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05.26.19

Links 26/5/2019: GNOME 3.33.2 and OSS Catchup

Posted in News Roundup at 11:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • IBM Open Sources Razee CD Tool to Support Mega Kubernetes Scaling

      IBM open sourced its Razee continuous delivery (CD) tool that allows developers to manage applications in their Kubernetes-based cluster deployments. The move also continues to bolster IBM’s push into the Kubernetes space.

      Razee consists of two parts: Kaptain, which are components that handle the multi-cluster deployments; and RazeeDash, which is basically the control panel.

      The Kaptain component within Razee provides a pull-based deployment model that supports self-updating clusters. This helps in generating inventory and scripts that describe actions for each cluster or each application running in a Kubernetes environment.

    • Red Hat Open Sources 3scale Code

      Red Hat has completed open sourcing the API management software of 3scale, the company it bought in June 2016 for an undisclosed sum, saying it has been working on the project for the past three years.

      The company’s full code base has been released under the permissive Apache Software License (ASL) 2.0 licence, with the open sourcing process “much more than throwing code over the wall”, Red Hat said.

      In a short post by the company’s David Codelli on Thursday, he noted: “When Red Hat acquires 3scale it was only a matter of time until it would be open sourced in some fashion. “But the process isn’t instantaneous.”

    • Digital Ocean’s Kubernetes service is now generally available

      Like any ambitious cloud infrastructure player, Digital Ocean also recently announced a solution for running Kubernetes clusters on its platform. At KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe in Barcelona, the company today announced that Digital Ocean Kubernetes is now generally available.

      With this release, the company is also bringing the latest Kubernetes release (1.14) to the platform, and developers who use the service will be able to schedule automatic patch version upgrades, too.

    • Serverless and containers: Two great technologies that work better together

      Cloud native models using containerized software in a continuous delivery approach could benefit from serverless computing where the cloud vendor generates the exact amount of resources required to run a workload on the fly. While the major cloud vendors have recognized this and are already creating products to abstract away the infrastructure, it may not work for every situation in spite of the benefits.

      Cloud native, put simply, involves using containerized applications and Kubernetes to deliver software in small packages called microservices. This enables developers to build and deliver software faster and more efficiently in a continuous delivery model. In the cloud native world, you should be able to develop code once and run it anywhere, on prem or any public cloud, or at least that is the ideal.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Prefork Pitfalls | TechSNAP 404

      We turn our eye to web server best practices, from the basics of CDNs to the importance of choosing the right multi-processing module.

      Plus the right way to setup PHP, the trouble with benchmarking, and when to choose NGiNX.

    • Episode 68 | This Week in Linux

      On this episode of This Week in Linux, we’re going to check out a lot of Distro News from openSUSE, Antergos Kali Linux, BlackArch, and Tails. Xfce is getting close to releasing their next big version, 4.14 so we’ll take a look at the first Pre-Release. We also got some new App releases for Firefox, Tor Browser, KDE’s Elisa Music Player, and a new file search tool called Drill. Later in the show, we’ll check out some interesting news from GitHub and their new Sponsor program as well as some rather unfortunate news for the Android-related smartphone company, Huawei. Then we’ll finish out the show with deals for Linux Games and some interesting ebooks from Humble Bundle. All that and much more on your Weekly Source for Linux GNews.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 5.1.5

      I’m announcing the release of the 5.1.5 kernel.

      All users of the 5.1 kernel series must upgrade.

      The updated 5.1.y git tree can be found at:
      git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.1.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 5.0.19
    • Linux 4.19.46
    • Linux 4.14.122
    • Linux 4.9.179
    • Systemd Now Has More Than 1.2 Million Lines of Code

      Five years ago today was the story on Phoronix how the systemd source tree was approaching 550k lines so curiosity got the best of me to see how large is the systemd Git repository today. Well, now it’s over 1.2 million lines.

      After surpassing one million lines in 2017, when running GitStats on the systemd Git repository today it’s coming in at 1,207,302 lines. Those 1.2 million lines are spread across 3,260 files and made over 40,057 commits from nearly 1,400 different authors… So far this year there have been 2,145 commits while last year saw 6,245 commits while 2016 and 2017 each saw less than four thousand commits total. Lennart Poettering continues being the most prolific contributor to systemd with more than 32% of the commits so far this year.

    • Linux 5.1 Hit By A Data Loss Bug Due To Overly Aggressive FSTRIM

      As a forewarning to those using LVM, dm-crypt, and Samsung solid-state drives, this combination in some manner(s) may lead to data corruption if using the Linux 5.1 kernel.

    • Linux 5.1.5 Kernel Fixes The Latest Data Corruption Bug

      For those concerned by the kernel’s most recent data corruption bug involving LVM, dm-crypt, and Samsung SSD drive combinations leading to FSTRIM/Discard wiping too much data, the issue should be resolved in the newly-minted Linux 5.1.5 kernel.

      The Linux 5.1.5 kernel debuted on Saturday with this fix as well as various other kernel fixes.

    • More HDR Display Bits On The Way For The Linux 5.3 Kernel

      For years there have been open-source developers working on plumbing support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) displays into the Linux desktop stack and it looks like the Direct Rendering Manager driver support is slowly but surely getting there.

      With the Linux 5.3 kernel cycle later this summer, there will be more HDR infrastructure support in place. As part of this week’s drm-misc-next pull request to DRM-Next for staging this Linux 5.3 material there are more HDR pieces.

    • Linux Foundation (KubeCon + CloudNativeCon, Blockchains and Surveillance)

      • Praqma puts Atlassian’s Data Center products into containers

        It’s KubeCon + CloudNativeCon this week and in the slew of announcements, one name stood out: Atlassian . The company is best known as the maker of tools that allow developers to work more efficiently, and now as a cloud infrastructure provider. In this age of containerization, though, even Atlassian can bask in the glory that is Kubernetes, because the company today announced that its channel partner Praqma is launching Atlassian Software in Kubernetes (ASK), a new solution that allows enterprises to run and manage as containers its on-premise applications like Jira Data Center, with the help of Kubernetes.

        Praqma is now making ASK available as open source.

      • Oracle Expands its Cloud Native and Open Source Solutions

        At KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2019 in Barcelona, Oracle open source projects and cloud services are helping enterprise development teams embrace cloud native culture and open source. With the announcement and open sourcing of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Service Broker for Kubernetes, Oracle continues to expand its commitment to open source and cloud native solutions targeted at helping move enterprise workloads to the cloud.

      • Project Genesis Pushing an Open-Source and Community Initiative to Supplement Cryptocurrency Growth

        The history of open-source community initiatives reveals just how powerful they are. The Linux Foundation has achieved some incredible feats over the course of its existence, the Internet was founded on community-driven open protocols, and cryptocurrencies are supplemented by open-source communities of developers and other professionals.

      • Hyperledger — Open Source Blockchain Technologies

        Blockchain is not just cryptocurrency, it is the whole decentralized ecosystem. In this field, Hyperledger is one of the key players.

      • New open source body to promote better, healthier cities [Ed: LF works for surveillance capitalism in the form of so-called 'smart' cities and here we have fools who twist this harmful agenda as "healthier cities". Now that the former spokesperson of James Clapper is the chief spokesperson of Linux Foundation it might not be long before the foundation sets up a "collaboration platform" for "openDrone strikes" (there's one for drones already).]

        The Linux Foundation has established the Urban Computing Foundation, whose goal is to make life more pleasant and sustainable in cities around the world.

        It is a result of growing recognition of the important role of technology in the development of sustainable urban living, which is plagued by such issues as congestion, traffic chaos, pollution and increasing energy consumption.

        Making the announcement earlier this month, the Linux Foundation said early sign-ups to the foundation such as Uber, Facebook, Google and IBM believe it is essential to accelerate open source software that improves mobility, safety, road infrastructure, traffic congestion and energy consumption in connected cities.

      • Linux Foundation forms Urban Computing Foundation to support connected cities [Ed: LF has surveillan cecapitalism in its Board; yes, the "Linux" Foundation is now a proponent and driver of surveillance everywhere. So much for freedom...]

        The initial contributors include developers from industry heavyweights such as Uber, Facebook, Google, and IBM, as well as HERE Technologies, Interline Technologies, Senseable City Labs, StreetCred Labs and the University of California San Diego.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel’s Linux OpenGL/Vulkan Drivers Seeing Minor Performance Gains With Mesa 19.1

        With Mesa 19.1 due to be released in the coming days as the quarterly update to this open-source OpenGL/Vulkan driver stack, here are some fresh benchmarks looking at how the current Intel (i965) OpenGL and ANV Vulkan drivers performance compare to that of the existing Mesa 19.0 stable series.

      • X.Org Server Closer To Better Handling On-Demand XWayland Startup

        Merged this week to the X.Org Server code-base was an EGL-based GLX provider for helping XWayland and allowing some games to run nicely now under this X11 code-path for Wayland compositors. While not yet merged, another interesting bit of XWayland code is now under review as a merge request.

        The code by Carlos Garnacho is for handling surface creation should the client come up before the compositor. This functionality is necessary for on-demand start-up of XWayland so it’s only running when actively used. The on-demand approach that jives better with this XWayland code pending is the compositor setting up a display socket, listening for incoming data, and only spawning XWayland when there are incoming requests from a launched X11 client.

    • Benchmarks

      • The RadeonSI/RADV Performance With Mesa 19.1

        If all goes well, Mesa 19.1 could debut as soon as next week. Here is a look at how the AMD Radeon Polaris and Vega performance is looking with Mesa 19.1 relative to Mesa 19.0 stable.

        These are some OpenGL (RadeonSI) and Vulkan (RADV) driver benchmark results I carried out earlier this month looking at the Mesa 19.1-devel performance around the RC1 release compared to Mesa 19.0.2 stable of the time.

        A Sapphire Radeon RX 590 (Polaris) and Radeon RX Vega 64 (Vega) were used in this testing to see how the RadeonSI/RADV driver performance has evolved over the past quarter. Via the Phoronix Test Suite a variety of benchmarks were carried out, including various Steam Play (Proton / DXVK) titles.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Usability & Productivity: Week 72

        Week 72 in Usability & Productivity initiative is here and it’s chock-full of goodies! We continue to polish Plasma 5.16 ahead of its release in two weeks. There was one point in time when veteran KDE developer and author of the new notifications system Kai Uwe Broulik was literally committing fixes faster than I could add them to this blog post! In addition, features for Plasma 5.17 as well as many of our apps are starting to trickle in. Check it out…

      • KDE Plasma 5.17 To Properly Support Screen Sharing On Wayland

        Sadly it didn’t make it in time for the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.16 release, but come Plasma 5.17 there will be working screen sharing support under Wayland.

        KDE Plasma 5.17 is expected to provide full-functioning screen sharing under Wayland making use of PipeWire and XDG-Desktop-Portal. This solution allows full sharing of the KDE Plasma desktop under Wayland via PipeWire with similar functionality to VNC. KDE developers have been working on this for a while and it looks like the 5.17 all the ducks will be in a row with Krfb support.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Developers Plot Future Improvements For Pango

        The Pango layout engine library that’s been around for nearly two decades and used by GNOME’s GTK and other software hasn’t seen much love lately. Fortunately, Matthias Clasen and others are envisioning some improvements to this library and modeling it more around the HarfBuzz shaping engine work.

      • GNOME 3.33.2 released!
        Hello GNOME developers,
        
        GNOME 3.33.2 is now available. This is the second unstable release
        leading to 3.34 stable series.
        
        I had to disable gnome-contacts, gnome-calendar and gnome-maps because of the not-very-well coordinated evolution-data-server transition.
        
        If you want to compile GNOME 3.33.2, you can use the official
        BuildStream project snapshot.
        
        https://download.gnome.org/teams/releng/3.33.2/gnome-3.33.2.tar.xz
        
        The list of updated modules and changes is available here:
        
        https://download.gnome.org/core/3.33/3.33.2/NEWS
        
        The source packages are available here:
        
        https://download.gnome.org/core/3.33/3.33.2/sources/
        
        WARNING!
        --------
        This release is a snapshot of development code. Although it is
        buildable and usable, it is primarily intended for testing and hacking
        purposes. GNOME uses odd minor version numbers to indicate development
        status.
        
        For more information about 3.34, the full schedule, the official module
        lists and the proposed module lists, please see our 3.33 wiki page:
        
        https://www.gnome.org/start/unstable
        
        Cheers,
        
        Abderrahim Kitouni,
        GNOME Release Team
      • GNOME 3.33.2 Released As Another Step Towards The GNOME 3.34 Desktop

        GNOME 3.33.2 is now available as the latest development snapshot in the trek towards this September’s GNOME 3.34.

        GNOME 3.33.2 has a number of fixes to Epiphany, new GJS APIs, Glib-Networking’s OpenSSL back-end now defaults to the system trust store, GNOME Boxes has dropped oVirt support, librsvg continues with its Rust’ing, and various other fixes.

  • Distributions

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • The Man Behind OpenSUSE Conference – Douglas DeMaio

        In this episode of Let’s Talk, we sat down with Douglas DeMaio, the organizer of openSUSE Conference to understand what makes the conference so much fun.

      • SuSE storage spins-up Ceph

        Open source software platform company SuSE has announced SUSE Enterprise Storage 6, a software-defined storage solution powered by Ceph technology.

        Many would argue that storage on its own is snorage (i.e. enough to send you to sleep), but software -defined storage does at least drive us forward into the realm of the software developer.

        By way of a reminder, software -defined storage is a way of managing data storage resources and functionality that is essentially uncoupled from (i.e. has no underlying physical dependencies) the actual hardware resources that offer up the amount of storage being used.

    • Debian Family

      • Laura Arjona Reina: MiniDebConf Marseille 2019

        I’ve attended the MiniDebConf Marseille (France) during this weekend (25–26 May 2019).

        I’m very happy that I could meet new Debian and free software friends and meet again other Debian friends.

        I gave a talk about the Welcome team and some examples of non-packaging contributions to Debian. You can see the slides in the Welcome team wiki page and the video will be linked there when it is available (probably soon, thanks to our awesome Debian Video Team!).

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Top 15 Free and Open Source BPM Solutions

    Searching for BPM software (BPMS) can be a daunting (and expensive) process, one that requires long hours of research and deep pockets. The most popular BPM systems often provide more than what’s necessary for non-enterprise organizations, with advanced functionality relevant to only the most technically savvy users. Thankfully, there are a number of free and open source process management solutions out there. Some of these solutions are offered by vendors looking to eventually sell you on their enterprise product, and others are maintained and operated by a community of developers looking to democratize BPM.

    In this article we will examine free and open source BPM software, first by providing a brief overview of what to expect and also with short blurbs about each of the currently available options in the space. This is the most complete and up-to-date directory on the web.

  • Top 12 Free and Open Source Talent Management Software

    Searching for talent management software can be a daunting (and expensive) process, one that requires long hours of research and deep pockets. The most popular HR systems often provide more than what’s necessary for non-enterprise organizations, with advanced functionality relevant to only the most technically savvy users. Thankfully, there are a number of free and open source talent management solutions out there. Some of these solutions are offered by vendors looking to eventually sell you on their enterprise product, and others are maintained and operated by a community of developers looking to democratize HR technology.

    In this article we will examine free and open source talent management software, first by providing a brief overview of what to expect and also with short blurbs about each of the currently available options in the space. This is the most complete and up-to-date directory on the web.

  • Top 15 Free and Open Source ERP Solutions

    Searching for ERP software can be a daunting (and expensive) process, one that requires long hours of research and deep pockets. The most popular ERP systems often provide more than what’s necessary for non-enterprise organizations, with advanced functionality relevant to only the most technically savvy users. Thankfully, there are a number of free and open source ERP solutions out there. Some of these solutions are offered by vendors looking to eventually sell you on their enterprise product, and others are maintained and operated by a community of developers looking to democratize ERP.

  • The Power Of Open Source AI

    he open source software movement produced iconic innovations like the Firefox web browser, Apache server software and the Linux operating system—the genesis of the Android OS that currently powers 86% of the world’s smartphones. It also fostered a mindset around continuous improvement of tools that can be collaboratively shared, improved upon and distributed.

  • Apache Dubbo, the Java-based open source RPC framework becomes a Top-Level Project

    The Apache Software Foundation announced that the Java-based open source RPC framework used by giants like Alibaba, Apache Dubbo, is now a Top-Level Project. Let’s have a look at what this framework is all about.
    Apache Dubbo is a high-performance, Java-based Remote Procedure Call framework that has been in use at more than 150 companies, including giants like Alibaba Group or the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

    The Dubbo project was originally developed at Alibaba and open-sourced in 2011. It entered the Apache Incubator in February 2018 and the Apache Software Foundation announced that Dubbo is now a Top-Level Project!

  • Bridging divides with open source

    Application delivery is changing. At the risk of using buzzwords, it is being transformed – digitally. Continuous delivery has become the norm for DevOps (71 per cent plan on implementing, according to a study conducted by F5 and RedHat – NetOps Meets DevOps: The State of Network Automation), and continuous deployment must follow if business is to succeed in the era of Application Capital.

    While 73 per cent of organisations plan on pursuing continuous deployment, nearly half of them have yet to begin. A staggering 42 per cent have yet to automate a single component of the continuous deployment pipeline (according to a study conducted by F5 and RedHat – NetOps Meets DevOps: The State of Network Automation).

    [...]

    Applications themselves are mainly developed today from third-party components, a majority of them open source. Application infrastructure is increasingly built from open source components. From web servers to app servers, databases to ingress control, messaging to container runtimes and orchestration. IT operations are driven by open source tools like Puppet, Chef, Terraform, Helm, Kubernetes, and Ansible. These technologies are adopted because they answer multiple challenges: fast, frequent delivery and deployment along with a frictionless business model. They also encourage collaboration and innovation when entire organisations move to standardise on open source-based operations.

    None of that is possible without the passionate communities of developers who work tirelessly to improve their open source solutions.

    At F5, we appreciate the value of such communities. In a comparable example, our DevCentral community is based on collaborative innovation, guided by many of the same principles that drive open source projects. Code sharing and knowledge transfers across the community help the hundreds of thousands of members innovate and create new capabilities for our BIG-IP platform. With those solutions come new extensions, plug-ins, and libraries for open source projects like Puppet and Chef and node.js.

  • Open Source Analytics Platform Grafana Gets Update

    This week Grafana Labs announced the 6.2 release of its Grafana open source analytics platform…

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 68 Integrates BigInt Support

        In addition to Firefox 68′s WebRender slated to deliver much better performance, another headlining feature of this next Mozilla Firefox web-browser update is BigInt support.

        BigInts are a new JavaScript primitive for integers that are suffixed with an n and can handle values up to 253 in value. BigInt supports interoperability with systems using 64-bit numbers and has been supported similarly by Google’s Chrome web browser since last year.

      • Mozilla Revamps WebThings, its Open Source IoT

        Mozilla recently released its open source IoT platform, formerly called Project Things, as WebThings. Mozilla WebThings brings a series of logging, alarm, and networking features.

        Mozilla WebThings is an open source implementation of emerging Web of Things standards at the W3C. W3C Web of Things is an initiative that aims to reduce the IoT fragmentation, through the recently launched Web of Things Working Group. W3C started to develop the initial standards for the Web of Things, aiming to reduce the costs of development, lessen the risks to both investors and customers, and encourage exponential growth in the market for IoT devices and services.

  • Google

  • Databases

    • Couchbase pumps ups ‘Autonomous Operator’ function

      NoSQL database company Couchbase has moved off the sofa (the firm is no couch potato, get it?) and come forward with new features aligned to allow ‘deployers’ to build (and scale) applications.

      The new version of Couchbase Autonomous Operator is enables Kubernetes-based application deployers to bring in a database ready for flexibility and micro-services.

    • Databricks Open Sources Delta Lake to Make Data Lakes More Reliable

      Databricks recently announced open sourcing Delta Lake, their proprietary storage layer, to bring ACID transactions to Apache Spark and big data workloads. Databricks is the company behind the creators of Apache Spark, while Delta Lake is already being used in several companies like McGraw Hill, McAffee, Upwork and Booz Allen Hamilton.

      Delta Lake is addressing the heterogeneous data problem that data lakes often have. Ingesting data from multiple pipelines means that engineers need to enforce data integrity manually, throughout all the data sources. Delta Lake can bring ACID transactions to the data lake, with the strongest level of isolation applied, serializability.

    • DataStax CEO Bosworth : accelerating development on (and in) the cloud

      DataStax CEO Billy Bosworth started out as a database administrator (DBA), so one would hope that he knows how to build, compile, manage and deploy in all senses of those terms, right?

    • DataStax details road to Apache Cassandra future

      DataStax closed out the final day of its ‘Accelerate 2019’ conference by focusing on a selection of platform-level developments including its community development stream.

    • DataStax has stars in its eyes over Constellation, its latest tweak on Apache Cassandra

      DataStax, the business built around the Apache Cassandra open source database, is creating a new system-as-a-cloud service using the platform.

    • Open source is big in databases, but cloud is bigger [Ed: Adobe's Asay calls everything "cloud" (I wonder if he even understands what that means). Had Aasay ever set up a database or written a single line of code (he's a lawyer), he'd know "cloud" just means anything including a database hosted where you have no real control over it. It's outsourcing.]
  • CMS

    • How open source distribution accelerates Drupal development time by 30%

      Acquia released the latest version of Acquia Lightning, a flexible Drupal 8 distribution thousands of organisations are using to launch new Drupal sites and projects quickly.

      Acquia Lightning offers new capabilities for developers, site builders, site managers, and marketers to build sites faster and deliver richer digital experiences.

      As companies continue to elevate the role of content delivery across every channel, teams face pressure to build sites that are increasingly demanding.

    • Acquia delivers open source framework for contextual commerce
    • Acquia Delivers Open Source Framework for Contextual Commerce

      Acquia has unveiled the Acquia Commerce Framework, a set of open source Drupal modules that brands can use to deliver seamless, contextual commerce experiences. These open source modules provide flexibility to embed commerce components directly into content-driven experiences, helping remove friction from the commerce process. As a result rich, omnichannel shopping experiences can emerge from content building efforts quickly and easily, without having to assemble troves of data or build complicated navigation paths.

      Using the framework, brands can turn themselves into e-commerce powerhouses. Within Drupal, site builders can create as many virtual catalogues as they need using custom connectors, linking product data to content. Brands can tap the benefits of open source technology to create a smoother shopping experience – connecting customers with lively, useful content and clear, actionable checkout options. Authors can easily embed this product data directly into the content they are creating, which is the basis for contextual commerce.

    • GeekHive Open-Source Technical Lead Becomes a Pantheon Hero

      GeekHive proudly announces the acceptance of Technical Lead Drew Nackers into the Pantheon Heroes Advocacy Program for his valuable contributions to the Drupal and WordPress open-source development communities. The Pantheon Heroes Program honors programming professionals who voluntarily dedicate their time, expertise, and talents toward the continual advancement of the Open Web ecosystem.

  • Healthcare

    • Iran & Iraq Are Embracing GNU Health Project | Dr Axel Braun

      In this episode of Let’s Talk, Dr Axel Braun talks about the new features and updates of the GNU Health project. He also talked about the increasing adoption of the project.

    • WELL Health Acquires Ontario Open Source EMR OSCARprn for $876k

      WELL Health Technologies Corp. (“WELL”), a Vancouver, Canada-based company focused on consolidating and modernizing clinical and digital assets within the primary healthcare sector has acquired Ontario-based EMR provider OSCARprn – Treatments Solutions Ltd. OSCARprn is a trusted provider of EMR software, support and other services that work with OSCAR, an open source EMR platform developed by McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Carnegie Mellon’s Massive Open Source Initiative – Interview With the Leader Behind It

      In March, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) announced an unprecedented initiative. Over the course of the year, they plan to release dozens of digital learning tools they have developed over the past decade on an open-source license. These include the learning analytics platform LearnSphere and their pioneering adaptive learning project the Open Learning Initiative (OLI). In all, CMU estimates $100 million in grants and university funding went into these efforts. The effort was spearheaded by the Simon Initiative, which continues the legacy of Nobel Laureate, Turing Award recipient, and CMU professor Herbert Simon.

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • Korean Public Sectors Begin to Incorporate Open-Source Software

      Major departments such as Ministry of Interior and Safety (MOIS), Ministry of National Defense (MND), and Korea Post announced one after another that they would introduce open-source software (SW) this year. As major departments that had been hesitant on adopting open-source SW are starting to introduce open-source SW, more public sectors are beginning to adopt open-source SW as well. Open-source SW draws spotlight from the fact that it reduces costs, avoids dependence on certain SW, and responds to Cloud environment. Stable support and actions are becoming more important as there are more examples of introduction of open-source SW in public sectors.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • André Laperrière: Executive Director at Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition

        Andre Laperrière is executive director at the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) an initiative aiming to exchange ideas and knowledge to solve the world’s looming food crisis

      • Open-source gene expression platform could yield more efficient food, biofuel crops

        An open-source RNA analysis platform has been successfully used on plant cells for the first time — a breakthrough that could herald a new era of fundamental research and bolster efforts to engineer more efficient food and biofuel crop plants.

        The technology, called Drop-seq, is a method for measuring the RNA present in individual cells, allowing scientists to see what genes are being expressed and how this relates to the specific functions of different cell types …. [T]he freely shared protocol had previously only been used in animal cells.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Feather Plus Blackberry Equals Open Source Fauxberry

        The keyboard is a superior means of input, but to date no one has really figured out how to make a keyboard for small, handheld electronics. You could use tact switches, but that’s annoying, or you could use a touch screen. The best option we’ve seen is actually a Blackberry keyboard, and [arturo182] has the best example yet. It’s a small handheld device with a screen, keyboard, and WiFi that’s ready to do anything imaginable. Think of it as an Open Source Fauxberry. In any case, we want it.

        This project is actually a breakout board of sorts for the Adafruit Feather system, and therefore has support for WiFi, cellular, or pretty much any other networking of connectivity. To this blank canvas, [arturo] added an accelerator/magnetometer sensor, a single Neopixel, and of course the beautiful Blackberry keyboard. This keyboard is attached to an ATSAMD20G, a microcontroller with a whole bunch of I/O that translates key presses into I2C for the Feather.

      • Students from Stanford’s Robotics Club Releases Open-Source Robo-Dog Online

        Robotics isn’t cheap by any means, and no one knows this better than the students of the Extreme Mobility Team of Standford University’s Robotics Club (SEMT). The materials used by university robotics clubs can cost upwards of tens of thousands of dollars, making it that much harder for many high schools and less well-funded colleges and universities to invest heavily in this important field of research.

      • Watch this open-source dog robot do backflips [Ed: This is more likely to be used in military rather than in aeronautics and astronautics (luxury of the rich)]

        “We’re hoping to provide a baseline system that anyone could build,” says Patrick Slade, graduate student in aeronautics and astronautics and mentor for Extreme Mobility.

      • Meet Doggo: Stanford’s cute open-source four-legged robot

        Doggo follows similar designs to other small quadrupedal robots, but what makes it unique is its low cost and accessibility. While comparable bots can cost tens of thousands of dollars, the creators of Doggo — Stanford’s Extreme Mobility lab — estimate its total cost to be less than $3,000. What’s more, the design is completely open source, meaning anyone can print off the plans and assemble a Doggo of their very own.

      • Stanford Students Built This Adorable, Bouncy, Open-Source Robot Dog

        Nearly all of the parts used to create Doggo were bought intact through the internet, while the rest can be easily 3D-printed. The total costs involved in building Doggo—including shipping and handling—amounted to less than $3,000, Kau and his team claim. Via the website Github, the team has also released all of the relevant information you would need to create your Doggo, including software coding, supply list, and manual instructions. From there, any enterprising roboticist could tweak the design to create an even more capable Doggo.

  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

  • Science

    • 30-plus years of HyperCard, the missing link to the Web [Ed: Reposted]

      Sometime around 1988, my landlady and I cut a deal. She would purchase a Macintosh computer, I would buy an external hard drive, and we would leave the system in the living room to share. She used the device most, since I did my computing on an IBM 286 and just wanted to keep up with Apple developments. But after we set up the Mac, I sat down with it one evening and noticed a program on the applications menu. “HyperCard?” I wondered. “What’s that?”

      I opened the app and read the instructions. HyperCard allowed you to create “stacks” of cards, which were visual pages on a Macintosh screen. You could insert “fields” into these cards that showed text, tables, or even images. You could install “buttons” that linked individual cards within the stack to each other and that played various sounds as the user clicked them, mostly notably a “boing” clip that to this day I can’t get out of my mind. You could also turn your own pictures into buttons.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Trump Administration Announces Fresh Attack on LGBTQ and Reproductive Rights

      The existing rule was first enacted in 2016, six years after the ACA was signed into law. The rule prohibits any health-care entity who receives federal funding from discriminating in the delivery of care or services on the basis of sex, gender, or the termination of a pregnancy. Republicans have had their sights set on the rule since it was first enacted, filing a lawsuit in federal district court arguing that the Obama Administration lacked the authority to issue it. In late 2016, Judge Reed O’Connor agreed with Republicans, ruling that Congress had only intended to ban discrimination on the basis of “biological sex.” He issued a nationwide preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the rule. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear oral arguments in that lawsuit in early July.

    • ‘Stonewall Generation’ Confronts Old Age, Sickness — And Discrimination

      Two years ago, nursing professor Kim Acquaviva asked a group of home care nurses whether they thought she was going to hell for being a lesbian. It’s OK if you do, Acquaviva said, but is the afterlife within your scope of practice?

    • Pot Industry Owes Reparations to Those Criminalized for Drug Use

      Pot, grass, marijuana, cannabis — call it what you will, its recreational use is already legal in 10 states and the District of Columbia, with many more soon to follow. Among other things, that means big bucks are at stake. Here in New York, Governor Cuomo is now pushing the Democratic-controlled legislature to move forward on legislation. The market is estimated at more than $3 billion. New York City alone could see more than $300 million in taxes on top of an additional $400 million for the state. But who will benefit from this windfall? Will legislation legalization lead to corporate control and profit for a few? Or can we seize the opportunity to create a more equitable economy and even provide reparations to those largely Black and Brown people who were previously criminalized by the “war on drugs”?

      Here to help us avoid getting lost in the weeds are three leading thinkers and doers in the fight for cannabis economic justice: Kassandra Frederique is the New York State director of the Drug Policy Alliance; Raybblin Vargas is a grassroots organizer on social justice campaigns and board member of the Green Worker Cooperative; and Mary Pryor is co-founder of Cannaclusive, created to facilitate fair representation of marginalized cannabis consumers.

    • Amid Fight to Stop Wave of Anti-Choice Bills, Cheers After Federal Judge Smacks Down Miss. Abortion Ban

      Healthcare advocates breathed a sigh of relief but said the “fight is not over” after a federal judge on Friday struck down Mississippi’s six-week abortion ban.

      The southern state’s law, which would have taken effect July 1, is one in a wave of state-level anti-choice measures recently passed that critics say are meant to provoke a challenge to Roe v. Wade.

      U.S. Judge Carlton Reeves—who ruled against the state’s 15-week abortion ban just six months ago—said Tuesday during arguments that the new law “smacks of defiance to this court.”

      Reeves also pointed to the law’s lack of exception for rape, according to the Clarion Ledger.

      “So a child who is raped at 10 or 11 years old, that child does not open their mouth, doesn’t tell their parents, the rapist may be in their home, nobody discovers until it’s too late—that is a fetal heartbeat has been detected—that child must bring the fetus to term under this statute, if the fetal heartbeat can be detected,” Reeves said.

      The law, he said in issuing the preliminary injunction on Friday, “threatens immediate harm to women’s rights, especially considering most women do not seek abortions services until after six weeks.”

      Reeves added that “by banning abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, the law prevents a woman’s free choice, which is central to personal dignity and autonomy.”

    • The Secret Money Behind the Push to Ban Abortion

      Rank of Brett Kavanaugh’s 2018 appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court among the reasons there’s a new push to ban abortion in state legislatures across the South and elsewhere: 1

      In the fiscal year before it spearheaded Kavanaugh’s confirmation, amount the Judicial Crisis Network (JCN) — a secret-money 501(c)(4) “social welfare” nonprofit that promotes conservative judges — received in anonymous donations, according to a tax return recently obtained by campaign finance watchdogs: $22 million

      Size of a single anonymous donation JCN got during the period between July 2017 and June 2018, when abortion rights-protecting Justice Anthony Kennedy resigned, opening the door to Kavanaugh, who was backed by anti-abortion groups: $17 million

      Number of other anonymous donations JCN got that year, all of them at least six-figure: 9

      JCN’s spending in 2017 to support the confirmation of President Trump’s other Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, who has also shown hostility to the Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion: $10 million

    • Abortion Access Will Only Be Won Through a Broad Grassroots Movement

      The wave of absurdly restrictive abortion laws passed in recent weeks are assaults on our reproductive freedom. We need to go beyond challenging these restrictions and fight for an expansive vision of reproductive justice that includes free abortion on demand as well as free healthcare, free childcare, paid parental leave, and freedom from state violence and racial oppression.

      Alabama recently passed the most restrictive abortion ban in the country, outlawing abortion entirely excerpt in cases of a threat to a pregnant person’s life or a lethal fetal anomaly. It joins five other states–Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Missouri–that have passed so called “fetal heartbeat” bills in 2019, which ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy and before many people know they are pregnant.

      Just days after Alabama’s abortion law was signed by the governor, the Missouri House approved a bill that would criminalize any abortion beyond eight weeks of pregnancy, except in cases of medical emergencies. Doctors in Missouri who perform abortions after eight weeks face five to fifteen years in prison while Alabama doctors who perform abortions could face up to 99 years in prison.

    • How Much Alcohol Is Too Much?

      While enjoying an occasional alcoholic beverage is unlikely to harm your health, drinking in excess can have substantial negative effects on your body and well-being.

      You may wonder at what point your drinking becomes harmful to your health, and how much is too much.

      This article explores alcohol’s effects on your health and reviews intake limits and recommendations.

      [...]

      Excessive drinking affects your health and almost every part of your body. It can not only damage vital organs but also affect your mood and behavior.

  • Security

    • Serious Security: Don’t let your SQL server attack you with ransomware [Ed: Article focuses on things like Windows and RDP. SQL Server is proprietary software that runs on a platform with NSA back doors. So if you choose it, then you choose to have no security at all, only an illusion of it. Why does the article paint Windows issues as pertaining to MySQL?]

      Tales from the honeypot: this time a MySQL-based attack. Old tricks still work, because we’re still making old mistakes – here’s what to do.

      [...]

      As regular readers will know, one of the popular vehicles for malware crooks at the moment is Windows RDP, short for Remote Desktop Protocol.

    • How Screwed is Intel without Hyper-Threading?

      As it stands Microsoft is pushing out OS-level updates to address the four MDS vulnerabilities and you’ll get those with this month’s Windows 10 1903 update. However, this doesn’t mitigate the problem entirely, for that we need motherboard BIOS updates and reportedly Intel has released the new microcode to motherboard partners. However as of writing no new BIOS revisions have been released to the public. We believe we can test a worst case scenario by disabling Hyper-Threading and for older platforms that won’t get updated this might end up being the only solution.

    • SandboxEscape drops three more Windows 10 zero-day exploits

      SandboxEscaper also indicated that she was in the market to sell flaws to “people who hate the US”, a move made in apparent response to FBI subpoenas against her Google account.

    • Huawei can’t officially use microSD cards in its phones going forward

      The SD Association is also by no means the first to cut ties: Google, ARM, Intel, Qualcomm, and Broadcom are also among the companies that have stopped working with Huawei due to the ban. The Wi-Fi Alliance (which sets Wi-Fi standards across the industry) has also “temporarily restricted” Huawei’s membership due to the US ban, and Huawei has also voluntarily left JEDEC (a semiconductor standards group best known for defining RAM specifications) over the issues with the US as well, according to a report from Nikkei Asian Review. All this could severely hamper Huawei’s ability to produce hardware at all, much less compete in the US technology market.

    • Huawei barred from SD Association: What’s that mean for its phones and microSD cards?

      As such, companies that aren’t on the SD Association’s list of members can’t officially produce and sell devices with SD card support that use the SD standards. According to SumahoInfo, the member page showed Huawei a few weeks ago, but no longer lists the firm this week.

    • Inside the Government’s Open Source Software Conundrum [Ed: The cited examples don't show problems with Free software but with sysadmins who neglect to patch it for months, despite knowing the clear risks of this negligence. Proprietary software has flaws and back doors. The latter cannot be patched (it's not supposed to). With FOSS you have only flaws and patches are available immediately (you can also pay someone to write them for you ASAP).]
    • Open-Source Software Is Everywhere. What’s Your Maintenance Strategy?

      For years, open-source software has had a rep for being risky compared with managed alternatives. But perhaps the real problem is less about how it’s made and more about how it’s maintained.

    • Phishing Campaign Delivers Multi-Feature, Open-Source Babylon RAT

      Cofense observed that the Babylon RAT samples distributed in this campaign were written in C# and came with an administration panel written in C++. This control feature allows the malware to manage multiple server configuration options around port numbers, network keys for authentication and IP versions. Together, these features enable digital attackers to customize the malware according to their needs.

    • After ZombieLoad, Intel is running out of friends. Can Project Athena save it?
    • Georgia Hosts Inaugural Cyber Dawg Summit at New Center

      Four workgroups used Georgia-based Security Onion, an open source intrusion detection, enterprise security monitoring and log management tool, along with trials of Windows in a closed-network, virtual environment. Sam Blaney, director of Cyber Security and Governance Risk and Compliance in the Office of Information Security, said open source tools provide the adaptability agencies need to respond to cyberthreats like ransomware.

    • Website for storing digital currencies hosted code with a sneaky backdoor

      WalletGenerator.net and the mystery of the backdoored random number generator.

      [...]

      Researchers from MyCrypto, which provides an open-source tool for cryptocurrency and blockchain users, compared the code hosted on Github and WalletGenerator.net and found some striking differences. Sometime between August 17 and August 25 of last year, the WalletGenerator.net code was changed to alter the way it produced the random numbers that are crucial for private keys to be secure.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Outrage After Trump, Advancing “Alarming Desire to Sow Chaos Abroad,” Uses Loophole to Send US Bombs to Saudis

      Critics of the U.S.-supported bombing of Yemen rebuked the Trump administration on Saturday after it ducked congressional approval by invoking emergency powers to approve billions of dollars in American-made arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

      “Selling more weapons to Saudi Arabia doesn’t make America safer or align with our country’s values,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in a tweet. “It only benefits defense contractors and @realDonaldTrump’s alarming desire to sow chaos abroad.”

      Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, announced on Friday the administration’s plans to utilize the emergency provision to bypass the 30-day congressional notification period for arms sales. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later confirmed the plan.

    • John Walker Lindh Spent 17 Years in Prison — and the War Rages On

      John Walker Lindh, the so-called “American Taliban” who was captured on an Afghanistan battlefield in November of 2001, was released on Thursday from the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana after serving 17 years of a 20-year sentence.

      After his capture, Lindh was indicted on a slew of charges that included supporting terrorism and aiding al-Qaeda. In 2002, Michael Chertoff, who was at the time head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, directed prosecutors to offer Lindh a plea bargain: supplying services to the Taliban and carrying an explosive during the commission of a felony. Lindh accepted, and began serving his sentence in January of 2003.

      “I did not go to fight against America, and I never did,” Lindh said at the time. “I have never supported terrorism in any form, and I never will…. I made a mistake by joining the Taliban. Had I realized then what I know now, I would never have joined them.”

      “John is entirely innocent of any involvement in the [September 11] terror attacks, or any allegiance to terrorism,” wrote Lindh’s father Frank in 2011. “That is not disputed by the American government. Indeed, all accusations of terrorism against John were dropped by the government in a plea bargain, which in turn was approved by the U.S. district court in which the case was brought.”

      Lindh maintained a clean record in prison and remains a devout Muslim. “I once told him I felt he had always been a Muslim,” his father wrote, “and only needed to find Islam in order to discover this in himself. He remained the loving son and brother he had always been.”

    • Combat for West Point Graduates ‘a Virtual Certainty,’ Pence Says

      Pence did not serve in the military but noted that his late father served with the Army in the Korean War.

    • Trump sends 1,500 troops to Middle East amid Iran tensions
    • Our Schools Need Healing, Not More Guns

      When a shooter killed 10 people and wounded 13 others at Santa Fe High School on May 18, 2018, everything changed for our community. Since then, we have all been desperately trying to make sense of it, pick up the pieces and avoid a recurrence. I’m incredibly concerned that many lawmakers think the solution is putting more guns in our children’s schools. For children in communities like mine that have experienced gun violence, every gun in their school is another reminder of what happened that day, and what could happen if that gun gets into the wrong hands.

      My daughter was a seventh-grader at Santa Fe Junior High School when the shooting happened. I remember the texts she sent after I dropped her off telling me that she loved me, and there was a shooter in the high school. Our morning school routine used to be just that — routine. But now, I study her clothing before I drop her off. I squeeze her hand before she gets out of the car and hold my breath as she walks into school. For the first week after the shooting, I waited in the car until every child walked into school to make sure they didn’t come running back out.

    • Anti-occupation coalition grows stronger in the face of Israeli military violence

      I watched the Israeli Defense Forces throw several stun grenades — one right after the other — deep into a crowd of my friends earlier this month. I saw people dear to me get choked by soldiers, thrown forcefully onto the ground and dragged away by their limbs. Following this, the army arrested 17 people — including many Jewish activists from around the world, two Palestinian journalists and three Palestinian residents from the area.

      The crime? Presumably, the IDF’s harsh punishment would be because our protest turned violent. However, we were steadfastly nonviolent. We were simply fixing a dirt road that would enable Palestinians in the area to access food, water and basic supplies.

      The IDF’s behavior in this situation is sadly not shocking nor inconceivable, but to see it up close with my own eyes was deeply unsettling and upsetting.

      The rehabilitation of this road was planned by a broad coalition of groups. Palestinians from the South Hebron Hills assembled a wide array of Palestinian partners. Meanwhile, the anti-occupation collective All That’s Left organized diaspora Jews based in Israel-Palestine, and the Center for Jewish Nonviolence brought 40 North American Jews to the action as part of a nine-day delegation to Israel-Palestine to learn about the occupation.

    • No Fair! Iran Puts their Country Right next to US Military Bases in Gulf

      The Trump administration made a grand and empty show Friday of announcing the dispatch to the Middle East of 1,500 US military personnel, allegedly to signal Iran not to attack US troops in the region.

      Update: Actually, it is 900 new troops and 600 having their deployment extended. I.e. nothing.

      Except as bad theater, the announcement is meaningless. US bases in the region are not in danger of any significant attack by Iran, whatever the Man with the Angry Mustache says. Could Iran deploy mines or small unmanned undersea drones, or flying drones? Sure, but they’d be crazy to do anything more and they’d be careful not to have such incidents traced back to them. The Trump War Party seems to be counting on cult-like Shiite militias in Iraq to do some small katyusha attack so they can blame Iran for it (not all Shiites are on the same team, folks).

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • The U.S. Media Is in the Crosshairs of the New Assange Indictment

      I have written a lot on how hard it is to distinguish WikiLeaks from the New York Times when it comes to procuring and publishing classified information. One implication of the comparison is that any successful prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would have adverse implications for mainstream U.S. news publications efforts to solicit, receive and publish classified information. The May 23 indictment of Assange makes clear that these concerns are real. As Susan Hennessey said, “[I]t will be very difficult to craft an Espionage Act case against him that won’t adversely impact true journalists.” I don’t think this is an accident. I think the government’s indictment has the U.S. news media squarely in its sights.

      [...]

      There are other similarities. The government thought it significant that the WikiLeaks website states: “WikiLeaks accepts classified, censored, or otherwise restricted material of political, diplomatic, or ethical significance” (emphasis in indictment). This sounds very much like the public interest standard that U.S. editors use to decide when and how to publish classified information. Former Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie once told me, “‘Highly classified’ doesn’t mean anything to me …. The question is, is it important for the American public to know that its government is acting in its name in this particular way?” Or as the Times’s former executive editor once said, “As journalists in a robust democracy, our responsibility is to publish information of interest to the public, and that includes publishing secrets when we find them.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Where the Forest Has No Name

      Driving up the Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco, you approach the world’s largest contiguous temperate rainforest. But don’t look for any markers or directions. There aren’t any. In fact, the rainforest, which stretches 2,500 miles from Northern California all the way to Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska – almost as far as the distance as from New York to Los Angeles – doesn’t even have an official name.

      “There’s no official name in the national names database,” says Bruce Fisher, president of the Oregon Geographic Names Board.

      But what should we call it? We asked James Meacham, a professor of geology at the University of Oregon and an author of the Oregon Atlas.

      “Great question,” he said. “I don’t have definitive answer for you.”

      Only parts of this anonymous rainforest have any legal protection from logging and other development, including Redwood and Olympic National Parks in California and Washington, the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia and 5 million roadless acres in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest.

      But outside these protected areas, most of the rainforest was cut down over the last century and replaced with industrial tree farms, which possess none of the diversity of a natural forest. The rainforest’s scant remaining unprotected old growth is rapidly disappearing from ongoing logging on Vancouver Island. The losses will likely accelerate if the Trump administration allows logging in roadless areas on the Tongass, which would require eliminating a policy on the books since 2000, as it plans to do.

      About two hours north of the Golden Gate Bridge you cross the Russian River, which the Alaska Coastal Rainforest Center, an arm of the University of Alaska, defines as the coastal rainforest’s southern perimeter. Ecotrust, a conservation group based in Portland dedicated to protecting the rainforest, draws a similar boundary.

      Massive ancient redwoods, some soaring 350 feet above the ground, tower overhead. Redwoods are the world’s tallest trees, but as you drive further up the coast, you encounter Douglas fir, cedar, hemlock and spruce trees almost as grand.

    • Creating a Home through the Green New Deal

      Near where I live, in Pacifica California, there is a big piece of land right at the ocean that was once slated to be the site of a giant freeway interchange. That plan was stopped by local people who saw no need for increased freeway capacity.

      When I moved to town 14 years ago it was covered in dirt bike trails, almost inaccessible to walkers, and overgrown with invasive weeds. A few years after that, the land was acquired by the federal government and replanted with native plant species, and developed with trails. It is now a thriving home for countless bugs and butterflies which rely on the native plant species to survive, and it is becoming a better home for the endangered San Francisco Garter Snake, one of the most beautiful snakes in the world. From the blufftops of Morey Point you can see lines of Brown Pelicans, those iconic birds which were taken to the brink of extinction by DDT, and brought back by regulation that was inspired by Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.

      The park is also a place of refuge for a racially and economically diverse group of people who come from far and wide to walk, get a break from the city, exercise, and enjoy spectacular views of the ocean. The park’s open spaces are free, and open, and belong to everyone. The park uses federal tax money to hire a very diverse set of employees, and to help paid interns on their paths to meaningful careers.

      One of my favorite things in life is watching a devastated landscape be turned back into something thriving, beautiful, and socially sustainable. It helps heal me from the sense of hopelessness I often feel in the face of the climate crisis. I take heart in Arundhati Roy’s statement that “another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.“ And I hear that other world breathing in the ideas put forward in Green New Deal.

      And yet, political work aimed at achieving the Green New Deal takes place in a broken political system which is embedded in a devastated public sphere, where people are, for a variety of reasons, deeply cynical and mistrusting, where a sense of fear and hatred permeates much political discourse. On the Republican side is the one third of the US population who are living in fear of being replaced by a racialized others, and who have come unmoored from traditional discourses based on fact. On the Democratic side is a liberal consensus which is wedded to growth, progress, and a rationalist worldview which sees nature as something to be used for production. Achieving a Green New Deal requires a realignment of politics toward a set of goals that will offer all of us a sense of home and belonging, which will develop a sense of trust in shared institutions, and which will position people in the US as members of a global community, fighting for well-lived lives for everyone in all parts of the Earth that is our home.

    • It’s Too Late for a Green New Deal; Can Other Radical Plans Work?

      We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to those who have articulated the Green New Deal (GND), especially Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Sunrise Movement. We needed something that focused attention on how serious climate change has become and the need for government action. The GND has shattered the neoliberal insistence upon incremental, market-oriented climate mitigation.

      But, considering the emerging climate science and our diminished carbon budget after at least three decades of denial, and with carbon concentration in the atmosphere higher than it has been in 3 million years, it is too late to speed up the slow transition from fossil fuels to renewables with government facilitated renewable building; too late to build renewables under a Keynesian plan that employs all the workers in transition; too late for a transition that makes money and lets us keep living our present lifestyles.

      The GND challenged neoliberalism with a “Big Government Plan” for climate mitigation, but as presently envisioned, these policy actions remain completely within a market transition where renewables will only replace fossil fuels by out-competing coal, oil and natural gas.

      The GND could greatly speed up this slow transition, but it’s still a plan to let fossil fuels compete for far too long; it still doesn’t regulate production and distribution; it still envisions supplying 100 percent of today’s energy, plus projected growth. The GND is ultimately predicated upon a growing GDP in a business-as-usual scenario where there is enough created wealth to redistribute to marginalized populations.

    • Magnitude-8 Earthquake Strikes Amazon Jungle in Peru

      A large earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 8.0 struck the Amazon jungle in north-central Peru early Sunday, the U.S. Geological survey reported.

      The quake, at a moderate depth of 110 kilometers (68 miles) struck at 2:41 a.m., 80 kilometers (50 miles) southeast of the village of Lagunas and 158 kilometers (98 miles) east-northeast of the larger town of Yurimaguas.

      There were no immediate reports of casualties, although some buildings collapsed and power cuts were reported in a number of cities. Earthquakes that are close to the surface generally cause more destruction.

      In a tweet, President Martín Vizcarra called for calm and said that authorities were checking the affected areas.

      The mayor of Lagunas, Arri Pezo, told local radio station RPP that the quake was felt very strongly there, but it was not possible to move around the town because of the darkness.

      In Yurimaguas, a number of old houses collapsed, and the electricity was cut, according to the National Emergency Operations Center, which gave the magnitude of the quake as 7.2.

    • Op-Ed: Climate Change: ‘We’ve Created a Civilization Hell Bent on Destroying Itself – I’m Terrified,’ Writes Earth Scientist

      The coffee tasted bad. Acrid and with a sweet, sickly smell. The sort of coffee that results from overfilling the filter machine and then leaving the brew to stew on the hot plate for several hours. The sort of coffee I would drink continually during the day to keep whatever gears left in my head turning.

      Odours are powerfully connected to memories. And so it’s the smell of that bad coffee which has become entwined with the memory of my sudden realization that we are facing utter ruin.

      It was the spring of 2011, and I had managed to corner a very senior member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) during a coffee break at a workshop. The IPCC was established in 1988 as a response to increasing concern that the observed changes in the Earth’s climate are being largely caused by humans.

    • ‘They’ll give me a detention but it’ll be worth it’ – a climate scientist interviews his climate striking daughter

      Extinction rebellion, the climate strikes, Greta Thunberg and even the BBC and Netflix have changed the conversation on climate change. Even more than I expected – there’s now a groundswell of public concern that human impact on the planet is unacceptable and we’re smart enough to correct it.

      I’m a climate scientist – and have been for 25 years – but I rarely take my work home. You don’t want to be the dad that goes home telling the family the world is screwed. So I was taken aback and pleasantly surprised when my 13-year old daughter Abbie said she wanted to go on the climate strike and asked if I would go with her.

      Brilliant, I thought – and then there was that moment of doubt. Is this because of me? Have I influenced her in some way and she is doing this to please her dad? I decided to have a chat with her to find out why she is going to strike.

  • Finance

    • Palantir’s Hotly Anticipated IPO Set to Slide to 2020

      By some measures, things are going very well for the company right now. Its software integrates and analyzes data for a client list that includes dozens of global government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security, along with an increasing number of private sector giants like Merck KGaA and Airbus SE.

    • Palantir was expected to IPO in 2019, but that dream is now reportedly on hold until next year

      The startup, which sells secretive data-analytics tools to clients like the US government, grew its revenue by 40% last year up to about $1 billion and has about $30 million in losses, according to the report, which cited anonymous sources.

    • Trump Opens State Visit, Needles Japan Over Trade Issues

      President Donald Trump opened a state visit to Japan on Saturday by needling the country over its trade imbalance with the United States. “Maybe that’s why you like me so much,” he joshed.

      Trump also promoted the U.S. under his leadership, saying “there’s never been a better time” to invest or do business in America, and he urged corporate leaders to come.

      The president’s first event after arriving in Tokyo was a reception with several dozen Japanese and American business leaders at the U.S. ambassador’s residence. He said the two countries “are hard at work” negotiating a trade agreement.

      “I would say that Japan has had a substantial edge for many, many years, but that’s OK,” Trump said, joking that “maybe that’s why you like me so much.”

    • Fight for $15 Protests McDonald’s Over Workplace Violence

      This week, thousands of McDonald’s workers went on strike in 13 U.S. cities to demand higher wages, a union, and an end to rampant sexual harassment and other forms of violence in the workplace. The cities included Durham, North Carolina, and Florida’s Miami, Orlando, and Tampa.

      The mass protests were held just days after the Fight For $15, American Civil Liberties Union, and Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund announced they were bringing more than two dozen sexual harassment charges and lawsuits against the company on behalf of workers nationwide who claim that McDonald’s failed to protect them from sexual harassment and violence in the workplace.

      Showing the growing power of their movement, the workers were joined on the picket lines by several 2020 presidential candidates including Julián Castro, Bill de Blasio, and Jay Inslee. Sen. Bernie Sanders joined the action in Dallas by video conference and urged his supporters to participate in person.

      “We work! We sweat! Put $15 on our check,” chanted the hundreds of workers and allies including Castro who marched to the McDonald’s in downtown Durham.

      McDonald’s worker Lois Jones was among those who spoke at the Durham protest. Jones talked about experiencing sexual harassment at the company, and how when she complained about it she experienced retaliation with cuts to her work hours and paycheck.

      “Sexual harassment should not be tolerated,” Jones said. “So what McDonald’s needs to do is sit down and talk to us and let us let know what is really going on at their stores, and then maybe, sexual harassment will stop.”

    • Cities Are Convincing Voters to Pay Higher Taxes for Public Preschool

      Seattle — One frigid morning, on a playground outside a red-painted modular classroom, a preschooler with wispy blonde hair folded her arms across her chest and looked at the ground, the slightest pout forming on her face. “I’m staying out here today,” Ali, 4, said to her father. Hoping to distract her, he kicked a ball. Ali laughed and ran after it. A few minutes later, he had coaxed her inside where it was warm, and she approached a classmate reading a book on the rug.

      “Ali has made leaps here,” said the girl’s father, Ryan Price, 41, a sporting goods sales manager. “She used to hang on to my leg when I tried to leave and then spent most of her time in the ‘upset room.’ Now she’s interacting with the other kids and doing her routines.”

      The school where Ali is thriving is Creative Kids Learning Center in Northwest Seattle — and it’s cheaper for her parents than most preschools in the neighborhood. In fact, Price said they pay just $1,790 in tuition for the school year. The average cost of center-based care is $14,208 in Washington. That’s because Creative Kids is one of 20 preschools that has joined a city program that not only offers reduced fees, but also mandates class size, length of school day, and curriculum in exchange for higher pay, training, and tuition assistance for teachers. In the absence of adequate federal and state funding, Seattle is building a top-ranked preschool program by subsidizing tuition on its own.

      Who’s footing the bill? Taxpayers. And a broad majority are doing so willingly. Five years ago, Seattle residents voted for a ballot measure to raise property taxes, generating $58 million to fund an overhaul of existing preschools, some of which are run by nonprofits or out of homes, and create new ones. The effort has been a success in the classroom as well as at the ballot. By the 2017-18 school year, students in Seattle Preschool Program (SPP) schools had made significant gains on vocabulary, literacy, and math tests given at the start and end of the school year, compared with a nationally representative sample of kids who took the same tests. This past November, 68.5 percent of Seattle voters agreed to continue the tax hike in order to fund even more preschool seats.

    • Democratic Chesco politicians call for increase in minimum wage

      Three state representatives pushed for a $15 an hour minimum wage, at a Thursday rally.

    • What’s Keeping Open Finance From Competing With Institutional Products?

      Conversely, narratives around open finance – decentralized financial products built on the blockchain – have also gained attention. However, concepts predicated on the maxims of decentralization and democratizing financial opportunities have struggled to attract adoption and scale so far.

    • Trump’s Support of American Workers Is a Blatant Lie

      What’s the matter with Donald and The Trumpeteers? Why won’t they stand up for the American workers and business owners who make their products right here in the United States?

      Oh, yeah, I know they talk a good game. Trump himself even issued a bold, star-spangled executive order promoting the purchase of “American-made goods” produced by American labor.

      We consumers respond positively to that pitch, generally preferring to buy everything from mattresses to hockey pucks that are manufactured here at home.

      For example, take Patriot Puck. What’s not to like about this corporation, which literally wraps its hockey pucks in American flag packaging and proudly advertises that they are “the only American-made hockey puck”?

      Well, sadly, one thing not to like is that the puck-seller’s pitch was a lie. Its product actually turned out to be made in China. Such a deceptive sales scam is not just unethical — it’s a federal crime.

      Saddest of all, though, is that when honest competitors and defrauded consumers protested the firm’s blatant deceit, Trump’s Federal Trade Commission appointees proved to be Made-in-America wimps.

    • We Have the Means to Fund Reparations. Where Is the Political Will?

      Fact: The $147,000 median wealth of a white household is 41 times the $3,600 median wealth of a Black family.

      Many Americans may believe that in the wake of the country’s first Black president, we had moved past race-based inequality. Many others may see the divide as the result of individual behavior choices, like getting an education or saving carefully.

      As co-authors of the report “Ten Solutions to Bridge the Racial Wealth Divide,” we disagree.

      Our research points to a multigenerational legacy of white supremacy in asset building and wealth concentration — a history that includes the African slave trade, Jim Crow and systematic discrimination in wealth-building opportunities right on up to the present.

      That trend is getting worse, not better.

      Between 1983 and 2016, the median net worth for Black Americans actually went down by 50 percent. Paired with a growing Latinx population that also lags far behind whites in household wealth, the U.S.’s overall median wealth trended downward over those decades, even as median white wealth increased.

      These trends go hand-in-hand with the rigging of the overall economy. Over the last 30 years, the wealthiest 20 percent of households have captured almost 97.4 percent of all increases in wealth, leaving only scraps for the rest.

    • Law and Disorder: Why Corporatism Will Dominate US Policy for Decades to Come

      Remember when Republicans ran on a law and order platform? Well, nowadays, we’ve got a President – in fact an entire Party — at war with the idea of the rule of law in general, and any constraints on corporations in particular. Democrats console themselves with the idea that this can all be righted in the next election. Vote Trump out, retain the majority in the House, and win the Senate. Problem solved.

      Except it isn’t. McConnell and Trump are doing everything they can to hand over the Judiciary — lock, stock and barrel — to a collection of extreme partisans who have no regard for the rule of law and regardless of who wins the election, that could leave us with a country which is firmly in the hands of the oligarchy. Since 1801, when Marbury v Madison established the right of the Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution, the Judiciary has had the power to strike down laws, statutes, and some government actions such as executive orders. As long as this power remains in the hands of extremist ideologues, democracy and the rule of law are threatened, and corporations and monied interests will continue to get a free pass.

      With issues such as gerrymandering, limits on money in campaigns, and regulatory authorities covering everything from the climate crisis to Wall Street excesses, democracy itself is in jeopardy. It was Roberts’ and crew who took Citizen’s United from a simple question about a nonprofits’ legal rights in an arcane part of the McCain Feingold Campaign Finance Law and converted it into a case that called the entire law into question. Having performed that bit of evil legal alchemy, they then declared the whole thing illegal.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • EU citizens in the UK say they’ve been denied the right to vote

      “But then they could have run a social media campaign, or tweet a link to the document, they could also email all electoral officers and say please contact EU citizens or please consider extending the deadline,” she said.

    • The Terrifying Implications of India’s Elections for People and the Planet

      A cloud of suspicion still hangs over Modi himself for his role in instigating, or at least tacitly endorsing, massacres of Muslims as chief minister in his home state of Gujarat. Modi failed to use the state law enforcement machinery to stop the 2002 pogrom, and systematically covered up the inaction.

      Not unexpectedly, the Modi and the BJP’s ascent to national power in 2014 has had terrifying consequences for Muslims nationwide since then. Brutal mob killings of Muslims and Dalits (Hindus who are low in the caste hierarchy) in the name of “cow protection” have become common in India.

      Hindus consider cows sacred, and most observant Hindus don’t eat beef — which, as a personal religious or dietary choice, is fine. But some states in the nominally secular country have legislated Hindu religious beliefs by banning the slaughter of cows and the sale and consumption of beef. Worse still, mobs of vigilante “cow protectors” have murdered Muslims suspected of killing cows or consuming beef. Dalits belonging to castes who have historically performed the work of disposing of dead animals have been murdered as well.

      None of this should be surprising for a government and political party that have emerged from what many historians call a fascist movement that was inspired by European fascism of the 1920s and 30s — ties that they’ve never convincingly repudiated.

      What’s even less known about the Modi government outside India is its abysmal environmental record. Under BJP rule, India’s ranking in the Environmental Performance Index — an assessment of countries’ performance on indicators of environmental health and ecosystem protection — has fallen to 177 (out of 180 countries examined), compared to 155 in 2014 under the prior government.

    • May Ends in June

      History will not be kind to Theresa May. By the standards she forthrightly set herself at the outset of her premiership, she has been a dismal failure. She proposed that, contrary to most impartial expectation, she would be a socially liberal prime minister who would strive to relieve the economic pressure on the poorest members of British society (the briefly famous “just about managing”), but the only small concessions towards the relief of poverty that have been wrung from her government have done nothing to reduce the incidence of homelessness, food banks and wage rates that undershoot the demands made by private landlords, services starved of funds and price rises.

      [...]

      The social media commentator Aidan Daley summed her up admirably: “Mayvis: a political nonentity of such crushing mediocrity and insignificance that even when standing in direct sunlight she casts no shadow. A third-rate office manager elevated light years beyond her intellectual capacity, professional capabilities and pay grade. A national embarrassment and global laughing stock”.

      This unsparing but unarguable buttonholing raises a historical problem for the Conservative Party that shows no sign of quick resolution. When May was elected Tory leader and hence prime minister, the field of choice was notable for its lightweight uniformity. Given the length of her cabinet experience, May clearly outshone her rivals, if not in charisma (a quality conspicuously lacking from the field). But the quality of leadership of the party has been modest at best for years. Among Tory leaders since the war, only Margaret Thatcher has managed to catch the climate of her time and impose her personality on a discernible period, however much one may deplore that climate and that period.

    • Israelis protest moves to grant Netanyahu immunity, limit Supreme Court

      Thousands of Israelis protested on Saturday against legislative steps that could grant Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immunity from prosecution and limit the power of the country’s Supreme Court.

      [...]

      Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing, calling the allegations a political witch-hunt. The right-wing leader has said that with a renewed public mandate to govern he has no plans to resign, even if charged.

      Although the prime minister is under no legal obligation to step down if charged, Netanyahu loyalists in his Likud party have pledged to seek parliamentary immunity from prosecution for him while he is in office.

      Expecting legal challenges, they also have been advocating legislation that would annul any Supreme Court ruling rescinding immunity.

      Since the election, Netanyahu has not said whether he would seek immunity.

    • The DNC’s Dumb-Down Opinion Survey

      In its recent Official 2020 Issues Survey, DNC Chair Tom Perez solicited input on the ‘top’ issue for the upcoming June debate as the Dems will use that “feedback to shape our electoral strategy.” In other words, the following identified issues will conceivably become questions at the debate and presumably will become the basis for the Dems 2020 platform which its Presidential candidate and down-ticket slate will campaign on.

    • Yle analysis: Fake news accounts active on Twitter ahead of EU Parliament elections

      The project found that among hundreds of thousands of tweets, the most popular sharers deliberately disseminated distorted information. The Yle analysis corroborated suspicions that a growing number of EU citizens are being exposed to distorted or fake news.

    • Facebook says it will not remove doctored Pelosi video

      The video, which has reached millions of viewers, has been altered to make it seem as though Pelosi is sick or drunk, and it has accrued thousands of comments from viewers who seemingly do not realize it has been manipulated. Multiple right-wing groups and online personalities have been pushing the video across a broad swath of online platforms.

      The video was first reported by The Washington Post on Friday.

    • Distorted Nancy Pelosi videos show platforms aren’t ready to fight dirty campaign tricks

      Altered video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) circulated across social media networks this week in what appeared to be a right-wing attempt to discredit and embarrass her. One of the clips, which was shared by President Donald Trump on Twitter, was edited in a way that muddled and repeated her words, making her appear confused or even ill.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Here are all the major US tech companies blocked behind China’s ‘Great Firewall’

      Meanwhile, US tech companies have been largely banned from doing business in China for years. Communist-ruled China has long maintained strict regulations on which websites and social media platforms are accessible in the country — and which are blocked behind China’s so-called “Great Firewall” of [Internet] censorship.

    • Why Is Audible Still Featuring Far-Right Author Jack Donovan?

      Massive media companies are being pressured by organizers and consumers alike on how they are going to deal with the home white nationalists have made on their social media and e-commerce platforms. The access that companies like Facebook, Twitter and Amazon have given to small-time content producers has provided a major boon to niche publishing and commentary, mainly because they can share the same platform as actors and politicians. The “alt-right” could not have skyrocketed in popularity without this support, and they have exploited this fact, flooding YouTube with videos, Twitter with troll accounts and Amazon with books.

      But in the process of shuttering racialism, these companies are focusing on easy targets like neo-Nazi skinheads, while neglecting more influential voices. Audible, the popular audio book company owned by Amazon, tends to be known for a high degree of gatekeeping. Because audio books take a certain amount of capital to actually produce, and because Audible is picky about what it will include, it is a lot rarer to see insurgent, nationalist books populating the platform.

      In the midst of Amazon’s recent push to remove white nationalist content from its platforms, the company has already removed “alt-right” books from publishers like Arktos Media. But there has been one glaring exception: Audible is still hosting several books by “male tribalist” far-right author Jack Donovan, a figure so central to the rise of the alt-right that it seems like more than a shocking oversight.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Apple has patented an in-bed health tracking system

      The system integrates sensors that lie beneath a consumer’s mattress or pillow and collect health data, which is sent to a processor for analysis and used by the consumer or their healthcare providers. The approach is likely still a far-off concept, but if it materializes, it could have huge implications for Apple’s health play.

    • CrossFit storms off Facebook and Instagram, citing long list of grievances

      CrossFit, the branded workout regimen, deleted its Facebook and Instagram pages earlier this week and explained the reasoning through an impassioned press release. The announcement lists various reasons for the indefinite suspension of its accounts, including accusations that Facebook’s News Feeds are “censored and crafted to reflect the political leanings of Facebook’s utopian socialists.”

    • CrossFit, Inc. Suspends Use of Facebook and Associated Properties

      CrossFit, Inc., as a voluntary user of and contributor to this marketplace, can and must remove itself from this particular manifestation of the public square when it becomes clear that such responsibilities are betrayed or reneged upon to the detriment of our community. Common decency demands that we do so, as do our convictions regarding fitness, health, and nutrition, which sit at the heart of CrossFit’s identity and prescription. To this end, all activity on CrossFit, Inc.’s Facebook and Instagram accounts was suspended as of May 22, 2019, as CrossFit investigates the circumstances pertaining to Facebook’s deletion of the Banting7DayMealPlan and other well-known public complaints about the social-media company that may adversely impact the security and privacy of our global CrossFit community.

      These publicly sourced complaints include but are not limited to the following: [...]

    • Palantir Should Not Sponsor Privacy Conference at Berkeley

      Update: The Privacy Law Scholars Conference and Berkeley Law School responded to our letter and offered to let Oakland Privacy-affiliated activists attend the conference on a no-fee basis and to faciliate a meeting with Palantir Technology. Oakland Privacy respectfully declined. We reiterate that corporations complicit in violations of the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights, United Nations charters and basic principles of racial justice and human rights should not be acceptable sponsors of academic privacy law conferences hosted at the University of California at Berkeley.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The World: What is Really Happening

      If you want to understand what is really happening in the world today, a mid-ranking official named Ian Henderson is vastly more important to you than Theresa May. You will not, however, find anything about Henderson in the vast majority of corporate and state media outlets.

      You may recall that, one month after the Skripal incident, there was allegedly a “chemical weapons attack” in the jihadist enclave of Douma, which led to air strikes against the Syrian government in support of the jihadist forces by US, British and French bombers and missiles. At the time, I argued that the Douma jihadist enclave was on the brink of falling (as indeed it proved) and there was no military advantage – and a massive international downside – for the Syrian Army in using chemical weapons. Such evidence for the attack that existed came from the jihadist allied and NATO funded White Helmets and related sources; and the veteran and extremely respected journalist Robert Fisk, first westerner to arrive on the scene, reported that no chemical attack had taken place.

      The “Douma chemical weapon attack” was linked to the “Skripal chemical weapon attack” by the western media as evidence of Russian evil. Robert Fisk was subjected to massive media abuse and I was demonised by countless mainstream media journalists on social media, of which this is just one example of a great many.

    • Trump’s ‘Big, Beautiful’ Wall Crumbles in Court

      For the first time, a federal judge made clear to President Trump he couldn’t get his wall by illegally diverting taxpayer money.
      From the beginning of his campaign for president, Donald Trump claimed that he was going to build a wall along the southern border. He said “nobody builds walls better than me.” He said the wall would be “big” and “beautiful.” He said someone else would pay for it. And he said it would be built so fast that “your head would spin.”

      Last night, for the first time, a federal judge made clear to President Trump he couldn’t get his wall by illegally diverting taxpayer money.

      The judge’s ruling comes in an ACLU lawsuit on behalf of the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC). Together, the Sierra Club and SBCC represent the communities who live in, protect, and treasure the lands and communities along our southern border. For years, these communities have engaged in the democratic process and successfully persuaded their congressional representatives to deny President Trump funding to build his wall.

      Our lawsuit centers on the question of whether the president abused his power to divert funds for a border wall Congress denied him. Unfortunately for President Trump, the Constitution is clear on the matter: only Congress has the power to decide how taxpayer funds are spent. And Congress, like border communities, said no to the President’s wall.

    • Child migrants around the world are being denied their human rights

      Abed – not his real name – had been in Paris after a treacherous overland journey from Afghanistan. He is one of many youngsters whose families fear the situation in their own country enough to send their children alone to a safer land. With his father already dead and his brother disappeared, Abed’s uncle and mother sold land to pay nearly US$20,000 to an agent to escort him to the UK.

      The agent agreed to take the boy the whole way, feed him well and make comfortable travel arrangements. Instead Abed was passed from agent to agent, travelled in often unbearable conditions, witnessed intimidation and beatings by authorities, and was sometimes lucky to eat at all. When refused help by the Paris police, the consequences were not disastrous. He at least hadn’t been detained, and ended up reaching the UK hiding in a container ship, then applying for asylum and being granted temporary leave to remain.

      But all too often, child migrants end up in the hands of traffickers who force them into sexual exploitation or slavery, often accompanied with violence or even torture. Many more end up in state detention, often used by authorities as an alternative to care, with long-term effects on their mental and physical health. In the US, for instance, six child migrants from Guatemala and El Salvador have died in custody since December. The most recent, an unnamed 16-year-old boy, was “found unresponsive” during a routine check.

    • Judge Blocks Some Border Wall Funding; Trump Plans Appeal

      A federal judge has blocked President Donald Trump from building key sections of his border wall with money secured under his declaration of a national emergency, delivering what may prove a temporary setback on one of his highest priorities.

      U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam Jr.’s order, issued Friday, prevents work from beginning on two of the highest-priority, Pentagon-funded wall projects — one spanning 46 miles (74 kilometers) in New Mexico and another covering 5 miles (8 kilometers) in Yuma, Arizona.

      On Saturday, Trump pledged to file an expedited appeal of the ruling.

      Trump, who is visiting Japan, tweeted: “Another activist Obama appointed judge has just ruled against us on a section of the Southern Wall that is already under construction. This is a ruling against Border Security and in favor of crime, drugs and human trafficking. We are asking for an expedited appeal!”

      While Gilliam’s order applied only to those first-in-line projects, the judge made clear that he felt the challengers were likely to prevail at trial on their argument that the president was wrongly ignoring Congress’ wishes by diverting Defense Department money.

    • In the Face of Right-Wing Strongmen and an Economy Rife With Insecurity, We Must Reject the Politics of Despair

      Maude Barlow, Honorary Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, delivered the following remarks Thursday at the Seventh Annual Tommy Douglas Institute at George Brown College in Toronto. Her keynote speech explores the interconnections between poverty and populism and its implications for the environment.

      It is a great pleasure and honour to be here with you today and to speak in the name of one of my all-time heroes. In reading your on-line description of the moment we are in, I became a bit overwhelmed at our collective task and, frankly, my ability to address it.

      You described the “unprecedented display of wealth inequality” both globally and here in Canada; the historic numbers of people fleeing the ravages of war, extreme poverty and human rights violations; the rise of “strong men” bully-boy leaders (my term, not yours); the post-truth reality of fake news; the poisonous use of the internet by hate-filled trolls; and the rise of right-wing populism and its evil older sibling, white supremacy.

      All this, you said, “against the backdrop of a planet whose ability to sustain life is daily sacrificed to an unforgiving economic ideology that promotes the cancerous mission of growth for growth’s sake, while sacrificing the health and dignity of everything around it. Our industriousness,” you note, “has ushered in the anthropocene and the sixth age of mass extinction.” Disturbingly and beautifully said.

      [...]

      Capital was going global and Canadian companies could see how much more money they could make in countries without our minimum wage and social programs.

      Deeply influenced by the rise of Margaret Thatcher in Great Britain and Ronald Reagan in the United States, consecutive Canadian federal governments granted tax breaks to corporations and cut unemployment insurance to their workers.

      The first thing Brian Mulroney did when he came to power in 1984 was to fly to New York to announce to a blue chip group of American business leaders that Canada was “open for business” and promised to tear down the rules on foreign investment and remove the barriers to our energy, timber and mineral resources. Canada became a leader in promoting economic globalization and promised that its core tenets of deregulation, privatization and free trade would bring prosperity for all.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • 47 Democrats cave on net neutrality after GOP calls bill “dead on arrival”

      While Republican lawmakers often support bans on blocking and throttling, they’ve also proposed laws that would allow paid prioritization, letting Internet service providers charge online services for faster access to Internet users. GOP-proposed laws would also prevent states from issuing net neutrality rules stricter than those enforced by the federal government.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Claims of Uniloc Patents Covering a Software Distribution System Found Patent Eligible by Federal Circuit

      Today the Federal Circuit issued an opinion addressing patent eligibility of the claimed subject matter of four Uniloc patents.[1] The Federal Circuit found two of the four representative claims to be patent eligible under the Alice two-step patent eligibility test. The Court distinguished the claims patent eligibility based in-part on whether the claims merely described functional subject matter or whether the claims recited particular improvements over then-existing computer and network functionality.

      The first claims addressed by the Court were found to be directed to centralized software distribution. The district court found the claims to be ineligible because the specification described use of the claimed subject matter in the context of an existing software distribution system and considered the claims to be directed to conventional computer functionality. The Federal Circuit found this to be an incorrect analysis of the claims because, while the claims could be used as part of a conventional system, the claims recited an improved software distribution system using file packets in a specific way to accomplish centralized software distribution in an unconventional matter. Thus, the Court found the claimed subject matter reciting a particular improvement to computer functionality not to be directed to an abstract idea under Alice step one. The Court cited to Finjan and McRO to support the conclusion that claims reciting a particular improvement to prior art renders the claims patent eligible.

    • Cartel Control of Attorney Licensure and the Public Interest

      The purpose of licensure is to assure competent practitioners, particularly where irreparable harm to clients may occur in its absence. At the same time, there may be an advantage to greater supply, because that can lead to lower prices. In the case of attorneys, additional supply can improve attorney access not just to the poor, but to the middle class now lacking it. Regrettably, the legal profession –which openly operates in cartel fashion as its own public regulator — has violated thesebasic precepts in extemis, with California serving as a preeminent example.

      First, state bars — in combination with the American Bar Association national cartel — require 4 years of largely irrelevant higher education for law school entry, most of which have little or nothing to do with law and include subjects ranging from “Sex and the human body” to “yoga.” Meanwhile, the rest of the world requires 1 or 2 years of lead-in). Second, the entire 7 year total travail — driven by high tuition increases lacking competitive check — now costs from $190,000 to $380,000 in tuition and room &board per student. Third, attorneys will practice in one of 24 dispararate areas of law, from admiralty to probate with different applicable law and often entirely disparate courts. 1 But attorney training focuses on traditional subjects only partially relevant to the majority of them, with scant attention to legislation and administrative proceedings. Even less attention is paid to the actual area of law a student will choose and have to know in order to practice competently. Upon graduation, students take an increasingly expensive preparatory course — to pass a supply constricting bar examination that only tangentially relates to underlying competence. In the largest state of California that examination then flunks about 2/3 of its takers.

    • The Intersection Of Octane Fitness And Alice

      A recent Delaware decision highlights the need for a realistic pre-suit assessment of patent eligibility. Stephen McBride and Michael West explain.

      A recent ruling from Delaware underscores the need for plaintiffs to exercise caution when alleging infringement claims that may be ineligible under Alice. In Finnavations LLC v Payoneer Inc, No 1-18-cv-00444 (D Del 2018), the court granted defendant Payoneer’s 12(b)(6) motion to invalidate Finnavation’s patent under 35 USC 101.1 What makes Finnavations interesting is that the court subsequently awarded Payoneer attorneys’ fees under 35 USC § 285 based solely on the substantive weakness of Finnavation’s Alice defence without any evidence that Finnavations had otherwise acted unreasonably.2

      Under § 285, there are two requirements for awarding attorney fees: 1. that the case is “exceptional” and 2. that the party seeking fees is a “prevailing party.”3 Before Octane Fitness, the Federal Circuit had held that a case was exceptional only if there had been materially inappropriate conduct by a party or the case was both objectively baseless and brought in subjective bad faith.4 In Octane Fitness, the Supreme Court of the US abandoned this standard, holding that an “exceptional” case is “simply one that stands out from others with respect to the substantive strength of a party’s litigating position (considering both the governing law and the facts of the case) or the unreasonable manner in which the case was litigated.”5 Thus, under Octane Fitness, an objectively weak claim can be exceptional without any subjective bad faith.

    • Samsung and Huawei end years-long patent battle

      Samsung and Huawei have agreed to settle a long-running legal battle that saw the two companies dueling over smartphone patents in more than 40 lawsuits, according to Nikkei, which says the settlement was reported in local Chinese media. Terms of the settlement haven’t been announced, but the companies appear to have reached a general agreement that’s supposed to move them closer to a cross-licensing deal for their patents. They’ll also be dropping all lawsuits against one another.

      The settlement comes as the smartphone industry is facing a number of shifts. Phones will be moving over to 5G in the next year and on, and some smartphone manufacturers have seen declining shipments, as they struggle to sell phones to markets already saturated with them. Huawei has managed to avoid that trend — its shipments were up 50 percent from last year in the first quarter of 2019, according to IDC — but Samsung has not. Coupled with being on the losing side of this patent battle so far, there may have been good reason for the company to settle.

    • Trademarks

      • Trademark Transactions in Common Law Countries: Liberalisation and Its Limits

        Historically, common law countries took a restrictive approach to transactions involving trademarks. This restrictive approach was said to flow from the reasons for granting protection for trademarks in the first place. If a trademark communicates information to consumers as to the origin and quality of a particular trader’s goods or services, it was thought that any dealing with a trademark, such as an assignment of the mark or the grant of a licence to a third party to use the mark, would disrupt the source and quality guarantee functions of the mark and potentially cause confusion among consumers. In other words, the very reasons that a trademark receives legal protection were thought to justify constraining an owner’s ability to deal with the mark. Initially, these sorts of concerns were highly influential, and the law either proscribed or imposed strict limitations on the exploitation of trademarks. However, over the course of the last century there was a gradual liberalisation of these rules. Consequently, in most common law countries we have now reached a position where the law recognises registered trademarks to be personal property, which can be exploited with fewer restrictions than in the past. This liberalisation has to a large extent reflected changes in business practices, as brands have come to be recognised as valuable commodities in their own right and as trademark licensing, merchandising and franchising have become large and lucrative industries. Notwithstanding this, the tension between the idea of the mark as “property” and the mark as a badge of origin remains. This chapter, published in an edited collection on international and comparative trade mark law, explores how this tension is reflected in common law countries in the retention of restrictions on trademark transactions in cases where marks have been or might be used in such a way as to deceive consumers. Working out when a badge of origin can be transferred to an unrelated third party whilst not falling into the category of a “deceptive transaction” remains more difficult than is often appreciated, as our analysis of key doctrines in Australian, UK and US trademark law reveals.

    • Copyrights

      • “Obituary piracy” and what it could mean for archival institutions

        Earlier this month, a court in Canada delivered a judgment against the operators of a website – Afterlife Network Inc. – which publishes and profits from publishing obituaries and photographs. The Court found that the Defendant’s act of posting the obituaries and photographs authored by the Applicant and other persons, amounted to copyright infringement.

        The Court ordered the defendant to desist from further acts of infringement and awarded statutory ($10million) and aggravated damages ($10million) to the Applicant.

      • An American’s perspective on Pelham v Hütter and the role of fundamental rights in sampling

        The AG in Pelham v Hütter described the distinction between copyrights and the related rights in phonograms on the basis of what the rights are intended to protect; copyright protects the “author’s own intellectual creation” whereas a phonogram is the fixation of sounds and the related right protects the “financial investment” of the producer. Thus, the related right for phonograms is a right to the financial gain from the phonogram, while copyright protects any intellectual creation that may underlie the recording. I would argue, therefore, that related right could be well protected through a compulsory licensing mechanism, providing a royalty schedule that ensures producers equitable renumeration for any downstream creative use of their recording.

        The AG contended that the freedom of the arts cannot guarantee “free use of whatever is wanted for creative purposes.” Compulsory licensing would still ensure that unlicensed use is infringement; in fact, simplifying the process of clearing samples may prevent artists from using infringing samples in ways that are more difficult to detect. In 1996, DJ Shadow released the critically acclaimed “Endtroducing…..” which was almost entirely composed of samples; at the time, he discussed seeking obscure source material as a way to avoid lawsuits when sampling. Rather than preventing the behavior, prohibitions on sampling may drive samplers to infringe such obscure works, shifting the damages to those producers who presumably receive lower return on their investment anyway due to the obscurity of the recording. A compulsory license system would provide these producers with renumeration and credit for their investment, while removing the incentive for samplers to conceal the source of their material.

      • Poland files complaint with EU’s top court over copyright rule change

        Poland has submitted a complaint to the European Union’s top court against copyright rules adopted by the bloc in April to protect Europe’s creative industries, which Warsaw says may result in preventive censorship.

        Google will have to pay publishers for news snippets and Facebook filter out protected content under copyright rules aimed at ensuring fair compensation for the EU’s $1 trillion creative industries.

        Poland has said the overhaul was a step backwards, arguing that the filter requirement could lay the foundation for censorship.

      • Movie Company Uses DMCA Subpoena Shortcut to Identify Pirates

        When copyright holders want to identify pirates in the US, they have to file a lawsuit. However, in Hawaii, the people behind the film “Hunter Killer” have used a shortcut by requesting a DMCA subpoena. This is unusual, as many legal experts thought this was no longer an option.

      • Reddit KOs Piracy-Focused MMA Community, Ex-UFC Fighter Gets The Blame

        Piracy of UFC and other live MMA events got a little bit harder this week after Reddit banned its popular /r/mmastreams sub-Reddit. Following numerous copyright infringement complaints, the 165,000 member community must now find a new home. After a controversial Twitter outburst, some believe that an ex-UFC fighter should shoulder some of the blame.

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  6. Links 19/9/2019: German Federal Ministry of the Interior Wants FOSS, Top Snaps Named

    Links for the day



  7. Buying the Voices of 'Linux' People to Repeat Microsoft's Talking Points While Removing Our Icons and Leaders (Calling Them Sexist)

    The dirty games leveraged by several companies including Microsoft target charismatic people who are essential for morale and leadership; these tactics aren't particularly novel



  8. When the EPO Sees Itself as Above European Law, Grants Patents in Defiance of the EPC (Its Founding Document) and Violates Staff's Labour Rights/Protections (International Law)

    The absurd state of affairs at the EPO has reached the point where laws at every level are being violated and even judges are being threatened or vainly ignored; the EU is belatedly trying to tackle these issues, which have actually cost its credibility a great deal and threaten the perception of Rule of Law at multiple levels



  9. Links 19/9/2019: Samba 4.11.0 and Kubernetes 1.16

    Links for the day



  10. Update on Koch v EPO: Internal Appeals Committee (IAC) Composition Still Likely Illegal

    An important EPO case, concerning a dismissed staff representative, shows what ILO-AT and the EPO's Internal Appeals Committee boil down to



  11. Links 18/9/2019: Fedora Linux 31 Beta, PCLinuxOS 2019.09 Update

    Links for the day



  12. Links 17/9/2019: CentOS 7.7 and Funtoo Linux 1.4 Released

    Links for the day



  13. EPO is Not European

    Internationalists and patent trolls are those who stand to benefit from the 'globalisation' of low-quality and law-breaking patents such as patents on algorithms, nature and life itself; the EPO isn't equipped to serve its original goals anymore



  14. The EPO's Central Staff Committee and SUEPO (Staff Union) Respond to “Fascist Bills” Supported by EPO President António Campinos

    Raw material pertaining to the latest Campinos "scandal"; what Campinos said, what the Central Staff Committee (CSC) said, and what SUEPO said



  15. Storm Brewing in the European Patent Office After a Hot Summer

    Things aren't rosy in EPOnia (to say the least); in fact, things have been getting a lot worse lately, but the public wouldn't know judging by what media tells the public (almost nothing)



  16. Why I Once Called for Richard Stallman to Step Down

    Guest post from the developer who recently authored "Getting Stallman Wrong Means Getting The 21st Century Wrong"



  17. As Richard Stallman Resigns Let's Consider Why GNU/Linux Without Stallman and Torvalds Would be a Victory to Microsoft

    Stallman has been ejected after a lot of intentionally misleading press coverage; this is a dark day for Software Freedom



  18. Links 16/9/2019: GNU Linux-libre 5.3, GNU World Order 13×38, Vista 10 Breaks Itself Again

    Links for the day



  19. Links 16/9/2019: Qt Quick on Vulkan, Metal, and Direct3D; BlackWeb 1.2 Reviewed

    Links for the day



  20. Richard Stallman's Controversial Views Are Nothing New and They Distract From Bill Gates' Vastly Worse Role

    It's easier to attack Richard Stallman (RMS) using politics (than using his views on software) and media focus on Stallman's personal views on sexuality bears some resemblance to the push against Linus Torvalds, which leans largely on the false perception that he is sexist, rude and intolerant



  21. Links 16/9/2019: Linux 5.3, EasyOS Releases, Media Backlash Against RMS

    Links for the day



  22. Openwashing Report on Open Networking Foundation (ONF): When Open Source Means Collaboration Among Giant Spying Companies

    Massive telecommunications oligopolies (telecoms) are being described as ethical and responsible by means of openwashing; they even have their own front groups for that obscene mischaracterisation and ONF is one of those



  23. 'Open Source' You Cannot Run Without Renting or 'Licensing' Windows From Microsoft

    When so-called ‘open source’ programs strictly require Vista 10 (or similar) to run, how open are they really and does that not redefine the nature of Open Source while betraying everything Free/libre software stands for?



  24. All About Control: Microsoft is Not Open Source But an Open Source Censor/Spy and GitHub/LinkedIn/Skype Are Its Proprietary Censorship/Surveillance Tools

    All the big companies which Microsoft bought in recent years are proprietary software and all of the company’s big products remain proprietary software; all that “Open Source” is to Microsoft is “something to control and censor“



  25. The Sad State of GNU/Linux News Sites

    The ‘media coup’ of corporate giants (that claim to be 'friends') means that history of GNU/Linux is being distorted and lied about; it also explains prevalent lies such as "Microsoft loves Linux" and denial of GNU/Free software



  26. EPO President Along With Bristows, Managing IP and Other Team UPC Boosters Are Lobbying for Software Patents in Clear and Direct Violation of the EPC

    A calm interpretation of the latest wave of lobbying from litigation professionals, i.e. people who profit when there are lots of patent disputes and even expensive lawsuits which may be totally frivolous (for example, based upon fake patents that aren't EPC-compliant)



  27. Links 15/9/2019: Radeon ROCm 2.7.2, KDE Frameworks 5.62.0, PineTime and Bison 3.4.2

    Links for the day



  28. Illegal/Invalid Patents (IPs) Have Become the 'Norm' in Europe

    Normalisation of invalid patents (granted by the EPO in defiance of the EPC) is a serious problem, but patent law firms continue to exploit that while this whole 'patent bubble' lasts (apparently the number of applications will continue to decrease because the perceived value of European Patents diminishes)



  29. Patent Maximalists, Orbiting the European Patent Office, Work to 'Globalise' a System of Monopolies on Everything

    Monopolies on just about everything are being granted in defiance of the EPC and there are those looking to make this violation ‘unitary’, even worldwide if not just EU-wide



  30. Unitary Patent (UPC) Promotion by Team Battistelli 'Metastasising' in Private Law Firms

    The EPO's Albert Keyack (Team Battistelli) is now in Team UPC as Vice President of Kilburn & Strode LLP; he already fills the media with lies about the UPC, as one can expect


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