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05.09.19

Stephen Rowan: From UK-IPO to Operation Coverup of Team António Campinos

Posted in Deception, Europe, Law, Patents at 6:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Grand Theft EPO
“Abuse of Power, Abuse of Law, Suicides, Harrassment and much more…welcome to Grand Theft EPO VI (Battistelli (Psycho), Topić (Suspected Criminal), Ernst (Hypocrite), Kongstad (got fired), Minnoye (Crook), Bergot (Psycho II) and a good many others)”Anonymous

Summary: The Boards of Appeal are unable to stop the ride down the slippery slope of patent maximalism; the Office now congratulates itself for granting a lot of European Patents, including many that aren’t in compliance with the law

THE European Patent Office (EPO) in 2019 still suffers a nepotism epidemic, with former colleagues of António Campinos getting top jobs and even his former 'boss'. Illegal patents (against the EPC) are being granted, e.g. European software patents and the Office lobbies to accomplish the same in the US despite 35 U.S.C. § 101/Alice.

“In the meantime, the repository of European Patents — once the pride of the EPO — is rapidly being ‘polluted’ with patents that aren’t supposed to even exist.”What the heck is going on? We recently learned that it’s now approaching a boiling point and there may be protests/strikes on the way provided SUEPO (the staff union of the EPO) gives the “green light” or EPO staff organises some other way. Based on recent polls (from the EPO itself, even the management), EPO staff is still depressed and demoralised. Earlier today SUEPO noted their similarity to the suicides epidemic in France Telecom (by linking to several new reports on the subject) and as SUEPO noted in April (almost exactly a month ago), quality of work has collapsed (that’s also based on the data from the EPO itself).

What did the EPO do in light of these findings? Namely that about 75% of European Patents are granted in error? The usual. They’re trying to bury facts. The EPO itself has found that a quarter of the patents it grants are fake European Patents (we sometimes call them IPs, Invalid Patents), i.e. those not compatible with EPC and hence unlikely to have any worth in courts. Watch the typical managerial tricks from Stephen Rowan, as explained earlier today by an insider:

In the previous article, Märpel presented the results of the staff survey. One of the concerns of the staff is that with production increases, quality has decreased.

Apparently, our internal quality control (DQA) also noticed. Compliance decreased from 85% to 75% last year. Märpel is not so good at maths, but understands that a quarter of the searches and granted patents do not respect the EPC. Märpel is also not so sure, but believes that this figure puts the EPO behind all other major patent offices.

Management also noticed. They had to.

Common sense would have that management would lower production pressure, maybe set time aside for retraining, etc… This is pretty standard. But not, Stephen Rowan, Vice-President DG1 had a better idea: Collaborative Quality Improvements (CQI).

[...]

In summary, Examiners are supposed to spend more time discussing the files together. They are also supposed to write everything down in a logbook.

There is nothing really wrong with that, except that it is not really related to compliance with the EPC and that the whole exercise costs time. But what time budget do the examiners get? Exactly zero. What was Vice-President Stephen Rowan thinking?

Rowan’s own words, i.e. the management’s spin, are included in the above post.

Meanwhile, IPPro Magazine’s Ben Wodecki has posted this new article about a patent office that still grants patent monopolies on nature itself and life itself — that is, European Patents are given in clear defiance of the EPC. “No Patents on Seeds” speaks out again:

The No Patents on Seeds Group has called on politicians to “take responsibility and to change the law” regarding the patentability of conventionally bred animals and plants.

The group said politicians should make it “impossible to grant patents on conventionally bred plants and animals”.

Johanna Eckhardt of No Patents on Seeds warned that if politicians fail to set limits, then “new facts will be constantly created for patent attorneys, companies and the EPO to make even more profit with such patents”.

She added: “In the near future even food and drink may be patented as an invention.”

Such patent types are prohibited by rule 28(2) for the interpretation of the European Patent Convention (EPC). However, the European Patent Office has come under fire for granting what the groups claim are conventionally bred patents on plants and animals.

The most notable case covering such a patent, T1063/18, saw agrochemical company Syngenta appealing an EPO decision that saw its patent application for a pepper plant denied. The case caused protests outside the EPO’s office building in Munich.

In response, EPO president António Campinos wrote a referral to the Board of Appeals. [sic]

Who or what will stop this lunacy? Can the Board of Appeal, indirectly bossed by Campinos himself, put an end to the practice? We doubt it, but time will tell. In the meantime, the repository of European Patents — once the pride of the EPO — is rapidly being ‘polluted’ with patents that aren’t supposed to even exist. Imagine having a scholarly journal where ‘only’ 3/4 of published papers turn out not to be hoaxes. ‘Only’…

Links 9/5/2019: Libinput 1.13.2 and man-pages-5.01

Posted in News Roundup at 5:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • All Chromebooks will also be Linux laptops going forward

      At Google I/O in Mountain View, Google quietly let slip that “all devices [Chromebook] launched this year will be Linux-ready right out of the box.” Wait. What?

      In case you’ve missed it, last year, Google started making it possible to run desktop Linux on Chrome OS. Since then, more Chromebook devices are able to run Linux. Going forward, all of them will be able to do so, too. Yes. All of them. ARM and Intel-based.

      This isn’t surprising. Chrome OS, after all, is built on Linux. Chrome OS started as a spin off of Ubuntu Linux. It then migrated to Gentoo Linux and evolved into Google’s own take on the vanilla Linux kernel. But its interface remains the Chrome web browser UI — to this day.

    • Pinebook Pro Linux laptop updated from $199

      Linux laptop manufacturer Pinebook has unveiled plans this week to launch an affordable system in the form of the Pinebook Pro which will be available to purchase from $199 and feature a Rockchip RK3399 SOC with Mali T860 MP4 GPU. Offering the ability for users to have either Ubuntu and Debian operating systems installed.

    • Top 15 Best Search Engines For Linux Users In 2019

      Search engines have become ubiquitous with the rapid proliferation of the Internet in carrying out our daily activities. We have begun to rely heavily on the Internet in getting the information that we need in a jiffy. This is why it has become extremely important for us to have in-depth knowledge about these search engines that can come in really handy for people who need it the most in the quickest possible time.

      Here we explain to you the top 15 best search engines for Linux users. These search engines have been carefully selected after much consideration. Every possible effort has been made in order to present the information in a logical and linear fashion.

  • Server

    • Save the date for Red Hat Summit 2020

      As we close out another amazing Red Hat Summit, we want you to mark your calendar for next year’s event. It’s time to head west to San Francisco for Red Hat Summit 2020!

      Join us in the bustling downtown area at the Moscone Center, April 27-29, 2020, when we once again expect thousands of customers, partners and technology industry leaders from around the world to come together for a high-energy week of innovation, education and collaboration.

      As the industry’s premier enterprise open source technology conference, Red Hat Summit has become a must-attend technology event to experience the latest and greatest in open source innovations that are enabling the future of enterprise technology – from hybrid cloud infrastructure, containers and cloud-native app platforms to management, automation, emerging tech and more. A replay of this year’s general sessions and more can be found on theCUBE’s Red Hat Summit 2019 page.

    • The new cycle of innovation starts with Red Hat platforms

      At Red Hat Summit and beyond, we are exploring how we can help our customers and ecosystem partners expand their possibilities. We’re demonstrating how Red Hat’s platforms built around Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and Red Hat OpenShift are truly your trusted platforms for a new cycle of innovation. We’re revealing how our software partners are helping operations and developers using artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and deep learning (DL) in ways never before available. And we’re showing you how these new capabilities are helping businesses deliver value in disruptive ways—not only for themselves but for entire industries.

    • Red Hat and VMware Announce VMware Reference Architecture for OpenShift

      For many enterprise companies, their hybrid cloud journey begins by creating that cloud-like experience on-premises. And for a large number of companies, that begins by bringing together the leader in software-defined data center (SDDC) infrastructure, VMware, and the leading Linux platform, Red Hat Enterprise Linux. From that foundation, many customers are deploying Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform to help them deploy cloud-native applications with containers and Kubernetes.

      As customers get more familiar with agile development models that drive their digital transformation, they begin to look at ways to truly reshape the economics that can accelerate these changes. This means having a greater focus on the operation costs that can take away from funding that can be reapplied to developing new business applications.

    • Succeeding with Red Hat OpenShift and VMware’s Software-Defined Datacenter (SDDC)

      This is a guest post by VMware’s Robbie Jerrom. Robbie works alongside some of VMware’s largest customers in Europe as they focus on bringing Modern and Cloud-Native applications and platforms to their VMware Software-Defined Datacenter. Prior to joining VMware, Robbie spent a decade as a Software Engineer building Enterprise software such as Java virtual machines, CICS and WebSphere. Robbie is also a member of VMware’s CTO Ambassador community ensuring tight collaboration between VMware’s Engineering organizations and real world customers.

    • Kaloom, Linux Foundation Unveil Virtual Central Office (VCO) 3.0 Lab in Montreal

      Kaloom, an emerging leader in the automated data center networking software market, together with Linux Foundation, announced the availability of a Virtual Central Office (VCO) 3.0 lab in Montreal.

    • Can I get a RHEL yeah? Version 8 arrives at last as IBM given go-ahead to wolf down Red Hat

      Red Hat pushed out a minty-fresh update to its Enterprise Linux platform in the form of version 8 at its Boston shindig today.

      It’s been while since Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7 first put in an appearance – nearly five years – so version 8, which is likely the last before IBM completes its acquisition of the open-source outfit, is a little overdue having spent a few months lurking in beta.

      Regarding the cash splashing, there were likely some Champagne corks popping and/or wailing of developers behind the scenes at the Boston Summit as the US Department of Justice finally gave the IBM the nod to swallow the company whole this week. The deal should close in the second half of this year.

    • 9 Biggest Things To Know About Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8
    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 is now available for download

      Red Hat has just announced the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8. The new version arrives slightly shy of 5 years after RHEL 7 and includes new software such as GNOME 3.28 running on Wayland, and the Linux 4.18 kernel. According to the Red Hat release notes, RHEL 8 is largely based on Fedora 28 which came out last year so expect some slightly older, but more stable packages from RHEL 8. Full support is guaranteed for the operating system until May 2024.

      [...]

      If you’d like to learn more about the new RHEL 8, be sure to check out its new product page. If you’re not aware, RHEL is a paid product but the Linux community do create separate distributions such as CentOS which largely replicate the functionality of RHEL 8 but do not offer paid support.

    • Red Hat Tackles Telco Cloud With Linux Upgrade

      Red Hat is updating its flagship Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system with new tools for automated operations and container support. The upgrades can help service providers to “cloudify” their networks, the company said Tuesday.

      Linux is a foundational technology for telco clouds, running on white box switches and virtualized customer premises equipment (vCPE), and providing the foundation for virtual network function (VNF) operations. And modern networks require automation to meet operational and customer requirements; that demand will only increase with the emergence of 5G.

    • The Tension That Drives Innovation In Linux

      With any operating system, there is a tension between leaving something that is stable and that works alone and adding new features to keep it relevant.

      In recent years, what that has meant for operating system providers is addressing multicloud and hybrid cloud environments, containers, microservices, and Kubernetes, GPU acceleration, serverless computing, artificial intelligence in its many guises, and data analytics workloads. Red Hat has faced that challenge for more than a decade with its Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system, by far the most popular commercially supported Linux in the world, and the much-anticipated RHEL 8, which went into beta last year and became general available this week at the company’s Red Hat Summit user conference in Boston, is another testament to the balancing act that Red Hat has been pulling off for more than two decades in the enterprise.

      It is important to remember what Red Hat has accomplished with RHEL, and why IBM is keen to spend a fortune acquiring it. A new Red Hat-sponsored IDC study says software and applications running on RHEL will drive more than $10 trillion in business revenues worldwide this year – and has had to serve as the junction between the innovation going on upstream among the scores of open-source communities and the enterprise customers that are looking for that OS that they not only can count on will be stable for the long haul but also be able to roll with the myriad changes occurring all around it, according to Stefanie Chiras, vice president and general manager of Red Hat’s RHEL business unit. The company sees an opportunity to make RHEL the port that enterprises can cling to while everything whirls around them.

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux to contribute $10tn to global business

      Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is expected to contribute to over $10tn worth of global business revenues, or 5% of the global economy, in 2019, a new study has found.

      Commissioned by Red Hat, the study by analyst firm IDC found that RHEL is most frequently used in enterprise management and production (26%), IT infrastructure (20%) and customer relationship management (18%).

      [...]

      IDC expects this trend to continue, however, with net new ecosystem revenues from 2018 to 2023 adding up to more than $135bn for Red Hat partners.

      While some of the firms in the Red Hat ecosystem are multinational organisations, most are not. Fuelled by the RHEL ecosystem, IDC said these regional companies will invest more than $35bn in local economies by 2023.

    • Red Hat: IBM Ownership Won’t Change Open Source Mission

      Red Hat and IBM executive leadership used Tuesday’s keynote to reassure customers that Red Hat would remain Red Hat.

    • Red Hat Virtualization 4.3 Now Available

      The latest version of Red Hat’s Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM)-powered virtualization platform, Red Hat Virtualization 4.3, is being generally made available this month. Red Hat recently announced the availability of the solution at the Open Infrastructure Summit in Denver.

      From enhanced software-defined networking capabilities to new roles powered by Red Hat Ansible Automation, Red Hat Virtualization 4.3 powers modern systems while remaining fully open and helping reduce costs in versus proprietary solutions.

    • 3 Reasons why the Open Infrastructure Summit in Denver was Simply Outstanding.

      This was not my first rodeo. I’ve attended most of the OpenStack Summits since my first one in Atlanta, Georgia back in May of 2014. They have always been a highpoint in my working calendar and I look forward to each of them with tremendous enthusiasm.
      The first-ever Open Infrastructure Summit in Denver was no exception. It lived up to all my expectations. The name of the Summit has changed to reflect a wider remit.

      [...]

      During his candid and very personal keynote, Jonathan Bryce stated that “Open collaboration is a powerful force for driving technology to change our lives and our world”. I couldn’t agree more. Shared innovation is the way forward and I’m totally convinced that open source is the approach that will win. Take a look at my discussion with Swapnil Bhartiya for some of the reasons why.

    • Kubernetes Powering The Push To Edge Computing

      Kubernetes has quickly become the standard for containerized workload orchestration, starting in the data center and cloud, and is now powering the extension to edge computing.

      Increasing numbers of vendors are extending their offerings to the edge, from the big public providers (Azure IoT Edge, AWS Greengrass, and Google Cloud IoT Edge) to more specialized providers such as Section, FogHorn, and Mirantis, offering multi-cloud, multi-access edge computing platforms.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • SMLR 306 Recording at Penguicon 2018
    • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S12E05 – Superfrog

      This week we talk about our trip to LFNW. We discuss the new budget-friendly Dell Precision laptops shipping with Ubuntu, the Ubuntu Developer Desktop Survey, the most power efficient Ubuntu flavour and Mark Shuttleworth’s views on the Ubuntu Desktop. We discuss Pine64’s updates for May 2019, Easy Anti Cheat for Linux and the new Windows Terminal.

  • Kernel Space

    • The state of system observability with BPF

      The 2019 version of the Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit opened with a plenary talk by Brendan Gregg on observing the state of Linux systems using BPF. It is, he said, an exciting time; the BPF-based “superpowers” being added to the kernel are growing in capability and maturity. It is now possible to ask many questions about what is happening in a production Linux system without the need for kernel modifications or even basic debugging information.
      Gregg started with a demonstration tool that he had just written: it’s immediate manifestation was in the creation of a high-pitched tone that varied in frequency as he walked around the lectern. It was, it turns out, a BPF-based tool that extracts the signal strength of the laptop’s WiFi connection from the kernel and creates a noise in response. As he interfered with that signal with his body, the strength (and thus the pitch of the tone) varied. By tethering the laptop to his phone, he used the tool to measure how close he was to the laptop. It may not be the most practical tool, but it did demonstrate how BPF can be used to do unexpected things.

      Gregg works at Netflix, a company that typically operates about 150,000 server instances. Naturally, Netflix cares a lot about performance; that leads to a desire for observability tools that can help to pinpoint the source of performance problems. But the value of good tools goes beyond just performance tuning.

    • Containers and address space separation

      James Bottomley began his talk at the 2019 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit (LSFMM) by noting that the main opposition to his ideas was not present at the summit, which was likely to mean the ideas got a much easier reception than they would have otherwise. In particular, Peter Zijlstra and Ingo Molnar expressed some strong reservations to the work that Bottomley’s colleague Mike Rapoport posted recently; none of those three were in attendance at LSFMM. The idea is to use address spaces to reduce the attack surface available to virtual machines (VMs) and containers such that kernel bugs of various sorts have less reach on multi-tenant systems.

      Bottomley has been working with Rapoport on the idea for the container use case, but there are others, from Google and Oracle, who are trying to solve the same problems for VMs. Address spaces are the oldest and most secure mechanism for keeping tenants separate from one another, he said. Separating processes into their own address spaces is what was used to support multi-user systems, so there is around 50 years of history there. Part of the reason to extend the idea for VMs and containers is that address spaces have proven to work well as a security measure.

    • Some 5.1 development statistics

      The release of the 5.1-rc6 kernel prepatch on April 21 indicates that the 5.1 development cycle is getting close to its conclusion. So naturally the time has come to put together some statistics describing where the changes merged for 5.1 came from. It is, for the most part, a fairly typical development cycle.
      As of this writing, 12,749 non-merge changesets have been pulled into the mainline repository for the 5.1 release. That is slightly more than seen in 5.0, but still a bit lower than the other kernels released in the last few years. There were nearly 545,000 lines of code added by those changesets and 289,000 lines removed, for a net growth of 256,000 lines; this is not one of those rare development cycles where the kernel gets smaller. That work was contributed by 1,707 developers, 245 of whom made their first contribution in the 5.1 cycle.

    • Bounce buffers for untrusted devices

      The recently discovered vulnerability in Thunderbolt has restarted discussions about protecting the kernel against untrusted, hotpluggable hardware. That vulnerability, known as Thunderclap, allows a hostile external device to exploit Input-Output Memory Management Unit (IOMMU) mapping limitations and access system memory it was not intended to. Thunderclap can be exploited by USB-C-connected devices; while we have seen USB attacks in the past, this vulnerability is different in that PCI devices, often considered as trusted, can be a source of attacks too. One way of stopping those attacks would be to make sure that the IOMMU is used correctly and restricts the device to accessing the memory that was allocated for it. Lu Baolu has posted an implementation of that approach in the form of bounce buffers for untrusted devices.

    • Toward a reverse splice()

      The splice() system call is, at its core, a write operation; it attempts to implement zero-copy I/O by moving pages from a pipe to a file. At the 2019 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit, Miklos Szeredi described a nascent idea for rsplice() — a “reverse splice” system call. There were not a lot of definitive outcomes from this discussion, but one thing was clear: rsplice() needs a much better description (and some code posted) before the development community can begin to form an opinion on it.

    • Memory encryption issues

      “People think that memory encryption sounds really cool; it will make my system more secure so I want it”. At least, that is how Dave Hansen characterized the situation at the beginning of a session on the topic during the memory-management track at the 2019 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit. This session, also led by Kirill Shutemov, covered a number of aspects of the memory-encryption problem on Intel processors and beyond. One clear outcome of the discussion was also raised by Hansen at the beginning: users of memory encryption need to think hard about where that extra security is actually coming from.

    • Linux 5.1 adds new security layer and cumulative patches

      It’s me. Colonel Kitten. Guardian of the Linux Kernel. Slayer of voles. Sleeper of Airing Cupboards. You’ve caught me in a rare moment of downtime. I’ve drugged the platoon’s milk, and I’m going to quietly tell you about the latest additions to the mighty kernel.

      ALL HAIL THE KERNEL! BLESSED BE THE KERNEL!

      Ahem. Sorry. Forgot where I was.

      Linux 5.1 has now been released, after Commander Torvalds gave the green light this weekend. It offers a range of improvements for the discerning kitty.

      I received this encrypted message from Commander Torvalds: “On the whole, 5.1 looks very normal with just over 13k commits (plus another 1k+ if you count merges). Which is pretty much our normal size these days. No way to boil that down to a sane shortlog, with work all over.”

    • Linux 5.1 out with Io_uring IO interface, persistent memory, new patching improvements and more!

      Yesterday, Linus Torvalds, the principal developer of the Linux kernel announced the release of Linux 5.1 in a mailing list announcement. This release provides users with an open source operating system with lots of great additions, as well as improvements to existing features. The previous version, Linux 5.0 was released two months ago.
      “On the whole, 5.1 looks very normal with just over 13k commits (plus another 1k+ if you count merges). Which is pretty much our normal size these days. No way to boil that down to a sane shortlog, with work all over.”, said Linux Torvalds in the official announcement.

    • The Linux kernel update 5.1 comes with live patching, multiple performance and security improvements

      After spending less than two months in development, the Linux 5.1 kernel update is now finally available. Although this is not a major upgrade, the 5.1 kernel comes with a few noticeable improvements, including support for the Model A+ Raspberry Pi 3 and Intel Fastboot, the ability to use persistent storage as system memory, and more.

      According to the official announcement that came from Linus Torvalds less than two days ago, “5.1 looks very normal with just over 13k commits (plus another 1k+ if you count merges). Which is pretty much our normal size these days.”

      In addition to the changes mentioned earlier, there have been improvements made to the live patching capabilities (available since April 2015), and the introduction of the SafeSetID LSM module provides a new option for administrators to provide security and policy controls.

    • Linux 5.2 Kernel Introducing Support For Intel’s Sound Open Firmware

      Back at the Embedded Linux Conference in March 2018, Sound Open Firmware (SOF) was announced by Intel Open-Source Technology GM, Imad Sousou. The kernel-side patches to this open-source sound firmware were published shortly thereafter while now finally after going through several rounds of public code review, the kernel changes have been merged for Linux 5.2.

    • Linux Foundation

      • NVIDIA, Red Hat Join Hollywood’s Open Source Forum

        NVIDIA has joined Hollywood’s very own open source organization as a Premier member. For the uninitiated, the Academy Software Foundation (ASWF) is a consortium for open source software development in the motion picture and media industries. Also, ftrack and Red Hat have joined the Foundation as General members.

        Already a member of the Linux Foundation, NVIDIA now looks forward to working with the Academy Software Foundation to help shape the future of this creative industry.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The USB Code For Linux 5.2 Sent In With NVIDIA Contributions & More

        Greg Kroah-Hartman sent in the USB updates on Wednesday for the Linux 5.2 kernel.

        Highlights of the USB changes for this next kernel include:

        - The NVIDIA AltMode driver as the newest open-source contribution from the green giant… This driver is for enabling VirtualLink devices when paired with the newest (currently Turing-based) graphics cards sporting USB-C connectors and intended to be used with next-generation VR headsets. There were also related contributions by NVIDIA developers around allowing firmware flashing support with the “CCG” Cypress code they are using as their controller.

      • Intel OpenCL Linux 19.17.12918 Stack Does Away With Cannonlake Support

        Intel released version 19.17.12918 of their OpenCL “NEO” open-source compute runtime stack this week.

        With this Intel Compute Runtime 19.17.12918 release, they have updated their LLVM-based Intel graphics compiler, disabled Cannonlake “Gen 10″ support in the build by default, and now supports SPIR-V 1.2.

      • AMD Radeon Pro Software for Enterprise 19.Q2 for Linux Released

        Shipping today is the “Radeon Pro Software for Enterprise 19.Q2 for Linux” driver package as the newest hybrid driver update for Linux systems with AMD Radeon Pro (and consumer) graphics, aiming to increase performance against NVIDIA Quadro hardware.

        In AMD’s press communications today, they are talking up higher performance in real-world design workflows, better support for critical design and productivity workflows, and better workstation power. However, it’s not immediately clear how well some of these updates translate on the Linux side with some of the mentioned workstation software is Windows-only. Unfortunately we don’t have any Radeon Pro hardware for verification of the Linux driver update performance changes, but at least there is this quarterly Linux driver update out today.

      • Libinput 1.13.2 Released With Better Finger Detection For Apple Touchpads

        While “just a point release”, libinput 1.13.2 was released today as the newest update to this widely-used X11/Wayland Linux input handling library. With libinput 1.13.2 are two notable fixes.

        First up, those using Apple Bluetooth-enabled touchpads will find better finger detection with this update. The Apple Bluetooth touchpads now detect the correct touch size and as such is able to provide more reliable finger detection.

    • Benchmarks

      • The New Intel Gallium3D OpenGL Driver Performance Is In Great Shape For Mesa 19.1

        With Mesa 19.1 now under its feature freeze, here is a look at how the new Intel “Iris” Gallium3D OpenGL driver is performing for its debut in this next quarterly Mesa feature release. Benchmarks from a Skylake NUC with Intel Iris Pro 580 graphics just wrapped up for looking at the performance of the Intel Gallium3D driver against its existing open-source “i965″ Mesa OpenGL driver.

        The Intel Gallium3D driver is one of the new additions coming with Mesa 19.1. Mesa 19.1.0 should debut around the end of May or June and will feature this Gallium3D driver as an experimental option in place of the default i965 driver, but for Broadwell graphics and newer can be activated via the MESA_LOADER_DRIVER_OVERRIDE=iris environment variable. Intel developers are hoping by the end of 2019 that this Gallium3D driver will be mature enough to enable by default for Broadwell and newer; Haswell and older hardware will continue to be supported by the i965 driver as those older generations of graphics will not be supported by Iris.

      • Performance Testing Intel’s Core i9-9980XE 18-core CPU In Linux

        We’ve run Intel’s Core i9-9980XE processor through a gauntlet of tests over the past couple of weeks, and we’re going to kick off our look at its performance with some Linux tests. Join us as we tackle Intel’s top Core-series chip across a range of workloads, from compression to encryption and rendering to encoding.
        We’ve been hugely focused on Windows benchmarks lately, so it’s about time we spice things up and get another collection of Linux tests together. The last time we tackled CPU performance in Linux was with the launch of Intel’s Core i9-9900K. That article prefaced the Windows one, so it’s a bit of a parallel that we’re kicking off our i9-9980XE coverage the same way (Windows coverage will come soon.)

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Slackware Family

      • Reverse birthday present: KDE-5_19.05

        After a three-month hiatus, I have new Plasma5 packages for you. I just uploaded “KDE-5_19.05” to the ‘ktown‘ repository. It’s filled to the brim with new stuff.
        Hopefully not many of you will be disappointed by the fact that this is a 64bit-only release. I have a severely limited capacity unfortunately due to health issues. But, today is my birthday and I wanted to get this out as a ‘reverse present’ to all of you 🙂 The 32bit packages will eventually follow, but I am afraid I will no longer be able to manage a monthly update cycle.

        As always, these packages are meant to be installed on a full installation of Slackware-current which has had its KDE4 removed first. These packages will not work on Slackware 14.2.

    • Fedora

      • Fedora 30 Released with GNOME 3.32 and Other Improvements

        Fedora is one of the most popular Linux distros out there. It is backed by Red Hat Linux and known for its bleeding edge software. It has one of the largest Linux communities in the world and heavily focuses on open-source. Almost all the software (except the binary blobs on its kernel) is available in its official repositories.

        There are a lot of Linux enthusiasts who consider Fedora as an innovative Linux distro. It doesn’t hesitate to test new features and make them available for all other distros. With that being said, the Fedora team has recently released the latest version Fedora 30 with GNOME 3.32 and many other improvements. So, let’s have a look at the new features and changes one by one.

      • Fedora rawhide – fixed bugs 2019/04
    • Debian Family

      • OpenStack-cluster-installer in Buster

        As per the package description and the package name, OCI (OpenStack Cluster Installer) is a software to provision an OpenStack cluster automatically, with a “push button” interface. The OCI package depends on a DHCP server, a PXE (tftp-hpa) boot server, a web server, and a puppet-master.

        Once computers in the cluster boot for the first time over network (PXE boot), a Debian live system squashfs image is served by OCI (served by Apache), to act as a discovery image. This live system then reports the hardware features of the booted machine back to OCI (CPU, memory, HDDs, network interfaces, etc.). The computers can then be installed with Debian from that live system. During this process, a puppet-agent is configured so that it will connect to the puppet-master of OCI. Uppong first boot, OpenStack services are then installed and configured, depending on the server role in the cluster.

        OCI is fully packaged in Debian, including all of the Puppet modules and so on. So just doing “apt-get install openstack-cluster-installer” is enough to bring absolutely all dependencies, and no other artifact are needed. This is very important so one only needs a local Debian mirror to install an OpenStack cluster. No external components must be downloaded from internet.

      • Derivatives

        • ELIVE 3.0.4 STABLE UPDATE

          Elive 3.0 has been updated, and it will probably be the last updated build for the 3.0 release!

          In the last few months I have been deeply working on the next future versions of Elive, which will support things like Secure Boot and UEFI, with 64bit available builds and based in Debian Buster, all these things are simply… amazing! I hope to make the next beta versions publicly available soon with also including a working installer that will have extra features! I didn’t wanted to publicly announce anything until now because I’m a meticulous perfectionist who wants to verify that most of the things are correctly working before giving any promise.

        • IBM’s Red Hat Deal, NuoDB Operator Now Has Red Hat OpenShift Operator Certification, Krita 4.2.0 Alpha Released, Elive 3.0 Update, UBports Announces Ubuntu Touch OTA-9 and Fedora Kernel 5.1 Test Week Starts Monday

          Elive 3.0 has been updated, and this should be the last update before the 3.0 release.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Advantage for Infrastructure: an Interview with Canonical

            Ubuntu Advantage for Infrastructure changes the entire landscape of service offerings for open-source software. Instead of itemizing and charging for each and every component or add-on, Canonical promises its customers a per-node service package, regardless of the technologies running on it. I was able to sit down and chat with Stephan Fabel, who was generous enough to provide a bit more detail around this exciting announcement.

          • Ubuntu 19.10 Release Date & Planned Features

            The GNOME 3.34 desktop release in September will form the basis of the next Ubuntu release. This update will include new versions of core apps like Nautilus, Evince and Calendar, and may also feature a revamped sound recorder tool.

            More details on what’s planned for GNOME 3.34 will be revealed over the coming months.

            With Ubuntu firmly settled on its new look, Yaru, expect to see contemplative adjustments here and there, particularly around the “Software” set of icons, Ubuntu Software, Software & Updates, Software Updater, etc.

            The experimental Xorg fractional scaling setting which debuted in the Ubuntu 19.04 release may be made more accessible in Eoan, perhaps through a Display > Scale setting in System Settings, perhaps with caveats and caution applied.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • OASIS announces the ODF Advocacy Open Project

    The ODF Advocacy Open Project we have pre-announced at FOSDEM is now a reality. Yesterday, OASIS has released the following press release, which is just the first step of a new sustained activity focused on supporting the adoption of ODF – the only true standard document format available on the market – by governments, public administrations and enterprises worldwide, to increase interoperability (and thus knowledge sharing), reduce hidden costs associated to document management, and get rid of vendor lock-in.

  • LibreOffice

    • First Bug Hunting Session for LibreOffice 6.3

      LibreOffice 6.3 is being developed by our worldwide community, and is due to be released in early August 2019 (see release notes describing the new features here).

      In order to find, report and triage bugs, the LibreOffice QA team is organizing the first Bug Hunting Session for LibreOffice 6.3 on Monday May 13, 2019. Tests will be performed on the first Alpha version, which will be available on the pre-releases server a few days before the event. Builds will be available for Linux (DEB and RPM), macOS and Windows, and can be installed and run in parallel along with the production version.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL forums and kernel source code are up

      Google’s newly launched Pixel 3a series matches up to the photography skills of the flagship Pixel 3 series, even while being priced at only half. But besides bringing the characteristic photography acumen of a Google Pixel, the Pixel 3a devices also share some part of their DNA with the erstwhile Google Nexus lineup. This is because they’re easy on the pocket (at least in the Western markets) and should, thus, be preferred by developers as devices meant to test the latest features in Android.

    • Renewed focus on REUSE

      Following the Free Software Legal and Licensing Workshop 2019 in Barcelona, I managed to get in touch with some people to put a renewed focus on the REUSE initiative by the FSFE.

    • ClearlyDefined: Putting license information in one place [Ed: Why is an FSFE workshop led by a Microsoft employee? Explains some things I've seen about FSFE lately (not good things). Be careful of ClearlyDefined because mostly Microsoft people promote it (everywhere they can). So you know it's Microsoft-leaning an effort and Microsoft is a serial GPL violator that got caught many times.]

      As the stats page shows, there are nearly five million definitions currently in the database (as of this writing, anyway). Multiple repositories are being harvested, including npm for Node.js, PyPI for Python, Maven for Java, Crate for Rust, GitHub, and others. ClearlyDefined was the subject of a lively workshop at the recent FSFE Legal and Licensing Workshop (LLW), led by project lead Jeff McAffer of GitHub. The project has lots of partners, such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Qualcomm, Software Heritage, and Codescoop.

  • Programming/Development

    • Announcing git-cinnabar 0.5.1

      Git-cinnabar is a git remote helper to interact with mercurial repositories. It allows to clone, pull and push from/to mercurial remote repositories, using git.

    • Daniel Stenberg: Sometimes I speak

      I view myself as primarily a software developer. Perhaps secondary as someone who’s somewhat knowledgeable in networking and is participating in protocol development and discussions. I do not regularly proclaim myself to be a “speaker” or someone who’s even very good at talking in front of people.

      Time to wake up and face reality? I’m slowly starting to realize that I’m actually doing more presentations than ever before in my life and I’m enjoying it.

      Since October 2015 I’ve done 53 talks and presentations in front of audiences – in ten countries. That’s one presentation done every 25 days on average. (The start date of this count is a little random but it just happens that I started to keep a proper log then.) I’ve talked to huge audiences and to small. I done presentations that were appreciated and I’ve done some that were less successful.

    • Podcast about Evennia

      In the interview, which are run by people from the MUD Coder’s Guild (a great initiative!), I talk a bit about the history of Evennia, the text-based multiplayer game engine I’m working on, and go into some various technical aspects of the engine as well. Check it out and support the podcast!

    • Wing Tips: Renaming Symbols and Attributes in Python Code with Wing Pro’s Refactoring Tool

      In the previous Wing Tips post we looked at using multiple selections to edit several parts of code at once. As part of that, we briefly mentioned that refactoring is a better approach when renaming a symbol or attribute globally. Let’s take a closer look at that now.

    • Wing Python IDE 7.0.2 – May 8, 2019

      Wing 7.0.2 has been released.

    • Linux C programming tutorial Part 28 – Typedefs
    • EuroPython 2019: CFP ends on May 12
    • 5 essential values for the DevOps mindset
    • First Rule of Coding: Don’t Panic.
    • Google Quietly Admits It’s Working On Fuchsia OS During I/O 2019
    • Webinar: “42 PyCharm Tips and Tricks” with Paul Everitt

      PyCharm brings a boatload of IDE features to professional Python development. Want to “level up” and learn productivity boosters? This hands-on, fast-paced webinar, run by Paul Everitt from the PyCharm team, covers tips across all the major product features.

    • Pygrunn preparations

      Tomorrow (friday 2019-05-10), I’m going to the nice one-day Dutch python (and friends) pygrunn conference in Groningen (NL) again. Sold out, as usual. And rightfully so.

      Anyway, to be honest, this blog entry is mostly about me testing my blog setup on a new laptop. I’ve got a linux laptop at work (which has its advantages) and since a few months I’ve got a second-hand macbook pro at home (because linux also has its disadvantages). But I never got around to setting up my blog software here till now. And I’m taking the macbook to the conference, so high time to get everything working :-)

    • Test Driven Development with pytest

      Good software is tested software. Testing our code can help us catch bugs or unwanted behavior.

      Test Driven Development (TDD) is a software development practice that requires us to incrementally write tests for features we want to add. It leverages automated testing suites, like pytest – a testing framework for Python programs.

    • Google I/O Extended 2019 – Report

      I attended a Google I/O Extended event on Tuesday at Google’s Kitchener office. It’s a get-together where there are demos, talks, workshops, and networking opportunities centred around watching the keynote live on the screen.

      I treat it as an opportunity to keep an eye on what they’re up to this time, and a reminder that I know absolutely no one in the tech scene around here.

      The first part of the day was a workshop about how to build Actions for the Google Assistant. I found the exercise to be very interesting.

    • Query freely available exchange rate data with ExchangeRate-API

      Last year, I wrote about using the Groovy programming language to access foreign exchange rate data from an API to simplify my expense records. I showed how two exchange rate sites, fixer.io and apilayer.net (now apilayer.com), could provide the data I needed, allowing me to convert between Indian rupees (INR) and Canadian dollars (CAD) using the former, and Chilean pesos (CLP) and Canadian dollars using the latter.

      Recently, David over at ExchangeRate-API.com reached out to me to say, “the free API you mentioned (Fixer) has been bought by CurrencyLayer and had its no-signup/unlimited access deprecated.” He also told me, “I run a free API called ExchangeRate-API.com that has the same JSON format as the original Fixer, doesn’t require any signup, and allows unlimited requests.”

      After exchanging a few emails, we decided to turn our conversation into an interview. Below the interview, you can find scripts and usage instructions. (The interview has been edited slightly for clarity.)

    • Programming languages: Why JavaScript developers are choosing TypeScript [Ed: RedMonk gets paid by Microsoft (their longtime client) to spread Microsoft propaganda, based on Microsoft’s own data (it owns GitHub now) and CBS is happy to relay this propaganda. Propaganda for sale, disguised as contracts for “analysts”. That’s the business model. As they explained only hours ago, “Microsoft and VMware are also RedMonk customers.” Well, they pay for marketing.]

      Microsoft of course now owns GitHub, the go-to code hosting repository for developers, while the popularity of Microsoft’s programming language TypeScript is going off the charts, according to developer analyst firm RedMonk.

    • This Newly Released Python Interpreter Claims To Be Faster Than CPython

      The PyPy team aims to provide a compliant, flexible and fast implementation of Python language which uses the RPython toolchain to enable new advanced high-level features without having to encode the low-level details. The main motivation for developing the translation framework is to provide a full-featured, customisable, fast and very compliant Python implementation, working on and interacting with a large variety of platforms and allowing the quick introduction of new advanced language features.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • To Be Sick and Not Rich

      On this extremely hot summer day, the ear-splitting siren screaming through New York’s streets is coming from the ambulance I’m in — on a gurney on my way to the ER. That only makes the siren, loud as it is, all the more alarming.

      I fell. The pain, its location and intensity, suggests I’ve probably broken my hip.

      The kind face of the emergency medical technician hovering above me asks questions softly and I confess that I’m in terrible pain. Other gentle hands are busy taking blood pressure and doing oxygen counts. These EMT workers, employees of the Fire Department, are good at what they do.

      At the ER entrance, the gurney’s lifted out of the vehicle, wheels are dropped, and it’s rolled inside. Under a ceiling of bright white lights, it passes — and so I pass — one cubicle after another. I catch bits of voices, speaking in several languages.

      My friend, who’s come with me to the ER, roots around in my purse for my insurance and then heads for the admissions office. Alone, I close my eyes to shut out the glare of the ceiling lights. I want one thing: relief from the pain. Oblivion would even be more appreciated.

      My friend returns to my cubicle and asks, “Is this the only insurance you have?” I panic. Will they not accept me? But they have to! It’s the ER! That’s the reassurance I offer myself and then I tell her, “Yes, it’s all I have.”

      She looks doubtful.

      “What?” I ask desperately. “What?”

      “Don’t you have some kind of supplemental?” And she begins to try to explain, but I can’t deal with this right now. All I want is relief from the pain. Any other moment, I’d worry about the money, but not now. I can’t! Instead, simply to remain half-calm, I remind myself that I have insurance, that I have a Health Maintenance Organization, or HMO, a plan that offers a wide range of healthcare services through a network of providers who agree to work with members.

    • Metal and Rubber with Your Chicken? No Problem Says Tyson

      Rubber and metal are some of the recent surprise “ingredients” found in Tyson chicken. In January, 36,420 pounds of Tyson chicken nuggets were recalled due to rubber contamination. In March, a recall for possible metal contamination of ready-to-eat Tyson chicken strip products began which continues–now encompassing 12 million pounds. Tyson Foods is the world’s second largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork, operating the Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, Sara Lee, Ball Park and other well known brands.

      Were the contaminations deliberate? Possibly speculates a high level USDA compliance operations official who says security at a meat processing plant is so loose “employees could deliberately introduce” harmful products into food.

      As cheap labor and growth drugs make chicken a lucrative franchise, Tyson leads the way. Today a chicken is “grown” to a five-pound market weight in five weeks–twice as fast as 40 years ago. Despite “no antibiotics” claims, an investigation by Reuters found Tyson Foods and other major U.S. poultry firms are using antibiotics “more pervasively than regulators realize” after testing products coming out of feed mills.

      In 2001, Tyson was served with a federal indictment charging that the company paid smugglers to transport illegal workers from Mexico across the Rio Grande, after which they were supplied with phony social security cards and brazenly paid with corporate checks. “This is a company with a bad history,” Rev. Jim Lewis, an Episcopal minister in Arkansas, told the New York Times. “They cheat these workers out of pay and benefits, and then try to keep them quiet by threatening to send them back to Mexico.”

  • Security

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • WordPress Security Guidelines You Should Follow
    • glibc 2.28 cleanup – no more memory leaks

      glibc already released 2.29, but I was still on a much older version and hadn’t noticed 2.28 (which is the version that is in RHEL8) has a really nice fix for people who obsess about memory leaks.

      When running valgrind to track memory leaks you might have noticed that there are sometimes some glibc data structures left.

      These are often harmless, small things that are needed during the whole lifetime of the process. So it is normally fine to not explicitly clean that up. Since the memory is reclaimed anyway when the process dies.

    • Remembering the Morris Worm, the first internet felony
    • Bug in Alpine Linux Docker Image Leaves Root Account Unlocked
    • A Brief History of Containerization: Why Container Security Best Practices Need to Evolve Now

      Maybe it’s the advent of the internet, or perhaps your brain skipped all the way back to the steam engine. When asked that question, how many people do you think would land on shipping containers? They might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but the invention of shipping containers in the 1950s catalyzed change. Introducing a standard container helped pave the way for faster, cheaper and more reliable transportation of goods across the globe.

      In many ways parallel to how physical containers shaped shipping, application containers are revolutionizing software development methods. Much like physical containers, application containers are a form of digital packaging. They rely on that attribute to provide virtual isolation for deploying or running various applications that use the same operating system (OS) or cloud.

      Containers support a microservice-based architecture, an approach to redefining large-scale software projects to be more scalable and modular. Container technology can also help make it easier to run applications in different working environments under different conditions because it provides a solid runtime environment. Combined with the open source wave that has permeated the industry, this new wave of development has been a boon to cloud providers, developers and managed services alike.

    • The fight to reclaim the term ‘hacker’ starts here

      In the early days of computing, ‘hacker’ was generally a positive term.

      It started to gain traction through the Unix hack culture that took place at US universities in the ’60s and ’70s – an era recorded in free software guru Eric Raymond’s ‘A Brief History of Hackerdom’ and articles by GNU creator Richard Stallman, among others.

      The inaugural edition of SwigCast – featuring an interview with ethical hackers Paul Johnston and Santiago Diaz – explores these ideas and delves into why better representations of hackers is needed today more than ever.
      
“Right now, ‘hacker’ is used in an entirely different connotation,” said Johnston.

    • Google’s Project Mainline in Android Q will help speed up security updates

      Android version fragmentation is one of the biggest challenges for Google to solve. While the Google Pixel smartphones are among the most secure smartphones on the market thanks to the incredible efforts of Pixel and AOSP engineers, many other smartphones are vulnerable to exploits due to running outdated OS versions or outdated security patch levels. The latest report from Gartner shows that Android 9 Pie is an incredibly secure OS, yet only approximately 10% of all smartphones are on the release.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Imagination and Nuclear Weapons

      Einstein believed that knowledge is limited, but imagination is infinite.

      Imagine the soul-crushing reality of a nuclear war, with billions of humans dead; in essence, a global Hiroshima, with soot from the destruction of cities blocking warming sunlight. There would be darkness everywhere, temperatures falling into a new ice age, with crop failures and mass starvation.

      With nuclear weapons poised on hair-trigger alert and justified by the ever-shaky hypothesis that nuclear deterrence will be effective indefinitely, this should not be difficult to imagine.

      In this sense, our imaginations can be great engines for change.

      In our current world, bristling with nuclear weapons and continuous nuclear threat, we stand at the brink of the nuclear precipice. The best case scenario from the precipice, short of beginning a process of abolishing nuclear arms, is that we have the great good fortune to avoid crossing the line into nuclear war and blindly continue to pour obscene amounts of money into modernizing nuclear arsenals, while failing to meet the basic human needs of a large portion of the world’s population.

      The only way out of this dilemma is for the leaders of the world to come to their senses and agree that nuclear weapons must be abolished in order to assure that these weapons will never again be used. Given the state of the world we live in, this is more difficult to imagine.

    • Florida Governor Signs Bill Allowing More Armed Teachers

      More Florida teachers will be eligible to carry guns in the classroom under a bill Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Wednesday that immediately implements recommendations from a commission formed after the Parkland high school mass shooting.

      DeSantis signed the bill in private and didn’t issue a statement afterward. But he made it clear he supports the changes made to the law enacted after a rifle-toting former student walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and killed 17 people in February 2018.

      The bill was one of the most contentious of the legislative session that ended Saturday. It expands the “guardian” program that allows school districts to approve school employees and teachers with a role outside the classroom, such as a coach, to carry guns. School districts have to approve and teachers have to volunteer. They then go through police-like training with a sheriff’s office and undergo a psychiatric evaluation and a background check.

      The new law expands the program to make all teachers eligible regardless of whether they have a non-classroom role.

    • Airborne portion of Moscow’s annual Victory Day parade canceled

      The military flyover planned for Moscow’s annual Victory Day parade has been canceled due to weather concerns, Interfax reported.

      A journalist standing on the Moscow Kremlin’s Spasskaya Tower announced the cancellation on the air for the state-owned Channel One. Fifty-six airplanes and 18 helicopters were meant to fly in the parade.

    • President Trump’s Insatiable Appetite for Regime Change

      President Donald Trump has decided that the government of President Nicolás Maduro must go.

      Senior officials—led by John Bolton, Trump’s super-hawk national security adviser, and Elliott Abrams, stained by his cover-up and lies about death squads in El Salvador and contras in Nicaragua in the 1980s—boast publicly about their plots for regime change.

      They have recognized an obscure right-wing Venezuelan politician—Juan Guaido—as head of state. They’ve tightened sanctions again and again, adding directly to the dire suffering of the Venezuelan people.

      They’ve encouraged the military to revolt. And when the failure of Guaido’s latest coup attempt embarrassed them last week, they’ve threatened direct military intervention.

      “All options are on the table,” Trump repeats.

      Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Trump has a “full range of options” when it comes to next moves against the Venezuelan government, claiming that Trump doesn’t need congressional authorization to act.

      John Bolton announced that the “Monroe Doctrine is alive and well. It’s our hemisphere.” He noted that he wasn’t prepared to apply Teddy Roosevelt’s corollary that asserted the U.S. power to intervene unilaterally anywhere in the hemisphere “yet.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Trump EPA Ignored Its Own Scientists’ Calls to Ban Asbestos, ‘Bombshell’ Report Shows

      In a report that elicited calls for congressional action, The New York Times revealed Wednesday that “senior officials at the Environmental Protection Agency disregarded the advice of their own scientists and lawyers in April when the agency issued a rule that restricted but did not ban asbestos.”

    • E.P.A. Leaders Disregarded Agency’s Experts in Issuing Asbestos Rule, Memos Show

      Senior officials at the Environmental Protection Agency disregarded the advice of their own scientists and lawyers in April when the agency issued a rule that restricted but did not ban asbestos, according to two internal memos.

      Because of its fiber strength and resistance to heat, asbestos has long been used in insulation and construction materials. It is also is a known carcinogen. Last month’s rule kept open a way for manufacturers to adopt new uses for asbestos, or return to certain older uses, but only with E.P.A. approval.

      Andrew Wheeler, the E.P.A. administrator, said when the rule was issued that it would significantly strengthen public health protections. But in the memos, dated Aug. 10, more than a dozen of E.P.A.’s own experts urged the agency to ban asbestos outright, as do most other industrialized nations.

      “Rather than allow for (even with restrictions) any new uses for asbestos, E.P.A. should seek to ban all new uses of asbestos because the extreme harm from this chemical substance outweighs any benefit — and because there are adequate alternatives to asbestos,” staff members wrote.

    • UK Achieves First Coal-Free Week Since Industrial Revolution
    • Britain goes week without coal power for first time since industrial revolution

      Britain has gone a full week without using coal power for the first time since the industrial revolution.

      The new record – set at 1.24pm on Tuesday – marks the first coal-free week since the world’s first coal-fired plant opened in London in 1882.

    • The U.S. Has More Climate Deniers Than Any Other Wealthy Nation, Survey Finds

      Awareness of climate change is growing in the U.S., but the country still has some catching up to do when compared to other wealthy nations.

      A 23-country poll found that the U.S. led rich nations in the percentage of people who said that climate change was not caused by humans, The Guardian reported Wednesday. Thirteen percent of Americans agreed with the statement that climate change was happening, “but human activity is not responsible at all.” An additional five percent denied climate change all together.

    • ‘Climate Change Is the Real Job Killer’ – CounterSpin interview with Joe Uehlein on Green New Deal

      Republican Rep. Sean Duffy likely thought he was onto a winner when he dismissed the Green New Deal as “elitist,” the sort of thing that “sounds great” if you are “a rich liberal from maybe New York or California.”

      Opposing environmental concerns with the livelihoods of working-class people has been a tried and true method for dividing people: industry versus industry, the coasts versus the supposed “heartland,” and dividing people against themselves, as we’re presumed to have to choose between having clean air to breathe or having a job.

      The immediate, cogent pushback to Duffy’s characterization from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—who, along with Ed Markey, introduced the Green New Deal—is one indication that things have changed. Old fissures can’t be counted on to confuse people about their shared interest in fighting climate change and advancing workers’ rights. Though that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for confusion about what alternative visions could look like—particularly when news media, as in coverage of the Green New Deal, shortchange the role of workers in that vision.

    • As Sanders Calls for Nationwide Fracking Ban, Inslee Signs Bill to Prohibit Destructive Drilling Practice in Washington

      Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch Action, celebrated Inslee’s move—which made Washington the fourth U.S. state to ban fracking—but urged him to join fellow 2020 contenders Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard in calling for a nationwide ban on the extractive technique.

      “A clear majority of Americans want political leaders to take real action on climate change,” Hauter said in a statement. “Now would be the perfect opportunity for Inslee to join fellow candidates Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard in calling for a national ban on fracking, and for a halt to all new fossil fuel infrastructure everywhere.”

      “We’re pleased that Governor Inslee has banned fracking in Washington,” added Hauter. “This is great news, but as a presidential candidate, in order to show real national leadership on climate and clean energy, Inslee must endorse a ban on fracking across the country.”

      In a tweet on Tuesday, Sanders highlighted fracking’s poisonous impact on air and water quality as well as its contribution to the climate crisis before declaring, “We need to ban it nationwide.”

    • Kick the Cows Out of Point Reyes National Seashore

      Privately owned livestock are polluting the streams running through OUR property. Indeed the livestock-polluted waters of Point Reyes National Seashore rank in the top 10 percent of U.S. locations most contaminated by feces indicated by E. coli bacteria.

      Privately owned livestock are spreading exotic weeds throughout OUR property. Ranchers plant non-native species for livestock forage, helping to erode the native biodiversity of the park further.

      Privately owned livestock are spreading Johne’s, a highly contagious digestive disease that spreads quickly through manure and contaminated water. It has infected park wildlife including Tule elk.

    • A Matter of Independence: Equinor and Drilling the Great Australian Bight

      Such companies advertise themselves as slick and professional, the best in the business, all things to men, women and everyone in between. They insist that we can all have that vast cake of wealth and eat it too. Equinor, a Norwegian multinational beast of an energy company with its headquarters in Stavanger, has been doing much in the way of making cakes and eating them. It seeks “to be the world’s most carbon-efficient oil and gas producer” but at the same a sound investor in renewables. The earth may well be heating up, but there is no point in not having a bet each way as the frog boils. Whatever its formula, the company is boastful. “We energize the lives of 170 million people. Every day.”

      Interest has now shifted to the Great Australian Bight, an area deemed by the Great Australian Bight Alliance “one of the most pristine ocean environments left on Earth, supporting vibrant coastal communities, jobs and recreational activities.” The Norwegian company is determined to drill for oil at a location some 476km west of Port Lincoln, a site which is intended to become the Stromlo-1 well with an intended depth of 2,240m. A period of 60 days is anticipated, with commencement taking place for late 2020. A submitted proposal to do so is currently being assessed by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA).

      The company has every reason to be confident that hiccups will be few and far between. As Coalition campaign spokesman Simon Birmingham told reporters in Adelaide last week, “There are a large proportion of constituents who want to see jobs and opportunities created, as long as there is no environmental harm.”

      Outside the good offices of NOPSEMA, disputes over the science feature. For Equinor, all is manageable and realisable. For James Cook University marine biologist Jodie Rummer, a utopia reconciling drilling and sustainability is questionable: environmental frameworks need to be far more sensitive. Her own research showed that “even small boats and the noise that motors make are disturbing fish and the way they develop.” Rummer’s descriptions are of marine communities at risk and trauma; even a few drops of oil, she asserts, would cause “massive effects on behaviour and even physiological performance.” The terror for concerned citizens such as the Wilderness Society’s South Australian director Peter Owen is clear: “It’s very remote where they’re proposing to drill, so if it all goes wrong out there, there’s nothing they can do.”

    • A Green New Deal Must Prioritize Regenerative Agriculture

      We are at a radically new stage in our fight for the planet. The Green New Deal proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youth-led Sunrise Movement, and hundreds of other climate justice leaders and organizations has given us a new holistic framework for tackling both the climate crisis and structural inequality.

      This bold vision for the future has, in a matter of months, radically expanded what is politically possible and clarified what is morally required of us as a society. Just a year ago, the progressive movement was struggling to articulate climate solutions that were capable of meeting the severity and scale of the problem, relying instead on piecemeal reforms.

      With any luck, those days are decisively behind us. The goal is no longer to slow the bleeding; it’s to heal the wound. The Green New Deal is about utilizing the full power and resources of the federal government to transform U.S. society so that we can rapidly achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, create millions of good jobs, and bring justice and equity to our economy.

    • Stuck in Yellowstone With the Grizzly Sardine Can Blues Again

      We can’t support any more bears. We’ve got bears coming out of our ears. We’ve reached carrying capacity. Such is the purported state of grizzly bears in Yellowstone.

      Sound familiar? It should. For those of you who have been paying attention to the rhetoric relentlessly voiced by agency spokespeople for the last 6 years, you will have heard the refrain about too many bears in too little space over and over again. In fact, this claim undergirds much of the argument made by the US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and state wildlife managers for removing ESA protections from Yellowstone’s grizzlies (which is to say, “delist” them).

      This rhetoric emerged with a vengeance during 2015 when, in a conversation with environmentalists, then-FWS Director Dan Ashe emphasized that “the Yellowstone ecosystem just can’t hold any more bears.” Frank van Manen, leader of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST) soon followed with the quip: “we are packing more sardines in the sardine can.” The monotonous refrain has continued since then, most recently voiced (again) by van Manen at an April 2019 meeting of bear managers: “…I think we might have now reached the point where 100 percent [of suitable habitat] is occupied.”

    • Wild giant panda spotted in closed mining area in SW China

      A wild giant panda was spotted by infrared cameras in the Jiudingshan Nature Reserve in Mianzhu city, southwest China’s Sichuan Province, the nature reserve said Wednesday.

      It was the first time a camera has captured a wild panda in Mianzhu, said Liao Liang, who works at one of the nature reserve’s management station.

      Two videos with the animal were shot on April 1 and three pictures were taken the second day. The videos showed an adult wild panda with a muddy butt, weighing between 80 to 150 kg, strolling through a bamboo forest, alternating between looking around and eating.

  • Finance

    • Sian Berry on Labour launch: Yes, a People’s Vote is potentially healing. But voters need certainty, not fudge

      Sian Berry, co-leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, has responded to the Labour European election campaign launch this morning.

      She said: “What we wanted to hear from the Labour leader was a commitment to free movement and the People’s Vote on any deal. But we were again disappointed. Instead have been served more of the fudge we are used to from him on Brexit.

      “Jeremy Corbyn is right to say that a referendum could be a healing process, although of course it depends whether people have a proper choice in that referendum, which has to include remain on the ballot paper.

    • To Tackle Greed of Wall Street ‘Loan Sharks,’ Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders Plan Would Cap Outrageous Credit Card Rates

      “Today’s loan sharks wear expensive suits and work on Wall Street, where they make hundreds of millions of dollars in total compensation by charging sky-high fees and usurious interest rates,” Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez will say in a joint statement accompanying the plan, The Intercept’s David Dayen reported ahead of the bill’s release.

      According to Dayen, Ocasio-Cortez “plans to suggest postal banking as a public option for consumer lending, though that is not in the legislation.”

      “A postal lending option would in theory minimize the impact on access to credit from the rate cap,” wrote Dayen. “Sanders endorsed postal banking during his 2016 presidential campaign.”

    • New Study Suggests Late-Stage Capitalism Stripping Humanity of Simple Joy: Frequent Sex

      A new study conducted in the United Kingdom has found current generations of adults—in part due to the “sheer pace of modern life”—are having less sex than their predecessors.

      In other words, the grind of late-stage capitalism is stripping humanity of one of its unique (though not exclusive) features: screwing for fun.

      The study—among the largest of its kind ever undertaken—analyzed the sexual lives and habits of over 34,000 men and women ages 16 to 44 in the UK and found a dramatic drop in the frequency of sexual activity this century.

      “Using data from the British National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal),” a summary of the report explained, “researchers found a general decline in sexual frequency in Britain between 2001 and 2012, with the biggest falls seen among over 25s and married or cohabiting couples.”

    • CEOs Can’t Wait to Replace Workers With Robots

      Corporate bosses don’t talk about it in public, but among themselves — psssst — they whisper excitedly about implementing a transformative “AI agenda” across our economy.

      AI stands for artificial intelligence, the rapidly advancing digital technology of creating thinking robots that program themselves, act on their own, and even reproduce themselves. These automatons are coming soon to a workplace near you.

      Not wanting to stir a preemptive rebellion by human workers, corporate chieftains avoid terms like automation of jobs, instead substituting euphemisms like “digital transformation” of work.

    • US-China Trade Talks in Shadow of Coming Tariff Increase

      U.S. and Chinese negotiators are to resume trade talks just hours before the United States is set to raise tariffs on Chinese imports in a dramatic escalation of tensions between the world’s two biggest economies.

      In Beijing, Chinese officials said Thursday they will retaliate if President Donald Trump goes ahead with more tariff hikes but offered no specific penalties.

      The talks starting up again Thursday were thrown into disarray this week after top U.S. trade negotiator Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin accused the Chinese of reneging on commitments they’d made earlier. In response to the alleged backsliding, the United States is raising tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports from 10% to 25% at 12:01 a.m. Eastern time Friday.

      The two countries are sparring over U.S. allegations that China steals technology and pressures American companies into handing over trade secrets, part of an aggressive campaign to turn Chinese companies into world leaders in robotics, electric cars and other advanced industries.

    • ‘Unhinged, Insensitive, and Lying’: Trump Uses Bar Graph to Spread Falsehood About Puerto Rico Hurricane Aid

      President Donald Trump spent the opening minutes of a campaign rally in Panama City Beach, Florida on Wednesday attacking hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico for not sufficiently appreciating his administration’s relief efforts—which critics have decried as grossly inadequate—and attempting to use a bar graph to bolster his repeatedly debunked claim that the island has received a record amount of storm aid.

      “I brought a chart. Would you like to see a chart?” Trump said, pulling a piece of paper from his jacket pocket to cheers from the audience.

      “That’s Puerto Rico and they don’t like me,” said the president, pointing to a section of the bar graph purporting to show that Puerto Rico has received $91 billion in hurricane relief funding.

      As The Associated Press reported, Trump’s “number is wrong, as is his assertion that the U.S. territory has set some record for federal disaster aid. Congress has so far distributed only about $11 billion for Puerto Rico, not $91 billion.”

    • The Constitution Desperately Needs a New Amendment

      “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” the Founding Fathers stated in the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Of course, they didn’t really mean “all men,” excluding slaves and indigenous Native Americans. And they certainly didn’t include women. The U.S. Constitution that followed a dozen years later maintained the inequality. Over the intervening 240 years, this governing document, the oldest written constitution in the world still in use, has been amended many times — but never to extend the guarantee of equality to women. The Equal Rights Amendment, or ERA, first introduced in 1923, seeks to correct that, and may now, nearly a century later, be close to passage. As with all significant progressive advances achieved over the history of this country, grassroots organizing has brought the ERA this far. Whether it gets passed and included as the 28th Amendment depends on the strength of the intersectional movements demanding equality for women.

      “Why didn’t women achieve full constitutional equality in 1787 or 1982? Because the country wasn’t ready?” actor Patricia Arquette asked last week at a congressional House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on the ERA. It was the first such hearing in almost four decades. “Well, I hope you’re ready now! Because women have been waiting 232 years for equality in this country, and it has failed them. Legislators have blocked the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment for decades. But we’re done waiting.”

      California Democratic Congressmember Jackie Speier is leading the renewed push to pass the ERA. She is the sponsor of House Joint Resolution 38, which legislatively strips away an arbitrary deadline for ratification of the ERA, established in 1972, requiring ratification within 10 years. After the deadline passed in 1982, and under assault by the Reagan administration, efforts to approve the ERA faded. “We need the ERA so that we can join the rest of the industrialized countries in the world,” Speier said at the hearing, “so that we can achieve our full economic and social potential. We will no longer allow ourselves to be an afterthought. We need the ERA now.”

      The Equal Rights Amendment states: “Women shall have equal rights in the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” This language was passed by Congress in 1972, then sent to the states for ratification. Thirty states ratified quickly, out of the 38 needed. Several more states joined in during the ’70s. Nevada ratified the ERA in 2017, and Illinois did the same in 2018 — bringing the total to 37 states.

    • Listen to TurboTax Lie to Get Out of Refunding Overcharged Customers

      The makers of TurboTax have long been luring customers into paying for a service that they promised the government they’d give away for free. Now they’re lying to customers to avoid giving refunds.

      We’ve heard from 16 people who say they were denied refunds and told that the truly free version — Free File — is a government product that’s not run by TurboTax. Ten others reported being told that ProPublica’s stories were inaccurate, or that our coverage is “fake news” or “fictitious.”

      None of that is true.

    • The Melting of the Fortress of Solitude

      The American dream is the eternal one: wealth by luck, power by wealth, and freedom from responsibility by power. The American nightmare is our most democratized experience: impoverishment by design, powerlessness by impoverishment, and the shackling of the powerless to responsibility for the crimes of wealth.

      We live in a mediocracy, the mark of failure is success. To be fully human is to fail at being a successfully commodified robot.

      The orgy of gun violence we live with daily is the product of a complete failure to craft and make universally available systems of genuine education. It is because minds are depreciated and discarded en masse to facilitate the obsession for accumulation that our mass consumption and massive violence are so pervasively mindless. We are drowning in the blood of our own unacknowledged denial, our own decapitated awareness of responsibility.

    • The Gig Is Up: Rep. Deb Haaland Introduces Bill to Make Uber & Lyft Pay Their Fair Share of Taxes

      As Uber and Lyft drivers staged a strike on Wednesday, Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) announced legislation that would require Uber and Lyft to pay for drivers’ Social Security and Medicare costs. Because drivers are considered “independent contractors,” they are currently required to pay Social Security & Medicare costs themselves. Haaland’s legislation would place that burden entirely on Lyft, Uber, and other multinational corporations employing large numbers of so-called independent contractors in the gig economy. Rep. Deb Haaland said in a statement “The gig is up.” She joins us from Capitol Hill.

    • Yelp and the Myth of Consumer Power

      If you wait tables for a living, chances are that the website Yelp has affected how you think about and even perform your work. Restaurant managers and owners regularly, sometimes daily, pore over their Yelp reviews and – depending on the content of those reviews – praise, reprimand, and even fire servers who can be identified from customers’ online comments.

      In conducting research for my book Consumer Management in the Internet Age, I interviewed dozens of service workers (as well as managers and reviewers), the majority of whom have been confronted about Yelp reviews by their managers and know of at least one server who has been fired due to being criticized on Yelp. As one server noted, “We all read the reviews, good and bad, (as) it was quite easy to figure out who was being talked about. Most of my working associates hated Yelp. I know of two servers that lost their positions because of the reviews.”

      Similarly, a server at Luke’s Bar and Grill in Manhattan described a case in which a coworker had been reprimanded because of a Yelp review that complained that the employee had not been paying adequate attention on the job. In addition to the reprimand, management demanded that the coworker carefully read and “think about” the five paragraph, reportedly hurtful, review.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • A lag in fundraising casts doubt on DNC’s 2020 influence

      The Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) political power come 2020 remains on the line, as the committee continues to lag behind its Republican counterpart in fundraising, potentially causing problems for Democrats as they prepare for an expensive battle against President Donald Trump in the upcoming election.

      The Republican National Committee (RNC) collected a record-breaking $15.5 million in contributions in March, far surpassing the DNC’s $8.1 million, which included a $1 million loan. About 87 percent of the RNC’s March donations went toward its campaign efforts. That’s more than double the $6.3 million spent by the DNC in the same month. The RNC currently stands with $33.1 million cash-on-hand, triple that of the DNC.

      Although giving to individual candidates and outside groups has steadily risen over the past decade, contributions to the national committees have stayed fairly steady. The DNC has yet to surpass its 2004 fundraising record of $404 million.

      Recent filings show signs of financial trouble ahead for the DNC. This March’s haul is half of what the DNC raised at the same time in 2015. A $6.6 million debt from past election expenses also weighs on the DNC’s financial future. The RNC has no debt.

      This comes as wealthy megadonors are already pumping contributions into joint fundraising committees that split contributions between Trump’s campaign and the RNC. This year, Trump’s Make America Great Again committee has already transferred $4.2 million to the RNC.

    • The Real Muellergate Scandal

      I did not comment instantly on the Mueller Report as I was so shocked by it, I have been waiting to see if any other facts come to light in justification. Nothing has. I limit myself here to that area of which I have personal knowledge – the leak of DNC and Podesta emails to Wikileaks. On the wider question of the corrupt Russian 1% having business dealings with the corrupt Western 1%, all I have to say is that if you believe that is limited in the USA by party political boundaries, you are a fool.

      On the DNC leak, Mueller started with the prejudice that it was “the Russians” and he deliberately and systematically excluded from evidence anything that contradicted that view.

      Mueller, as a matter of determined policy, omitted key steps which any honest investigator would undertake. He did not commission any forensic examination of the DNC servers. He did not interview Bill Binney. He did not interview Julian Assange. His failure to do any of those obvious things renders his report worthless.

      There has never been, by any US law enforcement or security service body, a forensic examination of the DNC servers, despite the fact that the claim those servers were hacked is the very heart of the entire investigation. Instead, the security services simply accepted the “evidence” provided by the DNC’s own IT security consultants, Crowdstrike, a company which is politically aligned to the Clintons.

      That is precisely the equivalent of the police receiving a phone call saying:

    • More than money – How to tame online political ads

      The Electoral Commission’s Director of Regulation, Louise Edwards, recently put out a call for new laws to regulate online political adverts. She argued that the adverts need to show clearly and directly who has paid for them. [1] Whilst knowing who has paid for online ads is important, it’s only part of the picture. The whole process of online political advertising needs to be more tightly regulated.

      Political parties target ads online by using personal data to include or exclude potential voters. This drives down spending by targeting only a narrow slice of the population. In addition, automated messaging is becoming both cheaper and more sophisticated. Both of these practices will significantly reduce the amount of money needed by campaigns.

    • Joe Biden Doesn’t Deserve Your Nostalgia

      If there is one thing we can take away from the first two weeks of Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, it’s that the former vice president is feeling nostalgic. Uncle Joe is longing for the good old days, before President Trump happened and before the Republican Party went completely off the rails. The days when Democrats and Republicans could be friends, when compromise wasn’t a dirty word, and when civility prevailed. The days when the center held strong, and pragmatic statesmen like him and his friend Dick Cheney could cut deals behind closed doors. The days, in other words, when things were normal.

      As some have already pointed out, Biden is essentially running a backward-looking campaign of restoration based on Democratic nostalgia for the Obama years, which in itself will get him a long way in the polls (at least in the Democratic primaries). But it is also clear that Biden’s nostalgia goes much further back than the heyday of the Obama administration.

      The former VP embodies a kind of baby boomer nostalgia for the era during which what is now called neoliberalism prevailed. That period started around the time Biden was elected to the Senate as a young man in 1972 (technically, Biden is a few years too old to qualify as a boomer, but he fits right in with that generation). That he harbors a certain romantic longing for the days of old, when the best and the brightest acted like adults and bipartisan centrism was the only game in town, is all one really needs to know about Biden in order to get an idea of how he will govern if elected president. Those who thought Barack Obama was too much of a centrist will miss him once Biden becomes president.

    • On Kids In Cages (Still)

      One year after the Billion Dollar Loser launched a cruelly pointless, state-sanctioned kidnapping of migrant children at the southern border, lawmakers awoke this week to an art installation on the Capitol Hill lawn featuring a child in a cage and an anguished mother in a foil blanket reaching out to him as a protest against the ongoing horrors. The artwork, a joint project by Paola Mendoza and advocacy group Families Belong Together, appeared May 7, the anniversary of the announcement by evil elf Jeff Sessions of a “zero-tolerance” policy that led to over 2,800 children being ripped from their families. Because things can always get worse, it turned out thousands more were likely separated before the policy was made public and that the goons were so inept they didn’t know how to reconnect children to their parents. And while public outrage and a court order forced the regime to halt the atrocities last June, advocates say hundreds of families continue to be ripped apart – 40 a month in Texas and dozens each day in California, some as young as 18 months, with all the pervasive, long-term trauma that experts say will result.

    • House Panel Votes to Hold AG Barr in Contempt

      The House Judiciary Committee has voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress.

      The vote Wednesday capped a day of ever-deepening dispute between congressional Democrats and President Donald Trump, who invoked executive privilege to block lawmakers from the full report on Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

      Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York declared the action by Trump’s Justice Department a clear new sign of the president’s “blanket defiance” of Congress’ constitutional rights to conduct oversight.

      Nadler said after the contempt vote, “We did not relish doing this, but we have no choice.”

    • Donald Trump Is a Dangerous Human Version of 1980s Muzak

      was in Walgreens the other day in search of Band-Aids with cartoons on them, because my daughter is a self-described “boo-boo catastrophe” who insists I only purchase bandages festooned with beloved children’s movie characters. As my fingers did the walking through various Disney-themed wound care products, I sensed a great disturbance in the Force. The source of my distress? The low moan of ‘80s-era Muzak oozing from the overhead speakers.

      My loathing for the 1980s is almost seamless, a perfection of hatred salvaged only by the existence in that time of people like Henry Rollins and Bob Mould. There was plenty of good music to be found during that pestiferous decade if you had a pick-axe and some spare time. The bad music, being mostly pop music not created by Prince, was omnipresent and on permanent repeat. If a pop song hit big and you were foolish enough to have a radio on, you might hear it three times within a single hour. Compound that over many years and it became personally damaging, like an arterial bleed in your soul. There are many people who enjoy ‘80s music today. Many of them, I strongly suspect, didn’t experience it in real time.

      The Muzak “song” I heard that day in Walgreens? “These Dreams,” by Heart. I recognized it from the first tinny note because I heard it approximately 833,912,007 times after it came out, and it came out when the ‘80s were already half over. All sorts of Seattle people are going to send me indignant emails after reading this, because Seattle people are unusually defensive about hometown bands like Heart, so let me just say that Heart is awesome, Seattle is awesome, but “These Dreams” was a terrible thing that should have never happened. You know this. Cope with the pain like I do.

    • A Constitutional Crisis? House Panel Holds AG Barr in Contempt as Trump Claims Executive Privilege

      The House Judiciary Committee has voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress over his refusal to turn over the unredacted Mueller report and the underlying evidence to lawmakers. Meanwhile, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff has issued a subpoena to the Justice Department for the unredacted report. This all came after the White House invoked executive privilege to prevent the full report’s release to Congress and to bar former White House counsel Don McGahn from providing documents to Congress related to the Mueller probe. We speak with Ian Millhiser, a columnist for ThinkProgress whose recent piece is headlined “Trump’s claim that the Mueller report is protected by executive privilege is hot garbage.”

    • Bolsonaro Is a Threat to Brazil’s Democracy

      Lying is on the rise in Brazil.

      Right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro bets on historical forgeries and frauds to discredit the fundamental values ​​of our civilization — such as human rights, freedom, and the rule of law — and thus strengthen his ideology of intolerance. Democracy is at stake, though some still try to deny it. Through his absurd fabrications, the president works to broaden his supporters’ fanaticism and pave his way toward open authoritarianism.

      Two recent examples show how Bolsonaro works.

      The first came during his visit to Israel. On April 2, after visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Center in Jerusalem, he stated that Nazism was a leftist movement. Other members of his government agreed with him. The foreign affairs minister, Ernesto Araújo, had already said and written the same absurdity more than once.

      No serious historian would accept the thesis of a “leftist Nazism,” of course, but Bolsonaro and Araujo don’t care about serious historians. They want to convince Brazilians that Hitler’s great crime was leading a leftist movement. His other mistakes were minor in comparison. Even the holocaust, as Bolsonaro declared on April 11, can be “forgiven.” What should never be forgiven — he did not say, but he strongly suggests — is being a left-wing partisan.

      The second example of lies from Brazil’s head of government is equally serious. At the end of March, Bolsonaro and his spokesman repeatedly stated that the military takeover in Brazil in 1964 was not a coup, and that the regime implemented that year, which remained in power until 1985, was not a dictatorship. The whole world knows that it was indeed a dictatorship. Nevertheless, Bolsonaro ordered a military celebration on March 31 to remember with “due commemorations” the 55th anniversary of the coup.

      At least once a week the government issues an absurd statement against known facts and history. These are not mere gross provocations. Whoever witnesses the performance of current Brazilian government may have the impression that everything is chaotic. But there is a frightening consistency in the lies the president has uttered. They are the essential nucleus of his power — they synthesize his intention to demoralize the culture of peace, the spirit of solidarity, and the institutional stability of a democracy.

    • Why Democrats Should Open an Impeachment Inquiry

      House Democrats are plainly scared of impeachment. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told The New York Times last weekend that she worried Democrats would get bogged down in an impeachment proceeding, and the only way to get President Trump out was to nominate a bland moderate in 2020.

      She slightly changed her tune Wednesday, saying that Trump keeps “making the case” for impeachment” and that “he’s becoming self-impeachable.” It’s unclear what “self-impeachment” could entail, but as yet Democrats have not taken any concrete steps on the matter.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • CBS Happily Engages In Censorship To Placate China

      CBS isn’t exactly known for making coherent decisions. You’ll probably recall the company sued Dish Network for simply developing DVR ad-skipping technology consumers asked for. It then went so far as to ban its subsidiary CNET from giving Dish an innovation award for the technology at CES. There was also that time the company sued the public domain for simply existing, or those numerous times it obnoxiously hassled Star Trek fans for their fan service.

      But this week the company did something exceptionally idiotic, even for CBS. Over at the company’s CBS All Access streaming video service, some of the company’s TV shows have taken some additional liberties traditionally restricted on broadcast television. Characters on its “Star Trek: Discovery” spin off, for example, now occasionally say “fuck.” And its show “The Good Fight,” a spin off of its broadcast show “The Good Wife,” occasionally takes some more pointed stances politically than its more ambiguously scripted predecessor.

    • Mainstream Charities Bankroll Islamophobic Hate Groups, New Report Shows

      More than a thousand nonprofit foundations poured $125 million into 39 anti-Muslim organizations from 2014-16, according to a May 6 report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The donors included mainstream charitable organizations linked to companies such as Fidelity Investments and Charles Schwab.

      The authors of the report, Dr. Abbas Barzegar, national research and advocacy director, and Zainab Arain, national research and advocacy manager, used federal tax filings to compile a database of the funders of the “Islamophobia Network”—groups that CAIR considers Islamophobic. CAIR describes the network as “a close-knit family of organizations and individuals that share an ideology of extreme anti-Muslim animus, and work with one another to negatively influence public opinion and government policy about Muslims and Islam.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Years Ago, I Investigated Mississippi’s Prisons. Here’s Why I’m Doing It Again.

      It was an inmate on his cellphone. He was inside a Mississippi prison, and he had something to tell me.

      I waited for the words that I thought would come next. Perhaps he would share the details of the conviction that led to his time there. Or insist he had been railroaded. Or mistreated.

      Instead, he wanted to explain to me all the corruption that was going on inside the prison.

      I was intrigued, and my colleagues and I at the Clarion Ledger began a 13-month investigation into Mississippi prisons.

      In the days that followed, he continued to call, reporting on what was happening inside the prison, sometimes giving me a play-by-play.

      “We’re supposed to be on lockdown, and there are guys [fellow inmates] walking around with samurai swords — 3- or 4-foot swords,” he told me. “We’re living in a Martin Scorsese movie.”

      He and other inmates sent me pictures of the weapons and other scenes from inside prison. Some showed walls that inmates had ripped out to remove reinforcing steel.

      “Why would they do that?” I asked.

    • Trump Hailed This State’s Prison Reforms as a National Model — but the Numbers Reflect a Grim Reality

      Trump talked about the “fantastic job” that Mississippi Corrections Commissioner Pelicia Hall was doing of turning the state’s prisons into places that train inmates for jobs.

      The following month, Trump signed the First Step Act, whose goal is to reduce the federal prison population and better prepare offenders for life outside bars.

    • Arrested Pussy Riot member Veronika Nikulshina accused of drug use post facto as six of her friends are also arrested

      An administrative protocol has been filed against Pussy Riot member Veronika Nikulshina that accuses the actress and activist of using narcotics or refusing to undergo a medical inspection, Mediazona reported. A court may consider the accusations as soon as May 10. Nikulshina was arrested on May 8 without a warrant or a protocol; at the time, the police reportedly attempted to explain their actions by saying that “a group of young people have damaged a piece of government property.”

      Shortly before the protocol was filed, Nikulshina’s friend Alexandra Albova and her boyfriend were also arrested, journalist and fellow Pussy Riot member Pyotr Verzilov wrote on Twitter.

    • The Militarization of Empathy

      ABC News carried an “America Strong”-type segment of a boy, about to celebrate his 9thbirthday, opening a large gift, with his mother, out of sight of the camera, asking him, “Who sent you this special package?” Referring to his deployed soldier- father, he replies, “The best daddy in the whole wide world.” He opens the big package, and finds a smaller package inside – and a note. He stares at the note, then exclaims, “He actually wrote this!” He begins to read his father’s message: “I am so sorry but there have been quite a few problems happening here, and it looks like I will not be able to be home for your birthday this year.” The boy starts to choke up, and slowly and sadly continues to read his father’s note: “I am so sorry. I hope you understand. I would have done anything to be with you. I was able to get you a special surprise. So I hope it makes up for me not coming home. I love you with all my heart. I miss you very much. Daddy.” Then he holds the letter to his face and burst into tears. (“Deployed dad surprises son on his birthday,”ABC News, May 6, 2018)

      The boy’s mother encourages him to open the smaller box – as if what he had read had not affected her. He reacts angrily, “You were about to cry, too!” But he takes her advice, and opens the small package. Inside was a note that read, “Surprise.” He looks around, bewildered. He then looks up and sees his father, who suddenly appears from a hallway, He throws aside the big box, runs across the room and flies into his father’s arms, crying, “Daddy! Daddy! I miss you! I miss you!” (Ibid) It was enough to melt one’s heart, and lead one to not think about what “daddy” might have been doing overseas.

      The militarizing of empathy is repeatedly employed by mainstream media in their airing of heartstring-pulling stories of soldiers’ surprise homecomings. There are the soldiers dressed in disguises: like the father, after a year in Afghanistan, arriving home in a fire truck, decked out in firefighting gear and gas mask. Kneeling before his two daughters, he took off his gas mask, and the surprised daughters cried out, “Daddy!,” and hugged him, “with tears of joy,” much to the delight of a gathered crowd.

      Another is a blindfolded son in a martial arts class, sparring with his instructor. Then his father, dressed in fatigues, replaces the instructor, and as they spar — with an American flag in the background — the father says with a smile, “Keep it going.” The son spars more slowly, and his father comments, “Come on! Is that all you got?.” Knowing that voice, the son quickly pulls off the blindfold and sees his father right in front of him. He says, “Daddy!,” and leaps into his father’s arms, as the class bursts into applause.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • New USPTO Procedures For More PTA Under Supernus

      The USPTO has announced new procedures patent holders can follow to obtain additional Patent Term Adjustment (PTA) under the Federal Circuit’s January 2019 decision in Supernus Pharm., Inc. v. Iancu. According to the May 9, 2019, Federal Register Notice, patent owners can request reconsideration of PTA awards that are based on a deduction for “applicant delay” during a period of time when “there was no identifiable effort” the patentee could have taken to avoid the delay. The USPTO is not providing a new window for requesting reconsideration of PTA on this basis, but a request for reconsideration still could be filed for patents granted within the past seven months.

      [...]

      As noted above, the USPTO is not providing a new window for requesting reconsideration of PTA under Supernus, but notes in the Notice that a request for reconsideration of PTA can be filed “as late as seven months after the date the patent was granted” by paying the maximum (five month) extension of time fees.

    • Federal Circuit: “The Doctrine of Equivalents Applies ONLY in Exceptional Cases”

      Amgen sued Sandoz for infringing its U.S. Patents 6,162,427 and 8,940,878. Both patents relate to Amgen’s biologic products (filgrastim and pefilgrastim) used as treatments for neutropenia. The lawsuit here is unique because it was filed under Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (“BPCIA”). As an add-on to Hatch-Waxman, the BPCIA defines submission of an FDA biosimilar application (aBLA) as a form of patent infringement. See 35 U.S.C. § 271(e)(2)(C) (defining submission of an aBLA as an act of patent infringement).

      The ‘472 patent claims a “method of treating a disease” by giving a patient Filgrastim/Pegfilgrastim prior to chemotherapy in order to stimulate stem-cell growth. After treatment with Filgrastim, the claims require “administering to the patient a disease treating-effective amount of at least one chemotherapeutic agent.” The idea here appears to be that the Filgrastim will stimulate stem-cell growth so that stem cells will survive harsh cancer treatment.

      [...]

      In its claim construction, the district court held that the claims required separate steps of “applying a refold solution”; washing the solution; and eulting the protein. That construction eliminated infringement since Sandoz process only requires one step — applying the refold solution without washing or eluting. On appeal, the Federal Circuit argued that Sandoz’ approach is effectively the same — and that its claims should be read as functional requirements rather than actual process steps.

      The Federal Circuit sided with the accused infringer — holding that each step in the method is a separate process step that must be done in a particular order. Most notably, the court noted (1) the fact that the patentee had sequentially listed its steps a-g; and (2) the washing and eluting steps are “consistently described in the specification as separate steps performed by different solutions.”

    • Forrester Consulting releases report on Incopro’s Talisman

      Incopro’s Talisman is a software platform which assists companies with the detection and elimination of counterfeits. Forrester Consulting has carried out a Total Economic Impact study to assess the return on investment (ROI) for businesses that use Incopro’s Talisman.

      Forrester interviewed four customers with experience of Incopro’s Talisman platform in order to gain knowledge of the advantages of investing in the system. The consulting company used the data to create a composite organisation with a three-year financial model.

    • Prior art found for Landmark Technology patent!

      Unified is pleased to announce the PATROLL crowdsourcing contest winner, Sachin Srivastava, who received a cash prize of $2,500 for his prior art submission for U.S. Patent 6,289,319, owned by Landmark Technology, LLC, an NPE. The ’319 patent, directed to an automatic business and financial transaction processing system, has been asserted against dozens of companies in over 60 district court cases. To help the industry fight bad patents, we have published the winning prior art below.

    • Trademarks

      • Who needs Proof of Actual Confusion? Not a TM Plaintiff

        The case caption suggests the cause of action – trademark infringement. Segway complained to the ITC, and the ITC agreed that Swagway’s self-balancing hoverboard products infringe — although it found no infringement for Swagway’s use of SwagTron. On appeal, the Federal Circuit has affirmed.

      • USPTO Issues CBD Trademark Guidelines in Light of 2018 Farm Bill: Key Takeaways

        The new guidelines also make clear that the date the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into effect, December 20, 2018, will be the watermark for if previously-filed federal trademark applications can benefit from the 2018 Farm Bill. For applications filed on or after December 20, 2018, assuming a description of goods and services that comports with the new guidelines, everything should be compliant; but those filed before December 20, 2018 have a tougher path.

        Specifically, for those use-based applications filed before enactment of the 2018 Farm Bill, “that identify goods encompassing CBD or other cannabis products, registration will be refused due to the unlawful use or lack of bona fide intent to use in lawful commerce under the CSA.” However, the new guidelines allow applicants of such applications to amend the application to change: (1) the filing date to December 20, 2018 and, for applications based on use in commerce, (2) the filing basis to intent-to-use (as the USPTO will consider any such previously submitted use as illegal prior to the 2018 Farm Bill), to provide a proper, legal basis for registration. The USPTO will also require applicants to amend goods identifications to “specify that the CBD or cannabis products contain less than 0.3% THC” and are derived from hemp. Unfortunately for applicants of amended applications, the guidelines also require the USPTO to conduct a new search based on the amendments, including the new filing date.

Links 9/5/2019: Krita 4.2 Alpha, GNOME 3.32.2, Ubuntu Touch OTA-9

Posted in News Roundup at 9:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Entroware Ares Review: An Awesome And Affordable All-In-One Ubuntu Linux PC

      don’t normally spoil the verdict in the lead paragraph of my reviews, but Entroware — a European PC builder specializing in Linux machines — has convinced me there’s room for an All-in-One in my life. I’ve been using the company’s Ares AIO for a few months, and it’ll be a shame to ship it back as it’s become a useful and attractive desk companion. The Ares is sleek, affordable and even with a “lowly” Intel Core i3 CPU it goes toe-to-toe with my trusty Dell XPS 13 9370.

      So let’s talk about it.

      All-in-one PCs like the Ares consolidate the traditional computer tower into the monitor housing, meaning all the components are tucked behind the display. Designs like this are well-suited for the majority of more casual Linux users, or those who can get their working and playing accomplished without a dedicated GPU (the Ares’ only weakness). For people short on space or simply craving a streamlined work environment, this is an elegant solution.

    • Every Chromebook sold this year will support Linux apps

      If the ability to run desktop Linux apps on Chromebooks is something that interests you, but you’re yet to bite on buying a device to do it, it sounds like your patience has paid off!

      Google has apparently said that every Chromebook launched in 2019 will support Linux apps out of the box, according to an Android Police update on Google I/O 2019 happenings.

      Linux Apps on Chrome OS (codenamed “Crostini”) made their formal debut last year when they entered beta with the release of ChromeOS 69.

      The feature is still in beta as of the most recent Chrome OS release, v75, but is already proving popular with users, with particular appeal amongst developers.

    • Linux-Ready Chromebooks To Launch This Year With Android Studio

      Google has confirmed that all laptops running Chrome OS this year will be Linux-Ready Chromebooks. The news comes after the main keynote at Google I/O which introduced a number of features to Google Search, Google Assistant and a lot more.

      Google also confirmed that Linux-Ready Chromebooks will have an easy time installing Android Studio. Earlier this wasn’t the case as developers struggled with developing Android apps on Chromebooks.

    • All Chromebooks launched this year will be Linux-ready

      Last year, Google brought Linux support to Chromebooks. It’s a really nifty feature, and it’s only been improving since I/O 2018. But this year, Google announced that all Chromebooks launched in 2019 will be Linux-ready right out of the box, which is great for developers, enthusiasts, and newbies alike.

      These announcements have been quick and brief, but at least this news is straight to the point, though every Chromebook I’ve tested recently had Linux support. As someone who regularly distro hops on my personal machines, the Linux installation process on Chrome OS is top-notch for ease of use, I must say.

  • Server

    • Red Hat Universal Base Image: RHEL containers for everyone

      love containers. You love containers. We all love containers. But making containers that do everything we want without problems… well, that’s not so easy. At Red Hat Summit in Boston, Red Hat has an idea on how to fix that: Red Hat Universal Base Image (UBI).

      This, as Ron Pacheco, Red Hat’s RHEL’s director of product management, explained, helps you build truly productive containers. After all, while it’s beautiful to deploy applications in containers, “from a Linux perspective, it’s complicated.” He said, “You have user space and libraries in your container, you have Kubernetes and kernel interoperating in a way that was never done in the hypervisor world.”

    • What to look forward to on Day 2 of Red Hat Summit

      If you thought day one was fun, just wait until you see what’s on the agenda for day two of Red Hat Summit 2019. We have not one, but two fantastic general sessions on the schedule, as well as a full day of breakouts, instructor-led labs, Open Source Stories, and puppies.

    • OpenShift Commons Gathering at Red Hat Summit Boston 2019 Recap [with Slides]

      The OpenShift Commons Gathering at Red Hat Summit brought together experts from all over the world to discuss the container technologies, operators, the operator framework, best practices for cloud-native application developers and the open source software projects that underpin the OpenShift ecosystem to help take us all to the next level in cloud-native computing. This gathering brought 1,000+ developers, project leads, cloud architects, DevOps professionals, sysadmins, and cloud-native practitioners together to explore the next steps in making container technologies successful and secure at scale.

    • Splunk Connect for OpenShift – Logging Part

      Red Hat OpenShift already provides an aggregated logging solution based on the EFK stack, fully integrated with the platform. But we also provide choice for companies that have settled on a different platform.

      Some companies have a Splunk logging platform to store and to aggregate the logs for all their environments and they want to send their container logs to the same platform.

      This post explains how to easily integrate Splunk with Red Hat OpenShift using the new Splunk Connect for Kubernetes. The first part is focused on how to use Splunk Kubernetes Logging.

    • New Kubernetes OperatorHub for Red Hat OpenShift to enable hybrid cloud flexibility for enterprises

      Today, Red Hat announces Red Hat OpenShift 4, the industry’s most comprehensive enterprise Kubernetes platform. With this, we celebrate a new capability to further enable the flexibility of hybrid cloud on any infrastructure: OperatorHub embedded for Red Hat OpenShift. We are also introducing Red Hat OpenShift Operator Certification to deliver to customers a trusted ecosystem of enterprise applications with consistent packaging, deployment and lifecycle management across all OpenShift footprints.

      Today’s achievement builds on the work we’ve done around Operators, starting with the introduction of the Operator concept in 2016. In 2018, we announced the Operator Framework to help others build and automate the lifecycle of Operators. Earlier this year we announced the OperatorHub.io community of curated Kubernetes Operators to make it easier to find and share Operators.

      With OperatorHub embedded on OpenShift 4, developers and administrators are empowered to automate and orchestrate complex tasks required to maintain an application across any cloud where Kubernetes runs. Kubernetes Operators implement cloud-like automation capabilities, such as self-service provisioning, self-tuning, data-replication, automated backups, and automated updates, for their respective services. Red Hat OpenShift has more than 40 Operators available in its embedded OperatorHub catalog, including both community and OpenShift Certified Operators. With Red Hat certified Operators, businesses can provide their developers with a toolbox of workloads “as-a-service,” verified on OpenShift and backed by Red Hat and its partners.

    • Introducing Red Hat OpenShift 4: Kubernetes for the Enterprise

      Today at Red Hat Summit we celebrate the announcement of Red Hat OpenShift 4, which will be available in the next month.

      A big thank you to our customers from more than 1,000 worldwide organizations, our partners, the Kubernetes community at large, and our Red Hat teams for all of the progress we’ve made together on the platform.

      In this first major release since we completely rebased OpenShift 3 on Kubernetes four years ago, we’re going beyond Kubernetes and the fully integrated platform we deliver through OpenShift, and redefining Kubernetes for the enterprise through full stack automation.

    • Innovation’s rocket fuel: Linux and hybrid cloud

      50 years ago on July 20th, a computer deposited two men on the moon. The space race, driven by the two most powerful nations in the world at the time, was won with technology that possesses barely a fraction of the processing power of your mobile phone. But NASA did it – Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin touched the moon and came back.

      In order to expand beyond mankind’s known limits, space exploration required a wave of innovation, from advancements in computer technology to space suits, to achieve the bold goal of the moon landing. Most IT organizations aren’t trying to launch into low Earth orbit or land on a celestial body, but we have our own bold goals. We want to build better applications, faster. We want to have 100 percent uptime. We want to anticipate the needs of users before they even know what they want. We want to just be better.

    • Frontier: World’s Fastest Supercomputer Crunches 1.5 ExaFlops, Coming In 2021

      Frontier is ORNL’s fourth supercomputer following Jaguar, Titan, and Summit, each machine coming with capabilities that were ‘World’s fastest’ at the time of their launch.

      The development of Frontier followed by many supercomputers by the DOE will make the US a pioneer in supercomputers, ready to take on the world with a superfast performance.

      Currently, China has the world’s largest number of supercomputers. However, with the arrival of Frontier and Aurora supercomputers, the scale may start to tip in America’s favor.

    • Elastic Expands With Out-Of-The-Box End-To-End Monitoring

      With the introduction of smart phones and we’ve all gotten used to carrying computers in our pockets, has come the explosion of data. Just a few years ago we were in awe of a 1 terabyte (TB) hard drive, now software companies are casually talking about petabytes. Next up exabytes, or one quintillion bytes. It’s all cool until you want to find some useful information in that storm of data.

      Users need to see value from these massive data sets (e.g., at what point to customers drop out of the purchase process?). With event-driven architectures, engineers also need to capture data about data so they can figure out what’s going on internally in their systems as the data flows from one API to the next, out to the edge and back, at speeds previously thought not possible.

    • CloudLinux Around the World: Nikolay in Limassol

      When people ask me, “Nikolay, why did you leave the bleak, Russian interior for the warm, mediterranean beaches of Limassol?”, I normally chuckle and wait while they think about what they’ve just said. A few seconds later, they’ll smile. Then they’ll say, “Why here? Why not some other warm place?” Here’s what I tell them.

      Cyprus is a short flight from Kazan, my home city. I still have a house, family and friends, so it’s important to be able to hop back whenever I want to. Everyone here speaks a bit of English, so there’s not much of a language problem. In recent years, many Russians have moved to Limassol, perhaps 1 in every 10 are Russian, so I can still find the foods I miss, like grechka and some of our famous soups. It also means our 15-month-old daughter had no trouble finding playmates. It’s here she learned to walk, and she’s part of the reason for coming. Learning to walk in the snow isn’t much fun for a toddler. It seemed a shame to keep her indoors during this important phase in her life. So, my wife and I, we decided to spend some time somewhere else. Not long after we arrived in Cyprus, she (my daughter, not my wife!) was joyfully scampering around the garden, kicking up eucalyptus leaves and savoring the warm air. So, just to see that, it was worth coming.

    • Red Hat and Microsoft Fuel Hybrid Cloud Development with Azure Red Hat OpenShift

      Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, and Microsoft today announced the general availability of Azure Red Hat OpenShift, which brings a jointly-managed enterprise-grade Kubernetes solution to a leading public cloud, Microsoft Azure. Azure Red Hat OpenShift provides a powerful on-ramp to hybrid cloud computing, enabling IT organizations to use Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform in their datacenters and more seamlessly extend these workloads to use the power and scale of Azure services. The availability of Azure Red Hat OpenShift marks the first jointly managed OpenShift offering in the public cloud.

    • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella comes to Red Hat Summit

      If the mountain won’t come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain. Or, in this case, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella came to Red Hat Summit to announce a new Microsoft/Red Hat partnership: Azure Red Hat OpenShift.

    • Red Hat Brings OpenShift To Microsoft Azure
    • The new application environment: engineered for excellence

      In the first part of this series, we looked at the role of containers as a fundamental enabler of fine-grained, microservices architectures that enable rapid, incremental, trial-and-error innovation. In the second part, we described in some detail the continuing importance of “middleware”—whether it’s called middleware or something else—for development of enterprise applications in containerized, cloud-native environments. We arrived at the notion that not only must traditional middleware be substantially reimagined and refactored to optimally support cloud-native applications, it can also be substantially more powerful when it is “engineered together” in a way that creates a unified, coherent application environment. Let’s unpack this a bit and understand the opportunities, benefits, and requirements.

    • Red Hat Shares ― Linux: The hybrid cloud foundation

      We talk a lot about hybrid cloud because we believe it’s important to the IT strategy of most enterprises. (We dedicate an entire track to it at Red Hat Summit, happening this week.) But equally significant is the foundation of your hybrid cloud―the operating system (OS).

      Clouds are made up of the same interoperable technologies: OSs, virtualization software, management and automation tools, and application programming interfaces (APIs). The quality of those connections depends on the consistency, reliability, and flexibility of your OS.

    • “Red Hat Will Remain Independent; I’m Not Buying Them To Destroy Them,” Says IBM CEO

      Ever since IBM announced that it’s going to acquire the open source giant Red Hat, Linux and open source enthusiasts have been voicing their concerns regarding the future of Red Hat? Is it going to become just another IBM subsidiary or is Red Hat going to adopt IBM’s corporate culture?

      At the Red Hat Summit in Boston, executives of both companies shared their thoughts and reiterated their commitments to move forward and drive more innovation. When asked if the Linux giant would remain independent, IBM CEO, chairman, and president Ginni Rometty said: “I don’t have a death wish for $34 billion.”

    • At Red Hat Summit, RHEL 8 Unveiled Under IBM’s Cloud

      The unveiling of RHEL 8 would normally steal the show at Red Hat Summit, but this year the deal with IBM may overshadow that announcement.

    • What to look forward to on Day 3 of Red Hat Summit

      Two days are on the books, just one day left of Red Hat Summit 2019. We’re a bit sad, too, but don’t despair – there’s plenty left to do, see, and learn on Thursday. To cap it all off, we’re looking forward to Thursday night’s Red Hat Summit Party featuring Neon Trees and Fitz & the Tantrums. Let’s see what else is going on Thursday.

    • Inside the IT industry’s largest commercial open source software ecosystem

      longside this week’s product announcements at Red Hat Summit 2019, Red Hat delivers yet another major milestone in building an open hybrid cloud ecosystem with new certification offerings, a new approach to RHEL-based container images, better tools for Red Hat and partners to support customers as well as addressing the need for application portability.

      Red Hat’s vision of an open hybrid cloud is: any application, in any environment, on any cloud, portable and operated consistently – from public and private clouds to bare metal and virtual environments in traditional datacenters, the extended datacenter (edge) and end-user devices.

    • Journey to the hybrid cloud – it starts with the platform

      Organizations today are investing in new technologies and practices to transform the way they deliver value to their customers. This has become a critical investment area as we move into an era of disruption, and cloud computing plays a vital role in supporting both the technologies and processes driving the digital transformation imperative. Offering greater speed, cloud-based strategies leave more time for companies to focus on building and delivering innovation, value, and differentiation while creating financial efficiency.

      While moving to a single public cloud has many benefits, the reality is that for some workloads the public cloud simply doesn’t make sense, or meet requirements for things like control, security or regulatory compliance. As a result, a majority of today’s IT environments are inherently hybrid, comprising of applications deployed on-premises, and in both private and public clouds. Some highly optimized or secure workloads can continue to be deployed in bare metal and virtualized environments. As organizations embrace the public cloud, they may select multiple public clouds in order to take advantage of unique cloud capabilities as well as for optimizing vendors. According to IDC, 70 percent of customers already deploy multicloud environments and 64 percent of applications in a typical IT portfolio today are based in a cloud environment, whether public or private1. Therefore, many organizations are looking to embrace hybrid cloud strategies as the best way to achieve digital transformation.

    • Meet Red Hat Open Studio: An open community where creativity is the code

      As I prepare for my talk at Red Hat Summit 2019, I can’t help but think about what led to today.

      Since the moment you arrived at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center for Red Hat Summit (or watched the livestream if you couldn’t join us in person) you’ve experienced the efforts of Red Hat’s Marketing Communications team. This is the big game for us, and we work all year long to deliver an immersive, creative experience to showcase what Red Hat and the open source community are up to.

      But we don’t do it in a vacuum. It takes a multitude of internal teams, stakeholders, and external collaborators to bring this to life. It takes the Red Hat Open Studio.

    • Why open source holds the key to application portability in the hybrid cloud

      Gone are the days when IT decisions were black and white.

      The lines are blurred today. Virtualization and container platforms have started to converge. DevOps has taken on a central role as mediator between developers and system admins. Kubernetes has emerged as a platform for both infrastructure and applications. CIOs think in terms of on-prem and cloud deployments. Clearly, the operative word has changed from ‘or’ to ‘and’. This imperative is one of the drivers fueling the rise of hybrid cloud technologies.

      Recently, Joe Brockmeier wrote a great blog post on the value of enterprise open source technologies. I’d like to extend that discussion to the value of open source in the era of the hybrid cloud.

    • Red Hat Shifts Kubernetes Into High Gear as Linux Advances

      At Red Hat Summit, OpenShift version 4 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 are announced, as new foundations on which enterprise applications can be developed and delivered.

      When looking at the modern IT landscape, few if any technologies are as pervasive for enterprise application and cloud deployment as Linux. Leading the charge for enterprise Linux has long been Red Hat, which held its annual Red Hat Summit May 7- 9, announcing new Linux and Kubernetes container platform releases.

      Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 (RHEL) is the first major release of Red Hat’s flagship Linux platform since July 2014. The RHEL 8 release benefits from a new web console project that makes it easier for users to manage a system.

    • OpenShift 4: Red Hat’s on ramp for the hybrid cloud

      Traditionally, a hybrid cloud runs simultaneously on a public and private cloud. Historically, that’s been done with three models: Hybrid-cloud management software such as HPE Helion; vendor-native hybrid cloud platforms, such as Microsoft with Azure and Azure Stack; and Platforms-as-a-Service (PaaS) clouds, including Cloud Foundry, which can bridge over Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) clouds. Or, you can do what Red Hat announced at Red Hat Summit: Use Kubernetes container orchestration with Red Hat OpenShift 4.

    • Inspiration and Learning at SAS Global Forum

      As a technology partner with SAS, it is inspiring to see that real life challenges are being addressed with SAS Viya and other SAS products. SUSE plays an important role by providing open infrastructure which is reliable, secure, high performing, available on all major architectures and public clouds, with SUSE’s world class global support. We work closely with SAS to ensure an excellent platform for their applications, and a great experience for our joint customers. Masood Noori, solution architect at SUSE, worked closely with SAS R&D and SUSE’s performance experts to create a tuning guide for running SAS with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES). This SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Tuning and Configuration for SAS guide was the basis of Masood’s session topic at the event. Along with covering the tuning recommendations and methodology, Masood also provided background about SUSE, including news of becoming independent (see blog from CEO Nils Brauckmann), and our partnership with SAS.

    • SUSE Expert Days – Your kind of Open

      SUSE Expert Days are free, one-day training sessions, full of technical conversations and demos that will provide you with the tools you need to keep pace with your evolving business. Sessions are delivered by SUSE engineers, experts, and IT professionals that realize that in today’s business environments, every company is a digital company. The content is curated knowing that you not only have to keep up, you need to be ready to transform in an agile and strategic way.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • WireGuard Didn’t Make It Into Linux 5.2 Due To Windows Port, But That Is Now Available

      As for WireGuard not making it into the Linux 5.2 kernel, the lead developer of this secure network tunnel explained in an email into Phoronix that it was due to his focus on getting the WireGuard Windows support in order. But as of today that initial Windows port is now available and he’ll be returning to focusing on the Linux code.

    • XFS In Linux 5.2 Gets “A Big Pile Of New Stuff”

      While EXT4 in Linux 5.2 sees (optional) case insensitive file-name/directory support, the XFS file-system is seeing “a big pile of new stuff” introduced albeit it’s made up of a lot of fixes and some new functionality.

    • Linux 5.2 DRM Makes Icelake Production-Ready, Adds Lima & Panfrost Drivers

      The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) subsystem and driver updates have now been submitted and merged for the in-development Linux 5.2 kernel.

      On the driver front, this is the kernel bringing the reverse-engineered, community-developed Panfrost and Lima DRM/KMS drivers. Panfrost is the driver for ARM Mali Bifrost and Midgard graphics processors while Lima is for the older Mali 400/450 series. Panfrost is in particularly great shape and pairs with the new mainline Mesa Gallium3D driver of the same name for offering decent OpenGL acceleration on a fully open-source driver stack. It’s nice to see Arm Mali hardware finally being “freed” on the mainline Linux kernel by the community.

    • Legacy IDE Driver Now Deprecated, To Be Removed From Linux In 2021

      The Linux kernel’s legacy IDE driver has been officially deprecated as of Linux 5.2 and is expected to be removed entirely in 2021.

      Christoph Hellwig and David Miller went ahead with officially deprecating the legacy IDE driver in the Linux kernel. With Linux 5.2+, a warning will now be emitted on registering IDE hosts using this driver over the deprecation.

    • Linux 5.0.14

      I’m announcing the release of the 5.0.14 kernel.

      All users of the 5.0 kernel series must upgrade.

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

      https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s…

    • Linux 4.19.41
    • Linux 4.14.117
    • Linux 4.9.174
    • We Need to Save What Made Linux and FOSS Possible

      That’s all necessary, but not sufficient. We need something more. Something big.

      I suggest we pick a fight. Because fights raise emotions and have goals.

      I just ran a playoff between many different fights on many tabs in a browser. The winner—the last tab standing—is “The Era of General Purpose Computers Is Ending”, by Michael Feldman in The Next Platform website. It’s a sad bookend to the history of a losing fight that Cory Doctorow forecast in 2011 with “Lockdown: the coming war on general-purpose computing” and a year later in “The Coming Civil War over General Purpose Computing”. Read all three.

      I chose general-purpose computing as the winning fight—the one most worth having—because we wouldn’t have Linux, free software or open source today if there weren’t general-purpose computers to develop and use them on. General-purpose computing is the goose that laid all our golden eggs. The fight is to keep it alive.

    • Linux 5.2 Staging Adds New Subsystem/Drivers Yet Is 111k Lines of Code Lighter

      Linus Torvalds happily pulled in the staging subsystem updates today for the Linux 5.2 kernel. While new functionality was added to staging including two new “subsystems”, the overall net change for the lines of code is being 111,641 lines of code less.

    • EXT4 Case Insensitive Support Sent In For The Linux 5.2 Kernel

      The EXT4 case-insensitive directories / file-name lookups were sent in yesterday for the mainline Linux 5.2 kernel.

      As covered in that aforelinked article, the case-insensitive file-name look-up support works on a per-directory basis and can be setup by flipping on the +F inode attribute on an empty directory. The functionality relies upon Unicode 12.1 case handling and will preserve the actual case of the directory/filename on-disk. This functionality is specific to the EXT4 file-system driver itself although the Unicode code is entering a common area of the file-system kernel code.

    • ARM64 To Finally Broadcast Its Spectre State Via Sysfs, Prep For Neoverse & SVE2

      Longtime Linux kernel developer Will Deacon sent in the 64-bit ARM (ARM64 / AArch64) architecture changes on Monday for the in-development Linux 5.2 kernel.

    • Networking Changes For Linux 5.2 Bring New Realtek Driver But No WireGuard

      David Miller sent in the networking subsystem changes on Tuesday night for the in-development Linux 5.2 kernel.

      There are some notable network changes for Linux 5.2, but sadly one feature didn’t make it at least as part of this pull request… WireGuard still hasn’t been queued for the mainline Linux kernel. Following the new WireGuard revision sent out for review in March there was some hope we could see this secure network tunnel finally merged for Linux 5.2, but it’s not part of this networking pull.

    • Next-Gen AMD EPYC Changes To EDAC Driver Sent In For Linux 5.2 Kernel

      The notable change with the “EDAC” changes for Linux 5.2 comes down to the “Zen 2″ support for the new AMD EPYC processors launching later this year.

      EDAC is for the kernel’s subsystem of Error Detection And Correction device support to allow the collecting and reporting of events pertaining to ECC memory and other errors. With the in-development Linux 5.2 kernel, the EDAC feature pull adds in the Zen 2 support patches we originally wrote about back in February.

    • CEF on Wayland upstreamed

      CEF (Chromium Embedded Framework) provides a simple framework for embedded browser/web functionality in your application. It is built on top of Chromium and mitigates the issue of a fast-changing Chromium API with stable APIs.

      Over the past few years, Collabora has been involved in a number of customer projects to port/embed CEF on their platforms. One of the major projects related to this was to port CEF on Wayland.

      To give some background (see previous blog), Chromium supports multiple backends with its Ozone layer abstraction. Once Chromium is built with Ozone enabled, a specific backend (e.g Wayland, Headless, X11) can be chosen at runtime.

    • When x86 CPU Stacks Overflow, They Will Now Be More Pronounced With Linux 5.2+

      While the x86 IRQ changes to the Linux kernel during the merge window periods don’t tend to be too interesting for end-users, there is a pleasant change introduced with the Linux 5.2 kernel.

      Beginning with Linux 5.2, should your system(s) encounter any low-level stack overflows on x86-based processors, they should now be more “clear-cut faults/crashes” as opposed to experiencing silent memory corruption and sporadic failures. This is more useful to those that may be more ambitiously testing the Linux Git code but at least now if anything goes awry, it will be much quicker to spot problems as opposed to potentially odd behavior creeping in with time.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Linux Foundation’s Open Source Automotive Software Project Takes Off

        So far, AGL has deployed open-source software for instrument clusters, heads-up displays, and telematics. The organization’s software first appeared in the 2017 Toyota Camry but is now “shipping in millions of cars,” including other Toyota models and Mercedes vans.

        Cauchy says the next step is vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2X) applications that could connect cars to smart cities and smart grids. “We’re seeing large companies looking at open source as a way to improve the development process, time to market, and rapid innovation,” he continues. “They can focus on things that matter, things common to everyone.”

    • Graphics Stack

      • Radeon ROCm 2.4 Released With TensorFlow 2.0 Compatibility, Infinity Fabric Support

        AMD on Tuesday released a new version of the Radeon Open Compute “ROCm” OpenCL/compute GPU stack with two primary new features.

        ROCM 2.4 adds support for TensorFlow 2.0 and is able to support the new features of that update.

        Equally exciting is initial support for AMD Infinity Fabric Link for connecting Radeon Instinct MI50/MI60 boards via this Infinity Fabric interconnect technology. Infinity Fabric will become more important moving forward and great to see Radeon ROCm positioning the initial enablement code into this release.

      • KWin-LowLatency: An Effort To Yield Less Stutter & Lower Latency With The KDE Desktop

        The kwin-lowlatency project is an independent fork of the KWin window manager / compositor aiming to deliver less stutter and a more responsive KDE desktop experience.

        In seeking to address reported “heavy” stuttering and up to 50ms latency problems, KWin-lowlatency has been in development. The work isn’t just fixes to be trivially upstreamed but rather a refactoring of the internal code for how KWin paints the screen. KWin currently relies upon a timer that isn’t necessarily synchronized with the vblank interval of the display(s) and there are various workarounds to provide a better experience, but those workarounds can introduce input lag.

      • Android Q’s ANGLE Offering OpenGL ES On Top Of Vulkan 1.1

        With the Google I/O conference happening this week, Android Q Beta 3 was released and it continues furthering along the company’s Vulkan adoption.

        As outlined back in March, Google has been working to make Vulkan a requirement for all Android Q 64-bit devices and those plans are indeed panning out — and around Vulkan 1.1 rather than the older 1.0 specifications. For any 32-bit Android devices, Vulkan support will still be treated as optional but the vendors are encouraged to provide support for this high-performance graphics/compute API.

    • Benchmarks

      • Initial Benchmarks Of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0 On An Intel Xeon Cascade Lake Server

        Since yesterday’s release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0 we have been busy firing up benchmarks of RHEL8 on multiple workstations and servers. Over the next week or two will be some interesting benchmark results on multiple systems compared to multiple operating systems while for some preliminary RHEL8 performance data are benchmarks of the new Red Hat Linux distribution from the dual Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 “Cascade Lake” Gigabyte server compared to CentOS 7.6 (RHEL 7.6), Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS, Ubuntu 19.04, Fedora Server 29, Fedora Server 30, openSUSE Leap 15, and Clear Linux 29250.

        Prior to the RHEL 8.0 GA announcement I had been working on some fresh Ubuntu 19.04 server and Fedora Server 30 benchmarks on this Cascade Lake server given their recent releases, so this article also offers a first glimpse of those new Linux distributions on this high-end Gigabyte Storage server. This server is equipped with dual Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 processors yielding a combined 56 cores / 112 threads, GIGABYTE MD61-SC2-00 motherboard, 384GB of DDR4-2933 ECC Registered memory, and Samsung 970 PRO 512GB NVMe SSD.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Krita 4.2.0-alpha Released

        We’re on track to release Krita 4.2.0 this month, and today we’re releasing the alpha!

      • Krita 4.2 Alpha Brings Performance Improvements, Other Digital Painting Enhancements

        Krita 4.2 is slated to be released later in May while today an alpha release is available for helping to test this release, which should be in largely good shape considering there were more than 200 bugs closed in the past month.

        Krita 4.2 brings improved drawing tablet support across the major platforms, HDR painting support is now possible but only under Windows for now (the work was sponsored by Intel; HDR support under Linux itself is still lacking), there are Docker improvements, a better artistic color selector, color gamut masking, multi-brush improvements, and various other drawing workflow improvements.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GTK 3.96 Released As Another Step Closer To GTK 4.0

        It’s been quite a while since last hearing anything major about the overdue GTK4 tool-kit release but now available is GTK 3.96 as a test version that positions GNOME’s tool-kit closer to where they want it for GTK 4.0.

        GTK 3.96 brings a number of bug fixes to the GTK Scene Kit (GSK), re-working GDK to use more Wayland-inspired APIs while removing or pushing back the X11-only APIs to its respective back-end, there’s been a refactoring of the drag-and-drop support, the introduction of the new GtkLayoutManager widget, other widget changes, and an assortment of other lower-level work.

      • GNOME 3.32 Desktop Environment Gets Second and Final Point Release, Update Now

        Coming a month after the first point release, GNOME 3.32.2 is here to add a final touch of bug and security fixes, miscellaneous improvements, and translation updates to various of GNOME’s core apps and components. Being a stability release, GNOME 3.32.2 is recommended to all users running the latest GNOME 3.32 desktop environment.

        “Another month, another bugfix release. GNOME 3.32.2 is now available. This is a stable release in the 3.32 series, all distributions shipping GNOME 3.32 are encouraged to upgrade,” said Abderrahim Kitouni on behalf of the GNOME Release Team. “The [GNOME] 3.32 Flatpak runtimes on Flathub have been updated as well.”

      • GNOME 3.32.2 released!

        Hi,

        Another month, another bugfix release. GNOME 3.32.2 is now available. This is a stable release in the 3.32 series, all distributions shipping GNOME 3.32 are encouraged to upgrade. The 3.32 flatpak runtimes on flathub have been updated as well.

        This is the final release in the 3.32 series, but the flatpak runtimes will still be updated.

        If you want to compile GNOME 3.32.2, you can use the official
        BuildStream project snapshot:

        https://download.gnome.org/teams/releng/3.32.2/gnome-3.32.2.tar.xz

      • GNOME 3.32.2 Offers Up The Latest Batch Of Fixes

        GNOME 3.32.2 is now available as the latest (and final) stable release update for March’s big GNOME 3.32 desktop.

        Some of the highlights for GNOME 3.32.2 include:

        - A lot of fixes to the Epiphany web browser.

        - Crash fixes for GJS JavaScript.

        - The many GNOME Shell 3.32.1 fixes addressing a wide range of bugs.

        - RPM-OSTree improvements for GNOME Software.

      • GDA 5.2.9 Released

        GDA is the GNOME Data Access library, able you to use GObject like API to access database provides like PostgreSQL, SQLite and MySQL, among others like JDBC, running queries and get data in data models for your application use.

      • Molly de Blanc: Free software activities (April, 2019)

        April was a very exciting month for my free software life. Namely, I switched jobs, sadly leaving the FSF and excitedly starting at the GNOME Foundation. No one was mean to me in April, which is exciting as always.

        [...]

        Started at the GNOME Foundation as the Strategic Initiatives Manager!
        Attended and tables at Linux Fest Northwest on behalf of GNOME.
        Failed to determine if I want to pronounce the “g” in GNOME.

      • Of elitists and laypeople [Ed: Accusing technical GNU/Linux users of "Elitism" while using Microsoft stuff on the platform]

        I frankly don’t know the answer to the posed question, but I do know an analogy that prompted me to write this blog post. I am a humble contributor to the GNOME Project, chiefly as translator for Esperanto, but also miniscule bits and bobs here and there. GNOME faces a similar problem with detractors: They have their complaints about systemd, customisability, missing power user features, themes breaking, and so forth. And I’m sure they have some valid points, but GNOME remains the default desktop environment on many distributions, and many people use and love GNOME as I do.
        These detractors often run some heavily customised Arch Linux system with some unintuitive-but-efficient window manager, and don’t have any editor other than Vim installed. Or in other words: They run a system that the vast majority of people could not and do not want to use.
        And I understand these people, because in one aspect of my digital life, I have been one of them. For at least two years, I ran Spacemacs as my primary editor. For a while I even did my e-mail through that program, and I loved it. Kind of. Sure, everything was customisable, and the keyboard shortcuts were magically fast, but the mental overhead of using that program was slowly grinding me down. Some menial task that I do infrequently would turn out to involve a non-intuitive sequence of keys that you just simply need to know, and I would spend far too long on figuring that out. Or I would accidentally open Vim inside of the Emacs terminal emulator, and :q would be sent to Emacs instead of the emulator. Sure, if you know enough Emacs wizardry, you could easily escape this situation, but that’s the point, isn’t it? The wizardry involved takes effort that I don’t always want to put in, even if I know that it pays off. Kind of.
        These days I use VSCodium, a Free Software version of Visual Studio Code. I like it well enough for a multitude of reasons, but mainly because the mental overhead of using this editor is a lot lower. Even so, is Emacs a better editor? Probably. If I could be bothered to maintain my Emacs wizarding skills, I am fairly certain that it would be the perfect editor. But that’s a big if. So that’s why I settle for VSCodium. And the same line of reasoning can be extended to why I use and love GNOME.

      • Why crowdfunding freely licensed documentation is illegal in Finland

        On the Meson manual crowdfunding page it is mentioned that the end result can not be put under a fully free license. Several people have said that they “don’t believe such a law could exist” or words to that effect. This blog post is an attempt to to explain the issue in English as all available text about the case is in Finnish. As a disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer, the following is not legal advice, there is no guarantee, even that any of the information below is factual.

        To get started we need to go back in time a fair bit and look at disaster relief funds. In Finland you must obtain a permit from the police in order to gather money for general charitable causes. This permit has strict requirements. The idea is that you can’t just start a fundraising, take people’s money and pocket it, instead the money must provably go to the cause it was raised for. The way the law is written is that a donation to charity is done without getting “something tangible” in return. Roughly if you give someone money and get a physical item in return, it is considered a sales transaction. If you give money to someone and in return get a general feeling of making the world better in some way, that is considered a donation. The former is governed by laws of commerce, the latter by laws of charity fundraising.

        A few years ago there was a project to create a book to teach people Swedish. The project is page is here, but it is all in Finnish so it’s probably not useful to most readers. They had a crowdfunding project to finish the project with all the usual perks. One of the goals of the crowdfunding was to make the book freely distributable after publishing. This is not unlike funding feature work on FOSS projects works.

  • Distributions

    • Jeff Sheltren: Happy Birthday CentOS! 15 Years of Contributions

      We?re reminded this week of how long-lasting and impactful our contributions can be as we celebrate CentOS turning 15 years old this week!

      As a contributor to CentOS since the beginning, Tag1?s very own Jeff Sheltren was interviewed by TheCentOSProject to reflect on his involvement.

    • mintCast 308 – Encryption Part 2
    • What is the worst Linux Distro?
    • New Releases

      • ExTiX 19.5, Build 190508, with LXQt 0.14.1, Kodi 19 “Matrix”, Refracta Snapshot, Nvidia 418.74 and kernel 5.1.0-exton

        I have made a new version of ExTiX – The Ultimate Linux System. I call it ExTiX 19.5 LXQt/Kodi Live DVD. (The previous LXQt version was 19.1.2 from 190102). The best thing with ExTiX 19.5 is that while running the system live (from DVD/USB) or from hard drive you can use Refracta Snapshot (pre-installed) to create your own live installable Ubuntu system. So easy that a ten year child can do it! As an alternative to LXQt you can run Kodi 19 ALPHA1 Matrix . Just start Kodi like any other program while logged in to the LXQt Desktop as the ordinary user live. I have enabled a few addons in Kodi. Most important the Netflix addon. One other very good thing with this version of ExTiX is that it is quite light. The ISO file is of only 1220 MB, which means that you can run the system superfast from RAM. When the boot process is ready you can eject the DVD or USB stick. Use Boot alternative 2 or Advanced options… >> load to RAM.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • GNOME 3.32 Arrives in Month’s First Tumbleweed Snapshot

        This month has produced a total of three openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshot thus far and GNOME 3.32.1 was made available to Tumbleweed users in snapshot 20190505. The key packages that arrive so far this month are a newer Linux Kernel, a minor update for python-setuptools and the text editor GNU Nano fixed the spell checker from crashing.

        The latest Tumbleweed snapshot, 20190507, which delivered nano 4.2, had a large update of changes for ghostscript 9.27; the versatile processor for PostScript data extensively cleaned up the Postscript name space and will now focus on the next releases to make SAFER the default mode of operation. The Optimized inner loop Runtime Compiler, orc 0.4.29, added decorator command line argument to add function decorators in header files. The latest python-setuptools 41.0.1 version fixed issues with the PEP 517, which specifies a standard API for systems which build Python packages. Text editor vim 8.1.1282 was also released in the snapshot. The snapshot is currently trending at a 95 rating, according to the Tumbleweed snapshot reviewer.

        Mozilla Firefox 66.0.4 fixed extension certificate chain in snapshot 20190506. There was an improvement to network status detection with Network Manager with the glib2 2.60.2 update. The asn1c-based parser was replaced by an openssl-based PKCS parser with the kmod 26 package. The openblas_pthreads 0.3.6 had some changes for POWER6, PowerPC 970 and ARMv7 and ARMv8. The 1.28 perl-YAML package offered a security fix and xfsprogs updated to the 5.0.0 version from 4.20.0. The snapshot is currently trending stable at a 92 rating on the Tumbleweed snapshot reviewer.

    • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Norbert Preining: TeX Live 2019 released

        The DVDs are already being burnt and will soon be sent to the various TeX User groups who ordered. The .iso image is available on CTAN, and the net installer will pull all the newest stuff. Currently we are working on getting those packages updated during the freeze to the newest level in TeX Live.

      • TeX Live 2019 in Debian

        All the changes listed in the upstream release blog apply also to the Debian packages, but we have rebuilt binaries from the sources in current svn, which means there are several fixes for dvipdfmx, and updates to the ptex family of engines.

      • FOSSASIA OpenTechSummit 2019

        FOSSASIA brings together developers and users of FOSS (Free and Open Source Software). It is an organization developing software applications for social change using a wide-range of technologies. It was established 2009. Projects range from Free and Open Source software, to design, graphics and hardware.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • OASIS Launches Open Projects Program

    As the lines between open source and open standards begin to blur, OASIS is taking steps to create a more transparent and collaborative future for open source and standards development. In line with its vision to transform the open source and standards world,, the nonprofit consortium has launched Open Projects.

    The program empowers communities to develop what they choose–APIs, code, specifications, reference implementations, guidelines– in one place, under open source licenses, with a path to recognition in global policy and procurement.

    As part of the program announcement, OASIS is launching the first two Open Projects – Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration (OSLC) and OpenDocument Format (ODF) Advocacy.

  • OASIS Introduces Open Projects Program to Bridge Open Source and Standards Development

    OASIS, a global nonprofit consortium, today announced the launch of Open Projects, the first-of-its-kind program that creates a more transparent and collaborative future for open source and standards development. Open Projects gives communities the power to develop what they choose–APIs, code, specifications, reference implementations, guidelines– in one place, under open source licenses, with a path to recognition in global policy and procurement.

    The lines between open source and open standards have been blurring for some time, and communities in both arenas have been calling for more flexibility and options for collaboration. Open Projects is a new approach that addresses the need for change in everything from handling IP to governance and decision-making, from funding to establishing trust and assuring quality.

  • Open Source Guide “Hello Xen Project” Asks for Contribution and Feedback

    Not too long ago, one of my LinkedIn contacts, Mohsen Mostafa Jokar, wrote a book about Xen which is called “Hello Xen Project”. Mohsen is a Linux administrator who works at the newspaper Hamshahri as a network and virtualization administrator. His interest in virtualization goes back to when he was at school and saw a Microsoft Virtual PC for the first time. He installed it on a PC with 256 MB of RAM and used it to virtualize Windows 98 and DOS.

    In addition to his fascination with virtualization, Mohsen is a translator and an author. He has translated and written books for IT beginners and professional users that focus on virtualization, security and Linux. A few books that he has worked on as a technical reviewer include “Elixir in Action,” “Learn Git in a Month of Lunches,” “Mesos in Action” and “Reverse Engineering for Beginners”.

  • Open Source Makes Kodi Add-ons Proliferate — And Hard To Eradicate

    As Techdirt noted a year ago, the entertainment industry has been trying to convince the authorities around the world that “fully-loaded” Kodi boxes, which allow the viewing of unauthorized video streams, are the devil’s spawn, and must be eradicated. That obsession has led to efforts to stop even vanilla Kodi boxes being promoted and sold, despite the fact that the open source software they run is perfectly legal. TorrentFreak has a report about the latest salvo in this war on Kodi, and its interesting consequences.

    It concerns a third-party Kodi add-on called “Exodus”, which, like many others, allowed unauthorized streaming videos to be viewed with little effort. The excellent design and resulting popularity of Exodus meant that it was soon targeted by copyright companies. The pressure worked, and the development of the add-on was halted, leaving millions of happy users somewhat less happy. But Exodus had an important hidden feature: it was released under an open source license. That meant that anyone could pick up the code and continue its development independently of the original, without needing to ask permission from anyone. As TorrentFreak points out, that is precisely what has happened, and on a surprisingly large scale. The TVAddons site recently published an article that discusses 12 forks of Exodus, which is only part of the Exodus ecosystem: “Too many Exodus forks are out there to investigate them all.”

  • Google quietly acknowledges Fuchsia during I/O 2019

    At Google I/O, some were looking forward to the potential for Google to announce Fuchsia as their next operating system for devices of all kinds. That admittedly outlandish dream has now been dashed, but not completely. Despite not being featured on the main stage, Google has publicly acknowledged Fuchsia OS in the middle of a Google I/O announcement.

  • A day in the life of an open source performance engineering team

    In today’s world, open source software solutions are a collaborative effort of the community. Can a performance engineering team operate the same way, by collaborating with the community to address the confusion and complexity that come with working on a broad spectrum of products?

    To answer that question, we need to explore some basic questions:

    What does a performance engineering team do?
    How does a performance engineering team fulfill its responsibilities?
    How are open source tools developed or leveraged for performance analysis?

  • Events

    • Cloudy with a chance of chameleons

      This event saw the SUSE Spa pay Denver a visit. Our message was simple but powerful – software-defined infrastructure, and open infrastructure in particular doesn’t have to be stressful. This is something that SUSE have been doing for over 25 years now – starting with making Linux easier for enterprises, and since have extended into Ceph, OpenStack, Kubernetes, Cloud Foundry and more. All backed by SUSE Support, and with the knowledge that everything we offer is fully open source (as you’d expect from the open, open source company).

      John, Andrew and the team were demonstrating how easy it is to deploy SUSE CaaS Platform (Kubernetes) on top of SUSE OpenStack Cloud on a bare metal environment, and how you could then use SUSE Cloud Application Platform for application delivery across not just this platform, but others including public cloud, too.

      In addition to this, the SUSE Spa staff were giving away goodies to help relieve stress at your desk, ranging from USB massagers, to foot massagers, shiatsu back and shoulder massagers and even a massaging chair cover. We also had a massage therapist at our booth to give chair massages to attendees – this proved to be very popular, giving attendees the chance to get off their feet and to have a delightful back, shoulder and neck massage. The plush Geeko chameleons were also one of the prizes on the SUSE Spa, with attendees queueing to get hold of one to take home to their desk/child/pet!

    • First LibreOffice Latin America Conference: Call For Papers

      The Document Foundation invites all members and contributors to submit talks, lectures and workshops for this year?s First LibreOffice Latin America Conference in Asunci�n, Paraguay. The event is scheduled for mid July, from Friday 19 to Saturday 20. Whether you are a seasoned presenter or have never spoken in public before, if you have something interesting to share about LibreOffice or the Document Liberation Project we want to hear from you!

  • LibreOffice

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • TrueOS/FreeBSD-based Project Trident 19.04 Available

      Project Trident version 19.04 (based on TrueOS 19.04) is now available! If you experience an update error (code 150) before any packages are downloaded, please delete all Qt4 packages from your system before trying again: sudo pkg remove qt4-corelib This appears to be caused by a bug in pkg regarding the removal of flavor(s) from a package repo, and removing the Qt4 packages beforehand will allow the update procedures to work once again….

    • Dragonfly In The Wild | BSD Now 297

      FreeBSD ZFS vs. ZoL performance, Dragonfly 5.4.2 has been release, containing web services with iocell, Solaris 11.4 SRU8, Problem with SSH Agent forwarding, OpenBSD 6.4 to 6.5 upgrade guide, and more.

    • AsiaBSDCon2020 Mar.19-22 Tokyo

      Come as you are
      https://2020.asiabsdcon.org/
      March 19-22, 2020, Tokyo University of Science, Tokyo, Japan

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • CSSC-1.4.1 released

      I’m pleased to announce the release of GNU CSSC, version 1.4.1. This is a stable release. The previous stable release was 1.4.0.

      Stable releases of CSSC are available from https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/cssc/. Development releases and release candidates are available from https://alpha.gnu.org/gnu/cssc/.

      CSSC (“Compatibly Stupid Source Control”) is the GNU project’s replacement for the traditional Unix SCCS suite. It aims for full compatibility, including precise nuances of behaviour, support for all command-line options, and in most cases bug-for-bug compatibility. CSSC comes with an extensive automated test suite.

  • Programming/Development

    • Shared values of Travis CI and snaps enhance integration confidence for developers [Ed: Canonical is pushing Microsoft Github today]

      Travis CI is a hosted, distributed continuous integration (CI) service used to build and test software projects hosted on GitHub, and free for anyone working on open source projects. Often regarded as the home of open source testing, Travis CI enables developers to automate their build without the need to set up their own servers. At GitHub’s Satellite London event in 2017, members of the Travis CI team met with Canonical to talk snaps. Since then, conversations have progressed to how users build and test their snaps with Travis CI central to the CI process.

      Josh Kalderimis (Head of Product) and María de Antón (Product Manager) from Travis CI attended the Snapcraft Summit in London to discuss how snaps and Travis CI integration tools share a similar mission. “We also built our platform with an open source nature, and we are all about testing simplicity. A lot of what we want to offer developers is how to do tasks without repetition – in essence, improve the developer experience. That is exactly what snaps are aiming to achieve” explained Josh.

    • Top 25 Best Free Python Web Framework Software To Use In 2019

      In the era of dynamic web development, Python is a high-level object-oriented programming (OOP) language which is understandable to both machine and people. The focal area of the formation of this programme is the developer’s readability. Here, they emphasize the labor of the programmers rather than the labor of computer. To commence development with python, you will feel the necessity to have a framework to code. Based on the intricacy of the development application, the amount of time -consuming, the tasks or computations to simplify, the compilation features- Python Web Framework is gaining acceptance.

    • Dirk Eddelbuettel: x13binary 1.1.39-2

      An updated x13binary package 1.1.39-2 of the X-13ARIMA-SEATS program by the US Census Bureau (with upstream release 1.1.39) is now on CRAN, pretty much exactly two years after the previous release 1.1.39-1.

    • Next C++ workshop: Binary Trees, 9 May at 18:00 UTC

      Boost your C++ skills with the help of LibreOffice developers! We?re running regular workshops which focus on a specific topic, and are accompanied by a real-time IRC meeting. For the next one, the topic is Binary Trees. Start by watching this presentation:

    • EuroPython 2019: Early-bird ticket sales
    • Kotlin Is Google’s Favorite Programming Language For Android App Development
    • Google I/O 2019: Empowering developers to build the best experiences on Android + Play
    • “Python Workout” is Manning’s Deal of the Day!
    • How to Create and Serve Zipfiles from Django
    • This Week in Rust 285
    • Looking up a hash table library for caching in the 3scale Istio adapter

      In the end, we chose to go with the “concurrent-map” implementation and roll our own caching structure around this map. It outperformed the others consistently and in every area for the use case we provided.

      The additional features this implementation provides are minimal, but this is likely all we will need, with some additional sugar provided by a wrapper. It is in widely used and has plenty of contributors, with a nice simple API.

      We hope that, upon completion, we can then benchmark the finished module against the other implementations, to see if this decision was correct and to analyze and learn from the cost of rolling our own, both in terms of time spent and performance as opposed to using something off the shelf.

    • Creating GUI Applications with wxPython Now Available

      Creating GUI Applications with wxPython is a book that will teach you how to use wxPython to create applications by actually creating several mini-programs. I have found that while learning how the various widgets work in wxPython is valuable, it is even better to learn by creating a simple application that does something useful.

    • Overview of Classification Methods in Python with Scikit-Learn

      Are you a Python programmer looking to get into machine learning? An excellent place to start your journey is by getting acquainted with Scikit-Learn.

      Doing some classification with Scikit-Learn is a straightforward and simple way to start applying what you’ve learned, to make machine learning concepts concrete by implementing them with a user-friendly, well-documented, and robust library.

    • Python Community Interview With Bob and Julian of PyBites

      This week, I’m joined by Bob Belderbos and Julian Sequeira of PyBites fame. Bob is a Software Developer at Oracle, Spain. Julian is a Data Center Technician at Amazon Web Services, in Australia.

      Join us as we discuss how PyBites got started and what they have in store for its future. We’ll also look into Bob’s secret love of drawing and Julian’s not so secret love of a good pint.

    • Farewell, Python 3.4

      It’s with a note of sadness that I announce the final retirement of Python 3.4. The final release was back in March, but I didn’t get around to actually closing and deleting the 3.4 branch until this morning.

Leftovers

  • Coining New Words Key to Revitalizing Native American Languages

    In Massachusetts, linguist Jessie Little Doe Baird, a citizen of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in Massachusetts and co-founder of the Wopanaak Language Reclamation Project, is also working from old documents to restore a language that died out a century ago.

  • Hardware

    • CES unrevokes robotics prize to women’s sex toy

      Today, four months after rescinding the award, CTA is giving it back.

    • Intel CEO Says Chipmaker Sees Low, Single-Digit Sales Growth

      While sales of the company’s data-centric products — a term coined to include server and other chips such as artificial intelligence processors — will expand at a percentage in the high-single digits, the unit’s growth won’t be enough to overcome the sluggish PC market, he said. Total revenue will increase by low, single-digit percentages over the next three years, Swan said.

      PC sales declined 4.6% globally in the first quarter, after a similar decline in the fourth quarter of 2018, [...]

    • Google’s head of hardware is betting big on ambient computing

      This year, Osterloh says that Google’s hardware sales numbers are “good, but not where we want to be at the end of five years.” Investors seem to agree, hammering CEO Sundar Pichai about how hardware hasn’t made much of a contribution to Google’s bottom line in the last quarterly call.

    • How the Apple Store Lost Its Luster

      In interviews, current and former Apple employees blame a combination of factors. They say the stores have become mostly an exercise in branding and no longer do a good job serving mission shoppers like Smith. Meanwhile, they say, the quality of staff has slipped during an 18-year expansion that has seen Apple open more than 500 locations and hire 70,000 people. The Genius Bar, once renowned for its tech support, has been largely replaced with staff who roam the stores and are harder to track down. That’s a significant drawback because people are hanging onto their phones longer these days and need them repaired.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Japan’s toxic culture of overwork drove this 31-year-old woman to death — and it looks like there’s no end in sight

      Japan is notorious for its non-stop work culture and rigid labor market, which has seen hundreds of people die from — also known as “karoshi” — every year over the past decade.

      This is the story of Miwa Sado, one of Japan’s many victims of karoshi. She died in 2013 after working more than 150 hours in overtime in a single month.

    • Cambridge University report says Coca-Cola’s academic research funding comes with a hitch. It can kill studies it doesn’t like

      Cambridge’s Department of Politics and International Studies discovered Coke’s demands while examining research funding agreements between private corporations and public institutions. It reviewed some 87,000 documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

      Its report, released Tuesday, said Coke retained the right to “quash studies progressing unfavorably” or “pressure researchers using the threat of termination” in at least five agreements with various academic institutions between 2015 and 2016.

    • Contracts give Coca-Cola power to ‘quash’ health research, study suggests

      New study of FOI documents uncovers provisions that could allow the beverage giant to suppress findings from health science it funds at North American universities. Researchers argue that Coca-Cola’s contracts run counter to their public declarations of openness.

      [...]

      The study, published today in the Journal of Public Health Policy, identified several clauses in legal documents that give the company early sight of any findings, combined with the right to “terminate without reason” and walk away with the data and intellectual property [sic].

    • Study Uncovers How Coca-Cola Influences Science Research

      The paper explains that Coca-Cola uses carefully-constructed contracts to ensure that the company gets early access to research findings, as well as the ability to terminate studies for any reason. Researchers say this gives the beverage company the ability to squash unfavorable research findings, such as studies that connect the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages to obesity.

    • How Coca-Cola Disguised Its Influence on Science about Sugar and Health

      Coca-Cola sought to use the institute to shift the dialogue on obesity away from calorie consumption and toward exercise by funding industry-friendly science. But when the institute’s motives and funding stream were exposed, Coca-Cola announced it would halt operations due to “resource limitations.”

    • Don’t Let Measles Hysteria Defeat Freedom

      As of May 3, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ministry of Health reported 1,510 cases of Ebola and 1,008 deaths to date in the country’s current outbreak. Partial blame for the government’s inability to contain the outbreak goes to armed attackers who believe that international health workers are there to intentionally spread the disease, not treat it.
      As of April 26, The US Centers for Disease Control reported 704 cases of measles and no known deaths in the country so far in 2019. Partial blame for the outbreak goes to Americans who decline (or simply overlook) vaccination for themselves or their children.

    • #CaravanToCanada: Facing Insulin Prices 10X Higher in US, Group Heads Across Border

      A group of Minnesotans faced with “astronomical prices for insulin” in the U.S. recently crossed the border into Canada to obtain affordable access to the life-saving drug.

      “We should not have to drive five hours to Canada to be able to afford #insulin!” said Quinn Nystrom, a diabetes advocate and one of those on the #CaravanToCanada Saturday.

      In tweets over the weekend, Nystrom highlighted the price difference the five-hour drive would mean. Insulin costs 10 times more in the U.S. than in Canada.

    • ‘Bombshell’ Report: Internal Memos Show Trump EPA Ignored Agency Scientists’ Calls to Ban Asbestos

      EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement last month that the agency’s new rule “gives us unprecedented authorities to protect public health” and block certain products from the market. However, environmental and public health advocates raised concerns at the time about loopholes that remain, with one critic calling the regulation “toothless.”

    • ‘Genuinely Really Scared for Women and Girls’: Busy Philipps Shares Personal Abortion Story In Viral Video

      Busy Philipps, actress and host of Busy Tonight, took time out of her Tuesday night show to defend reproductive rights in response to Georgia passing a six-week abortion ban earlier in the day, which ACLU called a “near total ban on abortion.”

      “I had an abortion when I was 15 years old,” said Philipps. “I’m telling you this because I’m genuinely really scared for women and girls all over this country.”

      “I know that people feel very strongly about abortion, but let me just say this; Women and their doctors are in the best position to make informed decisions about what is best for them. Nobody else, nobody,” Philipps said. “The statistic is that one in four women will have an abortion before age 45.”

    • Cecile Richards: Georgia’s New “Fetal Heartbeat” Bill Criminalizes Women Who Seek Abortions

      Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp signed into law Tuesday a six-week abortion ban, or so-called “fetal heartbeat law” that bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected—something that typically happens just six weeks into a pregnancy and before many women realize they’re pregnant. It is now one of the country’s most restrictive abortion laws. “It doesn’t just make abortion illegal,” says
      Cecile Richards, former head of Planned Parenthood. “It basically would allow women to be convicted and either sentenced to death or to life imprisonment in Georgia.” She notes the real medical crisis for women in Georgia and nationwide is maternal mortality.

    • Healthy MOMMIES Act Introduced to Tackle ‘Unconscionable’ US Maternal Mortality Crisis

      Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-Mass.), the lead sponsors, introduced the bill just a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released an “absolutely devastating” report that revealed the country’s maternal mortality rate is rising, most of those deaths are preventable, and black and Native American women are three times more likely than their white peers to die of pregnancy-related causes.

      “It is unacceptable that the Unites States, the wealthiest country on Earth, has the highest maternal mortality rate [of] any developed nation in the world,” Pressley said in a series of tweets. The congresswoman, a founding member of the new Black Maternal Health Caucus, called the racial disparities in maternal deaths “unconscionable.”

    • Nurses Tell Big Pharma, “Put Patients Over Profits”

      Day in and day out, American nurses see the damaging fallout of a for-profit healthcare system. That’s why nurses have long been at the forefront of the fight for healthcare justice. Last week, that fight took them to the headquarters of PhRMA, the trade group that represents pharmaceutical industry companies. Members of National Nurses United, along with other Medicare for All advocates, used bandaids to plaster PhRMA’s walls with the GoFundMe pages of patients who’ve turned to crowdfunding to cover their healthcare expenses. The protest came just one day before Congress held its first-ever Medicare for All hearing. Registered nurses and NNU Presidents Jean Ross, Deborah Burger, and Zenei Cortez told Inequality.org about their spotlight on Big Pharma and their vision for a just healthcare system.

    • Pledging to Treat Opioid Epidemic ‘Like the Public Health Crisis That It Is,’ Warren Unveils CARE Act

      Vowing to hold to account the billionaire family whose pharmaceutical company fueled the opioid epidemic, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Elijah Cummings on Wednesday unveiled a sweeping plan to help end the crisis which kills tens of thousands of Americans per year.

      The Democratic presidential candidate detailed the plan in a Medium post, as she has with her other policy proposals, but made it clear that she aims to pass the legislation “immediately” rather than waiting for a potential presidential term.

      The plan, known as the Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act, would make $100 billion in federal funds available to state and local governments as well as non-profit groups which provide prevention, treatment, and harm reduction services.

      Like a number of Warren’s other plans, the senator said the CARE Act would be funded by her proposed Ultra-Millionaires Tax, under which the assets of families with more than $50 million would be taxed at two percent annually, raising $2.75 trillion over a decade.

      By taxing the richest Americans, Warren plans to hold the Sacklers—the family which owns Purdue Pharma, the maker of one of the most widely-prescribed opioids—accountable for fueling a crisis which has killed 685,000 Americans.

      “This crisis has been driven by greed, pure and simple,” Warren wrote. “It’s about money and power in America — who has it, and who doesn’t. And it’s about who faces accountability in America — and who doesn’t.”

  • Security

    • IPFire 2.23 – Core Update 131 has been updated

      I would like to let you know that we have updated the latest Core Update in the testing branch. Some bugs have been found and fixed because of the help of you, but now you need to make sure that they are also fixed on your systems.

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Firefox issues fixes for extensions problem
    • Commvault Extends Comprehensive Data Recovery Support to Nutanix Files 3.5
    • BeyondTrust Privilege Management for Unix & Linux 10.2 Introduces Fine-Grained Policy Control Over Privileged Access
    • Retefe banking trojan returns, takes aim at both Windows and Mac

      A banking trojan named Retefe that targeted Austria, Sweden and Switzerland, routing online banking traffic through a proxy instead of the usual Web injects that other trojans use, has made a comeback, with more regular attacks on Swiss and German victims in April, the security firm Proofpoint claims.

      In a blog post,the company said the trojan now had a version which worked on Windows and one that could attack macOS. When Retefe first appeared it was delivered using a zipped JavaScript file or within Microsoft Word documents.

    • Why open source firmware is important for security

      [...] I hope this gave you some insight into what’s being built with open source firmware and how making firmware open source is important! If you would like to help with this effort, please help spread the word. Please try and use platforms that value open source firmware components. Chromebooks are a great example of this, as well as Purism computers. You can ask your providers what they are doing for open source firmware or ensuring hardware security with roots of trust. Happy nerding! :)

    • Amazon Hit by Extensive Fraud With [Attackers] Siphoning Merchant Funds

      Amazon believes it was the victim of a “serious” online attack by [fraudsters] who broke into about 100 seller accounts and funneled cash from loans or sales into their own bank accounts, according to a U.K. legal document. The [attack] took place between May 2018 and October 2018, Amazon’s lawyers said in a redacted filing from November that can now be made public.

    • Chinese Spies Intercepted NSA [Windows] Malware Attack, Weaponized It Against Targets Around The World

      You don’t own the exploits you’ve created. That’s the lesson the NSA has learned over the past few years as its hacking tools have made their way into the public domain via leaks. Of course, the harshest parts of this lesson have been felt by the general public, rather than the NSA, however. The leaked tools were swiftly repurposed to generate a new strain of ransomware, which took down dozens of businesses and government services around the world.

      But it’s not just a random assortment of internet baddies wreaking havoc with NSA hacking tools and exploits. It’s also state-sponsored hackers making use of these tools. A report from Symantec shows other nations are more than willing to turn our state-sponsored attacks against us — demonstrating the danger of engaging in a cyberwar using weaponized code.

    • How Chinese Spies Got the N.S.A.’s Hacking Tools, and Used Them for Attacks

      You don’t own the exploits you’ve created. That’s the lesson the NSA has learned over the past few years as its hacking tools have made their way into the public domain via leaks. Of course, the harshest parts of this lesson have been felt by the general public, rather than the NSA, however. The leaked tools were swiftly repurposed to generate a new strain of ransomware, which took down dozens of businesses and government services around the world.

      But it’s not just a random assortment of internet baddies wreaking havoc with NSA hacking tools and exploits. It’s also state-sponsored hackers making use of these tools. A report from Symantec shows other nations are more than willing to turn our state-sponsored attacks against us — demonstrating the danger of engaging in a cyberwar using weaponized code.

      [...]

      The N.S.A. used sophisticated malware to destroy Iran’s nuclear centrifuges — and then saw the same code proliferate around the world, doing damage to random targets, including American business giants like Chevron. Details of secret American cybersecurity programs were disclosed to journalists by Edward J. Snowden, a former N.S.A. contractor now living in exile in Moscow. A collection of C.I.A. cyberweapons, allegedly leaked by an insider, was posted on WikiLeaks.

      “We’ve learned that you cannot guarantee your tools will not get leaked and used against you and your allies,” said Eric Chien, a security director at Symantec.

      Now that nation-state cyberweapons have been leaked, hacked and repurposed by American adversaries, Mr. Chien added, it is high time that nation states “bake that into” their analysis of the risk of using cyberweapons — and the very real possibility they will be reassembled and shot back at the United States or its allies.

      In the latest case, Symantec researchers are not certain exactly how the Chinese obtained the American-developed code. But they know that Chinese intelligence contractors used the repurposed American tools to carry out cyberintrusions in at least five countries or territories: Belgium, Luxembourg, Vietnam, the Philippines and Hong Kong. The targets included scientific research organizations, educational institutions and the computer networks of at least one American government ally.

    • Unless you want your payment card data skimmed, avoid these commerce sites

      More than 100 e-commerce sites around the world are infected with malicious code designed to surreptitiously skim payment card data from visitors after they make purchases, researchers reported on Wednesday. Among those infected are US-based websites that sell dental equipment, baby merchandise, and mountain bikes.

      In total, researchers with China-based Netlab 360 found 105 websites that executed card-skimming JavaScript hosted on the malicious domain magento-analytics[.]com. While the domain returns a 403 error to browsers that try to visit it, a host of magento-analytics[.]com URLs host code that’s designed to extract the name, number, expiration date, and CVV of payment cards that are used to make purchases. The e-commerce sites are infected when the attackers add links that cause the malicious JavaScript to be executed.

    • 21 Best Kali Linux Tools for Hacking and Penetration Testing

      Here’s our list of best Kali Linux tools that will allow you to assess the security of web-servers and help in performing hacking and pen-testing.

      If you read the Kali Linux review, you know why it is considered one of the best Linux distributions for hacking and pen-testing and rightly so. It comes baked in with a lot of tools to make it easier for you to test, hack, and for anything else related to digital forensics.

      It is one of the most recommended Linux distro for ethical hackers. Even if you are not a hacker but a webmaster – you can still utilize some of the tools to easily run a scan of your web server or web page.

      In either case, no matter what your purpose is – we shall take a look at some of the best Kali Linux tools that you should be using.

      Note that not all tools mentioned here are open source.

    • Alpine Linux Docker Image root User Hard-Coded Credential Vulnerability

      Versions of the Official Alpine Linux Docker images (since v3.3) contain a NULL password for the root user. This vulnerability appears to be the result of a regression introduced in December t2015. Due to the nature of this issue, systems deployed using affected versions of the Alpine Linux container that utilize Linux PAM, or some other mechanism that uses the system shadow file as an authentication database, may accept a NULL password for the root user.

    • Alpine Linux Docker images ship a root account with no password

      Alpine Linux Docker images distributed via the official Docker Hub portal for the past three years and a half have been using a blank (NULL) password for the root account, security researchers from Cisco have revealed today.

      All Alpine Linux Docker images, since v3.3, are impacted, Cisco Talos said today in a security alert.

      The issue was first discovered back in August 2015, patched in November, then accidentally re-opened three weeks later, in December 2015, only to be re-discovered again by a Cisco Umbrella researcher in January this year. The issue was initially thought to impact only the Glider Labs Alpine Linux Docker image, but it was later discover to impact the official image as well.

    • Dharma Ransomware Installs Antivirus On [Windows] PC Only To Encrypt Files Later

      The two malicious files are taskhost.exe and Defender_nt32_enu.exe. The first file activates the Dharma Ransomware itself as RANSOM.WIN32.DHARMA.THDAAAI.

    • Dharma Ransomware Uses AV Tool to Distract from Malicious Activities

      The downloaded file is a self-extracting archive named Defender.exe, which drops the malicious file taskhost.exe as well as the installer of an old version of ESET AV Remover renamed as Defender_nt32_enu.exe. Trend Micro identifies taskhost.exe as a file connected to the Dharma ransomware (detected as RANSOM.WIN32.DHARMA.THDAAAI)

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Infantalising Memes: Ending Subscriptions to PewDiePie

      It should have been just another cheap and sordid episode best respected by being ignored. But this is a time which has embraced without qualification the Marshall McLuhan message about the medium being the irrepressible message, we are left with discussions about the vacuous rather than the substantial; the obtuse rather than the subtle. The way we serve the dish is far better than the dish itself, and all errors that follow within it matter most.

      PewDiePie, an addictive Swedish YouTuber by the name of Felix Kjellberg, is the dandruff of online publicity. He exists because social media junkies and tech creators, in their lack of care, don’t moisturise. He profits because dry scalps are not tended to. The result is negligent indulgence more than anything else: he mastered a medium, drawing it out and straining it for as much as it would give him. “PewDiePie,” observed The Guardian in April 2018, “is not only the biggest celebrity on YouTube, but probably the entire internet.”

      His leap to fame followed the YouTube script, with its admixture of playfulness, agitation and aggravation. Those wishing to be provoked watched his efforts and duly felt offended; others became fans and sharing obsessives. His fan base duly grew, many taken that this rabblerouser was being attacked for using new media against Jurassic old. Not only is he of the Internet, he has often been its critic, taking issue with various efforts in such shows as Meme Review.

      Kjelllberg has not merely confined himself to gaming and comedy. He has also experimented, going farther afield from the lit confines of his studio box. He established a book club, tackling, on the way, American Psycho and The Picture of Dorian Gray. And there was that tome of tomes, Moby Dick.

    • “Saudis using Belgian weapons in Yemen”

      It has emerged that Belgian weapons and military technology play a greater role in the conflict in Yemen than previously established. The investigative project #BelgianArms discovered that Saudi Arabia is deploying Belgian weapons and technology in ground and air offences.

    • Are the Days of U.S. Hegemony Finally Numbered?

      Markets are reeling from Trump’s declaration via Twitter that tariffs will be increased from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. This is happening in the same week in which U.S. Navy destroyers sailed near islands in the South China Sea claimed by China, and as the Pentagon published the 2019 China Military Report. The report says China is building an army capable of global intervention and accuses China of conducting espionage in order to accumulate military knowledge.

      [...]

      Peries added that Chinese-Russo relations are expanding. Russian President Vladimir Putin was recently invited to be the guest of honor at a recent OBOR forum, and at many of the sessions, Putin and Chinese president Xi Jinping entered the sessions together. It speaks to a nuanced and limited alliance—one much of the West underestimates.

      “The Russo-Chinese alignment is not an alliance, and it’s not a bloc, and it’s certainly not a military alliance. But Russo-Chinese alignment is far deeper and far more extensive than many Westerners have yet caught on,” Sakwa said. “It’s an alignment in which Russia and China will not do each other any harm. They will support each other when it’s in their interests—and it’s a game changer.”

      Meanwhile, U.S. relations with China are deteriorating. Sakwa explained that neither China or Russia will be provoked by U.S. “sabre-rattling.” As is typical, he said, the current situation is a Trump miscalculation based on his tendency to go into negotiations heavy-handed and hope a deal works out, which has massively failed due to his tariff tweets.

    • Corporate Media Target Gabbard for Her Anti-Interventionism—a Word They Can Barely Pronounce

      Presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard has not garnered much press coverage since announcing her bid on February 2; she’s the 13th-most-mentioned Democratic candidate on TV news, according to FAIR’s most recent count (4/14/19).

      But when corporate media do talk about the Hawaii congressmember, they tend to reveal more about themselves than about her.

      A veteran of the Iraq War, Gabbard is centering her presidential campaign around anti-interventionism (2/3/19): the belief that US interference in foreign countries, especially in the form of regime-change wars, increases the suffering of the citizens in those countries.

      When corporate outlets talk about this anti-interventionist position, they primarily use it to negatively characterize the candidates who espouse it. Few in establishment media seem interested in going any deeper or considering the veracity of arguments raised by anti-interventionists.

    • Pompeo in Baghdad to Pressure Iraq to join Press against Iran; Iraq declines

      US secretary of state Mike Pompeo made a surprise four-hour visit to Baghdad on Tuesday in connection to the panic he is trying to trump up, along with US national security adviser and Sheldon Adelson plant John Bolton about Iran supposedly planning to attack US troops in the Middle East.

      For his part, Iraqi prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said in remarks to the press that Iraq will undertake to ensure the safety of the some 5,000 US troops in Iraq, who are helping the Iraqi army mop up ISIL remnants.

      At the same time, Abdul Mahdi insisted that Iraq would not participate in any economic boycott of any country, which is to say that he declined to cooperate with the Trump administration’s attempts to squeeze Iran.

    • Russia Blames U.S. for Endangering Iran Deal

      Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the situation surrounding the fate of the 2015 Iran nuclear accord has been complicated by “irresponsible behavior” from Washington.

      Lavrov is meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, in Moscow on Wednesday. The nuclear deal will be at the top of their agenda after Iran announced it would suspend some of its commitments in response to U.S. sanctions.

      Lavrov says they will discuss the “unacceptable situation” that has been exacerbated by the United States. Russia appears poised to stand by Tehran and cast blame on Washington, which withdrew from the nuclear deal last year. Moscow is a signatory to the deal, along with the European Union, Britain, France, Germany and China.

    • Iran Urges Diplomacy as Trump White House Ramps Up ‘Wildly Reckless’ Threats of War

      “The path we have chosen today is not the path of war, it is the path of diplomacy,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a speech Wednesday, which marks the one-year anniversary of U.S. President Donald Trump’s violation of the nuclear agreement.

      “It is not us who has left the negotiation table,” Rouhani added.

      Rouhani’s announcement came just days after U.S. national security adviser John Bolton used the routine deployment of an American aircraft carrier and bomber task force to threaten Iran with “unrelenting force”—a move critics denounced as a dangerous step in the direction of all-out war.

      The Iranian president said European signatories of the nuclear accord have 60 days to negotiate new terms that would mitigate the impact of crippling sanctions imposed by the U.S. If the 60-day deadline is not met, Rouhani said, Iran will end limits on uranium enrichment.

      Matt Duss, foreign policy adviser for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), said that while American war hawks often characterize Iran as “a crazy irrational regime that can’t be negotiated with,” Iran “is responding pretty rationally to Trump’s wildly reckless and irrational Iran policy.”

    • March For Our Lives Demands End to ‘Generation Lockdown’ Following Latest School Shooting

      March For Our Lives, the gun violence prevention movement, called for an end to #GenerationLockdown following the latest school shooting.

      Two suspects opened fire at the Denver-area STEM School Highlands Ranch Tuesday. Kendrick Castillo, 18, died. He was just days away from graduation. Eight others were injured.

      It was the fourth school shooting in Colorado since the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999, the Denver Post reported.

      March For Our Lives, which was formed in the wake of the Parkland, Florida mass shooting last year, demanded an end to such violent acts. The group said people must not to “grow numb” to the tragedies and urged political leadership tackle the gun violence epidemic.

    • Ukrainian government announces that it will consider Russian passports issued to Donbas residents invalid

      Ukraine’s federal ministers have announced that their government will reject the legality of Russian passports issued to residents of the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. The announcement came as passport offices began to act on an order issued by Russian president Vladimir Putin that granted an expedited citizenship process to those living in both regions.

      Specifically, the Ukrainian government will not recognize passports issued in the Russian village of Pokrovskoye and the city of Novoshakhtinsk after April 24, the date Putin’s order was signed. That list of cities may be expanded in the future should additional passport offices begin processing applications from Ukraine’s Donbas region.

    • North Korea launches second projectile in less than a week

      For the second time in less than a week, North Korea launched suspected short-range missiles, according to South Korea’s military.

      The projectiles were fired Thursday from near a military base about 50 miles from North Korea’s capital Pyongyang. There were few other details immediately available.

      State media in North Korea said that on Saturday the nation held a short-range ballistic missile test as part of a regularly scheduled defensive military exercise. It was the country’s first such test in more than a year and came amid what appear to be stalled denuclearization talks between Pyongyang and Washington.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • The Law Being Used to Prosecute Julian Assange Is Broken

      The First Amendment and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act collided last month when the UK arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on, among other things, a US extradition request for computer crime. He has since been sentenced to 50 weeks in a British prison. For roughly seven years before his arrest, he’d been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, but on April 11, the Ecuadorian government withdrew his asylum. Now the UK courts will evaluate the US’s request to send Assange to Virginia to stand trial in federal court for a single felony charge of conspiracy to commit unauthorized access to a government computer, a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).

    • Shooting the Whistleblowers

      It has just been announced that Facebook is banning some “dangerous people” from its platforms, particularly those promoting and allowing “hate speech” of various colours, but also including “conspiracy theorist” Alex Jones. This action follows on from measures taken after the Christchurch gunman used Facebook to screen his incendiary Islamophobic attack, and the sudden recognition of the threat posed by “White Supremacist” ideology.

      At that time I wrote an article for the Australian blog “Pearls and Irritations”, which drew an uncomfortable comparison between “two Australians abroad” – the “Firearm terrorist” Brenton Tarrant, and the “Cyber terrorist” Julian Assange. It’s not of course that I think Assange is a terrorist of any description – but given the treatment he has been afforded by the Australian government he may as well be.

      The reason I made this comparison, aside from the fact that the two men are both Australian citizens in prison for offences committed abroad, was because there is something else that connects their perceived crimes, and which sprang to mind following the Christchurch massacre – the live vision of men being gunned down in Baghdad by US soldiers, screened around the world thanks to Wikileaks.

      It was not immediately after the massacre of unarmed Muslims in the Christchurch mosques that this similar show of White Man’s brutality some 12 years earlier came to mind, but rather following the draconian legislation rushed through the Australian Parliament shortly afterwards. The circumstances around this, described in more detail in my article, were frankly suspect – though it was dangerous to say so.

    • Chelsea Manning: Despite Heartbreak And Hardship, Cooperation With WikiLeaks Grand Jury Not An Option

      The following declaration from Chelsea Manning was filed in a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, on May 6. It is part of her defense attorneys’ ongoing efforts to free her from the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center. Shadowproof is republishing the statement to help bring further attention to what Manning has endured.
      Throughout her declaration, Manning makes it abundantly clear she will never testify before the grand jury investigating WikiLeaks. “I can either go to jail or betray my principles. The latter exists as a much worse prison than the government can construct,” she declares.

      Manning outlines the physical and mental risks posed to her health by her jailing, including how it may cause serious medical complications since she had gender confirmation surgery in October, as well as the impact prolonged solitary confinement had on her in the first month she was jailed.

      She also reaffirms her righteous dissent against an abusive grand jury process that the government is carrying out disingenuously or maliciously. Since the subpoena will never accomplish its goal, Manning essentially makes a case that she should be set free immediately.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • U.S. Dismisses Climate Change at Arctic Council Summit: Pompeo Says Melting Sea Ice Brings ‘New Opportunities for Trade’

      For the first time since it was founded in 1996, the Arctic Council didn’t release a joint declaration outlining its priorities after a summit in Rovaniemi, Finland Monday and Tuesday. The reason? The insistence by the U.S. that the statement not mention climate change or the Paris agreement designed to combat it, The New York Times reported.

    • U.S. Pressure Blocks Declaration on Climate Change at Arctic Talks

      Under pressure from the United States, the Arctic Council issued a short joint statement on Tuesday that excluded any mention of climate change.

      It was the first time since its formation in 1996 that the council had been unable to issue a joint declaration spelling out its priorities. As an international organization made up of eight Arctic countries and representatives of indigenous groups in the region, its stated mission is cooperation on Arctic issues, particularly the protection of the region’s fragile environment.

      According to diplomats involved in the negotiations, at issue was the United States’ insistence not to mention the latest science on climate change or the Paris Agreement aimed at averting its worst effects. The omission is especially notable because scientists have warned that the Arctic is heating up far faster than the world average because of rising greenhouse gas emissions.

    • US climate objections sink Arctic Council accord in Finland

      US objections to wording on climate change prevented Arctic nations signing a joint statement at a summit in Finland, delegates said.
      It is the first time such a statement has been cancelled since the Arctic Council was set up in 1996.
      A Finnish delegate, Timo Koivurova, said “the others felt they could not water down climate change sentences”.
      There is international concern that Arctic temperatures are rising twice as fast as in the rest of the world.
      On Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed the forum in Rovaniemi, northern Finland, with a speech welcoming the melting of Arctic sea ice, rather than expressing alarm about it.

    • New orchards offer life to wild species

      New orchards are appearing across the UK to stop the widespread decline of rare insects and birds, and to slow down climate change.

      The National Trust, Britain’s largest conservation organisation, which owns hundreds of miles of coastline as well as country houses and farms, already looks after 200 orchards, but is to create another 68 across England by 2025 to try to halt a national decline.

      There are still 25,350 hectares (62,650 acres) of orchards in the country − but that is 63% less than in 1950. Many are commercial monocultures. As a result, many rare types of apple are in danger of being lost and plum, pear and damson production is in decline.

      Apart from saving endangered species of fruit from old orchards, the Trust is keen to preserve the bees that thrive on the springtime blossom and many other rare species of insect that live only on fruit trees. Unlike commercial growers, the Trust will be managing its new orchards without pesticides, and specifically for wildlife.

    • Germany proposes $2,800 fine for parents skipping measles vaccination

      German parents who fail to vaccinate their children against measles could face fines of up to €2,500 ($2,800), as part of draft legislation from the country’s health minister.

      “I want to eradicate measles,” Health Minister Jens Spahn told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag on Sunday, according to a transcript of the interview published by the Health Ministry.
      “Anyone going to a kindergarten or school should be vaccinated against measles,” he said, adding that parents would need to show proof of vaccination or could face fines and exclusion from daycare.

    • Germany Considers $2,800 Fine for Parents Skipping Measles Vaccination

      Germany, like the U.S., is in the midst of a measles outbreak. The country has seen 651 cases of the disease between March 2018 and February of this year, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the sixth most of any country in the EU.

    • EU election launch: Greens are the strongest pro-EU party

      It is time to say Yes to Europe and investing in communities and No to climate chaos

      The Green Wave is growing in strength after spectacular local election results

      The Green Party of England and Wales has today formally launched its campaign for the EU election on the 23rd of May, setting out its position as the strongest pro-EU party.

      Co-leader Sian Berry told a packed press conference: “Our message to the people is very simple: It’s time to say Yes to Europe, Yes to investing in communities, and No to climate chaos.

      “It’s also about saying a very loud No to the failed Brexit project, and yes to transforming our society to one that puts people first.

      “The Brexit project led by Nigel Farage has capitalised on the neglect of our communities and unleashed the darkest elements onto our nation, bringing them dangerously close to the mainstream.

      “The far-right are now a sickness in our politics. But the Greens, full of hope and with a vision of the future that has faith in people’s best instincts – we are the cure.

      “The Greens are the strongest pro-EU party.”

    • ABC, NBC and MSNBC Prime-Time Shows Ignored Landmark UN Report on Biodiversity

      The major broadcast and cable news networks largely neglected to cover a landmark United Nations (UN) report on a devastating decline in biodiversity.

      On the day the report was released, three of the networks — ABC, NBC and MSNBC — aired no prime-time coverage of it, while the other three networks each aired one prime-time segment. Out of 26 total prime-time news programs on the networks, only three reported on the UN assessment.

    • Adult Lifestyles Sentence Kids to 1,000 Years of “Deadly” Heat Waves

      Sixteen year old Greta Thunberg’s School Strike for Climate generation seems likely to witness the beginnings of a grueling, traumatizing, brutal, heat-driven reversal of the human population boom. Why? Because we’ve continued to pack the atmosphere with a little more CO2 with almost every move we make in utterly normal daily routines, thus forcing heat higher and higher day after day after day.

      And we’ve collectively waited too long before taking the situation seriously. Now it’s irreversible. A study led by Susan Solomon found that the CO2 we add to the atmosphere every day remains there for centuries, “so that atmospheric temperatures do not drop significantly for at least 1,000 years.”

      Kids thus face an array of heat-driven risks for the next 1,000 years, and the risks are certain to escalate with every next new day of using the atmosphere as a carbon dump.

      But the risks can be reduced. Will that be too much to ask?

      As of 2016, even before we collectively forced the heat 1C higher than pre-industrial times, EPA had already reported that, “Children are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illness and death, as their bodies are less able to adapt to heat than adults, and they must rely on others to help keep them safe.”

    • 7-Mile ‘Bee Corridor’ of Wildflowers Will Feed London’s Pollinators This Summer

      It’s a scary time for the world’s pollinators. A study published in February warned that more than 40 percent of the world’s insects could go extinct within the next 30 years. Another study published in Nature in March found that a third of wild pollinator species in the UK had declined since 1980.

    • Climate Change May Wipe Out Bengal Tigers, UN Analysis Finds

      Climate change may wipe out the world’s only mangrove-living Bengal tiger population in just 50 years, according to a new analysis conducted by the United Nations.

    • Tackling Plastic Pollution With Trash Art … A Look at Our Waste Habits

      Amid the growing plastic pollution crisis, we see people rising up and taking a stand in a lot of different ways. Plastic pollution protests can range from marching in the streets to more unorthodox methods, such as protest art. Protest art is an important way to create public awareness for issues such as the single-use plastics problem.

      Creative consultant, activist and artist, Katie Williams uses art as a way to raise awareness of consumer habits regarding single-use plastics. Her “trash art” with Jen Fedrizzi is publicly staged on the busy streets of San Francisco and forces passersby to take a closer look.

    • Africa Must Raise Taxes to Better Fight Climate Change

      Mozambique is on its knees. Hit by what is considered the worst cyclone in the southern hemisphere, it saw its fourth city, Beira, practically wiped off the map. And since tropical storms know no borders, Idai has also killed in Zimbabwe and Malawi. More than a thousand people died and two million were affected, including 1.8 million in Mozambique alone. The damage caused by floods and wind gusts is expected to cost the region more than US $2 billion, according to the World Bank.

      For researchers, there is no doubt that the alternation of cyclonic episodes and droughts that has hit the region in recent years is directly linked to the impressive temperature variations resulting from climate change. The irony is that Mozambique and its neighboring countries produce only a tiny fraction of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. Moreover, Africa is the continent least responsible for global warming: barely 3.8% of greenhouse gas emissions are produced there, compared to 23% in China, 19% in the United States, and 13% in the European Union.

      Beira is not an isolated case. Prolonged droughts, repeated floods, declining agricultural yields, increasingly limited access to water, global warming is already taking its toll in Africa. These natural disasters increase the risk of food insecurity and health crises. The cholera cases that have emerged in Mozambique since Idai and Kenneth passed through clearly show it.

      In rural areas, survival is at stake, due to the disappearance of entire crops. Urban populations are also on the front line. High birth rates and rural exodus mean that 86 of the world’s 100 fastest growing cities are in Africa. And at least 79 of them – including 15 capitals – are facing extreme risks due to climate change, according to the risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft.

    • Save the Planet—With Good Union Jobs

      Across the country, you’ll find millions of working families whose wages haven’t budged in a generation, even as the cost of living has skyrocketed.

      Many of these same communities are now getting hit hardest by floods, droughts, storms, and other climate disasters. How are workers going to withstand rising climate risks if their paychecks don’t even cover the bills, while corporate polluters rake in profits?

      Our communities don’t experience climate change and inequality as two isolated issues, but as interlinked crises.

      A Green New Deal offers an immense opportunity to tackle both crises at the speed and scale that justice and science demand. It’s the only plan out there to transition to a clean energy economy built on good, union jobs that leaves no worker — or community — behind.

      It’s a roadmap rooted in solid, realistic changes that are already happening. From the Midwest to the South to the coasts, communities are retrofitting buildings to save energy, replacing lead pipes to ensure clean water, and restoring green spaces to reduce climate-related flooding.

      Meanwhile, broad local coalitions are pushing for investments in local wind and solar manufacturing, clean and affordable light rail, wetlands restoration, smart electric grids, and sustainable family farming.

    • Soviet composer Yevgeny Krylatov dies, leaving behind beloved children’s songs about polar bears, snowflakes, and bright futures

      Krylatov first gained widespread recognition when he began working in cinema, especially after the release of two 1969 cartoons, one about a bear cub named Umka and one about Grandfather Frost’s journey in search of summer.

    • Who contaminated the petroleum supply in the Druzhba pipeline and caused Russian oil exports to be unusable for weeks? ‘Meduza’ investigates.

      On May 7, a court in the Russian city of Samara ordered four suspects in the contamination of the Druzhba oil pipeline to be jailed for two months. The transport of petroleum through Druzhba for export out of Russia was practically brought to a halt on April 20 due to a large batch that was contaminated with organic chloride compounds. Russia’s losses are estimated at half a billion dollars, and energy companies have been asked to decrease their petroleum production by 10 percent until May 7. The head of Transneft, the state-owned monopoly in charge of the Russian portion of the pipeline, told Vladimir Putin that the contamination was a result of “diversion”: in other words, that a private company in Samara Oblast intentionally transferred contaminated petroleum into the pipeline. Meduza learned that Transneft itself evidently allowed a situation to take shape in which unknown manufacturers have been able to add petroleum to Druzhba by the cistern. Since the end of 2018, one junction in the pipeline system has been entirely uncontrolled because its previous owner was largely bought out by Absolut Bank, which divided the property among multiple nominal owners. Those owners were ultimately the ones who landed in a pretrial detention center in the contamination case.

    • US Public Among the Most Likely in the World to Deny Climate Crisis, Global Survey Shows

      Two days after the Trump administration blocked a global declaration from even mentioning the term “climate change,” a new survey out Wednesday shows the U.S. public continues to lead internationally when it comes to denying the scientific reality of the planetary crisis.

      As The Guardian reported, a YouGov/Cambridge Globalism Project poll of 23 countries found that 13 percent of American respondents agreed with the statement, “human activity is not responsible at all” for the climate crisis.

      The U.S. was behind just two countries in the poll, with 18 percent of Indonesians and 16 percent of Saudis saying human activity has nothing to do with the fact that average global temperatures have risen by 0.8° Celsius (1.4° Fahrenheit) since 1880.

      Respondents in other Western countries, including almost every European country, were far less likely than Americans to deny that the climate is changing and that humans are responsible. Fewer than 10 percent in most countries across Europe denied the statements.

      Seventeen percent of Americans polled told YouGov/Cambridge Globalism Project that they believed the concept of a human-caused climate crisis is “a hoax that was invented to deceive people.”

    • U.S. Has the Most Climate-Change Deniers of Any Rich Country: Survey

      In the same week the United Nations released a shocking report showing that a million species are about to go extinct, in large part due to climate change, a YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project survey added insult to injury. According to the global survey, the U.S.—the wealthiest country in the world—has the largest number of climate-change deniers among the world’s richest countries. Or, as The Guardian puts it, “The US is a hotbed of climate science denial.”

      Perhaps it’s unsurprising that 13% of the U.S. population—about 42 million people—think the climate crisis has nothing to do with human activity, while another 5% believe climate change doesn’t exist when the country’s leader, and several high-ranking officials in his administration, consider it a Chinese hoax. The same leader pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Accord, is expanding offshore oil drilling, is leasing territory once designated part of national monuments to fossil fuel companies, is freezing car emissions standards—the alarming list goes on and on.

    • What Losing 1 Million Species Means for the Planet — and Humanity

      The United Nations this week released a powerful report on the state of nature around the planet. Among its disheartening conclusions, the report — by hundreds of experts from 50 countries — estimates that a staggering 1 million species are at risk of extinction in the next few decades due to human-related causes.

      Let’s unpack that a bit.

      The report bases its estimate on the number of known species on the planet — about 8 million — and what we know about how many of those species are already at risk of extinction.

      For example, more than 40 percent of the planet’s amphibian species are threatened with extinction, along with about a third of the shark family and a third of marine mammals. The report also estimates that about 10 percent of insect species are at risk, a fact highlighted by all of the recent news about the impending “insect apocalypse.”

    • More Evidence of Undisclosed Carcinogens at Site of Enbridge’s Proposed Greater Boston Gas Project

      Newly uncovered air quality samplings by the State of Massachusetts showed elevated levels of carcinogens and other pollutants at Enbridge’s proposed natural gas compressor station in a densely populated site near Boston.

      The data, revealed in written testimony this week by a Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) official responding to an appeal over the Weymouth station’s air permit, joins other samplings showing toxics in the area, which DeSmog exclusively reported last month.

    • Arctic soils may produce huge methane leak

      The permafrost may be about to spring an unwelcome surprise, with Arctic soils thought to be thawing faster than anyone had predicted. This threatens to release vast quantities of frozen methane into the atmosphere and transform the northern landscape.

      One-fourth of all the land in the northern half of the globe is defined as permafrost. This long-frozen soil is home to the detritus of life over many thousands of years: the remains of plants, animals and microbes. The permanently frozen soils of the region hold, so far in a harmless state, 1,600 billion tonnes of carbon: twice as much as exists in the atmosphere.

      And as the Arctic warms, this could release ever-greater volumes of a potent greenhouse gas, to accelerate global warming still further, and the consequent collapse of the soil, the flooding and the landslides could change not just the habitat but even the contours of the high latitudes.

  • Finance

    • Bitcoin is worth $6,000 for the first time this year
    • [Interuders] nick $41m worth of Bitcoin from Binance exchange

      That’s some serious thieving, which Binance has said the theft was carried out in a variety of ways from the use of malware to phishing attacks aimed at grabbing security credentials.

    • Open Forum: Drivers for ride-booking services deserve better pay and job protections

      We can no longer accept a situation in which a tiny handful of Americans become extraordinarily wealthy by paying their workers starvation wages. Today, the median worker at these ride-booking services makes between $8.55 and $10 an hour. And yet in 2017, Lyft’s CEO made more than $41 million and Uber’s CEO was paid $45 million last year. Additionally, Uber executives this week are expected to become instant millionaires from the company’s multibillion-dollar initial public offering on Wall Street.

      In the world’s wealthiest nation, we must take a stand: We must declare that people who work for multibillion-dollar companies should not have to work 70 or 80 hours a week to get by.

      And yet we must also understand that these workers are not merely being poorly paid, like so many other workers in America. These so-called “gig economy” workers are also being denied basic workplace protections and a fighting chance to obtain higher wages. That is because they are among the nearly 16 million workers who are paid as “independent contractors,” even though they are working full time.

      These are what we used to call “employees” — but in many cases, their employers are deliberately misclassifying them as contract workers, which exempts them from labor protections under federal law. [...]

    • Lyft’s First Results After I.P.O. Show $1.14 Billion Quarterly Loss

      In its first financial results as a public company, Lyft posted a loss of $1.14 billion for the first quarter, compared with a loss of $234.3 million in the same period a year earlier. The widening loss was driven by a $894 million charge for its stock-based compensation. Excluding that expense, the loss was $211.5 million. The company’s revenue rose 95 percent to $776 million.

    • Australians want to talk to people, not bots

      New research commissioned by CRM and RPA vendor Pegasystems suggests Australians want to talk to people rather than bots for all but the simplest customer service tasks.

    • TV Pitches for Prescription Drugs Will Have to Include Price

      TV pitches for prescription drugs will soon include the price, giving consumers more information upfront as they make medication choices at a time when new drugs can carry anxiety-inducing prices.

      Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Wednesday the Trump administration has finalized regulations requiring drug companies to disclose list prices of medications costing more than $35 for a month’s supply.

      “What I say to the companies is if you think the cost of your drug will scare people from buying your drugs, then lower your prices,” Azar said. “Transparency for American patients is here.”

      Drug companies responded that adding prices to their commercials could unintentionally harm patients.

      “We are concerned that the administration’s rule requiring list prices in direct-to-consumer television advertising could be confusing for patients and may discourage them from seeking needed medical care,” said the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the main trade group.

    • All Hail the Ride-Share Strike

      The ride-hailing company Uber is making its initial public offering (IPO) on Friday. Executives are hoping for a whopping $91 billion valuation, which The New York Times said would be one of the largest in tech-industry history. Uber says it has set aside about 3% of its shares for its drivers and will also be handing out “driver appreciation awards,” an obvious ploy to whitewash the poor conditions and wages under which drivers say they are forced to work.

      Uber and Lyft drivers have been agitating for years to be recognized as direct employees rather than independent contractors. Los Angeles drivers have organized a 25-hour strike for May 25 to protest the 25% pay cut Uber recently announced. Workers in such cities as Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and San Francisco are building on that action with a one-day strike on Wednesday, timed within days of Uber’s IPO.

      James Hicks, a driver and organizer with Rideshare Drivers United-Los Angeles, told me in an interview that “we’re striking again because our demands were not met by Uber or Lyft, and so we’re going to put more and more pressure on them.”

      The idea behind a strike—whether it is done by union or nonunion employees—is that workers use the greatest leverage they have to make their demands, which is the withholding of their labor. The point is inconvenience and a loss of profits for the employer. Hicks said that on March 25, there were longer wait times for rides because fewer drivers were on the roads.

    • Peterloo

      The British empire defeated Napoleon in 1815 on the field of battle at Waterloo (Belgium) and smashed the universal principles of the French Revolution – liberty, equality, and fraternity. Furthermore, it expropriated communities from their commons all over the world by Parliamentary enclosure acts in England and military acts of conquest elsewhere. At this post-war moment in 1819 of high prices, failed strikes, declining wages, unemployment, empty stomachs, and disaffection, a remarkable, but incomplete, coalition of reformers and revolutionaries met in St Peter’s Field in Manchester, U.K., on 16 August two hundred years ago. The class struggle is in the open. The ruling class of landlords, merchants, bankers, and factory owners are arrayed against a working class of handworkers, factory workers, plantation workers, home workers, ship and sail workers, and workers without work. A massacre ensues. Surveying the carnage afterwards a clever journalist came up with the equation: Waterloo + St Peter’s Field = Peterloo.

      Mike Leigh’s film of this name is a major representation of a major battle in the history of class struggle. Eighteen (18) were killed, six hundred fifty (650) were wounded. The massacre was effectuated by sabres, swords, and horses hooves, not gunpowder. That’s why so many were wounded. It was a bloody butchery. At a minimum the film does the event justice, but, as we shall see, more than a minimum is required.

      [...]

      The “gilded reptiles” of the ruling class meanwhile are also divided – among nobles, the military, lawyers, and the bourgeoisie; we hear them debate in magistrate’s court, House of Commons, the Home Offices, where they open mail, hire spies, instruct provocateurs, and issue orders to regiments of the local yeomanry or the national hussars. Shall they hang one or two? Shall they raise wages a pittance? Or, shall they attempt to awe the rabble as a whole, and if so is mass terror required? Part of statecraft is the management of class struggle. The tools of repression are several: censorship of the press, imprisonment of leaders, criminalizing the poor, policing the unpropertied, the military against all. Statesmanship is shown to be hypocritical trickery. Government looks for an excuse, then produces one – massacre. The noose tightens, sabres are sharpened.

      Three people appear before the sitting magistrate, “a loose, idle, and disorderly” woman, a thief of a silver watch won at a game of dice, and a man who took a coat rather than stoleit, a self-described “reformer” who propounded an economy of “sharing.” These bring loud guffaws from the vulpine magistrate. With lip-slurping glee the magistrate hands out his punishments – a public whipping, transportation to Botany Bay, and a hanging. Albion’s fatal tree.

    • Reading the Tea Leaves on Ukania’s Local Quasi-Referendum on Brexit

      Last week elections were held for town, city, and county councils in England (London apart) and the north of Ireland. No local elections took place in Scotland and Wales.

      More than 8,400 seats in 248 councils, part of a 4-year election cycle, were contested in England, and 462 seats in Northern Ireland.

      The elections were perceived to be important because they were deemed by the media to be a quasi-referendum on the current Brexit negotiations.

      The election result was a setback for both main parties, and especially disastrous for the Tories.

      The Tories received a drubbing, losing control of nearly a third of the councils they had after the 2015 election, and losing 1334 seats in the process.

      Labour had hoped to gain at the expense of the hugely unpopular Tories, but failed to advance. Labour lost 82 seats and 6 councils—not an absolute failure, but very far from being the success it had wished for in the face of the Tory party’s staggering record of incompetence and sheer nastiness since it took over from Labour in 2010.

      The biggest winner this time round was the Lib Dems, who managed to gain 676 councillors. The Lib Dems had been coalition partners with the austerity-imposing Tories from 2010 to 2015, and, deservedly, were wiped-out electorally in the 2015 general election.

    • Protesting ‘Poverty Wages’ and Exploitation, Uber and Lyft Drivers Go on Strike Across the Globe

      “We don’t want our wages to stay just minimum. We want Uber to answer to us, not to investors,” Sonam Lama, an Uber driver and member of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA), said in a statement ahead of Wednesday’s strike. “The gig economy is all about exploiting workers by taking away our rights. It has to stop. Uber is the worst actor in the gig economy.”

      “I’m striking for my kid’s future,” Lama said. “I have a five-year-old son, and I drive for Uber to support him. But it’s becoming harder and harder.”

      According to the NYTWA, drivers plan to strike in major cities across the United States as well as in Brazil, Australia, Chile, Nigeria, Costa Rica, Nairobi, and other nations.

      “This is an act of solidarity with drivers across the country, and really across the world, who are suffering with poverty wages,” said NYTWA executive director Bhairavi Desai.

      Todd Wolfson, a Rutgers University professor who studies the gig economy, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that Wednesday’s action is the largest-ever global work stoppage by ride-hailing drivers.

    • How Accurate Are the US Jobs Numbers?

      While the Current Establishment Survey (CES) Report (covering large businesses) shows 263,000 jobs created last month, the Current Population Survey (CPS) second Labor Dept. report (that covers smaller businesses) shows 155,000 of these jobs were involuntary part time. This high proportion (155,000 of 263,000) suggests the job creation number is likely second and third jobs being created. Nor does it reflect actual new workers being newly employed. The number is for new jobs, not newly employed workers. Moreover, it’s mostly part time and temp or low paid jobs, likely workers taking on second and third jobs.

      Even more contradictory, the second CPS report shows that full time work jobs actually declined last month by 191,000. (And the month before, March, by an even more 228,000 full time jobs decline).

      The much hyped 3.6% unemployment (U-3) rate for April refers only to full time jobs (35 hrs. or more worked in a week). And these jobs are declining by 191,000 while part time jobs are growing by 155,000. So which report is accurate? How can full time jobs be declining by 191,000, while the U-3 unemployment rate (covering full time only) is falling? The answer: full time jobs disappearing result in an unemployment rate for full time (U-3)jobs falling. A small number of full time jobs as a share of the total labor force appears as a fall in the unemployment rate for full time workers. Looked at another way, employers may be converting full time to part time and temp work, as 191,000 full time jobs disappear and 155,000 part time jobs increase.

      And there’s a further problem with the part time jobs being created: It also appears that the 155,000 part time jobs created last month may be heavily weighted with the government hiring part timers to start the work on the 2020 census–typically hiring of which starts in April of the preceding year of the census. (Check out the Labor Dept. numbers preceding the prior 2010 census, for April 2009, for the same development a decade ago).

    • Krugman on Sanders on Medicare for All

      To back up this position, Krugman notes Sanders’ unwillingness to support a bill that would improve the Affordable Care Act.

      Actually, it is wrong to claim that Sanders has seen single-payer as an all or nothing proposition. He voted for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, when his vote was essential for the bill’s passage.

      Sanders was also a supporter of Bill Clinton’s health care reform bill that never even made it to the floor in Congress. He has often told a story of apologizing to Clinton for his conduct on the bill.

      According to Sanders, Clinton said, “what do you mean Bernie, you were with me all the way.”

    • A Permanent, Soylent-Based Solution to Capitalism

      The architects of “regime change” in Venezuela and Iran know only too well that their interventions never bring about anything beyond chaos, destruction and death. Our Overlords are not deluded, pie-in-the-sky dreamers but clear-sighted, rational merchants of nightmares. Where we see endless despair and violence as a result of their meddling, they see a surge in share prices.

      Blackwater CEO Erik Prince will unlikely get his wish to send 5,000 of his mercenaries to Caracas, but his re-named and re-branded companies are benefiting nevertheless from the constant media exposure. The murderers-for-hire on his payroll will always find employment in ‘hot spots’ specifically created to attract further investment in armaments, and the logistics necessary to convey them wherever a superpower or an oil rich Gulf state requires an armed response to the peasantry, or one of its leaders.

      Capitalism’s internal logic of growth at any cost means that demand for the products and services corporations provide are not only met with an endless production of surplus, but created (often violently) where a lack of demand for them threads to impede its cancerous spread. It’s the logic of Big Pharma with its stake in the junk and fast food industries: Funnel feed them breadsticks and cheesecake so that they seek out your advertised medication during a cardiac event while watching ‘The View’. Human misery is a growth industry. The short-term gains that come with worsening it override any long-term benefits fo ameliorating avoidable suffering with sustainable, non-violent solutions.

      Even if US weapons and personnel have so far been prevented from entering Venezuela, their merchants will profit from Wall Street speculators cashing in on the headlines. After all, they dictated them to the media corporations whose parent companies also have a stake in the creation of failed states and the weaponry they need to sustain them.

    • Trump in 1985-94 Claimed $1.17 Billion Business Loss

      The New York Times reported Tuesday that Donald Trump’s businesses lost more than $1 billion from 1985 to 1994, based on tax information the newspaper acquired.

      The Times said it has acquired printouts from the future president’s official IRS tax transcripts, including figures from his federal tax form.

      The newspaper said Trump reported business losses of $46.1 million in 1985, and a total of $1.17 billion in losses for the 10-year period.

      After comparing Trump’s information with that of other “high-income earners,” the Times concluded that Trump “appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer.” Because of his business losses, the newspaper reported, Trump did not pay income taxes for eight of the 10 years.

    • Wall Street Drives Racial and Gender Inequality

      The people who sell fancy sports cars and high-end Swiss watches look forward to the time of year when the big Wall Street banks hand out their annual cash bonuses.

      According to new figures, those bonuses added up a whopping $27.5 billion last year. That’s a lot of Rolexes.

      Unfortunately, this huge payout also means the reckless bonus culture that crashed our economy in 2008 is still flourishing.

      And there’s another reason we should be disturbed: These Wall Street payouts drive racial and gender inequality.

      That’s because the people pocketing Wall Street bonuses are overwhelmingly white and male, while the people stuck with stagnating wages at the bottom of the pay scale are disproportionately women and people of color.

      A new Institute for Policy Studies report I co-authored found that if the minimum wage had increased at the same rate as the average Wall Street bonus since 1985, it would be worth $33 today, instead of just $7.25.

    • Will A Green New Deal Save the Climate, or Save Capitalism?

      After decades of neoliberal torment it’s easy to yearn for capitalism’s tranquil past, a simpler time that delivered stability, fairness, and progress. This mythology around a golden age of U.S. capitalism is regularly conjured up by Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who reference the New Deal-era programs that delivered democratic reforms and a massive investment in infrastructure.

      Rooting herself in this myth, Ocasio-Cortez promotes a Green New Deal that, while still largely conceptual, strives to combine a massive jobs and green infrastructure project that will pivot the economy off the path of climate destruction towards a sustainable future with jobs for all.

      It’s a breath of fresh air after decades of inaction. But actually achieving the vision is another thing, and the most immediate threat is the Democratic Party. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has derided the idea as the “the green dream or whatever they call it”, while dismissing Ocasio-Cortez’s political collaborators as “five people”. And although dozens of Democrats initially signed on to the concept, the Republicans realized the rhetoric wasn’t real, and called the Democrats bluff by bringing the resolution to the Senate floor for a vote on March 26th.

      Not one Democrat actually voted for “their” idea. They shamefully abstained in order to shield the majority of their members who were actually against the idea. And although they accused the Republicans of orchestrating a “stunt” vote, it was the vote that exposed the stunt. This setback was minimized by many but should have set off alarm bells.

    • It ‘Was Sport’ to Dodge Taxes, Admits Trump, After NYT Details Epic Business Failures

      In response to a bombshell New York Times report detailing that President Donald Trump posted higher losses on his tax filings during certain years in the 1980s and 90s than perhaps “any other individual” in the country—more than a $1 billion over a decade—the president himself confirmed Wednesday morning that what he was really up to at the time was creating a massive “tax shelter”—something he said “was sport” that wealthy developers like him played with their tax returns and financial dealings.

      While simultaneously calling the reporting “a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job,” the president offered no evidence to refute the Times’ story, which reporters Ross Buettner and Susanne Craig explain was based on pain-staking investigative work and a copy of a federal tax transcript of the president’s tax returns spanning nearly a decade.

    • Billion Dollar Loser: NYT Report on Trump’s Taxes & Massive Losses May Prompt Fraud Investigation
    • New York State Senate Passes Bill to Make Trump’s Tax Returns Available to Congress

      Dreams of obtaining President Donald Trump’s tax returns may be a bit closer for House Democrats—the New York state Senate passed a bill Wednesday clearing the way for their release by the state’s Department of Taxation and Finance.

      The TRUST Act passed the state senate by a 39 to 21 vote and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, has said he will sign it. The bill goes to the state Assembly for discussion and a vote Monday.

      In a statement, advocacy group Stand Up America said it hoped that the assembly passes the bill quickly.

      “Now that it has passed the Senate, it’s time for the Assembly to immediately act and make this bill law,” the group said. “We urge Assembly members to send this bill to Governor Cuomo’s desk and ensure that Donald Trump’s numerous conflicts of interest come to light.”

    • Billion Dollar Loser: NYT Report on Trump’s Taxes & Massive Losses May Prompt Fraud Investigation

      We look at a major exposé from The New York Times, which obtained tax information on Donald Trump that shows his businesses lost $1.17 billion from 1985 to 1994. While Trump continues to refuse to release his tax returns, printouts from his official IRS tax transcripts for a 10 year period ending in 1994 show that in multiple years during that stretch, Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual taxpayer in the country and paid no federal income taxes for eight of the 10 years. “Almost every two cents of every dollar reported as losses one year, by everyone in the United States, were recorded by Donald Trump,” notes our guest, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston, an investigative reporter previously with the Times, now founder and editor of DC Report.org.. He has been reporting on Donald Trump since the 1980s and his new piece for the Daily Beast is headlined “Trump’s Tax Leak Hints at Potential Fraud Investigations.”

    • Most of America’s rural areas are doomed to decline

      Since the Great Recession, most of the nation’s rural counties have struggled to recover lost jobs and retain their people. The story is markedly different in the nation’s largest urban communities.

      I’m writing from Iowa, where every four years presidential hopefuls swoop in to test how voters might respond to their various ideas for fixing the country’s problems.

      But what to do about rural economic and persistent population decline is the one area that has always confounded them all.

      The facts are clear and unarguable. Most of the nation’s smaller urban and rural counties are not growing and will not grow.

    • ‘Historical Step’: Bernie Sanders’s 2020 Campaign Staffers Ratify Union Contract

      Bernie Sanders’s 2020 campaign workers ratified their first collective bargaining agreement.

      The development, announced by the workers Wednesday, comes roughly two months after they made history by becoming the first presidential campaign staffers to unionize.

    • The Shocking Tale of Two Generations

      It’s easy to feel fatalistic, accepting as “just the way things are” an America in which the top one-tenth of 1 percent controls as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent, while roughly a fifth of American children live in poverty, and half of American infants are so poor they depend on public aid to eat.

      But wait.

      What if we were to acknowledge — to really let sink in — that we have arrived at this tragic place in no time at all, historically speaking? Might we even feel entitled to hope and thus motivated to work for transformational shift of the kind the Green New Deal now envisions? One in which we effectively address climate change as we also tackle economic inequity?

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • ‘This Kind of Obstruction Is Dangerous’: Ahead of Barr Contempt Vote, DOJ Threatens Executive Privilege to Block Full Mueller Report

      Hours ahead of the House Judiciary Committee’s scheduled vote to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress, the Justice Department late Tuesday threatened to ask President Donald Trump to invoke executive privilege in a last-ditch effort to block the release of the unredacted Mueller report.

      “In the face of the committee’s threatened contempt vote, the Attorney General will be compelled to request that the president invoke executive privilege with respect to the materials subject to the subpoena,” assistant attorney general Stephen Boyd wrote in a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) Tuesday night.

    • Trump Asserts Executive Privilege Over Full Mueller Report
    • Trump declares “Executive Privilege” to obstruct congressional oversight
    • A Peculiar Request

      Quite a number of people have very kindly sent me the result of internet searches. These are 99% photos taken after I left the FCO. Remember, when I was removed as Ambassador to Uzbekistan Facebook was three months old. For all except the end of my career photos were not electronic and not stored on the internet. Furthermore the need is not just for old photos of me, but photos in context of my career. I have of course been searching diligently myself but not so far found much of any use. I was rather more hoping that the appeal would be read by someone who took a photo personally that they can scan and send me.

    • Trump is Not a Tyrant, He Just Admires Them

      President Trump is not a tyrant, but he doesn’t shy away from admiring them. And, that should give one pause in feeling secure that our nation’s leader is committed to sustaining the world’s longest running democratic republic. For those who don’t see his lack of understanding how a democracy functions, they should consider his statements flattering those leaders who have corrupted or demolished their own democratic institutions, by denying open and unfettered public elections or not allowing media to distribute uncensored information.

      For instance, Trump suggested that our country should form with Russia a “Cyber Security unit to guard against election hacking,” even though our intelligence services at that time said Russia, most likely on Putin’s orders, had been hacking of our elections in order to swing the election to someone whom they preferred. This accusation was later confirmed in Special Investigator Mueller’s report. Meanwhile Putin has, in practice, ended free elections in Russia.

      Trump flat out congratulated Chinese President Xi Jinping on his National Congress, which only meets for a week every year, allowing him to serve as president for life. He told the National Republican Congressional Committee at a spring dinner that he referred to Xi as “king” not president because of that change. “He liked that. I get along with him great.” Trump’s largess in bestowing admiration on anti-democratic leaders extends to even countries that are not world powers.

      The New York Times (Feb 2, 2018) quoted Trump as saying Egyptian Pres Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is a “fantastic guy”, although El-Sisi got elected by jailing or threatening them with prosecution, leaving only an obscure ardent supporter of his as an opponent. According to the NYT, “most other Western leaders have been largely silent.”

    • As Trump Goes ‘Full Nixon,’ Democrats Vote to Hold Attorney General Barr in Contempt

      The vote came as the White House asserted executive privilege to block the report’s release, a decision that Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, called Tuesday evening “the behavior of this lawless administration.” Nadler subpoenaed the full report in mid-April.

      The 24 to 16 vote came down on party lines, with one abstention.

      After the vote, Nadler told reporters, “We are now in a constitutional crisis.”

    • Biden Says Trump Is an “Aberration” From the GOP. He’s Wrong.

      “Mr. Biden stunned Democrats and elated Republicans by praising Mr. Upton while the lawmaker looked on from the audience,” reported The New York Times. “The local Democratic Party pleaded with Mr. Biden to repair what it saw as a damaging error, to no avail. On Nov. 6, Mr. Upton defeated his Democratic challenger by four and a half percentage points.”

      Biden, it should be noted, was paid $200,000 for his appearance at the event, neither the first nor the last time he has enjoyed the comforts of Republican money. Last I heard, Michigan is pretty important to any candidate who hopes to become president. To quote the Starks of Winterfell: The North remembers, Mr. Biden.

      Biden ran his Republican Party problem across the sky in lights this weekend in Iowa. Speaking to a crowd in Dubuque about the need to defeat Donald Trump in 2020, he said, “History will treat this administration’s time as an aberration. This is not the Republican Party.” It is a campaign theme he introduced in his announcement video: “I believe history will look back on four years of this president and all he embraces as an aberrant moment in time.”

    • Biden spends $1.4 million on digital ads in less than 2 weeks

      Former Vice President and current 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden is bolstering his front-runner status in the Democratic primary with a flurry of digital ad spending.

      Although he declared his candidacy just two weeks ago, Biden has already surpassed most 2020 Democrats in online ad spending — shelling out more than $1.4 million between Facebook, Google and Twitter. Just two weeks in, Biden’s online political advertising spending already accounts for more than one in every $10 spent on digital ads by all major Democratic presidential contenders combined.

      On the campaign trail, Biden often pitches himself opposing President Donald Trump rather than his Democratic primary opponents. It’s no different online. While some 2020 Democrats publicly lament being outraised by their primary opponents in fundraising appeals, Biden is keeping his focus on Trump.

      “We’re off to an incredible start – but we still have a ways to go to catch up. The Trump campaign already has $40 million in the bank. Can you help us close the gap with a $5 donation today?” Biden asks in one Facebook ad.

    • Invoking Privilege, Trump Blocks Access to Full Mueller Report

      The White House invoked executive privilege Wednesday, claiming the right to block lawmakers from the full report from special counsel Robert Mueller on his Trump-Russia probe and escalating the battle between President Donald Trump and Congress.

      The administration’s decision was announced just as the House Judiciary Committee was gaveling in to consider holding Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress over failure to release the full report.

      Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York declared the action by Trump’s Justice Department was a clear new sign of the president’s “blanket defiance” of Congress’ constitutional rights. “Every day we learn of new efforts by this administration to stonewall Congress,” Nadler said. “This is unprecedented.”

    • Joe Biden Might as Well Be a Republican

      Recent criticism of Joe Biden for praising Dick Cheney as “a decent man” and Mike Pence as “a decent guy” merely scratches the surface of what’s wrong with the current frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination. His compulsion to vouch for the decency of Republican leaders — while calling Donald Trump an “aberration” — is consistent with Biden’s political record. It sheds light on why he’s probably the worst Democrat running for president.

      After several decades of cutting corporate-friendly deals with GOP legislators — often betraying the interests of core Democratic constituencies in the process — Biden has a big psychological and political stake in denying that the entire GOP agenda is repugnant.

      At the outset of his Senate career, Biden lost no time appealing to racism and running interference for huge corporate interests. He went on to play a historic role in helping to move the Supreme Court rightward and serving such predatory businesses as credit card companies, big banks and hedge funds.

      Biden’s role as vice president included a near-miss at cutting a deal with Republican leaders on Capitol Hill to slash Medicare and Social Security. While his record on labor and trade has been mediocre, Biden has enjoyed tight mutual alliances with moneyed elites.

      The nickname that corporate media have bestowed on him, “Lunch Bucket Joe,” is wide of the mark. A bull’s-eye is “Wall Street Joe.”

    • Let’s Re-fund America

      We must create a politics that directly confronts the narcissistic nabobs who’re knocking down our people and our country

    • Mitch McConnell, gravedigger of democracy: Majority leader’s shocking power grab

      On Monday I wrote about the GOP’s long-term plan to turn the presidency into a (Republican) unitary executive office. You might think that it makes no sense that members of Congress would go along with such a thing, seeing as it directly interferes with their own constitutional prerogatives. That was certainly what the founders assumed would be the case. They assumed that human egos would demand that people jealously guard their own branches of government, thus preserving the checks and balances that would keep any one branch from gathering too much power unto itself. But it turns out that the modern Republicans are loyal to their party above all else, and no one personifies that dedication more than Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

      When the history of this bizarre era is written, it may very well be said that McConnell was the man behind the curtain who made it all happen. Depending on who does the writing, he could also go down as one of America’s most notorious senators. No, he’s not like those traitors who abandoned the Senate to join the Confederacy, nor is he a crude segregationist like the 20th century’s Theodore Bilbo or James Eastland of Mississippi. He’s no demagogue like Wisconsin’s Joe McCarthy or Louisiana’s Huey Long either. But there are elements of all of those men in McConnell, who holds a very special place in that pantheon as what historian Christopher R. Downing called “the gravedigger of democracy.”

    • Nancy Pelosi Is Not a Progressive

      Why did House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) not defend Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) by name recently when she was attacked by President Trump? Why did Speaker Pelosi attend a dinner with Democratic donors where they discussed how to thwart Senator Sanders, arguably the most progressive person in Congress? Why did Pelosi minimize the progressives in Congress by saying there are just five of them?

      I’ll solve the big mystery for you: She isn’t a progressive. Not even close. In fact, she works against every progressive priority in Congress. The only people who still buy into the fiction that she is a progressive are her friends in the Democratic Party and the Washington media.

      Republicans often run campaign ads featuring Pelosi that sometimes are so effective that the Democratic candidate in the race has to denounce her. The mainstream media makes the mistake of thinking this is because the American people find her to be too liberal. In reality, they have a completely different problem with her — they find her to be too elitist. That’s why it was so tone-deaf of her to answer, when asked why she should be House speaker, that she is “the biggest fundraiser in the country.” Yes, that’s exactly the problem: To regular people, that signals she’s working with the elites to rip them off.

    • With Protest Outside Big-Dollar Fundraiser, Healthcare Union Members Call on Biden to Back Their Fight Against Kaiser

      Workers with a California healthcare union gathered Wednesday to voice their disapproval as 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden attended a big-dollar fundraiser at the Los Angeles home of a Kaiser Foundation board member.

      As HuffPost reported, the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) “is locked in a bitter, yearslong fight with Kaiser over mental health staffing levels in the healthcare provider’s California facilities.”

      Union representatives called on Biden—who is presenting himself on the campaign trail as a “union man”—to cancel the event, which was hosted by Kaiser Foundation board member Dr. Cynthia Telles. The Kaiser Foundation is a subsidiary of the healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente.

      NUHW president Sal Rosselli said he never heard back from Biden’s team.

      “Kaiser, Kaiser, you can’t hide, we can see your greedy side!” union members chanted outside of Telles’s home.

    • Why Does Trump Like Communist Vietnam? Because It’s Capitalist.

      Before Donald Trump’s February summit with Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, The Washington Post ran an article headlined, “The US wants North Korea to follow the ‘miracle’ of Vietnam’s path.”

      “In light of the once-unimaginable prosperity and partnership we have with Vietnam today, I have a message for Chairman Kim Jong Un: President Trump believes your country can replicate this path,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, as quoted in The Post article.

      In 2019, the evolution of Vietnam toward capitalism, praised by the Trump administration, is not without irony. A ruinous and brutal U.S. war against North Vietnam and its Viet Cong supporters in the south ended with the U.S. withdrawal of military troops in 1973, followed by a complete end to the conflict in 1975.

      Indeed, it was a little under 45 years ago that the U.S. military departed Vietnam with more than 58,000 soldiers dead and its tail between its legs. In the end, the North Vietnamese forces had won a decisive victory against the United States and the South Vietnamese army (the Army of the Republic of Vietnam). The North and South Vietnamese combatants lost nearly 1.5 million soldiers and at least 2 million civilians. According to The Balance, “Vietnam was the most heavily bombed country in history.”

    • Unless Democrats Refute the Myth of a “Good Economy,” Trump Likely to Win Second Term

      Many in the mainstream media are telling us that the “good economy” favors Trump in 2020, and the Democrats are mostly mum on the subject, with Nancy Pelosi and the neoliberals hoping an anti-Trump campaign will win the day in the next election.

      But simply running against Trump won’t work. Democrats have to refute the myth of a “good economy,” then talk about what they’re for, what their values are, and what they are going to do for the American people. Sadly, the party’s leadership seems loathe to advocate progressive values, and incapable of explaining why the economy isn’t so great.

      The reason an anti-Trump campaign won’t work is because the 2020 election will be determined by turnout. Anything less than 60 percent risks a Trump victory; and failing to embrace the progressive values embraced by the majority of Americans will likely keep turnout below that.

    • Trump’s Troubling Rebuke of Congressional Oversight

      As Congress’ investigations into the Trump administration heat up, the White House has responded by refusing to comply with many of the subpoenas and oversight requests from the House Democratic majority. Citing House Democratic sources, Politico reports that the Trump administration has at least 30 times refused or delayed the release of information requested House committees and half a dozen officials have refused to appear before House panels. Notably, the Trump administration has ignored a deadline for releasing President Donald Trump’s tax returns and attempted to block subpoenas for current and former officials to appear before Congress, including former White House counsel Don McGahn, former White House personnel security director Carl Kline, and senior policy adviser to the president Stephen Miller.

      Victoria Bassetti, fellow at the Brennan Center who worked for the Senate Judiciary Committee for eight years, spoke with staff writer Tim Lau to discuss the context behind the House’s investigations, how they differ from the Mueller inquiry, and what must be done to strengthen constitutional norms related to congressional oversight.

    • Interning for a Centrist Democrat Pushed Me to Democratic Socialism

      In March 2017, a legislative assistant for Congressman Don Beyer (D-Virginia) summoned me and the other interns for a talk. “Can you all meet me in the boss’s office in five minutes?” she asked. After completing the mundane work we had been doing, answering constituent inquiries and concerns by phone mostly, we meandered to the sophomore Democrat’s office. It was during this formative meeting, two months into an unpaid internship, that the glaring contradictions between the policy aspirations of Democratic voters and the status quo hard lines pushed by party leadership became clear to me.

      After the legislative assistant sat us down, she began to brief us on how Rep. Beyer had been receiving an uptick in the number of calls and correspondence in support of H.R. 676, or Medicare For All. She began to explain why the Congressman wasn’t a cosponsor for the single-payer proposal and suggested talking points we should regurgitate if a constituent asked for rationale: For one, the bill would, she said, repeal and replace Obamacare with what she described as an impractical and expensive policy. Secondly, the Congressman supported single-payer, she said, just not H.R. 676, because of “problems with the bill,” a phrase that was never expanded upon.

      H.R 676 had no chance of passage in the Republican-controlled 115th Congress, anyway, especially with Donald Trump in the White House. But if the Congressman did support turning single-payer from pipe dream to reality, he should have backed the legislation without qualifications to advance the debate.

      Something didn’t add up. I suspected that the bill’s “problems” were actually centered around the fact that “health professionals” have given Beyer more than $100,000 throughout his career. As the legislative assistant began to rationalize the Congressman’s positions, I held my tongue, thinking back on how some of her language reminded me of my conservative Virginia college, and its partial Koch Industry funding. Even with an undergraduate education from a conservative university, I saw the proven effectiveness of single-payer and wasn’t dissuaded by her rhetoric. Still, I “put personal politics aside,” as most rank-and-file Congressional aides are told to do, and simply stewed as my higher-up gave lackluster justifications for Beyer not supporting 676.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Instagram Can Find Misleading Posts—but Won’t Take Them Down

      Instagram has begun using image recognition and other tools to identify posts and stories that may contain misinformation and send them to Facebook’s fleet of fact-checking partners for review. If they’re determined to be false, Instagram will not recommend the posts to new users in the Explore tab or hashtag pages, as first reported by Poynter.

      But the Facebook-owned image-sharing network won’t remove the misleading posts; nor will it demote them in users’ main feeds, leaving millions of people vulnerable to misinformation.

    • Russian Education Ministry to develop instructions for teachers on using social media following firing threats

      Andrey Yemelyanov, the press secretary to Russia’s Minister of Education, announced that the ministry intends to develop a set of recommendations on Internet behavior for the country’s teachers, Interfax reported. Yemelyanov said the instructions would be ready for the start of the coming academic year and that they would be sent to all of Russia’s regions. He added that similar practices are widespread internationally.

    • It’s One Thing For Trolls And Grandstanding Politicians To Get CDA 230 Wrong, But The Press Shouldn’t Help Them

      There’s an unfortunate belief among some internet trolls and grandstanding politicians that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act requires platforms to be “neutral” and that any attempt to moderate content or to have any form of bias in a platform’s moderation focus somehow removes 230 protections. Unfortunately, it appears that many in the press are incorrectly buying into this flat out incorrect analysis of CDA 230.

    • Coin Center’s Report Explores Privacy Coins, Decentralized Exchanges, and the First Amendment

      Coin Center’s Peter Van Valkenburgh published a report exploring the potential Constitutional concerns should aggressive regulators attempt to crack down on the coders developing ideas for cryptocurrencies and decentralized exchanges.

      For long-time readers of the EFF blog, some of these ideas will seem familiar. EFF has been asserting that publishing code for cryptocurrency is a form of protected speech since 2014, when we argued to the New York State Department of Financial Services that “government action triggers First Amendment protections when it regulates computer programs such as digital currency protocols—a fact that is especially true given the open source nature of these programs, which allows users to view, share, and develop ideas based upon the code itself.” We also sent a stern letter to the SEC in February over their action against a decentralized exchange, reminding them that writing and publishing code is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment, and that the courts don’t take kindly to government agencies requiring people to obtain licenses before exercising their free speech rights.

    • FBI And Half The World Bust Operators Of A Site That Made The Dark Web Searchable

      That may have been who effected the arrests, as cops say. But the United States had its hand in this action. Deep Dot Web’s landing page has been defaced by the FBI and its multitude of task force logos, indicating the investigative agency now controls the site.

      The wording on the FBI’s new landing page says something about money laundering, but that seems to a stretch. As Whittaker describes it, the site made money with referral links, connecting users with other sites. What it didn’t do was offer any illegal items itself, even if it made it possible for users to find and purchase those items on their own.

      Of course, if the site was taking a cut of the profits from illegal sales, that’s a completely different thing. A percentage of contraband is just contraband. It doesn’t seem to add up to money laundering, though, but that’s what’s alleged in the FBI’s site seizure notice.

    • Feds take down dark web index and news site Deep Dot Web

      Deep Dot Web provided links to dark web marketplaces, as well as news on the subject, activity that, by itself, doesn’t violate US law. The takedown is only the most recent FBI action related to the dark web. Last week, Europol authorities arrested suspects believed to be the behind Wall Street Market, described as the second-largest dark web marketplace.

      A spokesperson for the Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the takedown.

    • [Older] Feminist journalist sues Twitter for banning her ‘Women aren’t men’ tweet

      According to Murphy, Twitter banned her in November, “presumably for violating Twitter’s new rules on ‘misgendering,’ though no one from the company has ever explained the reason for my ban, as certainly I have never engaged in ‘hateful conduct’ on the platform, which were never made known to users.”

      The first news report on Twitter’s new rules was published just 20 minutes after she was banned, she said, and “Twitter is not going to get away with this hypocritical, dishonest, entirely sketchy and unlawful behavior. We cannot allow multi-billion dollar companies to dictate free speech!”

    • BBC Fires Radio Host Accused of Racism for Comparing Royal Baby to Chimp

      The BBC doesn’t mess around when it comes to the royal baby. One of its leading radio hosts has been fired after he tweeted a picture mocking the royal family. A now-deleted tweet from Danny Baker showed an image of an old-timey couple holding hands with a chimp dressed in clothes with the caption: “Royal Baby leaves hospital.” Critics claimed he was comparing Harry and Meghan’s new mixed-race baby, Archie, to a chimpanzee. Following a backlash, the broadcaster insisted he didn’t mean to be racist, saying it was just “a joke about royals vs circus animals in posh clothes.” He went on: “Sorry my gag pic of the little fella in the posh outfit has whipped some up. Never occurred to me because, well, mind not diseased. Soon as those good enough to point out it’s possible connotations got in touch, down it came. And that’s it.” However, the BBC confirmed Thursday that Baker had been fired from his Saturday morning radio show.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • New Data On London Metro Police Facial Recognition Tech Shows It’s Still Wrong 96 Percent Of The Time

      The Metro Police are continuing to use the tech despite its relative uselessness. The Met does claim its deployments over the last couple of years have led to eight arrests, but it needs far more than that to offset the system’s apparent desire to see the innocent punished.

      As the Metro Police continues beta testing its tech on the general public, it’s continuing to amass a collection of non-criminal faces in its facial recognition database. This has drawn some attention from Parliament members who have called this “unacceptable.” There has been some improvement in one area since the last time the Metro Police were queried about its facial recognition tech. It used to hold onto all images for a year. Now, it only holds watchlist images for 30 days and deletes all non-hit images immediately.

      Unfortunately, this spectacular run of failure hasn’t moved Parliament to, you know, discourage use of the tech. And it appears those who publicly refuse the privilege of being misidentified as a criminal will have their complaints addressed by being turned into criminals.

    • Shareholders Demand To Know How Northrop Grumman Will Protect Human Rights While Building Massive DHS Database

      Over the next few years, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to implement an enormous biometric collection program which will endanger the rights of citizens and foreigners alike. The agency intends to collect at least seven types of biometric identifiers, including face and voice data, DNA, scars, and tattoos, often from questionable sources, and from innocent people.

      But DHS isn’t building all of the technology: Northrop Grumman, a defense contractor, won the nearly 100 million-dollar, 42-month contract to “develop increments one and two” of the project, named HART (Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology). Now, a group of concerned investors are demanding that the Board of Directors of the company explain how they will protect human rights while building the tech behind the massive, privacy-invasive database.

      It’s unsurprising that shareholders are recognizing the serious harm to civil and human rights the company will be linked to through its work on this project.

    • Consumer Data Privacy Advocates to Senate Committee: Here’s How to Protect Consumers

      One of the biggest issues surrounding a potential federal consumer data privacy law is preemption. More specifically, will Congress write “one national standard” that wipes out state legislation like California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), Illinois’ Biometric Privacy Act, and Vermont’s Data Broker Act, or will the federal bill create a minimum standard that still allows states to build additional protections on top of it?

      This is a recurring topic in all the consumer data privacy hearings so far, but unlike previous hearings, all of the witnesses today had “serious concerns with broad federal preemption,” concerns that EFF shares. As Guliani says, “The last thing we want to do is weaken the ability of [state governments] to have a seat at the table to enforce and create new laws.” Steyer agreed, saying that he has “deep skepticism about preemption if there’s going to be a watered-down federal law” compared to the California Consumer Privacy Act. We agree.

    • GDPR Penalties Prove Why Compliance Isn’t Enough—And Why Companies Need Clarity

      The legal uncertainty created by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is becoming so common, it’s starting to go unnoticed. In yet another recent example, Poland’s data protection authority (DPA), UODO (“Urząd Ochrony Danych Osobowych” in Polish), fined a European company over €220,000 for failing to comply with a GDPR requirement that companies provide individuals with privacy notices. While it hasn’t drawn considerable attention, this case could have considerable implications for many other European companies. The sanction cuts through expectations that data protection authorities (DPAs) will play a constructive role of both regulators and advisors under the GDPR, and it illustrates that the need to clarify the European privacy law is ever more urgent.

      Bisnode, a European digital marketing company that specializes in data analytics, had collected and processed personal data from publicly available registers on six million individuals to provide creditworthiness scores to banks. The company used its access to the email addresses of about 679,000 users to inform them of the processing of their personal data—to which, out of a sample of 90,000 users, only 10 percent objected. But the operational costs of sending letters to the remaining 5.7 million users whose emails were unavailable would amount to €8 million of postal charges, an estimate which did not even include the related administrative costs. As a result, the company decided to publish a general statement on its website to alert the remaining data subjects. However, the Polish DPA decided that Bisnode did not go far enough in upholding its obligations under the GDPR.

    • Detroit Police Spent More Than Half Million Dollars On Cell-Site Simulator To Track People’s Locations

      Detroit police purchased surveillance technology that allows police to actively track people’s locations through their cell phones, according to documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests.

      In October 2017, the Detroit Police Department (DPD) obtained a cell-site simulator, which is a type of surveillance technology that locates and tracks phones by mimicking cell phone towers. Also known as IMSI catchers and Stingrays (a specific model of cell-site simulator made by Harris Corporation), cell-site simulators are increasingly used by law enforcement to locate suspects in investigations across the country.

      The technology was purchased for $622,000 from KeyW Corporation in 2016, but DPD did not take possession of the equipment until the fall of 2017.

      DPD’s cell-site simulator was deployed at least 66 times between January 1, 2018, and October 31, 2018.

      Cell-site simulators allow police to collect the cellphone location information of anyone in the vicinity of the device. This is not limited to the targets of police investigations and includes passersby suspected of no wrongdoing.

    • Google Atones For Overlooking Privacy For Years. It Still Needs To Do More.

      We’ve seen Google becoming more and more conscious about how it collects and stores data from users in the past few years. One can only be too cautious after facing a record fine of $57 billion and leaking data of 52.5 million users via Google+.

    • Human Rights Watch Reverse-Engineers Mass Surveillance App used by Police in Xinjiang

      For years, Xinjiang has been a testbed for the Chinese government’s novel digital and physical surveillance tactics, as well as human rights abuses. But there is still a lot that the international human rights community doesn’t know, especially when it comes to post-2016 Xinjiang.

      Last Wednesday, Human Rights Watch released a report detailing the inner workings of a mass surveillance app used by police and other officials. The application is used by officials to communicate with the larger Integrated Joint Operations Platform (IJOP), the umbrella system for collecting mass surveillance data in Xinjiang.

    • San Francisco: Stop Secret Spy Tech, and Face Surveillance

      Government use of many surveillance technologies, and especially face surveillance, can invade privacy and chill free speech. It also disproportionately harms already marginalized communities: it increases the likelihood that they will be entangled with police, ICE, and other agencies with a history of abuse, bias, and unlawful violence.

      San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors will soon have an opportunity to join several Bay Area communities—and cities across the country—in requiring Board control of whether city departments may acquire new surveillance technologies. Most importantly, the proposal would ensure robust community input, and the opportunity to advocate against new spy tech before its adoption.

    • Facebook contractors are perusing private posts to feed data hungry AI

      But the issue here is that it would appear that the Facebook contractors got access to both the public and private posts of Facebook and Instagram users, which could be seen as a breach of privacy.

      And the use of personal information to train smart systems to better serve up adverts and other money-making services could leave a bitter taste in the mouths of many.

    • [Older] China’s Big Brother Social Control Goes to Australia

      Australia is preparing to debut its version of the Chinese regime’s high-tech system for monitoring and controlling its citizens. The launch, to take place in the northern city of Darwin, will include systems to monitor people’s activity via their cell phones.

      The new system is based on monitoring programs in Shenzhen, China, where the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is testing its Social Credit System. Officials on the Darwin council traveled to Shenzhen, according to NT News, to “have a chance to see exactly how their Smart Technology works prior to being fully rolled out.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Amazon fired these 7 pregnant workers. Then came the lawsuits

      CNET reviewed seven lawsuits against Amazon filed by pregnant warehouse workers who were fired over the last eight years and who’ve alleged that the company failed to accommodate their needs. The requests included longer bathroom breaks and fewer continuous hours on their feet, according to the lawsuits, but in all of the cases the expectant mothers were fired after telling their managers they were pregnant. Six of the cases were settled out of court.

      These cases fuel the perception that Amazon and CEO Jeff Bezos have created grueling conditions at their US fulfillment centers in the rush to build the online marketplace for everything. [...]

    • EFF to Tenth Circuit: First Amendment Protects Right to Record Police

      The First Amendment protects the public’s right to use electronic devices to record on-duty police officers, EFF argued in an amicus brief filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. The case, Frasier v. Evans, was brought by Levi Frasier against five Denver police officers for interfering with his First Amendment right to record them while arresting another man.

      EFF’s amicus brief argues that people frequently use modern electronic devices to record and share photos and videos, especially on social media. These often include newsworthy recordings of fatal police shootings and other police misconduct. Such recordings facilitate police accountability and enhance the public discussion about police use of force and racial disparities in our criminal justice system.

      The facts of this case demonstrate why protecting the right to record police officers is essential to local journalism and civilian oversight of police activity. Frasier recorded Denver police officers punching a suspect in the face to get drugs out of his mouth as his head repeatedly bounced off the pavement, and tripping his pregnant girlfriend. The police officers retaliated against Frasier by seizing his tablet without a warrant and apparently deleting the video. Frasier was able to retrieve the video by syncing his tablet with his backup cloud storage.

    • Remembering the Woman Who Renovated the House that RBG Built

      Lenora Lapidus led the ACLU’s Women’s Right Project for nearly two decades. She died on Sunday, May 5.

      On the 50th anniversary of Selma’s Bloody Sunday, one of the darkest stains in our nation’s civil rights history, President Obama spoke with hope and confidence about Americans who were “unencumbered by what is, because you’re ready to seize what ought to be.” Lenora Lapidus lived her life by this principle.

      Public servants come in many forms. They’re elected officials, politicians, activists, lawyers, organizers, students, ordinary citizens, and steadfast patriots. Our beloved Lenora represented the very best of us, as a stalwart champion of gender equality and incomparable litigator for the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project.

      It’s painful to write this. It’s painful to memorialize and grapple with the reality of losing someone who not only established a global legacy for herself as a civil rights leader, but showed to be a compassionate, caring, kind, selfless, and inspiring friend. Our heart breaks for her family.

      Lenora was a pillar of the ACLU. She began here as an intern in 1988, served as legal director of the ACLU of New Jersey, and led the Women’s Rights Project since 2001. She furthered equality in employment and education, held institutions accountable for perpetuating sexual violence and gender discrimination, and defended the most marginalized among us.

    • Bail Reform Should Include Efforts to End Pretrial Incarceration

      Bail reform is a struggle at the very center of criminal legal reform, but recent proposals to reform bail have failed to effectively address the pervasive problems wrapped up in pretrial detention. Bail reform measures generally seek to reduce the number of people held on pretrial incarceration, and to dismantle the $2 billion-annual-for-profit bond industry that the cash bail system is built on. Some proposals are well-meaning but don’t go far enough. While eliminating cash bail, as some have attempted, would address the second concern, it does not sufficiently curb the practice of routinely locking up people who have not yet been convicted of any crime for months or even years. Real bail reform would address the problem of having 458,600 unconvicted people languishing in local jails.

      Discretionary choices to reduce bail do not go far enough. For example, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner directed his office to stop seeking bail for a list of 25 low-level crimes. The problem is that this still leaves the ultimate decision of whether to grant bail to judges who may hesitate to release individuals for fear that they might break the law while out on bail. Moreover, Krasner’s decision is nonbinding, limited in scope and is not a permanent solution. When Philadelphia elects a new district attorney, the policy could revert entirely.

      Likewise, the Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act, which was introduced to Congress by Senators Rand Paul and Kamala Harris, does not go far enough. The bill would set aside $10 million in federal grant money to incentivize states to replace bail systems that use payment of money as a condition of pretrial release in criminal cases, and it would implement a program to collect data on how people are processed. The bill is overly modest because a $10 million carrot used to incentivize states to eliminate cash bail does not address the need to dramatically reduce pretrial incarceration. For example, California’s SB 10 proposal would potentially qualify for some of this grant money, but its focus is on eliminating cash bond rather than on reducing pretrial incarceration. Moreover, SB 10 faced opposition from both the ACLU and Human Rights Watch for relying on risk algorithms that depend on racialized factors. For instance, Black people were 77 percent more likely to be categorized as more likely to commit a future violent crime by one risk assessment algorithm. Even algorithms that are race-neutral on their face often contain racial bias by considering factors like a prior arrest, even without a conviction, which Black people are significantly more likely to have for certain crimes due to the over-policing of communities of color.

    • Pussy Riot member arrested in Moscow with little explanation for the second time in one month

      Moscow police have arrested Pussy Riot member Veronika Nikulshina. According to Pyotr Verzilov, a journalist and fellow member of the group, police officers arrived at the home of the activist’s friends, where Nikulshina was also located at the time.

      The officers explained that Nikulshina was needed for questioning because “a group of young people have damaged a piece of government property.” Both Nikulshina and her friends were taken into custody.

    • New Police Misconduct Database Shows Thousands Of Violations, Very Little Accountability

      USA Today has scored a coup. It has partnered with police accountability nonprofit Invisible Institute to obtain misconduct records from around the nation. These paint a pretty bleak picture of American policing — not just in the number of incidents, but in the number of incidents that go unpunished.

      Public records requests have resulted in thousands of documents detailing at least 200,000 incidents of alleged misconduct, along with more than 100,000 internal investigations. The database is completely searchable and leads readers, reporters, researchers, etc. directly to the underlying documents.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The Super ‘Transparent’ Pai FCC Is Still Trying To Hide Details On Those Fake Net Neutrality Comments

      We’ve long discussed how the Pai FCC’s net neutrality repeal was plagued with millions of fraudulent comments, many of which were submitted by a bot pulling names from a hacked database of some kind. Millions of ordinary folks (like myself) had their identities used to support Pai’s unpopular plan, as did several Senators. Numerous journalists have submitted FOIA requests for more data (server logs, IP addresses, API data, anything) that might indicate who was behind the fraudulent comments, who may have bankrolled them, and what the Pai FCC knew about it.

      But the Pai FCC has repeatedly tried to tap dance around FOIA requests, leading to several journalists (including those at the New York Times and Buzzfeed) suing the FCC. Despite the Times’ lawyers best efforts to work with the FCC to tailor the nature of their requests over a period of months, the agency continues to hide behind FOIA exemptions that don’t really apply here: namely FOIA exemption 6 (related to protecting privacy) and 7E (related to protecting agency security and law enforcement activity).

    • Kentucky’s $1.5 Billion Information Highway to Nowhere

      The internet arrived in some parts of eastern Kentucky’s Jackson and Owsley counties on the back of a mule named Old Bub.

      Nine years ago, Old Bub trudged between the rugged counties’ most remote utility poles, hauling the high-capacity fiber-optic cable intended to help bring Appalachian residents into the information age.

      Today, Old Bub symbolizes something else — a poor state plodding along the information highway. Despite spending hundreds of millions of state and federal dollars, Kentucky still lags behind other states in providing high-speed internet access to its residents.

    • US Bandwidth Consumption Surges As Usage Caps Pose A Looming Threat

      It should be noted that Charter is one of the only major broadband providers that doesn’t impose usage caps and overage fees. Why? It was banned from doing so for six years as a condition of its 2016 merger with Time Warner (read: in four years it probably will). Many DSL providers (AT&T, Centurylink) impose caps as low as 150 GB per month, with overage fees as high as $10 per each additional 50 gigabytes consumed. Elsewhere, I’ve seen caps as low as 50 GB per month.

      Initially, ISPs tried to claim these limits were necessary to manage congestion. After that claim was repeatedly debunked, you’ll find most don’t even try to justify the move. But again, the fact that these caps are completely technically unnecessary just kind of falls by the wayside as the practice has expanded.

      A home full of heavy gamers and streamers can already eat through these limits in pretty short order. A recent study by OpenVault found that Internet customers are using an average of 268.7GB per month. Those numbers are about to change dramatically with the launch of game streaming services like Google Stadia, which eliminate your local game console and shift all computing power to the cloud. Such services will need at least 25 Mbps to stream games at 60 FPS, and are certain to drive users toward costly restrictions and overages.

      Of course this was all by design. Usage caps aren’t just glorified price hikes, they’re increasingly used by incumbent ISPs to harm competitors. In a functioning market, these behaviors would be restricted by either healthy competition (users would just switch to an uncapped ISP) or regulators (who’d clearly note such limits are misleading, unnecessary, and often anti-competitive). But since most broadband consumers have few if any real broadband options and regulatory capture is so totally hot right now, its a problem that remains stuck in neutral for the foreseeable future.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • 102(f), Where have you Gone?

      Obviousness is a tough issue to appeal because its flexible fact-heavy analysis lends itself to giving deference to the fact-finder. This is a case-in-point.

      Endo is the exclusive licensee of Mallinckrodt’s U.S. Patent 8,871,779 covering a form of the opioid oxymorphone. Claim 1 is directed to a highly pure form of “oxymorphone” with “less than 0.001% of 14-hydroxymorphinone.”

      Actavis argued that the claims were invalid as obvious. However, following a bench trial the Delaware district court sided with the patentee — holding that the claims had not been proven invalid with clear and convincing evidence.

      The district court did make a major legal mistake — holding that confidential communications between the FDA and oxymorphone producers (including the patentee) were not prior art. In the communications, the FDA “mandated that opioid
      manufacturers reduce ABUK impurities in oxycodone and oxymorphone to below 0.001%” — the exact result claimed by Mallinckrodt. On appeal, the Federal Circuit found the communications prior art under pre-AIA § 102(f) (“A person shall be entitled to a patent unless (f) he did not himself invent the subject matter sought to be patented.”). Note that 102(f) was eliminated by the AIA and so this type of confidential communication will likely not be counted as prior art in future cases.

      On appeal, the Federal Circuit held that the FDA communication – despite being prior art – did not show that the claims were obvious. Although the communications expressly set out the low-impurity goal and was the motivational force for the research, it did not set out the solution created by the patentee.

    • Thermolife Int’l LLC v. GNC Corp. (Fed. Cir. 2019)

      Next the Court held that the District Court’s consideration of the inadequacy of plaintiffs’ pre-filing investigation also occasioned no abuse of discretion, particularly the lower court’s restriction to considering only claim 1 of the ’459 patent. Nor was there error in the District Court finding that infringement required administering L-arginine (or its hydrochloride salt) at dosages of 1 gram. This determination the opinion bases on “science,” not claim interpretation, finding support in trial testimony regarding the amount of L-arginine (or its hydrochloride salt) required to have the claimed effect. And thus the failure of the accused infringing articles to provide this dosage constituted a failure to perform an adequate pre-filing investigation when plaintiffs accused the non-infringing articles (and their use) of infringement. This conclusion was supported both by the concentration and dosage amounts recited on the labels of the accused infringing articles and the failure of plaintiffs to perform any of the publicly known analytical techniques that would have shown that the 1 gram dosage was not administered according to defendants’ formulations and instructions (including the absence of arginine in any form in one of the accused products).

      With regard to the District Court’s findings regarding litigation (mis)conduct, the opinion asserts that standing alone these would not be sufficient per se to support the award of attorneys’ fees, particularly with regard to the number of suits and defendants and the (generally small) size of the awards. But these activities were considered in the context of the rest of the evidence considered by the District Court, and in toto the award of attorneys’ fees was not an abuse of discretion.

      Finding no abuse of discretion by the District Court, the Federal Circuit affirmed.

    • Trademarks

      • Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Inc. Keeps Telling Licensees Its Trademarks Are Valid While Courts Keep Insisting They Are Not

        As many of you will be aware, there is a small town in South Dakota, Sturgis, that turns into the place to be if you’re into motorcycle rallies. Many of you may not be aware, however, that this rally and town have become the center of a years-running trademark dispute. Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Inc. (SMRI), which helps put on the rally, moved to trademark the name of the town and the rally, and then began bullying local Sturgis businesses for daring to use the town’s name or the name of the event. This was done, according to SMRI, for the purpose of protecting the event and town, which makes little to no sense. In the end, the two trademarks in question were one that was a geographical name and one that was almost purely descriptive of a social event.

    • Copyrights

      • 17 Free Movie Download Sites For 2019 [Comparison Of Legal Sources]

        We are here with a list of some free movie download websites where you can get some quality entertainment without paying any money. This list includes the likes of The Internet Archive, Pluto TV, Public Domain Torrents, Retrovision etc. So, let’s talk about them in detail and discuss their strengths

        We love movies and we love them even more if they are for free. Right? If you open your web browser and type free movie download websites, you’ll be presented with a long list of illegal websites promising to grab your favorite blockbuster in a matter of seconds.

      • YouTube Copyright Filters Suck: The ‘Beat Saber’ And ‘Jimmy Fallon’ Edition

        At this point, it’s plainly obvious that YouTube’s ContentID platform for doing automated takedowns of videos that supposedly infringe on copyrights is a full on mess. That mess is multi-pronged. The filters themselves suck at identifying actual infringement, and throw up all kinds of false positives. The filters are also so broadly applied that building any nuance into what is blocked and what isn’t is basically impossible. Finally, the whole system is so wide open for abuse that it’s laughable.

        The latest iteration of this concerns Beat Saber, a virtual reality rhythm game where you essentially wield two lightsabers to match the beats and rhythms that go along with the music. The game has become so wildly popular that it was recently featured on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. That’s where things went sideways.

      • Judge: IP-Address Doesn’t Locate or Identify a BitTorrent Pirate
      • Meet CC: The 2019 Creative Commons Global Summit Scholarships

        Every year, Creative Commons invites community members from around the world to join us at our Global Summit. It is crucial that we come together as a community, celebrate each other, light up the commons, and collaborate. In order to reach the largest number of community members possible, we invest a significant amount of resources into our scholarship program, which this year supports 150 participants, or 38% of all Summit attendees. Summit scholarship recipients come from 59 countries and represent every world region. CC has invested more money and supported an increasing number of participants over the past few years, providing an average gift of over $600 to give $90,700 in total in 2019.

        This year, we’re welcoming representatives from organizations including: Derechos Digitales, Global Voices, Kenya Copyright Board, Jordan Open Source Association, Aga Khan University, Jamlab, Visualizing Palestine, Communia, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, ANSOL – Portuguese Association for Free Software, Karisma Foundation, SPARC Africa, and Open Culture Foundation. These professionals are experts in their fields and leaders in their communities. While the majority of our scholarship recipients come from Europe (39%), we have a relatively even spread of world regions represented, with 66% joining us from the Global South.

        Below, hear from eleven scholarship recipients about their experience and background, their sessions, and what they are most looking forward to at the CC Global Summit.

      • NBA and UFC Urge U.S. Lawmakers to Criminalize Streaming Piracy

        Two major players in the US sports industries, the NBA and the UFC, have informed lawmakers that illicit online streaming hurts their business. Both urge Congress to criminalize streaming piracy, which is currently only punishable as a misdemeanor. The organizations stressed that casual users should be left alone, although a Game of Thrones-loving Senator feels that some penalties for users are warranted.

      • MPAA “Dramatically Expanding” ACE Global Anti-Piracy Coalition

        The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, the huge anti-piracy coalition that already boasts 33 of the world’s largest entertainment companies as members, is about to get bigger. According to MPAA chief Charles Rivkin, the global initiative is about to get a “dramatic” expansion, which is likely to place further pressure on pirates worldwide.

      • Cox Will Share Names of ‘Pirating’ Business Subscribers With Record Labels

        As part of an ongoing lawsuit against several record labels, Internet provider Cox Communications has agreed to share the names and addresses of business subscribers who’ve been accused of sharing pirated material. The disclosure is cemented in a stipulated court order. What the labels plan to do with the information is currently unknown.

      • Ukraine Cyberpolice Raid Pirate Sites, Detain Government Employee

        As Ukraine continues its crackdown on pirate sites, the government has netted itself a surprise suspect. After shuttering four illegal streaming platforms, authorities detained two men – one of whom works for the State Fiscal Service, a high-level government department handling taxes and customs while tackling fraud.

Lusting for a Unified Patent Court (UPC) That Respects Invalid European Patents, Including Software Patents

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Patents at 6:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO delivery

Summary: Judging by the comments in Kluwer Patent Blog (a Team UPC blog), there’s still a dangerous old fantasy about patents without justice, a mere rubber-stamping of dubious monopolies with a kangaroo court to acknowledge them

THE ILLUSION that today’s European Patent Office (EPO) helps justice through enforcement (by courts or outside them) is really just an illusion. Courts can see that. The EPO is rogue. It wasn’t always like that. António Campinos is just a natural extension of Battistelli, chosen by Battistelli himself.

Yesterday morning we wrote about the EPO lobbying to spread European software patents and later in the day the EPO wrote: “One of our initiatives for the future is to harmonise and simplify patent procedures and processes.”

What the EPO’s management means to say is that it’s exporting fake patents like software patents, even to the USPTO where 35 U.S.C. § 101 more or less forbids such patents (both offices now use similar buzzwords like “AI” to bypass these restrictions).

The EPO’s management also wants a UPC for software patents, in effect bypassing the EPC and national laws that explicitly ban software patents. This has thankfully not worked. As mentioned in our daily links (yesterday) and later SUEPO’s as well, Thorsten Bausch (Hoffmann Eitle) has this major new rant about delays in German courts’ judgments. He did not speak about the UPC, but comments in Kluwer Patent Blog (a Team UPC blog) are diverting all attention to UPC. There’s this first comment: “Why such modest demands? EPO Boards of Appeal manage around 10 decisions per Board member each year.”

“No doubt lawyers are loving it (this is enriching them), but what about the rest of us (who aren’t working in law firms)?”Followed by: “Also the Constitutional Complaint against the UPC takes ages…”

And then also: “In his list of things that take too long in Germany, the author forgot to mention rulings by the Bundesverfassungsgericht…”

Here’s another:

The Federal Constitutional Court’s list of “decisions envisaged for this year” is not without a reason nicked “Lügenliste” by the members of the German Rechtsanwaltskammern (German Regional Attorney’s Bar Association).

And that goes without saying, but the UPC/UPA-complaint before the BVerfG has no impact on legal certainty for cases under dispute, and a reference to that would just divert attention away from the main issue, being that most European states have neglected investments into their legal systems.

And one more about the UPC:

On a more controversial note, how about abandoning bifurcation in favour of a more UK-style system: where infringement and validity are considered together but there is a possibility of obtaining a preliminary injunction ahead of a full trial?

As I read the statistics presented above, bifurcation is systematically denying timely access to justice for those parties who merely wish to “clear the way”. So why not ditch it completely?

And why on earth set up the UPC so that it can also develop a fast track for infringement and a slow lane for validity proceedings? (Though it has to be said that, in my view, that is probably the least of the myriad of problems with the UPC … and so perhaps it is no bad thing if the BVerfG waits until the dust settles on Brexit, so that the facts surrounding the legality of the UPC system are known.)

There may be more comments to come (time remains before it’s closed) and the very latest one, from “Universal Hobo”, speaks of EPO examiners as follows:

“And given that it is easier to comply with applicant’s wishes than to write a decision of refusal, you can guess what this trend means for the average quality of the search and examination process.”

We should also not forget that since April 2018 (and with retroactive (!) effect as from 01 January 2018), the production points awarded to EPO examiners for refusal decisions has been reduced from previously 2 points to now only 1 point.

The previous counting of 2 points per refusal decision was done in recognition of the fact that a refusal decision requires significantly more work (typically a number of Art. 94(3) EPC communications, then summons, holding of oral proceedings, a lengthy decision on possibly multiple auxiliary requests to be written) than an intention to grant.

Hence, since this difference in workload between a proposal to grant and a refusal decision is no longer recognised, there is now absolutely no reason for a sane EPO examiner to burden herself or himself with the hassle of a refusal.

The reason given by senior EPO management (COO HBC) as to why refusals were now recognised identically to intentions to grant, she said that this was to harmonise award point counting with production counting.

When asked whether harmonisation was the relevant factor to consider, when what was at stake was a difference in workload, a silent smile but no answer was given.

When then asked whether the reduced recognition of refusal decisions meant that less effort was now expected to be put into these decisions (such as by providing less reasoning, or no reasoning at all), she refused to answer the question.

Now there is some surprise at management level that a recent staff survey at the EPO has revealed sub-zero confidence levels of the examiners in their senior management…

The above too mentions “harmonisation”; The matter of fact is, the EPO nowadays grants so many fake European Patents that it would be insane to let these have an effect in countries based on judgments in courts external to them (and courts that use a foreign language — a major disadvantage for small defendants). Earlier this week Unilin issued a statement to say that EPO “confirmed the validity of European patent No. 2 588 311,” but the EPO is not an actual court and even judges lack independence there. To quote:

Wielsbeke, Belgium, May 8, 2019-On May 6, the European Patent Office (EPO) confirmed the validity of European patent No. 2 588 311 (EP 311) owned by Unilin BVBA in opposition proceedings filed by Windmöller GmbH; Windmöller will appeal the EPO decision, believing it has strong non-infringement arguments against this patent.

How much are these disputes costing? No doubt lawyers are loving it (this is enriching them), but what about the rest of us (who aren’t working in law firms)?

Illegal Software Patents and Patent Trolls Well Served by European and American Patent Offices But Not Courts

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 6:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“As for a future life, every man must judge for himself between conflicting vague probabilities.”

Charles Darwin

Summary: Patent offices are departing from the rule of law; first it was the EPO and now it’s the USPTO under Donald Trump’s appointees, chosen based on nepotism

THE previous post alluded to EPO President António Campinos and his promotion of software patents in Europe (the European Inventor Award 2019 made such patents a contender for an award). But the EPO never speaks of or uses the term “software patents”; even “CII” is gradually being deprecated in favour of buzzwords like “4IR” and “AI”.

Yesterday the EPO wrote: “Day one was rounded off by #SearchMatters first panel discussion. A lively expert debate and really interesting questions from the audience tackled the issue of AI future developments in the context of #patent searches”

When the EPO says “AI” (as in this case) it means illegal software patents — so in essence it leverages buzzwords to break the law, or to violate the EPC.

Here’s another EPO tweet from yesterday: “The next opportunity to visit the EPO will be in Munich. If you want to know more about the EPO’s approach to #artificialintelligence”

Two things to point out here: 1) “AI” does not make software patents acceptable. They break/violate the law, EPC and beyond (caselaw included). 2) Guests at the EPO are subjected to illegal surveillance, so why visit? The EPO’s violations of domestic and international laws have always gone unpunished.

Meanwhile, a vocal patent attorney (Kalis) says that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) “Affirmed Several AI Learning Patent Applications…”

He means software patents (which 35 U.S.C. § 101 trashes) disguised using buzzwords like “AI” for a fake sense of ‘novelty’. “Over the Past 24 Hours,” he adds, “the PTAB Posted a Lot of New Decisions. They Have Reversed a Lot of Examiners’ 101 Rejections and Affirmed Several AI Learning Patent Applications. Scroll down for the decisions. They are Posted in Several Groups.”

Among the examples: “The PTAB Affirmed a 101 Rejection of Machine Learning Claims in an AI Patent Application: https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2018005866-04-03-2019-1 …”

“AI” nonsense again. Even at PTAB…

“Patent Trolls want to destroy PTAB & 101 so they can issue all the Software Patents they like,” a critic of software patents wrote this week.

This is part of the trend, where PTAB is the equivalent of the EPO’s Boards coming under attack. This attack has been ‘harmonised’ along both sides of the Atlantic. The Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) also participates in this attack. Yesterday Watchtroll published under the headline “Iancu: USPTO Guidance Gets 101 [35 U.S.C. § 101] Right; Time for Courts to Follow Suit…” (American Battistellism)

Actually, the vast majority of public comments (submitted to the USPTO) said it was wrong. The USPTO nowadays has its own Ajit Pai, however, so he is lying about public input. Almost all the comments received by the USPTO disagree with him, but here he is trying to tell courts what to do.

In addition, Watchtroll (which he’s close to) still issues personal attacks on PTAB judges all the time. That’s because trolls dislike justice (it stands in the way of their extortion). Benjamin Henrion quoted Iancu from the above (which we prefer not to link to directly): “In the end, all three branches need to be rowing in the same direction on something like 101″ (which translates [to]: “we need a law to make software patents great again,” as Henrion put it).

Also published on Wednesday by the EFF’s Alex Moss was this update about patent troll Uniloc:

Patent owners shouldn’t be allowed to keep basic facts about their patents secret—especially when they initiate litigation in courts, which are presumptively open to the public. Uniloc is one of the worst examples of such a company: it doesn’t make any products, but sues lots of others that do. Then, it hides its licensing agreements while demanding fees from hundreds of other companies that make products supposedly covered by the patents in their vast portfolio. But those secretive tactics may finally be coming to an end: a federal judge has ruled, for the second time, that Uniloc must unseal documents about how it licenses its patents.

In 2018 alone, Uniloc filed more than 170 patent infringement lawsuits against a wide array of technology companies that make products we all use. EFF has fought repeatedly for the public’s right to access court documents in patent cases, and we moved to intervene in Uniloc v. Apple—where Apple is arguing that Uniloc doesn’t have the right to sue—because the basic facts of patent ownership should not be shrouded in secrecy.

At an earlier hearing on Apple’s motion to dismiss Uniloc’s whole case, Judge Alsup called out Uniloc’s wildly improper sealing requests, saying, “There is no way this deserves to be under seal.” He then denied all of the sealing requests, and gave Uniloc a short time to appeal before making the documents public. We hoped that would change Uniloc’s approach to sealing, and afterwards, the company did file public versions of some of the sealed documents. But it still sought to hide information that there was no basis to seal, like the names of companies they had licensed. So EFF renewed its motion to intervene and opposed Uniloc’s motion for reconsideration.

An author from a patent maximalists’ publication said (quoting the above judge): “Judge Alsup unloads: “Patent holders tend to demand in litigation a vastly bloated figure in ‘reasonably royalties’ compared to what they have earned in actual licenses. … There is a public need to police this litigation gimmick via more public access.” https://www.almcms.com/contrib/content/uploads/documents/403/16984/Uniloc-v.-Apple.Alsup-motion-on-reconsideration1.pdf …”

Uncensored Alsup: patent holders are charlatans and frauds. Who other than Iancu defends the trolls? The other Trump appointee, Makan Delrahim. Appointed by the same con man who appointed Iancu (from the firm that used to serve his business). What a “swamp”. As Josh from CCIA put it yesterday: “Delrahim again on his “exercising your patent rights should never be an antitrust violation” while completely ignoring the context—when you’ve made commitments as part of an industry-wide coordinating agreement, it can be an antitrust violation to fail to uphold them.”

There’s a toxic state of affairs when the officials in charge are in the pockets of patent trolls and law firms rather than science and technology. This is the case both in Europe and in the United States (under Trump).

Corrupt Battistelli is Back for European Inventor Award 2019 — an Extravagant Ceremony He Has Used to Steal Millions of Euros From the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Already stained with crime, i.e. the usual (and Battistelli isn’t even a scientist)

Summary: Battistelli (second from top-right), who probably belongs in prison with Alexandre Benalla, has found himself back at the EPO as a judge

THE European Patent Office (EPO) is unwilling and unable to put scandals behind. It’s still bribing academics (this is still — nearly a month down the line — advertised by the EPO in Twitter almost every day) and even the media. There’s also that old bunch of “media partners” it brings (even flies at its own expense) to European Inventor Award. The ceremony is harming patent neutrality and even awarding money and honours to literal criminals. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) doesn’t do things like that, so why does Europe need this? Why doesn’t António Campinos put an end to it?

“The very president under which the EPO lost its reputation as a respectable international organisation, the president under which nepotism became the norm, the president who intruded into DG3 daily business and ruined DG3′s independence, the president under which the quality of work has reached the abyss, the president under which pressure at work has peaked to unprecedented heights (with 6 suicides never investigated), the president under which numerous union officials have been brutally targeted and sanctioned, the president who hired the infamous Alexandre Benalla as one of his 6 bodyguards.”
      –Anonymous
“What a truly independent jury indeed,” a reader of ours joked, pointing to the above. Yes, that’s Battistelli right there! He’s still involved in the EPO.

“Besides the fact that the European Inventor of the Year is highly questionable PR event which involves the wasting of huge amounts of applicants’ money every year (some speak of more than 1.5 Mio EUR per event),” said this reader, “it is now a premiere to see a former president involved in the Jury.

“And Battistelli auch noch! The very president under which the EPO lost its reputation as a respectable international organisation, the president under which nepotism became the norm, the president who intruded into DG3 daily business and ruined DG3′s independence, the president under which the quality of work has reached the abyss, the president under which pressure at work has peaked to unprecedented heights (with 6 suicides never investigated), the president under which numerous union officials have been brutally targeted and sanctioned, the president who hired the infamous Alexandre Benalla as one of his 6 bodyguards.

“There was surely no better candidate to involve in this circus than this very one. Shame on you, Mr Campinos!”

“What are they celebrating? Violation of the law?”As we pointed out earlier this week, they’re already using this event to glamourise software patents in Europe — patents that should never have been granted in the first place! The EPO offers awards to people for fake patents that are software patents and incredibly harmful, expensive to society. Incompatible with the EPC also. What are they celebrating? Violation of the law?

The person’s employer is still using this for PR purposes (EPO has entered the corporate endorsements fray). Here’s the third example we’ve seen in Twitter: “Marta Karczewicz von @Qualcomm Tech, Pionierin der #Videokompression und Erfinderin von mehr als 400 #Patenten weltweit, wurde für den Lifetime Achievement Award von @EPOorg nominiert…”

There are accompanying EPO press releases and new press coverage (puff piece from The First News) like “Maths genius gets lifetime achievement nomination for her work on video compression” (EPO wants to give an award for patents on maths).

“Now they have the very criminal who used the European Inventor Award to steal money right inside the jury!”“Mathematic genius Marta Karczewicz has been nominated for the lifetime achievement European Inventor Award 2019 for her work on advancing video,” it said. Actually, as is widely known, she built barriers. These patents have been a very major nuisance to a lot of software development. See our many articles about MPEG-LA. There have been other puff pieces coming out of this stupid ceremony, like yesterday’s [1, 2] articles which said “Israeli engineer and Mobileye’s Chief Research Scientist Gideon Stein, who helped found the Jerusalem-based advanced driver assistance system, has been nominated for the European Inventor Award 2019 for his Advanced Driver Assistance System, the European Patent Office (EPO) announced Tuesday.”

These aren’t even Europeans. The European Inventor Award has nothing to do with Europe. Years ago they offered honours to a literal criminal from the United States. Now they have the very criminal who used the European Inventor Award to steal money right inside the jury! An opportunity for Europol and Interpol to stage an arrest when he’s not sheltered by CEIPI, a so-called ‘law’ school?

EPO Waste and Mismanagement: Renting Space While Keeping Buildings Empty and Making More of Them

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

From EPO – Building and investment program 2019 – BFC (for opinion) Administration Council (for decision)

EPO buildings

EPO Vienna

Summary: Delusions of grandeur from the out-of-control patent office which is run like a private business — basically the ‘business’ of granting questionable monopolies to businesses all over the world — and enjoys full immunity from the rule of law (domestic and international)

THE LACK of oversight and accountability at the European Patent Office (EPO) breeds misconduct and misuse of funds. We have given many examples over the years. Here’s one example from last year:

We also named some more examples [1, 2] earlier this year. Budget gets wasted by the hundreds of millions on misguided (and failed) projects — a legacy that António Campinos refuses to investigate. To make matter worse, Campinos now perpetuates this very same legacy of abuse of funds, judging by this new document [PDF] — a document from which we extracted the images at the top.

“The EPO has highly severe quality issues (this is costing billions which the public will pay), but here it is fantasising about making construction projects with loads of fancy mockups.”It’s commonly stated and frequently pointed out these days that due to Battistelli’s attack on judges — an attack perpetuated by Campinos by inaction for nearly a year now — the EPO wasted tens of millions of euros renting a place in Haar. It doesn’t need this office space. In fact, this is likely in direct violation of the EPC.

“Want to know what this is,” asked our source, then “have a look at MICADO CA/43/19. Hundreds of Miliions of euros of applicants’ money [get used] for buildings: Champagne ”

The EPO has highly severe quality issues (this is costing billions which the public will pay), but here it is fantasising about making construction projects with loads of fancy mockups. What does it envision for itself? Why is all this money being piled up and wasted on bad projects? Shouldn’t the financial gain instead be returned to applicants? As some people put it last year, the EPO has become an "investment bank" rather than a patent office.

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