Links 18/6/2019: Linux 5.2 RC5 and OpenMandriva Lx 4

Posted in News Roundup at 9:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Exclusive: Zorin OS And Star Labs Team Up To Offer A Beautiful Linux Laptop Experience

      It’s no secret I’m impressed with Zorin OS 15. The polished and user-friendly distro is worth paying attention to, especially as a gateway for beginners into the world of desktop Linux. In what, until today, would have been a totally unconnected observation, I’m also thrilled that Star Labs has popped up on my radar. The UK-based Linux laptop company has a worthy challenger to the Dell XPS 13, and Star Labs is beginning to make waves in the dedicated Linux hardware space. As someone who appreciates the efforts of both these entities, I’m thrilled to exclusively report that they’ll be joining forces.

      Beginning this Friday June 21 at 3pm UK time, Star Labs will begin offering Zorin OS 15 as a pre-loaded option on their entire range of laptop, which currently consists of the Star LabTop Mk III and Star Lite. Zorin OS compliments existing OS options of Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

    • Lenovo ThinkPad P Laptops Are Available with Ubuntu

      Dell may be the best-known Linux laptop vendor right now, but Lenovo is looking to muscle in on the pre-installed Linux machine market.

      All of Lenovo’s refreshed ThinkPad P series laptops will be available to buy with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS preinstalled when they go on sale in the US later this month.

      Oddly, Lenovo doesn’t mention Linux availability in their press release introducing the new ThinkPad P series laptops, but eagle-eyed Linux users spotted the additional OS option on when investigating the laptop’s ‘tech specs’ on the Lenovo website.

      The company says its refreshed P-series ‘portfolio’ is “…is designed to meet the ever-changing power and portability needs of modern professionals across industries – both in the office and beyond without sacrificing our legendary engineering know-how, reliability and security.”

    • Lenovo shipping Ubuntu Linux on 2019 ThinkPad P-series models

      Lenovo’s newly-announced 2019 ThinkPad P-series mobile workstations can be purchased with Ubuntu, according to the ordering page on Lenovo’s website. ThinkPads have often been the laptop of choice for Linux users, as Lenovo historically does certify ThinkPad models for Linux use, though prior to this change, buyers were stuck paying the Windows tax for the unwanted bundled license of Windows.

      Applicable models can be configured with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, and will be available this month. Though not offered as a preloadable option, the P-series is also certified for Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

    • Hack Computer review

      I bought a hack computer for $299 – it’s designed for teaching 8+ year olds programming. That’s not my intended use case, but I wanted to support a Linux pre-installed vendor with my purchase (I bought an OLPC back in the day in the buy-one give-one program).

      I only use a laptop for company events, which are usually 2-4 weeks a year. Otherwise, I use my desktop. I would have bought a machine with Ubuntu pre-installed if I was looking for more of a daily driver.

  • Server

    • Enhanced OpenShift Red Hat AMQ Broker container image for monitoring

      Previously, I blogged about how to enhance your JBoss AMQ 6 container image for production: I explained how to externalise configuration and add Prometheus monitoring. While I already covered the topic well, I had to deal with this topic for version 7.2 of Red Hat AMQ Broker recently, and as things have slightly changed for this new release, I think it deserves an updated blog post!

      This post is a walk-through on how to enhance the base Red Hat AMQ Broker container image to add monitoring. This time we’ll see how much easier it is to provide customizations, even without writing a new Dockerfile. We will even go a step further by providing a Grafana dashboard sample for visualising the broker metrics.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Building Ceph As Linux Of Storage: SoftIron Founder Phil Straw

      During Kubecon + CloudNativeCon in Barcelona TFIR Publisher & Editor, Swapnil Bhartiya sat down with Phil Straw, founder and CTO of SoftIron.

      SoftIron has built server appliances based on Ceph open source project. Their goal is to obstruct everything (hardware and software) and enable users to simply reap the benefits of Ceph.

    • Going Linux #370 · Run your business on Linux – Part 4

      After we discuss Bill’s latest adventure in distro hopping, we continue our series on Linux applications for running a business. This time, the we are discussing the business of being a writer. From applications to word processors to desktop publishing and graphic creation, Linux has applications for it all.

    • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 150 – Our ad funded dystopian present

      Josh and Kurt talk about the future Chrome and ad blockers. There is a lot of nuance to unpack around this one. There are two versions of the Internet today. One with an ad blocker and one without. The Internet without an ad blocker is a dystopian nightmare. The actionable advice at the end of this one is to use Firefox.

    • Episode 70 | This Week in Linux

      On this episode of This Week in Linux, we’ve got a jam packed episode with new releases of applications and distros, new hardware, new games coming, and so much more. KDE announced the release of Plasma 5.16. AMD wasn’t finished yet, they announced new CPUs and GPU hardware at Computex. Matrix.org announced the milestone release of Matrix 1.0 and the Matrix.org Foundation. We also saw some releases from OBS, PeerTube, LMMS, and more. In Distro News, we’ll check out Crux, Endless OS and Enso OS. We got some interesting news from the Pine64 team about the PinePhone and then we’ll round out the show with some Linux Gaming News from Steam, Atari and a skateboarding birds game on Kickstarter. All that and much more on Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!

    • Linux Action News 110

      Elders in the community show us how to properly build services, Huawei is reportedly working on a Sailfish OS fork and Apple joins the Cloud Native club.

      Plus Facebook wants you to use their cryptocurrency, and CERN launches “The Microsoft Alternatives project”

    • Full Circle Magazine: Full Circle Weekly News #135
    • Podcast.__init__: Algorithmic Trading In Python Using Open Tools And Open Data

      Algorithmic trading is a field that has grown in recent years due to the availability of cheap computing and platforms that grant access to historical financial data. QuantConnect is a business that has focused on community engagement and open data access to grant opportunities for learning and growth to their users. In this episode CEO Jared Broad and senior engineer Alex Catarino explain how they have built an open source engine for testing and running algorithmic trading strategies in multiple languages, the challenges of collecting and serving currrent and historical financial data, and how they provide training and opportunity to their community members. If you are curious about the financial industry and want to try it out for yourself then be sure to listen to this episode and experiment with the QuantConnect platform for free.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 5.2-rc5

      “It’s Sunday afternoon somewhere in the world”.

      In fact, it’s _barely_ Sunday afternoon back home, where I’ll be later
      today. But not quite yet, and I continue my slightly flaky release
      schedule due to my normal release time being spent on an airplane once

      In fact, that will happen the _next_ two weekends too due to yet more
      travel. So the releases will not be quite the clockwork they usually

      But the good news is that we’re getting to the later parts of the rc
      series, and things do seem to be calming down. I was hoping rc5 would
      end up smaller than rc4, and so it turned out. There’s some pending
      stuff still, but it all looks quite small and nothing seems to be
      particularly scary-looking.

    • Linux 5.2-rc5 Released As The End Of The Cycle Is A Few Weeks Away
    • Linux 5.3 Could Finally See FSGSBASE – Performance Improvements Back To Ivybridge

      The FSGSBASE instruction set has been present on Intel processors going back to Ivy Bridge processors and while there have been Linux kernel patches for this feature going on for years, it looks like with the Linux 5.3 kernel cycle is this support for merging. Making us eager for this support is the prospect of better performance, especially for context switching workloads that already have been suffering as a result of recent CPU mitigations.

      The FSGSBASE instructions allow for reading/writing FS/GS BASE from any privilege. But the short story is there should be performance benefits from FSGSBASE in context switching thanks to skipping an MSR write for GSBASE. User-space programs like Java are also expected to benefit in being able to avoid system calls for editing the FS/GS BASE.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KBibTeX 0.9 released

        Finally, KBibTeX 0.9 got released. Virtually nothing has changed since the release of beta 2 in May as no specific bugs have been reported. Thus ChangeLog is still the same and the details on the changes since 0.8.2 as shown on the release announcement for 0.9-beta2.

      • KDE Usability & Productivity: Week 75

        Week 75 in KDE’s Usability & Productivity initiative is here! It’s a little lighter than usual because we’re all feverishly preparing for the dual Plasma and Usability & Productivity sprints nest week in Valencia, Spain. I’ll be there, as well as the whole Plasma team, a bunch of VDG people, and a number of folks who have stepped up to work on apps for the U&P initiative. Sprints like these promise the kind of face-to-face contact needed for big projects, and should be a fantastically awesome and productive time! I’d like to offer a special thanks to Slimbook (makers of the KDE Slimbook II laptop) for hosting the sprint!

      • KDE Frameworks 5.60 Bringing More Baloo Optimizations

        Making KDE’s Baloo file indexing/searching framework really efficient appears to be a never-ending task. Baloo is already much less bloated recently than it’s been hungry for resources in the past and with KDE Frameworks 5.60 will be slightly more fit.

        Baloo’s indexing process with KDE Frameworks 5.60 will now pay attention to when extended attributes on folders change, no longer does unnecessary work when a folder is renamed, is faster now at un-indexing files, and is less intensive running on laptops with battery power. All of these Baloo improvements will be in the next KDE Frameworks monthly update.

      • International number formats

        KMyMoney as a financial application deals with numbers a lot. As a KDE application, it supports internationalization (or i18n for short) from the very beginning. For accuracy reasons it has internal checks to verify the numbers a user can enter.

        The validation routine has a long history (I think it goes back to the KDE3 days) and we recently streamlined it a bit as part of the journey to use more and more Qt standard widgets instead of our own.

        This led to the replacement of the KMyMoneyEdit widget with the newer AmountEdit widget. Everything worked great for me (using a German locale) until we received notifications that users could only enter integer numbers but no fractional part. This of course is not what we wanted. But why is that?

        The important piece of information was that the user reporting the issue uses the Finland svenska (sv_FI) locale on his system. So I set my development system to use that locale for numbers and currencies and it failed for me as well. So it was pretty clear that the validation logic had a flaw.

        Checking the AmountValidator object which is an extension of the QDoubleValidator I found out that it did not work as expected with the said locale. So it was time to setup some testcases for the validator to see how it performs with other locales. I still saw it failing which made me curious so I dug into the Qt source code one more time, specifically the QDoubleValidator. Well, it looked that most of the logic we added in former times is superfluous meanwhile with the Qt5 version. But there remains a little difference: the QDoubleValidator works on the symbols of the LC_NUMERIC category of a locale where we want to use it the LC_MONETARY version. So what to do? Simply ignore the fact? This could bite us later.

      • The state of Terminal Emulators in Linux

        Now it has more developers and more code flowing, fixing bugs, improving the interface, increasing the number of lines of code flowing thru the codebase. We don’t plan to stop supporting konsole, and it will not depend on a single developer anymore.

        We want konsole to be the swiss army knife of terminal emulators, you can already do with konsole a lot of things that are impossible in other terminals, but we want more. And we need more developers for that.

        Konsole is, together with VTE, the most used terminal out there in numbers of applications that integrate the technology: Dolphin, Kate, KDevelop, Yakuake, and many other applications also use konsole, so fixing a bug in one place we are helping a lot of other applications too.

        Consider joining a project, Consider sending code.

      • KDE launches the latest version of its desktop environment, Plasma 5.16

        Plasma 5.16 comes with a rewritten notification system. With Do Not Disturb mode, you can mute notifications, and the list of previous notifications now shows them grouped by app. Critical notifications appear even when applications are in fullscreen mode.

        In addition, this release adds the much-awaited feature to display notifications for file transfer jobs. System Settings app allows you to configure everything related to notifications.

        Following the footsteps of most of Linux distros development, the standard wallpaper of Plasma 5.16 was chosen for the first time through a competition that everyone could participate and present their original art. The winning wallpaper – the work of an Argentinian talented artist.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.34’s Sleek New Desktop Background

        The upcoming GNOME 3.34 release is sure to ship with a stack of improvements, new features and core app updates — but it will also come with a brand new default wallpaper!

        GNOME designer Jakub Steiner is, once again, diligently designing a new desktop drape for the revered free desktop to use by default.

        And although the intended design is not final-final, it’s almost done! So here’s your first look at the brand new GNOME 3.34 wallpaper…

  • Distributions

    • EndeavourOS Is Hoping To Be The Successor To Antergos – Convenient To Use Arch Linux

      Details are light up to this point but in fifteen days EndeavourOS will be announced as a new Arch-based Linux distribution aiming to continue where Antergos Linux left off.

      For those that missed it, last month the Antergos Linux developers discontinued their OS due to a lack of time to devote to their open-source project. There’s now a new development team spearheading work on a new initiative called “EndeavourOS” that hopes to be its spiritual successor.

    • Reviews

      • Review: OS108 and Venom Linux

        Every so often I like to step outside of the distributions I know, the ones I tend to see and use year after year, and try something different. Sometimes trying a new project introduces me to a new way of doing things, as Bedrock Linux did earlier this year. Other times trying a project that is just getting started is a reminder of just how much infrastructure, time and resources go into the big-name projects. At any rate, this week I want to talk about two young projects that grabbed my attention for different reasons.

        The first is OS108, which caught my eye because it is a desktop flavour of BSD, which is relatively rare. Specifically, the base operating system is NetBSD. OS108 reportedly wants to be a replacement for Windows and macOS and features the MATE desktop environment. The website did not offer much more information than that. I was able to learn OS108 is available for 64-bit (x86_64) machines only, which I suspect undercuts the usefulness of having a highly portable operating system, such as NetBSD, as the base.

        The ISO file I downloaded for OS108 was 1.5GB in size. The file had no version number associated with it, so I assume this is the project’s first release. The project’s download page says we should install OS108 just as if it were regular NetBSD, then run a script to set up the MATE desktop. Optionally, there is another set of instructions we can follow to set up wireless networking.

        Booting from the OS108 media brings up an installer which guides us through a series of text-based menus. We are asked to select our keyboard layout, choose whether to install a fresh copy of the operating system or upgrade, and then select which hard drive will hold OS108. We are also asked to confirm our hard drive’s geometry and whether we want to manually partition the disk or let OS108 take over the whole drive. The installer recommends we set aside at least 5GB of space on the drive. Personally, I found more space was required as the default package selection, including the MATE desktop, consumes about 6GB of disk space.

        We are next asked if we want a full install, a mostly full install without the X.Org display software, a minimal install, or a custom selection of packages. I went with the full option since it was the default. We can then select where the source packages are located (on the DVD, in this case) and the packages are quickly copied over to the hard drive. A minute later I was asked to perform more configuration steps. These included enabling networking, setting a root password, and turning on optional network services from a list of daemons. We can also create a regular user account and optionally download the pkgsrc ports framework. I skipped installing pkgsrc.

    • New Releases

      • Zorin OS 15 Core Released with Download Links, Mirrors, and Torrents

        ZorinOS 15 Core has been released on 5 June 2019. To be clear, the released edition now is the Core and Ultimate, gratis and paid versions, while the Lite and Education editions has not been released yet. It’s released with an awesome video online. Here you can see what download sources available plus SHA256SUM and torrents.

      • PCLinuxOS KDE Full Edition 2019.06 Release

        Kernel 5.1.10
        KDE Applications 19.04.2
        KDE Frameworks 5.59.0
        KDE Plasma 5.16.0

        This ISO comes with the standard compliment of KDE applications plus LibreOffice.

      • FreeBSD 11.3-RC1 Available, Lenovo ThinkPad P To Come With Ubuntu Pre-Installed, Star Labs Now Offers Zorin OS On Laptops, Remote Monitoring Software Pulseway v6.3.3 Released, PCLinuxOS KDE Full Edition 2019.06, Linux Kernel Update

        PCLinuxOS KDE Full Edition 2019.06 is now out boasting a Linux 5.1.10 kernel, KDE Applications 19.04.2, KDE Frameworks 5.59.0, KDE Plasma 5.16.0 and more.

      • Linspire 8.0 Maintenance Release 1 RELEASED

        Today our development team is pleased to announce the release of Linspire 8.0 Maintenance Release 1. MR1 is part of our bi-annual strategy to make sure Linspire is kept as secure as possible for our customers and users. Proving once again, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Linspire is the best commercially supported Linux-based operating system on the market today. With all of the features modern PC users expect from their computing experience, Linspire continues to rise above and shine over all other commercial Linux desktop solutions.

      • Yes, It’s that time again! Kwort 4.3.4 is out

        Really nice release this time, I like it. :-)
        We included pulseaudio which is now very stable (last stable relase is from almost a year old) and it has been working very well, including with bluez5 (which by the first time has also been included in this new release). So let’s jump now to the technical highlights of this release:
        Linux kernel 4.19.46 (sorry folks, there’s no longterm relase of 5.x branch yet).
        New toolchain including: glibc 2.28, gcc 8.3.0 and binutils 2.32.
        kpkg 130.
        Latest browsers including: Google Chrome: 75.0.3770.90 and Mozilla Firefox 67.0.2. Brave 0.68.50 is available in the mirror.
        Kwort-choosers package has been replaced with kwort-tools including the old browser and custom xdg-open and the new kwort-mixer to support both sound backends (alsa and pulseaudio). There’s documentation on how to configure these tools here.
        New UI shortcuts are now fully documented here.
        We found a good graphical music player called Museeks which is now included in the system.

        As usual, I would like to thank the people who helps making Kwort on every step they help:
        The infrastructure maintainers, PGHosting (this site and master server) and Ricardo Brisighelli for the package mirror at UNR.
        Andreas Schipplock who is our domain sponsor.
        Gonzalo Navarro for contributing extensively in Kwort 4.3.3 with packages. Best wishes on the new path, sir!
        Ctrl-C club for facilitating a packages mirror (KBD available here).
        The CRUX folks for developing it, as it’s Kwort’s base.
        And of course, the people who develop every project Kwort makes use of. THANK YOU!

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • The best, until OpenMandriva does better: released OMLx 4.0

        Exciting news!
        Shortly after the release candidate we are very proud to introduce you the fruit of so much work, some visible and much more behind the scenes and under the hood.

        OpenMandriva Lx is a cutting edge distribution compiled with LLVM/clang, combined with the high level of optimisation used for both code and linking (by enabling LTO, and profile guided optimizations for some key packages where reliable profile data is easy to generate) used in its building.

        OMLx 4.0 brings a number of major changes since 3.x release…

      • OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 Released With AMD Zen Optimized Option, Toolchain Updates
      • OpenMandriva Lx 4 is finally here!

        Great news today that, around here, we celebrate Father’s Day: OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 has been released!

      • OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 Linux distro is here, and there is a special AMD-only version

        Most interestingly, there is a build that is optimized for modern AMD processors only — it will not work with Intel chips. If you do have an AMD CPU, The OpenMandriva Team claims you will see improved performance by using this version.

        “Hardware support has been improved a lot. In addition to the usual round of driver updates (including the Mesa 19.1.0 graphics stack), OMLx 4.0 now includes complete ports to aarch64 and armv7hnl platforms. A RISC-V port is also in progress, but not yet ready for release. We have also built a version specifically for current AMD processors (Ryzen, ThreadRipper, EPYC) that outperforms the generic version by taking advantage of new features in those processors (this build will not work on generic x86_64 processors),” says The OpenMandriva Team.

    • Arch Family

      • Cylon – The Arch Linux Maintenance Program For Newbies

        Recently switched to Arch Linux as your daily driver? Great! I’ve got a good news for you. Meet Cylon, a maintenance program for Arch Linux and derivatives. It is a menu-driven Bash script which provides updates, maintenance, backups and system checks for Arch Linux and its derivatives such as Manjaro Linux etc. Cylon is mainly a CLI program, and also has a basic dialog GUI. In this guide, we will see how to install and use Cylon in Arch Linux.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 Service Pack 5 Beta 1
      • A demo based introduction to SUSE Cloud Application Platform

        At the recent SUSECON conference in Nashville, Peter Andersson and Peter Lunderbye from SUSE demonstrated SUSE Cloud Application Platform, including pushing your first app, buildpacks: what are they and how they can be utilised, scaling and how easy the platform makes it, and how to improve resiliency and availability of your app.
        SUSE has posted all recorded talks from SUSECON on YouTube. Check them out if you want to learn more about what SUSE has to offer. We’re not just Linux anymore! I’ll be posting more SUSE Cloud Application Platform talks here over the coming days.

      • Enabling Discoveries with AI and HPC (and the Rise of Helium)

        This week I am attending the International Supercomputing conference in Frankfurt, and I am in awe of the scientists and researchers that are here and their ability to dig in and understand super complex problems in very specialized areas. While I am humbled by the world-changing work represented at a conference like this, I am also honored to be playing a small part in their success. With the next iteration of SUSE Linux Enterprise High Performance Computing 15 SP1, we’ve expanded and refreshed our bundle of popular HPC tools and libraries that we make available along with every subscription to our SLE HPC operating system.

    • Fedora

      • Event Report – Fedora Meetup 15th June 2019, Pune, India

        We started planning for this one month back. Since we are doing this meetup regularly now, most of the things were known, only execution was required.

      • Outreachy with Fedora Happiness Packets: Phase 1

        It’s been around 20 days that I have been working on an Outreachy internship project with The Fedora Project. I have been working on some of the pending issues, miscellaneous bugs and cleaning up code in Fedora Happiness Packets. This month has been quite fun, which includes great learning through the entire process

    • Debian Family

      • Move to pay Debian devs for project work rears its head again

        The idea of paying developers to work on Debian GNU/Linux packages has reared its head again, with senior developer Raphael Hertzog proposing that project funds be used for the purpose.

        Hertzog made the suggestion in a reply to a post on one of the project’s mailing lists which was part of a thread on the subject “Why do we take so long to realise good ideas?”

        “Use the $300,000 on our bank accounts?”, he wrote, adding that he had heard of another US$300,000 donation made by Google to the project though he was unable to find any publicly accessible reference to it.

        The idea of paying developers for their work on what is a community project was raised 13 years ago by former project leader Anthony Towns, with the reason being the speeding up of development so that releases could take place sooner. The idea did not prove very popular as it was meant to be run outside the project proper and was meant to pay core members for their work.

      • The State Of RISC-V For Debian 10 “Buster”

        Debian’s RISC-V support has been coming together but how’s the state of affairs for the imminent Debian 10.0 “Buster” release?

        The RISC-V 64-bit port of Debian GNU/Linux has been building more than 80% of the massive Debian package-set. Or if accounting for architecture dependent packages, the RISC-V port is seeing around 90% of packages building.

        The main blockers in the RISC-V ecosystem from getting the remaining Debian packages built and allowing for a nice experience revolve primarily around Rust and LLVM support. Once the LLVM compiler stack has good support for RISC-V, that should unblock many other packages like Rust-dependent librsvg and Firefox, among others.

      • Debian GNU/Linux riscv64 port in mid 2019

        As it can be seen in the first graph, perhaps with some difficulty, is that the percent of arch-dependent packages built for riscv64 (grey line) has been around or higher than 80% since mid 2018, just a few months after the port was added to the infrastructure.

        Given than the arch-dependent packages are about half of the Debian['s main, unstable] archive and that (in simple terms) arch-independent packages can be used by all ports (provided that the software that they rely on is present, e.g. a programming language interpreter), this means that around 90% of packages of the whole archive has been available for this architecture from early on.

      • A Quick Look At The Debian 10.0 Buster vs. Debian 9.9 Performance

        With Debian 10 “Buster” due to be releasing in early July, I’ve begun testing the near-final Buster images on various systems. Here is a look at a common Intel Core i7 system comparing the current performance of Debian 10.0 to the current stable 9.9 release.

        On the Core i7 8700K system, Debian 9.9 vs. 10.0 were benchmarked with the same hardware under test and each Debian release being cleanly installed and kept to its default settings.

      • Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, May 2019

        Like each month, here comes a report about the work of paid contributors to Debian LTS.

      • Virtual Labs presentation at the HubLinked meeting in Dublin

        We have participated to the HubLinked workshop in Dublin this week, where I delivered a presentation on some of our efforts on Virtual Labs, in the hope that this could be useful to the partners designing the “Global Labs” where students will experiment together for Software Engineering projects.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Developers Devising Plan To Ship Newer NVIDIA Drivers On Ubuntu Stable Releases

            Currently NVIDIA’s packaged drivers on Ubuntu can get a bit stale on Ubuntu stable releases since they aren’t updated in-step with the latest driver releases. But a new stable release update (SRU) policy/exception similar to the Firefox approach is being made for Ubuntu so that new releases will end up working their way into currently supported Ubuntu series.

            The Canonical developers working on Ubuntu are really ramping up their support for NVIDIA’s proprietary driver. On top of Ubuntu 19.10 to bundle the NVIDIA binary driver into the operating system’s ISO image, they are working out the SRU details for shipping newer NVIDIA driver releases on existing Ubuntu stable releases.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Differences between Four Linux Mint Editions

              If you look at the web, it’s rare to find a resource to explain the differences between all 4 Linux Mint editions (Cinnamon, MATE, XFCE, and Debian). If you are looking for such explanation, then this brief article is for you. I hope you will find edition you love the most from GNU/Linux Mint.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Information stalls at Linux Week and Veganmania in Vienna

      The information stall at the Linux weeks event in May was somewhat limited due to the fact that we didn’t get our usual posters and the roll-up in time. Unfortunately we discovered too late that they had obviously been lent out for an other event and hadn’t been returned afterwards. So we could only use our information material. But since at this event the FSFE is very well known, it wasn’t hard at all to carry out our usual information stall. It’s less about outreach work and more of a who-is-who of the free software community in Vienna anyway. For three days we met old friends and networked. Of course some newbies found their way to the event also. And therefore we could spread our messages a little further too.

      In addition, we once again provided well visited workshops for Inkscape and Gimp. The little talk on the free rally game Trigger Rally even motivated an attending dedicated Fedora maintainer to create an up-to-date .rpm package in order to enable distribution of the most recent release to rpm distros.

  • Web Browsers

    • 4 best browsers that don’t save your history and personal data [Ed: Microsoft Windows advocacy sites cannot recommend Microsoft anything for privacy]

      Tor is another great browser heavily focused on user privacy and security. It’s available for Windows, MacOS, and GNU/Linux in 32-bit and 64-bit versions that are constantly updated.

      Its main focus is on anonymity. Based on a modified Firefox ESR, it contains things like NoScript and HTTPS-Everywhere.

      The browser works in a network that promises to protect a user‘s browsing history, location, messages, and any online personal data from people or bots that perform network traffic analysis.

      Tor network is a web of servers operated by volunteers. Their aim is to keep browsing data as secure as it can be. With Tor, you don’t have to worry about browsing history, saved passwords or auto-completion data.

      Also, it’s worth mentioning that Tor is the only browser that uses onion services. This means that users can publish websites and other services without revealing the location.

  • LibreOffice

    • Office Suites for Ubuntu 18.04

      Today we are looking at different office suites for Ubuntu 18.04. LibreOffice is the default LibreOffice suite for Ubuntu but it is by all means not the only one. In this article, we will look at different office suites for Ubuntu and all of its pros and cons.

      All these Office Suites are available for at least all Ubuntu based distros, and the installation method is the same for all the Ubuntu based distros.

    • Week 3 Report

      I continue working on Rewriting the logger messages with the new DSL grammar:

    • Microsoft Powerpoint Alternatives For Linux

      This post is for you if you are looking for the best alternative to Microsoft powerpoint alternatives for Linux operating systems. Microsoft’s office suite is one of the most popular software after Microsoft Windows and there won’t be any objection if we say that Windows is popular because of the MS office suite.


    • Substitutes are now available as lzip

      For a long time, our build farm at ci.guix.gnu.org has been delivering substitutes (pre-built binaries) compressed with gzip. Gzip was never the best choice in terms of compression ratio, but it was a reasonable and convenient choice: it’s rock-solid, and zlib made it easy for us to have Guile bindings to perform in-process compression in our multi-threaded guix publish server.

      With the exception of building software from source, downloads take the most time of Guix package upgrades. If users can download less, upgrades become faster, and happiness ensues. Time has come to improve on this, and starting from early June, Guix can publish and fetch lzip-compressed substitutes, in addition to gzip.

  • Programming/Development

    • GCC 10 Lands Support For Targeting TI’s 32-bit PRU Processor

      New to the GCC 10 compiler code-base this week is a port for the Texas Instruments Programmable Real-Time Unit (PRU) processor found on various boards, including the likes of the BeagleBone Arm SBCs.

      The TI programmable real-time unit (PRU) is a processor on some TI boards that offers two 32-bit cores running at 200MHz. The PRU offers single-cycle I/O access and full access to the system’s internal memory and peripherals. Texas Instruments has offered a proprietary toolchain for writing Assembly code to run on the PRU while now an independent developer has landed the GCC port for targeting this unique processor.

    • Clang-Scan-Deps Lands In Clang 9.0 For Much Faster Dependency Scanning

      Landing this week in the LLVM Clang 9.0 development code-base is the new clang-scan-deps tool for much faster scanning of files for dependencies compared to the traditional pre-processor based approach.

      Development of clang-scan-deps was led by Apple’s compiler team and delivers up to around ten (10) times faster performance for scanning of dependencies/modules before compiling compared to the pre-processor-based scanning.

    • R.T. Russell’s Z80 BBC Basic is now open source

      As part of the work I’ve been doing with cpmish I’ve been trying to track down the copyright holders of some of the more classic pieces of CP/M software and asking them to license it in a way that allows redistribution. One of the people I contacted was R.T. Russell, the author of the classic Z80 BBC BASIC, and he very kindly sent me the source and agreed to allow it to be distributed under the terms of the zlib license. So it’s now open source!

    • Python Community Interview With Marlene Mhangami

      We are joined today by Marlene Mhangami. Marlene is a passionate Pythonista who is not only using tech to facilitate social change and empower Zimbabwean women but is also the chair of the very first PyCon Africa. Join me as we talk about her non-traditional start in tech, as well as her passion for using technology to create social change for good.

    • PyDev of the Week: Meredydd Luff

      This week we welcome Meredydd Luff (@meredydd) as our PyDev of the Week! Meredydd is the co-founder of Anvil and a core developer for the Skulpt package.

    • New Style Signal/Slot Connection

      Yes, I know. The last post on the assistants is rather boring. And yet these days I have been working on the snapshot docker, though it still seems a little (just a little, you see) unfinished as Dmitry is said to experience a relatively high delay when switching between snapshots. However this is not what I can reproduce on my older laptop, so I am really waiting for his test results in order to further investigate the problem.

      But there is something interesting happening just when I am randomly testing things. From Krita’s debug output, I saw QObject::connect() complaining about the arguments I passed, saying it is expecting parenthesis. “Okay,” I thought, “then there have to be something wrong with the code I wrote.” And that was quite confusing. I remember having used member function pointers in those places, got a compile-time error since KisSignalAutoConnectionsStore did not support the new syntax, then switched back to the SINGAL() and SLOT() macros. KisSignalAutoConnectionsStore is a helper class to quickly (dis)connect a group of connections. One can use the addConnection() method to add a connection, and use clear() to remove all connections made before.

      Well, everything good, apart from the fact that I missed the parenthesis, which I did not discover until I looked into the debug output. So I asked Dmitry why not add the new syntax to KisSignalAutoConnectionsStore, and he said we should.

    • Arm Developer Provides More Glibc Optimizations – Memem & Strstr

      Arm’s Wilco Dijkstra landed some more optimizations this past week in the Glibc development code for the upcoming GNU C Library 2.30 release.

      Memmem is now faster on AArch64 by up to 6.6x times thanks to implementing a modified Horspool algorithm.

    • Learn PyQt: Gradient

      This custom PyQt5/PySide2-compatible widget provides a gradient designer providing a handy interface to design linear gradients in your applications. A new gradient can be created simply by creating an instance of the object.

      gradient = Gradient()
      The default gradient is black to white. The stop points are marked by a red box with a white line drawn vertically through it so they are visible on any gradient.

    • Building Apache Kafka Streams applications using Red Hat AMQ Streams: Part 1
    • What’s your favorite “dead” language?
    • Which Is A Better Programming Language For Data Science? Python Or R
    • Introduction to OpenCV with Python
    • AI Paris 2019 in one picture


  • Science

    • We Need Evidence-Based Decision Making

      Imagine for a moment that political discussions can assume the same evidence-based knowledge as active components in decision making as treatment pathways do when responding to illness and disease. The impact of care is studied out of a need for protecting and preserving quality of life. Politics should also serve these same ends, but, indeed, politics carries a burden healthcare does not: different values. Forgetting that there are legitimate differences in values—like I prioritize equality over security or others prioritize fiscal responsibility over freedom–let’s briefly return to the idea of truth as a foundation for politics and policy.

      Ignorance presents a challenge to truth. After all, there is no way to accommodate good decision making when there are serious gaps in information. Medical professionals make diagnostic tests in order to figure out what’s wrong, the same as mechanics do when the check engine light comes on in your car. Drinking water, for example, will help alleviate a headache caused by dehydration but is unlikely to help much for a headache caused by meningitis.

    • Artificial Stupidity

      Artificial intelligence is everywhere. And yet, the experts tell us, it is not yet actually anywhere. This is so because we are yet to achieve true artificial intelligence, or artificially intelligent systems that are capable of thinking for themselves and adapting to their circumstances. Instead, all the AI hype — and it is constant — concerns rather mundane forms of artificial intelligence, which are confined to performing specific, narrow tasks, and nothing more. The promise of true artificial intelligence thus remains elusive. Artificial stupidity reigns supreme.

      What are the best set of policies to achieve true artificial intelligence? Surprisingly, scholars have paid little attention to this question. Scholars have spent considerable time assessing a number of important legal questions relating to artificial intelligence, including privacy, bias, tort, and intellectual property issues. But little effort has been devoted to exploring what set of policies are best suited to helping artificial intelligence developers achieve greater levels of innovation. And examining such issues is not some niche exercise, since artificial intelligence has already or soon will affect every sector of society. Hence, the question goes to the heart of future technological innovation policy more broadly.

      This Article examines this question by exploring how well intellectual property rights promote innovation in artificial intelligence. I focus on intellectual property rights because these are often viewed as the most important piece of United States innovation policy. Overall, I find that intellectual property rights, particularly patents, are ill-suited to promote radical forms of artificial intelligence innovation. And even the intellectual property forms that are a better fit for artificial intelligence innovators, such as trade secrecy, come with problems of their own. In fact, the poor fit of patents in particular is likely to contribute to heavy industry consolidation in the AI field, and heavy consolidation in an industry is typically associated with lower levels of innovation than ideal.

      I conclude by arguing, however, that neither strengthening AI patents rights nor looking to other forms of law, such as antitrust, holds much promise in achieving true artificial intelligence. Instead, as with many earlier radical innovations, significant government backing, coupled with an engaged entrepreneurial sector, is at least one key to avoiding enduring artificial stupidity.

    • 5 transferable higher-education skills

      As a developer jumping head-first into technology after years of walking students through the process of navigating higher education, imposter syndrome has been a constant fear since moving into technology. However, I have been able to take heart in knowing my experience as an educator and an administrator has not gone in vain. If you are like me, be encouraged in knowing that these transferable skills, some of which fall into the soft-skills and other categories, will continue to benefit you as a developer and a professional.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Why the Demand for Black Bone Marrow Donors Is High — and Awareness Is Low

      Every week for the past five years, Destiny Worthington has sat in a chair watching donated blood pump through narrow plastic tubing into her body. At the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles County, she spends up to six hours every week getting blood work done followed by blood and platelet transfusions.

      When she was 15 years old, Worthington went to a required routine physical for her softball team. At the time, she had a lot of bruising on her body, so doctors ran blood tests for leukemia, various types of anemia, and other blood disorders.

      “I actually wasn’t diagnosed back then. They just knew that something was wrong,” said Worthington, whose bruising and lack of energy was eventually explained by a diagnosis of severe aplastic anemia, a rare condition in which a person’s body stops producing enough new blood cells.

      Worthington, 30, wakes up most days feeling tired and experiences fatigue and exhaustion when she does physical activities like hiking. She is one of thousands of patients looking for bone marrow donors through Be The Match, a registry operated by the nonprofit organization National Marrow Donor Program. Every year in the United States, about 12,000 people up to age 74 need bone marrow or umbilical cord blood transplants for survival.

      Bone marrow donors go through one of two procedures when they’re found to be a match: a peripheral blood stem cell process, where the donor has a needle inserted into an arm that collects stem cells; or a surgical procedure, where the donor is put under anesthesia and then has bone marrow extracted from the lower back region. Most donors go through the first process. Each process often leaves the donor slightly bruised, but that’s about the worst of it.

      The likelihood of a person matching with an available donor on the Be The Match registry ranges from 19 to 80 percent, depending on their ethnicity, according to worldwide data from the organization.

    • Did a Coverup of Who Caused Flint Michigan’s Contaminated Water Continue During Its Investigation?

      For the first time in 16 years, Michigan elected a Democrat as their Attorney General and Dana Nessel’s first major decision was to dismiss all pending criminal charges against the state and city officials responsible for Flint Michigan’s polluted drinking water this past weekend. Mainstream media commentators were critical of her decision as well as Flint residents, who saw this move as further evidence that no justice would be pursued for the toxic water conditions which exposed up to 42,000 children under 2 years of age to lead poisoning. Nayyirah Shariff, a Flint resident who is the director of the grassroots group Flint Rising, told the Detroit Free Press reporter Paul Egan. that the announcement came as “a slap in the face to Flint residents” and “it doesn’t seem like justice is coming.”

      But in reading through Egan’s article, additional pieces of this puzzling decision hinted that the coverup, by the accused officials, may actually have continued to the extent of endangering the investigation. In other words, there may be a legitimate reason for redoing the criminal charges. Although new cases will cost additional public money, Nessel says she made this decision precisely to save tax payer’s money from being wasted on faulty work by the former Republican State Attorney General, Bill Schuette. She said, his cases “have gone on for years and have cost the taxpayers of this state millions of dollars. It’s time for resolution and justice for the people of Flint.”

      Schuette was overseeing the investigation and he has not been sympathetic to Flint residents in the past. In 2017, he had been admonished by an Eastern District of United States of Michigan Judge for opposing the State of Michigan supplying bottled water to Flint residents who lack tap filters to protect them from the toxic drinking water. The judge suggested he had engaged in “superficial posturing” in being concerned about Flint’s water contamination.

      That opinion of Schuette, was mild in comparison to the findings of Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud, who is currently handling the criminal cases, and is the first Muslim Solicitor General in US. She found that not all evidence was pursued by Schultte and his special prosecutor Todd Flood, who was a prominent donor to then Republican Governor Rick Snyder. In addition, Schuette and Flood wrongly allowed private law firms representing Snyder and other defendants to have “a role in deciding what information would be turned over to law enforcement.”


      The next step in pursuing a new set of charges against those responsible for Flint’s water contamination and health hazard will take place June 28 in a Flint “community conversation” with Solicitor General Hammoud. She will explain Nessel’s decision and answer questions. Community activists are the ones who uncovered this travesty and demanded prosecution of those responsible. They will be present at the meeting and will hold Hammoud and Nessel to their promise to seek justice and not abandon it.

    • Ugandan medics now tackling Ebola say they lack supplies

      The isolation ward for Ebola patients is a tent erected in the garden of the local hospital. Gloves are given out sparingly to health workers.

  • Security

    • Common Hacker Tool Hit with Hackable Vulnerability [Ed: This is very difficult to exploit and may require tricking developers, but the media framed this as a total and utter disaster]
    • Week in review: DevSecOps readiness, human bias in cybersecurity, Linux servers under attack [Ed: Actually, it's Exim -- not Linux -- under "attack" and it's only effective if one neglected to patch the bug for over a week]
    • Microsoft warns Azure customers of Exim worm [Ed: Microsoft should also warn "customers" of Windows back doors for the NSA, but it does not (this one was patched ages ago; the Microsoft back doors aren't). Shouldn't Microsoft ask its proxies and partners, as usual, to come up with buzzwords and logos and Web sites for bugs in FOSS, then talk about how FOSS is the end of the world?]
    • Microsoft Warns about Worm Attacking Exim Servers on Azure
    • The Highly Dangerous ‘Triton’ [Attackers] Have Probed the US Grid [Ed: It’s Windows]

      Over the past several months, security analysts at the Electric Information Sharing and Analysis Center (E-ISAC) and the critical-infrastructure security firm Dragos have been tracking a group of sophisticated [attackers] carrying out broad scans of dozens of US power grid targets, apparently looking for entry points into their networks. Scanning alone hardly represents a serious threat. But these [attackers], known as Xenotime—or sometimes as the Triton actor, after their signature malware—have a particularly dark history. The Triton malware was designed to disable the so-called safety-instrument systems at Saudi Arabian oil refinery Petro Rabigh in a 2017 cyberattack, with the apparent aim of crippling equipment that monitors for leaks, explosions, or other catastrophic physical events. Dragos has called Xenotime “easily the most dangerous threat activity publicly known.”

    • A Researcher Found a Bunch of Voting Machine Passwords Online

      A little more than a week ago, the Department of Homeland Security confirmed that it was going to forensically analyze computer equipment associated with part of the 2016 elections in North Carolina in association with questions about Russian hacking. The news prompted an information security researcher to announce that he’d found evidence of other election security issues in North Carolina last fall, which he’d kept quiet until now.

      Chris Vickery, the director of cyber-risk research at UpGuard, a cybersecurity services firm, tweeted June 7 that he had found an unlocked online repository that contained what he said were passwords for touchscreen voting machines. The repository, he said, also contained other information, including serial numbers for machines that had modems, which theoretically could have allowed them to connect to the internet.

      Vickery said that after he found the open repository in September 2018, he immediately told state officials, who locked the file. State officials have told Mother Jones that the passwords were nearly 10 years old and encrypted—a claim disputed by Vickery and a Democratic technology consultant in North Carolina—but admitted that the file shouldn’t have been publicly available online.

    • TPM now stands for Tiny Platform Module: TCG shrinks crypto chip to secure all the Things [Ed: Misusing the word “trust” to obliterate computer freedom and general-purpose computing]

      The Trusted Computing Group (TCG), a nonprofit developing hardware-based cybersecurity tools, has started work on the “world’s tiniest” Trusted Platform Module (TPM).

      TPMs are silicon gizmos designed to protect devices by verifying the integrity of essential software – like firmware and BIOS − and making sure no dodgy code has been injected into the system prior to boot.

      These are widely used to protect servers. Now TCG wants to adopt the technology for devices that are so small that the inclusion of a full TPM chip might be impractical due to cost, space and power considerations.

      The first tiny TPM prototype, codenamed Radicle, was demonstrated last week at a TCG members’ meeting in Warsaw, Poland.


      We have to mention that for years, TCG and its TPMs were criticised by the open-source software community, which suspected the tech could be used for vendor lock-in – GNU father Richard Stallman called trusted computing “treacherous computing”, but it looks like his worst fears have not come to pass.

      That doesn’t mean TPMs haven’t seen their share of dark days: back in 2017, it emerged that security chips made by Infineon contained a serious flaw, with experts estimating that 25 to 30 per cent of all TPMs used globally were open to attack.

    • What Is a Buffer Overflow

      A buffer overflow vulnerability occurs when you give a program too much data. The excess data corrupts nearby space in memory and may alter other data. As a result, the program might report an error or behave differently. Such vulnerabilities are also called buffer overrun.

      Some programming languages are more susceptible to buffer overflow issues, such as C and C++. This is because these are low-level languages that rely on the developer to allocate memory. Most common languages used on the web such as PHP, Java, JavaScript or Python, are much less prone to buffer overflow exploits because they manage memory allocation on behalf of the developer. However, they are not completely safe: some of them allow direct memory manipulation and they often use core functions that are written in C/C++.

    • Any iPhone can be hacked

      Apple’s so called secure iPhones can be turned over by US coppers using a service promoted by an Israeli security contractor.

      Cellebrite publicly announced a new version of its product known as a Universal Forensic Extraction Device or UFED, one that it’s calling UFED Premium. In marketing that update, it says that the tool can now unlock any iOS device cops can lay their hands on, including those running iOS 12.3.

      Cellebrite claims UFED Premium can extract files from many recent Android phones as well, including the Samsung Galaxy S9 but no-one ever called them secure and safe.

      What is unusual is that Cellebrite is making broad claims about turning over Apple gear. This is not a cat-and-mouse claim where they exploit a tiny flaw which one day might be fixed. It would appear that Cellebrite has its paw on a real howler.

    • Cellebrite Claims It Can Unlock ‘Any’ iPhone And iPad, 1.4 Billion Apple Devices Hackable

      Israel-based Cellebrite has announced a new version of its system Universal Forensic Extraction Device (UFED) — UFED Premium — which is capable of unlocking any iPhone, high-end Android device, or an iPad.

      The forensics company has suggested that UFED Premium is meant to help the police in unlocking iPhones and Android smartphones and getting data from locked smartphones.

    • Web-based DNA sequencers getting compromised through old, unpatched flaw

      DnaLIMS is developed by Colorado-based dnaTools. It provides software tools for processing and managing DNA sequencing requests.

      These tools use browsers to access a UNIX-based web server on the local network, which is responsible for managing all aspects of DNA sequencing.

      A simple Google search shows that dnaLIMS is used by a number of scientific, academic and medical institutions.

    • Generrate Cryptographically Secure RANDOM PASSWORD
    • DMARC, mailing list, yahoo and gmail

      Gmail was blocking one person’s email via our list (he sent that using Yahoo and from his iPhone client), and caused more than 1700 gmail users in our list in the nomail block unless they check for the mailman’s email and click to reenable their membership.

      I panicked for a couple of minutes and then started manually clicking on the mailman2 UI for each user to unblock them. However, that was too many clicks. Suddenly I remembered the suggestion from Saptak about using JavaScript to do this kind of work. Even though I tried to learn JavaScript 4 times and failed happily, I thought a bit searching on Duckduckgo and search/replace within example code can help me out.

    • Security updates for Monday

      Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (chromium and thunderbird), Debian (php-horde-form, pyxdg, thunderbird, and znc), Fedora (containernetworking-plugins, mediawiki, and podman), openSUSE (chromium), Red Hat (bind, chromium-browser, and flash-plugin), SUSE (docker, glibc, gstreamer-0_10-plugins-base, gstreamer-plugins-base, postgresql10, sqlite3, and thunderbird), and Ubuntu (firefox).

    • Self-Audits | Roadmap to Securing Your Infrastructure

      As you can see, the security audit can be tailored based on any security controls you have/need. NIST provides the 800-53A (“A” is for audit or assessment) and provides different file formats to use. This is a great place to start creating your own audit document.

      To sum it up, embracing self-audits and the benefit they provide will reduce risk and save time. The longer a security control remains in a failed state, the more time threats have to exploit a vulnerability. Protect yourself and add security by prioritizing audits.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Iran’s Game

      The evidence is far from conclusive, but on balance Iran probably is behind the attacks on four oil tankers in the Gulf last month and two more last Thursday. Those attacks carefully avoided human casualties, so if they were Iranian, what was their goal?

      If it was Iran, the answer is obvious. Iran would be reminding the United States that it may be utterly out-matched militarily, but it can do great damage to the tankers that carry one-third of the world’s internationally traded oil through the Strait of Hormuz.

    • Bringing Police Torture in Chicago to the Full Light of Day

      Flint Taylor’s new book, The Torture Machine: Racism and Police Violence in Chicago, is one of those remarkable works that won’t fit under any one category. It’s at once a history of civil and human rights battles in Chicago with national and global reach, a text of modern urban sociology, an example of critical legal theory, a long polemic against white and class privilege, a literature of political exposure, a manual of strategy and tactics, and last but not least, for Flint himself, an autobiography. In its pages, Chicago’s top lawyer of the left also shares with us the intense and determined commitment, with all his highs and lows, that lasted through five decades of his personal life to the present day.

      The narrative begins with Taylor as a young man, teamed up with other young radical lawyers fresh from passing their bar exams. They had been working with Chicago’s Black Panther Party and were among the first on the scene just after Fred Hampton was murdered in his bed. As the cops pulled out, the young lawyers managed to take over and secure the site, and pulled in the media and community leaders to examine the scene before any evidence was altered or disappeared. The reaction sent shock waves through Chicago, since it was clear there was no “shoot-out,” as authorities had claimed, but cold-blooded assassination by Chicago police, with an assist from the FBI. To make a long story short, Hampton’s killers were never tried and walked free, but Taylor and his fellow legal team won a substantial wrongful death settlement from the City of Chicago for Hampton’s family in 1982. In the spirit of the times, the young lawyers took their share of the settlement and used it to help sustain the People’s Law Office (PLO), dedicated to fighting police brutality and other injustices in the greater Chicago area, which they had founded in 1969.

      To this day, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) has never stopped supplying the PLO and other progressive lawyers with a constant source of new clients seeking justice. Whether by mistreating young people of color on the streets, trying to suppress free speech and protest, abusing people in prison, attacking the LBGTQ community, or warping the courts with false evidence and accusations, the CPD, with the backing of City Hall and the State’s Attorney’s office, have carried out a decades-long reign of terror diametrically opposed to their stated mission: “We Serve and Protect.”

    • Air-traffic control is a mess

      The cost of this is huge. Eurocontrol estimates that the delays and cancellations caused by air-traffic-flow problems cost the European economy €17.6bn ($20.8bn) last year, up by 28% on 2017. Holding planes in the air and making them fly farther wastes fuel. More efficient air-traffic control could bring fuel savings of 5-10% per flight, reckons Graham Spinardi of the University of Edinburgh. Moreover, public confidence has been shaken by several near-misses. In 2017 an Air Canada jet carrying 140 people misunderstood the controllers’ instructions and nearly landed on a taxiway where four aircraft were parked. In 2016 an Eva Air flight from Los Angeles flew perilously close to a mountain peak after an air-traffic controller’s instructions confused right with left.

    • Boeing Admits ‘Mistake’ in Max Jet Disasters That Killed 346

      The chief executive of Boeing said the company made a “mistake” in handling a problematic cockpit warning system in its 737 Max jets before two crashes of the top-selling plane killed 346 people, and he promised transparency as the U.S. aircraft maker tries to get the grounded model back in flight.

      Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg told reporters in Paris that Boeing’s communication with regulators, customers and the public “was not consistent. And that’s unacceptable.”

    • ‘Blatant Theft’: Netanyahu Unveils Illegal Settlement Named ‘Trump Heights’ in Occupied Syrian Territory

      In what critics denounced as an obscene celebration of land theft and a violation of international law, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday showed his appreciation for U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory by unveiling a new illegal settlement named “Trump Heights.”

      As Common Dreams reported, Trump’s recognition of the occupied Syrian territory as Israeli property in March was widely condemned by international observers.

      “This is a historic day,” Netanyahu said after dramatically uncovering the “Trump Heights” entry sign, emblazoned with large gold letters.


      “Blatant theft: with no legal jurisdiction whatsoever and in flagrant violation of international law, Israel re-names part of Syria after Trump,” tweeted activist Sarah Wilkinson.

    • Why ‘Trump Heights’ Is the Perfect Name for Israel’s Stolen Colony

      In a publicity stunt Trumpian in its iniquity and emptiness, the government of Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu put up a sign in the Occupied Syrian Golan Heights, saying “Trump Heights.”

      There isn’t really any settlement there yet, just a sign, just as there isn’t any reality to Trump more generally, just an empty suit.

      Given that Trump is a narcissistic fraud, it is appropriate that his name be attached to the illegal Israeli theft of Syrian territory. In fact, we should just call the Occupied Palestinian Territories in general Trumpland, a fraud and form of robbery like his “university” and “steaks” and “airline.”

      One of the pretexts that the Bush administration gave for invading Iraq was that they maintained Iraq had not complied with UN Security Council resolutions on disarming. We now know Iraq did destroy its stockpile of chemical weapons and mothball its feeble nuclear research, but the Bush people would not accept these assertions and said they invaded to enforce the will of the United Nations Security Council. This, even though the UNSC of 2003 declined to authorize any such thing.

    • Let Us Laugh Together, On Principle

      The New York Times International Edition has decided to no longer publish political cartoons. The decision follows a scandal about a cartoon that appeared last April in which a blind President Donald Trump is holding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – depicted as a guide dog – on a leash. Trump is wearing a yarmulke; Netanyahu has a Star of David around his throat. Some critics deemed the cartoon offensive and anti-Semitic, the Times apologized, and the responsible editor was sanctioned. Now the paper of record – “All The News That’s Fit To Print – has decided to stop publishing political cartoons.


      What is the role of humor and satire “in the insane world we live in”? The United States has had great political humorists. When the stodgy former President Calvin Coolidge died in 1933, Dorothy Parker asked, “How did they know?” The actor, humorist and columnist Will Rogers ran for president in 1928. Since he thought all campaigning was bunk, he ran as the “bunkless candidate,” promising that if elected he would resign. On election night, he declared victory and resigned. Mort Sahl, wearing his cashmere sweater and with a newspaper in hand, made outstanding barbs during the Kennedy era.

      But Parker’s, Rogers’ and Sahl’s humor was not railing against an “insane world.” When Henry Kissinger received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 for his role in ending the Vietnam War, the songwriter and satirist Tom Lehrer said, “When Kissinger won the Nobel peace prize, satire died.”

    • Remember the Vincennes? The US’s Long History of Provoking Iran

      That’s the name of the U.S. Navy warship that shot down an Iranian airliner with missiles in 1988, killing all 290 people aboard that airplane.

      That shootdown, where 60 children perished, was an accident, according to the U.S. Navy’s official report. However, many, including military personnel, considered that report a whitewash.

      That U.S. military attack on a civilian airliner occurred during a time when the administration of then U.S. President Ronald Reagan was all but openly supporting Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who had launched a war of aggression against Iran – the nation now in the crosshairs of the President Donald Trump Administration.

      The Vincennes incident is instructive as the Trump Administration is seemingly searching for a ripe moment to launch a war against Iran, an action long sought by right-wing forces in the United States along with U.S. Middle East allies Israel and Saudi Arabia.

      Similar to U.S. anti-Iran stances in the 1980s when the U.S. pressured Iran as part of its tilt toward the invading but quickly battered Iraqis, the Trump Administration is waging an economic war against Iran through economy-crippling sanctions. The goal is to bludgeon Iran after Trump unilaterally withdrew from a nuclear non-proliferation treaty that had Iran’s full compliance.

      The July 3, 1988 Vincennes incident is also instructive because it vividly displayed of how things can go horribly wrong really quick and how the U.S. government will brazenly lie to evade liability for its criminal misconduct.

      With the U.S. playing a ‘Top Cop’ role in the Persian Gulf – today as in the 1980s ostensibly to contain Iran – it’s interesting that the U.S. Navy’s defense of that indefensible 1988 airliner shootdown contained components of excuses utter persistently by American police in instances of fatal shootings of unarmed civilians.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Ivan Golunov vs. Julian Assange: A Quest for Journalistic Solidarity

      A Russian investigative journalist, Ivan Golunov, who has been writing primarily about corruption within the government, got arrested earlier this month on drug charges in Moscow.

      The circumstances of his arrest and the pieces of information released to the public were dubious, to say the least, so the Russian public backlashed at the government. We saw a mass uproar on social media AND the mainstream media (even my apolitical Russian friends have been sending me links related to the story).

      Three major Russian newspapers, Kommersant, RBK, and Vedomosti, came out with identical front pages in his support, saying “I/We Are Ivan Golunov”.

      Virtually all journalistic community rallied behind him. TV-news personas, such as Irada Zeynalova of NTV (a federal channel that has a reputation of being blatantly pro-government), were making statements on air in end-of-the-week news programs, saying that Golunov’s case is a “test for all of us”.

    • The Coming Show Trial of Julian Assange

      On Friday morning I was in a small courtroom at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London. Julian Assange, held in Belmarsh Prison and dressed in a pale-blue prison shirt, appeared on a video screen directly in front of me. Assange, his gray hair and beard neatly trimmed, slipped on heavy, dark-frame glasses at the start of the proceedings. He listened intently as Ben Brandon, the prosecutor, seated at a narrow wooden table, listed the crimes he allegedly had committed and called for his extradition to the United States to face charges that could result in a sentence of 175 years. The charges include the release of unredacted classified material that posed a “grave” threat to “human intelligence sources” and “the largest compromises of confidential information in the history of the United States.” After the prosecutor’s presentation, Assange’s attorney, Mark Summers, seated at the same table, called the charges “an outrageous and full-frontal assault on journalistic rights.”

      Most of us who have followed the long persecution of Assange expected this moment, but it was nevertheless deeply unsettling, the opening of the final act in a Greek tragedy where the hero, cursed by fortuna, or fate, confronts the dark forces from which there is no escape.

    • Julian Assange and the Scales of Justice: Exceptions, Extraditions and Politics

      The Home Secretary of the United Kingdom did his thing, which was little in the way of disagreement. The superpower has issued a request; the retainer would comply. This week, the US Department Justice Department formally sought the extradition of Julian Assange. The process was certified by Sajid Javid, a man rather distracted of late. He is, after all, seeking to win the hearts of the Conservatives and replace Theresa May as Prime Minster. Boris Johnson, not Wikileaks and press freedom, is on his mind.

      The WikiLeaks front man had failed to satisfy Javid that there were exceptions warranting the refusal to sign off on the request. A spokesman explained the matter in dull terms. “The Home Secretary must certify a valid request for extradition… unless certain narrow exceptions to section 70 of the Extradition Act 2003 apply.” Robotic compliance was almost expected.

      The exceptions outlined in the section note that the Secretary may refuse to issue a certificate in circumstances where it may be deferred; where the person being extradited is recorded as a refugee within the meaning of the Refugee Convention; or where, having been granted leave to enter or remain in the UK, Articles 2 or 3 of the Human Rights Convention would be breached if removal of the person to the extraditing territory would take place.

      The European Convention on Human Rights expressly prohibits torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, with Article 3 also prohibiting the extradition of a person to a foreign state if they are likely to be subjected to torture.

      Massimo Moratti, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe, is certain that the Wikileaks publisher will suffer grave mistreatment if extradited to the United States. “The British government must not accede to the US extradition request for Julian Assange as he faces a real risk of serious human right violations if sent there.” This will further add substance to the potential breach of Article 3 of the Human Rights Convention, a point reiterated by Agnes Callamard, Special rapporteur on extra-judicial executions. Ecuador, she argues, permitted Assange to be expelled and arrested by the UK, taking him a step closer to extradition to the US which would expose him to “serious human rights violations.” The UK had “arbitrary [sic] detained Mr Assange possibly endangering his life for the last 7 years.”

    • UPDATE – Assange hearing: UK must not be complicit in extradition of Wikileaks publisher

      Freedom of expression organisation ARTICLE 19 has urged the UK courts not to extradite Wikileaks founder and publisher to the US, where he faces charges related to his work with whistleblower Chelsea Manning.

      The UK’s Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, confirmed on the BBC’s Today programme that he had signed a request for Assange’s extradition to the US. The decision of whether or not to extradite will now be made by the courts. The hearing will start tomorrow, Friday June 14.

      Executive Director of ARTICLE 19, Thomas Hughes said:

      “If extradited to the US, Julian Assange would be prosecuted and potentially imprisoned for exposing human rights violations committed by the US Government and military.

      “It would be the first time that the Espionage Act has been used in the United States to prosecute a journalist for publishing information that was truthful and in the public interest.

      “The UK should not be complicit in this assault on press freedom, which would set a dangerous precedent for investigative journalists and whistleblowers in the UK, US and beyond.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Another Deceptive Letter Bashing the Electric Car Tax Credit Circulating Congress, Courtesy of FreedomWorks

      A West Virginia Republican is gathering signatures from fellow members of Congress for a letter opposing any extension to the electric vehicle (EV) tax credit. Representative Alex Mooney is getting an assist in his efforts from FreedomWorks, the major conservative advocacy center that helped launch the Tea Party movement.

      In an email sent Monday to Congressional staffers and reviewed by DeSmog, FreedomWorks’ Vice President of Legislative Affairs, Jason Pye, “urges your boss to sign the letter against an expansion of the electric vehicle tax credit.” The “Draft Anti-Electric Car Tax Credit Letter” repeats a number of easily discredited and false talking points that have been echoed repeatedly by opponents of the tax incentive.

    • Tens of Millions in South America Without Power as Energy Grid Collapses

      A massive blackout left tens of millions of people without electricity in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay on Sunday after an unexplained failure in the neighboring countries’ interconnected power grid. Authorities were working frantically to restore power, but a third of Argentina’s 44 million people were still in the dark by early evening.

      Voters cast ballots by the light of cell phones in gubernatorial elections in Argentina. Public transportation halted, shops closed and patients dependent on home medical equipment were urged to go to hospitals with generators.

      “I was just on my way to eat with a friend, but we had to cancel everything. There’s no subway, nothing is working,” said Lucas Acosta, a 24-year-old Buenos Aires resident. “What’s worse, today is Father’s Day. I’ve just talked to a neighbor and he told me his sons won’t be able to meet him.”

      By mid-afternoon, power had been restored to most of Uruguay’s 3 million people. But in Argentina, only 65% of the nation’s grid was back up and running as of 5 p.m. local time, the national news agency Telam reported.

    • The DNC Strategy Will Defeat Climate Voters, Not Trump

      One can’t mention the Green New Deal without a chorus of people asking, “How will we pay for it?” But when it comes to a crowded field of more than 20 Democratic presidential contenders, few bother to ask, “Who’s footing the bill for this horse race?”

      That’s because the reason is obvious. With a few exceptions, large donors and Wall Street interests back nearly every contender.

      In a time when democratic values and policies are shredded daily, will the unprecedented Democratic strategy of crowding the field and the upcoming debate stage with a surplus of largely Wall Street-funded candidates really deliver defeat to Trump?

      True, the number of personalities available may briefly enliven voters beaten down into learned helplessness through following the daily Trumpian barrage of horrors, which is only worsened by the Democratic leadership’s inert responses.

      Meanwhile, given the narrowing window for effective climate action, helping voters to identify any candidates beholden to fossil fuel money will ultimately determine the outcome of the climate crisis, as well as the future of U.S. democracy. Although less obvious from the outset, the Democratic Party’s strategy to run a wide array of candidates may be less small “d” democratic than initially appeared.

      This becomes most obvious when we think ahead to the upcoming debates.

    • US Attacks Russia’s Power Grid; Trump Kept in Dark

      The New York Times is reporting that the United States is cyber attacking Russia’s electric power grid and other targets—and that President Donald Trump is being kept out of the loop.

      “The American strategy has shifted more toward offense, officials say, with the placement of potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system at a depth and with an aggressiveness that had never been tried before.”

      Trump has not been briefed on the operation because of “the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials.”

    • U.S. Escalates Online Attacks on Russia’s Power Grid

      The United States is stepping up digital incursions into Russia’s electric power grid in a warning to President Vladimir V. Putin and a demonstration of how the Trump administration is using new authorities to deploy cybertools more aggressively, current and former government officials said.

      In interviews over the past three months, the officials described the previously unreported deployment of American computer code inside Russia’s grid and other targets as a classified companion to more publicly discussed action directed at Moscow’s disinformation and hacking units around the 2018 midterm elections.

      Advocates of the more aggressive strategy said it was long overdue, after years of public warnings from the Department of Homeland Security and the F.B.I. that Russia has inserted malware that could sabotage American power plants, oil and gas pipelines, or water supplies in any future conflict with the United States.

      But it also carries significant risk of escalating the daily digital Cold War between Washington and Moscow.

      The administration declined to describe specific actions it was taking under the new authorities, which were granted separately by the White House and Congress last year to United States Cyber Command, the arm of the Pentagon that runs the military’s offensive and defensive operations in the online world.

    • Arctic Death Spiral – A Short Film
    • Names and Locations of the Top 100 People Killing the Planet

      Just 100 companies are responsible for more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. The guys who run those companies – and they are mostly guys – have gotten rich on the backs of literally all life on Earth. Their business model relies on the destruction of the only home humanity has ever known. Meanwhile, we misdirect our outrage at our neighbors, friends, and family for using plastic straws or not recycling. If there is anyone who deserves the outrage of all 7.5 billion of us, it’s these 100 people right here. Combined, they control the majority of the world’s mineral rights – the “right” to exploit the remaining unextracted oil, gas, and coal. They need to know that we won’t leave them alone until they agree to Keep It In The Ground. Not just their companies, but them. Now it’s personal.

      Houston tops this list as home to 7 of the 100 top ecocidal planet killers, followed by Jakarta, Calgary, Moscow, and Beijing. The richest person on the list is Russian oil magnate Vagit Alekperov, who is currently worth $20.7 billion.

      The map is in the form of a cartogram which represents the size of countries by their cumulative carbon dioxide emissions since industrialization.

      This map is a response to the pervasive myth that we can stop climate change if we just modify our personal behavior and buy more green products. Whether or not we separate our recycling, these corporations will go on trashing the planet unless we stop them. The key decision-makers at these companies have the privilege of relative anonymity, and with this map, we’re trying to pull back that veil and call them out. These guys should feel the same personal responsibility for saving the planet that we all feel.

    • Fenced in: A Surprising Threat to Coral Fish and Biodiversity

      A 15-year study of traditional fishing techniques has revealed a surprising threat to coastal ecosystems in the tropics: fish fences.

      What’s a fish fence, you ask? They’re massive structures of mangrove wood and nets used to funnel and trap hundreds of species. The technique has been used for centuries, but the new research reveals that they’re actually quite damaging.

      “These fences — which are common across the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans — are so large they can be seen from space using Google Earth,” said Richard Unsworth from Swansea University, co-author of the study. “Because they are unselective, they catch more than 500 species, many as babies or which are of conservation concern. It’s not surprising that these fisheries are having a disastrous impact on tropical marine ecosystems such as seagrass meadows, mangroves and coral reefs.”

    • Hydrogen can replace natural gas by 2050

      The UK government, which has just declared it aims to reach zero carbon emissions by 2050, has been told by Britain’s leading engineers that hydrogen can safely be used to replace natural gas in the country’s gas grid.

      Since 85% of homes in Britain use gas for cooking and heating and 40% of electricity is currently generated by gas, this would be a major leap towards cutting emissions − and it could be done in the next 30 years.

      It is an important development for all countries striving to reach zero emissions, because replacing gas central heating in homes and offices has always been described as one of the most difficult technical problems to overcome in order to attain a low-carbon future.

    • Where the Wild Things Were: Abbey’s Road Revisited

      Harper’s Magazine published this bucolic scene of camping in New York’s Adirondack Mountains captured by up-and-coming artist Winslow Homer in 1874. It’s one of many illustrations he turned out in competition with Currier & Ives in the mid-to-late 19th century for magazines and newspapers, most depicting Americans comporting themselves out-of-doors in cities, towns, villages, and hinterlands, in an age unmarred by automobiles, aircraft, telephones, and digitalia.

      But even by then, the accelerating pace of progress had decimated the vast Adirondack region in its voracious demand for lumber, paper, and charcoal. In the mid-1880s, after much environmentalist agitation and corporate opposition, New York’s legislature designated much of the area as a forest preserve. Ten years hence, after the preserve’s stewards were exposed as corrupt, the state constitution was amended to protect the 6.3M-acre region (almost the size of Vermont) “forever.

    • Revamping Grizzly Bear Recovery

      The enthusiasm expressed for Montana Gov. Steve Bullock’s proposed grizzly bear advisory council promises to enhance coexistence efforts at a time when, with each new year, grizzly bear deaths shatter records. But Montana’s efforts must be nested within a larger national framework of grizzly bear recovery.

      The grizzly is an iconic species of global concern. Families from across America and the world are flocking to Yellowstone and Glacier hoping to see a grizzly bear. Montana recognizes the public’s passion for grizzlies and other wildlife — and their economic contribution to numerous communities — evident in widespread promotion of our state animal.

      In giving grizzly bears Endangered Species Act protections, the federal government long ago recognized that state management was inadequate. The Fish and Wildlife Service has played a vital role since 1975 in reversing the decline of grizzly bear populations in the Northern Rockies, a decline states had perpetuated with trophy hunts. By banning hunting, setting high fines to deter poaching, and establishing tough regulations to keep human foods away from bears, the FWS, along with the Forest Service, National Park Service and states, has improved the health of Montana’s grizzlies.

      Progress has been slow. Low reproductive rates exacerbate the continued excessive rates at which grizzlies die. Yellowstone and Glacier bear populations have flat-lined during the last 15 years and could even be in decline — contrary to inflated claims of government biologists. States can continue to make a positive difference, but only under oversight by a federal government charged with protecting the interests of all Americans.

      Twenty years ago, governors of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming set up a “round table” process similar to the current advisory council. Unfortunately, it proved to be little more than a vehicle for promoting premature delisting and limiting grizzlies to isolated island ecosystems — despite overwhelming scientific evidence that lasting recovery can only be achieved by reconnecting grizzly bear ecosystems. In the aftermath, Montana undertook a costly and unsuccessful fight to grab power from the federal government, reduce grizzly populations and disenfranchise the national public.


      People outside Montana cannot and should not be ignored. During the last 20 years, citizens from around our country have overwhelmingly and consistently supported stronger protections for grizzlies through comments on more than a dozen federal and state decisions. Nearly 1 million people commented on the 2016 draft rule to remove ESA protections for Yellowstone’s grizzlies. More than 99.99% supported stronger, not weaker, protections. They deserve a seat at the table.

      Meaningful recovery of grizzlies can only be achieved through a combination of local, state and national efforts. With 150 applicants for 15 seats on the Grizzly Bear Council, Montanans have shown a keen interest in constructive progress. The challenge now is to frame that work within an effective and coordinated national effort. The FWS must wake up and engage — on behalf of all of us.

  • Finance

    • Want to Be a Principled Billionaire? Stop Being a Billionaire.

      MacKenzie Bezos, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has signed the “Giving Pledge,” promising to donate at least half of the fortune she received after her separation from Jeff to charity. This is many billions more than the $2 billion Jeff, literally the richest person in the world, has pledged to give to charity. It’s also not nearly enough.

      Big Philanthropy is simply plutocracy, “an exercise of power by the wealthy that is unaccountable, non-transparent, donor-directed, perpetual, and tax-subsidized,” Stanford professor Rob Reich, one of the faculty directors of the university’s Center for Ethics in Society, told The Atlantic. But let’s give Bezos, like we give Bill and Melinda Gates, the benefit of the doubt: Let’s believe that she’s a humanitarian, and that she’s trying to help humanity. Then why isn’t she giving more?

      It’s true that half of $37 billion is more money than I’ll ever give to charity in my life, and that I’m unlikely to donate half my net worth anytime soon. But I’m not a capitalist; I don’t exploit workers; and I’m not a billionaire. Statistically speaking, none of us are. Billionaires are simply illogical. Money loses coherency at that level — not to mention numbers themselves.

      We’re not even talking about the comparatively “impoverished” 1 percent, the millionaires. A billionaire like Jeff Bezos — who hasn’t signed the “Giving Pledge” himself — could lose over 99 percent of their wealth and still have over a billion dollars. Try to imagine how much of a difference an extra $1,000 a week would make for you — either to receive or to lose — and then realize that even with only $1 billion, Bezos could spend $1 million a week for 20 years before going broke. And that’s without taking into consideration interest.

    • Behind the curve: why Europe is stuttering in the global tech race

      The EU is often blamed for holding back disruptive businesses and has gained a reputation for interfering and being overly bureaucratic. Certainly, the way in which it engages with US tech firms supports this view, with Google, Apple and Facebook all having clashed with European regulators in the past few years. When it comes to the European landscape, though, it seems the EU is not doing enough.

      Fragmentation remains a major obstacle to the creation of world-class European businesses, with the different regulations, taxes and industry standards found across the union providing obstacles to cross-border investments. These are areas where the EU could do more to encourage uniformity, particularly with regards to R&D expenditure. While the likes of Sweden, Austria, Denmark and Germany all spent more than three percent of GDP on R&D in 2017, eight member states recorded an R&D intensity of below one percent.

    • Jack Dorsey, Twitter and Square CEO, Talks Up Company’s Nascent Crypto Development Team

      For the record, not every technician considers Bitcoin a “pure” product of a healthy subculture.

      Blockchain skeptic, author and Unix system administrator David Gerard, for example, has famously called Bitcoin an “apocalyptic death cult” and “pile of shit.”

      Gerard’s blog posts regularly savage the leading edge in crypto and offer a poison-penned antidote to the vigorous market-spiel that otherwise characterizes the coverage in “the space,” as it were.

    • “Wheel! Of! Fortune!” (A Vegas Story)

      An unnaturally tan woman with metallic blond hair and garish makeup has hit a bonus. Automated applause, bells, whistles, whoops, and all manner of artificial sounds ring out. Flashing in the acrid, recycled air, pixelated explosions of light refract off of the woman’s painted face, glistening and oily underneath all that goop.

      Sighing, smiling with crooked and stained teeth at no one in particular, the woman reaches into her worn but still violently red leather handbag. Effortlessly freeing a cigarette and pulling it to her lips, she lights it, and swiveling in her chair, takes in the swath of the casino floor. Not seeing anything or anyone that can save her, she takes a deep drag, and reflexively pulls her machine’s lever. Not a winner (this time), she still smiles – sickly sweet, still at no one – and exhales.

      Mechanically, maniacally, a nearby machine exclaims (and explains?) to the woman, and to anyone else who’ll listen: “Wheel! Of! Fortune!”

      Two giggly and pale swim-suited young women with high-pitched foreign accents, a swan-headed swim ring encircling their lithe, still-dripping bodies, stumble by. They’ve had too many jello shots. Happily, nimbly, seeming to notice no one and no one seeming to take any notice of them, they do an exaggerated shimmy down the gleaming, just-shined imitation-marble floor. Later, at night, they’ll sell their flesh, but it’s daytime still despite the dreary, omnipresent nighttime feel of the casino.

      Nearby at the entrance to the richly appointed “high limit slots” room, a middle-aged Latina woman looks up at them knowingly from the floor. Made to look matronly in her uniform’s unflattering cut, she’s possessed of a proud and regal bearing even now, on her hands and knees; she’s extracting gum or candy mashed in the carpet she’s responsible for keeping spotlessly clean – cheerfully and efficiently, eight to ten hours each day, six days a week, for minimum wage, maximum stress, backbreaking toil, and no benefits. This woman survived civil war, crushing poverty, violent crime, all manner of physical and mental abuse, while single-handedly raising five children. Her eldest son lost a leg fighting for the United States in combat. Still, just last week, her legal aid lawyer gave her the news: She might be deported soon. “And there’s nothing I can do,” he said.

    • ‘Everything You Need to Know’: With Warren and Sanders Not an Option, Wall Street Abuzz Over Biden, Harris, and Buttigieg

      Having already determined that two of the top contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination—Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders—are completely unacceptable and must be stopped at all costs, Wall Street financiers have reportedly begun to narrow down their list of 2020 favorites as candidates’ fundraising efforts reach a “fevered peak” ahead of the June filing deadline.

      As the New York Times reported on Sunday, “three candidates are generating most of the buzz” among powerful Wall Street donors: South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • FOX News Poll: Bernie Sanders Would Beat Trump By 9 Points

      A nationwide Fox News poll released Sunday shows President Donald Trump trailing Senator Bernie Sanders, 49 percent to 40 percent among all registered voters nationwide.

      The Fox poll also showed Biden leading Trump by 49 percent to 39 percent. Also beating Trump in the poll were Senators Elizabeth Warren (43%-41%) and Kamala Harris (42%-41%), and Mayor Pete Buttigieg (41%-40%) of South Bend, Indiana.

      Also, support for impeachment is up five points among Democrats since June 2018 (69 percent vs. 74 percent now) and up 15 among independents (25 percent to 40 percent today). About 9 in 10 Republicans have consistently opposed impeachment.

      The Fox poll was conducted June 9-12, 2019 under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company (R), this Fox News Poll includes interviews with 1,001 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide who spoke with live interviewers on both landlines and cellphones. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all registered voters.

      Sanders acknowledged on Sunday that “polls go up and polls go down” but insisted that the survey showed he was the strongest candidate to defeat Trump.

      “I think we can win in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan and some of the other battleground states,” Sanders said on “Fox News Sunday.”

    • Bernie Sanders’ Radical New Proposal Could Transform America

      Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders delivered a full-throated defense of democratic socialism in his June 12 speech at George Washington University. Sanders quoted FDR’s 1944 State of the Union address: “We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence.”

      Sanders, like FDR, proposed an Economic Bill of Rights, including the rights to health care, affordable housing, education, a living wage and retirement.

      “Economic rights are human rights,” Sanders declared. “That is what I mean by democratic socialism.”

      Sanders cited figures of vast wealth disparity in the United States, where “the top 1 percent of people own more wealth than the bottom 92 percent.” He said there is higher income and wealth inequality today than at any time since the 1920s. And, Sanders stated, “despite an explosion in technology and worker productivity, the average wage of the American worker in real dollars is no higher than it was 46 years ago and millions of people are forced to work two or three jobs just to survive.”

      He also noted, “in America today, the very rich live on average 15 years longer than the poorest Americans.”

    • Wife of Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu convicted of using public money to order takeaways

      An Israeli court on Sunday convicted the wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of fraudulently using state funds for meals, under a plea bargain which saw her admit to lesser charges.

      While the ruling cut short a high-profile trial, the Netanyahu family’s legal woes are far from over: the veteran premier himself faces possible indictment for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in the coming months.

    • Despite sociological tweaks, Kremlin pollsters find Putin’s trust rating is still declining

      The state-run Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) has recorded another, albeit small decline in Vladimir Putin’s national trust rating. According to polling between June 3 and 9, the president’s trust score fell to 71.7 percent — down from 72.4 percent, a week earlier.

      Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Meduza that weekly and even monthly fluctuations in Putin’s trust ratings are immaterial, arguing that only a “longer-term” perspective is worth considering.

    • If Donald Trump Is the Symptom…

      Don’t try to deny it! The political temperature of this country is rising fast. Call it Trump change or Trump warming, if you want, but grasp one thing: increasingly, you’re in a different land and, whatever happens to Donald Trump, the results down the line are likely to be ever less pretty. Trump change isn’t just an American phenomenon, it’s distinctly global. After all, from Australia to India, the Philippines to Hungary, Donald Trumps and their supporters keep getting elected or reelected and, according to a recent CNN poll, a majority of Americans think Trump himself will win again in 2020 (though, at the moment, battleground-state polls look grim for him).

      Still, whether or not he gets a second term in the White House, he only seems like the problem, partially because no president, no politician, no one in history has ever gotten such 24/7 media coverage of every twitch, tweet, bizarre statement, falsehood, or fantasy he expresses (or even the clothes he wears). Think of it this way: we’re in a moment in which the only thing the media can’t imagine saying about Donald Trump is: “You’re fired!” And believe me, that’s just one sign of a media — and a country — with a temperature that’s anything but 98.6.

    • Democracy Faces a Global Crisis

      If you’re a supporter of Donald Trump — or Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil or Matteo Salvini in Italy — you probably think that democracy has never been in better health.

      Recent elections in these countries didn’t just serve to rotate the elite from the conventional parties. Voters went to the polls and elected outsiders who promised to transform their political systems. That demonstrates that the system, that democracy itself, is not rigged in favor of the “deep state” or the Bilderberg global elite — or the plain vanilla leaders of the center left and center right.

      Moreover, from the perspective of this populist voter, these outsiders have continued to play by the democratic rules. They are pushing for specific pieces of legislation. They are making all manner of political and judicial appointments. They are trying to nudge the economy one way or another. They are standing up to outside forces who threaten to undermine sovereignty, the bedrock of any democratic system.

      Sure, these outsiders might make intemperate statements. They might lie. They might indulge in a bit of demagoguery. But politicians have always sinned in this way. Democracy carries on regardless.

      You don’t have to be a supporter of right-wing populists to believe that democracy is in fine fettle. The European Union just held elections to the European Parliament. The turnout was over 50 percent, the highest in two decades.

      True, right-wing populists increased their share from one-fifth to one-fourth of the chamber, with Marine Le Pen’s party coming out on top in France, Salvini’s Liga taking first place in Italy, and Nigel Farage’s Brexit party winning in the UK. But on the other side of the spectrum, the Greens came in second in Germany and expanded their stake of the European parliament from 7 to 9 percent. And for the first time, two pan-European parties ran candidates. The multi-issue progressive Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM 25) received more than 1.4 million votes (but failed to win any seats).

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Oberlin Helped Students Defame a Bakery, a Jury Says. The Punishment: $33 Million.

      The bakery’s complaint said Dr. Raimondo, had helped hand out fliers saying: “Don’t Buy. This is a racist establishment with a long account of racial profiling and discrimination.”

      But the college and the police had no record of prior complaints about racial profiling, the complaint said. Rather, local merchants suffered from students shoplifting, according to court papers, and a college publication had written about how shoplifting was a rite of passage.

    • Freed journalist Ivan Golunov is granted witness protection

      Meduza special correspondent Ivan Golunov has been granted witness protection in the drug dealing case in which he was previously a suspect, the journalist’s lawyer, Sergey Badamshin, told MBKh Media. On Saturday, June 16, investigators at Moscow’s police headquarters questioned Golunov as a witness in the case. Badamshin says the case is now effectively a fact-finding mission to review the actions of the police.

      According to MBKh Media, the same protection was granted to journalists Tatyana Felgenhauer (after she was attacked in October 2017) and Oleg Kashin (after an attempt on his life in November 2010).

    • Russian social network blocks community, as state officials crack down on Internet comments, following ethnic violence in Penza

      The Russian social network VKontakte has blocked the community Chemodankovka v Ogne (Chemodanovka in Flames) over posts related to violence in Chemodanovka, a town in Russia’s Penza region. Trying to access the group now leads users to a message that says it’s been “blocked for inciting violent acts.”

      On June 17, spokespeople for Russia’s federal censor, Roskomnadzor, told reporters that all information regarding the events in Chemodanovka “that the Attorney General’s Office has recognized as unverified” has been removed from social media. Officials have not clarified exactly what information has been banned.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • In Stores, Secret Surveillance Tracks Your Every Move

      Most people aren’t aware they are being watched with beacons, but the “beacosystem” tracks millions of people every day. Beacons are placed at airports, malls, subways, buses, taxis, sporting arenas, gyms, hotels, hospitals, music festivals, cinemas and museums, and even on billboards.

      In order to track you or trigger an action like a coupon or message to your phone, companies need you to install an app on your phone that will recognize the beacon in the store. Retailers (like Target and Walmart) that use Bluetooth beacons typically build tracking into their own apps. But retailers want to make sure most of their customers can be tracked — not just the ones that download their own particular app.

      So a hidden industry of third-party location-marketing firms has proliferated in response. These companies take their beacon tracking code and bundle it into a toolkit developers can use.

    • Credit Scores Could Soon Get Even Creepier and More Biased

      According to a 2015 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau study, 45 million Americans fall into the category of credit invisible or unscoreable—that’s almost 20 percent of the adult population. And here again we can see a racial divide: 27 percent of Black and Hispanic adults are credit invisible or unscoreable, compared to just 16 percent of white adults.

      To bring these “invisible” consumers into the credit score fold, companies have proposed alternative credit. FICO recently released FICO XD, which includes payment data from TV or cable accounts, utilities, cell phones, and landlines. Other companies have proposed social media posts, job history, educational history, and even restaurant reviews or business check-ins.

    • Tired of #$%& passwords? Single Sign-on could be savior

      So how is single sign-on more secure, if Facebook is in charge? It’s not, say security experts. “They’ve shown they can’t be trusted with our information,” says Rudis.

    • Are SSO Buttons Like “Sign-in With Apple” Better Than Passwords?

      Apple recently announced a new product that could prevent users from giving away their email ID to every other site on the internet. It’s expected to launch sometime later in 2019.

      Called “Sign-in with Apple,” it is similar to other Single Sign-on services provided by Google and Facebook. The button lets you login to websites without creating a new user account every time.

    • App Makers Are Mixed on ‘Sign In With Apple’

      But other app makers have mixed feelings on what Apple has proposed. I spoke to a variety of developers who make apps for iOS and Android, one of whom asked to remain anonymous because they aren’t authorized to speak on behalf of their employer. Some are skeptical that Sign In with Apple will offer a solution dramatically different from what’s already available through Facebook or Google. Apple’s infamous opacity around new products means the app makers don’t have many answers yet as to how Apple’s sign in mechanism is going to impact their apps. And one app maker went as far as referring to Apple’s demand that its sign-in system be offered if any other sign-in systems are shown as “petty.”

    • Chinese Cyberattack Hits Telegram, App Used by Hong Kong Protesters

      “This case was not an exception,” he wrote.

      The Hong Kong police made their own move to limit digital communications. On Tuesday night, as demonstrators gathered near Hong Kong’s legislative building, the authorities arrested the administrator of a Telegram chat group with 20,000 members, even though he was at his home miles from the protest site.

    • Security News This Week: Telegram Says China Is Behind DDoS

      As protests erupted in the streets of Hong Kong this week, over a proposed law that would allow criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China, the secure messaging app Telegram was hit with a massive DDoS attack. The company tweeted on Wednesday that it was under attack. Then the app’s founder and CEO Pavel Durov followed up and suggested the culprits were Chinese state actors. He tweeted that the IP addresses for the attackers were coming from China. “Historically, all state actor-sized DDoS (200-400 Gb/s of junk) we experienced coincided in time with protests in Hong Kong (coordinated on @telegram). This case was not an exception,” he added. As Reuters notes, Telegram was DDoSed during protests in China in 2015, as well. Hong Kong does not face the strict [Internet] censorship that exists in mainland China, although activists have expressed concern about increased pressure from Beijing on the region.

    • Nextcloud signs public letter, opposing German plan to force decryption of chat
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Myanmar doctor-turned-model hits back at ban over revealing photos

      A Myanmar doctor and model who had her medical licence revoked for posting lingerie photos of herself blasted the government for “interfering” with personal freedoms, vowing on Saturday (June 15) to appeal against the medical council’s decision in a deeply conservative country.

    • A Father’s Day Gift for Myself: Activism

      News about climate change has been so spooky for so long that it can feel like background noise. We find a way to carry on like normal, even when the news is disquieting.

      Well, let me tell you I’m having a moment when it’s hard to do that.

      For me the trigger was a recent report by Australia’s Breakthrough National Center for Climate Restoration, which warns of “a near- to mid-term existential threat to human civilization.”

      How near-term? “The scale of destruction” by 2050, they wrote, “is beyond our capacity to model — with a high likelihood of human civilization coming to an end.”

      In 30 short years, everything modern humans have built could be rent apart by an ecological catastrophe of our own making. Sorry, but that prediction’s too specific — and too near — to tune out.

      Donald Trump and his science-denying cohort have the luxury of being dead by then. But I’m in my early 30s. In 2050 I won’t even be eligible to draw down the modest retirement savings I finally started setting aside (and am already wondering if it’s worth it).

      Most terrifying of all, my two-year old will have barely reached the age I am now. That realization is taking a toll.

    • On Father’s Day, Let’s Promise Our Children We Will Not Stop Hoping

      There’s a picture on the wall above the little shelf where my wife stows her bag when she gets home from work. It’s a photograph of my daughter taken the day after she was born. Her little head is resting in the palm of my hand, her wee fist balled by my seemingly beam-sized thumb, and it would all be seamlessly adorable but for the look on her face.

      A full day after the deal went down, she was still visibly pissed about being born. Her expression was a cross between Grumpy Cat and a Notre Dame gargoyle. It’s my favorite picture because I love her and the moment it captured, but everyone who sees it always says something along the lines of, “Damn, she’s mad.”

      After listening to her father rant and rave about the world from the safe confines of her mother’s womb, she may have had an idea of what she’d landed in the middle of, and was not thrilled. A few days later, in what I assume was a calculated act of vengeance, she threw up into my mouth right after we gave her a bath. Take that, Dad.

      It was a vomit sniper shot delivered just as I was articulating a vowel (the “o” in “what’s wrong?” to be precise), and it gave me the first good inkling that I might have what it takes to do the fatherhood thing, because I didn’t fling her out of pure reflex when she filled my mouth with barely-digested breastmilk. It’s the little things.

      On Friday, my daughter will finish kindergarten, and my wife and I are very calm puddles about the whole situation. A few minutes ago, she was fitting snugly into my hand and barfing into my gob, all of seven pounds and about the size of a cordless telephone. Suddenly, she’s half my height and asking to wear my Patriots hat to school. (Yes, I inflicted my membership in that detested fan base upon her. Her mother the Steelers fan tried her best, but Daddy won that round, at least for now.)

      You think you’re scared when they’re first born because you don’t know anything, but you’re not really scared. You’re just a rookie who has never faced a major-league fastball. I remember being petrified when the doctor handed her to me for the first time; I had almost no practical experience with babies, and was certain I would flub the whole operation.


      People have asked me how my wife and I can justify bringing a child into such a crowded, polluted, violent world. I always answer the same way: People made this mess, and people will be needed to fix it. I’m not consigning my daughter to a life of activism, mind you. Her path is hers to choose, and for all I know she will grow up to be a petroleum broker on Wall Street. I doubt it, though; she likes flowers too much.

    • Sorry Means Sometimes Having to Admit You’re Racist

      Not long ago, a few southern newspapers offered apologies for having vociferously opposed the civil rights movement. The newspapers that were around in the 1910s and 1920s offered mea culpas for condoning lynching, Klan terrorism and the routine indignities of Jim Crow.

      Much of this public soul-searching was prompted by staff journalists rummaging through archives looking for information about their region’s sordid past. It wasn’t difficult to find evidence of their own newspapers’ conveniently forgotten complicity with evil.

      As it turns out, the rich and powerful media barons who owned newspapers during that era usually aligned themselves with the most reactionary forces, including lynch mobs.

      Even so, a few newspapers have correctly figured out that they’ll never have moral credibility with readers without dealing forthrightly with their racist pasts. The sting of contrition was mediated by the fact that apologizing for editorials written in the 1920s felt like an exercise in abstraction.

    • The Labor Movement Comes to Virtual Reality: Unionizing Digital Media

      Kim Kelly’s first “real” job—outside of dishwashing, retail sales, and touring with metal bands as a merchandise person—was at Vice Media. Even that started out, she says, as “permalance” rather than full time. Her coworkers reached out to her about their union drive even before she had become a full-time employee and says, she was immediately on board. Two weeks later, they had signed union cards with the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), and shortly after, in 2015, they went public. Kelly found herself on the bargaining commit- tee, working on a first contract. “Here we are and I am a union mom three and a half years later,” she says.

      Vice is just one of over twenty media outlets that have unionized with either the WGAE or the NewsGuild–Communications Workers of America (NewsGuild-CWA) since 2015, including Gawker, Al Jazeera America, the New Yorker, Mic.com, the Los Angeles Times, Jacobin, Fast Company, The Onion, Vox Media, Slate, HuffPost, the Intercept, MTV News, and the latest addition, as of this writing, the fashion site Refinery29. These outlets are not all digital-only, but digital has shaped their structure in recent years as the news industry has whipsawed back and forth between crisis fueled by the continuing loss of advertising money, to boom times as big investors look to cash in on digital hype, and quick layoffs when their investors realize they are not going to strike it rich. Media jobs these days are characterized by precarity, low wages, always-on work cultures, low benefits, and the constant threat of mass firings—all while being required to live in the world’s most expensive cities. The union drives have been sparked by internal issues at each publication, but they have also fed off one another, creating industry-wide momentum that has not slowed with layoffs and even shop closures and has been a spot of rare good news for the labor movement as a whole. Unions

    • The Dark Side of Brexit: Britain’s Ethnic Minorities Are Facing More and More Violence

      Pictures of Daniel Ezzedine show him to be a fresh-faced 17-year-old with a warm cheerful smile. His parents are Lebanese but he was brought up in Germany where he had just left school. His teachers brought him to celebrate his graduation on a trip to Canterbury, where he was assaulted and beaten half to death by a gang of youths in what local people are convinced was a racist attack.

      It took place at 6pm on 6 June in Rose Lane in the centre of the city about 250 yards from Canterbury Cathedral. Daniel received a merciless beating from his numerous attackers, which left him close to death. Rushed to hospital in London by helicopter, he is still in a coma and doctors initially gave him only a 30 per cent chance of surviving. Seven people were arrested – six of them teenagers – but none have been charged.

      The family had difficulty at first in getting visas to enter Britain to see their son because they are not German citizens, though they have lived in Germany for 30 years. “I pray and ask Allah for mercy and that you will soon be on your legs again my little brother,” wrote Bassam, one of Daniel’s five brothers. “You don’t deserve the dead!”

      I live in Canterbury and often pass the spot near Tesco, Marks and Spencer and HSBC where Daniel was set upon. Details of what happened are sparse because the police are not saying what they know and Daniel remains in a coma. But it is telling that the gang chose a Lebanese Muslim to target out of all the passers-by in this well-frequented part of Canterbury.

      The attack took place close to a pretty little park called Dane John, which in recent years has become a notorious haunt for gangs selling drugs. I asked one young man if he walked through the park at night. “I do not like to walk through it in day time,” he replied. He said that gangs there are often looking for victims and might easily target a Muslim or anybody different from themselves. A well-attended march against racism took place through the city on Wednesday.

      The fate of Daniel Ezzedine is evidence that Britain is becoming a more racist country since the Brexit referendum. Pro-Brexit politicians like Michael Gove deny this, but a poll by Opinium found that overt ethnic abuse and discrimination reported by ethnic minorities has risen from 64 per cent at the beginning of 2016 to 76 per cent today.

    • Gay man tortured in Chechnya says man missing in open murder case was actually imprisoned with him

      Maxim Lapunov, the only individual to have openly identified himself as a victim of the homophobic purges in Chechnya, told the Radio Liberty project Kavkaz.Realii that a man from Volgograd Region thought to have been missing since March 2017 was in fact imprisoned in Chechnya with him.

    • Women and Non-Binary Rideshare Drivers Face Harassment and Violence

      Women make up 20 percent of the drivers for more established companies like Lyft and Uber. Many rideshare drivers entered the gig economy due to a lack of job opportunities and systemic oppression. Many people have had to stay in these jobs longer than expected. Katrina Noell began driving primarily for Uber in Asheville, North Carolina after she lost her retail job. Employment discrimination and ableist workplace policies that make it difficult or impossible for employees to have the flexibility they need to schedule around medical appointments and illness have pushed many with disabilities into driving for these services, such as Kristina C. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Kristina began driving due to the flexibility that she’s been unable to find in other employment. Meanwhile a single Nepalese mom now living in the East Bay in California, who asked to remain anonymous, reported that she drives for Uber because she needs to drop off and pick up her child from school during the standard workday, and traditional employers weren’t flexible.

    • Putin reportedly asks for nationwide electronic visa system to begin in 2021

      Russian President Vladimir Putin has requested that a new electronic visa become available beginning January 1, 2021, to foreigners hoping to enter Russia, according to Kommersant.

      The newspaper reported that the visa would be single-use and short-term, allowing its holders to visit Russia once for up to 16 days. The visa would cover tourist, business, and humanitarian purposes as well as visits to friends or family. However, only citizens of a limited number of countries will likely have access to the new electronic visas. That list includes China, South Korea, Japan, all Schengen Zone countries, and potentially New Zealand but not the UK, Canada, or the US.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Supreme Court Denies 43rd Petition for Cert on 101 Grounds in Villena v. Iancu [Ed: These patent nuts lose their minds over software/nature patents. Alice is here to stay; deal with it.]
    • Regents of the University of Minnesota v. LSI Corp. (Fed. Cir. 2019) [Ed: Patents are not immune from scrutiny, even if you pretend to have some magical immunity (for fake patents you abusively exploit)]

      The Federal Circuit handed down its decision in Regents of the University of Minnesota v. LSI Corp. on Friday, and perhaps not surprisingly (in view of its decision last summer in Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc.), held that State sovereign immunity does not preclude institution of inter partes review proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The panel decision was extensive and the Court relied heavily on its St. Regis decision’s reasoning, but in doing so, likely increased the chances (to near certainty) of Supreme Court review sometime next year.

      To recap, the Regents of the University of Minnesota, an “arm of the state,” sued separately LSI Corp. (a semiconductor chipmaker) and customers of Ericsson Inc. (a telecommunications company that intervened on its customers’ behalf) for infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 5,859,601 (’601 patent; LSI)) and 7,251,768 (’768 patent), 7,292,647 (RE45,230 patent), 8,588,317 (’317 patent), 8,718,185 (’185 patent), and 8,774,309 (’309 patent; Ericsson), and each defendant separately filed inter partes review (IPR) petitions against each asserted patent. Before the Board instituted the IPRs, the University of Minnesota filed a motion to dismiss on State sovereign immunity grounds. The PTAB, in an expanded panel, ruled that while State sovereign immunity applied, Minnesota had waived the immunity by filing suit. This was a parsimonious, limited decision that, if merely affirmed by the Federal Circuit, likely would not have roiled patent jurisprudence waters, would have smacked of fairness (and provided a simple dichotomy between immune and non-immune situations), would have immunized States from political pestering from gadflies, and would have avoided what is almost certain to be Supreme Court scrutiny.


      Every State in the Union has one or more (and in larger states, several) state universities that, like the University of Minnesota, are “arms of the state.” Since enactment of the Bayh-Dole Act in 1980, Federally funded research at these universities (which comprises the overwhelming majority of such research) has resulted in robust patent portfolios that are actively licensed and hence valuable and attractive targets for challenge by IPRs. These States constitute an active constituency certain to make their views on this decision known to the Supreme Court when Minnesota, almost certainly, petitions for certiorari. The Question Presented will be one that addresses a fundamental question of the States’ status as a sovereign entity under the Constitution, and as such is unlikely not to pique the Court’s interest. Add to that the Court’s recent penchant for taking patent cases and that the decision is from the Federal Circuit, and it is extremely unlikely that the Court will not grant cert, and in about twelve months we will learn whether State sovereign immunity extends to IPR proceedings before the PTAB.

    • State Sovereign Immunity does Not Apply in Inter Partes Review proceedings. [Ed: Poor patent maximalists. All the patent scams they use to support fall on their sword in courtrooms.]

      Although the terms of the 11th amendment appear to be directed to Article III court activities, immunity has also been found in administrative cases that the courts finds to be “similar to court adjudications.”

      In its setup for this decision, the Federal Circuit walked through the patenting process — noting the many flaws and high likelihood that non-patentable claims are allowed to be patented. That foundation then highlights the need for further administrative action in fixing those bad patents — first reexaminations and reissues, and now inter partes review. Because this deeper look is costly, it makes sense to only target cases under dispute — fix the important patents and don’t worry about the rest. In other words, IPR proceedings should be seen as an extension of the examination process, not a court proceeding. The court explains briefly that “IPR represents the sovereign’s reconsideration of the initial patent grant.”

      In the Allergan case, the Federal Circuit previously held that Native American tribal immunity does not protect tribal-owned patents from IPR challenges. Here, the court concluded that “the differences between state and tribal sovereign immunity do not warrant a different result than in Saint Regis. We therefore conclude that state sovereign immunity does not apply to IPR proceedings.”

    • Prioritized Examination and its Impact on Commercialization of Patents

      Patents play an important role in facilitating transfers of knowledge, and enable commercialization of innovative ideas by reducing information asymmetry between potential buyers and sellers on the market for technology. The crucial question, however, is how quickly innovative ideas can be patented. Previous research has shown that the probability of commercialization for pending applications peaks immediately after the patent allowance event (Gans, Hsu & Stern, 2008). But does the length of pendency of an application at a patent office also affect the overall saleability of a technology and create some frictions on the market for technology? In this paper, we exploit the introduction of the USPTO’s Prioritized Examination (Track One) Program to capture the impact of shortened pendency on the likelihood that a pending or granted patent will be commercialized via the transfer of property rights. Using the difference-in-differences approach, we compare the average saleability of patents, which we assign into three groups according to their predicted propensity for prioritization before and after the program start date. We find that introduction of the Track One program has significantly increased the probability of commercial reassignment of applications that were more likely to be prioritized. Our results suggest that the policy implemented by the USPTO and shortened pendency of applications, in general, may reduce frictions on the market for technology and facilitate commercialization of innovations.

    • Samsung Patent Shows Rollable Phone Displays

      Samsung is still figuring out how to release its futuristic Galaxy Fold, which is plagued with durability issues and without a release date. But that hasn’t stopped it from dreaming up new phone designs, including a compelling patent for a phone with a rollable display.

      This patent discovered by Let’s Go Digital (via Gizmodo) shows off a phone that appears fairly traditional at a first glance. But it’s actually hiding a secret rollable display inside, and the top housing containing the selfie camera and earpiece seems able to extend outward from the phone, making for a screen that’s going off the charts when it comes to aspect ratio.

    • High Court Shuts Patent Office Door on Government Challenges

      The U.S. Supreme Court has blocked federal agencies from challenging patents at the Patent and Trademark Office, in a decision that attorneys say will have a far-reaching impact.

      The justices overturned a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decision that the U.S. Postal Service could challenge a patent at the agency. The ruling sets a precedent by clarifying that the government isn’t a “person” eligible to use administrative patent challenge proceedings under the America Invents Act (AIA).

      The 6-3 decision in Return Mail Inc. v. United States Postal Service “prevents any government agency from trying to go to the PTO to invalidate a patent they may not like,” Beth Brinkmann, a Covington & Burling LLP partner who argued before the high court for Return Mail, said.

      The Department of Health and Human Services or the Food and Drug Administration can’t challenge a pharmaceutical patent at the patent office, for example, under the decision, Matt Rizzolo, an intellectual property litigation partner at Ropes & Gray LLP, said.

      The ruling also applies to state governments and their agencies that may want to file the most common administrative challenge, an inter partes review, Rizzolo said.

      “We’ve seen a lot of attorney generals from various states make drug pricing a major issue,” Rizzolo said. “If a state attorney general potentially wanted to bring an IPR or threaten to bring an IPR in an attempt to force the prices of drugs down, this would foreclose that, at least in so far as the IPR was filed by the state itself.”

    • Tesla’s battery research group files new patent that could help prevent cell failure

      Tesla’s battery research group in Canada has filed a new patent application for a way to analyze an electrolyte in a lithium cell, which could help prevent cell failure.
      The patent was filed through Tesla’s battery research group led by Jeff Dahn in Halifax.

      Jeff Dahn is considered a pioneer in Li-ion battery cells. He has been working on the Li-ion batteries pretty much since they were invented. He is credited for helping increase the life cycle of the cells, which helped their commercialization. His work now focuses mainly on a potential increase in energy density and durability.

      In 2016, Dahn transitioned his research group from their 20-year research agreement with 3M to a new association with Tesla under the newly formed ‘NSERC/Tesla Canada Industrial Research’.

    • Trademarks

      • There is No Substitute for a Porsche – Except another Porsche? [Ed: 'Owning' shapes because billionaires in the car industry bribed politicians for protectionist laws]

        As a general rule, if the freedom of design is limited, small differences can lead to distinct overall impressions. These design limitations can derive from several sources. Take, for example, the effect on the freedom of design due to certain legal requirements: all cars need to have headlights and rear-view mirrors. Porsche added that, in the case at hand, the freedom of design was strongly limited by the expectation of the public that, in short, “wants a Porsche to look like a Porsche”. The General Court disagreed. The relevant test is the freedom to design a car, not the freedom to design a Porsche (or any other specific product).

      • Monster Energy Suing Raptors over Clawed-Up Basketball Logo

        The biggest court battle for the Toronto Raptors might not be against the Golden State Warriors, but instead Monster Energy.

        The energy drink company has filed legal action with the U.S. Patent Office, claiming the logo the Raptors have used since 2014 is too similar to its own, according to the Canadian Press (via CBC).

        “[Monster] has sold billions of dollars worth of goods under [its] mark,” the company said, describing its logo featuring three gashes that was created in 2002.

    • Copyrights

      • MP3hub: An Online Tool for Downloading Any Video and Audio Files

        No, it’s not just for music! There are many audio content available on the internet today that can entertain you, of course, but can also help you on a daily basis, whether cooking tutorials, or language lessons for example or reposting a video without sharing the sources. If you continue your studies, there are even chances to support your courses with resources posted by fans in all areas.

      • Kim Dotcom enters final fight to avoid extradition to US

        A five-day appeal hearing on the extradition of Kim Dotcom got underway Monday in New Zealand’s Supreme Court .

        It represents Dotcom’s final attempt to avoid extradition to the United States, where he faces criminal charges including conspiracy to commit racketeering, copyright infringement, money laundering and wire fraud.

      • Megaupload: US says copyright charges can be swapped out for criminal when seeking Kim Dotcom extradition

        They say the US approach, if enshrined in legal precedent, would have “mums, dads and the kids” potentially facing criminal charges for breaches of copyright.

      • Dotcom extradition: Copyright breaches could still be criminal conspiracy, Crown says

        However, the men’s lawyers have argued that, at most, their behaviour might amount to civil breaches of the Copyright Act and therefore should be dealt with under that act.

        Their legal team has said that the US has not even presented sufficient evidence to show there was a civil breach.

        New Zealand can only extradite people to face criminal allegations.

      • Just Six Percent of Finns Say They Illegally Stream Movies or TV Shows

        An annual survey carried out in Finland has revealed interesting attitudes towards piracy. The majority of respondents believe that any form of piracy is unacceptable, with only 3% completely in favor. Overall, just 6% of Finns admit to streaming movies or TV shows from illegal sources.

      • Google Caught ‘Red Handed’ Stealing From Lyrics Site ‘Genius’ [Ed: No, copying is not stealing and “Genius” just copied those words from the original performers.]

        You must have come across song lyrics displayed directly on Google’s search results pages. While this feature is handy, lyrics website Genius.com says that Google is using underhanded tactics to steal its content and display it on its pages.

        Genius claims that its traffic is dropping because Google has been publishing lyrics on its own platform, and some of them are lifted directly from the website.

      • DSM Directive Series #6: ‘hyperlinking’ in the press publishers’ right

        Among other things, the protection granted under Article 15(1), that is the right of EU-based press publishers to control the reproduction and making available for online use of their press publications by information society service providers, “shall not apply to acts of hyperlinking” (Article 15(1), subparagraph 3).

        Recital 57 substantially states the same thing, by providing that “[t]he rights granted to publishers of press publications should not extend to acts of hyperlinking.”


        As readers may know, the exclusion of linking from the scope of the right was also motivated by political reasons, as those opposing the directive and what is now Article 15 dubbed this proposal ‘link tax’ early on in the process.

        Unlike the original version, the final version of Article 15 appears to exclude all acts of hyperlinking from the scope of the press-publishers’ right, irrespective of whether they amount to communication to the public under the InfoSoc Directive.

        What remains unclear, however, is why EU legislature employed the technologically-specific term ‘hyperlink’ rather than, eg, the more technologically-neutral term employed by, first, the referring court and, then, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Svensson, that is ‘clickable link’ (or ‘Internet link’).

Weaponising Russophobia Against One’s Critics

Posted in Europe, Patents, Site News at 1:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Putin and HRC

Summary: Response to smears and various whispering campaigns whose sole purpose is to deplete the support base for particular causes and people; these sorts of things have gotten out of control in recent years

MOMENTS ago we wrote about photo ops (the above photo is real by the way, only the text was added) and their longterm ramifications, such as guilt by association. We don’t think that the terrible management of the EPO is some kind of conspiracy to undermine the European Patent Office (EPO). This awful leadership is actually beneficial to patent trolls with low-quality patents such as software patents (which both Campinos and Battistelli support).

It’s frustrating to see just how self-harming the Administrative Council has been, perhaps in expectation of funds, such as massive amounts of ‘cooperation’ money. Why else would they be harming Europe (unless there was personal gain)? Why would they allow the injustices to persist? Why would they fail to acknowledge the collapse in patent quality and the measurable brain drain?

“It’s frustrating to see just how self-harming the Administrative Council has been, perhaps in expectation of funds, such as massive amounts of ‘cooperation’ money.”Over the years I’ve learned the patterns of smears against people who expose corruption. I used to speak with Julian Assange before he was arrested on behalf of the United States, which he ‘embarrassed’. Then, several years ago (it happened only once), I saw some anonymous fool trying to insinuate I was connected with “Daesh” or Russia. This is how nonsensical rumours start and grow feet. People with connections to Hillary Clinton manufactured lies about Assange being a pedophile — a subject rebutted here and elsewhere. A couple of years ago I saw Team UPC spreading false rumours about the UPC complainant (that someone must be secretly funding him). They didn’t say anything publicly; they had defamed him through the grapevine, so to speak (a malicious whispering campaign). This is pretty serious. They try to belittle people who raise or simply highlight serious and legitimate constitutional violations.

“My goal was always to fix the EPO, not to ruin it.”Throughout the years I’ve always supported the EPO and gave coverage to their staff protests (even going back more than a decade). I myself could probbaly be a patent examiner. My goal was always to fix the EPO, not to ruin it. If one wanted to crash the EPO, then one would put an incompetent, corrupt politician in charge.

I strongly object to the idea that those merely talking about the corruption at the EPO try to make it less stable; the target is always the irresponsible management, whom even examiners loathe. This is why they nearly went on strike — a strike ballot for later this month (it was likely just postponed).

My disclosures have always been abundantly apparent (in my personal Web site, which goes 18 years back). I’m not an ‘agent’ or a ‘shill’ or anything like that. In fact, I rarely associate with anything or anybody. I know the risk of abundant affiliations. I’m also extremely careful who I respond to online.

“My disclosures have always been abundantly apparent (in my personal Web site, which goes 18 years back).”Russian TV channels like RT and Sputnik invited me to interviews several times; not only did I decline, I didn’t even respond to their invitations. Never.

If people want to question this site’s motivations, instead of nitpicking style or typos, go for it. They won’t get far. Later this year we’ll probably publish our 26,000th blog post and longtime readers know that we rarely need to issue corrections; we stick to just a handful of topics that we understand very well. Over the past half a decade one of those topics was the EPO. This and only this is why we ‘obsess with’ or focus on it. Other sites barely cover it. It’s a blind spot.

When the EPO is Run by Politicians It’s Expected to Be Aggressive and Corrupt Like Purely Political Establishments

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny.”

Edmund Burke

Photo Op

Summary: António ‘Photo Op’ Campinos will have marked his one-year anniversary in July; he has failed to demonstrate morality, respect for the law, understanding of the sciences, leadership by example and even the most basic honesty (he lies a lot)

THERE used to be a time (for decades) when Europe’s second-largest institution was run by people with a scientific background. They could explain complex concepts to people; they were jacks of many trades and maybe masters of some, but this is no longer the case. Nowadays they’re posers. Posers and liars.

Shaking hands with people may seem like a clever idea, especially when a photo gets taken. But the liability is too great, whether it’s a Linux Foundation handshake with Microsoft (see our Linux Foundation series) or EPO criminals (such as Battistelli) shaking hands with classic dictators in autocratic nations. We’ve noticed that António Campinos, as the European Patent Office’s (EPO) President, maintains this tradition of Battistelli, whom he also did photo ops with. It’s pretty incriminating because Battistelli reportedly (based on insiders) rigged the recruitment process to secure this job for him. How illuminating.

Then there’s the Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), who promotes software patents in defiance of 35 U.S.C. § 101 (like Campinos supports software patents in Europe in defiance of a lot of things). Iancu’s photos with Trump don’t help considering their past business relationships.

Handshakes are tribalist, ape-like gestures that establish association one does not necessarily need. It can lead to guilt by association. How about this photo op that connected Battistelli to a relatively new (at the time) IP Kat staffer? Does that explain why IP Kat quit covering EPO scandals?

CIPA meeting with Stephen Jones

The EPO needs people whose job skills involve more than signing papers and taking photo ops; people whose background includes actual practice of science, not banking. People who toil rather than drink, or those who pursue jobs based on their qualifications, not their connections. A fortnight from now Campinos completes a year at the Office; he has thus far been a complete and utter disaster, who barely or narrowly escaped a strike everywhere (it may still happen soon). Last week he did some photo ops in Korea; these won’t salvage his credibility, but maybe they’ll help him find another bureaucratic job after his term at the EPO ends.

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