03.14.20

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 14/3/2020: AryaLinux 2.4, Fedora 32 Beta Soon, Firefox OS Successor Emerges With KaiOS

Posted in News Roundup at 12:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Windows 10 sucks – can Linux save us all?

        So, what happened? Why is Windows 10 now such a mess? Recently, Microsoft has released update after update that appear to break more things than they fix. Then, when Microsoft scrambles to release a fix for those new problems, it seems like it introduces even more.

        Many of those new problems even result in the notorious Blue Screen of Death. This error screen was once so widespread in earlier versions of Windows, it became iconic. Thought you’d finally seen the last of it with Windows 10? Well, it’s back. With a vengeance.

        Now, Windows 10 has such a big install base, that even with plenty of reports of problems, for the majority of users, Windows 10 still works fine. And that’s a lot of people.

        However, even if you’ve not been affected by a dodgy Windows 10 update, the steady stream of news about people who have been affected, and are now staring despondently at a blue screen, can’t help but lessen your confidence in Windows 10. Sure, it works for you now. But is it just a matter of time before Microsoft breaks your PC?

        [...]

        One of the easiest ways to ditch Windows 10 is to get a new MacBook or Mac, which runs macOS, or a Chromebook, which runs Chrome OS.

        That, of course, is a pricey option. However, if you want to keep your exciting PC or laptop and move away from Windows, then it’s time to seriously consider Linux.

        Linux is an open-source operating system, and it’s incredibly popular. It’s free to download and install (apart from some versions that are for enterprise users) and it runs on any PC that can run Windows 10. In fact, due to it being more lightweight than Windows 10, you should find it runs better than Windows 10.

        Perhaps best of all, Linux comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Called distributions, or distros, these different spins of Linux are aimed at different people. There are hardcore distros for Linux experts, as well as beginner distros, and ones that are built for running on old and underpowered hardware.

        If you’re new to Linux, then Ubuntu and Mint are the distros to check out, as they are extremely easy to use. Mint in particular is good for Windows migrants as it has a user interface that’s very similar to Windows 10, so you’ll feel right at home.

        Thanks to the popularity of Linux, many programs (and an increasing number of games) you use in Windows 10 will have Linux versions. And if not, there are plenty of excellent alternatives. While Microsoft Office doesn’t run on Linux, LibreOffice is a great (free) alternative, for example.

        There’s also projects like WINE (Wine Is Not an Emulator) which let you run Windows 10 apps within Linux.

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • Intel Tiger Lake Gen12/Xe Graphics Driver Support Considered Stable With Linux 5.7

          Over the past year we have seen a steady flow of Intel Tiger Lake “Gen12″ graphics enablement for the Linux kernel, their first generation also adopting the Xe Graphics branding as part of their discrete GPU initiative. With the Linux 5.7 kernel this spring will be the first release where the Gen12 graphics support is there by default as a sign of stability.

          While a lot of Tiger Lake enablement work on the graphics side has flown into recent kernel releases, it hasn’t been exposed by default. Only if running i915.force_probe= as a Linux kernel parameter has that Gen12 graphics support been exposed. But with Linux 5.7, that flag will no longer be needed.

    • Applications

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine-Staging 5.4 Released With Additions Around Tasklist, XACT Audio

        Hot off yesterday’s release of Wine 5.4 with Unicode 13 and text drawing for D3DX9, Wine-Staging 5.4 is now available with more than 850 patches on top of it.

        Wine-Staging did see some of its patches upstreamed for Wine 5.4, including the D3DX9 text rendering support, but there is also new experimental/testing functionality to find with Wine-Staging 5.4.

      • Wine 5.4 out now with better support for text drawing and Direct2D

        Straight from the WineHQ, we got to know that the newest Wine 5.4 development release is finally here, and it comes with many new features and bug fixes.

        If Wine doesn’t sound familiar, allow FOSSLinux to introduce you to this handy software. Much to our surprise, Wine isn’t a software that keeps you up to date with the latest happenings in the alcohol industry.

        Instead, the makers think of WINE as being short for ‘Wine Is Not an Emulator.’ What Wine does is provide users with a compatibility layer on which you can run Windows software on operating systems based on Linux, BSD, and macOS. The fact that this software relies on upon quickly producing POSIX calls from Windows API calls is what makes it more efficient in terms of performance and memory and sets it apart from other emulators in the game.

        So, if we’ve got you invested in Wine, it’s about time we see what this update has in store for us.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • How To Try Out GNOME 3.36 “Gresik” Quickly? (Released 11 March 2020)

          The community beloved computer desktop environment GNOME released version 3.36 with codename Gresik (a city in Indonesia) at Wednesday, 11 March 2020. GNOME is the user interface of Ubuntu nowadays and also user interface of many other operating systems. The software is already available at its official website www.gnome.org but we know we need to upgrade our operating system in order to use it. The problem is either our OS does not provide 3.36 yet or we do not want to upgrade. In fact, most OSes are not fast in providing latest GNOME including Ubuntu itself. On the other hand, we as the users often want to try it out only and do not want any change in our system. There is a solution –a quick way– to try out 3.36 easily without changing our OS. It is by downloading a distro with it built-in and run its LiveCD session. This way we can review all its features in safely and happily. What are OSes available today with 3.36? How to get it? How to run the LiveCD? Those are the purposes of this simple tutorial.

        • GNOME 3.36 | Releases Notes, New Features, and Fixes

          GNOME 3.36 | Releases Notes, New Features, and Fixes GNOME just released an update that was 6 months in the making that will go live in Ubuntu 20.04 and Fedora 32.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • AryaLinux 2.4 Release notes

          Listed below are some of the changes that have made it to this release of AryaLinux. Apart from package updates and upgrades, there are several things that make this release different from our other releases.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • [Test-Announce] Fedora 32 Beta is GO

          The Fedora 31 Beta RC1.2 compose[1] is GO and will be shipped live on Tuesday, 17 March 2020.

          For more information please check the Go/No-Go meeting minutes [2] or log [3].

          Thank you to everyone who has and still is working on this release!

        • [Official] Fedora 32 Beta will be Released by Next Week 17th March 2020!

          Fedora 32 Beta Version: Fedora is one of the Linux Distro developed by the team Fedora Project which is officially funded by Red Hat Enterprises. It uses DNF and RPM package management. Fedora uses Security-Enhanced Linux by basic and so it is now more secure and safe to use. Recently, Ben Cotton announced that the latest version of Fedora 32 beta will be launched by next week of 17th March 2020.

        • Fedora 32 Beta To Be Released Next Week

          Fedora 32 Beta was deemed unready for release on Thursday during the initial Go/No-Go meeting but after reconvening twenty-four hours later the remaining blocker bugs were addressed.

          As such, the beta release of Fedora 32 is now on track for releasing next Tuesday, 17 March, now that the prominent bugs have been addressed per the mailing list.

      • Debian Family

        • Daniel Pocock is an asshole and trolling the Debian project

          Daniel Pocock has been kicked out of the Debian project, the FSFE and many other social groups due to constant abuse and harassment community members had to endure from him.

          There have also been allegations of misconduct and embezzlement.

        • Censored: Question for Debian Project Leader candidates 2020
        • Andrej Shadura: Daniel Pocock is harassing Debian

          If you see this blog post, it means you’re reading Daniel Pocock’s website impersonating the Debian Planet. In case you don’t know yet, he’s been harassing and abusing the Debian project and its members in public for more than a year now, doing similar activities in private before and also in other communities, such as FSFE. He’s been sending abusive emails to the project members, forging emails from other people, creating shadow mailing lists and now also a feed aggregator.

          Unfortunately, any attempts to talk him into stopping didn’t bring any results.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 2020 OSI Election Results

        Congratulations to Megan Byrd-Sanicki and Josh Simmons who were both elected to the OSI board’s two individual member seats, and to Italo Vignoli, nominated by Associazione LibreItalia, who was elected to the one open affiliate member seat. The newly elected Directors will take their seats on the Board, March 20, 2020,

        The OSI thanks all of those who participated in the 2020 board elections by casting a ballot. We also want to extend our sincerest gratitude to all of those who stood for election. Each year the field of candidates who run for the OSI Board of Directors includes a who’s who of open source software leadership. The 2020 nominees were again, remarkable: experts from a variety of fields and technologies with diverse skills and experience gained from working across the open source community. The OSI is honored to include each of the candidates in our 2020 election.

        We would also like to recognize and thank Molly de Blanc and Simon Phipps who are leaving the OSI board. Both Molly and Simon are former OSI board presidents, who have led significant efforts to advance not only the mission of the OSI, but the organization as well. We hope the entire open source software community will join us in thanking them for the service and their leadership. The OSI and the open source software movement are better off because of their contributions and commitment, and we thank them.

      • Events

        • LinuxFest Northwest 2020 cancelled by Wuhan Corona Virus

          I received word that LinuxFest Northwest – originally scheduled for April 25th and 26th in Bellingham, WA – has been cancelled due to the Wuhan Corona Virus. This is the official announcement just sent over by conference organizers: “With an abundance of precaution and care for the well-being of all LinuxFest presenters, sponsors, attendees, volunteers, and their loved ones, we have unanimously elected to not hold LFNW in-person at Bellingham Technical College this year.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox OS Successor: Mozilla and KaiOS announce partnership

            Firefox OS, formerly known as Boot2Gecko, was Mozilla’s attempt at establishing a mobile operating system. First designed as an open alternative to the rising Android and iOS operating systems, then with a focus on connected devices instead.

            Mozilla announced the end of commercial development of Firefox OS in 2016 and to release the code as an open source project.

            KaiOS Technologies picked up the source and used it as a central component for the company’s KaiOS operating system. The company had some success with the operating system as it is used on “more than 120 million devices” in “over 100 countries” according to KaiOS Technologies. KaiOS focuses on feature-phones, a market that Mozilla did not really entered when it worked on Firefox OS.

      • Programming/Development

        • Top App Programming Language Would More Impact In Upcoming Years [Ed: What a joke; we’re led to think that all programming can be assessed based on one single Web site that Microsoft bought as if nothing exists outside it]

          In this article, we discuss top app programming language would more impact In upcoming years. Number of mobile app technologies that are widely used for a specific platform or for cross-platform app development. One of the most comprehensive code repositories today GitHub create a year in Review report that shares interesting statistics about the programmer community.

          As a mobile app development company, this report is beneficial as it informs you about the current status of popular app programming languages. While JavaScript, PHP, C, C#, C++, etc., are still in use, there are some promising ones coming up on the horizon.

        • Python

          • Documentation as a way to build Community

            As a long time user and participant in open source communities, I’ve always known that documentation is far from being a solved problem. At least, that’s the impression we get from many developers: “writing docs is boring”; “it’s a chore, nobody likes to do it”. I have come to realize I’m one of those rare people who likes to write both code and documentation.

            Nobody will argue against documentation. It is clear that for an open-source software project, documentation is the public face of the project. The docs influence how people interact with the software and with the community. It sets the tone about inclusiveness, how people communicate and what users and contributors can do. Looking at the results of a “NumPy Tutorial” search on any search engine also gives an idea of the demand for this kind of content – it is possible to find documentation about how to read the NumPy documentation!

          • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (ccxix) stackoverflow python report
  • Leftovers

    • The Beagle in Me, the Child in Snoopy

      At the local pet shop, the owner, a gruff older man, tells me, “Oh, you got a beagle? You’re fucked!” And he laughs and laughs. “Dumb as a bag of rocks. Dumber than than the stone you walk on. You’ll never train him. And they’re runners. Trust me, you’re gonna be spending more time looking for him than with him.”

    • Marching with the Maoists

      When I was a teenager living in the Bundesrepublik Deutschland my friends and I used to smoke little handmade cigarettes from India. They were called bidis and were made of leaves from the kendu tree that grows in India. The leaves were rolled tightly into a small cigarette that was then tied with a piece of thread and dried. The bidi packages were triangular in shape and contained twenty or so cigarettes. They were harsh but no more so than one of the French tobacco cigarettes we also used to smoke. If I remember correctly, the bidi cigarettes cost two Deutschmarks per pack. This was around the same price as tobacco cigarettes at the time. The reason I mention these bidi cigarettes is because of their connection to the Naxalite Maoist revolutionaries that operate in the central and eastern forests of India where the cigarettes are harvested.

    • “Now, Voyager” in Reverse

      Recent events in the 2020 democrat campaigns for president have led my mind back to memories of the film “Now, Voyager” from 1942. The film is about an “ugly duckling”s transformation and personal liberation from an oppressive, patriarchy-enforcing, matriarch who only thinks in terms of consolidating greater power over others. While the film has a number of now sentimental, dated and, at times laughable, social manners (the focus on cigarette usage especially), its main message of personal evolution from self-loathing through caring and integrity into responsible behavior is what makes it cogent to current events.

    • Mountains of Sound: the Music of McCoy Tyner

      What resounds in many admiring ears and in the many panegyrics that followed in the wake of piano master McCoy Tyner’s death last weekend at the age of eighty-one is the colossal sound he pulled from his instrument: his left hand—with wrist high to get more leverage—thundering octaves that catapulted up from that low bass toward the middle of the keyboard to grab jagged chords. The right hand joined in either with simultaneous hammer blows of its own or to  draw out fiery skeins of barbed, frenetic melody: a dance of life or death or both. Like John Coltrane, musical and spiritual leader of the famed quartet of which Tyner was a vital cohesive force during his tenure in the group over the first half of the 1960s, the pianist could unleash avalanches of sound or provide the spreading terrain over which the saxophonist unleashed his torrents.

    • Four Reasons Civilization Won’t Decline: It Will Collapse

      As modern civilization’s shelf life expires, more scholars have turned their attention to the decline and fall of civilizations past.  Their studies have generated rival explanations of why societies collapse and civilizations die.  Meanwhile, a lucrative market has emerged for post-apocalyptic novels, movies, TV shows, and video games for those who enjoy the vicarious thrill of dark, futuristic disaster and mayhem from the comfort of their cozy couch.  Of course, surviving the real thing will become a much different story.

    • Exclusive: ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ at the Museum of the Bible are all forgeries

      In a report spanning more than 200 pages, a team of researchers led by art fraud investigator Colette Loll found that while the pieces are probably made of ancient leather, they were inked in modern times and modified to resemble real Dead Sea Scrolls. “These fragments were manipulated with the intent to deceive,” Loll says.

      The new findings don’t cast doubt on the 100,000 real Dead Sea Scroll fragments, most of which lie in the Shrine of the Book, part of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. However, the report’s findings raise grave questions about the “post-2002” Dead Sea Scroll fragments, a group of some 70 snippets of biblical text that entered the antiquities market in the 2000s. Even before the new report, some scholars believed that most to all of the post-2002 fragments were modern fakes.

    • Science

      • Boomerang of Peace

        In my files, there is a photo of my grandfather, George Harold Burchett, with Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space. It was taken on 9 July 1961 in Moscow, in the reception room of the State Committee for Cultural Relations, three months after Gagarin’s historic flight into outer space.

      • We Need More Lunatics

        The Moon with Venus, as observed in New Mexico, Dec. 2019 (Photo by the author) Back in February, on the day I knew the full moon would be rising, I sat down outside facing east, a few minutes before sunset, to watch the show. Here in southwestern New Mexico, the afternoon had been sunny and dry with a high in the low 70s, so the temperature, though cooling down, was still very pleasant.

        [...]

        What does our culture—a techno-industrial society in the Abrahamic religious tradition—have to say to us about the moon? Almost nothing. We have a nursery rhyme about a musically-inclined feline and a bovine with impressive leaping abilities. We have rumors that people act more violent during a full moon but is that just an urban myth? (Science says it is, for what it’s worth.) We use the word “lunatic” (from “luna,” Latin for “moon”) to describe insanity, but more on that later. Basically, and I would say to our detriment, we have reduced the moon to a symbol or cartoon, as if it literally were made of paper, in a sky of canvas over a sea of cardboard.

        But the moon is a real thing and it’s important. Its cycles and many of their effects are well-known. At one point in human history, everyone was in tune with its rhythm because we all lived outside and were directly, personally affected, as were the other life forms around us with whom we communed.

        The studies of Astrology and Astronomy were once one and the same. People who observed and recorded the movements of the heavenly bodies also described apparent correlations between these movements and the actions and attributes of earthly bodies. In the splitting of this discipline into two, both pursuits lost something.

        I lived on the West Coast for nearly two decades and so I met quite a number of astrologically minded people but too few had a practical knowledge of the night skies. They knew the Moon was in Cancer because that’s what their charts told them, but lacked the training to figure it out through their own observations. As for those individuals of more skeptical bent, who attempt to sever the Universe of its intrinsic interconnectedness, I must ask why they insist on manufacturing cold loneliness when the raw materials of life are so much better suited to warm conviviality? Too often, the “rationalists” breed estrangement, which is so dangerous in a time when we need to reknit our relationships to the rest of creation.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Pharma Discovers “Geriatric ADHD”

        Pharma has already discovered the huge profits in labeling school children, toddlers and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Now, according to some reports, it has discovered “geriatric ADHD.”

      • In Ancient Greek Thought, Plagues Follow on Bad Leadership

        In the fifth century B.C., the playwright Sophocles begins “Oedipus Tyrannos” with the title character struggling to identify the cause of a plague striking his city, Thebes. (Spoiler alert: It’s his own bad leadership.)

      • Avoid Contagion
      • Who’s Ready to Die for Trump’s Ego?

        My granddaughter’s school has planned a trip to Thailand.

      • Union Workers Are More Likely to Have Paid Sick Days and Health Insurance

        COVID-19 sheds light on inequalities among the poorest and least-empowered workers.

      • ‘Unconscionable’: Amid Coronavirus Crisis, Trump Moves to Take Food Stamps From Over a Million People

        “Really it’s a cruel rule, taking food out of the mouths of hungry individuals.”

      • Cruelty ‘Off the Charts’ as Trump Blocks States From Expanding Medicaid in Response to Coronavirus

        “Not even a global pandemic will stop dead-eyed right-wing extremists from trying to eviscerate the social safety net.”

      • Endangering Public, Trump Lies Mount as Coronavirus Spreads Across United States

        “It turns out it has serious consequences when in the middle of a serious public health emergency the president just lies about it over and over and over again.”

      • COVID-19 pandemic: An opportunity for quackery

        This week, the COVID-19 pandemic started to shift into high gear in the US. The stock market tanked worse than any time since the crash of 1987, so much so that, given its losses over the last several days, it’s now firmly in bear market territory. My two favorite meeting, which have the bad timing/fortune to be in the spring (Society of Surgical Oncology and Society of Surgical Oncology) have been cancelled, with more likely to come, such as the American Society of Breast Surgeons meeting. Major League Baseball has delayed the start of its season; the NCAA has canceled March Madness; and the NBA has shut down its season for at least 30 days. Broadway is going dark, and numerous television shows are dispensing with their live studio audiences during taping for at least a few weeks. These are interesting times we live in. Meanwhile, under the “leadership” of an arrogant incompetent orange ignoramus with a massive ego that requires constant sycophancy and stroking, who spouts misinformation on an hourly basis and will never, ever try to relieve his black hole density ignorance with actual information that experts have been desperately trying to dangle in front of him to get his interest by coupling it with “Dear Leader”-style overblown praise of his awesomeness, the COVID-19 pandemic appears, by every measure, ready to explode out of control. (I can hear you all thinking, “Tell us what you really think about Donald Trump, Orac.” I can also sense you thinking, “That’s a hell of a long sentence!” It’s not a run-on sentence, though, even though it feels like one. That’s just me. If it bugs you, you don’t have to read this blog.)

      • Trump’s DOA TV Address and an Alternative Fiscal Stimulus Program

        Tonight, March 11, Trump gave a TV address to the Nation that was to be his program for mobilizing the country to address the growing spread of the Covid-19 virus and its increasing negative impact on the US economy.  The proposals landed with a thud. Even the financial markets gasped and went into a tailspin. The Dow Jones stock futures market immediately went into a tailspin, falling 1250 points again even before the markets reopen tomorrow morning, Thursday March 12.

      • Paul Krugman, COVID-19, and Broken Windows

        The jury is still out on which of two things — COVID-19 or the panic over COVID-19 — will cost more lives and do more damage to the global economy. My money’s still on the latter. In the meantime, I’ve developed a surefire, Groundhog Day type test for whether the emergency is over:

      • COVID-19 Side Effects: Reality and Clarity

        The fragility of our American system is about to be laid bare.

      • What Is Covid-19 Trying to Teach Us?

        Some people see the world as an infinite number of prize fights, each with one winner and one loser. For them life is an unending series of these zero-sum games. Unfortunately, one of these people is the President of the United States.

      • Conflicting Reports About Brazil President Bolsonaro Intensify Alarm Over Trump’s Possible Exposure to Coronavirus

        “If Trump really hasn’t been tested since this, it’s extreme medial recklessness and political irresponsibility. If he has, then it’s a scandalous that we don’t know the results.”

      • Despite Coronavirus Threat, Americans for Prosperity Still Leads Fight Against Medicaid Expansion

        Coronavirus or not, AFP’s opposition to health care for the poor and working poor remains resolute.

      • Amid Coronavirus, Trump Moves to Take Food Stamps From Over a Million People

        The Trump administration made clear this week that it has no plans to scrap — or, at the very least, delay — a rule change that could strip federal food assistance from over a million people in the United States as the coronavirus spreads across the nation, heightening the need for measures to protect the most vulnerable from the economic fallout.

      • ‘Clear and Present Danger’ to Public Health: Leading Progressive Group Demands Trump Resign Over Coronavirus Failure

        “In a time when protecting the nation’s public health demands clear, truthful, and compassionate leadership, Trump has offered exactly the opposite.”

      • To Help Stem Coronavirus, Lift Sanctions on Iran

        Among those in Iran who have been unable to get critical medications have been patients with leukemia, epidermolysis bullosa, epilepsy, and chronic eye injuries from exposure to chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq war. Now coronavirus is added to that list.

      • We’re Urged to Wash Our Hands. But for Some It’s Not That Simple.

        The World Health Organization has now confirmed that the coronavirus outbreak is a pandemic. The fast-spreading disease has been in the United States for weeks now, with more than 1,000 confirmed cases and at least 31 related deaths. The widening consensus is that aggressive measures will be required to lessen its impact.

      • Trump Failure to Declare Coronavirus National Emergency ‘Beyond Reckless and Irresponsible’: Expert

        “This is an active and deliberate choice that the president is making.”

      • A Smirk, A Snort, And A ‘Scotty From Marketing’ Fact-Free Coronavirus Live Address To The Nation

        We have no reason to believe the Morrison Government’s handling of the unfolding coronavirus disaster will be any better than its handling of the recent climate emergency. Particularly not after the Prime Minister’s live address to the nation, dripping with spin and a smothered laugh off camera. Chris Graham explains.

      • On My Stint in Coronavirus Quarantine

        Am I the next Typhoid Mary?

      • Matt Gaetz—GOP Lawmaker Who Opposed Paid Sick Leave and Mocked Coronavirus Warnings—Now Under Quarantine Using Paid Sick Leave

        As a member of Congress, Gaetz earns $174,000 per year regardless of whether he comes to work—while millions of Americans must choose between working while ill or forgoing their paychecks.

      • Sanders Says Coronavirus ‘A Red Flag for Current Dysfunctional and Wasteful Healthcare System’

        “We are only as safe as the least insured person in America.”

      • The FDA Is Forcing the CDC to Waste Time Double Testing Some Coronavirus Cases

        A federal directive that’s supposed to speed up the response to a pandemic is actually slowing down the government’s rollout of coronavirus tests.

      • US Lags on Coronavirus Testing and Medical Experts Warn “No One Is Immune”

        It has been seven weeks since the first case of the new coronavirus was reported in the United States. President Trump is claiming, “Anybody that needs a test gets a test,” but this is simply untrue. There have been just 11,000 tests so far throughout the United States since the coronavirus outbreak began, compared to nearly 20,000 tests for coronavirus every day in South Korea alone. We spend the hour looking at how the Trump administration has failed to account for what may be thousands of infections because of ongoing problems with access to testing, and how other countries have responded. We also discuss measures people must take to limit their exposure and protect their communities. We speak with Justin Lessler, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is the senior author on a new study that suggests the median incubation period for the new coronavirus is about five days. We are also joined by Dr. Steven Goodman, associate dean at Stanford Medical School, where he is professor of epidemiology and population health and medicine. He is also Amy Goodman’s brother. Both schools are now holding classes online over concerns about the outbreak.

      • ‘Coronavirus Isn’t Stopping Us!’: Youth Activists Adapt to Global Pandemic With Digital #ClimateStrikeOnline

        “In the face of a crisis we act according to science and fact.”

      • Coronavirus Prevention That Works For Working People

        It should not take a terrifying national emergency for us to wake up to the realization that we all pay the price when we treat people like they don’t matter.

      • Washing our Hands of Trump and Powerlessness

        It’s time to wash our hands of Donald Trump. The coronavirus pandemic is quickly becoming Trump’s Hurricane Katrina, because the federal government bungled the early stages of the disaster so badly. The CDC initially sent out faulty test kits, limited tests to overseas travelers, and blocked other labs from testing. All that practical incompetence can and should be held against Trump.

      • The Fed’s Baffling Response to the Coronavirus Explained

        When the World Health Organization announced on February 24th that it was time to prepare for a global pandemic, the stock market plummeted. Over the following week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by more than 3,500 points or over 10%. In an attempt to contain the damage, on March 3rd the Federal Reserve slashed the fed funds rate from 1.5% to 1.0%, in their first emergency rate move and biggest one-time cut since the 2008 financial crisis. But rather than reassuring investors, the move fueled another panic sell-off.

      • House Democrats Propose Sending Checks of Up to $6,000 to Help Ease Workers’ Pain During Coronavirus Pandemic

        “As more folks are staying in and taking necessary steps to avoid spread of the coronavirus, more Americans will struggle to cover basic needs like rent, groceries, and medicines.”

      • Release People From Jail To Prevent A Coronavirus Catastrophe Behind Bars

        Written by Jose Saldana, Komrade Z*, and Nadja Guyot

        COVID-19, the novel coronavirus spreading across the globe, exposes the dangers of the U.S.’s eroded and underfunded safety net.

      • As US Faces Nationwide Social Distancing, Coronavirus Threat Renews Demand for Universal Broadband Access

        “Schools are closing and classes are migrating online. But not every student has internet at home.”

      • ‘Grotesque Level of Greed’: Owned by World’s Richest Man Jeff Bezos, Whole Foods Wants Workers to Pay for Colleagues’ Sick Leave During Coronavirus Pandemic

        “Absolute bullshit. With the amount Jeff Bezos makes in one day, he could shut stores down and pay employees to stay safe.”

      • ‘No, I Don’t Take Responsibility At All,’ Says Trump, About Coronavirus Testing Lag

        There you have it.

      • As Coronavirus Grips US, Critics Remember Susan Collins’ Insistence Pandemic Flu Funding Be Cut From 2009 Stimulus Package

        “Senator Collins went out of her way to stop funds from going to pandemic preparedness, and now Mainers are concerned because of Collins’ history of opposing funding for situations exactly like this.”

      • Some Towns Still Haven’t Halted Utility Shut-offs for Unpaid Water Bills During Coronavirus, Even as Federal Lawmakers Demand It

        Access to running water for hand-washing is essential to slowing the spread of the coronavirus, but in Washington state, some utilities serving the U.S. epicenter of the pandemic have not committed to halting water shut-offs for customers with delinquent accounts.

        Seattle and some other cities in King County have suspended shut-offs, but other communities have only committed to being flexible with customers who are behind on payments. In Kirkland, where several coronavirus cases have been tied to a nursing facility, the city has not instituted a moratorium on water shut-offs, though the city said officials are discussing such a step.

      • Kremlin spokesman says Putin is safe from coronavirus, but don’t expect to see his medical records

        Putin administration spokesman Dmitry Peskov says the Kremlin is taking all necessary steps to protect the president from seasonal and other diseases. On Friday, the press secretary fielded questions from journalists about whether the administration is pursuing additional measures, after reports a day earlier that one of the lawmakers who attended the president’s speech on Tuesday had violated Russia’s rules on self-quarantine, following his return from an undisclosed trip to France.

      • Coronavirus Offerings and Job Losses

        It was predicted, warned against and is happening. Universities fattened by the Chinese student market are now in a state of financial shock, cutting losses, trimming courses and doing what over managed institutions do best: remove working productive staff while preserving the gouty managerial class. COVID-19 was but a catalyst for something that was already deep seated, a doomsday scenario for universities with management structures keen to make a killing from one traditional source. There were other incentives to do so, of course: falling government investment in education, an increased interest in finding sources of private income.

      • Trump Is Treating Coronavirus Like a PR Problem, Not a Health Crisis

        On March 4, Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz made headlines for a stunt on the House floor in which he wore a gas mask to make light of coronavirus fears. Three days later, one of his constituents died of the infection. On March 9, Gaetz announced he was going into isolation after being exposed to the virus at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

      • Russia’s number of confirmed coronavirus infections reaches 45

        In the past 24 hours, Russia has recorded another 11 new cases of coronavirus infection. A federal task force announced that all the new patients are Russian citizens. Five of the cases were reported in Moscow, three in St. Petersburg, one in the region outside St. Petersburg, one in the region outside Moscow, and another in Russia’s Perm region.

      • Major Russian companies take mostly minor measures against coronavirus as St. Petersburg bans large events

        As Russia’s confirmed COVID-19 case count continues to hover in the mid-double digits, large companies and cities outside Moscow are beginning to take precautions. St. Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov announced that from March 16 to April 30, all events involving more than 1,000 people will be banned. The surrounding Leningrad region, meanwhile, banned events of over 300 people following its first confirmed case: a woman from Kudrovo who had recently visited Italy.

      • The FDA Is Forcing the CDC to Waste Time Double Testing Some Coronavirus Cases

        A federal directive that’s supposed to speed up the response to a pandemic is actually slowing down the government’s rollout of coronavirus tests.

      • Coronavirus Telecommuting To Further Highlight Shoddy US Telecom Market

        To be clear, there are going to be layers of life and death dysfunction that the Coronavirus shines a bright spotlight on, most notable being a shaky US healthcare system and incompetent government leadership. But the outbreak and response is also going to shine a bright light on the broken US telecom market, and the millions of Americans that won’t be able to effectively telecommute in a crisis.

      • Coronavirus Reveals the Cracks in Globalization

        The coronavirus will eventually pass, but the same cannot be said for the Panglossian phenomenon known as “globalization.” Stripped of the romantic notion of a global village, the ugly process we’ve experienced over the past 40 years has been a case of governmental institutions being eclipsed by multinational corporations, acting to maximize profit in support of shareholders. To billions of us, it has resembled a looting process, of our social wealth, and political meaning. Governments that wanted to stay on top would have to learn to master soft power to learn to be relevant in a globalized world, mostly acting to smooth transactions and otherwise stay out of the way.

      • Coronavirus and the Digital Divide

        The New York Times‘ Farhad Manjoo (3/11/20) tried wistfully to imagine US companies and politicians taking seriously the coronavirus lesson of the need for a real social safety net and worker protections. Journalists could also themselves keep focus on enduring fissures that a public health crisis throws into relief. For example, as more schools move classes online, we could talk about the minimally 12 million, disproportionately African-American and Latinx students who don’t have internet access at home.

      • At ‘Shock Doctrine Press Conference,’ Trump Bails Out Oil Industry, Not US Families, as Coronavirus Crisis Intensifies

        “Trump has once again put the interests of oil and gas executives ahead of the interests of people and communities.”

      • Dismissing Heightened Coronavirus Risks, State Officials Plan To Hold March 17 Primaries

        In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Louisiana became the first state to delay their primary, which was scheduled for April 4. The Wyoming Democratic Party also canceled the “in-person portion of their upcoming vote” on the same date. Yet, despite health risks, state officials in four states intend to proceed with their primaries on March 17. Arizona, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio are in states of emergencies. The potential of contracting the virus is heightened if voters stand in lines at polling places. Polling place workers may potentially be exposed to the virus. Voter turnout may be significantly lower as a result of fears.Nevertheless, Secretary of State Kathy Hobbs of Arizona, Secretary of State Laurel Lee of Florida, Elections Board Chairman Charles Scholz (IL), and Secretary of State Frank LaRose Of Ohio put out a statement insisting Americans have “participated in elections during challenging times in the past,” and they would be able to do so on Tuesday. “Unlike concerts, sporting events, or other mass gatherings, where large groups of people travel long distances to congregate in a confined space for an extended period of time, polling locations see people from a nearby community coming into and out of the building for a short duration,” the political representatives declared. The officials added, “Guidance from voting machine manufacturers on how best to sanitize machines, guidance from CDC on best practices for hand washing, and guidance from our respective state health officials is being provided to every polling location.”  “Our priority is ensuring that people are healthy and safe,” the Wyoming Democratic Party stated. “Holding public events right now would put that in jeopardy so this is the responsible course of action.” (Wyoming holds a caucus.) Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin delayed the primary until June 20. “Safe and secure elections also mean safety to the people of Louisiana,”

      • Russia restricts air travel to the EU, allowing only charter flights and planes headed to capital cities

        Effective on March 16, Russia is imposing new restrictions on air travel to countries inside the European Union, as part of the expanding effort to contain the spread of coronavirus. According to an announcement from Russia’s federal task force, air travel will now be limited to flights destined only for the capital cities of EU nations, though the new rules do not apply to charter flights, according to the news agency Interfax.

      • Emergency Medical Responders Have Lacked Guidance and Are Stretched for Supplies and Personnel to Combat Coronavirus

        After the first confirmed coronavirus case on U.S. soil, 800 miles to his north, the chief of a Northern California fire department gathered his executive team in mid-February to prepare for the inevitable landing of the virus in his community.

        They planned to screen patients carefully and have their first responders gear up in gowns, masks and goggles if they believed one could be infected. Yet even though the outbreak was already spreading nationwide, Rocklin Fire Department Chief William Hack decided to hold off on putting the high-level response into action until the first case showed up in the county.

      • Service Workers Are Worried About Paying Rent, Getting Sick From Coronavirus

        We interact with service industry workers daily: baristas at coffee shops, waitstaff at restaurants, manicurists at nail salons, the checkout guy at the local bodega, the Uber driver in whose car we ride, and so on. These are people who provide services we rely on in our everyday routines, and a majority of these workers do not have the luxury of preparing for the affects of a coronavirus outbreak on their jobs and incomes.

        Teen Vogue spoke with four young service workers in major urban areas at risk for coronavirus spread — New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, and the greater Boston area — to learn how the disease is impacting their daily routines and livelihoods.

      • Fox Business Host Trish Regan on Hiatus After Virus Comments

        Regan, the host of “Trish Regan Primetime,” said Democrats and the “liberal media” were using the coronavirus to “destroy the president.” She blamed the stock market declines on Donald Trump’s rivals, calling it “another attempt to impeach the president.” While she spoke, the headline “Coronavirus Impeachment Scam” appeared next to her.

      • Chinese Billionaire to Donate Coronavirus Test Kits, Face Masks to U.S.

        Chinese billionaire Jack Ma has pledged to donate 500,000 coronavirus test kits and 1 million face masks to the United States in the face of the global pandemic.

      • Twitter and Facebook Must Not Allow Trump’s Covid-19 Lies

        But now we are in a different phase: The verbiage from the Orange Man in the White House has regularly involved misleading assurances about a lethal pandemic. If heeded, those words have the potential to increase people’s chances of being exposed to a disease that may kill them.

        I don’t suggest that the president be censored, which is the explicit line that both Dorsey and Zuckerberg are unwilling to to cross. But instead of hitting us with their usual justification for inaction—“You don’t want us to decide what content is OK!”—they should be asking themselves, “When do we need to inform our users that content is dangerous, no matter who says it?”

      • Coronavirus Will Change How We Shop, Travel and Work for Years

        The great depression spurred a “waste not want not” attitude that defined consumer patterns for decades. Hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic still haunts German policy.

        The Asia financial crisis left the region hoarding the world’s biggest collection of foreign exchange. More recently, the 2008 global financial crisis drove a wedge through mature democracies that still reverberates, with workers suffering measly pay gains in the decade since.

      • ‘It’s a scary thing’: Wild stay cautious amid coronavirus crisis

        There was about six feet of space separating Wild interim coach Dean Evason from members of the media following Wednesday’s practice at TRIA Rink.

        It was a similar setup during interviews for veteran center Eric Staal and dynamic winger Kevin Fiala.

        Such is life now that sports leagues across the country have started to adapt new regulations as a way to combat the coronavirus crisis.

        “It’s hard to not see it,” Evason said. “Whenever we turn on the TV, radio, newspaper, whatever, we see it. It’s a scary thing, obviously, in our world today. We are just going to follow protocol and whatever is asked of us.”

      • Minnesota nursing homes begin to restrict — and ban — visitors over coronavirus

        Following guidance from the federal government and recommendations from a national industry group, nursing homes in Minnesota and across the nation on Tuesday began taking unprecedented measures to limit, discourage, and outright ban visitors from nursing homes, long-term care facilities, hospice centers and many assisted-living facilities as a result of the serious risk the spreading coronavirus poses to the elderly.

        “It’s the largest sort of lockdown I’ve ever seen,” said Doug Beardsley, vice president of member services for Care Providers of Minnesota. The group represents about 160 nursing homes and hundreds of assisted living centers across the state. Beardsley noted it’s not a true lockdown — residents’ movements are not affected — but his statement underscores the seriousness of the situation.

      • Talking to kids about virus? Experts say be calm and honest

        It was a routine game of schoolyard tag — except the children had dubbed this version “coronavirus.” The kids ran around and tagged one another, but instead of being “it,” they “caught” the virus.

        Children like the ones a reporter saw playing recently at a school in Washington, D.C., are becoming more aware of the coronavirus — though they may not fully understand it or know how seriously to take it — as it begins to affect their daily lives with school closures and event cancellations, restrictions on travel, and the NBA nixing the rest of its season.

        Many parents are now deciding how to talk to their children about the virus. Some said they are checking in daily, while others worry talking about it could make their kids more anxious or fearful.

      • Minnesota’s second coronavirus patient was in contact with up to 20 people before testing positive

        As many as 20 Minnesotans could have been in contact with the state’s second coronavirus patient before the person knew they were infected with COVID-19.

        Minnesota Department of Health officials are working to identify everyone a Carver County resident was in contact with before testing positive Sunday for the coronavirus. Officials say any of those contacts who are at serious risk of developing the virus will be asked to isolate themselves for two weeks, the incubation period of the virus.

        “We worked last night, late into the night, to contact some of those individuals and continued working on that this morning,” said Kathy Como-Sabetti, state senior epidemiologist.

      • Life under quarantine: After visiting China during coronavirus outbreak, Fargo woman’s ordeal didn’t end when she got home

        The last time my wife, Annie Gao, took her temperature, she sighed with relief.

        Ninety-seven point seven degrees. After two weeks of monitoring herself in isolation at home in Fargo, she had no fever, no coronavirus symptoms.

        Excited for the final call from the North Dakota Department of Health to verify she could go back to work and resume her normal life, she spoke about what her life’s been like for the past six weeks — under lockdown in China and then 14 days of isolation at home, which ended Thursday, March 5.

      • Flu and coronavirus: Similar symptoms, different fears

        Is it the flu, a cold or the new coronavirus? Patients and doctors alike are parsing signs of illness to figure out who needs what tests or care and how worried they should be.

        “You have three different major viruses floating around at the same time,” causing somewhat similar symptoms — but different levels of concern, said Dr. Gary LeRoy, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pentagon Reconsiders Microsoft Contract After Amazon Protest

          U.S. government lawyers said in a court filing this week that the Defense Department “wishes to reconsider its award decision” and take another look at how it evaluated technical aspects of the companies’ proposals to run the $10 billion computing project.

          The filing doesn’t address Amazon’s broader argument that the bidding was improperly influenced by President Donald Trump’s dislike of Amazon and its CEO, Jeff Bezos. Bezos owns The Washington Post, a news outlet with which Trump has often clashed.

        • [Attackers] are making malware-infected coronavirus maps to harvest personal information

          A journalist with expertise on cybercrime reported on Thursday that [attackers] are trying to take advantage of the public’s concern about the COVID-19 pandemic to infect users’ computers with malware.

        • Live Coronavirus Map Used to Spread Malware

          Cybercriminals constantly latch on to news items that captivate the public’s attention, but usually they do so by sensationalizing the topic or spreading misinformation about it. Recently, however, cybercrooks have started disseminating real-time, accurate information about global infection rates tied to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic in a bid to infect computers with malicious software.

        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Police forces around the world continue to push for routine – and real-time – facial recognition capabilities

              Facial recognition crops up on this blog more than most technologies. That’s in part because the underlying AI is advancing rapidly, boosting the ability of low-cost systems to match faces to those in databases. The Clearview saga is a good example of this, where an unheard-of startup has put together what is claimed to be an extremely powerful system. More details are emerging about Clearview’s client list, thanks to a leak, reported here by BuzzFeed:

            • New ¿Where Is My Data? Report: Five Years of Holding ISPs Accountable in Colombia

              Five years have passed since Colombian digital rights NGO Fundación Karisma launched its first annual ¿Dónde Están Mis Datos? assessing telecommunication companies’ commitment to transparency and user privacy. Since then, we’ve seen major telecom companies providing more transparency about how and when they divulge their users’ data to the government. This project is part of a region-wide initiative akin to EFF’s Who Has Your Back? by Latin American and Spanish NGOs. So far, nine countries have joined this project kicked off in 2015 with Karisma’s first report.

              When Karisma started the reports in 2015, none of the ISPs published any transparency report or any aggregate data about the number of data requests they received from governments. Five years later, the country’s main ISPs, such as Telefónica-Movistar and Claro, periodically disclose government transparency reports. This is a big win for transparency and users’ rights. Companies’ privacy policies have also shown progress over the years, with more useful information being better provided to users on data retention, collection, and processing.

            • The EARN-IT Act

              Prepare for another attack on encryption in the U.S. The EARN-IT Act purports to be about protecting children from predation, but it’s really about forcing the tech companies to break their encryption schemes: [...]

            • ACLU Sues Over U.S. Airport Facial-Recognition Technology

              The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed suit the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) over its use of facial recognition technology in airports, decrying the government’s “extraordinarily dangerous path” to normalize facial surveillance as well as its secrecy in making specific details of the plan public.

              The ACLU’s lawsuit, filed in a U.S. District Court in New York, is seeking more transparency from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (UCBP) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) about how it’s using information collected by the scanning technology as well as how it’s working with partner organizations in terms of the effort.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Incident on King Street Remembered a Quarter of a Millennium Later

        It’s generally true what they say about public history — that it’s easily trivialized and forgotten, so that we can soon start over again, and make the same mistakes next time, with more brio and technology-driven enthusiasm. And don’t even get me started on personal memory. Ever since postmodernism came along and said that just because the Foo shits on you doesn’t mean you have to wear it. We don’t really know what happened, or what hit us. We’re like the dinosaurs that way. Fuck, if I can remember where I left the keys, let alone my dignity. And I tell myself: if memory doesn’t flatter, what good is it?

      • ‘It’s Not Doing a Service to Anyone but Defense Contractors’
      • Will the Afghanistan Peace Deal Work?

        There are two likely outcomes of the recently signed U.S. peace deal with Afghanistan’s Taliban. One is that a withdrawal of U.S. forces will bring a short-term reduction in violence. The second is that the U.S. will leave behind a political mess so severe that violence prevails for the foreseeable future.

      • As Coronavirus Pandemic Sweeps the Globe, Trump Authorizes New Bombing Campaign in the Middle East

        “This moment is the last three decades of U.S. foreign policy in miniature: spare nothing for war and military dominance and find little to spare for true threats like climate change and pandemic disease.”

      • As Trump Stumbles in War on Coronavirus at Home, He Bombs Shiites in Shiite-Ruled Iraq

        The Trump administration is now more or less forcibly occupying Iraq against the will of its elected representatives, and is waging a low intensity war on a section of the Iraqi military with which the US is supposed to be allied.

      • Did Trump Cave to the Taliban?

        Now that eleventh-hour U.S. concession threatens to blow up the peace talks, which are stalled. On Wednesday the Taliban rejected Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s offer to release 1,500 prisoners ahead of talks, saying they wanted all 5,000 freed before negotiations could start.

        To some critics of the U.S.-Taliban deal, like Malinowski, the concession was emblematic of a deeply flawed agreement that could ultimately cede Afghanistan back to the Taliban after 18 years of immense American expense and bloodshed—a defeat that could be a model for anti-American insurgencies around the world.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

      • Energy

        • Oil Industry Front Group Launches Latest Attack on Electric Vehicle Tax Credit in Senate Energy Bill

          Through a series of digital ads, the group, which receives a substantial share of its donations from an oil refinery trade group, is calling on Senate Republicans to squash a proposed amendment expanding the number of vehicles eligible for the credit.

        • Bill de Blasio, Climate Troll

          Those tweets, from a bicycle commuter and local journalist, respectively, are New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in a nutshell. While encouraging Coronavirus-concerned commuters to cycle to work, he not only fails to carve out special lanes on streets and bridges, he also lets NYPD conduct its customary cyclist-summonsing traps as if nothing has changed.

        • Climate Victims Violent? Klare’s Paean to the American Military

          Michael Klare’s new book, All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change, is an uncritical paean to the American military. He credits the Pentagon with taking climate science seriously. But he does not question, bring contradictory evidence, or analyze the military’s self-appointed role as global manager of climate-related human disorder. Klare’s work is detailed and comprehensive and merits a close reading. I will briefly summarize the book, address omissions, and conclude with a psychoanalytic perspective

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Following House Approval, US Has a Chance to Ban the Cruel Shark Fin Trade

          Every year, fins from as many as 73 million sharks circulate throughout the world in a complex international market. They are the key ingredient in shark fin soup, a luxury dish considered a status symbol in some Asian cuisines.

        • We Need Environmental Lawyers and Law

          I suspect most people think democracy is being able to vote, or being “free” to engage in extreme behaviour without considering its consequences,  or being able to dispense everything from uninformed blather to outright false claims on social media.  I don’t consider it any of those.

        • An Emerging Threat to Conservation: Fear of Nature
        • Science says rats can be kind. Here’s why that matters.

          Researchers at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and the University of Amsterdam found that some rats display an unwillingness to harm their fellow rats, even when it benefits them to do so. This unwillingness, the researchers found, correlates to a similar biological mechanism in humans, suggesting that this innate pacifism emerged among mammals more than a million centuries ago.

        • The Last Giraffes on Earth

          The team of people who have drugged, tripped, and tackled the giraffe is a mix of scientists, veterinarians, and rangers who study giraffes in the few parts of the world where the animals still live. Giraffes are so beloved and familiar that it’s tempting to think their numbers are solid and their future secure. Neither is true. Giraffe populations have decreased by 30 percent over the past three decades. Only 111,000 individuals remain. There are at least four African elephants for every giraffe. To safeguard a future for giraffes, researchers need basic information about how far they roam. GPS trackers can offer answers, but to get a tracker on a giraffe, one must first take it down.

    • Finance

      • Malm’s “Fossil Capital”

        Capital is Karl Marx’s theory of capitalism. Capitalism is a mode of production, a historical social system (as were primitive communism, the slave states of Greece and Rome and feudalism). After primitive communism, society divided into social classes. Class societies are composed of (1) an economy, based on the relationship of the owners of the means of production to the direct producers (e.g. slave-owner to slave, feudal lord to peasant, capitalist to wage-worker); (2) a reproductive unit (e.g. clan, nuclear family); and (3) a state, which maintains the system in interests of the ruling class. Historical Materialism is Marx’s theory about the origin and development of modes of production. Let us begin with a sketch of that theory.

      • Julio López Varona on Puerto Rico’s Disaster Capitalism

        This week on CounterSpin: Recent media coverage of Puerto Rico has focused on the impact of earthquakes on communities that have already been through displacement and blackouts and shortages. But elite media seem keen to keep it a Mother Nature story—the New York Times keeps asking why Puerto Rico can’t “catch a break”—and government corruption is listed alongside hurricanes as things that sort of “happened to” the US territory. But Puerto Rico’s debt crisis is a “human” story, too (in cause as well as impact) — and dry, business-page stories pondering why a ballyhooed plan to address the island’s bankruptcy has been rejected are, so far, a missed opportunity to talk about Puerto Rico as a living lesson about climate disaster capitalism, the failure and cruelty of austerity, and the need for new ways forward. We’ll talk about that with Julio López Varona, co-director of Community Dignity Campaigns at Center for Popular Democracy.

      • Fighting Insecure Housing: Q&A with Dominique Walker

        Dominique Walker, 34, of the grassroots activist group Moms 4 Housing, is a mother and one of the unhoused women and children who last November began to occupy a vacant home in West Oakland that Wedgewood Property Management, a real estate investment company, owned. A video of Oakland police who arrived in an armored vehicle, dressed in SWAT attire, and forcibly evicted M4H from that abode in January went viral across the US and around the world. A native of Oakland, Walker has two young children and is a full-time organizer of the Black Housing Union, a chapter of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. Below is an edited version of our phone interview in late February.

      • Funding Boost in Food Aid for Seniors Still Falls Short of Growing Need

        Advocates for senior citizens hailed the bipartisan passage of a federal bill that calls for boosting money for nutrition programs so that fewer older adults go hungry. But the proposed funding still wouldn’t keep up with America’s fast-growing senior population.

      • Who Could Have Gotten Deserters from Trump’s Three Armies . . . and from Mine?

        Taking US national politics too seriously can make you hopelessly stupid, hopelessly cynical, or hopelessly suicidal.

      • The Fed, the Virus, and Inequality

        Whether you’re invested in the stock market or not, you’ve likely noticed that it’s been on a roller coaster lately. The White House and most of the D.C. Beltway crowd tend to equate the performance of the stock market with that of the broader economy. To President Trump’s extreme chagrin, $3.18 trillion in stock market value vaporized during the last week of February. Stock markets around the world also fell dramatically. When all was said and done, $6 trillion had been at least temporarily erased from them. It was the worst week for the markets since the financial crisis of 2008 and it would only get worse from there.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Kremlin lies to kids Putin’s spokesman refuses to change language on the administration’s website for children that says presidents are prohibited from running for a third consecutive term

        Meduza: In connection with [Valentina] Tereshkova’s amendment, Internet users have been actively quoting an excerpt from the children’s version of the Kremlin’s website that says, “The president is forbidden from cheating or violating the Constitution. Even if all citizens are completely enraptured by their president, you cannot elect him three times in a row.” Do the website’s administrators plan to update these assertions to avoid misleading Russia’s children?

      • The RNC Gave Big Contracts to Companies Linked to Its Chairwoman’s Husband and Political Backers

        The Republican National Committee has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to contractors closely connected to the organization’s chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel.

        One contract went to her husband’s insurance company. Two others went to businesses whose executives recently donated to Ronna for Chair, a largely inactive political action committee that McDaniel controls. She had set it up in 2015, when she successfully ran for chair of the Republican Party in Michigan, her home state.

      • You Don’t Need Putin to Undermine American Democracy

        With the 2020 election heating up, there is a stiff wind methodically weaving through this fierce desert of geriatric combat, something evil and relentless, sending haunted tumbleweeds rocking back and forth over fractured highways. No, I’m not talking about the winds of March, dearest motherfuckers. I’m talking about something far more sinister blowing our way. I’m talking about the return of the invisible Russian meddling menace. If you peer through the blinds, things may appear woefully normal at this glorified nursing home we call a primary, but we have it on the good authority of anonymous intelligence sources and retired sleazeballs like John Brennan and James Comey that it’s anything but, and our corporate media takes them at their word.

      • Warren Isn’t A Snake, She’s Just Misreading Hegel

        Bernie Bros, but especially sisters and non-binary siblings who dare to stand up to the billionaire class are being accused of calling former Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren a snake. The mainstream media is horrified by this “uncivil” behavior but apparently not horrified by Ms. Warren’s decision to go to an oil super PAC in her desperation to beat Bernie, Biden and the bumbling bros at the top. Give this to Ms. Warren: she was the smartest candidate in the race. This hurt her. In fact, it killed her campaign. Bernie uses the same 10 sentences, Biden has dementia and Trump’s messaging is only coherent in 140 character segments.

      • Class Conflict is Stronger than Clan Conflict

        The Democratic party elites have shown that they prefer Trump to Sanders. That is, they prefer the real risk of a second Trump mandate to the real risk of a Sanders presidency.

      • Please, Jill Biden, Please

        I noticed disturbing signs. Then I’d look for positive signs to dispute those disturbing ones.

      • Dear Berners: Dementia Joe is How Much “Your” Party HATES You

        “You Have Owners”

      • A Machine to Beat President Trump

        As different as night from day yet there’s one way that Bernie Sanders and President Trump are alike, and Joe Biden is different from both.

      • The Democratic Establishment’s Drive to Derail Sanders Will Backfire Again

        It’s repulsive, though unsurprising, that former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg ended his campaign to help Joe Biden take out Bernie Sanders just before Super Tuesday. After winning Iowa on February 3rd, only slightly losing New Hampshire and going on to lose South Carolina, top Democratic donors pressured Buttigieg to drop out to consolidate the moderate vote behind Biden. Like an obedient, moneyed tool, Buttigieg “behaved,” as multi-billionaire candidate Michael Bloomberg accurately put it, by ending his campaign. With the momentum from his win in South Carolina and Amy Klobuchar and Buttigieg endorsements, Biden emerged from Super Tuesday with a decisive lead over Sanders.

      • The Generational Divide Between Biden and Sanders

        Bernie Sanders’ revolution has fallen short of its electoral aspirations not because of Sanders’ concepts—some of which is supported by voters in both parties—but because Sanders has faced the generational divide in voting behavior.

      • Can Biden Beat Trump?
      • Bernie’s Mistakes

        Establishment media is ridiculing Bernie Sanders for stating some simple truths: establishment media was out to get him, the DNC was out to get him and young voters who support him haven’t been good about showing up at the polls.

      • Krugman Disses Sanders and Embraces Biden While Distorting the Obama Record

        Paul Krugman, a past winner of the Nobel Prize in economics, wrote a recent New York Times column with the title “Bernie Sanders is Going for Broke.” He criticizes Sanders for his politics which are characterized as a “go-for-broke maximalism” “without compromise” described as:

      • Biden’s Victory: A Blessing in Disguise?

        It has been years since I last saw the great Alain Resnais film “La Guerre Est Finie” (The War Is Over, 1966), starring Yves Montand and Ingrid Thulin, in which, decades after the anti-fascists lost, a Communist veteran of the Spanish Civil War, still fighting the good fight, confronts the moral and political ambiguities of his situation. In that film, if I recall correctly, there is a saying attributed to Lenin, that I have never been able to track down, but which has stuck in my mind ever since: that patience and irony are the virtues of a Bolshevik.

      • ‘Constitutional Gymnastics’: Russia’s strange initiative to keep Vladimir Putin in office for years to come

        We’ve known it was coming since January when Vladimir Putin warned the nation, but now it’s moving at full throttle and threatens to inflict untold damage. No, it’s not the coronavirus — it’s the other calamity currently unfolding in Russia: a massive campaign to rewrite the Constitution so that Vladimir Putin’s presidency might continue until 2036.

      • Bill Gates Steps Down From Microsoft Board

        Gates was Microsoft’s CEO until 2000 and since then has gradually scaled back his involvement in the company he started with Paul Allen in 1975. He transitioned out of a day-to-day role in Microsoft in 2008 and served as chairman of the board until 2014.

      • Bill Gates steps down from Microsoft board

        With the departure of Gates from Microsoft Board, it will now consist of 12 members, the company said.

        Gates also stepped down from the board of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc, where he has served since 2004.

      • Bill Gates Has Left the Board Room

        On March 13, 1976, Microsoft became a public company. Its founder and CEO, a 26-year-old Bill Gates, took a seat on its board of directors. Forty-four years later—exactly to the day—Gates is stepping down.

        Gates explained the move on Friday in a brief LinkedIn post, in which he also said he was leaving the board of Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate led by his longtime friend Warren Buffett. [...]

      • Bill Gates steps down from Microsoft board

        Microsoft announced separately on Friday that Gates stepped down from its board.

      • China Bought the West Time. The West Squandered It.

        China’s leaders did fumble at the very start, yet in short order they acted far more decisively than many democratically elected leaders have to date. Authoritarian or not, they also want the public’s approval. Chinese leaders may not face voters, but they, too, care about legitimacy, and that hinges on performance for them as well.

      • Sarah Palin’s ‘Masked Singer’ performance on Fox perfectly encapsulated our absurdist reality

        This absurdist moment is the perfect encapsulation for our absurdist reality. Yet another reality show is hunting for eyeballs by riding the name recognition of right-wing political figures. Taking conservative figures and turning them into harmless softies works for everyone, from the networks who get ratings to the politicians who get their controversial stances wiped from the collective memory of viewers. And it’s sadly effective.

      • Our Full Report on the Voatz Mobile Voting Platform

        Trail of Bits has performed the first-ever “white-box” security assessment of the platform, with access to the Voatz Core Server and backend software. Our assessment confirmed the issues flagged in previous reports by MIT and others, discovered more, and made recommendations to fix issues and prevent bugs from compromising voting security. Trail of Bits was uniquely qualified for this assessment, employing industry-leading blockchain security, cryptographic, DARPA research, and reverse engineering teams, and having previously assessed other mobile blockchain voting platforms.

        Our security review resulted in seventy-nine (79) findings. A third of the findings are high severity, another third medium severity, and the remainder a combination of low, undetermined, and informational severity.

      • What Youth Activists Can Do to Keep Fighting for a Progressive Future

        What I have realized over the past few days is that regardless of what happens next in this race, we must move forward, not back. Bernie is still in this race and pushing Biden left on the issues, and youth should join him in that fight. Bernie’s ideas are popular, even among Biden voters. In Missouri, voters favored “a complete overhaul” of our economy over “small changes.” Voters across the country are supportive of a “government plan for all instead of private insurance.” In Super Tuesday states, socialism was viewed favorably not just in California, but also in Tennessee and Texas. To capitalize on these ideological victories, it’s crucial that young voters mobilize our communities to the polls. We must show Democrats that we are a powerful asset, and present a unified front as a generation. If Biden becomes the nominee, we must demand that he integrate progressive policies into his platform and pick a progressive running mate to earn our votes and help him win where Hillary Clinton lost. If he’s elected, having shown up for him in the general gives youth leverage to further hold him accountable in office, using tactics like moral protest to demand the future that we deserve.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Burning The Ladder: Match.com Supports Burning Section 230 To The Ground, Despite Relying On It To Exist

        Here’s one I didn’t quite expect to see. Match.com — the dating website owned by IAC, which owns basically every other major dating site, including OkCupid, PlentyOfFish, Tinder, Hinge, and a bunch of others as well — has announced that it will support the idiotic EARN IT Act, that would utterly destroy Section 230 and the ability of websites to host user generated content. Match’s publicly stated reasons for this are… bizarre. It doesn’t actually explain why it supports it. It just says it does, that protecting children is important, and then some mumbo jumbo about the kids online these days — none of which touches on what the bill would actually do.

      • Speaking Freely: Ada Palmer

        Ada Palmer is a Renaissance historian whose work lies at the intersection of ideas and historical change. She is currently on research leave from the University of Chicago, where she teaches early modern European history. She is also a writer of fiction; her 2016 novel, Too Like the Lightning, was a finalist for the Hugo Award for Best Novel.

        Ada’s research encompasses many topics, including the history of censorship. In 2018, she worked with EFF’s own Cory Doctorow on a project that looked at censorship and information control in information revolutions.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • The Photographs of Thomas Moore and Quench

        In A national crime, John Milloy provides us with two sharply contrasting photographs of Thomas Moore, a First Nation schoolboy. These photographs capture poignantly the massive resocialization project, launched in the late nineteenth century, to “move Aboriginal communities from their “’savage’ state to that of ‘civilization’ and thus to make in Canada but one community—a non-Aboriginal one.”

      • ‘A faction’s a faction, but I have my conscience, too’ Why a Tatar legislator from the bloc representing Russia’s ruling party voted no on the new constitutional amendments

        On March 12, the State Council of Tatarstan voted in favor of major changes to the Russian Constitution, falling into step with other regional parliaments whose approval was needed to move toward a nationwide vote on the amendments. In every region, legislators voted for the changes almost unanimously — even on a nationwide scale, there were only a few negative votes. One of them was the singular “no” among Tatarstan’s deputies: Rkail Zaidullin, a member of the United Russia faction (but not the associated party, which is politically dominant in Russia). Zaidullin said he specifically objected to the clause in the proposed amendments that calls ethnically Russian people foundational to the Russian state. Meduza special correspondent Andrey Pertsev spoke with the legislator and asked him to elaborate on his views.

      • “Two Sides” of Trump’s India Visit!

        President Donald Trump’s brief visit (Feb 24-25), his first to India, has left many questions unanswered for both sides, United States as well as India. Of course, there is no denying that Trump would not have travelled all the way to visit just one country if he did not foresee some gains. The same may be said for Indian government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi having gone overboard in making preparations to welcome him. A mega-mega show was organized for him in Modi’s home state, Gujarat. It seems, Trump loved each minute of it as in his view no other leader had been welcomed in the same manner as he had been. On his part, Modi must have been quite delighted by Trump appearing to be fairly pleased by his brief visit. But this is one side of the story.

      • Police Department Shells Out $50,000 To Man After His Camera Catches Cops Fabricating Criminal Charges Against Him

        The Connecticut State Police have agreed to pay $50,000 to a man its officers subjected to a bunch of Constitutional violations on their way to issuing tickets to him for violations he never committed.

      • Activists Are Reclaiming Jails as Community-Operated Social Service Facilities

        Jails have emerged as a key focal point of the struggle against mass incarceration. Several trends are in motion at the same time. In jurisdictions like New York and Los Angeles, grassroots-led struggles have closed facilities and blocked others from being built. By contrast, in many rural areas, local authorities are manipulating the opioid crisis and bail reform into a jail-building platform.

      • Saudi’s Brave Women Pull Back the Curtain on Crown Prince MBS

        This week, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS), Saudi Arabia’s 34-year-old de facto ruler, was on a tear. He arrested members of his own royal family and initiated an oil price war with Russia that has sent the price of oil—and the world’s stock markets—plummeting. Behind the headlines, however, another critical event will take place in Saudi Arabia starting March 18: women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul, who was arrested almost two years ago for advocating the right to drive, is due in court. The diabolical MBS wants the world to believe he is the Arab world’s liberal reformer and took credit for eventually granting women the right to drive, but he is also the one who had al-Hathloul and nine other women thrown in prison, charging them as foreign agents and spies. The imprisonment of these peaceful women activists exposes the brutal nature of MBS’s regime and the duplicity of the Western democracies that continue to support him.

      • Florida PD’s Reverse Warrant Leads To Innocent Man Being Targeted In A Robbery Investigation

        Riding your bike while sending out geolocation data is the hot new crime.

      • The Boy I Love is [Not] in the Gallery – The Alex Salmond Trial Day 4

        I am reporting today on the Salmond trial over 24 hours delayed. As I am not permitted media access and the public is excluded from the gallery during accusers’ evidence, I need to gather information in order to be able to give a different perspective from the mainstream media. It is very hard to do that in real time.

      • Child marriage in Pakistan: 60-year-old and 5 times divorcee man marries 12-year-old girl

        A 60-year-old man in Pakistan’sSindh province has been arrested for allegedly forcing a minor to marry him. The accused, identified as Zain-Ul-Abdin Lashari, is a five-time divorcee and reportedly forced the 12-year-old girl to marry him. He was taken into custody by the Child Protection Police. The incident was shared on Twitter by a Pakistani child rights activist and actor Nadia Jamil, who requested the Government of Pakistan (GoP) to take cognizance of the matter and act against the man. “….Where is the Child Marriage Restraint Act? This is where I humbly request the people, the media and the GoP to recognise, No man has the right 2 take over a child or woman’s body, life like this,” she said.

      • Baristas at Slack Say They’ve Won 90 Days of Severance

        A group of five baristas who operate the espresso machines at Slack’s corporate headquarters in San Francisco learned on March 6 that they were losing their contracted positions just prior to a decision by the company to move to remote operations to curb the spread of COVID-19.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Intermediary Liability: The Hidden Gem

        There is a law in the United States that consists of twenty-six words: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” Otherwise known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA), it has been characterized as the law that “created the Internet.”

        Only part of this statement is true. Section 230 did not actually create the Internet because the Internet was created through the collaboration of a diverse set of people around the world. What is true, however, is that the intermediary liability regime has undergirded the Internet as we know it. It has been responsible for three primary features of the Internet: [...]

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Sonos Backs Off Plan To Brick Older, Still Functioning Speakers

        Back in January, Sonos took some well earned heat for a new product “recycle mode” that effectively bricked older smart speakers the company was no longer interested in supporting. They’re now backtracking from the effort after significant backlash.

    • Monopolies

      • China Forgoes Late Fees for Patent Annuities Over COVID-19 Worries
      • Singaporean Defeats Chinese Candidate to Head U.N. Patent Office

        A Singaporean beat a Chinese candidate in the race to lead the world patent office, heading off Beijing’s bid for a fifth U.N. leadership role, much to the satisfaction of the United States.

        Daren Tang defeated fellow legal expert Wang Binying in a closed-door vote by dozens of countries to become director general of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which shapes global rules for intellectual property.

        Intellectual property has been at the heart of a trade war between Washington and Beijing. The United States, along with many other Western countries, had backed Tang for the job and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last month that Washington was following the patent office vote “very, very closely”.

        Tang was chosen in a vote of WIPO’s coordinating committee, a group of 83 countries chaired by France which said the breakdown was 55 for Tang and 28 for the Chinese candidate.

      • Conference Report: CIPIL 2020 (Part 2)

        The last strand of discussion turned back to the conference topic, including whether ‘good for our health’ means ‘achieving fair returns for pharmaceutical companies’. A suggestion of FRAND-style provisions was not especially popular in the room, and one audience perspective from a non-pharma patent attorney was that changing the patent system to better-accommodate pharmaceutical products risks unacceptably distorting the system for all other inventions. Another suggestion was that an entirely parallel pharmaceutical patent system should be created – with the conclusion being that while a variety of possible solutions are available, simply convincing industry, practitioners and government of any need for change is one of the biggest hurdles.

      • Some Additional Commentary on the December 2019 USPTO/DOJ/NIST Policy Statement on Injunctions and SEPs

        Shortly before Christmas, the USPTO, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology issued a new Policy Statement on Remedies for Standards-Essential Patents Subject to Voluntary F/RAND Commitments. The new statement replaced the USDOJ/USPTO 2013 Policy Statement on Remedies for the Standards-Essential Patents Subject to Voluntary F/RAND Commitments. I blogged about the new policy statement a couple of times in January (here and here), first calling attention to a critical analysis I published in Law360 titled Gov’t Policy Statement on SEP Remedies Should be Cabined, and second to an analysis published by Michael Carrier on Bloomberg News titled New Statement on Standard-Essential Patents Relies on Omissions, Strawmen, Generalities. Here are a couple more recent analyses, both of which make some excellent points…

      • Patents

        • Quick and Dirty Patents

          The scope and timing of patents determine the size of economic rewards to inventors. We provide causal evidence on the effects of scope and timing on startups and externalities on their rivals, by leveraging the quasi-random assignment of patent applications to examiners. Using unique data on all first-time applications filed at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office since 2001, we find that patent grant delays are harmful to the inventor, in terms of reduced growth in employment and sales and a reduced quantity and quality of follow-on innovation. In addition, delays are harmful to both the inventor and its rivals in terms of access to external capital. Broader scope, on the other hand, tends to benefit the inventor (in terms of follow-on innovation) while harming rivals (in terms of growth and follow-on innovation). Our findings suggest that “quick” patents maximize both inventor rewards and positive externalities to rivals. “Dirty” patents may benefit inventors but also impose large negative externalities on rivals.

        • Inter Partes Review Estoppel: Restoring The Principles Of Res Judicata [Ed: Akron School of Law [sic] attacks PTAB IPR as a process. IOW, it goes against the principle that likely fake patents granted hurriedly for cash (greed) by USPTO examiners should be revisited for their legitimacy]

          Inter partes review estoppel has violated the principles of traditional res judicata since its inception. For the first several years of its life, IPR estoppel served to preserve a petitioner’s ability to harass patent owners and repetitively attempt to invalidate patents. Following SAS in 2018, IPR estoppel began to reverse course. The courts that once were allowing patent owner abuse are now limiting it with a broad application of IPR estoppel. However, this broad application of IPR estoppel is a soft claim preclusion that allows many exceptions behind the principles of res judicata. Furthermore, the PTAB allows petitioners to file numerous IPR petitions and does not enforce estoppel until a final written decision is issued to which the petitioner is a real party in interest. This practice likewise allows the harassment of patent owners and violates the principles of res judicata.

          To resolve the inter partes review estoppel problems, Congress must reintroduce the principles of res judicata with exceptions only where patent litigation absolutely requires it. Such an analysis leads to the conclusion that by enacting only the petitioner standing requirement and the estoppel provisions of the STRONGER Patents Act of 2019, IPR estoppel would achieve a balance equitable to patent owners and petitioners alike. These two provisions do well to support the principles of res judicata, grant adequate leeway where patent litigation requires it, yet still provide claim preclusion strong enough to avoid abuse. The doctrine of res judicata does not need reinventing for 21st century patent litigation—it merely needs reintegration.

        • Patenting Fast and Slow: Examiner and Applicant Use of Prior Art

          Previous studies have shown that an applicant’s ability to obtain a patent is inexorably linked to the random assignment of a patent examiner. However, not all patent examiners are created equal. Some patent examiners allow patent applications quickly within just one or two Office Actions resulting in only a few months of substantive patent prosecution. In contrast, other patent examiners constantly reject patents applications, which can result in unnecessarily delaying prosecution and years of substantive patent prosecution. This study focuses on how different examiners use prior art rejections to prolong or compact prosecution.

          Prior art rejections are one of the most important hurdles to obtaining a patent. Specifically, the use of prior art rejections directly impacts the time and effort it takes to obtain a patent. Overcoming anticipation and obviousness rejections are usually the most important and difficult obstacles to overcome before obtaining a patent. This empirical study focuses on how different types of examiners (i.e., fast/high volume versus slow/low volume) use prior art rejections to either compact or delay prosecution. Since patent examination is dependent on both examiner and applicant behavior, this study also evaluates how applicants respond to these prior art rejections to also prolong or compress prosecution. Unlike many studies, this is the first paper that evaluates patent quality based on both individual examiner characteristics as well as applicant behavior at the patent prosecution level.

          In sum, high volume, average volume and low volume examiners issued a patent in approximately 1.64 years, 3.07 years, and 5.85 years respectively. Thus, high volume examiners issue patents almost twice as quickly as average volume examiners and more than three times as fast as low volume examiners. This large difference in time can represent a huge investment in both capital and time for the applicant as well as the PTO.

          Additionally, this study finds that low volume examiners reject applications based mainly on obviousness, issuing over four times as many obviousness rejections per office action compared to high volume examiners. Furthermore, low volume examiners issue five times as many 102(a)/(g)/(e) rejections and two times as many 102(b) rejections. And applicants most commonly make a “missing element” argument to traverse a slow examiner’s 102(a)/(g)/(e) rejection at three times the rate of a fast examiner. This type of traversal strategy relies on the examiner’s misunderstanding of either the art or the claimed invention. Similarly, applicants also use the “missing elements” argument to traverse a slow examiner’s 103 rejection at five times the rate of a fast examiner. Finally, applicants are also three times more likely to use a “teaching away” or “unexpected results” argument to traverse a slow examiner compared to a fast examiner. Both of these arguments can again rely on either the examiner’s misunderstanding of the prior art or a misunderstanding of the claimed invention.

          This study demonstrates that different types of examiners use different strategies to maximize their “counts.” Specifically, low volume examiners will generally reject applications creating lengthy prosecution histories while forcing the applicant to narrow claims, while showing a misunderstanding of either the prior art and/or the claimed invention. In contrast, high volume examiners will usually only make one rejection then allow the case, thus creating a small prosecution history with only small amendments to the claims.

          Keywords: patents, patent examiner, patent prosecution, prior art, prior art rejections, patent quality, applicant response, applicant behavior, PTO

        • Serta Simmons Bedding, LLC v. Casper Sleep Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2020)

          Last month, in Serta Simmons Bedding, LLC v. Casper Sleep Inc., the Federal Circuit vacated a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granting summary judgment of non-infringement to Defendant-Cross-Appellant Casper Sleep Inc. and remanded with instructions to enforce a settlement agreement between Casper and Plaintiffs-Appellants Serta Simmons Bedding, LLC and Dreamwell, Ltd. The Federal Circuit also affirmed the District Court’s denial of Casper’s motion for fees and costs.

          Serta, which owns U.S. Patent Nos. 7,036,173; 7,424,763; and 8,918,935, filed suit against Casper for infringement of certain claims of those patents. In response, Casper filed three motions for summary judgment of non-infringement. While those motions were pending, Serta and Casper executed a settlement agreement, which required Casper to pay $300,000 within ten days of the agreement, cease the manufacture of certain products within 27 days of the agreement, and substantially discontinue marketing of those products with 58 days of the agreement. The agreement also required the parties to dismiss all claims and counterclaims and release each other from all liabilities within five days of Casper’s payment, and file a joint motion to stay the case pending final settlement (which the parties filed on the same day the settlement agreement was executed).

          [...]

          Casper countered with two Seventh Circuit decisions that supported its argument that the case was not mooted by the settlement agreement. However, the Federal Circuit responded by stating that “[t]hose cases are not binding on us, are questionable on the merits, and in any event, are distinguishable since one involved a settlement agreement that was not yet binding, and the other potentially required further action by the court” (citations omitted). The panel therefore concluded “that a binding settlement agreement generally moots the action even if the agreement requires future performance,” and vacated the District Court’s entry of judgment and summary judgment order because the settlement agreement rendered moot the underlying infringement case.

        • Court Orders Hearing in Uniloc’s Patent Case Against Apple to be Conducted by Phone, Citing COVID-19 Risks

          The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, citing public health efforts to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 transmission, ordered that an April hearing in the Uniloc v. Apple patent case be conducted by phone rather than in person and denied EFF’s request to allow the public to watch the proceeding by video.EFF urged the court earlier this week to make public a video of the hearing, in which patent troll Uniloc will have to explain for the first time in open court why it should be allowed to seal from public view documents in the case explaining how it operates. Uniloc has sued hundreds of companies alleging patent infringement and has sought excessive, unjustified sealing of documents that keep the public, small businesses, and patent reform advocates in the dark about whether it actually owns the patents at issue.We are gratified that the court responded quickly to our request, and respect the court’s decision to take safety precautions amid the COVID-19 outbreak.We continue to believe that courts should honor the public’s right to access the work of the judiciary by livestreaming hearings on their websites—which many federal courts and almost all state supreme courts are already doing. Simple video technology enables courts to ensure that less-resourced individuals and businesses that face patent claims, not just highly-paid lawyers and their corporate clients, have access to facts and information revealed in court.These events also demonstrate the public benefits that come when courts make it a part of their general practice to use video technology to make appellate arguments accessible to the public. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which provides video access by default, has given attorneys the option of participating in upcoming oral arguments via video. That means the parties will still have the chance to participate fully in the hearing and the public the chance to access it fully. We hope that other courts will see the public benefits that come from maximizing the public’s access as a matter of course.

        • How to interpret expressions stating a purpose in a patent claim

          Opposition proceedings are currently pending at the EPO, and the parties have been summoned for oral proceedings on 31 March 2020. One of the two opponents is F.J. Aschwanden, i.e. the plaintiff in the present case. The second opponent is Jordahl H-Bau AG. The latter has submitted the judgment to the EPO with letter of 18 February 2020.

          The FPC may suspend proceedings, and in particular defer the judgment, where a final decision has not yet been taken in EPO opposition proceedings; Art. 128 lit. b PatA. The decision holds that the timeline is decisive. If a legally binding decision is to be expected soon by the EPO, it is justified in order to avoid contradictory decisions to suspend the national proceedings, or the judgment only. However, if it is likely to take longer for the EPO to reach a final decision, the constitutional right to an assessment within a reasonable period of time will prevail.

        • CalTech and Trolls

          • Apple Fails to Defeat CalTech Wi-Fi Patent at Federal Circuit

            The Federal Circuit rejected Apple Inc.‘s bid to overturn a patent board decision upholding the California Institute of Technology’s patent for wireless data transmissions.

            The Patent Trial and Appeal Board ruled in favor of CalTech in 2018 after reviewing U.S. Patent No. 7,116,710 while CalTech’s parallel infringement case proceeded in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

            The infringement suit, involving this patent and two others, resulted in a $1.1 billion jury verdict against Apple and component-maker Broadcom Inc. in January. The companies plan to appeal the verdict.

            CalTech alleged Apple’s devices used Broadcom components…

          • Crown use defence successful in telecom patent infringement case

            In its ruling of 28 January 2020 (2020) EWHC 132 (Pat) (read here), Justice Douglas Campbell QC of the High Court of Justice of England and Wales ruled in favor of the crown use defence in a case of alleged infringement of patent EP (UK) 2,579,666 B1, entitled “Allocation of access rights for a telecommunications channel to subscriber stations of telecommunications network,” filed by IPCom GMBH against Vodafone Group PLC. The patent was one of a group belonging to IPCom that concern a 3G (UMTS) mobile phone standard. IPCom alleged infringement by Vodafone’s 3G systems of this patent as well as patent EP 2 378 735.

          • Proportionality and FRAND in France – Paris appeal court upholds anti-anti-suit injunction but first instance court refuses PI in IPCom v. Lenovo

            IPCom is one of Europe’s most active – and infamous – patent assertion companies and is currently involved in litigation against various parties in Germany, the UK, and France. The litigation resulted in a string of interesting decisions: in the UK, the High Court held that one of IPCom’s patents was valid and infringed by Vodafone, but held that it might invoke the Crown use defence [here, Katpost forthcoming]; in France, IPCom was awarded an anti-anti suit injunction last November [Katpost here]. And in Germany, IPCom is allegedly requesting a staggering EUR 12 billion in damages for past infringement by Nokia [here].

            Now, two further decisions have been handed down by the French courts in the proceedings between IPCom and Lenovo. The anti-anti-suit injunction granted last November was upheld on appeal [here, in French], while in separate proceedings a preliminary injunction (PI) was denied because the court considered it disproportionate [here, also in French]. Both decisions are quite thought-provoking and deserving of a closer look [with thanks to PatentMyFrench for first posting about the decisions and uploading them!].

          • Sisvel vs. Haier judgment could see FRAND standardised in Germany

            This month, the German Federal Court of Justice will hear Sisvel vs. Haier, one of the most important FRAND cases in Europe. The decision could see Germany become the first country to standardise its jurisdiction on a crucial issue for the mobile phone industry. Patent experts across Europe are eagerly awaiting the standardisation of SEP and FRAND law.

      • Trademarks

        • CJEU upholds Burlington Arcade’s grounds of appeal against Burlington trade mark applications

          Last week marked the end of a lengthy battle between Tulliallan Burlington (‘Tulliallan’), proprietor of the high class shopping arcade in central London, ‘Burlington Arcade’, and German Fashion GmbH (‘BF’). The dispute arose in response to the latter’s application for registration of the word mark ‘Burlington’ and other figurative marks as EU trade marks, with proceedings examined by the Opposition Division, EUIPO Fourth Board of Appeal, General Court, before finally culminating in the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (‘CJEU’) in Joined Cases C-155/18 P to C-158/18 P (and after an Opinion of Advocate General (‘AG’) Hogan).

          Despite the AG Opinion recommending that the decision be referred back to the General Court, the CJEU decided to give the final say in the case (as *spoilers* it quashed the decision of the General Court and annulled the decision of the Fourth Board of Appeal). This conclusion was based on errors in law made by the General Court in relation to the assessment of infringement of Article 8(5) of Regulation 207/2009 (the first ground of appeal submitted by Tulliallan) and infringement of Article 8(1)(b) of the same Regulation (the third ground of appeal).

        • TTABlog Test: Is “MONFRÈRE FASHION” Confusable With “MY BROTHER” for Clothing?

          The USPTO refused to register the mark MONFRÈRE FASHION for “Denim jackets; Denim jeans; Denim pants; Jeans; Men’s and women’s jackets, coats, trousers, vests; Pants; Shirts; Coats of denim; Denims; Jacket,” finding a likelihood of confusion with the registered mark MY BROTHER for t-shirts. The application included a statement that he English translation of ‘MON FRÈRE’ in the mark is ‘MY BROTHER.’” Applicant argued, however, that consumers would not “stop and translate” the mark, and therefore that the marks are not confusingly similar. How do you think this came out? In re Monfrere, Serial No. 88004556 (March 2, 2020) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Michael B. Adlin).

        • 10 Years After Tiffany v. eBay, A New Bill Aiming to Hold Online Platforms Liable for Counterfeits is Introduced

          A new bill presented to the U.S. House of Representatives this week aims to hold e-commerce platform operators, such as Amazon or eBay, liable for the sale of counterfeit or otherwise infringing products on their sweeping marketplace websites. Entitled the “Stopping Harmful Offers on Platforms by Screening Against Fakes in E-Commerce” – or SHOP SAFE – Act of 2020, the newly-unveiled legislation “incentivizes platforms to engage in a set of best practices to curb the presence of counterfeits on their sites.”

          Primarily, the bipartisan bill – which follows from an executive order from President Donald Trump early this year that called for cracking down on U.S. companies that import or facilitate the import of counterfeit or pirated goods – will establish trademark liability for online marketplace platforms when a third-party sells a counterfeit product “that poses a risk to consumer health or safety and that platform does not follow certain best practices.” Those best practices will include “vetting sellers to ensure their legitimacy, removing counterfeit listings, and removing sellers who repeatedly sell counterfeits,” according to a release from the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary.

          [...]

          As reported by Finnegan, another “significant factor weighing in the court’s analysis was its finding that a substantial number of authentic Tiffany goods were sold on eBay, including some that were sold in lots of five or more. Thus, requiring eBay to prospectively ban all listings of Tiffany merchandise being offered for sale in lots of five or more would stifle the legitimate secondary market for Tiffany products on eBay.”

          In siding with eBay, the court refused to shift the brand owner’s trademark enforcement burden to eBay, and in 2010, the Supreme Court opted not to take on the case, despite Tiffany & Co.’s argument that it presented “an extremely important question about allocating trademark rights and burdens in the modern Internet economy.”

          It is against this background – and in light of the increasingly market-dominating businesses of the likes of Amazon, which generated $42.75 billion in sales on from third-party marketplace in 2018 – that the SHOP SAFE Act is being introduced.

        • A British Comedian Legally Changed His Name to Hugo Boss to Protest Brand’s Aggressive Trademark Enforcement

          A British comedian is not amused with Hugo Boss’ penchant for aggressively policing unauthorized uses of its trademark-protected “Boss” name. In response to what he characterizes as the multi-billion dollar German fashion brand’s pattern of sending “cease and desist letters to a number of small businesses and charities who use the word ‘BOSS’ or similar … costing them thousands in legal fees and rebranding,” Joe Lycett has legally changed his name to Hugo Boss.

          Sharing a signed “deed pool,” the formal documentation that reflects a legal name change in the United Kingdom, on social media over the weekend, 31-year old Lycett stated, “It’s clear that Hugo Boss HATES people using their name. Unfortunately for them, this week I legally changed my name by deed poll and I am now officially known as Hugo Boss.” He followed up the initial announcement by asserting that he “will be launching a brand new product as Hugo Boss,” which he says will be revealed as part of his part-comedy, part-consumer education television show, Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back.

        • Who’s the (Hugo) Boss?

          In August last year, clothing giant Hugo Boss demanded that small Welsh Brewery Boss Brewing “cease and desist” using the names “Boss Black” and “Boss Boss” for two of its beers. A costly trademark action followed, leaving Boss Brewing with a legal bill of almost £10,000. According to Hugo Boss, the action was initiated “… to avoid conflict and potential misunderstanding regarding the brands BOSS and BOSS Black, which had been used by the brewery but are (longstanding) trademarks of our company”. Ultimately, the brewery, which employees just 25 people, renamed its beers and agreed to stop selling its “Boss” clothing – an issue of particular contention for the German brand. Brewery owner Sarah John said at the time that “This has been a horrible experience, and so stressful”.

          This action, the latest in a number of trademark assertions made by Hugo Boss against smaller companies, angered many, including, it seems, British comedian Joe Lycett, who, in a protest against the fashion giant, has now legally changed his name, by UK Deed Poll, to “Hugo Boss”, saying, “So Hugo Boss (who turn over approx $2.7 billion a year) have sent cease & desist letters to a number of small businesses and charities who use the word ‘BOSS’ or similar, including a small brewery in Swansea costing them thousands in legal fees and rebranding. It’s clear that Hugo Boss HATES people using their name. Unfortunately for them this week I legally changed my name by deed poll and I am now officially known as Hugo Boss. All future statements from me are not from Joe Lycett but from Hugo Boss.”

      • Copyrights

        • Injunctions against Playing Copyright Protected Music/Songs During Celebrations/Parties

          The recent orders of the Madras High Court in Phonographic Performance Ltd. v. the Accord Metropolitan and Ors. and Indian Performing Right Society Ltd v. K Murali and Ors., as well as those of the Bombay High Court in six connected matters (Phonographic Performance Ltd v. Hotel Hilton & Ors and 5 others similar matters) were widely reported in media. All the Plaintiff associations obtained interim injunctions against hotels/pubs/event organizers from playing any of the copyrighted works they claim to manage in Christmas/New Year parties. The orders cover to both live bands as well as playing the sound recordings through music systems.

          Unfortunately, the orders did not really carry much reasoning other than ticking the boxes in a summary manner. Further research led me to a lengthier article which is expected to be published with the Journal of Intellectual Property Studies (Volume II Issue II) (expected April 2020). However, with the permission of the journal, I wanted to summarize my conclusions here.

        • The broader teachings of the CJEU ‘Fack Ju Göhte’ decision: trade marks, freedom of expression, and … other IP rights

          In late February, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued its long-awaited [the Opinion of Advocate General (AG) Bobek, on which see here, had been released in July 2019] judgment in Constantin Film, C-240/18 P, aka the Fack Ju Göhte case concerning the interpretation of the morality absolute ground in EU trade mark (EUTM) law.

          The decision is both interesting and important for a number of reasons, including trade mark law, the role of freedom of expression, and also … copyright.

          Let’s see, first, what happened and, then, what the implications of the ruling are.

          [...]

          This aspect is one of the most ambiguous aspects of the decision.

          The Court failed to elaborate on both (1) the legal grounds a copyright holder could use to object to a parody of this kind (the three-step test? the unharmonized moral right of integrity if the rightholder is also the author?) and (2) how the assessment is to be conducted.

          The judgment in Constantin Film appears to offer a valuable interpretative aid with regard to (2), also because this part of the Deckmyn decision implicitly endorses the Opinion of AG Cruz Villalón in that case [Katposts here and here].

          The AG had reasoned that, although a parody cannot be forbidden just because the author of the parodied work does not approve of it, parodies that transmit a message that is radically contrary to the deepest, fundamental, values of the society upon which the European public space is built should be prohibited [at [82]].

          It appears that the type of assessment recommended by AG Cruz Villalón – and implicitly endorsed by the CJEU although without any particular elaboration – is substantially identical to that adopted (with greater elaboration) by the CJEU in Constantin Film.

          As such, the latter might also serve to appreciate whether and to what extent a ‘disparaging’ parody is to be considered protected by the relevant copyright exception or, instead, an infringement.

        • [Guest post] One Database to Rule Them All? The Musical Works Database under the Music Modernization Act

          Lawmakers in the U.S. recently passed the ambitious Music Modernization Act (MMA) promising, among other aims, to create a new compulsory blanket licensing system for mechanical rights in certain digital exploitations (online streaming and digital permanent downloads). Importantly, the Act has far-reaching effects not confined to U.S. musicians and works, but applies to all songs written that are exploited digitally in the U.S. market. Though there are many interesting aspects of the Act, this post will focus on Title I, and particularly its provisions for the development of a new, publicly-available database for musical works information.

        • Spotify Hits Windows Software That Downloads Tracks & Removes DRM

          A law firm acting for Spotify has taken down a piece of Windows software that allows users to download and remove DRM from music tracks while skipping ads. XSpotify, which also carries an ad-blocking feature, is described as a tool that “steals” Spotify encryption keys in contravention of the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA.

        • Descenders ‘Rewards’ Pirating Gamers With a Fitting Flag

          RageSquid, the studio behind the downhill biking game “Descenders” has come up with a unique feature for players who pirated the game. To “reward” the efforts of release groups such as SKIDROW and CODEX, it has pimped their bikes with an unremovable pirate flag. Although some may see it as an unwanted mark, RageSquid stresses that it’s totally fine with piracy.

        • We’re a Fully Remote Nonprofit; Here’s Some Advice on Working From Home

          Fortunately, however, our daily operations haven’t been disrupted to the same extent as other organizations because CC has been a global, fully remote nonprofit since 2015. Our staff is spread across Europe, North America, and South America; and although this working environment presents incredible benefits, like flexibility and rich cultural exchanges, it also presents unique challenges. For example, staff on the west coast of North America are often just waking up as staff in Europe are signing off! 

        • LinkedIn Appeals Important CFAA Ruling Regarding Scraping Public Info Just As Concerns Raised About Clearview

          Last fall we were happy to see the 9th Circuit rule against LinkedIn in its CFAA case against HiQ. If you don’t recall, the CFAA is the “anti-hacking” law that has been widely abused over the years to try to shut down perfectly reasonable activity. At issue is whether “scraping” information violates a terms of service, and thus, the CFAA. A few years back, the same court ruled in favor of Facebook against Power Ventures, saying that even though Power’s users gave permission to Power and handed over their login credentials, Power was violating the CFAA in scraping Facebook, because the information was behind a registration wall — and because Facebook had sent a cease-and-desist.

        • As Congress Explore New Awful Copyright Plans, Maximalists Look To Rewrite The History Of SOPA/PIPA

          As we noted, there’s an effort underway, lead by Senator Thom Tillis’ office, to rewrite copyright laws in a manner that is even “friendlier” to Hollywood — which is kind of insane, given just how far the laws have been bent to favor Hollywood over the years, and against the public. Of course, for the past decade or so, significant updates to copyright law have mostly been a kind of third rail issue in Congress (with a few notable exceptions), as the memory of the SOPA/PIPA protests still lingers. However, with this new approach brewing, it seems that some wish to rewrite that history.

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  13. [Meme] Speaking the Same Language

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  14. António Campinos Thinks Salary Reductions Months Before He Leaves is “Exceptional Social Gesture”

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  15. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, October 21, 2021

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  21. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IXX: The Baltic States

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