing the 5.0 kernel on your desktops (as most server admins are hesitant to install anything bleeding edge on their servers), there’s a really simple GUI method for getting the 5.0 kernel on your system.

          • Canonical consolidates open infrastructure support and security offerings

            Canonical today announced Ubuntu Advantage for Infrastructure, a consolidated enterprise security, compliance and support offering that covers the full range of open source infrastructure capabilities for up to 10 years.

            “A surge of customers adding Ubuntu to their list of officially supported operating systems has given us the volume to simplify our infrastructure security and support offering, and lower the average cost per machine even further,” said Mark Shuttleworth, CEO at Canonical.

            The new approach continues Canonical’s tradition of driving down costs and sets a new bar for efficiency in large-scale Linux enterprise operations. It stands in direct contrast to the complexity and cost of offerings from Red Hat and VMware which require additional licenses per host or per VM for capabilities like OpenStack and Kubernetes.

          • How to Re-Enable Dynamic Transparency on the Ubuntu 19.04 Desktop (Updated)
          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 576

            Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 576 for the week of April 21 – 27, 2019. The full version of this issue is available here.

          • Mark Shuttleworth sees increased demand for enterprise Ubuntu Linux desktop

            In a wide-ranging conversation at Open Infrastructure Summit, Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu Linux and its corporate parent Canonical, said: “We have seen companies signing up for Linux desktop support, because they want to have fleets of Ubuntu desktop for their artificial intelligence engineers.”

            This development caught Shuttleworth by surprise. “We’re starting actually now to commercially support the desktop in a way that we’ve never been asked to before,” he said. Of course, Ubuntu has long been used by developers, but Shuttleworth explained, “Previously, those were kind of off the books, under the table. You know, ‘Don’t ask don’t tell deployments.’ “But now suddenly, it’s the AI team and they’ve got to be supported.”

            While some users still miss the now-deprecated Unity interface, the GNOME 3 desktop interface has won fans. Indeed, Shuttleworth said, “GNOME kind of saved my bacon, to be honest. Unity was causing a lot of distractions and it was controversial, even though it was good. So, when we decided to retire it, we needed a desktop, and that was GNOME”

            Since then, the Ubuntu and GNOME developer communities have been working closely and well together. Shuttleworth said, “We have a good back and forth with the community. We have a healthy collaboration and a good working relationship.”

          • Ubuntu 19.10 Development Opens With Plans For GCC 9, Glibc 2.30

            With Ubuntu 19.04 having sailed and looking in good shape by the bug counts, Ubuntu 19.10, the Eoan [EANIMAL] release, is proceeding and open for development.

          • Ubuntu 19.10 to Be Released on October 17th, Now Open for Development

            Following the daily build ISO images, which were seeded to public testers last week, Ubuntu 19.10 has officially entered development with the GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) 9 series as default system-wide compiler, as well was Python 3.7 as default Python implementation with Python 3.8 available in the repositories.

            The ICU (International Components for Unicode) package will also be bumped to version 64.2 or newer in the development cycle of Ubuntu 19.10, the Boost libraries to version 1.70 or newer, and the Glibc (GNU C Library) to version 2.30, which should be released in August. Other components include Golang 1.12 and OpenJDK 11 by default.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Compilation of 32-Bit GNU/Linux Distros with MATE Desktop in 2019

              Because Ubuntu and all Official Flavors officially stopped providing 32-bit ISO Images in 2019, I write this compilation. I believe even in 2019 many of us still have old, 32-bit computers or laptops, so it’s good to find GNU/Linux distros that support 32-bit. Here you will find at least thirteen GNU/Linux distros with MATE Desktop still supporting 32-bit in 2019, namely, Trisquel 8.0, Uruk 2.0, Fedora 29, Mint 18 and 19, Debian Live 9, Devuan 2.0, Sparky 5.3, Mageia 6, Porteus 4.0, Robo 8.11, Ubuntu MATE 18.04, Void (rolling), and IGOS 12. You can download them and install and have updates in a certain period of time. All of them are LiveCD Installers except Devuan and Mageia. I wish this compilation helps you to find latest distro and prolong support lifetime for your old computers. Finally, happy downloading!

            • deepin 15.10 GNU/Linux Download Links, Mirrors, and Torrents

              deepin 15.10, the gorgeous Debian-based desktop operating system, has been released at Sunday, 28 April 2019. The ISO image size is now 2.3GiB. As usual, I listed here official download link with several countries’ mirrors, torrents from several sources, and the checksums. However, the release number is identical to Ubuntu 15.10 “Wily Werewolf” but don’t worry, they are separate things. Happy downloading!

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 8 ways your company can support and sustain open source

    The success of open source continues to grow; surveys show that the majority of companies use some form of open source, 99% of enterprises see open source as important, and almost half of developers are contributing back. It’s important to note that companies aren’t contributing to open source for purely altruistic reasons. Recent research from Harvard shows that open source-contributing companies capture up to 100% more productive value from open source than companies that do not contribute back. Another research study concluded countries adopting modern open source practices saw…

  • Confronting linguistic bias: The case for an open human language

    Open source—that is, making the code of digital tools and datasets accessible to anyone—is a popular approach to improving the methodological transparency of this work in educational organizations. The field’s broader open access movement stresses skepticism about the proprietary nature of algorithms, data, and code involved in humanistic research more generally—and cautions researchers about the impact that ownership can have on the research process itself.

    This perspective has tremendous implications for the way we think about the embedded biases and assumptions in humanistic research. What if we subjected our human languages to the same rigorous assessment we do with our computational languages? What biases might we discover in them? How might those biases impact our scholarship?

  • ONLYOFFICE – document collaboration via blockchain and encryption

    Earlier in 2019 ONLYOFFICE announced the release of the end-to-end document encryption reinforced by blockchain. The new technology is available as a developer preview in the new version of ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors.

    ONLYOFFICE is a project developed by Ascensio System SIA, with its in Riga (Latvia). Ascensio Systems designed OONLY OFFICE for internal team collaboration. However, an attempt to introduce it to a wider audience proved successful. In consequence, it revised and expanded functionality which has attracted use by more than 5M people (according to Ascensio Systems).


    ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors is a free open-source office suite which comprises editors for documents, spreadsheets and presentations working offline. The suite also provides users with quick access to collaborative features.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • $2.4 Million in Prizes for Schools Teaching Ethics Alongside Computer Science

        Today, we are announcing the first winners of the Responsible Computer Science Challenge. We’re awarding $2.4 million to 17 initiatives that integrate ethics into undergraduate computer science courses.

        The winners’ proposed curricula are novel: They include in-class role-playing games to explore the impact of technology on society. They embed philosophy experts and social scientists in computer science classes. They feature “red teams” that probe students’ projects for possible negative societal impacts. And they have computer science students partner with local nonprofits and government agencies.

        The winners will receive awards of up to $150,000, and they span the following categories: public university, private university, liberal arts college, community college, and Jesuit university. Stage 1 winners are located across 13 states, with computer science programs ranging in size from 87 students to 3,650 students.

        The Responsible Computer Science Challenge is an ambitious initiative by Omidyar Network, Mozilla, Schmidt Futures, and Craig Newmark Philanthropies. It aims to integrate ethics and responsibility into undergraduate computer science curricula and pedagogy at U.S. colleges and universities.

      • Firefox 67 new contributors

        With the release of Firefox 67, we are pleased to welcome the 75 developers who contributed their first code change to Firefox in this release, 66 of whom were brand new volunteers!

  • LibreOffice

    • Contextual Single

      It’s how the single line toolbar should look like. One toolbar which is fully contextual. As one toolbar didn’t have that much space, you have the menubar for all available commands in LibreOffice.

      It’s the most compact LibreOffice UI done on my smal Laptop screen (1366 x 768 px). But Contextual single work not only on small screens it’s flexible and suites all screen sizes.

    • LibreOffice monthly recap: April 2019

      Check out our regular summary of events and updates in the last month!

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Apache hooks up with GitHub

      The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), one of the granddaddies of open-source software, is joining forces with GitHub, one of the newer, arguably most important source-code repository hosting services. The ASF’s 200M+ lines of code are now alive and well on GitHub.

      Historically, Apache projects had two version control services: Apache Subversion and Git. Over the years, more and more developers wanted to see their source code available on GitHub. Why? For the same reason millions of other programmers have embraced GitHub: GitHub makes it easier for developers to work together on hosting and reviewing code; managing projects, and build software.

  • BSD

    • OpenZFS / ZFS On Linux Is Introducing A Code of Conduct To Encourage New Contributors

      In addition to squaring up the massive ZFS On Linux 0.8 milestone and helping with bringing ZFS On Linux to FreeBSD, the OpenZFS / ZFS On Linux team is also assembling a Code of Conduct.

    • LLVM’s New “f18″ Fortran Compiler Sub-Project Likely To Be Called… Fortran

      The LLVM Foundation recently accepted the f18 Fortran compiler as a new LLVM sub-project so this hugely popular compiler stack will finally have first-rate Fortran language support.

      The current “f18″ compiler code has been worked on by the likes of NVIDIA and ARM a new replacement to the earlier “Flang” Fortran/Clang-inspired compiler effort.

      While f18 has been approved for becoming part of LLVM, the foundation has asked that it be renamed to avoid any confusion and make it explicitly clear about what it is.

    • FreeBSD 12 as an alternative to the Linux desktop

      FreeBSD is a reliable and highly secure server operating system. We look at how FreeBSD fares as a desktop system.

      FreeBSD has been around since 1993 and enjoys an excellent reputation, especially in the server sector. The system is based on the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD), a Unix-style operating system whose origins go back to 1977. Numerous BSD variants, such as TrueOS (the former PC-BSD), Dragonfly BSD, or GhostBSD, make the scene just as confusing as the Linux world.

      With the exception of TrueOS and GhostBSD, BSD derivatives don’t focus on the desktop but on servers, storage appliances, routers, and firewalls. However, mainline BSD variants like FreeBSD have extensive software repositories with plenty of desktop tools if you’re ready to look for them. We decided to explore the possibility of setting up a desktop system on FreeBSD.


    • The decade long wait for Bash 5

      It’s a coincidence that the Linux kernel and Bash jumped to version 5.0 at about the same time. While Linus assigns the numbers as he sees fit, Bash changes its version when major adjustments are made. Here’s what users can expect in Bash 5.

      My last article about a Bash version change is 10 years old [1]. Version 4 was in the starting blocks at that time, but it took some time for all distributions to switch to this version. Nobody puts their production system at risk without good reason.

      Nevertheless, the change was very attractive for developers of complex scripts, because – thanks to associative arrays – a completely new data structure was introduced. The advantages were more elegant, simpler programs that were also easier to maintain. Other important changes included the coproc command (which supports parallelization) and redirection operators.

    • Stack Clash mitigation in GCC: Why -fstack-check is not the answer

      In our previous article about Stack Clash, we covered the basics of the Stack Clash vulnerability. To summarize, an attacker first uses various means to bring the heap and stack close together. A large stack allocation is then used to “jump the stack guard.” Subsequent stores into the stack may modify objects in the heap or vice versa. This, in turn, can be used by attackers to gain control over applications.

    • Cooperation and freedom for all

      The GPL’s “freedom zero” can be applied to more than just open-source software.

      Recently, a discussion came up on one of the mailing lists for a GNU/Linux distribution, on which I feel it is necessary to comment. Because this discussion has a place in world politics today, I am bringing my input to this column.

      I started working for Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in 1983. At that time, I had traveled only domestically in the USA, never internationally.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Software Freedom Conservancy Announces End to VMware Lawsuit

      Linux developer Christoph Hellwig has announced that he is discontinuing his lawsuit against VMware for non-compliance with the terms of the GPL. Hellwig and the Software Freedom Conservancy accused VMware of including GPLed code associated with vmklinux into VMware’s proprietary vSphere product. A German appeals court dismissed the case on February 28. Hellwig and the Software Freedom Conservancy have decided they will not appeal the case further in German courts.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

  • Programming/Development

    • Here Are The Worst Programming Languages To Learn In 2019

      Like every year, Codementor has compiled a detailed report on programming languages one should not learn in 2019. Usually, most studies are focused on the popular, or most loved/dreaded programming languages but Codementor takes a reverse approach on the state of programming languages.

      Languages that have overall topped the list of “worst programming languages” are Elm, CoffeeScript, Erlang, Lua, and Perl.

    • Content Creators at the PyCharm PyCon Booth

      PyCharm is very excited to be hosting some of the big names in the world of Python content, aka the “Content Creators.” Who are they, what do they do, and what do they have going on in the booth at PyCon?

    • Improve your Python skills with my new book: Python Workout
    • Real Python: How to Get the Most Out of PyCon [Ed: How about skipping it until they reject Microsoft buyout?]
    • Prepare calculations and chart results with Bash Math, Shell Style
    • This Self Taught Programmer Solved MIT’s 20-Yr-Old Cryptographic Puzzle

      A Belgian self-taught programmer has solved MIT’s 20-year-old cryptographic puzzle designed by Ron Rivest who is one of the pioneers in RSA cryptographic protocol and, in fact, the R in RSA was taken from his name.

      In 1999, a time capsule with a puzzle designed by Rivest was delivered to the famous architect Frank Gehry to design MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, which is now known as CSAIL. The time capsule consisted of 50 rare items contributed by the likes of internet founder Sir Tim Berners Lee and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

    • A Programmer Solved a 20-Year-Old, Forgotten Crypto Puzzle

      Organizations impacted by breach, which gave attackers illegal access to a database containing sensitive account information, need to check their container images.
      The owners of some 190,000 Docker accounts will need to change their passwords and verify their container images haven’t been tampered with as the result of a recent intrusion into a Docker Hub database.

      Docker discovered the unauthorized access on April 25. It said it had already notified impacted users about the incident and sent them a password-reset link.

      The company said it had also unlinked Docker Hub from GitHub and Bitbucket for those using these external repositories to automatically build — or autobuild — container images. Such users will need to relink their Docker Hub accounts to these repositories in order for autobuild to work properly.

    • What is a developer journal?

      One of the best parts of working in computer science is that our jobs center on solving problems. While many of us joke that continually struggling to figure things out is frustrating, we do it because there is nothing quite like that feeling of finding a solution. Then, of course, the momentary euphoria ends, and we move onto the next problem.

      The hope is that our solution is another data point that propels us towards becoming a more accomplished and effective engineer. But what about all the times we encounter an old problem, one we’ve already solved, and cannot remember where we found that one, tiny piece of information that allowed us to fix it? Being an engineer can often feel a bit like you’re living through Groundhog Day, always in a place where you know you’ve solved something sort of kind of like this before. My solution to this is a developer journal.

    • Four graphic interfaces for Git

      Complex Git projects sometimes require a better view of the dependencies and branches. Several tools offer GUI options for Git. We take a look at gitk, gitg, git-gui, and GitAhead.

      Graphical User interfaces (GUIs) for the Git version control system let users visualize branches and different version levels. Developers thus have a better overview of their projects’ status. In addition, GUIs make Git easier to use, because programmers do not need to remember any of the cryptic Git commands.

    • Tips from the experts on getting more from Git

      The Git distributed version control system is a popular tool for managing open source development projects. If you know the basics of Git but are looking to learn the ways of the experts, read on for some useful Git tips and tricks.

      “You must know a few Git experts,” an editor at Linux Magazine said to me. As the leader of the SUSE documentation team, I spend large portions of my day around veteran Linux developers. When I agreed to ask the team for some tips for using the Git version control system [1], I did not expect that I would trigger a thread that lasted several days (Figure 1).

    • Python 3.7.3 : Get location of International Space Station.
    • Why every dev team should adopt a DevOps culture in 2019
    • The 7 Most Popular Programming Languages on GitHub in 2019 [ED: Stop treating Microsoft like everything that isn't controlled by it does not exist. And delete GitHub to discourage this kind of lying lunacy.]
    • Screen scraping with Colly in Go

      The Colly scraper helps developers who work with the Go programming language to collect data off the web. Mike Schilli illustrates the capabilities of this powerful tool with a few practical examples.

      As long as there are websites to view for the masses of browser customers on the web, there will also be individuals on the consumer side who want the data in a different format and write scraper scripts to automatically extract the data to fit their needs.

    • Overlaying Debug Data onto Wing Pro 7′s Editor

      Wing 7 has been released, so in this issue of Wing Tips we take a look at one of the new debugger features in Wing Pro 7: The ability to press and hold Shift-Space to display the value of all visible symbols, using an overlay on top of the editor.

    • HOW TO GET STARTED WITH “Machine Learning”

      If you ever heard of terms like Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence or Data Science, you may be fascinating that What are these things and how to get started.

    • Python 3.7.3 : Fix kivy python module installation.
    • Teaching a kid to code with Pygame Zero

      How can you excite a kid about coding and computers? As a software developer and father of two children, I think about this question often. A person with software skills can have big advantages in our modern world, so I’d like to equip my kids for their future.

      In my home, we play video games together. My children (aged six and four) watch me play through many classics like Super Mario World and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. They like spending that time with daddy and are really engaged with the video game. When I considered how my six year old son might enjoy coding, using video games as the channel into computing was a very natural idea.


  • Hertz sues Accenture for screwing up $32 million website redesign project

    What do you get when you pay a global management consulting firm $32 million to redesign your website? Not a website that works, of course, but something much more interesting: an energetic finger-pointing performance complete with excuses, scapegoats, and bleating sacrificial lambs. At least that’s what Hertz is claiming happened when it hired Accenture to redesign its website and is now suing Accenture for failure to deliver.

  • Science

    • Air tanker drops are often useless for fighting wildfires, but politicians order them because they make good TV

      The use of airdrops is spiking the cost of fighting wildfires: up to $296m from $171m in 2004 — about 20% of the Forest Service’s firefighting budget. And the companies that do the airdrops for the Forest Service are private contractors who make bank every time they do a run. Firedrops are mostly useful while firefighters are mobilizing and marshalling fire suppression equipment, but after that they are of limited use. The private forces are offset by military aircraft, which politicians love because they look great on television.

    • David Attenborough, the voice of Our Planet: “Things are going to get worse”

      The series then peppers in some scenes of loss — like a heartbreaking scene showing walruses plummeting to their deaths — and narration about the perils facing the natural world. I wanted to ask Attenborough about this tension between the familiar, comfortable scenes and the more sobering ones. I also wanted to know about the most beautiful thing he’s seen recently, and whether he’s fearful for the future of life on the planet.

      Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

    • David Attenborough finally talks climate change in prime time BBC slot

      But is the documentary too little, too late from the BBC on climate change? We have known about the severity of global warming for years. Shouldn’t a show in 2019 be about actions rather than facts?

    • America The Hateful — Or America, The Hoax-Filled?

      In the Detroit News, Nolan Finley writes that America’s supposed hate crime surge is a hoax, according to Kentucky State U prof Wilfred Reilly, who extensively researched hate-fueled violence in America for his book “Hate Crime Hoax”:

    • Finley: America’s hate crime surge is a hoax

      It’s been repeated so often it’s taken as fact: Hate crimes have soared over the past two years, and the blame rests with President Donald Trump and supporters inspired by his hateful rhetoric.

      It’s a compelling story, supported by statistics that show an increase of 17% in the number of hate crimes reported to the FBI during the Trump presidency.

      But it isn’t true. The surge has little to do with Trump and his red hat brigade. This according to Will Reilly, a Kentucky State University associate professor, who extensively researched hate-fueled violence in America for his book Hate Crime Hoax.

    • Diver cheated death in North Sea miracle

      What Chris and Duncan didn’t know was that the ship was moving away. The computer which kept the ship in position had failed.

      What happened next was nothing short of a disaster.

      Chris’s umbilical cable – a tether back to the diving bell and the ship, which provided the divers with breathing gas, hot water to keep the suits warm in the three-degree sea as well as light and electricity – became snagged on part of the metal structure.

    • Can you survive if you run out of air?

      That rough sea, however, would trigger a chain of events that almost claimed Lemons’s life. Normally dive vessels use computer-controlled navigation and propulsion systems – known as dynamic positioning – to keep them over the dive site while they have people in the water.

      As Lemons and Youasa began repairing the piping underwater, with Allcock supervising them from the bell, the Bibby Topaz’s dynamic positioning system suddenly failed. The ship rapidly began drifting off course.


      It took around 30 minutes before the crew of the Bibby Topaz were able to regain control and restart the failed dynamic positioning system. When Youasa reached Lemons on top of the underwater structure, his body was still.

    • ‘Gender Balance in Computing’ research project launch

      ‘Gender Balance in Computing’ is a collaboration between the consortium of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, STEM Learning, BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, and the Behavioural Insights Team. Our partners, Apps for Good and WISE, will also be working on the project. Trials will run from 2019–2022 in Key Stages 1–4, and more than 15,000 students and 550 schools will be involved. It will be the largest national research effort to tackle this issue to date!

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Last Battle

      The reserve is surrounded by the tar sands, one of the largest concentrations of crude oil in the world. The sands produce 98% of Canada’s oil and are the United States’ largest source of imported oil. This oil, among the dirtiest fossil fuels on earth, is a leading cause of atmospheric pollution, releasing massive amounts of carbon dioxide. The production and consumption of one barrel of tar sands crude oil release 17% more carbon dioxide than production and consumption of a standard barrel of oil.

      Tar sands oil is a thick, mucky, clay-like substance that is infused with a hydrocarbon called bitumen. The oil around Beaver Lake is extracted by a process known as steam-assisted gravity drainage, which occurs under the earth and is similar to fracking. Farther north, extraction is done by strip-mining the remote boreal forest of Alberta, 2 million acres of which have already been destroyed. The destruction of vast forests, sold to timber companies, and the scraping away of the topsoil have left behind poisoned wastelands. This industrial operation, perhaps the largest such project in the world, is rapidly accelerating the release of the carbon emissions that will, if left unchecked, soon render the planet uninhabitable for humans. The oil is transported thousands of miles to refineries as far away as Houston through pipelines and in tractor-trailer trucks or railroad cars. More than a hundred climate scientists have called for a moratorium on the extraction of tar sands oil. Former NASA scientist James Hansen has warned that if the tar sands oil is fully exploited, it will be “game over for the planet.” He has also called for the CEOs of fossil fuel companies to be tried for high crimes against humanity.

      It is hard, until you come here, to grasp the scale of the tar sands exploitation. Surrounding Beaver Lake are well over 35,000 oil and natural gas wells and thousands of miles of pipelines, access roads and seismic lines. (The region also contains the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range, which has appropriated huge tracts of traditional territory from the native inhabitants to test weapons.) Giant processing plants, along with gargantuan extraction machines, including bucket wheelers that are over half a mile long and draglines that are several stories high, ravage hundreds of thousands of acres. These stygian centers of death belch sulfurous fumes, nonstop, and send fiery flares into the murky sky. The air has a metallic taste. Outside the processing centers, there are vast toxic lakes known as tailings ponds, filled with billions of gallons of water and chemicals related to the oil extraction, including mercury and other heavy metals, carcinogenic hydrocarbons, arsenic and strychnine. The sludge from the tailings ponds is leaching into the Athabasca River, which flows into the Mackenzie, the largest river system in Canada. Nothing here, by the end, will support life. The migrating birds that alight at the tailings ponds die in huge numbers. So many birds have been killed that the Canadian government has ordered extraction companies to use noise cannons at some of the sites to scare away arriving flocks. Around these hellish lakes, there is a steady boom-boom-boom from the explosive devices.

      The water in much of northern Alberta is no longer safe for human consumption. Drinking water has to be trucked in for the Beaver Lake reserve.

    • Puerto Rican Students Show PTSD Symptoms After Hurricane Maria

      Food shortages, damaged homes, fear of death, loved ones leaving. The cumulative stresses of Hurricane Maria contributed to thousands of schoolchildren developing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, in Puerto Rico, according to a study published Friday.

      The study in JAMA Network Open found that 7.2% of the students reported “clinically significant” symptoms of PTSD. More girls tended to show signs of PTSD than boys.

      Researchers surveyed 96,108 public school students five to nine months after the 2017 hurricane. The cohort included youth in third through 12th grades across different regions of the island.

      The Puerto Rico Department of Education — which partnered with the Medical University of South Carolina for this study — is using the data to target areas with the greatest need for mental health services, the study said.

      Maria, which struck the island as a Category 4 hurricane in September 2017, killed an estimated 2,975 people within the American commonwealth. Residents struggled to access clean water and some remained without electricity nearly a year after the storm.

    • Bad air days on the rise: The nation’s most polluted city is …

      And L.A. isn’t alone when it comes to smog-choked cities in California: seven of the nation’s top 10 smoggiest cities are in the Golden State, including other sprawling cities such as San Francisco, San Diego and Sacramento.

      Los Angeles has had the worst smog for 19 years of the 20-year history of the report.

      The bad news came from the American Lung Association’s annual “State of the Air” report, which covers the years 2015-2017.

    • There’s just no getting away from microplastic contamination

      Every year, millions of tonnes of plastic are produced. In 2016, this figure was estimated to be around 335 million tonnes. We have no idea where most of this ends up. The amounts that are recovered in recycling plants and landfill don’t match the amount being produced. Some of it stays in use, sometimes for decades, which explains part of the discrepancy. An estimated 10 percent ends up in the oceans. Although these numbers could change with further research, there’s still a gap.

      Wherever that plastic is ending up, we know that it’s breaking down over time, disintegrating into micro particles less than 5mm in size, and some even breakdown to the nanoscale at less than one micrometer. (For context, the micrometer is a unit that’s often used to discuss bacteria and cells—the human sperm head is around 5 micrometers in length.) The effect that these particles will have on a global scale as they continue to accumulate is not even remotely understood.

    • Americans More Concerned About Pollution in Drinking Water Than Climate Change

      A report released on Monday, based on data aggregated between 2017 and 2019, showed that Americans are more concerned about a range of environmental issues than they are about global warming.

      The Gallup poll presented data on six areas of concern: global warming, loss of tropical rain forests, air pollution, extinction of plant and animal species, pollution of rivers, lakes and reservoirs and pollution of drinking water.

    • Get the Lead Out of Drinking Water in Schools: Model Law

      These findings are even more alarming when you consider that the New York State Lead action level for schools at 15 ppb is not a health-based standard because there is no safe level of lead in water.

    • Five Years After the Lead Crisis Began, Flint Residents Still Can’t Trust Their Tap Water

      Corroded lead pipes still run through some homes, and people simply don’t trust in their leaders to be honest—not after all the lies they were fed at the height of the disaster. Many are still mourning the 12 who died from Legionnaires disease, a result of not chlorinating the water after switching to the Flint River in 2014.

    • It’s been 5 years. Flint still doesn’t trust the water

      It was five years ago today – April 25, 2014 – that officials changed the city’s water supply in an effort to cut costs.

    • Lead levels in three Michigan municipal water systems back in line with federal standards

      The federal “action level” for lead is 15 ppb. That’s a water treatment standard, a calculation gauging how corrosive a town’s water is to the pipes that bring drinking water into homes. It’s not a health standard. Health officials say no amount of lead in water is considered safe.

      But the city’s overall 90th percentile for lead in drinking water was down to seven ppb by the end of 2018.

    • Civil Commitment For Addiction Treatment Led To Loved One’s Suicide, Family Says

      Robin became one of the thousands of Massachusetts residents who each year ask the courts to force a loved one into addiction treatment under the state law known as Section 35. After a court clinician reviewed Robin’s request, a judge agreed that Sean’s substance use posed a danger to himself and/or others, and ordered that Sean be sent to one of the state facilities for civilly committed men.


      Some 3,000 men have been civilly committed to MASAC in Plymouth since it opened in 2017. In the last fiscal year alone, Massachusetts courts received more than 10,000 requests for involuntary addiction treatment for both men and women.

    • Pakistan polio vaccine teams on edge after fatal attacks

      The latest victim, a polio worker, was killed in southwestern Balochistan province on Thursday morning following separate attacks targeting health workers in the country’s north-west earlier this week that resulted in the deaths of two police officers.

    • Official: Taliban, IS Deprive Afghan Kids of Polio Vaccine

      “Overall, 1.2 million children were deprived of vaccinations in the country,” Dr. Gula Khan Ayoubi, public affairs director of the mass immunization program at the Afghan Ministry of Public Health, told VOA. “And the hope this year is to bring down the number to about 200,000 children. The remaining 200,000 children are living in areas where the Islamic State terror group has a strong presence and does not allow any vaccinations.”

    • Anti-vax parents lose in NY court, face steep fines for not vaccinating

      Measles is so contagious that up to 90 percent of unvaccinated or otherwise susceptible individuals who are exposed will become ill, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Measles’ extreme contagiousness is due in part to the fact that once it is launched into the air from a cough or sneeze it can remain airborne and infectious for up to two hours. Any vulnerable passersby who breathe in the virus or touch contaminated surfaces can pick it up.

    • Court orders EPA to make final decision on banning controversial pesticide

      Last year, the appellate court ordered the EPA to remove chlorpyrifos from use within 60 days of an August ruling, ending what would have been a decadelong fight by health advocates to ban the substance.

      However, the Trump administration promptly appealed that ruling, and the court agreed to rehear the case.

      Today’s ruling will force EPA to make a final decision on the chemical. Critics have accused the agency of dragging its heels.

    • 6 Horrible Chemicals That Are In Absolutely Everything

      While a few companies have committed to removing toxic chemicals from their thermal paper, 9 out of 10 receipts are still printed with powdered BPA. There’s a massive petition asking Target to get this shit off their receipts right now, please. In Europe, a ban on using BPA in receipts goes into effect in 2020. In the meantime, might wanna stop using receipts to pick your teeth.

    • Indian sanitation market to reach US$ 60 billion by 2021: Secretary, Drinking Water and Sanitation

      Speaking at the ’3rd FICCI-ISC Sanitation Awards and India Sanitation Conclave’, Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India said that the government is working on four verticals to achieve the target of ODF which include fecal sludge management, rural piped water supply, grey water management and solid waste management. He further added that all this will require active participation of the corporate sector to invest in the treatment and waste management. The government will also provide swachh credit facility to small entrepreneurs involved in the business of rural waste management. Parameswaran Iyer urged the private sector to exploit the potential of the Indian sanitation market which is likely to reach US$ 60 billion by 2021.

    • 5 Years After Flint’s Crisis Began, Is The Water Safe?

      In the past few years, 15 city and state officials have been indicted for their actions related to the crisis. About half have cut plea deals. No one has gone to jail. And the remaining criminal cases are stalled as Michigan’s new attorney general tries to decide how to proceed. Meanwhile, multiple civil lawsuits against state and federal agencies and private contractors are grinding their way through the courts.

      Flint was left with thousands of damaged water pipes, families surviving on bottled water, and a battered self-image.

    • Judge rules Flint residents can sue federal government over water crisis

      Judge Linda Parker of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan said Thursday the government is not immune from a lawsuit. She did not rule on whether federal employees were negligent in addressing Flint’s contaminated water.

    • Flint Receives $77 Million to Fund Water Infrastructure Improvements

      But before you groan at the fact that the $77 million is a loan, it not only was 100 percent forgiven but carries zero interest—and it doesn’t have to be repaid.

    • Q&A: What to Know About the Drug-Resistant Fungus, Candida auris

      A mysterious fungal infection has been cropping up in hospitals across the globe. While the mortality rate is unclear, especially because most patients have significant other health problems, it appears to be fatal in about 30–60 percent of patients. So far this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has documented 587 confirmed cases in the US. Health officials are concerned about the microbe’s resistance to known antifungal treatments and its ability to survive in hospital rooms long after a patient has passed. Multiplying these concerns was the observation reported in The New York Times this month that “hospitals and local governments are reluctant to disclose outbreaks for fear of being seen as infection hubs.”

      The fungus is a recently discovered species named Candida auris. The Scientist spoke with Christina Cuomo, a senior group leader of the Fungal Genomics Group at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University, about what makes the fungus unique, and what scientists still need to learn about it.

    • Childbirth safety requirements seek to protect pregnant, new mothers

      If adopted, about 2,700 birthing hospitals would be required by the Joint Commission to take specific actions related to severe bleeding and dangerously high blood pressure. For years these measures have been recommended to protect mothers – but too often they are ignored, helping drive the United States’ status as the most dangerous place to give birth among developed nations.

    • DHS considering classifying fentanyl as weapon of mass destruction: report

      Defense expert Dan Kaszeta told Task & Purpose that the opioid’s use as a weapon is a “fringe scenario” because there are “literally dozens” of other chemicals that could be used for this purpose.

      “It reads like somebody is laying the administrative background for trying to tap into pots of money for detecting WMD and decontaminating WMD,” he said after reportedly reviewing the memo. “It’s an interdepartmental play for money, that’s all it is.”

    • Could Extinction Rebellion be the next Occupy movement?

      Extinction Rebellion presents climate change as a moral, not political, cause but tries to avoid being too preachy. As one flag states, “We live in a toxic system but no one individual is to blame.” There are now around 150 chapters in Britain, from Penwith in Cornwall to Inverness in Scotland. Peaches, an artist and psychotherapy assistant, says the protests “are the first thing that spoke to me that it could make the impact we need.” Other green movements have failed, she adds.

      Some on the left are turned off by the tactic of using arrests to generate publicity, believing it will alienate those who can’t afford to be jailed. Others point out that lots of anti-fracking protesters were locked up without drawing much public sympathy. Still, there are plenty of volunteers in London. By the end of the second day, 290 people had been arrested in the capital. Organisers will be hoping that translates to lots more activists for the next round of protests.

    • Why the middle-aged are replacing teenagers in maternity wards

      Ms Fenelon belongs to a small but growing cohort of middle-aged women on maternity wards. As in other rich countries, the overall fertility rate in England and Wales is dwindling. But among women aged 40 and over the conception rate is rising. It jumped by 2.6% in 2017 and has more than doubled since 1990, according to statistics published on April 15th. Meanwhile, at the other end of the age spectrum, an even starker change is afoot. The official figures chart the tenth consecutive annual fall in the rate of teenage pregnancies. Since 2007 the conception rate for 15- to 17-year-old girls has dived by 57%. The conception rates of the youngest and oldest mothers are now close to converging (see chart). Middle-aged maternity may soon be more common than teenage pregnancy.

    • The genetic-data dystopia we may face

      One seeming wrinkle in the play is that genetics was used to predict people’s potential diseases but not used to cure it—the other side of the coin, so to speak. Why didn’t you include that part of the technology’s promise as well?

    • Trump Admin Finds Back Door For Tobacco Industry’s Plan to Censor Science

      Last October, we were thrilled to find out that Scott Pruitt’s tobacco-protecting “sound” science “transparency” policy was put on the back burner at the EPA, essentially relegating it to regulatory purgatory.

      But if the Trump administration is committed to anything, it’s attacking science and reality. The policy has reared its ugly chimera head again in a memo the White House sent out to federal agencies last Wednesday.

      As Marianne Lavelle reported at InsideClimate News, the memo echoes Pruitt’s proposed plan. But by going through the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, this memo manages to bypass the formal public peer review process that held up Pruitt’s version of the policy over at the EPA. Ironic, given that the memo itself emphasizes the importance of public peer review…

    • U.S. Measles Cases Hit 25-Year High

      The number of measles cases in the U.S. is now the highest it has been in 25 years, according to the most recent data released by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) Monday. There have so far been 704 cases reported in 22 states in 2019, with 13 outbreaks accounting for 94 percent of the cases.

      “We are very concerned about the recent troubling rise in cases of measles, which was declared eliminated from our country in 2000. Vaccine-preventable diseases belong in the history books, not our emergency rooms,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told NPR.

      Six of the thirteen outbreaks, representing 88 percent of measles cases, were associated with closely knit communities with lower vaccination rates, CDC said.

    • Corporate Media Are Here to Warn You: Medicare for All Is a Very Bad Idea

      The United States spends around twice as much on healthcare as other high-income nations, with inferior results. Worse still, around 45 million Americans, 13.7 percent of the population, have no healthcare whatsoever. The Medicare for All plan, which aims to create a nationalized healthcare system like those employed by virtually every other high-income nation, is highly popular among the general public. In late 2018, polls from Reuters and Harris found that at least 70 percent of Americans supported the proposal—including majorities of Republicans.

      However, corporate media appear to be almost univocally against the idea, with the flow of doom-mongering stories increasing to a roaring flood as the notion gains more traction among the public.

  • Security

    • Russian [intruders] were ‘in a position’ to alter Florida county voting records: Marco Rubio

      The Times’ report details how [attackers] mimicked e-mails from VR systems, a company that sells electronic voting equipment to states. Some voting officials noticed something was off — it used British vocabulary and a Gmail account — but in at least one county, [attackers] were successful. Senator Rubio confirmed that [attackers] were able to gain access to a system, and that they were “in a position” to alter records.

    • Russian [Attackers] Were ‘In a Position’ to Alter Florida Voter Rolls, Rubio Confirms

      Ms. Lewis, it turned out, was right to be suspicious. Though it had VR Systems’ distinctive logo, with a red V and a blue R, the email contained a malicious Trojan virus, and it originated not from the elections vendor but from the Russian military intelligence unit known as the G.R.U. The email had been sent to 120 elections email accounts across Florida.

      Also buried in Ms. Lewis’s inbox was a warning from VR’s chief operating officer, flagging the dangerous spearphishing attempt and warning all his customers not to click on it.

      But, it now appears, someone did.

    • SmartGate failure at airports leads to passenger pile-up

      The automated passport control system known as SmartGate has failed at international airports around Australia, leading to a huge build-up of passengers both exiting and entering the country.

    • Hackers Used Microsoft Outlook Accounts To Steal Cryptocurrency

      A couple of weeks back, news of several of Microsoft’s Outlook accounts being compromised surfaced. It is shocking enough that hackers had access to those accounts for almost three months (January to March this year) without getting detected.

      Now, a new report by Motherboard claims that many of those victims were robbed of cryptocurrency from their accounts — and this might be the main motive behind this attack.

    • Microsoft Outlook Email Breach Targeted Cryptocurrency Users

      Earlier this month, Motherboard broke the news that hackers were not only able to access Outlook users’ email metadata as previously reported, but also email content. The breach centered around a hacker getting hold of a Microsoft customer support worker’s login credentials; from there, the hacker could dive into the content of any non-corporate Outlook, Hotmail, or MSN account, Motherboard found.

      Now, multiple victims have come forward to flag what they believe may be one of the motivating reasons behind the breach: emptying peoples’ cryptocurrency accounts.

      “The hackers also had access to my inbox allowing them to password reset my Kraken.com account and withdrawal [sic] my Bitcoin,” Jevon Ritmeester, a Microsoft user that the company alerted to the data breach, told Motherboard in an email, referring to popular cryptocurrency exchange Kraken.

    • IT certifications for security pros: Still valuable?

      Credible IT certifications are typically considered a net positive. They’re not the backbone of a successful career, but they can be useful complementary pieces. This is especially true when you’re just starting out, when you’re looking to boost your profile in an emerging technology area, or simply when your employer sponsors or requires it.

      But there’s debate about the worth of certifications in the security community: The value of a particular certification can rise and fall over time, and one person’s “must-have” credential is another’s “why bother?”

    • Detecting SQL injections in Python code using AST
    • Using sudo options to enhance security
    • Mystery data breach reportedly exposes 80 million names, addresses, and income info in U.S.

      There’s a lot we don’t know yet, but there’s enough evidence to suggest that the breach is incredibly widespread. It was unearthed by security researchers Ran Locar and Noam Rotem of vpnMentor, who only know that the unencrypted data is hosted by a Microsoft cloud server and appears to be limited to people over the age of 40. In dissecting the data, the researchers found that it “seems to itemize households rather than individuals,” and includes: [...]

    • The Terrifying Potential of the 5G Network

      A totally connected world will also be especially susceptible to cyberattacks. Even before the introduction of 5G networks, [attackers] have breached the control center of a municipal dam system, stopped an Internet-connected car as it travelled down an interstate, and sabotaged home appliances. Ransomware, malware, crypto-jacking, identity theft, and data breaches have become so common that more Americans are afraid of cybercrime than they are of becoming a victim of violent crime. Adding more devices to the online universe is destined to create more opportunities for disruption. “5G is not just for refrigerators,” Spalding said. “It’s farm implements, it’s airplanes, it’s all kinds of different things that can actually kill people or that allow someone to reach into the network and direct those things to do what they want them to do. It’s a completely different threat that we’ve never experienced before.”

    • Atlanta Hawks fall prey to Magecart credit card skimming group

      Researchers at Sanguine Security found the exploit on the NBA basketball team’s ecommerce site. Anyone ordering merchandise on or after 20 April 2019 had their name, address, and credit card details stolen by the malicious code, which logs victims’ keystrokes at the point of entry.

      The researchers built a Magecart detection tool which scans websites for telltale code. It found obfuscated JavaScript code on the Hawks website. The team rendered it into a readable format and found instructions to log visitors’ keystrokes. Then, they checked its operation using Chrome Developer Tools, which is the developer console in the Chrome browser that shows website traffic. Alongside the regular requests you’d expect to see targeting the Hawks website, it also sent the logged keystrokes to imagesengines.com.

    • GitHub hosted Magecart skimmer used against hundreds of e-commerce sites

      It’s worth noting that the compromised Magento sites will remain at risk, even if the GitHub-hosted skimmer is taken down. Indeed, attackers can easily re-infect them in the same manner they initially injected the first one.

    • Magecart [criminals] force turnover, steal data from Atlanta Hawks’ online shop

      “The first time we detected skimming code on the website was June 6th of 2017, RiskIQ threat researcher Yonathan Klijnsma, Threat Researcher told SC Media. “The compromise wasn’t targeted however, it was one aimed at hundreds of websites at the same time.”

      In an April 23 article, CNET reported that an Atlanta Hawks team representative said the malware is no longer active on the site. However, in a tweet published one day later, Sanguine Labs’ lead forensic analyst Willem de Groot responded to this claim by asking “Is it?” and displaying an image of apparent Magecart code, which suggests the problem code still remained.

    • Meet Reuben, the 13-year-old IoT hacking expert
    • Bug Bounty Hunting Tools Every Ethical Hacker Needs To Know

      If you’re a white hat hacker or penetration tester you could be making some money on the side as a bug bounty hunter.

      Bug bounty programs are a way for companies to find errors and vulnerabilities in their software and increase their security. For ethical hackers, they’re a great way to test your hacking skills and capabilities on some of the most secure software around, without being in a legal gray area.

    • VPN Support Coming to Linux Apps on Chromebooks
    • Docker Forces Password Reset for 190,000 Accounts After Breach

      Organizations impacted by breach, which gave attackers illegal access to a database containing sensitive account information, need to check their container images.
      The owners of some 190,000 Docker accounts will need to change their passwords and verify their container images haven’t been tampered with as the result of a recent intrusion into a Docker Hub database.

      Docker discovered the unauthorized access on April 25. It said it had already notified impacted users about the incident and sent them a password-reset link.

      The company said it had also unlinked Docker Hub from GitHub and Bitbucket for those using these external repositories to automatically build — or autobuild — container images. Such users will need to relink their Docker Hub accounts to these repositories in order for autobuild to work properly.

    • Women and Nonbinary People in Information Security: Jenny Radcliffe

      This week, I had the honor of speaking with social engineering specialist Jenny Radcliffe. Contrary to what a lot of Nigerian Princes would tell you, in my opinion social engineering is one of the most misunderstood areas of cybersecurity.

    • Docker Security Breach Affects Devops Pipelines

      Docker security took a hit last week — right before its annual developer and customer event — with the news that a database in its Docker Hub repository for container images had been hacked.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Erik Prince is operating his new private security firm in Iraq with financial support from China

      Frontier Services Group, which is based in Hong Kong and operates in Africa, China, Southeast Asia, and Dubai, has never publicly acknowledged that it had an Iraq subsidiary. But documents obtained by BuzzFeed show it is registered with Iraq’s Ministry of Trade. The firm’s largest investor is CITIC, a state-run Chinese enterprise.

    • LAUSD may create holiday to recognize Armenian Genocide

      Gonez also notes that LAUSD schools with higher Armenian-American populations tend to have an absentee rate twice as high as average on April 24, as Armenian families participate in marches and other community activities.

      The resolution also asks the district to make sure teachers are properly teaching about the Armenian Genocide in classrooms.

      Historians estimate 1.5 million Armenians were killed in the Ottoman Empire, with the starting date considered April 24, 1915.

    • President Trump, 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks. It is a genocide

      The Armenian Genocide was the first holocaust of the 20th century, and foreshadowed what Nazi Germany would do to Jews living in Europe during World War II.

    • Armenian genocide: Leaders snub Scott Morrison over ‘genocide’ backflip

      Historians widely accept the acts as genocide but the Turkish government denies this and pressures foreign governments to do the same.

    • Election candidate, 19, set fire to Quran in Exeter pub during heated debate

      He was recently reported to police following an incident where he labelled the Quran a ‘book of evil’ at a debating society event at Wetherspoons pub The Imperial.

    • Many Algerians question billions spent on Great Mosque of Algiers

      But as one exasperated Algerian noted to the French news agency AFP, “there are mosques every 500 metres in this country, we didn’t need that”.

      Indeed, Algeria has more than 20,000 mosques.

      Mosques over hospitals

      With a population of 40 million, the National Agency for Health Institutions noted in 2015 that Algeria’s university hospitals date back to colonial times.

    • France jails ‘jihadist’ woman (22) accused over foiled 2016 terror attack in Paris

      Madani’s trial for trying to set fire to the car filled with six gas cylinders near Notre Dame will begin on 23 September.

    • Iconic Iranian Antihijab Protester Jailed For One Year; Human Rights Lawyer’s 13-Year Sentence Upheld

      Also on April 14, an Iranian appeals court upheld the 13-year prison sentence of a human rights lawyer who had been imprisoned after voicing support for antigovernment protesters, according to the official IRNA news agency.

    • Montreal terrorist considered targeting U.S. college and ‘gay club’ before attacking airport

      He then searched online for possible targets, settling on the Flint airport. The day before the attack, he visited the airport and observed police, then slept in his vehicle in a nearby parking lot.

      The next day, he returned and saw a police officer standing alone. “Ftouhi planned to kill the police officer and take his gun to kill other officers,” according to the FBI report.

      But he was quickly tackled and the officer survived.

    • Nusrat Jahan Rafi: Burned to death for reporting sexual harassment

      Her courage in speaking out against sexual assault, her death five days after being set alight and everything that happened in-between has gripped Bangladesh and brought attention to the vulnerability of sexual harassment victims in this conservative South Asian country.

      Nusrat, who was 19, was from Feni, a small town 100 miles (160km) south of Dhaka. She was studying at a madrassa, or Islamic school. On 27 March, she said the headmaster called her into his office and repeatedly touched her in an inappropriate manner. Before things could go any further she ran out.

    • Sadaf Khadem: Iranian female boxer halts return over arrest fears

      An Iranian who became the first woman from her country to contest an official boxing match says she has cancelled her return home from France after hearing a warrant had been issued for her arrest.

    • Men laugh as woman caned in public for having sex outside marriage in Indonesia

      Punishments include caning, fines, and imprisonment. There is no provision for stoning, with an attempt to introduce it in 2009 vetoed by authorities.

    • What ISIS Did to My Village

      Widen the aperture, and the picture is even more dire. ISIS has left behind social friction caused by five years of divide-and-rule tactics, evident in current threats of revenge by clans such as the Shaytat against locals who cooperated with ISIS. It is impossible to tell how many people were indoctrinated by the Islamic State’s ideology.

    • God’s own weapons: Danish [sic] foreign fighters tell why they are fighting for jihad

      As well as forgiving all sins in the afterlife by the first drop of blood, Elwan explains, fighting jihad also levels him with society’s high achievers; efforts towards earning status through education or employment are insignificant compared to jihad in his eyes.

    • Outrage as Danish Police Reportedly Instruct Islamists on Security

      Hizb ut-Tahrir*, a radical Islamist organisation that seeks to establish a Sharia-based government, held a Friday prayer session near the Danish house of parliament in central Copenhagen in March.

    • Swedish imam faces death if deported: family claim

      According to Doku, which investigates Islamic extremists in Sweden, Raad has inspired many Islamic State sympathisers, has hailed an IS victory in Iraq, and has called for homosexual men to be executed.

    • How Intersectionalism Betrays the World’s Muslim Women

      This began to change about six months ago when I became involved with the ex-Muslim movement. As I became acquainted with the activism of role models such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Yasmine Mohamed, Armin Navabi and Ali Rizvi, I began to recognise the cognitive dissonance afflicting the left, leaving them with a severe blind spot. A bizarre alliance with Islam, a set of very conservative ideas, has earned them the label of “regressive left’’ instead. Their misguided campaign against “Islamophobia” has failed to separate the ideology from the people, conflating prejudice against Muslims with valid opposition to the doctrine. The stigma has hindered constructive discourse and established a concerning trend whereby issues typically challenged by the left, such as homophobia and gender inequality are disregarded where prevalent in Muslim majority countries or even Muslim communities within the west.

      Like me, many ex-Muslims have felt it to be their responsibility to fill this void in leftist activism. Yet we are often met with reflexive accusations of bigotry or intolerance. Despite lived experiences and intimate understanding of the doctrine driving our stances, we are denied a platform to voice them. This censorship of confronting ideas stems from the left’s fixation on distinguishing themselves from the right. A severe overcorrection has ironically pushed them into an illiberal territory. Affiliates of the left must conform to prescribed beliefs and behaviours to prove their loyalty. Those that pass the test are rewarded with the illustrious “woke” status. Failure to do so carries the risk of misalignment with “the enemy” and exile as a result.

    • ISIS Kidnapped Her 5 Years Ago. The Red Cross Thinks She May Still Be Alive.

      For more than five yearsJerusalem Was Largely Ignored as a Muslim Holy City — Until Zionists Came Along, her employer and her government imposed an especially strict media blackout, warning that any mention not only of her identity, but even of her nationality, could endanger her. But now that ISIS’ caliphate has collapsed, the aid group has broken its silence in hopes that the public can help find her and two Red Cross drivers, both Syrians, kidnapped alongside her.

    • ‘Barbaric and inhuman’: Two Indian men SECRETLY decapitated by Saudi Arabia

      Satwinder Kumar of Hoshiarpur and Harjeet Singh of Ludhiana were decapitated on February 28, in connection with the case of the murder of another Indian man back in 2015. The verdict was reached without the knowledge of the Indian embassy and without any prior warning issued to the men’s families.

    • Military spending around the world is booming

      That trend seems likely to continue. Saudi Arabia, the region’s biggest fish, which sets aside a huge 8.8% of GDP for defence, will slash its military spending by 9.1% this year. Iran, its rival, plans even bigger cuts of its own—though the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which has done most of the recent fighting in places like Syria, got a hefty raise, as did the intelligence ministry, which has been bumping off dissidents abroad.

    • It’s Eight Years Since WikiLeaks Released the Hugely Important Guantánamo Files, Leaked by Chelsea Manning, On Which I Worked as a Media Partner

      Exactly eight years ago, on April 25, 2011, I wrote an article entitled, “WikiLeaks Reveals Secret Files on All Guantánamo Prisoners” (posted on my website as WikiLeaks Reveals Secret Guantánamo Files, Exposes Detention Policy as a Construct of Lies), for WikiLeaks, to accompany the first of 765 formerly classified military files on the Guantánamo prisoners — the Guantánamo Files — that the organization began releasing publicly that day. The files primarily revealed the extent to which the supposed evidence at Guantanamo largely consisted of statements made by unreliable witnesses, who told lies about their fellow prisoners, either because they were tortured or otherwise abused, or bribed with the promise of better living conditions.

    • If War Is an Industry, How Can There Be Peace in a Capitalist World? The Seventeenth Newsletter (2019).

      And we had in mind Ola Bini, who is in El Inca prison in Quito (Ecuador), who has no role in any of this but seems to be collateral damage for the frustration of the ruling elites that their mendacity was revealed by the Afghan War Logs and the Iraq War Logs and so many more leaks.

      It is not what is in these Logs that bothers the powerful, whose indignation is reserved for those brave people who expose their crimes and call them to account.

      A Gestapo officer barged into Picasso’s apartment in Paris. There was a photograph of Guernica on the wall. The Gestapo officer asked if Picasso had done the painting. ‘No’, Picasso replied. ‘You did’.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • The Uncanny Power of Greta Thunberg’s Climate-Change Rhetoric

      The climate-change movement feels powerful today because it is politicians—not the people gluing themselves to trucks—who seem deluded about reality. Thunberg says that all she wants is for adults to behave like adults, and to act on the terrifying information that is all around us. But the impact of her message does not come only from her regard for the facts. Thunberg is an uncanny, gifted orator. Last week, the day after the fire at Notre-Dame, she told the European Parliament that “cathedral thinking” would be necessary to confront climate change.

    • Global Warming Is Wiping Out Marine Animals Faster Than Land Dwellers

      Marine species may be more vulnerable to extirpations—extinction from a local habitat—in part because they cannot seek refuge from extreme temperatures as easily as land animals, the study suggests.

      Led by Malin Pinsky, an ecologist at Rutgers University, the authors calculated the heat tolerance of 318 terrestrial species, including butterflies, spiders, and lizards, and 88 marine animals, such as fish, molluscs, and crustaceans.

    • The Climate Change Generation Needs to Know What’s Coming

      As kids across the U.S. and around the globe rise up to demand action, this disinformation campaign is now being targeted at America’s classrooms.

      A spate of bills introduced in states across the country would either prohibit teachers from discussing climate change in their classrooms or require public school teachers to present “both sides” of an issue that has come to dominate American political discourse. This would give science equal weight with flat-out propaganda.

    • How a Pipeline Fight Exposed Justin Trudeau’s Fake Progressivism

      When the corporate Goliath fled in defeat, however, the Canadian state stepped in to rescue the fossil fuel industry. Justin Trudeau’s Liberal federal government bought Kinder Morgan’s existing pipeline last spring and announced its determination to fully back and fund TMX’s export-oriented expansion. The move, which blindsided the pipeline’s opponents, has only upped the stakes around TMX — and thrust the issue into the national political debate as Canada heads toward a federal election later this year.

    • State Defends South Dakota Pipeline Protest Legislation

      South Dakota’s governor and attorney general are asking a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit challenging a new law that aims to prevent disruptive demonstrations against the Keystone XL pipeline if it’s built.

      The law allows officials to pursue criminal or civil penalties from demonstrators who engage in “riot boosting,” which is defined in part as encouraging violence during a riot. The American Civil Liberties Union and American Indian tribes say the law will stifle free speech, but the state disputes that argument.

    • Massachusetts offshore wind project gets green light at roughly 8.9 cents/kWh

      Last May, Massachusetts chose companies representing a project called Vineyard Wind to negotiate long-term contracts for an 800 megawatt (MW) offshore wind project that would serve some 400,000 homes. This month, the state approved the negotiated contracts, clearing the way for Vineyard Wind to become the second (and the biggest) offshore wind farm in the United States.

      The approval also included a promise from Vineyard Wind to invest $15 million to a fund that will “promote the use of battery storage in low-income communities” and “further the development of energy storage systems across the state.”

    • 5 Women-Owned Companies Revolutionizing the Zero-Waste Movement

      Teen Vogue spoke with five women who are taking the lead on the zero-waste movement. From food waste to fashion, these women are paving the way for innovative solutions.

    • Disturbing Animation Shows What Earth Would Look Like if All The Ice Melted

      Some of the areas that go under first are probably unsurprising – low-lying islands and already water-logged cities such as Venice are quick to disappear. And at first glance, the planet doesn’t really look that much different.

      But when the globe spins around to Asia around the halfway mark, things get pretty real, with huge cities like Calcutta and Shanghai disappearing into the ocean altogether (that’s a combined population of almost 19 million people). And suffice it to say, the US also gets a whole lot smaller. You can pretty much kiss Florida goodbye.

    • Climate policy implications of nonlinear decline of Arctic land permafrost and other cryosphere elements

      Arctic feedbacks accelerate climate change through carbon releases from thawing permafrost and higher solar absorption from reductions in the surface albedo, following loss of sea ice and land snow

    • Inequality is decreasing between countries—but climate change is slowing progress

      Inequality between countries has decreased over the past few decades. But between 1961 and 2010, the country-to-country gap would have narrowed more if not for climate change, says new research published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The difference between the richest and poorest countries in the world is some 25 percent wider than it would be in a world without global warming, the authors say.

    • Global Wealth Gap Would Be Smaller Today Without Climate Change, Study Finds

      Inequality among nations, which has come down a lot in recent decades, would have declined far faster, it concluded, had climate change not been in the mix. It estimated that the gap in per capita income in the richest and poorest countries is 25 percentage points larger than it would have been without climate change.

    • How a River Was Granted Personhood

      Then, in 2017, something unprecedented happened. The New Zealand government granted the Whanganui River legal personhood—a status that is in keeping with the Maori worldview that the river is a living entity. The legislation, which has yet to be codified into domestic law, refers to the river as an “indivisible, living whole,” conferring it “all the rights, powers, duties, and liabilities” of an individual.

    • During National Park Week, remember that our parks need our help

      The lack of care for our parks seems plain wrong in light of the growing recreation economy. The Outdoor Industry Association estimates that outdoor recreation generates $887 billion in annual consumer spending. That’s a huge amount — twice what Americans spend on media content and technology — yet, most of it goes to airlines, hotels and gear manufacturers, not public lands.

      So, this National Parks Week, how can recreationists ensure our money is going to protect the places we love?

    • Overfishing Doesn’t Just Hurt the Fish

      Subsidies make it possible for enormous boats to travel long distances to fish the deep waters that lie far from any coastline. More than half of this high-seas fishing would be unprofitable without subsidies. Curtailing it would boost populations of migratory fish, helping to restock coastal fisheries.

      China provides the biggest subsidies for overfishing. Japan, Spain and South Korea spend heavily also. But in the U.S., beginning in the 1990s, both political parties came to recognize the problem and pull back. For many years, Congress barred appropriations for new boat loans, and in the late ’90s and early 2000s even spent millions on buying back vessels, gear and fishing permits. These days, most of the government’s investment in fishing goes to research, monitoring and conserving fish stocks, and other beneficial activities.

    • First Yellowstone golden eagle fitted with tracker killed by lead poisoning

      Advocacy groups have called for hunters to use copper in bullets instead of lead, arguing such a practice could prevent these types of deaths in animals.

    • Lead kills 1st Yellowstone golden eagle fitted with tracker

      The first golden eagle in Yellowstone National Park fitted with a tracking device has died of lead poisoning, likely after consuming bullet fragments while scavenging the remains of an animal killed by a hunter, officials said Monday.

    • Dutch tulip growers beg selfie-taking millennials to stop trampling their flowers

      “They cross all over the fields and they damage the [tulips],” grower Simon Pennings, who owns more than 40 fields to the west of Amsterdam, told CNN. He said the problem has emerged “in the last couple of years,” and is driven by younger selfie-takers.

    • A Dream of Mountain Gorillas Deferred

      I may have just talked myself out of one of my dreams.

      For years now I’ve held out hope of an opportunity to travel to Africa to see one of my favorite species, mountain gorillas, in the wild. This year it looked like that dream could finally come true. I have the vacation time, I have the money (well, the credit cards), and I don’t have any work or personal commitments keeping me close to home.

      I could do it if I really wanted to.

      But a question has been gnawing at me: Should I do it?

      The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the big problem looming over a trip like this is its impact on the climate. Based on some quick calculations I made on a travel site, it looks like an airplane trip to Uganda would produce at least 2.13 metric tons of CO2 emissions. That, according to the EPA website, is the equivalent of burning 2,329 pounds of coal — enough energy to charge my cellphone more than 271,000 times.

      And that’s just for the trip there, using one possible flight path. It doesn’t even count the return flights, ground travel or other accommodations.

      All told, any trip to see my beloved mountain gorillas could produce something in the neighborhood of 5 metric tons of planet-damaging emissions.

      Damn, that’s a lot.

    • US Fracked Gas Imports to EU Could ‘Take World Far Beyond Safe Climate Limits’, Campaigners Warn

      Environmental activists representing more than 200 organisations have called on the EU and the US to put an end to a booming transatlantic trade in fracked gas or face “taking the world far beyond safe climate limits”.

      In an open letter to the EU Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete and US Energy Secretary Rick Perry, campaigners warn that the continued use and import of fracked gas “torpedoes critical climate targets and violates basic human rights”.

      The statement comes after the US Department of Energy announced that Perry would be attending the first EU-US Energy Council High-Level Forum in Brussels on Thursday.

    • UK fracking commissioner admits to deleting correspondence with industry

      The British government’s recently-departed shale gas commissioner admitted to routinely deleting correspondence and throwing away notes from meetings with fracking companies in a move that may have violated transparency requirements.

      In response to an Unearthed freedom of information request sent earlier this year, Natascha Engel – who resigned this weekend after just 6 months in the role – said: “I tend to deal with everything on the day and delete what has been done to avoid any huge build-ups or risk of duplication.

      “The same is true of the few notes I take in meetings which I review in the evenings, action and throw away.”

      The failure to take notes and systematic destruction of information in this manner could be in breach of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR).

      The original request was for all email communications with the UK’s two leading fracking firms: INEOS – for which Engel has previously done paid work – and the Lancashire-based operator Cuadrilla.

      Unearthed initially wrote to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which employs Engel for a fee of £500 a day, for the information but were told to apply directly to Engel herself who was described as “separate from BEIS.”

    • Meet the winners of the 2019 Goldman Environmental Prize

      Six grassroots environmental activists will receive the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize today. Dubbed the Green Nobel Prize, the Goldman Prize honors environmental activists from each of the six continental regions: Europe, Asia, North America, Central and South America, Africa, and islands and island nations.

      This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Prize founded in 1989 by U.S. philanthropists Rhoda and Richard Goldman. To date, 194 winners from 89 different nations have received this award.

      This year’s winners include an environmental and human rights lawyer who stopped the destruction of Liberia’s tropical forests, a conservationist who helped create a large protected area in Mongolia, and a biologist from North Macedonia who fought against hydropower plants planned inside a critical habitat of the rare Balkan lynx. The winners also include an indigenous leader from Chile who led a movement against two hydroelectric projects on a sacred river, a marine conservationist who campaigned to protect the Cook Islands’ marine biodiversity, and an activist from the United States who rallied residents to stop the construction of a massive oil export terminal that could have threatened the health and safety of the local community.

      “I am so moved and inspired by these six environmental trailblazers,” Susie Gelman, president of the Goldman Environmental Foundation, said in a statement. “Each of them has selflessly stood up to stop injustice, become a leader when leadership was critical, and vanquished powerful adversaries who would desecrate our planet. These are six ordinary, yet extraordinary, human beings who remind us that we all have a role in protecting the Earth.”

      The winners will be honored at the San Francisco Opera House in California, U.S., on April 29. Former U.S. vice president and environmental activist Al Gore will present the keynote address.

    • Federal Water Tap, April 29: EPA Releases Draft PFAS Groundwater Cleanup Guidance

      The EPA uses its drinking water health advisory to guide PFAS cleanup in groundwater. Senators ask the GAO to assess the cost to the federal government of PFAS cleanup. Senate Democrats release report on the financial costs of climate change. A federal health research agency publishes more details on a PFAS health study. The BLM assesses hydraulic fracturing in California. Energy regulators finalize a rule that quickens the permitting process for certain hydropower facilities. Congress returns from spring break. And lastly, the FEMA acting administrator says Americans need to do more to protect themselves from natural hazards.


      The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published draft guidance for responding to groundwater contamination from toxic PFAS chemicals.

      The guidance covers the two most-studied of the thousands of PFAS compounds: PFOA and PFOS. It sets contamination levels that would trigger additional investigation and establishes goals for groundwater cleanup.

      The cleanup goals are based on the EPA’s health advisory of 70 parts per trillion. The EPA “expects” that parties responsible for the contamination will address PFOA and PFOS levels above that. This applies in states that do not have their own cleanup standards, which can be more strict.

      However, stricter state standards are no guarantee of action. The Air Force has claimed sovereign immunity from Michigan’s 12 parts per trillion limit where groundwater discharges to surface water.

      Public comments are being accepted for 45 days after publication in the Federal Register.

    • Recognise Himalayan wolf as a distinct species: study

      Himalayan wolf is a distinct species of wolf, which shows unique genetic adaptation to the difficult conditions in the Asian high altitude ecosystems, found a study, reiterating that it needs to be identified as a species of special conservation concern. “Conservation action for the Himalayan wolf is required and of global conservation interest,” noted the study.

      For the study, the researchers used over 280 samples of scat and hair from the Himalayan region of Nepal, which included Humla and Dolpa districts in the north-western Nepalese Himalayas and the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area (KCA) in the north-eastern Nepalese Himalayas, during the spring and summer periods of 2014-2016.

      Explaining that the Himalayan wolf is a little-understood wolf lineage found in the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau of Asia, the study noted that the species diverged from the Holarctic grey wolf 691,000 to 740,000 years ago. The Holarctic region includes all the non-tropical parts of Europe, Asia, Africa (north of the Sahara), and North America (till the Mexican desert region). According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the global population of grey wolf (Canis lupus) is estimated to be 200,000-250,000 individuals.

    • Denmark under fire for refusing to add climate surcharge to air tickets

      Bill Hemmings, the head of the aviation arm of a European climate NGO, Transport & Environment, suggests that by not doing so, Denmark is indirectly supporting the aviation industry.

      “Considering that flying is a very damaging activity climate-wise, it doesn’t make any sense that some countries are giving commercial aviation duty-free status,” he told DR Nyheder.

    • Islamic Terrorism Remains The World’s Greatest Threat To Peace [Ed: US imperialism kills far more than radical Islam (also inflames it), but the Koch brothers (this site) don't want you to speak of climate change either.]

      Yet the American left continues to downplay the danger, first by arguing that Islam has nothing to do with Islamic terrorism, then by lumping every white-skinned person who commits a terrorist act into one imaginary coherent political movement to contrast against it. It’s true that Americans have been spared much Islamic terror since 2002—a year that, curiously, nearly every graph media uses to measure domestic terrorism starts—but only because we’ve spent billions of dollars each year and immense resources, both in lives and treasure, keeping it out of the country and fighting it abroad.

      Another reason the majority of Americans might not comprehend Islamic radicalism’s reach is the skewed intensity of the media coverage. Political correctness and a chilling fear of being labeled “Islamophobic” makes it difficult to honestly report on terrorism around the world.

    • Climate Change Blamed as Flooding Forces Thousands to Evacuate in Canada

      Flooding in four Canadian provinces has forced thousands of people to evacuate, and leaders across the country are blaming climate change.

      Communities in Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec are all impacted and both Montreal and Ottawa have declared states of emergency, CTV news reported Saturday. The flooding comes just two years after heavy rain and snowmelt contributed to the worst floods in decades in Ontario and Quebec, according to Global News.

    • Winning Party in Spain’s Election Campaigned on a Green New Deal

      The PSOE gained control of Spain’s government in June 2017 when it ousted the PP via a no-confidence vote following a corruption scandal. Party leader Pedro Sánchez called Sunday’s election in February after his party was unable to pass a 2019 budget with only 84 seats. 75.8 percent of the electorate turned out to vote, nearly 10 percentage points more than the number who turned out for the last election two years ago, and Sánchez interpreted the turnout as a rebuke to the far-right policies of his opponents.

    • Biodegradable Plastic Is As Bad As Conventional Plastic: Research

      Biodegradable plastic bags can survive up to 3 years in soil and water, according to a study. Biodegradable bags used in the experiment were able to carry groceries and other heavy items similar to a new plastic bag.

      By design, biodegradable plastic should be environmentally friendly and finish itself off after a certain amount of time. However, it remained intact even after continuous exposure to natural elements.

    • Biodegradable bags can hold a full load of shopping three years after being discarded in the environment

      Biodegradable and compostable plastic bags are still capable of carrying full loads of shopping after being exposed in the natural environment for three years, a new study shows.

      Researchers from the University of Plymouth examined the degradation of five plastic bag materials widely available from high street retailers in the UK.

      They were then left exposed to air, soil and sea, environments which they could potentially encounter if discarded as litter.

      The bags were monitored at regular intervals, and deterioration was considered in terms of visible loss in surface area and disintegration as well as assessments of more subtle changes in tensile strength, surface texture and chemical structure.

    • Steve Forbes Echoes Koch Talking Points on Electric Car Tax Credit

      The attacks on electric cars reverberating through the conservative echo chamber have found a new voice in Steve Forbes. The two-time Republican presidential candidate and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Media published an op-ed on Fox News this weekend, one that repeats a number of well-rehearsed but thoroughly debunked claims casting doubt on the environmental benefits of electric cars and their practicality for the mass market.

      Like so many commentary and opinion pieces that came before it (including one by Wyoming Republican Senator John Barrasso, also published on Fox News in February) Forbes cherry-picks data points that are long outdated and cites a number of “reports” that have been commissioned by oil industry and Koch-affiliated think tanks, including the Manhattan Institute.

    • Devastation of recent floods demands that we rethink our climate strategy

      The tragic loss of life over the last week is a wake-up call about the devastating consequences of global warming and climate change.

      South Africa should have been better prepared to anticipate and mitigate the impact of the floods that destroyed settlements and cruelly cut short lives of the poorest and most vulnerable.

      Our science and technology research community and technical experts in academia and think tanks, have all the knowledge, technology and experience in climate change measures, weather forecasts and even measurement of the rises and falls of sea levels.

    • Fossil fuels outbid by renewable revolution

      There’s a renewable revolution under way: the cost of wind and solar power is now undercutting fossil fuels across the world.

      One recent week brought news of the world’s longest turbine blade, a monster capable of producing enough electricity on its own to power a small town. The fact that solar power in combination with batteries is now a cheaper way than gas to produce electricity in the United States is cheering news for those battling against climate change.

      The single blade, 107 metres long, was produced at a factory in Cherbourg in France, the country most reliant on nuclear power. After tests the blade will power a 12-megawatt turbine, the largest in the world, situated off the French coast, and capable on its own of powering thousands of homes throughout its 20-year design life.

    • Beto O’Rourke Announces $5 Trillion Plan to Fight Climate Change

      2020 Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke announced a $5 trillion plan to fight climate change Monday. The plan is O’Rourke’s first major policy announcement and one of the most detailed climate policies outlined in the primaries so far, Reuters reported.

      “We are announcing the most ambitious climate plan in the history of the United States,” O’Rourke said in a Twitter video posted from Yosemite Valley while he was on his way to meet scientists in Yosemite National Park.

    • Restaurants in California May Start Adding an Optional 1% Climate Change Fee to Your Bill

      The Restore California Renewable Restaurant program, launched this month, asks restaurants that opt into the program to add a 1 percent surcharge to each customer’s bill. The money collected will then go to a state fund supporting sustainable agricultural practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    • Protecting Jaguars Across Borders

      In early April the mutilated body of a jaguar was discovered in Mexico’s Yaxchilán Natural Monument.

      Researchers investigating the death quickly concluded that the animal, which had been tracked in neighboring Guatemala since 2015, had crossed the border and fallen prey to wildlife traffickers, who may have taken its head for sale on the black market.

      Deaths like this, when a jaguar crossed the border from a protected area into a different country, may have something to do with the big cats’ plummeting populations, experts worry.

      “The males have to move across long distances and sometimes go outside of reserves or protected areas to buffer zones and areas populated by people,” says Rony García-Anleu, director of the biological research department for the Wildlife Conservation Society in Guatemala.

      Today the wide-ranging jaguar (Panthera onca), which once lived throughout South America and north into the United States, is considered a threatened species. Conservation groups estimate there are only 15,000 wild jaguars left, mostly due to poaching and deforestation.

    • New York State Bans Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling

      Offshore oil and gas drilling or exploration anywhere along the Atlantic coast could put New York at risk. Oil spills don’t stop at state boundaries and can be carried far along the coastline. After BP’s 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion, oil contaminated more than 1,300 miles of coastline, harming fisheries, birds, and impacting endangered whales for generations to come. An equivalent disaster in the Atlantic — depending on currents and weather — could coat beaches from Savannah to Boston. Our state’s fishermen catch species that move throughout the region; a spill anywhere along the Atlantic could affect their livelihoods.

      NRDC is proud of New York’s action to oppose offshore drilling and protect the hundreds of thousands of New York jobs and billions of dollars of state revenue that depend on clean, oil-free water and beaches and abundant fish and wildlife. New York’s ocean use doesn’t mix with harmful offshore oil and gas development. Now this common knowledge is law.

  • Finance

    • Google Advertising Revenue Growth Slows, Triggering Share Slump

      Revenue from Google advertising rose 15 percent, the slowest pace since 2015. That was a stark contrast to scandal-plagued Facebook Inc., which last week reported a 26 percent jump in ad sales.

    • Political Confessional: I Think Private Schools Should Be Banned

      The only way to make public schools good is to have children go there of all socioeconomic classes. I do think that it’s complicated for people who’ve been given a scholarship to a private school. It’s very hard for me to judge someone who doesn’t have a lot of money who’s been given the opportunity for their child to go to one of these schools. I guess my sympathy always lies with the people who have fewer opportunities. I don’t have a perfect answer. But let’s stop vouchers.

    • Uber and Lyft stop hiring new drivers in New York City

      The rules penalize companies for running too many cars without passengers on city streets. The higher a company’s utilization rate, the less it has to pay drivers to meet the new wage floor requirement. The rules were intended to increase pay for drivers, while also addressing what many saw as an oversaturated market in New York City.

      In that sense, today’s news suggests the rules are having their desired effect. The wage rule was passed several months after the city council approved a new vehicle cap for Uber and Lyft in the hopes of reversing worsening traffic congestion. That rule doesn’t affect Uber and Lyft’s ability to onboard new drivers; it just restricts the number of vehicles that can be used to pick up passengers.

    • Uber drivers across America are going on strike

      On May 8, Gig Workers Rising is organizing a nationwide shutdown of Uber, with drivers turning off their apps in protest over low pay: [...]

    • PepsiCo offers to settle with Indian farmers it sued over potatoes for Lays chips

      PepsiCo has offered to stop pursuing four small farmers in India it accuses of illegally growing a variety of potatoes registered for exclusive use in its Lays chips.

      The company’s Indian subsidiary filed lawsuits against the farmers earlier this month. They were heard by a court in the Indian state of Gujarat on Friday, when a lawyer for PepsiCo (PEP) offered to drop the case provided the farmers join thousands of others in the company’s authorized cultivation program.

    • TurboTax Did Everything It Could To Hide The Free-Filing Its Supposed To Offer

      For years, advocates for the non-wealthy public have put forward plans to simplify the tax-preparation process by having the IRS pre-prepare a tax filing with the information it already has, sending it to citizens, and allowing those citizens to either sign and return it or do their own tax preparation if they think there are errors. Several politicians have put versions of this plan forward, including Elizabeth Warren. The idea is that, for the vast majority of Americans, the IRS already has all the information it needs for the tax filing. Why make most people do tax prep when they don’t have to?

      Well, for just as many years, the companies that make money by doing this tax prep work have lobbied heavily in Congress to keep this from becoming law. Intuit, makers of TurboTax software, has been particularly active on this front, with novel arguments that amount to, “But if you make this law, then we’ll make less money.” When that messaging became a PR disaster, the company tricked a bunch of mouth-pieces to say all this for it.

      Now, if all of that seems like shady shit, you ain’t seen nothing yet. One of the ways companies like Intuit hand-wave concerns that its lobbying efforts are coercing the poor and middle class to pay for tax prep that is so simple it should be free is by pointing out that it entered into an agreement with the IRS to offer their own free-to-file programs for anyone that makes less than $66k in a given year. While that’s true, ProPublica has a nice write up of just how far Intuit in particular goes to hide this program from the very public it’s supposed to be serving.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Prison Is Torture. Voting Is Self-Defense.

      If committing crimes precludes one from being fit to vote, for example, one must account for the rampant criminality of many elected lawmakers and the countless ways they criminalize everyday life — a level of discretion that has, in the past, been used specifically to restrict voting rights. If one narrows this rubric so that only violent criminals are disenfranchised, one must account for much of violent crime’s roots in policy failures — like poverty, segregation, and inadequate mental health resources — and how imprisoning their victims, who are frequently victims of violence themselves, all but guarantees perpetual indifference toward them. This is to say nothing of the vast majority of people who violate laws but never get caught, let alone sent to prison, and a lack of evidence that proclaiming fitness in such a haphazard way creates a more responsible electorate. In fact, few who disagree with Sanders even bother making this case. Most are content to presume that anything besides the status quo is outlandish. “You lose your freedom,” Mayor Pete Buttigieg said of what happens in prison — as if its reasonability were self-evident. “And I don’t think during that time it makes sense to have that exception.”

    • AOC Backed Up Bernie Sanders on Voting Rights for People With Felony Convictions

      “I do believe that even if [people] are in jail, they’re paying their price to society, but that should not take away their inherent American right to participate in our democracy,” Sanders said. “This is a democracy. We’ve got to expand that democracy. And I believe every single person does have the right to vote.”

    • The Congresswoman From Somalia
    • Ahok will be released on Jan 24 as he will be granted remission

      But his straight-talking manner and championing of pluralism, which endeared him to many, also saw his opponents turning that against him.

      They pounced on a speech he had made in September 2016, when he referred to the Quran and told constituents not to be deceived by his opponents who say Muslims cannot elect a non-Muslim leader.

      Hardline groups such as the Islamic Defenders Front rallied hundreds of thousands of Muslims to take to the streets in protest.

    • As democracy goes digital, those offline are being pushed out of politics

      If elections rely heavily on the [Internet], we must ensure all voices are heard — particularly those that are already marginalised. This means not only ensuring all geographies are covered by [Internet] infrastructure, but that people can afford to connect, have the language skills and digital literacy to engage, and an understanding of how to achieve impact using digital media.

    • J’accuse Donald J.Trump

      On this day, April 28 in 1898, Emile Zola’s open letter “J’accuse” (I accuse) was published, accusing the French government and military of making a Jewish officer, Captain Alfred Dreyfus a convenient scapegoat to coverup treasonous acts by the military.

      One hundred and twenty-one years later, J’accuse President Donald J.Trump of fostering, supporting, encouraging a climate of hate, bigotry, and mass murder to advance his political ends.

      It is more than a coincidence that shortly before the Poway CA synagogue murder of Lori Kaye, Donald Trump once again defended the Nazi’s murderous rally at Charlottesville, this time with the justification that they were really defending the statue of Robert E. Lee, one of our “greatest generals.” Lee was certainly a great general. He also was a traitor who waged war on the United States in defense of slavery.

      Defending a statute of one of Lee’s leading officers, Gen James Longstreet, of whom there are no statutes, would have made some sense. In New Orleans in 1874, the retired Longstreet led local police in resisting the take over of local government by the White League. For that act of American Patriotism, Longstreet was accused of being a “race traitor” unlike Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee whose statues proliferated.

      Donald Trump’s improbable rise to power and his attempt to stay in power is driven by ceaseless attacks on black and brown people, on immigrants, on Muslims, on his steadfast refusal to condemn in no uncertain terms Nazis as evil, as did Vice President Pence after Poway. Trump offers condolences and notes the cops got their man.

    • New Group Aims to Harness Political Power of Women

      Three of the nation’s most influential activists are launching an organization that aims to harness the political power of women to influence elections and shape local and national policy priorities.

      Dubbed “Supermajority,” the organization is the creation of Cecile Richards, the former head of Planned Parenthood; Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter; and Ai-jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. The group, which describes itself as multiracial and intergenerational, has a goal of training and mobilizing 2 million women over the next year to become organizers and political leaders in their communities.

      The effort comes at a moment when women have emerged as perhaps the most powerful force in politics.

      Millions of women marched in cities across America to protest President Donald Trump’s election. Women also comprise the majority of the electorate in the 2018 midterm elections, sending a historic number of female candidates to Congress and helping Democrats retake control of the House. A record number of women are also seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, including four senators.

    • Impeach His Sorry Ass Now

      Over the course of my dusty television career, I have from time to time run into situations where a certain Hollywood celebrity type will make a threat—not to do interviews or make public appearances on behalf of a show, for example—unless some egregious demand of his or hers is met.

      It’s a trap. Even if you meet their demand, my experience has been that they still won’t do what you request, nor did they ever intend to, no matter how much kowtowing you do. The mean ones get a noxious thrill from their ability to manipulate and diminish others.

    • 5.1 Billion People Denied Real Justice Within World’s Woeful Legal Systems: Study

      Two-thirds of the world’s population do not have access to the justice system, a glaring gap between rich and poor and a stark reminder of the gulf that exists between between those who are and are not given due process.

      That’s according to a new report (pdf) from the Task Force on Justice, a program of the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just, and Inclusive Societies. Pathfinders is a coalition of U.N. member states and a number of non-governmental organizations that work with the New York University Center for International Cooperation.

      The report found that 5.1 billion people—almost two-thirds of the planet’s 7.53 billion human beings—do not have access to justice and that of those 5.1 billion, 1.5 billion have no way of solving legal disputes or crimes against them.

      It’s time to see access to justice as a human rights issue that the world must invest in, said Pathfinder’s David Steven.

      “The critical thing here is that we just assume the world’s justice systems will only meet the needs of a very few people, just like we assumed with education in the 19th century,” said Steven.

    • Facebook Hires Koch-Funded Climate Deniers for ‘Fact-Checking’

      It may not come as a surprise that leading climate denier Donald Trump has made more than 10,000 false or misleading claims since he became president, according to fact-checkers at the Washington Post.

      As the Post reports, Trump’s “tsunami of untruths just keeps looming larger and larger.”

      Much of this tsunami of untruths will get reposted on Facebook as fact. Those hoping that Facebook will accurately check Trump’s statements and clean up the torrent of fake news on its platform will have to think again, especially if you are concerned about climate change.

    • Facebook Files Questionable Lawsuit Over Fake Followers And Likes

      Over the last year or so, a key focus of Facebook’s has been to battle what it calls “coordinated inauthentic behavior.” While the phrase may sound vaguely Orwellian, I actually appreciate the thinking behind it. It’s one thing to say you’re going after “fake accounts” or “propaganda” or “trolls,” but that language is imprecise, and certainly doesn’t provide much clarity for what Facebook is actually targeting. Indeed, using vague language continues to be a massive problem in all sorts of content moderation challenges. So, instead, Facebook focused on “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” which is much more definable, and also neatly encapsulates a lot of activity that most people all agree is at least somewhat problematic in a variety of contexts. I’ve also appreciated some of the actions that Facebook has taken to try to stop or prevent such “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”

      What I don’t appreciate is a highly questionable lawsuit Facebook filed on Friday, again supposedly targeting coordinated inauthentic behavior on its platforms: in particular fake likes and fake followers. Now, let’s be clear: no one is suggesting that services that provide fake likes or fake followers are a good thing. They are scams and they are designed to mislead people. I think Facebook has every right to try to delete such fake likes and fake followers from its platforms.

      What I’m less sure of, however, is if Facebook should be able to sue the companies (and the individuals behind those companies) for creating such a service. But that’s what Facebook has done. The complaint argues that it’s a CFAA violation (and a violation of California’s version of the CFAA). If you don’t recall, the CFAA (the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act) was the law that was originally designed to go after malicious hackers, but was written in such broad and vague language — regarding things like “unauthorized access” and “exceeding authorized access” — that it’s been used in all sorts of questionable ways, including not obeying a web site’s terms of service. It’s been referred to as “the law that sticks” when no other law can be used against “vaguely icky” activity done on a computer.

    • Large Protests and Political Crisis in Albania

      The Balkan Peninsula is known as the “gunpowder barrel” of the European continent. In Albania, this “gunpowder barrel” seems to explode quite often due to frequent political conflicts. For any foreign observer the continuous political crisis in this country seem absurd but for the Albanian people it is a harsh reality that effects them socially, economically as well as jeopardizes the European integration of the country in EU.

      What is happening in Albania? Why the gunpowder barrel has exploded again? And why, Albanians are frightened that this political conflict might escalate into a civil conflict?

    • Socialists Win Spain Election, Far-Right Emerges as Player

      Spain’s governing center-left Socialists won the country’s election Sunday but must seek backing from smaller parties to maintain power, while a far-right party rode an unprecedented surge of support to enter the lower house of parliament for the first time in four decades.

      Voters in Spain had become disillusioned as the country struggled with a recession, austerity cuts, corruption scandals, divisive demands for independence from the restive Catalonia region and a rise in far-right nationalism not seen since Spain’s dictatorship ended in the 1970s.

      With 99% of ballots counted, the Socialists led by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez won 29% of the vote, capturing 123 seats in the 350-seat Congress of Deputies. The new far-right Vox party made its national breakthrough by capturing 10% of the vote, which would give it 24 seats.

      Vox’s success came at the expense of the once-dominant conservative Popular Party, which fell to 66 seats, losing more than half of its representation since the last election in 2016. The conservatives also lost votes to the center-right Citizens party, which will increase its number of seats from 32 to 57.

    • Rabbi Says Gun ‘Miraculously’ Jammed in Synagogue Attack

      In the minutes after the gunman fled the scene of a shooting that killed a woman inside a Southern California synagogue, a wounded Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein wrapped his bloodied hand in a prayer shawl and addressed the panicked congregation, vowing to stay strong in the face of yet another deadly attack in a house of worship.

      “We are a Jewish nation that will stand tall. We will not let anyone take us down. Terrorism like this will not take us down,” Goldstein recalled telling his congregants after the gunfire erupted Saturday at Chabad of Poway.

      Congregant Lori Kaye, 60, was killed in the shooting, which injured Goldstein, 8-year-old Noya Dahan and her 34-year-old uncle, Almog Peretz, authorities said. Hours after the three wounded were released from hospitals, Goldstein described the ordeal at a news conference Sunday outside the synagogue north of San Diego.

      Goldstein said he was preparing for a service on the last day of Passover and saw a young man wearing sunglasses standing in front of him with a rifle.

      “I couldn’t see his eyes. I couldn’t see his soul,” Goldstein said. He raised his hands to protect himself and lost one of his fingers in the shooting.

    • Amid Latest Synagogue Shooting, Trump Abets White Supremacist Violence

      On Saturday an avowed neo-Nazi entered the Chabad of Poway synagogue in San Diego County, California, shouted anti-Semitic slurs and then opened fire with an AR-15 “assault-style” rifle. This right-wing terrorist allegedly killed one person — a woman named Lori Gilbert Kaye, who was reportedly attending Saturday services to pray for her mother, who had recently died — and injured three others, including a child.

      This is but the most recent example of a rising tide of hate-fueled and often lethal right-wing violence in the United States and around the world.

      Such evil is not an outlier or coincidence but rather part of a much larger pattern.

      The 19-year-old white supremacist attacked the Chabad of Poway on the six-month anniversary of the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh. In an example of the global “race war” strategy historian Kathleen Belew warns of in her new book Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America, this weekend’s attacker in Poway attacker cited other neo-Nazi mass murderers as inspiration.

    • Hate-crime attack on café staged, Winnipeg police say, after owners charged with mischief

      “False complaints of criminal acts of anti-Semitism are not only illegal, they undermine the important work necessary to counter anti-Semitism and hate in all forms.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • KSC apparently has told its workers they’ll be fired for taking rocket photos

      This issue has been simmering for some time with the rise of social media. Some Kennedy Space Center employees have been using their badges to gain access to areas the media doesn’t have. In some cases, these employees have taken unique photos of space hardware and posted them on social media. This led professional photographers to complain to officials at KSC that they did not have similar access.

    • Content Moderation At Scale Is Impossible: Some Republican Politicians Are Indistinguishable From Neo Nazis

      Over and over and over again we’ve pointed out that content moderation at scale is impossible to do well — in part because at such scale, there are bound to be a huge number of errors, even if the percentage of errors is relatively small. We’ve also pointed out that a lot of the content decisions that moderators face fall into a terrible gray area, where it’s not easy to craft scalable rules that can be applied fairly across the board — in part because context matters and it’s impossible to scale the reviewing and understanding of context.

    • Texas Senator Pushing A Bill That Would Allow The State To Sue Twitter For Banning Conservatives

      Since some conservatives are convinced social media companies are trying to turn their platforms into liberal paradises, weird and ignorant noises are being made by a handful of government figures. I blame Ted Cruz.

      Last year’s Facebook hearing was marked/marred by Republicans incorrecting [h/t n-gate] each other about Section 230 immunity and its supposed reliance on Twitter, Facebook, et al maintaining their position as “neutral public forums.” Section 230 does not require this, but it’s become somewhat of a DC urban legend at this point. Since this highly-inauspicious beginning, the Senator from Texas has pitched a “Fairness Doctrine” for the internet and aligned himself with Rep. Louie Gohmert to misunderstand the internet as much as possible.

      Back at the state ranch, a member of the Texas Senate has decided he’s going to force social media platforms to be neutral. Bryan Hughes has crafted a bill that would allow the state’s attorney general to sue Twitter, etc. for booting people off their platforms. There’s a big “if” in the bill that pretty much ensures it will never be enforced, even if it somehow manages to survive a Constitutional challenge.

    • Content Moderation is Broken. Let Us Count the Ways.

      Social media platforms regularly engage in “content moderation”—the depublication, downranking, and sometimes outright censorship of information and/or user accounts from social media and other digital platforms, usually based on an alleged violation of a platform’s “community standards” policy. In recent years, this practice has become a matter of intense public interest. Not coincidentally, thanks to growing pressure from governments and some segments of the public to restrict various types of speech, it has also become more pervasive and aggressive, as companies struggle to self-regulate in the hope of avoiding legal mandates.

      Many of us view content moderation as a given, an integral component of modern social media. But the specific contours of the system were hardly foregone conclusions. In the early days of social media, decisions about what to allow and what not to were often made by small teams or even individuals, and often on the fly. And those decisions continue to shape our social media experience today.

    • Why Your Holiday Photos And Videos Of The Restored Notre Dame Cathedral Could Be Blocked By The EU’s Upload Filters

      This is why pictures of the Eiffel Tower at night taken for commercial purposes require a license: although the copyright of the tower itself has expired, the copyright on the lights that were installed in 1989 has not. And it’s not just about the Eiffel Tower. As the credits at the end of this time-lapse video show (at 2 minutes 10 seconds) other famous Parisian landmarks that require copyright permission to film them include the Louvre’s Pyramid and the Grande Arche in the French capital’s business district.

      It is not clear whether taking photos or videos of these landmarks and then posting them online counts as commercial use. They may be for personal use, and thus exempt in themselves, but they are generally being posted to commercial Internet services like Facebook, which might require a license. That lack of clarity is just the sort of thing that is likely to cause the EU Copyright Directive’s upload filters to block images of modern buildings in France — including the re-built spire of Notre Dame cathedral, if it is a new design.

      A key proposal that the Pirate MEP Julia Reda put forward in her copyright evaluation report, which fed into the Copyright Directive, was to implement a full freedom of panorama right across the EU. The European Parliament backed the idea, as did all the EU nations except one — France, as Politico later revealed — so the idea was dropped. That lack of an EU-wide freedom of panorama is yet another example of how the Copyright Directive failed to throw even a tiny crumb to citizens, while handing out even more power for the copyright industry to use and abuse. So if one day your holiday pictures and videos of the re-built Notre Dame cathedral get blocked in the EU, you will know who to blame.

    • Why Denmark’s commitment to free speech is not a free pass for Quran burning

      In both areas, police have intervened in planned demonstrations led by Rasmus Paludan, an extremist right-wing agitator with a criminal record under anti-racism laws, whose demonstrations feature burning the Quran in areas with sizeable minority ethnic communities.

      Angry counter-demonstrators have reacted by burning cars and waste containers, throwing cobblestones at police and creating an atmosphere of tension and insecurity. Dozens of arrests have been made.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Media Alert: Court Hearing Wednesday on Law Enforcement Retention of DNA Profiles from Innocent Californians

      Social Justice Organizations Challenging Policy that Infringes the Privacy of Hundreds of Thousands of People
      San Francisco – At 9:30 am on Wednesday, May 1, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Law Office of Michael T. Risher will argue against the government’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging law enforcement retention of DNA profiles of hundreds of thousands of innocent Californians.

      EFF and Risher represent two social justice organizations—the Center for Genetics and Society and the Equal Justice Society—and an individual plaintiff, Pete Shanks. They filed the suit against the state of California to challenge its retention of genetic profiles from people arrested but never convicted of any crime. California has long collected DNA from people convicted of serious felony offenses, but ten years ago the state mandated DNA collection for every single felony arrestee.

      Once these samples are collected, the DNA is analyzed and uploaded to the nationwide Combined DNA Index System, or “CODIS,” which is shared with law enforcement across the U.S. The DNA profiles remain in the state and national database indefinitely – even those from people who were later determined to be innocent. Innocent people whose DNA profiles remain in the databases have been mistakenly arrested, charged, or even imprisoned based on crime-lab and other errors that found a supposed CODIS match between their profile and DNA found at a crime scene.

    • Facebook never delivered its “Clear History” feature

      Facebook should, at the bare minimum, be broken up. It should be forced to divest itself of Instagram and Whatsapp, so that when millions of users leave Facebook out of disgust for its privacy policies, the services they migrate to are owned by different people with different priorities.

    • If Facebook Wants Our Trust, Mark Zuckerberg Must Resign

      I want to point out: This is a partial list. If we sat around previewing everything that’s gone wrong for Facebook since last year’s F8 conference, we’d wrap up just in time for the 2020 version to begin.

    • A teenager is suing Apple for $1 billion over facial recognition tech

      An 18-year-old from New York is currently trying to take Apple for around 0.1 per cent of the company worth – $1 billion – for a facial recognition faux pas that has allegedly seen him charged in New York, Massachusetts, Delaware and New Jersey for thefts that were nothing to do with him.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • United States dilutes UN rape-in-war resolution

      The US removed all references to sexual and reproductive health.

      The Security Council resolution, submitted by Germany, dropped all such references. The US, along with China and Russia, had threatened to veto it.

    • How a U.N. Bid to Prevent Sexual Violence Turned Into a Spat Over Abortion

      The United States was set to veto the resolution, underscoring the growing rift between Washington and its European allies and the increasing U.S. isolation in multilateral institutions under President Donald Trump. But Germany relented and stripped the resolution of the language to secure the U.S. vote. It passed on Tuesday afternoon with 13 votes in favor. Two countries, Russia and China, abstained.

      Trump administration officials say the term “sexual and reproductive health” refers to abortion. But other governments and advocacy groups dispute this view.

    • Cowardice at Columbia

      In the absence of data on carding disparities by race, all we have to work with are competing anecdotes. It’s telling, however, that no white people have come forward and said they’ve walked into Barnard at night with impunity, refused multiple requests to show ID, yelled defiantly inside a library in the middle of the night, and been given a pass by campus security. Until a white person does come forward with such a story, the likeliest explanation of the McNab affair is that the officers were reacting not to his skin color but to his petulant histrionics.

    • FBI Arrests Member of Armed Group Stopping Migrants at Border

      The group drew a complaint from the American Civil Liberties Union, and widespread media attention, after an April 16 video showed a group of around 300 migrants surrendering to the UCP at its camp.

      New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday said citizens had no authority to arrest or detain anyone and police and justice officials were looking into the UCP’s activities.

      Hector Balderas, New Mexico’s attorney general, described Hopkins as “a dangerous felon who should not have weapons around children and families.”

    • Maine Becomes Latest State to Ditch Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples’ Day

      Maine became at least the seventh state in the U.S. to replace Columbus Day with a day honoring America’s first inhabitants on Friday when Governor Janet T. Mills signed a bill to renaming it Indigenous Peoples’ Day, The New York Times reported.

      Oregon, Minnesota, South Dakota, Alaska, North Carolina and New Mexico have all renamed the holiday that falls on the second Monday of October, as have at least 130 cities and towns.

    • Appeals Court: Idiot Cop Can Continue To Sue A Protester Over Actions Taken By Another Protester

      This lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice, with the judge pointing out no amount of rewording could salvage this cop’s attempt to hold DeRay McKesson — much less a social movement and a Twitter hashtag — personally responsible for injuries sustained when a protester (not DeRay McKesson) tossed a chunk of concrete at him.

      This judge was similarly unimpressed when another anonymous cop attempted to do the same thing two weeks later. In both cases, the court pointed out the lawsuits targeted protected speech and relied on conclusory statements linking McKesson and the social movement to actions taken by individuals participating in the protest. Both lawsuits were dismissed with prejudice, which prevents the cops from trying to pull the same litigious tricks again.

      Unfortunately for DeRay McKesson and anyone else who might attempt to lead a protest against anything, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has revived the first of these dismissed lawsuits. The court isn’t permissive enough to let Officer “John Doe” sue a Twitter hashtag and a social movement. But it does say the lower court needs to examine the case again because the cop plausibly alleged DeRay McKesson could be indirectly responsible for another protester tossing projectiles at cops responding to the demonstration.

    • NYPD Oversight Report Confirms NYPD Not Interested In Being Overseen

      New York City’s Department of Investigation can only do so much. The rest is up to the NYPD. The DOI made 145 recommendations in 2018 — covering everything from use of force reporting to sex crime investigations. To date, the NYPD has implemented less than half of those. It has completely rejected 31 recommendations, a third of those covering proposed changes to its use of force reporting.

      Oversight is only as good as the agency being overseen. The NYPD doesn’t care much for accountability. So, it’s chosen to ignore the things it doesn’t like and half-ass its way towards compliance with recommendations it feels it might be able to live with.

      Most of the rejections come from changes to use of force reporting. The NYPD would prefer no use of force reporting. The DOI would prefer 100% accountability in this area. A “compromise” has been reached.

    • How Movement To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Prevailed Over Obstruction Of A Progressive Prosecutor

      A late December ruling by the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker re-opened pathways for long-time political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal to litigate his freedom.

      “Progressive prosecutor” Larry Krasner’s appeal of the ruling stood in the way until Wednesday, April 17. At issue was whether Ronald Castille—a former Philadelphia District Attorney, Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice, and Krasner transition team member—had a constitutional duty to recuse himself from Mumia’s appeals of cases Castille’s office had prosecuted as DA.

      One of Mumia’s attorneys, Judith Ritter, described Tucker’s December decision as “a straightforward application of federal and Pennsylvania law requiring cases to be decided by judges whose impartiality cannot reasonably be questioned.”

      Tucker’s ruling gave Mumia the right to relitigate appeals that were denied by the state Supreme Court between 1998 and 2012.

    • Detroit schools to close for Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr for first time
    • Child participation in workforce rises to 21.1 percent in Turkey

      The participation of children in the workforce in Turkey has risen to 21.1 percent in 2018 from 20.3 percent the previous year, according to data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat), the Diken news website reported.

    • ‘We Pray For The Caliphate To Return’: ISIS Families Crowd Into Syrian Camps

      “If you became Muslim and cover like us and became a member of our religion, you would not be killed” in the ISIS caliphate, one woman tells me.

    • Nobel Laureate Murad Urges Justice for Yazidi Victims of IS

      Fighters killed scores of Yazidi men and enslaved several thousand women and girls, in atrocities the U.N. said amounted to genocide. The women were used as sex slaves, often sold or traded from one fighter to another. Many now have children by the men who raped them. Older women were made to do manual labor.

    • Jerusalem Was Largely Ignored as a Muslim Holy City — Until Zionists Came Along

      The event that started the Mufti’s embrace of Jerusalem as a rallying cry for Muslims was a British idea…

    • Cases of Child Marriage On The Rise In Iran

      In Zanjan Province 1400 girls aged younger than 14, as well as 1054 other girls at the fragile age in Northern Khorasan Province got married last year.

    • West Bengal SHOCKER! Hindus blocked from voting in village in Raiganj constituency; voter IDs snatched

      One of the village residents said: “I was stopped from going to the polling booth. Four to five Muslim men tried to beat me and damage my bicycle. They said you are from the BJP and asked me to run away.”

    • Gunmen Kill 14 Passengers Pulled from Buses in Pakistan

      Baluchistan is the country’s largest province by area — about 40 percent of Pakistan’s total area — and is rich in mineral resources and natural gas deposits.

      But it remains volatile and tense as a result of intrigue by militants, separatist attacks, and smuggling and human trafficking networks. Taliban militants maintain a presence in some parts of the province, and sectarian militant groups have managed to defy the state authorities.

    • Gunmen kill 14 bus passengers in southwest Pakistan

      The Pakistani navy said its sailors and officers who were travelling to work were also among the slain men. One was a member of the country’s coast guard. According to intelligence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media, nine employees of the navy were among the dead.

    • Sri Lanka attacks: Bomber ‘studied in UK and Australia’

      The country’s deputy defence minister said the bomber studied in the UK before doing a course in Australia.

    • Suicide bomber who studied in Australia was son of wealthy Sri Lankan businessman

      Sri Lankan authorities believe that one of the Ibrahim brothers, sons of the prominent Colombo businessman Mohamed Yusuf Ibrahim, had completed post-graduate studies in Australia.

    • Sri Lanka: The worshipper who blocked a bomber
  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Wireless carriers fight ban on throttling firefighters during emergencies

      The US mobile industry’s top lobbying group is opposing a proposed California state law that would prohibit throttling of fire departments and other public safety agencies during emergencies.

      As reported yesterday by StateScoop, wireless industry lobby group CTIA last week wrote to lawmakers to oppose the bill as currently written. CTIA said the bill’s prohibition on throttling is too vague and that it should apply only when the US president or California governor declares emergencies and not when local governments declare emergencies.

    • Wireless Carriers Fight Rules Preventing Them From Screwing Firefighters During Emergencies

      You might recall that Verizon found itself under fire last summer after it throttled the data connection of California firefighters as they were busy battling the Mendocino Complex Fire. When the firefighters complained to Verizon, the company didn’t immediately put the restrictions on hold; instead they attempted to upsell the providers to a faster plan. While not technically a net neutrality violation, the repeal of the net neutrality rules (and FCC authority over ISPs) did impede the first responders’ ability to effectively contest the restrictions. Verizon also ultimately admitted that the move was in direct violation of the company’s own rules.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Avoiding nosy neighbours

      Despite the fact that Mr Berardi’s garden experiments did not invalidate the patents, they were both held obvious over a piece of prior art which described a self-elongating hose for supplying oxygen to an oxygen mask for aviation crew.


      This decision, from a Judge who does not regularly try patent cases, contains an interesting new nuance on the law of prior use. It seems that the ”brightline” test for prior use, as it was termed in Milliken v Walk Off Mats [1996], may not be as rigid as previously thought. At the time of writing, it is not known if the parties are appealing the decision.

    • Tired: Insane Patent Verdicts; Wired: Insane Trade Secret Verdicts

      There are so many issues related to what’s referred to (misleadingly, of course) as “intellectual property” that it’s difficult to cover them all. For a while I’d been meaning to write about the attempt to “raise up” trade secret law to the federal level and what kinds of problems that might cause. Professor Eric Goldman, not surprisingly, was covering this all along, noting that the Defend Trade Secrets Act from 2016 was the “biggest IP development in years” (even if Congress, in a little twist, made sure it was not officially an “intellectual property” law — which means that Section 230 immunity still applies).

      Of course, it usually takes a few years for the real effects of new laws to be felt. In a fascinating, if troubling article, economist Ike Brannon, notes that we may be on the verge of a new raft of patent trolling-esque legal fights over loosely defined “trade secrets,” that have the potential to be much, much worse than patent trolling. At least with patent trolls, there’s an actual patent with actual definitions (even if they’re a mess) that can be looked at to see if there’s infringement. The world of trade secrets is a lot more murky.

    • Fordham Conference: Why transparency may not improve FRAND

      Counsel from IBM, Nokia, Huawei and others discussed FRAND and questioned the necessity of transparency in licensing terms, at the Fordham IP Conference in New York last week

      As standard essential patent (SEP) owners in Germany must provide information to potential licensees that enables them to determine whether a proposed agreement is non-discriminatory (in order to be FRAND: fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory)…

    • Trademarks

      • Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery? Not when it comes to BMW trade marks, says Frankfurt Regional Court

        Finland-based car rim manufacturer Vannetukku.fi Oy (the defendant) operates within the automobile industry. It sells and delivers tyres and wheels across the Nordic and Baltic countries. Established in the 1960s, Vannetukku.fi was one of the first companies to launch its tyre and wheel online store in 2006.

        BMW holds several registered intellectual property rights. These, amongst others, include a Community design registration for car rims and a number of EU trade mark (EUTMs) for its signs in Classes 2 – 45 of the Nice Classification.

        BMW submitted that the defendant had infringed BMW’s EUTMs by using a similar sign to the BMW’s logo for sale of car rims. In particular, the defendant’s sign consisted of a circular shape, depicting a wheel in colours blue and white, while the thick outer layer of the circular sign was coloured in black. The name “BLAUKREUZ” was represented beneath the circular shape:

    • Copyrights

      • Court case seeks to clarify that photographers don’t need permission to publish pictures that incidentally capture public works of art

        The case comes after the mural artists — Daniel Bombardier, James “Dabls” Lewis, Jeff Soto, and Maxx Gramajo — made public statements accusing Mercedes of violating their copyrights a year after the photo’s initial publication. Mercedes is seeking to affirm that photos that capture incidental images of public artworks are fair use (but Mercedes is not asking the court to rule on more traditional copyright infringement theories, such as whether commercial reproductions of a public artwork that feature the artwork are fair use).

      • Exodus Forks Show That Open Source Kodi Add-ons Are Hard to Eradicate

        Two years ago “Exodus” was one of the hottest third-party add-ons for the Kodi media player. The open source software allows users to stream movies and TV-shows, often without permission. While the official Exodus shut down in 2017 many forks remain widely available today, showing that open source software is hard to eradicate.

      • 75-Year-Old Can’t Sleep Following Accusations of Hardcore Porn Piracy

        A pensioner from Sweden has revealed that he’s had difficulty sleeping ever since he was targeted by copyright trolls. The companies involved accuse the man of downloading and sharing hardcore pornography using BitTorrent, something he denies. However, unless he pays a substantial fine, the companies warn that worse lies in wait.

        The practice of copyright-trolling is now well-established in many countries around the world.

      • Victims of Prenda Law ‘Copyright Trolls’ Can Now Register for Restitution

        After admitting to several criminal acts, Prenda Law attorneys John Steele and Paul Hansmeier will be sentenced a few weeks from now. In addition to prison sentences, the court may order the two to pay restitution. To facilitate this process, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Minnesota is inviting victims of the fraudulent anti-piracy lawyers to come forward.

      • U.S. Places 36 Countries on Annual ‘Piracy Watchlist’

        The Office of the United States Trade Representative has published its yearly Special 301 Report, highlighting countries that fail to live up to US copyright protection standards. The administration signals piracy related issues around the world, listing 36 countries in total. Canada has been downgraded from the Priority Watch List to the regular Watch List after signing a new trade agreement.

      • U.S. takes Canada off priority watch list on intellectual property [sic]

        The decision to take Canada off that list coincides with the signing of the new North American free-trade deal, which U.S. officials say will pave the way to better intellectual-property [sic] protections in Canada.

      • U.S. takes Canada off priority watch list on intellectual property

        In a report on Thursday, U.S. officials specifically described Canada’s agreement to these provisions in the trade deal as “the most significant step forward” for this country’s protection of intellectual property [sic] rights over the past year.


After Killing the Independence of Apache Software Foundation (ASF) Microsoft Steals Its Soul, Too

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 1:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A death

Summary: Apache has become a prisoner of Microsoft, having technically liaised with Microsoft (and by extension NSA PRISM) for all code hosting and management

WE KNEW it would not end well. Half a decade ago we took note of a Microsoft employee (salaried by Microsoft) taking control of ASF — an eventuality that had worried us since (almost) the dawn of this site in 2006. Among the articles we wrote about it, in chronological order: (oldest first)

  1. Yesterday’s Microsoft Slashvertisement and Apache’s Trip to Redmond
  2. Microsoft Now Tries to Invade Eclipse, Apache (Updated)
  3. Microsoft Pays for a More Microsoft-Obedient Apache
  4. Microsoft Hates Apache, Wanted to Sue It, Now Wants to Ruin It
  5. Glyn Moody, Pam Jones: Apache Sponsorship Likely an Anti-GNU/Linux Move
  6. Embrace, Extend, and Apache
  7. Does Apache Show That Money Talks?
  8. Microsoft Starts the Media Charade Ahead of Apache Conference
  9. Microsoft’s Path of LAMP Destruction: From Novell to Apache (the L to the A)
  10. Haters of Software Freedom Inside Planet Apache

There are 4 new links about the latest development today [1-4], putting aside the old ones above. No doubt there’s a lot more to come. We’re supposed to think it’s all just an act of “love” rather than infiltration or entryism. GitHub has been a perfect facilitator in that regard. Who’s next? Microsoft is at war. It’s turning its competition (to IIS), Apache, into a subservient actor. Where are antitrust authorities? Nowhere to be seen. Keep telling us that “Microsoft loves Linux,” ‘Linux’ Foundation. You’re well paid to spread this lie and keep regulators away.

Haar is Where EPO Justice Came to Meet Euthanasia

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The patents being granted due to that injustice also cause deaths

Killing angel

Summary: Justice remains absent in Munich (or Haar, which we’re supposed to believe is part of Munich); this means that invalid European Patents (which courts will deem invalid) may be granted for years to come and there’s a considerable human toll that large law firms are indifferent/apathetic towards

Earlier today IP Kat allowed (after moderation) this new comment. Occasional commenter The Convention (EPC) watchdog wrote about the European Patent Office (EPO) breaking the law or the EPC, noting that “nobody in and around Munich would agree that Haar is part of Munich, including the inhabitants of Haar.”

The comment in full:

As annonymous correctly states, comparisons are imperfect. This also applies to the City of London comparison. The City of London together with the 32 Boroughs is part of Greater London which is a common administrative unit and presumably it is the one competent for the essential local matters. There is no common unit for Munich and the Landkreis, the next higher level of administration is the district of Upper Bavaria, one of 7 districts building the Land Bavaria. More important may be the common understanding of the terms. No Londoner and no foreigner would think Westminster could be outside London. However, nobody in and around Munich would agree that Haar is part of Munich, including the inhabitants of Haar.

Further up in this thread they argue that the EPO’s corrupt President wasn’t allowed to send all the judges to Haar (after one of them had allegedly passed information about corruption — as a moral person should). This President’s ‘son’, António Campinos, has done absolutely nothing to fix this. Nothing. Hardly even lip service…

Why is this so major a problem? Well, the judges in question are being asked to deal with interpretation of the EPC (which was violated when they were sent to ‘exile’) as it relates to patents on algorithms (mathematics), nature and life. As long as they’re governed by wrath/fear of the Office, how can they do their job properly? There are empty rooms at the EPO’s main building in Munich while millions of euros get wasted each year renting space in Haar for these judges. This isn’t about independence but threats and collective punishment.

Patent maximalists, deep inside perhaps, couldn’t be happier. The last thing they want is a bunch of judges telling the EPO to its face, so to speak, that the EPC is being violated and many European Patents are bunk (as SUEPO claims).

Looking at the so-called ‘news’ over the weekend (all of this ‘news’ is composed by law firms, not journalists), we’re seeing Andrew Bentham of J A Kemp, a firm that aggressively promotes patents on nature. Bentham is moaning that the European Commission does something right, for a change, by banning patents on life and nature. This is what he wrote earlier this month (it has just resurfaced again): “Recent weeks have seen important developments in the debate on patent-eligibility of plants in Europe, with the EPO’s Boards of Appeal and its President, Administrative Council and member states pulling in opposite directions. The President has now referred questions, published today, to the Enlarged Board of Appeal, but the admissibility of the referral is uncertain, so it is unclear how or when the Enlarged Board will react. Applicants in this field will therefore face further delay and uncertainty. More generally, this is also a highly unusual, polarised situation that highlights the potential for conflict between different branches of the European patent system. Fortunately, however, this issue only directly affects some plant-related applications, not all that generally relate to plants in some way.”

Bentham also published today: “As reported recently, the President of the EPO has in the last few days referred questions to the Enlarged Board of Appeal on the controversial issue of patent-eligibility of plants obtained by essentially biological processes. The referral is now pending as case G3/19 but it is uncertain at present whether or not this referral will be admissible in the absence of any clear conflict in the case law on this point. The Enlarged Board could do anything from rejecting the referral entirely to accepting it and reversing its “Broccoli and Tomatoes II” (G2/13 and G2/12) decisions from 2015, in which it held that, although essentially biological processes for the production of plants are patent-ineligible according to Article 53(b) EPC, the products of such processes are not ineligible just because the processes could not be patented. As a reaction, Rule 28(2) EPC was introduced in 2017 and has since then been used to reject claims “in respect of plants or animals exclusively obtained by means of an essentially biological process”. In December 2018, EPO Technical Board of Appeal decision T1063/18 then held Rule 28(2) invalid as in conflict with Article 53(b) in light of Broccoli/Tomatoes II. This was then reinforced in case T2734/18. The President’s referral is held out as an attempt to clarify the law but in fact seeks to reverse this and demonstrate that Rule 28(2) is valid, such that plants obtained by breeding are not patent-eligible.”

Also mind Watchtroll’s Accelerating Generic Entry: A Proven Solution to the Problem of Prescription Drug Pricing (yesterday) and Amy Crouch’s (Simmons & Simmons, Team UPC) coverage of generics coming under attack from patents. We remind readers that almost each time this is done the net effect is very simple: poor ill people become casualties of corporate greed. Here’s the situation in Germany, as opposed to Britain (the UK Supreme Court recently threw out another European Patent):

Klaus Grabinski (Federal Court of Justice, Karlsruhe) started the discussion by outlining infringement of second medical use patents in German case law. An important difference from the approach taken by the UK Supreme Court in Warner Lambert v Generics is that in Germany second medical use claims (whether Swiss form or EPC 2000 form) are always purpose-bound product claims, rather than method claims.

Recent case law of the Düsseldorf Court of Appeal has extended the protection to forms of use beyond “manifest arrangements” when the use can be related to the protected purpose of the substance. This requires (i) that the substance is suitable for the protected second medical use, (ii) the use is of some significance and (iii) the implementer knows about it or “blinds himself” and in this way takes advantage of circumstances that allows the substance to be used for the protected purpose. In the recent Fulvestrant case it was found that there was no expectation of a future infringing use and therefore no injunctive relief was granted.

Unrestricted injunctive relief is not available when such an order would not only cover the second medical use but also use not protected by the patent. So how can the injunction be tailored to the second medical use alone? It is a controversial legal issue whether inclusion of a statement that the product must not be used for the second medical use in the patient information leaflet is compatible with EU law on the authorisation of medical products. Alternative injunctive relief that has been requested is only allowing marketing of a product after alleged the infringer has contacted professional associations of doctors or pharmacists, although at the moment there is no legal basis for requiring associations to comply and it entirely depends on their willingness to cooperate.

Amy Crouch (Simmons & Simmons), writing from this echo chamber of patent maximalists, in her next part talked about patents covering recipes of nature, as well as attempts to work around these ‘magic’ monopolies. It’s noteworthy that each and every one of these so-called ‘panels’ are stacked (patent maximalists only). To quote:

Moderator John Lee asked if life is simply much harder for a biosimilar? Brian thought that it is, yes, because so many of the relevant patents are process patents which makes the situation more complicated. After the dance is over, sometimes 30 different patents are listed – and that is in a normal situation rather than the even more extreme Humira patent thicket. The BPCIA is complicated, allowing patentees to assert so many patents and ultimately may be slowing down the uptake of biosimilars in the US as compared to Europe. A statutory fix may help but it is unclear what such a fix should be.

Biosimilar patents were covered here before; these aren’t necessarily patents on lifeforms but they are problematic as they cover things that can save lives (of lifeforms) and thus become a barrier to life itself.

Links 29/4/2019: Another Linux RC and Microsoft Uses GitHub to Devour the Apache Software Foundation

Posted in News Roundup at 12:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • 10 moments that shaped Linux history

    In August 2018, Opensource.com posted a poll with seven options asking readers: What was the most important moment in the history of Linux? I thought I would expand on the list and present 10 moments that I think have played an important part in shaping the history of Linux.

  • Desktop

    • Chrome OS 75 brings VPN support to Linux apps

      Google has finally added VPN support for Linux apps on Chrome OS. Chrome OS 75.0.3770.10, which is currently in Dev channel, enables the support in Crostini. Both the native Linux VPN for Chrome OS and Android VPNs are supported, though the former is still a work-in-progress.

      In addition to VPN support, the latest release for Chrome OS also contains a few bug fixes, as well as new features. Chrome OS 75 is expected to hit the Stable channel in mid-June.

  • Server

    • Centos server vs Ubuntu server? Difference between these two Linux

      Do you have some plans to buy a virtual server or settings up your own, but can’t decide which Linux distribution to use? We have all experienced this kind of trouble. Especially when it comes to Linux distributions since the online space is full of different distributions and various types of flavours to choose from. However, choosing one of them can make people’s mind-boggling. However, for the server in commercial space, there are two major Linux distributions, CentOS and Ubuntu. But how to choose from these two is the main problem facing by administrators, beginners and professionals. After creating so many hands-on articles on Ubuntu and Centos, and having some experience with these two (and more) distributions, we decided to make a comparison between the Ubuntu and CentsOS server distribution.

    • Cumulus Networks shapes network visibility for data centers

      Cumulus Networks has released a new version of its network operations toolset NetQ, which analyses the health of data center networks.

      The tool, which provides real-time actionable insights and operational intelligence about the networks, can analyse data from the container, virtual machine, or host, as well as the switch and port.

      “Combined with the threat of network outages, the widespread adoption of microservices, containers and virtual machines has added a new layer of complexity in the data center, resulting in a strain on traditional networks and the need for operational simplicity within the data center. In order to ensure the data center network is behaving as intended, obtaining a holistic view of the network is critical,” the company explains.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Gaming News Punch – Episode 10

      Hooray for double digits, we made it! Welcome to episode 10 of the Linux gaming news punch, another quick weekly look at what’s been going on in the Linux gaming world.

      As always, audio feeds available too below the video!

    • Linux Action News 103

      Docker Hub gets hacked, Nextcloud 16 has a new feature to prevent hacks, and France’s ‘Secure” Telegram replacement gets hacked within an hour.

      Plus who is spending $30m a month on AWS? Docker on ARM, and some LinuxFest Northwest thoughts.

    • LHS Episode #282: LHS Distribution Deep Dive

      Hello and welcome to Episode #282 of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this episode: In preparation for Hamvention 2019, LHS has released a newer version of the LHS Ubuntu-based distribution. This distribution has updated software packages and custom PPAs. We go in depth into what’s in the distribution, installation caveats, upgrade paths to the latest version of Ubuntu, desktop environment options and much more. Thank you for listening and we hope to see everyone in Ohio this May.

    • Going Linux #367 · Listener Feedback

      Audio feedback from Paul starts our episode. We get thanks and emails on printers, SSDs, Linux dock applications, and Linux in the wild.

    • Podcast.__init__: Probabilistic Modeling In Python (And What That Even Means)

      Most programming is deterministic, relying on concrete logic to determine the way that it operates. However, there are problems that require a way to work with uncertainty. PyMC3 is a library designed for building models to predict the likelihood of certain outcomes. In this episode Thomas Wiecki explains the use cases where Bayesian statistics are necessary, how PyMC3 is designed and implemented, and some great examples of how it is being used in real projects.

    • Episode #209: Inside Python’s new governance model

      We all got a bit of a shock to the system when Guido van Rossum decided to step down as the leader and top decider of the Python language and CPython runtime. This happened due to many factors but was precipitated by the so-called walrus operator (PEP 572).

      It’s been about 9 months since then, the Python community has responded and things are back on track. I’m excited to welcome Brett Cannon to this episode to give us an update on where we are and how we got here. He’s a frequent guest and Python core contributor and has the inside view of what happened.

    • Test and Code: Technical Interview Fixes – April Wensel

      Some typical technical interview practices can be harmful and get in the way of hiring great people. April Wensel offers advice to help fix the technical interview process.

    • GNU World Order 13×18
    • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 143 – Security lessons from the phone book

      Josh and Kurt talk about the phone book (yeah, the big paper book people used to use). Kurt got one in the mail. While it’s certainly a relic from another time, there were security tips in it among other wild things.

  • Kernel Space

    • Older Apple Hardware To See More Featureful Thunderbolt Support With Linux 5.2

      For those running Linux on older Apple MacBook Pros and other Macs sporting Thunderbolt 1/2 controllers, there is better support for them coming with the upcoming Linux 5.2 kernel cycle.

      Intel’s Mika Westerberg has finished up work on a number of Thunderbolt software connection manager improvements that principally benefit the older Apple hardware.

    • A Number Of Logitech Mouse/Keyboard Support Improvements Coming To Linux 5.2

      With next month’s Linux 5.2 kernel merge window there are a number of notable improvements queued up for improving the Logitech hardware support.

      Queued as part of the HID-Next tree for the Linux 5.2 kernel are several user-facing improvements primarily around wireless keyboard/mice support.

    • Linux 5.1-rc7

      If rc6 was bigger than I wished, it really does seem to have been just
      due to timing of pull requests. Because rc7 is tiny.

      Just under half of the patch is various kinds of networking changes: a
      mix of core networking, network drivers and some netfilter selftests.

      The rest is mostly the usual architecture fixes, filesystems, and
      other drivers (mostly rdma and gpu). And misc random changes
      (Documentation, tracing, some mm fixlets).

      But it’s all pretty tiny. Plus about 30% of the patches are marked for
      stable, so on the whole it really does feel like 5.1 is on target for
      a regular release next weekend.

    • Linux 5.1-rc7 Is “Tiny” Ahead Of The Official Kernel Debut Next Week
    • Linux 5.2 Optimization To Help With Unnecessary Cache Line Movements & TLB Misses

      VMware can be thanked for one of the performance optimizations coming with the upcoming Linux 5.2 kernel cycle.

      VMware engineer Nadav Amit was able to rework some of the kernel’s x86 TLB / memory management code to remove one of the structs from the stack. This in turn allows avoiding potential unnecessary cache line movements as well as the benefit of reduced TLB misses.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMDKFD Has A Big Batch Of Improvements For The Mainline Linux Kernel

        There hasn’t been much to report on recently for Radeon’s AMDKFD driver that serves as the kernel code for the Radeon GPU compute stack and part of the company’s ROCm offering. AMDKFD work hasn’t let up but has just been queuing for a while in the amd-kfd-staging Git branch and now there are a host of improvements to be mainlined.


        The patches are out there for testing. It remains to be seen if this work will still get pulled into DRM-Next for the upcoming Linux 5.2 cycle considering the period of new material to DRM-Next is largely over, but we’ll see if it squeezes in otherwise is delayed until Linux 5.3. As well, come Linux 5.3 hopefully we’ll see Navi support in tow.

      • AMD’s Navi GPUs Confirmed to Retain GCN Design

        AMD has already started developing drivers for Navi on the Linux platform. The latest bit of code shows Navi to continue the trend of GCN-based GPUs.


        Phoronix claims Navi support is unlikely to be seen within the upcoming Linux 5.2 Kernel and may be held back until the Linux 5.3 Kernel release. The current release windows for Linux 5.3 stable is the September release. The Linux 5.3 kernel may be the first Linux kernel bringing mainstream Navi support, and assuming Navi releases sometime between May and July, we may not see much support for these GPUs until Linux 5.3 is released. Until then, Linux users may be required to jump through some hoops to get their shiny new Navi GPUs working properly.

      • AMD Rolls Out Gold Edition Ryzen & Radeon VII Products For 50th Anniversary

        Confirming recent leaks, AMD today announced the Ryzen 7 2700X Gold Edition and Radeon VII Gold Edition products in marking the 50th anniversary of Advanced Micro Devices.

        These two Gold Edition products will come with a game bundle of Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 and World War Z. Those aren’t native Linux games but at least can become relevant with Steam Play on Linux. The Gold Edition Ryzen 7 2700X features Lisa Su’s signature on the processor cover and gold “AMD50″ packaging. The Radeon VII Gold Edition meanwhile features a red shroud and gold AMD50 packaging.

      • Mesa Is About To Crack 2.7 Million Lines

        With Mesa 19.1 due to see its code branched this week and that marks the start of the feature freeze and release dance ahead of the official debut in late May, here are some development stats for the current state of the Mesa3D code-base.

        Mesa as of this morning is up to 110,452 commits from more than 900 different developers. In the Git repository are more than 6,300 files consisting of nearly 2.7 million lines — primarily of code but also documentation, build system scripts, etc.

    • Benchmarks

      • Fedora 30 Is Performing Great – Intel Core i9 & AMD Threadripper Benchmarks

        As the first of our benchmarks for Fedora 30 that is set to be released on Tuesday, here are some benchmarks comparing Fedora 29, Fedora 29 with current updates, and Fedora 30 on Intel Core i9 7980XE and AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX HEDT platforms. Fedora 30 benchmarks on other systems are coming as well.

        I’ve been running the final Fedora 30 release candidate image on several different systems over the past few days. Across all the systems tested thus far, Fedora 30 has been running great and performing well. The out-of-the-box configuration for Fedora 30 is with the GNOME Shell 3.32.1 desktop on Wayland, Linux 5.0.9, Mesa 19.0.2, Python 3.7.3, and the GCC 9.0.1 compiler as the prominent components worth mentioning.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Usability & Productivity: Week 68

        Welcome to week 68 in KDE’s Usability & Productivity initiative! Like many others, this one is full of nice little quality-of-life fixes that should make your experience of using KDE software nicer.

      • KDE Plasma 5.16 Will Stop Resetting Your HiDPI Scaling When Changing Displays

        KDE Plasma right now is affected by an annoying bug where connecting or disconnecting a monitor will end up resetting your HiDPI scaling factors. Fortunately, that is now fixed for Plasma 5.16.0.

        KDE’s HiDPI scaling support has been in good shape but an annoying bug is that anytime a display is connected/disconnected will lead to all display scaling be reset to a scaling factor of one.

      • Kate Language Server Protocol Client

        The Language Server Protocol (LSP) allows the integration of stuff like code completion, jump to definition, symbol search and more into an application without manual re-implementation for each language one wants to support. LSP doesn’t fully allow an integration like KDevelop or Qt Creator do with the libclang based tooling aimed for C/C++ but on the other side offers the possibility to interface with plenty of languages without a large effort on the client side.

        If one takes a look at some current LSP clients list, a lot of editors and IDEs have joined the LSP family in the last years.

        In the past I was always scared away to start implementing this in Kate, as no readily available library was around to do the low-level work for the client. Whereas you get some reference stuff for the JSON based protocol for JavaScript and such, for Qt nothing was around.

      • Krita Interview with Locke

        I’ve been hearing about Krita for a long time and desperately wanting to try it, but, as a Mac user I didn’t have access to the program until it became available at the end of last year. I went and downloaded it as soon as I found out there was a Mac version.

      • Privacy Sprint in Leipzig

        Our three main goals for the general direction we want to take KDE in the next couple of years are: Top-notch Usability and Productivity for Basic Software, Streamlined Onboarding of New Contributors, as well as Privacy Software. The first sprint dedicated to one of our goals, Privacy Software, took place in March in the City of Leipzig. It took place in the former “Fernsprechamt” (telephone exchange), quite a fitting location when it comes to privacy, isn’t it?

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • KaOS 2019.04

        As always with this rolling distribution, you will find the very latest packages for the Plasma Desktop, this includes Frameworks 5.57.0, Plasma 5.14.4 and KDE Applications 19.04.0. All built on Qt 5.12.3.

        A new Glibc 2.29/GCC 8.3.0/Binutils 2.32 based toolchain is among the many changes to the base of the system. Updates to Systemd, LLVM, MariaDB, Protobuf, Mesa, Polkit and Qt required the rebuild of a large percentage of the KaOS repositories. The removal of Python2 from the KaOS repositories is ongoing, many more packages are now build on Python3 exclusively, goal is to be Python2 free by fall/early winter 2019.

        Highlights of KDE Applications 19.04 include an extensive re-write of Kdenlive as more than 60% of its internals has changed, improving its overall architecture, Dolphin introduces smarter tab placement and KMail comes with support for language tools (grammar checker).

      • Parrot 4.6 Linux Distro Released With Some Major Improvements

        Whenever we look for operating systems for hacking and security analysis purposes, Kali Linux’s popularity usually fades everything away. But there are a few contenders like Parrot Linux and BlackArch that holds a special place among them. Though some Windows-based options like Commando VM are also there, most of the security researchers prefer to go with the Linux-based distros.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Gael Duval, Father of User Friendly Linux, on Mandrake and /e/ Phone

        About a year ago I spent more than an hour “talking” with Gael Duval on Slack for an article that was intended for another publication. As that article ended up never being published, I decided to publish it here, because it offers an interesting glimpse at desktop Linux’s past, as well as a peek at one of the many things that might be in store for the future of mobile computing.

        The under 30 set might need to know that a couple of decades ago Gael Duval was a household name in Linux circles, even if he wasn’t quite as well known as Linus Torvalds, Richard Stallman, Eric Raymond, or Bruce Perens.

        Duval was the founder of what many consider to be the first user-friendly Linux distro, Mandrake, and as one of three co-founders of the French company MandrakeSoft, around the turn of the century brought the distro to something akin to rock star status among Linux users.

      • Interview with FOSSForce!
      • Using a Gaming USB Headset on Linux (OpenMandriva, Mageia, PCLOS, Fedora and Elive)

        I bought a new headset for my laptop two days ago. Since the store did not have many options available, I went for a Combat Argom Tech piece that is more expensive than the headsets that I normally buy.

        However, I did not pay attention to one detail: this headset does not have a plug to a standard headphone jack, but has a USB connection. When I plugged it to one of the USB ports of my laptop, which I booted with PCLinuxOS, the computer speakers reproduced sound but I could hear nothing with the headphones. I looked at the audio icon on the task bar, where there was an entry for “Multimedia headset [Gigaware by Ignition L.P.] and noticed that I could listen to sound by sliding the volume control, but there was no audio from YouTube videos and audio players. So, I clicked on the audio settings and selected the Multimedia headset option as default. This simple action solved the problem both on PCLinuxOS, Mageia 6, and Fedora 29:…

      • OpenMandriva Is Finding Great Success In Their Switch To Using LLVM’s Clang Compiler

        OpenMandriva remains among the few Linux distributions using the LLVM Clang compiler by default where possible in place of the GCC compiler. While at times it’s difficult in maintaining this combination, they continue to find great success in using Clang as their default compiler.

        OpenMandriva developer Bernhard Rosenkränzer presented at this month’s EuroLLVM conference on their use of LLVM Clang by default where nearly all Linux distributions remain with the GNU Compiler Collection.

    • Gentoo Family

      • Yury German: Gentoo Blogs Update

        This is just a notification that the Blogs and the appropriate plug-ins for the release 5.1.1 have been updated.

        With the release of these updated we (The Gentoo Blog Team) have updated the themes that had updates. If you have a blog on this site, and have a theme that is based on one of the following themes please consider updating as these themes are no longer updated and things will break in your blogs.

    • Arch Family

      • How to Conquer Your Fear of Arch Linux

        recent episode of a Linux news podcast I keep up with featured an interview with a journalist who had written a piece for a non-Linux audience about giving it a try. It was surprisingly widely read. The writer’s experience with some of the more popular desktop distributions had been overwhelmingly positive, and he said as much in his piece and during the subsequent podcast interview.

        However, when the show’s host asked whether he had tried Arch Linux — partly to gauge the depth of his experimentation and partly as a joke — the journalist immediately and unequivocally dismissed the idea, as if it were obviously preposterous.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Slackware Family

      • Libre Office 6.2.3 packages available

        I built and uploaded new packages for LibreOffice 6.2.3. A rebuild for Slackware-current was needed anyway because of the recent boost upgrade in -current, but I assume everyone knows that my boost-compat package will help you with the need for older library versions.

        The 6.2.3 release was just over a week ago, but I have not feeling well for a while and things move a lot slower these days. Updates will no longer have the same frequency I am afraid.

    • Fedora/Red Hat/IBM

      • Fedora 30: Let’s have an awesome release party!

        Fedora 30 is about to be out.It’s time to plan their activities around the release.

        The most common activity to do is organize release parties. A release party is also a great way for other contributors in the community to get involved with advocacy in their local regions. Learn how to organize a release party and get a badge for it in this article.

      • The Road to RHCA: The Grind, Defeat, and Triumph
      • Machine Learning At IBM | Animesh Singh Interview
      • Low Kian Seong: Some of the things I did not anticipate …

        The humongous sized enterprise grade software such as RTC (Rationale Team Concert from IBM) and UDevelop. They are used mainly for the development side for the development workflow. These guys are so big and bulky that you can’t even download and study them on your own laptop as you would while you were investigating the functionality of an OSS software or library. They are a real road block to coming up with good viable replacement. You cannot replace what you cannot study. Most of the developers hate these pieces of software for development they are clunky and hard to use but these guy are real juggernaut when it comes to ops side features. Basically we came to the conclusion that this software was chosen mainly to fulfil some ops side requirements not so much the whole flow or pipeline.

      • Fedora 29 : Install Inkscape with Flatpak Linux tool.
      • Fedora 29 : About poedit tool.
    • Debian Family

      • Sylvain Beucler: Debian LTS – April 2019

        Here is my transparent report for my work on the Debian Long Term Support (LTS) project, which extends the security support for past Debian releases, as a paid contributor.

        In April, the monthly sponsored hours were split evenly among contributors depending on their max availability – I declared max 30h and got 17.25h.

        Most of my time was spent on frontdesk duties, in particular vulnerabilities (CVE) triaging, so other contributors quickly know what to work on.

        In all honesty I spent more time than assigned, as I took upon myself to dig how things work.

      • Derivatives

        • deepin 15.10 is here — download the most beautiful Linux distribution now!

          Windows 10 is a functional operating system, but goodness, it is not at all attractive. When I use Microsoft’s OS, I don’t get feelings of joy or happiness. Windows 10′s design is very bland and seemingly uninspired. By comparison, Apple’s macOS makes me very happy. And yes, appearance matters — a good user interface and design can motivate the user and help them to be more creative.

          As great as macOS is, there is a Linux distribution that rivals its beauty. Called deepin, this operating system is now based on Debian Stable (previously Debian Unstable), and provides an absolutely drop-dead gorgeous user interface. In fact, I am confident to say it is the most beautiful Linux distro. The newest version, deepin 15.10, is now available for download. It is chock full of bug fixes, and also, many new features. One of the most significant changes is dde-kwin is now the default window manager. Users should experience improved performance as a result.

        • deepin 15.10 – Secure and Stable Repository

          deepin is a Linux distribution devoted to providing beautiful, easy to use, safe and reliable system for global users.

          deepin is an open source GNU/Linux operating system, based on Linux kernel and mainly on desktop applications, supporting laptops, desktops and all-in-ones. It preinstalls Deepin Desktop Environment (DDE) and nearly 30 deepin native applications, as well as several applications from the open source community to meet users’ daily learning and work needs. In addition, about a thousand of applications are offered in Deepin Store to meet users’ various requirements.

          Compared with deepin 15.9, deepin 15.10 introduces new functions such as files on desktop auto merge, wallpaper slideshow, separate switches for system sound effects, and supports dragging the tray icon out in fashion mode. In addition, many bugs are fixed and the existing functions are optimized.

          Besides that, deepin 15.10 is newly built and released using Debian stable repository, in this way, system stability and security is greatly improved, bringing users more stable and efficient experiences. The unstable repository will continue to be maintained for the next three months.

        • Deepin 15.10 Run Through

          In this video, we look at Deepin 15.10. Enjoy!

        • deepin 15.10 Is A Beautiful Linux Distro That’ll Make Windows Users Jealous

          Prior to the specific changes, let me tell you that Deepin Desktop Environment has its own fleet of polished applications. As a result, deepin 15.10 comes with about 30 native deepin apps. Feel free to try them out, uninstall them, or install any other preferred replacement. This availability of choice is the real beauty of an open source Linux distribution.

          As deepin 15.10 is built using the Debian stable branch, you can expect a rock-solid performance. It also ensures timely security updates and better stability.

          Compared to the deepin 15.9 version, deepin 15.10 ships with many new features like wallpaper slideshow, desktop auto merge, different switches for system sounds, etc.

        • Slax 9.9.0 released

          New Slax version 9.9 was released just few seconds ago. It contains updates for all core packages, most noticable is the update of Chromium web browser, which added 10 MB to the total ISO size for no apparent reason, unfortunately there is nothing we could do about it. Anyway, lets live with that and enjoy the new release! :]

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • A Standalone Video Player For Netflix, YouTube, Twitch On Ubuntu 19.04

            Snap apps are a godsend. ElectronPlayer is an Electron based app available on Snapstore that doubles up as a standalone media player for video streaming services such as Netflix, YouTube, Twitch, Floatplane etc.

            And it works great on Ubuntu 19.04 “disco dingo”. From what we’ve tested, Netflix works like a charm, so does YouTube. ElectronPlayer also has a picture-in-picture mode that let it run above desktop and full screen applications.

          • [Older] Ubuntu 19.04 released with focus on IoTs, open infrastructure
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Review: Ubuntu MATE 19.04

              Ubuntu and its family of community editions were updated just over a week ago with the releases of version 19.04. The new set of releases ship with version 5.0 of the Linux kernel and receive just nine months of support.

              A few weeks ago we ran a poll asking which member of the Ubuntu family should be the focus on this review and the winner (on the day the new version came out), by a thin margin, was Canonical’s main edition, Ubuntu itself. Ubuntu 19.04 ships with GNOME 3.32 which provides fractional scaling for the GNOME desktop along with using Python 3 as the default version of the Python language. The Alt-Tab behaviour has been changed to switch between windows instead of applications by default and there is a “safe graphics mode” available through the GRUB boot menu. These days Ubuntu and its community flavours use a merged-usr filesystem on fresh installs, consolidating executable files and libraries under the /usr directory. Otherwise not much has changed in the desktop edition of Ubuntu for this release.

              I downloaded Ubuntu’s 2GB ISO file and soon ran into two problems. The first was Ubuntu was unusually slow to boot, taking several minutes to get up and running. The second was the GNOME desktop was painfully slow to respond to input. During the flood of Ubuntu releases I had a chance to boot all eight flavours and found only Ubuntu and Ubuntu Kylin shared these performance issues. These problems have been reported elsewhere so I suspect this may be a driver-related issue. While these problems may be possible to trouble-shoot and may be fixed quickly, they made reviewing Ubuntu in a reasonable time frame difficult.

              The next most popular distribution in our poll was Kubuntu, but I briefly reviewed it about a month ago and (apart from shipping a slightly newer version of Plasma) it doesn’t look like much has changed since then. In fact, almost nothing new is listed in the release announcement, apart from a few minor package updates. Which brought me to the third most popular poll option: Ubuntu MATE.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Scientists Develop Software That Simulates Sound Of Stars

    Anyone can access and edit GYRE as an open-source program, and it plugs into another program called MESA, which facilitates the simulation of stars.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Facebook’s Ad Archive API is Inadequate

        Facebook pledged in February to release an ad archive API, in order to make political advertising on the platform more transparent. The company finally released this API in late March — and we’ve been doing a review to determine if it is up to snuff.

        While we appreciate Facebook following through on its commitment to make the ad archive API public, its execution on the API leaves something to be desired. The European Commission also hinted at this last week in its analysis when it said that “further technical improvements” are necessary.

        The fact is, the API doesn’t provide necessary data. And it is designed in ways that hinders the important work of researchers, who inform the public and policymakers about the nature and consequences of misinformation.

        Last month, Mozilla and more than sixty researchers published five guidelines we hoped Facebook’s API would meet. Facebook’s API fails to meet three of these five guidelines. It’s too early to determine if it meets the two other guidelines.

      • Robert O’Callahan: Goodbye Mozilla IRC

        I’ve been connected to Mozilla IRC for about 20 years. When I first started hanging out on Mozilla IRC I was a grad student at CMU. It’s how I got to know a lot of Mozilla people. I was never an IRC op or power user, but when #mozilla was getting overwhelmed with browser user chat I was the one who created #developers. RIP.

        I’ll be sad to see it go, but I understand the decision. Technologies have best-before dates. I hope that Mozilla chooses a replacement that sucks less. I hope they don’t choose Slack. Slack deliberately treats non-Chrome browsers as second-class — in particular, Slack Calls don’t work in Firefox. That’s obviously a problem for Mozilla users, and it would send a bad message if Mozilla says that sort of attitude is fine with them.

  • LibreOffice

    • New Help: Copy BASIC and PYTHON code to Clipboard on a Click

      The next release for LibreOffice will have a small but handy improvement for every macro developer, either experienced or beginner.

      Hover the mouse on BASIC and Python code in the new Help pages and a tip shows that when you click your mouse, the code exerpt is copied in the system clipboard. You can paste in the BASIC IDE (Integrated Development environment) or any other text application in your system.

    • XLSX interoperability: pivot tables-related improvements

      These changes allow our customers, and the whole LibreOffice user community, to enjoy better interoperability when using XLSX format. They will be available in LibreOffice version 6.3 later this summer; and they are immediately available for our customers in this week’s Collabora Office 6.0 update 28.

    • LibreOffice Community Member Monday: Roman Kuznetsov

      Your nickname in the LibreOffice project is “Kompilainenn” – where did that come from?

      Oh, it’s simple: one day I was trying to compile the Linux kernel for my old and slow PC. And I came up with my current nickname: Kompilainenn :D

      So tell us a bit about yourself – where you’re from, where you live, how to find you on social media, and what do you do in your spare time!

      I’m a member of The Document Foundation from Russia, and I live in Lipetsk – it’s an industrial metallurgical city. You can find me on Telegram as @Kompilainenn, and on IRC in the channel #libreoffice-ru on Freenode. I have a blog about LibreOffice in Russian: the blog has strange address with the prefix “anti”, but in reality the blog isn’t against LibreOffice ;-)

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD “Package Base” Is Now Ready For Testing – More Conveniently Update FreeBSD

      The developers at iX Systems continue to be on a roll this spring. Just days after announcing their new FreeBSD images built with “ZFS On Linux” for testing as the new FreeBSD ZFS implementation, this weekend they announced their new FreeBSD “pkgbase” images are now available for testing.

      While FreeBSD has long had the “pkg” utility for easily installing packages on FreeBSD, using Pkg to manage the FreeBSD base system hasn’t been possible.

    • Intel Continues Working On Their SYCL Compiler For Upstreaming To LLVM

      Back in January Intel made available their new open-source, LLVM-based SYCL compiler that they are looking to contribute to upstream LLVM. Their SYCL compiler will be used for single-source programming to target the company’s growing diverse range of devices and is part of their new “oneAPI” initiative. The SYCL support isn’t yet in upstream LLVM, but they are making progress while continuing to evolve the code.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Hellwig and VMware go in peace (for now)

      On February 28, 2019,the Hamburg Higher Regional Court dismissed Christoph Hellwig’s appeal of the Hamburg District Court’s dismissal. Mr. Hellwig, backed by Software Freedom Conservancy, announcedthat no further appeal will be lodged.

      Hellwig had claimed that the distribution of the VMware’s software Hypervisor vSphere VMware ESXi 5.5.0 constituted copyright infringement because it, being a derivative work of Linux, was not licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL), nor was the complete corresponding source code of VMware’s product being offered. See an earlier IPKat post herefor more background of this suit.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Celebrating National Superhero Day with Tux, BSD, and more

      On National Superhero Day, how would some of our favorite open source tools and mascots look if they were superheroes? Granted, open source tools are already kind of like superpowers in their own right.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Bike Computer Exploration Uncovers a Hidden Android

        As a happy side-effect of the smartphone revolution, the world is now awash with tiny computers that are incredibly cheap thanks to the nearly unfathomable volumes in which their components are manufactured. They’re wouldn’t be a $10 Raspberry Pi Zero if the billions of smartphones that were pumped out before it hadn’t dropped the cost of the individual components to literal pennies. That also means that smartphone hardware, or at least systems that are very close to it, have started to pop up in some unexpected places.

        When [Joshua Wise] recently took ownership of a Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT bike computer, he wondered how it worked. With impressive list of features such as Internet connectivity, GPS mapping, and Bluetooth Low Energy support, he reasoned the pocket-sized device must have some pretty decent hardware under the hood. With some poking and prodding he found the device was powered by a MediaTek SoC and incredibly had a full-blown install of Android running in the background.

      • Noisy Workshop

        For that I was looking for a so called boom box to stream to from my mobile, simple, dirty and loud. Good that I was a proud awardee at the HiFiBerry Maker Contest 2017 with my TeakEar build, where I won a nice set of a RaspberryPi Zero with a little HiFiBerry MiniAmp, coming with all what is needed to make that working.

      • B-N girls explore tech opportunities at DigiGirlz Day

        Building video games and 3D printing brought a tech-focused DigiGirlz Day to Bloomington for the first time.

  • Programming/Development

    • A better solution to Java SE 11 removing JNLP

      The intermediate machine requirement was a pain; it meant I needed to carry two machines (not easy to manage when I’m on the road), or I needed to install a Windows virtual machine on my Linux laptop (not something I intend to do), or I needed remote access to a Windows desktop (the solution we eventually chose).

      Alan Bateman over at Oracle very kindly wrote to me to share a fourth alternative: Put the Windows version of OpenJDK 11 on the Linux development platform and build the custom Java 11 runtime from that. According to Alan, this has been possible since JDK 9; he notes that “there are a few limitations and the versions [between the Linux utilities and the Windows OpenJDK] need to match.”

      Since this would eliminate an onerous step outlined above, including the need to have remote access to the Windows desktop, I had to investigate further. To my surprise and delight, I was not one of those “few limitations” Alan mentioned—the approach works just fine for me. However, I did discover that the version of OpenJDK 11 in my Linux distro’s repositories was not “close enough” to the Windows OpenJDK 11 that I downloaded, so I also needed to obtain the same version of the Linux OpenJDK 11 and use its tools to create the Java 11 runtime.

    • Mike Driscoll: PyDev of the Week: Neil Muller

      This week we welcome Neil Muller as our PyDev of the Week! Neil is an organizer for Cape Town Python User Group and PyCon ZA. He also speaks at conferences!

    • Awk utility in Fedora
    • Python 3.7.3 and memory_profiler python module.
    • Quick Hit: Scraping javascript-“enabled” Sites with {htmlunit}
    • Facebook Is JIT’ing C++ Code To Treat It Like A Crazy Fast Scripting Language
  • Standards/Consortia

    • Private Law, Conflict of Laws, and a Lex Mercatoria of Standards-Development Organizations [Ed: Patent FRAND is a fraud or a patent cartel that enables price-fixing and monopoly sharing]

      Technical standards created by industry standards-development organizations (SDOs) enable interoperability among products manufactured by different vendors. Over the years, SDOs have developed policies to reduce the risk that SDO participants holding patents covering the SDO’s standards will disrupt or hinder the development and deployment of these standards. These policies, including commitments to license standards-essential patents (SEPs) on terms that are fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND), gain transnational application given the international character of SDO activities and are most effectively interpreted and applied on the basis of private law (contractual) principles. However, SDO policies are typically embodied in an SDO’s governing documents, which are in turn regulated by the law of the jurisdiction in which the SDO is based. This somewhat arbitrary linkage of SDO policies to national and state law has created inconsistencies in their interpretation and threatens to spark jurisdictional competition in an unproductive race to the bottom. This paper poses the question whether it would be possible to decouple SDO policy interpretation from the patchwork of national and state laws that purport to govern such policies in favor of a common lexicon of interpretive principles derived from the shared understanding of SDO participants: a “lex mercatoria” of standardization.


  • Hardware

    • Apple reportedly discussed buying Intel’s smartphone-modem chip business

      [...] Reportedly, the talks began last summer but stopped recently around the time that Apple and Qualcomm settled their patent dispute.

      Intel gained more of Apple’s business when it began supplying smartphone-modem chips while the iPhone maker feuded with Qualcomm. That legal battle over patent royalties raged on for years until Apple and Qualcomm were set to meet in court earlier this month. On the first day of the trial, the two companies announced they reached a deal “to dismiss all litigation between the two companies worldwide.”

  • Security

    • Security updates for Monday
    • Too fast, too insecure: Securing Mongo Express web administrative interfaces
    • P2P Weakness Exposes Millions of IoT Devices

      The security flaws involve iLnkP2P, software developed by China-based Shenzhen Yunni Technology. iLnkP2p is bundled with millions of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, including security cameras and Webcams, baby monitors, smart doorbells, and digital video recorders.

      iLnkP2P is designed to allow users of these devices to quickly and easily access them remotely from anywhere in the world, without having to tinker with one’s firewall: Users simply download a mobile app, scan a barcode or enter the six-digit ID stamped onto the bottom of the device, and the P2P software handles the rest.

    • Beware! Kodi Addons Come With Malware For Stealing Your Passwords [Ed: Installing random malicious program from the Net was never a wise idea. It's not a Kodi issue.]
    • Docker Hub Breached, Impacting 190,000 Accounts

      Docker is warning of a data breach that impacts some 190,000 users of its Docker Hub repository for container images.

      The breach was first reported by Docker late on April 26 in an email sent to Docker Hub users, revealing a data breach that was detected the day before, on April 25. Docker Inc. is the lead commercial sponsor behind the open-source Docker container technology that enables developers to build, package and deploy applications as containers. The Docker Hub is a popular repository for Docker users to find freely available Docker application images to run.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Hatred of One is Hatred of All: San Diego Synagogue Shooter had Attempted to Burn down Mosque

      One person is dead and three are wounded after a shooting at a synagogue in San Diego, which the mayor has branded a “hate crime.”

      The attack came a day after an Iraq War veteran was arraigned in Sunnyvale, Ca. in the north of the state for running over 8 persons, some of whom he incorrectly believed to be Muslims.

      Back to yesterday: a nineteen-year-old community college nursing student in the San Diego area turned himself into the police after confessing to shooting up the Chabad of Poway synagogue on Saturday as the congregation was commemorating Passover and preparing to observe Holocaust Remembrance Day (haYom haShoah) on May 1.

      The alleged shooter, John T. Earnest, had an AR-style semi-automatic rifle in his vehicle when police came to get him after he called them. After a shooter at two mosques in New Zealand killed 50 persons and wounded 50 others with a semi-automatic rifle, the New Zealand government banned these military-style weapons. The National Rifle Association lobby, which has been promoted by the Russian government of Vladimir Putin in order to divide Americans, and the Republican Party, have prevented sensible gun safety laws in the United States.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • 3 Reasons Why Plastic Pollution Is an Environmental Justice Issue

      Turtles, seabirds, seals, and whales are well-documented victims of plastic pollution — but when was the last time you saw a video of a person suffering in the grips of the global plastics crisis?

      You’d be forgiven if you believed humans were somehow immune to this tragedy, as their stories are so rarely shared. Our social media feeds are rightfully overflowing (at least mine is) with videos of turtles with straws jammed in their nostrils or photos of dead birds and whales with single-use plastics in their stomach. This coverage is heart-wrenching, and essential, but it fails to tell the whole story of the plastic pollution crisis.

      Both around the world and in our own country, waste often flows into the communities without the money or government support to protect themselves. We need to wake up to the fact that plastic pollution is a environmental justice issue.

    • None of the 2020 Frontrunners Go Far Enough on Climate

      2018 was the fourth warmest year ever recorded, with the only warmer years being 2015, 2016 and 2017. We are currently in the middle of what is on track to be the warmest decade since record-keeping began.

      The planet is already in the 6th Mass Extinction Event that we caused. Industrial civilization is injecting CO2 into the atmosphere at a rate 10 times faster than what occurred during the Permian Mass Extinction Event 252 million years ago that annihilated 90 percent of life on Earth. Our current extinction rate is 1,000 times faster than normal, and is higher than that of the Permian Mass Extinctions.

      The oceans have absorbed 93 percent of all the heat humans have added to the atmosphere. If the oceans had not absorbed that heat, global atmospheric temperatures would be 97 degrees Fahrenheit (97°F) hotter than they are today. Today’s carbon dioxide levels at 412 parts per million (ppm) are already in accordance of what historically brought about a steady-state temperature of 7°C higher. The oceans are now overheating, deoxygenating and acidifying.

      Since just 1970, 60 percent of all mammals, birds, fish and reptiles are gone, and nearly 90 percent of all large fish have been eliminated from the oceans.

      And things will only worsen, as the International Energy Agency announced that global carbon emissions set a record in 2018, rising 1.7 percent to a record 33.1 billion tons.

      Truthout decided to take a look at the leading presidential candidates’ climate disruption policies to see if they went far enough to address this global catastrophe.

    • Crawling to extinction: Singapore turtle haven fights for life

      Hundreds of turtles and tortoises, including rare and endangered species, face an uncertain future after their Singapore sanctuary – a Guinness World Record holder – was forced to relocate due to government redevelopment plans.

    • Oil Companies Will Be Bad Investments Within Five Years, Predicts Survey of European Fund Managers

      European fund managers are casting an increasingly skeptical eye towards the oil industry, concluding that the industry’s financial future looks grim, according to a new survey published by a London-based organization today.

      Just 18 percent of the responding fund managers, including representatives of firms based in the UK, France, Spain, and Italy, predicted that “oil companies will be good investments if their business is still focused on fossil fuels in five years’ time,” according to the survey, published by the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) and the Climate Change Collaboration.

    • Cold-blooded sealife runs double heat risk

      When it comes to global warming, there may no longer be plenty of fish in the sea: new research suggests that cold-blooded sealife may be twice as likely to be at risk in its natural habitat as land-dwelling ectotherms.

      This finding is unexpected: the ocean is, in both area and volume, the single biggest living space on the planet. Fish that feel the heat can move towards the poles when temperatures get too high.

      But when US researchers took a closer look at the data available on the thermal discomfort zones – those moments when cold-blooded creatures begin to overheat and need to find a safe, cool place in which to lie low – those spiders and lizards that survive in the tropics and temperate zones actually stand a better chance of finding somewhere to hide, and thus living through heatwaves, than their marine cousins.

  • Finance

    • Globalization North and South: The Road to Nowhere.

      It was the same Thomas Mun who became the architect of what we might now call strategic trade policy. This was a development strategy based upon a number of economic policy inputs aimed at a systematic upgrading and development of the national economy to give it a system of competitive advantages in its trade with other nations. He postulated the following policies.

      Imported goods that can be produced domestically should be banned.


      However, in the contemporary world and international trade terms what is called ‘free-trade’ is at the heart of the system – a system which was to become known as ‘globalization’ packaged and sold as an irresistible force of nature. Globalization is more-or-less neo-liberalism writ large. It has become an article of faith that free-trade was always and everywhere the best policy in spite of the fact that it was the mercantilist policies of a prior era which formed the basis of current liberal trade policy (see below). Globalization was codified in what became known as the ‘Washington Consensus.’ The new conventional wisdom was conceived of and given a legitimating cachet by political, business, media and academic elites around the world.

      However, many of the elements – if not all – of the Washington Consensus were hardly new, many dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries and perhaps beyond. It could be said that the newly emergent mainstream orthodoxy represented a caricature of an outdated and somewhat dubious political economy of yesteryear.

      The theory that free-trade between nations would maximise output and welfare was first mooted by Adam Smith, but its final elaboration was constructed by David Ricardo in his famous work The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation first published in 1817. Briefly, he argued that nations should specialise in what they do best and in this way world output would be maximised. The hypothetical example he used was England and Portugal and the production of wine and cloth, where he calculated that although Portugal had an absolute advantage in both cloth and wine production, England had a comparative advantage in cloth and should produce cloth, whereas Portugal should simply produce wine. It was asserted – though, since it was simply a model, no evidence was ever presented – that all would gain from this international division of labour.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Deeply Divided, Spaniards Vote With Eye on Far-Right’s Rise

      A divided Spain is voting in its third general election in four years, with all eyes on whether a far-right party will enter Parliament for the first time in decades and potentially help unseat the Socialist government.

      The incumbent prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, is set to win the most votes, but his Socialists seem far from scoring a majority in parliament to form a government on their own.

      The fragmentation of the political landscape is the result of austerity that followed a recession, disenchantment with bipartisan politics and the recent rise of far-right populism.

      Sánchez called Sunday’s ballot after a national budget proposal was rejected in the Lower Chamber by the center-right-conservative opposition and Catalan separatists pressing for self-determination in their northeastern region.

    • EDITORIAL: Avoid populist politics for good governance
    • Operation Take Down Bernie

      Joe Biden’s long-awaited announcement that he is running for President—in a highly produced video with a distracting piano soundtrack—officially knocked Bernie Sanders out of first place in the Democratic field. That’s a relief for a lot of establishment Dems, who have spent the last several weeks ramping up the hits on Bernie, as it has become increasingly clear that the plainspoken Democratic Socialist from Vermont has a credible shot at becoming the Democrats’ nominee in 2020.

      Sanders’s socialism is scary for an establishment that worries a lot about electability. More than that, his populist attacks on Wall Street, corporations, and the military-industrial complex, are a genuine threat to the most powerful interests in the country.

      Much of the opposition research on Sanders is familiar from the Hillary/Bernie primary in 2016: Bernie the Sandinista supporter, the serial monogamist, the author of some embarrassing but not really reprehensible statements supporting sexual liberation. But in recent weeks these tidbits have been appearing again in news stories across the country, as writers in The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and ThinkProgress work on taking Bernie down a peg.

      Eric Alterman led the charge in a March 28 Nation piece headlined “The Liberal Case Against Bernie Sanders.” Alterman argues that Sanders is the wrong candidate to try to beat Trump, enumerating positions like Sanders’s support for the Sandinista government in Nicaragua in the 1980s, and his criticism of U.S. support for a murderous rightwing military regime there. Alterman is quick to note that he doesn’t actually disagree with Sanders on such matters, but he nonetheless paints the candidate in lurid pinkish tones, suggesting that mainstream America is not ready to for his socialist views.

    • Missouri lobbyist’s ‘dark money’ group invokes Trump in campaign to change Title IX laws

      A Missouri lobbyist whose son was expelled from college following allegations of sexual misconduct is using Facebook ads featuring President Donald Trump to promote a bill that would change the way such cases are handled.

      Lobbyist Richard McIntosh created a “dark money” nonprofit to push a bill through the Missouri state legislature that would allow college students accused of sexual misconduct under Title IX to appeal to a state commission where his wife is the presiding and managing commissioner.

      The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on the creation of Kingdom Principles, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that is not legally required to disclose its donors, incorporated by McIntosh last year. The nonprofit began advocating for changes to Missouri Title IX rules under the name “Missouri Campus Due Process Coalition.” Kingdom Principles has hired 29 lobbyists to push the bill, according to the Missouri Ethics Commission.

      The group spent $7,509 on Facebook ads collecting signatures framed as supporting proposed Trump administration reforms to Title IX rules that dictate how colleges and universities handle investigations of sexual misconduct allegations. The ads direct people to sign on in support of the state-level push to change Missouri’s laws. Each of the ads prominently features Trump’s image, framing support of the Missouri measure as support of “Trump’s due process protections” at the federal level.

      The Missouri proposal, which has hit a wall in the Missouri Senate, includes some similarities to federal Title IX reforms proposed by Education Secretary Betsy Devos in November 2018. For example, both would grant accused students the right to cross-examine accusers and both parties would be able to appeal decisions.

    • Comcast-Owned MSNBC in the Tank for Joe Biden’s Presidential Run

      Joe Biden finally announced on Thursday what everyone already knew. With the release of a three-and-a-half minute promotional video, the former vice president officially threw his name in the ever-expanding ring of Democratic primary contenders seeking to win the opportunity to challenge Donald Trump for the presidency in 2020. Biden has already seen his share of coverage, and was the second-most-mentioned Democratic candidate on cable news during the first three months of 2019.

      Biden has pledged that his 2020 campaign won’t take in any direct donations from lobbyists. But on the first night of his official candidacy, Biden hit the suburbs of Philadelphia to attend a $2,800 per person fundraiser at the home of David L. Cohen, the executive vice president and chief of lobbying for Comcast.

      Comcast, one of the biggest lobbying spenders in Washington, also owns MSNBC, which has showered Biden with favorable coverage both before and since his announcement.

      In March, Nevada lieutenant gubernatorial candidate Lucy Flores published an article in New York Magazine (3/29/19) that described how Biden inappropriately kissed her at a campaign event. Biden has quite a long history of awkward and inappropriate touching, kissing or groping of women and girls.

    • Trump and the San Diego Synagogue Shooting

      My mind was reeling. I was writing a column about Trump’s speech to the National Rifle Association in Indianapolis when I learned of yesterday’s (Saturday) synagogue shooting in California by a white supremacist.

      The connection between these two events was immediate and obvious to me, as I will briefly explain in a moment.

      A short time thereafter, I was treated to Trump’s brief response to the shooting, given on the White House lawn as he hurried off to his previously-scheduled Nuremberg-style rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

      The response was by Trump’s standards unusually measured and seemingly-decent. By Trump’s standards. Seemingly decent.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Slack Warns Investors It’s a Target for Nation-State [Espionage] [iophk: "rather a given since the product is closed source, closed protocol"]

      The S-1 filing does not claim that an attack from organized crime, nation-state, or nation-state affiliate actually happened. Rather, it just says that threats from these actors present an active risk to the company.


      Now is a good time as ever to reiterate the following: Slack doesn’t have end-to-end encryption, and in some cases, it’s possible for your boss to download and read your entire Slack history without your knowledge. So assume anything you say on Slack could be held against you in court, and consider talking trash on Slack to be generally a bad idea.

    • The Snowden files: where are they and where should they end up?

      Last month, The Intercept shut down access to the Snowden documents both for internal and external research. But where are these files in the first place, and what should be their future destination? During a podcast interview last Monday, Snowden himself also commented on this issue.

    • I Wouldn’t Even Make My Worst Enemy, Who Happens to Be Mark Zuckerberg, Listen to 90 Minutes of Mark Zuckerberg Bloviating About, Uh, People, or Technology, or Something

      This conversation is, of course, part of Zuckerberg’s annual “challenge.” Where in past years he’s tried to learn a new language or get in shape, the way people do, this year he’s decided to do more talking with people, the sort of goal a beta-stage AI trying to pass the Turing test might set for itself. Is he getting closer to carrying on an engaging, human conversation? I don’t know, because every 40 seconds or so my brain switches off involuntarily while trying to follow a dialog with no direction or animus which addresses topics only in generalities about which neither participant has any sort of identifiable opinion.

      Can anyone who works directly with Mark confirm that he always talks this way? It’s fucking maddening, and if Facebook wasn’t one of the worst companies in history I’d almost feel sorry for you.

    • Google Staffers Share Stories of ‘Systemic’ Retaliation

      On Monday, two of those organizers, Meredith Whittaker and Claire Stapleton, wrote an email saying Google had punished them because of their activism. The two asked staffers to join them on Friday to discuss the company’s alleged actions, and during the meeting they shared more than a dozen other stories of internal retribution that they had collected over the past week. Like many meetings at Google, participants could watch via a video live-stream and submit questions and comments.

    • Facebook’s U.S. Fine May Be Great Investment, EU Economist Warns

      Facebook Inc.’s potential fine of $3 billion to $5 billion from a U.S. privacy probe would be a “a great investment” if it allowed the company to corner a market and reap $50 billion in revenue a year, says the European Union’s chief antitrust economist Tommaso Valletti in a Twitter post.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Soon your driver’s license might not get you through airport security

      Congress may not be able to require states to change their ID standards, but the TSA, a federal agency, can refuse to let passengers with noncompliant IDs board flights. (Or, at least, it can ask them to provide another form of identification, like a passport, and deny them access if they don’t have it.) Since January 2018, TSA officers have been instructed to require passengers who don’t have Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses to show another form of identification if they want to get on their flight, a spokesperson said.

    • Rise in White Prisoners Shows Prison Racism Goes Beyond Disparities

      Writing from Attica prison shortly before the infamous 1971 rebellion, Sam Melville wrote to a friend that prison had changed him. “One thing is for certain,” he wrote, “when I emerge [from prison] … I won’t be a honky anymore.” Melville, who was incarcerated for bombing a number of U.S. military and corporate installations in New York City, had thrown his lot in with the Black and Puerto Rican radicals at Attica upon his arrival there. New York State Troopers shot him in the chest and let him bleed to death when they brutally retook Attica on September 13, 1971.

      Melville’s ruminations suggest a broader reimagining of how we understand the role of white prisoners in a system whose central feature seems to be its racism. Prisons are inescapably racist. Prisons do not just house victims of racism. Rather, they produce racism. Prisons use racism to govern and suppress their captives. Racism remains a strategic tool to ensure that prisoners distrust or attack each other rather than the institution itself. The centrality of racism to punishment has been the most salient feature of popular critiques of mass incarceration, including Ava DuVernay’s documentary, 13th, and Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow.

      Yet the mainstreaming of a liberal antiracist critique of prisons fails to explain how mass incarceration both works and changes over time. The statistical disparity between the number of Black and white people incarcerated has shrunk in recent years. Tepid reforms to the drug war and a growing leniency among many urban district attorneys to some nonviolent offenses have lowered the number of African Americans going to prison — even while Black people, as of 2016, remain incarcerated at more than five times the rate of white people. Meanwhile, the opioid crisis, with its suburban and rural geography, and hardline prosecutors in rural counties have contributed to a rise in the number of white people — especially white women — going to prison and jail. And nearly every single one of the 2.2 million people in prisons, jails and detention centers comes from the poor and working class. All of this is taking place in the context of stagnating wages and deteriorating social conditions that particularly impact people of color but have lowered the standard of living for all Americans.

    • Making America Great

      There is a lot of talk around about how to “make America great.” It seems to me common sense that if we really want to “make America great”, then we must be prepared to learn from societies that are doing better than we are. In business, medicine, and other fields, organizations take pride in discovering “best practices” and adopting them. This is one common way large organizations learn and evolve.

      So, what are the “best practices” among developed nations?

      Perhaps you have seen news stories about international studies that evaluate countries on their levels of happiness, equality, health, openness, freedom, opportunity, and being a good place to live. In just about every one of those rankings, the top countries turn out to be the Nordic nations of Scandinavia. They are the places where life expectancy tops the charts, where interpersonal trust and personal happiness abound, where people feel free and secure, where health care and quality of life are at their highest, where education is top-notch and free (or very inexpensive), where innovation and invention are widespread, where upward social mobility is most possible and most frequent, where crime and violence are low, and where poverty and inequality are minimal.

      In other words, the Nordic nations are an obvious place to look for “best practices.” So, what are these “best practices?” The best general term to describe the Nordic system is “social democracy, a term not often heard in the United States. Social democracy describes a system of democratic governance where the goal of government is to provide security and freedom for all by actively intervening in the economic marketplace to promote economic and social growth and distribution in ways that benefit everyone.

    • Artificial Intelligence Can Oppress the Poor and People of Color

      When we think of Artificial Intelligence we often think of intelligent robots who act and think like humans — the walking, thinking, feeling machines that we see in the movies. The advent of that kind of intelligent robot is so far off in the future, that we often don’t recognize the kind of AI already all around us. Or the effects it’s having on our lives. Courts, search engines, stores and advertisers all use Artificial Intelligence to make decisions about our behavior: to sell us products, but also to send us to prison or set bail. We look at one kind of decision made by AI, called a risk assessment, and why it’s had such an impact on the poor and people of color.

    • Black Workers Say Walmart’s Background Checks Are Racially Discriminatory

      When Walmart announced in January that it was “in-sourcing” its Elwood, Illinois, distribution center, workers were cautiously optimistic.

      Since it opened in 2006, the 3.4 million-square-foot warehouse has been operated by Schneider Logistics, a third-party contractor, which in turn hired workers through temp agencies. Walmart’s plan to absorb several of its outsourced warehouses nationwide meant an end to this web of subcontracting, which labor organizers charge is one of the company’s union-busting tactics.

      The retail giant also announced that it would rehire as many current warehouse workers as possible, with raises in starting pay and benefits. Mark Balentine, who has performed quality assurance in the Elwood warehouse for three years, says he was offered and accepted the same position as a Walmart employee. It came with a pay bump from $16.35 an hour to $18.65.

    • Native Peoples’ Bones Are Not Collectors’ Items. They Must Be Returned.

      How did the ghoulish practice of grave-digging become an “innocent hobby” for so many white people in the US?

      A recent FBI press release is a reminder that digging up and robbing Native American graves is still considered acceptable by many Americans and barely treated as a crime. Our dead, like butterflies pinned to a collector’s board, are treated as stuff for collectors and hobbyists. We are “artifacts.”

      On February 27, 2019, the FBI issued a press release and a unique request. The Bureau’s Art Crime Team is reaching out to tribes in the United States for help in repatriating approximately 500 sets of human remains looted from Native American burial grounds. The remains were found during a 2014 FBI raid on a vast collection of artifacts and antiquities from around the world held by Don Miller of rural Rush County, Indiana.

    • Another Shameful “Christening” at Bath Iron Works

      I was as sickened in 2016 as I am now by the deception and evil carried out in the name of “democracy” and “freedom” and “security”.

      What’s different for me this time around is a deepened focus on “connecting the dots” of permanent warfare, systemic violence and catastrophic climate change as symptoms of a disease, natural consequences of the unrestrained greed that’s part and parcel of our economic system.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Charter Spectrum Won’t Get Kicked Out Of New York State After ISP Promises To Suck Less

      Last summer, New York State took the historically-unprecedented step of voting to kick Charter Communications (aka Spectrum) out of New York State. Regulators say the company misled them about why it repeatedly failed to adhere to merger conditions affixed to the company’s $86 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, going so far as to falsify (according to the NY PUC) the number of homes the company expanded service to. The state has also sued the company for failing to deliver advertised broadband speeds, for its shoddy service, and for its terrible customer support.

      While the threat was largely unprecedented, there have been indications that this was largely just a negotiations tactic by the state. However sincere the threat was, it appears to have worked.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Another U.S. Patent Issued for CRISPR

      Last Tuesday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted (at long last) to the University of California/Berkeley, the University of Vienna, and inventor Emmanuelle Charpentier a patent corresponding to the application-in-interference with the Broad’s patent estate, as U.S. Patent No. 10,266,850, to its CRISPR technology (where CRISPR is an acronym for Clustered Regularly lnterspaced Short Palindromic Repeats). The interference between the Broad Institute and the University of California/Berkeley over patents directed to CRISPR technology has been in the spotlight over the past few years (see “CRISPR Interference Declared”; “PTAB Decides CRISPR Interference — No interference-in-fact”; “PTAB Decides CRISPR Interference in Favor of Broad Institute — Their Reasoning”; “University of California/Berkeley Appeals Adverse CRISPR Decision by PTAB”; and “Berkeley Files Opening Brief in CRISPR Appeal”); the claims granted in the ’850 patent correspond to those patentably distinct from the Broad’s claims.

    • Trademarks

      • The Trade Mark Adventures of Zara: Fashion Markets Moving Fast

        On 27 April 2009, Mrs Zainab Ansell and Mr Roger Ansell (ZARA TANZANIA ADVENTURES) filed an application for registration of an EU trade mark for the figurative sign (shown right) in Classes 39 [e.g. travel and tourism], Class 41 [education and training relating to wildlife], and Class 43 [travel agency services].

        On 31 August 2009, the applicant, Industria de Diseño Textil, SA (Inditex) [ZARA] , filed a notice of opposition to the registration in respect of all the services based on its earlier marks, including the word mark ZARA, registered in Class 25, 35, 39 and 42. On 20 September 2011, the Opposition Division partially upheld the opposition in respect of all the services in Classes 41, 43 and in Class 39 except for railway, river and air transport, and rental of vehicles. Both Inditex and the Ansells appealed. On 5 July 2017 the Board of Appeal allowed the mark applied for to proceed to registration in respect of all the services in Classes 39 and 43.

      • Myanmar’s new trademark law leaves brand owners in the dark
      • The first non-traditional trademark registrations have been granted in Mexico
    • Copyrights

      • Pirate Bay Proxy List For 2019 [100% Working TPB Mirror Sites]

        Downloading torrents has attracted negative publicity for a long time. Many people are still confused about the legality of it and the internet is flooded with questions like “Is torrenting illegal?”

        When it comes to downloading torrents, you need a torrent search engine, and The Pirate Bay is undoubtedly one of the best torrent search engines that you can use. However, the website has always irked original content creators and copyright watchdogs. It is the reason why The Pirate Bay has been pulled offline in many countries like the UK, India, France, and Australia.

      • Exploring the Interfaces Between Big Data and Intellectual Property Law [Ed: There is no "Intellectual Property Law". There's copyright law, patent law, trademark law, and trade secrets law. Those are very different things. "Big Data" typically means a form of surveillance.]

        This article reviews the application of several IP rights (copyright, patent, sui generis database right, data exclusivity and trade secret) to Big Data. Beyond the protection of software used to collect and process Big Data corpora, copyright’s traditional role is challenged by the relatively unstructured nature of the non-relational (noSQL) databases typical of Big Data corpora. This also impacts the application of the EU sui generis right in databases. Misappropriation (tort-based) or anti-parasitic behaviour protection might apply, where available, to data generated by AI systems that has high but short-lived value. Copyright in material contained in Big Data corpora must also be considered. Exceptions for Text and Data Mining (TDM) are already in place in a number of legal systems and likely to emerge to allow the creation and use of corpora of literary and artistic works, such as texts and images.


Links 28/4/2019: Debian 9.9 Released, Wine 4.7 and Wine-Staging 4.7, FreeBSD 2019 Community Survey

Posted in News Roundup at 9:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Chromebooks

    • AMD Zen+ Chromebooks a Step Closer, Thanks to Google Coreboot Support

      Google has recently been working on bringing Fuchsia (a new operating system the company has been developing) and Chrome OS support to multiple AMD processors. The latest to receive support in the open source Coreboot firmware were AMD’s 7th gen Stoney Ridge APUs which were used in HP’s first-ever AMD-based Chromebooks.
      In January, AMD announced the Picasso APU series, which uses a Zen+ CPU and Vega graphics. According to recent rumors, Google was already working on adding support in Chrome OS for a reference design board called Zork that used the Picasso APU. The latest news about Picasso being supported in Coreboot reinforces the idea that we’ll soon see some Chromebooks using AMD’s latest generation of mobile APUs..

    • Will somebody make me a Chromebook with a ‘real’ graphics card? [Ed: Will you purchase a 'real' computer rather than rent one from Google (for Google to remotely control)?]

      The inclusion of packaged Linux applications for Chrome has changed that. Now, if you’re a developer who uses a Linux desktop to write, compile, and test code, a Chromebook is an excellent choice. You’ll appreciate a model with a new-ish Intel CPU and 8 or even 16 GB of RAM when it comes to doing all that, and when you’re not being productive, you have the same entertainment options through the web and Google Play that every Chromebook has. It’s a pretty sweet setup. But there’s still one piece of the puzzle missing that would make a Chromebook even better: a high-end GPU.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 5.0.10

      I’m announcing the release of the 5.0.10 kernel.

      All users of the 5.0 kernel series must upgrade.

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


    • Linux 4.19.37
    • Linux 4.14.114
    • Linux 4.9.171
    • Linux 4.4.179
    • Linux 3.18.139
    • Linux Foundation

      • Linux Foundation, ETSI Sign MOU, Promise to Harmonize Open Source Efforts [iophk: "Microsoft uses the phrase "MOU""]

        For example, ESTI has its Edge Computing group, and the Linux Foundation in January launched its own edge computing initiative called LF Edge that now serves as an umbrella organization for the foundation’s edge projects including Akraino. Additionally, ETSI has its Industry Specification Group for NFV (ISG NFV), while the Linux Foundation has several open networking projects that seem to overlap with ETSI’s efforts including OpenDaylight (ODL), Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP), and Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV).

      • Open source and telco standards to play nicely [Ed: This site is conflating “open source” with Zemlin PAC (trade group of proprietary software firms)]

        The MoU is an effort to speed up the standards processes and make them more flexible, whilst adding some definition and interoperability to the open source landscape. In essence it’s about using standards processes to put some shape and interoperability into the open source projects and it’s about using open source methods to put some speed and agility into the standards process.

        As a very rough background, we got here because ETSI and 3GPP standards and specifications for NFV and MEC (seen as a subset of NFV) didn’t actually define, or in some cases attempt to define, in clear enough fashion all the functions that could help operators get an operational system going. As an example, there were overlaps and grey areas in terms of the automated management of VNFs, in virtualised infrastructure management, as well as in overall orchestration and service orchestration.

      • IoT and IIoT Applications Made Easier with Zephyr RTOS

        The Zephyr Project, hosted by the Linux Foundation, aims to build a secure and flexible RTOS for the IoT, and announced earlier this month they have achieved a new milestone with an introduction of their first Long Term Support (LTS) capabilities.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD’s Marek Has A Patch Helping To Reduce Gallium3D Input Lag

        The patch affects the common Gallium3D code as opposed to being RadeonSI-specific code. As of writing it hasn’t been merged to Mesa Git but we’ll see if it makes it in before next week’s Mesa 19.1.0 code branching / feature freeze.

      • An Exciting Set Of Gallium Nine Improvements Are On The Table For Mesa 19.1

        While there are just a few days left to the Mesa 19.1 development period before the code branching and feature freeze, the Gallium Nine state tracker for Direct3D 9 acceleration with Mesa drivers has a set of last minute patches.

        Axel Davy continues near single-handedly wrangling all the work around Gallium Nine for benefiting Wine-based gamers in providing faster Direct3D 9 Windows gaming performance on Linux. Just ahead of the feature freeze, he’s looking to land an exciting set of fixes and feature work.

      • NVIDIA “AltMode” Open-Source Driver Heading To Mainline Kernel With Linux 5.2

        There’s a new open-source NVIDIA driver heading to the mainline kernel with Linux 5.2, but don’t get too excited.

        The NVIDIA AltMode driver queued up for entrance into the Linux 5.2 kernel is for handling VirtualLink devices with the newest RTX Turing graphics cards that have a USB Type-C connector.

        Previously we’ve seen NVIDIA post a new i2c driver for the USB-C connections on their newest Turing graphics cards while this latest addition is a simple driver for enabling the Type-C Alternate Mode for VirtualLink devices.

      • New vRAM Helper Allows Sharing TTM Implementation Between Linux Frame-Buffer Drivers

        A patch series being worked on by Thomas Zimmermann of SUSE allows sharing the TTM memory management implementation between Linux’s different DRM frame-buffer drivers.

        The implementation allows for generic video memory management code for these simple DRM frame-buffer drivers, assuming those drivers/devices have dedicated video memory. This shared implementation helps reduce the maintenance burden of the drivers while lightening up the individual code-bases.

  • Applications

    • Top 13 Podcast Tools – best free podcast software

      A podcast is a form of digital media consisting of an episodic program downloaded or streamed over the Internet using an XML protocol called RSS. Podcast episodes can be audio radio, video files, PDFs, or ePub files. These episodes can be viewed and listened to on a number of different devices including computers, portable media players, and smartphones.

      The publisher or broadcaster podcasts the program by offering the episodes and the XML document to a web server. Whilst large media corporations are prominent publishers of podcasts, almost anyone can publish them, as often or as infrequent as they wish. Podcasts are a great way of keeping up to date with the latest news, reviews, banter, gossip, to deepen your understanding of the world we live in, and much more.

      Podcasting lets listeners automatically receive the latest episodes of their chosen programmes as soon as they are released. This operation is made very simple by using the appropriate client software. The consumer can subscribe to the podcast and automatically check for and download new episodes, or download episodes of a podcast series individually.

      To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 13 high quality open source podcast tools that offer an excellent way to manage and download podcasts. The selection includes both graphical and console based tools, software which includes built-in podcast management, as well as standalone tools, so all tastes should be catered for here.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • No need to bottle it all up as Wine 4.7 is out with an updated Mono engine and more

        For the bug fixes, they noted 34 now marked as solved. As always, some may be older bugs being re-tested that were fixed previously. Issues were solved with Star Wars The Old Republic, Watch_Dogs, SpellForce 3, Rockstar Games Social Club, Sniper Elite V2, Sniper Elite 3 and more including issues solved that affected multiple games and applications.

      • Wine-Staging 4.7 Released & Fixes An 11 Year Old Winamp Issue

        Fresh off the release of yesterday’s Wine 4.7 update, Wine-Staging 4.7 is rolling out with 830+ patches re-based on top of this code-base for running Windows games/applications on Linux/macOS.

        Beyond the mere feat of re-basing all of these patches to work against the newest upstream Wine code, there are also some new patches bundled in over the past two weeks. The highlights of the latest Wine-Staging additions include:

        - A fix for an 11 year old bug report about Winamp disappearing when you move the window. The fix is querying the X.Org Server for the actual window’s rect before unmapping it.

      • Wine 4.7 Released, How to Install it in Ubuntu 18.04

        Wine 4.7, a new development release of the open-source compatibility layer to run Windows applications on Linux, was released with new features and various bug-fixes.

    • Games

      • Open source kart racing game, SuperTuxKart, sees 1.0 release after 12 years

        The team behind indie game SuperTuxKart, an open source kart racing game, has finally announced the 1.0 release of the game following 12 years of development. The new update adds support for network races so that you can play with your friends online. Work has been done to better balance gameplay.

        The game itself is similar to Mario Kart in that you try to beat opponents in a kart race (in normal race mode) and use items to hinder their efforts. In terms of characters, the game uses mascots from popular open source projects such as Tux the Linux kernel mascot, Gnu the GNU project mascot, and Adiumy the mascot for the instant messenger client Adium.

      • Imperator: Rome from Paradox is out today with same-day Linux support (updated)

        Paradox Development Studio and Paradox Interactive have today released their latest grand strategy game Imperator: Rome, as expected it’s come with same-day Linux support.

      • X-Plane Making Vulkan Progress; Flax Engine Tacking On Vulkan In Road To Linux

        There are two separate but exciting adoption milestones for the Vulkan graphics API.

        Laminar Resarch, the makers of the realistic X-Plane flight simulator, have long been working on adding Vulkan support. Ben Supnik of Laminar shared that they’ve now been successful in getting Vulkan rendering to work with this flight simulator. They have Vulkan working across AMD, NVIDIA, and Intel graphics hardware. They are also still pursuing Apple Metal support for better macOS support/performance compared to OpenGL.

      • Road Redemption | Linux Gaming | Ubuntu 18.04 | Native

        Road Redemption running native on Linux.

      • Get ‘Gone Home’ FREE in the Humble Trove plus other deals to look out for this weekend

        Humble Bundle are currently giving away copies of Gone Home in the Humble Trove and let’s take a look at some other good deals going currently.

        Firstly, Gone Home is free to grab until May 3rd as part of the Humble Trove, a curated selected of DRM Free games that everyone who subs to the Humble Monthly has access to. The free offer doesn’t need you to sub to it though of course.

        GOG’s Weekend Sale has a few nice games available for Linux like PixelJunk Shooter (see Scaine’s thoughts on that here), Paranautical Activity Deluxe Atonement Edition, Songbringer and The Coma: Recut.

        Alien: Isolation, a fantastic horror game that was ported to Linux by Feral Interactive is also super cheap right now due to the 40th anniversary of Alien. You can find it for 75% off on Humble Store and Steam. Feral’s own store also has it on sale but not as cheap, your choice if you want to give the porter a little more.

  • Distributions

    • How to turn a Raspberry Pi into an open source media center

      OSMC is an open source media center for Linux computers that works with the Raspberry Pi. This video from ETA Prime shows you how to install and configure the software. The Air Mouse looks like a good remote control to use with OSMC.

    • New Releases

      • Parrot Security 4.6 Ethical Hacking OS Officially Released, Here’s What’s New

        After more than three months in development, the Parrot 4.6 operating system is now available with a Security edition featuring the KDE Plasma desktop environment alongside the existing MATE edition featuring the more lightweight MATE desktop environment. Both the KDE and MATE flavours are available in Home and Security editions.

        “We love MATE but we’d heard great things about KDE and decided we could try and support two desktop environments,” said Parrot Security team in the release notes. “We heard you and it is finally here! A Security edition featuring the KDE Plasma desktop environment.”

      • Parrot 4.6 Linux Distro For Ethical Hacking Released With New KDE Desktop Option

        When we talk about Kali Linux alternatives, options like Parrot Linux and BlackArch often turn out to be the top contenders. There are Windows-based options like Commando VM as well, but Linux-based ethical hacking distros are the go-to options for the security researchers.

        The Parrot Linux team recently announced the release of the latest Parrot Linux 4.6. It’s a result of three months of a rigorous development cycle. It’s a big milestone for the team as well as they’ve now shifted everything to their own infrastructure and this is the first release utilizing the same.

    • Debian Family

      • Updated Debian 9: 9.9 released

        The Debian project is pleased to announce the ninth update of its stable distribution Debian 9 (codename “stretch”). This point release mainly adds corrections for security issues, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories have already been published separately and are referenced where available.

        Please note that the point release does not constitute a new version of Debian 9 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old “stretch” media. After installation, packages can be upgraded to the current versions using an up-to-date Debian mirror.

        Those who frequently install updates from security.debian.org won’t have to update many packages, and most such updates are included in the point release.

        New installation images will be available soon at the regular locations.

      • Debian 9.9 Released With Many Security Updates
      • Debian GNU/Linux 9.9 Released with over 120 Bug Fixes and Security Updates

        Debian GNU/Linux 9.9 is here two and a half months after the Debian GNU/Linux 9.8 point release as yet another up-to-date installation media containing all the latest security updates and bug fixes released on the main archives. It can be used for fresh installations without downloading all updates after the installation.

        “This point release mainly adds corrections for security issues, along with a few adjustments for serious problems,” reads the release announcement. “Please note that the point release does not constitute a new version of Debian 9 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old stretch media.”

      • Debian GNU/Linux 9.9 “Stretch” Live & Installable ISOs Now Available to Download

        Bundled with over 120 security updates and bug fixes, the Debian GNU/Linux 9.9 release is here to offers users who want to reinstall or deploy the latest Debian GNU/Linux operating system on new computers up-to-date install mediums that include all the updates released through the official repositories since the release of Debian GNU/Linux 9.8 more than two months ago.

        Debian GNU/Linux 9.9 ISOs are available as installation-only images for all supported architectures, including 32-bit (i386), 64-bit (amd64), ARM64 (AArch64), Armel, ARMhf, MIPS, MIPSel (MIPS Little Endian), MIPS64el (MIPS 64-bit Little Endian), PPC64el (PowerPC 64-bit Little Endian), and s390x (IBM System z), as well as live images only for 32-bit (i386) and 64-bit (amd64) systems.

      • Derivatives

        • antiX-19-a1-full (64 bit) available

          Our first alpha build of the upcoming antiX-19 release, based on Debian Buster.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 14.04 Reaches End of Life on April 30

            Since 2012 , each long-term support release (LTS) of Ubuntu is backed by 5 years of on-going support, security patches, and critical fixes.

            The benefit of getting on-going band-aids, bug solutions, and core packages is why Ubuntu LTS releases are the preferred choice for millions.

            But even so, that support is finite.

            After April 30, should anyone ask if Ubuntu 14.04 is still supported you can tell them that the answer is no, it isn’t.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open letter from Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, Dave Eggers, Pamela Anderson and many more on behalf of imprisoned tech privacy activist Ola Bini

    Without privacy, we can’t have agency say Noam Chomsky, Pamela Anderson, Yanis Varoufakis, Arundhati Roy, Brian Eno, Dave Eggers and other global voices…

    We are 11 days into the illegal detention of Ola Bini, Swedish free software and privacy programmer. Organizations and activists around the world are speaking out about this violation of his rights.

    People working for free software and privacy should not be criminalized, there is nothing criminal about wanting privacy.

    “I believe strongly in the right to privacy. Without privacy, we can’t have agency, and without agency we are slaves. That’s why I have dedicated my life to this struggle. Surveillance is a threat to us all, we must stop it.” –Ola Bini

    Remember 4/11 as the date a Swedish national was arrested by the Ecuadorian government for no cause, obviously driven by outside forces as they had no cause to hold him and offered lie after evasion after contortion of law to friends and family in the first 48 hours.

    The Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet just ran a letter to the Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, signed by over 100 global voices, requesting Sweden “take firm, immediate action” toward the suffering of their citizen being illegally held in an Ecuadorian jail, sleeping on the floor without access to clean water.

  • How to use a FreedomBox running open source software to regain control of your online privacy

    As numerous posts on this blog have noted, some of the biggest threats to privacy come from Internet giants like Facebook and Google. The centralized nature of their services allows them to aggregate personal data on a huge scale, and to extract information that we never agreed to provide. Although it is only recently that the mainstream media has caught up with this development, some people were warning about this problem a decade ago.

    One such is Eben Moglen. He was General Counsel of the Free Software Foundation for 13 years, and helped draft the most recent version of the GNU GPL, the core license of the open source world. As well as being Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, he is the Founding Director of the Software Freedom Law Center. Back in 2009, I interviewed him for the now-defunct site The H Open.

  • FileZilla 3.42.0 Beta 1

    FileZilla is powerful Open Source FTP/SFTP client with many features. It includes a site manager to store all your connection details and logins as well as an Explorer style interface that shows the local and remote folders and can be customized independently. The program offers support for firewalls and proxy connections as well as SSL and Kerberos GSS security. Additional features include keep alive, auto ascii/binary transfer, download queue, manual transfers, raw FTP commands and more.

  • Open-source tool ensures quality of digital pathology images

    Researchers have devised an approach for coping with the lack of reliable standards for the preparation and digitization of tissue slides used to diagnose patients.

    Poor quality slides can result because of air bubbles and smears or during the digitization process, when blurriness and brightness issues can arise. However, manual review of these slides can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, as well as subject to intra- and inter-reader variability.

  • RCA postgraduates create open navigation system inspired by insect eyes

    A team of student designers and engineers from the RCA and Imperial College have designed an open-source alternative to GPS, called Aweigh, that does not rely on satellites.

    Instead, the device calculates a user’s position using the sun ? a feature inspired by the polarised vision of insects.

    Its student makers said that the design is similar to that of the sextant, one of the oldest known navigating tools that measures the angular distance between two visible objects, in this case the horizon and the sun.


    The device’s custom circuit-board that reads light values to find the sun, is powered by Raspberry Pi, a tiny computer that is specifically designed to educate users about coding.

  • Spiral Scout Releases Open Source Product, RoadRunner

    Spiral Scout, a leading web design and software development company in San Francisco and Belarus, announced the launch of its second, large MIT-licensed software product, RoadRunner, following the release of their first open source PHP framework, Spiral. RoadRunner is a multithreaded PHP application server library for Golang that enhances the classic setup of PHP with a vastly improved performance capacity.

  • The Apache Software Foundation Announces Apache® SkyWalking™ as a Top-Level Project
  • The Apache Software Foundation Announces Apache® NetBeans™ as a Top-Level Project

    Apache NetBeans is an Open Source development environment, tooling platform, and application framework that enables Java programmers to build desktop, mobile, and Web applications. The project was originally developed as part of a student project in 1996, was acquired and open-sourced by Sun Microsystems in 2000, and became part of Oracle when it acquired Sun Microsystems in 2010. NetBeans was submitted to the Apache Incubator in October 2016.

  • Red Hat Steps in to Steward OpenJDK 8 and 11

    Red Hat has again stepped in to assume the stewardship of OpenJDK projects no longer supported, long-term, by Oracle.

  • Still using Java 8? Red Hat will provide long-term maintenance and support for OpenJDK 8 and 11

    Oracle’s stewardship of Java—which it acquired along with Sun Microsystems in 2010—has long been a point of contention among Java programmers and organizations deploying (or evaluating) Java in their environments. Despite Sun’s open source-friendly stance, Oracle has been less than enthusiastic about continuing Java as a fully open-source solution, a problem amplified by changes in their licensing for OpenJDK.

    The release cycle for Java, similarly, has changed under Oracle’s stewardship. While typical programming languages such as C and C++ receive modest maintenance updates every few years, Java versions, as of Java 9, are incremented every six months, with Java 11 designated as the first long-term (LTS) version of Java. The problem is, Java 8 is still the most widely-used version of Java on desktops—doubtlessly due in part to Minecraft, though a variety of enterprise applications also rely on Java 8.

  • Red Hat to empower local businesses with open source solutions

    Neeraj Bhatia said that “the open source can accelerate innovation in Bangladesh’s digital economy. Recent industry reports indicate that cloud computing adoption in Bangladesh has gained momentum in the last few years. Red Hat hopes to empower local businesses to innovate with open hybrid cloud solutions.”

  • Red Hat is spearheading the enterprise adoption of open source: Neeraj Bhatia
  • Open source use in enterprise up almost 70%

    Open source use in enterprises has increased by close to 70% in the past year, with a growing number of users regarding it as strategically important to their organisation’s overall enterprise infrastructure software strategy.

    These are among the key findings of a survey conducted by Illuminas and sponsored by open source company and new addition to the IBM family, Red Hat.

    The findings of “The State of Enterprise Open Source” survey, which involved 950 IT leaders from around the world, were published earlier this month.

  • Open architecture and open source – The new wave for SD-WAN?

    I recently shared my thoughts about the role of open source in networking. I discussed two significant technological changes that we have witnessed. I call them waves, and these waves will redefine how we think about networking and security.

    The first wave signifies that networking is moving to the software so that it can run on commodity off-the-shelf hardware. The second wave is the use of open source technologies, thereby removing the barriers to entry for new product innovation and rapid market access. This is especially supported in the SD-WAN market rush.

    Seemingly, we are beginning to see less investment in hardware unless there is a specific segment that needs to be resolved. But generally, software-based platforms are preferred as they bring many advantages. It is evident that there has been a technology shift. We have moved networking from hardware to software and this shift has positive effects for users, enterprises and service providers.

  • LIONant Properties Open Source C++ 17 Reflection System

    Tomas Arce has released LIONant Properties, an open source C++ 17 Property / Reflection system useful for games and other applications. The project is intended for developers to have a default system to use for C++ properties. Read the documentation here.

  • Kaspersky CEO: Open your source codes to win governments’ trust

    Rather than let their paranoia stew, governments concerned about security should ask technology companies to open up their systems and source codes for inspection. And with 5G networks enabling larger volumes of data to be transmitted and processed via the cloud, IT vendors increasingly will need to provide such options to allay business concerns about security.

    5G networks would drive greater connectivity, linking more devices and consumers, and send more data into the cloud, according to Eugene Kaspersky, CEO and chairman of Kaspersky Lab. Web-connected coffee machines and refrigerators would transmit information about what consumers drank and ate, and connected vehicles would offer data about how consumers moved during the day.

  • How to go open source with cloud-based file sharing

    We used Nextcloud as our open source software platform, although there are probably nearly a dozen to choose from, like ownCloud, Seafile and Syncthing, to name three. Like many open source software companies, Nextcloud makes its money by selling support contracts and enhanced management services for larger users who can pay for the peace of mind.

    The free-at-the-point-of-use plus optional-pay-for-support is clearly a business model that pays off for Nextcloud, plus, look at the multi-billion dollar acquisitions in recent years of SUSE and GitHub. Red Hat is one of the biggest names in computing today on a dollar basis, yet you can install Fedora for free and get the same platform in under an hour.

  • HiveMQ Goes Open Source, Brings MQTT and Kafka Together

    Recently announced by HiveMQ, HiveMQ Enterprise Extension for Kafka aims to integrate Kafka and MQTT to enable real-time streaming for IoT applications.

    The HiveMQ Enterprise Extension for Kafka is an implementation of the Kafka protocol for the HiveMQ broker, which enables the broker to act as a Kafka client and to stream messages coming from IoT devices to one or more Kafka clusters.

  • Drawbacks of open source networking could impede full growth [Ed: Another one of so many dumb articles that intentionally conflate "commercial" with proprietary as if to intentionally and wrongly suggest FOSS is unsuitable for commercial use. Classic FUD.]

    The large number of open source networking projects combined with powerful nonprofit foundations and a lively developer community would suggest it’s only a matter of time before these platforms begin to gain support in enterprises. After all, open source software is usually cheap, non-proprietary and quick to adapt to change.

    Open source networking also provides enormous levels of flexibility when it comes to the hardware on which you choose to run software. This gives network administrators the ability to right-size their deployment using commercialized open source appliances or purchased white box networking hardware with software they install themselves.

  • 22 open-source tools that make Kubernetes better

    Kubernetes has become a standard way—many would say the standard way — to deploy containerized applications at scale. But if Kubernetes helps us to tame sprawling and complex container deployments, what’s available to help us tame Kubernetes? It too can be complex, messy, and difficult to manage.

    As Kubernetes grows and evolves, it is likely that some of its excesses will be tamed from within. But some people aren’t waiting around for Kubernetes to get any easier to work with, and have rolled their own solutions to many common problems with Kubernetes in production.

  • 6 cool new open source projects from Netflix, Facebook, Google, and more

    In the early days of computing, programmers shared software to learn from each other and evolve. Though the open source notion gradually moved to commercialization, the attention that free software gets is significant. Netscape was a pioneer in publishing the source code for their free software suite. The Open Source Initiative (OSI) of 1998 is one of those things that happened driven by Netscape’s inspirational software. OSI then inspired developers around the world to publish open-source software and the rest is history. The open source culture encouraged collaboration among developers, which resulted in higher quality software. Audits, quick fixes, updates, and license management are better when the software is open source. Here is a list of top six cool new open source projects released over the past year.

  • Google open-sources AI image segmentation models optimized for Cloud TPUs

    Google’s custom tensor processing unit (TPU) chips, the latest generation of which became available to Google Cloud Platform customers last year, are tailor-made for AI inferencing and training tasks like image recognition, natural language processing, and reinforcement learning. To support the development of apps that tap them, the Mountain View company has steadily open-sourced architectures like BERT (a language model), MorphNet (an optimization framework), and UIS-RNN (a speaker diarization system), often along with data sets. Continuing in that vein, Google is today adding two new models for image segmentation to its library, both of which it claims achieve state-of-the-art performance deployed on Cloud TPU pods.

  • 5 Most Popular Open Source Go Projects For Beginners

    Golang is a programming language developed by Google. This statically-typed language has some additional features such as garbage collection, type safety, some dynamic-typing capabilities, a large standard library, etc. Over the last few years, the number of high-quality open source Go projects has gone up exponentially and the open source community has also embraced the programming language.

  • How Do Open Source Deep Learning Frameworks Stack Up?

    As the popularity of deep learning increases, finding application in all sorts of cases, so does the popularity of the various DL frameworks and libraries, making it difficult to choose between them. To provide an informed choice academic researchers devised and ran benchmarks.

    The results are published a a pre-print on arxiv.org with the title “A Detailed Comparative Study Of Open Source Deep Learning Frameworks”.


    After looking at the differences between two most widely used networks the Convolutional (CNN) and Recurrent (RNN), it moves on to yet another overview, this time of the frameworks under examination, CNTK, TensorFlow and Theano.

  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Bleve

    This week’s highlighted open-source project, Bleve, provides modern text indexing in Go.

    The project’s main features include intelligent defaults backed by powerful configuration and supported field types such as text, numeric and date. It also includes supported query types such as term, phrase, match, match phrase, prefix and many more.

  • Koler is an open source, simple, swipe-based dialer app

    The dialer app is probably the most basic application built into the Android. It has an almost bare minimum set of features to get the job done – send and receive calls, which it does without a problem. But, third-party dialers are still popular due to various reasons, like better interface and functionality. Koler is yet another dialer application by XDA Junior Member NuclearGandhi. It is a swipe-based application, which makes it a whole lot more intuitive than any other dialer on the market. Here are all the available gestures:

  • The Case for Ethics in OpenSource

    I think that OpenSource should aim to have a code of ethics – the same way we have a code of conduct to guide our behaviour internally to a project, we should have a framework to promote discussion of people’s rights that use, interact with and are affected by our work. We should not focus on technical matters only, but should be promoting people at the core of all our work. Every decision we make is not just technical, but social.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Gab Forks Brave, Adding Bitcoin Lightning For a New ‘Free Speech Browser’

      Due to GAB’s controversial reputation of hosting objectionable content, GAB has found it difficult to find any service provider willing to host its services. The platform has therefore decided to create its own forked version of the web browser Brave, which itself is based on Chrome open-source code, to sustain its laissez-faire interpretation of free speech.

  • Databases

    • Should I Support Postgres In-House?

      I have recently completed a series of presentations to PostgreSQL User Groups in Europe and met with a number of customers to discuss their adoption of the database, writes Bruce Momjian, co-founder of the PostgreSQL Global Development Group and Senior Database Architect, EnterpriseDB.

      It is clear interest in PostgreSQL is growing among enterprise users, who are actively planning to leave traditional commercial database providers as they seek to find more agile, innovative alternatives.

      The goal is to reduce risk and complexity, but also find databases that make their organisations smarter. As they consider their PostgreSQL strategy, these European customers have a number of questions and one is worthy of more discussion, because it is relevant to the broader adoption of open source of the enterprise: “Should I support Postgres in-house?”

  • LibreOffice

    • Apache OpenOffice: The Free Open-Source Office Software Suite

      Apache OpenOffice is available in diverse languages and works well on all common computer systems. It is primarily developed for Windows, Linux, and macOS with ports to other operating systems. The default file format for this software is the OpenDocument Format (ODF), an ISO/IEC standard. However, it can also read and write an extensive variety of other file formats, with specific attention to those from Microsoft Office (i.e. DOCX, XLS, PPT, and XML). The software can be downloaded and used for any purpose and yes, it’s Free of Charge.

    • Get a Microsoft Office-style suite for free

      Before we get into the details of how to download LibreOffice, we want to tell you about Capterra, which is a great website for comparing software solutions for home and business use. Even before they became a sponsor of Komando.com, we used them ALL. THE. TIME.

      Check out how you can do side-by-side comparisons of spreadsheet programs in the screen shot below. Capterra has hundreds of software comparisons that include professional and user reviews.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • VCs just invested $8 million into this startup that gave away its software for free because they noticed how much people loved it

      The VC firm New Enterprise Associates has previously invested in buzzy open source software companies like MongoDB, Elastic, Nginx, and Databricks. So when NEA principal Julia Schottenstein saw how fast an open source business intelligence software project called Metabase was growing, she knew what NEA’s next investment had to be.

      Believing Metabase could potentially grow into a large company, she emailed Metabase founder and CEO Sameer Al-Sakran several times, with no reply. When he finally did reply, it was only a matter of weeks before NEA officially decided to invest.

      On Tuesday, Metabase announced it raised $8 million in series A funding led by NEA, and it also launched an enterprise edition of its product with features aimed at large companies.

    • MongoDB to acquire open-source mobile database Realm for $39 million

      MongoDB announced today that it is acquiring Realm, an open-source database geared for mobile applications, for $39 million. The startup had raised just over $40 million before being acquired today. Not exactly a staggering return on investment.

      It’s the kind of acquisition that makes a lot of sense from a tech perspective. Both companies are built on the premise that data is the center of application development, although they both come at it from a bit of a different angle. With Realm, Mongo gets a strong mobile solution, adding to MongoDB Mobile, and it also gets the technology, user base and engineering talent that Realm brings to the table.

      Eliot Horowitz, MongoDB co-founder and CTO, sees a company that will blend well with his. “Realm and MongoDB are a natural fit because we share a vision that when developers can interact naturally with data, they are happier and more productive, and because our products are complementary,” he wrote in a company blog post announcing the deal.

    • MongoDB to buy open-source mobile database startup Realm for £30m

      MongoDB has entered an agreement to buy realm, the company behind the Realm mobile database and Synchronization platform, for $39m (£30m) in cash.

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD Is Looking For Your Feedback To Guide Its Priorities

      If you are interested in FreeBSD at all, their core team of developers is hoping you will take a few minutes and participate in their survey.

      Running now for the next roughly two weeks is the FreeBSD 2019 Community Survey. They will be using the results from this survey to help guide their priorities and efforts moving forward.

    • FreeBSD 2019 Community Survey

      The FreeBSD Core Team invites you to complete the 2019 FreeBSD Community Survey. The purpose of this survey is to collect quantitative data from the public in order to help guide the project’s priorities and efforts.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Licensing/Legal

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • How 3D printing has changed the world of prosthetic limbs forever

        When he was 13 years old, the age at which adolescents are entering their most awkwardly self-conscious teenage years, Christophe Debard had his leg amputated. Just a couple of years earlier, he had been a regular kid. Then came the cancer diagnosis at 12 and, about a year after that, the life-altering surgery to remove his right leg at the knee.

        He was kitted out with a prosthesis and, although it fulfilled its role well in terms of helping him to move, that was only a small part of the solution. “When you are a teenager, it is not that easy to cope with the way people look at you,” Debard told Digital Trends. “Often people feel sorry for you.”

  • Programming/Development


  • Seeing Your Homeland Closeup From Afar

    In the interests of full disclosure, I confess at the outset that Belén Fernández is a friend of mine. If she wasn’t, I’d wish she was after reading this book. Not that she’s a raconteur of travel tales at the dinner table. More likely she’s asking questions and even jotting down notes. She doesn’t do selfies and I’ve never seen her with an iPhone. In an age where MIT sociologist Sherry Turkle, who studies how people interact with technology and the effects of that on human relationships, concludes that these interactions are so prevalent that they’re starting to undermine basic human survival skills, Belén Fernández has been honing these very skills, to the extent of putting herself in some very dicey situations as she roams a dangerous, ailing planet. I doubt there’s another journalist quite like her. Even the valiant Marie Colvin had a fixed address in London. Not only that, but Fernández’s prose is so incisive, pithy, powerful, and often funny, I feel like an interloper when trying to convey her words using my own. Just offering a string of quotes might be a more effective way of reviewing this book.

    For the last fifteen years Belén Fernández has turned her back on her global superpower homeland to embrace a condition of permanent exile in some of the world’s trouble spots, made troublesome precisely by her homeland, itself a massive trouble spot and the only item on her no-go list. Not that self-banishment can be total eschewal. Fernández is well aware that her American passport is the key, “the grotesque privilege of being able to voluntarily uproot oneself”, and that she has chosen to do this “in an epoch characterized by mass forced displacement”, much of which is caused by long-standing policies of the country that has granted her the passport. And it’s not just any old passport but one sprinkled with uplifting quotes, including this: “‘The cause of freedom is not the cause of a race or a sect, a party or a class—it is the cause of humankind, the very birthright of humanity’ (Anna Julia Cooper, black feminist born in 1858).” The unabashed gloss of hypocrisy doesn’t gleam very bright in the places Belén Fernández inhabits.

  • 4 Killed After Construction Crane Collapses Onto Seattle Street

    Four people were killed and three wounded when a construction crane collapsed Saturday in downtown Seattle, pinning five cars underneath.

    The four were dead by the time firefighters got to the scene, the Seattle Fire Department said. Three people were transported to the hospital, the department said.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Planned Parenthood President: Trump’s “Pro-Life” Agenda Is Killing Thousands in the U.S. and Globally

      A second federal judge has blocked a gag rule that would have stripped federal funding known as Title X for Planned Parenthood and other clinics that refer patients for abortions or even mention abortion as an option. The judge’s ruling halts the rule, which was announced by President Trump in February and was scheduled to go into effect on May 3. Washington state Federal Judge Stanley Bastian ruled against the changes to Title X funding Thursday, saying they would require clinics “to face a Hobson’s choice that harms patients as well as the providers.” This came two days after an Oregon judge issued a preliminary injunction to stop the gag order from going into effect, calling the rule a “ham-fisted approach to public health policy.” Title X covers non-abortion services like STD prevention, cancer screenings and contraception, and provides over $280 million in funding for 4 million mostly low-income women every year. We speak with the president of Planned Parenthood, Dr. Leana Wen. She says the gag rule would force doctors “to compromise the oath that we took to serve our patients.”

    • Amid Fears of Federal Attack on Roe, Kansas Supreme Court Guarantees Right to Abortion in the Conservative State

      In what advocates called an “historic” victory for women’s reproductive rights, the Kansas Supreme Court on Friday ruled that women in the state have a constitutional right to abortion care regardless of federal laws.

      The 6-1 ruling would protect the rights of women in the state in the event that Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that affirmed American women’s right to abortion, is overturned by the majority right-wing U.S. Supreme Court.

      “This historic decision reaffirms what we already know: attempts to undermine abortion access are unconstitutional,” tweeted the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), one of the many national groups that applauded the ruling on Friday.

    • A Lethal Industrial Farm Fungus is Spreading Among Us

      Eighty percent of U.S. antibiotics are used to promote livestock and poultry growth and protect the animals from the bacterial consequences of the manure-laden environments in which they are grown. That’s 34 million pounds a year of antibiotics as of 2015.

      The agricultural applications help generate drug resistance across multiple human bacterial infections, killing 23,000-100,000 Americans a year and, with an increasing amount of antibiotics applied abroad, 700,000 people worldwide.

      Now a fungal species, Candida auris, has developed multidrug resistance and is rapidly spreading across human populations across the globe (see figure). The CDC reports 90% of C. auris infections are clocking in resistant to one antifungal drug and 30% to two or more.

    • Corruption and Mismanagement at USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s Put Consumers at Risk, Whistleblower Says

      The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), which operates under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and employs more than 10,000 people, is tasked with ensuring the safety and proper labeling of U.S. meat, poultry and eggs.

      FSIS inspectors are present at over 6,200 U.S. slaughter, food processing and import facilities to check for diseased animals, compliance with the Humane Slaughter Act, bacterial contamination and the presence of antibiotic, pesticide and other residues. FSIS investigators monitor sales and distribution of finished products to prevent disease outbreaks and to help initiate recalls of contaminated products when they occur.

      The agency’s No. 1 job is to protect consumers. Yet according to a compliance operations official who worked at FSIS for many years, internal corruption, mismanagement, low morale and undisguised conflicts-of-interest within the agency often prevent FSIS inspectors and investigators from doing their jobs. It’s a public health crisis “just waiting to happen,” the official told us, on condition of anonymity.

      Moreover, large meat producers like Cargill, Tyson, Smithfield, Swift (JBS) and Sanderson Farms are often given a “pass” thanks to their high-paid lobbyists: “The same misbranding or adulteration of product that would force an immediate recall from a small, ‘Ma and Pa’ company is overlooked with big meat companies,” says the official.

    • How Obama Defanged the EPA Before Trump Gutted the Agency

      It was a tumultuous tenure, productive by some accounts, lackluster by most, but one thing is for certain, Lisa Jackson’s short time as administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency was anything but dull. On December 27, 2012 the often-fiery Jackson announced she was not going to return for a second term, and it is surely not difficult to see why she’s fleeing her post.

      Since President Obama was ushered into office in 2008, the EPA has consistently faced ridicule and criticism from corporate polluters and their greedy allies in Washington. On virtually every occasion Obama refused to side with Jackson’s more rationale, often science-based positions, whether it was cleaning up the air or forcing the natural resource industries to abide by existing regulations. Ultimately, the EPA is only as formidable as the White House allows it to be, and on Obama’s watch the agency has not received the support it has desired or deserved.

      Take the case of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Even though those three horrible months watching oil spew into the Gulf have seeped out of our collective memory, the BP disaster is one of the largest stains on Jackson’s four-year stint at EPA. Soon after the underwater blowout, Jackson, a New Orleans native, demanded BP halt their use of the toxic dispersant Corexit 9500 to clean up their gushing mess. She took a tough line against a company that had gotten away with far too much for too long.

    • Dying Healthcare Activist Ady Barkan to Testify at Congress’s First-Ever Medicare for All Hearing

      After progressives raised concerns about the people invited to testify next week at Congress’s first-ever hearing on Medicare for All, dying healthcare activist Ady Barkan announced Friday that he has joined the witness list.

      “Progressives have a plan to fix the American healthcare system once and for all,” Barkan said in a statement. “It will take immense effort and teamwork for me to attend this hearing, but that is what is required—from me and thousands of other healthcare heroes—to deliver us the change that the American people deserve.”

      Barkan, who is battling terminal ALS, will travel from his home in California to Washington, D.C. with two full-time caregivers. He plans to address the U.S. House Rules Committee next Tuesday morning “using a computer system that tracks his eye movements and subsequently converts text into speech,” according to a statement from Be A Hero, the political group he founded.

      While calling out GOP lawmakers and corporations that oppose legislation designed to guarantee healthcare as a human right for all Americans, Barkan thanked Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Committee Chairman James McGovern (D-Mass.) for the invitation to speak Tuesday as well as Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and others “for their decades of leadership” in the fight for a more just system.

    • Asbel Kiprop: Police seek to disarm disgraced Olympic champion

      The world of former Olympic 1,500 metres champion Asbel Kiprop seems to be getting murkier with his employers, the National Police Service, now tracking down the disgraced athlete after he took to social media threatening to use his firearm to “seek justice.”

      A senior police official in Eldoret said they are tracking down the athlete, who has been suspended for using banned performance-enhancing substances, after he took to social media to vent his frustrations.

      In a sensational tweet Kiprop, 29, dared his National Police Service employers to sack him and withdraw his firearm before he uses it to “earn justice.”

      The constable also dared the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the world athletics governing body, to take all the medals he won in global competitions where he specialises in the 1,500 metres race.

    • Is It Time to Take the Abortion Battle Hyperlocal?

      Whether or not the Supreme Court decides to uphold Roe v. Wade and keep abortion legal in every state, it’s an undeniable fact that abortion access has been decimated across the country. For more than half of U.S. states, the clinics that do remain are located in just a handful of cities, leaving most of the state without any provider at all.

      Prior to 2016 and the resurgence of a national anti-abortion push, the right was heavily invested in this city-by-city targeting. A few of the more extreme groups even tested out city-based resolutions or bans to see if it was possible to wage hyperlocal attacks on abortion rights, even while the state itself kept the procedure legal.

      But this strategy didn’t prove very successful. In 2013 a Bakersfield city council resolution to ban abortion at the point of conception failed when the city became nervous about paying for the legal costs to defend it. That same year a referendum to ban abortion at 20 weeks in Albuquerque, New Mexico — home of one of the few remaining clinics offering third trimester abortions — failed to get enough public votes to pass.

      But is it possible that abortion rights activists could have more success by trying this same city-by-city effort in order to protect access? That’s a question being tested out in Ohio.

  • Security

    • Marcus Hutchins Stopped a Global Cyberattack. Now He Deserves a Pardon.

      In May 2017, a cyberattack called WannaCry infected hundreds of thousands of [Windows] computers across 150 countries. Among the victims: FedEx, the French carmaker Renault, the Russian Interior Ministry and Britain’s National Health Service. The effect on the health service was particularly devastating: ambulances were diverted, patient records were inaccessible, surgical procedures were canceled, telephone calls could not be received.

      In the midst of all of this, Marcus Hutchins, then a 22-year-old British security researcher, stumbled upon a “kill switch” in the WannaCry code — and slammed the brakes on a global crisis. “The kill switch is why the U.S. hasn’t been touched so far,” one expert told The Times then.

    • Here’s how Internet of Things malware is undermining privacy

      A more general problem is that once an attacker is inside a home network, whether through vulnerabilities in a router or a camera, for example, it is possible that other IoT devices on it will be open to attack. Sometimes devices are abused not by external actors that have by-passed security measures, but by the very people who installed them. For example, the F-Secure report mentions how IoT devices are increasingly being used against victims of domestic abuse. The New York Times reported on this worrying trend last year, noting that “Abusers – using apps on their smartphones, which are connected to the internet-enabled devices – would remotely control everyday objects in the home, sometimes to watch and listen, other times to scare or show power. Even after a partner had left the home, the devices often stayed and continued to be used to intimidate and confuse.”

      Even though poor security and abuse of IoT systems are a serious and growing problem, legal remedies are slow in coming. One of the most forward-looking moves comes from the UK government. Last October it released a Code of Practice for consumer IoT security, which contains a number of important ideas, notably that the security of personal data should be protected. But the Code of Practice is purely voluntary, which means that its impact will be limited.

    • Windows 10 updates – One small step for man, one big …

      You may feel this article is all over the place – but it’s not. It’s a culmination of about four years of a process that ended up being rather superfluous. Automatic – and forced – updates did not yield better quality, stability or security to Microsoft Windows users, something the vendor has acknowledged and is gradually rolling the clock back from agile to awesome. In this regard, there are almost no documented cases where giant corporations admitted mistakes and managed to steer themselves to a different track. So this is hugely important, no matter what you think or feel about Microsoft.

      That said, there’s still a lot more to be done to regain the legendary quality of yore – and also restore the user trust. Updates are a first step on that journey. For me, the end will have been achieved when I realize I need not make any changes to the system defaults ever again. And if Microsoft plays their card right, they can win big here. Because mobile systems are all about being closed and locked with little to no user control, so Microsoft has the opportunity to do the opposite. We’re not there yet, the hope is strong, the perils high. But for now, as far as Windows Updates are concerned, it’s a step in the right direction. One small step for man one giant leap for … whatever.

    • How to update the nmap database
    • Bilibili source code containing user names and passwords leaked on GitHub

      A repository containing a large number of user names and passwords for Chinese video-streaming site Bilibili was found on open-source software development platform GitHub, Chinese media reported on Monday.
      The repository, called “Bilibili website backend codes,” has been taken down by GitHub “due to excessive use of resources,” said the company. It contained more than 50 megabytes of source code, according to a Reddit post dated Monday. A key opinion leader (KOL) on microblogging site Weibo posted two screenshots of the leaked codes, which has since been taken down. One screenshot shows the redacted username and password for a Bilibili user.

    • Open Source and botnets – we’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto [Ed: This does not describe an issue with Free/Open Source software but with devices whose developers leave open ports with identical passwords across all devices etc.]=

      In a recently released blog article, Tom Bienkowski says, without question, open-source software has been a boon to developers everywhere.

      “Once viewed as a kind of anarchy in the commercial software world, its early proponents have long since been vindicated, as open source gained mainstream respectability on the strength of popular platforms like Linux, Apache and Firefox. Commercial developers have widely embraced open-source components for their flexibility, cost savings, and the support of the vast open-source community.

      “As with so many technology success stories, however, there’s a dark side to open source as well. The core principle of open source is that it is made freely available to anyone for any purpose – in most cases, with wholly benign intentions. But not always.”

      Hamman says that by the end of 2017, around 27 billion IoT devices had been connected and it is this rush to connect everything and unlock the power of collected data that has seen security become a bit of an afterthought.

    • Unpatched ModSecurity CRS vulnerabilities leave web servers open to denial-of-service attacks

      A clutch of unpatched vulnerabilities in ModSecurity’s OWASP Core Rule Set has left potentially thousands of web servers open to denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.

      ModSecurity is a popular open source web application firewall (WAF) that’s designed to help stop attacks or unwanted behavior against applications by monitoring all HTTP traffic in real time.

      The tool works through the implementation of WAF rules. Security professionals can create their own custom rules or deploy existing libraries, such as the free-to-install OWASP Core Rule Set.

    • Security Landscape of the Docker Ecosystem and Best Practices [Ed: Sergio De Simone feeds the malicious FOSS FUD form Snyk, whose sole activity is badmouthing FOSS and partnering with Microsoft]
  • Defence/Aggression

    • 3 children shot as police open fire on alleged robbery suspect

      Three children were injured as police in Oklahoma opened fire on a robbery suspect Friday evening.

    • The Yemen Project: Announcement – bellingcat

      Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins said, “Over the last several years Bellingcat has led the way in developing the use of online open source investigation. With this new project, we take it to the next level, taking everything we’ve learned and, with the help of GLAN, turning it into a groundbreaking process for archiving and investigation.”

    • IS conflict: Coalition strikes on Raqqa ‘killed 1,600 civilians’

      More than 1,600 civilians were killed in US-led coalition air and artillery strikes during the offensive to oust the Islamic State group from the Syrian city of Raqqa in 2017, activists say.
      Amnesty International and monitoring group Airwars said they had carried out investigations at 200 strike locations and identified 1,000 of the victims.
      They urged the coalition to “end almost two years of denial” about such deaths.
      The coalition says there were 180 civilian casualties in its campaign.
      Commanders say all feasible precautions to avoid civilian casualties were taken in those cases and that the decisions to strike complied with the law of armed conflict.

    • A New Socialist Movement Must Oppose Both Capitalism and Imperialism

      Spurred on by the global justice movement of the late 1990s, and the U.S. invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, Marxists like David Harvey and Ellen Meiksins Wood have produced a flowering of theorization about capitalism and imperialism. Author William I. Robinson has been a key contributor to this new body of work, in particular with his books A Theory of Global Capitalism and Global Capitalism and the Crisis of Humanity.

      His latest collection of essays, Into the Tempest: Essays on the New Global Capitalism, is a provocative and accessible summary of his argument that globalization — which he calls the “master process of our age” — has ushered in a new epoch of capitalism. He contends that this epoch was born out of the global recession the system underwent in the 1970s.

      Up until then, capitalism was a world economy divided up into hierarchically organized national economies, dominated by great imperial powers like the U.S. To overcome the recession, corporations broke out of that national framework in search of cheap labor, resources and markets. Over the subsequent decades, transnational corporations established a new global system of production, finance and services.

      In the process, Robinson argues, a new fraction of capital emerged: a transnational capitalist class that is not tied to any particular nation-state. Their corporations run global assembly lines, their boards are made up of executives from many different countries, and they advocate common ideologies and policies of neoliberal globalization.

    • Disrupting Elliott Abrams

      Elliott Abrams, the U.S. State Department Special Representative for Venezuela, delivered the keynote speech at the Atlantic Council’s event “Venezuela After Maduro: A Vision for the Country’s Future.”

      See the entire 1 hour 26 min. Atlantic Council video here.

      Following are several clips of what Abrams had to say, followed by our commentary. The best part of the event occurred when the brilliant CODEPINK activist, Ariel Gold interrupted the vicious neo-conservative at 25:38:

      “It should not be up to you to determine the future of Venezuela. How dare you orchestrate a coup in Venezuela! How dare you impose economic sanctions that harm the people of Venezuela! How dare you!”

      Abrams had no choice but to pause while the truth was spoken.

      Click here to see Ariel’s brave action.

      Abrams (in quotes) “Venezuelans deserve to hear our views not only about today’s Venezuela but also about tomorrow’s… Very few countries have ever seen such a political, social, and economic calamity befall them after decades of democracy and prosperity.”

    • ‘Nowhere to Run To’

      It had found me. The mini-Moloch that used to chase me around Lebanon had followed me to the States, except now it was all grown up and really pissed. How could this happen?

      One minute, you’re taking a leak, your tendency toward idle contemplation in such instances leading you to ponder why James Earl Jones’s baritone voice is so often described as “commanding.” And the next minute, you’re sitting in front of the television watching CNN. Not because of James Earl Jones’s commanding way of saying “This…is CNN,” but because, while flipping through the channels, you come across a vaguely familiar high-rise building with a large hole in it, from which smoke is billowing.

      I knew it was an attack as soon as I saw that building, despite the fact that the people on TV kept going on about a “tragic accident.” I also knew, instinctively, who―or pretty much who―had carried it out. The first thought to enter my mind concerned my former friend Khaled. You fool, if only you’d waited, you’d have found yourself in precisely the situation you longed for. How not, with Arabs and Muslims in the States surely about to enter an era in which the burden of proof would fall on them to prove their humanity?

      When the second plane hit, thoughts of fleeing, of just grabbing a bag and jumping in the car and driving away like some sort of fugitive, invaded my mind. But I had nowhere to run to. No Ashrafieh if skirmishes broke out in Hamra, no Brummana if Ashrafieh blew up. America was thousands of times larger than Lebanon, but because it was a real country as opposed to a patchwork of distinct and feuding localities, and because the now giant Moloch, as ravenous for human life as ever, had devoured so many people with just one bite, someone like me, whose appearance betrayed a shared geographic if not ethnic origin with the bloodthirsty ogre, could not hide anywhere.

    • What’s Driving Bolton’s Attacks on the “Troika of Tyranny”?

      If you’re in the market for a troika of tyranny, Donald Trump, John Bolton, and Mike Pompeo certainly fit the bill. Or, if you’d rather focus on countries not individuals, you might single out Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt as the three most likely candidates. Perhaps, if you’re in a confessional mood, how about Christian fundamentalism, Jewish extremism, and Salafist Wahhabism?

      A troika, for those who haven’t read any 19th-century Russian novels recently, is a carriage drawn by three horses. So, the ultimate troika of tyranny, from the point of view of the planet as a whole, would feature the three horsemen of the ongoing apocalypse: climate change, nuclear proliferation, and global pandemic.

      But no, that’s not what National Security Advisor John Bolton had in mind when he talked last week of a “troika of tyranny.” In a rehash of a speech he gave in November in Miami, Bolton declared last week that the “troika of tyranny — Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua — is beginning to crumble.” Further laying on the insults, Bolton called Cuba’s Miguel Díaz-Canel, Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro, and Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega “the three stooges of socialism.”

      Ever since George W. Bush included Iraq, Iran, and North Korea in an “axis of evil,” speechmakers have been in search of the holy grail of geopolitical matchmaking (for instance, Condoleezza Rice’s “outposts of tyranny”).

      Bush’s phrase, which proved so enduring, was an extraordinarily flawed piece of work. The three countries he grouped together had little to no relationship at the time. Iraq and Iran had fought a nearly decade-long war that left them bitter regional rivals. North Korea, which has no ideological affinity to either country, was probably included in the list so that it didn’t appear anti-Islamic. This particular axis didn’t have a leg to stand on.

    • What the UK’s Labour Party Can Teach Democrats About Internationalism

      One year ago, the UK Labour party released its guiding manifesto on international development.

      Written by then Shadow Secretary of State for International Development Kate Osamor, the brief, accessible manifesto overturns the dominant neoliberal development model and replaces it with a bold, progressive vision of “A World For The Many, Not The Few.”

      Though far from perfect, A World For The Many is an extraordinary document to come from the largest political party in western Europe. As Democratic presidential hopefuls stake out their own policy positions and fight to prove their progressive credentials, they would do well to consult the Labour manifesto.

      There has long been a bipartisan consensus on international development. Development policy is about stimulating private sector-led economic growth. This is achieved through private investment, charitable aid, and pressure to adopt “Washington Consensus” policies of austerity, privatization, and market fundamentalism.

      While conservatives and liberals may debate the extent of “pro-market” reforms, the ideal size of the aid budget, or which new fad is the development magic bullet, they widely agree on the basic premise.

      A World For The Many offers a different approach. Global poverty exists not because some countries simply failed to grow, but because unequal global political structures systematically hold the vast majority down to the benefit of the few. Properly considered, development — if it is even to be called that — should be about replacing these structures for a fairer world.

    • Turkey: Revenge of the Kurds

      After 18 years of unchallenged power and success, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suddenly finds himself in the middle of several domestic and foreign crises with no obvious way out. It is unfamiliar ground for a master politician who has moved nimbly from the margins of power to the undisputed leader of the largest economy in the Middle East.

      His problems are largely of his own making: an economy built on a deeply corrupt construction industry, a disastrous intervention in Syria and a declaration of war on Turkey’s Kurdish population. All of these initiatives have backfired badly. In the Mar. 31 local elections, Erdogan’s conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost control of all of Turkey’s major cities, including the country’s political center, Ankara, and the nation’s economic engine, Istanbul. The latter contributes more than 30 percent of Turkey’s GNP.

      That is not to say that the man is down and out. The AKP is demanding a re-run of the Istanbul election and is preventing the progressive mayors of several Kurdish cities in Turkey’s southeast from assuming office. Erdogan is not a man who shies from using brute force and intimidation to get his way. Close to 10,000 of his political opponents are in prison, hundreds of thousands of others have been dismissed from their jobs, and opposition media is largely crushed. The final outcome of the election is by no means settled.

      But force will only exacerbate Erdogan’s problems.

      The Kurds are a case in point. When the leftist Kurdish-based People’s Democratic Party (HDP) made a major electoral breakthrough in 2015—winning 81 seats in the Parliament and denying the AKP a majority—Erdogan responded by ending peace talks with the Kurds and occupying Kurdish towns and cities.

    • The Style Section Meets State Craft: Amal Clooney and the Foreign Policy Influencers

      Even on a slow news day, the appointment of Amal Clooney as UK Special Envoy for Press Freedom wouldn’t have elicited much more than a glance at a headline to a gossip column item of little relevance to anyone outside her immediate circle of Royals, war criminals, and fashion editors. After all, the once globetrotting lawyer and now jet setting campaigner is no stranger to the honors and accolades handed out to her by the lofty institutions who gain from currying her favor, or her movie star husband’s.

      Whatever the mission, Madame De Clooney can be counted on to don magisterial robes over a fashion forward ensemble in this season’s palette of scorched earth tones in keeping with her carefully crafted image of a justice-dispensing fashion warrior. You might sum up her role in world affairs as “The Style section meets State Craft”.

      “Even in stilettos, Ms Clooney flits effortlessly from The House of Lords to La Maison Du Dior. The world stage is her catwalk and her long, brisk stride takes her from a refugee camp one day to a glittering fundraiser the next. . . ”

      If you have been Keeping Up with the Klooneys, you would know that (K)amal singlehandedly resolved a crisis in Darfur just hours before hosting the Met Ball, and successfully delivering twins by Caesarian section that very morning. By now, you might have noticed that your squalid life doesn’t quite measure up to Lady Clooney’s blessed existence. Chances are you didn’t wake up this morning next to a beautifully unshaven Hollywood legend in your palatial Italian villa and successfully re-negotiated the Magna Carta as you got the twins off to their Lake Geneva nursery retreat. Clearly, George Clooney did well by trading up a string of baristas (and a pet pig) for a single barrister. Say what you will about the lifestyle of the rich and famous humanitarian, but let’s see you condemn ISIS in several dozen languages, while gazing prettily at the chief architects of the present mayhem playing out over much of the Middle East.

    • Anti-Satellite Weapons Versus National Security: Part One

      From Mr.Modi’s pronouncements it is evident that he was trying to address two different audiences: one domestic and the other international. In attempting to do so, Mr.Modi was actually indulging in doublespeak: he is desperate to prove to his domestic audience that he is a hawk while at the same time pretending before the rest of the world that he is a dove. To his domestic audiences, he loudly proclaims that India has turned into a space superpower by catapulting into the star-wars club and accordingly tries to instill in Indians the belief that India’s new self-ordained status as a hawkish nation is a matter of national pride. To his international audiences, he wishes to project India as a conciliatory and peace loving nation and tries to assure the world at large that India’s new weapon is not targeted at anyone. Similarly, Mr. Modi wishes to project the ASAT weapon system as a weapon of defense, whereas the truth is that the ASAT system is an entirely offensive weapon system that is intended only to destroy its target. It is incapable of providing protection to anyone or anything because of its inherent nature as a weapon that is launched from Earth to destroy a predetermined target in space. ASAT weapons can destroy satellites of one’s adversaries or one’s own; they cannot shield a single Indian satellite from being a target of attack. The assertion that deployment of ASAT weapons can protect Indian satellites and other assets in space is, thus, a completely false and misleading claim. Under the circumstances, how could the ASAT weapon system, which is incapable of safeguarding a single Indian satellite in outer space, provide protection to 1300 million Indians? Such absurd claims are only intended to hoodwink Indians in order to elicit their support for the mindless attempt of Mr.Modi’s government at weaponization of outer space.

    • Continual Confrontation in the South China Sea

      In a display of groveling sycophancy the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, has decided to name an illegal Jewish settlement in the occupied Golan Heights after Donald Trump. (Trumpen-lebensraum, perhaps?) This follows an equally bizarre proposal by Poland’s President Duda to call a US military base Fort Trump, which The Economist observed “struck many Poles as toe-curlingly crass”. It is intriguing to speculate on what might come next. Perhaps the Pentagon will suggest renaming a South China Sea islet in his honor. One choice could be Mischief Reef in the Spratly Island chain, where the US Navy regularly disports itself in “routine and regular freedom of navigation operations.”

      Freedom of Navigation is most important, and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea lays down that “The high seas are open to all States, whether coastal or land-locked. Freedom of the high seas is exercised under the conditions laid down by this Convention and by other rules of international law.”

      The generally accepted definition of freedom of navigation is “the right recognized in international law especially by treaties or agreements for vessels of one or all states to navigate streams passing through two or more states.”

      The United States is the self-appointed guardian of the Seas, and declares it “will exercise and assert its navigation and overflight rights and freedoms on a worldwide basis in a manner that is consistent with the balance of interests reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention.” There is a problem with this, in that the US Senate refuses to ratify the Convention, which makes nonsense of the constant threats by Washington that everybody must obey it or there will be the United States to reckon with, in the shape of the US Navy which roams the seas with its eleven aircraft carriers, 9 amphibious ready groups (more accurately, strike squadrons), 22 cruisers and 66 destroyers with, down below, some seventy submarines. Nuclear weapons abound, but nobody knows which surface vessels carry them (except the intelligence services of China and Russia), because it is policy to “neither confirm nor deny” if nuclear weapons are on board.

      It is remarkable that the only national leader ever to have publicly condemned the “neither confirm nor deny” rule was New Zealand’s Prime Minister David Lange in 1984 when he “barred the visit of the American Navy destroyer Buchanan after Washington refused to say whether it was nuclear-armed or not.” The US then demonstrated its maturity and “suspended naval maneuvers with New Zealand and stopped sharing intelligence information with it” and cancelled a high level security conference. Lange showed his disdain for such antics when speaking at a farewell dinner for the US ambassador, H Monroe Browne, in 1986. The ambassador, as with so many US heads of mission, was a rich man who had bought his appointment, and he owned a racehorse called Lacka Reason, about which Lange observed that “You are the only ambassador in the world to race a horse named after your country’s foreign policy.”

      Which brings us to Washington’s shenanigans in the South China Sea.

    • “I Hope You’re Happy”: In Middle of NRA Speech, Trump Signs Order to Withdraw From Global Arms Treaty

      “I hope you’re happy,” Trump told the crowd gathered at the NRA’s annual convention in Indianapolis as he signed a letter asking the Senate to stop the treaty ratification process.

      The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) was negotiated at the United Nations and signed by former President Barack Obama in 2013, but Congress never ratified the agreement.

      Adotei Akwei, deputy director for advocacy and government relations for Amnesty International USA, warned in a statement that the president’s move could open the “floodgates for arms sales with weakened human rights criteria, which could potentially fuel brutal conflicts and make everyone less safe.”

      “This announcement is a misguided blow to efforts to promote international peace and security,” said Akwei. “As the biggest arms exporter, the U.S. signature to the ATT was an important step towards ensuring that dangerous weapons stay out of the wrong hands.”

    • How Chicago Police Infiltrated, Spied on Anti-NATO Organizers

      Mealer justified the infiltration by saying that the “investigation of CANG [sic] is necessary to acquire event information from members and participants of CANG8 that might not be shared directly with the city by the organization leaders or its members” – even though CANG8 had filed for permits for its protest.

      Mealer further claimed that the infiltration was necessary because “The anti-war protest by the same organizer [Andy Thayer, signer of the 2012 permit application] on March 20, 2003, resulted in actions that resulted in numerous arrests and stresses on city services due to the event.”

      The Commander was referring to the 10,000-strong march on Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive at the start of the 2nd U.S. invasion of Iraq. About an hour later Chicago Police kettled the remaining demonstrators and passersby on Chicago Avenue, carrying out the largest mass arrest in the city’s history. All of the charges against the demonstrators and passersby were later dropped in a manner indicative of innocence.

      In June 2012 the City settled a class action civil rights suit filed by the 2003 demonstrators for $6.2 million, with an additional $4.8 million in attorneys’ fees and costs going to the demonstrators’ lawyers, most of whom were members of the National Lawyers Guild.

    • Iraq War Vet Drove Car Into Crowd He Thought Were Muslims, Police Say

      An Iraq War veteran deliberately drove into a group of pedestrians because he thought some of the people were Muslim, California authorities said Friday.

      Isaiah Joel Peoples, 34, faces eight counts of attempted murder for injuring eight people, including four who remain hospitalized. The most seriously injured is a 13-year-old Sunnyvale girl of South Asian descent who is in a coma with severe brain trauma.

      “New evidence shows that the defendant intentionally targeted the victims based on their race and his belief that they were of the Muslim faith,” Sunnyvale police chief Phan Ngo said.

      Peoples appeared briefly in Santa Clara County Superior Court on Friday. He did not enter a plea and is being held without bail.

      The former U.S. Army sharpshooter experienced post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Iraq, his family said. Peoples’ attorney, Chuck Smith, said Friday that the crash was in no way deliberate.

      “This act was clearly the product of some mental disorder or mental defect,” Smith said after the hearing.

    • Jesse Helms Rides Again

      In declaring Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela America’s latest “axis of evil,” and implementing Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, Donald Trump has once again demonstrated his commitment to undoing Barack Obama’s presidency—even if it means harming U.S. interests.

      Named after far-right North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms and his co-sponsor, Republican Congressman Dan Burton, the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Libertad) Act of 1995 sought to strangle the Cuban revolution by tightening the United States’ economic blockade while simultaneously incentivizing other countries to impose sanctions on the island nation. But there was one especially damaging section of the bill that then President Bill Clinton had failed to remove: Title III.

      Clinton ultimately recognized that this section took the United States’ economic warfare a step too far, precluding U.S. citizens, residents and companies from trading with Cuba. It also declared that no other country could do the same without facing economic reprisals.

    • Ireland and India – Conflict and Commonality

      During one of many rebellions against British colonial rule in India he led a famed assault on Delhi. That was what became known as the Indian Munity of 1857. During the attack my townsman met his comeuppance, was wounded and died soon after.

    • Shakespeare Talks about Peace

      April 23 is the day the world celebrates what is thought to be Shakespeare’s day of birth, and then 52 years later, definitely his day of death, and also the celebration of St. George, the patron saint of England. I like to remember Will. Not only is he one of the greatest English writers of all time with one of the largest bodies of work, but he also makes sense of life and relationships and ideas. The plays really have something to say to us even in the twenty-first century.

      Throughout most of the play Hamlet, the title character Prince Hamlet berates himself for not avenging his father’s death. His father, the Ghost, has told him of his murder, but Hamlet values life and will not jump to revenge. He tries to discern the truth. By Act Four, in the Norwegian subplot, Hamlet learns that Fortinbras, the young leader of the Norwegians, is marching across Denmark to attack a part of Poland that is worth nothing and will not even be large enough to bury the dead who are killed in the battle.

    • Russian Agent Maria Butina Sentenced to 18 Months for Conspiracy

      Maria Butina, a Russian who admitted to secretly working for the Kremlin to infiltrate conservative U.S. political groups, was sentenced Friday to 18 months in prison.

      Butina has been jailed since her July 2018 arrest and had asked for a sentence of time served. But U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan imposed a sentence that would require Butina to spend an additional nine months behind bars, before being deported.

      Chutkan said the sentence was meant “to reflect the seriousness of (Butina’s actions) and to promote deterrence.”

      Butina’s lawyers decried the judgment as overly harsh; they had characterized Butina as a naive but ambitious international affairs student who simply didn’t realize her actions required her to register as an agent of a foreign government.

      “I feel terrible for Maria’s family … I wish we could have done more to get her out sooner,” said attorney Robert Driscoll. “I do not believe an additional nine months in jail serves any purpose.”

    • Sri Lanka Militants Set Off Bombs During Raid, Killing 15

      Militants linked to Easter suicide bombings opened fire and set off explosives during a raid by Sri Lankan security forces on a house in the country’s east, leaving behind a grisly discovery Saturday: 15 bodies, including six children.

      The gun battle that began Friday night and the carnage that followed come amid widespread fear of more attacks as officials hunt for militants with explosives believed to still be at large after the coordinated bombings of churches and luxury hotels that killed more than 250 people nearly a week ago.

      Raids and police curfews have shut down areas of eastern Sri Lanka, and Catholic leaders have canceled Sunday Masses indefinitely. Officials also urged Muslims to stay home for prayers in an extraordinary call by the clergy to curtail worship.

    • Robin Yassin-Kassab and the Aleppo Revolution that Never was

      Robin Yassin-Kassab has distinguished himself as one of Britain’s leading regime-change propagandists. Whether it’s Libya, Syria or Venezuela, Mr. Yassin-Kassab can be handsomely relied upon to supply the clever and poetic armoury to push forward narratives to facilitate Western imperialism militarily overhauling a nation-state not to its predisposition. For most of the last decade, Syria was his favoured target for spewing regime-change propaganda.

    • Oliver North Says He Won’t Serve 2nd Term as NRA President

      Retired Lt. Col. Oliver North said Saturday that he will not serve a second term as the president of the National Rifle Association amid inner turmoil in the gun-rights group.

      In a statement read to members of the group Saturday, North said he believes a committee should be set up to review the NRA’s finances. North was not present at the meeting when the statement was read by Richard Childress, the NRA’s first vice president.

      “There is a clear crisis and it needs to be dealt with” if the NRA is to survive, North’s statement said.

      His announcement came after an effort by some members to force out top executive Wayne LaPierre, who has long been the public face of the group.

      LaPierre sent a letter to board members Thursday saying that North was trying to push him out by threatening to release “damaging” information about him to the board.

      North, best known for his role in the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s, is nearing the end of his first one-year term. His announcement that he will not serve a second term is a clear sign that his efforts to force out LaPierre have failed.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Netizen Report: If protecting your privacy is ‘part of a conspiracy,’ then we’re all in big trouble

      On April 11, two arrests were made in cases that could set game-changing legal precedents threatening online privacy and free speech protections.

      The first case made headlines worldwide: Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange was arrested by British police at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he had lived since 2012.

      Legal and ethical debates about the impact of material released on WikiLeaks — troves of classified documents that have affected the rise, fall and floundering of multiple governments around the world — alongside sexual assault allegations against Assange, have resurfaced in public debate since his arrest. But these are not new.

    • What’s Really Behind Julian Assange’s Arrest

      The recent arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has provoked a wide spectrum of responses in the media, but many journalists seem to recognize the Trump administration’s attack on the publisher as setting a dangerous precedent for freedom of the press. Many reports have focused on what Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer deems a mischaracterization of Assange’s character that is used to justify a heinous persecution and bury the fact that Assange, in his publishing of news, has acted much like any newspaper.

      “It’s kind of a shame that we have to say, put in this disclaimer, ‘whatever you think of Julian Assange,’ ” the Truthdig editor in chief tells his guest, Bruce Shapiro, in the latest installment of “Scheer Intelligence.” “Because of course, any whistleblower is going to be attacked, and it’s the traditional argument of shooting the messenger. […] Julian Assange, and Chelsea Manning more spectacularly […] distributed at least 700,000 military, war and diplomatic records. And there is no question of the news value of those records, the right of the public to know that information, the need of the public to know that information. There has not been one documented example of an injury or death as a result of the release of that information.”

    • We Are All Julian Assange!: An Anarchist Soliloquy

      These are the days, dearest motherfuckers. These are those days. These days. These days of rage. These do or die days. These all or nothing days. These days with the ice caps melting and the seas rising to drown their wayward children. These days with the empire collapsing all around us in heaps of flames like the glowing red spires of a thousand Notre Damme’s. Days of hysteria and blindness. Days of gnashing teeth and talking heads decapitated from the reality they pontificate upon. Days of drones strikes and indefinite detention. The end of days for the worlds most abominable superpower, exit stage right. But the actors in this epic tragedy are revolting. Swing low, sweet cherry, Helter Skelter is coming down with a fight. Nero’s finale is rapidly becoming a concerto. In days like these, truth has become a precious commodity. The kind of glimmering prize that even the better angels of our nature are tempted to horde. But sadly sometimes even horded prizes can be taken for granite. Washed away in the rapids of filth that can only be called “truth” in parentheses.

      It’s not easy to tell eight billion people that they are damned to a hell of their own creation. Pacifists have been crucified for far less. An entire estate once devoted to just such a task has collapsed beneath the weight of its responsibility. A whole new estate had to be created on the fringes to take their place. Unlike the Fourth, we dreary partisans of the Fifth Estate are not charming birds performing behind the gilded cage of a faberge news desk. We are not the beautiful people. We are the freaks, the weirdos, the hackers, the leakers, the bloggers, the trolls, the 300 pound kids in Belorussian babushka’s basements pounding our stubby little fingers black and blue against our machines. We are the heard unseen. We are the fissures in the crumbling iceberg. The embers in the belfry. And this week we are all Julian Assange.

      Seven long years buried alive in the catacombs of a South American embassy. Or was it eight? So hard to tell with no sunlight. Shanghaid on trumped up charges for the crime of exposing the horrific realities of America’s rapidly collapsing forever wars. Seven long years of playing claustrophobic games of cat and mouse with the closing walls. Tempting fate to jump first from the brink of our burgeoning insanity. We told the truth. We showed it to them in stark black and white. We showed them the bodies. First the men, their guilt unverified, irrelevant. Then the women. Then the children. Fed, charred, writhing and screaming to the tomahawk fangs of a great green machine, it’s vital organs laughing and cheering, basking in the thick black smoke of their state sanctioned cruelty. We showed them the digital kraken in the Utah desert. We showed them the tentacles connecting our police state to every flickering screen in this country and beyond, keeping tabs on the indentured citizenry of a world that can only be called “free” in parentheses. They just shrugged.

    • So Where is the Swedish Warrant?

      If the Swedish allegations against Julian Assange were genuine and not simply a ruse to arrest him for extradition to the United States, where is the arrest warrant now from Sweden and what are the charges?

      Only the more minor allegation has passed the statute of limitations deadline. The major allegation, equivalent to rape, is still well within limits. Sweden has had seven years to complete the investigation and prepare the case. It is over two years since they interviewed Julian Assange in the Ecuadorean Embassy. They have had years and years to collect all the evidence and prepare the charges.

      So where, Swedish prosecutors, are your charges? Where is your arrest warrant?

      Julian Assange has never been charged with anything in Sweden. He was merely “wanted for questioning”, a fact the MSM repeatedly failed to make clear. It is now undeniably plain that there was never the slightest intention of charging him with anything in Sweden. All those Blairite MPs who seek to dodge the glaring issue of freedom of the media to publish whistleblower material revealing government crimes, by hiding behind trumped-up sexual allegations, are left looking pretty stupid.

      What is the point of demanding Assange be extradited to Sweden when there is no extradition request from Sweden? What is the point in demanding he face justice in Sweden when there are no charges? Where are the charges from Sweden?

      The answer to that is silence.

    • Tony Kevin Speaks Out on Assange

      We live in dangerous times. US imperial power is flailing around in its death throes , making trouble for people and nations all over the world. Blocking real action on climate change, trying to foment regime change in Venezuela and Iran, troublemaking in the South China Sea, illegally maintaining military presences in Syria. The US governing elite remains obsessively Russophobic. The nuclear arms race is slipping out of control under dangerous American illusions of global military supremacy. We are living through the most perilous moment since the Cuban missile crisis; more perilous even, since in the craziness of Russiagate, the US government is not currently even speaking to Russia.

      And here in Australia we have a crucially important election underway, whose outcome will be vital to our young people and other disadvantaged communities.

      So why bother about this person called Julian Assange? This one weird early middle-aged guy who seems to have a knack for getting up the noses of so many powerful people and governments? Aren’t there bigger things we need to think about than the fate of this one particularly troublesome person? Should we not just think of him as ‘collateral damage’ of the past 20 years, and move on to more important and current debates and causes?

      The fact that some of us are here today for this demonstration, in a city not big on demonstrations, shows we do not accept that argument. We recognise that Julian is pivotal to so much that is happening around us.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Renewables Offset 35 Times More CO2 Every Year Than All Carbon Capture Projects Ever, New Analysis Finds

      A new analysis by Clean Technica found that global investment in carbon capture and storage technology (CCS) adds up to roughly $7.5 billion total. It also examined how much, for that investment, CCS has reduced atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels compared to an equivalent investment in renewable power generation.

      The analysis calculated that “wind and solar are displacing roughly 35 times as much CO2 every year as the complete global history of CCS.” Clean Technica’s Mike Barnard concluded, “CCS is a rounding error in global warming mitigation.”

    • The Green New Deal Died in Congress…It Didn’t Have To

      Without the support of farmers and unions, the Green New Deal (GND) will remain a list of talking points for politicians. The democrats made a serious error releasing their 14-page non-binding House Resolution 109 without those groups taking a lead in its role out.

      One of the more comprehensive and balanced reviews of the GND’ broad and worthy goals, is from John de Graaf in his The Promise of the Green New Deal published in Front Porch Republic. Among the many points he makes is the critical need to bring aboard farmers, who are one of the Republican Party’s core constituencies.

      Like de Graaf, Raj Patel and Jim Goodman in their piece A Green New Deal for Agriculture in Jacobin magazine, see President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal serving as a model of how a coalition including farmers and rural voters is needed to move progressive legislation forward. In particular, it can break the power of the current conservative cultural block that defines the climate debate.

      Unions are the other main ally that would be in pushing for the GND since they have the most to gain or lose from government policies impacting their work environment. Union members have been a core democratic constituency, but one that the republicans have slowly been siphoning away. Trump’s wins in the industrial states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin reflect that continued encroachment.

      These writers are following the first rule of defeating an entrenched opposition, you must crack their forces before attempting a frontal assault. As Raj Patel and Jim Goodman put it, GND advocates must “unpick the alliances that the current bloc works to maintain, to find the fault lines that can pry that bloc apart.” Unfortunately, congressional democrats failed to follow that rule and it seems that democratic presidential candidates are doing so as well. Washington State Governor Inslee, running as the climate change presidential candidate, missed an opportunity to reach out to rural voters when he launched his first campaign video and did not have either farmers or labor spokespeople talking about the importance of climate change.

      Political allies need to be at the table when designing and announcing new programs or visionary statements. If they are not sitting at the table, they could be tossing tomatoes at these efforts or just remain silent. This was evident from the main organizations representing these two constituents in responding to the launch of the GND; at best it was muted and at times hostile.

    • As UN Climate Chief Urges Immediate Action to Save Planet, Extinction Rebellion’s New Book Gets Rushed to Press

      That’s the message from both the United Nation’s climate chief and a climate mobilization group as they sound the alarm on the catastrophe that awaits if the world continues its business as usual.

      In interviews with the Associated Press, Patricia Espinosa, who serves as executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said that “the window of opportunity” to avert catastrophic global warming “is closing very soon.”

      That means capping global warming at a 1.5 degrees C threshold, she said. But, in order to do that, “much more political will” is needed.

      “It doesn’t mean that we need to wait 12 years and then look at it as the moment to do this,” Espinosa said, referencing an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released last year.

      Changes to the status quo, she argued, need to be immediate.

      “The truth is that if we continue to produce, consume, to function as we are doing now,” she told AP, “we know that we are going toward a catastrophe.”

      We must “get to a moment where leaders recognize that there is no option,” said Espinosa.

      One group that recognizes that time crunch is Extinction Rebellion (XR).

    • Can Humanity and Nature Co-Exist Under Capitalism?

      Two new documentaries tackle the all-important question of our age, namely how humanity and nature can co-exist in a period of insurmountable capitalist contradiction, especially when humanity takes the form of small businesspeople hoping to exploit natural resources under duress.

      Opening at The Landmark at 57 West on May 10th, “The Biggest Little Farm” is a stunningly dramatic portrait of a husband and wife trying to create an ecotopian Garden of Eden forty miles north of Los Angeles. (Nationwide screening info is here.)

      Idealist to a fault but utterly inexperienced as farmers, they encounter one obstacle after another in the hope of doing well by doing good. Essentially, they discover that by creating a bounteous yield of edibles destined for the organic foods market, they also attract a plague of gophers, coyotes, starlings and snails that see their farm as a dinner plate. Trying to balance their ecotopian values with the appetites of the animal kingdom becomes an ordeal they never anticipated.

      Utterly indifferent to ecological values, the lobster fishermen depicted in Bullfrog Film’s “Lobster War: The Fight Over the World’s Richest Fishing Grounds” are family and village-oriented. As long as they can haul in the valuable crustaceans and keep themselves and their respective towns in Maine and Canada prosperous, nothing much else matters. Not being able to see outside the box, they symbolize the short-term mindset of the ruling class. If lobsters become extinct because of unsustainable practices, the fishermen might turn to other profitable marine life. But when all animals become extinct except for rodents, pigeons and cockroaches, homo sapiens will be next in line.

    • A Green New Deal Town Hall: Paving the Way for a Just Transition

      How do we make the Green New Deal real? By holding town hall meetings led, centered and organized by the people – discussions so honest that you’re not the same person when you leave. These are the kinds of discussions we need to be having as a community – and some of us have been talking honestly about this for a long time. Need inspiration? Let women of color lead the way.

      We held a town hall like this last week at the Jamaica Plain Forum in Boston featuring Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley and local activist Rev. Mariama White-Hammond. These two fierce leaders are pushing for a cultural shift towards community and equity, values that will return us to harmony during our battle for survival from the environmental emergency upon us.

      Right now, we see the disharmony play out before our eyes. It’s been just over a month since Cyclone Idai hit Mozambique, killing several hundred people, leveling hundreds of thousands of homes, and destroyed the main source of food – all in a country where more than half the population lives under the poverty line.

    • Russian investigators open criminal case saying petroleum exported to Belarus was contaminated intentionall

      A week after low-quality Russian petroleum was first reported in Belarus, Russian investigators have opened a criminal case to look into the matter, Interfax reported. The Russian company Transneft argued that the contamination of petroleum in the Druzhba pipeline was intentional, saying that an organochlorine compound was added to the pipeline at the Samaratransneftterminal junction in Samara. An investigation is ongoing in several private offices in the city.

    • Global inequality is 25% higher than it would have been in a climate-stable world

      Those least responsible for global warming will suffer the most. Poorer countries – those that have contributed far less to climate change – tend to be situated in warmer regions, where additional warming causes the most devastation. Extreme weather events such as Syria’s prolonged drought, South Asia’s catastrophic monsoon floods, and Cyclone Idai in South-East Africa, the third deadliest cyclone on record, are becoming more likely and more severe.

      These events are disproportionately bringing death, displacement, and crop failure. As a result of this, projections estimate that the economies of poorer, warmer countries will be gravely harmed by climate change over coming decades, while the cooler, richer countries responsible for the vast majority of the extra CO2 in the air may even benefit in the short term. But as new research reveals, this is not just a future concern – the economic injustice of climate change has already been operating for 60 years.

      The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, compared different countries’ GDP per capita – a measure of the average person’s economic standard of living – between 1961 and 2010. It then used climate models to estimate what each country’s GDP would have been without the effects of climate change. The findings are stark.

    • Making Case for Green New Deal, Abdul El-Sayed Argues It’s Also a Public Health New Deal

      The Green New Deal is also a Public Health New Deal—and should be supported for that—physician and progressive activist Abdul El-Sayed argues in a op-ed published Friday in The Guardian.

      El-Sayed garnered national attention last year for his ultimately unsuccessful run for governor in Michigan’s Democratic primary. But before that, he served as Detroit’s health director—and through that role, he writes, “I realized that the forces that cause climate change are the same forces that poisoned the lungs of babies in my city.”

      The doctor details his journey from a “reluctant” to “full-fledged environmental activist,” spurred by his obligation to “provide basic public health goods and services for 700,000 people in a city that had been marginalized by almost every level of government intended to serve them.” He demands bold action to better serve communities like his and address the root causes of the global climate crisis.

  • Finance

    • Wall Street Rags and Riches

      Good humor mixes with apocalyptic for this much-needed palliative for those newly dark times: the music and lyrics are all about diverting the listener from the cruel realities of the present.

      Music has buoyed markets for as long as they have existed. The greatest musician of the Dutch Golden Age, Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck had already been dead fifteen years by the time the tulip craze imploded in 1637, but his music remained popular at the time of the crash. Sweelinck had made himself famous in part by playing organ concerts featuring variations on secular dance tunes in the Old Church in Amsterdam as traders strolled below, making deals that included rampant speculation on tulips. That’s why I’ve always heard in the insouciant charm of his variations something of the effervescent thrill of high-risk stock trading.


      In contrast to music historians and festival organizers, who habitually capitalize on anniversaries, market watchers steer a wide course around such commemorations, since they inevitably direct thoughts towards the cyclic nature of markets and the unavoidable crash around the corner. Thus the Panic of 1907, when stock prices dropped by 50 per cent, received hardly a nod during its turbulent hundredth anniversary year. Maybe next year the South Sea Bubble will get its due, though with Brexit in the mix that may be to conjure the dark side of the zeitgeist.


      Still, “Wall Street” does what Wall Street wants: it consoles in bad times and rejoices in good. In spite of the superficial attempt to convey social unity across class and race, however, the surreal concluding tableau of Joplin’s rag, with its wealthy whites dancing in front of the stock exchange to joyful black music, cannot fully divert our ears and eyes from the more fundamental, and still operative, truth conveyed by this final image: the negroes have the rags, the brokers the riches.

    • Trump’s Bank Appears Willing to Cooperate With Investigation Against Him

      Deutsche Bank has begun turning over financial records related to President Donald Trump to New York’s attorney general, according to CNN.

      The bank, which loaned Trump more than $2 billion over two decades, has begun turning over records related to loans it made to the president and his businesses.

      Last month, New York Attorney General Letitia James issued subpoenas to the bank for records related to loans Trump obtained to build multiple buildings as well as his failed bid to buy the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.

      James opened an investigation into Trump’s finances after his former longtime lawyer Michael Cohen testified that the president inflated his assets in official documents, including in financial statements he provided to Deutsche Bank.

      The bank is now in the process of turning over loan documents and emails related to multiple Trump projects, including his Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C., the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, and the Trump National Doral Miami.

    • Make College Affordable for People Like Me

      As a black woman who was raised in poverty, I understand what it means to face constant hardships.

    • The College Admissions Scam Isn’t About Education

      What’s most surprising to me about the College Admissions Scam where fifty affluent and influential people were charged with bribery and fraud to get their unqualified children into top US colleges, is that these people actually thought that a college degree would help their children even more than their evident power and influence.

      Reading through the extensive documents, the enormity of the scandal, stretching from SAT test centers to tutors to athletic coaches and beyond – is incredible. It is evidence of what we all knew and what America continually tries to fool us into disbelieving – that life is fucking unfair. In the US especially, expensive, overpriced education perpetuates class and racial divisions and forbids social mobility. Removing education from the prison system has been one of the greatest disasters of the last few years. Every year we are moving towards a more hierarchical and uneven social system which is indicated by the deliberate deprivation of education to the masses.

      When education is already only attainable to a certain social class, it barely remains a surprise that within that small percentage of people an even smaller elite are even less willing to focus on merit or privilege, and believe that talent and knowledge, like everything else in their life, can be bought.

      This has created an overpriced education system which is as complicit in this scam as the idiotic Hollywood parents trying to pass off their teenage influencers as talented athletes. These schools are, and always have been, desperate to dictate to the rest of us who we should be reading, listening to, following, watching being represented by – in order to justify the ridiculous amounts of money they charge for their degrees. I am, and always will be, a staunch believer in free education but whether free education at university level can ever exist under Capitalism seems a utopic dream. As a graduate of Cambridge University myself – yet another elite educational establishment renowned, alongside Oxford, for producing 41 Prime Ministers to the United Kingdom – I was extremely aware of my status as a “token” state school student amongst the legacies elite, the gentry, the royals, the kids of the rich and famous and those who had donated vast sums of money to colleges and had little plaques all over the place to remind us all. Cambridge, when I attended, was ostensibly “free” to all (a decision reversed in 1997 when tuition fees were reintroduced in the UK) – and yet money, status and social and economic privilege still dictated entry, as it does today. Perhaps America is simply more honest about it than the Brits.

    • “I’m a Capitalist,” Says Warren…But Why?

      Warren has made clear that what she wants (and I do, too!) is “accountable capitalism,” a market economy that works for all of us because it responds to all of us—a market that’s truly competitive and always open to newcomers. Not what we have now.

      Today in the US, just two companies control more than half the market in twelve major industries. Four control nearly 90 percent of the total global grain trade. Six control 90 percent of American media, and four control over 80 percent of air travel.

      What Warren lauds are “fair markets, markets with rules.” Without them, she explains, it’s “about the rich tak[ing] it all… And that’s what’s gone wrong in America.”

      So, I wonder, why call oneself a capitalist?

    • Forfeit Your Pay and Resign: An Open Letter to Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg

      On April 4, 2019 you somewhat belatedly released a statement that “We at Boeing are sorry for the lives lost in the recent 737 MAX accidents.” You added that a preliminary investigation made it “apparent that in both flights” the MCAS “activated in response to erroneous angle of attack information.”

      Your acknowledgement of the problems with the 737 MAX somehow escaped inclusion in your messages to shareholders, the capital markets, and the Securities and Exchange Commission. It is now stunningly clear that your overly optimistic outlook on January 20, 2019 – after the Indonesian Lion Air crash – was misleading. Whatever the public learns, day after day about the troubles of your company, it is still far less than what Boeing knows will come out day by day, and not just about the deadly design of the 737 MAX.

      Your narrow-body passenger aircraft – namely, the long series of 737’s that began in the nineteen sixties was past its prime. How long could Boeing avoid making the investment needed to produce a “clean-sheet” aircraft and, instead, in the words of Bloomberg Businessweek “push an aging design beyond its limits?” Answer: As long as Boeing could get away with it and keep necessary pilot training and other costs low for the airlines as a sales incentive.

      To compete with the Airbus A320neo, Boeing equipped the 737 MAX with larger engines tilted more forward and upward on the wings than prior 737’s. Thus began the trail of criminal negligence that will implicate the company and its executives. The larger engines changed the center of gravity and the plane’s aerodynamics. Boeing management was on a fast track and ignored warnings by its own engineers, not to mention scores of other technical aerospace people outside the company.

    • Boeing Is a Perfect Parable for 21st-Century Capitalism

      A veteran commercial pilot and software engineer with over three decades of experience has just written the most damning account of the recent Boeing 737 fiasco. At one level, author Gregory Travis has provided us with the most detailed account of why a particular plane model once synonymous with reliability became a techno-death trap. But ultimately, his story is a parable of all that is wrong with 21st-century capitalism; Boeing has become a company that embodies all of its worst pathologies. It has a totally unsustainable business model—one that has persistently ignored the risks of excessive offshoring, the pitfalls of divorcing engineering from the basic R&D function, the perils of “demodularization,” and the perverse incentives of “shareholder capitalism,” whereby basic safety concerns have repeatedly been sacrificed at the altar of greed. It’s also a devastating takedown of a company that once represented the apex of civilian aviation, whose dominance has been steadily eroded as it has increased its toxic ties to the U.S. military. In that sense it mirrors the decline of America as a manufacturing superpower. And finally, it shows a company displaying a complete loss of human perspective in the “man vs. machine” debate.

      Here’s the crux of Travis’s analysis: “Design shortcuts” led to safety hazards. The newest version of Boeing’s 737 plane, previously known for its reliability and ease of use, became a high-tech disaster. Machines overwhelmed man. And worst of all, the aviation industry regulatory overseer, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), subcontracted the safety/certification functions to Boeing itself, so there was no early warning system in place to avert the resultant tragedy.

      Travis largely restricts his analysis to the 737. But his article illustrates pathologies long evident at Boeing and the FAA.

      Let’s look at the last problem first: The FAA suffers from reduced funding from Congress (the Daily Beast reported that “the agency’s 2019 budget actually cut funding for the Aviation Safety Office by 1.7 percent”), and a corresponding loss of aviation expertise, as many of its top personnel have migrated to the private sector. Of course, that’s nothing new for the FAA, which has a sad history of hemorrhaging personnel since the days of the air traffic controllers’ strike/collective dismissal under Reagan (a cost control measure), as well as embracing neoliberal, supposedly market-based performance incentives that are thoroughly inappropriate for a regulatory body first and foremost responsible for flight safety.

      Becoming more “industry-friendly” and starved of adequate personnel and fiscal resources to do its job properly, the FAA has therefore been forced to delegate much of its regulatory oversight and certification functions to the airline industry itself (“self-certification”) and has therefore become a case study in “regulatory capture.”

    • Coming Clean on Washing Machine Tariffs

      Jim Tankersley had a piece in the NYT yesterday on the cost per job saved of Trump’s tariffs on Chinese washing machines. According to the study, the cost per job saved was $817,000. While that is a steep tab, there are a few points that should be added to this sort of analysis.

      First, if the point of the tariffs is to benefit workers, part of this $817,000 cost is going to higher pay to workers who would have jobs with or without the tariff. The study doesn’t look at the impact on wages of workers in the industry, but if the goal is to help workers who make washing machines, then this should be factored into the assessment.

      The second point is that this is a partial equilibrium analysis. It doesn’t look at the overall effect on the economy of a reduction in the money we spend on importing washing machines. While this can be hard to assess, since imports of washing machines from China are a very small part of the total economy, other things equal we would expect that less money spent on imported washing machines would translate into a higher-valued dollar. (We are reducing the supply of dollars on world markets, thereby raising the price of dollars.)

    • Coming of Age at the End of History

      In 1989, in the midst of the collapse of the Soviet Union and just before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama argued, famously, that we had reached “the End of History.’ Echoing Margaret Thatcher’s dictum that ‘there is no alternative’ to neoliberal capitalism, Fukuyama averred that the triad of free markets, liberal democracy, and consumerist culture had become universal, enveloping the planet so thoroughly as to flatten historical time. There would be no more revolutionary upheaval, no more transformative social change. An ever-expanding capitalism, governed by some variant of representative democracy, was the only game in town, and it was here to stay.

      I was fifteen when Fukuyama penned “The End of History,” and – as much as I am loathe to admit it – I am a child of neoliberalism. I was born at the end of 1974, just as New York City entered its fateful descent into fiscal crisis. I grew up in Baltimore during the Reagan years, a witness to the ways in which racial capitalism eviscerated the city’s black and white working class, leaving many of my friends and their families adrift in an economy and a place that had been structurally abandoned. All the while, I was indoctrinated into a public policy common sense of austerity, privatization, and an expanding carceral state; as well as a hollowed-out notion of citizenship in which our subjectivities are constructed primarily through individual-entrepreneurial, rather than solidaristic-democratic, terms.

      Looking back, I am struck by how much of this I’ve imbibed, how much it has ordered what I’ve regarded as accepted knowledge, even as I’ve attempted to resist it. For most of my adult life, I’ve been a poverty lawyer/movement lawyer/community lawyer (the terminological distinctions matter, but not so much for the purposes of this essay), and, at times (especially recently) I have found myself questioning how I’ve gone about my work. Of course I knew that the pronouncements of Fukuyama and Thatcher were bankrupt – that they were the product of a politicized theology – but to what extent have my own political, intellectual, and professional horizons been limited by an unwitting, silent acceptance of that same theology?

    • Hating the Homeless

      Being rousted by the cops is hardly if ever a good thing. Back in 1982 I was sleeping under some trees in a park in Kansas City when I heard approaching footsteps. Dawn had barely broken. It was midsummer and I was hazily watching the dew turn to steam while I slowly woke from a sweaty sleep. My last ride had left me near the park about 11 the night before. There was a concert taking place so I hung out in the parking lot while the band played. The band was Blondie. After the show was over and the parking lots were clear I headed into the trees in search of a decent set of vegetation to hide in and sleep. Now, somebody was walking very close by. As it turned out, it was a pair of cops. They had their nightsticks out ready to pounce on me. I put my hands in the air and said hello. The taller one asked me for my identification while the other held on to his club. The one with the club took my ID, went back to their car to call in for warrants. I tried to make small talk with the other crewcutted uniform but he was not in the mood. A few minutes later, the other uniform (also crewcutted) came back and returned my identification. The two discussed my situation a few feet away as if I wasn’t there. Then they told me to get the hell out their sight. I took their advice. I did not want to go to jail.

      Raiding homeless camps and removing the tents the inhabitants of those camps use for shelter is standard practice throughout the United States. Recently, this idea was revived in a government subcommittee in Burlington, VT where I work. Besides the fact that this practice was recently ruled unconstitutional by a Federal Court in Seattle, it also violates the basic human rights of those who live in the camps. These camps have grown in size and in frequency around the nation. Indeed, the biggest difference between the years I had no real address in the 1970s and early 1980s is the sheer number of homeless people today. When I visited California, Oregon and Washington almost three years ago, I was both astounded and appalled at the vast numbers of people living in tents under bridges and in vacant lots. I had not been in that part of the United States in close to a decade and the sheer numbers had increased exponentially. So had the price of rent. Obviously, we’re talking causality and not correlation here. The number of people living in the streets is directly related to the gentrification occurring. The most honest definition of gentrification is kicking people out of their homes so the owner(s) can make a huge profit by selling it to a high bidder. In Europe it’s called housing speculation. No matter what, it puts people who have paid rent for years out in the street.

    • Elizabeth Warren’s Student Debt Plan: An Outsized Economic Boon for People of Color

      Presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) this week unveiled an ambitious plan to make college free, expand Pell Grants for students with low incomes, and cancel student loan debt for most borrowers, including around 8 in 10 Black and Latinx people.

      This marks the first time that mass student debt cancellation has been proposed as a serious, presidential campaign-level topic. It’s also one of the first mainstream plans that would provide massive help to families while potentially narrowing our nation’s persistent and shameful racial wealth gap.

      Warren’s plan, announced in a Medium post, is as follows: Everyone would receive free public college at two- or four-year schools with a massive expansion of Pell Grants for low-income and middle-class students to help pay for living costs and other expenses that make up the majority of borrowing. It is effectively both a guarantee of free college for everyone and a guarantee of debt-free college for students with low income. The plan would cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt for families making under $100,000 annually, with a sliding scale of forgiveness for those making between $100,000 and $250,000.

    • The rules of the Game Of Oligarchs

      Technology shrinks the world, makes geography less relevant. People find kinship, common cause, and community on the Internet, across nations and sometimes even languages. When the Internet began to erupt, when its connections began to draw such people closer together, this was anticipated with great hope and excitement. And with reason. At their best, the consequences are wonderful.

      But it turns out that, like most major social transformations, this transcendence of geography has come with a slew of unexpected emergent properties, not all of them good. Indeed, some of which probably already need to be mitigated — fast.

      It’s great that open-source communities can collaborate across the globe to craft tools which benefit everyone. It’s no bad thing that wealthy professionals in Singapore, San Francisco, Toronto, London, Dubai, and Hong Kong may feel they have more in common with one another than with people who live an hour’s drive away. One world, one humanity, one future. Right?

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Vendors Leave Progressive Challenger’s Primary Campaign Over ‘Galling’ DCCC Threat

      The Democratic establishment is already taking steps to stop insurgent progressive challengers to the party’s incumbents.

      Marie Newman, who is challenging Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) in the 2020 primary for the Illinois 3rd District, told Politico on Friday that a number of vendors have already dropped out of her campaign—the direct result of a rule put in place by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) banning consultants and other campaign mechanics from working with anyone running against a sitting Democrat.

      “I’ve had four consultants leave the campaign,” Newman said. “We’ve now had two mail firms say that they couldn’t work with us because of the DCCC issue, and then a [communications] group, a compliance group and several pollsters.”

    • Volodymyr Zelenskiy as Actor President

      The world is not so much a stage as a simulacrum for those who think it so. And if the stage goes bad, it is fitting that those who get thrown onto it change it in the most daring and provocative way. Politics is now as much a director’s production as it is an estranging show for the participating voter. The shock to such formulae is when a political aspirant decides to either reject the director’s cut entirely or, as in the case of Ukraine, embrace it as a mocking demonstration of bankruptcy. We know it is a joke: vote for me as a true expression of the authentic.

      The sheer scale of repudiation by the voters on Sunday is striking, saying as much about the victor as the defeated. Comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s triumph in an election without precedent (almost 40 presidential candidates, and victory for a Jewish one) was crushing, coming in at 73% over incumbent Petro Poroshenko. Holographic presence on screen – a comedian playing a character in a series who becomes president after a video rant on corruption goes viral – turned reality. “Could I ever imagine that I, a simple guy from Kryvyi Rih, would be fighting for the presidency against a person who we confidently and definitively elected President of the Ukraine in 2014?”

      Hope is often a devalued currency, but its vigorous circulation can be gathered in the measurements of public opinion by the Kyiv-based International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) conducted this month. Deputy Chief Anton Hrushetskiy reported findings of 2004 respondents to the question “Which of the following should the president do in the first 100 days?”

    • A Trump-Linked Super PAC Is Trying to Push Europe’s Voters to the Far Right

      A controversial Madrid-based campaign group, supported by American and Russian ultra-conservatives, is working across Europe to drive voters towards far-right parties in next month’s European Parliament elections and in Spain’s national elections this Sunday, openDemocracy can reveal today.

      Our findings have caused alarm among lawmakers who fear that Trump-linked conservatives are working with European allies to import a controversial US-style ‘Super PAC’ model of political campaigning to Europe – opening the door to large amounts of ‘dark money’ flowing unchecked into elections and referenda.

      The Madrid-based campaign group CitizenGo is best known for its online petitions against same-sex marriage, sex education and abortion – and for driving buses across cities with slogans against LGBT rights and “feminazis”.

      But now openDemocracy can reveal new evidence of “extraordinary coordination” between this group and far-right parties across Europe – from Spain to Italy, Germany and Hungary.

      In Spain, CitizenGo is supporting the far-right party Vox that is expected to make big gains this weekend, winning seats in the country’s parliament for the first time and potentially forming part of the new government.

      Speaking to our undercover reporter posing as a potential donor, CitizenGo’s director described plans to run attack ads against Vox’s political opponents, and talked about how to get around campaign finance laws.

      Meanwhile a senior Vox official compared CitizenGo to a “Super PAC” in the US, referring to the controversial groups that can spend unlimited sums influencing elections in America – and which are known for aggressive, negative campaigning.

    • Change of Thrones in Japan

      The land of the rising sun prepares for a new dawn. An emperor’s departure and another’s ascension. Emperor Akihito will abdicate on April 30, and May Day in Japan will see his eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito, become the 126th occupant of the Chrysanthemum Throne.

      Japan is a land of contradictions. An emperor in a democracy. An economic powerhouse, once considered, and feared to be, on the verge of global dominance, now suffers from a sense of drift and malaise. The reign of wartime emperor Hirohito is described as showa (enlightened harmony). A democracy where the Liberal Democratic Party (not liberal but deeply conservative) has been in power for all but of a handful of years since 1955. Japan’s pacifist constitution is viewed as an obstruction by the right to re-armament and may soon be, as the government puts it, reinterpreted again before being changed for the first time. A land where tradition is honored has undergone profound upheavals under each modern-era emperor.

      Akihito was the fifth emperor since the Meiji Restoration of 1868, when the shogunate, a system of feudal military rulers, collapsed and the emperor was plucked from relative political obscurity in Kyoto to reside in Tokyo. He was meant to symbolize stability and a link to the past. It is this harking back to other eras that has bedeviled a country noted for its Blade Runner cityscapes.

      In Japanese folklore the first emperor was Jimmu (about 650 BC), making it, according to legend, the world’s oldest hereditary monarchy. Concubinage was only abolished in 1926, the year Akihito’s father, Hirohito, became emperor. The Americans, the occupying power after WWII, realized that this system had produced a number of possible competing claimants to the throne. This fear resulted in the Imperial Household Law, introduced in 1948, which limited the succession to male descendants of the emperor, Hirohito.

      The only succession most Japanese recall was Akihito’s in 1989 when the past was another country. But so was the future. Back then the mood was of unbridled optimism. The country was an economic superpower. From the debris of war, it had rebuilt itself, and was challenging the United States for pre-eminence.

    • Corporate cash leaking into Democratic campaigns despite “no-corporate-PAC” pledge

      More than 50 Democratic congressional candidates have lined up behind the call to boycott corporate PAC money in the name of campaign finance reform. By eschewing money from big business, candidates hope to mobilize a mighty army of small donors and kick corrupt money out of electoral politics.

      But first quarter FEC filings reveal that while the majority stayed true to their word, some of the self-declared “no-corporate-PAC” candidates took money from big businesses and special interests.

      Many of the candidates on board the “no-corporate-PAC” train still welcome money from cooperatives or trade associations, even if they have ties to big business. The Center for Responsive Politics considers trade association PACs and cooperative PACs to be “business PACs” given the dues they receive from big businesses with a stake in influential industries.

      Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa) pocketed $2,500 from the dairy giant cooperative Land O’Lakes PAC this past quarter. And then there’s Rep. Lori Trahan (D-Mass.), who accepted $1,500 from Food Marketing Institute, a PAC that receives money from Safeway, Walmart and Coca-Cola.

      Axne and Trahan did not respond to requests for comment.

    • Joe Biden Is Who We Thought He Was

      Joe Biden has been running for president less than 48 hours, and his campaign is already proving as problematic as many of his liberal and progressive detractors had anticipated.

      On Thursday, Barack Obama’s vice president formally entered the 2020 race in a video announcement, calling the upcoming election a “battle for the soul of America” and invoking the murder of Heather Heyer, who was slain during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017. Yet the Biden campaign didn’t see fit to alert Heyer’s parents about the speech until after the video had been released. “I wasn’t surprised,” her mother, Susan Bro, told The Daily Beast. “Most people do that sort of thing. They capitalize on whatever situation is handy. He didn’t reach out to me, and didn’t mention her by name specifically, and he probably knew we don’t endorse candidates.”

    • Dozens Condemned by Media as ‘Gang Members’ Not Actually Gang Members, Study Confirms

      In the immediate wake of the now infamous “Bronx 120 gang raid,” carried out by the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the NYPD on the Eastchester Gardens and Edenwald House housing projects in New York City’s Bronx on April 27, 2016, New York media uncritically and predictably repeated the NYPD and federal prosecutors’ claim that all those arrested were “gang members”—a sprawling conspiracy of murderers, drug dealers and gun runners “taken down” by authorities.


      Were there some members in a formal “gang”? Yes, according to prosecutors. But crime-fighting, and by extension the coverage of crime, isn’t a batting average. You don’t get to bat .440, wrongfully smear 56 percent of the people being accused and plastered all over the internet and your front page, and call it a day. As New York activist and frequent FAIR contributor Josmar Trujillo points out, this whole episode should make journalists and editors press pause on the enterprise of taking the NYPD and federal authorities at their word, and the broader panic around “gang raids” in general.

    • Diary: Notes on LA’s Underground

      Late 80’s, 1990’s and early 2000s social justice LA, a time of “looking the beast in the eyes” to quote philosopher Alain Badiou, is very well known throughout the world. A famous mural in Athens is “Fuck the Police” popular thinking born in the county of LA; the aesthetics, philosophies, etc, have gone global. Bands like Suicidal Tendencies and Rage Against The Machine came to manifest the city in the very same way that the skateboard underground did in the 1970s. LA’s tragic 21st century pf gentrification and identity politics gone horribly wrong, not so much. How many folks outside of LA, oreven inside, know of the rising tide in working class environmentalism, where South Central todays thinks a green future?

      Reflection and Action

      Reflection and action. Here, the real fight for public safety is for an end to climate change and for a dynamic and vibrant ecosystem. The real keepers of public safety do not drive SUVs everywhere and all day, adding smog to smog. They are stewards of a healthy environment. The monstrous Police in LA receives around 60 percent of the annual budget despite the fact since manufacturing shops began to close in the 1980’s or so, LA’s working class had lived in unhealthy conditions, without much greenery around. The crack epidemic, born in the community where I work South Central was the LAPD’s opportunity to impose such a regime, a regime that has gone on despite our protests. When there is greenery in overly criminalized and policed communities, it is often not maintained. This is the case of the Portola Trail, near where I live, where walking through it feels like a tragedy. When compared to hikes in Malibu, Topanga, or just a walk through Beverly Hills, Silverlake, etc, one realizes that postindustrial economic marginalization also means environmental marginalization.

      Another way of saying this is that the ghetto, and its steep housing prices and hipster shops, is concretely not the concern of true attempts at greening LA. Community groups in LA have responded with all sorts of coalitions, efforts, etc. One of these is STAND, for which I organized, where we, or should I say they, wanted to shut down oil wells in LA using pretty light tactics and soft strategy. The success of this community group organizing is that it does community outreach, etc, that other environmentalisms do not do. This, though business as usual, can liberate this city from its filth.

    • Putin approves list of criteria for effective governors that begins with faith in the president

      Russian president Vladimir Putin has signed an order that contains criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of the country’s regional governors. The document contains a list of indicators, the first of which is the governor’s level of faith in the government and in the president specifically. Productivity, income, environmental conditions, infrastructure, and population growth are also among the 15 points on the list. The Russian presidential administration plans to develop and present the methods it will use to evaluate governors’ performance according to those criteria by June 1.

    • Trump’s Torrent of Twisted Claims on Russia

      Russia keeps reverberating even with special counsel Robert Mueller’s report now part of history.

      As much as President Donald Trump says he wants the United States to move on, he’s found it hard to turn away himself, as seen in a torrent of tweets and remarks railing against Democrats, trashing Mueller and painting his own actions in a saintly light.

      There is little truth to be found in these statements.

    • Managing Russia’s Dissolution: Truth or Desire?

      At the start of the year, on January 9, The Hill, a leading US political newspaper, as if setting the year agenda put out an article entitled “Managing Russia’s dissolution”. The article reviews the measures needed to dismantle Russia and instigate civil conflicts on the territory of Eurasia. The author describes Russia as “a declining state that disguises its internal infirmities with external offensives”. He further claims that “Russia is heading toward fragmentation” under “rising social, ethnic and regional pressures” and simultaneously blamed the federal government of both failing “to develop into a nation state with a strong ethnic or civic identity” and working to centralize control over regions.

    • Measuring National Power

      Let’s make America great again! Or as the prime minister of France said: Let’s make France great again. Or, as President Donald Trump conceded, let every nation in the world announce that they are going to be great again.

      But what makes for greatness? Over that there is a big dispute.

      Strategists say that power has to be measured carefully because “the balance of power is the motor of world politics, playing a role as central as the role of energy in physics and money in economics”, as writes Professor Michael Beckley of Tufts University, in his analysis The Power of Nations. Measuring what really matters.

      “Power is like love, it is easier to define than measure. Just as one cannot say, ‘I love you 3.6 times more than her,’ scholars cannot calculate the balance of power precisely, because power is largely unobservable and context-dependent”.

      So what can scholars do? A suggested path is to measure power by tallying the wealth and military assets of a country. Others scholars think this is insufficient. It’s outcomes that should be measured. Often Davids have beaten Goliaths.

      The Vietnam War, when a relatively small guerrilla army defeated and then drove out the Americans, is an event no one in the last generation or two can ever forget. Smart strategy by the North Vietnamese leadership was responsible for this. The average Vietnamese family survived on one dollar a day but they triumphed.

    • How Bad Does It Have to Get?

      But as bad as all of this is, the real question is, “When does it get so bad that we will no longer tolerate this scum running the country, dividing us against each other, desecrating our values, degrading our civic spaces, and destroying our institutions?” When does it get bad enough that WE will actually do something to stop being so mocked, so humiliated, and so defiled? When will we have Republican Congressmen who will get up off their knees before him and represent us, the people who actually elected them, and defend our country against the greatest domestic threat it has faced in over a century?

    • The President’s Executive Privilege Strategy Could Mean a Messy Fight

      Since George Washington’s time, presidents have used executive privilege to resist congressional inquiries in the name of protecting the confidentiality of their decision-making.

      President Donald Trump threatened this past week to broadly assert executive privilege to block a number of current and former aides from testifying, including some who have cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. It’s a strategy that could lead to a messy, protracted legal fight, but even if the White House is eventually defeated in court, the president and his allies could have the chance to run out the clock to the 2020 election.

      “This is all about delaying things. The strategy of every administration is to drag it out,” said the University of Virginia’s Saikrishna Prakash, an expert on presidential power.

    • Trump Offers Sympathies After Synagogue Shooting

      President Donald Trump has offered “deepest sympathies to the families of those affected” by a shooting at a synagogue outside San Diego.

      At the White House, Trump said Saturday that the shooting “looked like a hate crime” and called it “hard to believe.” He spoke from the South Lawn before flying to a rally in Wisconsin.

      Authorities say a 19-year-old man opened fire on Chabad of Poway on the last day of Passover, killing one woman and wounding three others, including a girl.


      The world is still reeling in horror from the deadly Sri Lanka bombings that may have been the work of Islamic State madmen. Poor Sri Lanka has suffered so much after three decades of civil war and communal strife. We weep for this beautiful and once gentle nation.
      But behind the horror in Sri Lanka, a huge crisis was building up of which the world has so far taken insufficient notice: renewed tensions in the oil-producing Gulf. This is the latest attempt by the United States to crush Iran’s independent-minded government and return it to American tutelage.
      The Trump administration has demanded that the principal importers of 1.2 billion barrels of Iranian oil halt purchases almost immediately. This imperial diktat includes China, South Korea, Turkey, India and Japan. The comprehensive embargo is very close to an all-out act of war. In 1941, America’s cut-off of oil to Japan provoked the attack on Pearl Harbor.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Musk Must Face Cave Rescuer Lawsuit Over ‘Pedo Guy’ Tweet

      A federal judge in Los Angeles on Friday denied the Tesla Inc. chief executive officer’s request to dismiss Vernon Unsworth’s defamation complaint. The judge said a written ruling explaining his order will come later.

    • VPN services blocked in Sri Lanka as information controls tighten

      Sri Lanka joins a handful of states that implement similar controls on VPN services and internet protocols that tunnel network traffic from point to point:Sri Lanka joins a handful of states that implement similar controls on VPN services and internet protocols that tunnel network traffic from point to pointSri Lanka joins a handful of states that implement similar controls on VPN services and internet protocols that tunnel network traffic from point to point: [...]

    • Donald Trump Met Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Complained About Losing Followers, Reports Say

      An anonymous source also told The Daily Beast that the president had complained about losing Twitter followers due to anti-conservative social media purges. Conservatives have been raising issues that online services like Google, Facebook, and Twitter suppress, censor, or are otherwise hostile to conservative content creators.

    • Twitter CEO Gently Tells Trump: Your ‘Lost’ Followers Are Bots and Spam Accounts

      On Tuesday, President Trump hosted Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in the Oval Office for a closed-door meeting, during which the leader of the free world spent an inordinate amount of time complaining about lost Twitter followers, according to a source familiar with the conversation.

      The Twitter chief, for his part, tried to reassure the president that the company’s staff merely wants his follower count to be as bot-free as possible.

    • Twitter suspends EU election campaign accounts for two candidates who were previously banned

      Twitter on Friday said it has suspended the campaign accounts for two candidates in the European Union that belonged to people who were previously banned from the platform.

    • Dozens of university dons concerned Singapore’s anti-fake news laws will stifle academic freedom

      Over 80 academics from around the world have written to the Singapore government expressing concerns over how recently proposed laws against online falsehoods could threaten academic freedom in the city state.

    • Social Media Blackouts Are an Authoritarian Power Move

      When Americans see governments shutting down Internet communications, they should see nothing but counterproductive, authoritarian exercises of power
      In the wake of the terrible Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka, that government shut down access to Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, and other social media services. The shutdown garnered praise from some within the United States and other democratic countries, but as tragic as the circumstances may be, Americans must never come to see social media or other Internet shutdowns as anything other than an authoritarian power move and/or a mistake.

      Some commentators seemed to have viewed Sri Lanka’s shutdown through the lens of their own fatigue with social media platforms and the nastiness that can take place there. Without doubt, social media connectivity has intensified not only the positive but also the darker sides of humanity. But it’s important that we all keep the bigger picture firmly in mind.

      First, Internet shutdowns, which have become increasingly common throughout the world, have a close and odious association with very dark abuses of power. As Stanford expert Jan Rydzak has written, “large shutdowns sometimes accompany aggressive military or paramilitary operations, rendering them virtually impossible to document in real time by reporters and citizen journalists.” Numerous shutdowns have been observed in the Syrian Civil War, for example, “immediately prior to and during military offensives carried out by the Syrian Army.” Rydzak concludes, “Network disruptions and shutdowns provide an invisibility cloak for violence as well as gross violations of human rights.”

      Many imagine that such shut-downs can be beneficial by helping squelch brewing sectarian or ethnic violence. But the evidence shows that’s false. A study of shutdowns in India, which has by far the most shutdowns in the world, found that they “are followed by a clear increase in violent protest.” Partly that’s because violent outbreaks are “less reliant on effective communication and coordination” than nonviolent protests. Most outbreaks of genocide have been planned or whipped up by those with centralized, top-down control of communications media (the Nazis in Germany, the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the Serbian authoritarian Slobodan Milošević in Yugoslavia, the Hutu elite in Rwanda). Internet shutdowns are a tool that increases and serves centralized power rather than curbing it.

    • Russia has started enforcing its ban on ‘fake news.’ The first suspect? A woman protesting landfill pollution.

      Russian officials in Arkhangelsk have filed the country’s first police report against an individual for spreading illegal “fake news.” According to the news website 29.ru, the activist Elena Kalinina used her VKontakte account to promote an unpermitted protest against a local landfill. Police officers reasoned that demonstrations shouldn’t take place without city permits, meaning that Kalinina’s information about the unpermitted protest’s time and location amounts to “fake news.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • How Amazon automatically tracks and fires warehouse workers for ‘productivity’

      Documents obtained by The Verge show those productivity firings are far more common than outsiders realize. In a signed letter last year, an attorney representing Amazon said the company fired “hundreds” of employees at a single facility between August of 2017 and September 2018 for failing to meet productivity quotas. A spokesperson for the company said that, over that time, roughly 300 full-time associates were terminated for inefficiency.

    • UN official visits Julian Assange, investigating Ecuador’s illegal surveillance

      The United Nations special rapporteur on the right to privacy, Joe Cannataci, was finally permitted yesterday to meet with Julian Assange inside London’s Belmarsh prison.

      The WikiLeaks journalist and publisher has been held virtually incommunicado, in denial of his fundamental legal and democratic rights, since the British police dragged him out of Ecuador’s embassy more than two weeks ago.

    • United Airlines says it’s now covering those surprise seatback webcams

      The privacy controversy first emerged earlier this year when some passengers, most notably cybersecurity researcher Vitaly Kamluk, began noticing webcams on seatback screens. The initial outcry was over Singapore Airlines’ inclusion of the webcam-equipped screens without informing passengers and without disclosing whether the webcams were active. However, it was soon discovered that Panasonic Avionics, a leading supplier of in-flight entertainment systems, has also been supplying US airlines like American and United with similar webcam-equipped screens.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Unequal Justice: As the Next Census Approaches, Will the Supreme Court Side with Trump in his War on Immigrants?

      The Supreme Court appears poised to hand Donald Trump another victory in his war on immigrants.

      Last year, in Trump v. Hawaii, the court upheld the President’s Muslim travel ban as a proper exercise of executive branch authority. This year’s battle, in Department of Commerce v. New York, concerns the hotly contested issue of whether a citizenship question can be included in the 2020 Census. Judging from Tuesday’s oral argument in the case, the court will divide once again on ideological lines, resulting in a 5-4 opinion in the administration’s favor.

      No matter how the court rules, its decision will affect every American. The Census is used to set the number of votes each state is accorded in the Electoral College and the number of seats in the House of Representatives.

    • Weinstein Sexual Assault Trial Pushed to September

      Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault trial, postponed until September, is now poised to end two years after a wave of women’s allegations against him sparked the #MeToo movement.

      A Manhattan judge announced the delay Friday after a closed-door hearing in which prosecutors sought to broaden their case to include some of those women’s accounts.

      Weinstein’s trial had been scheduled to begin June 3, but both sides indicated they need more time to sort through witness and evidence issues. It is now set for Sept. 9, with jury selection expected to take up to two weeks and testimony lasting about a month.

      Weinstein lawyer Jose Baez, who joined the case in January, saw the delay as a boon to a defense keen on discrediting his accusers and showing that any encounters were consensual.

      “We had a very good day in court today. We’re glad that the trial got back to September,” Baez told reporters. “This is going to give us an ample opportunity to dig into the case.”

    • UN to Launch Global Campaign Against Criminalization of Indigenous Peoples

      A new campaign to stop the criminalization of Indigenous peoples for protesting against governments and corporations in defense of their traditional lands aims to protect them from persecution, murder and imprisonment on falsified charges, said the U.N. special rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples on Thursday.

      Vicky Tauli-Corpuz said the idea for the Global Campaign Against the Criminalization and Impunity of Indigenous Peoples was inspired by research and interviews she conducted during the preparation of her 2018 report on attacks and criminalization of Indigenous Peoples.

      “It’s been observed and concluded that the issue of criminalization of Indigenous Peoples is a global crisis,” Tauli-Corpuz said, referring to the report, as she announced the campaign at the U.N. 18th Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues.

      In 2018, human rights watchdog Global Witness reported that almost 1,000 environmental defenders have been killed since 2010 and that in 2017 at least 207 land and environmental activists – almost half of them Indigenous – were targeted and murdered for defending their forests, rivers, wildlife and homes against destructive industries.

      Trumped up charges, imprisonment, harassment and intimidation are often the result when Indigenous people speak up against government-supported private companies investing in large-scale projects on their traditional lands, Tauli-Corpuz said. Such projects are often launched without discussion and without the free, prior and informed consent of customary landholders.

    • Trump and False Consciousness

      Pres. Donald Trump is a media magician, able to artfully distort and/or deny the factual “truth” of an event or news report that exposes his failings or falsehoods. He is currently playing his grand political fan dance over information revealed in the redacted Mueller report.

      In late-March, his loyal-henchman, AG Bill Barr, first spun the hokum that the report found no collusion between Trump (and his team) and Russia in the 2016 election. Trump declared victory, proclaiming to all his “complete and total exoneration,” parading around the political ring with the glee of an aging and overweight prize-fighter over an unexpected big win.

      As more and more people read the still-redacted version of the report, Trump’s claim at total exoneration is eroding. Political news outlets are digging in and finding disturbing falsehoods. PolitiFacts details eight incidents in which the Mueller report undermines Trump’s assertion. CNN focuses its analysis on two 2016 Russia-related meetings that Trump denied but Mueller’s investigation documented. And The Washington Post offers numerous revelations as to inconsistencies on Trump’s part. Still more revelations are likely to follow.

      Denial is a critical part of Trump media magic. It’s the fairy dust he sprays about to distract and mislead those confronting him. Only a couple of months ago he played the same three-card monte shell game over the Border Wall.

    • Trump Family Affair

      I’m sure Maryanne and Donald have enjoyed some good laughs over it while contemplating how different the outcome would be had their roles been reversed.

      Maryanne got rid of any adverse consequences from her past bad conduct by retiring. Donald avoided facing any adverse consequences from his past bad conduct by not retiring. The two of them present a nice study in contrasts arising solely from their respective position in the public sphere. They both got into the perilous positions in which they found themselves, because their moral compasses were not properly set prior to the time they embarked on life’s journey.

      Maryanne was, until February 11, 2019, a federal judge on one of the second highest courts in the country. Her career as a federal judge began in 2003 when Ronald Reagan appointed her to the Federal District Court in New Jersey. Prior to her appointment, she had served as a federal prosecutor where she was engaged in prosecuting people for the sorts of conduct that present knowledge suggests she and her siblings engaged in. In 1999 she was elevated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit by President Bill Clinton. There she served until she resigned.

    • Top FSB official jailed on bribery charges, while two former colleagues are accused of stealing 1 million dollars

      A military court in Moscow has jailed the head of a local Federal Security Service (FSB) office for two months, pending the results of a criminal investigation. Colonel Kirill Cherkalin was arrested on April 25 and faces up to 15 years in prison on charges of receiving tens of millions of rubles in bribes. The details of the case haven’t been disclosed, and journalists only learned about Cherkalin’s arraignment after it happened.

      According to the newspaper Kommersant, Cherkalin works in the FSB’s “Department K” economic crimes unit, managing the second branch that oversees Russia’s banking sector. Sources told Kommersant that he comes from a family of intelligence officers, and is a “highly respected person” and a “significant figure not only in the intelligence community but perhaps also in the country’s whole financial sector.” He’s reportedly close to Ivan Tkachev, the head of the FSB’s Department K.

    • Time for Trump to Talk to Putin

      Recall the stunned faces of all the cable news anchors on the eve of the 2016 election. How could Trump have won, when all the polls placed him so far behind? Hillary Clinton quickly faulted James Comey, claiming his announcement about more of her missing emails a week before the vote cost her the race. And people suddenly discovered the “working class” (reviving a term long avoided due to its Marxist associations, and the propogation of the American myth of a vast middle class hovering over the “poor”)—specifically the white working class portrayed as angry about economic stagnation, immigration, and minority advances and receptive to Trump’s buffoonery. But as stories leaked about “Russian interference” and the lame-duck president commissioned a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) from U.S. intelligence agencies to examine that phenomenon, this interference became the main explanation for Hillary’s loss.

      Not Comey. Not ideologically backwards white workers. Russia. Putin. Oligarchs.”Pro-Russian” Ukrainians.

      Just as the Birthers had sought to de-legitimize Barack Obama (as foreign born), many of Trump’s foes have sought to de-legitimize Trump (as a foreign agent or stooge). No amount of redacted or unredacted material will convince them that the president is innocent of collusion. They know he loves Russia. Why, for godssakes, does he never condemn Vladimir Putin like normal people are supposed to do?

    • The US Has a Moral and Historical Responsibility to Aid Migrants

      If not for the United States, thousands of men, women, and children would be sitting at home in peace and comfort, not risking their lives across several thousand miles of dangerous terrain to reach the U.S-Mexico border. Mexico wouldn’t suffer from a bloated asylum and visa caseload because the U.S. won’t let in would-be asylum seekers. And Central America wouldn’t be plagued by the abject poverty, gang violence, and authoritarian regimes that characterize it today.

      For the past 150 years, the U.S. has invaded and laid waste to any country unwilling to support its financial or military aspirations. Central America has borne much of the brunt. While the U.S. initiated a colonial relationship with Latin America in the 19th century, its penchant for orchestrating military coups and training death squads didn’t form until the 1950s. The U.S. has a disturbing history of involvement with each of the countries in the “Northern Triangle,” the Central American region that comprises Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. It’s also, unsurprisingly, the area that most migrants come from.

      In 1952 Jacobo Arbenz, then-President of Guatemala, distributed United Fruit Company (UFC)-owned lands to 100,000 poor landless families. Even though Arbenz intended on compensating UFC, they weren’t willing to wait. Executives from UFC intensely lobbied the Eisenhower administration for Arbenz’s overthrow. Their message was well-received: then-Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and his brother Allen Dulles, director of the CIA, were previously lawyers for UFC and still owned company stock. Two years later, the CIA had replaced Arbenz with a ruthless dictator (the Kennedy administration intervened again in 1963); forty years of civil war ensued, resulting in a genocidal campaign against the indigenous Maya. Under dictator Efrain Rios Montt, the U.S.-backed Guatemalan military murdered over 200,000 people.

      El Salvador also experienced a civil war at the same time. From 1980 to 1992, the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) fought against the Salvadoran military junta. The Reagan administration offered military assistance and training to the Salvadoran special forces. Infamously horrific, the Atlacatl Battalion of the Salvadoran military—trained by none other than the U.S.—stormed into the village of El Mozote and massacred 1,000 people, many of whom were women and children. During the entire Salvadoran civil war, U.S.-backed Salvadoran death squads ruthlessly slaughtered 80,000 people.

    • The Etowah Visitation Project: Supporting the Needs of ICE Detainees

      The Etowah Visitation Project is a member group of Freedom for Immigrants formerly known as CIVIC (Community Initiatives for visiting Immigrants in Confinement), a national network which visits and monitors approximately 55 immigrant prisons in 23 states. Through visits and/or letters, we connect with immigrants who are being detained in the Etowah County Detention Center while they await immigration hearings or deportations. Our objective is to be there as friends and listeners open to people of all religious, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. We bear witness to the suffering and to the enormous strength and resilience of character that many of the men possess.

      The immigrant men held in detention are under the administration of ICE. They are NOT being held for criminal acts (Prison time for criminal offenses, if any, has already been served prior to immigrant detention). They are being held for immigration violations (some for the “crime” of seeking asylum), and their cases are at various stages. Some have been held for many months or years.

      The stories of the men in detention are as varied as their personalities and their nationalities, with many countries of origin represented in the population. Many were brought here as young children and know no other country; many married and have US citizen children; many are relatively recent arrivals who came as asylum-seekers and after presenting themselves at the border, were immediately placed in detention centers. They are prisoners in our midst far away from home, family and friends, subject to being removed at any time to another detention facility or to their country of origin. Most have limited or no resources and no access to legal support.

    • Border Patrol Begins Collecting Biometric Data on Children

      U.S. border authorities say they’ve started to increase the biometric data they take from children 13 years old and younger, including fingerprints, despite privacy concerns and government policy intended to restrict what can be collected from migrant youths.

      A Border Patrol official said this week that the agency had begun a pilot program to collect the biometrics of children with the permission of the adults accompanying them, though he did not specify where along the border it has been implemented.

      The Border Patrol also has a “rapid DNA pilot program” in the works, said Anthony Porvaznik, the chief patrol agent in Yuma, Arizona, in a video interview published by the Epoch Times newspaper.

    • Central American women fleeing violence experience more trauma after seeking asylum

      The number of Central American women who make difficult, often harrowing, journeys to the United States to flee domestic and gang violence is rising.

      I’m a social science researcher and a social worker who has interviewed hundreds of women after they were detained by immigration authorities for my research about the relationship between violence against women and migration. I find that most female asylum seekers experience trauma, abuse and violence before they cross the U.S. border seeking asylum.

      What these women go through while detained by Customs and Border Protection or Immigration and Customs Enforcement can take an additional physical, social and emotional toll.

    • Rebuking Trump, 50th US Community Affirms ‘Refugees Welcome’ With New Resolution

      A growing number of U.S. communities are choosing to welcome refugees with open arms in a pointed contrast to President Donald Trump’s positions.

      A sign of that embrace, Amnesty International USA said Friday, was the passage of a resolution by a Massachusetts high school declaring it to be a “Refugees Welcome” zone—the 50th such resolution to pass across the county.

      “The student body of Westwood High School welcomes refugees and declares its support for the resettlement of refugees no matter their religion, race, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, or country of origin, in Westwood and calls upon other Massachusetts communities to join them in supporting a stronger national effort to resettle the world’s most vulnerable refugees,” the resolution states, according to Amnesty.

      “As a community, Westwood is raising awareness of the danger that refugees are in and making a difference,” said Ria Dani, the co-secretary of Westwood High School’s Amnesty International club.

      The resolution is part of Amnesty’s Longer Table initiative, which seeks to “build a movement of people uniting to welcome refugees in their own ways.”

    • Judge Gives Trump Admin Six Months to Identify Thousands of Children It Ripped From Families

      A federal judge on Thursday gave the Trump administration six months to identify potentially thousands of immigrant children it ripped from their families under the so-called “zero tolerance” border policy.

      The Trump administration previously said it could take two years to identify the separated children, but U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw sided with the ACLU, which sought the six-month deadline.

      “This order shows that the court continues to recognize the gravity of this situation,” Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a statement.

    • The Shameful Moralizing On Prisoner Voting Rights

      Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders was asked during a CNN Town Hall about voting rights for prisoners. The questioner tested Sanders by using people convicted of sexual assault and “terrorists” as totemic prisoners.

      “[Do you] support enfranchising people like the Boston Marathon bomber, a convicted terrorist and murderer?” Sanders was asked. “Do you think that those convicted of sexual assault should have the opportunity to vote for politicians who could have a direct impact on women’s rights?”

    • I Witnessed How Close South Africa Came to Civil War, 25 Years Ago Today

      Twenty-five years after South Africa’s miraculous first democratic elections, it’s easy to forget just how close the county came to civil war.

      I was working for the ANC (Western Cape) from 1992-4 and there were times – right up to Election Day itself – that, as Mandela said, it “seemed impossible until it was done.”

      With weeks to go, violence in KwaZulu-Natal was escalating with the Inkartha Freedom Party (IFP) boycotting the elections.

      Tensions were mounting in the so-called “homelands” of Ciskei, QwaQwa & Bophuthatswana.

      Well-armed conservative Afrikaner militias were mobilizing with Freedom Front leader, General Viljoen, admitting in 2001 up to 60,000 armed men had been mobilized. “My own followers started pushing hard: they wanted an end to all talks, they wanted the war to start,” he told a newspaper.

      Two days before the elections, a massive car bomb in Jo’burg killed 9 people including ANC candidate, Susan Keane, & injured 92. The next day, 12 people were killed by bombs targeting black people in Germiston & Pretoria.

      All attacks bore the hallmarks of white separatist groups.

    • To Conjure the Future We Want, We Need a Revolution of the Heart

      On the evening of October 21, 1967, a “ragtag” group of hippies, counterculture enthusiasts, artists and anti-Vietnam War demonstrators descended upon the Pentagon to perform a ritual exorcism with the goal of levitating the building 3 feet above the ground. While no one claims to have seen the Pentagon rise, the event became a unique example of using spiritual rituals toward political ends in the public eye and cultural consciousness.

      I first learned of this ritual exorcism during a workshop facilitated by activist and filmmaker Tourmaline, who came to Brown University in March of 2015 to talk with student activists engaged in a struggle to get our university to divest financially and ideologically from the prison-industrial complex.


      Like the exorcists at the Pentagon in 1967, we, too, were a ragtag group of bandits, disenchanted by the makings of the world around us and longing for a different kind of revolution to move us past bloodshed and violence and suffering without creating more of the same.

      Could the use of spiritual rituals toward political ends — rituals like the attempted levitation of the Pentagon — serve some role in helping us reimagine the very foundations of change?

      We must look to things we have been taught to believe are impossible as a source of hope.
      Becoming committed to prison abolition — which imagines the possibilities of a world without prisons, thus, a world free of the logics and metrics of exploited labor, punitive retribution and disposability — has led me to see spirituality as a political imperative. By contemplating the notion of a world without prisons, we were posing deeply spiritual and moral inquiries into the very nature of humanity. What would be the makings of a world that did not operate on the principles of punishment, exile and exclusion? How would that be complicated by our own flawed humanity? And, in what ways would that demand deep transformations as individuals and communities?

      To face questions such as these, we must look to things we have been taught to believe are impossible as a source of hope, renewal and a possible path forward.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Mozilla Internet Health Report 2019

      This report is structured according to five overlapping themes that we consider a helpful framework for assessing internet health: privacy and security, openness, digital inclusion, web literacy, and decentralization, but it’s designed so you can read the articles in any order.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • US Govt Identifies Top Pirate Sites and Other ‘Notorious Markets’

        The US Government has published its list of the largest piracy websites and other “notorious markets.” This year’s overview includes usual suspects such as The Pirate Bay, FMovies, and Uploaded, but several gaming-related sites and even hosting companies are mentioned as well. The USTR hopes that by highlighting the threats, platform operators or foreign authorities will take action.

      • Zippyshare Shows ‘Forbidden’ Message to German Visitors

        File-hosting site Zippyshare receives an estimated 100m visitors per month but last month became largely inaccessible in the UK. The same fate now appears to have befallen users in Germany., who are now greeted with a “forbidden” error message.


The ‘Technical Effect’ of Attacking the Independence of Judges at the Boards of Appeal and Ignoring/Breaking the Law

Posted in America, Europe, Law, Microsoft, Patents, RAND at 8:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Technically Boards of Appeal are still controlled by the EPO’s President (whose positions they’re supposed to scrutinise and sometimes oppose)

António Campinos fair trial

Summary: Europe continues to be threatened by the lawless EPO, which is promoting software patents, FRAND patent trolls, UPC and even more toxic things; judges and the rule of law do not seem to matter anymore (they’re being intentionally discarded because they stand in the way of law firms’ profits and EPO revenue)

Lawlessness is alive and well — even thriving — at the European Patent Office (EPO). How can one expect António Campinos to respect and obey the law when he cannot even discipline/educate/convince his own son that laws are to be obeyed? He himself is showing blatant exhibition of gross nepotism within just months at the Office and likely violations of EU law since his EUIPO days where appointments appear to be sold. It’s all rigged. Laws don’t seem to matter to these people. Campinos ignores the law with more tact (or more smiles). He’s a storyteller. All he can do is lean on his father's name — a person who was apparently not likable except by those at the top. It’s a good decoy. Effective marketing.

“Campinos ignores the law with more tact (or more smiles).”This latest comment at IP Kat discusses how the EPO is still breaking the law or violating the EPC by punishing all judges with an exile to Haar (which is technically not Munich at all):

Yes, I understand that “Landkreis München” does not itself include the city of Munich. Perhaps my question was unclear. What I mean is: why can the meaning of the word “Munich” in the EPC not simply be interpreted to mean “a location which is EITHER in the city of Munich OR in Landkreis München”? i.e. that “Munich”, for the purposes of the EPC, means the combination of the city Munich *and* the Landkreis which shares its name? This way, it is possible to interpret “Munich” for the purposes of the EPC as being broader than the city itself, while still having a well-defined geographical scope.

To draw a comparison (which is, admittedly, imperfect): imagine that the EPC instead said “London”. A narrow interpretation might be that this should mean “the City of London”. A broader interpretation might be that this should mean “anywhere within the 32 London Boroughs” – but (like Landkreis München vis-a-vis the city of Munich) the London Boroughs do not include the City of London. The holistic view would, perhaps, instead be to take the view that “London” means “the City of London or any of the 32 London Boroughs”.

Curiously enough, on the same day Samuel Adams wrote about the EPO illegally attacking the independence of all judges by sending them to exile. To quote Kluwer Patent Blog, a site of patent maximalists:

Not too long ago we learned of a referral question from Technical Board of Appeal 3.5.03 regarding the legal basis for holding oral proceedings before the Boards of Appeal in Haar rather than in Munich.

While it does not directly relate to the legal question in the referral, a relevant consideration was recently published in CA/5/19, which relates to an additional lease for further staff, conference rooms and common areas for the EPO in Haar. The document notes that the building in Haar has been leased for a period of 15 years. In CA/82/16, the total budgetary impact of the lease in Haar, including building adaptation costs, was provided as EUR 40.7 million. The further costs laid out in CA/5/19 for an additional lease contract are EUR 4.8 million, for a total of EUR 45.5 million.

The above was filed under “Traveling Circus” (no kidding!), so we suppose that at this point even Kluwer Patent Blog perceives the EPO to be somewhat of a circus. What a tragedy.

Crossing over to IP Kat, which is still heavily occupied by Team UPC (sometimes more so than Kluwer Patent Blog), over the past few days we saw a lot of coverage there about Fordham IP (at least 7 parts so far). Bristows did many posts about it for IP Kat (Annsley Merelle Ward as the author); it’s an event that is typically funded by Microsoft (more so than anyone else) and Bristows flatters this sponsor, as we noted in past years.

Included in this event, as usual, is the software patents lobby (in which Microsoft plays a considerable role), soon to be promoted or amplified by patent extremists like Bristows or Managing IP, which wrote: “Former Federal Circuit chief judge Paul Michel “bet on both horses”, referring to possible fixes for Section 101 in court and in Congress, during a discussion yesterday at the Fordham IP Conference in New York…”

This is also mentioned in [1, 2] and it’s the typical choir of patent maximalists, the ‘usual suspects’ such as Iancu, Michel and sometimes a USPTO Director turned lobbyist, Mr. Kappos.

In her later parts Annsley Merelle Ward published FRAND advocacy by Richard Vary (Bird & Bird). Bristows has long lobbied for FRAND, usually in IP Kat, as Bristows profits from this agenda. As recently as yesterday, in an article by Amy Sandys of JUVE, we learn of “global licensing company” TQ Delta (euphemism for patent troll or PAE) seeking patent embargoes in the UK. Using patents granted by EPO and the FRAND agenda they try to block companies that actually make something (unlike TQ Delta) from doing business.

Speaking of Bird & Bird and Briwstows, the latest part in this series concerns software patents (covering algorithms) framed as “AI”. Here’s where the EPO stands on on this issue in spite of European law:

Katherine Stephens (Bird & Bird) then talked about the “patentability of artificial intelligence and machine learning”, specifically focusing on the recently updated EPO Guidelines for Examination. According to Katherine, the EPO’s new Guidelines are not a green light for patenting AI, but they are a first step in setting out the rules for a proper balancing exercise. An interesting issue raised in her presentation was whether inventive step and sufficiency thresholds can be expected to change with the rise of AI, assuming that the skilled person should be presumed to have access to AI systems. “Will inventive step be raised so high that nothing will be considered inventive in the eyes of the law, even if it was inventive or surprising to human?”

These are all bogus patents on algorithms, but nowadays the EPO just fakes ‘gains’ by granting patents courts would reject (if they were assessed there, i.e. if there was a lawsuit and a lengthy, expensive challenge to it). Team UPC (Bird & Bird, Bristows etc.) was hoping to effectively abolish or bypass such courts using the UPC, but it didn’t work. As FFII’s Benjamin Henrion put it yesterday in a press release: [via]

Today is World Intellectual Parasites Day, the day where patent trolls rejoice over sucking more blood out of software companies. Patent parasites rejoice over the creation of the european Unitary Patent Court (UPC), which will create an undemocratic monster fully captured by the parasite industry. Patent parasites are also pushing for a rewrite of the laws in the United States, in order to restore software patents, and continue to suck more blood out the software industry.

That’s a satirical slant on World Intellectual Property [sic] Day — a subject we’d rather not covered as we did so in prior years. The EPO kept promoting this propaganda many times yesterday, even retweeting the EUIPO in the process.

Links 27/4/2019: Wine 4.7, Parrot 4.6, Fedora 30 Out in 3 Days

Posted in News Roundup at 6:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • How You Can Help Localize Kubernetes Docs

      Last year we optimized the Kubernetes website for hosting multilingual content. Contributors responded by adding multiple new localizations: as of April 2019, Kubernetes docs are partially available in nine different languages, with six added in 2019 alone. You can see a list of available languages in the language selector at the top of each page.

    • Deploying Docker Containers on Arm Hardware Just Got Easier

      Docker and Arm have announced a partnership that will allow containerized applications for Arm to the developed on x86 hardware.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Snapshot Sanity | TechSNAP 402

      Why Linux doesn’t just work on all hardware, criticism of your field, and the ethics of acquiring old software.

      Plus venturing outside, and how we install unusual applications.

  • Kernel Space

    • EXT4 Case-Insensitive Directories/File-Name Lookups Coming With Linux 5.2

      The Linux 5.2 kernel will allow the EXT4 file-system on a per-directory basis to selectively support case-insensitive files/folders.

      These patches by Collabora developer Gabriel Krisman Bertazi have long been in development for supporting case-insensitive filenames and UTF-8 encoding support. It seems now the design and implementation are in good enough standing as EXT4 maintainer Ted Ts’o has queued the patches into his tree.

    • Linux 5.2 Kernel To Introduce A Generic Counter Interface

      Queued now into staging for introduction with the upcoming Linux 5.2 kernel cycle is a Generic Counter Interface to allow counter devices/drivers to re-use this common code rather than having to implement redundant code into each of these drivers.

      The scope of a counter device in this context simply comes down to: “a counter is defined as a device that reports one or more “counts” based on the state changes of one or more “signals” as evaluated by a defined “count function.””

      The Generic Counter Interface provides some common infrastructure and a set of standardized sysfs interfaces for reading and interacting with such devices.

    • Linux Foundation

      • ETSI and the Linux Foundation Sign Memorandum of Understanding Enabling Industry Standards and Open Source Collaboration

        Today, the Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through sustainable open source, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ETSI, the independent organization providing global standards for Information and Community Technology (ICT) services across all sectors of industry, to bring open source and standards closer and foster synergies between them.

        Building on the existing working relationship between the two organizations, the formal collaboration agreement will enable faster information-sharing and deployment of open networking technologies across the industry. The formal link between communities of experts will encourage and enable collaborative activities, joint communication, promotion and events, as well as potential common initiatives related to interoperability and conformance testing.

        “It’s encouraging to see how far the industry has come in such a short time,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Edge, and IoT, the Linux Foundation. “This agreement with ETSI signals it’s possible to reach a harmonization of collaborative activities across open source and standards for the networking industry. Working together results in less fragmentation, faster deployments, and more streamlined innovation.”

        “We are eager to deepen our work with the open source communities at the Linux Foundation,” said Luis Jorge Romero, director-general, ETSI. “Open Source has been part of our working methods and our technical groups, Open Source MANO being an example, for several years now. Further collaboration provides the standards community with a quick feedback loop on how our specifications are being implemented.”

      • Linux Foundation Welcomes 43 New Members to Increase Open Source Commitment

        The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, announced on Thursday the addition of 38 Silver members and five Associate members. Linux Foundation reported that the members help support the development of shared open source technology, while accelerating their own innovation through open source leadership.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD’s FreeSync Linux Code Continues To Be Improved Upon For Low Frame-Rate Scenarios

        Since the FreeSync AMDGPU kernel driver support was introduced earlier this year in the Linux 5.0 kernel, it’s continued to be improved upon and another round of updated patches were posted today aiming to help the variable rate refresh behavior in low frame-rate scenarios.

        AMDGPU FreeSync has been in good shape with Linux 5.0~5.1 from our testing thus far while independent developer Mario Kleiner has been working on contributing various improvements to this code. Mario got a VRR stuttering fix back into the Linux 5.0 kernel. For the upcoming Linux 5.2 kernel cycle he also worked out a few more FreeSync fixes/improvements.

      • Fedora Looking At Using VESA-Based FBDEV Driver, Knocking Off Old VESA & OpenChrome

        Red Hat’s lead X.Org developer Adam Jackson is looking at reworking the VESA display code path for Fedora moving forward. The plan would entail removing some old “sketchy code” from the X.Org Server and moving to UVESAFB as the VESA-based FBDEV driver but would mean dropping support for the OpenChrome driver among other changes.

    • Benchmarks

      • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Linux Gaming Performance & Benchmarks

        This week NVIDIA introduced the $149 USD Turing-powered GTX 1650 graphics card. On launch day I picked up the ASUS GeForce GTX 1650 4GB Dual-Fan Edition (Dual-GTX1650-O4G) graphics card for Linux testing and have out now the initial GTX 1650 Linux performance benchmarks under Ubuntu compared to an assortment of lower-end and older AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards.

        For $149+ USD, the GeForce GTX 1650 features 896 CUDA cores, 1485MHz base clock with 1665MHz boost clock, 4GB of GDDR5 video memory, Volta-based NVENC video capabilities (not the newer Turing NVENC, but still good enough especially compared to older generations of NVIDIA GPUs), and has just a 75 Watt TDP meaning no external PCI Express power connector is required.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Bringing KContacts and KCalCore to KDE Frameworks

        Both KContacts and KCalCore actually used to be part of the KDE Frameworks predecessors since the KDE 2 and KDE 4 era respectively (kdelibs and kdepimlibs). However during the KF5 era they initially ended up in the KDE Application release, mainly due to dependencies on legacy code like the old KDateTime classes from KDELibs4Support.

        With the legacy dependencies removed since the 2017 Randa sprint, it’s finally time to get those libraries back to that level with all the KDE Frameworks guarantees on API and ABI stability. This is particularly useful for components that aren’t part of the KDE Application release cycle currently, such as Zanshin or Calindori. Following the KDE Frameworks policies makes libraries much easier to consume, while the monthly release cycle enables us to get improvements deployed quickly and continuously to our users.

        To make the transition as smooth as possible for distributions, the plan is to follow the same approach that was already used previously when moving KHolidays and Syndication to KDE Frameworks. That is have one final release with KDE Application that already uses the same naming and ABI as the final framework, and then start doing KDE Framework releases, so we have a drop-in replacement for the last KDE Application release. Distributions can then transition to the framework release whenever it’s convenient for them and without impact on the depending applications.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Tobias Bernard: Naming Your App

        So you’ve decided to make a new app for GNOME, and designed a great interface for it. Now you want to start building it, so you open Gitlab to create a new repository. But then, oh no — it wants a name for the repository. Existential dread sets in.

      • Librem 5 App Design Tutorial – Part I

        It’s always good to familiarize yourself with the design philosophy of a platform before starting to actually design in it. The GNOME Human Interface Guidelines explains this philosophy quite well in the “design principles” page, which you may want to read in its entirety; meanwhile, here are some of its most important points:

        Simplicity and focus Make sure your goals (for the app) are clear from the outset, and focus on those. It’s better to make a separate application to cover an additional use case than cramming too many things into one app (e.g., video podcasts are different enough from audio podcasts to be better off as an app of their own).
        Search and undo If there are large amounts of content in your app, provide full-text search so things are easy to find. People are likely to make mistakes: make data hard to lose, and never use a warning when you mean undo.
        Avoiding preferences Adding an extra option may seem like a good, quick fix, but in most cases it is treating the symptoms rather than the cause. Try to figure out what that cause is instead, fix the problem for everyone; I highly recommend this article by Havoc Pennington on the topic.

      • GNOME 3.33.1 Kicks Off The New Development Cycle Leading Up To GNOME 3.34

        It’s been just one month since GNOME 3.32 shipped as the latest and greatest work going into the GNOME desktop environment. Premiering today is GNOME 3.33.1 as the first development snapshot in the road to the release of GNOME 3.34 this September.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Feren OS: An Almost Flawless Linux Computing Platform

        Feren OS is a nearly flawless Linux computing platform. This distro is practically maintenance free. The developers have taken the best parts of several innovative Linux distros and seamlessly integrated them into an ideal computing platform.

        Feren OS is attractively designed and has just enough desktop animation to make using it a tad bit more interesting.

        Other than the missing games category in the main menu, this latest snapshot is a bit skimpy on including a better collection of applications. That is not a bad thing in terms of sensitivity to software bloat, but the developers should at least provide automated tools to download software bundles similar to what was included in previous releases.

        Still, Feren OS is a nice alternative to Linux Mint, which has gotten sluggish and slow since the version 19.1 release. Feren OS is an easy stepping stone to transition to Linux from Microsoft Windows and macOS. It is also a satisfying change for more experienced Linux users.

    • New Releases

      • Parrot 4.6

        We are proud to announce the release of Parrot 4.6, after 3 months of heavy development. This has been an especially big three months for us as Parrot 4.6 is also our first release completely served by our network without SaaS services like cloudflare. Everything is on our infrastructure.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • New KDE Frameworks, Python Setuptools, Emacs Update in Tumbleweed Snapshots

        The more recent Tumbleweed snapshot 20190423, provided new cups-filters 1.22.5 that changed a Ghostscript call so that fixes the page count so that it works with Ghostscript 9.27 and later. AV1 decoder package dav1d 0.2.2 brings a speed increase between four and six percent for Multi Slot Amplitude Coding (MSAC) decoding with SSE. The kernel-firmware package was updated to 20190409 and updated the firmware file for Intel Bluetooth and Marvell firmware images. Indonesian translations were made to the libstorage-ng 4.1.112 package. Ruby 2.6.3 updated the Unicode version to 12.1 beta to adds support for New Japanese Era “令和” (Reiwa). Other packages updated in the snapshot were perl-DateTime 1.51 and perl-DateTime-TimeZone 2.35, python-parso 0.4.0, python-qt5 5.12.1 and rdma-core 23.0. This snapshot is currently trending at a 89 rating, according to the Tumbleweed snapshot reviewer.

      • Trusted, open innovation that matters for SAP HANA on IBM Power Systems
    • Fedora

      • Fedora 30 Final is GO

        The Fedora 30 Final RC1.2 compose [1] is GO and will to be shipped live on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. For more information please check the Go/No-Go meeting minutes [2] or logs [3]. Thank you to everyone who has worked on this release and getting it out on time.

      • Fedora 30 Cleared For Release Next Tuesday

        While yesterday it was a “No-Go” for releasing Fedora 30, the developers and testers did a stellar job over the past twenty-four hours and got Fedora into shape for releasing on-time next week Tuesday.

        The blocker bugs have been resolved and the state of Fedora 30 is looking good: at today’s status meeting they declared Fedora 30 a “GO” for releasing on Tuesday, 30 April.

      • Fedora Community Blog: FPgM report: 2019-17
    • Debian Family

      • New Debian leader says decision-making an area that could be improved

        The new leader of the Debian GNU/Linux project says one thing that is holding back the project is the length of time it takes to take decisions, with developers often getting frustrated with the tools and processes that are used.
        “Debian is great for experimenting with lots of ways of doing things. We aren’t always great at consolidating on the solution that ended up working best when we’re done with those experiments,” Sam Hartman, who was elected as leader for a one-year term on 20 April, told iTWire during an interview.

        Hartman, who was born blind, has been with the project for nearly 20 years, and credits his wife with having given him the necessary motivation to run for the post of leader. “Her encouragement to go do what I believe in and run for DPL gave me the final confirmation that this investment in Debian was worth it for me,” he said.

      • Jonathan Dowland: mutt year zero

        For better or worse I’m a heavy email user, not least because so much of the traditional workflows in Debian are email based. I use a variety of email clients but my swiss-army knife is mutt, and has been since at least 2005, which is the earliest-dated comment in my mutt configuration files.

        I’ve always used the mutt package as provided by Debian, which means in practice I have been actually been using neomutt since around 2016, when the Debian maintainers imported that patch-set into the mutt package. neomutt is an independent effort to coordinate development of mutt (or on top of mutt) as the upstream maintainer(s) were (for a time) largely dormant. It’s meant to be a friendly project, in some cases incubating patches that people are still trying to submit to the upstream project.

        Fast forward to 2017 and an upstream mutt maintainer complained that Debian is providing something called “mutt” that is actually “neomutt” and started making pseudo-legal threats. This could have been resolved in a number of ways (my proposal and plea are recorded in that bug), but the decision of the package maintainers was to switch the mutt package back to the mutt source and provide neomutt as a separate Debian package.

      • Introduction to the new DPL, ask him anything!

        We have a new DPL! On 21 April 2019 Sam Hartman started his term as Debian Project Leader.

        Join us on the #debian-meeting channel on the OFTC IRC network on 10 May 2019 at 10:00 UTC for an introduction to our new DPL, and also to have the chance to ask him any questions that you may have.

        Your IRC nick needs to be registered in order to join the channel. Refer to the Register your account section on the oftc website for more information on how to register your nick.

      • Jonas Meurer: debian lts report 2019.04

        After a longer break (~two years) I again took part in the funded Debian LTS project in April 2019.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Privacy Tips and Tricks for Ubuntu 19.04

            To accompany the WTDAI article, I write this one to sum up 12 things related to user’s privacy on Ubuntu 19.04. You will find here tips for internet privacy, like DNSCrypt and Enigmail, and tips for system privacy, like Screen Lock and Password Management. You will also find my recommendations for network services, like Invidious to replace YouTube, and more. I tried to make them short and easy for you. I hope this list useful and practical for everybody new in both Ubuntu and privacy things. Last but not least, privacy is a very broad field and I left more readings in the end for you to learn more.

          • Ubuntu 19.04 Disco Dingo Has Been Released (Download Links)

            Canonical announced the latest version of Ubuntu 19.04 Disco Dingo, along with other flavors. This version features ships with the latest GNOME desktop 3.32, Linux kernel 5.0, OpenJDK 11 is the default JRE/JDK, boost 1.67, rustc 1.31, and updated GCC 8.3, optional GCC 9, Python 3.7.3 as default, ruby 2.5.5, php 7.2.15, perl 5.28.1, golang 1.10.4: “Codenamed ‘Disco Dingo’, 19.04 continues Ubuntu’s proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution. The team has been hard at work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs. The Ubuntu kernel has been updated to the 5.0 based Linux kernel, our default toolchain has moved to gcc 8.3 with glibc 2.29, and we’ve also updated to openssl 1.1.1b and gnutls 3.6.5 with TLS1.3 support. Ubuntu Desktop 19.04 introduces GNOME 3.32 with increased performance, smoother startup animations, quicker icon load times and reduced CPU+GPU load. Fractional scaling for HiDPI screens is now available in Xorg and Wayland. Ubuntu Server 19.04 integrates recent innovations from key open infrastructure projects like OpenStack Stein, Kubernetes, and Ceph with advanced life-cycle management for multi-cloud and on-prem operations, from bare metal, VMware and OpenStack to every major public cloud…” You can checkout complete release announcement and release notes.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • This Week Twitter Taught Me about Preferences, Pop OS & Raspberry Pi Penguins

              You probably have valid reasons, such as: you’re sane; introverted; privacy conscious; allergic to the toxic cloud of outrage, Trump tweets and automated bot militias that dominates the bite-sized micro-blogging landscape…

              So cue this, a (likely one-shot) series where I share a few of the things I learned through Twitter this week so that you don’t miss out on the banality.

              Is this effort me sloshing a glass half-full of irony in the air, or a shallow attempt at producing some low-effort content? Whichever it is: unroll the embeds, WordPress…


              I may personally be somewhat unconvinced by the necessity of System76’s Ubuntu fork — guy doesn’t find use for distro: hardly a shocking option — but a febrile flock of fans over on the bird site flooded my notification stream to try and convince me otherwise anyway.

              A flurry of responses quickly fluff in from fans of both Pop OS and System76 whose feathered had be ruffled.


              Don’t forget (as this is an Ubuntu centric site, not a hardware vendor one) I am viewing Pop OS as its own, distinct thing; an Ubuntu competitor, if you will.

              I’m sure Pop OS does run “exceptionally” on the laptops System76 flog — it’d be weird if it didn’t, right? But that’s not what I was commenting on.

              Or to put it another way: I simply don’t get Pop OS.

              And I mean that in the same way that I don’t get Snapchat or country music or crocs, either. They all exist, they are all popular, and folks get a lot of enjoyment from them. But for me it’s a case of blank stares and 💅 emoji.

              There were a bunch of more civil and (as a result) more persuasive comments delivered in the comments section to my Pop OS news post. If you, like me, don’t quite get what makes the distro worth denigrating me for, do check them out.

              If, after all this, anyone is still upset that I don’t use Pop OS all I can say is…

            • Linux Mint Cinnamon vs MATE

              Linux Mint is definitely one of the most popular Linux distros out there. Because it’s Ubuntu-based, it offers support from one of the largest Linux communities while being simple and elegant for everyone: newbie to veteran, home users to system admins. With Linux Mint, there are 3 options you can choose in terms of the desktop environment: Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce. Cinnamon is the original flavor of Linux Mint whereas MATE is a desktop environment with legacy. These 2 are the most popular choice as the desktop environment of Linux Mint.It doesn’t matter whatever desktop environment you’re using, it’s always easy to shift to a new desktop environment. In the case of Cinnamon desktop, it’s easy to set Cinnamon desktop right now. Learn how to install Cinnamon desktop on Linux Mint.
              If you’re confused which one to go, I hope this article will help you understand the difference between the 2 desktop environments and let you choose the best one for you.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Kodi 18.2 “Leila” Is Now Available For Ubuntu/Linux Mint

    Kodi project recently announced the latest version Kodi 18.2 ‘Leila’. If you don’t know what Kodi is then let us tell you some words about this media center. It is an open-source, free and cross-platform multimedia center, it is considered an ideal solution for home theater and can be used in various situations.
    Kodi has wide support for audio and video formats. Another interesting feature is it allows you to do network playback, so you can stream your multimedia from anywhere in the house or directly from the internet using practically any protocol available. You can play CDs and DVDs from the disc or image file, also supports almost all popular archive formats from your hard drive, and even files inside ZIP and RAR archives.

  • 7 advantages of open source for agile teams

    There’s no question that open source software is vital to enterprises today. But in particular, agile and DevOps teams rely on open source. In fact, it’s hard to imagine how you could have one without the other, says Chris Short, principal product manager for Red Hat Ansible and publisher of the DevOps’ish newsletter.

    “Open source software and the processes and tooling around it are what necessitated the birth of agile and DevOps,” Short explains. “Having the ability to edit and share code in real time with the rest of the world (or only your internal teams) can be a significant productivity boost. The folks working in these spaces are force multipliers in the right conditions. They focus on the tasks that solve the next series of problems the organization will face.

  • Events

    • Webinar Recording: “Effective Data Science with PyCharm” with Dan Tofan

      Yesterday we hosted a webinar with Dan Tofan, author of the recent Pluralsight course Boost Data Science Productivity with PyCharm. Dan gave a tour of how data scientists can put a professional IDE like PyCharm Professional to work, emphasizing our Scientific Mode, newly-reimplemented Jupyter Notebook support, and the Databases tool from DataGrip. The recording is now available.

    • Red Hat Summit 2019 session highlights: IT Automation and Management

      Management and automation technologies have always been instrumental to enterprise IT governance, however their importance grows as organizations grapple with increasing scale and complexity. Traditional solutions can often be unable to adapt to the needs of these rapidly changing hybrid cloud environments and organizations can acquire new tools to help address these challenges. Cloud-ready, agentless management and automation solutions can help standardize processes, accelerate IT service delivery, and more effectively manage infrastructure for compliance with policy-driven IT.

    • Guru Night at Red Hat Summit: Hands-on experience with serverless computing

      Millions of developers worldwide want to learn more about serverless computing. If you’re one of the lucky thousands attending Red Hat Summit in Boston May 7-9, you can gain hands-on experience with the help of Burr Sutter and the Red Hat Developer team.

  • Web Browsers

    • Gab is forking Brave, and Brave is forking furious

      Gab, the free-speech absolutist social media network, continues to look for creative ways to resist being silenced.

      Having earned a reputation as a platform that is tolerant of even the most hateful (yet still technically legal) expressions of speech, Gab has been booted off virtually every Silicon Valley service imaginable—from payment processors to web host providers.

      Now, fresh off having its browser plug-in Dissenter, the “comment section of the Internet,” ejected from the Google and Mozilla extension libraries, Gab is taking the oft-used “if you don’t like it, go create your own” criticism to heart. The company has built its own web browser—a forked version of the open-source Brave browser—and will be releasing it within the next few weeks, Gab CEO Andrew Torba tells Decrypt.

    • Chrome

      • Chromium 74 available in my repository. Also for 32bit Slackware.

        The Chromium 74 sources were released a few days ago by Google, and it comes with a long list of fixes for security issues.
        I spent almost two months to investigate why the 32bit package could no longer be built (which is one of the reasons why there were so few updates in march and april – I only have a few hours every day that I can spend on Slackware these days) and had finally managed to compile a 32bit package for Chromium 73 in a 32bit chroot environment on a 64bit Slackware OS, and that package was online for one day…. and now I tried compiling the new release on a regular 32bit Slackware OS and that worked! No idea whether this is because of my modifications of the SlackBuild.

    • Mozilla

      • Cameron Kaiser: Another interesting TenFourFox downstream

        Because we’re one of the few older forks of Firefox to still backport security updates, TenFourFox code turns up in surprising places sometimes. I’ve known about roytam’s various Pale Moon and Mozilla builds; the patches are used in both the rebuilds of Pale Moon 27 and 28 and his own fork of 45ESR. Arctic Fox, which is a Pale Moon 27 (descended from Firefox 38, with patches) rebuild for Snow Leopard and PowerPC Linux, also uses TenFourFox security patches as well as some of our OS X platform code.
        Recently I was also informed of a new place TenFourFox code has turned up: OS/2. There’s no Rust for OS/2, so they’re in the same boat that PowerPC OS X is, and it doesn’t look like 52ESR was ever successfully ported to OS/2 either; indeed, the last “official” Firefox I can find from Bitwise is 45.9. Dave Yeo took that version (as well as Thunderbird 45.9 and SeaMonkey 2.42.9) and backported our accumulated security patches along with other fixes to yield updated “SUa1″ Firefox, Thunderbird and SeaMonkey builds for OS/2. If you’re curious, here are the prerequisites.

      • Update To rr Master To Debug Firefox Trunk

        The issue is that LMDB opens a file, maps it into memory MAP_SHARED, and then opens the file again and writes to it through the new file descriptor, and requires that the written data be immediately reflected in the shared memory mapping. (This behavior is not guaranteed by POSIX but is guaranteed by Linux.) rr needs to observe these writes and record the necessary memory changes, otherwise they won’t happen during replay (because writes to files don’t happen during replay) and replay will fail. rr already handled the case when the application write to the file descriptor (technically, the file description) that was used to map the file — Chromium has needed this for a while. The LMDB case is harder to handle. To fix LMDB, whenever the application opens a file for writing, we have to check to see if any shared mapping of that file exists and if so, mark that file description so writes to it have their shared-memory effects recorded. Unfortunately this adds overhead to writable file opens, but hopefully it doesn’t matter much since in many workloads most file opens are read-only. (If it turns out to be a problem there are ways we can optimize further.) While fixing this, we also added support for the case where the application opens a file (possibly multiple times with different file descriptions) and then creates a shared mapping of one of them. To handle that, when creating a shared mapping we have to scan all open files to see if any of them refer to the mapped file, and if so, mark them so the effects of their writes are recorded.

      • language-design team meta working group

        I’m happy to announce the formation of the language-design team meta working group. The Meta WG is tasked with helping to manage the transition of the language-design team to a new process – and, if consensus is something that interests you, we’d like you to help!

      • AiC: Language-design team meta working group

        On internals, I just announced the formation of the language-design team meta working group. The role of the meta working group is to figure out how other language-design team working groups should work. The plan is to begin by enumerating some of our goals – the problems we aim to solve, the good things we aim to keep – and then move on to draw up more details plans. I expect this discussion will intersect the RFC process quite heavily (at least when it comes to language design changes). Should be interesting! It’s all happening in the open, and a major goal of mine is for this to be easy to follow along with from the outside – so if talking about talking is your thing, you should check it out.

      • Firefox Origin Telemetry: Putting Prio in Practice

        Prio is neat. It allows us to learn counts of things that happen across the Firefox population without ever being able to learn which Firefox sent us which pieces of information.

        For example, Content Blocking will soon be using this to count how often different trackers are blocked and exempted from blocking so we can more quickly roll our Enhanced Tracking Protection to our users to protect them from companies who want to track their activities across the Web.

        To get from “Prio is neat” to “Content Blocking is using it” required a lot of effort and the design and implementation of a system I called Firefox Origin Telemetry.

        Prio on its own has some very rough edges. It can only operate on a list of at most 2046 yes or no questions (a bit vector). It needs to know cryptographic keys from the servers that will be doing the sums and decryption. It needs to know what a “Batch ID” is. And it needs something to reliably and reasonably-frequently send the data once it has been encoded.

      • Mike Hoye: Synchronous Text

        Let’s lead with the punchline: the question of what comes after IRC, for Mozilla, is now on my desk.

        I wasn’t in the room when IRC.mozilla.org was stood up, but from what I’ve heard IRC wasn’t “chosen” so much as it was the obvious default, the only tool available in the late ’90s. Suffice to say that as a globally distributed organization, Mozilla has relied on IRC as our main synchronous communications tool since the beginning. For much of that time it’s served us well, if for some less-than-ideal values of “us” and “well”.

        Like a lot of the early internet IRC is a quasi-standard protocol built with far more of the optimism of the time than the paranoia the infosec community now refers to as “common sense”, born before we learned how much easier it is to automate bad acts than it is to foster healthy communities. Like all unauthenticated systems on the modern net it’s aging badly and showing no signs of getting better.

        While we still use it heavily, IRC is an ongoing source of abuse and harassment for many of our colleagues and getting connected to this now-obscure forum is an unnecessary technical barrier for anyone finding their way to Mozilla via the web. Available interfaces really haven’t kept up with modern expectations, spambots and harassment are endemic to the platform, and in light of that it’s no coincidence that people trying to get in touch with us from inside schools, colleges or corporate networks are finding that often as not IRC traffic isn’t allowed past institutional firewalls at all.

      • The Rust Programming Language Blog: Mozilla IRC Sunset and the Rust Channel

        The Rust community has had a presence on Mozilla’s IRC network almost since Rust’s inception. Over time, the single channel grew into a set of pretty active channels where folks would come to ask Rust questions, coordinate work on Rust itself, and just in general chat about Rust.

        Mozilla recently announced that it would be shutting down its IRC network, citing a growing maintenance and moderation burden. They are looking into new options for the Mozilla community, but this does leave the question open as to what the Rust project will do.

        Last year a lot of the teams started exploring new communication platforms. Almost all the Rust teams no longer use IRC as their official discussion platform, instead using Discord or Zulip (as well as a variety of video chat tools for synchronous meetings). The few teams that do use IRC are working with us to find a new home, likely a channel on Discord or Zulip.

        This leaves the #rust and #rust-beginners channels on Mozilla’s IRC network, which are still quite active, that will need a new home when Mozilla’s network shuts down. Rust’s official Discord server does have the #users, #help, and #beginners channels that fill in this purpose, and we recommend people start using those.

      • irc.mozilla.org

        I remember the very first time I used IRC. It was 2004, and earlier in the week I had met with Mike Shaver at Seneca, probably for the first time, and he’d ended our meeting with a phrase I’d never heard before, but I nodded knowingly nevertheless: “Ping me in #developers.”

        Ping me. What on earth did that mean!? Little did I know that this phrase would come to signify so much about the next decade of my life. After some research and initial trial and error, ‘dave’ joined irc.mozilla.org and found his way to the unlisted #developers channel. And there was ‘shaver’, along with 300 or so other #developers.

        The immediacy of it was unlike anything I’d used before (or since). To join irc was to be transported somewhere else. You weren’t anywhere, or rather, you were simultaneously everywhere. For many of these years I was connecting to irc from an old farm house in the middle of rural Ontario over a satellite internet connection. But when I got online, there in the channels with me were people from New Zealand, the US, Sweden, and everywhere in between.

      • Mozilla’s IoT relaunches, sun-based GPS, and more news

        As you might expect, Mozilla has irons in a number of open source fires. Over the last two weeks, Mozilla has gone public with two significant projects.

        The first one is Pyodide. It’s an “experimental Python project that’s designed to perform computation” from within a browser window. While other projects are also attempting to bring Python interpreters to the web browser, Pyodide “doesn’t require a rewrite of popular scientific computing tools (like NumPy, Pandas, Scipy, and Matplotlib) to achieve adequate performance.”

        The second project is an IoT platform called Mozilla WebThings. WebThings isn’t new. It’s the grown up version of the organization’s Project Things platform “for monitoring and controlling connected devices.” The latest version of WebThings add features for logging and visualizing data from your smart devices, as well as monitoring and triggering alarms from internet-connected detectors. You can learn more at the Mozilla IoT site.

      • Firefox Nightly: These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 58

        Continuing on fixing regressions in QuantumBar, including improvements for RTL, less visual flicker and lots more.


    • GCC9-RC Is Out With Hopes Of GCC 9.1 Next Week Bringing AMD Zen 2, D Language, OpenMP 5

      Following yesterday’s branching of the GCC 9 code-base after hitting no high priority regressions left and thus opening trunk for GCC 10 development, the release candidate of GCC 9 is now available while the official GCC 9.1.0 compiler may be released next week if all goes well.

      The GCC 9 release candidate is available now as what should be the final test release before the stable compiler release. Those wanting to test out GCC 9 over the days ahead can grab it here.

    • GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 15 new GNU releases in April!


  • Programming/Development

    • Igalia coding experience open positions

      The Igalia Coding Experience is an internship program which provides their first exposure to the professional world, working hand in hand with Igalia programmers and learning with them. The internship is aimed to students with background in Computer Science, Information Technology, or Free Software development.

    • Python Celery – Weekly Celery Tutorials and How-tos: Auto-reload Celery on code changes

      For a long time, my most frustrating developer experience with Celery was the lack of worker restart on code changes.

      For example, Gunicorn supports a –reload argument. This setting causes workers to be restarted whenever your application code changes. Which is almost indispensable even when you are really disciplined TDD disciple.

      Unfortunately, Celery does not suport such a reload option. Celery once had an –autoreload option but it was deprecated in version 3.1.0 or so – though the documents suggested otherwise for a long time. Which only added to the frustration and confusion.

    • Formatting our code with Prettier

      I’ve become a huge advocate of using Prettier to format front-end code. Let me explain why.

      For many years, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time squinting at my code editor and trying to decide if the curly brackets at the top of my screen align with the curly brackets at the bottom of my screen.

      The reason for this is to make sure my code is tidy and consistent and thus easier to maintain – either by myself at a later date or by someone else.

      I’m also tidy by nature – clutter stresses me out. I like a tidy desk, a tidy house, a tidy car and a tidy garden. There is a place for everything and everything should be in its place. If it doesn’t give me joy – it goes in the bin!

    • Python for NLP: Introduction to the Pattern Library
    • JavaScript ecosystem survey concludes React is most popular framework

      The “Enterprise JavaScript in 2019” survey by npm reveals some trends for the JavaScript community. This year, respondents report that they want to learn WebAssembly, they are concerned about open source code security, and much more. Find out the key takeaways and see what’s expected for the years ahead.

    • KDAB at Italian C++, Milan

      Once again, KDAB is proud to be sponsoring Italian C++ – a free event organized by C++ enthusiasts in Milan, Italy.

      Come and listen to KDAB’s James Turner talk about Custom tooling for frameworks, libraries and projects using Clang – getting Clazy.

    • Linux C Programming Tutorial Part 24 – Multi dimensional arrays
    • An eBPF overview, part 3: Walking up the software stack

      eBPF programs can be much more complex: multiple backends can be loaded by a single (or separate multiple!) loader processes, writing to multiple data structures which then get read by multiple frontend processes! All of these can happen in a single big user eBPF application spanning multiple processes.

    • Don’t be afraid of Test-Driven Development

      Throughout my career, the teams I’ve been on have had a wide range of views on using tests while developing code. As I’ve moved between teams, listened to podcasts, and read articles, I’ve assembled some notes that would have been very useful for me in the past. Some of these notes are getting compiled into a bookIf this sounds interesting, sign up for free content and a discount. that I’ll be selling later this year.

      Even though I could include this in that book, I realize that I took much longer than I should have to get started with testing my code. This is mostly because I was intimidated with rules I felt I had to follow; rules that I had to get past in order to let myself explore, try, fail, and then succeed.

      If you aren’t testing your code, I want to share this post with the hope that you too may find enjoyment form it.

    • Create Dummy Data in Python
    • The Unbearable Coolness of Cloud Functions
    • TensorFlow CPU optimizations in Anaconda
    • Python 3.7.3 and Django REST framework.
    • Deploy your distributed system efficiently with fabric
    • Django REST framework – part 001.
    • Python dis module and constant folding

      I found the answer through the Python IRC channel on Freenode. The reason why pow is slightly slower is that in CPython there is an additional step of loading pow from the namespace. Whereas, in 3**9 there is no such loading required. This also means that the difference will remain more or less constant even if the input numbers get bigger and bigger.

    • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (clxxv) stackoverflow python report


  • Science

    • Introduction to generative adversarial network

      If you’ve been following the artificial intelligence (AI) news media lately, you probably heard that one of Google’s top AI people, Ian Goodfellow, moved to Apple in March. Goodfellow was named one of MIT’s Innovators Under 35 in 2017 and one of Foreign Policy’s 100 Global Thinkers in 2019. He is also known as the father of the machine learning concept called the generative adversarial network (GAN). According to Yann LeCun, the director of Facebook AI, GAN is the “most interesting idea in the last 10 years of machine learning.”

      Nearly everyone is aware of how hot the field of machine learning is now. Google is doing machine learning. Amazon is doing machine learning. Facebook is doing machine learning. Every company on the planet wants to do something with machine learning. Mark Cuban, an American businessman, investor (including on the Shark Tank reality TV show), and owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team, recently said everyone should learn machine learning.

    • Shoddy Software Is Eating The World, And People Are Dying As A Result

      Two recent crashes involving Boeing 737 Max jets are still being investigated. But there is a growing view that anti-stall software used on the plane may have caused a “repetitive uncommanded nose-down”, as a preliminary report into the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines plane puts it. Gregory Travis has been a pilot for 30 years, and a software developer for more than 40 years. Drawing on that double expertise, he has written an illuminating article for the IEEE Spectrum site, entitled “How the Boeing 737 Max Disaster Looks to a Software Developer” (free account required). It provides an extremely clear explanation of the particular challenges of designing the Boeing 737 Max, and what they tell us about modern software development.

      Airline companies want jets to be as cost-effective as possible. That means using engines that are as efficient as possible in converting fuel into thrust, which turns out to mean engines that are as big as possible. But that was a problem for the hugely-popular Boeing 737 series of planes.

    • In 1983, This Bell Labs Computer Was the First Machine to Become a Chess Master

      Chess is a complicated game. It’s a game of strategy between two opponents, but with no hidden information and all of the potential moves known by both players at the outset. With each turn, players communicate their intent and try to anticipate the possible countermoves. The ability to envision several moves in advance is a recipe for victory, and one that mathematicians and logicians have long found intriguing.

      Despite some early mechanical chess-playing machines—and at least one chess-playing hoax—mechanized chess play remained hypothetical until the advent of digital computing. While working on his Ph.D. in the early 1940s, the German computer pioneer Konrad Zuse used computer chess as an example for the high-level programming language he was developing, called Plankalkül. Due to World War II, however, his work wasn’t published until 1972. With Zuse’s work unknown to engineers in Britain and the United States, Norbert Wiener, Alan Turing, and notably Claude Shannon (with his 1950 paper “Programming a Computer for Playing Chess” [PDF]) paved the way for thinking about computer chess.

  • Hardware

    • What is SSD TRIM?

      SSDs are a completely different storage media compared to the ones that existed before it. Magnetic media, especially spinning disks, have introduced a lot of concepts like sector size, partitioning, fragmentation etc. Some of these ideas have been emulated in the firmware Solid state devices as well.

      On the flip side, new concepts have been introduced in order to optimize the performance, life span and reliability of these novel devices as well. One such concept is the TRIM operation.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Cancer Drug Prices Continue to Rise

      Rising drug prices is an issue that everyone from the President to both Houses of Congress (Democrats and Republicans), Wall Street, and Main Street can agree must be alleviated, and perhaps the most expensive drugs are those that treat cancer. This reality is a combination of the severity of the disease and the nature of the drugs, which are generally biologic drugs characterized by structural complexity, production difficulties, and high cost of regulatory approval. As reported in Genetic Engineering News, the trend of increasing drug prices continued among most of the top ten highest selling cancer drugs currently on the market.

      The basis for the information disclosed in GEN is a report from IQVIA™ Institute for Human Data Science entitled Global Oncology Drug Trends 2018, which showed that cancer treatment costs average over $150,000 on 2017 with total spend in the U.S. on these drugs of almost $50 billion (compared with a total of $60 billion for the rest of the world). The situation may get even worse, with cancer drug prices expected to double again by 2022 in the U.S. and there being an equivalent percentage rise (10-13% annually) in the rest of the world.

    • Progressives Raise Alarm Over Lack of Single Payer Supporters Chosen to Testify at Historic Medicare for All Hearing

      After the House Rules Committee released the full list of witnesses who will testify at the first-ever congressional hearing on Medicare for All next week, progressives raised alarm over the lack of single-payer proponents chosen for the panel and worried that what is supposed to be a substantive discussion of Medicare for All could turn out to be a “farce.”

    • States Weigh Banning a Widely Used Pesticide Even Though EPA Won’t

      Lawmakers in several states are trying to ban a widely used pesticide that the Environmental Protection Agency is fighting to keep on the market.

      The pesticide, chlorpyrifos, kills insects on contact by attacking their nervous systems.

      Several studies have linked prenatal exposure of chlorpyrifos to lower birth weights, lower IQs, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other developmental issues in children. But the EPA in 2017 ignored the conclusions of its scientists and rejected a proposal made during the Obama administration to ban its use in fields and orchards.

      Hawaii was the first state to pass a full ban last year. Now California, Oregon, New York and Connecticut are trying to do the same.

      Should California succeed, the rear-guard action could have a big impact.

      “If California is successful, that’s a big deal because it’s such a big state — the biggest agricultural state,” said Virginia Ruiz, director of occupational and environmental health at the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Farmworker Justice.

      Earlier this year, congressional Democrats also introduced bills to ban the pesticide nationally, but experts believe states are more likely to succeed than Congress. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who is running for president, introduced a separate bill last week that would prohibit schools from serving fruits and vegetables sprayed with the pesticide.

    • Pentagon Pushed for Weakened Regulations on Toxic Chemicals, Endangering Drinking Water of Millions of Americans

      Lobbying from the Pentagon is to blame for the Trump administration’s latest environmental regulatory rollback, according to reports.

      The EPA on Thursday released weakened guidelines for the clean-up of toxic groundwater pollution which could contaminate the drinking water millions of Americans use—after the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) called on the White House to intervene and have an earlier draft of the rules changed.

      “It’s darkly ironic that on the five-year anniversary of the Flint water crisis, instead of taking action to improve our drinking water, Trump’s EPA doubled down on its commitment to gut water protections,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food and Water Watch, in a statement. “Despite the agency’s ongoing spin to the contrary, it seems hell-bent on giving industrial and military polluters a pass despite the clear and present danger these chemicals represent for our health.”

      The guidelines apply to per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are used heavily by the Pentagon in foams for fighting fires at military bases, as well as by companies that use them in a number of household products. The Pentagon has pushed in recent weeks to make sure it won’t have to quickly remove potential contamination from hundreds of sites across the country, citing costs. The department recently proposed a $750 billion budget.

      The new rules will allow military bases to take years to clean up PFAS contamination, eliminating from the draft a section that had called for the prompt removal of “immediate threats posed by hazardous waste sites.”

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Russia’s FSB reports terrorist attack prevented in Northern Caucasian city of Nalchik

      Federal Security Service (FSB) employees and police officers have prevented a terrorist attack planned for the Kabardino-Balkar Republic’s capital city of Nalchik, FSB representatives announced.

      The security agency said it had arrested an ISIS member who had prepared an improvised explosive device and intended to use it to commit a violent attack. FSB representatives also said the attack was ordered by higher-ranking ISIS members in Syria.

    • Experts claim Putin’s citizenship program in eastern Ukraine will cost Russia 100 billion rubles a year

      Experts polled by the news website The Bell estimate that Vladimir Putin’s decision this week to simplify the path to citizenship for millions of people living in Ukraine’s separatist-controlled Donbas region will cost Moscow at least 100 billion rubles ($1.6 billion) in additional annual social-security payments.

    • Journalist’s Slaying Spurs Northern Ireland Power-Sharing Pact

      Britain and Ireland made a new push Friday to restore Northern Ireland’s collapsed government, responding to public outrage at the killing of a journalist by a banned militant group.

      Talks will begin May 7 to revive the Catholic-Protestant power-sharing administration, which has been suspended for more than two years, the U.K. and Irish governments said. The negotiations will involve the two governments and all Northern Ireland’s main political parties.

      “We have a narrow window in which genuine progress can be made and we must act now,” U.K. Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley said at a news conference in Belfast.

      Northern Ireland’s 1.8 million people have been without a functioning administration since the power-sharing government collapsed in January 2017 over a botched green-energy project. The rift soon widened to broader cultural and political issues separating Northern Ireland’s British unionists and Irish nationalists.

    • For NYT, Israel Is Always Nearing ‘Apartheid,’ but Never Quite Gets There

      For almost 20 years, the paper has suggested that Israel/Palestine risks devolving into an apartheid state if it continues to rule over Palestinians in the territories—Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem—who cannot choose their rulers. This population includes approximately 4.75 million occupied Palestinians—320,000 in East Jerusalem, 2.8 million in the rest of the West Bank and 1.8 million in besieged Gaza—to say nothing of the millions of Palestinian refugees who cannot return to their homes and participate in elections because the people who put on those elections won’t let them.

      That situation has remained the same, not only for the period that the Times has been publishing material saying the arrangement might someday add up to apartheid, but since 1967. Yet the Times persists in characterizing Israeli apartheid as a hypothetical future development. The paper acknowledges that governing millions of Palestinians but denying them the vote is a form of apartheid, so there’s no justification for saying, after nearly 52 years of such disenfranchisement, that that will eventually constitute apartheid, but for some unspecified reason doesn’t yet at this point.

    • Most Americans Actually Reject Trump’s ‘America First’ Policy

      As president, Donald Trump has leaned heavily upon what he’s called an “America First” policy. This nationalist approach involves walking away from cooperative agreements with other nations and relying instead upon a dominant role for the United States, undergirded by military might, in world affairs.

      Nevertheless, as numerous recent opinion polls reveal, most Americans don’t support this policy.

      The reaction of the American public to Trump’s withdrawal of the United States from key international agreements has been hostile. According to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll conducted in early May 2018, shortly before Trump announced a pullout from the Iran nuclear agreement, 54 percent of respondents backed the agreement. Only 29 percent favored a pullout.

      In July 2018, when the Chicago Council on Global Affairs surveyed Americans about their reaction to Trump’s withdrawal from both the Iran deal and the Paris climate agreement, it found that 66 favored remaining within the Iran accord, while 68 percent favored remaining within the Paris accord ― an increase of 6 percent in support for each of these agreements over the preceding year.

      Most Americans also rejected Trump’s 2019 withdrawal of the United States from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia. A survey that February by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs reported that 54 percent of Americans opposed withdrawal from this nuclear arms control treaty and only 41 percent favored it. Furthermore, when pollsters presented arguments for and against withdrawal from the treaty to Americans before asking for their opinion, 66 percent opposed withdrawal.

      In addition, despite Trump’s sharp criticism of U.S. allies, most Americans expressed their support for a cooperative relationship with them. The Chicago Council’s July 2018 survey found that 66 percent of Americans agreed that the United States should make decisions with its allies, even if it meant that the U.S. government would have to go along with a policy other than its own. Only 32 percent disagreed.

    • U.S. Withdrawing From Global Arms Trade Treaty, Trump Says

      President Donald Trump says the U.S. has decided to withdraw its support for a treaty regulating the multibillion-dollar global arms trade. It’s the latest example of the Trump administration’s dislike of international pacts.

      Trump said Friday that he has decided to revoke the United States’ status as a signatory of the Arms Trade Treaty regulating international trade in conventional weapons, including small arms, battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships.

      He says America is “rejecting this treaty” and “taking our signature back.”

      He made the announcement during a speech in Indianapolis, Indiana, to the National Rifle Association, which claims the treaty poses a threat to the Second Amendment. The U.S. signed the treaty in 2013, but never ratified it.

    • ‘The War on Drugs Is Just One of Several Being Waged in the Philippines’ – CounterSpin interview with Amee Chew on the Philippines under Duterte

      Note the passivity of the phrase “have been slain,” and the choice to lead with an official death toll rather than human rights groups’ less self-interested numbers. The 12,000 figure provides a link to a Human Rights Watch report that has never been the subject of a Washington Post news story.

      Among many things such reporting wouldn’t lead you to suspect: Two years ago, when the Philippines Senate tried to cut funding for the campaign of state and state-sanctioned violence, for which the toll of “even 20,000” is almost certainly conservative, it was the United States that stepped in with the money to fill the shortfall.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • WikiLeaks: The US is indeed investigating Assange for publishing secret information, DOJ letter suggests

      Right after the London police carried Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy, the United States demanded his extradition. A March 2018 indictment charges him with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, carrying a maximum penalty of five years in prison. But that is not the entire truth.

      Only one day after writing the indictment, the US Attorney’s Office admitted it was also investigating Assange for the „unauthorized receipt and dissemination of secret information“. That is what the Department of Justice wrote in a letter to former WikiLeaks spokesperson Daniel Domscheit-Berg, which we are publishing in full.

      This accusation can be charged under the Espionage Act of 1917, a World War I era federal law intended to protect military secrets which has also been used to charge Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. Convictions under the Espionage Act can be punished by death. The death penalty is not only inhumane and archaic, it has legal consequences: The United Kingdom is not allowed to extradite Assange if he faces the death penalty.

      Charging Assange for publishing classified information is an attack on press freedom, „obtaining and disseminating secret information“ is the very task of journalism. If WikiLeaks is charged, every journalist and media outlet publishing secret information will be on trial. While the Obama administration debated this dangerous precedent, the Trump government shows no restraints.


      In the past, more people involved with WikiLeaks were asked to support the investigations by providing information to the prosecutors. Jacob Appelbaum was asked to testify against Assange, but he refused. Manning is back in prison since early March for refusing to testify before the grand jury.

      Not everyone resists. As early as 2011, several people cooperated with the FBI, including Adrian Lamo, Sigurdur Thordarson and a not publicly named „U.S. Person No. 1“. David House refused to testify before the grand jury in 2011, but changed his mind and testified in May 2018, likely after an offer similar to Domscheit-Berg’s.

      The US must produce its case for requesting the extradition of Assange from Britain by June 12. In seven weeks, they must finally admit what they are trying to charge him for: hacking or journalism.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Arbor Day Foundation to Plant 100 Million Trees by 2022

      Today is Arbor Day. That means in just three years, America’s oldest environmental celebration will turn 150, and the Arbor Day Foundation is already planning a redwood-sized birthday present. The foundation, the largest non-profit dedicated to planting trees, has announced a new goal: planting 100 million trees by 2022.

      “It can be easy to take trees for granted, but they are absolutely critical to maintaining balance on our planet—supporting clean air and water, healthy food and a livable climate,” Arbor Day Foundation President Dan Lambe said in a press release. “With an estimated 18 million acres of forests lost globally each year, that balance is being shaken.”

    • Concerned About Food Waste? Study Finds Meal Kits May Be Greener Than Grocery Shopping

      Meal kit delivery services are an easy target for eco-conscious people concerned with waste: the ingredients are meticulously packaged in plastic and insulation, put into cardboard boxes and shipped to the customer’s front door each week. But how does all that waste and energy use stack up against the environmental impact of buying the same meal at the grocery store?

      According to a new study from the University of Michigan, meal kits from companies like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh may actually have a lower carbon footprint than meals purchased at the grocery store. The researchers found that, after considering the full life cycle of both, grocery store meals accounted for one-third more greenhouse gas emissions on average than the meal kit versions.

    • Comparison of Life Cycle Environmental Impacts from Meal Kits and Grocery Store Meals
    • Fast Arctic melt could cost $70 trillion

      The northern reaches of the planet are undergoing very rapid change: the fast Arctic melt means the region is warming at twice the speed of the planetary average.

      The loss of sea ice and land snow could tip the planet into a new and unprecedented cycle of climatic change and add yet another $70 trillion (£54 tn) to the estimated economic cost of global warming.

      In yet another sombre statement of the challenge presented by climate change, driven by ever-increasing emissions of greenhouse gases from the fossil fuels that power the global economy, British, European and US researchers took a look at two manifestations of warming.

      One is the growing levels of ancient carbon now being released into the atmosphere as the Arctic permafrost begins to melt. The other is the reduced reflection of solar radiation back into space as what had once been an expanse of snow and ice melts, to expose ever greater areas of light-absorbing blue sea, dark rock and scrubby tundra.

    • Mozambique Hit by Second Historic Cyclone in Little Over a Month

      The storm comes little over a month after Cyclone Idai killed more than 700 people, displaced tens of thousands and caused $1 billion in damage, making it the deadliest and costliest storm in Mozambique’s history, CNN reported. In the entire region, including Mozambique’s neighbors Malawi and Zimbabwe, Idai killed more than 1,000 and forced millions from their homes, The New York Times reported.

    • Latest ‘Wake-Up Call’ of Climate Emergency as Historic Cyclone Hits Still Reeling Mozambique

      “The families whose lives have been turned upside down by these climate-related disasters urgently need the generosity of the international community to survive over the coming months,” Mark Lowcock, the United Nations humanitarian chief, said in a statement (pdf).

      Lowcock warned that “Cyclone Kenneth may require a major new humanitarian operation at the same time that the ongoing Cyclone Idai response targeting 3 million people in three countries remains critically underfunded.”

      The new storm, he noted, “comes only six weeks after Cyclone Idai devastated central Mozambique, killing more than 600 people, unleashing a cholera epidemic, wiping out crops in the country’s breadbasket, forcing a million people to rely on food assistance to survive, and causing massive destruction of homes, schools, and infrastructure in one of the world’s poorest countries.”

    • Water not a problem for firemen

      Firefighters had it under control at 6 p.m. The fire gutted about 90 houses.

      Water supply in parts of Cebu and Talisay cities is scarce because the Jaclupan dam, from which the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) sources its supply, is nearly depleted owing to a long dry spell.

      Cebu City Fire Marshal Noel Ababon said they are investigating the cause of the fire, although the initial report that reached them said a boy had been seen playing matches in the neighborhood.

      Ababon said initial details showed that the fire started at the house of Preciano Karomayan which is being rented by Joie Bantugan.

    • Weeks After Deadly Storm, Cyclone Kenneth Hits Mozambique

      Another tropical cyclone made landfall in Mozambique and other countries in East Africa on Thursday, just over a month since Cyclone Idai killed more than 1,000 people and displaced millions in the region.

      The new storm, Cyclone Kenneth, was expected to bring heavy rainfall, flooding and winds of more than 120 miles per hour to Mozambique and Tanzania. Forecasters predicted it could be among the most powerful storms to strike East Africa in modern history, and as the cyclone moved toward shore, it killed three people in the island nation of Comoros, just off the coast, uprooting trees and ripping off roofs.

      The storm was expected to dump as much as 13 inches of rain within 24 hours of making landfall, forecasters said. More than 700,000 people live in the cyclone’s path, according to the United Nations.

      “This is another potential tragedy for Mozambique,” said Dorothy Sang, a manager for the aid group Oxfam who is based in Beira, the port city hit hard by Cyclone Idai last month. “We’re still struggling to scale up and meet the needs of everyone after the last cyclone. This will make it much harder.”

    • Cyclone Kenneth: Thousands evacuated as Mozambique is hit with the strongest storm in its history

      Thousands of people were being evacuated to shelters Thursday as powerful Tropical Cyclone Kenneth bore down on northern Mozambique.

      The storm had maximum sustained winds of 220 kph (140 mph) — the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane.
      Kenneth comes a little more than a month after the country was dealt a devastating blow by the deadliest and costliest storm in its history — Tropical Cyclone Idai.
      Kenneth is the strongest tropical cyclone to hit Mozambique in known history.

    • Swampy Ex-Trump Officials Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke: They’re Back!

      Former top Trump environmental officials Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke, both forced out of their jobs last year under the weight of, for each, an absurdly large number of ethics scandals, have now resurfaced, with each accepting influence-peddling jobs in industries they previously regulated. The two also appeared jointly at a recent Texas Republican event and demonstrated that each man remains utterly shameless.

      Former EPA head Pruitt and ex-Interior Secretary Zinke each seemed, from their conduct in office, to view their Trump post as an entitlement to grab first-class perqs, from Pruitt sending staff members to pick up a special moisturizing lotion, to Zinke charging taxpayers for unnecessary charter flights. Each also shaped policies to please polluting industries and punished agency staff who objected.

      Each man left with multiple investigations pending. Pruitt’s resignation effectively ended at least some of the EPA inspector general probes into him, including over his budget-priced rental in a townhouse owned by a lobbyist’s wife and his leveraging of his EPA status to seek a Chick-fil-A franchise for his own wife. Meanwhile, the Justice Department has reportedly been looking into whether Zinke lied to the Interior inspector general, who has been examining Zinke’s discussions with potential partners in a Montana real estate deal and his oversight of a proposed Connecticut tribal casino project.

    • Where Does 2020 Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Stand on the Environment?

      On Thursday Former Vice President Joe Biden announced he will enter the crowded 2020 Democratic Primary, NPR reported, focusing his announcement video on the threat posed to America’s identity and values by President Donald Trump.

      “I believe history will look back on four years of this president and all he embraces as an aberrant moment in time,” Biden said in his announcement video. “But if we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation — who we are — and I cannot stand by and watch that happen.”

    • Climate Denier Trump Can’t Handle the Truth About Why Central Americans Flock to U.S.

      Let’s stipulate right here that President Trump doesn’t understand a lot of things, even as he enters his 28th month in charge of the massive bureaucratic battleship that is the U.S. government. But no issue has flummoxed our rage-prone 45th president more than the rise in unauthorized crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border — even after promising his xenophobic base that his harsh immigration crackdown would make America great again.

      When numbers came into the White House showing this decade’s biggest surge in refugees at the border — with Border Patrol agents detaining as many as 4,000 migrants, many of them women and children, in a single day — Trump reportedly went ballistic. He yelled and fumed at his then-Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen until he finally forced her out of the job, partly because she wouldn’t buy into the president’s ideas to fight migration with moves that were probably illegal and unworkable and certainly immoral.The commander-in-chief wanted even harsher family separation policies, even after the first wave of ripping toddlers and even infants from their mommies and daddies, in 2018, had shocked consciences around the globe. He threatened to completely shut down the border with Mexico, which would have crippled commerce and maybe triggered a recession. He killed the nomination of a new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) chief who wasn’t “tough enough, fired other top Homeland Security officials, and flirted with ideas like sending detained children to Gitmo. A senior aide told CNN’s Jake Tapper that the president was “increasingly unhinged” about border crossings, even as he furiously tweeted out more fear.

    • Trump Administration Halts Plan to Expand Offshore Drilling After Court Ruling Upholds Ban

      The Trump administration will shelve its plans to expand offshore drilling in the Atlantic and Arctic following a recent court decision blocking drilling off the Alaskan coast, Interior Department Secretary David Bernhardt said Thursday.

      In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Bernhardt said that the potentially years-long appeals process for last month’s ruling “may be discombobulating to our plan.” An Interior spokesperson told press in an email that the Department “is simply evaluating all of its options to determine the best pathway to accomplish the mission entrusted to it by the President.”

    • Trump’s Offshore Oil-Drilling Plan Sidelined Indefinitely

      The Trump administration’s proposal to vastly expand offshore oil and gas drilling has been sidelined indefinitely as the Interior Department grapples with a recent court decision that blocks Arctic drilling, according to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.

    • Interior Dept. Delays Its Plan to Open U.S. Coastline to Drilling

      The Trump administration on Thursday confirmed that it will likely delay the release of a long-awaited plan that had been expected to open most of the nation’s coastline for offshore oil drilling, pending the final outcome of a recent court decision that blocks drilling off the Alaskan coast.

      The delay appears to be an acknowledgment that the court decision is a significant setback for what President Trump has called his policy of “energy dominance” — an effort to rapidly expand oil and gas drilling across the country.

  • Finance

    • TurboTax Deliberately Hides Its Free File Page From Search Engines

      This week, we reported on how TurboTax uses deceptive design and misleading advertising to trick lower-income Americans into paying to file their taxes, even though they are eligible to do it for free.

      There’s a new wrinkle: It turns out, Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, is deliberately hiding the truly free edition — TurboTax Free File — from Google Search.

      Intuit has done that by adding code on its site telling Google and other search engines not to list TurboTax Free File in search results.

    • Here Are Your Stories of Being Tricked Into Paying by TurboTax. You Often Need the Money.

      But we’ve heard from dozens of people who could not figure out how to file their taxes for free on TurboTax even though they were eligible to do so. It’s not their fault: Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, makes it intentionally difficult to find and use its truly free version, Free File. Among other things, it keeps Free File from showing up in search results and refers to it by a confusing name: TurboTax Freedom Edition.

      More than 40 people have told us they sought out TurboTax’s free option but ended up having to pay fees that cut into money they needed for their families’ rent, grocery and student loan bills.

    • Price of petrol in Italy spikes at more than €2 a litre

      That’s bad news for drivers in Italy, who are expected to take to the roads in their thousands from Thursday for the long Liberation Day weekend.

      If you’re looking to save a few cents, avoid refuelling on the motorway, where prices are typically highest, and fill the tank yourself: fuel from self-service pumps is generally at least a cent cheaper per litre.

      The biggest money-saver, though, are so-called pompe bianche (‘white pumps’): independent petrol stations that pump unbranded fuel, which is on average five euro cents cheaper per litre than its branded equivalent at big-name stations. There are an estimated 7,000 across Italy; find your nearest one via this map.

    • French firm Suez settles one of two disputes with Argentina for €220 million

      French firm Suez settles one of two disputes with Argentina for €220 million

      French water and waste management company Suez announced Thursday that it had received 220 million euros in compensation from the government, settling one of its legal disputes with Argentina

      The payment refers to the termination of a contract in 2006, which the Argentine government carried out unilaterally.

      “The Argentine government and Siez have concluded and implemented a transactional settlement agreement in compliance with the ruling handed down by the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in favour of Suez in respect of the Buenos Aires water and wastewater management concession, terminated in 2006,” the French company wrote in a statement.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • History Shows Joe Biden 3.0 Is a Bad Idea

      So Joe’s in now, and really, thank God. The corporate neoliberal “center” is dreadfully under-represented in the current tiny field of potential Democratic nominees. In the event candidates Buttigieg, Harris, O’Rourke, Booker, Klobuchar, Moulton, Inslee, Hickenlooper and Gillibrand fail to successfully advocate for continuing 30 years of failed conservative “centrist” Democratic policies, former Senator and Vice President Joe Biden (D – Delaware) will be there to shoot the gap.


      “The third time’s lucky,” reads Alexander Hilsop’s 1862 compendium of Scottish proverbs. I guess we’re all going to find out how true that is over the course of the 79 weeks standing between this ragged little patch of time and the 2020 presidential election. Senator Biden’s first run at the brass ring began on June 9, 1987, and ended in searing disgrace only 106 days later after his campaign was subsumed by plagiarism accusations and his questionable relationship with the facts of his own life.

      Biden ran for president for the second time 20 years later, after dancing right up to the edge of declaring his candidacy before stepping back in 1992 and again in 2004. Biden managed to stay in the 2008 race for 11 months while never polling above single digits, finally withdrawing after placing 5th in the Iowa caucus. He did get noticed, however, and ultimately accepted the number two slot on what became a victorious Obama/Biden ticket.

      Biden kicked off his third presidential run on Thursday with an ominous and somewhat cumbersome 6:00 am tweet — “[E]verything that has made America — America — is at stake.” The announcement tweet failed to mention Biden’s plans to attend a big-dollar fundraiser hosted by David Cohen, chief lobbyist for Comcast, the most despised company in the country. This, morosely, is par for a very long course.

      Though he labels himself a friend to working people, Biden has a record of harming workers that spans decades. “His energetic work on behalf of the credit card companies has earned him the affection of the banking industry,” wrote Sen. Elizabeth Warren in 2002, “and protected him from any well-funded challengers for his Senate seat.”

    • As Anita Hill Speaks Out, Joe Biden Dogged by Criticisms on First Day of 2020 Campaign
    • Joe Biden: An Imperial Corporatist Wrapped in the Bloody Flag of Charlottesville

      Besides being a grabby old coot who needs to stop joking about complaints over his serially inappropriate touching of females, Joe Biden is a grinning neoliberal sell-out who stands well to the right of majority progressive public opinion. No elegantly crafted three-and-a-half minute campaign launch video on the horrors of Charlottesville and Donald Trump can change that essential fact.

      The media trope that portrays “Lunch-Bucket Joe” Biden as a regular, down-to-earth guy who cares deeply about regular folks is pure, unadulterated bullshit. His real constituents wear pinstripe suits and works on Wall Street and in corporate headquarters. They fly around in fancy private jets. And the supposed “everyman liberal” Joe Biden is their loyal apparatchik.

    • Demonizing the Few to Alienate and Sway the Many

      The only media fixation that’s more irritating than the saturation coverage of candidates running for an office nearly two years ahead of the election instead of discussing issues, is the punditry of phrase-pinning, the constant refrain that certain candidates are “socialist” and therefore untouchables.


      The public appears to be in sync here. According to a recent survey by the Hidden Tribes Project, the views of the Democrats who post on social media tend to be liberal and progressive but they are outnumbered two to one by those who don’t post and tend to be more moderate and conservative (“Liberals on Twitter Don’t Speak for Quiet Majority,” New York Times, 4/10/19).

      A few more Congressional Democrats are admittedly starting to support Medicare for All, but how telling it was when Nancy Pelosi went on record recently assuring the private insurance industry their fears of this passing were unwarranted. How was she re-elected if the party is moving to the left?

      Sticking with healthcare, can the call for Medicare for All be deemed that radical anyway when it is essentially the healthcare system in place for virtually every advanced industrial country, none of which are “socialist?” The northern European countries, especially Scandinavia, are often labeled socialist by those who conflate them with authoritarian, one-party controlled states which barely exist, but they’re multi-party, democratic states. The first attempt to get Medicare for All occurred in the mid-1960s, the current Medicare program in place for Seniors the compromise from that failure. The Democratic Party was hardly staffed with radicals in those days, though LBJ’s Great Society consensus included a different breed of liberal.

      The Great Society liberal programs were essentially a retooling of the New Deal. It’s no accident that one of the biggest offerings from the new breed in Congress is the Green New Deal, a remaking of priorities through a massive public-private partnering modeled on the public works projects of the 1930s to invest in green, renewable energy, and a host of other related shifts designed to create quality jobs and bring more of the excluded into the system.

    • A Look at the Talent in the Room

      Actually, this deal is weirder than that. Infinitely weirder. Those 23 candidates we keep hearing about are, well…simply the ones we keep hearing about. Visit the FEC (Federal Election Commission) website, and you’ll find that 683 people have already filed. It’s true. Apparently, anyone with $5,000 can register as an official presidential candidate. (Man to wife: “Should we buy that used Chevy SUV, or should I run for president?”)

      Not to be dismissive or mean, but for our purposes, we need to thin out the herd. Although we’re not going to try to psychoanalyze the Democratic candidates and place them in one of our five categories, we are going to boldly pass judgement on their chances of winning.

      Which is to say, Seth Moulton, Marianne Williamson, Eric Swalwell, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Jay Inslee, Tim Ryan, Andrew Yang, John Hickenlooper, Wayne Massam, and Mike Gravel need to quit. Not only won’t they win, they won’t be chosen as running mates. (Note: It’s possible that Biden or Sanders will donate cash to keep Mike Gravel in the race for as long as possible. Let’s be honest. The 88-year old Gravel makes the two of them look young and energetic.)


      As for winning the nomination, if I had to bet $1,000 on who would win, even though I’m a Bernie Sanders supporter, I’d have to say Joe Biden. Not that my past predictions have been accurate. I predicted that a young LeBron James would struggle in the NBA because he wasn’t ready yet. From what I’ve heard, he’s made a smooth transition.

    • Debunking Myths of ‘Red-Brown’ Alliances

      Recently, a certain political concept has been resurrected that warrants interrogation. The notion of a ‘red-brown’ alliance has been thrown around so ubiquitously as a form of political slander that any substantive meaning to the term has been evacuated. Rather than accurately designating any associations that may exist between the left and far right, the idea of a ‘red-brown’ coalition, or ‘querfront’ (cross-front in German), is a generic abstraction cited to mischaracterize a perceived convergence of political opposites. In many respects, it is a stand-in for a similar hypothesis used by liberals — that of ‘horseshoe theory’, or the impression that the far left and far right intersect at both ends of the ideological spectrum — so as to be permitted diction for self-identified leftists. The application of the ‘red-brown’ smear produces the same result in that it situates politics from a centrist vantage point and likens the actual left to fascism. It disappears the anti-fascism of the left and anti-communism of the right while leaving the moderate center at a comfortable distance from the right-wing of which it is the more frequent collaborator.

      The ‘red-brown’ character assassinations make analogies about the present day based on a counterfeit history of World War II. No analysis of the mythos would be complete without the inclusion of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, one of the most misunderstood and historically falsified events of the war. During the 1930s, the USSR tried to maintain its autonomy during a period of rapid industrialization that accomplished in a decade what the British needed a century to achieve. In self defense, Moscow was forced to exploit the contradictions between the ‘democratic’ imperial nations and the authoritarian Axis powers when it came under dual threat. If war could not be avoided, the USSR certainly did not wish to take on the Wehrmacht alone. Stalin made diplomatic attempts in the lead up to the war at aligning with Britain and France, who were as keen on the idea of putting an end to the Soviet Union as Germany, which were rebuffed. In reply, the British and the French did everything within their power to try to push the Hitlerites into a war with the Soviets by signing the Munich Agreement with Germany and Italy in 1938.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Behind The Scenes Look At How Facebook Dealt With Christchurch Shooting Demonstrates The Impossible Task Of Content Moderation

      We’ve been saying for ages now that content moderation at scale is literally impossible to do well. It’s not “difficult.” It’s impossible. That does not mean that companies shouldn’t try to get better at it. They should and they are. But every choice involves real tradeoffs, and those tradeoffs can be significant and will upset some contingent who will have legitimate complaints. Too many people think that content moderation is so easy that just having a a single person dedicated to reviewing content can solve the problem. That’s not at all how it works.

      Professor Kate Klonick, who has done much of the seminal research into content moderation on large tech platforms, was given the opportunity to go behind the scenes and look at how Facebook dealt with the Christchurch shooting — an event the company was widely criticized over, with many arguing that they took too long to react, and let too many copies of the video slip through. As we wrote in our own analysis, it actually looked like Facebook did a pretty impressive job given the challenges involved.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Judge Dodges Legality of NSA Mass Spying, Citing Secrecy Claims

      EFF’s case challenging NSA spying, Jewel v. NSA, has come further than any case trying to end the government’s mass surveillance programs. Our clients have survived multiple efforts by the government to end the case, and they continue to push for their day in court. As a result, we’re no stranger to overcoming legal obstacles thrown our way.

      The latest obstacle came Thursday, when the court hearing our long-running case challenging NSA spying ruled that the lawsuit should be dismissed on account of the government’s argument that to proceed further would jeopardize national security. Athough we are disappointed that the case was dismissed on the basis of the government’s state secrecy arguments, we are not surprised.

      The Justice Department insists that our legal fight against this spying is bound by a Catch-22: no one can sue unless the court first determines that they were certainly touched by the vast surveillance mechanisms of the NSA. But, the government argued successfully, the court cannot decide whether any particular person’s email, web searches, social media or phone calls were touched by the surveillance unless the government admits it. Which, of course, it will not do.


      I’ve been running a small SMTP and IMAP mail server for many years, hosting a handful of individual mailboxes. It’s hard to say when exactly I started. whois says I registered the tablix.org domain in 2005 and I remember hosting a mailing list for my colleagues at the university a bit before that, so I think it’s safe to say it’s been around 15 years.

      Although I don’t jump right away on every email-related novelty, I’ve tried to keep the server up-to-date with well accepted standards over the years. Some of these came for free with Debian updates. Others needed some manual work. For example, I have SPF records and DKIM message signing setup on the domains I use. The server is hosted on commercial static IP space (with the very same IP it first went on-line) and I’ve made sure with the ISP that correct reverse DNS records are in place.

    • New ‘BBC’ report explores the black market for ‘data penetrations’

      Last year, investigative journalists at Bellingcat and The Insider made international headlines by identifying the two Russian “tourists” suspected of carrying out a nerve-agent attack in Salisbury, England, as Russian military intelligence operatives. Part of that sleuth work relied on private data grabbed from government records in the “Rossisskii Passport” database. According to the website Rosbalt, the discovery prompted Russia’s intelligence community to launch a manhunt to track down the source of the leak. The journalists deny buying this information (Bellingcat says the spies’ passport data was provided by someone with access to the records), but there is an entire black market in Russia where scammers, private detectives, and even jealous spouses can pay hard money for anyone’s personal records. In a new report for the BBC Russian Service, Andrey Zakharov managed to buy his own phone and bank information, learning how this illegal industry operates in Russia. Meduza summarizes what he discovered.

    • Massachusetts’ Top Court Says Warrants Are Needed For Real-Time Cell Site Location Info

      Five years ago, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court got out ahead of the tech curve by declaring that state law enforcement would need warrants to seek historical cell site location info. This predated the US Supreme Court’s Carpenter decision by four years. The state court’s prescient decision was compelled by the state’s Constitution, which provides greater protections than the United States’ Constitution.

      But no matter which Constitution was used, the court found that the Third Party Doctrine shouldn’t cover CSLI because, while everyone uses cellphones to communicate with each other, not a single cellphone user carries one around just to create tracking data for the government.

      A recent decision by the same court expands protections for cellphone users — going further than Carpenter’s protection of historical cell site location info. As the ACLU’s Kade Crockford points out, real-time acquisition of location info now comes with a warrant requirement. This covers more than service provider-assisted “pings.” It also covers one of law enforcement’s favorite toys.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • How Have Saudi Students in the U.S. Been Able to Flee Back Home After Being Charged With Crimes Here? Help Us Find Out.

      In December, reporting by The Oregonian/OregonLive revealed how a Saudi student at Portland Community College was able to flee to his homeland just as he was going to trial in 2017 for striking and killing a 15-year-old girl, Fallon Smart, with his car. The student, Abdulrahman Sameer Noorah, who was charged with vehicular manslaughter, posted a $1 million bond with funds provided by Saudi officials. Two weeks before his scheduled trial, he was picked up by a black SUV, ditched his tracking monitor and flew home — with help, U.S. officials believe, from the Saudi government.

      The Oregonian/OregonLive soon found four additional cases in Oregon where Saudi nationals accused of rape and other crimes vanished in recent years before standing trial or completing their sentences. The Oregonian/OregonLive subsequently found similar cases in seven additional states (Ohio, Washington, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Utah and Wisconsin) and Canada. Many of the accused were here on student visas, as part of a Saudi government scholarship program that has helped tens of thousands of Saudis study in the United States in recent years.

      Now, The Oregonian/OregonLive is partnering with ProPublica to go deeper. For that, we could use your help.

    • Saudi Fugitives Accused of Serious Crimes Get Help to Flee While U.S. Officials Look the Other Way

      “It’s not that the issue of Saudi fugitives from the U.S. wasn’t important,” said retired FBI agent Jeffrey Danik, who served as the agency’s assistant legal attache in Riyadh from 2010 to 2012. “It’s that the security relationship was so much more important. On counterterrorism, on protecting the U.S. and its partners, on opposing Iran, the Saudis were invaluable allies.”

      American officials said Saudi diplomats, intelligence officers and other operatives have assisted in the illegal flight of Saudi fugitives, most of them university students, after they were charged with crimes including rape and manslaughter. The Saudis have bailed the suspects out of jail, hired lawyers to defend them, arranged their travel home and covered their forfeited bonds, the officials said.

      A spokesman for the Saudi Embassy in Washington, Fahad Nazer, said that only “a small fraction” of Saudi students in the United States have gotten into legal trouble, and that Saudi officials have “strictly adhered to all U.S. laws” in helping them. “The notion that the Saudi government actively helps citizens evade justice after they have been implicated in legal wrongdoing in the U.S. is simply not true,” he said. He did not respond to questions about how a series of Saudi students had managed to return home while facing criminal charges in the United States.

      The Trump administration has deflected calls for an accounting of the Saudi government’s role in the flight of fugitives, asserting that there is little the United States can do because it has no extradition treaty with the kingdom. This week, the State Department said for the first time that it has raised the issue with senior Saudi officials, but it would not specify when or how.

    • The Earth for Their Possession

      I was in Hawaii to discuss ‘history from below’ together with that powerful practitioner of said history, scholarly abolitionist, writer, and colleague, Marcus Rediker. How is ‘history from below’ to be distinguished from similar forms of history writing, such as people’s history, radical history, labor history, social history, not to mention African American history, or women’s history? One distinction is that since ‘below’ implies ‘above,’ this practice of history always carries with it a notion of relationship as in, for example, “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle.” Our conversation on history from below only began on the last day of my visit, Saturday, 20 April, a week after arriving in Honolulu, a week to learn about ‘above’ and ‘below’ in Hawai’i and what lay hidden by them, the commons.


      Some activists had journeyed to the mainland in solidarity with the water-protectors of Standing Rock. They are active in the reparations and reconciliation movement, seeking justice, seeking the location of hidden funds based on clouded land titles, organizing fund raising, nurturing the spirit of resistance. A few days earlier a riot had erupted in the prison on another island. The prisoners were awaiting trial, not even found guilty. Four men forced to inhabit cells designed for two; 24 hour lock-down; wages less than 25 cents an hour. My guides are active on their behalf: visiting, organizing petitions, fund-raisisng, and working with churches. “You can only do so many massacres,” said these advocates of nonviolent resistance. Indeed, and I could only learn so much on a morning’s drive in this most beautiful place on earth, and the most militarized part of the planet. We stopped for shaved ice.

      I departed from Honolulu on Saturday, 20 April 2019. Kaleo had told me when I arrived that it was Holy Week so according to the Christian calendar I was leaving the day after Good Friday, or the terrible crucifixion of Jesus, and the day before Easter, when the stone shutting up his mortal remains had been removed and the tomb emptied, evidence of resurrection. That Saturday morning, it happened, that Marcus Rediker and I renewed our discussion of “history from below,” the form of history expressed in our earlier collaboration, The Many-Headed Hydra. It was only towards the end of our conversation as we were making our way to the airport that it occurred to me that Saturday, or the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, had been celebrated in the Middle Ages as the day that Jesus went to hell. How fitting, I thought, for ‘history from below.’

    • Tina Vasquez on Covering Immigration, Sina Toossi on Iran Sanctions

      This week on CounterSpin: Coverage of the resignation of Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen showcased imperial court intrigue, and how craven one can be and still be dubbed a “grown-up in the room.” Media interested in Nielsen’s soft landing—Will she get to make the seven-figure salary God intends for ex-officials? Will she have pleasant dining-out experiences?—might have spent more time on the victims of the policies she executed, like Laura Maradiaga, an 11-year-old girl the government is trying to deport, alone, to El Salvador, due to a backlogged court’s clerical error. The immigration beat is multi-faceted, for sure, and media choices about what to look at, who to listen to, may be impactful, as the White House looks set to make its war on immigrants a key piece of Trump’s reelection drive. We’ll talk about all that with Tina Vasquez, senior immigration reporter at Rewire.News.

    • Appeals Court Decision Upholds First Amendment Rights Of Undocumented Immigrants

      In a victory for undocumented immigrants who engage in activism, a federal appeals court found activist Ravi Ragbir had a valid claim against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which attempted to deport him in retaliation for his political speech.

      The United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a district court ruling and remanded the case for further proceedings on his allegations against U.S. government officials.

      “Ragbir’s speech implicates the apex of protection under the First Amendment,” the appeals court declared [PDF]. “His advocacy for reform of immigration policies and practices is at the heart of current political debate among American citizens and other residents.”

      “I cannot begin to express my gratitude to all those who have stood with us in this struggle. It humbles me to know that not only will my voice be protected, but that together we can protect the voices of so many people who are living in this country under the threat of deportation,” Ragbir said. “It was all of our voices together that made this decision possible, and we have to continue to speak out against the travesty of our deportation system.”

      Ragbir is the executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City. He checked in with ICE on January 11, 2018, and has faced a “final order of removal” since 2007. But for the past years, he was allowed to stay in the U.S. with his wife and daughter (both U.S. citizens). In fact, he is from Trinidad and Tobago and has been in the U.S. for 25 years.

      Authorities detained and transferred Ragbir to a jail in Miami. It immediately sparked a protest that was attacked by New York police, who arrested several people including city council members. The protests led authorities to bring Ragbir back to the New York area, where he was eventually released.

    • Study: The ‘War On Cops’ Is Pure Bullshit

      The “War on Cops” is a belief system that’s currently being preached to the converted. Evidence abounds that it’s safer to be a cop now than it’s ever been, and yet, officers still claim they’re being targeted and use these unfounded fears to obtain military equipment and qualified immunity rulings.

      We’ve covered how safe police work is here before. But the narrative coming from the law enforcement community refuses to change, despite evidence to the contrary. Research is piling up, exposing law enforcement agencies’ claims of cops being targeted by a vengeful populace as a self-serving lie. At best, these claims are merely wrong. But given the easy access to law enforcement officer death data, a refusal to see the stats for what they are is incredibly disingenuous at best.

    • Records Requests Show Even More California Police Departments Started Destroying Records Before The Public Could Get Its Hands On Them

      More details are coming to light about California’s opacity activists. Faced with impending transparency, a handful of law enforcement agencies decided to fire up the shredders rather than risk turning over police conduct records to the public under the new public records law.

      Inglewood’s police department was given the go-ahead to shred years of responsive documents last December in a council meeting that produced no record of discussion on the matter or the council’s determination.

      Public records requests filed after the new law went into effect in January uncovered moves made by the Fremont city council to help local police rid themselves of records the public might try to request. The city lowered the retention period for officer-involved shooting records from 25 years to ten and allowed the department to destroy 45 years of police misconduct records it had decided to hold onto until it became inconvenient for it to do so.

    • California Cities Have Shredded Decades of Police Misconduct Records

      Police union lawsuits delayed many local governments from complying with a new transparency law. In the meantime, some cities have destroyed files.

    • Russian court releases anti-Putin protester who has spent a year in pretrial detention

      St. Petersburg’s Dzerzhinsky District Court released Mikhail Tsakunov from a pretrial detention center after he signed a pledge not to leave the city. Tsakunov was arrested after the “He’s Not Our Tsar” protests in May 2018.

      The photographer Georgy Markov wrote on Twitter that the state prosecutor had supported the defense’s request to transfer Tsakunov out of detention.

    • “A Shameful Week for the U.S.”: Trump Admin Guts U.N. Resolution to End Rape as Weapon of War

      The Trump administration is under fire after the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution to end rape as a weapon of war on Tuesday that excluded any mention of sexual and reproductive health. The resolution was gutted after the U.S. threatened to veto the measure altogether unless language referencing reproductive health was taken out due to the Trump administration’s belief that the language was code for abortion. The watered-down measure also weakened references to the International Criminal Court, making it harder for women and girls to seek justice. We speak with Jessica Neuwirth, director of the Human Rights Program at Roosevelt House at Hunter College and the director of the Sisterhood Is Global Institute. She sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo protesting the U.S. stance on the Security Council resolution. We also speak with Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen.

    • Death Can be a Slow Traveler: Peltier, Mumia and Rap Brown

      When the history of our times is recorded, any volume on domestic political prisoners must, per force, begin with the legendary ones of conscience. To these icons of principle, determination and courage we owe much. It is, after all, not by mere default that they risked, and often paid, all to demand the gale of change sweep away generations of ignorance, hatred and greed that have long fed on communities of color and poverty, from coast to coast, in the United States. For them, it was never about personal risk for they knew all too well the price that can be exacted for such integrity. For them, the alternative of silence was simply an option without a choice.


      After succeeding in moving the second trial to a more favorable government venue in Fargo North Dakota (long a hotbed of anti-Native animus and violence), federal prosecutor’s concocted a new strategy. Using a patchwork of evidence built of altered or suppressed testimony to remake a case already soundly rejected, prosecutors rewrote the script to now one where the agents were executed by close range gun shots to their heads. Because of this dramatic shift, Peltier was precluded from submitting any self-defense testimony. Inexplicably, the new judge also prevented the defense from establishing, at trial, that the FBI had a proven history… in Native prosecutions… of tampering with evidence and witnesses.

      Unlike the first trial, where prosecutors introduced evidence that agents had been pursuing a red pickup truck before the shootout, this time they testified they were looking for an orange and white van… such as the one that Peltier had been seen using on occasion. Likewise, while an FBI ballistic expert testified that a shell casing recovered near the agents’ bodies matched a weapon tied to Peltier, prosecutors suppressed a different ballistic test which proved the casing could not have come from his gun. These changes were part of a conscious effort by government prosecutors to convert the trial… of this high profile political and human rights activist… from a search for truth to a staged performance in which it withheld more than 140,000 pages of discovery from the defense in its desperate drive to convict Peltier no matter what the truth or the cost.

      Nowhere is the nature and extent of the government’s misconduct in the persecution of Leonard Peltier better summed up than it was by one of his appellate attorneys, former United States Attorney GeneralRamsey Clark, who branded the evidence used against him as “fabricated, circumstantial … misused, concealed, and perverted.” Different in tenor and tone, yet, essentially the same in conclusion, during one of Peltier’s appeals before the Eight Circuit his former prosecutor conceded “… we do not know who killed those agents. Further, we don’t know what participation, if any, Mr. Peltier had in it.”

    • Why Left Wing Populism Is Not Enough

      The considerable advances that the labor movements made in the period 1945–1978 (known as “The Golden Age of Capitalism”), and the considerable expansion of social, labor, and political rights that these movements achieved on both sides of the North Atlantic (North America and Western Europe), generated a response from the economic and financial establishments—as well as from the political and media establishments which they influence enormously—that had an extensive impact. These establishments developed the anti-labor movement policies, known internationally as neoliberal policies, that significantly reduced the powers of labor and weakened the rights that had been won over the previous decades.

      The data speaks for itself: labor income fell as a percentage of GDP in most of these countries at the cost of a large increase in capital income from the 1980s until now (see my book Ataque a la democracia y al bienestar. Crítica al pensamiento económico dominante. Anagrama, 2015).

      Neoliberalism (the political project of the ruling classes) thus became the hegemonic model in the Western world, both in Europe and in North America. As a result, a new story and discourse were imposed, in which concepts such as capitalist class and working class (which characterized the analysis and socialist discourse) practically disappeared from political and media language. This intellectual domain explains why the leaders of the left parties stopped using the language of classes. The concept and story of the “class struggle” disappeared, and the working class disappeared from such discourse, converted into a “middle class.” This discourse transformed the social stratification into the rich on the top, the poor on the bottom, and everyone else—the middle class—between the two. Even some authors related to the left considered and continue to consider this fact positive. Among these authors is Chantal Mouffe, who has extensively theorized about citizen protests and what she defines as populist movements.

    • This day in history: South Africa’s 1st multi-racial elections start

      Friday, 26 April, marks the 25th anniversary of the first day of the democratic elections – an election that saw the end of the previous regime.


      Historically, the ANC won the elections and Nelson Mandela became the first democratic president of the Republic of South Africa.

      It has been 25 years since the historic start of the first democratic elections and the ANC is still in power.

      However, many have claimed that the ruling party failed to create a better future for its people and faces serious competition from the EFF, which is led by Julius Malema.

      Yet, despite believes that the ANC failed to deliver, many still stand by party. Only time would tell which party would come out victorious in the upcoming elections, which kick starts on the 8th of May.

  • DRM

    • Minnesota May Be First State To Pass A Right To Repair Law

      Minnesota appears poised to be the first state to pass “right to repair” legislation taking aim at corporate efforts to monopolize repair. The grass-roots technology movement in support of these bills began in rural America, where the draconian DRM embedded in John Deere tractors made repairing them a costly nightmare for many farmers. The movement has also been prodded along thanks to efforts from companies like Sony, Microsoft, and Apple to effectively ban third-party repair of games consoles and phones; a move that not only restricts consumer freedom and drives up consumer costs, but creates additional unnecessary waste.

      California recently became the 20th state to eye such legislation, though Minnesota appears likely to be the first to actually pass such a law. Minnesota’s law has passed through committee and awaits a vote in the Minnesota House, and if approved (which seems likely) would take effect in early 2020.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • ZyXEL stumbles again before UK courts

      In March, a judgment was passed by the High Court ruling that network device manufacturer ZyXEL must cease use of patent EP 1453 268. The owner of the patent is global licensing company TQ Delta. The court found another TQ Delta patent subject to the case, EP 1792 430, invalid.

      Both patents relate to DSL technology. Due to its importance, the technology is subject to ITU Recommendations and TQ Delta must therefore license it on a RAND (reasonable and non-discriminatory) basis.

      ZyXEL lodged an application for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal immediately following the judgment in March. Then presiding judge Henry Carr initially refused permission for ZyXEL to appeal, stating it had “no real prospect of success”. However, ZyXEL sought permission to appeal Carr’s decision to grant an immediate injunction. The court has now rejected this and the injunction remains in place.

    • Anything Qualcomm Can Do, Huawei Can Do (Better?)

      With the settlement of the Apple-Qualcomm litigation, the fate of the FTC’s litigation against Qualcomm has become the next topic of interest in the standard-essential patent (SEP) sphere. There are a host of reasons why the FTC shouldn’t settle that relate to concerns about Qualcomm’s behavior and its impact on competition and consumers. But beyond those existing reasons, there are forward-looking concerns that should drive anyone concerned with American interests and security to hope that the FTC continues its case.

    • Trademarks

      • FanX, Previously Salt Lake Comic Con, Ordered To Pay $4 Million For San Diego’s Con’s Attorney’s Fees, Barred From Calling Itself A Comic-Con

        It’s the trademark story that simply won’t go away and in which the legal system appears to get everything wrong. The saga of the San Diego Comic-Con’s legal adventures against what was formerly the Salt Lake Comic Con (now rebranded as FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention) has been brutally frustrating. The whole thing started when the SDCC decided somewhat out of the blue to begin enforcing a trademark it had been granted for “Comic-Con” against the Utah production. The trademark original sin of this story began all the way back with the USPTO, which absurdly granted the SDCC its trademark for a purely descriptive term, one which is only unrecognizable as such due to the shortening of the second word from “convention” to “con.” Despite that, the trademark suit brought against the Salt Lake Comic Con somehow ended in a win by jury for the SDCC, which was awarded only $20k. In the trial, SLCC had pointed out several times that the term “comic-con” was both descriptive in nature and clearly had been abandoned by SDCC, evidenced by the long list of other comic conventions going by the term carried out throughout the country.

    • Copyrights

      • Today In Bananas Copyright Law: Court Urged To Rule That A Banana Costume Is Not Infringing

        That case quickly settled (so, it’s likely K-Mart just paid off Rasta Imposta to go away), but around the same time the company had sued a few other companies over similar costumes, including one operation called Kanagroo Manufacturing, for making a similar banana costume. As we had noted at the time of the Kmart case, historically, there’s been no recognized copyright in costumes, since articles of clothing are considered uncopyrightable. Except, in a truly awful Supreme Court ruling in 2017, the court swung open the door to clothing/costume copyrights, by arguing that certain elements in a piece of clothing could be considered copyrightable as “design” rather than as a “useful article” (which is not subject to copyright).

        And, thus, last year a District Court judge issued an injunction against Kangaroo Manufacturing, arguing that its banana costume likely infringed on the banana costume of Rasta Imposta. The court, not surprisingly, cites that awful Star Athletica Supreme Court ruling to argue that elements of the banana costume are separable and thus can be covered by copyright. R

      • Despite Spielberg’s ‘Get Off My Lawn’ Moment, The Oscars Won’t Ban Netflix

        A few months back Steven Spielberg had a “get off my lawn” moment in demanding that films from Netflix and other streaming services be excluded from Oscar contention. The sentiment isn’t uncommon among old-school Hollywood types who see traditional film as somehow so sacred that it shouldn’t have to change or adapt in the face of technological evolution. It was the same sentiment recently exhibited by the Cannes film festival when they banned Netflix films because Netflix pushed back against absurd French film laws (which demand a 36-month delay between theatrical release and streaming availability).

        We’ll note that shortly after Spielberg’s rant, he could be found pushing streaming services at Apple, which suggests a dash of…inconsistency in his arguments. Regardless, Academy members don’t appear swayed by Spielberg’s request, and have announced that current rules for Oscar contention will remain unchanged. More specifically the Academy will retain “rule two,” which says a film is eligible to be considered for an Oscar so long as it has a seven-day run in an Los Angeles area theater.


Links 26/4/2019: Best GNU/Linux Laptops and More

Posted in News Roundup at 3:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux and the Multiverse

    What do Linux distributions and the Nobel Prize-winning work by Saul Perlmutter, Brian P. Schmidt and Adam G. Riess have in common? Well, Linux was originally the hobby project of one Linus Torvalds back in 1991 when he lived in Helsinki, Finland. Perlmutter, on the other hand, worked on the Supernova Cosmology Project at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California in Berkeley. Schmidt was part of the High-z Supernova Search Team at Australian National University, and Riess was also on the High-z Supernova Search Team but worked out of Johns Hopkins University and Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.

    You see where I’m going with this? The supernova team won the 2011 Nobel Prize for physics for “the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae”. In short, they discovered that the universe is not only expanding, as Edwin Hubble observed back in 1929 when he noticed that everything seemed to be moving away from us, but that the expansion was accelerating. This is a big deal, because everyone assumed that gravity would eventually do its dirty work and slow the whole expanding mess down. That turns out not to be the case.

  • Desktop

    • The Year of the Linux Laptop – Darter Pro Review

      This review probably sounds overly critical, but I wanted to be honest about the warts and splinters, and prepare anyone else who’s thinking of taking the plunge back into the Linux world. For every flaw, there were two or three things that worked better than expected, or wowed me.

      I’ve had the laptop for about two months now. During the first two weeks, I switched often between the Darter and my macbook, depending on what I was doing. Then, one morning, I noticed that the macbook was sitting on a desk collecting dust, and hadn’t been opened in days. I now use this Linux laptop almost exclusively – for everything but image editing, and I’m still holding out hope on that one.

      It’s a weird little laptop, and I love it.

    • Best Linux Laptops

      Buying a Linux laptop is just like buying any other; you need to find one that fits both what what you need it to do and your price range. That’s a bit of a sticking point compared to Windows-powered laptops.

      Linux has been a niche “product” since its beginnings in 1991. Companies like Acer or Toshiba aren’t cranking out inexpensive sub-$500 laptops that run Linux and probably never will. Finding a great Linux laptop is easy; companies like Dell and Lenovo cater to the enterprise crowd, while small but very reputable companies like System 76 cater to the enthusiasts. In theory, you can install Linux on any laptop if you’re willing to go through the headache of finding the right configuration for the hardware inside, and that’s a good option if you’re technically inclined to do it. And lucky enough for it to work.

    • Compulab Airtop3 Linux Mint mini computer has fanless Intel Core i9 9900K and NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000

      The whir of a fan. This is a sound many computer enthusiasts know all too well. Whether it is a single fan in a laptop, or 12 fans in a gaming desktop, the noise can be distracting. While some folks learn to tune out fan noise (and some even end up liking it!), let’s be honest, a silent PC is preferable for most. Unfortunately, passively cooled computers are often under-powered, meaning you must decide between performance and silence.

      But what if you didn’t have to pick? What if I told you a company is selling a mini computer with a passively cooled Intel Core i9 9900K? Yeah, you would probably think I am telling lies, but actually, it is the truth! The Compulab “Airtop3,” as it is called, features that high-end processor (plus others) and does not have a fan! In addition, the edge server can be configured with an NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000 (or GeForce GTX 1660 Ti) and is loaded to the gills with connectivity options. Not to mention, the diminutive computer looks very beautiful too. Best of all, it can be configured to ship with Linux Mint!

  • Server

    • How to run FreedomBox as a VirtualBox VM

      You might have heard of FreedomBox. If not, it’s a $100 box you can buy, which allows you to take back control of your internet-based services (See: Put the internet back under your control with the FreedomBox).

    • Cumulus NetQ aimed at broader enterprise market

      Cumulus Networks has overhauled its data center tool set for network troubleshooting and change validation, adding a mainstream, enterprise-friendly graphical dashboard.

      The pure-play networking company launched the graphical user interface (GUI) this week as a component of Cumulus NetQ 2.0. The latest version of the network operations tool set also includes a new database for storing and managing more network telemetry data than the previous version.

      With the latest release, Cumulus has revamped NetQ to address the needs of a broader segment of the market for enterprise data center networking, said Brad Casemore, an analyst at IDC. Cumulus has three primary offerings: a Linux-based network operating system; branded hardware switches, called Cumulus Express; and NetQ.

    • K3OS: A Kubernetes OS Distro for Edge Computing

      On the heels of its release of k3s, a lightweight Kubernetes distribution designed for the edge, Rancher Labs has announced an accompanying operating system called k3OS.

      The k3OS preview release is available with support for x86 and ARM64. With k3OS, Kubernetes cluster configuration and the underlying OS configuration are defined with the same declarative syntax as other Kubernetes resources, meaning both can be managed together.

      Rancher has been working with a number of customers including wind turbine company Goldwind Smart Energy on using Kubernetes in resource-constrained environments.

      “These customers view Kubernetes less as an application layer, more of a foundational layer,” said Sheng Liang, CEO and co-founder of Rancher Labs.

      “Some of them came from Linux, but many of them actually came from embedded Windows, like Windows XP. They’d have Windows XP running some of these applications sort of like an embedded sort of thing. Running in energy platforms and that sort of thing … If you walk up to an ATM machine or a subway station.

    • IT’s future: Multicloud may soon become mix and match cloud [Ed: By Mike Evans, VP of Cloud Partner Strategy at Red Hat.]

      This example is not uncommon in today’s enterprise IT world. And as of now there isn’t one clear solution, but that is not to say there isn’t one coming. While multicloud is a growing trend, we could eventually see services beyond multicloud that better meet the needs of end users. Some elements of these services are already starting to appear in limited practice today, but we can expect to see full solutions emerge as the next logical step in cloud evolution as more and more enterprises run into multicloud challenges.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux and MS-Windows APIs for Custom Development of VQuad™ Applications

      Speaking to the press Mr. Robert Bichefsky, Director of Engineering at GL Communications Inc said, “Open source is ubiquitous, it’s almost unavoidable and Linux is the leader in open source. So, GL supports Linux Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for our flagship products!

    • KernelShark 1.0 Soon Being Released For Visualizing “Trace-cmd” Linux Kernel Tracing

      After being in development pretty much this entire decade, KernelShark 1.0 will soon be released as the visualizer around the trace-cmd that wraps Ftrace for internal Linux kernel tracing.

      KernelShark produces various visuals and makes it easier to analyze the trace data generated from the tracing tools to make it easier to understand the behavior going on within the kernel. It’s good to see this GUI utility still advancing as it’s been quite a while since last hearing anything about KernelShark.

    • VMware Working On Emulated Coherent Graphics Memory – Needed For GL 4.4 / Vulkan

      For ironing out the OpenGL 4.4+ support within their VMWGFX virtual graphics driver stack and/or for starting out work on bringing up Vulkan support to guest VMs running VMware virtualization products, their longtime graphics driver team is working on emulated coherent graphics memory support.

      Longtime Mesa contributor Thomas Hellstrom, who had been with Tungsten Graphics before being acquired by VMware, posted their latest code on Wednesday for emulating coherent graphics memory support as needed by the latest OpenGL revisions and Vulkan.

    • Linux Foundation

      • 43 New Members Join the Linux Foundation and Increase Their Participation in Open Source Innovation

        The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, announced the addition of 38 Silver members and five Associate members. Linux Foundation members help support the development of shared open source technology, while accelerating their own innovation through open source leadership. Linux Foundation member contributions help provide the infrastructure and resources developers need to grow and sustain many of the world’s most successful open source projects, including Hyperledger, Kubernetes, Linux, Node.js, and ONAP.

        “Successful large-scale, global open source communities require dedicated resources, support, and infrastructure, so it’s incredibly exciting to see 43 more organizations increase their commitment to open source,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director, the Linux Foundation. “We look forward to working with our new members to better support the developers who build, secure, and maintain the open source systems we rely on every day.”

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel Aiming For Their Gallium3D Driver To Be Viable By Mesa 19.2, Default By EOY 2019

        Following questions from our forum goers, there’s now an overview of the current state of Intel’s new “Iris” Gallium3D driver and its road-map for the remainder of the year in being the company’s next-gen OpenGL driver that should be in especially good shape by the time Icelake “Gen 11″ hardware arrives.

        The Intel Gallium3D driver was merged back in February and will be found in next month’s Mesa 19.1 release for the first time. With our testing of this “Iris” driver in Mesa 19.1 Git, the performance has become quite comparable recently to the existing i965 driver and in fairly good shape (and the performance is only getting better). With Mesa 19.1 it won’t be used though unless going for the environment variable override with the mature Intel classic driver being the default. But by the end of 2019, this Gallium3D driver might be the default for supported hardware — this driver supports Broadwell “Gen 8″ graphics and newer while older generations of Intel graphics will continue to see support via the i965 classic driver.

      • NVIDIA Working On New GLX Extension To Help PRIME GPU Offloading

        NVIDIA has been working on a new GLX extension to help the PRIME GPU offloading situation where multiple GPU vendors are involved and thus different OpenGL driver implementations. In particular, the proposed GLX_EXT_server_vendor_select is designed to better fit in to address PRIME GPU offloading obstacles introduced by their work on the now common GLVND OpenGL Vendor Neutral Dispatch library.

      • Mesa 19.1 To Expose EXT_gpu_shader4 Support

        While it’s not looking like Mesa 19.1 will end up exposing OpenGL 4.6 capabilities, it is picking up various other extensions including some prominent several year old extensions like EXT_texture_buffer_object and the decade old EXT_gpu_shader4.

        Presumably to satisfy some enterprise/workstation customer use-cases, prominent RadeonSI Gallium3D driver developer Marek Olšák of AMD merged a lengthy series of patches on Wednesday adding EXT_gpu_shader4 and EXT_texture_buffer_object. These new extensions will work with Mesa drivers supporting OpenGL 3.1 or higher.

      • How to Build a Network Video Recorder With an Nvidia Jetson Nano

        In the middle of working on an update to our articles on home video surveillance systems, I bought one of Nvidia’s new Jetson Nanos. While playing with the $99 board and using it to do object recognition using a variety of cameras, it suddenly occurred to me that it would be a pretty interesting starting point for a slick little Network Video Recorder (NVR) NAS device. It consumes very little power and is portable. Plus, the integrated GPU has more AI capacity than most larger NAS units, and the Nano comes with tons of AI tools pre-installed. So for those wanting to play with their own motion or person or package or pet recognition, it’d be ideal.


        Nvidia makes it really easy to set up the Nano. All you need is a microSD card and a computer to flash the L4T (Linux For Tegra) image. Technically, all you need is 16GB, but the system takes most of that, so I used a high-speed 64GB card. Once you’ve attached a keyboard, mouse, and monitor, all you need to do is plug in a micro USB power supply and you’ll be running Ubuntu 18.04. A wide variety of AI tools and demo applications are pre-installed for you.

      • New AMD Navi Linux code confirms the GCN design of the new GPUs

        AMD has already started dropping Navi driver code out into the wider Linux ecosystem, with a few key code drops in place right now and full driver enablement for the new graphics architecture likely to drop soon. These first little bits of Linux code don’t really tell us a whole lot about the new graphics cards, but do at least seem to nix all the recent rumours about Navi being built on a different design to the current Graphics Core Next setup. So yeah, Navi looks set to be GCN.

        There had been earlier rumours that Navi would be the first post-GCN GPU design, and that would allow it to break past the 4,096 core limit supposedly imposed by the current macro-architecture, but it seems Navi is following the same overall path as previous GCN designs.

      • The Radeon “RADV” Driver Now Exposes Vulkan 1.1 On Android

        While the Mesa-based Radeon “RADV” Vulkan driver has been exposing Vulkan 1.1 since last year, the upcoming Mesa 19.1 will bring support for Vulkan 1.1 when this driver is active on Android systems.

        While the intersection of RADV driver usage on Android systems is quite low, this RADV Vulkan 1.1 support on Android comes following the merging of the YCbCr support into Mesa Git for the upcoming 19.1 release. Of the many additions to Vulkan 1.1 was YCbCr color formatted textures handling

      • Radeon Software for Linux 19.10 Adds Ubuntu 18.04.2 Support

        Radeon Software for Linux 19.10 was quietly released at the end of last week and seemed to go unnoticed until a Phoronix reader pointed out the existence of this updated hybrid driver featuring the AMDGPU All-Open and AMDGPU-PRO components.

        While being the first new release stream in quite a while to succeed the 18.50 series, the changes aren’t all that noteworthy for what has been made public. The main change of Radeon Software for Linux 19.10 is now supporting Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS, the latest Ubuntu LTS point release pulling in the graphics/kernel components from Ubuntu 18.10. So this should also allow the AMDGPU-PRO driver to work on Ubuntu 18.10 thanks to the shared components. This new driver release does not support the newly-minted Ubuntu 19.04 with AMD not supporting the non-LTS releases at least until those bits end up being found in an Ubuntu LTS point release.

    • Benchmarks

      • ODROID-N2 Offer Six Cortex-A73/A53 Cores For $65~82, Good Performance In Linux Benchmarks

        Hardkernel’s newest single board computer is the ODROID-N2 that they sent over a few weeks ago for benchmarking. The ODROID-N2 is built around the Amlogic S922X SoC and features four Cortex-A73 cores and two Cortex-A53 cores, options for 2GB or 4GB of DDR4 system memory, eMMC connectivity, Gigabit Ethernet, and four USB 3.0 ports for starting out just above $60 USD.

        The ODROID-N2′s use of an Amlogic S922X big.LITTLE design makes for an interesting setup with the four Cortex-A73 cores clocking up to 1.8GHz and the two Cortex-A53 cores able to hit 1.9GHz. This SoC uses the Mali G52 Bifrost GPU, which eventually should see nice driver support via the open-source Panfrost graphics driver stack.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.34 Desktop Environment Development Kicks Off with First Snapshot

        GNOME 3.34 will be the next major release of the popular free and open-source desktop environment for Linux-based operating systems, expected to hit the streets later this year on September 11th. During its entire development cycle, GNOME 3.34 will be developed under the GNOME 3.33.x umbrella.

        Work on the GNOME 3.34 desktop environment begun a few weeks ago, after the launch of the GNOME 3.32 “Taipei” desktop environment, which is already the default desktop environment of the recently released Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo) operating system and other GNU/Linux distributions.

  • Distributions

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Ubuntu 19.04, My Review (And Why Most Users Should Avoid It)
      • Ubuntu 19.04 Installation Overview and Walkthrough
      • What’s New in Ubuntu 19.04 Disco Dingo

        Ubuntu 19.04 Disco Dingo officially released and announced by Canonical , which will be supported for 9 months until January 2020 with security and software updates.

        This release, Ubuntu 19.04 uses GNOME 3.32 as a desktop environment, which brings smoother startup animations, higher frame rates, reduced CPU and GPU load, include a new icon theme, an improved default Yaru theme, new Safe Graphics Mode option in the boot menu to start the system with “nomodeset” parameter enabled on systems with unsupported graphics cards so you can install the appropriate drivers, and various desktop refinements to make your Ubuntu experience more.

        Ships with the latest Linux 5.0 kernel series, which enables support for recent hardware components like AMD Radeon RX Vega M GPUs, Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC, as well as Intel Cannon Lake graphics. Linux kernel 5.0 also adds significant USB 3.2 and Type-C, and power-savings improvements, along with KVM support for AMD Secure Encrypted Virtualization, support for the P-State driver for Skylake X servers, support for memory protection keys on POWER architectures, and zcrypt support on IBM Z systems.

      • Voyager Live 19.04 Run Through

        In this video, we are looking at Voyager Live 19.04.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Fedora

      • Flatpaking Terminals

        One thing Builder has done for a long time is make terminals work seamlessly even if distributed using container technologies. Because pseudo-terminals are steeped in esoteric UNIX history, it can be non-obvious how to make this work.

      • Moving Ask Fedora to Discourse phase 2: request for beta testing
      • Fedora 30 Is Currently Blocked By A Few Remaining Bugs As It Approaches The Finish Line

        Today was a Go/No-Go meeting for the final release of Fedora 30 but the Linux distribution in its current state isn’t ready to be released. Fortunately, a week delay hasn’t been set in stone yet but will be convening tomorrow to see if the latest release candidate is ready in the next 24 hours to be promoted as final.

        There has been last minute snags with Fedora 30 around Fedora upgrade issues with systems leveraging modular content, KSieve failing to start, and initial setup failing.

      • Python 2 & Its Packages Likely To Be Dropped For Fedora 32

        While Fedora 30 isn’t even out the door yet and Fedora 32 not coming out until roughly one year from now, we already know one big change on the table: dropping Python 2 and packages depending upon it.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian has a New Project Leader

        Like each year, the Debian Secretary announced a call for nominations for the post of Debian Project Leader (commonly known as DPL) in early March. Soon 5 candidates shared their nomination. One of the DPL candidates backed out due to personal reasons and we had four candidates as can be seen in the Nomination section of the Vote page.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Buckle Up: Ubuntu 19.10 Daily Builds Are Live

            Oh, alright. I’ll throw out a couple of predicable provisos (even though I expect most you know what follows).

            Primarily intended for developers, testers and enthusiasts, the Ubuntu 19.10 daily build is the only route to sample Ubuntu 19.10 ahead of a single beta build, due sometime in September, and the final release, due sometime in October.

            Do not install a daily build as the primary OS on a mission critical machine (this includes your mums/boyfriend/boss’s laptop) unless you a) know what you’re doing and b) you know how you can undo it. Use a spare partition, a dev device, or a virtual machine.

            Do expect bugs, rough edges, and potential software and driver incompatibilities. Keep in mind that third-party repositories (such as PPAs) are unlikely to support ‘Eaon’ this early in the dev cycle.

          • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S12E03 – Wizball

            This week we’ve been to Moodlemoot, finished hanging doors and watched some Game of Thrones. We discuss the Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo) release for all the flavours and round up some news.

            It’s Season 12 Episode 03 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu Studio 16.04 LTS reaches End Of Life (EOL)

              As of today, April 25, 2019, Ubuntu Studio 16.04 LTS has reached the end of its support cycle.

              We strongly urge all users of 16.04 to upgrade to Ubuntu Studio 18.04 and add the Ubuntu Studio Backports PPA for support through April 2020, which is when our next LTS release, 20.04, is expected.

            • What’s New In Xubuntu 19.04?

              April is one of the months awaited by Ubuntu fans. Because this month is the schedule for the release of the latest version. Usually, in every 2 years, we will find Ubuntu releasing the LTS version with longer support.

              Ubuntu has released version 19.04 with code name Disco Dingo. This distribution is not included in the LTS category, so it only gets support for the next 9 months. However, many features are added in this version. You can see the detailed features added in here!

              Besides Ubuntu, other variants such as Xubuntu, Kubuntu and Lubuntu also released 19.04. And in this article I want to discuss about Xubuntu 19.04.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Nextcloud 16 introduces machine learning based security and usability features, ACL permissions and cross-app projects

    We are excited to make the latest and greatest Nextcloud available for download! Nextcloud 16 is smarter than ever, with machine learning to detect suspicious logins and offering clever recommendations. Group Folders now sport access control lists so system administrators can easily manage who has access to what in organization-wide shares. We also introduce Projects, a way to easily relate and find related information like files, chats or tasks.

  • NS1 Creates Open Source Tool for Testing DNS Performance and Functionality

    NS1, the leader in next-generation DNS and traffic management solutions, today announced the availability of Flamethrower…

  • Databricks open sources Delta Lake for data lake reliability

    Databricks, a specialist in Unified Analytics and founded by the original creators of Apache Spark, has announced a new open source project called Delta Lake to deliver reliability to data lakes.

    Delta Lake is the first production-ready open source technology to provide data lake reliability for both batch and streaming data. This new open source project will enable organisations to transform their existing messy data lakes into clean Delta Lakes with high quality data, thereby accelerating their data and Machine Learning initiatives.

  • Huawei Could Rebuild Trust in Their Products Through Open Source

    Open source code for Huawei equipment would allow nations, companies, and individuals alike to verify that the code is free of malware, and that it contains no obvious security problems.

    Reproducible builds allow everyone to be reassured that the code running on the network devices matches the open source code that is reviewed by the public. This removes another layer of distrust.

    And if you want to protect against the advent of Chinese “malicious updates” you can use multi-party key signature schemes for firmware updates, to ensure that updates are approved by the government/company before they are rolled out.

  • The WIRED Guide to Open Source Software

    The open source software movement grew out of the related, but separate, “free software” movement. In 1983, Richard Stallman, at the time a programmer at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, said he would create a free alternative to the Unix operating system, then owned by AT&T; Stallman dubbed his alternative GNU, a recursive acronym for “GNU’s Not Unix.”

    For Stallman, the idea of “free” software was about more than giving software away. It was about ensuring that users were free to use software as they saw fit, free to study its source code, free to modify it for their own purposes, and free to share it with others. Stallman released his code under a license known as the GNU Public License, or GPL, which guarantees users those four software freedoms. The GPL is a “viral” license, meaning that anyone who creates software based on code licensed under the GPL must also release that derivative code under a GPL license.

  • Events

    • KubeCon China Mini-Film
    • First Timer’s guide to Red Hat Summit

      For many people, Red Hat Summit is an annual ritual. A chance once again to catch up on Red Hat’s plans for the year, learn about new technologies, see colleagues and friends, and make new acquaintances. They’ve got the routine down, and are ready to get the most out of Summit from start to finish. New to Red Hat Summit? We want to help you do the same – so read on for some tips to help you get the most out of your first time joining us at Summit. Also puppies.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla WebThings takes IOT open source

        Mozilla, developer of the open source Web browser Firefox, has spent the past two years trying to make the Internet of things (IOT) as open as the Internet itself.

        Last week, it announced the launch of Mozilla WebThings, the graduation of its experimental Project Things to what it hopes will become the standard for IOT interoperability.

        Project Things first saw light two years ago as an open implementation of the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C’s) Web of things standard for monitoring and controlling connected devices.

        According to W3C CEO Dr Jeff Jaffe, the Web of Things Working Group was set up in an effort to counter the fragmentation of IOT, reduce the costs of development and lessen the risks to investors and users, as well as encourage growth in the market for IOT devices and services.

      • Firefox and Emerging Markets Leadership

        As a long time Mozillian, Dave joined Mozilla in 2006 to work on Gecko, building networking and security features and was a contributor to the release of Firefox 3. After a short stint at a startup he rejoined Mozilla in 2011 as part of the Firefox Developer Tools team. Dave has since served in a variety of senior leadership roles within the Firefox product organization, most recently leading the Firefox engineering team through the launch of Firefox Quantum.

        Under Dave’s leadership the new Firefox organization will pull together all product management, engineering, technology and operations in support of our Firefox products, services and web platform. As part of this change, we are also announcing the promotion of Marissa (Reese) Wood to VP Firefox Product Management, and Joe Hildebrand to VP Firefox Engineering. Both Joe and Reese have been key drivers of the continued development of our core browser across platforms, and the expansion of the Firefox portfolio of products and services globally.

        In addition, we are increasing our investment and focus in emerging markets, building on the early success of products like Firefox Lite which we launched in India earlier this year, we are also formally establishing an emerging markets team based in Taipei:

        Stan Leong appointed as VP and General Manager, Emerging Markets. In this new role, Stan will be responsible for our product development and go-to-market strategy for the region. Stan joins us from DCX Technology where he was Global Head of Emerging Product Engineering. He has a great combination of start-up and large company experience having spent years at Hewlett Packard, and he has worked extensively in the Asian markets.

        As part of this, Mark Mayo, who has served as our Chief Product Officer (CPO), will move into a new role focused on strategic product development initiatives with an initial emphasis on accelerating our emerging markets strategy. We will be conducting an executive search for a CPO to lead the ongoing development and evolution of our global product portfolio.

  • LibreOffice

    • [LibreOffice] Bugfixing [done]

      LibreOffice do organize the bugs into [META] bugs, which is great cause when you link the bug to different [META] bugs you can organize bugfixing over different groups. I care about BUG 106228 which is the Icon meta bug and as you can see most of the icon bugs need developer work. Everything I could fix myself is nearly done.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • NomadBSD, a BSD for the Road

      As regular It’s FOSS readers should know, I like diving into the world of BSDs. Recently, I came across an interesting BSD that is designed to live on a thumb drive. Let’s take a look at NomadBSD.


      This German BSD comes with an OpenBox-based desktop with the Plank application dock. NomadBSD makes use of the DSB project. DSB stands for “Desktop Suite (for) (Free)BSD” and consists of a collection of programs designed to create a simple and working environment without needing a ton of dependencies to use one tool. DSB is created by Marcel Kaiser one of the lead devs of NomadBSD.

      Just like the original BSD projects, you can contact the NomadBSD developers via a mailing list.

    • Fun with funlinkat() | BSD Now 295

      Introducing funlinkat(), an OpenBSD Router with AT&T U-Verse, using NetBSD on a raspberry pi, ZFS encryption is still under development, Rump kernel servers and clients tutorial, Snort on OpenBSD 6.4, and more.

    • Snapshot Sanity | TechSNAP 402

      We continue our take on ZFS as Jim and Wes dive in to snapshots, replication, and the magic on copy on write.

      Plus some handy tools to manage your snapshots, rsync war stories, and more!


    • FSFE Newsletter – April 2019

      This month’s newsletter highlights the presence of the FSFE’s campaign”Public Money? Public Code!” in German media and its growing popularity across Europe.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • The mysterious history of the MIT License

      say “seemingly straightforward” because the MIT License is one of the most popular licenses used by open source software. The MIT License, Apache License, and BSD license are the main permissive licenses, a term that contrasts with reciprocal licenses like the GPL, which require source code to be made available when software is redistributed.

      Given its popularity, you’d think the license’s inception would be well-documented. I found various clues that added up to a date in the late 1980s but nothing definitive. However, Keith Packard and Jim Gettys jumped on the thread to offer first-hand accounts of the license’s creation. In addition to providing early examples of the license, their help also gave me the context to better understand how the license evolved over time.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Elsevier and Norway Agree on New Open-Access Deal

        After unsuccessful negotiations between a coalition of Norwegian organizations and the academic publisher Elsevier culminated in cancelled subscriptions earlier this year, the two have successfully established a new nationwide licensing agreement. The deal, which was announced yesterday (April 23), is a pilot program that covers a period of two years, during which articles with corresponding authors from Norway will be published open access in most of Elsevier’s journals.

  • Programming/Development

    • A Life of Learning | Coder Radio 354

      We celebrate the life of Erlang author Dr Joe Armstrong by remembering his many contributions to computer science and unique approach to lifelong learning.

    • Remembering Joe, a Quarter of a Century of Inspiration and Friendship

      I first came across the name Joe Armstrong in 1994, when I bought the first edition of Concurrent Programming in Erlang, a book he co-authored. Our first interaction happened in 1995, when I was looking for a company interested in sponsoring my Master’s thesis. I dialled the number for Ellemtel Utvecklings AB, home of the Ericsson computer science laboratory, asking to be connected to Joe Armstrong. Getting a Hello, my unprepared opening line was Skall jag ta det på Engelska, or would you prefer if I took it in Swedish? A silent pause was followed by laughter, the same laughter many of us have come to associate with Joe.

    • Evennia: Steaming on, eating jam

      The regular Evennia develop branch is now running completely in Python 3. Since we are using some new features of this Python release, we will be aiming for Python 3.7 as a minimum version once Evennia 0.9 goes stable. We will also use Django 2.1 and likely Twisted 19 – so we’ll be pretty much up-to-date on all our main dependencies.

      Now, while the release of Evennia 0.9 is still some time away (there are a bunch of regular bug fixes and minor features that I want to get in there too (see the progress here on the github 0.9 project page), it’s worth to consider how much work it’ll be for you to migrate and if you should wait or jump in right now.

      If you are new, I still recommend you use regular master branch Evennia (using Python 2.7). This is for which all wiki articles and documentation online is currently written after all. Once we move to python3, you’ll need to convert your code … but syntactically the two are really not that different and conversion should not be much of an issue.

      Not only are there automatic converters for most stuff, you should only need to do one pass to make sure things work and then you’ll be done. This article is pretty old but it serves well to identify the main differences. Later Py3 versions just adds new stuff which you would just not have had access to in Python2.7. Once 0.9 is released, we’ll also make guides for how you go about converting existing code (apart from the wealth of info on this topic online).

    • Facebook open sources C++ F14 hash table

      Hashing is used by developers to quickly identify a specific, unique object from a group of similar objects. For example, your driver license number is a hash, which can be used to pull your driver’s record when you’re pulled over for going a wee bit over the speed limit. In computing, where there are say tens of thousands of John Smiths on Facebook, anything you can do to help speed up finding the John Smith who’s your buddy is a good thing. Now, Facebook has open-sourced F14, a 14-way probing hash table within Folly, its open-source C++ library.

    • It’s Time to Stop Adding New Features for Non-Unicode Execution Encodings in C++

      Disclosure: I work for Mozilla, and my professional activity includes being the Gecko module owner for character encodings.

      Disclaimer: Even though this document links to code and documents written as part of my Mozilla actitivities, this document is written in personal capacity.

    • Red Hat CodeReady Workspaces 1.1: Release notes

      We are pleased to introduce Red Hat CodeReady Workspaces version 1.1, which provides a cloud developer workspace server and browser-based IDE built for teams and organizations. Red Hat CodeReady Workspaces 1.1 includes ready-to-use developer stacks for most of the popular programming languages, frameworks, and Red Hat technologies.

    • List Of Top 7 YUM Third Party Repositories For RHEL And CentOS
    • EuroPython 2019: Launching our website
    • EuroPython 2019: Call for Proposals
    • Now Ponder Mistakes: NPM’s heavy-handed management prompts JS code registry challenger

      The recent management change and layoffs at JavaScript accessory outfit NPM Inc prompted several former employees to speculate that the company’s alleged union-busting push toward profitability may well spur the creation of competition.

      The Register was also told to pay attention to JSConf EU in June as a possible launchpad for an NPM Inc rival.

      There’s no need to wait that long. On Wednesday this week, Victor Bjelkholm, a Swedish developer based in Barcelona, introduced the Open-Registry, an “NPM registry replacement with a proper community governance.”

      It’s the first of what we’re told are several ventures born of blowback from NPM Inc’s attempted transition from investment crematorium to cash cow.

    • [GNOME Builder Nightly] Translucent Completion

      Sometimes completion windows get in the way of reading the surrounding code. With Builder Nightly, you can press and release Left Control to toggle translucency of the completion window.

    • Announcing Rust 1.34.1

      The Rust team is happy to announce a new version of Rust, 1.34.1, and a new version of rustup, 1.18.1. Rust is a programming language that is empowering everyone to build reliable and efficient software.

    • an unexpected benefit of standardizing on clang-cl

      I wrote several months ago about our impending decision to switch to clang-cl on Windows. In the intervening months, we did that, and we also dropped MSVC as a supported compiler. (We still build on Linux with GCC, and will probably continue to do that for some time.) One (extremely welcome) consequence of the switch to clang-cl has only become clear to me in the past couple of weeks: using assembly language across platforms is no longer painful.

      First, a little bit of background: GCC (and Clang) support a feature called inline assembly, which enables you to write little snippets of assembly code directly in your C/C++ program. The syntax is baroque, it’s incredibly easy to shoot yourself in the foot with it, and it’s incredibly useful for a variety of low-level things.

    • GCC 9.1-RC1 Is Being Assembled, GCC 10.0 Development Opens

      GCC 9 has reached zero “P1″ regressions that mark issues of the highest priority. With that list cleared, GCC 9.1 is moving towards release as the first stable version of GCC 9. GCC 9.1-RC1 will be out soon while GCC 10.0 is open on master.

      Red Hat’s Jakub Jelinek shared that the last 12 P1 regressions have been addressed and thus the current compiler code branched to the newly-created gcc-9-branch. That in turn marks the SVN/Git code opening up for GCC 10.0 development on master. GCC 10 will be developed over the next year culminating with the GCC 10.1 compiler release around this time next year.

    • Conditional Statements in Python (if/elif/else)
    • Twitter without Infinite Scroll

      I like reading stuff on twitter.com because a lot of interesting people write things there which they don’t write anywhere else.

      But Twitter is designed to be addictive, and a key mechanism they use is the “infinite scroll” design. Infinite scroll has been called the Web’s slot machine because of the way it exploits our minds to make us keep reading. It’s an unethical design.

    • Deep vs Shallow Copies in Python
    • PyCon: An update regarding PyCon 2019 sponsor DataCamp [Ed: PyCon still takes the most money from Microsoft (where sexual assaults are common and there are major lawsuits about it). Talking money from highly misogynistic firms like Microsoft (which effectively bought PyCon) while pretending to actually care about sexism etc. The hallmark of selective enforcement of principles.]

      The PyCon staff is saddened to hear that one of our sponsors, DataCamp, had an incident where one of their employees was sexually harassed. We were also distressed to find it was unclear if Datacamp had addressed this incident with the seriousness it requires. PyCon and the Python Software Foundation take this issue seriously and we want to emphasize—for Datacamp and everyone—that such behavior is not tolerated at PyCon or any Python Software Foundation affiliated event.

    • Python Bytes: #127 That Python code is on fire!


  • The psychology behind a blameless retrospective

    A retrospective is the act of dealing with past events and activities. The word comes from Latin, and it literally means “to look back.” In the business world, a retrospective is a practice agile teams commonly use to reflect on how their work is done to improve how they do it so they continuously become better at it.

    One of the Agile Manifesto’s principles suggests all teams regularly reflect on how to become more effective. The main goals of a retrospective are to promote self-improvement, improve processes, and advance team members’ skills.

  • The Next Step In The Podcast Wars: Two Companies Looking To Be The Netflix Of Podcasts Start Fighting

    A few months back, we wrote about the concern that Spotify buying Gimlet Media and supposedly betting big on podcasts could signify the end of the open era of podcasts. The fear was that Spotify would ramp up the effort to put many podcasts behind its paywall, and silo off certain podcasts. To be fair, Spotify would hardly be the first to do so. Stitcher has been doing something like that for years. But, of course, there are other players in the field as well. Over the last few months there’s been a lot of buzz around a company called Luminary which has raised somewhere around $100 million to, in its own words, become the Netflix of podcasting.

    The idea behind Luminary is that it would offer up an app that could access all the usual podcasts via RSS feeds, but that it would also push people towards a monthly subscription fee that would include some “premium” ad free podcasts that it would develop itself. Over the past few months, it’s been clear that Luminary has been putting that $100 million warchest to work, announcing premium podcasts from the likes of Trevor Noah, Malcolm Gladwell, Russell Brand, Adam Davidson, Manoush Zomorodi, Hannibal Burress, Conan O’Brien’s team and a lot more.

  • Hardware

    • Samsung Plans $116 Billion Splurge on Chips to Take On Intel

      Samsung Electronics Co. intends to invest 133 trillion won ($116 billion) over the next decade or so to take on Intel Corp. and Qualcomm Inc. in the business of making advanced chip processors, quickening an effort to take greater control of the global semiconductor industry.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • High lead levels found among children in Georgia

      Unlike previous small scale studies, the MICS, which visited over 1,500 Georgian house­holds and collected blood samples from children aged between two and seven, is rep­re­sen­ta­tive enough for the author­i­ties to act on.

      Georgia’s National Statistic Office, GeoStat, was respon­si­ble for carrying out the fieldwork for the survey, while the findings were the result of analysis conducted by the Italian National Institute of Health (ISS). According to UNICEF, the ISS used Induc­tive­ly Coupled Plasma Mass Spec­trom­e­try, ‘the most accurate method’ for testing lead levels.

    • WHO: Don’t Expose Babies to Electronic Screens

      Infants less than a year old should not be exposed to electronic screens, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.

      Issuing its first such guidelines, the United Nations health agency said that older children, aged two to four, should be limited to one hour per day sedentary screen time.

    • Flint: 5 Years Later, and Our Water Is More Threatened Than Ever

      Five years ago this week, an emergency manager appointed by then-Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder made the devastating decision to save money by switching Flint’s water supply over from Detroit’s water system to the Flint River. Seen as a temporary fix, the new water supply was not properly treated. High levels of lead leached from the old pipes, poisoning a generation of Flint’s children, and bacteria responsible for an outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease killed more than a dozen residents.

      Five years ago, we hoped this would be a rallying cry for federal investment in our water systems. But today, things aren’t better: they’re worse. Almost daily, there are new headlines about how vulnerable our water infrastructure has become. Martin County, Kentucky, has suffered a catastrophic failure of its water system that has led to higher water rates for discolored, toxic water; like residents in Flint, they don’t trust what comes out of the tap. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), have contaminated water in states across the country where military and industrial facilities have released this dangerous chemical associated with cancer risks. Testing has shown a widespread problem with lead in our schools. And on top of all of this, climate change is exacerbating many of our water problems, stressing water supplies, threatening critical infrastructure and overburdening our aging stormwater collection systems.

    • American Healthcare Horror Stories: An Incomplete Inventory

      The statistics demonstrating the scope of our nation’s healthcare crisis are appalling enough. Two of three Americans report skipping needed care each year due to cost, including not filling prescriptions or putting off doctor visits. Millions are forced to borrow money to pay medical bills, leading to crushing debt. Others can’t get the care they need even by borrowing, and suffer fatal consequences: physician researchers estimate tens of thousands of Americans die each year due to inability to afford care.

      Yet, as disturbing as these numbers are, they are abstractions. They mask the reality that every data point is someone’s mother or spouse or beloved child, enduring unrelenting, grinding pain and days and nights tortured by illness. So, on the eve of the first-ever Congressional hearing on Medicare for All legislation, this week’s issue of Faith in Healthcare is devoted to pulling together a few of the many reported stories of real people—all of whom have faces and names and loved ones. And all have been victimized by a healthcare system that excels at generating corporate profits, but fails at the basic task of caring for those in need.

    • Warren Wins Applause for Addressing High Black Maternal Mortality Rates, But Experts Say Plan to Fix Crisis Needs Work

      While Sen. Elizabeth Warren drew praise for calling attention to the high rate of maternal mortality in the U.S. and the disproportionate number of black women who die in childbirth, some progressives pushed the 2020 presidential candidate to ensure that inequities aren’t worsened through her plan to fight the crisis.

      At the She the People Presidential Forum in Houston late Wednesday, Warren spoke about her plan to reduce maternal mortality rates in hospitals through financial incentives.

      “I want to talk to the hospitals, where most births take place, and I want to talk to them in the language they understand: money,” said Warren. “Because here’s the deal. Right now the way that most medical procedures are treated, including those of childbirth, is that hospitals get fee for services…and they get it no matter what the outcomes are.”

      Under her plan, Warren said, using the “bundled payments” approach administered by the for-profit system, “the hospitals are just going get a lump of money and if they bring down those maternal mortality rates they’re going to get a bonus and if they don’t, they’re going to get it taken away from them.”

  • Security

    • Microsoft will block Windows 10 May 2019 Update installs on PCs with external storage

      A new support document on the Microsoft website explains: “Inappropriate drive reassignment can occur on eligible computers that have an external USB device or SD memory card attached during the installation of the May 2019 update,” the company said. “For this reason, these computers are currently blocked from receiving the May 2019 Update.”

    • G7 Comes Out in Favor of Encryption Backdoors

      There is a weird belief amongst policy makers that [cracking] an encryption system’s key management system is fundamentally different than [cracking] the system’s encryption algorithm. The difference is only technical; the effect is the same. Both are ways of weakening encryption.

    • In Push for 2020 Election Security, Top Official Was Warned: Don’t Tell Trump

      Ms. Nielsen left the Department of Homeland Security early this month after a tumultuous 16-month tenure and tensions with the White House. Officials said she had become increasingly concerned about Russia’s continued activity in the United States during and after the 2018 midterm elections — ranging from its search for new techniques to divide Americans using social media, to experiments by [attackers], to rerouting [Internet] traffic and infiltrating power grids.

    • WiFi hotspot app exposed two million passwords in plaintext

      It found that the database of over two million passwords had been left on a cloud server, publicly available and completely unprotected, meaning that anyone who found it could easily download the whole shebang.

      Despite repeated, failed attempts, the developer (Chinese – plus ca change) has not responded to questions on the matter, and in the end, the cloud host, DigitalOcean agreed to take the database down unilaterally.

    • Yubico Security Key: Local 2FA with PAM

      Some time ago, we compared the YubiKey 4C and the Nitrokey Pro which we both use on a daily basis. This time, we show you how you can use a Yubico Security Key with the pluggable authentication module (PAM) on Linux for local two-factor authentication (2FA).

    • GPS Hack Allows Hackers To Seize Control Of Your Car and Kill it

      A GPS hack present in navigation apps iTrack and Protrack makes it possible to remotely kill your car engines with the flick of a button.

      The hacker goes by the name of L&M and he is only using this exploit to show vulnerabilities in car security systems. He has no intention of causing any real-world harm.

    • Want To “Block” Windows 10 May 2019 Update? Simply Plug In A USB Drive

      very Windows 10 update comes with its own share of weird issues that are often hard to explain and funny at the same time. One such issue plaguing the upcoming Windows 10 May 2019 Update is related to the USB drive.

    • An introduction to AppArmor

      coming more sophisticated, attack frequency is on the rise, and the cost of cybercrime damage is projected to reach $6 trillion annually by 2021. Traditional defensive measures such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems that operate at the network perimeter are no longer enough to protect today’s distributed enterprise networks. Rather, a ‘defence in depth’ approach is required in order to protect all facets of an organisation’s digital infrastructure.

      In an ideal world, applications would be free from security vulnerabilities but, once compromised, even a trusted application can become untrustworthy. AppArmor provides a crucial layer of security around applications. By providing the capability to whitelist an application’s permissible actions, AppArmor enables administrators to apply the principle of least privilege to applications. Once in place, AppArmor can halt attacks and minimise or prevent damage in the event of a breach.

    • SELinux helped to find security bug in build system!
    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Automate Software Security Checks to Find Open Source Software, SDK Perils
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Microsoft launches new Azure Govt Secret regions for US

      Microsoft has set up two new Azure regions in the US devoted to the hosting of government data at the defence department’s Impact Level 6, the highest classification for data.

    • The US Military is Blackballing Journalists

      Finally, to confuse things further, I learned that AFRICOM also maintains a double standard regarding my reporting. While my articles from the Intercept and TomDispatch are verboten, those from Vice News are not. “We are aware of your stories that appear in major news organizations (i.e., your VICE story of Dec 12, 2018). Those are included,” Manley wrote me about an article on the U.S. conducting more named military operations and activities in Africa than in the Middle East. “The VICE story appeared in the December 13, 2018 edition of the Daily Media Summary. I might add it was the first story in the Executive Summary, which highlights the five or six most impactful stories of the day.”

    • Man Who Threatened to Kill Boston Globe Employees Will Plead Guilty, Lawyer Says

      The man, Robert D. Chain, made a series of menacing phone calls to the Boston newspaper from his home in California last year, according to court documents. Transcripts of his comments during the calls show that Mr. Chain repeatedly threatened to shoot employees in the head, mentioned President Trump several times and used the phrase “enemy of the people,” which the president has frequently used to describe the news media.

    • Wisconsin Woman Used [Compromised] Facebook Accounts to Recruit for ISIS, Prosecutors Say

      She used a series of [compromised] Facebook accounts to pledge allegiance to ISIS, recruit new members for the terrorist group, encourage supporters who said they wanted to launch terrorist attacks, and share plans for building explosives, prosecutors said.

    • Giovanni Mascellani: Italy’s liberation day

      I am grateful to all the people that fought for a free country and for putting an end to the Fascist and Nazi regimes. I am also grateful to all the people that starting from those days and to the present time worked and work for building a united and peaceful Europe of friend countries and people.

    • Unprecedented Investigation Reveals US-led Coalition Killed More Than 1,600 Civilians in Raqqa ‘Death Trap’
    • US-Led Bombing Campaign in Syria Killed 1,600 Civilians and Left Raqqa ‘Most Destroyed City in Modern Times’: Study

      “I saw my son die, burnt in the rubble in front of me,” Ayet Mohammed Jasem, one of the few survivors of the later attack, told the investigators. “I’ve lost everyone who was dear to me. My four children, my husband, my mother, my sister, my whole family. Wasn’t the goal to free the civilians? They were supposed to save us, to save our children.”

      At the time of 2017 assault on Raqqa it was U.S. Lieutenant General Stephen J. Townswend, commander of the coalition, who said, “I challenge anyone to find a more precise air campaign in the history of warfare…The Coalition’s goal is always for zero human casualties.”

      But the researchers argue the evidence belies those claims and, as part of the report, both groups demanded accountability for what was done to the city and its people.


      During their investigation, the groups also listened to the stories of survivors like nine year old Fatima Hussein Ahmad who lost her mother, Aziza, and three siblings in artillery strikes on their neighborhood. as well sustaining injuries that required the amputation of her right leg. “I was thrown over there by the explosion,” she told Amnesty during an interview from a burnt out home near where the attack took place. Almost two years later, she still cannot walk and uses a wheelchair donated by an NGO to get around. She told the researchers her only wish is to go back to school.

      The interactive website contains a whole section of stories from the ground, including one of 32 people, 20 children among them, who were killed in an air strike near a school and another where civilians were targeted as they crossed a river with no way to escape.

      The U.S. has claimed to have unleashed 30,000 rounds of artillery on the city during the offensive, while the U.K. and France helped to carry out thousands of air strikes. The U.S. strikes represent the equivalent of one strike every six minutes for four months.

      “Many of the air bombardments were inaccurate and tens of thousands of artillery strikes were indiscriminate, so it is no surprise they killed and injured many hundreds of civilians,” said Rovera.

    • Trump Plunges the US Deeper Into Forgotten Wars

      While Washington is consumed with reactions to the Mueller Report and the potential impeachment of President Donald Trump, America is descending deeper into largely forgotten wars.

      In the last month, the president has decided to sustain our involvement in the most
      unconscionable humanitarian crisis in the world in Yemen, and fueled even more violence in the civil war in Libya.

      Neither his actions, nor the wars on the other side of the world, get much attention.

      But, they reveal the true dangers of allowing a president complete license in questions of war and peace.

      Few Americans know that the United States is a participant in the bitter civil war in Yemen, a conflict that has savaged that impoverished country.

      Eighteen million people — of a total population of some 27 million — are now in need of humanitarian assistance. Three million have been displaced, and seven million have no idea where their next meal will come from. More than 14 million lack access to safe drinking water, and a deadly cholera epidemic has already begun.

      The U.S. has backed the Saudi-led intervention into the civil conflict, largely by providing direct support for brutal Saudi airstrikes — ordnance, targeting, aerial refueling and intelligence. The stated rationale provided for our participation is that the Saudi coalition is attacking rebels that it claims are backed by Iran.

    • All My Vexes Are in Texas

      Maya Linh’s war monument succeeds by its simplicity. The long tapering wall gradually rising to a delicate peak, falls equally away. Unencumbered, row upon row, by the tens of thousands the mute granite names speak to us, and we are filled with sorrow, rendered still. What more is there to say?


      This uncritical sentimentalizing makes me sad for what is lost to fantasy, idealization, the received myths of patriotism. I’m not alone in my response. Several combat vet friends expressed similar thoughts. The students’ efforts were well intentioned, my friends said, but they just don’t get it. Hearts and flowers may comfort the living–but they also bury the truth of war, and make us complicit in its sequels.

      Several of the clips I viewed were of KIAs from the 101st Airborne Division. How man of those men were in Tiger Force, the notorious 101st Airborne unit which from September 1967 to February 1968 committed hundreds of atrocities? A lengthy Army investigation was covered up but in 2003 the Toledo Blade, a respected Canadian newspaper, ran a series of exposes. The New York Times and other national papers also reported the story. For a time readers were upset by the ferocity of war crimes revealed, the absence of punishment meted out.

    • Gunman outside Moscow subway station kills two people, including himself

      A man in Moscow’s southwestern district reportedly opened fire outside the Novye Cheryomushki subway station in Moscow on Thursday, before turning his weapon on himself, a source in the city’s police department told the Moskva news agency.

      “Outside, near the Novye Cheryomushki subway station, an unidentified man opened fire from an unknown weapon, injuring one person. Afterwards, the shooter killed himself,” the source told Moskva.

    • Putin Says Kim Is Ready to Denuclearize, With Conditions

      President Vladimir Putin says he’s willing to share details with the United States about his summit on Thursday with Kim Jong Un, potentially raising Russia’s influence in the stalemated issue of North Korean denuclearization.

      The two leaders’ first one-on-one did not indicate major changes in North Korea’s position: Putin said Kim is willing to give up nuclear weapons, but only if he gets ironclad security guarantees.

      However, Putin said Kim urged him to explain the nuances of North Korea’s position to President Donald Trump. Such an interlocutor role could be meaningful in light of Trump’s apparent admiration of the Russian leader.

      Trump has said he “fell in love” with Kim, possibly indicating a proclivity to being swayed toward accommodation with the North Korean leader, although that declaration came before the Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi in February that collapsed in disagreement.

    • Thanks to Putin, Donbas residents now have an expedited path toward Russian citizenship. What could go wrong?

      Russian president Vladimir Putin has signed an order allowing for an expedited citizenship process for residents of the self-styled Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (the DPR and LPR), which form Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. Residents of the two breakaway regions may begin receiving Russian passports in the near future, and Putin’s move has drawn criticism and renewed calls for sanctions in Kyiv and the West. We asked how issuing passports to residents of the DPR and LPR aligns with Russian and Ukrainian law and what problems might arise as Russia begins accepting new citizens from both regions.

    • Navy SEALs Tried for Months to Report Superior for War Crimes and Were Told to “Let It Go”

      Navy SEALs who witnessed their platoon chief commit war crimes in Iraq were encouraged not to speak out, and told they could lose their jobs for reporting him at a private meeting with a superior officer last year, according to new reports from The New York Times. A confidential Navy criminal investigation obtained by the Times reveals that the commandos saw Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher stab and kill an unarmed teenage captive, shoot to death a young girl and old man, and fire indiscriminately into crowds of civilians. But when the men on Gallagher’s team called a private meeting with their troop commander and demanded an investigation, they were told to stay quiet on the matter, and no action was taken. The group of seven SEALs eventually were able to force an investigation, and Chief Edward Gallagher was arrested in September on more than a dozen charges, including premeditated murder and attempted murder. The court-martial centers on a charge that Gallagher stabbed to death a teenage member of the self-proclaimed Islamic State while the unarmed youth was being treated by a medic. The trial begins May 28. If convicted, Gallagher could face life in prison. We speak with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and national correspondent for The New York Times Dave Philipps. His latest piece is headlined “Navy SEALs Were Warned Against Reporting Their Chief for War Crimes”

    • The Salty Curmudgeon and the BIC

      I’ve covered the military for more than a decade, and in that time I’ve been aboard many U.S. Navy ships. Although I never really, ahem, got my sea legs, I did gain a fairly good understanding of the service. Still, the military is a beast and there is always a new acronym to learn, technical details to be confused by and complicated dynamics to grasp.

      So the day I got the assignment to investigate the collisions of the USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain, I was grateful I had serendipitous visitors. My aunt and uncle were in town, and in addition to being two of my favorite people, they also happen to be retired Navy officers.

      Needless to say, they were intrigued by the story. And as I dove into the thousands of documents we had about the collisions, I knew right away their expertise would be a godsend. Both ended up spending hours with me at my kitchen counter that week hunched over a pad, sketching out answers to my myriad questions.

    • Yekaterinburg building evacuated due to bomb threat during LGBTQ roundtable
    • After ‘Wink’ From Trump When a Journalist Butchered, Says Iran’s Foreign Minister, ‘Not a Whisper’ When Saudis Behead 37

      Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif denounced U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration for their total silence after Saudi Arabia beheaded 37 people this week.

      “After a wink at the dismembering of a journalist,” Zarif tweeted Tuesday, referring to murdered reporter Jamal Khashoggi, “not a whisper from the Trump administration when Saudi Arabia beheads 37 men in one day—even crucifying one two days after Easter.”

      Zarif added that members of the so-called “B team”—which consists of U.S. national security adviser John Bolton, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—are effectively above the law.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Appeals court rejects Chelsea Manning appeal of contempt order

      The order, issued Monday, rejected Manning’s argument that a judge improperly denied her request to say whether she was illegally electronically surveilled after she was convicted in 2013 for leaking classified material to WikiLeaks.

    • Avoiding Assange

      The United States government is seeking to extradite and prosecute Julian Assange for one reason: to punish him for publishing true and embarrassing information about US crimes and intimidate every journalist in the world from doing so again.

      If the US government succeeds in doing this, it will strike a devastating blow to the fundamental elements of democracy throughout the world—the freedom of the press and the related ability of citizens to know what their governments is doing.

      I say “throughout the world” because It’s important to understand that the US government in this case is asserting its prosecutorial authority over someone who is not an American and whose journalistic activity took place outside the United States. The United States is demonstrating its ability to get a foreign government to arrest and extradite journalists who are neither Americans nor citizens of its own country and send them off to the United States to face charges under American law. It’s not only a brazen attempt to quash press freedoms; it’s a further extension of the United States’ arrogant assertion of extra-territorial—indeed, universal—jurisdiction of its laws.

      As Jonathan Cook says, those who accept this have “signed off on the right of the US authorities to seize any foreign journalist, anywhere in the world, and lock him or her out of sight. They opened the door to a new, special form of rendition for journalists.”

      Whether anybody says it out loud or thinks it explicitly, and no matter how slight it might be right now, the sight of Julian Assange being dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in handcuffs is already working in the minds of journalists throughout the world, engendering some pause or consideration about what’s worth the risk to report on. It cannot not be so. The consummation of his extradition and prosecution, the sight of him disappearing into the American prison system, will radically change that calculus of risk for every journalist in the world. The minute after sentence is pronounced, every journalist and citizen will open their eyes in a world where a lot of important things they could expect to reveal and see a minute ago will now stay hidden. And they will know it. At that moment, all the bullshit irrelevancies and avoidance mechanisms will instantly dissipate, and it will be clear to everyone what the only issue always was. Too late.

    • UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy conducts visit to Julian Assange and Doughty Street Chambers

      The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, Professor Joe Cannataci, has today conducted an official visit with Julian Assange at Belmarsh prison. As part of the official UN visit, the delegation also met with Jennifer Robinson at Doughty Street Chambers, counsel for Mr Assange.

      Mr Assange had raised concerns with violations of his right to privacy inside the embassy of Ecuador given the level of surveillance he was under, including of his legal meetings with Ms Robinson and other members of his international legal team.

    • UN Special Rapporteur on Privacy meets Assange in prison: “I will act on the videos of Assange’s meetings in the embassy”
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Why the US bears the most responsibility for climate change, in one chart

      What’s abundantly clear is that the United States of America is the all-time biggest, baddest greenhouse gas emitter on the planet.

      That’s true, despite recent gains in energy efficiency and cuts in emissions. These relatively small steps now cannot offset more than a century of reckless emissions that have built up in the atmosphere. Much more drastic steps are now needed to slow climate change. And as the top cumulative emitter, the US bears a greater imperative for curbing its carbon dioxide output and a greater moral responsibility for the impacts of global warming.

    • How Big Oil Tried (But Failed) to Capture the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

      A secretive fossil fuel lobby group undertook a decades-long campaign to undermine mainstream climate science while spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to try and influence major scientific reports, a tranche of newly released documents shows.

      The Global Climate Coalition (GCC) was a fossil-fuel backed lobby group active in the mid-90s and early 2000s. A collection of briefings, meeting minutes, notes, and correspondence from the group, released by the Climate Investigations Centre in collaboration with DeSmog and Climate Liability News, show how the GCC tried to manipulate the UN’s official scientific advisory body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    • Global Climate Coalition: Documents Reveal How Secretive Fossil Fuel Lobby Group Manipulated UN Climate Programs

      A fossil fuel–backed industry group was able to influence the process behind the United Nations climate assessments for decades, using lobbyists and industry-funded scientists to manipulate international negotiations, a cache of recently discovered documents reveals.

      The documents include hundreds of briefings, meeting minutes, notes, and correspondence from the Global Climate Coalition (GCC). They were released Thursday by the Climate Investigations Center in collaboration with DeSmog and Climate Liability News. The documents date from 1989 and continue through 2002, when the lobbying group disbanded as its fossil fuel industry backers succumbed to public pressure to disavow its tactics.

      The documents show how the GCC influenced international negotiations, manipulated the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) process, and undertook a disinformation campaign designed to cast doubt on mainstream climate science.

    • Life within The Wall keeps The Others at bay

      John Lanchester’s latest novel, The Wall, is pure fiction. Isn’t it?

      It has haves and have-nots battling each other in the aftermath of dramatic alterations in climate. Right now, ignored for the most part by the outside world, thousands of people are being held in appalling conditions in camps in Libya.

      Libya is a key setting-off point for migrants, mostly from countries in Africa, seeking a better life across the Mediterranean in Europe. Often they are fleeing from violence and persecution in their home countries. Many are escaping from hunger and the impact climate change is having on agricultural communities.

      The European Union, anxious to secure its borders, has been sending millions of euros to military forces in Libya to control the migrant flow.

    • Deadly Kissing Bug Spreads to Delaware, CDC Confirms

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that the kissing bug, which can transmit a potentially deadly parasite, has spread to Delaware, ABC News reported Wednesday.

      The CDC had warned in September of last year that the bug was spreading north from South and Central America, and had already been sighted in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, The Delaware News Journal reported. But the agency confirmed last week that a bug that bit a child’s face in Kent, Delaware in July 2018 was indeed a kissing bug.

    • CDC confirms case of blood-sucking ‘kissing bug’ confirmed in Delaware

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed a 2018 case in which a blood-sucking insect known as a “kissing bug” bit a child in the face.

      In July 2018, the family requested help from the Delaware Division of Public Health and the Delaware Department of Agriculture to identify an insect that had bitten their daughter’s face while she was watching television in her bedroom at night because they were “concerned about possible disease transmission from the insect,” the CDC announced last week.

    • Cigarette Butts: The Most Littered Item in the World

      We’ve known for more than 50 years that smoking cigarettes comes with health hazards, but it turns out those discarded butts are harmful for the environment, too. Filtered cigarette butts, although small, contain dozens of chemicals, including arsenic and benzene. These toxins can leach into the ground or water, creating a potentially deadly situation for nearby birds, fish and other wildlife.

      These tiny bits of trash are a very big problem. Each year trillions of cigarette butts are tossed out around the world. Beach cleanups continually find that cigarette butts are the most-littered item — even more than plastic bags.

      Municipalities have started to take steps to curb plastic pollution, enacting bans on plastic straws, bags and other single-use items. Will similar efforts be undertaken to snuff out cigarette butt litter?

    • 7 Million More Americans Breathe Unhealthy Air Since Last ‘State of the Air’ Report

      Seven million more Americans lived in areas with unhealthy levels of air pollution between 2015 and 2017 than between 2014 and 2016, and climate change is partly to blame, Time reported Wednesday.

      The findings are part of the American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2019 report, released Wednesday, which found that the number of days of record-breaking levels of particulate matter, or soot, pollution increased in many cities, as did the number of days of unhealthy ozone pollution, or smog, since its last report. In total, more than 141 million Americans live in counties that have recorded unhealthy levels of air pollution.

    • Buyer Beware: Hovercraft Ruling Deals a Major Blow to Land Conservation in Alaska

      In a major blow to conservation efforts in Alaska, including efforts to protect over 56 million acres of Wilderness in the state, the U.S. Supreme Court held that John Sturgeon, a moose hunter, can “rev up his hovercraft in search of moose” on the Nation River—a river that flows through the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve in Alaska.

      The suit came after the Park Service told Sturgeon he could not use his hovercraft within the Yukon-Charley because Park Service regulations ban hovercraft within national preserves and parks. Sturgeon sued the Park Service, arguing that it had no authority to regulate activity on rivers in the preserve because the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) restricts Park Service authority to federally owned “public lands,” and the Nation River does not constitute federally owned public land under ANILCA.

      The Court agreed, noting, “If Sturgeon lived in any other State, his suit would not have a prayer of success” because the Park Service’s normal statutory authority would allow it to regulate both land and waters within parks and preserves, regardless of who owns the land and water. But, the Court found Alaska is “the exception, not the rule.”

    • Belarus estimates revenue losses from low-quality Russian petroleum at $100 million

      Vladimir Sizov, the deputy chair of the Belneftekhim trust, said that Belarusian companies have sustained about $100 million losses after they received subpar Russian petroleum that was unfit for processing and export. Sizov also said that Belarus partially renewed its exports of light petroleum products to Poland and Ukraine on April 25.

    • EPA Decides Not to Regulate Fracking Wastewater as Pennsylvania Study Reveals Recent Spike

      On April 23, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) told two environmental groups that it had decided it was “not necessary” to update the federal standards handling toxic waste from oil and gas wells, including the waste produced by fracking.

      State regulators have repeatedly proved unable to prevent the industry’s toxic waste from entering America’s drinking water supplies, including both private wells and the rivers from which public drinking water supplies are drawn, the Environmental Protection Agency concluded in a 2017 national study.

    • Ethics Investigations Opened into Actions of EPA Head Wheeler, Top DOI Officials

      The two investigations focus on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and six high-ranking officials in the Department of Interior (DOI), The Hill reported Tuesday. Both of them involve the officials’ former clients or employers.

      “This is demonstrative of the failures at the very top of this administration to set an ethical tone,” Campaign Legal Center Ethics Counsel Delaney Marsco told The Washington Post of the DOI investigation. “When people come to work for government, they’re supposed to work on behalf of the public. It’s a betrayal of the public trust when senior political appointees seem to give privileged access to their former employers or former clients.”

    • Ethanol Train Derails and Burns in Texas, Killing Horses and Spurring Evacuation

      Early in the morning on April 24, an ethanol train derailed, exploded, and burned near Fort Worth, Texas, reportedly destroying a horse stable, killing three horses, and causing the evacuation of nearby homes. According to early reports, 20 tank cars left the tracks, with at least five rupturing and burning.

      While specific details have not yet been released, it appears to be a unit train of ethanol using the federally mandated DOT-117R tank cars, based on the images showing tank car markings. This is now the third accident in North America involving the upgraded DOT-117R tank cars, all resulting in major spills of either oil or ethanol.

    • At least 3 horses killed, residents shaken by train derailment that ignited fire

      At least three horses were killed and homes were evacuated in southeast Fort Worth early Wednesday when 25 railroad cars derailed, and some exploded and caught fire, burning for several hours, fire officials said.

      Fewer than 20 homes were evacuated after the explosion ignited the tanker cars, which contained ethanol, fire officials said. The evacuation was not mandatory.

      The fire killed at least three horses, but more than a dozen were saved by residents who rushed to get the animals out of a stable near the crash site. No injuries to firefighters, residents or railroad employees were reported. The stable was the only structure destroyed, according to fire officials.

    • Endangered Species Act Saves Vast Majority of Species Under Its Protection

      The success of the Endangered Species Act is plain to the millions of Americans who have enjoyed seeing a bald eagle fly across the sky, heard the howl of wolves echo across the night or witnessed the splash of a breaching humpback whale.

      But this bedrock conservation law, the strongest of any nation, has saved far more species than these well-known examples.

      A new study, which I co-authored, found the Act has saved roughly 99 percent of protected species from extinction since the law was created in 1973.

      The Pecos sunflower, St. Andrew beach mouse, California condor and Peninsular bighorn sheep are among the hundreds of species that owe their existence to the Endangered Species Act.

      Of more than 1,700 species in the U.S. listed as threatened and endangered, just four have been confirmed as extinct following their protection, and another 22 are possibly extinct.

      For comparison, the study found that a total of 291 species would have been expected to go extinct without the Endangered Species Act.

      Species are not just being saved from extinction. Hundreds of endangered species are bouncing back thanks to the Act, including 39 that have been fully recovered and removed from the endangered species list.

    • Suicide Watch on Planet Earth

      As Notre Dame burned, as the flames leapt from its roof of ancient timbers, many of us watched in grim horror. Hour after hour, on screen after screen, channel after channel, you could see that 850-year-old cathedral, a visiting spot for 13 million people annually, being gutted, its roof timbers flaring into the evening sky, its steeple collapsing in a ball of fire. It was dramatic and deeply disturbing — and, of course, unwilling to be left out of any headline-making event, President Trump promptly tweeted his advice to the French authorities: “Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!” No matter that water from such planes would probably have taken the cathedral’s towers down and endangered lives as well — “the equivalent,” according to a French fire chief, “of dropping three tons of concrete at 250 kilometers per hour [on] the ancient monument.”

      Still, who could doubt that watching such a monument to the human endeavor being transformed into a shell of its former self was a reminder that everything human is mortal; that, whether in a single lifetime or 850 years, even the most ancient of our artifacts, like those in Iraq and Syria recently, will sooner or later be scourged by the equivalent of (or even quite literally by) fire and sword; that nothing truly lasts, even the most seemingly permanent of things like, until now, Notre Dame?

    • Thank These Climate Activists for Resisting Our Extinction

      At just 16 years old, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has made waves all over the world for her plain-spoken, no-holds-barred chastising of world leaders over their inaction on climate change. Thunberg’s signature calm and the profound magnitude of her quietly delivered warnings were on full display this week as she addressed members of the U.K. Parliament after a weeklong series of militant actions by Extinction Rebellion. “Is my microphone on? Can you hear me?” she asked several times, with a palpable anger.

      Thunberg called out Britain for claiming that it has lowered its emissions but leaving out of its calculations major sources of carbon emissions. She also blamed lawmakers for championing such new fossil fuels as fracked oil and gas. “This ongoing, irresponsible behavior will no doubt be remembered in history as one of the greatest failures of humankind,” Thunberg said, as Members of Parliament watched and listened in silence. Secretary of State for Environment Michael Gove later said he felt “great admiration, but also responsibility and guilt.” Labour MP Ed Miliband admitted, “You have woken us up.”

      Thunberg is used to hearing such platitudes and reportedly “listened attentively, applauding only when a member of [the] audience criticized the government for pushing ahead with fracking.” She is correct that politicians have wasted decades of precious time with “beautiful words and promises.” The annual Conference of Parties climate meetings hosted by the United Nations routinely brings together thousands of delegates from hundreds of nations to take action on the climate. But until the 2015 Paris Accord, there was almost nothing to show, almost no progress made year after year. And even in Paris, the climate accord championed by world leaders lacked the necessary strong language urging drastic action and enforceable pledges to reduce or stop emissions. And even that modest agreement was then tossed out by the U.S.—one of the most egregious carbon-emitters in the world.

    • BLM Grazing Decision Will Damage the Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness

      Proposing new range “developments” is a typical ploy of the BLM to avoid eliminating or reducing livestock numbers. The BLM has been modifying the natural landscape to accommodate livestock for decades. The proposed new range developments would add to the already existing 24 stock ponds, 32 developed springs, and 494 miles of fence on the allotments.

    • The Climate Rebellion Maybe Growing, but Big Oil Keeps on Drilling

      For many of us who have been working on oil and climate for years, the recent days, weeks and months have been inspiring, as we witness a surge in activism and awareness on climate change.
      Whether it be the Sunrise Movement, the youth climate strikes inspired by Greta Thunberg, the recent protests by Extinction Rebellion in London where over 1,000 were arrested, or the growing debate over the need for a Green New Deal, suddenly there feels like a seismic shift in public perception and political understanding of the climate emergency.
      Every non violent protest, march, speech, blockade, picnic and action slowly pushes climate change to the top of the political and news agenda, where it needs to stay until action reflects the crisis we are in.
      Today, on its final day of protest in London, Extinction Rebellion activists have targeted the City of London, with some activists gluing themselves to the London Stock Exchange.
      Others stopped trains or blocked buildings, unfurling one banner that read: “Business as usual = death.”
      The problem, though, is that even if some politicians pledge that business as usual will not continue, this is exactly what Big Oil is doing. Just carrying on drilling.
      For years, scientists and groups like Oil Change International (OCI) have warned that we cannot carry on drilling for oil and still have a safe climate.
      Back in 2016, OCI working with fourteen other organisations, produced a report entitled “The Sky’s Limit: Why the Paris Climate Goals Require a Managed Decline of Fossil Fuel Production.” A key finding of the report was that the potential carbon emissions from the oil, gas, and coal in the world’s currently operating fields and mines would take us beyond 2°C of warming.

    • Emperors On Thin Ice

      In what researchers call a “catastrophic breeding failure,” a new study says the world’s second largest emperor penguin colony, at Antarctica’s Halley Bay in the Weddell Sea, has seen virtually no births since 2016 and is on the brink of collapse. “Emperors on Thin Ice,” published Wednesday in Antarctic Science, says the “unprecedented” decline stems specifically from a severe storm three years ago, when thousands of chicks drowned after an ice sheet collapsed, and more broadly from the rising seas and melting ice of climate change. Using satellite images, scientists found that in the last couple of years almost nothing has hatched in the colony, which once hosted as many as 25,000 pairs of penguins, or up to 9% of the world’s emperor population. “We’ve never seen a breeding failure on a scale like this in 60 years,” said study author Dr. Phil Trathan of the British Antarctic Survey.

    • Human Flourishing (Eudaimonia): an Antidote to Extinction?

      “It is not so clear… that the problems solved by modern science and engineering coincide nicely with the fulfillment of needs felt or unfelt in men and women,” he wrote.

      “The chances seem to be that the stream of new artifacts… will not fit… with the nature of human being…. There seems… to be a developing mismatch between our extending knowledge of what we can do with the materials and forces in the world around us and our older, but less certain, understanding of what we have to do to be ourselves. And in this mismatching – such is the power in our machinery and such is the confusion about our real needs – we are likely to come away losers– ground down, blown up, twisted out of shape, crammed into computer-designed compartments, bored to death,” he warned (page 137).

      Morison is right. Confusion of what it is to be human is causing deep trouble. Obsession with gadgets is obsession with nothingness. More than any other gadget, technology or machine, nuclear weapons deformed science – and everything else. Philosophy did not escape the fear of the nukes.

    • Groups Warn Against Trump Effort to Unleash ‘Fracking Frenzy’ by Unlocking Million+ Acres of Public Land for Drilling

      Over 1 million acres of California land will be opened to fracking if Donald Trump has his way according to a plan released just hours after his administration shelved efforts to expand offshore drilling.

      The president announced the plans in a draft released by the administration on Thursday afternoon. The proposal calls for opening 1,011,470 acres of public holdings in California to oil drilling and fracking.

      The new proposal comes on the same day as the administration pulled out of a controversial plan to expand offshore drilling was thrown out by a federal judge in Alaska.

      In a statement, Natural Resources Defense Council legislative director for the Nature Program Alexandra Adams said that the program should be completely ended.

      “President Trump’s wildly unpopular and risky offshore drilling plan needs to be more than sidelined,” said Adams. “It should be deep-sixed permanently.”

      Yet the California rule proposal is the kind of decision that could have disastrous effects on the environment, said Clare Lakewood, senior attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity.

      “Trump’s plan would unleash a fracking frenzy that puts California’s people and wildlife in harm’s way,” said Lakewood. “This administration is dead set on letting oil and gas companies dig up every last drop of dirty fuel.”

    • “Where’s Your Plan?” Legalized Bribery and Climate Change

      Richard J. Daley, the late mayor of Chicago and one of the country’s last powerful political bosses, never took a bribe.

      That is a fact that even his critics recognized.

      Yet, his corruption was more insidious than simply pocketing a wad of bills for an occasional favor.

      Daley looked the other way when his health and building inspectors, in exchange for a fee, let landlords in poor neighborhoods run their properties into the ground while demanding high rents.

      If the owners never called exterminators to get rid of the rats that scurried around peoples’ flats, then that was fine. If they never hired plumbers to fix broken pipes and radiators in the winter, that was fine, too. If flaking lead paint was left right where it always was, that was no problem, either.

      These were, however, problems for children who lived in such places. They often became very ill and sometimes even died because of rodent bites, accidental poisonings, and generally unhygienic conditions.

  • Finance

    • Microsoft tops US$1 trillion market cap after 3Q results [Ed: Enron-style accounting at Microsoft as the company announces losses sometimes]

      Software giant Microsoft has become the third American company to hit US$1 trillion in market value after retailer and cloud provider Amazon and Apple, with the company’s third-quarter results, which were better than expected, pushing up its stock price.

    • Even Millionaires Are Ashamed of Their Absurdly Low Tax Bills

      They rushed there in 2017 with a passion hotter than high school love, spewing the pheromones of campaign cash into the Republican congressional caucus. Sure enough, the GOP Congress came through for the corporations, satisfying their lust to have their tax rate lowered from 35 percent to 21 percent — lower than a modest-income working stiff pays.

      Actually, the corporate elites hadn’t been paying anywhere near 35 percent, since they used dozens of loopholes to cut their average rate to about 13 percent. Yet Republican lawmakers coddled these privileged giants with a rate cut — plus, they kept intact most of those gaping loopholes. Thus, many corporate behemoths paid $0 in federal taxes this year. Or less!

      How is it possible to pay less than zero? By riddling the tax code with so many special deductions and gimmicks that the government owes you money.

      On tax day this year, the watchdog Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy issued a report documenting that 60 of America’s biggest corporations used the GOP’s tax cut and special breaks to avoid paying a dime in taxes on the $79 billion in profits they’d hauled in.

    • Notre Dame Shows the Unifying Force of Culture, Grenfell Reveals the Corruption of Government

      In the aftermath of the fire at Notre Dame last week, I was not surprised to see people highlighting the alleged hypocrisy surrounding how the Parisian cathedral’s fire was publicly handled, asking, “[W]here was the £600 million of donations within the first 24 hours for Grenfell???” Many, to include Katie Hopkins found the comparison bizarre, and as much as it pains me to say this, I rather agree with the critiques of the comparison. Moreover, these woke assertions which claim a connection between the two events ignore the problems that have plagued social housing in the UK long before the Grenfell tragedy while also using Notre Dame as a moment to purity posture about one’s wokeness. In short, these critiques serve no purpose to better the discussion around poverty and social housing which ought to be the focus of discussion, not which tragedy raised more funds.

      For instance, many people hold that a historical monument’s burning is not as important as the Grenfell fire because human life was not harmed. Obviously, the loss of 72 lives in the summer of 2017 is far more tragic than an 850-year-old old cathedral burning. But this is not what the critiques were contending. Instead, criticisms compared the funds raised after each tragedy and framed these events as if both buildings have similar importance to the world’s communities while pretending that people around the planet assume that the mechanisms which fund social housing are similar to those maintaining historical buildings. These are simple fallacies informed by cutting and pasting a capitalist model of more money means more important, rather than understanding how these two tragedies couldn’t be more different from top to bottom.

      What is missing from these comparisons are several factors beginning with how the government treats the poor, the homeless, and those living in council flats. Situated in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Grenfell was seated in the heart of one of the wealthiest local authorities in the UK surrounded by some of the most expensive houses in the world. Indeed, Kensington and Chelsea has one of the widest gaps between the rich and the poor where the median income in this borough is £140,000 but the average income for those living in certain council estates is £15,000. And according to the research published by the UK housing charity, Shelter, one in seven families living in Kensington and Chelsea are technically homeless.

    • Sen. Warren Wants to Jail Those Who Caused 2008’s Meltdown

      BIll Black examines the historical context of Warren’s bills for easier prosecution of banks and corporate leaders

    • Macron Offers Tax Cut to French Workers to Quell Anger

      French President Emmanuel Macron announced tax cuts for middle-class workers and plans for a more representative parliament Thursday as part of a promised response to the weekly yellow vest protests that damaged his presidency.

      In a nationally televised speech followed up by a news conference, the French leader also said France and Europe must do more to fight illegal migration.

      Macron spoke to the nation from the presidential Elysée Palace after he convened nationwide meetings where communities could debate how to address economic concerns raised by the yellow vest movement, including high taxes, unemployment and stagnant wages.

      He unveiled measures to boost pensions under 2,000 euros ($ 2,226) and said he would propose an overhaul of France’s retirement system during the summer. But he said the “best solution” for financial disparities is “to cut taxes for a maximum number of citizens and especially those who are working, especially the middle-class.”

    • High-ranking Russian FSB official arrested on suspicion of taking large bribe

      Kirill Cherkalin, who leads a branch of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), has been arrested after accusations that he accepted a large bribe, TASS reported. Two former employees of the same branch, Dmitry Frolov and Andrey Vasiliev, were also arrested on suspicions of major fraud. The FSB did not release any additional information about the purported crimes.

    • ‘Trump Lied to Wisconsin Workers’: Sanders Targets President With Front-Page Ad Ahead of Weekend Rally

      With Donald Trump set to hold a campaign rally in Wisconsin this weekend, Sen. Bernie Sanders took out a front-page ad in a local newspaper to send the state’s workers a simple message: The president’s promises were hollow.

      “Trump lied to Wisconsin workers,” reads the ad, which will run Friday in the Green Bay Press-Gazette. The ad was financed by Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign.

      “In a Bernie Sanders White House,” the ad says, “we will end the corporate greed behind the Shopko closures, Kimberly-Clark layoffs, and Foxconn scam.”

    • ‘A roughly painted, cheap fake’. The restoration of Moscow’s Stone Flower Fountain cost more than a billion rubles. Why?

      In early April, photos of the newly renovated Stone Flower Fountain began popping up on social media. The Moscow landmark is one of four historic fountains located in the VDNKh exhibition park, and a total of almost three billion rubles ($46.3 million) were spent to restore all four. Local activists expressed frustration at the fountain’s “coarse” new look, and restoration specialists advised the public to wait a few years for the elements to return the flower to a more natural-looking state. The company that renovated the fountain has won almost every major restoration contract in western Russia in recent years — and it has been involved in a string of corruption scandals. The company even offered to help the French government restore the Notre Dame cathedral.

    • Samsung Could Launch Its Own Ethereum-based Cryptocurrency

      Samsung launched its S10 series with an in-built cryptocurrency wallet that allows users to store popular cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, Etherium, and Cosmo Coin. It became one of the first major smartphone manufacturers to add a digital currency wallet.

      Now, it seems that it was a part of a bigger plan as Samsung is reported to be working on its own blockchain network and could soon launch “Samsung Coin,” an Ethereum-based cryptocurrency.

    • Lessons Learned From the Tiny House Movement

      What is the most surprising thing I’ve learned about the tiny house movement? My answer might surprise folks who get a daily dose of tiny houses through social media and reality television.

      These representations often convey aspects of the movement that are individualistic, such as people building a house by themselves or hankering to live off grid in the middle of the woods. Such stories are consistent with neoliberal ideals of self-sufficiency and isolating oneself from the larger world.

      While these may be some people’s experiences with tiny house building and living, they are not the only, or the most important ones. Instead, what I’ve learned from tiny house residents, builders, advocates and leaders, as well as trying out tiny house living with my family, is that what really matters is what a tiny house can help facilitate.

      On an individual level, that can mean downsizing (moving from a larger space to a much smaller one), debt reduction, increased savings, downshifting (the ability to work fewer hours in unfulfilling work in order to take part in meaningful work and activities), and creating meaning outside of shopping and consuming. But, on a more collective and structure-challenging level, tiny houses can champion community-building, counter poverty and housing insecurity, and even offer a challenge to capitalist industries that threaten peoples communities and way of life.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • What the YouTube and Facebook statistics aren’t telling us

      There’s more the figures do not show: How many unrelated videos have been wrongfully removed by automatic filters? Facebook says, for example: “Out of respect for the people affected by this tragedy and the concerns of local authorities, we’re also removing all edited versions of the video that do not show graphic content.” This is information that is apparently not in violation of the rules of the platform (or even the law), but that is blocked out of deference to the next of kin.

      However empathetic that might be, it also shows how much our public debate depends on the whims of one commercial company. What happens to videos of journalists reporting on the events? Or to a video by a victim’s relative, who uses parts of the recording in a commemorative video of her or his own? In short, it’s very problematic for a dominant platform to make such decisions.

    • Indivisible Asks Candidates to Sign Pledge Promising a Democratic Primary Based on Exchange of Ideas Instead of Attacks

      The national grassroots group Indivisible set out Thursday to make sure the 2020 Democratic primary doesn’t devolve into a race characterized by negative attack ads, releasing a pledge for all the Democratic presidential candidates to sign which promises a “constructive” primary.

      The pledge calls on the 21 presidential candidates to treat the primary as an exchange of ideas while respecting their opponents and to immediately support the eventual nominee, working together to “do the work to beat Trump.”

      “We must defeat Donald Trump,” reads the We Are Indivisible Pledge. “The first step is a primary contest that produces a strong Democratic nominee. The second step is winning the general election. We will not accept anything less.”

    • Impeachment as Political Strategy

      The argument about impeachment continues, as it should.

      Earlier this week, I laid out the general case for impeachment. My argument was not ethical or legal, it was political: impeachment is a legitimate constitutional process that ought to be pursued not because it will remove Trump from office — Senate Republicans will surely prevent this — but because it is necessary given the mobilization surrounding the Mueller investigation, and it is a promising opportunity to publicly build the political case against Trump.

      In Tuesday’s Washington Post, Katrina vanden Heuvel made an intelligent case that “Congress should censure Trump for actions that violate the laws and offend the basic duties and dignity of his office. And then Democrats would be wise to move on, focus on how Trump is betraying the very voters who put him in office, and bring his misrule to an end by sweeping him out of office in the 2020 election.”

    • Allowing People in Prison to Vote Shouldn’t Be Controversial

      Bernie Sanders’s statement that people should be able to vote while in prison has sparked self-righteous, near-gleeful outrage from Republicans and Democrats alike. Fox News was aflutter with news of Sanders wanting to allow “terrorists” to vote, and played footage of the Boston Marathon bombing in response. GOP Chair Ronna McDaniel tweeted that it was “beyond extreme” and proved “how radical the Democrat Party has become.” Meanwhile Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg outright condemned the idea, venturing that losing voting rights is a natural part of one’s punishment while incarcerated. Kamala Harris stated that “people who commit murder … should be deprived of their rights,” and even Elizabeth Warren, seen as a more progressive candidate, said she’s “not there yet.”

      Sanders’s statement was a response to a question about whether people incarcerated for murder or sexual assault should have access to the ballot. The person asking the question wondered, for example, whether people convicted of sexual assault should be able to vote, since their votes could impact women’s rights. Sanders answered that they should, because once you start “chipping away” at people’s voting rights, “you’re running down a slippery slope.”

      The mass disenfranchisement of incarcerated people has a racist past and a racist present, and has been used in particular as a tool to suppress the Black vote. And since police and the criminal legal system disproportionately target Black, Native, Latinx, trans, poor and disabled people, the denial of the vote to people behind bars takes a sharp toll on many marginalized communities, subjecting them to what many call “civil death” — depriving a person of all legal rights. Meanwhile, for redistricting purposes, incarcerated people are generally counted as part of the populations of the (often very white and rural) districts where they’re locked up, boosting the electoral advantage of those districts. (Some state-level efforts to change these policies are, thankfully, underway.)

    • Bernie Sanders and the Song of America

      On April 15 Bernie Sanders became the first candidate for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination not named Joe Biden to lead in a national poll. His campaign later released internal polling showing him trouncing Donald Trump in the integral states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The countless outlets from left to right inclined to deride his candidacy and ideas were forced to admit that his performance at a Fox News town hall—doing the unimaginable thing of actually talking to voters who normally don’t vote for Democrats (or maybe that’s who don’t vote for normal Democrats)—was impressive, effective, and a sign of electability. For the icing on the cake, an array of wealthy donors, financiers, defense industry contractors, a wannabe reality star son of Bank of America’s former chairman, and leading party figures were exposed for meeting in secret over canapes to organize a stop Bernie campaign, “sooner, rather than later.” The fund-raising email wrote itself. The explicit confirmation that his campaign was threatening to people whose interests might not be exactly the same as most Americans was priceless.

    • Facebook Stories somehow hits 500 million daily users

      Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg told listeners on the call that 3 million advertisers had made use of the Stories format across Facebook’s overall app ecosystem. So while we don’t have a financial breakdown of how lucrative those ads are, or whether a majority of them are placed on Instagram, it does seem to make perfect sense that Facebook took the concept and applied it across its entire mobile portfolio, including the main Facebook app and on Messenger.

    • White House ordered Trump administration officials to boycott WHCA Dinner

      The move marks yet another deterioration in relations between the White House press office and the press corps, though President Donald Trump had announced earlier this month that he would be skipping the annual dinner for the third year in a row. The President will instead hold a campaign rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the same evening.

    • In meeting with Twitter chief, Trump complains about lost followers

      In the email thread, first revealed by Motherboard, Dorsey himself explained, “As you know, I believe that conversation, not silence, bridges gaps and drives towards solutions.” Dorsey pointed out that he had met “with every world leader who has extended an invitation to me, and I believe the discussions have been productive, and the outcomes meaningful.” While Dorsey noted that some employees might be less than thrilled with him taking the meeting, “In the end, I believe it’s important to meet heads of state in order to listen, share our principles and our ideas.”

    • Twitter Is Not America

      As the platforms age, their devotees become more and more distinct from the regular person. For more than a decade now, many people in media and technology have been feeding an hour or two of Twitter into our brains every single day. Because we’re surrounded by people who live their lives like this—and, crucially, because so many of the journalists who write about the internet experience the internet in this way—it might feel like this is just how Twitter is, that a representative sample of America is plugged into the machine in this way.

      But it’s not. Twitter is not America. And few people who work outside the information industries choose to spend their lives reading tweets, let alone writing them.

    • Twitter shuts down 5,000 pro-Trump bots retweeting anti-Mueller report invective

      Most of the accounts had very few posts—as few as three. All of the accounts frequently retweeted content from the account @TheGlobus, previously named Arabian Veritas, according to information shared with NBC News by researchers who uncovered the network and analysis by Foreign Policy Research Institute senior fellow Clint Watts. Watts is also a non-resident fellow of the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund—the organization behind the Hamilton 68 project, an effort to track Russian disinformation campaigns on social media.

    • Jack Dorsey met with President Trump in private today to discuss the ‘health’ of Twitter

      These emails said that the meeting would last 30 minutes meeting and take place behind closed doors. A Twitter spokesperson told The Verge, “Jack had a constructive meeting with the President of the United States today at the president’s invitation. They discussed Twitter’s commitment to protecting the health of the public conversation ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections and efforts underway to respond to the opioid crisis.”

    • Trump and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey held a closed-door meeting

      Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey today met with noted Twitter user President Donald Trump.

      The meeting was scheduled to last 30 minutes, according to an email Dorsey sent around today to Twitter staff, and the two were to discuss “the health of the public conversation on Twitter.”

    • Donald Trump meets Twitter’s Jack Dorsey at White House

      In a statement, Twitter said the pair spoke about “protecting the health of the public conversation” ahead of the US 2020 general election.

    • Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey Attended Closed-Door Meeting With President Trump

      Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, along with other Twitter executives, is having a closed-door meeting with President Donald Trump on Tuesday, according to an internal Twitter email obtained by Motherboard from two independent sources. The meeting comes after an invitation from the White House, the email adds.

      The email does not detail what the meeting will specifically be about, but says the company anticipates it to be about “the health of the public conversation on Twitter,” according to the email written by Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s global lead for legal, policy, and trust and safety.

    • Netanyahu Is Not a “Savior” and Israel Is Not at Risk of Annihilation

      Many Israeli politicians have built their careers upon the fear that Israel faces the threat of imminent destruction. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stoked Israelis’ existential dread for decades, first whipping up crowds in opposition to the Oslo Accords in the 1990s, and then, as head of state, galvanizing domestic support for his aggressive bombing campaigns in Syria and crackdowns in the occupied Palestinian territories. During the campaign leading up to this month’s elections, Netanyahu exploited these fears by referencing how his opponent, former military chief of staff Benny Gantz, allegedly supported the Iran nuclear deal. By contrast, the Israeli prime minister could cite Trump’s exit from the nuclear deal as vindication for his alarmism about Iran’s nuclear program and as evidence of how Netanyahu had kept Israel safe and strong.

      Of course, Netanyahu is far from the only Zionist today who exploits Jewish Holocaust trauma in service of his political agenda. Fellow travelers in Netanyahu’s recently dissolved right-wing coalition employ these fear-mongering tactics as well. For example, in an interview with the Forward late last year, former Education Minister Naftali Bennett used the word “annihilate” in reference to the Jewish state five times. Indeed, zooming out and looking back in time, we can observe that this perennial anxiety about a coming “second Holocaust” has lingered near the heart of the Zionist consciousness since the founding of the Jewish state itself.

      While we should never deny the fact of this trauma, honest analysts also have a responsibility to check these fears against material reality. The truth is, Israel today faces no threats to its basic security. This is not to deny the occasional stabbings, car rammings and the rudimentary rocket fire from Gaza that endangers some Israelis, but no one can seriously argue that either these lone-wolf attackers, or Hamas and Islamic jihad, represent truly existential threats to the state of Israel. Such a claim is too absurd to merit serious discussion. By contrast, the status of regional threats to Israel does require some explanation, especially considering the predominance of the second Holocaust narrative.

    • Joe Biden Formally Enters the 2020 Presidential Race
    • With Biden Now Officially in the Running, A Look at the Democrats’ Do-Si-Do

      The entrance of Joe Biden into the arena ushers the 2020 Democratic primary contest into a new phase. It ends the opening round, or what seasoned politicos call the “money primary,” in which the aspirants introduce themselves to the public and lay out their campaign themes while courting donors behind closed doors and hoping to gain positive media exposure and momentum. Barring the unexpected arrival of additional heavyweights, the field is now complete and the dynamic of the race is about to change dramatically.

      It’s all been rather well-mannered so far. It’s clear to everyone that 2020 will be a do-or-die year for Democrats—and for U.S. democracy. It’s going to require a big lift to rescue the republic nineteen months from now, and we’re going to need each other. The eventual Democratic nominee will have to muster the broadest and most enthusiastic support among the entire electorate. That includes independents, registered Republicans, and many millions of off-the-sidelines voters, as well as Democrats who voted for, worked for, and donated to opposing candidates during the primaries. Every campaign wants to start the proverbial prairie fire, and many of us recall the excitement of feeling a certain burn four years ago, but we can’t afford to burn bridges between factions of the party.

    • From Crime Bill to Iraq War Vote, Biden’s Legislative History Under Scrutiny as He Enters Race

      Former Vice President Joe Biden has entered the 2020 race for the White House, becoming the 20th Democrat to seek the nomination in the largest and most diverse field of Democratic candidates ever to run for president. Biden will face scrutiny for his long and checkered record in the coming weeks, including his 1994 crime bill, that helped fuel mass incarceration with financial incentives to keep people behind bars, and his handling of Anita Hill’s sexual harassment allegations against Supreme Court justice nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991. Biden is also known for close ties to the financial industry and voting to authorize the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. In the weeks before Biden announced his bid for the presidency, at least seven women stepped forward to accuse him of inappropriate touching. We speak with Andrew Cockburn, Washington editor for Harper’s magazine, about Biden’s record. His recent piece is headlined “No Joe! Joe Biden’s disastrous legislative legacy.”

    • Hours After Entering 2020 Race, Biden to Attend Big-Money Fundraiser Hosted by Comcast, Blue Cross Execs

      Hours after officially entering the 2020 Democratic presidential field Thursday morning, former Vice President Joe Biden is expected to head to the Philadelphia home of Comcast executive David Cohen for a big-dollar fundraiser that will reportedly be attended by Democratic lawmakers, the CEO of insurance giant Independence Blue Cross, and other high-powered party players.

      Biden launched his presidential bid with a video condemning President Donald Trump’s response to the 2017 neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville and calling the 2020 election “a battle for the soul of this nation.”

      “The core values of this nation, our standing in the world, our very democracy, everything that has made America America is at stake,” Biden said. “That’s why today I’m announcing my candidacy for president of the United States.”

    • Democratic Refusal to Impeach Could Be Disastrous

      “The general sentiment of mankind is that a man who will not fight for himself, when he has the means of doing so, is not worth being fought for by others, and this sentiment is just,” Frederick Douglas said in 1857. “The poet was as true to common sense as to poetry when he said, ‘Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow.’”

      Do not call for a battle for which you are not willing to fight yourself. To do otherwise is to earn contempt.

      For three years Congressional Democrats repeatedly took to the nation’s airwaves and prose media outlets to tout the Mueller Report and their certainty that the former FBI director’s team would uncover proof that Donald Trump and his team were traitors because they conspired with a foreign adversary, the Russian Federation, to steal the 2016 presidential election from Hillary Clinton. Mueller would provide the evidence needed to justify impeachment.

      Though Democrats dropped the I-word from their rhetoric near the end of the campaign, Democratic voters’ support for impeaching Trump motivated voter turnout in the 2018 midterms and led to Democratic gains. A June 2018 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 70% of Democratic voters wanted Democrats to retake the House of Representatives so they could hold impeachment hearings.

    • Florida GOP Condemned for Undermining Hard-Won Voting Rights for Felons With ‘Modern Day Poll Tax’

      Florida state lawmakers are under fire for passing legislation critics call a “modern day poll tax” on the state’s newly re-enfranchised felon voters.

      The legislation, H.B. 7089, would undermine last year’s successful ballot initiative to restore voting rights for more than a million Floridians who have completed felony sentences by requiring them to pay all court fines and fees before they can participate in elections.

      The bill passed Florida’s Republican-controlled state House 71-45 Wednesday, largely along party lines. Though it still needs final approval from state senators and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, progressive politicians, voting rights advocates, and civil liberties groups are speaking out against it.

      Kara Gross, the ACLU of Florida’s legislative director, warned that “disturbingly, this legislation will cause de facto lifetime disenfranchisement for large swaths of formerly incarcerated individuals who have completed their sentences—precisely the opposite of the entire purpose of Amendment 4.”

    • Obstructiongate!

      owe the corporate media an apology. For the last few years, I’ve been writing all these essays explaining how they were perpetrating an enormous psyop on the American public … a psyop designed to convince the public that Donald Trump “colluded” with Russia to steal the presidency from Hillary Clinton. Up until a few days ago, I would have sworn that they had published literally thousands of articles and editorials, and broadcast countless TV segments, more or less accusing him of treason, and being a “Russian intelligence asset,” and other ridiculous stuff like that. Also, and I’m still not sure how this happened, I somehow got the idea in my head that the investigation that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was meticulously conducting had something to do with Donald Trump conspiring or “colluding” with Russia, or being some kind of “Manchurian president,” or being blackmailed by Putin with a pee-tape, or something.

    • Khodorkovsky’s investigative journalists say advisers hired by ‘Putin’s chef’ spent a year trying to save Sudan’s longtime dictator

      According to data from Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s investigative news project Dossier Center, as reported by the former oligarch’s website MBKh Media and the American TV network CNN, businesses linked to the Russian catering tycoon Evgeny Prigozhin spent the past year trying to save Omar al-Bashir’s regime in Sudan.

    • Impeaching Trump Shouldn’t Mean Abandoning Other Key Battles

      Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) participated in a five-candidate CNN town hall on Monday night. When asked about the push to impeach Donald Trump in the aftermath of the Mueller report, Senator Sanders sounded an appropriately cautious note.

      “[I]f for the next year, year-and-a-half, going right into the heart of the election, all that the Congress is talking about is impeaching Trump,” said Sanders, “and Trump, Trump, Trump, and Mueller, Mueller, Mueller, and we’re not talking about health care, we’re not talking about raising the minimum wage to a living wage, we’re not talking about combating climate change, we’re not talking about sexism and racism and homophobia, and all of the issues that concern ordinary Americans, what I worry about is that works to Trump’s advantage.”

      He is absolutely correct about those issues, along with others such as immigration and the deliberate cruelty being inflicted at the southern border, being important to the electorate. The question of Trump’s serial lawbreaking as depicted in the Mueller report is also important, not only to the electorate but to the continued existence of the rule of constitutional law in the United States. Impeaching Trump is not about “want to,” but “have to.” Otherwise, we’re placing the entire point of this national exercise in democracy in mortal peril.

      I argued yesterday that, in order to be successful in both fulfilling their obligations to the constitution and in defeating Trump next year, Democrats “need to walk the impeachment process while chewing the campaign gum.” They have to do both, not because it is politically expedient, but because the alternative is not merely an invitation to defeat, but to disaster.

      I have to ask: Really, just how difficult do they think this two-pronged approach would be? Robert Mueller and his investigators have already done most of the heavy lifting on gathering impeachment-related evidence, and the agencies Mueller handed matters beyond his purview to are still busily working away. Yes, the Trump administration will fight subpoenas from House committees, but that is also a fight worth having. The White House is not Camelot castle, and we must stop treating it as such. Oversight in this republic is an imperative, full stop.

      Besides, the 2020 presidential election is a full 558 days away. House Democratic leadership and the elected officials following their tepid lead have an enormous swath of time to use all the weapons they have been handed, including the necessity of impeachment. There are many grounds for impeachment that span well beyond the Mueller investigation. If Democrats can’t or won’t figure out how to do so, they have the option of resigning and finding gigs at a petting zoo or someplace similarly benign where they won’t do any more damage through their glaring cowardice.

    • BRI Forum Shanghai: How Western “Reports” Smear China

      It is expected to be an event of tremendous proportions and importance: leaders from 37 countries will participate, including Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and President Duterte of the Philippines. Beijing will host 5,000 guests from 150 countries, as well as 90 international organizations.

      The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has already been reshaping the world, fundamentally. Previously at the mercy of the Western imperialist powers, their armies, propaganda apparatuses and brutal financial institutions; Africa, the Middle East, Central and Southeast Asia have suddenly discovered that they have alternatives and choices. For various parts of the world, decades and centuries of stagnation and humiliation under colonialist and post-colonialist regimes have begun to come to an end. Entire nations have been freeing themselves, realizing their great hidden potential.

      All this because of BRI; because of China as well as its close ally, Russia.

      Entire huge railroad projects in East Africa as well as in the once devastated Laos (devastated by the insanely brutal Western carpet-bombing campaigns, which are still called a “Secret War”) are now connecting continents. Along the railway lines, schools are growing, and so are medical facilities, community learning centers and cultural institutions.

      The BRI is not only about the economy, not only about infrastructure and development, it also about the well-being of the people, about the culture, health and knowledge. It is aiming at connecting people of different races, life philosophies, and beliefs.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Jack Dorsey called Ilhan Omar after Trump tweet that prompted death threats: report

      The Washington Post, citing a Twitter source, reported that Dorsey told Omar in a Tuesday phone call that the president’s tweet did not violate the company’s rules. Dorsey reportedly made the comment after Omar pressed him on why the company did not remove the tweet from the site, a person familiar with the conversation told the newspaper.

    • Twitter pushes back on report about white supremacist content

      “Cracking down on white nationalists will therefore involve removing a lot of people who identify to a greater or lesser extent as Trump supporters, and some people in Trump circles and pro-Trump media will certainly seize on this to complain they are being persecuted,” Berger said.

    • Great News For TikTokers! TikTok Ban Lifted In India

      Marking a moment of joy for TikTok users in India, the Madras High Court in India has revoked the TikTok ban in the country.

      The lifting of the TikTok app ban in India would mean that the app will soon return to the Google Play Store and the App Store.

    • TikTok is no longer banned in India

      Technically, TikTok’s existing 120 million active monthly users weren’t affected by the ban, because India’s court order only kept new customers from downloading the app from Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store. But that didn’t stop TikTok developer ByteDance from claiming it was suffering up to $500,000 in financial losses each day the ban stayed in effect, according to a court filing spotted by Reuters yesterday.

    • Exclusive: China’s Bytedance says India TikTok ban causing $500,000 daily loss, risks jobs

      TikTok allows users to create and share short videos with special effects and is one of the world’s most popular apps. It has been downloaded by nearly 300 million users so far in India, out of more than 1 billion downloads globally, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower.

      Earlier this month, an Indian state court ordered the federal government to prohibit its downloads, saying the app was encouraging pornography. Acting upon instructions from the federal IT ministry, Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google last week removed TikTok from their India app stores.

    • Facebook while black: Users call it getting ‘Zucked,’ say talking about racism is censored as hate speech

      Many of these users now think twice before posting updates on Facebook or they limit how widely their posts are shared. Yet few can afford to leave the single-largest and most powerful social media platform for sharing information and creating community.

      So to avoid being flagged, they use digital slang such as “wypipo,” emojis or hashtags to elude Facebook’s computer algorithms and content moderators. They operate under aliases and maintain back-up accounts to avoid losing content and access to their community. And they’ve developed a buddy system to alert friends and followers when a fellow black activist has been sent to Facebook jail, sharing the news of the suspension and the posts that put them there.

      They call it getting “Zucked” and black activists say these bans have serious repercussions, not just cutting people off from their friends and family for hours, days or weeks at a time, but often from the Facebook pages they operate for their small businesses and nonprofits.

    • Julia Angwin Is Out as Editor of New Tech Watchdog Site The Markup

      Ms. Angwin said in a letter to Craig Newmark, the Craigslist founder and the site’s biggest donor, that she was being pushed out by Sue Gardner, The Markup’s third founder, who is also its executive director and was the head of the Wikimedia Foundation until 2014.

      Ms. Gardner wanted to change the site’s mission to “one based on advocacy against the tech companies” instead of “producing meaningful data-centered journalism about the impact of technology on society,” Ms. Angwin wrote in the letter, which was obtained by The New York Times.

      Ms. Gardner disputed that characterization.

    • New Zealand and France to Seek Pact Blocking Extreme Online Content

      Ms. Ardern left it unclear exactly what she and Mr. Macron planned to ask the social networks to do. She said that while the “Christchurch call to action” — her name for the pledge she is preparing with Mr. Macron — would include “specific expectations on governments and internet companies,” it would not include new regulations.

      Analysts cautioned that any agreement that did not outline specific consequences for failing to halt extremist content would be unlikely to significantly alter tech companies’ behavior.

    • Sri Lanka Blocks Social Media, Fearing More Violence

      Sri Lanka blocked several social media networks in the wake of terrorist attacks on Sunday, including Facebook and the messaging service WhatsApp. The extraordinary step reflects growing global concern, particularly among governments, about the capacity of American-owned networks to spin up violence.

      YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and Viber were also inaccessible, according to [Internet] monitoring groups.

    • Sri Lanka social media ban leaves tough questions

      Sri Lanka’s decision to block all social media following deadly bombings on Easter Sunday is reigniting the debate over how to combat online disinformation.

    • Social media blocked in Sri Lanka following church and hotel bombings

      Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, YouTube, Viber, Snapchat and Facebook Messenger have been blocked in Sri Lanka following a series of scheduled bombings targeting churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, according to NetBlocks network measurement data. The incident is ongoing at time of writing.


      “Most people in America would laugh at the idea of a river being treated as a person, yet we don’t bat an eye over concepts of corporate personhood,” Freid said. “That’s really reflective of our culture, if you think about it.”

    • Sri Lanka Banned Social Media, But the Problem Is Bigger

      Sri Lanka’s ban on social media carries an implicit, and crucial, assumption: that the [Internet] can produce good and ill effects, but its fundamental structure—a global information network that works more or less the same anywhere on Earth—is an unimpeachable given. But what if it’s not? What if the very fact of a global social network is impossible?

    • Non-Profit Hilariously Claims It Can Sue Change.org For ‘Flagging’ Its Petition

      So this post is going to touch on some issues that people get very emotional about, and I’m going to ask (probably pointlessly) that folks not focus on those issues, but on the issue that this post is actually trying to address: which is the ridiculous claim that Change.org can be sued for notifying users that statements in a petition “may be contested.” A group called “Stop Antisemitism” put a petition on Change.org making a bunch of claims about CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Many of those claims are ones that I would personally label as “highly questionable,” or in some cases “downright misleading,” and which some might say are simply “pure bullshit.” The actual petition is supposedly a call to have Attorney General William Barr investigate CAIR. Not surprisingly, a bunch of people have complained to Change.org about this particular petition.

    • Russian Culture Ministry recommends delaying screenings of film on clerical sexual abuse until after Orthodox Easter

      François Ozon’s Grâce à Dieu (By the Grace of God) won the Jury Grand Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival. However, because it depicts a court battle between Catholic priests and victims of sexual abuse, the film’s distributor told Meduza, Russia’s Culture Ministry has requested that screenings be delayed until after Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter.

      The distributor, A-One Films, reported that while an agreement to screen the film had not yet been signed, the company was certain enough of an April 25 start date that some theaters had already screened the movie this morning. However, the company explained to Meduza that Culture Ministry representatives had made “spoken recommendations” to delay the film until April 29. The Ministry has not yet commented on the matter.

    • Why Twitter Won’t Ban White Nationalists

      Facebook announced in March that it would ban white nationalist and white supremacist content on its social media platforms, a departure The New York Times describes as “[bowing] to longstanding demands from civil rights groups who said the tech giant was failing to confront the powerful reach of white extremism.” Twitter did not follow suit, despite being a platform that white supremacists use “with relative impunity,” as a 2016 study from George Washington University’s Program on Extremism found.

      Experts who study online extremism, including the authors of the 2016 George Washington University study, have observed Twitter’s success with using artificial intelligence to suspend ISIS-linked accounts—approximately 360,000 by 2016—and its unwillingness to use the same methods to combat white nationalism. A new story from Motherboard by Joseph Cox and Jason Koebler suggests that Twitter fears those algorithms risk catching Republican politicians.

      The question of why Twitter won’t use the same methods to target white nationalists as it does for ISIS members came up in an all-hands meeting on March 22, Motherboard reports. After a staff member, who remains anonymous, asked the question, an executive answered that Twitter simply follows the law.

    • Civil Rights Group Demands Facebook Take Down Content Showing Far-Right Militants Holding Migrants Hostage

      Tech giant Facebook must remove videos of right wing militias kidnapping migrants, a civil rights group demanded this week.

      The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law sent a letter to the company on Wednesday calling for it to remove content –from– posted by members of the New Mexico-based extremist group the United Constitutional Patriots (UCP) that is in “flagrant” violations of the platform’s terms of service.

      UCP members have uploaded material to the social media site that shows the far-right militant group holding migrants at the border hostage.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Which Documents to Shred to Keep Your Identity Safe

      Even in today’s digital age, there is no going around receiving hardcopies of important documents. From purchase receipts to bank statements, we are all guilty of misplacing and throwing out official papers containing sensitive information. In turn, one of the biggest risks for identity theft is right there in plain sight – the documents we should be shredding.

      At this point, you must be thinking back to all those times you threw out documents containing your Social Security Number or bank account details. Fortunately, it’s quite unlikely that you chucked anything that’s likely to compromise your identity, credit, etc. Still, it helps to be sure – so in this article, we’ll cover some document types that are risky to throw out and should be shredded.

    • India Will Soon Get A One-Stop Data Storage By ISB

      With an aim to take all public data online, India will soon get one-stop data storage, which will be developed by the Indian School of Business (ISB).

      Known as India Data Portal, the data repository for public data will initially be based on sectors such as agriculture, rural development, and financial inclusion.