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09.11.19

Links 11/9/2019: Django 3.0 Alpha, Sunsetting Python 2

Posted in News Roundup at 6:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • Intel Issues Second Release Of Its Rust-Written Cloud-Hypervisor For Modern Linux VMs

        Intel’s open-source crew has released version 0.2 of its primarily Rust-developed Cloud Hypervisor and associated firmware also in Rust.

        The Intel Cloud Hypervisor is their experimental VMM running atop KVM designed for modern Linux distributions and VirtIO para-virtualized devices without any legacy device support.

      • SUSE Cloud Application Platform v1.5 released

        SUSE Cloud Application Platform 1.5 is out! It includes many updates from upstream Cloud Foundry, but also a number of useful and exciting new features unique to SUSE. This release, in conjunction with SUSE CaaS Platform 4, is the next step in the evolution of SUSE’s Application Delivery Solutions portfolio.

      • Announcing SUSE CaaS Platform 4

        SUSE CaaS Platform 4 raises the bar for robust Kubernetes platform operations with enhancements that expand platform scalability options, strengthen application security, and make it easier to keep pace with technology advancements. Integrating the latest releases of Kubernetes and SUSE Linux Enterprise, SUSE CaaS Platform 4 continues to provide industry leading application delivery capabilities as an enterprise-ready solution.

      • A new era in Cloud Native Application Delivery is here
      • 3 Infrastructure Compliance Best Practices for DevOps

        For most IT organizations, the need for compliance goes without saying. Internal corporate policies and external regulations like HIPAA and Sarbanes Oxley require compliance. Businesses in heavily regulated industries like healthcare, financial services, and public service are among those with the greatest need for strong compliance programs.

      • IBM

        • Introduction to virtio-networking and vhost-net

          In this post we have scratched the surface of the virtio-networking ecosystem, introducing you to the basic building blocks of virtualization and networking used by virtio-networking. We have briefly covered the virtio spec and the vhost protocol, reviewed the frontend and backend architecture used for implementing the virtio interface and have taken you through the vhost-net/virtio-net architecture of vhost-net (host kernel) communicating with virtio-net (guest kernel).

          A fundamental challenge we had when trying to explain things was the historical overloading of terms. As one example, virtio-net refers both to the virtio networking device implementation in the virtio specification and also to the guest kernel front end described in the vhost-net/virtio-net architecture. We attempted to address this by explaining the context of terms and using virtio-net to only describe the guest kernel frontend.

          As will be explained in later posts, there are other implementations for the virtio spec networking device based on using DPDK and different hardware offloading techniques which are all under the umbrella of the virtio-networking.

          The next two posts are intended to provide a deeper understanding of the vhost-net/virtio-net architecture. One post will be intended for architects providing a technical deep dive into the vhost-net/virtio-net and explaining how in practice the data plane and control planes are implemented. The other post intended for developers will be a hands on session including Ansible scripts to enable experimenting with the vhost-net/virtio-net architecture.

          If you prefer high level overviews we recommend you keep an eye out for the virtio-networking and DPDK introductions, to be published in the upcoming weeks.

        • How Linux came to the mainframe

          Despite my 15 years of experience in the Linux infrastructure space, if you had asked me a year ago what a mainframe was, I’d be hard-pressed to give a satisfying technical answer. I was surprised to learn that the entire time I’d been toiling away on x86 machines in various systems administration roles, Linux was running on the s390x architecture for mainframes. In fact, 2019 marks 20 years of IBM’s involvement in Linux on the mainframe, with purely community efforts predating that by a year.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Manjaro Levels Up | LINUX Unplugged 318

        It’s offical, Manjaro is a legitmate buisness; so what happens next? We chat with Phil from the project about their huge news.

        Plus we share some big news of our own, and the strange feels we get from Chrome OS.

        Special Guests: Brent Gervais, Ell Marquez, and Philip Muller.

      • mintCast 317 – Yak Shaving

        This week, in our Wanderings, Toyam (Void Linux maintainer) shaves a yak and gets to soldering, I blew up and recovered my Mint install, Tony’s been editing audio and LUGing, Josh has been playing with Windows Subsystem for Linux , and Joe finally gets the Note 10

        Then, in our news we cover the Linux Mint Monthly News, exFAT in the kernel, iPhone and Android exploits and the new Pinebook Pro

        In security, we talk Firefox and why you should give it another try

    • Kernel Space

      • Davidlohr Bueso: Linux v5.2: Performance Goodies

        This applies the idea that in most cases, a rwsem will be uncontended (single threaded). For example, experimentation showed that page fault paths really expect this. The change itself makes the code basically not read in a cacheline in a tight loop over and over. Note however that this can be a double edged sword, as microbenchmarks have show performance deterioration upon high amounts of tasks, albeit mainly pathological workloads.

      • Taskbar Latency and Kernel Calls

        I work quickly on my computer and I get frustrated when I am forced to wait on an operation that should be fast. A persistent nuisance on my over-powered home laptop is that closing windows on the taskbar is slow. I right-click on an entry, wait for the menu to appear, and then select “Close window”. The mouse movement should be the slow part of this but instead I find that the delay before the menu appears is the longest component.

        [...]

        Sometimes the challenge in trace analysis is to find where the issue is, but for this issue that part of the analysis was trivial. There were three clear signals that all pointed to the right place, and a painfully obvious culprit.

        The first signal is the input events. UIforETW contains an integrated input logger (anonymized enough so that I don’t accidentally steal passwords or personal information) so I could just drill down to the MouseUp events with a Button Type of 2, which represents the right mouse button.

    • Benchmarks

      • AMD Ryzen 5 3600X & Ryzen 5 3400G Performance In Linux

        When we decided to tackle this article, we didn’t expect it to require as much follow-up testing as it had. In fact, we had considered this article to be a “quick one”, which seems laughable, looking back. Nonetheless, that’s the way testing goes sometimes, and it at least keeps the thermal paste gods pleased.

        As we saw with the 3700X over the 2700X, the 3600X exhibits some huge performance gains over the 2600X in some cases. We usually expect a certain level of advancement from one generation to the next, but AMD has really impressed us with its Zen 2 architecture. Some improvements might be 8%, but some others could be as high as 40%. All of that extra cache sure doesn’t hurt.

    • Applications

      • 10 Best Free Linux GPS Tools

        The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite-based navigation satellite system consisting of a network of satellites which provide positioning, navigation, and timing services in all weather, anywhere on or near the Earth.

        The United States government maintains the system without levying any subscription fees or other charges.

        Use of space-borne positioning and timing data is now commonplace, in everything from freight movement to synchronization of computer networks. Cellular and data networks, shipping and air transport, financial systems, railways, agriculture, and the emergency services all make frequent use of GPS. There are also many different recreational uses of GPS. The one that first springs to mind is for tracking in motor vehicles. GPS helps drivers find the best route to a specified location, summon help in the event of an emergency, plot the location of the vehicle on a map, or find the nearest bank.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Civilization VI just got a Battle Royale mode in the September update that’s live now

        Beware of the Red Death, a new official mode in Civilization VI. No this is not a joke, Civ just got a Battle Royale mode. A free mode for everyone too, you don’t need any expansions for it.

        In this brand new mode, there’s a scary radioactive mass that’s covering the planet. There’s a zone that’s safe—for now. Every so often, it will shrink and you need to stay inside it to avoid the Red Death. The world is a dangerous place here too, with corrosive oceans and lakes too so you need to get across quickly. This mode entirely does away with actually building up a civilization. Instead, you scout across the map for City Ruins, Raider Camps and Supply Drops to build up a little army.

        [...]

        Something to note, is that Civilization VI doesn’t seem to run on Arch/Manjaro directly from Steam.

      • Golf With Your Friends just had a massive Space themed update

        Being in space shouldn’t be a barrier for Golf apparently, as Golf With Your Friends from Blacklight Interactive just went where no Golf Ball has gone before.

        This big Space themed update is out now for the amusing Early Access title adding in: 18 entirely new holes to try out, over 150 new set pieces for making your own courses, Ball Spinning was added to Custom Games and The Randomizer power-up was added for you to mess with your friends and change the shape of their ball.

      • The handy NVIDIA Optimus GPU switcher just added support for more Linux desktops

        Remember we recently wrote about the MATE Optimus GPU switcher being developed by Martin Wimpress of Canonical? Well, it just keeps getting better.

        The fun feature added in the previous update was support for on-demand switching, which was added in a recent NVIDIA driver update. Wimpress hasn’t stopped though, with two more releases being put out since our little news tip.

      • Valve have released a big new 1.7 version of SteamVR

        Bringing together a ton of updates from all the recent Beta releases, a big new release of SteamVR is out for everyone further refining the VR experience overall.

        This time around SteamVR gained a simplified user experience, Valve said their aim here is to “more clearly and consistently communicate general VR and specific device status” along with an improved VR display view, with a new docked preview and full-screen mode. A bunch of icons were updated, with support for high-DPI displays and more.

        For Valve’s own Index HMD, there’s now a Brightness Control setting for you to set in-headset. They also enabled column correction to help with vertical “screendoor”, both of which need a firmware update.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Akademy 2019 Tuesday BoF Wrapup

          Tuesday continued the Akademy BoFs, group sessions and hacking. There is a wrapup session at the end of the day so that what happened in the different rooms can be shared with everyone including those not present.

        • Akademy 2019 Talks: Here’s What You Missed

          According to the now traditional schedule, Akademy 2019 started with two days of conference talks. Hosted by unixMIB at the University of Milano-Bicocca in Milan, Italy, the central conference of the KDE community attracted more than a hundred attendees during this past weekend. Many of them were attending Akademy for the first time ever, which is always a reason to celebrate.

          For those of you who were not able to join us, we’ve prepared a recap of all the talks from this year’s Akademy. The conference program on both Saturday and Sunday was split into two tracks after the lunch break, and included plenty of time for socializing (and hacking!) in between.

        • My Personal Impressions on KDE Plasma 5.16

          KDE Plasma Desktop version 5.16 has been released last June with slogan “Now Smoother and More Fun”. In this article I present you several nice things on 5.16 according to my opinions as a KDE user, among them are, new Do Not Disturb feature and safely remove multiple partitions. I like this release very much. I present this short review for people who are still using old Plasma today and I’m grateful to all KDE developers for this awesome release. And here we go!

          There are a lot of things I don’t cover here as you can see yourself in the official video, release notes, and detailed info by KDE Project. But, new features I find in this release are neat and I like them. As KDE user, I am satisfied. I can feel Plasma 5.16 runs so smooth as shown by latest Neon OS performance being real good on an 8-years old 2GB laptop. Not to mention, it also looks great with old desktop theme. In my opinion 5.16 does good and better once again. Kudos to all KDE developers! (and congratulations to Cezar!)

        • News from KDE PIM in July/August 2019

          Following Volker’s last blog on this topic, here are some highlights of the recent work that has been done around Kontact / PIM during this summer. First of all, stats: there were around 1200 commits in the past two months, leading to the new 19.08 release.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Tobias Mueller: Talking at GUADEC about defending against USB-borne attacks

          The short version of our approach is that we are trying to be smart about the user’s intent. That is, if the screen is locked, then we block the device. If a new keyboard is present and it tries to perform “dangerous” actions, we block them. Of course, you may very well expect that device to work when the screen is locked or the new keyboard to perform actions deems dangerous. This is why is make sure you have a way to opt out of the mechanism and continue to enjoy your GNOME experience. Almost all credits go to Ludovico for coming up with a set of patches as well as following up to make sure we can get it merged. Our slides are here and the video of our presentation is here:

          But I wanted to write more about GUADEC… This year’s GUADEC was in Thessaloniki, Greece, and I had the pleasure to be talking about the above mentioned protection. It was the end of the summer so the city was nicely warm and comfy. The coffee, juices, pastries, and other food and drinks in small shops on the streets were amazingly fresh and yummie. Arriving in Thessaloniki was okay. I’ve had better airport transfers in my life, but since there were only two buses it was hard to get lost. I needed to pay attention to the GPS, though, to find my right stop. It’s been long since I’ve slept in a bunk bed, but because we’re all GNOME people we had a good time.

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Fedora Family

        • Fedora 32 Looking At Switching Firewalld From Iptables To Nftables

          While Fedora 31 isn’t even out yet, looking ahead to the Fedora 32 release next spring is a plan to switch firewalld as Fedora’s default network firewall from its existing iptables back-end to the more modern nftables back-end.

          Firewalld upstream has begun defaulting to Nftables and distributions like Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 are also using it. Now with Fedora 32 that default change-over is likely to take place to provide rule consolidation, namespaced rules support, and more software projects focusing on nftables over iptables.

        • How to set up a TFTP server on Fedora
    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Programming/Development

        • Django 3.0 alpha 1 released

          Django 3.0 alpha 1 is now available. It represents the first stage in the 3.0 release cycle and is an opportunity for you to try out the changes coming in Django 3.0.

          Django 3.0 has a raft of new features which you can read about in the in-development 3.0 release notes.

        • Exploring pygame 5 – Movement and Collision

          Movement is part of a large portion of games. When jumping between platforms, shooting against a horde of enemies, piloting a space ship and running through the streets, we are causing movement and interacting with the game environment, applying action and causing reactions.

          This chapter is to describe the basics of moving objects across the screen and their interaction with other elements through collision detection.

        • Master Python List Comprehension in 2 Minutes

          This tutorial explains Python list comprehension in no more than 2 minutes. It is the fastest method to search a list, apply some condition, and return a new list with selected elements.

          You may find it similar to Python filter() method that filters values based on some condition. However, list comprehension has a powerful syntax which gives more options.

        • Absolute vs Relative Imports in Python

          If you’ve worked on a Python project that has more than one file, chances are you’ve had to use an import statement before. Even for Pythonistas with a couple of projects under their belt, imports can be confusing!

          If you’re reading this because you’d like to gain a deeper understanding of imports in Python, particularly absolute and relative imports, then you’ve come to the right place! In this tutorial, you’ll learn the differences between the two, as well as their pros and cons.

        • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #385 (Sept. 10, 2019)
        • PHP Creator Rasmus Lerdorf Shares Lessons Learned from the Last 25 Years

          This year’s annual phpDay Italian PHP conference in Verona ended with a surprisingly reflective talk from the original creator of PHP.

          As the closing speaker, 50-year-old Rasmus Lerdorf looked back over the web backend programming language’s last 25 years, and offered some lessons learned from the evolution of a humble hypertext preprocessor into a major player in the infrastructure of the web.

          But besides sharing his stories about a lifetime in tech and the changes that rocked our world, Lerdorf also offered his own perspective on what it all had meant, and even some good advice for newer generations of hopeful young hackers who might also want to change the world themselves.

        • Enterprise Java Evolves With Release of Jakarta EE 8 Spec

          Jakarta EE will enable the enterprise Java community to “deliver an enormous amount of value and innovation going forward.”

        • Sunsetting Python 2

          We are volunteers who make and take care of the Python programming language. We have decided that January 1, 2020, will be the day that we sunset Python 2. That means that we will not improve it anymore after that day, even if someone finds a security problem in it. You should upgrade to Python 3 as soon as you can.

        • Monitoring traffic of your Github repositories using Python and Google Cloud Platform — Part 1

          It is an article about monitoring your Github open-source repositories traffic. Unfortunately, you can see these statistics only by accessing each repository step by step. You may not want to access them at all? But if you do, you can use this small tool.

        • wxPython – Creating a PDF Merger / Splitter Utility

          The Portable Document Format (PDF) is a well-known format popularized by Adobe. It purports to create a document that should render the same across platforms.

        • The weekly Python news report

          Django 3.0 alpha 1 is now available. The first stage in the 3.0 release cycle is ready for you to use.

        • Python Anywhere: Our new CPU API

          We received many requests from PythonAnywhere users to make it possible to programmatically monitor usage of CPU credit, so we decided to add a new endpoint to our experimental API.

          The first step when using the API is to get an API token — this is what you use to authenticate yourself with our servers when using it. To do that, log in to PythonAnywhere, and go to the “Account” page using the link at the top right.

        • Test and Code: 87: Paths to Parametrization – from one test to many

          There’s a cool feature of pytest called parametrization.
          It’s totally one of the superpowers of pytest.

          It’s actually a handful of features, and there are a few ways to approach it.
          Parametrization is the ability to take one test, and send lots of different input datasets into the code under test, and maybe even have different output checks, all within the same test that you developed in the simple test case.

          Super powerful, but something since there’s a few approaches to it, a tad tricky to get the hang of.

        • 10 Ansible modules you need to know

          Ansible is an open source IT configuration management and automation platform. It uses human-readable YAML templates so users can program repetitive tasks to happen automatically without having to learn an advanced programming language.

          Ansible is agentless, which means the nodes it manages do not require any software to be installed on them. This eliminates potential security vulnerabilities and makes overall management smoother.

          Ansible modules are standalone scripts that can be used inside an Ansible playbook. A playbook consists of a play, and a play consists of tasks. These concepts may seem confusing if you’re new to Ansible, but as you begin writing and working more with playbooks, they will become familiar.

        • How to debug where a function returns using LLDB from the command line
  • Leftovers

    • Her Own Toy Story: How A 6-Year-Old Girl’s Letter Launched ‘Plastic Army Women’

      “I have to pay the sculptor. I have to pay the tooling. I have to make a down payment on production,” he said. “If it’s coming from China, it’s on a boat for five weeks.”

      “By the time you figure out the cost of everything involved in making an original set of plastic toy figures in this size,” he said. “It starts around the cost of a modest new car.”

      Imel said he had long been kicking around the idea of adding a set of female toy soldiers to the miniature toys that date back to the 1930s. And though “everyone loved the idea,” he said budget constraints impeded turning the idea into reality.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • It’s 2019, and Windows PCs can be pwned via a shortcut file, a webpage, an evil RDP server…

        It will be a busy day for admins and users of Windows PCs and servers, as Microsoft has released updates for a total of 80 CVE-listed bugs.

        Among the more serious issues addressed this month are CVE-2019-1215 and CVE-2019-1214, a pair of elevation-of-privilege vulnerabilities that have been under active attack in the wild.

        In both cases, experts say, miscreants are going after older machines. CVE-2019-1215 preys on Winsock, specifically ws2ifsl.sys, a service that has been targeted by malware since 2007, while the exploit for CVE-2019-1214 is largely looking to target Windows 7 boxes. These flaws can give malware on a machine admin-level access to hijack the whole box.

      • 4 open source cloud security tools

        If your day-to-day as a developer, system administrator, full-stack engineer, or site reliability engineer involves Git pushes, commits, and pulls to and from GitHub and deployments to Amazon Web Services (AWS), security is a persistent concern. Fortunately, open source tools are available to help your team avoid common mistakes that could cost your organization thousands of dollars.

        This article describes four open source tools that can help improve your security practices when you’re developing on GitHub and AWS. Also, in the spirit of open source, I’ve joined forces with three security experts—Travis McPeak, senior cloud security engineer at Netflix; Rich Monk, senior principal information security analyst at Red Hat; and Alison Naylor, principal information security analyst at Red Hat—to contribute to this article.

        We’ve separated each tool by scenario, but they are not mutually exclusive.

      • Telnet Backdoor Opens More Than 1M IoT Radios to Hijack

        Imperial Dabman IoT radios have a weak password vulnerability that could allow a remote attacker to achieve root access to the gadgets’ embedded Linux BusyBox operating system, gaining control over the device. Adversaries can deliver malware, add a compromised radio to a botnet, send custom audio streams to the device, listen to all station messages as well as uncover the Wi-Fi password for any network the radio is connected to.

        The issue (CVE-2019-13473) exists in an always-on, undocumented Telnet service (Telnetd) that connects to Port 23 of the radio. The Telnetd service uses weak passwords with hardcoded credentials, which can be cracked using simple brute-forcing tactics. From there, an attacker can gain unauthorized access to the radio and its OS.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Two British-Australian women ‘detained in Iran’ as tensions grow over tanker

        One of the women, a blogger who was travelling through Asia with her Australian boyfriend, was arrested 10 weeks ago on charges which remain unclear, according to The Times.

        She was detained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard for camping in a military precinct around Jajrood in Tehran province, BBC Persia reported

        The other woman, an academic who had been lecturing at an Australian university, has been given a 10-year sentence, The Times reported, citing a source with knowledge of the cases.

        While the charges against her also remain unclear, 10-year terms are routinely given in Iran for spying charges, the paper reported.

      • Germany to restart joint police training with Saudi Arabia

        Germany began its border security training and advisory mission in the conservative kingdom in 2009. The German Federal Police operated an office with three staff members in the capital, Riyadh.

        However, Berlin stopped the cooperation after Khashoggi’s October 2018 murder at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul drew international condemnation.

        The Foreign Ministry said that restarting the police training program did not mean the German government’s position condemning the Washington Post columnist’s murder had changed.

      • Kashmir: China may pose bigger challenge than Pakistan

        China is already occupying 20 per cent of land belonging to Jammu and Kashmir. While Pakistan has failed to find support over Kashmir move, China, on the other hand, may hold the key in this India-Pakistan diplomatic warfare.

    • Environment

      • What can a software developer do about climate change?

        Now, clearly this ordinance isn’t going to solve climate change. In fact, nothing Cambridge does as a city will solve climate change, because there’s only so much impact 100,000 people can have on greenhouse gas emissions.

        But while in some ways this ordinance was a tiny victory in a massive war, if we take a step back it’s actually more important than it seems. In particular, this ordinance has three effects:

        1 Locally, safer bike infrastructure means more bicycle riders, and fewer car drivers. That reduces emissions—a little.

        2 Over time, more bicycle riders can kick off a positive feedback cycle, reducing emissions even more.

        3 Most significantly, local initiatives spread to other cities—kicking off these three effects in those other cities.

        Let’s examine these effects one by one.

      • Climate Advocates Are Nearly Unanimous: Bernie’s Green New Deal Is Best

        Climate change is the greatest threat facing humanity, and for the past nine months, the Democratic candidates have been jostling to prove which of them is the most serious about tackling the crisis and who has the most effective and ambitious plan to do so. Voters are now weighing the various plans, but some of the country’s leading environmental and climate groups have already singled out a leader in the pack so far: Bernie Sanders and his Green New Deal plan.

        In near unanimity, representatives from these organizations pointed to Sanders’s plan as standing above the rest, positioning him as a leader on an issue whose urgency is increasingly recognized by the public…

      • 22 million pounds of plastics enter the Great Lakes each year

        Plastic debris makes up about 80% of the litter on Great Lakes shorelines. Nearly 22 million pounds enter the Great Lakes each year—more than half of which pours into Lake Michigan, according to estimates calculated by the Rochester Institute of Technology. Regardless of size, as plastics linger in the water, they continue to break down from exposure to sunlight and abrasive waves.

        Microplastics have been observed in the guts of many Lake Michigan fish, in drinking water and even in beer. Perhaps the most worrisome aspect is that the impact of microplastics on human health remains unclear. Plastics are known to attract industrial contaminants already in the water, like PCBs, while expelling their own chemical additives intended to make them durable, including flame retardants.

        Because the problem is virtually invisible, sometimes it’s hard to attract attention to it.

      • France launches national consultation on pesticide buffer zones

        The government has suggested a minimum distance of 5 metres for low-lying crops such as cereals and one of 10 metres for higher ones, including vines and fruit.

        The proposals are a far cry from the 150-metre-wide buffer zone introduced by several mayors this summer, which the government opposed.

      • Energy

        • What Saudi Arabia’s Energy Shake-Up Says About Its Oil Plans

          That may have been what’s behind recent shake-ups in the Saudi oil industry. Over the weekend, King Salman replaced the country’s powerful energy minister, Khalid al-Falih, with one of his own sons. The new minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, an older half brother of the crown prince, has held leading posts in the oil industry for three decades and was recently minister of state for energy affairs.

          Oil prices rose slightly on Monday after Prince Abdulaziz was named energy minister.

          It is the first time a member of the Saudi royal family is in charge of the energy ministry.

        • Key facts about the new EPA plan to reverse the Obama-era methane leaks rule

          President Trump’s EPA is moving to roll back 2016 Obama administration methane leak regulations for key parts of the oil and gas industry, another example of what seems an across-the-board repudiation of Obama-era environmental and climate change initiatives. The new proposal, if made final, is certain to face legal challenges, with its ultimate fate perhaps being decided only by the administration in office in 2021.

          EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in late August signed and later announced a proposed rule that would significantly weaken the methane leak reporting regulations. The proposed approach generally would allow transmission and storage sectors of the industry to self-regulate and self-report leaks of the highly-potent greenhouse gas.

          In a prepared statement, Wheeler said “methane is valuable, and the industry has an incentive to minimize leaks and maximize its use.” He said that since 1990, “methane emissions across the natural gas industry have fallen by nearly 15%,” and that the new EPA approach “should not stifle this innovation and progress.” Separate rules on volatile organic chemicals “also reduce methane,” making the existing rule “redundant,” Wheeler argued.

    • Finance

      • Stripe to Offer a Corporate Card, Joining Brex and Others

        The Stripe Corporate Card will cater to the small businesses and startups in the U.S. on Stripe’s payments platform, the San Francisco-based company said on Tuesday. The card will aim to solve what the company says is a challenge for smaller companies that have trouble securing cards to buy supplies and to issue to employees. The card also means Stripe is getting into the same space as Brex Inc., the corporate card startup which recently garnered a $2.6 billion valuation.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Apple programmed Siri to avoid the word “feminism”

        Previously, when Siri was asked if she was a feminist, she would respond “Sorry [user], I don’t really know.” Since the rewrite, responses avoid a stance. “I believe that all voices are created equal and worth equal respect,” she might reply, for example; or, “it seems to me that all humans should be treated equally.”

      • How Discord moderators build innovative solutions to problems of scale with the past as a guide

        For a new study that will be published in CSCW in November, we interviewed 14 moderators of 8 “subreddit” communities from the social media aggregation and discussion platform Reddit to answer these questions. We chose these communities because each community had recently adopted the real-time chat platform Discord to support real-time chat in their community. This expansion into Discord introduced a range of challenges—especially for the moderation teams of large communities.

        We found that moderation teams of large communities improvised their own creative solutions to challenges they faced by building bots on top of Discord’s API. This was not too shocking given that APIs and bots are frequently cited as tools that allow innovation and experimentation when scaling up digital work. What did surprise us, however, was how important moderators’ past experiences were in guiding the way they used bots. In the largest communities that faced the biggest challenges, moderators relied on bots to reproduce the tools they had used on Reddit. The moderators would often go so far as to give their bots the names of moderator tools available on Reddit. Our findings suggest that support for user-driven innovation is important not only in that it allows users to explore new technological possibilities but also in that it allows users to mine their past experiences to introduce old systems into new environments.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Your private Instagram pics ain’t as private as you might think

        With just a few clicks in any old web browser, one can uncover the persistent URLs of private Instagram posts and stories that have been cached on Instagram-owner Facebook’s servers.

        By using a web browser that allows users to inspect the elements of a web page, one can find the URL of an Instagram image one has clicked on.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Bought and sold 20 times, but no-one’s slave: Hayfa Adi’s story

        Five years after what is now known as the Kocho Massacre, exhumation has finally begun of 17 suspected mass graves around the town.

        There is a chance Ghazi’s fate may be unearthed with the help of his sons’ DNA.

      • Moroccan journalist’s trial for alleged abortion postponed after protest

        The case brought against Hajar Raissouni, who writes for the Arabic-language newspaper Akhbar Al-Yaoum, has triggered a furious debate in the media and online about civil liberties and freedom of the press in the north African country.

        The 28-year-old, whose paper has a history of run-ins with the authorities, risks up to two years in prison if found guilty under the penal code which bars sex before marriage and abortion, except if the mother’s life is in danger.

        Her trial had been scheduled to open on Monday but after several hours deliberation the Rabat court ruled it would be postponed until September 16.

        It also said the journalist would be detained until that date, against the repeated requests of her defence team.

      • Asia Bibi pleads for justice for victims of Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws as she plans to settle in Europe

        Nearly four months after the 54-year-old finally left Pakistan following a miscarriage of justice that caused worldwide outcry, she has the opportunity to rebuild a new life for her and her daughters.

        Yet while she is enthusiastically grateful for the international efforts to free her, she says the world should know that Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws have left many others still behind bars.

        In her first ever newspaper interview, she told The Sunday Telegraph she had at times fallen into despair after being sentenced to death in a case condemned around the world.

        She also spoke of her heartbreak at being forced to leave her homeland, amid fears she would be murdered by religious extremists even after Pakistan’s supreme court had quashed her flimsy conviction.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Automotive supplier Continental gets penalized for its lawyers’ low-quality work as Judge Koh denies (without prejudice) motion for antisuit injunction

          A little over a year ago, Judge Lucy H. Koh of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California denied without prejudice a motion for an antisuit injunction–by a consumer class against Qualcomm. But a very detailed and thoughtfully-crafted order indicated that the motion had raised some valid points, just prematurely, which is why I viewed the order as an invitation for the consumer class to refile at the right time. Meanwhile, Qualcomm’s settlement with Apple has directly and indirectly (because of its effects on Intel’s cellular modem aspirations) taken care of that matter.

        • Remarks by Director Iancu at the Standard-Essential Patents Strategy Conference

          On the morning of February 7, 1904, not far from D.C., a dry goods store in downtown Baltimore, Maryland, burst into flames. The fire alarm sounded, and firefighters from several units throughout the city rushed to answer the call. As they smashed through the burning building, explosions shot embers through the broken windows and onto neighboring structures. Before long, the fire—believed to have been ignited by a discarded cigarette in the building’s basement, near a pile of wood shavings—fueled a blaze that would go on to destroy much of central Baltimore.

          Firefighters from other cities, including Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, were sent to help battle the inferno, but they quickly encountered a serious problem. Because there were no national standards for fire-fighting equipment in those days, firefighters from one city could not effectively use the equipment from another city. Indeed, poorly matched and hastily bound hoses emitted weak streams of water, while some fire fighters ran out of hose as buildings collapsed before them. This, in turn, wasted precious time and prolonged the fire. And so, Baltimore burned.

          Over the course of 31 hours, the fire went on to consume 70 city blocks, including 1,500 buildings and 2,500 businesses. All told, the property loss from the disaster was an estimated $200 million, and 35,000 people were thrown out of work, sending the city into economic turmoil. It was the most destructive conflagration in the United States since the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. A real tragedy, aggravated by the lack of standards.

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