Links 5/4/2020: MindSpore, Covid-19 Projects and More

Posted in News Roundup at 11:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • How I turned an old Chromebook Pixel into a native Linux laptop running Ubuntu

        If you’ve visited the Chrome OS subReddit, you’ve surely seen posts by Mr. Chromebox there. For several years, he’s been the go-to authority for doing major operating system and firmware changes to dozens of Chromebook models so you can natively install Windows or Linux on your device.

        I haven’t delved into this type of esoteric but useful project in a while but a CompSci classmate is thinking about switching from Windows 10 to Linux. So I dug around the closet where good Chromebooks go to collect dust and found the 2013 Chromebook Pixel I bought new seven years ago.

        This is a perfect candidate for a Linux installation because the last software update pushed to it was Chrome OS 69. So it’s not the most secure device for browsing at the moment.

      • Hack the planet in style with the new Linux Terminal in Chrome OS 83

        Google has been ramping up the Linux environment on Chrome OS lately, with features like microphone support and USB connections. For those of you who spend a lot of time in the command-line Terminal, Chrome OS 83 (currently in the Dev channel) has updated the app with new themes and customization options.

        The Terminal app on Chrome OS has changed very little since the Linux container was originally released — it’s a single window with text. However, the new version shipping in Chrome OS 83 offers tabs, pre-made themes, customizable colors and fonts for text, and even cursor options.

    • Kernel Space

      • The New Microsoft exFAT File-System Driver Has Landed In Linux 5.7 [Ed: Microsoft puts inside Linux a patent Trojan horse it has already used for blackmail, as part of the push to make billions by extorting OEMs]

        As we have been expecting the new Samsung-developed file-system driver for Microsoft’s exFAT has successfully landed into the Linux 5.7 kernel to replace the existing exFAT driver added in Linux 5.4 last year after Microsoft published the file-system specifications and gave their blessing to have the support mainlined in the Linux kernel.

        This new exFAT driver from Samsung is a much newer version of the driver compared to the original exFAT driver that for the past several cycles has been part of the staging area. That existing driver is on a much older (years older) implementation compared to the current Samsung driver now part of the proper file-system area. This is the same driver that Samsung is shipping by the millions across their Android product portfolio and Samsung will continue to upstream their improvements to the Linux kernel.

      • Linux 5.7 Adds Support For The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, Mainline PinePhone Support

        Some exciting ARM SoCs and devices are supported by the mainline Linux 5.7 kernel.

        Excitingly on the device front is mainline kernel support for the Pinebook Pro $199 ARM laptop as well as the PineTab tablet and PinePhone mobile phone. There is also Snapdragon 865 support as the current high-end smart-phone SoC from Qualcomm. There is also various other additions…

      • What’s New in Linux 5.6? WireGuard VPN and USB4

        Linus’s post also notes that for the next release’s timing they’ll “play it by ear… It’s not like the merge window is more important than your health, or the health of people around you.” But he says he hasn’t seen signs that the pandemic could affect its development (other than the possibility of distraction by the news).

        “I suspect a lot of us work from home even normally, and my daughter laughed at me and called me a ‘social distancing champ’ the other day…”

      • Graphics Stack

        • Radeon Open Compute 3.3 Released But Still Without Official Navi Support

          This week marked the release of ROCm 3.3 as the newest version of the Radeon Open Compute stack.

          Radeon Open Compute 3.3 brings support for multi-version installations so multiple versions of ROCm can be installed on the same system albeit the same kernel driver will be at play. This allows for different versions of the ROCm user-space libraries like HCC, ROCm Math Libraries, MIOpen, and others to all be on the same platform as long as the Kernel Fusion Driver is compatible with all.

    • Applications

      • Top 10 Circuit design tools for Linux

        So, you are planning a new electronics project and wonder what tools are the best? You may also be learning to design your own circuits and your favourite platform is Linux. Where are the Linux specific, or cross-platform tools, and which one suits my needs the best? Today, you will learn what you need to get started with your new project. This list goes through the tools available and discusses the pros and cons of each. You will also hear about how they specialise.

        Before you start, you may want to consider what your current goals are. Are you learning to create hobby projects or are you already bringing your game to a higher level? You may also want to consider if your favourite electronics supplier already supports the tool you are going to make. Many of these tools import catalogues to the application so you can browse while designing, making it very convenient to order boards or components.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Open-Source Unvanquished Game Aiming For A New Release Soon

        One of the most promising open-source game projects of the 2010s when it comes to gameplay and visual quality is the Unvanquished project but sadly in recent years has been fairly quiet although new code continues to be contributed to their repository. It looks like in the weeks ahead could finally be a new release.

        Unvanquished had been known for quite some time for carrying out monthly alpha releases and made it through more than 48 alphas before going quiet.

      • Analgesic Productions have opened up the source for their Zelda-lite ‘Anodyne’

        Anodyne, a Zelda-lite action adventure from Analgesic Productions from back in 2013 has today had the code opened up.

        Looking over the project, it’s not open source as they have their own custom licensing with a number of restrictions on it. So by the definition of open source, it is not, it’s more like “source open” but it’s still a very nice gesture. It’s similar in spirit to what Terry Cavanagh did with VVVVVV, in fact the licensing is actually an adaption of theirs. Hopefully with this move, someone can port it over to something more modern rather than Flash/Air—that certainly would be nice to see. Especially if the developer then pulled that back in to update it for everyone.

      • Looks like there’s going to be a ‘Streets of Rogue 2′ and I’m definitely happy with that

        Streets of Rogue released in 2019 and it’s one of my absolute favourites from last year (still is this year to be honest with you, it’s just that good). The developer, Matt Dabrowski, recently outlined their future plans which will include a sequel.

        The 2019 release was after over six years of development, and at least half of that it was available in some form to the public. First as a free taster and later a full game. In an announcement on Steam about the latest update, Dabrowski mentioned how they would like to “take Streets of Rogue in some big new directions” and so they’ve “decided to begin work on a sequel”.

      • Vendetta Online goes free to play until June 1 giving anyone full access

        Vendetta Online, something of a classic MMO space game is now free to play for everyone until June 1. Everyone will be treated as if they’re a paying player during this time.

        Why are they doing this for so long? They said they wanted to offer a bit of sanctuary to players, somewhere “they can virtually go and be (politely) social, interact with others, and perhaps get a little respite from the chaos”. They are of course referring to the Coronavirus situation. Read more on that here.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Manjaro 19 Kyria Gnome – Fairly well put together

          Manjaro 19 Kyria is a solid, rounded distro – at least, the Gnome version is. But I presume results are quite similar across the board. Surprised, I am, as I was expecting something less polished. I do have to say that Kyria has some nice points, it’s colorful, stable and rather friendly, and the package management is a tad better than in the past.

          However, it does suffer from oddities. The application collection is too wild and undefined, some software has been added without any consideration to the espirit-de-distro, smartphone support can be better, and more battery time would be nice, too. Maybe this is Manjaro transforming from a leetbox to the Average Joe consumer thingie, or maybe this is a neverending part of the cosmic randomness called Linux desktop. We shall see. For now, testing, you ought. Grade? 5/7, I’d say. On a serious note, 8/10. I shall be keeping an eye on them other flavors. Take care.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • HPE, Intel, Red Hat Team On 5G Open Source Initiative
        • IBM awards its second $50,000 Open Source Community Grant to internship and mentorship program Outreachy

          Last October, the open source community at IBM awarded a first-of-its-kind quarterly grant to promote nonprofits that are dedicated to education, inclusiveness, and skill-building for women, underrepresented minorities, and underserved communities in the open source world. Our Open Source Community Grant identifies and rewards future developers and open source leaders and creates new tech opportunities for underrepresented communities.

        • IBM selects Outreachy for second $50K open source community grant

          The award will help the organization provide paid remote work to underrepresented groups hit especially hard during the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.

        • Ankur Sinha “FranciscoD”: 20200404: What I did this week

          The research group does a lot of experimental work, but it is also where the Open Source Brain project is based. Given my computing background, and experience with FOSS in Fedora, a large component of my role is to work on the development of the Open Source Brain platform, and liaise with MetaCell who do most of the core development. Along with that, I get to work on modelling and other research projects. I was looking to work in a group that included experimentalists. I think that it is important for me to develop as an independent researcher in neuroscience.


          We’re nearing the Fedora 32 release, so I worked on the bits remaining for the new CompNeuroFedora lab image. Based on the discussion at the NeuroFedora meeting, I passed all the information needed to set up a page for the lab to the Websites team.

          The general package updates continue. I just updated Brian2 to the new version this morning and pushed an update with a test case. The test case takes one through the tutorial, so if one is looking to learn how to use Brian2, this is a good way of doing it while contributing to NeuroFedora. Another few bugs were fixed and updates pushed too. I’ve got to work on packaging a few new tools that are on the list.

          On the Fedora-Join front, we’ve had a few more folks join the community to help out. It was lovely chatting with new folks and discussing where and how they’d like to work with the community. Needless to say, lots of cookie giving has occurred in the IRC channel.

          I’ve also been thinking about the lack of a process for Community Changes in Fedora. Why isn’t there something similar to the Change process that we use for dev changes? I finally filed a ticket with the Council. It’s being discussed on the council-discuss mailing list. I’ve also asked Mindshare and CommOps to weigh in this morning. Please feel free to jump in and discuss how we should go about this. A change process that focusses on community is important, in my book.

          The Git forge discussion continues on the -devel mailing list, so I’ve been keeping up with that. I would prefer Pagure myself, and I do understand the CPE team’s view even if I don’t necessarily agree with it.

        • Deploying Red Hat Enterprise Linux for telco edge computing use cases

          Amongst the common reasons why service providers are deploying mobile edge computing are to improve network security, increase scalability, lower costs and increase revenue with new services. Digital Service Providers and the associated telco partner ecosystem rely on Red Hat Enterprise Linux as a foundation for responding to customer requirements and seizing new opportunities, particularly as they deploy 5G and edge services.

          As Stefanie Chiras explains, the vendor sees its Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the innovation engine for edge, providing consistency from the data center all the way to the edge with tools like Image Builder. 5G is changing the world, and edge is changing 5G. It believes that RHEL is the intelligent OS service providers and telco ecosystem can count on to provide that consistent, scalable foundation for innovation where customers can develop once, deploy and deliver anywhere.

        • Linux Beat IBM, Will Open-Source Software Beat Waymo And Tesla? [Ed: "Linux Beat IBM"? Huh? I don't think they know what "Linux" is and what "IBM" does? Forbes is absolutely hilarious.]

          Open Source has disrupted many markets. Is the Autonomous Vehicle Market next ?

        • Will A Small Open-Source Effort From Japan Disrupt The Autonomous Space ? [Ed: Forbes... the Breitbart of tech. Very poor and shallow, weak and wrong on many facts]

          A small team in Finland built linux and changed the landscape of corporate computing. Will a small team in Japan do the same for the autonomous vehicle space ?

      • Debian Family

        • SparkyLinux 5.11 Released with Latest Debian Buster Updates

          SparkyLinux 5.11 arrives almost two months after SparkyLinux 5.10.1 to bring all the latest updates and security fixes from the Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system series.

          Among some of the updated components included in this release, there’s the Mozilla Firefox 68.6.0 ESR web browser, Mozilla Thunderbird 68.6.0 email and news client, as well as the LibreOffice 6.1.5 office suite.

          Under the hood, SparkyLinux 5.11 is using the Linux 4.19.98 LTS kernel for 32-bit and 64-bit systems, and Linux kernel 4.19.97 LTS for ARMhf architectures.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: RcppSimdJson 0.0.4: Even Faster Upstream!

          A new (upstream) simdjson release was announced by Daniel Lemire earlier this week, and my Twitter mentions have been running red-hot ever since as he was kind enough to tag me. Do look at that blog post, there is some impressive work in there. We wrapped up the (still very simple) rcppsimdjson around it last night and shipped it this morning.

          RcppSimdJson wraps the fantastic and genuinely impressive simdjson library by Daniel Lemire. Via some very clever algorithmic engineering to obtain largely branch-free code, coupled with modern C++ and newer compiler instructions, it results in parsing gigabytes of JSON parsed per second which is quite mindboggling. For illustration, I highly recommend the video of the recent talk by Daniel Lemire at QCon (which was also voted best talk). The best-case performance is ‘faster than CPU speed’ as use of parallel SIMD instructions and careful branch avoidance can lead to less than one cpu cycle use per byte parsed.

        • Jonathan Dowland: Opinionated IkiWiki

          For various personal projects and things, past and present (including my personal site) I use IkiWiki, which (by modern standards) is a bit of a pain to set up and maintain. For that reason I find it hard to recommend to people. It would be nice to fire up a snapshot of an existing IkiWiki instance to test what the outcome of some changes might be. That’s cumbersome enough at the moment that I haven’t bothered to do it more than once. Separately, some months ago I did a routine upgrade of Debian for the web server running this site, and my IkiWiki installation broke for the first time in ten years. I’ve never had issues like this before.

        • Thorsten Alteholz: My Debian Activities in March 2020

          This month I accepted 156 packages and rejected 26. The overall number of packages that got accepted was 203.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • InTrain: University of Bologna Launches Open Source RSI Training Platform

        Long before the current coronavirus situation made remote work and education the new normal, Gabriele Carioli and Nicoletta Spinolo launched InTrain, a free, open-source, online training platform for remote simultaneous interpreters.

      • Add Authentication to Jitsi Meet

        By default Jitsi Meet is open for everyone. So everyone can just put in a name for a conference room and start a conference. As my Jitsi Meet instance is not running on a dedicated server but shares the server with other important functions like DNS, mail etc., I do not want that everyone is using Jitsi without my permission.

        So I needed to add some kind of authentication to Jitsi which means, that only certain authenticated users can start a conference. Once started everyone then can join the conference without further authentication just like before.

        The steps to provide that, are documented in this article under the subject “Secure domain”.

        I just followed the steps 1 to 4 and it worked fine afterwards.

      • Videoconferencing Options in the Age of Pandemic

        At first the IT dept. at university said no. But he protested. They looked at the code, (it is open source), and after a few hours of bit wrangling, decided it was ok.

        They walled off a server, locked it down, and installed “Jitsi”. The IT guys were impressed. It takes a small amount of resources. But is fairly light weight for a big university system.

      • MindSpore

        • MindSpore Goes Open Source, Empowering Global Developers with an All-Scenario AI Computing Framework

          Huawei made a series of important announcements at the Huawei Developer Conference 2020 (Cloud) – HDC.Cloud, on March 28, notably that MindSpore, the all-scenario AI computing framework, goes open source on Gitee, and that ModelArts Pro, the first-ever AI app development suite for enterprises, goes live on HUAWEI CLOUD. Huawei also showcased some of the significant applications for Huawei’s Atlas AI computing platform, on the cloud, edge, and devices. In doing so, Huawei has delivered the full-stack, all-scenario AI solutions for developers that it had first unveiled at HUAWEI CONNECT 2018.

        • Huawei open sources MindSpore: claims to provide ‘all-scenario AI computing framework’

          Huawei made a series of important announcements at the Huawei Developer Conference 2020 (Cloud) – HDC.Cloud, on March 28, notably that MindSpore, the all-scenario AI computing framework, goes open source on Gitee, and that ModelArts Pro, the first-ever AI app development suite for enterprises, goes live on HUAWEI CLOUD. Huawei also showcased some of the significant applications for Huawei’s Atlas AI computing platform, on the cloud, edge, and devices. In doing so, Huawei has delivered the full-stack, all-scenario AI solutions for developers that it had first unveiled at HUAWEI CONNECT 2018.

        • Huawei open-sources AI framework MindSpore to rival Google’s TensorFlow

          China’s Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. today said it has open-sourced a framework for artificial intelligence-based application development called MindSpore.

          First revealed last year, MindSpore is an alternative to well known AI frameworks such as Google LLC’s TensorFlow and Facebook Inc.’s PyTorch. It can scale across devices, cloud and edge environments, Huawei said in a statement. The code is now available to download on GitHub and Gitee.

        • Huawei open-sources TensorFlow competitor MindSpore
        • Huawei Makes TensorFlow Competitor MindSpore Open Source

          Huawei has made its MindSpore AI framework open source. The Chinese tech giant is competing with the well-known AI frameworks from Google and Facebook, with a large number of advantages that ‘Ai algorithms as-a-code’ can provide.

          In a statement, the Chinese tech giant states that its MindSpore AI framework is suitable for developing AI applications. The AI ​​framework – co-developed with universities in Beijing and the United Kingdom and with a Turkish start-up – can easily be rolled out in various environments, such as on devices, within (multi) cloud and edge environments.

          Huawei launched the new AI framework last year in conjunction with the Ascend 910 processor. The AI ​​chip provides 256 teraflops of computing power on FP16, and that at a power consumption of 350 watts. With MindSpore and the Ascend 910 in addition to that new chip, the company has the most important components in the hands of a full AI stack.

      • Covid-19

        • Worcester Polytechnic Institute working on open-source ventilator designs

          Researchers at Worcester (Mass.) Polytechnic Institute (WPI) are touting a design for turning inexpensive bag valve mask (BVM) resuscitators into automated ventilators to aid the fight against the coronavirus outbreak.

          The WPI team is designing the ventilators from readily available, manual BVM resuscitators so that they can fill the gap between the number of ventilators available and the number needed when COVID-19 is expected to peak, according to a news release.

          Anyone with a 3D printer and a background in electronics and mechanical engineering may be able to produce the ventilators for a local hospital, as the researchers intend to make designs of multiple devices and components publicly available. The researchers also believe a manufacturing company can use the designs to make the ventilators quickly and at scale.

        • Will EEs Be the Heroes of the Global Ventilator Shortage?

          As the coronavirus continues to spread, hospitals around the world face a severe shortage of ventilators that alleviate respiratory distress. New York could be short by about 15,000 ventilators to treat the most severe cases, according to The New York Times. In these uncertain times, even carmakers are starting to make ventilators and face masks to help out during the crisis.

          A quick search of ventilators shows that there are many makers around the world who try to build a basic ventilator using readily available materials or 3D-printed parts. Some of these projects are open source to solicit help from experts and enthusiasts all over the world.

          In this article, we’ll briefly look at some of these open-source projects. Some of the projects we assessed in this article include OpenLung BVM Ventilator, the Low-Cost Open Source Ventilator or PAPR, the Rice OEDK Design (or ApolloBVM), and OxyGEN, among others.

          We’ll also take a look at the general challenges that a low-budget open-source ventilator project might face.

        • UF researchers develop low-cost, open-source ventilator

          As the need for ventilators grows as hundreds of thousands of patients are expected to need treatment for COVID-19, a University of Florida professor is working to help meet the demand.

          UF Professor of Anesthesiology Dr. Samsun Lampotang and a team of UF researchers have developed a ventilator that can be made using items from the hardware store.

          As a UF mechanical engineering student decades ago, Lampotang helped respiratory therapist colleagues build a minimal-transport ventilator that became a commercial success. So, when the coronavirus pandemic hit and he heard the desperate international plea for thousands of more ventilators, he set out to build a prototype using plentiful, cheap components that could be copied from an online diagram and a software repository.

        • Triple Eight develops open-source ventilator prototype

          After nearly two weeks of around-the-clock development, Triple Eight Race Engineering has revealed a low-cost ventilator prototype in an effort to help fight the global coronavirus pandemic.

          Following the ill-fated Australian Grand Prix, the Brisbane-based racing team led by Roland Dane suspended its racing operations after government guidelines on social distancing were introduced.

          With the Supercars season on hold, Dane challenged a group of six engineers to conceptualise and develop a ‘worst-case scenario’ ventilator in the event of the virus worsening.

          It took the group of engineers just four days to design and produce the first proof of concept, slowed only by a lack of readily available electrical componentry.

        • Council on Foreign Relations: Time to Open-Source Ventilators
        • Rice University’s open-source emergency ventilator design plans freely available

          The plans for Rice University’s ApolloBVM, an open-source emergency ventilator design that could help patients in treatment for COVID-19, are now online and freely available to everyone in the world.

          The project first developed by students as a senior design project in 2019 has been brought up to medical grade by Rice engineers and one student, with the help of Texas Medical Center doctors. The device costs less than $300 in parts and can squeeze a common bag valve mask for hours on end.

        • WPI Researchers Developing Open-Source Designs to Speed Creation of Low-Cost Ventilators

          A team of researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) is creating designs to turn inexpensive and readily available manual, hand-held, bag valve mask (BVM) resuscitators into automated ventilators that could be used to fill the deep gap between the number of life-saving ventilators available and the much larger number that will be needed when COVID-19 is expected to peak.

          The WPI researchers are going to make designs of multiple devices and their components publicly available so anyone with a 3D printer and a background in electronics and mechanical engineering could use them to produce ventilators for their local hospitals. A manufacturing company also could use the designs to produce ventilators quickly and at scale.

          “I just wanted to do something to help,” said Gregory Fischer, professor of robotics engineering and mechanical engineering, and director of the PracticePoint Medical Cyber-Physcial Systems R&D Center, who spearheaded the idea. “A lot of people are trying to contribute, and this is an area where we can make an impact. We’re taking things that are used every day in emergency medicine and finding a way to turn them into safe, reliable, and readily replicable ventilators that can save patients’ lives. And we’re sharing those designs with the world.”

        • For Open-Source Ventilators, Making Them Is the Easy Part

          Last week, when Eric Humphreys heard about the impending need for ventilators to treat the huge influx of Covid-19 patients, he sprang to action. Humphreys used to be an EMT, and he remembered the bag valve mask resuscitators used in ambulances—called by the trademarked name of the leading provider, “Ambu bag”—and thought maybe he could create something like it. He didn’t have much else to do during the shutdown.

          Humpreys is a lifelong maker, working as the director of creative design technology at a production company called Standard Transmission. The company is best known for concocting the intricate Christmas window displays at Macy’s. Working in the now depopulated 20,000-square-foot headquarters in Red Hook, Brooklyn, he began building a DIY breathing machine. “I literally used Christmas parts,” he says.

          The point of a ventilator is to pump air into the lungs of patients who can’t breathe for themselves. The Ambu bag requires an EMT to manually press down on the plastic bladder, forcing the air into the patient. Humpreys rigged a machine to do the pumping. It took him only a couple of days to produce something that mimicked the action of an EMT on an Ambu bag.

        • Globally Scalable Open Source Ventilator Initiative
        • Indian engineers at MIT to develop open-source, low-cost ventilator for US

          One of the most pressing shortages facing hospitals during the COVID-19 emergency is a lack of ventilators. These machines can keep patients breathing when they no longer can on their own, and they can cost around $30,000 each. Now, a rapidly assembled volunteer team of engineers, physicians, computer scientists, and others, centered at MIT, is working to implement a safe, inexpensive alternative for emergency use, which could be built quickly around the world.

        • Hyderabadi in global open source ventilator project

          Amateur radio operators are once again playing a crucial role in times of despair, with some of them, including Hyderabad’s Ashhar Farhan, now in the process of developing an electronic control system for an open-source low-cost ventilator.

          The device was designed by researcher Sem Lampotang and his team at University of Florida using components like PVC pipes and lawn-sprinkler valves. The idea is to create a bare-bones ventilator that could serve in the event of a ventilator shortage anywhere in the world during the Covid-19 pandemic.

        • Medtronic Makes Plans for a Ventilator Open-Source – Nasdaq [Ed: openwashing lies]
        • Professional Ventilator Design Open Sourced Today By Medtronic [Ed: This is a lie and Bob Baddeley helps Medtronic spread false claims from its openwashing press release (above)]
        • Runaway Soldering Irons, Open Source Ventilators, 3D Printed Solder Stencils, And Radar Motion | Hackaday

          Hackaday editors Mike Szczys and Elliot Williams sort through the hardware hacking gems of the week. There was a kerfuffle about whether a ventilator data dump from Medtronics was open source or not, and cool hacks from machine-learning soldering iron controllers to 3D-printing your own solder paste stencils. A motion light teardown shows it’s not being done with passive-infrared, we ask what’s the deal with Tim Berners-Lee’s decentralized internet, and we geek out about keyboards that aren’t QWERTY.

        • Nonprofit releases open source tool for making 3D print reusable protective masks

          A nonprofit initiative aims to put an end to the protective mask shortage that both healthcare workers and the public are facing during the coronavirus pandemic by providing them with tools to make the gear at home.

          Mask Maker released the first medically-approved design for 3D printed protective masks in an open source program that is available online.

          The masks can be created using commonly available materials and hobbyist grade 3D printers for a cost of about $2.00 to $3.00 per unit for materials – and they can be manufactured in just a few hours.

          The finished product is reusable and is equivalent of 300 disposable masks over a two month period.

        • American architects mobilise to make coronavirus face shields for hospital workers
        • How Coronavirus can make open-source movements flourish and fix our healthcare systems

          Birds can be heard chirping loud, as Mark Turrell (CEO at Orcasci, Founder of unDavos) talks to the Data Natives online community from his garden. A squirrel might even jump on his head at any moment, he warns. In this idyllic scene from his home quarantine it might not seem so at first sight, but the entrepreneur, author and contagion expert is worried. And that says a lot, coming from a man who also used to be a spy in Libya and Syria. “We are living in a very unusual time”, he says.

          Turrell was in Davos this year when the coronavirus crisis broke loose in Wuhan. He became alarmed when he learned that the Chinese government had closed Wuhan. “A city of 16 million people, to just shut it down, that is weird”, he tells. “And then I saw, this virus has properties that will make it extremely hard to suppress and extremely hard to defeat.”

        • bjarke ingels group and more architects 3D print face shields for coronavirus medical staff

          showing the power of collaboration, a number of well-known architects have come together to help produce protective visors for hospital workers on the frontline of coronavirus (COVID-19). what began as an initiative by cornell university, led by jenny sabin, has now reached architecture studios across the US in a matter of days. the likes of BIG and KPF are now utilizing their firm’s 3D printers to mass-produce face shields and combat the shortage faced by medical staff.

        • Why isn’t the government publishing more data about coronavirus deaths?

          Studying the past is futile in an unprecedented crisis. Science is the answer – and open-source information is paramount

        • [Repeat] Lesson of the Day: ‘D.I.Y. Coronavirus Solutions Are Gaining Steam’

          As the number of cases of Covid-19 grow across the globe, health care workers are facing a serious shortage of critical equipment and supplies needed to treat the coronavirus — from exam gloves to ventilators.

          From Ireland to Seattle, makers and engineers are creating open-source versions of much-needed medical equipment.

          In this lesson, you will learn about do-it-yourself makers who are collaborating to fight the gravest public-health threat of our time. In a Going Further activity, you will consider how you might contribute to the D.I.Y. movement.

        • Three state prison staff test positive; KU partners on open-source plastic mask design
        • Bangladesh’s Daffodil University using open-source AI for COVID-19 test with x-ray images

          Researchers at Daffodil International University in Bangladesh are using an open-source Artificial Intelligence technology that can diagnose COVID-19 by using chest x-ray images.

          The university’s Department of Public Health, AI Unit, and Daffodil Group’s Cardio-Care Specialized and General Hospital have jointly launched the system with a 96 percent success rate, according to the researchers.

          The Directorate General of Health Services has cautiously welcomed the initiative saying that more analysis is needed before the technology can be put to use.

          The researchers started working on the technology two and a half months ago after the novel coronavirus emerged in China and a lack of testing kits began straining the public heathcare system the world over, Assistant Professor Sheikh Muhammad Allayar, head of the university’s Department of Multimedia and Creative Technology, told bdnews24.com.

        • Color is launching a high-capacity COVID-19 testing lab and will open-source its design and protocols

          Genomics health technology startup Color is doing its part to address the global COVID-19 pandemic, and has detailed the steps it’s taking to support expansion of testing efforts in a new blog post and letter from CEO Othman Laraki on Tuesday. The efforts include development of a high-throughput lab that can process as many as 10,000 tests per day, with a turnaround time of within 24 hours for reporting results to physicians. In order to provide the most benefit possible from the effort of standing this lab up, Color will also make the design, protocols and specifics of this lab available open-source to anyone else looking to establish high-capacity lab testing.


          Color has also made efforts to address COVID-19 response in two other key areas: testing for front-line and essential workers, and post-test follow-up and processing. To address the need for testing for those workers who continue to operate in public-facing roles despite the risks, Color has redirected its enterprise employee base to providing, in tandem with governments and employers, onsite clinical test administration, lab transportation and results reporting with patient physicians.

        • Color to launch COVID-19 testing lab, open-source infrastructure to bolster national response to pandemic

          Color today announced it is launching a high-throughput CLIA-certified COVID-19 testing laboratory integrated with public health tools. The testing facility, based in Burlingame, CA, will begin processing clinical samples to support public health efforts over the coming week, with a near-term goal of performing 10,000 tests per day and a lab turnaround time of 24 hours.

          Color’s lab is operating at cost as a public good. The lab’s initial testing is backed by philanthropic support from industry leaders and private donors. In addition to increasing capacity for patients, Color is also supporting access to testing for public sector essential personnel and healthcare workers on the front lines of the crisis.

        • COVID-19: Creatives Join Forces to Make Open-source Garments to Fight Disease

          Creatives in the fields of design, fashion and communication of Antwerp have formed a collaboration to fight against the coronavirus. They’re tackling the urgent demand from healthcare workers for protective isolation gowns and coveralls. Are you interested in producing protective garments with these patterns? Are you a virologist or medical protective wear specialist and willing to help them refine requirements?
          Belgium—Creatives tegen Corona, CtC for short, a temporary collaboration between various Antwerp-based creatives, have united their skills and network in support of the healthcare workers in the battle against the worldwide COVID-19 epidemic.
          The collaboration began after members began hearing about the urgent demand from healthcare workers in their own circles. They got together to test and prototype various models of protective isolation gowns and overalls.

        • Don Bosco Tech engineers developing open-source ventilators to help COVID-19 patients
        • Mozilla will fund open source COVID-19-related technology projects

          Have you come up with hardware or software that can help solve a problem that arose from COVID-19 and its worldwide spread? Mozilla is offering up to $50,000 to open source technology projects that are responding to the pandemic in some way.

        • Open-source program to assess and map COVID-19 hazard risk

          Most of the COVID-19 maps that I see are usually into choropleth maps at the country scale, which means that they assume a uniform distribution in each geographical unit. There are some other maps using a point symbology. However, the problem is that usually those points overlap each other. The approach adopted on the other hand, increases the spatial resolution and granularity of information that is conveyed to the people.

          Most of the other COVID-19 maps/applications usually focus purely on confirmed cases/ deaths, while not paying much attention to the quantification of potential risks. For example, if you look at some of the most current maps, you will see that populous countries like India and Nigeria do not yet have a big problem, while their large populations alone increase their risk.

        • Tencent Open-sources Another AI-powered Tool to Help Conduct Preliminary Self-evaluation Regarding COVID-19 Infection

          Tencent Holdings Limited (“Tencent”, 00700.HK), announced today to deepen collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO). As part of the agreement, Tencent will provide technology support to combat the pandemic and open-sources another AI-powered tool today to assist the global fight against the coronavirus outbreak. The COVID-19 self-triage assistant, which is now available on Github for developers around the world, enables preliminary self-evaluation regarding infection of the disease and provides tips on its prevention. Prior to this tool, Tencent open-sourced a COVID-19 live updates module last Friday that has answered six billion pandemic-related queries in China over the past two months.

        • The open source response to Covid-19

          The coronavirus pandemic has exposed shortcomings and fragility in many of our largest and most important institutions. Some leaders have been slow to grasp the nature and severity of the threat, citizens in many countries feel that some aspects of their government’s response or preparedness have been lacking. Faced with untracked spread in the population, generalized lockdowns aiming to suppress the spread of the virus are exacting heavy economic tolls. Companies in many sectors are warning of imminent bankruptcy, seeking bailouts, and many have already embarked on large scale layoffs, resulting in a rise in unemployment unprecedented in its sharpness. Central banks are warming up the printing presses, stepping in with all manner of bailouts, designed to avert specific outcomes that they see as being particularly damaging and therefore worth the cost of avoiding.

      • Programming/Development

        • “Crunch”: Video Game Development’s Dirty Secret

          James Wood reported for Game Revolution that game director Masahiro Sakurai, who created Super Smash Bros Ultimate,  went “to work with an IV drip instead of taking a day off.” As Wood noted, Sakurai’s admission “have raised eyebrows, even in an industry where he is known as “notoriously hard-working.”

        • Open Source AVs: The Story Of AV Development In Estonia

          TalTech is a leading polytechnic university in Estonia. In the world of technology, the area is best known for providing some of the key founders of Skype. Like many AV design teams, TalTech’s journey towards building an AV started with robotics competitions such as Robotex. In June 2017, an ambitious self-driving vehicle project was started with the goal to develop a low speed AV Shuttle for the university anniversary in September 2018.

        • The JavaScript Framework That Puts Web Pages on a Diet
        • Language Design: Stop Using <> for Generics

          TL;DR: Use [] instead of <> for generics. It will save you a lot of avoidable trouble down the road.

        • Pixar pioneers behind Toy Story animation win “Nobel Prize” of computing

          “The electronic revolution we have witnessed in all varieties of films, tv, video games – in all probability no a person made a lot more of the change to that then Ed and Pat,” claims David Value, creator of the ebook The Pixar Contact.

          To make Toy Story and other laptop-animated movies feasible, Dr Catmull, Dr Hanrahan and their teams experienced to build ways to get computers to visualize 3-dimensional objects.

          Throughout his postdoctoral reports, Dr Catmull produced a way to make a personal computer to realize a curved floor. As soon as builders experienced a mathematically defined curve area they could begin to add far more features to it – like texture and depth.

          “Step by stage you figure out what form of lights should really be applied. Then you get started to place in the physics of it due to the fact plastic demonstrates gentle one way and steel displays it in a extremely various way,” Dr Catmull describes.

        • Intel MKL-DNN / DNNL 1.3 Released With Cooper Lake Optimizations

          Intel on Thursday released version 1.3 of their Deep Neural Network Library (DNNL) formerly known as MKL-DNN in offering a open-source performance library for deep learning applications.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Perl Weekly Challenge 54: k-th Permutation Sequence and the Collatz Conjecture

            These are some answers to the Week 54 of the Perl Weekly Challenge organized by Mohammad S. Anwar.

            Spoiler Alert: This weekly challenge deadline is due in a couple of days (April 5, 2020). This blog post offers some solutions to this challenge, please don’t read on if you intend to complete the challenge on your own.

        • Python

          • Python 2.7.8 : Using python scripts with Revit Dynamo.

            Dynamo is a visual programming tool that extends the power of the Revit by providing access to Revit API (Application Programming Interface.
            Dynamo works with node, each node have inputs and outputs and performs a specific task.
            This is a short tutorial about how you can use your python skills with Revit and Dynamo software.

          • Getting started with Django middleware

            Django comes with a lot of useful features. One of them is middleware. In this post I’ll give a short explanation how middleware works and how to start writing your own.

          • Talk Python to Me: #258 Thriving in a remote developer environment

            If you are listening to this episode when it came out, April 4th, 2020, there’s a good chance you are listening at home, or on a walk. But it’s probably not while commuting to an office as much of the world is practicing social distancing and working from home. Maybe this is a new experience, brought upon quickly by the global lockdowns, or maybe it’s something you’ve been doing for awhile.

            Either way, being effective while working remotely, away from the office, is an increasingly valuable skill that most of us in the tech industry have to quickly embrace.

            On this episode, I’ll exchange stories about working from home with Jayson Phillips. He’s been writing code and managing a team from his home office for years and has brought a ton of great tips to share with us all.

          • How TO GET STARTED WITH Machine Learning
          • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (ccxxii) stackoverflow python report
    • Standards/Consortia

      • Skaffolder Has Published an Open-Source Tool to the Developer

        The specs-driven code age instrument includes an instinctive interface and simple to-utilize formats that help to set aside to 40% of improvement time. Additionally, combined with an open-source segment, Skaffolder permits designers to make web or versatile applications from the order line. Alongside the order line apparatus, the imaginative web application instrument offers a VSCode augmentation that empowers designers to utilize the order line device’s highlights from the VSCode interface. Consequently, designers can associate with Skaffolder without leaving their coordinated improvement condition, additionally, furnishing them with a visual interface locally to characterize APIs and databases.

      • Why Having A Full Post RSS Feed Is A Good Idea

        If you didn’t know already, I think everyone should have an RSS feed on their site. But it really frustrates me when I subscribe to a new feed, only to find that the owner has the post excerpt syndicated, and not a full post RSS feed.

        Now, having the excerpt is better than nothing, but having a full post feed is so much better for a number of reasons.

  • Leftovers

    • Reflections on a Glass of Homemade Cider

      Tonight I opened up a treasure: a bottle of cider made by a friend in Santa Fe.

    • Efficiency vs. Resilience

      Many years ago, bestselling author Michael Pollan explained there’s a trade-off between efficiency and resilience.

    • Eddie Van Halen and the Future of Humanity
    • Beset by Bach

      Back in December of 2011 while I was living in Berlin for a year, I filed one of my Friday morning CounterPunch columns as I packed for a trip to France for Christmas with friends. The piece was a shortened version of a review of a new edition of J. S. Bach’s Clavierübung III, one of the greatest volumes of organ music. I’d recently written it for a journal called Keyboard Perspectives, and thought I would just slip it into to my column for that week.

    • British 5G towers are being set on fire amid coronavirus conspiracy theories

      Rumors and conspiracy theories over a link between the roll out of 5G and the spread of coronavirus have been spread primarily through social media networks. A variety of groups exist on Facebook and Nextdoor, where thousands of members repeat false and misleading claims that 5G is supposedly harmful.

    • My virtual social life is exhausting: Turns out Zoom cocktail hours can burn you out, too

      But then I remembered a conversation I had recently with my friend Celeste Headlee, author of “Do Nothing: How to Break Away From Overworking, Overdoing, and Under Living.” Celeste was talking about the office hamster wheel, but she noted, “You’ll get a 20 minute break at work, and you’ll head over to the break room, and you’ll scan through your Facebook or your social media, or you’ll pull up Zappos and scan through shoes. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between that and sitting down at your computer and working.”

      Your brain doesn’t know the difference. If, after a full day of staring at my screen full of little squares of other humans talking to me, I choose to spend my recreational time staring at my screen full of little squares of other humans talking to me, does my brain assume it’s still on business time? I called Celeste — on the phone — to ask her more about what’s going on here.

    • Ted Chiang Explains the Disaster Novel We All Suddenly Live In

      The question of what will change applies to everything from the mundanity of everyday to the very shape of history. Will we ever elect a careless an incompetent leader again, knowing what is at stake? Will we continue to systematically disadvantage the most vulnerable among us, and to degrade facts and science and statistics? And as for the positive changes being made or discussed—bipartisanship, direct governmental aid, paid sick leave—what will stick, and what will be forgotten?

      To answer these questions, I turned, as I often do, to books and the people who write them. And since I’m speculating, this time I turned to a master of speculative fiction, Ted Chiang. I’ve heard Ted Chiang speak exactly twice, and both times I’ve quoted him, or maybe misquoted him, for subsequent years. He generously agreed to correspond with me over email.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • A Patriots plane full of 1 million N95 masks from China arrived Thursday. Here’s how the plan came together

        Yet the story is as alarming as it is heartwarming, underscoring a harsh reality as the coronavirus pandemic spreads ever faster around the United States. Governor Charlie Baker and his counterparts throughout the country are forced to go to extraordinary lengths to secure life-saving medical equipment in the absence of a coordinated federal response.

        “This is not how it is supposed to work,” said Representative Katherine Clark of Melrose, a member of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s leadership team. She described herself as “very grateful” for the Kraft family’s generosity and help getting the critical gear, but said “what we need is a coordinated federal system.”

      • Tablighi Jamaat patients making vulgar signs, roaming nude inside hospital: Ghaziabad CMO tells police

        The CMO also claimed that these patients were asking for cigarettes from the housekeeping staff and making vulgar signs at nurses. “In such circumstances, it is difficult to treat these patients,” the senior medical official said.

      • ASHA worker on COVID-19 surveillance assaulted in Bengaluru

        ASHA worker Krishnaveni and along with other staffers had been to Sadiq Nagar for field surveillance after a domestic maid in the area had tested positive for COVID-19. The workers were checking if any of the residents had symptoms like fever, cough or cold by visiting every household. The workers were also checking if anyone from the locality visited the Tablighi Jamat congregation at Hazrat Nizamuddin in New Delhi.

        According to Krishnaveni, a group of 40 to 50 persons belonging to a minority community surrounded her and took objections to her work in the locality. In her statement to media persons, Krishnaveni said that she was wrongfully restrained by a huge crowd of minority community members. “They manhandled me and told me that I should not inquire anyone about the COVID-19 symptoms. They even shouted that they will die of COVID-19 and I should not be worried. They do not want anybody to come to them or locality,” she told media persons in a video statement.

      • Sanders Calls for Boldest Legislation in Modern History to Halt COVID-19 Crisis

        Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday released his demands for six key priorities that he said must be included in the next round of federal economic relief for suffering Americans as the coronavirus pandemic cripples the country’s healthcare system and eviscerates the economy.

      • Disparity Ideology, Coronavirus, and the Danger of the Return of Racial Medicine

        Why “race” is less useful—both empirically and politically—than ever as a proxy for the social conditions of poverty, lack of healthcare, and mass inequality.

      • From Free CovidCare to Medicare For All: The Time is Now to Provide Health Care as a Public Good for All

        “As the virus ravages our communities, our only hope is to force the health system to respond to our needs.”

      • Corporate Media Ignore International Cooperation as Shortcut to Coronavirus Vaccine

        “We have people around the world working as fast as they can to try to develop an effective vaccine against this dangerous disease. That is great—except these people are working in competition, not in collaboration.”

      • Trump Endangers Lives by Feuding With Governors and Withholding Health Insurance

        As U.S. COVID-19 deaths start to spike, at least 11 of the 13 states with their own health insurance exchanges have reopened enrollment, so as to allow residents to access affordable health care. “We’re not going to be able to control the virus unless we get everyone covered and able to get tested and access the treatment they need,” Anthony Wright, executive director of the advocacy group Health Access California, told me this week.

      • Coronavirus Failures Show Trump Is Clear and Present Danger to the United States

        Seven “pro-contagion activities” by Trump increased the coronavirus death toll in the United States.

      • To Survive Systemic Failure Induced by COVID-19, We Need Mutual Aid

        If one thing has become clear over the last few weeks, it’s that our current state-sponsored capitalist system is manifestly incapable of dealing with a crisis on the scale of the global coronavirus pandemic. Not only are municipal, state and federal authorities failing to address the many unique challenges posed by the novel coronavirus, but as we continue to watch the economy freefall, it’s apparent that the market system is not up to the task either.

      • The Man Is A Hero
      • Episode 74 – The COVID-19 Response And Interviews From The Quarantine – Along The Line Podcast


      • “New Corona Cases”: the Ultimate Floating Signifier

        If there is one thing that Saussure’s revolution in linguistic thinking taught us it is that all semantic meaning is relational, that is, that words or terms seldom have a fixed meaning. Rather, they gather their meaning in any given moment through their relationship with the other words or terms with which they are deployed. Even- Zohar, among others, has taken these  insights into the broader field of culture and taught us  to observe the perpetual  dynamics of symbolic repertoires  in a similar way.

      • ‘Drop the Medicare Eligibility Age to 0 Right Now’: Study Warns 35 Million Could Lose Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance

        “The national health insurance system is crumbling more with every day that passes.”

      • Homegrown Crisis Response: Who Grows Your Food?

        The best COVID 19 response that I’ve heard to date came from Jessica. Asked if she was prepared for the chaos, she said her cupboards contained a reasonable amount of food, but most importantly, she still had greens in her garden. Food was growing, in the ground, at the home where she lived.

      • Technological Solution to Food Crisis?

        Some propose making “food out of air,” according to “Food without Fields?” The article, published in the autumn 2019 issue of Earth Island Journal, presumes the best way to protect ecosystems is to take farming out of them — and put food production in the lab. That’s a big presumption, and its implication is that there’s no cost-effective and ecologically sound way to keep the farm in the field. But evidence is showing that agriculture—when aligned with ecological principles—is key to solving our environmental crises, not exacerbating them, the article continues.

      • Carcinogens

        I have less potential than an aborted fetus.

      • Why ‘Waging War’ on Coronavirus Is a Dangerous Metaphor

        Wars are used as excuses for dismissing concerns for justice or human rights, claiming that these concerns are distractions from the “real” mission. 

      • “I Don’t Have an Option”: Facing Critical Ventilator Shortage, Cuomo Orders Seizure of Excess Equipment From Private Companies and Hospitals

        “It’s not that we’re going to leave any health care facility without adequate equipment, but they don’t need excess equipment.”

      • We Need a Lot More Transparency From the CDC

        “COVID-19 is a White man’s disease. It doesn’t seem to infect Black people,” posited Jane, a community leader in New Haven, Connecticut, who had come to the U.S. as a refugee from Africa many years ago.

      • U.S. reportedly violated its own anti-Russian sanctions by purchasing coronavirus medical aid

        Some of the medical equipment delivered from Russia to the United States to aid in the COVID-19 pandemic was produced by a company subject to strict American sanctions, RBC reported.

      • Hospital Bailouts Begin…for Those Owned by Private Equity Firms

        On March 22, the Steward hospital chain sent a letter to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, saying it would close Easton Hospital, in the state’s Lehigh Valley, on March 27 unless it received a government bailout to keep it operating.

      • COVID-19 Could Be Catastrophic for Us: Notes From Gaza

        I have to admit that when I heard there was a new virus spreading through China a few months ago, I didn’t pay much attention. After all, China is far away. It’s a country with advanced medical and technological capabilities. Surely, it would overcome the virus.

      • News Coverage of Opioid Abuse in Saskatchewan Masks More Widespread Prairie Drug Crisis

        However, the coverage goes beyond which drug is more widely used, by looking into the lack of action on social support. Mental health and addictions treatment received the lowest funding in Saskatchewan compared to any other province in Canada.

      • Permanent Pandemic on Public Lands: Welfare Sheep Ranchers and Their Enablers Hold the West’s Bighorns Hostage

        This winter, a series of news reports highlighted the plight of bighorn sheep across the West dying from pneumonia harbored and transmitted by domestic sheep. Estimates are that over 2 million bighorn sheep once inhabited North America. Today only a small fraction of that number survive, many in Canada. The West’s wild bighorn populations are confined to bits and pieces of their historic range. Whole herds are periodically wiped out by disease. Infected herds may be killed off by Game agencies who then turn around and transplant uninfected bighorns back into a mountain range to live a precarious always-in-isolation existence. After a die-off (or kill-off), the sad situation replays itself, giddy optimism followed by more death. A couple dozen “clean” bighorns are captured in a helicopter rodeo in a distant site, then moved into the empty habitat. Sometimes, the agency gives up, as happened with the Cottonwood herd in the South Hills near Twin Falls, where the last sheep were “put down”. A recent article on an infected herd near Baker City Oregon shows the Game agency investigating a pneumonia strain mystery to determine a herd’s fate.

      • One Reason Caregivers Are Wearing Trash Bags: A U.S. Firm Had to Recall 9 Million Surgical Gowns

        There’s an overlooked reason why hospitals treating COVID-19 patients are so short of protective gear. In January, just before the pandemic hit the United States, a key distributor recalled more than 9 million gowns produced by a Chinese supplier because they had not been properly sterilized.

        “At this time, we cannot provide sterility assurances with respect to the gowns or the packs containing the gowns because of the potential for cross-contamination,” Cardinal Health wrote to customers on Jan. 15. It added, “We recognize the criticality of our gowns and procedure packs to performing surgeries, and we apologize for the challenges this supply disruption will cause.”

      • The Highly Contagious Idea

        The COVID-19 pandemic has laid waste to the notions of American Exceptionalism (other than perhaps an exceptional level of infection) and the unsustainable practice from the last couple of decades that reality is essentially what you force it to be. It’s the magical thinking that if you manufacture enough consent, eventually that square peg will fit in a round hole.

      • As Global COVID-19 Cases Top One Million, UN Adopts Resolution Urging ‘Intensified International Cooperation’

        The resolution passed as the U.N. chief declared that “now is the time to redouble our efforts to build more inclusive and sustainable economies and societies.”

      • How US Can Keep Death Toll Far Below the 100,000 Projection

        During the coming weeks we must build up the public health systems across the nation. 

      • The Mosaic of Coronavirus Vaccine Development: Systemic Failures in Vaccine Innovation

        Scientists are racing to develop vaccines against the novel coronavirus. While some vaccine candidates may enter the market in record time, the current vaccine innovation ecosystem exposes governance lacunas at both the international and domestic levels.

      • Covid-19: The race to build coronavirus ventilators

        There are not enough ventilators available in hospitals right now for all of the potential patients who will be struck by the virus. An influential report from Imperial College London estimates that 30% of Covid-19 hospitalised patients are likely to require mechanical ventilation. The only way to avoid overwhelming intensive care units, it says, is with a mandatory lockdown that reduces social contact by 75%.

      • Coronavirus: Two Pentonville Prison staff members die

        Two staff members at Pentonville Prison in north London have died after showing symptoms of coronavirus, the Prison Officers’ Association (POA) has said.
        The men, Bovil Peter and Patrick Beckford, worked as support staff.
        Both are thought to have been in their 60s but it is not known if they had any underlying health conditions, the POA said.
        Chairman Mark Fairhurst said: “My thoughts and prayers are with everybody involved with these tragic deaths.”
        He added: “Two at the same prison is very concerning.”
        Mr Peter was described as “an experienced member of staff” working at operational support grade at the prison, who “died earlier this week due to Covid-19 symptoms”.
        Mr Fairhurst said of Mr Peter’s death: “I just want to highlight the fact that this [coronavirus] puts us all at risk.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • How to accelerate development with well-maintained and secure open-source components

            To shift catching these problems left, Fischer said you can’t just rely on code-scanning tools. He advised creating a master catalog of open-source projects that developers can choose from at the outset of their work, and make sure they’re maintained. Tidelift, Fischer added, lets you start with a catalog of thousands of open-source projects that you can count on being good today and good tomorrow, based on hygiene and quality.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Security and Privacy Implications of Zoom

              In general, Zoom’s problems fall into three broad buckets: (1) bad privacy practices, (2) bad security practices, and (3) bad user configurations.

              Privacy first: Zoom spies on its users for personal profit. It seems to have cleaned this up somewhat since everyone started paying attention, but it still does it.

              The company collects a laundry list of data about you, including user name, physical address, email address, phone number, job information, Facebook profile information, computer or phone specs, IP address, and any other information you create or upload. And it uses all of this surveillance data for profit, against your interests.

            • Facebook wanted to purchase NSO Group spyware to surveil users, court documents allege

              Two Facebook representatives approached NSO Group in 2017 asking to purchase rights to use its surveillance software to monitor its users, according to court documents filed this week by the Israeli-owned surveillance software company in an ongoing lawsuit with Facebook-owned WhatsApp.

              The Facebook representatives specifically told NSO Group they wanted to monitor users on Apple devices, NSO Group CEO Shalev Hulio said, according to court documents obtained by CyberScoop.

              NSO Group and WhatsApp are currently battling it out in court after Facebook sued NSO Group for allegedly targeting thousands of WhatsApp users with its spyware.

            • Military-Grade Drones to Operate over San Diego in 2020

              The SkyGuardian drone, also known as the Predator B, has a 79-foot wingspan and can surveil the ground from more than 2,000 feet in the sky. It is considered a more advanced version of the Predator military drone, which was conducted operations overseas in the US war on terror. However, the Predator B has been designed to be compliant with US airspace regulations, allowing it to be flown over American soil.

            • Controversial Spyware Vendor NSO Group Is Helping The Israeli Government Spy On Its Own Citizens

              Israel’s leading malware purveyor is pitching in to help with the pandemic. NSO Group — which has pitched its spy tools to a number of questionable governments — is trying to help track the spread of the virus with its proprietary surveillance tool.


              MEETINGS ON ZOOM, the increasingly popular video conferencing service, are encrypted using an algorithm with serious, well-known weaknesses, and sometimes using keys issued by servers in China, even when meeting participants are all in North America, according to researchers at the University of Toronto.


              Earlier this week, The Intercept reported that Zoom was misleading users in its claim to support end-to-end encryption, in which no one but participants can decrypt a conversation. Zoom’s Chief Product Officer Oded Gal later wrote a blog post in which he apologized on behalf of the company “for the confusion we have caused by incorrectly suggesting that Zoom meetings were capable of using end-to-end encryption.” The post went on to detail what encryption the company does use.

            • Test and trace with Apple and Google

              But what does “tracing” look like exactly? In Singapore, they use a “TraceTogether” app, which uses Bluetooth to track nearby phones (without location tracking), keeps local logs of those contacts, and only uploads them to the Ministry of Health when the user chooses/consents, presumably after a diagnosis, so those contacts can be alerted. Singapore plans to open-source the app.

            • Don’t believe Zoom: Its video calls are not encrypted end-to-end
            • Zoom Alternatives: 5 Options For People Who Care About Security And Privacy [Ed: Forbes wants you to think Apple and Microsoft respect privacy unlike Zoom. These liars from Forbes pretend not to know about NA and PRISM etc.]

              Already beloved of the security community, Signal is a highly private and secure app. Think of it as a WhatsApp alternative, and like WhatsApp, Signal offers video functionality. As with Apple’s FaceTime, Signal is protected by end-to-end encryption, powered by the open source Signal Protocol.

              But as is often the case with highly secure apps such as Signal, it does lack some functionality. Unlike Zoom, Signal doesn’t support group chats, so it is really for use when you are having a one to one–perhaps with your therapist.

            • The best alternatives to Zoom for videoconferencing [Ed: Same as above]
            • Confidentiality

              • Exploring an Encrypted Penguin with AES-ECB

                Quick Warning: don’t roll your own crypto, and don’t use ECB mode unless you really know what you’re doing. The example below illustrates some interesting properties of AES in ECB mode, but shouldn’t be taken to minimize the risk of using a mode like ECB.

              • Don’t believe Zoom: Its video calls are not encrypted end-to-end

                It’s a brand new day with a brand new privacy issue for popular video calling app Zoom. Last night, The Intercept published a report highlighting that Zoom‘s claim of having end-to-end encryption for its meetings is not true.

                The video conferencing company boasts about end-to-end encryption on its website, and in a separate security-related white paper. However, The Intercept’s report found that the service uses transport encryption instead.


                Currently, it is not possible to enable E2E encryption for Zoom video meetings. Zoom video meetings use a combination of TCP and UDP. TCP connections are made using TLS and UDP connections are encrypted with AES using a key negotiated over a TLS connection.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Trump is preparing the ground for a totalitarian dictatorship — but we can stop him

        Trump’s motives at this point are, for want of a better word, sinister. He appears to be using the playbook of Vladimir Putin and Viktor Orban, readying the ground for an election that will have two candidates but only one possible outcome. What we are seeing in Trump’s nightly lies and obfuscations and denunciations of Democrats and the media is the beginnings of a Trumpian totalitarianism.

        He has seized control of the political debate using his nightly virus press conferences, which are more frequent and last longer than his political rallies. He is gaining control over the media in his choices of whose questions he accepts, taking questions from friendly outlets and belittling outfits like NBC, CNN and PBS. (The New York Times and the Washington Post have stopped sending reporters to the briefings, covering them from outside the press room.) He has gone against rules agreed to by the White House Correspondents’ Association by allowing the alleged “reporter” from the OANN network to attend every briefing while representatives of other news organizations have to cycle in and out on a schedule set by rules according to social distancing needs.

      • America won the cold war. What went wrong?

        The United States, Andrew Bacevich writes near the start of his account of post-cold-war America, is like the man who won the Mega Millions lottery: his unimagined windfall holds the potential for disaster. Things are not quite that bad. But almost three decades after America watched the Soviet Union fall apart, victory feels like a disappointment.

        The end of the cold war established America as the most powerful country in history. Its armed forces were unmatched and its governing philosophy seemingly had no rival. Yet it has struggled either to prevail against illiterate tribesmen and tinpot dictators or to get to grips with a newly assertive Russia and a rising China. In a pandemic its allies might have expected America to co-ordinate a planet-wide response. Instead, it has turned inward. Just as startlingly, America itself fell prey to bitterness and division, culminating in the presidency of a man who won office by rejecting many of the values which had helped bring about that original victory.

      • In state’s intense chase for protective equipment, coronavirus isn’t the only rival — the feds are, too

        “No one would imagine sending firefighters into a blazing fire without proper clothing and equipment,” reads a petition more than 1,000 physicians signed urging Baker to take additional measures. “But our physicians, nurses, and other healthcare workers are being asked to treat COVID-19 patients without protective gear.”

      • 3 million masks ordered by Massachusetts were confiscated in Port of New York, leading to creative alternative

        “Around the time that we had our 3 million masks that we had ordered through BJs confiscated in the port of New York, at that point it became pretty clear to us that using what I would describe as sort of a ‘traditional approach to this’ wasn’t going to work,” Baker said Thursday.

      • Competition among state, local governments creates bidding war for medical equipment

        “A system that’s based on state and local governments looking out for themselves and competing with other state and local governments across the nation isn’t sustainable,” said John Cohen, an ABC News contributor and former acting Undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security, “and if left to continue, we’ll certainly exacerbate the public health crisis we’re facing.”

        “There’s a very real possibility,” he added, “that those state and local governments that have the most critical need won’t get the equipment they need.”

      • Sheikh Zoubir Bouchikhi, Former Houston Imam Deported in 2011 for Immigration-Related Charges: Disbelievers Are the Worst of Allah’s Creations – Worse than Animals; We Should Completely Ignore Muslims Who Are Not Properly Observant

        Malaysia-based Algerian Islamic scholar Sheikh Zoubir Bouchikhi, who had been the imam of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston until he was deported from the United States in 2011 for immigration-related charges, taught a women’s class at Riyad Al-Jannah, the mosque in Malaysia where he is currently the imam. The video was uploaded to Riyad Al-Jannah’s YouTube channel on March 20, 2020.

      • That Omar Sheikh is let off by Pakistan court should worry the world

        This means that a pathologically violent man is, once again, free to carry on his jihad against imagined enemies. When Omar got the death sentence for helping al Qaeda’s Khalid Sheikh Muhammad behead Pearl, he criticised the judgment as “given under pressure from the Americans”. Public reaction was mixed, and Omar continued his defiance, threatening “those who want to kill me” with death, and calling his trial “a struggle between Islam and kufr”.

        Why has the High Court let him off? Commentators point to some “flaws”. A Lashkar-e-Jhangvi terrorist came up with additional confessional evidence during the trial, which was not taken cognisance of. Neither the discovery of the beheaded corpse of Pearl, nor its DNA test result, was allowed to feature in the trial. These were points of law that the appellate court was to adjudicate on.

      • B.C. Imam Calls for Elimination of Atheists, Victory for Jihad

        Kathrada has a long history of hateful remarks. Virtually identical supplications appear in videos of his sermons uploaded on March 15 and March 21, respectively. In October of 2019, Kathrada advised his congregants not to vote in the Canadian federal election, arguing that all Jewish and Christian candidates were “filthy” and “evil.” In January of that year, Kathrada suggested that wishing Christians a Merry Christmas is a sin worse than murder.

        In 2004, B’nai Brith Canada complained to police after Kathrada called Jews “brothers of monkeys and swine.” B’nai Brith has reached out to the B.C. Hate Crimes Unit about his more recent outbursts.

      • Knife-Wielding Man in Southern France Kills 2 in Attack on Passersby

        There have been a number of knife attacks in France in recent months. In January, French police shot and injured a man in Metz who was waving a knife and shouting “Allahu akbar.”

      • Pentagon Removes Carrier From Middle East Amid Pandemic-Induced Resource Fight

        The ship will now leave on its scheduled rotation, contrary to an earlier plan to leave the nuclear-powered carrier in the region that had been announced by Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the top U.S. military officer in the Middle East, on March 13. Politico first reported the news of the move.

        Gen. Mark Milley, the U.S. military’s top officer, would have the final say on any decision to pivot assets to compensate for the Roosevelt, which will offload more than half of its 4,800 crew in Guam after the ship’s commanding officer pleaded for no more than 10 percent of sailors to stay on board. A Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesperson said they could not comment on future operations or locations for aircraft carriers. “The Pacific Fleet remains ready to meet all operational commitments,” said Lt. j.g. Rachel McMarr, a spokesperson for the command.

      • It’s Hardly Shocking the Navy Fired a Commander for Warning of Coronavirus Threat. It’s Part of a Pattern.

        Capt. Brett Crozier, fired this week from command of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, joins a growing list of Navy officers who attempted to raise concerns about the safety of their ships and crew, only to pay with their jobs.

        Crozier wrote a letter dated March 30 warning that an outbreak of the coronavirus on his ship was a threat to his crew of some 4,000 sailors unless they disembarked and quarantined.

      • ‘He’s Got Eight Numbers, Just Like Everybody Else’: An Anti-Nuclear Activist Behind Bars

        Trident nuclear disarmament activist Steve Kelly, a Jesuit priest, begins his third year imprisoned in a county jail as he and his companions await sentencing.

      • The Madness of More Nukes and Less Rights in Pandemic Times

        Another perilous pandemic is sweeping the country in the midst of the coronavirus one, and it has been lurking in the shadows for years just itching for a fear-ridden moment like this to break out forcefully. Right-wing repressive forces are using this unprecedented crisis to impose unconstitutional denials of abortion rights; to drastically lower voter participation rates; to grant sweeping new powers of indefinite incarceration without trial to the Department of Justice; to relax or even abolish regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency; and to criminalize fossil fuel protests should they ever recur in the wake of the March 31 decision to proceed at full speed with the controversial Keystone Pipeline project. In these dark times, American democracy itself has fallen victim to COVID-19 and is now on life support.

      • The War on Yemen, 100,000 Deaths, A Crisis Ignored by Mainstream Media Due to Coronavirus Coverage

        In March, a fleet of 450 American soldiers landed in Yemen, in addition to an uncertain number of troops from the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. According to information from al-Mashhad, this was the first stage of a project to send 3,000 American and British troops to Yemen, which will land in the regions of Aden, Lahai, Saqtari, Shabweh and al-Mohreh, thus completing a true siege of the country in all geographical directions. In addition, two American warships docked at Balhaf, Yemen’s main natural gas export port. American movements would be motivated in the region to supposedly “fight terrorism”, but several military analysts have already made it clear that the United States intends to intervene in the Yemeni government and install fixed bases in the region, “stabilizing” the situation in the country.

        The crisis in Yemen is a real humanitarian catastrophe, with dimensions similar to those of the Civil War in Syria. However, the attention given to the poorest country in the Middle East is minimal, especially in times of the pandemic. Once again, COVID-19 is being used as a “smokescreen” to distract worldwide attention while illegal and aggressive movements are taking place in specific regions of the planet, as has recently become clear with the Israeli advance in the West Bank and the arrival of thousands of American troops to Yemen.

        Yet, another factor that is absolutely ignored, being even more serious than military aggression, is the public health crisis and food insecurity generated by Saudi aggression. Yemeni Health Minister Saif al-Haidri recently warned of the neglect with which international society has dealt with the situation, which he called a “disastrous in the shadow of war”.

      • COVID-19 cases on U.S. aircraft carrier Roosevelt rise to 155: report

        Forty-four percent of the roughly 5,000 crew have been tested, and 1,548 service members have been transferred onto Guam, where the ship is currently docking.

        WASHINGTON, April 4 (Xinhua) — The number of positive tests for COVID-19 on board aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt rose to 155, up 13 percent from the previous day, Reuters reported Saturday, citing the U.S. Navy.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Trump calls fired watchdog in impeachment probe a ‘disgrace’

        Trump informed Congress late Friday night that he was firing Michael Atkinson, saying in letters to the House and Senate intelligence committees that he had lost confidence in Atkinson. Atkinson’s removal is part of a larger shakeup of the intelligence community under Trump, who has always viewed intelligence professionals with skepticism.

        Trump’s criticism Saturday came after Atkinson’s peers had rushed to his defense. Michael Horowitz, the inspector general at the Justice Department, said Atkinson was known for his “integrity, professionalism, and commitment to the rule of law and independent oversight.” He said that includes Atkinson’s actions in handling the Ukraine whistleblower complaint.

      • Impeachment Revenge Is Back as Trump Fires Intelligence Community’s Chief Watchdog

        While you slept late Friday night or decided to escape the hellscape of social media platforms and cable news networks that are deluged with depressing coronavirus reports by binge-watching Tiger King again, the president did something that has now become routine — fire someone who dared speak truth to power under his administration.

        Trump told Congress in a letter that he is removing the Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, who will be relinquished from his position in 30 days. Trump did not name a permanent successor.

    • Environment

      • The Covid-19 Crisis Is Exposing Trump’s Criminality

        The Signal: In the middle of a pandemic that is particularly lethal to those with impaired lung function, the Trump administration has rolled back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards. The move will trigger a long legal fight, led by California, and signed onto by many other states; but if it ultimately stands, environmentalists estimate that it will lead to a billion metric tons of additional carbon dioxide emissions, and the burning of an addition 80 billion gallons of gasoline.

        In short, while Trump touts this move as an economic boon and counts it as a success in his battle against regulations, it’s guaranteed to further wreck the planet’s fragile climate and further pollute its already polluted air.

        A reasonable administration would have pressed the pause button during a respiratory virus pandemic. This administration saw the chaos and fear created by a wave of illness and death as a useful distraction to push through an unpopular regulatory change while attention was diverted.

      • Avenger Planet: Is the COVID-19 Pandemic Mother Nature’s Response to Human Transgression?

        As the coronavirus sweeps across the planet, leaving death and mayhem in its wake, many theories are being expounded to explain its ferocity. One, widely circulated within right-wing conspiracy circles, is that it originated as a biological weapon developed at a secret Chinese military lab in the city of Wuhan that somehow (perhaps intentionally?) escaped into the civilian population. Although that “theory” has been thoroughly debunked, President Trump and his acolytes continue to call Covid-19 the China Virus, the Wuhan Virus, or even the “Kung Flu,” claiming its global spread was the result of an inept and secretive Chinese government response. Scientists, by and large, believe the virus originated in bats and was transmitted to humans by wildlife sold at a Wuhan seafood market. But perhaps there’s another far more ominous possibility to consider: that this is one of Mother Nature’s ways of resisting humanity’s assault on her essential life systems.

      • Russia reportedly cuts off all international air travel, including evacuations into and out of the country

        At the end of the day on April 3, Russia will stop allowing all remaining international flights, including those bringing Russian citizens into the country and those bringing foreign citizens out, anonymous sources told Interfax and RBC.

      • Energy

      • Overpopulation

        • Statement: Gov. Stitt should approve 283 commutations to decrease prison overcrowding and reduce the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak

          Amid the state’s growing COVID-19 public health crisis, eight organizations are urging Governor Stitt to grant more than 200 unsigned commutations to reduce the risk of an outbreak in Oklahoma prisons — Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform, Mental Health Association of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Women’s Coalition, ACLU of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Policy Institute, Still She Rises, Oklahoma Conference of Churches and Blockbuilderz. Oklahoma’s prisons are at 108 percent capacity, and a virus like COVID-19 can easily overwhelm the state’s overcrowded prisons where incarcerated people have less access to basic hygiene items, cannot social distance, and many areas are communal.

          Rural hospitals stand to suffer the most from these conditions. Fifty Oklahoma counties, largely in rural areas, have no ICU beds. Many of our state’s overcrowded prisons are also located in these rural areas, putting area hospitals at severe risk of being unable to handle a prison outbreak of COVID-19.

    • Finance

      • Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Is Trying to Destroy Airline Workers’ Job Protections

        America’s aviation workers won a huge victory in the CARES Act. In the bill, Congress created a grants program that funds paychecks and benefits for two million hourly workers who were going to lose their jobs while planes are grounded. This isn’t a no-strings-attached corporate bailout for airlines. The money goes directly to flight attendants, pilots, mechanics, cleaners, caterers, and wheelchair attendants, so that we can stay on the job, on our healthcare, and out of the unemployment line. It should be a model for how we help all workers impacted by coronavirus.

      • With Sports on Hold, Restless Gamblers Turn to Videogames

        Over the past four years, online betting sites have been slowly welcoming fans of the volatile but growing industry of livestreamed competitive gaming into their pools and brackets. As two teams of pro gamers go head to head in a League of Legends match live on Twitch, risk-loving viewers tab onto websites like DraftKings, Betway, and Loot.bet hoping to earn a bit of cash from their savvy projections. Now, these sites are describing an exponential surge in betting spurred by the dearth of traditional sports content—despite some of the risks involved with the Wild West esports industry.

        In less than a month, the volume of dollars Groes has seen bet on esports has gone up by a factor of 10. EveryMatrix offers software facilitating esports betting on everything from Fortnite and FIFA to dozens of online betting sites, from Germany’s Mybet to Russia’s 1xBet. Before Covid-19 hit, esports bets constituted just 1 percent of bets he saw. Now, it’s 35 percent. The typical bet, he says, remains $25 between sports and esports betters.

      • COVID-19 and the Forgotten Working Class

        We hear a lot these days about providing benefits and income for the tens of millions of workers who are being laid off, required to ‘stay in place’ by government orders, or out of necessity have to stay home with young children now that schools have shut down. The recent passed CARES ACT provides some minimal and basic income and unemployment benefits for those without work.

      • Was the Fed Just Nationalized?

        Did Congress just nationalize the Fed? No. But the door to that result has been cracked open.

      • The Relative Generosity of the Economic Rescue Package: Boeing vs. Public Broadcasting

        The media have been engaged big time in the numbers without context game, throwing out really big numbers faster than anyone can catch them. (For the biggest, the overall size of the stimulus, given the time frame, we are looking at a stimulus that is about five times as large as the Obama stimulus.) While there are many great comparisons to be made on who got what, for tonight I just want to focus on one, the handout to Boeing compared with the money provided to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

      • Public-Private Partnerships Leave Wake of Debt on the Canadian Prairie

        In the first example, Birrell states that the “public-private partnerships in the school system, benefits conservative cuts to education, like ballooning classroom sizes, but adds the bonus of costing around four times more for maintenance.” She points to an article in the Regina Leader-Post for evidence that the Saskatchewan government was paying more in maintenance in 18 P3 schools than in 621 other public schools, combined.

      • Seattle—Anti-Capitalist Hotbed

        Popular uprisings are rarely as spontaneous as the mainstream press often makes them out to be. Instead, from the Paris Commune to the Arab Spring and beyond, they are more often the result of extended grassroots organizing, previous actions and strikes, and even legislative campaigns. The rates of participation are almost always linked to the amount of organizing that took place weeks, months and even years before the event takes place. Of course, the immediate cause of these popular, radical and even revolutionary events is usually an action taken by the powerful that serves as a catalyst for the reaction of the people in the streets. In the May 1970s national strike against the US war on the people of Southeast Asia, the catalyst was the deadly military assault on college students protesting the US invasion of Cambodia. The national rebellion following the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968 was part of a decades-long movement against the racism of the US government and economic system. The catalyst for the uprisings known as the Arab Spring was the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, but the organizing for the protests that followed in Tunisia and throughout the Middle East had been taking place for years.

      • Oregon Leads Way by Enacting Rent Control Law to Address Homelessness

        Wafai’s story recounts the experience of a Portland, Oregon, couple, Andy Mangels and Don Hood, whose landlord raised their rent by 113 percent, after new management took over ownership of the building they’d been living in for more than three decades. The extreme increase in their rent was unaffordable and forced Mangels and Hood to look for another home.

      • Moscow Mayor, a leader in Russia’s COVID-19 pandemic, comes out against government payments to citizens

        Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has given an interview to Russia’s Channel One in which he argues against giving Russian citizens cash payments to curb the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. RIA Novosti reported on the interview, which is due to air on the evening of April 3.

      • How Tea Party Budget Battles Left the National Emergency Medical Stockpile Unprepared for Coronavirus

        Dire shortages of vital medical equipment in the Strategic National Stockpile that are now hampering the coronavirus response trace back to the budget wars of the Obama years, when congressional Republicans elected on the Tea Party wave forced the White House to accept sweeping cuts to federal spending.

        Among the victims of those partisan fights was the effort to keep adequate supplies of masks, ventilators, pharmaceuticals and other medical equipment on hand to respond to a public health crisis. Lawmakers in both parties raised the specter of shortchanging future disaster response even as they voted to approve the cuts.

      • Jared Kushner, With No Government Background, Scolds States for Requesting Supplies From National Equipment Stockpile

        “Dilettantism raised to the level of sociopathy.”

      • “There’s Going to Be Scandal Involved in This Bailout. It Is Unquestionable’

        Here We Go Again! A discussion between Bill Moyers and Neil Barofksy, former chief inspector general of the TARP program, on big corporate bailouts.

      • Trump’s Big Bailout Is a Recipe for Fraud and Scandal

        There’s going to be scandal involved in this bailout. It is unquestionable. There is going to be fraud — that is going to be committed in this bailout. There are going to be individuals who are unjustly rewarded, and others who should have been saved and rescued, who will be left on the side to rot. —Neil Barofsky

      • Right-Wing Austerity Set New Orleans Up to Be a Coronavirus Disaster Zone

        New Orleans — Back in 1997, when Steve Scalise was a Louisiana state representative, he joined other right-wing lawmakers in co-authoring and passing a “state preemption” law that prevents city governments from raising the minimum wage for their residents. Today, Rep. Scalise is one of the most powerful Republicans in Congress, and Louisiana is one of only five states where the wage floor is frozen at the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour. More than one in four children live in poverty in Louisiana, which remains one of the poorest states in the nation despite modest gains in recent years.

      • Trump Admin Says Millions May Have to Wait 5 Months for $1,200 Relief Check

        More than 10 million Americans lost their jobs last month and are in desperate need of immediate financial assistance amid the coronavirus crisis, but the Trump administration said in a draft plan circulated internally Thursday that people who do not have direct deposit information on file with the IRS — a group that is disproportionately low-income — may have to wait until September to receive the one-time $1,200 payment authorized under the latest stimulus.

      • Coronavirus Hits March Employment Numbers Hard — 701,000 Jobs Lost

        The impact of the coronavirus shutdowns showed up very clearly in the March data as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a loss of 701,000 jobs, a decline almost as high as the peaks hit in the housing crash. The unemployment rate jumped 0.9 percentage points to 4.4 percent, while the employment-to-population ratio (EPOP) fell by 1.1 percentage points to 60.0 percent.

      • What happened to the “long tail” theory of commerce on the Internet?

        More than 15 years ago, with Amazon.com already on the ascendant, all talk was about how the Internet promised to liberate commerce for both sellers and purchasers. There was no more prominent expression of that optimism than Chris Anderson’s notion of the long tail (“The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More”, 2006, here). However, if you are a Kat reader under the age of 35, you may not even recognize the term.

        Since the euphoria of that time, the attitude towards “the long tail” has become more measured, bordering on skeptical. As one observer has stated, we are actually in an era of the “short head” rather than the “long tail”. What is all this talk about anatomy about? Read on.

        Consider the following graph. Lots of occurrences regarding a small number of items are likely to happen within the bounds of the head on the left, far fewer occurrences regarding a greater number of items at the tail sloping rightward.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Danny Dorling: ‘slowdown’ brings end to ‘rampant capitalism’

        At the time of earlier pandemics, Professor Dorling noted, societies – and universities – often knew far less about the situation and tended to “just keep calm and carry on”: “In 1919, there are records in the university gazette of students dying in their rooms in Magdalen College, unable to go to take their exams, but the University of Oxford changed nothing.”

        Today’s crisis, by contrast, has only confirmed for him, at a far more immediate level, something he has “spent 20 or 30 years of my life writing about – and feeling intellectually was correct – that the people who really matter are the people who care for you, deliver food and so on,” he said.

        Other developments amid all the suffering had also assured Professor Dorling that the end of the unprecedented disruption might bring about a kinder and more sustainable form of politics. The crisis, he said, has revealed that “people were living quite well-off lives that were actually precarious”.

      • ‘Pure Retaliation, Retribution, and Reprisal’: Trump Fires Inspector General Who Sounded Alarm About Ukraine Whistleblower Complaint

        “While the world is rightly distracted by COVID-19, we see leaders around the world with authoritarian tendencies subverting democracy. U.S. is no different.”

      • Trump Is Preparing the Ground for a Totalitarian Dictatorship

        We’re all going to know someone who has died of the coronavirus when this is over. The tragic news is all over Facebook and Twitter already. My friend Patricia Bosworth, the actress and biographer, died on Friday of the virus. Everyone has friends and acquaintances who have the virus, family members who have died, favorite musicians or actors and friends of friends who are sick and dying. The virus has taken them from us, but so has Donald Trump with his inaction and lying and childish finger-pointing and failure to take responsibility.

      • ‘A Mockery of Independence’: Trump to Nominate White House Lawyer to Oversee $4.5 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Bill

        “People need to be paying attention to the anti-democratic steps the president is taking while people are appropriately preoccupied with the current pandemic.”

      • WATCH: Bernie Sanders to Host Livestream Detailing Priorities for Worker-Focused Coronavirus Relief Bill

        Sanders has called on Congress to pass a new package including Medicare for All, salary guarantees for Americans put out of work by the pandemic, and direct monthly payments.

      • The Bigger Picture is Hiding Behind a Virus

        Things often look the way they do because someone claiming authority tells us they look that way. If that sounds too cynical, pause for a moment and reflect on what seemed most important to you just a year ago, or even a few weeks ago.

      • Will Trump Cancel the Election? Will the Democrats Dump Joe?

        With there being no campaign left to trail, I reached out with my questions to someone on the inside, and got the following email:

      • Democracy Dies in Blah Blah Blah

        The president of the country has declared himself an opponent of one person, one vote democracy. We already knew that, but he said it out loud, on the record. 

      • Democracy in America: Sorry, But You Can’t Get There from Here.

        There was a time, just a few weeks ago, when hardly anyone thought it literally true that, as he boasted, Donald Trump could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and become more popular for having done so.

      • Rural Counties Consider an Alternative Type of Social Distancing — Kicking Chicago Out of Illinois

        As she sat Wednesday on the covered deck at the 4-Way Saloon in Sidell, overlooking the town grain elevator, Leslie Powell made her way down the list of tasks she had scribbled on her yellow notepad. Asking the utility company for a payment plan was first.

        Powell’s husband, Mark, became owner of this busy little bar and grill in east-central Illinois just nine days before Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered residents across the state to shelter in place in an attempt to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

      • Shadow Network of Conservative Outlets Emerges to Exploit Faith in Local News

        The problem? Many of these websites, which number in the hundreds, likely belong to a larger network of conservative organizations looking to capitalize on the void created as independent local news outlets have been shuttering their doors over the past several years. As Priyanjana Bengani wrote, these websites and networks can “aid campaigns to manipulate public opinion by exploiting faith in local media.”

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Family of Murdered US Journalist Calls Pakistani Court Decision ‘Travesty of Justice’

        Pearl, 38, was a Wall Street Journal reporter covering Pakistani extremists when he was kidnapped in Karachi in January 2002 and was killed weeks later. Three men accused of involvement in the murder subsequently were convicted and handed sentences of life imprisonment, while the fourth one, British national Sheikh, was convicted and sentenced to death.

      • Pakistan court overturns convictions in killing of American journalist Daniel Pearl

        The high profile abduction drew international attention, amid growing concern over the threat posed by radical Islamic terrorism. Assailants later filmed his beheading and sent it to US officials. It was among the first propaganda videos targeting hostages created by extremists, and helped to inspire other terror groups to film horrific and egregious acts of violence.

        Alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was arrested in Pakistan in 2003, at one point claimed to have personally killed Pearl, but the admission was made while he was being tortured and he was never charged with the crime. Federal agents backed up Mohammed’s confession by comparing photos of the veins in his hands and the vein patterns of an assailant in the video of Pearl’s killing, according to a report by Georgetown University students and faculty and the Center for Public Integrity.

      • Iranian dissident in Turkey killed like Khashoggi: report

        A special report by the Sabah newspaper published on Tuesday sheds light on the 2019 murder of Masoud Molavi Vardanjani in Istanbul last year and details how he fell victim to a plot linked to Iranian intelligence. Like the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi who was killed in his country’s consulate in Istanbul, Vardanjani was shot dead on the street in the city’s Şişli district. Both names stood out due to their criticism of the regimes of their countries.

      • Passage of New California Law Hurts Freelance Journalists

        While the passage of this bill may seem like a huge win for the employees of these companies, it had the unintended consequence of making things worse for freelance journalists and many others who work as independent contractors. It affected journalists because AB5 specifies that freelance journalists must be considered employees once they exceeded the limit of 35 submissions per client per year, which many journalists exceed in just weeks. Musicians, theater staff and other workers who routinely do temporary, project-based work have also been affected. Although one reason the bill was created was to help provide people with job security, just months after it was passed many who had steady employment before the bill are now struggling for work.

      • ‘The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad New Boss’: Editorial changes at ‘Vedomosti’ jeopardize one of Russia’s best-respected business newspapers

        The crisis follows the decision by Vedomosti’s new owners to install a new editor-in-chief named Andrey Shmarov, who promptly alienated the staff in a bawdy introduction where he touted his ignorance about Vedomosti’s own code of ethics, professed not to read the newspaper itself, and then defended Harvey Weinstein and expressed skepticism about the very concept of sexual harassment.

      • Hannity Threatens to Sue Media Outlets for Criticizing Fox’s COVID-19 Coverage

        Fox News host Sean Hannity threatened to sue a purported “media mob” during a Wednesday night segment, in which he addressed criticisms who rebuked the right-wing network’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic as dangerous.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Here’s What a General Strike Would Take

        “We are living through the most opportune environment for massive, radical labor actions in many decades.”

      • Leaked Amazon Memo Details Plan to Smear Fired Warehouse Organizer: ‘He’s Not Smart or Articulate’

        Leaked notes from an internal meeting of Amazon leadership obtained by VICE News reveal company executives discussed a plan to smear fired warehouse employee Christian Smalls, calling him “not smart or articulate” as part of a PR strategy to make him “the face of the entire union/organizing movement.”

      • A governor ordered the state police and National Guard to hunt for New Yorkers because of coronavirus fears. It’s a frightening sign of what’s to come during the pandemic.

        But Rhode Island went even further, disturbingly so. On Saturday, military police of the National Guard — armed, camouflaged, and clad in flak jackets — began knocking on the doors of homes where cars with New York plates, or no plates at all, were parked.

        Pandemic or no pandemic, the Fourth Amendment has something to say about that.


        Americans typically treasure the good stuff in the Bill of Rights that forbids the government from unwarranted search and seizures, but Americans also have a long history of willfully allowing — sometimes even demanding — their civil liberties to be curbed in crisis.

        After 9/11, Congress rushed the Patriot Act through in a matter of weeks, ostensibly to make it easier for law enforcement to coordinate on tracking and stopping terrorists. Nearly two decades later, the law has been far more likely to be used to track drug dealers and ordinary Americans, and continues to be regularly reauthorized.

        But it’s in times of crisis that civil liberties are the most vital.

      • Let’s Come Together in These Physically Distancing Times

        “As bad as things are, and could get, compassion and wisdom will ensure that good emerges from this.”

      • It’s Impossible to “Distance” in ICE Detention. Doctors Say Free All Detainees.

        René Escobedo González has a cough. He’s got a fever and trouble breathing. Eight of the 24 other people in his cell do as well. Locked in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention in the Jefferson County Jail in Texas, the men have asked for medical evaluation — but instead of a COVID-19 test, Escobedo González says they’ve been given a “pill for pain and sleep.” On a call with Truthout, he said the people inside are terrified, and completely unprepared to weather a deadly global pandemic.

      • Despite Threats From Management, Amazon Warehouse Workers in Chicago Strike to Demand Better Coronavirus Precautions

        “We’re going to continue to fight. This is just the beginning of our struggle here.” 

      • Strike for Your Life!

        There have been more than a dozen strikes in the past two weeks by workers striking to protect themselves against infection by the coronavirus. They have already won increased protection. What do they portend for the future?

      • Tunisia Leads the Way: New Report Exposes Israel’s False Democracy

        Tunisia is the Middle East’s greatest success story, according to the findings of the V-Dem Annual Democracy Report 2019.

      • In the New Dystopia

        It is difficult to neatly encapsulate the shift that has occurred in our collective perception and experience over the last several weeks. That all semblance of ‘certainty’ and ‘normalcy’ has disappeared seems no longer the main feature—what stands out is the psychological shift underway, proceeding on the collective and individual levels. What will this mean, how will it continue to evolve? Every conversation I have now touches on the coronavirus or those things that surround it. Everything I read online is related to it. ‘Social distancing’, ‘flattening the curve’—these phrases have become ubiquitous, standardized.

      • ‘This Is Despicable’: Not Even COVID-19 Pandemic Can Halt Trump’s Right-Wing Takeover of Federal Courts

        Critics warn the president’s latest nominees for lifetime appellate court positions are both committed to the “deadly agenda” of overturning the entire Affordable Care Act.

      • Prayers, Piffle and Privation in the Time of Pandemic

        “Go corona! Corona go!” Ramdas Athawale, a minister in the state government of India, chanted this phrase again and again at a prayer meeting at the Gateway of India. Among those invited to participate were Buddhist monks and the Chinese Consul General in Mumbai. The rap-like cadence soon inspired memes and a pop version.

      • Corona and What Then?

        Berlin, like many of your hometowns, is a ghost city. Except for those offering groceries, medicines or medical care, everything is shut tight. Luckily, no-one here has to stay inside, we can stroll around outside but, aside from families, we may not “assemble” in groups of more than two (if any cops are around).

      • Indigenous Men, Suicides, Racism, and Health Care. Who is Watching?

        These issues were brought to light in an  article published by the New Statesman, which addressed the “public health emergency” involving high suicides rates among Indigenous people in the US by reporting in detail on the “painful losses” of one family in Alaska. As other reports documented, suicides have also devastated First Nations communities in Saskatchewan, Canada. The Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation declared a state of emergency after a rash of suicides, one including a young father. Ochapowace First Nation also lost four Indigenous men to suicide.

      • Mainstream Canadian LGBTQ Organizations Fail to Address Poverty, Homelessness

        For example, Egale is Canada’s only nation-wide LGBTQ charity. Although the organization holds an annual event highlighting homophobia and transphobia as contributors to high homeless rates, the charity is not politically active on the issue. The article states Egale does not deal directly with homelessness, substance abuse, sex work, and other elements of LGBTQ life, nor does Egale actively push for services such as a national housing strategy, overdose prevention sites, and information on how to find apartments and youth shelters.

      • Worst Case Scenario: Healthcare Workers Need Masks, ASAP

        Imagine a country where health care workers lack the equipment necessary to prevent coronavirus infection while treating people suffering from this terrible new disease.

      • Mauritius Leaks Expose Exploitation of African Nations

        While international corporations and the local business class prosper, many African nations that are already struggling against stalled economic development suffer from lost revenues. The report noted Uganda as an example, where over forty percent of people live on under two dollars a day. In January 2019, Mauritius updated some laws at the behest of global organizations such as the OECD or the European Union, but is continuing negotiations with 16 countries to bring sixty percent of the continent’s nations under the tax treaties.

      • Memphis Journalist Targeted by ICE for His Work

        As James Goodman recounts in his March 22, 2019 Progressive story about Duran Ortega’s case, in April of 2018, Memphis Noticias posted a video of a woman who was arrested by local police and then later was detained by ICE. In the video he posted of the woman being arrested, Duran Ortega observed that “there has been three confirmed cases that the Memphis police are involved with immigration and that this is obviously a collaboration.” The journalist was soon contacted by the police department about taking the video down, but he refused.

      • A Q & A on the GOP’s Call for Elder Sacrifice

        The second highest office-holder of the great state of Texas, Republican Lieutenant General Dan Patrick, recently proclaimed on Fox News that lots of senior citizens would be willing — or should be, anyway — to sacrifice their lives to coronavirus in order to save the economy for their grandchildren.

      • NYC Subways Lack Accommodations for Accessibility

        Just 25 percent of subway stations in New York City are accessible by elevators or ramps. By comparison, 71 percent of Boston stations and 69 percent of Chicago stations have such accommodations. Los Angeles and Washington, DC, each have hundred percent accessibility. Further, many New York stations lack bumpy strips on the ground that warn those with impaired vision when there are hazards such as stairs or edges and platforms. Three hundred and fifty  stations have these strips yet a staggering 122 lack them. Susan Dooha, executive director of the Center for Independence of the Disabled, told City Limits  there have been cases where people with disabilities have fallen on the subway tracks because of the missing platform edge strips.  The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has acknowledged the problem, but not yet fixed it.

      • Coronavirus and the State-of-Emergency Pandemic

        A silent pandemic is sweeping the nation and across the globe, the panic of the ever-expanding authoritarian state. The coronavirus medical emergency is legitimizing the ever-increasing power of a vigorous state apparatus operating at the federal, state and local levels. The great challenge is what will happen to these powers when the current Covid-19 epidemic is contained?

      • The Apartheid Wars: Non-Accountability and Freedom for Perpetrators.

        The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was a vital means to save the country from unending civil war. These had raged with increasing intensity since 1960, and in 1994 the forces of oppression were militarily intact. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu, soon to be chair of the Commission observed in 1995, “Nuremberg trials” were not for South Africa. The TRC should include “ordinary people”, who had themselves been victims: “We shouldn’t just be…objective in a cold cerebral kind of way.” Importantly, “we can’t just say ‘let bygones be bygones’…because they will return to haunt us forever”, he said in late 1995. The country’s new Justice Minister allowed that the country’s then interim constitution was really a peace treaty. Amnesty (for full disclosure of political crimes) was ‘the price of securing peace and cooperation in the negotiated collapse of white rule.’ The country’s situation was complex, and the TRC’s aims were ‘not so much for justice as for national unity and reconciliation.’ Some 2,700 persons had then said that they wanted to confess their crimes: but the family of Steve Biko, the Black Consciousness leader slaughtered in 1977, wanted instead to see his killers tried and sentenced in court. Truth and justice were possibly incompatible.

      • TikTok Users In China Temporarily Banned For Speaking Their Own Cantonese Language Instead Of Using The Official Mandarin

        Most people know about TikTok, from the company Bytedance, but not many know that it is the international version of the similar, but separate, Douyin app. The What’s on Weibo site has a good explanation of why the two versions came about, and how they differ:

      • Incarceration, Detention, and Covid-19

        Recently I sat in on a livestreamed town hall sponsored by the school of public health at a large university in my state. The town hall’s purpose was to answer viewers’ questions about Covid-19: how to understand the pandemic, what to expect, how to stay healthy and safe. At the end, the moderator, the dean of the school, asked his fellow participants (epidemiologists, biostatisticians, infectious disease specialists) what they wanted viewers to take away from the program, and two or three referred to Covid-19 as a “wake-up call,” an alarm bell calling attention to the long-term defunding of public health systems in America, and the profound lack of preparedness for a catastrophic public health emergency of this kind.

      • Texas Court Says City, PD Must Answer Questions About Botched Drug Raid Led By A Crooked Cop

        The Houston Police Department’s botched drug raid that resulted in the killing of the home’s two occupants continues to cause problems for the PD and the city of Houston. The raid was predicated on a phone call from an unbalanced, vengeful neighbor with a history of calling in bogus crime reports. Probable cause was bolstered (if that’s even the word) by dirty cop Gerald Goines, who fabricated a confidential informant and provided evidence for drug trafficking allegations by pulling heroin from the console of his cop car.

      • NYC Nurses Demand Protective Gear as COVID-19 Death Toll Skyrockets
      • We Need a Coronavirus Truce

        During World War I, soldiers all along the Western front held a series of informal truces in December 1914 to commemorate Christmas.

      • Why a Race is Not a Virus and a Virus is Not a Race

        It is dangerous rhetoric indeed when President Donald J. Trump calls the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the “Chinese Virus”. Even if the intent was political and meant to communicate to Beijing that the United States military was not responsible for the spread of the disease within China, contrary to a conspiracy theory there.

      • Leaked Memo Reveals Amazon Execs Plotted to Paint Fired ‘Not Smart’ Worker as ‘Face of Entire Union/Organizing Movement’

        “In the middle of this crisis they’re not thinking about people dying, hurting, or how their own fate is tied to these workers. Nope. They’re thinking they’ve got to hold off the union organizing.”

      • Abortion providers sue Texas over virus outbreak order
    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • The T-Mobile Merger Closes, Highlighting Vast U.S. Media, Legal, And Policy Failures

        T-Mobile and Sprint finally closed their controversial $26 billion wireless mega merger this week, opening the door to a new era in U.S. wireless with notably less overall competition and, inevitably, higher prices. The government, courts, much of the press, and many “top policy thinkers” of the era happily ignored 40 years of very clear global data showing that such consolidation in telecom reduces competition, raises overall prices, and inevitably results in a steady parade of layoffs. And most of them did so for all the usual reasons: either rigid partisan ideology, or the prioritization of profit above reason, empathy, or common sense.

    • Monopolies

      • Canada signs agreement with Amazon Canada to distribute medical equipment

        Canada has signed an agreement with Amazon Canada AMZN.O to ensure medical equipment is delivered where it is most needed in the country’s fight against the cornonavirus outbreak, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday.

        The Canadian government has been working with manufacturers in recent weeks to increase production of high-demand medical items like face shields, masks, gloves, ventilators, gowns and test kits to assist healthcare workers on the frontlines.

      • Canada signs agreement with Amazon Canada to manage distribution of medical equipment

        “Our government has signed an agreement with Amazon Canada to manage the distribution of this equipment to the provinces and territories,” Trudeau told reporters during a daily news briefing outside his Ottawa home.

        Trudeau did not provide details on the value of the contract, but a government news release issued later on Friday said Amazon was providing the service to Canadians at cost, without profit.

      • Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

        The petition alleges that Amazon, which employs tens of thousands of people in Canada and has fulfilment centres in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec, is refusing to give workers paid leave.

        “(The government) made a deal with the Amazon, and they never commented on the compensation of the workers,” she said. “I am not happy about that..They actually are keeping a blind eye on it.”

        The petition also says Amazon is not telling staff what their plans are if facilities are contaminated or suspected of being contaminated.

      • Canada partners with Amazon Canada to distribute essential equipment

        Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement today during a daily news briefing. No details on the value of the contract were revealed.

      • [Guest post] Covid-19 Treatments: The Issue of Orphan Drug Status and Patents

        The covid-19 pandemic gives grave cause for concern. It has claimed the lives of over 48,500 people and counting. No vaccines are (as of now) available. No new or pre-existing medicines are approved to treat this type of corona virus. Nevertheless, several existing pharmaceuticals are entering the clinical trial phase. Indeed, some of these drugs have been around for some time, developed previously to treat other viruses such as HIV and Ebola. One of these drugs, ‘Remdesivir’, is reportedly showing great promise for treating covid-19 patients who currently rely on intensive care and ventilators. If this drug proved even partially effective, it could be a major breakthrough in treatment methods, save lives and pave the way for businesses to resume trading.

        Gilead, the IP rightsholder for Remdesivir, applied and received an orphan drug designation (explained below) for this medication by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the 23rd of March 2020. It should be acknowledged that, following a huge public backlash, Gilead applied just two days later, on the 25th of March, to rescind Remdesivir’s orphan status. Yet the status currently remains in place, as does the patent for the drug. The fact that the FDA will rescind the status does not alter the fact that it should not have been granted in the first place. Nor does it negate the risk that another equally, or even more, effective drug may also be accorded orphan status in the coming weeks. This post outlines what orphan drug designations and patents may mean for covid-19 treatments, and briefly proposes two ways which may be used to ensure their accessibility in Europe, and beyond.

      • Covid 19 – an open letter from the UK IP Minister

        Well, perhaps. This article suggests that the UK’s Intellectual Property Minister, Amanda Solloway MP, should write an open letter on the subject of infringement of IP, in relation to developing and making urgently-needed products to deal with the Covid 19 pandemic. Draft text of a letter, written by IP Draughts for her consideration, appears below.


        The government would like to remind IP owners that it has statutory powers known as Crown user provisions, that enable the government to use, and authorise others to use, IP in the national interest. The government will not hesitate to implement those powers where appropriate.

        However, the government hopes that it will not be necessary to devote time and national resources to implementing such laws. It trusts that IP owners will voluntarily cooperate to ensure that urgent needs are met (e.g. by voluntarily supplying designs and blue prints of their products where required), and refrain from asserting IP rights against those who are trying to meet those needs.

      • Buyer Beware: Counterfeit Markets Flourish During Global Health Crises

        Rapid acceleration of coronavirus-related infections and fatalities in countries like Italy, Spain and the United States has led to widespread bans on communal activities, global restrictions on travel and an increasing reliance on virtual interactions. The push to keep people indoors has led to a substantial increase in e-commerce spending. People are becoming increasingly reliant upon these services to provide life’s basic necessities – and counterfeiters are primed to take advantage of this unique opportunity.

        Counterfeiters have long preyed upon consumer vulnerability in order to make a quick profit. The current coronavirus crisis will likely be no different. However, what is unique about the current crisis is the extent to which consumers are relying upon e-commerce platforms.

      • Patents

        • European Patent Office Informally Announces Intended Extension

          The European Patent Office (EPO) has informally announced that it intends to extend all time limits to 17 April 2020 and that this date may be further extended. At this stage, it appears likely that this extension will apply to periods expiring on or after 15 March 2020. However, due to the informal nature of the announcement, we cannot confirm this date. The extension would apply to time limits for both European applications and to international applications (i.e., applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty) that are the subject of proceedings before the EPO.

        • Buchalter Client Alert COVID-19: Covid-19 and Intellectual Property Law

          Europe – The European Patent Office (EPO) has extended all deadlines that fall on or after March 15th to April 17th. The EPO has excluded the deadline for filing a divisional and other procedural acts from this exemption however.

        • Changes to Examining Division Oral Proceedings

          Effective immediately, Oral Proceedings before the Examining Divisions will be held by videoconference (see here). Oral Proceedings in person will now only take place in exceptional circumstances. So far, this announcement only relates to Oral Proceedings held by the Examining Divisions. It remains to be seen if the Boards of Appeal follow suit for examination matters.

          While this will allow the work of the Examining Divisions and representatives to continue during the lockdown, the EPO recognizes that there may be technical difficulties when attending and hosting virtual Oral Proceedings. Consequently, the EPO announcement notes that if such technical difficulties cannot be overcome, a new Summons will issue with a new hearing date. However, in the case of non-attendance for non-technical reasons, the Oral Proceedings will continue in the absence of the Applicant as before.

        • Chinese Companies Set Pace In Europe Patent Filings

          Chinese companies witnessed the highest growth last year among leading patent filing countries at the European Patent Office (EPO), according to a report released on March 12.

          The EPO Patent Index 2019 showed that patent applications originated from China at the EPO grew by 29.2 percent in 2019 to a total of 12,247, setting a record high.

          In the past decade, patent applications filed by Chinese companies with the EPO have increased sixfold.

          China moved up one place from 2018 to become the fourth-largest patent filing country at the EPO in 2019, trailing the United States, Germany and Japan.

        • (Some) EPO Deadlines Extended

          In these unprecedented times, patent deadlines are understandably a much lower priority than they were a couple of months ago. Even those trying to meet their deadlines may find themselves unable to do so with the various limitations imposed by home working and staff shortages. In recognition of this, the EPO has extended time limits expiring on or after 15 March 2020 to 17 April 2020 (see), and it seems likely that further extensions will be announced shortly. However, the extension only applies to “time periods” as defined by the EPO rules and is not universally applicable to all EPO deadlines.

          “Periods” are generally set by EPO Communications or the EPC itself. Typical examples include the deadlines for filing responses to Examination Reports or for providing claims translations in response to the issuance of a proposed text for grant. There are, however, a number of significant EPO deadlines that are not “periods”. For example, we often talk colloquially about the deadline for filing a divisional application. More correctly, a divisional application can only be filed while the parent is pending. Once the parent has granted, the right to file a divisional application is lost. This is not a “period” as defined by the Rules and therefore the extension of time announced by the EPO does not apply.

          EPO Oral Proceedings at the Board of Appeal are canceled until 17 April, but Oral Proceedings scheduled at the Examining and Opposition Divisions may still go ahead if videoconference facilities are available. The “final deadline” to file written submissions in Examination and Opposition proceedings has an unusual status.

        • Artificial Intelligence – Our March 2020 report

          According to the European Patent Office, for the first time in more than a decade, digital technologies have taken the lead in patent applications filed. Among the top technical fields digital communication (+19.6%) and computer technology (+10.2%) saw the steepest growth. The report, published on the 12th March 2020, notes that one driving factor for growth was the increase in patent applications related to artificial intelligence (AI), especially in the areas of machine learning and pattern recognition, image data processing and generation, and data retrieval.

        • 2019 EPO Patent Report: The Most Innovative Sectors and Companies

          2019 was a record year in patents. In fact, the European Patent Office (EPO) recorded substantial growth in some areas, such as digital communications and computer technology. As the fourth industrial devolution (4IR) materialises, companies such as Huawei, Samsung and L.G. continue to be particularly active in the field of research.

        • Video conferencing in oral proceedings at the EPO

          Although oral proceedings before the examining division by video conference have been permitted by the European Patent Office (EPO) since 1998, until recently there have been very few requests from applicants to proceed in this manner. Partly as a consequence of the number of oral proceeding requests increasing and also partly as a response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) situation, the EPO has made steps to make video conference oral proceedings the default – with the issuing of a consultation paper and a decision from the President.

        • Judge McMahon’s Motions in Limine Rulings Clear Way for Ferring v. Serenity Trial

          The years-long dispute may finally be headed for trial between Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and its affiliates, Serenity Pharmaceuticals, LLC, and Reprise Biopharmaceutics, LLC over patents claiming a sublingual application of desmopressin, a drug used to treat symptoms of diabetes insipidus, including frequent nighttime urination (“nocturia”). On March 11, 2020, U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon (S.D.N.Y.) ruled on three motions in limine filed by defendants and counterclaimants Serenity and Reprise.

          Reprise owns patents covering applications of desmopressin—U.S. Patent Nos. 7,405,203, 7,579,321, and 7,799,761—which it had exclusively licensed to Serenity to market Noctiva, a drug that treats nocturia. Ferring, which developed a rival product, Nocdurna, first filed this suit in April 2017 against Serenity and Reprise, seeking a declaratory judgment that Reprise’s patents were invalid and unenforceable, and were not infringed by Ferring’s Nocdurna product, which also treats nocturia. Serenity and Reprise asserted counterclaims against Ferring, alleging infringement of the ’203 and ’321 Patents by Ferring’s Nocdurna.

        • Important IP Updates Covid-19 | 02.04.2020

          All time limits expiring on or after 15 March 2020 are thus extended until 17 April 2020. Oral proceedings in examination and opposition proceedings scheduled until 17 April 2020 will be postpone, unless there is confirmation of the meeting by videoconference.

        • Global patent law update

          Artificial Intelligence: The EPO refused two European patent applications, EP 18 275 163 and EP 18 275 174, in which an AI system was designated as the inventor. Refusal was on the grounds that they do not meet the legal requirement of the European Patent Convention that an inventor designated in the application has to be a human being.

          In both applications a machine called “DABUS”, which is described as “a type of connectionist artificial intelligence”, is named as the inventor. The applicant stated that he had acquired the right to the European patent from the inventor by being its successor in title, arguing that as the machine’s owner, he was assigned any intellectual property rights created by this machine.

          In its decisions, the EPO considered that the interpretation of the legal framework of the European patent system leads to the conclusion that the inventor designated in a European patent must be a natural person. The EPO further noted that the understanding of the term inventor as referring to a natural person appears to be an internationally applicable standard, and that various national courts have issued decisions to this effect.

          The designation of an inventor is mandatory as it bears a series of legal consequences, notably to ensure that the designated inventor is the legitimate one and that he or she can benefit from rights linked to this status. To exercise these rights, the inventor must have a legal personality that AI systems or machines do not enjoy.

          Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal: On 1 January 2020 new Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal came into force. The scope of the appeal is now limited to a judicial review of the contested decision and amendments will be increasingly difficult throughout the appeal. The onus is on parties to provide justification and reasons for the amendment, with absolute discretion to admit the amendments lying with the Board.

          COVID-19 extended deadlines: In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, the European Patent Office has extended all time limits until 17 April 2020.

          Fee increases: It has been announced that many of its official fees will increase with effect from 1 April 2020. A range of official fees will be affected on average by 4%. This is the first general fee increase since 2016.


          Higher Regional Court of Munich on the requirements for the reasons for a preliminary injunction in patent litigation – change of previous case law (judgment of December 12, 2019 – Case 2 U 4009/19*) – “Leiterklemme”

          In patent litigation, the reasons for an injunction necessary for the issuance of a preliminary injunction generally require that the validity of the patent-in-suit may clearly be assessed in favor of the applicant.

          The question whether the validity of a patent-in-suit is sufficiently certain needs to be assessed based on the standard of a high probability.

        • Hopes dwindle for peaceful settlement between Nokia and Daimler

          Yesterday, several parties confirmed to JUVE Patent mediation has ended between Nokia and Daimler, as well as the latter’s suppliers. The suppliers include Robert Bosch, Bury Technologies, Continental, Harman Becker, TomTom and Valeo subsidiary Peiker. Last year, Margrethe Vestager, EU Commissioner for Competition and Digital Affairs, requested a concrete result. However this is not the case.

          The mediation is part of the major dispute between Nokia and Daimler concerning the use of mobile phone standards in the telematics units of Daimler cars. The fight over connected cars patents broke out in March 2019, following Nokia’s refusal to grant a licence to Daimler’s suppliers. The refusal was claimed by Daimler to constitute an abuse of a dominant position regarding patents for the mobile phone standards 3G and LTE. As a result, the company filed an antitrust complaint with the European Commission. Daimler wants the commission to clarify whether the patents are essential for connected cars at all.

        • Tesla Challenge to Door Patent Shot Down by Appeals Board

          The Patent Trial and Appeal Board declined to review Nikola Corp.’s truck seat door patent that Tesla Inc. argued was obvious and therefore invalid.

          Tesla in September asked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office tribunal to review Nikola’s U.S. patent no. 10,077,084, that covers a semi-truck vehicle door that provides access to the cabin interior from a seat’s backside. The electric car maker, controlled by billionaire Elon Musk, argued that previous patents and publications show the same door position.

        • The Secret World of Design Patents

          High-profile design patent litigation between Apple and Samsung has made headlines in
          the last few years. Not surprisingly, thereafter, design patents and related litigation have risen
          exponentially, and have become more important to the economy. Design patents provide legal
          protection for aesthetic and ornamental aspects of a manufactured product. While there is a rich
          and longstanding empirical literature and a crucial understanding about many facets of utility
          patent litigation, almost nothing is known about the design patent litigation world. This article fills
          that void. By building a novel and comprehensive database of all lawsuits alleging design patent
          infringement from 2000 to 2016, this article reports the results of a broad empirical exploration
          of design patent litigation, while giving an overview of the design patent litigation process.

          The study reveals that while utility and design patent litigation look similar at first glance,
          they are actually very different in several important respects. First, we find that unlike utility
          litigation, which almost always often involves a large company, almost half of design patent
          litigation involves small or medium-sized companies as both plaintiffs and defendants. Second, the
          amount of design patent litigation has continuously increased over the last decade, whereas utility
          patent infringement lawsuits sharply increased and then dipped over the same period. Third,
          design patent plaintiffs tend to file cases in different districts than utility patent plaintiffs. Namely,
          we find that design patent asserters did not participate in the flood of litigation in the Eastern
          District of Texas. Finally, design patent plaintiffs are almost all practicing entities who
          manufacture products rather than non-practicing entities (so-called “trolls”). These empirical
          findings have important implications for the law of design patents. While the courts treat utility
          and design patent litigation as similar for many purposes, including understanding the doctrine
          and managing the docket, the actual litigation on the ground is starkly different.

        • Patent Troll Sues to Pull Covid-19 Tests Off Market Over Alleged Infringement
        • Israel Approves Generic HIV Drug to Treat COVID-19 Despite Doubts
        • En Banc Denial. [Ed: To patent maximalists the idea of "a better system" is one that works for lawyers, not science]

          The question I’m posing in civil procedure: What are other ways that we can streamline our legal process to still provide equal protection and substantial justice while avoiding the current difficulties created by COVID-19? Can we use this as an inflection point to build a better system?

        • Those Ex-Theranos Patents Look Really Bad; Contest Opened To Find Prior Art To Get Them Invalidated

          A few weeks back we wrote about how Fortress Investment Group — a massive patent trolling operation funded by Softbank — was using old Theranos patents to shake down BioFire, a company that actually makes medical diagnostics tests, including one for COVID-19. Fortress had scooped up the patents as collateral after it issued a loan to Theranos, which Theranos (a complete scam company, whose founders are still facing fraud charges…) could not repay. Fortress then set up a shell company, Labrador Diagnostics, which did not exist until days before it sued BioFire. After it (and the law firm Irell & Manella) got a ton of bad press for suing BioFire over these patents — including the COVID-19 test — Fortress rushed out a press release promising that it would issue royalty-free licenses for COVID-19 tests. However, it has still refused to reveal the terms of that offer, nor has it shared the letter it sent to BioFire with that offer.

        • Software Patents

          • Does Alice Target Patent Trolls?

            The Supreme Court upended the patent world in the past decade with a series of decisions restricting the scope of patent-eligible subject matter. The culmination of those cases – Alice v. CLS Bank — has been at the center of a firestorm of controversy in the five years since it was decided. AAs we show in this paper, it has also been the basis of nearly a thousand court decisions.

            We evaluate how Alice and similar Supreme Court decisions on patentable subject matter have been used in the courts five years in. Using a comprehensive dataset we hand-coded of every district court decision and subsequent appeals to the Federal Circuit involving patentable subject matter, we explore not only how patent owners fare in patentable subject matter cases but how a variety of factors, including industry, the nature of the patent owner, and the judicial venue may influence those results. While we confirm some conventional wisdom, we upend other assumptions common in the legal and policy debates over patent eligible subject matter. In particular, we find that once in court, biotech/life science innovations are more likely to survive patentable subject matter challenges than software/IT innovations. Most surprisingly we find that the entities most likely to lose their patents at this stage are not patent trolls but individual inventors and inventor-started companies. Our findings have important implications for current legislative and judicial disputes over patent reform. As biotech worries about deterrence of new innovation and software worries about patent trolls dominate the debates, we may be ignoring some of the most important effects of Alice.

          • Rakuten Joins Linux Patent Consortium ‘Open Invention Network’

            OIN’s mission is to enable freedom of action for its community members and users of Linux/open source software-based technology through its patent non-aggression cross-license in the Linux System. OIN has over 3,100 members from around the world, and by becoming a member of OIN, patents related to the Linux System held by Rakuten Group will become available for cross-licensing.

      • Trademarks

        • Roundtable Meeting on Post-Grant Patent Opposition Before the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office

          FICPI-Turkey held the ninth of its traditional roundtable meetings at Turkish Patent and Trademark Office (“Türk Patent”) on 13 December 2019. The meeting was moderated by Selin Sinem Erciyas, who is the Vice President of the Board of Directors of FICPI-Turkey and Serkan Özkan, who is an Intellectual Property Expert at Türk Patent. The post-grant patent opposition procedures were discussed at the meeting.

          Dr. Elif Betül Akın, who is the President of the Re-Examination and Evaluation Board (“REEB”) of Türk Patent and Salih Bektaş, who is the President of Patent Department of Türk Patent, were also present at the meeting.

          The meeting commenced with Dr. Elif Betül Akın’s speech, and she stated that they have not yet examined a post-grant patent opposition, the process has come into force with the Industrial Property Code no. 6769 (“IP Code ”), and that the procedure was stipulated under Article 99 of the IP Code. She noted that the main purpose of this opposition process is to increase the quality of patents, to facilitate the registration processes, and to comply with the EPC. She added that the post-grant patent oppositions will be examined by the REEB, third parties will be able to file oppositions upon grant of the patent, and the decision will be made by REEB consisting of experts who did not participate in the first decision.

        • India’s First Covid-19 IP Dispute? Dettol Handwash Ad Claimed to Disparage Lifebuoy Soap Trademark

          The case came to the court after the HUL (‘Plaintiff’) came across RB’s (Defendant) advertisement promoting its Dettol handwash, which portrayed that bar/solid soaps aren’t as effective as the liquid soap for washing hands, which is particularly important for tackling COVID-19. The contention put forth by HUL was two-fold. First, that the Dettol handwash ad disparaged Lifebuoy soaps by showing a soap with the same shape, configuration and color as HUL’s registered red Lifebuoy soap; and second, by copying HUL’s advertisement which was published earlier. In its plaint, HUL claimed that while it was trying to promote awareness about COVID-19 by encouraging the habit of regularly washing hands, using not just Lifebuoy soaps, but rather any soap, the Defendant was aiming to disparage and denigrate HUL’s product.

          HUL made a claim that in light of the World Health Organization’s guidelines to use soap and water for regular hand washing, the Dettol ad allegedly creates a scare and falsely propagates that soaps are ineffective. The plaint said –

        • [Guest Post] Appeals to the Appointed Person in the UK – the unappealing truth

          The odds are not good. In the first two months of 2020 there have been 21 published decisions from the Appointed Person in the UK – that compares with just over 40 in the whole of 2019. However of those 21 appeals only three were successful and only one actually resulted in a material change to the first instance outcome.

          Decisions made by the UK IPO can be appealed to the Appointed Person or to the court. Appointed Persons are senior lawyers who are expert in IP law and this appeal route is an attractive option in many cases as it offers a high quality at low cost compared with the court, but it should be noted that the decision of the Appointed Person is final – there is no further appeal from a decision of the Appointed Person – in contrast a decision from the court can be appealed further.

          There are two main reasons why so many appeals are unsuccessful. First, the quality of decision making by the UK IPO at first instance is very high and, second, many appellants appear to misunderstand the standard of the appeal process.


          Ukrainian legislation does not contain specific provisions that allow to distinguish which manners of use of a trademark on the Internet constitute the use in the territory of Ukraine, especially when use of a trademark in the virtual environment is concerned.

          The criteria of such use can be inferred, to a greater or lesser extent, from judicial practice and from the “Joint Recommendation Concerning Provisions on the Protection of Marks, and Other Industrial Property Rights in Signs, on the Internet” adopted by the WIPO in 2001.

          Here you will find explanations on how to determine if a trademark is being used in Ukraine through its use on the Internet and explanations on certain existing in Ukraine exceptions to trademark rights.

        • The Makers of “Endless Summer” Are Taking on Nike, Champs in Trademark Infringement Fight

          This past summer in an attempt to sell a collection of orange and blue accented Nike sneakers – from the Beaverton, Oregon-based brand’s React Presto to its Air Max styles – in more than 500 stores across the U.S., Champs looked to “the most important and influential” surfing films of all time for inspiration. What was born was a campaign called “Endless Summer,” complete with posters and social media promotions that featured Nike’s name alongside a graphic of a “stylized blue wave with a large orange sun.”
          In both name and design, the campaign was a clear take on the seminal 1966 film, The Endless Summer. The problem with that, according to Bruce Brown Films, LLC, the company founded by The Endless Summer filmmaker Bruce Brown, and tasked with merchandising and licensing the intellectual property of the Endless Summer film and its iconic posters? Neither Nike nor Champs licensed the trademark-protected “Endless Summer” name or the trade dress-protected graphics – namely, “a series of stylized blue waves with a large orange sun” – associated with it before they launched their nation-wide campaign.
          With that in mind, Bruce Brown Films filed suit against Nike, Champs, and Champs’ parent company Footlocker in a federal court in California this week, accusing the sportswear entities of “knowingly” and “impermissibly trad[ing] on the fame and goodwill associated with [the Endless Summer] intellectual property in [their] unauthorized use” of Bruce Brown Films’ trademarks.

      • Copyrights

        • Copyright anti-circumvention bill faces pleas for reform

          Sources from the Motion Picture Association, the North Dakota Farmers Union and the National Federation of the Blind reveal the effects of Section 1201 on their stakeholders

        • Now Available: Platform Regulation Project Resource Page

          The first phase of the Platform Regulation project provides an empirical mapping of the UK regulatory landscape. With the emergence of platforms as a distinct new regulatory object, what are the UK’s options in this rapidly evolving landscape? In the context of international developments – such as the anticipated EU Digital Services Act, this project maps the statutory basis and duties of key UK regulators and looks ahead to potential new responsibilities. The research team are – Prof. Martin Kretschmer, Prof. Philip Schlesinger and Dr Ula Furgal (from research centres CREATe and CCPR). The project is funded within the research programme of the AHRC Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre (PEC).

        • BREAKING: CJEU rules that hiring out of motor vehicles equipped with radio receivers does not constitute a communication to the public

          Can a car leasing company – by leasing cars equipped with radio receivers – be considered a ‘user’ that performs a communication to the public?

          This, in a nutshell, was at the heart of the referral from the Swedish Supreme Court to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Stim and Sami, C-753/18.

          EU law, as interpreted by the CJEU, provides that a communication to the public may take place – in the manner envisaged by Article 3(1) of Directive 2001/29 (InfoSoc Directive) – when transmissions are made by means of technical equipment to a nearby public (e.g. in a hotel, café, rehabilitation centre, or a spa). Hotel operators carry out a “communication to the public” in light of Article 8(2) of Directive 2006/115 (Rental Rights Directive), when hotel rooms are equipped with phonograms available in digital or physical form and which can be played or intercepted (Phonographic Performance Ireland, C-162/10). Nonetheless, the CJEU also came to the contrary conclusion regarding transmission of phonograms in a dentist’s waiting room (Società Consortile Fonografici, C-135/10).


          In view of the CJEU, there was therefore no need to examine whether such making available must be regarded as a communication to a ‘public’.

        • Covid fashion While under coronavirus quarantine in St. Petersburg, a Russian designer demonstrates Photoshop’s salubriousness

          Designer Artyom Ivanov and several of his friends recently found themselves quarantined at St. Petersburg’s Botkin Hospital, after coming into contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-10. The group ultimately tested negative for the disease and was discharged, but not before Ivanov got the idea to “create” a fashion magazine devoted to style in the age of the coronavirus pandemic. Thus, the faux magazine Botkina Covid Fashion was born.

        • EU Says That, No, Rental Car Companies Don’t Need To Pay A License To Rent Cars With Radios That Might Play Music

          Performance Rights Organizations (PROs), sometimes known as “Collection Societies,” have a long history of demanding licensing for just about every damn thing. That’s why there was just some confusion about whether or not those with musical talents would even be allowed to perform from their balconies while in COVID-19 lockdown. And if you thought that it was crazy that anyone would even worry about things like that, it’s because you haven’t spent years following the crazy demands made by PROs, including demanding a license for a woman in a grocery store singing while stocking the shelves, a public performance license for having the radio on in a horse stable (for the horses), or claiming that your ringtone needs a separate “public performance” license, or saying that hotels that have radios in their rooms should pay a public performance license.

        • Accused Pirate Walks Free After Bank Statements Show he Was Not at Home

          The Copenhagen City Court has dismissed a copyright infringement claim against a man who stood accused of movie piracy. Proving one’s innocence can be tricky in file-sharing lawsuits. In this case, however, bank records were particularly helpful as these revealed that the man wasn’t anywhere near his home at the time of the offense.

        • Russia Pirate Sites Dump 1XBET in Favor of Identical Yet Legal 1XStavka

          A study published in 2019 revealed that controversial gambling company 1XBET, known for placing adverts on pirate sites, had become the third most active online advertiser in Russia. Now, however, 1XBET has dropped to a lowly 20th position, but with a twist. Jumping straight into sixth place just behind Google and Danone is 1XStavka, a legal gambling site that’s identical to 1XBET.

        • Effort to publicly release every melody could face legal hurdles

          Attempts to put every possible melody into the public domain algorithmically – to counteract frivolous lawsuits – could have a limited effect, according to some copyright lawyers

EPO is Just Like Some Cruel Political Party and Not a Patent Office

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 10:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There’s even a red flag to match the corporate ‘revolution’

USSR wall

Summary: The “cabal” which runs today’s EPO (even the word “Mafia” seems suitable here) isn’t acting — not even remotely — like a patent office; it’s a patent-printing operation (“protection money” as income) that uses shallow political stunts to manufacture consent with the EU’s ‘generous’ assistance


igitalisation” and “Digital Technologies”, as we’ve noted in the previous post, are some of the latest weasel words for software patents in Europe. Politicians like António Campinos and ‘Mafioso B’ have replaced technical terms with buzzwords like “4IR” and “hey hi” (AI). They seem not to understand that most European Patent Office (EPO) staff are technical people, who would likely view those cheap marketing terms (basically sheer nonsense) as insults to their intelligence. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is at least run by someone with some technical background; the EPO hasn’t had such a president for nearly 15 years.

“Here come the politicians with their “little guy” propaganda.”But anyway, a patent office run by politicians and so-called ‘public servants’ would inevitably start to behave like nothing but a political entity, complete with oaths, nepotism and PR stunts intended to divert attention away (from profound scandals).

The other day the EPO tweeted: “Every fifth application at the EPO is filed by an SME.”

Oh, the precious, poor little “SMEs”…

Here come the politicians with their “little guy” propaganda.

“In other words,” I responded to them, “80% of patents likely go to large monopolists looking to shield a monopoly (also: many of these SMEs are not European)…”

It doesn’t sound as good when framed in this way, does it? But that’s just what’s happening.

It’s also noteworthy that the EPO pushed this political crap on a weekend (Saturday, yesterday), conflating patenting with science — as does the EU. The EPO and EU politicians now cooperate in their propaganda. This is an EU/EC Twitter account.

“That’s like the politician Battistelli constantly writing about terror attacks and earthquakes etc. in the “news” section of the EPO. He seems to think the EPO is some sort of political office or a political party like the corrupt French party he’s associated with (his boss there was arrested for corruption).”But here’s the main rub.

The EPO is supposed to be about science, not politics. So what’s the deal with this ‘news’ item (warning: epo.org link), published only days ago and accompanied by this tweet: “The EPO wishes to express its deepest sympathy for the people of Italy and the lives lost to Covid-19, their loss is felt by us all. As an act of solidarity in these difficult times, the Office lowered the Italian and EPO flags at its sites in Munich and the Hague.”

That’s like the politician Battistelli constantly writing about terror attacks and earthquakes etc. in the “news” section of the EPO. He seems to think the EPO is some sort of political office or a political party like the corrupt French party he’s associated with (his boss there was arrested for corruption).

Why only Italy, EPO? France is the one losing the most people at the moment; there are record-breaking death tolls in France, for several days in a row. Italy is only fourth for casualties now (daily deaths), so the EPO’s PR ploy did not age well. What about Spain, France, UK, US…?

“Who will oversee the budget, which is millions of euros for just a few hours of ceremony? This is, once again, a recipe for major corruption like embezzlement.”I also asked the EPO: “What about Spain?” For several days in a row more Spaniards died from COVID-19 (than Italians). No sympathy from the UPC because they oppose UPC in Spain? Is this what the EPO politicians had in mind? Their ‘pet project’ is dead (UPC going nowhere) and about a week later they use the “news” section of the EPO to suck up to Italians. With all due respect to Italians, isn’t it beyond the EPO’s scope to issue such statements in the “news” section? Cheap PR stunts? Politics in a patent office? This shows that Campinos, son of a politician, is just another politician like Battistelli. That helps explains unprecedented levels of corruption, which also implicate the EU (e.g. Campinos bringing all his mates from EUIPO).

Speaking of political stunts, which somehow neglect the death toll in France, guess where the next EIA will go. Got it? France again. Sort of. Monaco. In the EPO’s own words: “The European #InventorAward 2020 will be postponed until 2021. Our utmost priority is the health of our finalists, guests and staff in the current situation caused by the Coronavirus. The event will take place in June 2021 in Monaco.”

How many times in the past decade was EIA held in France (yes, we know about the special sovereignty of Monaco)? Did the Corsican Battistelli relocate from Paris to Monaco or something? Who will oversee the budget, which is millions of euros for just a few hours of ceremony? This is, once again, a recipe for major corruption like embezzlement.

We’ve meanwhile noticed that EPOPIC is still scheduled to go ahead this year (3-5 November 2020 in Tallinn, Estonia) (warning: epo.org link)

“Remember that this is the same EPO that rewarded a massive fraud whose patents are now used against cures for COVID-19, not to mention the litigation over ventilators.”The EPO is not a technical workplace these days; it’s a political institution immune from oversight and the Rule of Law. The politicians are unaccountable. So the colossal corruption is perhaps predictable. If there’s no punishment, what’s to prevent the crime taking place?

Remember that this is the same EPO that rewarded a massive fraud whose patents are now used against cures for COVID-19, not to mention the litigation over ventilators. A French company shared the legal documents. If the EPO wants to help Europe at this time, it will just suspend operations for a few months (it can afford to pay staff on leave). This isn’t the time — nor the place — to glorify those monopolies which basically harm (or slow down) research for cures, vaccinations and various other mitigations, e.g. methods of helping the ill breathe. Three days ago the EPO published this in the “news” section: (warning: epo.org link)

The EPO’s Standing Advisory Committee (SACEPO) earlier this week held its user consultation meeting for the first time by video conference (ViCo). The spring meeting of the SACEPO Working Party on Rules on 31 March looked at measures to further facilitate the use of ViCo in oral proceedings in examination and opposition. In view of current travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 outbreak, user representatives recognised that ViCo contributes to a more efficient and sustainable European patent system.

Notice how, instead of doing something concrete to help COVID-19 research, the EPO offers selective words of sympathy/empathy and looking for ways to grant yet more monopolies, even remotely. So if the EPO was a political party, it wouldn’t be a really nice one but a greedy and cruel one. Business first, lives… later. If ever.

Digitalisation and Digital Technologies as a Ploy to Justify Illegal Software Patents

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 9:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hey hi! My name is “Digital”! I shall be your servant today.

Digital hello

Summary: Say “hello” to the next weasel word/s; from the “hey hi” hype wave we’ve now moved to something “digital” (which can mean just about anything, including algorithms of all sorts)

THE way the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) deals with 35 U.S.C. § 101 does not really determine the eligibility of software patents in the US. The way high courts such as the Federal Circuit (or above, namely SCOTUS) deal with such patents is what matters. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) also play an important role, especially when decisions become examples or precedents. Here in Europe the appeals are dealt with not by impartial judges but ‘glorified’ (or elevated) examiners who are terrified of European Patent Office (EPO) presidents like António Campinos and ‘Mafioso B’ from Corsica. These under-qualified presidents not only allow software patents in Europe but actively advocate these; they even pressure judges to do the same. They gleefully violate the EPC and then they wonder why staff is dissenting? More than 80% of the EPO’s staff is eager to go on strike, but ‘Mafioso B’ made it a lot harder.

“They gleefully violate the EPC and then they wonder why staff is dissenting? More than 80% of the EPO’s staff is eager to go on strike, but ‘Mafioso B’ made it a lot harder.”The UPC is dead (we have a lot more to publish about that), but software patents are not because the EPO keeps granting them. Sure, courts would typically throw them out and there will be no “unified” or “unitary” court to change that.

“Digital technologies” is one of the latest smokescreens EPO management uses to describe — in rather broad and vague terms — patents on algorithms. The EPO did that again just before the weekend when it tweeted: “Digitalisation is fuelling a growth in patenting. But who’s filing the most European patent applications in this field? This analysis of our latest patent statistics provides some insight: https://bit.ly/DigitalisationIndex … #EPOPatentIndex”



“First Campinos fell in love with “hey hi” (AI) and now it’s “digi” this, “digi” that. The EPO keeps promoting illegal software patents disguised using “Digitalisation” or “Digital technologies”…”We’ve named all this nonsense before…

It’s like a broken record/tune now…

First Campinos fell in love with “hey hi” (AI) and now it’s “digi” this, “digi” that. The EPO keeps promoting illegal software patents disguised using “Digitalisation” or “Digital technologies”…

Pay attention, dear EPO examiners.

Less than half a year ago the EPO had introduced and then also imposed new guidelines which compel examiners to grant “hey hi” patents (algorithms with glorified buzz and novelty-inducing ambiance). So examiners are in a tough place; obey orders from EPO management or respect the EPC. Cannot do both (risk of unemployment in increasingly-uncertain times in Europe).

The other day we noticed that Slaughter and May’s Catherine Cotter (whom we’ll mention a lot in the coming week because of UPC lies) celebrates the EPO breaking the law with buzzwords and hype waves. “Digital technologies take top spot in EU patent applications in 2019″ was her headline, pushed by her boss (Slaughter, aptly-named firm) in the patent microcosm’s platforms.

“Less than half a year ago the EPO had introduced and then also imposed new guidelines which compel examiners to grant “hey hi” patents (algorithms with glorified buzz and novelty-inducing ambiance).”Another one of the patent microcosm’s platforms published “Patenting CIIs: ‘no one knows where to draw the line’” — a paywalled piece by Karry Lai who’s pushing illegal software under the misleading guise of “CII” (the lie manifested by the EPO). “Australian in-house counsel and lawyers reveal their struggles with the “black hole” that computer-implemented inventions seem to fall into,” the summary says. Well, Australian courts and to some degree the patent office as well reject these patents. There’s no “black hole” per se. It’s just the law.

Going back to the EPO again, watch this other tweet posted a couple of days ago. At the top of this page the EPO promotes illegal patents on software. They’re so shameless about it.

Who are you kidding, Mr. Campinos? Take off the mask. You’re another Battistelli and you’d even celebrate patents (monopolies) on basic and rudimentary masks at this time. We’ll say more on the latest PR blunder in our next post. It’s related to this.

The Fall of the UPC – Part X: How We Shall Catalogue UPC Lies

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 7:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

John Alty on UPC
John Alty on UPC

Summary: The cult that Team UPC became (one member lying to another member, maintaining a false version of reality) will be judged based on underlying facts, not lying about facts; we start with a token of contempt for IP Kat and Bristows LLP (there are overlaps)

WE have finally caught up with everything that was piling up for a couple of weeks, more so due to the decision made on Friday 16 days ago. Our strategy was to amass all the claims — mostly lies — about what had happened. We correctly predicted endless spin from Team UPC. Now, after part 10 of the series, we intend to name and shame those who shamelessly spin (or worse — intentionally lie).

As we said last month, complete loss of credibility would be the main effect of the UPC’s fall. Those who repeatedly lied to us all — for a number of years in fact — will be judged based on their track record, the endless contradictions, even the malicious fabrications (like made-up rumours and faked job openings).

“Those who repeatedly lied to us all — for a number of years in fact — will be judged based on their track record, the endless contradictions, even the malicious fabrications (like made-up rumours and faked job openings).”Only days ago IP Kat (key participant in UPC lies) carried on as usual by citing Team UPC and its ‘turf’, namely itself (IP Kat) and Kluwer. Anastasiia Kyrylenko wrote: “For patent blogs, the UPC ruling of the German Constitutional Court became a major subject last week [read IPKat’s very own take here and here]. Kluwer Patent Blog has dedicated four posts to the topic (1, 2, 3, 4). Whether you’re looking for in-depth analysis or an overview of stakeholders’ reactions, these posts are for you. [...] But not all is the UPC and coronavirus.”

As usual, not a single UPC critic or sceptic is cited or even mentioned. Team UPC lives in a vacuum. People like yours truly, the successful complainant and a number of scholars just simply ‘don’t exist’. Team UPC ignores reality. It’s faith-based. It’s basically like a religion and people who are realistic will be treated/scolded as heretics. Several years ago people privately told me that the complainant must be paid by someone — maybe Russia! (or yes, always toss in Russia) — to file the complaint. This is the degree of lunacy one might expect from Team UPC. Concerned German citizens… must be Russian agents!

IP Kat still has Team UPC in it. IP Kat still censors comments. IP Kat may still have the same Bristows liars in it. Their ridiculous pro-UPC posts are still in tact, even if the UPC collapsed and they’ve left Bristows.

“As usual, not a single UPC critic or sceptic is cited or even mentioned.”Watch what the Bristows-connected EPLAW posted on March 27th, i.e. about one week ago. “Germany to continue preparations for the UPC” is the headline!

Bristows’ Gregory Bacon has also just published “German government to consider how to proceed with UPC” and his colleague Rich Pinckney brought back old ‘news’ (a litigation lobby think tank) by stating — nearly a month later — that “following the Committee’s evidence session, the Committee’s Chair wrote that same day to the IP Minister asking whether she could confirm media reports that the UK would not be seeking involvement in the UPC system, noting that the government had not yet made an official statement on its position. The Committee has not yet reported on any reply from the IP Minister.”

This is pretty much irrelevant now because of what happened in Germany. We’ll come back to the above later in the series.

As we noted in previous parts, the German government cannot legally advance the UPC anymore. There’s a constitutional deadlock and they won’t just change the constitution to ‘fit’ the UPC (the opposite should usually be done, albeit it can take years and may be impossible).

“In the next few parts we’ll present a sort of firm-by-firm ‘scorecard’, based on the response to the FCC’s decision and the accuracy of what firms’ employees responded with.”Professor Dimitris Xenos wrote about the UPC in relation to a prank press release: “This is what will happen when states are no longer able to control democratically the #patent system. Regrettably, it’s not an April fools’ joke but what is happening with the #unitarypatent…”

Xenos wrote papers on this and he plans to publish a book as well. Suffice to say, he’s not happy to see his country (the UK) exploring something ludicrous such as the UPC. But “thankfully,” I’ve told him, “UPC is not happening…”

In the next few parts we’ll present a sort of firm-by-firm ‘scorecard’, based on the response to the FCC’s decision and the accuracy of what firms’ employees responded with. The texts range from reasonable to laughable, usually the latter though.

IRC Proceedings: Saturday, April 04, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:19 am by Needs Sunlight



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