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02.14.20

One Need Only Look at ZDNet’s ‘Linux’ Section to Understand It’s a Microsoft Propaganda Operation

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 1:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yesterday: The Microsoft Propaganda Model

ZDNet's 'Linux' Section

Summary: A timely new snapshot (or screenshot) that demonstrates what ZDNet became after hiring Microsoft employees as ‘journalists’ and censoring on behalf of Microsoft, defaming Free software figures and so on

Links 14/2/2020: New Release of KStars, OpenSSH 8.2, Rhythmbox 3.4.4, Flatpak 1.6.2

Posted in News Roundup at 5:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Linux is our love language

      2019 was a year of learning in the Cherry household. I am a senior software engineer who set out to learn new skills and, along the way, I taught my husband, Chris. By teaching him some of the things I learned and asking him to work through my technology walkthrough articles, I helped Chris learn new skills that enabled him to pivot his career deeper into the technology field. And I learned new ways to make my walkthroughs and training materials more accessible for readers to digest.

      In this article, we talk about what we learned individually and from each other, then we explore what it means for their future.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • There’s a ‘Windows 12 Lite’ OS in the market but you shouldn’t use it

        Microsoft has its own Windows NT kernel, based on which is the latest Windows 10 operating system. But as interesting as it may sound, there’s a Windows OS version based on Linux kernel as well. Spotted by a Redditor and shared by Liliputing website, there is a ‘Windows 12 Lite’ operating system available in the market. It has been mentioned that Windows 12 Lite, a software that has not been announced officially anywhere, is a Linux distro based on LiteOS that has a Windows 10 wallpaper.

        From the image of the pamphlet shared by the Reddit user and the official website named webhouses.co.uk/lite, ‘Windows 12 Lite’ is said to be for those users who wish to upgrade from Windows 7. “Lite’s 4.8 desktop is designed for those who migrate from Windows 7 with the Lite background. You just add it to your pictures then select it as background using System settings,” states the website.

      • System76 Launches New AMD Threadripper Machine

        System76 has added an AMD Threadripper option for their Thelio desktop lineup.

        The most successful retailer of Linux-based desktops, laptops, and servers has announced a new addition to their popular Thelio desktop lineup. The new option, part of the Thelio Major model, adds AMD’s 64 Core Threadripper 3990X CPU into the mix. This system can compile the Linux kernel in 24 seconds, apply a circular motion blur in 44 seconds, and render a Blender scene in 76 seconds. That’s incredibly fast.

        The Threadripper Thelio Major has been optimized for the heat produced by the 280 watt, 64-Core CPU, which was a serious undertaking. System76 accomplished the task by using a 5.5″ duct that pulls air from inside the system, directs it across a heat sink, and then (drawing the heated air through copper piping) sends it out of the machine through the rear. This method compartmentalized the GPU and CPU heat sources as well as the air that is used to cool the individual chips.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Command Line Heroes season 4 episode 2: Mainframes

        The story of a small team of rebel employees at General Electric who built a mainframe that pushed computing from a niche market to the mainstream.

      • Kubernetes on bhyve | BSD Now 337

        Happinesses and stresses of full-time FOSS work, building a FreeBSD fileserver, Kubernetes on FreeBSD bhyve, NetBSD 9 RC1 available, OPNSense 20.1 is here, HardenedBSD’s idealistic future, and more.

      • 2020-02-13 | Linux Headlines

        IBM brings Kubernetes to the mainframe, PeerTube 2.1 is packed with polish, lazy image loading is slowly coming to Firefox, and find out which podcast was awarded Podcast of the Year.

    • Kernel Space

      • Penguin Tux – An Interesting story behind Linux Mascot

        One such old and well-recognized mascot is Tux. Tux is a cutesy, chubby penguin that is sitting down and is an official mascot to Linux Kernel, one of the oldest open source monolithic, Unix-like operating system kernel. The Linux family that is represented by this little waterfowl is based on this kernel and developed on both traditional as well as personal computers and servers, usually in the same format of other Linux distributions on different embedded devices like.

      • Hwangsaeul Is A Collabora-Backed Open-Source Video Surveillance SRT System

        Collabora under contract with SK Telecom has been working on Hwangsaeul as a new open-source platform for relaying security system surveillance video feeds from multiple sources, recording them on the centralized server, and supports connected clients for watching the feeds.

      • Accelerating netfilter with hardware offload, part 2

        As network interfaces get faster, the amount of CPU time available to process each packet becomes correspondingly smaller. The good news is that many tasks, including packet filtering, can be offloaded to the hardware itself. The bad news is that the Linux kernel required quite a bit of work to be able to take advantage of that capability. The first article in this series provided an overview of how hardware-based packet filtering can work and the support for this feature that already existed in the kernel. This series now concludes with a detailed look at how offloaded packet filtering works in the netfilter subsystem and how administrators can make use of it.

        The offload capability was added by a patch set from Pablo Neira Ayuso, merged in the kernel 5.3 release and updated thereafter. The goal of the patch set was to add support for offloading a subset of the netfilter rules in a typical configuration, thus bypassing the kernel’s generic packet-handling code for packets filtered by the offloaded rules. It is not currently possible to offload all of the rules, as that would require additional support from the underlying hardware and in the netfilter code. The use case and some of the internals are mentioned in Neira’s slides [PDF] from the 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference.

      • The 5.6 merge window opens

        As of this writing, 4,726 non-merge changesets have been pulled into the mainline repository for the 5.6 development cycle. That is a relatively slow start by contemporary kernel standards, but it still is enough to bring a number of new features, some of which have been pending for years, into the mainline. Read on for a summary of the changes pulled in the early part of the 5.6 merge window.

      • Cavium OCTEON Driver Support For Linux Is Coming Back From The Dead

        It looks like the Cavium/Marvell OCTEON MIPS-based processor support is being restored for Linux systems after some of its drivers were briefly removed.

        For the current Linux 5.6 cycle, some OCTEON drivers were dropped. Those drivers had been living in the kernel’s staging area but fell into disrepair and with no one at the time taking over the maintenance burden, they were removed for Linux 5.6 as part of cleaning up the staging area.

      • F2FS Root File-System Support For Clear Linux Appears To Be Coming

        Clear Linux looks poised to join the ranks of the few Linux distributions allowing it to run off an F2FS root file-system.

        There recently has been some mailing list discussions and patches proposed for adding F2FS root file-system support to Clear Linux and also exposing it as a file-system option in the Clear installer. Not many Linux distributions yet offer F2FS as an easy-to-enable option for the root file-system.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa Developers Discuss LTO’ing + PGO’ing Builds For Greater Performance

          Making use of Link-Time Optimizations (LTO) and Profile Guided Optimizations (PGO) is currently being talked about by Mesa developers for their release builds in potentially squeezing out better performance.

          Dieter Nützel shared that when using LTO and PGO compiler optimizations on Mesa, he’s able to get RadeonSI’s binary size 40% smaller and 16~20% faster for this OpenGL driver. Link-time optimizations are about as the name implies running optimization passes during the linker phase when able to analyze the to-be-produced binary in full rather than the individual object files in order to allow for more inter-procedural optimizations on the whole program.

        • Open-Source Nouveau Extended To Support The GeForce 16 Series With Hardware Acceleration

          With the big Linux 5.6 kernel on the open-source NVIDIA “Nouveau” driver side there is finally accelerated support for the GeForce RTX 2000 “Turing” graphics cards (when paired with binary-only microcode). With that initial cut support is no GeForce 16 series Turing support, but that is now on-deck for Linux 5.7.

          While the GeForce 16 series is Turing based and just without the RTX cores, firmware/microcode differences and other subtle changes were needed to the Nouveau kernel driver for enabling its open-source hardware accelerated support.

        • Radeon “sisched” Scheduler Is Made Obsolete By RADV’s ACO Back-End

          It’s been years since last hearing anything about sisched as the SI machine instruction scheduler that started out for the RadeonSI OpenGL driver and was ultimately supported by the RADV Vulkan driver too.

          Years ago, SISCHED helped offer better open-source AMD Radeon Linux gaming performance but those days are over. The scheduler was made part of the AMDGPU LLVM back-end and that sisched code hasn’t seen any new work in ages. Now with Valve’s ACO taking off so well since its mainlining in Mesa 19.3 as an alternative to the AMDGPU LLVM back-end, it pretty much nails the coffin on SISCHED.

        • Intel Blackhole Render Support Lands In Mesa 20.1

          Intel Blackhole Render support was finally merged today for the new Intel “Iris” Gallium3D OpenGL driver default, the older i965 driver for pre-Broadwell hardware, and also the Mesa state tracker for Gallium3D drivers.

          Proposed back in 2018 was the Intel blackhole render extension for OpenGL / GLES as an extension to disable all rendering operations emitted to the GPU through OpenGL rendering commands but without affecting OpenGL pipeline operations.

        • TURNIP Open-Source Adreno Vulkan Driver Adds A618 Support, Sysmem Rendering

          While the open-source Intel “ANV” and Radeon “RADV” Vulkan drivers get talked about a lot, one of the lesser known Vulkan drivers within Mesa is Turnip but it’s been gaining steam recently.

          Turnip is the open-source Vulkan driver for Qualcomm Adreno graphics hardware and basically falls into the Freedreno umbrella. With Freedreno Gallium3D for OpenGL being in very good shape, we are finally seeing more activity on Turnip both by Google engineers and community developers.

    • Applications

      • Rhythmbox 3.4.4 Adds ListenBrainz Plugin, New App Icon

        A new version of Rhythmbox, Ubuntu’s default music player app, is available.

        Rhythmbox 3.4.4 is a small update to this venerable player and was released back in January (but I’ve only just heard about it).

        As Rhythmbox is no longer the default GNOME music player (a role now filled by the rather anaemic GNOME Music app) this player hasn’t seen much major development for some time.

        But it’s not abandoned, as this update, the fourth bug fix update in the 3.4.x series, shows.

        So what’s new?

      • 9 Best Free Linux CAD Software

        Computer-aided design (CAD) is the use of computer technology for the design of objects, real or virtual. It often refers to the drafting (technical drawing and engineering drawing) of a part or product, including entire buildings. However, CAD software is used in a wide variety of other fields such as electronics and woven fabrics.

        CAD software may be used to design curves and figures in two-dimensional (“2D”) space; or curves, surfaces, or solids in three-dimensional (“3D”) objects.

        The Windows CAD world has long been dominated by the extremely powerful AutoCAD software. Unfortunately, Unix support was dropped way back in 1994, and its authors, Autodesk, have no current plans to bring it to Linux. Whilst it is possible to run AutoCAD in Linux using Wine, the fact remains that it is expensive software, with no source code available. This article instead focuses on CAD software released under a freely distributable license, yet which retains a lot of the functionality offered by AutoCAD.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Proton 5.0-2 Released To Fix Crashes For Steam Play Linux Gamers

        Proton 5.0-2 is out with fixes over last week’s big Proton 5.0-1 release that brought many features to this Wine 5.0 downstream focused on powering Valve’s Steam Play for running Windows games nicely on Linux.

        Proton 5.0-1 was their first release in moving from Wine 4.11 to the stable Wine 5.0 along with enabling DXVK’s Direct3D 9 by default, updates to DXVK and FAudio, and many other changes. With all the changes at play, to little surprise there is this point release out now focused on addressing the early fall-out.

    • Games

      • Delivering the goods with “Ninja Pizza Girl” on Linux and Steam

        Like me, you probably have a bunch of games in your Steam library that you picked up at some point, but have never played. Such is the case for Ninja Pizza Girl which I probably got through a Humble Bundle, however long ago.

      • Serious Sam Collection & Panzer Dragoon announced for Stadia plus some timed exclusives

        It might still be rough but Google’s Stadia game streaming service is starting to pull in more games, with a bunch being announced today that look interesting.

        Firstly and perhaps unsurprisingly, The Serious Sam Collection which will blend Serious Sam 1-3 into a single experience was announced for Stadia. Not surprising since Croteam spent a lot of time getting Vulkan support in with Serious Sam Fusion, plus Alen Ladavac co-founder of Croteam went over to Stadia. No exact date yet for The Serious Sam Collection.

      • Librem 5 Game Development

        Many people learn to code through making games for their computer or phone. One of the things I love most about the Librem 5 is that it’s a full computer in your pocket that isn’t locked-down like Android and iOS. This means you get access to more programming languages, tools, frameworks and engines than they do. In this post I’ll showcase popular free and open source game frameworks and engines running on, or building games for, the Librem 5. I’ll be continuously testing new projects and adding them to the list, so if you have a favorite that’s not here yet let us know and I will get to it.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Show Your Love for Free Software

          In recent decades, Free and open source software (FOSS) has increasingly been the enabling factor for advances in areas we probably aren’t even aware of. If software is still spreading around the world, FOSS had already spread through the software world. All of that is only possible because of striving communities that push solutions forward with an amazing flow of continuous passion and love for nice technology, open knowledge, and supporting people. KDE is not any different – we have all been involved in such a lovely addiction for 23 years.

          Today, February 14th 2020, The Free Software Foundation Europe calls everyone to express their gratitude to all FOSS contributors around the world with the eleventh annual “I Love Free Software” campaign. It’s a day when we focus on drawing everyone’s attention to the amazing work done by thousands of FOSS contributors from many communities, most of them voluntarily dedicating their spare time to create high-quality software technology readily and openly available to everyone.

          What about you? Have you or your company/university been using Free software lately? Have you already thought about contributing back to that amazing FOSS community that creates the applications you use daily? It’s certainly a very rewarding and inspiring experience, with a lot of contributions made possible by people from different backgrounds.

        • KStars v3.4.0 is Released

          Celebrate Valentines’ Day with some KStars Love! Happy to announce the release of KStars 3.4.0 on February 14th, 2020 on Linux, MacOS, and Windows.

          What’s new with this release?

    • Distributions

      • Solus Ships Linux Kernel 5.5 And Noveau Driver For v4.1 Fortitude

        Weeks after the release of the new version 4.1 “Fortitude,” Solus has come up with the latest enhancements and hundreds of package updates for audio and video drivers.

        To further improve the security and latest hardware support, Solus replaces the current Linux Kernel 5.4 with v5.5 series to include a bunch of new features such as support for Raspberry Pi 4 and Logitech keyboard driver for the better gaming experience.

      • Solus Gets Linux Kernel 5.5, Deprecates Nvidia 340 Legacy Driver

        Solus follows a rolling release model where the user installs the operating system once and receives updates forever. The latest update pack brings the recently released Linux 5.5 kernel series, which introduces full Raspberry Pi 4 support, cross device offloaded copy for NFS clients, Btrfs RAID1 with 3- and 4- copies, and much more. This means better hardware support for your Solus installations.

        The ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) sound system has been updated as well with the latest Solus update pack, greatly improving audio by improved support for devices like Broadwell Audio DSPs, Gigabyte Motherboards with dual HD-audio codecs, Dell WD15 Dock USB-audio, Intel Broxton SoCs, Intel Skylake I2S, and Lenovo Ideapad Miix 320.

      • BSD

        • OpenSSH 8.2 was released on 2020-02-14.

          It is now possible[1] to perform chosen-prefix attacks against the SHA-1 hash algorithm for less than USD$50K. For this reason, we will be disabling the “ssh-rsa” public key signature algorithm that depends on SHA-1 by default in a near-future release.

          This algorithm is unfortunately still used widely despite the existence of better alternatives, being the only remaining public key signature algorithm specified by the original SSH RFCs.

        • DragonFlyBSD Improves Its TMPFS Implementation For Better Throughput Performance

          It’s been a while since last having any new magical optimizations to talk about by DragonFlyBSD lead developer Matthew Dillon, but on Wednesday he landed some significant temporary file-system “TMPFS” optimizations for better throughput including with swap.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • SUSE Hack Week Spotlight: Guerrilla AI Team

          SUSE Hack Week is a week-long sprint permitting developers time off from their day jobs to work on something entirely of their own design or wishes. This week we will be showcasing some of the amazing projects coming out of SUSE Hack Week and the brilliant minds behind them. Stay tuned all week long for more features.

      • Slackware Family

        • LinuxQuestions Award: Live Distribution of the Year 2019

          The poll results of the yearly LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Awards have been published. I am happy to see that my liveslak project made a positive impression on the community in 2019.
          Thanks to all who voted! Live Distros are a niche area so the absolute amount of voters is pretty low but it’s a clear win for Slackware Live Edition.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Flatpak 1.6.2 Released To Fix Performance Regression Of Slow Install Times

          Flatpak 1.6.2 is out and users are encouraged to upgrade due to a recent Flatpak + OSTree regression that leads to slow install times.

          Recent versions of OSTree with pre-1.6.2 Flatpak can lead to delta support being lost and thus performing full OSTree operations, which is particularly painful for large runtimes. This regression led to very slow Flatpak installations from the likes of Flathub, but now Flatpak 1.6.2 is out with corrected OSTree usage so it allows deltas to be properly used rather than the full operations.

        • Flatpak 1.6.2 Arrives to Fix Major Install Performance Issue

          Flatpak maintainer Alexander Larsson released today Flatpak 1.6.2, the second maintenance update to the Flatpak 1.6 stable series that addresses some performance issues and other bugs.

          The main change in Flatpak 1.6.2 is a fix for a major regression affecting the download speeds during the installation of Flatpak apps from Fluthub. Therefore, the devs recommend everyone to update to this version for a better and faster Flatpak app installation experience.

        • Peter Czanik: Insider 2020-02: Portability; secure logging; Mac support; RPM;

          This is the 78th issue of syslog-ng Insider, a monthly newsletter that brings you syslog-ng-related news.

        • Fedora Council November 2019 meeting: Councily business

          The Fedora Council’s primary responsibility is to identify the short-, medium-, and long-term goals of the Fedora community and to organize and enable the project to best achieve them. Our mechanism for handling medium-term goals is the Fedora Objectives process. We spent some time reviewing this process and the associated Objective Lead roles.

          Although Objectives were invented to help bring visibility and clarity to big project initiatives, we know there is still a communications gap: most of the community doesn’t know exactly what it means for something to be an Objective, and many people don’t know what the current Objectives even are. Plus, being an Objective Lead is extra work — what’s the benefit? And why are Objective Leads given Council seats rather than just asked to report in periodically?

          We asked the Objective leads how they felt about it. Overall, they found it beneficial to have a seat on the Council. It helps make the work of the Objective more visible and lends credibility to resource requests. The act of writing and submitting an Objective proposal made them organize their thoughts, goals, and plans in a way that’s more easily understood by others.

        • Integrating IBM Z and LinuxONE into the Red Hat OpenShift developer ecosystem

          My role at IBM is to make sure that we’re equipping developers with the tools and resources you need, along with the selection and guard rails you prefer, to help you focus your efforts entirely on innovation. Security is key to unlocking the true value of the cloud, and we want that to be one less thing you have to worry about when you’re building high-performance solutions. To that end, this week we announced a major milestone furthering Kubernetes support for Linux on IBM Z and IBM LinuxONE: The Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform for Linux on IBM Z and LinuxONE is now generally available.

        • March 5 webinar: Introducing Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Z

          Organizations aim to innovate faster and deploy applications more efficiently through cloud-native development — and they expect these applications to protect their data, scale smoothly, and be always available. Now you can meet all of these expectations by combining the leading container and Kubernetes application platform with the leading enterprise computing platform: Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Z.

          Join the upcoming webinar on March 5 to discover what happens when cloud native meets enterprise computing. You’ll learn how the agility of OpenShift, the security and scalability of IBM Z, and the containerized software of IBM Cloud Paks enable business innovation through cloud-native applications on mission-critical IT infrastructure.

        • IBM and Red Hat bring OpenShift to IBM Z and LinuxONE

          One of the things we often assume with the Red Hat OpenShift platform, and with Kubernetes in general, is that our users have computing needs that always fit inside a standard cloud node. While this is definitely the case for most cloud-based applications, there are plenty of non-JavaScript-and-Redis style applications out there that still need to move into the cloud. Some enterprise applications were written before the cloud existed, and still others were created before JavaScript, C#, and Python even existed. Older systems written in languages, like PL/I and COBOL, can also benefit from the move to cloud, and from the use of containers, they just need a little extra attention to make the transition. Sometimes, they might need more specifically tailored environments than are available in the commodity-hardware-based clouds.

          Or maybe, those systems need to also run extremely large, mission-critical databases, like IBM DB2. In order to unlock the true potential of a multi-cloud compute environment, that cloud software needs to run on a diverse array of hardware similar to what is already in place in some of the world’s largest enterprises and governments offices. Spreading cloud capabilities into these larger systems enables containers to exist in the same environment as the company’s central database, and to embrace and modernize those older applications that may still run the most the basic aspects of a business’ day-to-day operations.

        • Red Hat Shares ― Edge computing

          Organizations are increasingly turning to edge computing for Internet of Things (IoT) devices and new applications that require real-time processing power. Learn what edge computing is and what it can do for you.

        • How to get started with automation: A Red Hat exec offers advice

          As enterprises digitize in an effort to keep pace with their customers, more leaders seek the holy grail of automation. Automation can help speed time to market and breed greater efficiency. Most companies, however, aren’t naturally inclined to automate their processes, even though 71% say they’re at least kicking the tires on automation.

          Red Hat’s Nick Hopman, Vice President of Global Professional Services Practices, Solutions, and Offerings, sat down with me to talk through how organizations can best implement automation rather than just aspire to it.

        • Scaling Ceph to a billion objects and beyond

          This is the sixth in Red Hat Ceph object storage performance series. In this post we will take a deep dive and learn how we scale tested Ceph with more than one billion objects, and share the performance secrets we discovered in the process. To better understand the performance results shown in this post, we recommend reviewing the first blog , where we detailed the lab environment, performance toolkit, and methodology used.

        • OpenShift Commons Briefing: OpenShift Container Storage 4.2 Overview with Marcel Hergaarden (Red Hat)

          In this OpenShift Commons Briefing, Marcel Hergaarden (Red Hat) gives a technical overview of OpenShift Container Storage and walk us thru the road map for upcoming releases.

          Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage is software-defined storage integrated with and optimized for Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform. OpenShift Container Storage 4.2 is built on Red Hat Ceph® Storage, Rook, and NooBaa to provide container native storage services that support block, file, and object services. For the initial 4.2 release, OpenShift Container Storage will be supported on OpenShift platforms deployed on Amazon Web Services and VMware. It will anywhere OpenShift does: on-premise or in the public cloud.

      • Debian Family

        • SparkyLinux 2020.02 MATE Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at SparkyLinux 2020.02, MATE edition.

        • Meetup Debian Toulouse

          My company Viveris is opening its office for hosting a Debian Meetup in Toulouse this summer (June 5th or June 12th).

          Everyone is welcome to this event, we’re currently looking for volunteers for presenting demo, lightning talks or conferences (following the talks any kind of hacking session is possible like bugs triaging, coding sprints etc).

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 18.04.4 Released with Kernel 5.3 [How-to Install]

          The fourth point release Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS was released. Here’s how to install the new Linux Kernel 5.3 and Xorg in your current Ubuntu 18.04 machine.

          Ubuntu 18.04.4 comes with an updated “hardware enablement stack” (HWE) from Ubuntu 19.10, including Kernel 5.3 that enables the latest hardware and peripherals available from IBM, Intel, and others.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 + Linux 5.5: Fresh Benchmarks Of AMD EPYC Rome vs. Intel Xeon Cascade Lake

          Here are some fresh numbers looking at the current performance of various AMD EPYC 7002 “Rome” processors up against Intel Xeon Cascade Lake processors when using an Ubuntu 20.04 LTS development snapshot and also upgrading to Linux 5.5 as the latest stable kernel. Beyond raw performance, power efficiency and performance-per-dollar for these different server CPUs are being compared as well for these sub-$5000 processors.

          Ahead of the Ubuntu 20.04 long-term support release this spring and being curious how the latest AMD EPYC and Intel Xeon CPUs are competing with a bleeding-edge software stack also including Linux 5.5, this fresh benchmark comparison was performed. The single-socket tests carried out for this article included the…

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The Private Internet Access Android app is being open sourced

        Private Internet Access (PIA) is open sourcing its Android VPN app and dependencies code to the public as part of its commitment to open sourcing all clients in the name of transparency and privacy. The Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) community is a cornerstone of everything we enjoy on the internet.

      • How security keeps up when developers drive open source

        Technological transformation is increasingly becoming a competitive differentiator, with businesses across all sectors investing heavily in new platforms, tools and frameworks. In response, open source has emerged as the most viable, cost-effective and leading-edge solution in enabling organisations to gain the edge in innovation.

        No longer do individual businesses need to purchase or build all the software they need in-house. Instead, developers can now benefit from and build on the work of entire development communities, harnessing their collective power instead of starting from scratch. This is enabling countless new strands of innovation and increasing the speed to market for new products. According to research, 69 per cent of IT leaders deem open source as very important to an organisation’s overall enterprise infrastructure software plans. But software development wasn’t always done this way.

      • Rav1e 0.3 Release Brings Speed Optimizations, Other AV1 Encode Enhancements

        As we’ve been expected, Rav1e 0.3 is now out the door for this open-source Rust-based AV1 encoder that now runs faster at higher encode levels.

        In addition to faster and better encodes at higher levels, Rav1e also brings smaller binaries, faster build times, a multi-threaded deblocking filter, more x86_64 SIMD code, more auto-vectorizable code-paths, less memory allocations are now needed, and a 1~2% quality improvement.

      • Kiwi TCMS 8.0

        We’re happy to announce Kiwi TCMS version 8.0!

      • Web Browsers

        • Browsers, web sites, and user tracking

          Browser tracking across different sites is certainly a major privacy concern and one that is more acute when the boundaries between sites and browsers blur—or disappear altogether. That seems to be the underlying tension in a “discussion” of an only tangentially related proposal being made by Google to the W3C Technical Architecture Group (TAG). The proposal would change the handling of the User-Agent headers sent by browsers, but the discussion turned to the unrelated X-Client-Data header that Chrome sends to Google-owned sites. The connection is that in both cases some feel that the web-search giant is misusing its position to the detriment of its users and its competitors in the web ecosystem.

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 73 Is Now Available for All Supported Ubuntu Releases

            Released earlier this week, on February 11th, the Firefox 73 open-source web browser introduces various enhancement to make your browsing experience more enjoyable. Among these improvements, we can mention the ability to add a custom default zoom level that applies to all web content.

            Firefox comes with a 100% zoom level by default, but now it can be changed to whatever suits your needs thanks to a new “Default zoom” dropdown menu implemented in the Zoom section under “Language and Appearance” settings.

          • What Are Firefox Containers and Why Every Browser Needs Them

            Browser makers are working hard to build new privacy features that would protect users when surfing the web, and up to this point, Mozilla seems to be one of the innovators when it comes to such capabilities bundled with browsers.

            Mozilla has launched a so-called Multi-Account Containers add-on that technically enables Firefox to separate web browsing into containers where users connect to various accounts online.

            In just a few words, the purpose of this feature is to allow a better online account separation, technically blocking websites from reading each other’s data. Each container comes with its very own storage and cookies, and more importantly, such content can only be read by the website loaded in that container.

          • Data detox: Four things you can do today to protect your computer

            From the abacus to the iPad, computers have been a part of the human experience for longer than we think. So much so that we forget the vast amounts of personal data we share with our devices on a daily basis. On any given day we could be tackling sensitive work emails, planning our next vacation, or just booking some good ole doctor’s appointments. No big deal right? Well, in the wrong hands it can become a huge deal.

            Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to tighten your device security. Read on for four easy things you can do today to protect your personal info along with your devices.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • FSF

        • Why freeing Windows 7 opens doors

          Since its launch on January 24th, we’ve had an overwhelming amount of support in our call to “upcycle” Windows 7. Truthfully, the signature count flew far faster than we ever expected it to, even despite our conservative (if aptly numbered) goal of 7,777 signatures. We have seen the campaign called quixotic and even “completely delusional,” but in every case, people have recognized the “pragmatic idealism” that is at the core of the FSF’s message. Even where this campaign has been attacked, it’s nevertheless been understood that the FSF really does want all software to be free software. We recommend every fully free operating system that we are aware of, and want to be able to expand that list to include every operating system. So long as any remain proprietary, we will always work to free them.

          Over the last few weeks, we have been carefully watching the press coverage, and are glad to see the message of software freedom popping up in so many places at once. We received a lot of support, and have responded to dozens of comments expressing support, concern, and even outrage over why the FSF would think that upcycling Windows 7 was a good idea, and why it was something we would want to demand.

      • Oracle

        • Top 5 Reasons to Build your Virtualization with Oracle Linux KVM
        • Oracle tells Supremes: Fair use? Pah! There’s nothing fair about ‘Google’s copying’

          Not to be outdone by Google in ominous warnings over the future of software, Oracle has declared to American Supreme Court justices that no company would make an “enormous investment” like it did in Java SE if rivals get a free pass to copy code simply because it is “popular” and “functional”.

          The firm filed a brief yesterday (PDF) to fend off Google’s appeal in the highest court in the United States. The search giant is trying to overturn a Federal Circuit ruling over Google’s use of Java code in the Android mobile operating system that would leave it on the hook for copyright damages estimated at $9bn+.

          Oracle held that the class library APIs it has been tussling with Google’s Android over since August 2010 are a “literary work”, countering Mountain View’s assertion last month that the “declarations were highly functional, rather than expressive (PDF)”.

      • Programming/Development

        • The 20 Best PHP Frameworks for Modern Developers in 2020

          Programming languages encompass the tech world, and we, living in the 21st century, are seeing a historical change. As we all know, these languages are widely used for developing various apps, mobile phone system, etc. and thereby, the demand for these is increasing rapidly over time among developers. Among the different scripting dialects, the language which has secured practically 80% of the site market and tech world is PHP. PHP is utilized to fabricate sites and web applications. The use of PHP frameworks improves the intricate procedure of development by giving a stage where the engineers can work without much of a stretch form PHP applications in the briefest time conceivable.

        • A new hash algorithm for Git

          The Git source-code management system is famously built on the SHA‑1 hashing algorithm, which has become an increasingly weak foundation over the years. SHA‑1 is now considered to be broken and, despite the fact that it does not yet seem to be so broken that it could be used to compromise Git repositories, users are increasingly worried about its security. The good news is that work on moving Git past SHA‑1 has been underway for some time, and is slowly coming to fruition; there is a version of the code that can be looked at now.

        • Git commit reordering

          While I was working for a presentation for kid’s school at Magnetic field, Aurora, Lunar Phases and Rockets, I added 4 big videos to the presentation (as I was going to use them offline while presenting).

          I know what git is not the place for big binary files, and even Github proposed to use the LFS backend for that, but as it was just temporary, I went ahead.

          After that commit, I also wrote two more articles, the one on Lego Speed Champions and the one on Galleria.io and PhotoSwipe, so it became a problem to have big files in between, when my plan was to remove them in the end.

        • Qt World Summit 2019 talk videos are online

          Were you there, but you couldn’t attend that talk or two that you really wanted to see because the conference was so, so packed with awesome content?

          Fear no more! We are glad to announce that the talks at the past Qt World Summit 2019 in Berlin (or QtWS19, for the friends) have been video recorded and are now available online! You can now catch up with the latest news, improvements and best practices around Qt and its ecosystem, all from the comfort of your sofa office chair.

          We have gathered all the talks given by KDAB engineers on this summary page, where you can find also more information about the contents of each talk and download the slides.

        • OpenBLAS 0.3.8 Brings More AVX2/AVX512 Kernels, Other Optimizations

          For those using OpenBLAS as your BLAS (Basic Linear Algebra Subprograms) implementation, OpenBLAS 0.3.8 was released this weekend and coming with it are more AVX2/AVX-512 kernels and other optimizations.

          OpenBLAS continues striving to compete with Intel’s MKL and other optimized BLAS implementations and with more AVX2 and AVX-512 should help with the performance on the latest Intel and AMD CPUs. There is now an AVX-512 DGEMM kernel, the AVX-512 SGEMM kernel was “significantly” improved, and new AVX-512 optimized kernels for CGEMM and ZGEMM. On the AVX2 front the kernels for STRMM, SGEMM, and CGEMM are said to have been significantly sped-up along with new kernels for CGEMM3M and ZGEMM3M.

        • Perl / Raku

          • Egad not more PAWs posts :(

            Well back on my PAWS run again. This one might be a rather short series as I am really just looking at one Action in the Kinesis API ‘SubscribeToShard’. There is an open bug for this one up on github https://github.com/pplu/aws-sdk-perl/issues/371 and one I think I can fix up fairly eaisy.

            First things first, a little word on Kinesis. Well in short it touted as a very scalable real time data-stream thingy that sings dances and basically makes you line much better. Myself I do not havea use for it but it is part of the system and there is a bug so in I go.

            I first had to set things up on the AWS server side with some permission etc the usualal srtuff I also had to run a number of command top build up my Kineses system to a point where I can actually use the ‘SubscribeToShard’

          • Important Changes in YAML::PP v0.019

            During the SUSE Hackweek 19 I found time to fix some bugs and make important changes in YAML::PP.

            Some of these changes might break code, but I expect this will be rare.

            As I see more and more CPAN modules using YAML::PP, I decided to make these changes as soon as possible.

            I will explain all changes and the reasons.

          • Introducing KBOS

            Starting even before Moose, we (in the Perl 5 world) have a plethora of Modules extending the syntax of the language with Perl 6 and more in mind. The following article sums up not only my 2 and a half cents on the subject but also an attempt to implement it. It should be of interest to anybody thinking about programming in general.

            As many here know, Kephra is the project closest to my heart and during the latest iteration, I decided to extend the language itself to get a more expressive, less repetitive code base. I want a fast, extendable type system with helpful error messages, real private attributes, real private methods, signatures with typed, positional, named and optional arguments, relaxed professional error handling, I want to know all instances of a class, reuse by delegation and incorporate any foreign objects. Last not least should the system support me in marshalling all attributes, so I can fully restore a program state after restart or switch into a remote session / other window.

            The Kephra Base Object System (KBOS – read: ok boss) is designed to deliver on all that and I just want to discuss here my decisions. Some seem to be strange, like no inheritance (a feature), class types (not even Raku has them) or 4 different method scopes. But hej its my pile of garbage, stay away. I want this to become the optimal object system for Kephra’s needs. It is not clear to me if I will release it or parts as a separate distribution in future.

        • Python

          • Designing Big Picture

            Web design encompasses many different skills and disciplines in the production and maintenance of websites. The different areas of web design include web graphic design; interface design; authoring, including standardised code and proprietary software; user experience design; and search engine optimization. Often many individuals will work in teams covering different aspects of the design process, although some designers will cover them all

          • Test and Code: 100: A/B Testing – Leemay Nassery

            Let’s say you have a web application and you want to make some changes to improve it.
            You may want to A/B test it first to make sure you are really improving things.

            But really what is A/B testing?

            That’s what we’ll find out on this episode with Leemay Nassery.

          • Re-using my presentations

            Yesterday I got an email saying that someone in Turkey had stolen one of my presentations. The email included a YouTube link. The video showed a meetup. The presenter (I’ll call him Samuel) was standing in front of a title slide in my style that said, “Big-O: How Code Slows as Data Grows,” which is the title of my PyCon 2018 talk.

            The video was in Turkish, so I couldn’t tell exactly what Samuel was saying, but I scrolled through the video, and sure enough, it was my entire talk, complete with illustrations by my son Ben.

          • Mobile Apps for Learning to Code On the Go, Even in Space

            In a way, programming is like riding a bicycle. You won’t know how to write code unless you do it for a while. In other words, this skill requires much practice to learn and even more support.

            There are several ways one can get started: buy books, watch videos on YouTube, or go the more traditional route and join classes at an educational institute. However, the most convenient way to start your journey is right here at your fingertips.

            Mobile apps that teach you to code have become increasingly popular. And this is not a surprise: with the whole programming course right here on your smartphone; you can learn to code on the go. Whether you’re stuck in a queue or traffic jam, have 10 minutes before going to bed or go somewhere in a bus — open an app and level up your skills.

            That’s why I’ve compiled a list of coding applications that will help you stay up to date, no matter what level you are and what programming language you decided to learn.

          • Postponing some feature removals in Python 3.9

            Python 2 was officially “retired” on the last day of 2019, so no bugs will be fixed or changes made in that version of the language, at least by the core developers—distributions and others will continue for some time to come. But there are lots of Python projects that still support Python 2.7 and may not be ready for an immediate clean break. Some changes that were made for the upcoming Python 3.9 release (which is currently scheduled for October) are causing headaches because support for long-deprecated 2.7-compatibility features is being dropped. That led to a discussion on the python-dev mailing list about postponing those changes to give a bit more time to projects that want to drop Python 2.7 support soon, but not immediately.

            There will actually be one final release of Python 2, Python 2.7.18, in April. It is something of a celebratory release that will be made in conjunction with PyCon. There were some fixes that accumulated in the branch between the 2.7.17 release in October and the end of the year, so those fixes will be flushed and the branch retired. Other than the release itself, no other changes will be allowed for that branch in 2020.

          • Multiple Image/File Upload with Django 3, Ionic 5 and FormData

            In this tutorial, you’ll learn to implement multiple file upload with Ionic 5, django 3 and FormData.

            In a previous tutorial, we’ve created a django 3 RESTful application for uploading files using django 3 REST framework and Ionic 5.

        • Ruby

          • RcppSimdJson 0.0.1 now on CRAN!

            A fun weekend-morning project, namely wrapping the outstanding simdjson library by Daniel Lemire (with contributions by Geoff Langdale, John Keiser and many others) into something callable from R via a new package RcppSimdJson lead to a first tweet on January 20, a reference to the brand new github repo, and CRAN upload a few days later—and then two weeks of nothingness.

            Well, a little more than nothing as Daniel is an excellent “upstream” to work with who promptly incorporated two changes that arose from preparing the CRAN upload. So we did that. But CRAN being as busy and swamped as they are we needed to wait. The ten days one is warned about. And then some more. So yesterday I did a cheeky bit of “bartering” as Kurt wanted a favour with an updated digest version so I hinted that some reciprocity would be appreciated. And lo and behold he admitted RcppSimdJson to CRAN. So there it is now!

    • Standards/Consortia

      • [Old] How to fight back against Google AMP

        It’s possible to make your site faster than an AMP site without using AMP. You need to put the speed as the priority when developing.

        Restrict unnecessary elements. Understand every request your site is making and consider how useful they are. Do those flashing and distracting calls-to-action actually make a difference to the goals you have or are they simply annoying 99% of people that visit your site? Do you really need auto-playing videos?

        Restrict third-party connections and scripts. Do you actually need Google fonts? Do you need the official social media share buttons? Do you need to collect all that behavioral data that you may never look at? There are better and lighter solutions for each of these.

        Lazy load images and videos. There’s simply no reason to load your full page and everything on it as soon as a visitor enters your site. Lazy loading only loads images in the browser’s view and the rest only as the visitor scrolls down the page.

      • [Old] How to speed up WordPress for a faster, greener and eco-friendly site
  • Leftovers

    • Porn movie shot at holy site outrages Myanmar

      Mandalay Chairman of the Union of Myanmar Travel Association Myo Yee added his voice to the rising clamour, saying the case was bad news for an industry hit hard by coronavirus woes.

    • Science

      • WHO Has Finally Named The New Coronavirus

        Tedros said that “co” stands for “corona”, “vi” for “virus” and “d” for “disease”, while “19″ was for the year, as the outbreak was first identified on 31 December.

        Tedros said the name had been chosen to avoid references to a specific geographical location, animal species or group of people in line with international recommendations for naming aimed at preventing stigmatisation.

    • Education

      • “Government Is Secular”: Assam To Shut State-Run Madrassas, Sanskrit Tols

        The Assam government has decided to shut down all state-run madrassas and Sanskrit tols in the state, and convert them into regular schools within a period of six months.

        Justifying the move, Assam Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said it was “not the job of a secular government” to teach religion, scriptures and languages such as Arabic to children. While the BJP-led government in Assam had disbanded madrassas as well as the Sanskrit Tol Board and merged it with the Secondary Board of Education Assam in 2017, it now plans to shut them down completely.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Trump’s “Health Reform Vision” Includes $1 Trillion in Cuts to Medicaid and ACA

        For months, the Administration has promised that it has a plan for Americans’ health care if it wins its lawsuit seeking to eliminate the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The President has also pledged to pursue ACA repeal legislation in 2021 if Republicans control Congress.

      • My Mom Died

        It is tempting, when a parent dies, to center your remembrance of them through the lens of your relationship to them as a child.

      • An antivaccine “Circle of Mamas” has “questions” about vaccines. Orac has answers.

        There’s a technique often used by denialists, pseudoscientists, and cranks to sow doubt, disgust, and fear about the science that they deny, while pretending to be either asking innocent questions, playing Devil’s advocate, or even trying to use the Socratic method to teach. It’s known as “JAQing off,” a play on “Just Asking Questions.” The basic idea behind JAQing off is to keep asking leading (or, arguably more accurately, misleading) questions in order to influence the audience, regardless of the actual answers. When called out on the misleading questions, the denialist’s frequent response is along the lines of, “Hey, I was just asking questions.” It’s a favorite tactic of creationists, 9/11 Truthers, believers in cancer quackery, and, of course, antivaccine activists like those behind the Circle of Mamas website. This brings me to a post on Circle of Mamas that went viral over the last few days, even though it’s nearly three weeks old and apparently drawn from an older source still, entitled Dear Provaxxers, I Have Some Questions…

      • The New U.S. Maternal Mortality Rate Fails to Capture Many Deaths

        Late last month, maternal health experts from around Illinois were videoconferencing in Chicago and Springfield, poring over the files of expectant and new mothers who’d died in the state in 2017. Many of the deaths could have been prevented if only medical and other providers had understood the special risks that women face during this critically vulnerable time.

        Then, someone’s phone buzzed: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had just released its new, long-awaited U.S. maternal mortality rate, a number that had not been updated since 2007, when the federal government decided states weren’t doing a good enough job of capturing all of the deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth. It had taken more than a decade for states to implement new procedures, like adding a checkbox to death certificates, to flag pregnant women and new mothers who had died.

      • Coronavirus Cancellations: Stormzy Backs Out of Asian Tour Dates

        Owing to coronavirus fears, British rapper Stormzy has indefinitely postponed the Asian portion of his Heavy is the Head Tour.  

      • MWC 2020 Cancelled, STMicro Withdraws from Embedded World 2020 due to COVID-19
      • China lab seeks patent on use of Gilead’s coronavirus treatment

        A state-run Chinese research institute has applied for a patent on the use of Gilead Sciences’ experimental U.S. antiviral drug, which scientists think could provide treatment for the coronavirus that has killed hundreds and infected thousands.

        [...]

        The Wuhan Institute of Virology did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

        “Even if the Wuhan Institute’s application gets authorized, the role is very limited because Gilead still owns the fundamental patent of the drug,” said Zhao Youbin, a Shanghai-based intellectual property counsel at Purplevine IP Service Co.

        “Any exploitation of the patent must seek approval from Gilead.”

        Gilead did not immediately respond to request for comment but last week said it was working with China to test Remdesivir for use in a small number of patients with the coronavirus.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • UMG Confirm Elton John, Nirvana, Beck Recordings Were Lost or Damaged in Vault Fire

        The revelation appeared in a new filing in the ongoing class action lawsuit against UMG on behalf of artists seeking damages related to the fire. It marks the first public confirmation of specific artists who lost recordings in the fire following a New York Times Magazine report last year that detailed the potential extent of the damages. The list also includes …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Bryan Adams, David Baerwald, Jimmy Eat World, Les Paul, Peter Frampton, Michael McDonald, Slayer, Sonic Youth, Suzanne Vega, Surfaris, White Zombie and Y&T.

        The filing itself pertains to disputes over discovery in the class action suit, with lawyers for the artists seeking to obtain a complete list of damaged recordings. Lawyers for the artists cited a document that UMG filed back when it was quietly pursuing litigation and insurance claims after the fire that included “17,000 unique artist names on the list of purportedly lost original music recordings.” UMG, in turn, said that list merely “identified myriad potentially lost assets,” including materials that aren’t original master recordings. The label did, however, name 19 artists whose material was either damaged or destroyed in the fire.

      • Proprietary

        • Class action lawsuit filed against two Puerto Rican hospitals for alleged ransomware attacks [iophk: Windows TCO]

          The alleged ransomware attacks, which took place in February last year at the Pavía Hospital Santurce and Pavía Hospital Hato Rey hospitals, affected 305,737 people, according to Department of Health and Human Services records. The plaintiffs, both former patients of the hospitals, allege patients’ personal identifying information, including full names, addresses, dates of birth, gender, financial information, and social security numbers, were exposed as a result of the attacks. These records also constitute protected health information as designated by HIPAA.

        • An Open-Source Bootloader For Windows Lets You Run Off Btrfs, Other Possibilities

          Quibble is a new open-source bootloader that supports booting Windows XP through Windows 10 and opens up new possibilities like booting a Windows installation off Btrfs.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (dovecot, firefox, ksh, and webkit2gtk), Debian (firefox-esr and openjdk-8), Mageia (exiv2, flash-player-plugin, python-waitress, and vim and neovim), openSUSE (pcp and rubygem-rack), Oracle (kernel), Red Hat (sudo), and Slackware (libarchive).

          • Hack the Box (HTB) machines walkthrough series — Wall

            HTB is an excellent platform that hosts machines belonging to multiple OSes. It also has some other challenges as well. Individuals have to solve the puzzle (simple enumeration plus pentest) in order to log into the platform and download the VPN pack to connect to the machines hosted on the HTB platform.

          • New Patches: AMD Live Migration Support For VMs With Secure Encrypted Virtualization

            Beyond the Linux kernel patches presented earlier this week for AMD SEV-ES “Encrypted State” support, another Linux patch series out overnight provides another improvement to Secure Encrypted Virtualization with AMD EPYC server processors.

            The newest open-source SEV work to report on this week is live migration support when making use of AMD Secure Encrypted Virtualization. Currently VMs can’t be live migrated when making use of this hardware-backed encryption support of virtual machines, but a new patch series enables QEMU/KVM live migration to now work in the presence of SEV.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Because Facial Recognition Makes Students and Faculty Less Safe, 40+ Rights Groups Call on Universities to Ban Technology

              “This mass surveillance experiment does not belong in our public spaces, and certainly not in our schools.”

            • California Auditor Releases Damning Report About Law Enforcement’s Use of Automated License Plate Readers

              California police and sheriffs are failing to protect the privacy of drivers on city streets, the California State Auditor’s office determined after a seven-month investigation into the use of automated license plate readers (ALPRs) by the Los Angeles Police Department and three other local law enforcement agencies. California State Senator Scott Wiener sponsored the State Auditor’s report.

              The auditor raised a long list of concerns, including fundamental problems with police ALPR policies, failure to conduct audits, and the risk of ALPR data being abused to surveil political rallies or target immigrant populations. In addition to Los Angeles, the auditor investigated the Fresno Police Department, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, and Marin County Sheriff’s Office. The auditor indicated that the problems are likely prevalent across 230 California law enforcement agencies using ALPRs.

            • What happens to privacy when China has personal data and the social graph of nearly everyone in the US?

              The speech by US Attorney General William P. Barr hardly seems earth-shattering. But buried within its business-like announcement of the indictment of four Chinese military hackers, there is the following statement, which has huge implications for privacy:

            • Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s Lost Notebook

              But I did find one venue where Zuckerberg was utterly frank and unfiltered about his plans and dreams for Facebook, providing vital clues about the man running the world’s most powerful companies. It was in the notebook he kept in the spring of 2006.

            • Mark Zuckerberg’s privilege to be forgotten

              The problem is that Zuckerberg’s notebooks are filled with work product, and not likely throwaway remarks from a college-age jokester. Levy says he observed Zuckerberg using notebooks to sketch out product ideas that were often juxtaposed with “bits of his philosophy.”

              “Page after page were filled with straight lines of text, bullet-pointed feature lists, flow charts,” Levy says. “Zuckerberg was no longer doing much coding; he was focused mostly on the big picture. The notebooks allowed him to work out his vision in detail.”

            • Census searches on Twitter will direct users to official links, but probably won’t stop any hoaxes

              Of course, this doesn’t guarantee anyone clicks through the links, or that they’ll be able to find the information they want once they get to Census.gov (or that they’ll even trust a government website to give them the information). It also doesn’t prevent people from posting hoaxes or fake census information in the first place. Since the national survey conducted once every ten years determines federal funding formulas and states’ representation in the House of Representatives, making sure people have accurate information about how and when the census is conducted is important and, unfortunately, ripe for disruption by bad actors or foreign agents.

            • Genealogy may exonerate California man convicted of 1985 murder

              Now, genealogical testing may have identified the real killer, exonerating Davis, the law enforcement source said.

              Similar testing using public genealogical websites has been used to solve the most notorious murderers in California including catching the Golden State killer, Joseph James Deangelo, who was accused of at least 50 rapes and 12 murders in the state between the 1970s and 80s.

            • Confidentiality

              • A new Senate bill would create a US data protection agency

                Europe’s data protection laws are some of the strictest in the world, and have long been a thorn in the side of the data-guzzling Silicon Valley tech giants since they colonized vast swathes of the internet.

                Two decades later, one Democratic senator wants to bring many of those concepts to the United States.

                Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has published a bill which, if passed, would create a U.S. federal data protection agency designed to protect the privacy of Americans and with the authority to enforce data practices across the country. The bill, which Gillibrand calls the Data Protection Act, will address a “growing data privacy crisis” in the U.S., the senator said.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Can the World’s Second Superpower Rise From the Ashes of Twenty Years of War?

        The peace movement’s small victories demonstrate that we have more power to challenge U.S. militarism than most Americans realize. 

      • Guaido is Ending His International Tour to Return to Venezuela to His Divided Opposition

        We have to admit that the US public relations apparatus played a good stint at leaving Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó’s visit with president Trump last in what seemed an afterthought. When many thought that Trump had snubbed him in Davos and Miami, Washington gave him its full attention, normally reserved for real presidents, following the recent international trip that Guaidó took to muster abroad the political support that he cannot get in his own country.

      • What the Impunity Commission Taught Guatemala

        On August 31, 2018, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, a comedian by profession, accompanied by his cabinet and the high command of the army, convened a press conference where he unilaterally announced that he would not renew the mandate of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG). He declared that as of September 3, 2019 the CICIG, established by an agreement between the government of Guatemala and the United Nations in 2006. would completely cease functions.

      • Christians Abducted, Attacked in Bangladesh Refugee Camp

        Taher, a Rohingya Christian pastor, and his 14-year-old daughter were abducted from their shelter in a refugee camp in Bangladesh on the morning of January 27. The previous night scores of men attacked 22 Christian families living in Kutupalong Camp 2 in Cox’s Bazaar. The attackers beat up residents, vandalized homes, and looted personal property in the sprawling Rohingya refugee camp. At least 12 Rohingya Christian refugees were injured and hospitalized following the attack. A makeshift Christian church and school were also smashed. After the attack the families relocated to a United Nations transit center and filed a police case against 59 alleged assailants.

        The Benar News Agency and Radio Free Asia have reported that camp residents believe that the attackers are linked to the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), an ethnic Rohingya armed group. An ARSA representative denied and condemned the attacks on Christians, saying the assailants were harming the group’s fight for Rohingya rights.

      • Libya: Banned Cluster Munitions Used in Tripoli

        Forces affiliated with the Libyan National Army (LNA) used cluster munitions in a residential area in Tripoli on December 2, 2019, Human Rights Watch said today. The forces, under the command of Khalifa Hiftar, have been battling forces loyal to the United Nations-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) for control of Tripoli, the capital. 

        “Using cluster munitions shows reckless disregard for the safety of civilians,” said Stephen Goose, arms division director at Human Rights Watch and chair of the Cluster Munition Coalition. “Cluster munitions should never be used by anyone under any circumstances due to the foreseeable and unacceptable harm for civilians.”

      • No. 1 Sponsor of Terrorism? US Media Name Iran, but Overlook a Candidate Closer to Home

        After the illegal assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, FAIR (1/9/20) noted that the corporate media offered no moral objections to murdering another country’s high-ranking state official. The media consensus was that Soleimani was a despicable “terrorist” responsible for the deaths of “hundreds of Americans”—a formula that buried the crucial distinction between terrorism and armed resistance, presenting military combat against the US and its allies’ occupation forces in the Middle East as inherently illegitimate.

      • Dresden marks WWII bombing in far-right stronghold

        President Frank-Walter Steinmeier did his best to balance German aggression and victimhood at the 75th anniversary of the Dresden bombing, one of the most politically difficult events marking the end of World War II.

      • Trump to NY: Stop lawsuits against me if you want Global Entry, then he made ‘The Godfather’ joke

        Again, here is what President Trump is demanding in the screenshotted tweet above: the governor and law enforcement entities of New York, a state which was his residence until very recently, must stop investigating Trump family crimes if New York residents want to receive federal services.

      • Navy Prepares to Slash Funding for New Warships

        The proposal to increase the number of smaller, lightly manned ships could be an enticing opportunity for smaller shipyards. There are only a handful of shipyards remaining that build large ships such as aircraft carriers, submarines, and destroyers.

    • Environment

      • Temperature in Antarctica Soars Past 69°F as NOAA Reports Last Month Was World’s Hottest January on Record

        While the reading in Antarctica still needs to be confirmed, the Brazilian scientists who logged it called the new record “incredible and abnormal.”

      • ‘Parasite’ Is a Class-Conscious Climate Parable

        What follows is a conversation between Dr. Min Song and Kim Brown of The Real News Network. Read a transcript of their conversation below or watch the video at the bottom of the post.

      • Protests Continue Across Canada in Solidarity With Wet’suwet’en Land Defenders Fighting Fracked Gas Pipeline

        Demonstrations over the past week have halted traffic in downtown Vancouver and shut down railways throughout the country.

      • Sanders and AOC’s Fracking Ban Angers Centrists and Their Fossil Fuel Backers

        House Democrats have finally unveiled a flurry of climate bills aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but activists say only one proposal represents the “gold standard” for tackling the climate crisis: Legislation introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that would ban fracking nationwide. While none of these bills are likely to become law under President Trump, together they form the contours of a fierce debate among Democrats and environmentalists over the future of energy in the age of climate disruption.

      • Energy

        • California Lagged in Capping Century-old Oil Wells Leaking Under Homes of LA Residents Plagued by Illness and Odors

          What he found, two days later, would eventually confirm his fears and frustrations surrounding an environmental and public health risk haunting the City of Angels. Under his property, Majano had discovered an ancient oil well, leaking potentially toxic gases. 

        • Is Your Favorite News Source Shilling for Big Oil?

          Twitter was among the social media platforms where Chevron ran ads, notwithstanding the social media platform’s high-profile announcement on October 30 that it was banning “political ads.” A Twitter spokesperson explained the apparent contradiction, telling The Nation that “cause-related” ads can still run on Twitter as long as they don’t mention a specific politician, piece of legislation, or judicial outcome. Twitter ads apparently are allowed to lie or mislead, though. “We have a couple of guidelines…but nothing that specifically says you are not allowed to include misinformation,” the spokesperson said.

        • On Fossil Fuel Divestment Day, Students Demand Universities Take Action

          Universities have endowments, which are made up of donations and major gifts from the university’s alumni and supporters. The endowment is built up over time by investing in stocks, mutual funds, index funds, and other investments, acting as a savings account for the university. The endowment’s size can influence the school’s rankings and perceived prestige. In 2018, the combined endowments of universities in the United States totaled more than $542 billion — an enormous amount of wealth.

          Right now, part of this national sum is invested in the fossil fuel (coal, oil, and natural gas) companies. As universities invest money in an industry that is the greatest contributor to planetary warming, they are funding the climate catastrophe and the destruction of vulnerable communities.

          We can’t stand for it any longer. Students around the country are fighting for climate justice by calling on their universities to divest — or withdraw their assets — from fossil fuel corporations.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • House Approves Worker Rights Bill in Face of Growing Labor Backlash Against Trickle-Down Policies
      • Mnuchin Admits Trump’s Budget Cuts Social Security Even as President Claims He Is ‘Not Touching’ the Program

        “When Steve Mnuchin or any other politician says that a ‘reduction in the rate of increase’ is different than a benefit cut, they are shamelessly lying.”

      • Accusing US of Crimes Against Humanity, Venezuela Calls on ICC to Investigate Sanctions

        With punishing sanctions, the Trump administration has given “a death sentence to tens of thousands of Venezuelans per year,” foreign minister Jorge Arreaza said.

      • As Household Debt Hits $14 Trillion, Economists Say Fed Quantitative Easing Solution for Next Recession Insufficient

        “For most people, these policies will further increase in their cost of living, while their wages remain stagnant.”

      • In Foreshadowing Cryptocurrency Regulations, U.S. Treasury Secretary Prioritizes Law Enforcement Concerns

        U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin foreshadowed the Trump administration’s plans for greater surveillance of cryptocurrency users during his testimony before the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday. He noted that cryptocurrency was a “crucial area” for the Treasury Department to examine, and said:

        While we haven’t seen any draft proposals at this point, Mnuchin’s call for greater transparency—a euphemism for intrusive surveillance— definitely got our attention. One of the real risks of cryptocurrency is that it could become a technology of financial surveillance, especially in the case of open ledger protocols such as Bitcoin. These are cryptocurrencies that create unerasable, public lists of transactions that, should a pseudonymous wallet ever be associated with an individual person, can potentially link together a huge number of financial transactions. And those transactions can be deeply revealing, pointing to everything from your friend network to your sexual interests to your political affiliations. Indeed, researchers have already proven that this is not a theoretical risk.

      • Calling Fortnite Cash a Virtual Currency Was an IRS Error

        Many video games have their own currencies used to purchase in-game upgrades

        The IRS quickly recognized the need to correct website language that appeared to signal Fortnite and Roblox players were subject to a new disclosure requirement aimed at virtual currency transactions, the agency’s top lawyer said.

        The agency on Wednesday removed language identifying Roblox and V-bucks—Fortnite’s in-game currency—as examples of convertible virtual currency. The language was removed hours after Bloomberg Tax asked if gamers who purchased or earned in-game currencies would have to disclose that on their 2019 tax returns.

      • Dutch politicians divided on free trade agreement with Canada

        For seven years, the European Union has negotiated with Canada on a new, extensive trade agreement. The parties reached an agreement in 2017. The CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, regulates trade relations between the EU and Canada.

        A storm of criticism has arisen against CETA since 2017, from politicians, economists and environmental organizations to part of SMEs and small farmers’ organizations. The trade agreement is bad for consumers, animal welfare and the climate and only good for multinationals, they state.

        The Lower House of Dutch Parliament is debating CETA today. The question is whether D66 Minister of Foreign Trade Sigrid Kaag will get the hands of a majority. In fact, only coalition parties VVD, CDA and D66 are in favour.

        The member states of the European Union must ratify CETA. Of the 27 Member States, only 13 have done so, the Netherlands not yet. But for the most part, the trade agreement has already entered into force, thanks to the blessing of the European Parliament.

      • Croatia’s love affair with dirty energy

        INA is a Croatian oil company which plays a key role in oil and gas exploration and production, processing, and distribution. It has subsidiaries around the region in Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montenegro. Essentially its business model is based on dirty energy.

        Trying to redeem its image, the company half-heartedly promotes its “sustainable development” strategy.

        But this is just greenwash. INA is making ongoing efforts to further develop its production of oil and gas. This is despite the fact that, to avoid dangerous global warming, the climate science shows we have little time left to end the fossil fuel era, and must meet strict EU and national targets to reduce green-house gas emissions. INA’s website doesn’t mention any plan to fundamentally change its polluting activities towards more sustainable sources of energy.

        OK, but INA sounds quite small.

        But its parent company is big. INA is partly owned by the Croatian Government (45 per cent), but MOL Group, the big Hungarian fossil fuel company, has owned 49 per cent of INA since 2009. MOL is a much bigger company with operations in over 30 countries and 26,000 employees worldwide. The former Prime Minister of Croatia Ivo Sanader is currently serving a jail sentence for corruption, linked to the privatisation of INA and its sale to MOL.

        MOL is a significant EU lobbyist, spending up to €699,999 to lobby the EU in 2017; it is also a member of several lobby groups that give it extra firepower, including the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP), FuelsEurope, the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC), and the European Round Table for Industry. All these groups have lobbied successfully to weaken, delay, and block effective climate policy. MOL has also enthusiastically recruited a Commission official through the revolving door.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Wall: Separating Democracy From Voters

        We have a political system that continually surrenders to us-vs.-them thinking: leadership that requires an enemy to keep the country united. 

      • Newspaper Publisher McClatchy Files for Bankruptcy Protection

        The publisher of the Miami Herald, The Kansas City Star and dozens of other newspapers across the country has filed for bankruptcy protection.

      • Planning To Fail: The Q&A Climate Of Entertainment Over Information

        It makes for great television, but as for respecting science and truth this week’s QandA on climate change was all sizzle, no sausage. Geoff Russell explains.

      • Company Behind Iowa Caucus App Has a Deeply Troubling Plan to Manipulate Voters

        Those gathered to see the Iowa caucus results roll in on February 4 were sorely disappointed — the vote-counting process had been disrupted by a malfunctioning app, delaying the announcement of the final results. The botched voting process caused uproar online, sparking rumors about another Democratic National Committee effort to sideline Sen. Bernie Sanders. The debacle also brought scrutiny to Shadow, the company that created the app, which bills itself as a “progressive digital consultancy.”

      • Reporting on New Nevada Caucus App, or iPad ‘Tool,’ Not Filling Observers With Confidence

        “The 2020 election cycle could not only mark the end of the Iowa caucuses, but all caucuses nationwide.”

      • When CNN Introduces Bernie-Bashers Only as ‘Former,’ CNN Is Lying To You

        A lot of the corruption in Washington stems from former officials, whether Democrat or Republican, leaving government to work as consultants or lobbyists for greedy private interests.

      • How Bernie Sanders Became a “Fighter” for Palestine

        With the Democratic primary in full swing, the outlines of public debate are pretty much entrenched. Common wisdom on the left says that all of the candidates are bad on Palestine except for Bernie Sanders.  Despite some problems, pundits declare, Sanders is still the best. Is the statement true, though, or is it a convenient truism?

      • Israel: New Database Will Aid Corporate Accountability

        The release of the database of businesses contributing to illegal Israeli settlements is a major breakthrough in holding businesses accountable for their role in rights abuses, Human Rights Watch said today. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, released the database on February 12, 2020.

        Settlements are at the root of serious, systematic violations of Palestinian rights, undermining their livelihoods and economy. Transfer of an occupying power’s civilian population to an occupied territory violates the Fourth Geneva Convention and, under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, is a war crime. Business activities contribute to entrenching settlements, and the rights abuses and two-tiered Israeli discriminatory system that stem from them.

      • The Culinary Workers Union, Medicare For All, and the Latest Cynical Attack On Bernie Sanders

        During the 2016 election, a false news story about supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders throwing chairs at the Nevada Democratic Party convention spread. Jon Ralston, who has covered politics in the state for decades, pushed the story.

        Now, a few days before early voting in the Nevada caucuses, Ralston appears to be at it again. He founded The Nevada Independent in 2017, and the publication is fueling a cynical attack against Sanders and his campaign that involves the Culinary Workers Union.

      • Democrats’ Shadowy Plot to Stop Bernie Sanders

        Yogi Berra, the great Yankees catcher, had the memorable line, “It’s like deja vu all over again.”

      • The Red-Baiting of Bernie Sanders Has Begun and is Already Becoming Laughable

        With Bernie Sanders now having won New Hampshire (and probably Iowa, where he won the popular vote) and confirmed his position as the frontrunner for president in the Democratic Party primaries (the New York Times’ poll guru Nate Silver is giving him a better than 40% chance of gaining enough delegates by the end of the primary season to win the nomination on the all-important first ballot at the National Convention in July), it’s becoming open season on socialism and its more anodyne relative democratic socialism.

      • Biden Has Raised the Most From Nevada Donors, But Sanders Leads in the Polls

        Democratic presidential candidates who received the greatest amount of donations from Iowa and New Hampshire residents also finished at the top of the polls in the two early primaries.

      • Why the Democrats Should Back Bernie Sanders: And Why They Won’t, If They Can Possibly Help It
      • ‘Never Trump’ Republican Operative Known for Anti-Semitic Attacks on George Soros Now Working to Defeat Sanders in Democratic Primary

        “Forty years of dancing with the devil and all of a sudden centrist GOP voters want to switch sides so they can poison the Democratic Party too? Thanks, no thanks.”

      • Sanders Says GOP Budget Chair Won’t Hold Hearing on Trump Plan Because It Would Expose President as ‘Fraud That He Is’

        “I mean, my goodness, Republicans understand we all have to bow down to our supreme leader, who is the president of the United States, and not criticize him.”

      • Sanders Argues Medicare for All Is Vital for Union Workers: ‘They’re Losing Wage Increases Because Cost of Healthcare Is Soaring’

        “If you talk to union negotiators, they will tell you they spend half of their time arguing against cutbacks for the healthcare that they have.”

      • Matt Taibbi: Democrats Are Unwittingly Handing Sanders the Nomination

        With both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary behind us, one thing is abundantly clear: the establishment still cannot stomach a Bernie Sanders nomination. Writing in Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi points out how corporate media fell all over itself on Wednesday to undercut the Vermont senator’s win in New Hampshire, just as it fabricated Pete Buttigieg’s victory in Iowa just a week ago.

      • Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Resigns After Caucus Chaos

        The chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party announced his resignation Wednesday after a disastrous caucus process beset by technical glitches led to a dayslong delay in reporting the results, inconsistencies in the numbers and no clear winner.

      • US Election: Bernie Sanders Vs The World (Of Political Pundits)

        There’s a lot of people with power and influence who don’t want Bernie Sanders to be the Democratic nominee to contest the US presidency. James Devenish helps you understand why.

      • Is Trump the Worst of the Worst?

        I’ve been as focused on the Trump impeachment and presidential primary dramas as any other American political commentator in recent months and weeks. At the same time, I’ve been keeping notes on developments overshadowed by the non-defenestration of Donald Trump and the candidate contests in Iowa and New Hampshire. The Trump-led march to apocalypse has been continuing apace beneath the bigger headlines, my journal suggests.

      • Only Sanders Can Challenge Trump’s Predatory Budget Plan

        Amid the Democratic presidential primaries and the impeachment fallout, the Trump administration released its budget proposal for 2021 Monday. Though most of it has no chance of becoming a reality, it does provide a terrifying preview of what we can expect from Trump if he wins another four years in office this November. The latest Trump budget is nothing less than a declaration of war on the poor and working-class people of America — many of whom voted for the president four years ago under the mistaken belief that he would help reverse the steady erosion of their communities after decades of neoliberal economic policies.

      • Poll: Sanders hits 50 percent support among college students

        Chegg/College Pulse surveys more than 1,500 full and part-time students attending two- and four-year colleges or universities across the United States on a weekly basis. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

      • Bloomberg Once Blamed End of ‘Redlining’ for 2008 Collapse

        At the height of the 2008 economic collapse, then-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the elimination of a discriminatory housing practice known as “redlining” was responsible for instigating the meltdown.

      • Ocasio-Cortez Rips Bloomberg on Stop and Frisk: ‘Just a Billionaire Trying to Cover Up Authoritarian and Racist Policy’

        “Stop and frisk was an unconstitutional, devastating practice for the entire city.”

      • Michael Bloomberg’s Stop-and-Frisk Apology Tour Is Too Little, Too Late

        Five million. That’s the number of times that New York City police stopped people during the “stop and frisk” program when billionaire Michael Bloomberg was mayor. “Stop and frisk” is when police stop a person, usually force their hands against a wall, and aggressively pat them down, looking for a weapon or contraband. This week, the former mayor, now rising in the polls as a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, issued an apology for “stop and frisk,” saying that he “inherited the police practice.” But the fact is, after Bloomberg became mayor in 2002, NYPD “stop and frisks” increased by 700 percent. The vast majority targeted were black and brown youth. Statistics showed that, among all those stopped, whites proved to be twice as likely to be carrying a gun. Despite that, only 10% of those frisked were white.

      • Democrats Should Welcome Michael Bloomberg to Their Debates—ASAP

        But I do not like the idea of two wealthy New Yorkers shoving aside other contenders to duke it out at a plutocracy mud-wrestle. And I know that’s why some of the Democratic faithful are incensed that the Democratic National Committee changed its rules to allow Bloomberg to participate in future debates without meeting its prior thresholds for individual donors—rules it wouldn’t change for Senator Cory Booker or former HUD secretary Julián Castro.

      • Researchers say Voatz voting app has big security flaws, 4 states using it for 2020 elections anyway

        Researchers at MIT say the voting app Voatz, which is being used by at least 4 states in the 2020 elections, has major security flaws that could allow an attacker to intercept and alter votes, while making voters think their votes have been cast correctly, or trick the votes server into accepting connections from an attacker.

      • ‘Sloppy’ Mobile Voting App Used in Four States Has ‘Elementary’ Security Flaws

        An attacker would also be able to alter the user’s vote and trick the user into believing their vote was transmitted accurately, researchers from the Massachusetts Technology Institute write in a paper released Thursday.

        The app, called Voatz, also has problems with how it handles authentication between the voter’s mobile phone and the backend server, allowing an attacker to impersonate a user’s phone. Even more surprising, although the makers of Voatz have touted its use of blockchain technology to secure the transmission and storage of votes, the researchers found that the blockchain isn’t actually used in the way Voatz claims it is, thereby supplying no additional security to the system.

      • Is Pakistani intelligence radicalizing Rohingya refugees?

        New concerns about external interference to influence the vulnerable Rohingyas are also emerging. “Since they [Rohingya refugees] came, the presence of arms and drug trades has increased,” Tofael Ahmed, president of the community police of Cox’s Bazar, told DW. “Many accuse some groups of instigating unrest in the camps. That is how they try to hinder the repatriation process.”

        It has long been a theory that external forces have been trying to fish in these troubled waters and spread extremist sentiment. Recent reports by Indian newspapers indicated that some of the efforts may have Pakistani links.

      • [Old] How Trump Could Lose the Election and Remain President

        So what would it look like if Trump refused to concede? Is there really a way he could stay in office? It’s unlikely. For starters, successful autocrats rarely lose elections. “They take steps to rig it well in advance,” said Steven Levitsky, a comparative political scientist at Harvard University and the coauthor of How Democracies Die. They pack electoral authorities, jail opponents, and silence unfriendly media outlets. America’s extremely decentralized electoral system and powerful, well-funded opposition makes this very difficult to pull off.

      • Official says Puerto Rico government lost $2.6M in phishing scam

        The finance director of the island’s Industrial Development Company, Rubén Rivera, said in a complaint filed to police Wednesday that the agency sent the money to a fraudulent account.

      • Facebook caught Iranian trolls spreading pro-Trump propaganda online

        The Iranian campaign was apparently focused on winning over Trump-supporting evangelicals in the US. The posts shared by the fake accounts were “news” items about US elections, Christianity, US immigration policy, and US-Iran relations, and included images of President Trump, according to Facebook’s blog post.

      • Donald Trump’s fascist Circus Maximus: Pay attention to what’s going on below the surface

        Like the Roman Empire in its decline, the United States is now vomiting up grotesque spectacles.

        To that end, Trump’s regime uses spectacle as a means of distracting the public from its assault on democracy, the Constitution, the rule of law, and the American people. Trump’s fascist Circus Maximus is also a way of intimidating his foes and further seducing his cult members and other followers.

        Last Tuesday, President Trump gave his annual State of the Union speech. On Twitter, political scientist and Washington Post contributor Brian Klaas described the event as “the logical conclusion of populism: a series of misleading lies and fear-mongering dressed up as theatrical spectacle that aimed to show one team ‘winning’ rather than the serious business of governing and improving people’s lives.”

      • CEO who ran Goldman Sachs during financial crisis warns Bernie Sanders will “ruin” economy

        Many joined Sanders in criticizing Blankfein after his Tuesday warning.

        “This person ran Goldman Sachs when it helped crash the economy and then profited off the rubble,” Washington Post reporter Dan Zak tweeted.

        “Imagine the lack of self-awareness and political acumen required to believe that Democratic primary voters might be swayed by a message from the Chairman of Goldman Sachs? Wild!” former Obama aide Jon Favreau added.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Taiwan News sticks with term ‘Wuhan virus’ until WHO admits Taiwan, Beijing comes clean

        Many have no toilets or bathrooms and patients and suspected patients are forced together in close confines. The conditions are ideal to help a virus spread and these people know they are essentially being sacrificed to try and save others who haven’t got the virus yet. It is utterly inhumane.

        While this catastrophe plays out, the Communist Party has ramped up censorship to prevent its people from learning the truth and continues to feed the outside world with a steady stream of propaganda designed to show they have everything under control.

        Alongside public anger, there is also a mounting economic crisis as China is at a standstill. Companies across the country are either moving their production overseas or simply shutting down.

        Then, there is the continued falsification of information about the outbreak. Just about every credible expert has questioned the official figures of how many people have been infected and how many have died. Yet, the communist regime continues to take the world for fools.

      • Offensive social media posts should not block university admission

        Of the admissions officers who looked at applicants’ social media profiles, 32 per cent told the Kaplan survey that they had a negative impact. A 2017 Inside Higher Education survey of admissions directors confirms that social media posts may lead to rejections; 14 per cent of private colleges surveyed said that a student had been rejected or had an offer revoked at least once in the previous two years as a result of something found online.

      • Chinese journalist missing after live streaming in Wuhan

        Chen Qiushi (陳秋實), a Chinese citizen journalist who published critical reports on the new coronavirus epidemic in Wuhan has reportedly gone missing since Feb. 6 — causing speculation that he may have been silenced by the Chinese government.

        Chen, 34, was known for risking his life to provide live stream videos and regular updates from the epicenter of the viral outbreak. According to Radio Taiwan International, Chen arrived in Wuhan on the last train before the city went into lockdown, and has provided important information about the city’s lack of medical supplies and conditions inside local hospitals since Jan. 24.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Coronavirus: Why have two reporters in Wuhan disappeared?

        Beijing is known for clamping down on activists who speak out. It has also been keen to show it is getting the outbreak under control.

        It is perhaps not surprising that, according to one Human Rights Watch (HRW) researcher, the authorities are currently “equally, if not more, concerned with silencing criticism as with containing the spread of the virus”.

      • Twitter Is Not as Important as Journalists Make It Seem

        I know that making the argument that journalists should largely quit Twitter may sound drastic. But is it? In order for our republic to begin to heal, we are going to need our news agencies to stop engaging in the same destructive behaviors that put us here in the first place. The “democratic culture” is not at work on the platform, not really. Some people using it are having a good time and influencing each other. But the distorted, often ill-prepared arguments and political firestorms are generally not helpful or informative for the rest of us. If Twitter is ruinous for the Left, then chances are it’s functionally ruinous for the whole country.

      • Amnesty International: Somali journalists suffer killings, attacks and threats

        In recent years, journalists have primarily faced threats from the Islamic militant group al-Shabab. Now, they are also being targeted by their government.

        A new Amnesty International report, entitled “We live in perpetual fear”, has documented the dramatic deterioration in the situation for media workers since President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, also known as Farmajo, took office in February 2017.

      • Somalia: “We Live in Perpetual Fear”: Violations and Abuses of Freedom of Expression in Somalia

        Since late 2017, media freedom in Somalia has been suppressed by the Federal Government of Somalia’s security forces and officials, authorities in regional states and by the armed group Al-Shabaab. This report documents allegations of threats, harassment and intimidation of the media including physical attacks, killings and attempted killings of journalists, arbitrary arrests, harassment and intimidation of journalists and other critics and restrictions on access to information. [...]

      • Security agencies alert UP Police about terror attack threat against Yogi Adityanath

        The Uttar Pradesh Police has been alerted against a possible terror attack on Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath at the Gorakhnath Temple here by assailants posing as journalists, officials said.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Bettina Arndt Doesn’t Speak For Me, And She’s Not Helping Men Either

        Social commentator Bettina Arndt’s public support of perpetrators of sexual violence is harming more than just survivors, writes Kaye Maher.

      • Court To Prosecutors Who Sent Crime Victims Fake Subpoenas Threatening Them With Arrest: Pretty Sure Immunity Doesn’t Cover That

        A few years ago, The Lens exposed a super-shady tactic being used by Louisiana prosecutors. In an attempt to obtain a bit more compliance from witnesses in criminal cases, the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office started issuing fake subpoenas to witnesses that contained (an also-bogus) threat of imprisonment.

      • After Trump Shoots Susan Collins In the Middle of 5th Avenue, She Says She’s “Troubled” But Still Supports Him
      • Afghanistan: Sexual Assaults Go Unpunished

        Two recent cases in Afghanistan highlight the failure of authorities to prosecute sexual assault implicating powerful people, Human Rights Watch said today. The Afghan government should take immediate steps to provide justice, support victims, and protect witnesses.

        The Afghan authorities have failed to arrest senior officials of the Afghan Football Federation indicted for sexually assaulting female players and for participating in a cover-up of the abuse. In another recent case, provincial officials in Logar province are seeking to end an investigation into the sexual abuse of hundreds of schoolchildren and have threatened the activists who reported the abuse. 

      • Even Brief Exposure To Solitary Confinement May Increase Risk Of Death After Prison

        Those who experience even short stints in solitary confinement died at higher rates in the five years following their release from prison than those who did not, according to a new study.

        The study, which was published in The Lancet: Public Health and focused on former prisoners in Denmark, found the causes of death were consistent with high mortality among former prisoners in the United States and Europe.

      • A Liar’s Testimony Convinced a Jury to Convict a Man of Murder. Will Florida Execute Him Anyway?

        Two months after ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine published a joint investigation that cast doubt on key testimony in a Florida death penalty case, the fate of James Dailey remains uncertain. Dailey was scheduled to be executed on Nov. 7, 2019, but he was granted a stay of execution last fall. That stay expired on Dec. 30. Ever since, as Dailey’s attorneys have sought to have his claims of innocence evaluated in state and federal courts, one question has loomed over his case: What will Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis do?

        Dailey remains under an active death warrant — an order that authorizes his execution should the governor set a new date — in a cell that is just 30 feet from Florida’s execution chamber.

      • Karachi groom chased from wedding after first wife turns up

        However, while a man can have as many as four wives, he must get the consent of his previous wives before he marries again.

        It appears that Mr Siddiqi failed to fulfill this critical step, and the first his new wife and her family knew of his previous marriages was when an enraged woman marched into the banqueting hall in the coastal city of Karachi, where celebrations were taking place.

      • Asian grooming gang free to roam streets because officers were told to ‘find other ethnicities’ to investigate, detective claims

        At least 57 young girls are thought to have been exploited by a paedophile network of around 100 suspected perpetrators based in south Manchester in the 2000s. The gang, mainly comprised of Asian men, hooked their victims on drugs, groomed, and sexually abused them. One girl, aged 15, died after being injected with heroin by a 50-year-old man.

        Following a two-year inquiry, commissioned by Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, into the historic failings of police and social workers, a report was published today which concluded that vulnerable girls in care were groomed and abused in “plain sight”.

        The report found multiple failings at the hands of GMP, including how fears over race relations appear to have played a part in senior police thinking when tackling grooming gangs comprised of predominantly Asian men.

      • Kickstarter Hired a Law Firm That Advertises ‘Maintaining a Union-Free Workplace’

        On its website, Duane Morris, one of the highest-grossing law firms in the country, boasts that its attorneys have “extensive experience” in management and labor relations, including “maintaining a union-free workplace” and “handling unfair labor practice charges at the NLRB.” After employees at WHYY, the National Public Radio affiliate in Philadelphia, announced their intentions to unionize last year, the company retained Duane Morris and declined to voluntarily recognize its union. Lawyers on its site boast experience and accomplishments that include, “counseling and training designed to avoid litigation, unionization and employee attrition,” winning elections to keep businesses “union free,” and “strategic union-free planning,” across the food and trucking industries.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Court Allows Chooseco’s Lawsuit Against Netflix Over ‘Bandersnatch’ To Move Forward

        You will recall our previous posts about Chooseco, the company behind those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books from the 80s, and its lawsuit against Netflix. At issue is Netflix’s Black Mirror iteration entitled Bandersnatch. The episode essentially runs a choose your own adventure scenario in streaming film, with the viewer being able to control the outcome of the narrative through choice. In addition, Netflix marketed the episode with references to it being a “choose your own adventure” style story. In addition, the protagonist in the episode refers to a book that is the basis for a video game he’s creating as “a choose your own adventure book.” Predictably, Netflix petitioned the court for a dismissal, arguing that the First Amendment allowed it to make the references it did in the production, so long as it wasn’t purposefully confusing the public with its use of the “choose your own adventure” mark. In the conclusion of that post, we wrote this:

    • Monopolies

      • Jeff Bezos Just Bought The Warner Estate For $165 Million

        Amazon founder Jeff Bezos just bought The Warner Estate for $165 million from media mogul David Geffen.

      • Jeff Bezos bought the most expensive property in LA with an eighth of a percent of his net worth

        According to The Wall Street Journal, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has reportedly just bought the most expensive property in Los Angeles from David Geffen, another unimaginably wealthy man, for $165 million. (It’s the Warner Estate, which spreads out over nine acres in Beverly Hills.) That’s a wild amount of money for anything — I mean, aside from a 747? — but especially for a place you might presumably live in. (Bezos spent around $80 million on a few New York apartments earlier this year, so it’s not clear where his five-foot, seven-inch frame will primarily reside.) For context, $165 million is an eighth of a percent of Bezos’ $131.9 billion net worth.

      • Uber and Lyft’s Financials Reveal Two Ride-Hailing Strategies

        Discussing Uber’s 2019 financial results with analysts last week, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi used the word “focus” six times and the word “discipline” three times in his opening remarks alone. And he dropped “profitability” four times, most notably predicting that Uber would move into the black at the end of this year—at least when measured as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, what analysts call EBITDA. Out of the chaos of Uber’s international business, which ranges from shared to premium ride-hail trips, to e-bikes, to e-scooters, to buses, to on-demand staffing, to food delivery, Khosrowshahi promised some actual money.

      • Qualcomm is one undecided judge away from getting FTC’s antitrust win reversed by Ninth Circuit: observations on today’s hearing

        The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard oral argument in FTC v. Qualcomm this morning. Just as I expected, Qualcomm went into that hearing on a far stronger basis than the one on which last year’s trial had ended. The purpose of this post is to share some observations. So shortly after the hearing, it obviously can’t provide an in-depth analysis.

        The FTC, Qualcomm, and the DOJ (intervening on Qualcomm’s side) all faced tough questions, but from different judges and of varying relevance to the forthcoming decision. For instance, the fact that the panel is somewhat skeptical of the DOJ’s national security argument (though a remand to consider national security was also mentioned as a procedural possibility) doesn’t have a bearing on the underlying merits of the antitrust case. It would just be about tailoring the injunction. One has to weight the questions–and there’s always a possibility of a judge asking a party tough questions to encourage it to present its best arguments, but I don’t think that happened today.

        Circuit Judge Consuelo Callahan appears to be strategically lost for the FTC’s purposes. Some of her questions were clearly designed to support Qualcomm as opposed to looking for answers. In a way, Qualcomm had three different lawyers arguing its case: Thomas C. Goldstein (absolutely world-class), Michael Murray from the DOJ’s Antitrust Division, and… Judge Callahan, who made such points as saying that Qualcomm’s business practices may be capitalistic, but not necessarily anticompetitive, and stressed that being unique in an industry shouldn’t be conflated with being anticompetitive. Nobody would disagree with the distinctions, but this case is about line-drawing.

      • Legal Protection of Video Games

        Nowadays, the video game industry has perhaps become the fastest growing sector in the entertainment industry, rivaling the size of the motion picture industry and surpassing the music industry in terms of overall revenue.

        This article is an introduction to the issue of the legal protection of video games. The paper examines some of the main types of legal protection that video games can currently enjoy under the effective Bulgarian legislation including also a Comparative law analysis.

        Keywords: Legal protection, Video games, Copyright, Patent, Utility model (Useful model), Trade secret, Trademark, Domain name, Audio-visual work, Computer program, Software

      • Making Sense of Intellectual Property Law

        Intellectual property (IP) scholars have long struggled to explain the boundaries of and differences between copyright and patent law. This Article proposes a novel explanation: copyright and patent can be fruitfully understood as establishing a dichotomy between the different human senses. Copyright has bracketed works addressed to the senses of sight and hearing, and it treats products appealing to touch, taste, and smell as functional and, thus, uncopyrightable. To the extent the latter receive IP protection, it is through the utility patent regime. The Article begins by establishing this descriptive proposition, and it shows how some of the most contested areas of IP (e.g., the useful articles doctrine in copyright law and design patents) involve breaches of this sensory dichotomy. Next, I argue that the sensory dichotomy in IP reflects the sensory hierarchy in traditional Western aesthetic theory. According to this tradition, sight and hearing are considered “high” senses capable of unconstrained aesthetic and cultural experiences. Touch, taste, and smell, by contrast, are considered “low” senses, because their connection to natural bodily needs constrains their aesthetic capacities. IP law’s treatment of the senses in copyright and patent law matches this hierarchy.

        In recent years, however, fundamental principles of Western aesthetic theory have been undermined by developments in cognitive neuroscience, evolutionary aesthetics, and haptic and culinary communication. This research suggests that sight and hearing are not as aesthetically unconstrained and functionless, nor are touch, taste, and smell as aesthetically constrained and functional as previously believed. Accordingly, I argue that IP law should treat appeals to the senses uniformly. Works that express or communicate ideas, emotions, or pleasures to any of the five senses in such a way that creates original works of authorship should be potentially copyrightable. The Article concludes with an analysis of this proposal’s effects on various creative fields, including tactile objects, fashion, culinary dishes, and yoga.

      • Patents

        • Caltech Wins $1.1 Billion Patent Verdict Against Apple, Broadcom

          Caltech has won a $1.1 billion jury verdict against Apple Inc. and Broadcom Inc. for allegedly infringing on wireless technology patents held by the Pasadena university.

          On Jan. 29 the federal jury in the Central District Court in downtown Los Angeles ordered Apple to pay $838 million and Broadcom to pay $270 million to Caltech for violating the university’s patents on wireless data transmissions, commonly known as WiFi technology.

          Caltech, which is formally known as the California Institute of Technology, issued a statement in response to the verdict:

        • Thursday Thingies

          On 3-4 December 2020, Microsoft will host a summit on the topic of ‘Intellectual property for open innovation and digital transformation’.

        • The Danish Maritime and Commercial High Court dismisses claim regarding preliminary injunction with extraterritorial effect

          On 20 December 2019, The Danish Maritime and Commercial court ruled in a preliminary injunction case regarding a patented rat barrier. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant should be prohibited from producing, marketing and selling products in numerous European countries.

          The case concerned whether the patentee, Nordisk Innovation ApS, could obtain a preliminary injunction preventing the defendant, Sewatech ApS, from producing, marketing and selling its allegedly infringing rat barriers. Nordisk Innovation based its claims on patent DK/EP 2 113 615 T3 concerning a two-way barrier for preventing rats or other vermin from entering a sewage pipe system.

          In its second claim, Nordisk Innovation, stated that Sewatech should be prohibited from producing, marketing and selling the concerned rat barriers in numerous European countries, including Denmark, ie. Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Holland, Sweden, Switzerland and Great Britain. However, Nordisk Innovation’s attempt to obtain interim relief outside of Denmark was turned down by the Court.

          [...]

          On those grounds, the Court dismissed Nordisk Innovation’s second claim. However, the Court found that Nordisk Innovation has rendered it probable (if not proven) that Sewatech’s rat barriers infringed the patent-in-suit and granted the application for preliminary injunction with effect in Denmark.

          With its decision, the Maritime and Commercial High Court has not excluded the possibility of obtaining a preliminary injunction with extraterritorial effect, but the decision shows that there strict criteria must be met in order to obtain a preliminary injunction with extraterritorial effect.

        • Competing Questions in Supreme Court Petitions

          I enjoy reading competitive questions-presented in Supreme Court petitions. Although I don’t have evidence to support this, my contention is that respondents have become much more aggressive at recharacterizing the questions from the way they were presented in the original petition. As that aggression grows, so does the propensity of petitioners to write even more biased questions.

          [...]

          What is most interesting to me here is that these shifts and tilts of the question are all transparent to the Supreme Court justices and their law clerks. Still I expect that the alternate narratives trigger an emotional response; and those emotions are typically the root of decision making even for the highly rational.

        • CareDX, Inc. v. Natera, Inc. (D. Del. 2020)

          Ever since the Supreme Court’s decision in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories was handed down in 2012, diagnostic method claims have been routinely invalidated by the district courts and those decisions upheld by the Federal Circuit. Indeed, in her recent dissent of the Court’s denial of patentee’s petition for rehearing en banc in Athena Diagnostics v. Mayo Collaborative Services, Judge Newman enumerated the six (now, seven including Athena) Federal Circuit decisions holding diagnostic method claims to be patent ineligible under Section 101.

          [...]

          The latest example of creative drafting (including how the invention was described in the specification) is a recent decision (Report and Recommendation [to the District Court judge]), by Magistrate Judge Christopher J. Burke in the District of Delaware, who denied defendant’s Rule 12(b)(6) motion (of ineligibility) in CareDX, Inc. v. Natera, Inc. The case arose over the claims in U.S. Patent Application Nos. 8,703,652 and 9,845,497, directed to “methods to help predict the status or outcomes of transplant recipients through sequencing of cell-free nucleic acids (“cfDNA”) found in the bodily fluids of a recipient.” The rationale behind the invention is rejection of a transplanted organ in a recipient is accompanied by cell death, which releases donor-specific DNA into the recipient’s bodily fluids. Claim 1 of the ’652 patent and claim 1 of the ’497 patents are representative…

        • Google Servers – Not Enough for Venue

          In a mandamus order, the Federal Circuit has ruled that Google cannot be sued in E.D. Texas for patent infringement — holding that the district is an improper venue under TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, 137 S. Ct. 1514 (2017).

          For most Federal Causes of action, venue is deemed proper if the court hearing the case has personal jurisdiction over the defendants. However, patent infringement cases are different. Patent cases fall under a more specific venue statute that limits actions to districts where either (a) the defendant ‘resides’ (i.e., is incorporated) or (b) the defendant has a regular and established place of business and has committed acts of infringement. 28 U.S.C. 1400(b).

          In Super Interconnect Techs. LLC v. Google LLC, No. 2:18-CV-00463-JRG, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132005 (E.D. Tex. Aug. 7, 2019), Super Interconnect sued Google for infringing, but Google responded a motion for dismissal for improper venue.

          Google is not a Texas company and so does not reside in E.D. Texas. Google is accused of infringing in TX, but Google argues that the company does not have a “regular and established place of business” in the district.

        • CVC Files Motion No. 3 in Opposition to Broad’s Substantive Motion No. 3 to De-designate Claims as Not Corresponding to Count No. 1

          On January 9th, Junior Party the University of California/Berkeley, the University of Vienna, and Emmanuelle Charpentier (collectively, “CVC”) filed a Motion in Opposition to Senior Party The Broad Institute, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (collectively, “Broad”) Substantive Motion No. 3 in support of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) de-designating certain claims as not corresponding to Count 1 in Interference No. 106,155 as declared.

          To recap, in its Motion No. 3, the Broad reiterated the arguments made in Motion No. 2, that there are two embodiments of CRISPR, one involving single-molecule RNA guide RNA that corresponds to Count 1 (which the Broad argues here is not recited in the claims it wants the Board to designate as not corresponding to the Count) and further that certain of the Broad’s claims directed to “SaCas9″ systems that require two or more nuclear localization signals (NLSs) do not correspond to the Count.

        • Software Patents

          • Faster patents require faster IT and contracting, and USPTO’s CIO has goals in place

            When Jamie Holcombe joined USPTO a year ago, one of the agency’s major applications still ran on an HP 9000, affectionately named “T-Rex” because the Unix-based machine was a dinosaur. Holcombe had T-Rex replaced as part of ongoing, multi-year efforts to stabilize and modernize critical IT systems and infrastructure supporting more than 8,000 patent and trademark examiners nationwide, around the clock.

            [...]

            For now, Accenture and Google have partnered with USPTO to identify search algorithms for “supervised learning” sessions with patent examiners. The algorithms learn what’s good and bad to improve searches, as well as how applications are classified for routing and evaluation — a “top priority,” Holcombe said.

            Machine learning may also be able to improve trademark image searches and flag improper trademark activities and fraudulent imagery.

          • Contact List Appeal Not Frivolous

            The PTAB sided with Microsoft — finding the challenged claims of Mira’s two challenged patents obvious. U.S. Patents 8,848,892 & 9,531,657. On appeal, Mira hired new counsel and argued for an alternative claim construction of the term “contact list.” Figure 1 in the claims is described in the patent as “the database structure of contact list of present invention.” The idea here is to have a “memo” interface tightly incorporated into a contact list.

            [...]

            Underlying the IPR is a pending lawsuit in West Virginia involving the patents at issue. That case has been stayed since 2017 – pending resolution of the IPR proceedings. The court now won’t have to decide Microsoft’s pending motion to dismiss on 101 and for improper venue.

      • Trademarks

      • Copyrights

        • US Govt: Massive Jetflicks Pirate Site Was Disguised as Aviation Service

          After being shut down by the FBI, Jetflicks and associated site iStreamitAll were described by the US Government as two of the largest unauthorized streaming services in the United States. A new filing in the Jetflicks case now reveals that the giant pirate platform ran alongside a fledgling aviation video service that quite literally failed to get off the ground.

        • UK Court Finds GTA V Cheat Makers Guilty of Copyright Infringement

          GTA V publisher Rockstar Games’ has won a summary judgment against two men who were connected to the now-defunct ‘mod menu’ cheat Epsilon. The UK Intellectual Property and Enterprise Court found the pair guilty of copyright infringement by creating and selling the software.

        • Rockstar Joins Other Publishers In Misusing Copyright Law To Go After Cheat Developers For GTA5

          For some time now, we’ve noted a troubling trend in the video games industry. That trend would be publishers trying to twist copyright law into a pretzel that allows them sue makers of cheat software for copyright infringement. This novel application of copyright law has been piloted by Blizzard and Epic Games in the past. Both company’s theory of the case for copyright infringement revolves around their games being licensed instead of sold, with the EULA being broken by utilizing cheat software. If the EULA is broken and the cheat-maker still makes use of the game, they do so without a license. Therefore, copyright infringement.

The Uselessness of Social Control Media and Why We Need RSS Feeds’ Resurgence More Than Ever

Posted in Deception at 5:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Information overload can only be tackled using tools that are truly in one’s own hands

Social Control Media

Summary: Social control media became pure noise or misinformation, usually in pursuit of financial expansion alone, and it is also a censorship machine which discourages not falsehoods but unconventional thinking

THE longtime readers of this Web site are aware that we don't do social control media. I personally do, but the site does not. It probably never will. It’s just not worth the trouble and the distraction/disruption it has become to the lives of so many.

As The Atlantic put it in a new article, “ill-prepared arguments and political firestorms are generally not helpful” (“Twitter Is Not as Important as Journalists Make It Seem” is the headline of this article).

“It’s centrally-filtered (censored) communication, disguised as “social” — a nice-sounding term. The word “media” isn’t helpful either as it’s no substitute/alternative to actual journalism/news.”I am partly guilty for spending quite a bit of time posting there, albeit only as part of the process of researching for future articles and Daily Links. I’m well aware of the downsides and have repeatedly thought about quitting such sites altogether. It’s impossible to be in control in such sites; by participating there one is outsourcing all decisions to for-profit companies with their own business agenda, exposing oneself to know foes and trolls (visibility of the whole world, including ‘bot armies’ which leverage platforms for misinformation campaigns, at times incitations by armies). It’s centrally-filtered (censored) communication, disguised as “social” — a nice-sounding term. The word “media” isn’t helpful either as it’s no substitute/alternative to actual journalism/news.

“I’ve more than once “shared” or “retweeted” things which later turned out to be false. I wasn’t even able to correct these afterwards (no “edit” option like with articles).”One perceived ‘upside’ of such “media” is the real-time nature of it, but in practice that means leaping past fact-checking, airing false rumours and hearsay instead. The supposed lag of news site should be seen as a strength, not a weakness. Stories can take time to understand, especially as they can be complex and different people have different points of view, interpretation, or conflicting information. I’ve more than once “shared” or “retweeted” things which later turned out to be false. I wasn’t even able to correct these afterwards (no “edit” option like with articles).

So do you still get your “news” from sites like Twitter or Facebook? Be very careful. The bosses of these sites (shareholders) have an agenda different from yours, so those who you ‘befriend’ or ‘follow’ aren’t really the ones informing you. There are algorithms between you and them and we know who controls (and hides) these algorithms. There’s no neutrality, there’s a business model.

“What to use instead for news? Use RSS feeds.”There’s another angle that’s scarcely explored; because speed is favoured rather than accuracy/quality important information that’s ‘tweeted’ won’t be noticed later on, unless one relies on archiving, and it won’t matter a day later either. It’s very difficult to locate old material and to sort it serially/sequentially. It’s basically a mess with no linkage between one post and another. It’s a storm of brainfarts with random links thrown here and there. Tweets have the shelf life of a pierced apple.

What to use instead for news? Use RSS feeds. Find sites that are trustworthy (don’t rely on searches across sites, as some sites can be dodgy and inaccurate, in effect noise blending in with the signal). Our RSS feed’s URL has been the same since 2006 and published in it were 26,738 blog posts.

Another New ‘Clown’ for the UPC ‘Circus’

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

UPC is Dead, Chris Skidmore is a Dad

Chris Skidmore is a Dad

Summary: A former writer of IPPro Magazine (which seems to be defunct now) reports another shuffle — perhaps the fifth in a few years — of “IP” [sic] Minister for the UK; it doesn’t bode well for the Unified Patent Court (UPC)

WE HAVE long argued that the UPC's death may be overshadowed by this joke that’s a replacement of “IP” [sic] Minister every year if not several times a year (twice a relative, or sibling, of our Prime Minister).

“IP [sic] Minister changes hands yet again,” pointed out a writer from Managing IP [sic] after he had spent years as a megaphone for Team UPC. He cited this tweet, which in turn cites Ben Wodecki’s article behind paywall. It says “[t]he UK minister responsible for IP, Chris Skidmore, has been sacked following yet another cabinet reshuffle.”

“Skidmore out as UK IP minister changes again The UK minister responsible for IP, Chris Skidmore has been “promoted” following yet another cabinet reshuffle,” the tweet added. The tabloids were poking fun yesterday (screenshot above).

At the end of last year we noted that Wodecki’s publisher (IPPro Magazine) had almost gone completely idle. Its last tweet is dated September 6th and its Web site is broken at this time:

IPPro Magazine down

Wodecki’s articles there mostly relayed the EPO’s lies and propaganda, whereas his colleague Barney Dixon gave a voice to SUEPO and ordinary EPO staff. Wodecki now writes for an older site with “IP” [sic] in its name.

The fate of IPPro Magazine isn’t out of the ordinary. In recent years we named several other sites of patent maximalists; they too had been perishing. One of the sites we named was Patent Docs, which 7 years ago (2012) wrote about the “power to grant the first unitary patent in Spring 2014.”

This article did not age well. Did it? Many of those patent maximalists are liars and some have lied for well over a decade. Some still do in 2020, even after Brexit. From what we can gather, nobody in Team UPC speaks about the news regarding Chris Skidmore. Not too convenient a fact, eh?

IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 13, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:25 am by Needs Sunlight

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