03.24.20

Links 24/3/2020: Alpine 3.11.5, MythTV 31.0 and Tails 4.4.1

Posted in News Roundup at 7:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • System76 Announces Lemur Pro Linux Laptop with Insane Battery Life

        Called Lemur Pro, the new Linux laptop is specifically supposed to impress with its battery life, and according to System76, it really does, as it lets you “watch all of Lord of the Rings in 10 hours” or “write code in VIM for 21 hours straight.” All without plugging in, of course.

        The new Lemur Pro laptop come with a choice of two processors, both of them part of the 10th Gen Intel Core lineup. So customers can choose between the i5-10210U and the i7-10510U, with the latter obviously being the more powerful (and more expensive) version.

      • System76 Lemur Pro is a 2.2 pound Linux laptop with 14.1 inch screen, Intel Comet Lake

        The next laptop from Linux PC company System76 is a thin and light notebook with 10th-gen Intel Core “Comet Lake” processor options, a 14.1 inch, 1080p matte IPS display, and support for up to 40GB of RAM.

      • System76 formally tease their new ‘Lemur Pro’ laptop as their most open yet

        System76, Linux hardware and software vendor has today formally begun teasing the new ‘Lemur Pro’ laptop and it’s their most open yet.

        With a price that will start at $1099 it’s not going to be a low-end machine, far from it, sounds like a sweet unit for many uses. System76 say you will be able to “Watch all of Lord of the Rings in 10 hours. Read Wikipedia articles for 16 hours or write code in VIM for 21 hours straight…without plugging in”, at the default brightness level. Pretty good sounding battery life, compared with my own laptop lasting all of 2 hours doing anything.

      • System76 Lemur Pro is an Ubuntu Linux workhorse laptop

        System76 sells a lot of different types of computers, including desktops, laptops, and servers — all come pre-loaded with either Ubuntu or the Ubuntu-based Pop!_OS Linux distributions. While the company’s hand-crafted Thelio desktops are probably its most exciting machines, the majority consumers are probably better served by a laptop. Let’s be honest, while hardcore power users and gamers will certainly want a desktop, notebooks are more functional for the average computer user, as it allows them to easily work in different locations.

        With all of that said, System76 has several laptop models, ranging from under $1,000 for, say, the fairly basic “Galago Pro,” to well over $2,000 for the high-end “Adder WS” portable workstation. In other words, there are many models to meet the needs of many — including both budget and power perspectives.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2020-03-23 | Linux Headlines

        Folding@home’s processing power continues to surge in the fight against COVID-19, Audacious switches to QT5, UBports and Volla join forces, and MythTV rolls out modern decoding improvements.

    • Kernel Space

      • F2FS File-System Adding Zstd Compression Support In Linux 5.7

        Being introduced by Linux 5.6 is optional F2FS transparent data compression support that was implemented with LZO and LZ4. Now for the Linux 5.7 kernel there is Zstd compression support on the way.

        Flash-Friendly File-System (F2FS) maintainer Jaegeuk Kim today merged a patch from a Huawei engineer for supporting the Zstandard compression algorithm with this file-system level compression support. On Linux 5.7 and later it means setting compress_algorithm=zstd when mounting an F2FS file-system can enable this Zstd compression capability.

    • Applications

      • Calibre – a high-caliber software for anything e-book

        What makes for a really good program? The usual suspects would be efficiency, stability and great functionality. But what about the frequency of use? Well, not if Calibre has anything to do with it. Because this is an application that I use relatively sparingly, and yet, it’s an immensely useful, possibly even irreplaceable tool when you need to do any sort of e-book work. For authors, doubly so. Being one, ergo hint, ipso facto, then perhaps it’s time for a review.

        I’ve been using Calibre for years now – I’ve even written a short tutorial on how to convert KFX files a while back, but so far, I have failed to write a full, proper review. Because it’s not just a program to convert among different e-book formats. It’s so much more. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s begin.

      • Waveform Free is a Professional Digital Audio Workstation with Linux Support

        If you like to make music on Linux then you’ve no doubt heard about Tracktion T7 which is considered one of the best free digital audio workstations (DAWs) around.

        But that’s changing. A new, free replacement for the Traction T7 DAW has been announced, and it looks mighty impressive!

        First a bit of background. New versions of Tracktion for Windows, macOS and Linux are typically released as paid, closed source software.

        But every few years the company behind the pro audio tool releases an older version entirely for free (as in beer), with no functional limitations.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Valve’s Half-Life: Alyx Released – Linux Build Still Coming

        Valve today released their Half-Life: Alyx virtual reality first-person shooter game and built atop their Source 2 engine.

        Half-Life: Alyx does require a VR headset like the HTC Vive or Valve Index with Valve having no plans for a non-VR version of this game that is set prior to the Half-Life 2 game.

      • Tactical single-player team FPS ‘Ravenfield’ adds a Domination game mode

        Ravenfield continues to be a really fun single-player FPS, with tons of mods available and a big update is out now adding in a brand new Domination game mode.

        In this Domination mode, each team needs to capture and hold a few flags. This will then fill up the domination bar and eventually remove an enemy battalion from the game. You need to defeat all of them to win this mode. It also adds a new map, Rafts, which is focused on infantry combat.

      • Jackbox Games are going international with ‘Quiplash 2 InterLASHional’

        Jackbox Games, makers of popular party game packs are readying their first fully localized title with Quiplash 2 InterLASHional.

        For English speakers, this isn’t going to be that big a deal. Quiplash 2 InterLASHional will be the same as Quiplash 2 found in The Jackbox Party Pack 3. However, for everyone else it’s going to be a huge improvement with translations into French, Italian, German, and Spanish. They also said there will be 100 extra prompts for each new language.

      • Rover Wars, a streamlined local multiplayer mix of strategy and action coming soon

        Sakari Games have taken the basic idea of a real-time strategy game, made it local multiplayer for up to 8 people and basically turned it into chaos with Rover Wars.

        Each player controls a little Rover, which can build factories. According to their description of it, the real tactics here comes into play with how you manage your resources and the placement of factories as they “poop out minions that will find their way to the enemy facilities and destroy them”.

      • The Mysterious Origins of Mastermind, the Codebreaking Board Game

        If you only know Mastermind as a well-worn and underplayed fixture of living room closets and nursing home common areas, you may have no idea just how big this thing was in its early years. Invented in 1970, Mastermind would sell 30 million copies before that decade was up, and boast a national championship at the Playboy Club, a fan in Muhammed Ali, official use by the Australian military for training, and 80% ownership amongst the population of Denmark. “I never thought a game would be invented again,” marvelled the manager of a Missouri toy store in 1977. “A real classic like Monopoly.”

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Alpine 3.11.5 released

          The Alpine Linux project is pleased to announce the immediate availability of version 3.11.5 of its Alpine Linux operating system.

        • MythTV 31.0

          The Current Release is 31.0.

        • MythTV 31

          For those stuck at home looking for something to do, version 31 of the MythTV DVR and home media center hub, has been released. Features include, significant changes to video decoding and playback, improved channel scanning, and Python 3 support. See the release notes for more information.

        • MythTV 31 Released With Video Decode Improvements, Finally Supporting Python 3

          For those stuck in home isolation amid the coronavirus pandemic, MythTV 31 has been released for any open-source DVR and HTPC needs.

          This is the first MythTV open-source DVR update since MythTV 30 at the start of 2019. With MythTV 31 there is a lot of work on the video decode/playback plus a few other items worth noting:

          - Numerous changes to video decode and playback handling. OpenGL is now a hard requirement for MythTV 31. There is full GPU-based video acceleration for VA-API, VDPAU, NVIDIA NVDEC, VideoToolBox, Video4Linux2 codecs, MMAL, and MediaCodec. Being dropped, however, is CrystalHD and OpenMAX support. More details on the video handling changes via this Wiki page.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • What’s new in Kubernetes v1.18.0

          Kubernetes is one of the largest open source software projects these days, which can be expressed in numbers as well: A tremendous amount of 3412 commits have made it into the release v1.18.0 so far. This is a slight increase to the previous release since we had 3289 commits for v1.17.0, but in general the rough average for a new Kubernetes version. Only round about 10 percent of those commits contain an actual user-facing change, which means that we end up having 337 release notes entries. That is around 35 A4 pages full of release notes! The Kubernetes SIG Release team ensures that those release notes are of a high quality and reworks them manually for every minor release.

          The source for this manual rework is the output of the Kubernetes Release Notes Generator, which collects the data from the previous minor release candidate v1.17.0-rc.1 to the latest state of the release-1.18 branch. The current output of these generated release notes can be found in the GitHub repository of SIG Release. The Release Managers of SIG Release will cut v1.18.0 on March 24th, whereas krel (the Kubernetes Release toolbox) will pick up these notes and push them into the official Kubernetes GitHub repository.

        • Highlights of YaST Development Sprint 95

          Due to recent events, many companies all over the world are switching to a remote working model, and SUSE is not an exception. The YaST team is distributed so, for many members, it is not a big deal because they are already used to work in this way. For other folks it might be harder. Fortunately, SUSE is fully supporting us in this endeavor, so the YaST team has been able to deliver quite some stuff during this sprint, and we will keep doing our best in the weeks to come.

          Before jumping into what the team has recently done, we would also like to bring your attention to the migration of our blog from the good old openSUSE Lizards blog platform to the YaST website. So, please, if you use some feeds reader, update the YaST blog URL to the new one.

      • Debian Family

        • Parrot OS 4.8 released

          Parrot OS is a security and privacy focused distribution, with tools for cyber security operations. Parrot 4.8 follows Debian testing and has many updates from the Debian repositories. Parrot Docker containers allow you to use Parrot tools on docker-supported operating systems. Since the previous release last September the Parrot team has put some effort into re-organizing its internal structure, from the operations and workflow of developers, up to the infrastructure.

        • Parrot 4.8 Release Notes

          Parrot is based on Debian Testing, meaning that Parrot 4.8 includes all the updates that landed in the Debian testing repository between september 2019 and march 2020

        • Parrot 4.8 Security-Oriented OS Adds Linux 5.4 LTS, Updated Hacking Tools

          Parrot 4.8 is here more as an up-to-date installation media, bringing all the software updates and security patches that landed in the Debian Testing (Sid) repository between September 2019 and March 2020.

          However, users will be pleased to also find the latest long-term supported Linux 5.4 kernel series, which will be supported until 2022 and adds better support for newer hardware, as well as the recently released MATE 1.24 desktop environment.

        • Tails 4.4.1 is out

          This release is an emergency release to fix security vulnerabilities in Tor Browser and Tor.

        • New Debian Developers and Maintainers (January and February 2020)

          The following contributors got their Debian Developer accounts in the last two months:

          Gard Spreemann (gspr)
          Jonathan Bustillos (jathan)
          Scott Talbert (swt2c)

          The following contributors were added as Debian Maintainers in the last two months:

          Thiago Andrade Marques
          William Grzybowski
          Sudip Mukherjee
          Birger Schacht
          Michael Robin Crusoe
          Lars Tangvald
          Alberto Molina Coballes
          Emmanuel Arias
          Hsieh-Tseng Shen
          Jamie Strandboge

          Congratulations!

        • Norbert Preining: De-uglify GTk3 tabs of terminals

          If you are puzzled by the indistinguishability of the active tab from inactive tabs in any of the GTK3 based terminal emulators (mate-terminal, gnome-terminal, terminator, …), you are not alone. I have been plagued by that for far too long, and finally found a working solution.

        • quarantimer: a coronovirus quarantine timer for your things

          I am trying to avoid bringing coronovirus into my house on anything, and I also don’t want to sterilize a lot of stuff. (Tedious and easy to make a mistake.) Currently it seems that the best approach is to leave stuff to sit undisturbed someplace safe for long enough for the virus to degrade away.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Is it Just Me or is Ubuntu’s New Install Icon a Bit …Ambiguous?

          Once you know that the icon on above right is supposed to represent Ubiquity, the Ubuntu installer, it kinda works as a motif.

          I say ‘kinda’ because if I take my eyes off the icon for a few seconds, then look back at it, it stops making sense.

          But new Ubuntu users, those booting up a live image to “try Ubuntu without installing”, will be tasked with deciphering what this icon represents as it’s now shipping in Ubuntu 20.04 daily builds.

          Nope, it does represent a torrent app. Or a defrag tool. Nor is it a handy container set-up wizard. And if you think it has anything to do with ‘Snap’ apps or other isolated packaging formats, it doesn’t.

        • NXP LX2160A based NSA 6310 uCPE Runs Ubuntu, Supports up to 25Gbps Ethernet

          NXP QorIQ LayerScape LX2160A networking processor with 16 Cortex-A72 cores, 16 Ethernet interfaces with support for up to 100GbE connectivity, 4 SATA III, and 24 SerDes lanes, was first announced in 2018, and at the time the company expected the processor to be found in enterprise storage controllers, appliances handling network function virtualization (NFV), white-box switching (e.g. control plane for L2 switches in TOR and EOR applications), and 5G packet processing.

          So far, we’ve reported about one appliance using the processor, namely SolidRun Janux GS31 Edge AI Server that combines the NXP networking processor with up to 128 AI accelerators for inference at the edge. The just-announced Nexcom NSA 6310 uCPE (Universal Consumer Premise Equipment) serves several purposes aiming to help telecom companies build virtualization environments, and with the ability to connect FPGA and AI/ML accelerators via PCIe interface can also support AI edge processing.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 623

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 623 for the week of March 15 – 21, 2020. The full version of this issue is available here.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Chef’s COVID-19 Preparedness

        The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on individuals, families, and businesses is real and significant. We respect the unique and essential role that Chef plays in the day-to-day operations of many businesses. During these extraordinary times, we want to share how we are prepared to continue to provide service to you in the coming weeks and months.

      • Events

        • Daniel Stenberg: let’s talk curl 2020 roadmap

          …join in and watch/discuss the curl 2020 roadmap live on Thursday March 26, 2020. Sign up here.

          The roadmap is basically a list of things that we at wolfSSL want to work on for curl to see happen this year – and some that we want to mention as possibilities.(Yes, the word “webinar” is used, don’t let it scare you!)

          If you can’t join live, you will be able to enjoy a recorded version after the fact.

      • ZFS

        • How we set up our ZFS filesystem hierarchy in our ZFS pools

          Our long standing practice here, predating even the first generation of our ZFS fileservers, is that we have two main sorts of filesystems, home directories (homedir filesystems) and what we call ‘work directory’ (workdir) filesystems. Homedir filesystems are called /h/NNN (for some NNN) and workdir filesystems are called /w/NNN; the NNN is unique across all of the different sorts of filesystems. Users are encouraged to put as much stuff as possible in workdirs and can have as many of them as they want, which mattered a lot more in the days when we used Solaris DiskSuite and had fixed-sized filesystems.

        • Rebalancing data on ZFS mirrors

          If you just want to get the data moved and don’t care about balance, you can just copy the data over, then add the new disks and be done with it. But, it won’t be distributed evenly over the vdevs in your pool.

          Don’t fret, though, it’s actually pretty easy to rebalance mirrors. In the following example, we’ll assume you’ve got four disks in a RAID array on an old machine, and two disks available to copy the data to in the short term.

        • Trying Out Ubuntu 20.04 With ZFS + Zsys Automated APT Snapshots

          As part of the ZFS improvements for Ubuntu 20.04 with Canonical’s Zsys initiative is the ability to automatically take snapshots on APT operations for being able to do a system rollback/revert if necessary following package management changes. I’ve begun trying out the ZFS/Zsys changes for Ubuntu 20.04 and so far is working well.

          It was with Ubuntu 19.10 that Canonical added a ZFS root file-system install option to their Ubiquity desktop installer. That easy install option is there with Ubuntu 20.04′s desktop installer but is now tucked away within an “advanced features” windows.

      • CMS

        • Best website builder software [Ed: Too much of this is proprietary exploiting Free software]

          Website builders are tools that allow the creation of web pages without programming knowledge. These are helped by a visual editor (WYSIWYG) to add content and adapt the design. Typically these are online tools such as Wix, Jimdo or Weebly, but there are also offline tools that can be used.

      • Programming/Development

        • Self-hosting a tiny git remote

          There are plenty of full-featured git forges out there. If you’re a software developer, you’ve probably used GitHub, Bitbucket, and GitLab at some point – and you’re maybe familiar with Gitea, Gogs, or SourceHut.

          All of this software is great, and each git forge has valuable features that save users time and effort when working on projects.

          Sometimes, though, all I need is a simple git remote to sync a simple project. I don’t need issue trackers, wikis, continuous integration, or a way to manage patches coming from multiple contributors.

          For these use cases, I have set up a tiny git remote that only I can access.

        • Secure by Design

          Secure by Design is quite a practical book, with many ideas that can be used right away. It shows concrete ways of coding that improve security by limiting the ways in which bugs can slip in. There are quite a few code examples that help explaining the concepts. Sometimes the book is too wordy, such as the example in chapter 11, where insurance policies where issued without payment. But overall it is great resource for developers that want to write more secure code.

        • How We Fixed One Bug in CMake

          In August 2019, CMake introduced the long-awaited support for precompiled headers. Before that, one had to use different plugins, for example, Cotire. Right after the release of CMake with new functionality, there were several more improvements. But in the fall, we decided that we could already start using this feature, and rewrote our scripts. Later, we found a bug that generated incorrect parameters of the Clang compiler and prevented the launch of the PVS-Studio analyzer. The bug had to be fixed by ourselves.

        • Perl/Raku

          • The [Perl] Weekly Challenge #052

            I look forward to the weekly challenges only to learn something new in Raku. I would like to thank many people (unfair to name few here) who guided me every time I am stuck, thanks to the Gang at Twitter.

            As the pattern I always follow, I started with Perl solution. I would not waste any time explaining my code as it is self explanatory.

          • Comparing coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 spike protein sequences with BioPerl

            Continuing from extraction of coronavirus spike protein sequences I decided to compare them and see if any mutations could be found. To do this I needed to align sequences to each other and get multiple sequence alignment. There are many tools that might be used and I have chosen MUSCLE as it is fast, easy to use and accurate enough. However, other tools such as MAFFT or T-Coffee should also work well and could give more accurate alignments in more complicated cases than the one I was dealing with.

          • 2020.12 JVM Nullification

            Christian Bartolomäus has fixed a long standing issue on the JVM backend: not having a proper representation for nqp::null. This special value is used a lot in Rakudo in hot code paths to indicate that something has not been initialized yet.

        • Python

          • Python 3.9.0a5 is now available for testing

            On behalf of the entire Python development community, and the currently serving Python release team in particular, I’m pleased to announce the release of Python 3.9.0a5. Get it here:

            https://www.python.org/downloads/release/python-390a5/

          • Twisted Drops Python 2.7 Support

            With the open-source Python community at large dropping Python 2.7 support in their projects, Twisted has decided to do the same. Twisted 20.3.0, the most recently released version, is the final release to offer Python 2.7 support.

          • Simple Speech to Text Converter Using Speech Recognization in Python

            In this part, I’m going to share small script to create speech to text converter in python using google Speech Recognition module.

          • Against service layers in Django

            Recently I’ve seen posts and questions pop up in a few places about a sort of “enterprise” Django style guide that’s been getting attention. There are a number of things I disagree with in that guide, but the big one, and the one people have mostly been asking about, is the recommendation to add a “service layer” to Django applications. The short version of my opinion on this is: it’s probably not what you want in Django apps.

          • More on service layers in Django

            While there were plenty of people who agreed with the general idea of that post, there were also quite a few objections. And most of those seem to fall into two main categories: people who want some type of additional layer (and may or may not call it a “service”) as a way of managing cross-cutting complexity, and people who want it as an isolating abstraction for testing.

            There’s also a third group whose objections are more about the Active Record ORM pattern, but that’s not something that can be solved within the context of the Django ORM — it is and likely always will be an Active Record ORM. As I mentioned in the previous post, if you want a Data Mapper ORM in Python, I think you really should be using SQLAlchemy. And you probably shouldn’t be using Django at all in that case — instead, either go with a microframework that lets you plug in whatever you want (most likely Flask), or with a full-stack framework built around SQLAlchemy (your best choice is probably Pyramid). I think you’ll be much happier working with one of those than with trying to retrofit SQLAlchemy, or any other replacement ORM, into Django.

          • Stéphane Wirtel: Contribution to PythonIreland

            At the end of February, I was in Limerick to help the PythonIreland team for the PyCon Limerick held there during the weekend of February 29th.

            And because I wanted to help them, I have started to rewrite the web site of PyCon Limerick 2020. The current version of PyCon Limerick uses a WordPress instance, I have no issues with the set up. But I prefer to work with a static site, and with some other members of the team, I have started to work on a static version with Hugo.

          • The Python math Module: Everything You Need to Know

            In this article, you’ll learn all about Python’s math module. Mathematical calculations are an essential part of most Python development. Whether you’re working on a scientific project, a financial application, or any other type of programming endeavor, you just can’t escape the need for math.

            For straightforward mathematical calculations in Python, you can use the built-in mathematical operators, such as addition (+), subtraction (-), division (/), and multiplication (*). But more advanced operations, such as exponential, logarithmic, trigonometric, or power functions, are not built in. Does that mean you need to implement all of these functions from scratch?

          • New pip resolver to roll out this year

            The developers of pip are in the process of developing a new resolver for pip (as we announced on the PSF blog last year). We aim to roll it out later this year. As part of that work, there will be some major changes to how pip determines what to install, based on package requirements.

          • How to Shuffle a List in Python

            random is a Python module that implements pseudo-random number generators. random.shuffle can shuffle a list in-place.

        • JavaScript

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Announcing Season of Docs 2020

        Season of Docs brings technical writers and open source projects together for a few months to work on open source documentation. 2019 was the first year of Season of Docs, bringing together open source organizations and technical writers to create 44 successful documentation projects!

      • Announcing Season of Docs 2020

        Google Open Source has announced the 2020 edition of Season of Docs, a program to connect open source projects with technical writers to improve documentation. Open source organizations may apply from April 14-May 4. Once mentoring organizations and technical writers are connected, there will be a month long community bonding period, beginning August 11. Writers will then work with mentors to complete documentation projects by the December 6 deadline.

      • Paint a Dove for Document Freedom Day

        Help us celebrate the Twelfth Anniversary of Document Freedom Day by making a paper dove!

        Download the dove template and the instructions from this link: https://tdf.io/dfd1, and once you are done with your dove take a picture of it and upload your photo using this link: https://tdf.io/dfd2.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • Presenting Trump and Science as Equals Isn’t Balanced, It’s Dangerous

        With more than 32,000 COVID-19 infections and 400 deaths in the US to date, and Surgeon General Jerome Adams predicting that “this week, it’s going to get bad,” as hospitals prepare for the eventuality of rationing treatment for patients least likely to survive, the president of the United States hit his caps lock key and typed out a tweet:

    • Education

      • Higher Education in the Time of COVID-19

        Desperate attempts to curtail the spread of the Corona Virus are turning many localities in different parts of the world into phantom cities. Universities and other higher education institutions have not been immune to this process. They are closed institutions, with academics urged, if not compelled, irrespective of their training for this purpose, to place their courses and carry out their teaching online. This has led many to herald the ‘brave new world’ of online learning as the panacea for the crisis. There are those who would consider the present period as the potential watershed in establishing this already widely practiced mode of delivery as the dominant form of teaching in Higher Education. This reaction, couched in phrases such as “every cloud has a silver lining”, is to be expected and falls in line with the neoliberal tenets that have been underlying most common sense thinking about mass-oriented Higher Education. I argue for caution in this regard.

    • Hardware

      • Why we use 1U servers, and the two sides of them

        Every so often I talk about ’1U servers’ and sort of assume that people know both what ’1U’ means here and what sort of server I mean by this. The latter is somewhat of a leap, since there are two sorts of server that 1U servers can be, and the former requires some hardware knowledge that may be getting less and less common in this age of the cloud.

        In this context, the ‘U’ in 1U (or 2U, 3U, 4U, 5U, and so on) stands for a rack unit, a measure of server height in a standard server rack. Because racks have a standard width and a standard maximum depth, height is the only important variation in size for in rack mounted servers. A 1U server is thus the smallest practical standalone server that you can get.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Pandemic: The Invention of a Disease Called Fear

        The word ‘pandemic’ bears a similarity to the word ‘panic’ and indeed ‘pandemonium’. In fact ‘pandemic’ evokes an almost instant flush of fear in those easily manipulated by mass media, before any details have even touched the surface or context in which the word is being used.

      • Here to help Russia’s support networks for the senior citizens, chronically ill people, and returning international travelers now ordered to self-isolate

        On March 25, officials in Russia’s capital required seniors older than 65 and chronically ill people to self-isolate as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus. Anyone returning from abroad is also required to isolate at home for two weeks, during which time they cannot even step outside to dispose of trash or visit a pharmacy. These restrictions create serious obstacles to buying groceries and medicine, walking dogs, and tackling other household needs. To learn about the support networks in place for these people and to find out how they can get help, Meduza called the telephone hotlines for the All-Russia People’s Front (ONF) and Moscow Health Department.

      • Nigeria Reports Chloroquine Overdoses After Trump—Without Evidence—Touted Drug as Possible Coronavirus Treatment

        “It only took a day for the president’s tweets to get people hospitalized.”

      • Solidarity or Disaster

        The coronavirus has exposed many things – like a tide that recedes and exposes   the wrecks and debris on the bottom of the shore: starved hospitals, inadequate public health services, inept people in important political positions, stark inequality and a world economy disintegrating by its very own profiteering and imbalance.

      • COVID-19 Will Spread Like Wildfire in Migrant Jails If Detainees Aren’t Released

        Alarm is growing about the safety of more than 37,000 people held in immigrant detention centers and private jails that contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, where it is nearly impossible for them to avoid close contact to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Nearly half of those detained by ICE are accused of no crime other than civil immigration violations. Immigrants at three jails in New Jersey are now on hunger strikes over unsanitary conditions that put them at high risk during the pandemic.

        We hear from a detained person on hunger strike and speak with John Sandweg, former acting director of ICE during the Obama administration, who is calling for ICE to release thousands from detention, and Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, or CHIRLA, which just led a national effort to stop immigration enforcement actions.

      • If We Run Out of Masks, We’re Going to Run Out of Nurses, Says Emergency Doctor

        As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. rises to more than 35,000, doctors are facing a desperate lack of supplies, and tests continue to lag. We speak with Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University. She previously served as Baltimore’s health commissioner. She says healthcare workers are “putting their lives on the line every day” as they work in hazardous conditions with inadequate supplies, including N95 respirator masks. “First we’re going to run out of masks, and then we’re going to run out of doctors and nurses, because they’ll become sick,” Dr. Wen warns.

      • Another 71 test positive for coronavirus in Russia, bringing total number of confirmed cases to 438, as senior citizens are ordered to shelter in place

        In the past 24 hours, Russia confirmed another 71 cases of coronavirus, according to Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, raising the country’s total number of positive tests to 438. A federal task force says all the new infections were reported in Moscow.

      • The Virus of Capitalism Has Infected the COVID-19 Fight

        Around two weeks ago, when the first wave of closures — the schools, the ballgames, the bars — began to roll across the country, a clock began ticking in my head. How long will it be, I wondered, before some rich person goes on TV and starts quacking about “getting the country going again” because they’re losing money?

      • The cost of ventilators spikes in Russia, as regions nationwide scramble to buy up the life-saving machines, despite assurances that there’s no shortage

        On March 19, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin assured journalists that Russia has no shortage of ventilators — the breathing machines needed to prevent many of the worst COVID-19 cases from becoming fatal. On March 23, however, the federal government allocated another 7.5 billion rubles ($92.9 million) to buy more ventilators. According to the news website Open Media, state procurement records show that regional health officials are worried about ventilator shortages, and the rush to buy more is driving up the prices on this equipment.

      • Why Putin will not be following the Moscow mayor’s order for seniors over 65 to shelter in place
      • Soviet-style posters call on Moscow construction workers to hurry up with that new coronavirus hospital
      • Where Pandemics Come From — and How to Stop Them
      • The Coronavirus Testing Paradox

        There’s a seeming paradox in experts’ advice on testing people for COVID-19. A growing number of epidemiologists are calling for a nationwide regimen of tests to identify hot spots and allow public health workers to isolate the close contacts of anyone who’s infected.

        Yet New York City, the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., has ordered doctors not to test anyone who is “mild to moderately ill” with COVID-like symptoms, a position also taken by Los Angeles. As New York’s Health Department succinctly put it: “Outpatient testing must not be encouraged, promoted or advertised.”

      • Boomer Remover

        Yes, some kids, believing they are immune to COVID-19, actually appear to be celebrating the spread among the “Boomers” who will die at higher rates, out of the possible 2.2 million US deaths that could result given the botched US response. It is reported the kids are calling COVID-19 “Boomer Remover.” Now some people seem shocked by this. Me, not so much.

      • ‘Media, Stop Live Streaming His Misinformation!’: Despite Reports of Overdose Deaths, Trump Again Touts Unproven Drug Treatment for Coronavirus

        “How many more people will have to die?”

      • Derelict Leadership on Health Security

        If one event shows both Trump’s flawed character and his ineptitude, it would have to be his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. It is all about him, claiming superior knowledge of the medical issues while constantly downplaying the extent and seriousness of the virus, ignoring early warning signs, and withholding vital information from the scientific community as well as the public. “Maybe I have a natural ability,” he said during a tour of the CDC. “I understand that whole world” of medicine and should have been a doctor. When that claim falls apart, Trump casts a wide net of blame for the rapid spread of COVID-19—Obama, the Democrats, the Chinese—rather than focus on his responsibilities as a leader.

      • Blame for Wuhan virus lies squarely with CCP

        The hashtag “China lied, people died” has been trending around the world over the past few days as people come to terms with the colossal impact the Wuhan coronavirus is having on everyone’s lives.

        It has sparked a hugely emotional response. The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) left-leaning supporters have immediately played the race card and accused anyone who dares to criticize China of being racist. The CCP has leaped on this too, as its propaganda machine has gone into overdrive to try and deflect blame over the pandemic.

      • Exclusive: Elite [attackers] target WHO as coronavirus cyberattacks spike

        The motives in the case identified by Reuters aren’t clear. United Nations agencies, the WHO among them, are regularly targeted by digital espionage campaigns and Aggio said he did not know who precisely at the organization the [attackers] had in their sights.

      • Systems Failure At Main Mission

        I am still alive. In a prior post I had mentioned that things had been changing rather rapidly. With a daily press conference by the Governor of Ohio there has been one new decree after another relative to the COVID-19 situation.

        A “stay at home” order takes effect at 0359 hours Coordinated Universal Time on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. This is not quite a “lockdown” but pretty much has me stuck. The State of Ohio has resources posted as to economic help in this situation but they’re also dealing with many multiple systems crashes as they try to react and some of their solutions are extremely bureaucratic.

        Although I wanted to get started with doing daily livestream on Twitch there have been some logistical delays. I am also having to scrape together what equipment I do have at home to set up make-shift production capacity since our proper production facility is now inaccessible for the immediate future. There is an Amazon wish list of replacement items to try to fill in gaps if anybody feels generous though I am not sure when/if those would show up in the current circumstances. That’s also why I’m having to encourage folks to either buy the Kindle version or buy the EPUB version of the novella since the print version is possibly not going to be available any time soon.

      • Covid-19 brings people together

        The virus has infected more than 200 000 people (116 in South Africa by Friday) in at least 110 countries and territories globally and it has led to the death of more than 10 000, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

      • Coronavirus Could Be a ‘Chimera’ of Two Different Viruses, Genome Analysis Suggests

        In the space of a few weeks, we have all learned a lot about COVID-19 and the virus that causes it: SARS-CoV-2. But there have also been a lot of rumours.

        And while the number of scientific articles on this virus is increasing, there are still many grey areas as to its origins.

        In which animal species did it occur? A bat, a pangolin or another wild species? Where does it come from? From a cave or a forest in the Chinese province of Hubei, or elsewhere?

        In December 2019, 27 of the first 41 people hospitalised (66 percent) passed through a market located in the heart of Wuhan city in Hubei province. But, according to a study conducted at Wuhan Hospital, the very first human case identified did not frequent this market.

      • Coronavirus: Loss of smell and taste may be hidden symptom of COVID-19
      • Facebook’s Incomplete Response to Misleading Ads on HIV Prevention – Validated Independent News

        Matthew Lavietes reported that the ads in question falsely linked severe bone and kidney damage to the use of the drug. Peter Staley, Cofounder of PREP4All, is quoted as saying, “The question remains—why is Facebook taking money from these ambulance-chasing law firms for ads that are helping the spread of HIV?”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • HashiCorp Accelerates Multi-Cloud Transformation Efforts

              HashiCorp got its start primarily as a DevOps vendor with the popular Vagrant open-source tool for building and distributing development environments. In recent years, the company has expanded significantly, with a key focus on the cloud with multiple tools including Consul for service discovery, Nomad for orchestration and Terraform for enabling infrastructure as code.

              “The practical reality for most companies is that they will adopt multi-cloud in some capacity,” Armon Dadgar, co-founder and CTO of HashiCorp, told ITPro Today. “So the day-to-day reality and the challenge for companies becomes how to operationalize that.”

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • South Korea’s Coronavirus Plan Is Working, Can the World Copy It?

              By now, such messages are commonplace in South Korea, as is the ominous chorus of accompanying tones that can be heard at bus stops, offices, and other community settings. Some days, I receive over a dozen alerts about infections in my area. When I travel to other parts of Seoul, my phone vibrates with new reports about cases in those neighborhoods.

              To compile those messages, South Korea relies not only on in-person interviews, but also instant access to extensive amounts of personal information — such as bank records, phone GPS data, and surveillance footage — not only for confirmed coronavirus patients but also suspected cases.

              This access is possible because South Korean lawmakers loosened privacy laws following a 2015 outbreak of MERS, which resulted in 39 deaths here. Now, during dangerous epidemics, authorities have warrantless access to such private data.

        • Security

          • Microsoft discloses new Windows vulnerability that’s being actively exploited

            The flaw involves the Adobe Type Manager Library, which helps Windows render fonts. “There are multiple ways an attacker could exploit the vulnerability, such as convincing a user to open a specially crafted document or viewing it in the Windows Preview pane,” according to Microsoft. The vulnerability has a severity level of “critical,” which is the company’s highest rating.

            There isn’t currently a patch available to fix the flaw, though Microsoft’s advisory notes that updates to address security vulnerabilities are usually released as part of Update Tuesday, typically scheduled for the second Tuesday of every month. That means, in theory, the next Update Tuesday is scheduled for April 14th.

          • macOS, Windows 10 and Ubuntu Hacked at Pwn2Own 2020

            macOS, Windows 10 and Ubuntu were some of the software that fell to exploits on day 1 of Pwn2Own 2020. A total of $180,000 was up for grabs for 9 bugs in 3 categories, and hackers were able to defeat the security mechanisms in three of the most popular desktop operating systems out there.

            Due to coronavirus, the annual Pwn2Own event was held virtually, instead of in Vancouver, Canada. The hackers had prepared exploits in advance and sent them to organizers to demonstrate in a live presentation to all participants.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • User Privacy Champion Ashkan Soltani Joins EFF Advisory Board

              EFF is proud to announce that independent researcher and technologist Ashkan Soltani has joined our advisory board, where he will share his expertise in privacy and security. Ashkan is a long-time EFF friend and collaborator whose research has informed our efforts to protect users from NSA backdoors, shine a light on third-party tracking, and hold the government accountable for unconstitutional mass surveillance.Ashkan is a career advocate for user rights in the digital world, and his commitment to protecting consumer privacy will be vital to the work we do at EFF. Ashkan is one of the architects of the California Consumer Privacy Act, the nation’s strongest digital privacy law protecting private information and providing users more control over their data. His work looking under the hood of tracking technology and practices used by companies to collect user data—years before the Cambridge Analytica scandal—has been critical to the public’s understanding of how personal data is being mined and monetized.Ashkan’s research was the basis for the Wall Street Journal’s award-winning series “What They Know,” a ground-breaking report on tracking technologies and how they work. He also co-authored a Washington Post series on NSA spying programs that was awarded a 2014 Pulitzer Prize. Ashkan was one of the first staff technologists at the Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, where he helped lead investigations of Google, Twitter, and Facebook for misleading user privacy practices. Later, he was appointed Chief Technologist at the FTC, advising on technology policy and helping create a new Office of Technology Research and Investigation.In 2016 Ashkan was recruited by the White House to serve as Senior Advisor to the U.S. Chief Technology Officer, consulting on consumer privacy and the ethics of big data. The engagement ended after the White House denied Ashkan a security clearance, which many in the tech community speculated was a result of his work on the NSA spying series at the Washington Post.In 2018 Ashkan became an expert witness in EFF’s landmark Jewel v. NSA lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of NSA mass surveillance. In an affidavit, he testified that the communications of EFF’s plaintiffs were likely subjected to collection as part of NSA’s surveillance network.We’re thrilled to have Ashkan on our advisory board.

            • Federal Court Blasts Lying Cop Using His Warrantless Search Of A Room To Fraudulently Obtain A Search Warrant

              It’s not often you see a court actually call a police officer a liar, but it happened in this case [PDF], via FourthAmendment.com. While investigating a murder, Puerto Rico PD Homicide Division Agent Pedro Medina-Negron performed a sweep of the house to ensure there were no more victims or dangerous perpetrators inside.

            • BuildTogether – data, code, people for the world

              The Singapore Government Technology Agency released, at the end of last week (Friday 20 March 2020) a mobile phone app, called TraceTogether which uses the bluetooth of the mobile phone to establish tiny database with the app residing in the individual’s phone with data of users – all anonymised – running the same application when they are nearby.

              The objective is to help with contact tracing so that should an individual be diagnosed with COVID-19, if this app was running on their phones, then the Singapore Ministry of Health can, with the user’s permission, extract the database and initiate contact tracing.

              I was initially skeptical about the tool. I rarely turn on the bluetooth on my phone. And TraceTogether needs it to be on all the time. Also, since the code is not yet available under any license, let alone an open source license, I have far less confidence in the the design and architecture of the application. I do, however, I have implict trust that GovTech devs will do the right thing – maybe it is misplaced trust. The possibility for Big Brother surveillance is, nonetheless, real and looming.

            • Biggest lockdown of society in British history ordered by Boris Johnson

              Mr Johnson said that from now on, no-one should leave their home unless to do one of four things: shop for food or essentials; exercise once per day; attend to a medical need or provide care for the vulnerable, and travelling to and from work where absolutely necessary (including key workers taking their children to school on the way).

              Announcing restrictions that took even his own MPs completely by surprise, Mr Johnson banned all public gatherings of more than two people unless they are from the same household or for “essential work” – a measure that will be enforceable with police-issued fines which are expected to start at £30 but will escalate sharply if necessary.

            • Governments around the world are increasingly using location data to manage the coronavirus

              Perhaps the most aggressive use of cellphone location tracking is happening in South Korea where the government has created a publicly available map from cellphone data that people can use to determine if they have come into contact with someone who has been infected with the novel coronavirus. South Korea is viewed as something of a success story in its efforts to beat back the spread of the virus; the BBC reports that the country recorded 64 new cases in the past 24 hours, down from its peak of 909 cases reported on February 29th.

            • [Older] To Track Coronavirus, Israel Moves to Tap Secret Trove of Cellphone Data

              The existence of the data trove and the legislative framework under which it is amassed and used have not previously been reported. The plan to apply it to fighting the virus, alluded to only vaguely by Mr. Netanyahu, has not yet been debated by lawmakers or revealed to the public.

              The idea is to sift through geolocation data routinely collected from Israeli cellphone providers about millions of their customers in Israel and the West Bank, find people who came into close contact with known virus carriers, and send them text messages directing them to isolate themselves immediately.

            • [Older] European mobile operators share data for coronavirus fight

              The data, which are anonymous and aggregated, make it possible to map concentrations and movements of customers in ‘hot zones’ where COVID-19 has taken hold.

              That is less invasive than the approach taken by countries like China, Taiwan and South Korea, which use smartphone location readings to trace the contacts of individuals who have tested positive or to enforce quarantine orders.

            • Twitter Slashes Quarterly Sales Forecast, Warns of Loss

              As part of the agreement, Twitter set what it described as “ambitious” goals around user additions and revenue. The company is targeting 20% user growth year-over-year in 2020, and said it aims to “accelerate revenue growth on a year-over-year basis and gain share in the digital advertising market.”

            • How to unlock telemedicine on such a large scale

              The barrier has been the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Passed in 1996, HIPAA aimed to provide patients with stronger privacy protections. But it was passed in the early days of the [Internet] — and before the explosive growth of mobile phones, video calling, and real-time messaging — and quickly became outdated. Many of today’s most common communication tools are not HIPAA-compliant, which means that people weren’t able to use the most easily-accessible apps and services to get the care they need.

              HHS announced Tuesday a “notice of enforcement discretion” for health care professionals who use popular online communication apps and services that aren’t compliant with HIPAA. The notice means that doctors can use FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Skype, and Facebook Messenger video chat to provide care instructions to patients, assess symptoms, and advise on potential exposure risk. And at a time when depression will likely rise due to social isolation, mental health therapists can move their practices online and continue seeing their patients.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Turkish Website, Hosted By Cloudflare, Posts ISIS Videos, Reports Of Attacks, Articles, Editorials, Weekly, Infographics, Brochures: ‘Kill The Idolaters Wherever You Find Them’

        A Turkish-language news website promotes the worldview of the Islamic State (ISIS) and is updated daily.

      • Report: Violence in Mali Could Spread if Land Conflict Not Resolved

        The ongoing crisis in northern and central Mali and neighboring countries could spill over into the southern part of the West African country if conflicts over land and other natural resources are not addressed, warns an international peace-building group.

        International Alert (AI), a London-based organization that works on peace building in conflict zones, said in a report released Monday that resolving land issues must be a priority for peace-building efforts in the region.

      • SoftBank Plans to Sell $14 Billion in Alibaba Shares

        While SoftBank didn’t specify which assets would be sold, its Alibaba stake is worth more than $120 billion and makes up the largest chunk of unrealized value. It’s unclear what timeframe SoftBank’s looking at — its stock in Sprint and Hong Kong shares of Alibaba may be subject to lockup periods: one year from listing in Alibaba’s case and up to several years for Sprint, though certain conditions may allow earlier transfers and the company could employ special vehicles to get a deal done. Alibaba’s stock was up as much as 2.7%, reversing early losses on Tuesday in Hong Kong.

      • It’s not just toilet paper: People line up to buy guns, ammo over coronavirus concerns

        Charette is among a growing tide of Americans who are going to retailers, pawnshops and online to purchase gun supplies and ammunition in the wake of COVID-19, which had killed more than 60 people in the U.S. as of Saturday afternoon.

        As hysteria surrounding the illness drives some to stockpile groceries and toilet paper in case they’re quarantined, it’s also causing many to worry about a shortage of gun supplies, which is driving up demand and leading to long lines at suppliers.

      • Gun sales surge as coronavirus pandemic spreads

        “All the anecdotal reports are sales have really kicked up higher here the last week or two,” gun industry analyst Rob Southwick, founder of the market research firm Southwick Associates Inc, told CNN Business. “Whenever there’s a period of uncertainty — 9/11, the stock market crash of ’87 — firearm sales go up.”

      • Gun Sales Surge Across Northeast Ohio Amid Coronavirus Concerns

        There have been reports of bare store shelves across the region as people buy supplies for social distancing amid the spread of COVID-19. Local gun shops are no exception. Firearms and ammunition stores across Northeast Ohio are reporting a spike in sales.

        The FBI releases monthly data on the number of background checks run on potential gun purchases nationwide. The numbers for March won’t be made public until April.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • The California Public Records Act Is an Essential Right, Even During a State of Emergency

        As Californians shelter-at-home up and down the state, the journalists and citizen watchdogs who file California Public Records Act (CPRA) requests know that trade-offs must be made. We know that local agencies may be understaffed at this time and that they may be slow to respond to our letters. They may need to restrict our ability to inspect records in person at City Hall, and public records lawsuits may stall as courts restrict hearing dates. 

        But where we draw the line is when government agencies announce they will suspend the public records request process altogether, a move telegraphed by several agencies in a recent Los Angeles Times story.

      • We’re Making Public Records Requests to Help Us Cover the Coronavirus. Tell Us What We Should Be Asking For.

        Freedom of Information Act requests and other records requests are crucial tools to help the public understand how our governments are tracking, reacting, planning and otherwise making critical decisions. ProPublica stories are often influenced and informed by documents, and we want your suggestions for what to request.

        Are you a federal, state or city level government employee? Are you someone who regularly interacts with government agencies? Do you have an idea for a particular type of record we should be asking for or a specific agency we should be asking? We welcome your advice.

    • Environment

      • Energy

        • Green Group Urges Nationalization of Oil and Gas Industry Amid Coronavirus Outbreak and Economic Upheaval

          “By taking fossil fuel companies under public ownership while they’re cheap to buy, the U.S. could ensure the country’s energy demands are met responsibly as it transitions to a net-zero-emissions economy.”

        • As Coronavirus Worsened, Trump Admin Pushed Offshore Drilling and Gas Exports

          On March 18, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) held a lease sale for 397,285 acres of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico that attracted bids by companies such as BP, Chevron, Shell, Total, BHP Billiton and a slew of smaller independent drillers. A day later, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) handed a permit to the long-embattled Jordan Cove LNG export facility, located in Coos Bay, Oregon.

        • Don’t bail out the cruise industry

          But there are myriad reasons not to bail out the cruise industry’s biggest players. Here are just a few: [...]

          They pay basically zero federal income tax. With all of that in mind, it shouldn’t surprise many people that these big cruise companies essentially pay no federal income tax in the US. True, each company is actually a conglomeration of a bunch of smaller companies, and there are some cases where their subsidiaries might be subject to federal (and state) income tax laws. But most of those entities don’t have to pay, thanks to Section 883 of the Internal Revenue Code, which exempts: [...]

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • How to Wage War, FDR-Style, on the COVID-19 Pandemic

        The United States, President Donald Trump is now proclaiming, stands at “war.” We are facing, in the novel coronavirus, “an invisible enemy” that could claim the lives of more Americans than every shooting war America has ever fought.

      • UN Chief Warns of Coming Recession for the Planet

        The United Nations has shut down most of its meetings and all of its conferences, but the world body in New York stays open. There are peacekeeping missions to follow, conflicts around the world and the plight of the millions of refugees from wars that don’t heal.

      • Demands for Workers-First Stimulus Grow as Senate GOP Fails to Ram Through $500 Billion Corporate ‘Slush Fund’

        “No more slush funds or no-strings-attached handouts. Real relief for the American people.”

      • Senate Democrats Applauded for Again Stopping GOP ‘Corporate Bailout That Leaves Americans Behind’

        “It may make a lot of people rich, but it doesn’t have the resources in it today to take care of the most vulnerable in this country.”

      • A Debt Jubilee is the Only Way to Avoid a Depression

        Even before the novel coronavirus appeared, many American families were falling behind on student loans, auto loans, credit cards and other payments. America’s debt overhead was pricing its labor and industry out of world markets. A debt crisis was inevitable eventually, but covid-19 has made it immediate.

      • The UBI debate comes to Moscow Russian economists are drawing on the U.S. to recommend handouts of about $125 per person. Despite the coronavirus crisis, Moscow’s Central Bank has said no.

        U.S. lawmakers and executive officials are considering an emergency policy that would issue $1,000 to each of the country’s adult residents regardless of economic status. Some politicians, such as Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, are calling for monthly payments of $2,000 per household, and a number of other countries have implemented emergency income measures already. Each policy is limited in its own way: In Australia, payments were issued to pensioners and low-income earners only, for example, and in Thailand, a proposal for small cash payments to individual groups failed to earn popular support.

      • It’s Not Socialism. It’s Another Mega Wealth Transfer.

        Amid the COVID-19 panic, it has hardly been noticed that Carphone Warehouse went bust, with 2,900 people losing their jobs. Its co-founder, David Ross, is of course the billionaire that Boris Johnson claimed paid for his luxury holiday to Mustique, whereas Ross claimed he only organised it. Who actually paid is one of those Johnson peccadilloes, like the promotion of Jennifer Arcuri, the Garden Bridge fiasco, the Guppy conversation over beating up Stuart Collier, the Russian Influence report, the question of how many children he really has – I could go on rather a long while here – which will be discreetly downplayed by the state and media nexus.

      • AT&T CEO Nabbed Record $32 Million Compensation In 2019, Despite Rampant Bumbling, Layoffs

        Last year wasn’t a particularly good one for AT&T. Despite spending more than $150 billion in mergers in a bid to dominate the streaming video space, the company instead lost 4 million TV subscribers on the year, not exactly what company executives were aiming for. Not only did AT&T’s mergers saddle the company with a mountain of debt, the company then tried to extract that debt from its customers in the form of numerous price hikes, ignoring that’s not how streaming TV competition is going to work. The company also bumbled its streaming TV branding so badly, it confused even the company’s own marketing and support departments.

      • The Pathogenic Profits System: Beyond Begging, Praying, and Capital

        We live in an age of Orwellian untruth where falsehood is the norm. One key falsehood worth unmasking is the claim that the current COVID-19 stock market decline, soon to usher in a full-on recession, is a “black swan” – an unpredictable (and supposedly unpredicted) “surprise” event with great and negative consequences outside the normal operations of capitalism.

      • The IMF Abandons Venezuelans to the Threat of the COVID-19 Pandemic

        No government that had to bow to the power of a financial institution like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) knows the harsh consequences to which it will have to submit. That includes the Venezuelan government. And yet last March 15 president Nicolas Maduro filed a formal request to the IMF for a financing facility of US$5 billion from the emergency fund of the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) with the following words in a letter sent to the IMF director Kristalina Georgieva and that Arreaza published on his Twitter account:

      • It’s Morally Intolerable for the Privileged to Profit from this Emergency

        Weeks before the coronavirus crushed the U.S. stock market, Republican Senator Richard Burr used information gleaned as chairman of the Senate intelligence committee about the ferocity of the coming pandemic to unload 33 stocks held by him and his spouse, estimated at between $628,033 and $1.72 million, in some of the industries likely to be hardest hit by the global outbreak. 

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • There Goes the Rule of Law

        A conversation on how the U.S. courts have Trump’s back.

      • Joe Biden: Survival of the Unfittest

        Since becoming his party’s frontrunner and presumed nominee, Joe Biden has been hard at work, providing more fodder for future Trump campaign attack ads against himself. No need for ‘deep fakes’ when your opponent willingly offers up his Blooper reels for the benefit of your own re-election campaign. There was something more viral than COVID-19 going around last week – recent footage of the former VP losing his marbles on Livestream and then wandering offscreen to retrieve them – or was he sleepwalking into traffic after hearing about his own car crash performance as it happened? Let’s just say his latest attempt at self-immolation just added more fuel to the rumors that he’s firing blanks instead of neurons.

      • The Political Uses of Pandemic

        Crisis has long had political uses for ruling groups. As I wrote in a piece for CounterPunch in 2015, elites and their intellectual courtiers often manufacture crises themselves, though what sociologist Stanley Cohen called ‘the amplification of deviance’ (or blowing things utterly out of proportion). Where not directly complicit themselves in the process of engineering crises for political purposes, elites and their ideological lickspittles reveal time and again a tenacious capacity to exploit legitimate crises—if not for proactive personal gain, then to avoid responsibility for creating them in the first place. Much about the global response to the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic reflects this historical truism.

      • Tomorrow is Another Day

        I have received very many messages waiting for my take on the Alex Salmond acquittal. There is much to say and a need to take serious decisions about exactly when to reveal various crucial elements of information, because while the truth is vital, there can be a legitimate question at which moment it does most good. The most stunning information is in danger of being swamped by COVID-19 at the moment.

      • The Global Media and COVID-19

        For all the coverage of heads of state and high-ranking diplomats, the perceptions generated by the media have the greater impact on the course of international relations. The panic over the coronavirus and the profoundly contradictory reports issued to the public by the media without any effort to introduce a scientific analysis have turned a medical challenge that could have been an opportunity to promote global cooperation into a disruption to the global economy that has brought airports to a standstill and sent stock markets crashing.

      • How Decades of Neoliberal Policies Impact COVID-19 Responses in the US – Then Emil Marmol Presents How the Corporate Media Undermines Progressive Candidates – The Project Censored Show

        In the first segment of this week’s program, Nolan Higdon and Mickey Huff discuss how the Democratic primaries reflect a struggle for control of the party’s future and they address how decades of neoliberal policies impact COVID-19 responses in the US.  Then Emil Marmol returns to the show to present the case that corporate media (especially cable-news hosts) — instead of providing fair coverage — have gone to bizarre extremes to create a Third Red Scare in efforts to undermine progressive and populist candidates and their campaigns.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Shelter in Place and Plan an Uprising

        Kelly Hayes talks about organizing for change while socially distanced and what we ought to be doing with ourselves.

      • Social Distancing, The Digital Divide, and Fixing This Going Forward

        Social distancing, work from home, shelter in place—these are all strategies employed in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. Americans who have jobs allowing them to engage in social distancing are very dependent on their Internet connection. That dependence is only going to grow as time goes on. As parents depend on the Internet for homeschooling, as businesses depend on employees being able to work from home, and as everyone depends on the Internet for public safety information, we need to recognize that our current Internet ecosystem is failing many Americans. And any infrastructure recovery effort that comes out of this situation should address the digital divide at its source: policy decisions that have left us at the mercy of a few, giant companies whose business concerns don’t include all Americans.

        For however long this emergency lasts, an untold number of us will be forced to deal with the failure of our telecom policies to produce universally available, affordable, and competitive high-speed broadband options. Families with children who must simultaneously handle school closures and remote education while also working through video conferencing and cloud computing will reside in the two different Americas for broadband access. American households who reap the benefits of competition among ever increasing speeds with lowering prices and Americans who are forced to rely on obsolete infrastructure built from a bygone era or, worse yet, have no broadband options at all. Those two Americas still being split between what we call the “digital divide” in 2020 is a clear sign of failure in our current approach to broadband. It is imperative that we take it upon ourselves to forcefully bring an end to the inequality of access as part of any infrastructure recovery effort.

      • Creative Empathy in a Pandemic

        One thing about a pandemic: It’s inclusive. We cannot survive it, move beyond it, by protecting merely some people. We have to protect everyone.

      • Discriminatory Law Solidifies India’s Ethnic, Religious Hierarchies – Validated Independent News

        Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has refused to acknowledge the act’s discriminatory impacts, often supporting anti-Muslim claims. Consequently, Indians have taken to the streets in protest, demanding equal rights to citizenship for immigrants of all religious backgrounds. The Indian Supreme Court is expected to hear cases against the C.A.A. As of January 22, 2020, the Supreme Court gave the Prime Minister four weeks to reply to claims about the acts’ “unconstitutionality.”

      • EFF and COVID-19: Protecting Openness, Security, and Civil Liberties

        EFF and its members work to ensure that technology supports freedom, justice, and innovation for all the people of the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has made obvious how important the Internet and digital tools are to our lives and how vital it is that we maintain an open and secure approach to them. 

        For those of us living under quarantine, shelter in place orders, or just staying home to voluntarily help protect our communities, we now rely on the Internet and digital tools more than ever to share information and advice, create art and memes, listen to our favorite musicians perform “live,” or just to feel less alone. We see how technology is helping us cope, hopefully temporarily, with the loss of in-person contact. Many others are using digital tools and services to organize mutual aid for their neighborhoods and communities in this time of crisis.

      • The Time Is Now: The Supreme Court Must Allow Live Cameras

        At a time when government officials are justifiably limiting in-person gatherings to slow the spread of COVID-19, the public should have access to essential government activities. The Supreme Court is no exception, which is why it must finally allow cameras in its courtroom.

        Responding to the health and safety concerns raised by the spread of COVID-19, the Supreme Court announced on March 12 that it would close its building to the public until further notice. Four days later, the Court postponed its March oral arguments altogether.

      • Another Baltimore Cop Facing Criminal Charges, This Time For Stealing 3 Kilos Of Coke From A Drug Bust

        All hail the mighty drug warriors! The War on Drugs is being fought by people who like cash, easy busts, and imagined traffic violations. The “soldiers” in the “trenches” literally believe they’re soldiers in the trenches, fighting a war at home — not as protectors and servants, but as a conquering army sent in to control the local populace.

      • Social Movements in Times of Pandemic: Another World Is Needed

        Faced with the glaring need for radical and complex transformation, social movements in times of crisis act differently from protests.

      • ICE Detainee Says Migrants Are Going on a Hunger Strike For Soap

        In an audio recording obtained by ProPublica, an immigrant held in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention in New Jersey complains that he and other detainees are on a hunger strike to try to obtain soap and toilet paper in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic — and that guards reportedly have told detainees, “Well, you’re going to have to die of something.”

        The audio was recorded when Ronal Umaña, a 30-year-old immigrant from El Salvador currently being held at the Hudson County Correctional Facility in New Jersey, placed a personal call to an advocate on Sunday. The advocate provided the audio to ProPublica.

      • Can the US Pull Off a November Election? Journalists Play a Critical Role

        It might be easy to forget, given the crisis enveloping the world at the moment, that the United States is scheduled to hold a very important election in November. But with projections that the Covid-19 crisis isn’t going away any time soon, what will this mean for voters’ access to the polls, and the very legitimacy of the election? These are important questions, and journalists play a critical role in answering them.

      • With at Least Three Members of US Congress Infected With Coronavirus, Calls for Remote Voting Grow

        “Congress should be an example, not an exception, on public health.”

      • It Is Not Too Early to Ask: Can the US Pull Off a November Election Amid Coronavirus?

        And journalists will play a critical role in answering that question.

      • Transition to Centralized Polling Centers in Texas Suppresses Black and Latinx Voting – Validated Independent News

        Salame reported that the fifty counties with the highest growth rate of black and Latinx populations from 2012 to 2018 had shut down 542 voting sites, while the fifty counties with the lowest growth rates of Black and Latinx residents only had 34 closures.

      • Suddenly Out of Work, US Service Employees Left Hanging

        “Not just me, but, like, everybody in the service industry sometimes live paycheck by paycheck, especially, like, it’s been very slow this winter, too,” he says. “Not a lot of people have been coming out, so, everybody’s trying to save up all that winter money by not going out and all that stuff. Or, like, you know, some people don’t eat.”

      • Non-Muslim woman can’t marry because IC wrongly states she’s Muslim

        Nusiah said she had tried to rectify the matter from last year after her engagement, but instead of making things easy for her, the various departments she went to, including the Islamic Religious Department and NRD, had been directing her here and there.

        “I have tried dealing with the NRD in Kudat, but was directed to the Jabatan Agama Islam in Kudat. There, I was informed that they did not have my records and hence was unable to issue a religious status verification for me, ” she said.

      • Progress Singapore Party expels member behind offensive post on NUS Atheist Society Facebook page

        The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) said on Saturday (Mar 21) it had expelled a party member who wrote an “insensitive and offensive post” on the NUS Atheist Society Facebook page.

        Police said on Friday they were investigating after a Facebook page named NUS Atheist Society put up a post suggesting the Bible and the Quran as alternatives to be used in the event of toilet paper shortage.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • EARN IT bill is aiming at destroying encryption. We must take action now.

        EARN IT is a law proposed by Attorney General William Barr to stop American tech companies from using encryption. The bill pretends to deal with the very serious issue of child exploitation online, but in reality will put an end to encryption and security online for everyone. Instead of actually providing law enforcement with more money and more officers, it attacks free speech and security online.

    • Monopolies

      • Do Your Part, Rights Holders: Open The Vaults!

        For those who can stay at home, please do. We’ve all been advised to socially distance — the safest thing anyone can do in their individual capacity.

      • Everyone’s Got A Pet Project: Patent Maximalist Says We Need Longer Patents To Incentivize Coronavirus Vaccines

        Adam Mossoff is one of the most vocal IP maximalist law professors around. He’s never seemed to have met a form of artificial monopoly that he didn’t want to expand. His latest is that he’s claiming, laughably, that we should be extending patent terms in order to incentivize the creation of coronavirus vaccines. His argument is based on a misleading complaint that has been raised by plenty of pharmaceutical companies: they need to file their patent applications at the point of discovery, but they can’t market a drug until it receives FDA approval, and that can take years, which cuts into the years over which they hold a monopoly and can extract insane monopoly rents.

      • Patents

        • EUIPO And EPO Extend Deadlines, Uspto To Waive Fees, Other Countries Announce Their Plans On How To Conduct Ip Operations During The COVID-19 Pandemic

          The European Patent Office (EPO) will extend all deadlines for patent applications until April 17…

        • Germany says nein to Euro Unified Patent Court, pulls plug and leaves it nearby if anyone wants to put it back in
        • Barcelona patent court dismisses preliminary injunction request based on patent in amended form

          On 23 December 2019 Barcelona Commercial Court No 1 refused to grant a preliminary injunction requested by Sanofi against Mylan in relation to an insulin glargine biosimilar product. Sanofi had filed for a limitation of the patent claims in the main proceedings on the merits running parallel, but the court concluded that such an amended form of the patent could be neither asserted nor taken into account in the preliminary injunction proceedings, which had been initiated before based on the patent as granted.

          Facts

          Sanofi is the proprietor of European Patent 2.346.552 (EP’552), entitled “Drug delivery device and method of manufacturing a drug delivery device”, which expires on 8 October 2029. The patent does not claim a pharmaceutical invention, but an injectable drug delivery device for the administration of drugs (eg, a syringe or pen) with certain technical features.

          Mylan holds a marketing authorisation for a biosimilar insulin glargine product (Semglee®) in the form of a pre-filled pen with an injectable solution.

          On 12 July 2019 Sanofi filed an infringement action against Mylan, together with an ex parte preliminary injunction request seeking a court order prohibiting the launch of Semglee®. The case was assigned to Barcelona Commercial Court No 1, which refused to grant any preliminary injunction ex parte and scheduled a hearing instead. In the interlocutory decision of 30 July 2019, the judge found that the validity of the patent as granted appeared doubtful, as the patent had been upheld only in amended form by the European Patent Office (EPO) Opposition Division, with an appeal pending. Further, the judge considered that there was no extreme urgency.

          The hearing was scheduled for 31 October 2019.

      • Copyrights

        • Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Corona Virus Climate Catastrophe Fascist Empire 2020 Blues Massacree’ By David Rovics

          The following post originally appeared at Ongoing History Of Protest Songs.

          David Rovics is a prolific singer-songwriter and activist who has been active for over two decades. He recently released the excellent album Strangers & Friends, which is well worth the listen.

        • YouTube Cartoon Featuring Creepy Bugs Bunny Copyright Claimed By Warner Bros.

          A dark parody cartoon depicting a washed-out Bugs Bunny as a sex offender has been hit with a DMCA complaint by Warner Bros. MeatCanyon, a channel with more than 66 million views, has responded with a new animation in which characters mourn his passing, stating that since Warner claimed the content as its own, they have now confirmed that “Bugs was a struggling rapist all along.”

        • The Pirate Bay Uses Downtime to ‘Rewrite Some Code’

          The Pirate Bay’s regular domain has been unreachable for more than two weeks. Initially, it was unclear what had caused the trouble, but TorrentFreak is informed that it is being caused by a technical problem and that the tech admin is taking this opportunity to rewrite some code. Meanwhile, the .onion address remains accessible through the Tor network.

        • Collaborate With Us as a Google Summer of Code or Outreachy Participant

          GSoC and Outreachy are both programs focused on introducing open-source software development to a wider audience. They provide stipends to work on a 3-month project for the open source community. GSoC is open to all university students whereas Outreachy recruits anyone who faces under-representation, systemic bias, or discrimination in the technology industry of their country.

        • Nintendo Gets ‘Dreams’ Mario Taken Down Because Of Course It Did

          If you haven’t heard of the Playstation 4 title Dreams, it’s a fairly fascinating little game. The entire concept of the game revolves around creating. Art, music, game mechanics, and even entire new games are all able to be created within Dreams itself. As you might imagine, while players have spent much time creating brand new content within the platform, others have also reproduced existing video game content within it as well. This is a matter of tinkering, mostly, and reproducing known content just to see what the Dreams system can do.

        • Judge To Art Licensing Agency: No, Your Stupid Unicorn Is Not More Important Than COVID-19 Right Now, Shut Up

          Pretty much everyone by now should recognize that large parts of the world have needed to shutdown due to COVID-19 — and you would hope that most people would be understanding that certain things may need to be delayed for a bit. But apparently not lawyer Michael Hierl from the law firm of Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, and his client, a copyright licensing agency called Art Ask Agency, based in Spain. On March 9th, Art Ask Agency sued a bunch of unnamed defendants (their identity to be determined later), in US federal court in Illinois, over what it calls “counterfeit” images of a unicorn designed by artist Anne Stokes. Stokes apparently does brisk work in unicorn-related merchandise, as seen by her page on Art Agency’s website:

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