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04.30.19

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

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • 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.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • 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.

Leftovers

  • 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.

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