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01.26.20

Opinion: If You Advocate Population Control and You Are Yourself Doubling in One Single Generation, Then You Might be Hypocritical

Posted in Bill Gates, Finance at 3:30 am by Guest Editorial Team

Gates Sr. (Bill’s father), Turner, Soros, and Rockefeller (Carnegie Photo Op)

Gates, Turner, Soros, and Rockefeller Photo Op
Context: Getty photo (local copy for backup) and more information

Summary: People with 3-5 children (each) tell us that the world has an overpopulation problem; while the growth of the population certainly poses a risk, these people lack the moral authority to lecture us about that (unless they adopt a eugenicist worldview, wherein only particular people are permitted to reproduce)

A LOT of well-meaning people have been bamboozled into this ludicrous idea that Bill Gates is a nice man. This sociopath is worse than a nihilist. He’s a tyrant who bribes the media to paint him as exactly the opposite of what he is. He could barely get along with his own family (shouting at them) and he was arrested several times.

Even fewer people care to comment on Gates’ arrogance and disregard for many people’s lives. Please note that we don’t take a stance on abortion here, we just point out the hypocrisy regarding overpopulation. Some people cite/link to a Bill Gates video where he’s captured as saying people or most people have no purpose (and things to that effect). The other day the Gates-funded BBC (he pays them repeatedly for bias and puff pieces) published “What happens when we’re too old to be ‘useful’?”

“Please note that we don’t take a stance on abortion here, we just point out the hypocrisy regarding overpopulation.”Gates is a stereotypical example of people with private jets stressing the urgency of climate action and/or urging for such action by flying their planes around… to merely shake a hand and give a talk…

Does Gates live a modest life? No, his mansion directly contradicts such a view (worth about 0.15 billion dollars; compare this to the world’s most expensive mansions) and his fast-growing wealth contradicts claims that he’s “giving it away” (one of the biggest lies perpetrated by him).

This is an issue which we explored and mentioned here many times about a decade ago. Much of the above isn’t worth exploring again because it was covered here ‘to death’ back then. We try not to become too repetitive. Nothing has changed since then.

One reader recently reminded of us this 1998 article which touches on the Gates family and its “population control” (depopulation) ties, notably the father of Bill Gates. That mentioned Warren Buffett as well:

“Reproductive health and family planning” is a buzz phrase that emerged out of the 1994 United Nations Cairo conference on population issues, said Dr. Gordon Perkin, president of PATH. In the past, the research topic used to be referred to as “population control” — though, said Dr. Perkin, “the words ‘population control’ are not used any more, except by people who don’t know the field.”

Billionaires have always had a fond spot in their hearts for population control: Ted Turner is a big supporter, as is Warren Buffett, a Gates family friend.

“If you think about what people like Buffett, Turner and Gates all have in common — they are more global in their thinking, more risk-taking, more revolutionary in their business practices,” said Beth Frederick, development director at the Alan Guttmacher Institute, “and as such they look for larger answers to some of the problems that seem so close to home.”

But whatever you call it — “population control” or “family planning” — this isn’t just a billionaire fad for the Gates family.

“Bill Gates Sr. has been deeply involved in this issue for decades,” says Laurie S. Zabin, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Zabin, who served with Gates Sr. on the national board of Planned Parenthood, was instrumental in getting the Gates Foundation grant for Johns Hopkins.

But that doesn’t mean Gates Sr. is the only one who cares about overpopulation, said Zabin: Gates Jr. “has supported issues of real social concern and certainly this is one of them.”

Gates Sr. agreed: “It’s an interest he has had since he was a kid. And he has friends who are interested in supporting research into world population problems, people whom he admires — it’s just a matter of a fit between his proclivities and mine.”

A “proclivity fit” is one way to put it. Or one could surmise that Bill Gates is growing up to be the man his parents raised him to be.

When someone with four kids (i.e. doubling in a single generation) lectures you that there are too many people (who are not his own), you just know something isn’t quite right. Warren Buffett is one example, Ted Turner is another (had three wives, has 5 children), George Soros (Schwartz György) has had 3 wives and has 5 children, but remember that Gates Sr. decided to have a multitude of kids. He has three. Bill Jr. has an older sister called Kristi (Kristianne) and a younger sister called Libby. Bill Jr. also has three kids, namely Phoebe Adele Gates, Jennifer Katharine Gates, and Rory John Gates. So at the Gates family they’re growing 50% in a single generation! Imagine the world going from a population of 8 billion people (where we are today, almost…) to 12 billion in just one generation. What kind of example are these people setting themselves? An old article (more than 2 decades ago) spoke of Buffett as follows:

The Buffett Foundation has had an impact on society that rivals that of much larger organizations, mainly because it concentrates its giving in two closely related fields: population control and reproductive health. This emphasis is rooted in the deeply held beliefs of Mr. and Mrs. Buffett, neither of whom is inclined to air their views in public. “Certainly I consider population and reproductive rights to be important issues . . . but I don’t want to comment on the question or become a spokesman,” Buffett said in 1997. “It would change my life too much.”

[...]

Family Matters

With just $22 million in assets, the Buffett foundation is tiny. But thanks to carefully targeted grants like those below from last year, it has had an outsize influence in its chosen sphere of family planning and population control.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD*

$3.76 million to fund family-planning clinics

INTERNATIONAL PROJECTS ASSISTANCE SERVICES

$2.5 million to distribute abortion devices in Third World countries

POPULATION COUNCIL

$2.43 million for research on population issues

PATHFINDER INTERNATIONAL

$1.24 million to fund family-planning programs abroad, mainly in Vietnam

NATIONAL ABORTION RIGHTS ACTION LEAGUE

$1 million to finance pro-choice lobbying group

*Includes a $648,089 donation to the Planned Parenthood Federation and grants to 17 affiliates around the U.S.

Please note again that we are not taking a stance on abortion here; the key point is, these super-rich people believe it’s perfectly OK for them to have a lot of kids (“we can afford!”) in the same way some cultures permit having multiple wives depending on one’s connections and wealth. There’s a eugenicist aspect to that as well — one that the media rarely entertains because of a dark past.

IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 25, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:16 am by Needs Sunlight

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

01.25.20

Nothing Has Truly Changed Since Netscape and Antitrust

Posted in Antitrust, Microsoft, Standard at 3:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This kind of thing is all but uncommon

GitHub warns Firefox for iOS isn't supported, and doesn't work (infinite loading, unresponsive buttons). Does anyone have the same issue?

Summary: The same old crimes persist, as well as the blatantly anticompetitive behaviour

When the Monopolists and the Patent Litigation Industry Hijack the News They Control the Narrative

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 2:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hardly independent. They want something in return.

Labiotech patrons

Summary: Money buys perception and litigation firms have certainly ‘bought’ the media coverage, which fails to convey the issue at stake and instead paints a rational court decision as tragedy for “innovation” (by “innovation” they mean monopolies on nature and on life)

THE SEEMINGLY ENDLESS MEDIA CHEERLEADING for the UPC — and deliberately false predictions — have long amused or entertained us. Sure, lies can be rather obnoxious, but we chose to approach it all with humour, including lots of memes and jokes. Team UPC didn’t appreciate the funny side of it because its sociopathic members lack a sense of humour and honesty. They see truth-telling as scorn or ridicule.

Each years for about half a decade they’ve been telling us that the UPC would come the following year.

“Without UK participation the UPC itself is doomed, but never mind those ‘pesky’ facts.”At the end it was, as usual, proven false. The UPC is buried and this new comment has just said: “Brexit is starting to show its effect. And there are still people thinking that UK might be participating in the UPC. Time to give up this dream…..”

Without UK participation the UPC itself is doomed, but never mind those ‘pesky’ facts.

Desperate for a miracle, António Campinos did a photo op earlier this month, akin to this one of Battistelli and CIPA. We reproduce it below.

CIPA meeting with Stephen Jones

Compare it to this month’s Campinos photo op, begging for UPC in defiance of constitutions and many other things. Did anything at all change at the European Patent Office (EPO)? Not really. The main difference is, the media became indifferent and uncaring for EPO staff. EPO bribes and threats (directed at the media) played a role. A lot of the media is corruptible and EPO ‘slush funds’ just ‘took care of that…’

“Compare it to this month’s Campinos photo op, begging for UPC in defiance of constitutions and many other things.”It’s pretty astounding when one looks for patent news in 2020. There’s virtually nothing but press releases and statements by law firms. There’s no journalism. Almost none left.

Promoted through Mondaq by John Leeming (J A Kemp LLP, proponents of all the bad things that promote excess litigation and monopolisation) was this piece with overview of software patent cases and related cases, offering tricks for getting software patents in Europe. This is what he wrote about the upcoming T 0489/14, which might as well demonstrate that many if not all software patents granted by the EPO are junk:

2019 has been another busy year for the EPO Boards of Appeal covering computer-implemented inventions, although the most significant case has not reached a conclusion. In T 0489/14 (Pedestrian simulation/CONNOR) of 22.2.2019 questions relating to the patentability of simulations and modelling were referred to the Enlarged Board of Appeal, which has not yet set a timetable for a hearing and decision. Although the questions asked are primarily related to the narrow field of simulation of physical systems, it is possible that the answers given could have a broader impact by affecting what is considered technical.

As has been the case for many years now, the definition of “technical” remains the most significant unanswered question in this field. However, progress has been made, with several decisions developing the approach to separating technical and non-technical features by reference to the “notional business person” first expounded in Cardinal Commerce (T 1463/11) and some other decisions analysing the circumstances in which non-technical features may be considered to contribute to a technical effect.

[...]

This case is discussed in more detail in our briefing here. At the time of writing, a board has been appointed and numerous amicus curiae briefs have been filed, along with invited comments from the President of the EPO. However no timetable for oral proceedings or a decision has been set.

The majority of the amicus curiae briefs and the comments from the President of the EPO are supportive of the existing case law: that simulation or modelling of a specific technical or physical system is patentable, that the simulation has to be based on scientific or technical principles and that the same applies if the simulation is part of a design process. However, there is no guarantee that the Enlarged Board will follow this approach and previous Enlarged Boards have rewritten the questions they have been asked. It is possible therefore that the Enlarged Board will give a decision that has ramifications beyond the field of simulation.

Having said that simulation or modelling of a technical system or process is usually patentable, T 2677/16 (Drug target/QIAGEN) is a case where it was not. In this case, the purpose of the method was “identifying a drug discovery target”. A drug target is a molecule in the body, usually a protein or a gene, that is associated with a particular disease process, and could theoretically be targeted by a drug to treat the disease by interrupting the disease-related metabolic pathway. The examining division considered that the potential to produce a therapeutic effect was a sufficient technical purpose but rejected the application for lacking inventive step for not achieving that purpose. The board however held this unduly broadens the concept of a technical purpose to encompass any scientific endeavour in medicine, observing that a “drug target is not a therapy: it has no therapeutic effect, but is merely a promising direction for future research.” Thus the invention was considered to be about making discoveries, which are not patentable.

[...]

The EPO recognises the claim categories method, apparatus and product (often created by the method or apparatus) and usually considers a claim to a “system” to be apparatus (hardware). However in T 1499/17 (Pathway recognition/UC) board 3.5.05 observed that ‘claims for an “ecosystem” are unheard of. An “ecosystem” neither has an established meaning in the relevant art nor can be construed as an apparatus solely because it has the word “system” as a sub-string.’

In T 1125/17 (Parallelizing computation graphs/AB INITIO) board 3.5.06 commented, obiter, that a “computation graph meant to be executed is, essentially, a computer program.” However, the fact that such a graph may be “easier to parallelise” does not provide a “further” technical effect in the absence of a parallel execution platform in the claim. The mere potential for a speed-up by parallelization was not sufficient.

A common issue in some fields of technology is whether a claimed invention provides a technical effect across the entire scope of the claim. This issue rarely arises in the software field but two cases raised similar issues in 2019. T 2223/15 (User-configurable multi-function key entry timeout/Doro) and T 1882/17 (Malware detection/QUALCOMM) refused cases for not demonstrating that a technical effect “is credibly achieved over essentially the whole scope of protection sought”.

In T 1164/15 (Printer colorant usage/IPC) the application was rejected because ‘the claimed printer controller is defined solely as a “black box” rather than specifying its essential properties for actually finding an optimised trade-off’.

All the above are computer programs, but the lawyers try really hard to find ways to justify these. They don’t care what the law actually says, only what their clients want.

“They don’t care what the law actually says, only what their clients want.”And speaking of these patently dishonest law firms, watch what the law firm Novagraaf has just published. The piece by Oliver Harris (“Lessons from CRISPR: Getting your European priorities straight”) has just been boosted in Lexology — possibly for a fee — and the piece is making it sound like a mere formality — something to be easily overcome by tricks — was the reason CRISPR patents are rejected. But no, the lesson is that CRISPR patents are junk and worthless, hence should not be pursued anymore.

Harris is not a journalist; his boss is a patent maximalist, so he said: “In a somewhat dramatic twist, the Board of Appeal indicated during the oral proceedings that it might refer the matter of priority to the EPO’s Enlarged Board of Appeal, only to decide a day later that it could deal with that matter without such a referral. Ultimately, the Board re-affirmed the EPO’s ‘all applicants’ approach to valid priority entitlement, whereby all applicants of a priority filing, or their successors in title, must be named as applicants on a later case, for that later case to validly claim priority to the priority filing.”

“Nature is simply not an invention.”It was not exactly a “dramatic twist” and the reason oppositions succeeded against such patents was their ludicrous nature. Patents ought not be granted on nature. Nature is simply not an invention. Modifying it a little does not make it a human invention, either.

On at least 4 occasions (4 articles) we’ve taken note/stock of the very poor level/quality of press coverage. It was surreal!

What happened to journalism? Is it unofficially over in 2020?

This morning we saw another example of this trend. A site called Labiotech issued this “press release” (that’s how it was labeled!) under its “CRISPR” section to say something (mis)labeled in the headline “Analysis” (spin would be the proper term). To quote:

A decision from the Boards of Appeal at the European Patent Office has revoked the claim of the Broad Institute to general patents on CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology, strengthening the position of its opponent UC Berkeley in Europe.

The Broad Institute in Cambridge, US, is one of the main contenders in the ongoing battle for the rights to the intellectual property of CRISPR/Cas9 technology, which is making gene editing easier and faster than ever before. While the Broad Institute has secured CRISPR patents in the US, the European Patent Office (EPO) revoked one of its key patents in 2018.

Now, the Boards of Appeal of the EPO have corroborated this decision. The hearings that took place in Munich last week revolved around the filing date of one of the Broad Institute’s CRISPR patents. The Broad was contending the decision of the EPO that the earlier filing date of a provisional application submitted in the US could not be considered the filing date of its patent application.

So far, so good (the introduction), but then it says “this dispute is affecting many other applications where exclusivity would not be necessary” and quotes talking point from the monopolists, claiming that it somehow harms small companies.

“The situation is paralyzing small companies.”

Really?

Then it promotes the patent troll MPEG-LA. To quote: “A solution to this problem would be setting up a patent pool, so that anyone that wants to use the technology can get a single license that covers the IP of all different parties. While the US patent firm MPEG LA has been trying to set up such a patent pool, its efforts have so far not been successful.”

“What happened to journalism? Is it unofficially over in 2020?”A pool of fake patents? Like those patents on maths that MPEG-LA uses to blackmail everyone, leveraging these bogus patents in bulk? This way it’s virtually impossible to wage a legal challenge. Overall, it became a profitable cartel.

The author, Clara Rodríguez Fernández, works only for this site (as far as one can see) and the site is a German “Trade/B2B” firm. It is more like a business front group than a publisher — consistent with the pattern we’ve been noting here for over a week.

“A pool of fake patents? Like those patents on maths that MPEG-LA uses to blackmail everyone, leveraging these bogus patents in bulk? This way it’s virtually impossible to wage a legal challenge.”Aside from the above we’ve also found more self-promotional stuff from law firms. Hours ago we found another new example, this time from DLA Piper.

There was also this paid press release about a new patent grant (drowning out any real journalism about the EPO). To quote:

Kitov Pharma Ltd. (“Kitov”) (NASDAQ/TASE: KTOV), a clinical-stage company advancing first-in-class therapies to overcome tumor immune evasion and drug resistance, today announced receipt from the European Patent Office (EPO) of a Notice of Intention to Grant for its patent application entitled “Combinations of IRS/STAT3 Dual Modulators and Anti-Cancer Agents for Treating Cancer.” The patent, which expires in 2036, covers the treatment of NT-219, the company’s novel dual inhibitor of IRS 1/2 and STAT3, in combination with EGFR antibodies and inhibitors.

One more patent among millions. Is this newsworthy? ResearchAndMarkets are once again reposting their advocacy of software patents to make sales (of seats). It’s a paid press release.

“The money is in litigation and extortion. This means that patent maximalists run the show.”This, believe it or not, pretty much sums up all one can find about the EPO in the news. Still not a single article about the strike vote, not a word about the absurdity of patents on code and nature, not a word about various scandals and blatant corruption of EPO management. Who controls the press? Wrong question. What controls the press? Money. The money is in litigation and extortion. This means that patent maximalists run the show.

Links 25/1/2020: OPNsense 20.1 RC1 and DXVK 1.5.2

Posted in News Roundup at 12:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • TriggerMesh Aims to Orchestrate Serverless Computing on Kubernetes

        TriggerMesh has raised $3 million in additional funding to advance the integration of Kubernetes clusters with serverless computing frameworks. In addition, the company announced it has made available open source integrations between its namesake orchestration for serverless computing frameworks and IBM MQ event sources, VMware vSphere event sources and the Microsoft Azure Event Hub channel controller.

        The TriggerMesh platform provides access to a cloud bus to facilitate application flow orchestration and the consumption of events emanating from any data center application or cloud source. It is designed to trigger serverless functions using a declarative application programming interface (APIs) and a set of tools for defining event flows and functions.

        Company co-founder Mark Hindle says that as IT organizations embrace modern application development platforms, a transition is occurring in terms of how stateless and stateful applications are constructed. Initially, organizations limited container use to building stateless applications. Now, however, many stateless applications are being built using functions that access serverless computing frameworks.

        [...]

        Unfortunately, serverless computing standards, de facto or otherwise, are a work in progress. Google and its allies are making a case for a set of open source Knative middleware that integrates Kubernetes clusters with any number of open serverless computing frameworks. However, the adoption of open serverless computing frameworks is still relatively nascent. The most widely used serverless computing framework is the proprietary AWS Lambda service. However, the adoption of rival frameworks is expected to increase substantially in 2020—a report published this week by Allied Market Research predicts the global serverless architecture market will reach $22 billion by 2025, representing a compound annual growth rate of 27.8% between 2018 and 2025.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2020-01-24 | Linux Headlines

        Permissive licenses are on the rise, Open GApps comes to Android 10, Intel unexpectedly joins the CHIPS Alliance, and KDE receives another large donation.

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • NVIDIA Contributes Much Less To The Linux Kernel Than Intel Or AMD

          Yesterday I put together some statistics on the AMD vs. Intel contributions to the upstream Linux kernel during the 2010s, but a request coming in off that was how do NVIDIA’s contributions compare. Here is a look at the NVIDIA contributions to the Linux kernel over the past decade.

          Obviously NVIDIA’s contributions are much less given they are primarily focused on a proprietary graphics driver stack compared to Intel and AMD with their Direct Rendering Manager drivers within the Linux kernel. But NVIDIA does contribute to the Linux kernel: they ultimately upstream their Tegra SoC support and other bits where it makes business sense. While they do not contribute much right now to open-source desktop graphics, they do contribute more to Nouveau where it concerns the Tegra graphics.

        • Nsight Graphics 2020.1 Released With Profiling For Vulkan+OpenGL Interop

          NVIDIA on Thursday introduced Nsight Graphics 2020.1 that to its profiling support can now handle OpenGL + Vulkan interoperability for games/applications making use of both APIs. While not many game engines / apps are yet using the likes of OpenGL 4.6 ARB_gl_spirv, Nsight is ready.

          Beyond profiling support for Vulkan+OpenGL interop, there are other profiling improvements, the Nsight Aftermath SDK is added for generating GPU mini-dumps with DirectX 12 software, and support for new Vulkan extensions. On the Vulkan side is now shader clock support, SPIR-V 1.4, and shader subgroup extended types.

        • Mesa 20.0 Now Defaults To The New Intel Gallium3D Driver For Faster OpenGL

          After missing their original target of transitioning to Intel Gallium3D by default for Mesa 19.3 as the preferred OpenGL Linux driver on Intel graphics hardware, this milestone has now been reached for Mesa 20.0!

          We’ve known that the revised Intel goal was Mesa 20.0 but that change-over was looking less likely especially with Mesa 20.0 entering feature freeze next week, but just in time the default change-over from i965 to Iris Gallium3D has happened.

        • Intel’s OpenSWR Rasterizer Starts Seeing Tessellation Support

          OpenSWR is Intel’s software rasterizer driver developed within Mesa as an alternative to Gallium3D’s LLVMpipe and the slow Softpipe. OpenSWR is designed for delivering good CPU-based OpenGL graphics performance designed for visualization software running on workstations to HPC clusters. Like LLVMpipe, OpenSWR employs LLVM for some of its CPU optimizations.

        • AMD Ryzen 4000 Mobile Series “Renoir” Graphics No Longer Experimental With Linux 5.5

          While the Linux 5.5 kernel is expected to be released as soon as this Sunday, a last minute change to the AMDGPU DRM driver makes the Renoir graphics no longer treated as experimental. With that, there is open-source support out-of-the-box rather than being hidden behind a kernel module flag.

          AMD has been working on the Renoir support for Linux going back to the end of last summer. Renoir was sent in for the Linux 5.4 kernel but initially treated as “experimental” support while now at the end of the Linux 5.5 cycle it’s no longer treated as experimental.

        • Disable Nvidia GPU on the Thinkpad T490

          I wrote about installing Linux on the Lenovo ThinkPad T490 last month and one of the biggest challenges was getting graphics working properly. The T490 comes with an option where you can get a discrete Nvidia MX250 GPU and it packs plenty of power in a small footprint.

        • Intel’s Vulkan Driver Squeezes Another Optimization Into Mesa 20.0

          Patches written two months ago for Intel’s ANV open-source Vulkan driver have now been merged ahead of the imminent Mesa 20.0 feature freeze and branching.

          The work worth mentioning is allowing HiZ in read-only depth layouts. “These layouts don’t mean “sampled” they mean the same thing as DEPTH_STENCIL_OPTIMAL only the client promises to not write the depth or stencil buffer as indicated. Since HiZ depth testing is much faster than non-HiZ depth testing, we really don’t want to disable HiZ for these.”

        • RadeonSI Introduces A Live Shader Cache With Mesa 20.0

          In addition to the AMD RadeonSI Gallium3D driver’s on-disk shader cache and in-memory shader cache there is now a “live shader cache” to help with deduplication of compiled shader objects.

          AMD’s Marek Olšák landed this live shader cache on Friday. The introduction of this new caching level stems from the behavior of when games concert separate D3D shaders into linked GLSL shaders, the same vertex shader is often used with many different fragment shaders. In introducing this live shader cache of the compiled shader objects, for affected titles there should now be fewer resident shaders and fewer shader state changes.

    • Applications

      • Use tmux to create the console of your dreams

        In this series so far, I’ve written about individual apps and tools. Starting today, I’ll put them together into comprehensive setups to streamline things. Starting at the command line. Why the command line? Simply put, working at the command line allows me to access a lot of these tools and functions from anywhere I can run SSH. I can SSH into one of my personal machines and run the same setup on my work machine as I use on my personal one. And the primary tool I’m going to use for that is tmux.

        Most people use tmux for very basic functions, such as opening it on a remote server then starting a process, maybe opening a second session to watch log files or debug information, then disconnecting and coming back later. But you can do so much work with tmux.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • WineD3D Vulkan Back-End Is Back In The Works Following Wine 5.0

        One of the features that didn’t materialize in time for Wine 5.0 as the annual stable Wine release was the work-in-progress Vulkan back-end to WineD3D. Rather than going from Direct3D to OpenGL as WineD3D currently does, there has been efforts to introduce a Vulkan back-end similar to the likes of DXVK.

        The WineD3D Vulkan back-end just began forming in 2019 via CodeWeavers developers. This is at the same time the Wine developers have been working on VKD3D as their solution for Direct3D 12 over Vulkan albeit developed outside of the Wine code-base.

      • Direct 3D to Vulkan translation layer DXVK version 1.5.2 is up, lots of fixes for games

        The DXVK team have released another new version of their Direct 3D 9/10/11 to Vulkan translation layer with 1.5.2 now available.

        Firstly an important note: It requires more up to date drivers again, as they’ve upped the requirements to Vulkan 1.1 support. A good time to go and check, Vulkan 1.1 has been supported in both NVIDIA and Mesa driver for quite some time now so it really shouldn’t be an issue. Why did they up the Vulkan version used? They said the “Vulkan 1.0 fallback path was largely untested and did not always work correctly” and it allowed some code cleaning.

        As for what’s new, on the Direct 3D 9 support side, they added in some “missing D3D9 swap chain functionality” so more games should run including ATi ToyShop demo, Atelier Sophie and Dynasty Warriors 7. There’s also some Direct 3D 9 bug fixes and “minor performance and memory optimizations” so it should run Windows games a bit smoother now.

      • DXVK 1.5.2 Released With Many Game Fixes

        Coming a few weeks past DXVK 1.5.1 is now version 1.5.2 and it brings with it quite a number of improvements.

        First of all, DXVK 1.5.2 now targets the Vulkan 1.1 graphics API (not to be confused with Vulkan 1.2 that was just released). In requiring Vulkan 1.1, the graphics driver requirements are slightly elevated but still not bad at all as late 2017 Mesa drivers and newer are fine and the NVIDIA 390 series or newer. Nearly all Linux gamers should be set with their current drivers unless running quite an outdated distribution.

    • Games

      • Rocket League Will No Longer Be Playable Online on Mac, Linux

        Psyonix announces that it will be ending support for Rocket League on MacOS and Linux. This is the third controversial decision that the developer has made in the last year after fans criticized Psyonix for being purchased by Epic Games and for taking loot boxes out of the game.

      • Psyonix ends Rocket League support for Mac and Linux

        Psyonix has decided to end support for the Mac and Linux versions of Rocket League, saying both platforms combined represent a tiny percentage of its active player base.

      • ‘Rocket League’ loses online multiplayer on Linux and Mac
      • Linux gaming night: Shotgun Farmers – come join tonight

        Tonight, we’ve decided to do something a little different. We’re organising a Linux gaming night and you’re all invited to join us.

        Getting into the whole community spirit thing here, channelling some positive vibes for the Linux gaming community and for a fun indie game that’s quite unique and cheap—let’s play Shotgun Farmers. A good time too, as on Steam right now it’s 30% off making it £4.89 / $6.99 / €5.73.

      • GOG have now launched their own big Lunar Sale with tons of DRM-free of deals

        If Humble Store and Steam didn’t sway you yet, perhaps some DRM-free games from GOG might as they’ve now launched their own big Lunar Sale.

        As this is a very Chinese themed event, GOG have prepared a little “gaming horoscope” page. Since I entered this world in the year of The Dragon, according to GOG I am “confident, intelligent, and enthusiastic” and well suited for RPGs. Can’t really argue with that.

      • Valve’s ACO Shader Compiler Back-End For Radeon Vulkan Is Now In Good Shape For GCN 1.0

        As last minute material for Mesa 20.0 is making Valve’s “ACO” AMD compiler back-end for the RADV Vulkan driver in better shape for GFX6/GCN1.0 graphics hardware.

        Enabling RADV ACO, which was mainlined in Mesa 19.3, can shorten Vulkan shader compiler times and help with overall gaming performance. The results have been compelling and initially was focused on the very recent AMD Radeon graphics cards.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Distributions

      • Patriot OS Provides Revolutionary Computing Convenience

        Peach OSI’s Patriot OS is a “peach” of a Linux distro for any user skill level. It is a great choice for Linux newcomers. It is an even better choice for Linux vets who want something a little different.

        The only thing about this distro that quickly wore thin for me was the Fireworks sound that plays as the system starts. That is easy to turn off, however. Go to Settings -> Session ->Startup -> Application Autostart. Uncheck the box next to Autostart Patriot System Sounds.

        The ample inventory of background images is filled with patriotic scenes. Adding other images is a bit more involved.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Blocking spammers in https://progress.opensuse.org

          But our ticket system is not really planned to become a ticket system: we run Redmine, which originally is intended to be a project management software. The ability to create issues (or tickets, as we call them) in the system by sending an Email was not really intended in the beginning. So the ability to detect and mark Spam Emails as such simply does not exist. Even worse: every Email results in a user, that get’s created automatically, to allow us to send out an Email to this person as answer to his ticket.

          All of this is not really problematic: you learn to deal with it. But with over 14,000 “users” in the database (and over 17,000 real tickets), the system started to become slow. So we invested a bit of our time and looked into the user list. Good for us: most of the Spammers seen to have special days to submit their stuff. And even more interesting: they do it at the same time from multiple accounts!

      • Fedora Family

        • A forum for Flathub

          Flathub is primarily built around GitHub, where applications manifests and infrastructure code live. Unsurprisingly, it turns out that code hosting platform isn’t exactly a go-to place for the community to connect, even if one slaps a discussion label on an issue. Timezones and personal commitments mean that IRC is also not an ideal platform for discussion, and Flathub does not have a mailing list for discussion and announcements.

        • F31-20200122 Updated Live isos released

          The Fedora Respins SIG is pleased to announce the latest release of Updated F31-20200122 Live ISOs, carrying the 5.4.12-200 kernel.

          This set of updated isos will save considerable amounts of updates after install. ((for new installs.)(New installs of Workstation have 1GB+ of updates)).

          A huge thank you goes out to irc nicks dowdle, Southern-Gentleman for testing these iso.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Teaching Robotics with ROS on Ubuntu at SRU

          This week, as part of my work on the Ubuntu Robotics team, I headed up to Slippery Rock University in northwestern PA to meet with Dr. Sam Thangiah and to introduce students to the Robot Operating System (ROS). New semester, lots of new opportunities for learning!

          We started with a really simple robot environment. Check out this build! This Raspberry Pi runs an Ubuntu 18.04 image which gives it all the built-in LTS security advantages. It’s mounted on piece of plexiglass with two motors and a motor controller board from the PiHut. We worked through about 75 lines of sample python code which hooked the RPi.GPIO library to control the general purpose I/O pins, and we created an abstract Motor class. This got our two-wheeled robot up and running…running right off the table. Oops.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • CircleCI automates Continuous Delivery to multiple clouds

        Modern software development is fast, continuous, and automated. Today, by research company Statista’s count, 88% of organizations are using Agile methods and Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD). Yet there remains one major stumbling block: Moving a freshly minted program from a CI pipeline to delivery to a cloud or other service provider. That’s where DevOps company CircleCI comes in with a new suite of orb integrations with 20 partners such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, Salesforce, and others. These enable developers to automate remote deployments in minutes from their CI/CD pipeline.

        [...]

        CircleCI’s partners are happy with the expansion of orbs. Rayn Veerubhotla, Google Cloud’s Director of Hybrid Partnerships, said: “Google Cloud Run helps developers run stateless containers and focus on writing high-value code, without worrying about the underlying infrastructure. By launching these new tools, CircleCI is enabling developers to further streamline and simplify their experience on Cloud Run, ultimately helping businesses bring new services and products to their customers more quickly.”

        The same is true of all the clouds that orbs are now supporting. If you find your CI/CD team slowed down by final step deployment issues, you should check this new offering out. It could save you time, work, and money.

      • Dfinity launches an open-source platform aimed at the social networking giants

        And to prove out the concept of how an application would run on its new network, Dfinity today demonstrated an open social network called LinkedUp.

        The startup has rather cheekily called this “an open version of LinkedIn,” the Microsoft-owned social network for professionals. Unlike LinkedIn, LinkedUp, which runs on any browser, is not owned or controlled by a corporate entity.

        LinkedUp is built on Dfinity’s so-called Internet Computer, its name for the platform it is building to distribute the next generation of software and open internet services.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox Is Seeing Work On Wayland VA-API Video Acceleration

            Some exciting news this week for Firefox users running on Wayland…

            Martin Stránský of Red Hat who is on the Fedora Firefox team and was involved in bringing up Wayland support on Firefox has worked on an interesting improvement for the browser. Martin this week posted a patch implementing FFmpeg-based VA-API video acceleration for Firefox on Wayland.

            In leveraging the recent Wayland DMA-BUF support within Firefox, it’s finally possible with this patch to have Video Acceleration API (VA-API) GPU-accelerated video decoding within the browser when running natively on Wayland.

          • The Firefox Browser is a privacy nightmare on desktop and mobile

            The Firefox Browser is not as private as you may think – especially on iOS and Android. Mozilla recently announced that they would be allowing any Firefox user a means to request Mozilla to delete stored telemetry data that is tied to said user. Mozilla maintains “strict limits” on how long they store this logged telemetry data, but any duration is too long if the telemetry data can be associated with an individual Firefox browser instance on a particular IP address through a government request. Sure, the collection of this telemetry data can be turned off, but the vast majority of Firefox users are not using Firefox with telemetry turned off, and are therefore incredibly vulnerable.

          • Firefox Team Looks Within to Lead Into the Future

            For Firefox products and services to meet the needs of people’s increasingly complex online lives, we need the right organizational structure. One that allows us to respond quickly as we continue to excel at delivering existing products and develop new ones into the future.

            Today, I announced a series of changes to the Firefox Product Development organization that will allow us to do just that, including the promotion of long-time Mozillian Selena Deckelmann to Vice President, Firefox Desktop.

            “Working on Firefox is a dream come true,” said Selena Deckelmann, Vice President, Firefox Desktop. “I collaborate with an inspiring and incredibly talented team, on a product whose mission drives me to do my best work. We are all here to make the internet work for the people it serves.”

            [...]

            I’m extraordinarily proud to have such a strong team within the Firefox organization that we could look internally to identify this new leadership team.

            These Mozillians and I, will eventually be joined by two additional team members. One who will head up our Firefox Mobile team and the other who will lead the team that has been driving our paid subscription work. Searches for both roles will be posted.

            Alongside Firefox Chief Technology Officer Eric Rescorla and Vice President, Product Marketing Lindsey Shepard, I look forward to working with this team to meet Mozilla’s mission and serve internet users as we build a better web.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Two alternatives to Microsoft Word that are free and customizable

          If you’re looking for an open-source office suite, LibreOffice is the software package for you. Its word processing program is LibreOffice Writer–which, incidentally, this story was written with, so I can attest to its excellence. You’re able to choose from different fonts and text styles, embed images and figures, and use a variety of other functions you’d expect from its paid competition. It can save files in an Open Document Format (ODF), a number of Word formats, and export your work as a PDF for wide-ranging compatibility.

        • Improved rotated text handling in Writer’s table rows with automatic height

          Writer now has better support for rotated text in tables containing rows with automatic height. This post also presents two related fixes.

          First, thanks Otevřená města who made this work by Collabora possible.

          [...]

          Before diving into improved rotated text handling, first a continuous section break import problem (tdf#128605) was fixed: this was a case when we created a new page style, but only a new section was intended.

      • BSD

        • GhostBSD 20.01 released, here’s how to upgrade

          The GhostBSD Team announced the release of GhostBSD 20.01. In the official release announcement, GhostBSD Project founder Eric Turgeon said, “I am happy to announce the availability of GhostBSD 20.01 with some improvements made to the installer, mainly improvements to the way the installer UI deals with custom partitions involving GTP and UEFI.” The first iteration of GhostBSD, 1.0, was first released in the FOSS community in March 2010, based on FreeBSD, with the project goal to combine security, privacy, stability, usability, openness, freedom, and to be free.

        • OPNsense 20.1-RC1 Released For Popular BSD-Based Firewall / Routing OS

          The release candidate of OPNsense 20.1 is available this weekend, the FreeBSD/HardenedBSD-based networking/firewall OS that forked from pfSense now a half-decade ago.

          The OPNsense 20.1 release has been working on a variety of security improvements, VXLAN device support, working on the transition to a fully plug-able device infrastructure, plug-in updates, and many other changes.

        • OPNsense 20.1-RC1 released
          Hi there,
          
          For over 5 years now, OPNsense is driving innovation through modularising
          and hardening the open source firewall, with simple and reliable firmware
          upgrades, multi-language support, HardenedBSD security, fast adoption of
          upstream software updates as well as clear and stable 2-Clause BSD licensing.
          
          We thank all of you for helping test, shape and contribute to the project!
          We know it would not be the same without you.
          
          Download links, an installation guide[1] and the checksums for the images
          can be found below as well.
          
          o Europe: https://opnsense.c0urier.net/releases/20.1/
          o US East Coast: http://mirrors.nycbug.org/pub/opnsense/releases/20.1/
          o US West Coast: https://mirror.sfo12.us.leaseweb.net/opnsense/releases/20.1/
          o South America: http://mirror.upb.edu.co/opnsense/releases/20.1/
          o South-East Asia: https://ftp.yzu.edu.tw/opnsense/releases/20.1/
          o Full mirror list: https://opnsense.org/download/
          
          Here are the full patch notes against 19.7.9_1:
          
          o system: support for manually removing static route entries
          o system: migrated logging to MVC
          o system: regenerate default DH parameters
          o system: randomize session ID in test cookie
          o system: remove legacy XMLRPC push on changes
          o system: deprecate the use of services.inc
          o system: opt-out on "Allow DNS server list to be overridden by DHCP/PPP on WAN" for selected interfaces
          o system: increase PHP memory limit to 512 MB
          o system: opnsense-auth can now respond with extended properties in JSON on successful authentication
          o interfaces: loopback device support
          o interfaces: VXLAN device support
          o interfaces: first steps toward fully pluggable device infrastructure
          o interfaces: remove default load of netgraph framework on bootup
          o interfaces: interfaces: move description into top block and rename titles
          o interfaces: only trigger newwanip event for affected interfaces
          o firmware: revoke 19.1, trust 20.1 fingerprint
          o firmware: new mirror in Zurich, CH contributed by ServerBase AG
          o firmware: add live search to mirror selection
          o dhcp: add OMAPI configuration support (contributed by Yuri Moens)
          o ipsec: add configurable dpdaction (contributed by  Marcel Menzel)
          o ipsec: refactor tunnel settings page
          o unbound: add options for logging queries and extended statistics (contributed by Flightkick)
          o mvc: BaseListField ignoring empty selected field
          o ui: jQuery 3.4.1
          o plugins: os-dyndns 1.19 adds dynv6 and Azure DNS support (contributed by Ralf Zerres and martgras)
          o plugins: os-haproxy 2.20[2]
          o plugins: os-zabbix-agent 1.7[3][4]
          o ports: ca_root_nss 3.49.1
          o ports: curl 7.68.0[5]
          o ports: openssl 1.1.1d[6]
          
          Known issues and limitations:
          
          o HardenedBSD 12.1 has been postponed to the next major release
          o Nano growfs does not work on this release candidate, but a fix for 20.1 already exists
          o Installer still advertises 19.7, but a fix for 20.1 already exists
          o Legacy MPD5 plugins os-l2tp, os-pppoe and os-pptp have been deprecated and will no longer receive updates
          o i386 has not been deprecated for the time being 
          
      • FSF

        • Tell Microsoft to upcycle Windows 7. Set it free!

          It was just last week that Windows 7 crossed into the afterlife. While we can’t say we’ve been in mourning, we have spent that time thinking back on Windows 7′s legacy of abusing users, and reflecting on Microsoft’s change in tone over the last few years. For one, they now state clearly that Microsoft “loves open source” (sic).

          But things were not always this way, and we can thank software activists around the world for making the message of software freedom too loud to ignore. In the headlines we’ve seen many stories of people feeling burned by the support cutoff, and justifiably angry by being forced to upgrade. Microsoft is leaving its users high and dry, but they don’t have to. There is another option.

          Microsoft has taken a few steps in the right direction, such as releasing some small but important components of Windows as free software. We want to push them to go further. We need Microsoft to prove to the world that their “love” of free software isn’t just an ad campaign, and that they aren’t just reaping the benefits of free software in order to exploit users.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Introducing The Lunduke Journal – New Name, New Website

          With so many people reading the articles, obviously those articles need to live somewhere under my control.

          Up until now I’ve been publishing them over on Patreon. I made those articles free for everyone to read, but utilized Patreon as simply a publishing platform. This worked well enough for the occasional article… but that needed to change.

          You can now find every article published under the Lunduke Journal name right here at Lunduke.com. You can also find an always up to date RSS feed of the articles right here as well. That way you can get notified the moment a new article (and corresponding episode, audio and video) is published.

          If you’ve been enjoying the content over the last few months, never fear. No significant changes to any of that, outside of the name, branding, and website changes. The meat of what made The Lunduke Show is exactly the same in The Lunduke Journal.

        • Open Access/Content

          • California to resume Elsevier talks after signing deals elsewhere

            The 10-campus California system — now more than six months without access to Elsevier’s library of 2,500 journals — announced that the two sides will hold “a meeting to explore reopening negotiations” early this year.

            Given the open access deals the California system has signed elsewhere, the system’s library leaders said in a statement, “we are hopeful that this suggests that the publisher is ready to discuss deals that align with UC’s goals”.

            The California-Elsevier showdown has been watched nationally and globally, a reflection of the size and importance of the two players and the multibillion-dollar stakes surrounding the challenge across academia of making published research findings open to all.

      • Programming/Development

        • RcppArmadillo 0.9.800.4.0

          Armadillo is a powerful and expressive C++ template library for linear algebra aiming towards a good balance between speed and ease of use with a syntax deliberately close to a Matlab. RcppArmadillo integrates this library with the R environment and language–and is widely used by (currently) 680 other packages on CRAN.

          A second small Armadillo bugfix upstream update 9.800.4 came out yesterday for the 9.800.* series, following a similar bugfix release 9.800.3 in December. This time just one file was changed (see below).

        • What 2020 brings for the developer, and more industry trends

          As part of my role as a senior product marketing manager at an enterprise software company with an open source development model, I publish a regular update about open source community, market, and industry trends for product marketers, managers, and other influencers. Here are five of my and their favorite articles from that update.

        • Perl / Raku

          • GPW2020 – Keynote, accepted talks and extension of the submission deadline

            We are really happy to announce that Curtis “Ovid” Poe will present a keynote at the 22nd Perl/Raku workshop in March in Erlangen!

            Curtis runs Tau Station and is a long time contributor to the workshop.

            The list of accepted talks has grown, with varied topics from “Progressing from Humans to Developers”, “A new Lisp, in Perl” and “Querying the Etherum Blockchain Nodes with Raku”. All accepted talks are listed here .

            Since we still have some slots free for talks, we have extended the deadline for talk submission to the 3rd February 2020. If you have a topic you want to present, please submit your talk .

          • Announcing MooX::Pression

            Kind of like Moops but with less hacky parsing.

          • Paws L (A little party planned)

            Well it looks like a wrap for PAWS XML as the last thing I am working on is getting the test suite to pass

        • Python

          • Release 1.1.0 of python-sql

            We are proud to announce the release of the version 1.1.0 of python-sql.

            python-sql is a library to write SQL queries in a pythonic way. It is mainly developed for Tryton but it has no external dependencies and is agnostic to any framework or SQL database.

          • Talk Python to Me: #248 Climate change and your Python code

            The most critical issue of our time is climate change. Yet, when you think about our carbon impact in the software industry, what comes to mind? Business travel? Commuting to the office so you don’t miss filing that TPS report? Yeah, those are bad. But data centers, servers, and our apps consume a substantial portion of the total energy used by modern humans.

            In this episode, you’ll meet Chris Adams. He has been advocating for a greener software environment and has concrete advice to make your Python program more climate-friendly.

          • Python 3 Functions – Learn Python Programming Tutorial

            What is a function? A function is a block of code used to perform a specific task. It can be a collection of many tasks strung together to perform a single task. It is a block of code which can be re-used elsewhere inside a Software application, helping to build the application, brick by brick, function by function. Python programming language provides the capabilities to build software applications using functions. Through using Python you can build your own functions or use the Python 3 standard library which contains pre-written functions. These functions can help you build your software faster without the reliance on having to build everything from scratch.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

      • Standards/Consortia

        • Results of the Pan-European Quantum Internet Hackathon

          In November 2019, we organised the first ever multi-location Quantum Internet hackathon.

          [...]

          Since the Quantum Internet is still really new, most practical results were obtained by sharing existing software and protocols and receiving feedback on how to improve them. Actual bug fixes, additional features and new software were also valuable outcomes of the event. All the links to the produced software were collected on the PEQI2019 pages on GitHub.

        • How fast can a new internet standard for sharing patient data catch fire?

          Six big tech companies — Microsoft, Google, Amazon, IBM, Oracle and Salesforce — have also joined to support FHIR and broader sharing of health care data through a government-endorsed project called Blue Button, which is intended to make it easier for patients to view and download their health records.

          Consumer advocates and cybersecurity experts warn that personal health information shared on the web could be compromised. They want to make sure the risk is minimized before any widespread rollout of FHIR products. Patients do not have a say in how their health providers store medical information, but patients can request their records be sent in the format they prefer, including paper.

          Facilitating access to all that data for both patients and providers without first determining how to keep it secure may open a Pandora’s box that can never be shut, warned David Finn, executive vice president of strategic innovation for CynergisTek, a Mission Viejo, California, and Austin, Texas-based cybersecurity consulting firm.

  • Leftovers

    • ‘NewsHour’ Host and Debate Moderator Jim Lehrer Dies at 85

      Jim Lehrer, longtime host of the nightly PBS “NewsHour” whose serious, sober demeanor made him the choice to moderate 11 presidential debates between 1988 and 2012, has died, PBS said Thursday. He was 85.

    • Science

      • Themes from Real World Crypto 2020

        Over 642 brilliant cryptographic minds gathered for Real World Crypto 2020, an annual conference that brings together cryptographic researchers with developers implementing cryptography in the wild. Overall, RWC 2020 was an impressive conference that demonstrated some amazing work. Here we explore three major themes that emerged: [...]

    • Education

      • Australian government accused of politicising grant announcements

        The government appears to be sitting on information about research initiatives while it awaits politically advantageous times to announce them. This undermines the perceived independence of the grant award process and risks discouraging research into subjects unlikely to offer a political edge, one researcher said.

      • The Public School Teacher Attrition Crisis

        In spring of 2019, I finished a semester of student teaching, completed my Master of Arts in Teaching, and accepted a full-time job offer to teach high school English at a public school just outside of Salt Lake City. A couple of weeks ago, after teaching only one full semester, I quit.

        Although I loved teaching English and engaging with students, the current working conditions at my school–and in schools across America–are so poor that teachers are leaving in alarming numbers, causing a vast teacher shortage that has escalated to a crisis in many states. Considering that enrollment in teacher training programs is drying up and the teacher shortage is only set to increase, it is important to understand why teachers are leaving the profession. I can only speak for myself, but recent research and an internet full of anecdotal evidence support the idea that I am not alone.

      • Global: Urgent Action Needed to Meet Education Deadline

        Governments should end all discrimination in children’s access to education and urgently strengthen policies and funding to ensure all children are able to benefit from their right to quality education, Human Rights Watch said today on the International Day of Education.

        Governments have 10 years left to meet the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include commitments to guarantee that every child completes primary and secondary school, and is able to read and write. Governments have also committed to giving all children access to pre-primary education, and tackling discrimination against girls, women, and persons with disabilities.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Impossible meat from Maloyaroslavets How a Russian startup is changing Europe’s vegetarian food market

        A decade ago, demand for vegan and vegetarian products began to grow rapidly across Europe and in North America. By 2018, the global vegan food market size was valued at $12.69 billion and expected to expand to over $24 billion by 2025. Vegetarians and vegans account for only part of this growing demand. Consumers who eat meat are convinced that cutting down on animal protein has major health benefits, so omnivores are also in the market for meat substitutes. A Russian company called “Greenwise” is now shaking up the faux meat sector. The three young founders, Georgii Zheleznyi, Yulia Marsel, and Artyom Ponomarev, have figured out how to make a plant-based meat replacement that tastes like the real thing. They manufacture their own products in a small town called Maloyaroslavets, about a two-hour car ride south of Moscow. Meduza tells the story of how this new meat-free food made it from its small factory onto the international arena.

      • Overdose Deaths Among People Over 55 Increased 17-Fold Between 1999 and 2017

        My brother William struggled with drugs and alcohol addiction much of his life. So, I was shocked but not surprised when he was found dead in his apartment, just a few months before he was about to turn 70. The only boy among six sisters, William died alone in a hoard of wadded up papers, tons of cigarette butts, and calcified Thanksgiving turkey sitting atop his rusted and mildewed stove. Pieces of his beloved computer equipment were scattered among traces of crystal meth and marijuana.

      • YouTube moderators are being forced to sign a statement acknowledging the job can give them PTSD

        Accenture said it shares information about potentially disturbing content with all of the content moderators it employs, including those who work on its contracts with Facebook and Twitter. But it would not answer questions about whether it specifically informs Facebook and Twitter moderators that they are at risk for PTSD. The Verge has previously interviewed Facebook moderators working for Accenture competitor Cognizant in Phoenix, Arizona, and Tampa, Florida, who have been diagnosed with PTSD after viewing violent and disturbing content.

    • Proprietary

      • AWS outage cripples ACT Emergency Services Agency website as Canberra bushfire rages

        The outage hit as Canberra Airport was shut to commercial traffic because of the fire, with residents around Oaks Estate warned to get out of the road of the oncoming blaze after two fires merged and engulfed a rubbish tip.

        It is still unclear why the ESA website was hit by a single point of failure, however the blaze, known as the Beard fire, is burning close to the industrial suburb of Fyshwick which houses several data centres.

        The blaze near the airport is also within stone’s throw of the the Australian Signals Directorate’s Australian Cyber Security Centre offices at the Brindabella Park office complex that houses a clutch of other technology, consulting and miltech tenants.

      • The Pentagon CIO office’s plan for better software

        In his speech, Ranks detailed several efforts underway at the DoD to increase update speed. To start, Ranks said, the DoD CIO’s office is changing policy to allow for more iterative processes in acquisition, a departure from the current process where requirements are laid out years before technology is delivered. To complete that goal, Ranks said the DoD needs the enterprise capability to provide the tools necessary to create a more iterative process.

      • Google and Microsoft have gone too far

        Google and Microsoft are using dark pattern design to trick or force users to do things they never intended. Is it time to switch to more ethical search engines? (We list 10 alternatives.)

      • Security

        • BlueTooth Security Risks

          Security risks involving bluetooth vulnerabilities include techniques known as: bluebugging, bluesnarfing, bluejacking, denial of service and exploits for different holes.
          When a device is configured in discoverable an attacker may try to apply these techniques.

          Today mobile security was strongly increased and most attacks fail, yet sometimes security holes are discovered and new exploits emerge. As mobile devices prevent the user from installing unmonitored software freely most of attacks are difficult to carry out.

          This tutorial describes the most common Bluetooth attacks, the tools used to carry out these attacks and the security measures users can take to prevent them.

          [...]

          While bluetooth attacks aren’t widely used (when compared with other types of attacks like phishing or DDOS) almost every person carrying a mobile device is a potential victim, therefore in our countries most people are exposed, also through bluetooth, to sensitive data leak. On the other hand most manufacturers already patched devices to protect them from almost all attacks described above, but they only can issue a fix after the vulnerability was discovered and published (like with any vulnerability).

          While there is not defensive software the best solution is to keep the device turned off in public spaces, since most attacks require a short range you can use the device safely in private places. I hope you found this tutorial on Bluetooth Security Risks useful. Keep following LinuxHint for more tips and updates on Linux and networking.

        • Arm Has Many Changes On Tap For Linux 5.6 From Spectre/Meltdown Bits To New RNG

          While the Linux 5.5 kernel isn’t even released yet, it’s ideally coming out on Sunday should there not be a one week delay. But in any event Arm’s Will Deacon has already sent in the pull request of the ARM architecture changes for Linux 5.6.

        • The Pentagon pushes back on Huawei ban in bid for ‘balance’

          Huawei may have just found itself an ally in the most unexpected of places. According to a new report out of The Wall Street Journal, both the Defense and Treasury Departments are pushing back on a Commerce Department-led ban on sales from the embattled Chinese hardware giant.

          That move, in turn, has reportedly led Commerce Department officials to withdraw a proposal set to make it even more difficult for U.S.-based companies to work with Huawei.

          Defense Secretary Mark Esper struck a fittingly pragmatic tone while speaking with the paper, noting, “We have to be conscious of sustaining those [technology] companies’ supply chains and those innovators. That’s the balance we have to strike.”

        • Privacy/Surveillance

          • Survey finds majority of Americans are concerned about data collection by governments and companies

            The majority of Americans are concerned about how their data is used by companies and the government. This is based on a research study by Pew released in late 2019. The Pew Research Study team wrote about major privacy concerns unearthed in their study:

          • YouTube Gets Streaming Rights to Major Esports Leagues

            The deal, signed between Alphabet Inc.’s Google and video game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc., gives YouTube the rights to broadcast the new Call of Duty League and the already-popular Overwatch League, which was broadcast on Amazon.com Inc.’s Twitch for the past two years at a reported cost of $90 million. As part of the agreement, Google will provide cloud infrastructure for Activision’s online games. Financial terms of the multiyear deal were not disclosed.

          • Education Technology: Schools Are Using Apps to Collect Student Data, Track Attendance

            “The idea that students are being pressured into installing third-party monitoring software on their personal devices…is very saddening,” he said. “I’d probably react similarly to how many might react to students being handed cigarettes officially during admission.”

          • Telia selling user location data in Finland

            Telia downloads the location data from cellular relay stations. This means the link station is able to share location data even if users switch off geo-tracking (GPS) settings on their devices.

            However, customers would have to give explicit permission for a carrier to sell any identifying data, according to Helsinki University communications law professor Päivi Korpisaari.

            “Selling location aggregation services to third parties is in no way a necessary part of carriers’ business,” Korpisaari told Yle.

          • Trump administration threatens trade war with UK over digital tax plan

            The US has threatened to hike taxes on car companies if Boris Johnson presses ahead with plans for a levy on tech giants such as Google and Facebook.

            In an escalation of tensions, Steven Mnuchin, Donald Trump’s treasury secretary, said the US considered the UK’s proposed digital services tax to be “discriminatory” and warned that Washington could impose retaliatory taxes on the automobile industry.

          • Met begins operational use of Live Facial Recognition (LFR) technology.

            The Met will begin operationally deploying LFR at locations where intelligence suggests we are most likely to locate serious offenders. Each deployment will have a bespoke ‘watch list’, made up of images of wanted individuals, predominantly those wanted for serious and violent offences.

            At a deployment, cameras will be focused on a small, targeted area to scan passers-by. The cameras will be clearly signposted and officers deployed to the operation will hand out leaflets about the activity. The technology, which is a standalone system, is not linked to any other imaging system, such as CCTV, body worn video or ANPR.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Trump’s fitness to stand trial questioned by professionals: “Serious signs of deterioration”

      “He is on trial for engaging in misconduct … At the same time, as Maya points out, he constantly engages in conduct that calls into question his fitness, if not his mental and physical condition,” she said. “And this, I think, is a pressing concern that Congress needs to take seriously, because the Cabinet, which would have some authority under the 25th Amendment to do something about it, apparently doesn’t.”

      Yale psychiatry professor Bandy X. Lee, the founder of the World Mental Health Coalition, agreed with the attorneys’ assessment in an interview with Salon.

    • “Cyber Rambo”: How a US Army vet aided the right-wing coup in Bolivia

      A US Army veteran from Bolivia created an application that shared as many as 69 tweets per second to help spread disinformation in support of a right-wing coup that ousted the country’s former socialist President Evo Morales.

    • [Crack] of Jeff Bezos’ phone likely happened through Saudi crown prince, analysts tell UN

      Following an exchange of WhatsApp messages, bin Salman sent a malicious and encrypted file to Bezos, which led to the exfiltration of large amounts of data, according to the release. The interaction took place months before the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey, which American intelligence agencies have determined was carried out under orders from bin Salman. Bezos also owns the Washington Post.

      After meeting bin Salman — also known as MBS — Bezos began working with FTI Consulting to investigate whether his iPhone had been hacked, CyberScoop has learned. FTI Consulting began working on the analysis in February of last year, according to FTI Consulting’s technical report, first obtained by Motherboard

    • The Bezos [attack]‘s shockwaves

      Reports emerged this week alleging that Jeff Bezos’s iPhone was compromised in 2018 after the Amazon founder and Washington Post owner received a video file in a WhatsApp message sent by Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salam (MBS). The news sent tremors through Washington and Silicon Valley.

    • Germany Islamist jailed over planned terror attack

      C., who came to Germany as an asylum-seeker in 2011, was arrested in August 2018, and his trial started in mid-May, 2019. He has reportedly confessed his loyalty to the “Islamic State” terrorist group.

    • Closer than ever: It is 100 seconds to midnight

      Humanity continues to face two simultaneous existential dangers–nuclear war and climate change–that are compounded by a threat multiplier, cyber-enabled information warfare, that undercuts society’s ability to respond. The international security situation is dire, not just because these threats exist, but because world leaders have allowed the international political infrastructure for managing them to erode.

    • Stumbling Toward Doomsday

      It’s been 30 years since the end of the Cold War, when, at its peak, the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics together possessed roughly 70,000 nuclear weapons.

      But are we safer now than we were then? The answer, according to the Bulletin, is a resounding “no.”

      Reflecting the heedlessness with which the current administration has treated the global arms control and nuclear non-proliferation regimes, the Doomsday Clock, as of today, is now closer to midnight than at any time since its creation: We are now 100 seconds away.

    • World Court Rules Against Myanmar on Rohingya
    • The Absurdity of Guantanamo

      In the gallery at the back of the courtroom at Guantanamo Bay’s military commission hearing, I could open a copy of Enhanced Interrogation, James Mitchell’s widely available book chronicling his role in the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) interrogation program. But Mitchell is prevented from citing some of his own words during his testimony at the hearings – the government objects, citing national security concerns.

      Such is the absurdity of the seemingly endless proceedings at Guantanamo.

  • Environment

    • EU’s Timmermans detects hints of US shift on climate

      There are signs US President Donald Trump is starting to engage more seriously on climate change and listening to the concerns of corporations, the European Commission’s vice-president and head of its ‘Green Deal’ said on Thursday (23 January).

      Frans Timmermans, who is driving the Commission’s work on a multi-year, trillion-euro plan to make the European Union’s 27 member states carbon-neutral by 2050, said the science could not be ignored, even by the US president.

      “We’ve seen over the last couple of years that radical climate-change deniers have changed their position because the facts are so overwhelming. It’s an untenable position,” he told Reuters as he arrived in Davos for the World Economic Forum.

      “I would assume, as a politician myself, that Donald Trump is thinking about the next election and he’s looking at American society. And if you see how much support there is in American society to act upon climate change, he’s probably doing the math and thinking that if I want to be reelected, I have to take this seriously,” said Timmermans, a former Dutch foreign minister.

      “That gives me hope because the people want this. Corporations in the US are on the same page as we are. States are. Cities are.”

    • The Paris Agreement Is Officially Too Little, Too Late

      The fevered arguments about how the world can reach the Paris climate goals on cutting the greenhouse gases which are driving global heating may be a waste of time. An international team of scientists has learned more about the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide (CO2) − and it’s not good news.

    • Trump’s Latest Attack on the Environment May Be His Most Alarming Yet

      Early this month, the Trump administration released planned major changes to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the oldest environmental law in the U.S. The debate over NEPA is, like most other environmental debates in the U.S., a debate between people representing industry interests and people interested in protecting communities and the environment. And recently, the fossil fuel industry has helped push through another potential win against the law — and this one could have major consequences.

    • Mocking Call for Fossil Fuel Divestment, ‘Foreclosure King’ Steve Mnuchin Tells Greta Thunberg to Go Study Economics

      “Here’s what Mnuchin learned from economics studies: he ran a company that booted elderly residents from their homes due to onerous loans and technicalities.”

    • AOC Shared Support for Greta Thunberg After Trump Administration’s Steven Mnuchin Talked Down to Her

      “My gap year ends in August, but it doesn’t take a college degree in economics to realize that our remaining 1.5° carbon budget and ongoing fossil fuel subsidies and investments don’t add up,” Greta wrote, including a video showing different projections of how reduced carbon emissions could slow global warming. (Reducing carbon emissions is one of Greta’s go-to talking points.)

      She continued, “So either you tell us how to achieve this mitigation or explain to future generations and those already affected by the climate emergency why we should abandon our climate commitments.”

      AOC also took to Twitter to weigh in on Mnuchin’s remarks. She explained that even though she graduated cum laude with a degree in international relations and economics in 2011, she knows all too well that academic credentials aren’t what really keeps people in power from listening.

    • Trump Administration Lessens Clean Water Protections For Streams, Wetlands

      The new rule creates four categories for waters protected under the Clean Water Act: territorial seas and traditional, navigable waters like the Atlantic Ocean and the Mississippi River; perennial and intermittent tributaries; certain lakes, ponds and impoundments; and wetlands that are adjacent to jurisdictional waters. It does not include features that gather water after rain, groundwater, most roadside and farm ditches, farm watering ponds and waste treatment systems.

      Environmental groups are likely to sue. Some experts say the issue will have to be decided by the Supreme Court to stop the regulatory back-and-forth.

      “This all-out assault on basic safeguards will send our country back to the days when corporate polluters could dump whatever sludge or slime they wished into the streams and wetlands that often connect to the water we drink,” Janette Brimmer of Earthjustice said in a statement.

    • 2020 starts with the plain prospect of rising heat

      Emissions will climb further. Each decade is warmer than the last. The oceans are feeling the rising heat. The economy is threatened. And that’s just January.

    • Energy

    • Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • How Trump’s Trade Policies Failed Workers

      Donald Trump, the self-proclaimed “great negotiator” and author of The Art of the Deal, promised to use his bargaining skills to help the American worker.

    • After Our Reporting, Connecticut Officials Are Taking On Housing Segregation

      Frustrated with the lack of options for low-income families in Connecticut’s tony suburbs, the governor and the leader of the state Senate are calling for new measures to entice towns to build more affordable housing.

      Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, said that he is poised to tie state spending on transportation upgrades in affluent communities — such as new or renovated train stops — to local approval of more affordable housing projects.

    • Insurance Lobby Talking Points Don’t Come With Warning Labels

      Ever since The Intercept (11/20/18) found several planning documents by the Partnership for America’s Healthcare Future (PAHCF), a benign-sounding corporate alliance formed to prevent any kind of reform and prop up the dysfunctional US healthcare system’s profits, corporate media have been reporting on the PAHCF’s efforts to defend the US’s for-profit healthcare system (The Hill, 6/28/19).

    • One Hundred Years: the Proletariat in Search of a Class

      Apparently, the super-indoctrinated, Trump-voting American working class, dulled by the mass media and the “American dream”, has changed very little since the crushing of the great textile strikes that swept The United States in the 1920s. Not an iota of class-consciousness has it absorbed. (Nor has it been explained and offered to all wage earners in sufficient doses.) For also the middle classes, crushed by an ever more desperate, an “end of times” form of capitalism, has not yet grasped that they too are now part of the American proletariat. In that respect it seems that the old, often criticized word proletariat is still quite adequate.

    • Following Earthquake, Puerto Rico’s Largest Bank Hinders a Just Recovery

      The earth still shakes. People, especially those who live near the epicenters, have anxiety and fear. The electrical system is weak and blackouts are reported. More than two years after the destruction brought by Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico faces another challenge brought by nature.

    • Trump Signals He Will Seek to Cut Social Security and Medicare If Re-Elected

      While attending the World Economic Forum’s summit of global elites in the Swiss mountaintop retreat in Davos on Wednesday, President Donald Trump openly admitted he would — if reelected in 2020 — consider cutting back funding for key social programs including Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare.

    • Can capitalism solve capitalism’s problems?

      Capitalism is in trouble – at least judging by recent polls.

      A majority of American millennials reject the economic system, while 55% of women age 18 to 54 say they prefer socialism. More Democrats now have a positive view of socialism than capitalism. And globally, 56% of respondents to a new survey agree “capitalism as it exists today does more harm than good in the world.”

      One problem interpreting numbers like these is that there are many definitions of capitalism and socialism. More to the point, people seem to be thinking of a specific form of capitalism that deems the sole purpose of companies is to increase stock prices and enrich investors. Known as shareholder capitalism, it’s been the guiding light of American business for more than four decades. That’s what the survey meant by “as it exists today.”

      As a scholar of socially responsible companies, however, I cannot help but notice a shift in corporate behavior in recent years. A new kind of capitalism seems to be emerging, one in which companies value communities, the environment and workers just as much as profits.

      The latest evidence: Companies as diverse as alcohol maker AB InBev, airline JetBlue and money manager BlackRock have all in recent weeks made new commitments to pursue more sustainable business practices.

      [...]

      Presumably realizing how important these constituencies are to their bottom lines, businesses are paying attention.

      Shareholder capitalism is this year’s theme at Davos, the global gathering of the world’s elite in the Alps. And last year, the leaders at some of the world’s largest companies said that they are ditching shareholder-first capitalism and instead embracing a corporate purpose that seeks to serve all constituents. The sentiment is hardly isolated.

      Dick’s Sporting Goods, Kroger, Walmart and L.L. Bean, for example, responded to growing concerns over mass shootings by restricting the sale of guns. Procter and Gamble, a major sponsor for U.S. Soccer, expressed support for the quest of the women’s team for equal pay and donated $500,000 to help narrow the pay gap with men.

      Airlines including American, United and Frontier refused to knowingly fly children separated from their parents at the border following outrage over the Trump administration’s policy. And even though Amazon shareholders rejected the worker-supported shareholder resolution described above, Amazon set stronger goals for reducing its carbon footprint after the resolution was introduced.

      These actions have sometimes hurt the bottom line. The decision to restrict gun sales cost Dick’s Sporting Goods $150 million. Delta lost a $50 million tax break in Georgia after severing ties with the NRA.

      But these and other companies didn’t back down. The CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods explained that when something is “to the detriment of the public, you have to stand up.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Recording Links Trump to Ouster of Ukraine Ambassador

      NEW YORK—President Donald Trump can be heard in a taped 2018 conversation saying he wants to get rid of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, whose removal a year later emerged as an issue in Trump’s impeachment. The president was talking with a small group that included Lev Parnas, an associate of his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, according to a report Friday about the audio recording.

    • ‘More Lies,’ Says Sanders as Trump Vows to ‘Save’ Social Security Just One Day After Threatening Cuts

      “As a candidate, Trump said he’d protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Now he has an obligation to tell the American people: ‘I was lying. It was all just a campaign ruse.’”

    • Corporate Media Equate Sanders to Trump—Because for Them, Sanders Is the Bigger Threat

      As Bernie Sanders emerged as a threat to Hillary Clinton’s presidential nomination in 2016, media began liberally tossing around articles equating Sanders and Donald Trump (FAIR.org, 4/15/16, 12/9/16). These typically acknowledged that the comparison seemed far-fetched, but pointed in their defense to some version of a “remarkable amount of policy convergence” (Atlantic, 1/6/16)—which included shared positions like opposition to trade agreements, protecting Social Security, opposing big money in politics, and opposing foreign military intervention—or to the two candidates’ reliance on “angry white men” for their base of support.

    • AK-46: The Case Against Amy Klobuchar

      Jacobin is back at it with their Warren-Bernie obsession. There is a false premise here. The left is not competing against itself. Rather than be bogged down by specific manufactured divisiveness of the corporate media, supporters of Sanders should be attempting to convince people who believe in Warren’s platform that we need a more radical confrontation with the ruling class and that Warren simply has the wrong strategic approach to the class struggle.

    • CNN Poll: Sanders Is The Most Electable

      Remember CNN’s attack-debate last week? CNN did what it could to end Bernie Sanders’ campaign for president.

    • Final Phallus

      We are coming to our final form. Ultimate enjoyment without ideology to speak of. But this is not without an obligation to the mythic past.

      I want to compare two events here: the making of the movie Bombshell and the spat between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Both deal with the question of the phallus: who has it, who can qualify for it, and how we all lack it. Now let’s start by talking about Warren vs. Sanders broadly. I do buy that it’s just classic CNN, which is enough of a tabloid to be run by the Murdochs.

      CNN does operate differently though. The Murdochs started off with tabloids and then later made a PR effort to be labeled as “fair and balanced” with the insertion of Fox News, which is a tabloid that talks about politics. CNN sort of did this in reverse. For Fox you start with the initial credibility of gossip and fill the gap with a political thrust. For CNN you start with the initial credibility of politics and fill the gap with a gossip thrust.

      The psychological difference between the liberal and conservative is revealing here as far as enjoyment is concerned. The conservative suppresses political enjoyment, the liberal suppresses gossip enjoyment.

    • Jeff Bezos’ Hack Inquiry Falls Short of Implicating National Enquirer

      In the post, Mr. Bezos said he had retained the security expert Gavin de Becker to investigate how the tabloid had obtained his text messages. This week, a forensic analysis commissioned by Mr. Bezos was made public, and it concluded with “medium to high confidence” that his iPhone X had been [cracked] after he received a video from a WhatsApp message sent to him from an account reportedly belonging to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, with whom the billionaire had swapped contacts at a dinner in Los Angeles.

    • Jeff Bezos’ girlfriend shared compromising texts with her brother, who sold them, WSJ reports

      However, some security professionals felt that FTI’s report didn’t prove that Saudi Arabia [attacked] Bezos’ phone. It’s primarily based on coincidences, not evidence that Bezos’ data flowed back to Saudi Arabia. And although Bezos also hinted in an earlier Medium article that there is a connection between Saudi Arabia and the National Enquirer, it doesn’t appear that either Bezos or his security consultant have evidence linking anything from the apparent [attack] by Saudi Arabia to the National Enquirer’s story about Bezos’ affair.

    • The Guardian has outed the true identity of the mysterious founder of the Base, a white nationalist terror group

      The Base is a white nationalist terror group that made the news when three of its members were arrested and accused of planning to start a civil war at this week’s gun rally in Virginia by murdering cops and opening fire on the pro-gun protesters.

    • Impeachment Shouldn’t Overshadow Saudi Scandals

      After he started speaking out against the Saudi regime, Almutairi became the target of both online abuse and mysterious threatening messages. According to The Daily Beast, within weeks of the Khashoggi assassination, the FBI intercepted two men traveling to Los Angeles to make an unannounced visit to Almutairi. One was Almutairi’s father, the other someone not known to Almutairi but suspected by him of being a Saudi government agent.

      This incident happened during a period when the FBI was warning other Saudi dissidents living in America that their lives were under threat from forces within Saudi Arabia. The Saudi embassy was contacted by The Daily Beast about Almutairi’s allegation, which is backed up by independent sources, but did not respond.

    • Clinton Says Sanders Achieved “Nothing.” My Community Clinic Shows She’s Wrong.

      Hillary Clinton has touched a nerve with her attacks on Bernie Sanders in a new docuseries premiering on Hulu and a subsequent interview with the Hollywood Reporter. In the docuseries, Clinton paints Sanders as an isolated career politician who failed to achieve anything meaningful in the Senate. “Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done,” Clinton said.

    • Sanders Takes Double-Digit Lead in New Hampshire Poll After 14 Point Jump Since December

      “Prepare for establishment meltdown.”

    • Trump Brags About Withholding Evidence as Impeachment Trial Proceeds in Senate

      During the opening day of oral arguments in the impeachment trial, President Trump was accused of abusing his office to “cheat an election.” House impeachment managers spent about eight hours on Wednesday laying out their case for why President Trump should be removed from office. The Senate trial comes a month after the House impeached Trump for withholding congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine as part of an effort to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate Trump’s political rival, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. While the impeachment trial was taking place in the Senate, President Trump was across the Atlantic at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he tweeted more than 140 times and dismissed the impeachment trial as a hoax. Trump also appeared to boast about having withheld evidence from the impeachment process, saying, “We have all the material; they don’t have the material.” For more on the historic impeachment trial, we speak with Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor and Supreme Court reporter at Slate.com.

    • End of Blame Game: Sanders (and His Supporters) Helped Hillary Win Popular Vote in 2016

      Sanders voters were an indispensable contribution to her popular vote tallies.

    • A Cesspool of Constitutional Nonsense-Impeachment in the Senate

      The process moves to the Senate. Will the mockery continue after the procedurals and pomp are put to rest and the hearing begins?  Or will there be a genuine attempt to find some truth no matter how shallow? Since the House of Representatives closed up its hearings in December 2019, the most interesting event to happen in this story of Trump’s impeachment was the interview with the fellow Parnas in which he stated that Trump knew him and knew what he and Giuliani were up to.  What they were up to was getting dirt on Joe Biden for Trump. Even the government’s Budget Office says that is illegal.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • A Perversion of Justice in Russia

      Last weekend, news broke that Russian police had placed a surveillance camera in the bedroom of Anastasiya Shevchenko, an activist currently facing criminal charges for involvement in an “undesirable” foreign organization. Shevchenko’s daughter, who posted the news on social media, also said Anastasiya’s apartment had been wired for nearly five months in 2018, prior to her initial arrest. Unbeknownst to Anastasiya, the police installed a hidden camera pointing at her bed. It’s unclear what police were trying to catch on film in Shevchenko’s home, but what is certain is they have grossly violated her privacy in an inappropriate and humiliating manner.

      The police surveillance warrant request says Shevchenko could present a threat to Russia’s security and public order, alleging her potential involvement in organizing mass unrest, extremism, incitement of violence against government officials, and involvement in an “undesirable organization.” Russian law criminalizes involvement in foreign organizations it has banned as “undesirable.”

    • Jokes in Russia Are No Laughing Matter

      This week, a stand-up comedian fled Russia fearing prosecution over a recent set.

      Aleksandr Dolgopolov published, on January 21, a letter sent by police to a bar in Saint Petersburg where he performed last winter. In the inquiry, police demanded “full information” about Dolgopolov and his performance, a recording of which now has more than 2.8 million views on YouTube.

    • Russian comedian who dissed Putin flees country

      Aleksandr Dolgopolov, a 25-year-old Russian comedian, made some jokes about Russian President Vladimir Putin and Christianity during a stand-up performance last year. Dolgopolov says he has now fled Russia over fears for his safety.

    • Russian comedian who joked about President Putin flees country

      Dolgopolov later shared an image on social of what he said was a formal letter sent from Russia’s interior ministry to the HopHead bar in St Petersburg, asking event organisers to confirm his February performance.

      He told Russian broadcaster Current Time that he was recently forced to cancel a performance in Moscow moments before taking to the stage after learning that someone had entered the venue and was questioning members of staff about him.

      “I didn’t plan to be persecuted simply for joking,” he said.

    • DMCA takedown demand and aftermath

      Consequently, we have begun a comprehensive review of all articles published at oc-breeze.com for possible questionable copyright material. As part of that review, we have suspended publication of all articles prior to January 1, 2019 until each one can be reviewed and cleared. The articles also have been scrubbed from the cache of our load-leveling service provider, Cloudflare.

  • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

    • Pompeo Cursed Out National Security Reporter, Asked Her to Find Ukraine on a Wordless Map, She Did

      Kelly spoke about what happened next on NPR: “I was taken to the secretary’s private living room, where he was waiting, and where he shouted at me for about the same amount of time as the interview itself had lasted.”

      Kelly then said Pompeo asked her: “Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?”

      Kelly continued, “He used the F-word in that sentence and many others. He asked if I could find Ukraine on a map, I said yes. He called out for his aides to bring him a map of the world with no writing, no countries marked.”

      “I pointed to Ukraine,” Kelly said. “He put the map away. He said, ‘People will hear about this,’ and then he turned and said he had things to do, and I thanked him again for his time and left.”

      Pompeo was right, people are hearing about this.

    • Covering impeachment: Senate rules test press duty to inform

      These individual takes, of course, are only each lawmaker’s opinion. They aren’t reported pieces with comments from both sides and relevant context. They don’t give Americans the full picture of this historic trial, however partisan it may be.

      Which is why journalists have objected so strenuously to the restrictions imposed on them by the Senate Republican leadership and the sergeant-at-arms.

    • German journalist accuses Israel, Russia of hijacking Holocaust memorial ceremony

      Reporting from the event, Müller noted how both countries had recently made fresh verbal attacks against Poland and that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Miniter Benjamin Netanyahu held “overlong bilateral talks” that kept other world leaders and elderly Holocaust survivors waiting. Müller’s comments appeared to reference Putin’s accusation last month that Warsaw colluded with Adolf Hitler during World War II.

    • Extradition hearing for WikiLeaks’ Assange to be split in two parts

      The London hearing to decide whether WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange can be extradited to the United States to face charges including spying will be split in two, with the second half delayed until May, a judge ruled on Thursday.

    • What’s Going on with Julian Assange? Extradition Hearing of Wikileaks Founder Due to Start in February

      The extradition hearing of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will now be split into two parts and is not expected to conclude until around June this year.

      The decision was made during a court session yesterday at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London by Judge Vanessa Baraitser, after both sides said they needed more time to gather evidence and prepare arguments, Reuters reported. Assange appeared via video-link.

    • Julian Assange’s lawyers demand more time to meet the Wikileaks founder in Belmarsh prison as decision on whether he will be sent to US to face hacking charges is put off until June

      Julian Assange’s lawyer today complained about lack of access to the Wikileaks founder at the maximum-security Belmarsh Prison.

      The 48-year-old is wanted in the US for allegedly conspiring with army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to expose military secrets between January and May 2010.

      Assange appeared via videolink at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today wearing a black suit, defiantly saluting his supporters by raising his fist above his head.

      It also emerged that the hearing to decide whether Assange can be extradited from Britain to the US will be split into two, with the second half not finishing until June.

    • WikiLeaks Editor: US Is Saying First Amendment Doesn’t Apply To Foreigners In Assange Case

      WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson gave a brief statement to the press after the latest court hearing for Julian Assange’s extradition case in London today, saying the Trump administration is arguing that the First Amendment of the US Constitution doesn’t provide press freedom protection to foreign nationals like Assange.

      “We have now learned from submissions and affidavits presented by the United States to this court that they do not consider foreign nationals to have a First Amendment protection,” Hrafnsson said.

      “Now let that sink in for a second,” Hrafnsson continued. “At the same time that the US government is chasing journalists all over the world, they claim they have extra-territorial reach, they have decided that all foreign journalists which include many of you here, have no protection under the First Amendment of the United States. So that goes to show the gravity of this case. This is not about Julian Assange, it’s about press freedom.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Feds Plan to Move Epstein Warden to Prison Leadership Job

      The warden in charge when Jeffrey Epstein ended his life in his jail cell is being moved to a leadership position at another federal correctional facility, putting him back in the field with inmates despite an ongoing investigation into the financier’s death, two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.

    • The Paradox of Populism

      For those of us who wish to see a world beyond inequality and oppression, and who believe popular movements are key to achieving it, the past decade has been dizzying.

    • Alaska’s Public Safety Officer Program Is Failing. Can It Be Saved?

      A task force of Alaska legislators is proposing an overhaul of key elements of the state’s failing Village Public Safety Officer Program.

      The group of legislators spent five months looking for ways to fix the 40-year-old program, which uses state money to train and pay officers working in remote villages. In 2019, the number of VPSOs fell to an all-time low of 38 — compared with more than 100 in 2012.

    • Come ‘Say This to My Face,’ Says Ayanna Pressley After Betsy DeVos Compares Being Pro-Choice to Being Pro-Slavery

      Democratic congresswoman and chair of the House Abortion Access Task Force said she “would welcome the opportunity to educate” the Education Secretary on reproductive rights. And maybe U.S. history of chattel slavery?

    • Jump for it Russian governor draws criticism for forcing firefighter to leap for keys to new fire-engine

      Mikhail Ignatiev, the head of Russia’s Chuvashia Republic, is facing criticism in Moscow after he forced a firefighter at an official ceremony in Cheboksary to leap for the keys to a new fire-engine. United Russia (Ignatiev’s political party) says it’s looking into the matter as a potential violation of his duties as governor.

    • Russian prime minister orders special category of security officers to be eligible for up to double pay for ‘complex’ work

      Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has ordered bonuses to be made available for law enforcement, military, and National Guard officers who work during mass protests.

    • Vijay Prashad on India Demonstrations, Manuel Perez-Rocha on NAFTA 2.0

      This week on CounterSpin: Millions of Indians—maybe a quarter of a billion—have taken to the streets in recent weeks. The far-right Modi government’s discriminatory ideas around citizenship have been a trigger for the massive demonstrations, but our guest explains that is not the whole story. Historian and journalist Vijay Prashad is chief correspondent at Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute, chief editor of LeftWord Books and the director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

    • ‘I felt I wouldn’t survive to age 18’ How a Russian teenager faced years of abuse from her own mother and finally tried to escape

      On September 6, Zhenya Rodionova, a 15-year-old girl from the Moscow region, published a post on Instagram asking for help. A few days later, she reposted it in a group called Anonymous Haters on the Russian social media network VKontakte. Zhenya wrote that she was “in a rather difficult life situation” and needed the help of a lawyer, because she had been “beaten up once again” and now was staying in a shelter.

    • The Troubling Decline of International Law

      While it is true that rogue states – most notably the USA – have always posed a threat to the rule of international law, I see no serious room to dispute that the development of the corpus of international law, and of the institutions to implement it, was one of the great achievements of the twentieth century, and did a huge amount to reduce global conflict.

    • Archivists are racing to identify every Jewish Holocaust victim

      The 1.1m people killed at Auschwitz, an extermination camp in occupied Poland, were born as far away as Finland and Morocco. Most of the victims, after journeys of brutalising squalor, were led directly from the trains to the gas chambers. When the Red Army liberated the Third Reich’s biggest death factory on January 27th 1945, 75 years ago this week, it found 7,000kg of human hair shorn from the corpses.

      The tally of the dead is hard to comprehend. Of the 9.5m Jews in Europe before the war, 6m were murdered. If you spent five minutes reading about each of them, it would fill every waking hour for 90 years. The overall civilian death toll attributed to the Nazis–including Gypsies, disabled people, gays, prisoners and bystanders to combat–was perhaps three times greater.

    • What happens when we’re too old to be ‘useful’?

      He explained grandmothers helped with chores and babysitting but when they got too old to be useful, you couldn’t be sentimental.

      Brutally, the usual method was an axe to the head. For the old men, Ach̩ custom dictated a different fate. They were sent away Рand told never to return.

      What obligations do we owe to our elders? It’s a question as old as humankind.

      And the answers have varied widely, at least if surviving traditional societies are any guide.

    • Attacks on Aid Workers in Northeastern Nigeria

      Worrying reports of gruesome attacks and killings by insurgents in Nigeria’s restive northeast region appear to show an escalation of attacks on aid workers and other civilians over the past several weeks.

      On January 21, Boko Haram insurgents executed Rev. Lawan Andimi, Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Adamawa State, after refusing a ransom offered for his release. Andimi was declared missing on January 2, and a video later emerged on Twitter confirming he was in Boko Haram’s custody.  

    • Workers Shut Down the Louvre. The French Labor Strike Is Here to Stay.

      French railway workers remain on strike for the second month in a row and workers across industries continue demonstrations and work stoppages against the government’s plans to restructure the pension system. Meanwhile, the leaders of France’s moderate unions have been in talks with the government to negotiate cosmetic changes to the reform plan and ultimately stop the strike.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Will Britain follow France’s lead in delaying the introduction of a digital services tax?

      The Treasury is going to need some revenue-raisers from somewhere. That’s one reason why multiple Conservatives have this week told me that they expect the Budget to trigger a row over car taxes, as vehicle excise duty and the fuel duty freeze are the only guaranteed revenue raisers that haven’t been specifically ruled out. And that same very tricky fiscal reality is one reason why the British government may decide that it can’t wait to introduce its own digital services tax until the era of Trump is over.

  • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

  • Monopolies

    • Clayton Christensen, guru of disruptive innovation and Latter-day Saint leader, dies at 67

      Christensen initially used the term “disruptive technologies.” Grove dubbed it the “Christensen Effect.” After Christensen altered it to “disruptive innovation,” the term became ubiquitous. Five years ago, the Economist said it had long since entered the zeitgeist.

      Though he coined the term, Christensen grew uncomfortable with it as he saw it overused and misapplied. He utilized it narrowly to describe innovations that upended existing markets, but only if they fit a certain pattern he had discovered. A true disruptive innovation, he taught, first appealed only to a niche market and appeared less attractive than the powerful incumbent it eventually usurped. In fact, the incumbent typically looked down on it as inconsequential until it ate up huge swaths of its market share.

    • Patents

      • Software Patents

        • $7,000 Cash Prize for Prior Art on DivX Patent

          On January 24, 2020, Unified added a new PATROLL contest with a $7,000 cash prize for prior art submissions for US 10,212,486. The ’486 patent is owned by DivX, LLC, a subsidiary of well-known NPE, Fortress Investment Group, and generally relates to playing back encrypted video involving cryptographic information. This patent is being asserted against Netflix and Hulu in district court.

        • Update on Federal Register Notice on Artificial Intelligence (AI) Patent Issues

          As noted in our previous post, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a request for comments for a list of questions regarding Artificial Intelligence (AI) Patent Issues in the Federal Register on August 21, 2019. While the comment period has closed, a few developments regarding AI patent issues have occurred that are particularly relevant.

        • Update on Federal Register Notice on Artificial Intelligence (AI) Patent Issues

          R Street noted that a long-standing definition of conception requires “formation in the mind of the inventor, of a definite and permanent idea of the complete and operative invention.” R Street states that computers cannot be inventors for at least two reasons 1) inventors must be human under the Patent Act; and 2) computers do not have minds and cannot satisfy the legal requirements of inventors.
          R Street agreed that no special considerations should apply to AI enablement or written description requirements.
          However, R Street commented that AI may impact the level of a person of ordinary skill in the art. Particularly with respect to “obvious to try” rationale and what is considered a “small” number of alternatives.
          R Street noted that “to the extent the USPTO is interested in whether it should advocate for policy change to enable machines to receive patents, the answer is no.”
          R Street takes an interesting stance in saying “inventions generated by an AI system would only be patentable when a human recognizes and evaluates the significance of the AI system’s results.”

        • Update on Federal Register Notice on Artificial Intelligence (AI) Patent Issues
    • Copyrights

The Linux Kernel is No Longer Free Software?

Posted in DRM, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Kernel at 8:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

[Direct link YouTube | Direct link lbry.tv]

Summary: Gardiner Bryant, the creator of The Linux Gamer as well as The Off Topical Podcast, reacts to our articles about DRM in Linux (he even pronounced my name correctly)

Sometimes Proprietary Software is Proprietary (Secret) Simply Because It is Not Good and Obfuscation Helps Hide Just How Ugly It Is

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Security, Windows at 8:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The story of FortiClient resembles what I’ve often encountered over the years with other proprietary VPNs (not of my choice)

Proprietary Software. You pay to be abused.

Summary: Why nonfree (or proprietary) software generally fails to catch up with Free/libre software — at least on technical grounds — and then makes up for it with marketing and FUD offensives (discrediting perfectly-functioning things, based on their perceived cost)

OVER the years I’ve encountered and used a lot of VPNs. It’s one thing I’m quite familiar with, having configured and debugged VPNs quite a lot. At work, we use Free/libre VPNs that we host and manage ourselves (typically OpenVPN and IPSec/StrongSwan). But clients’ choices of VPN are another matter. Occasionally I must access a client’s GNU/Linux server to carry out maintenance, patching and software upgrades. It’s quite a routine thing.

“Why is it that Free software generally works a lot more consistently than proprietary counterparts and why do some people pay a lot of money for VPN tools that not only cost a lot of money but need to be ‘repurchased’ (re-licensed) annually or any time one ‘upgrades’?”VPN software varies from client to client and some VPN tools are so awful that it’s not even funny. It can be painful. At times impossible!

Why is it that Free software generally works a lot more consistently than proprietary counterparts and why do some people pay a lot of money for VPN tools that not only cost a lot of money but need to be ‘repurchased’ (re-licensed) annually or any time one ‘upgrades’? Suffice to say, many of these proprietary things have holes in them (kept under the rug), so one might actually be paying for additional security holes rather than security. Snowden’s stash of leaks revealed some evidence to that effect.

“Much time down the drain.”One might say I’m opinionated, but I’m not alone. It’s not only me who complains by the way; a colleague explained that “[a]t the moment the only access we have for [client] is via a horrible proprietary VPN. You are only able to get clients for Windows and Mac officially, however an Ubuntu client has been found that works too. To make things more complicated it does not appear to work at all in Windows Server, meaning we can’t provide access though the Windows [shared/remote virtual] box. If you have a Windows or Mac box, you can download the client from http://forticlient.com/ and the Ubuntu one can be found here https://forticlient.com/repoinfo…”

Well, nothing that I’ve tried allows me to access the client’s network. Much time down the drain. You can try again and again (dealing with binary blobs). The FortiClient software is defective, however, as it shows an unimpressive blank window each time it starts (I tried other, more complicated things) and there’s no way to debug this.

FortiClient
So-called ‘Client’; Whose exactly? Spy agencies?

If I run this from the command line it says:

"Platform detected: fedora" (which is false by the way, it’s not even an RPM-based distro, so I think they need to do more work on their client-side tools if it’s advertised as cross-platform)

“The bottom line is, proprietary VPN software is utterly bad, it rarely prevents security incidents, and it is more like duct tape on top of something inherently broken.”Our internal wiki indicates that we cannot access this over a virtual Windows Server, either. Because that too is not supported. What other access options may there be? And why need they complicate access to the point where they shut out people who merely try to keep their machines secure and up to date? As a Techrights associate recently noted, the whole concept behind VPN is flawed. It seems to assume that operating systems in use aren’t safe if connected to the Web (there are NSA back doors, for starters), so complete separation and insulation from the network is seen as desirable. Later this year our combined lifetime for Tux Machines and Techrights will be 30 years. We’re a high-profile target for attacks, Techrights in particular (many DDOS attacks over the years), but we never had any security incidents and we never used VPNs. We even gave up on so-called 2FA, knowing that it sounds better in theory than (how it works) in practice.

The bottom line is, proprietary VPN software is utterly bad, it rarely prevents security incidents, and it is more like duct tape on top of something inherently broken. Moreover, the quality of proprietary VPN software is utterly appalling. The same can be said about proprietary software other than VPNs, but these companies compensate for that with heavy marketing campaigns and waves of FUD directed at Free software counterparts.

IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 24, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:48 am by Needs Sunlight

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