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07.16.20

Links 16/7/2020: EasyOS 2.3.3, Pinephone in the Headlines

Posted in News Roundup at 10:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • This $200 Linux smartphone can also be used as a PC

        Pine64, the maker of Linux smartphones, laptops and Raspberry Pi rivals, has announced a new “PinePhone Convergence Package” that makes it easier to use its Linux PinePhone as a PC.

        The package builds on the well-received Linux PinePhone, launched earlier this year for $150 with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, a 5MP rear camera and a 2MP front camera.

      • Why It’s Time To Pay Attention To This Linux Laptop Company

        Linux hardware company Star Labs first crossed my radar with the release of its fantastic Star LabTop Mk III, a laptop designed in-house with the performance to prove it could compete with bigger fish in the Linux sea — like Dell’s XPS 13 Developer Edition. Now Star Labs has captured my attention for an entirely different reason. They’ve been doing something spectacular; something that every single Linux PC company should be doing.

    • Server

      • OpenStack, the open-source cloud at 10

        In 2010. Oracle’s Larry Ellison may still have thought that the cloud was “complete gibberish,” while some people were insisting that the “cloud was just someone else’s computer,” but savvy folks knew better. At NASA Ames Research Center and Rackspace, two groups of developers decided that the best way to approach a cloud was to build one out from open-source software: OpenStack.

        The Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, Amazon Web Services’ ancestor was already around and Microsoft had launched Azure in February 2010. But even though they were already running Linux and other open-source programs, these were privately held, proprietary platforms. The Ames team wanted NASA to host and manage its own computing and data resources.

      • Favorite OpenStack Swag—10 Years of OpenStack
      • First OpenStack Event—10 Years of OpenStack
      • Most Unusual Place That an OpenStack Deployment Has Been Built—10 Years of OpenStack

        Millions of cores, 100,000 community members, 10 years of you. Powering the world’s infrastructure, now and in the future. Thank you for the 10 incredible years of contribution and support. There are so many milestones to celebrate in the past 10 years of OpenStack with the community.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • BSD Now 359: Throwaway Browser

        Throw-Away Browser on FreeBSD With “pot” within 5 minutes, OmniOS as OpenBSD guest with bhyve, BSD vs Linux distro development, My FreeBSD Laptop Build, FreeBSD CURRENT Binary Upgrades, and more.

      • Going Linux #394 · Manjaro Linux Overview

        Bill searches for a non-Debian-based distribution that is suitable for Linux newcomers. He finds one in Manjaro!
        Episode 394 Time Stamps
        00:00 Going Linux #394 · Manjaro Linux Overview
        01:51 Rolling release
        04:02 An Arch-based distribution for new Linux users
        05:46 Windows vs. Manjaro on Dell Latitude 5450
        10:13 Performance comparison after installation
        13:09 The promise of perpetual upgrades
        13:59 Installing Manjaro
        14:44 The updates
        16:56 Compared with other distros best for new Linux users
        17:37 Default browser (Midori)
        19:12 Manjaro Hello (Welcome)
        21:30 Obtaining and installing software
        24:12 Universal package format support
        27:57 The community support
        29:49 Manjaro: New user distro
        32:25 A note on hybrid graphics
        35:20 Overall: ‘Thumbs up’
        38:04 goinglinux.com, goinglinux@gmail.com, +1-904-468-7889, @goinglinux, feedback, listen, subscribe
        39:04 End

      • Shields Up | Self-Hosted 23

        We’ve spent thousands of dollars, and over a decade refining the perfect home media setup. We get nostalgic and share what worked, and what REALLY didn’t.

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 866

        terminal-quest, kano products, pi, stuff

    • Kernel Space

      • Will 2020 Be The Year Of Rust In The Linux Kernel?

        One problem with modern programming languages is the reach their overly enthusiastic early adopters have nowadays thanks to the internet. As a result, everyone else’s first encounter with them are oftentimes some crude, fanboyish endeavors to rewrite every single established software project in that shiny new language — just because — which may leave an off-putting taste behind. However, Rust certainly seems to have outgrown this state by now, and with its rising popularity within the general developer population, it’s safe to say it will stick around. Will it fully replace C one day? Probably not, but there’s a big chance for coexistence, and [Nick Desaulniers] got the ball rolling for that within the Linux kernel.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Intel Gen12 Graphics Bring EU Fusion – EUs Fused In Pairs

          While we remain eager to find out more about (and benchmark) Intel Gen12 graphics in Tiger Lake and Xe discrete graphics with this generation bringing the biggest changes to the ISA since i965, Linux patches and bug reports do continue offering new tid-bits of information on Gen12.

          One bit that I don’t believe has been reported publicly or at least not widely is that starting with Intel Gen12 graphics there is “EU Fusion” or the execution units now being paired for yielding a larger warp size.

        • AMD Navi 22 is listed in a Linux patch under the fuzzy name “Navy Flounder”

          Some time ago there was a rumor that AMD had discovered that users were snooping around in their controllers to find clues about new products coming to market. There were rumors that AMD started using alternative code names to hide its graphics cards from prying eyes. Sienna Cichlid, who is believed to be Navi 21, was the first example that came to light. And now AMD seems to use the code name Navy Flounder to hide the silicon Navi 22.

        • “Navy Flounder” Is The Newest AMD Navi 2 GPU Being Added To The Linux Driver

          In addition to the “Sienna Cichlid” support recently published for the open-source AMD Radeon Linux kernel graphics driver, there is another new graphics processor being added to their driver: Navy Flounder.

          Sent out this week were patches for Navy Flounder as another Navi 2 part, Navi 22 to be exact. The patches mostly reuse the existing Sienna Cichlid code paths. The codename, like Sienna Cichlid, is the Linux naming convention currently being used by the AMD Linux team of a color followed by a fish species.

        • Sway 1.5 Wayland Compositor Released With Adaptive-Sync/VRR, New Protocols

          Sway 1.5 is out as a big feature update to this Wayland compositor inspired by the i3 window manager. A big user-facing feature with Sway 1.5 is support for Adaptive Synchronization / Variable Refresh Rate, such as AMD FreeSync.

          Up to now the FreeSync/Adaptive-Sync has been principally been in place for the Linux desktop when running on an X.Org session. However, Sway now supports Adaptive-Sync/VRR for reducing stuttering and tearing within games.

        • Early Intel DG1 Graphics Card Enablement Sent In To DRM-Next For Linux 5.9

          As we have been anticipating for weeks, initial (but still early) enablement of the Intel DG1 graphics card on their open-source driver stack will indeed be sent in for the upcoming Linux 5.9 cycle and is currently being queued in the DRM-Next repository.

          It was in late May that Intel sent out the DG1 patches to light up the graphics card on Linux and building off all the existing Gen12/Xe graphics code already mainlined within the kernel. Since then the kernel work has continued with other features getting squared away.

    • Benchmarks

      • Benchmarking NetBSD, first evaluation report

        This report was written by Apurva Nandan as part of Google Summer of Code 2020.

        My GSoC project under NetBSD involves developing an automated regression and performance test framework for NetBSD that offers reproducible benchmarking results with detailed history and logs across various hardware & architectures.

        To achieve this performance testing framework, I am using the Phoronix Test Suite (PTS) which is an open-source, cross-platform automated testing/benchmarking software for Linux, Windows and BSD environments. It allows the creation of new tests using simple XML files and shell scripts and integrates with revision control systems for per-commit regression testing.

    • Applications

      • CopyQ Clipboard Manager 3.12 Released

        CopyQ – the free and open-source clipboard manager is here with a bunch of bug fixes and enhancements with its latest minor release 3.12.

      • Tauon – An amazing music player for Linux

        Recently I came across a music player. Tauon Music Box, and liked it a lot because of its features. So in this article, we will go through an amazing application and look into its features. Later on, you will also get the guide on how to install Tauon Music Box on your favorite Linux distribution.

        Linux has come very far in its collection of applications. You will get a plethora of applications with different varieties to choose that meets your perfect need.

        This is also true when it comes to the Music player and one such is Tauon Music Box. It is packed with modern features and custom user interfaces that will shoot all of your needs.

        Now let’s go through these features one-by-one and later on we will see how to get the music player in your Linux distro.

      • NetworkManager 1.26 Brings Autoconnect for Wi-Fi Profiles, firewalld zone Support

        Numerous GNU/Linux distributions ship with NetworkManager by default to allow users to manage network connections, whether they’re Wi-Fi or wired connections or VPN connections.

        In NetworkManager 1.26, there’s now automatic connection for Wi-Fi profiles when all previous activation attempts fail. Previously, if a Wi-Fi profile failed to autoconnect to the network, the automatism was blocked.

      • Record, Edit and Mix Audio Using Latest Ardour 6.2 Release

        Ardour Digital Audio Workstation aka DAW application recently released the first maintenance release version 6.2 after its major release Ardour 6.0 which was released earlier.

      • Decentralized Messaging App Riot Rebrands to Element

        Riot is/was a decentralized instant messaging app based on the open source Matrix protocol.

        In late June, Riot (the instant messaging client) announced that they would be changing their name. Yesterday, they revealed that their new name is Element. Let’s see more details on why Riot changed its name and what else is being changed.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • DirectX 12 exclusive DEATH STRANDING runs on Linux with Proton 5.0-10

        Not long after the official PC release, the DirectX 12 exclusive DEATH STRANDING is now playable on Linux with the Steam Play Proton compatibility layer.

        Previously exclusive to the PlayStation 4, DEATH STRANDING is the latest game from Hideo Kojima and the first to come from Kojima Productions after the split from Konami back in 2015. The PC release also comes with a little Half-Life crossover and a special Photo Mode.

      • Valve/CodeWeavers Rolls Out Proton 5.0-10 RC For Death Stranding, One Day After Windows Release

        Valve and CodeWeavers have rolled out a release candidate of Proton 5.0-10 as the newest update to their Wine-based software powering Steam Play for running Windows games on Linux.

        The lone significant change with Proton 5.0-10 RC is making the game Death Stranding now playable on Linux.

        Death Stranding is an action game released for Windows just yesterday as a title developed by Kojima Productions and powered by the Decima engine. This $60 USD game so far has a 9/10 rating on Steam and has been well reviewed.

    • Games

      • One Day Later: Death Stranding is now Playable on Linux

        Not one day has passed and the newly released PC title, Death Stranding, is playable on Linux, as spotted by Phoronix. The process won’t be easy though, but then again, if you’re a Linux user then the challenge of getting something working probably doesn’t concern you.

        Of course, Death Stranding wasn’t actually coded to run on Linux. Instead, to get it running you’ll have to use Wine, along with Proton, the software required to play Windows games from Steam on Linux. What’s new here is that the new version of Proton was released today, 5.0-10 RC, and the sole change to this version is adding support to get Death Stranding running.

        You’ll also have to update the graphics drivers to the latest versions for this to work, and even then, your luck might be limited. In the Github page, there are mixed reports — some users report that the game runs surprisingly well, while others’ games crash when attempting to launch.

        Death Stranding is the latest title to come from Kojima Productions, a new game studio founded by Hideo Kojima. Kojima is the video game director responsible for the much-loved Metal Gear Solid series, right up until his departure from Konami in 2015 — and Death Stranding is his first title since.

      • Halo 3 and Halo Reach may need this audio fix on Linux with Steam Play Proton

        With the Halo: The Master Chief Collection expanding thanks to the PC release of Halo 3, it came with some upgrades that for some has broken audio – here’s a solution.

        Previously Halo: Reach, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and Halo 2: Anniversary all worked nicely in single-player on Linux thanks to the Steam Play Proton compatibility layer and 343 Industries including a switch to turn off the anti-cheat easily. Halo 3 was released for it on Steam on July 14, which came with an update that upgraded the audio and as a side-effect it causes issues on Linux.

        For Halo: Reach and Halo 3, you may find you only get audio in the menu but not the games themselves. Thankfully, there’s a relatively simple fix for it. You just need to set your Wine version in Proton for the Halo: The Master Chief Collection to Windows 7 and that fixes it.

      • SpaceChem, a Zachtronics classic sees a 64bit and SDL2 upgrade

        SpaceChem, the design-based puzzle game from Zachtronics that has you make valuable chemical products, recently had a big tech upgrade that’s out now.

        Originally released in 2011, SpaceChem was originally refused by Valve to be placed onto Steam so they had to sell direct. Shortly after release it received quite a bit of praise, moving Valve to then promptly reach out after changing their mind. This was quite a long time before Valve opened up the floodgates for anyone to self-publish on Steam.

        After seeing some time since an update, Zachtronics announced on Twitter that game porter and FNA developer Ethan Lee worked to update it to bring 64bit support to Linux and macOS along with it being bumped up to SDL2 which should mean it works a lot better than before. Fullscreen issues should be a thing of the past with the upgrade.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • 10 Best Free Tiling Window Managers

        A window manager is software that manages the windows that applications bring up. For example, when you start an application, there will be a window manager running in the background, responsible for the placement and appearance of windows.

        It is important not to confuse a window manager with a desktop environment. A desktop environment typically consists of icons, windows, toolbars, folders, wallpapers, and desktop widgets. They provide a collection of libraries and applications made to operate cohesively together. A desktop environment contains its own window manager.

        There are a few different types of window managers. This article focuses on tiling window managers. They automate the common task of arranging windows.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • EasyOS 2.3.3 released

          A new release for the new forum!

        • EasyPup 2.3.3 released

          I must start by reminding everyone that EasyOS is where all the action is, version 2.3.3 also released today:

          https://bkhome.org/news/202007/easyos-version-233-released.html

          EasyPup is a “classical Puppy” morphed with features from EasyOS. Version 2.3.3 does have some outstanding issues, that I may get to checking out eventually. I say “eventually”, because EasyPup is a side-project, something that I created as a plaything.

      • Arch Family

        • Arch Linux-Based EndeavourOS Celebrates First Anniversary with New ISO Release, ARM Port

          Born from the ashes of the Antergos Linux distribution, EndeavourOS celebrates today its first anniversary since the first stable release. During the past year, EndeavourOS managed not only to give former Antergos users a new home, but also to promote Arch Linux to newcomers.

          And what better way to celebrate its first anniversary than with a new release. The EndeavourOS July ISO snapshot is now available for download packed with the latest updates from upstream Arch Linux repositories and some interesting changes.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Power – Part II of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Review

          Previously the first part talked about Panorama – the appearance overview of past and current Ubuntu. Now this second part will talk about Power – the technical aspects “how it works” of Ubuntu most notably the installation and add/remove applications and configurations. Briefly, Ubuntu Desktop now transformed into more a mobile alike system similar to Android or iOS. Here you will find the one gigabyte memory load this version, how much the app installations changed, and things important about Ubuntu. Enjoy!

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • OpenCV Project Announces Raspberry Pi-like Hardware Kits to Make Embedded AI Projects

        If you are interested in this field, you must have heard of OpenCV. OpenCV is a popular open source project aimed at real-time computer vision.

        The OpenCV project has announced its hardware project: OpenCV Artificial Intelligence Kit (OAK). It is basically a Raspberry Pi like single board computer specially focused on Computer Vision. This project is running a Kickstarter funding campaign.

        If you’re someone already working on computer vision, you may have heard of Nvidia Jetson Nano developer kit as one of the Raspberry Pi alternatives tailored for AI projects.

        Even though Jetson Nano could be a better option for AI projects, it looks like OpenCV AI kit actually makes it easy to get started with building projects with OpenCV out of the box.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla Thunderbird 78 Officially Released with Major Changes, Here’s What’s New

            As you can imagine, Thunderbird 78 is a major release. It’s not only the version number that has been aligned with the latest Firefox 78 web browser, but Thunderbird 78 also inherits the minimum runtime requirements on Linux systems, which include GTK 3.14, Glibc 2.17, and libstdc++ 4.8.1.

            The big new features of the Mozilla Thunderbird 78 release include a new Account Hub for centralized account setup, a new “Delete” action column in thread pane, the ability to use custom colors for the Folder Pane icons, as well as direct message (DM) support for Matrix.

          • Mozilla VR Blog: Recording inside of Hubs

            OBS (Open Broadcast Software) is open source and also free! This application allows video recording and live streaming and is a popular choice for capturing and sharing your streams. This is a great piece of software and allows you full control over both your incoming and outgoing video streams.

            My need for the highest available capture has led me to use Nvidia’s Geforce experience software. This is an application that complements my Geforce GTX graphics card and gives me the ability to optimize my settings.

            So now that we’re up to speed with the hardware and software, it’s time to set up for recording.

          • Support.Mozilla.Org: Introducing Mozilla VPN

            You might remember that we first introduced the Firefox Private Network (FPN) back then in December 2019. At that time, we had two types of offerings available only in the U.S: FPN Browser Level Protection (by using an extension) and FPN Device Protection (which is available for Windows 10, iOS, and Android).

            Today will mark another milestone for FPN since we’ll be changing the name from FPN full-device VPN to simply the Mozilla VPN. For now, this change will only include the Windows 10 version as well as the Android version. Currently, the iOS version is still called FPN on the Apple Store, although our team is currently working hard to change it to Mozilla VPN as well. Meanwhile, FPN Browser Level Protection will remain the same until we make further decisions.

            On top of that, we will start offering Mozilla VPN in more countries outside of the US. The new countries will be Canada, the UK, New Zealand, Singapore, and Malaysia.

            ”’What does this mean for the community?”’

          • Introducing PrivChat: the Tor Project’s live event series

            PrivChat is a brand-new fundraising event series held to raise donations for the Tor Project. Through PrivChat, we will bring you important information related to what is happening in tech, human rights, and internet freedom by convening experts for a chat with our community.

            Our goal with PrivChat is to build a two-way support system. You will get access to information from leading minds thinking about and working on privacy, technology, and human rights. And with your support, the Tor Project will be more agile in our development, allowing us to respond more rapidly to increasing surveillance and censorship threats (and host more PrivChats)! PrivChats are free to attend, but if you enjoy these events we encourage you to become a monthly donor.

          • Mozilla’s paid, unlimited VPN service goes live

            Mozilla has formally launched its VPN service, officially becoming the second browser vendor to put a VPN inside its browser—well, sort of.

            Last year, Mozilla began testing the FIrefox Private Network, in its Test Pilot beta network. Today, Mozilla makes it official: the renamed Mozilla VPN is now available for Windows, for $4.99 per month. It rolls out in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Malaysia, and New Zealand today, with plans to expand to other countries this fall.

            What differentiates Mozilla’s VPN from others, the company says, is its long history as a trusted browser provider. Mozilla saysit “has a reputation for building products that help you keep your information safe,” with transparent Data Privacy Principles that the company has published online.

          • Why Firefox Should Be Your Favorite iOS Browser

            If you are an iPhone user, you are likely using Safari as your primary browser. Given Apple’s decision not to allow its users to set their own default apps, Safari is the smartest way to surf the Web on iOS devices.

      • Education

        • The ultimate back to school guide to open source for teachers

          Public education has always been a core value in my family. It was instilled in me from a young age that everybody deserves fair access to high-quality education. This virtue continues to influence me as I raise children of my own, one of whom will be entering kindergarten this fall. Open source is the perfect match for public education.

          You may hear the term “open source” and immediately think it applies only to computer programmers and IT experts. I’m here to tell you that it is simply not true. Teachers and educators across all age groups, subject matters, and school settings are empowered to use open source in their classrooms. Before I get into what kind of open source tools are available for teachers, I first want to walk through the principles of open source and how they can be applied to education.

      • FSF

      • Programming/Development

        • Whiteboard Coding Stress Reduces Performance by More than Half

          A recent study by North Carolina State University researchers found that stress caused by whiteboard technical interviews significantly affected the performance of job candidates.

          Whiteboard tests are a common feature of the hiring process for software developers. During these sessions, candidates are expected to develop coding solutions on a whiteboard while describing their decision-making process to observers.

          In the study, half of the participants performed the typical whiteboard test with an interviewer looking on. The other half solved the problem on a whiteboard in a private room with no interviewer present. The private interviews also included a retrospective “think-aloud” session to discuss the solutions presented.

          [...]

          In the paper, the researchers noted that “a technical interview has an uncanny resemblance to the Trier social stress test,” a technique used by psychologists with the sole purpose of inducing stress. “Through a happy accident, the software industry has seemingly reinvented a crude yet effective instrument for reliably introducing stress in subjects, which typically manifests as performance anxiety,” they said. Additionally, “the unique combination of cognitive-demanding tasks with a social-evaluative threat (essentially being watched) is consistent and powerful,” they stated.

        • Address Sanitizer, Part 1

          Hello everyone. My name is Harshit Sharma (hst on IRC). I am working on the project to add the “Address Sanitizer” feature to coreboot as a part of GSoC 2020. Werner Zeh is my mentor for this project and I’d like to thank him for his constant support and valuable suggestions.

          It’s been a fun couple of weeks since I started working on this project. Though I found the initial few weeks quite challenging, I am glad that I was able to go past that and learned some amazing stuff I’d cherish for a long time.

          Also, being a student, I find it incredible to have got a chance to work with and learn from such passionate, knowledgeable, and helpful people who are always available over IRC to assist.

          [...]

          The design of ASan in coreboot is based on its implementation in Linux kernel, also known as Kernel Address Sanitizer (KASAN). However, coreboot differs a lot from Linux kernel due to multiple stages and that is what poses a challenge.

        • Etcd, or, why modern software makes me sad

          I talk a lot of shit about Google, but Facebook and Microsoft are nearly as bad at turning out legions of ex-employees who can’t be left alone in the room with a keyboard lest they attempt to recreate their previous employer’s technology stack, poorly.

        • Python

  • Leftovers

    • This is No Way to Live

      Every glimpse of the Stars and Stripes has me lurching between love and loathing -emotionally torn between the romantic and the rational. I fell in love with the idea of America at a young age in a distant and dismal land. Much later, when my cognitive, analytical brain kicked in, that pure and chivalrous adoration was deeply compromised by both historical knowledge and lived experience.

    • When Is a Bake Sale a Protest?

      A bake sale has no inherent politics. There have been bake sales against affirmative action and to raise money for Planned Parenthood. Cakes have collected funds to create a “51st state” for Christian conservatives and support getting an anti-nuclear activist out of jail, inadvertently starting the radical food-sharing collective Food Not Bombs. That’s the thing about a capitalist enterprise: It swings both ways.

    • John Early Is the Left’s Funniest Comedian

      John Early doesn’t claim to be an expert on socialism. He’s a performer, not an activist, and he admits that his politics are often hastily strung together by tweets he’s reading while on the toilet—but he feels his convictions deeply nonetheless. The comedian is best known for his role on Search Party, which just dropped a third season on HBO Max. He plays Elliot Goss, a pathological liar often consumed by narcissism. This season, Search Party’s satirization of entitled millennials and white privilege plunges into the darker territory of the American criminal justice system as the main characters reckon with the consequences of their choices in the show’s grisly second season.

    • Jack Charlton, Soccer and Ireland’s Working Class

      Of course, we knew Jack Charlton was human. We knew he was mortal, that he didn’t create the world. But to us, in Ireland, it just looked that way. Ireland in the 1980s was bleak. The most common reason, for people in their 20s, to meet friends in a bar was to wish them well as they headed for a new life in the UK, the US or Australia. We were haemorrhaging our young.

    • How to bulk-delete your old Facebook posts

      Early in June, Facebook announced a new bulk-deletei [sic] feature for the mobile app that it calls Manage Activity, and that makes it easier to get rid of all of your past posts. The idea is that you will now have the ability to select some or all of your posts and delete them all at once. However, if you really want to clean up your Facebook backlog, this version of the feature leaves something to be desired.

    • Twitter accounts of Obama, Biden, Musk and others compromised

      The accounts – which included other tech CEO’s including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, celebrities such as Kanye West, and other political figures like former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg – posted similar messages offering to double bitcoin payments sent to an address during a set period of time.

    • High-Profile Twitter Accounts Swept Up in Wave of Apparent [Cr]acking

      Multiple high-profile Twitter accounts were hijacked on Wednesday, with some of the platform’s top voices – including U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden, reality TV star Kim Kardashian, former U.S. President Barack Obama and billionaire Elon Musk, among many others – used to solicit digital currency.

      Hours after the first wave of [cr]acks, the cause of the breach had not yet been made public. In a sign of the seriousness of the problem, Twitter took the extraordinary step of preventing at least some verified accounts from publishing messages altogether.

    • Major US Twitter accounts [cr]acked in Bitcoin scam

      Twitter said it was a “co-ordinated” attack targeting its employees “with access to internal systems and tools”.

      “We know they [the attackers] used this access to take control of many highly-visible (including verified) accounts and Tweet on their behalf,” the company said in a series of tweets.

      It added that “significant steps” were taken to limit access to such internal systems and tools while the company’s investigation was ongoing.

    • Twitter Accounts of Kanye West, Apple, Jeff Bezos, Barack Obama, Elon Musk and More [Cr]acked by Bitcoin Scammers

      On Wednesday evening, the Twitter Support account said that the [cr]acking of several high-profile accounts was a “coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools.”

      The account added that the investigation will continue, and “Internally, we’ve taken significant steps to limit access to internal systems and tools while our investigation is ongoing.”

    • Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Elon Musk, Apple, and others [cr]acked in unprecedented Twitter attack

      The Twitter accounts of major companies and individuals have been compromised in one of the most widespread and confounding hacks the platform has ever seen, all in service of promoting a bitcoin scam that appears to be earning its creator quite a bit of money.

    • Twitter Accounts of Elon Musk, Kanye West, Joe Biden [Cr]acked in Apparent Bitcoin Scam

      Around an hour after the tweets first started appearing, Twitter Support posted that it was aware of a security incident. “We are investigating and taking steps to fix it,” the tweet reads. “We will update everyone shortly.”

      The company followed up, saying that users “may be unable to Tweet or reset your password while we review and address this incident.” The disabling of tweets appeared to impact verified users with blue check marks on-and-off throughout the afternoon. Those users couldn’t send new tweets but were able to send replies and retweets.

    • Science

    • Education

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Warnings of Possible Cover-Up in Progress as Trump Orders Hospitals to Stop Sending Coronavirus Data to CDC

        “While many governments suppress the virus, the U.S. suppresses information about the virus.”

      • Texas and Arizona Request Refrigerated Trucks as Morgues Run Out of Space

        Refrigerated trucks are en route to Texas and Arizona as morgues struggle to deal with the rising number of deaths resulting from the surge in coronavirus cases in the two states.

      • This Pandemic Is Already Hitting the Homeless Hard. It’s About to Get Worse.

        The novel SARS-CoV-2 has roared through the American landscape leaving physical, emotional, and economic devastation in its wake. By early July, known infections in this country exceeded 3 million, while deaths topped 135,000. Home to just over 4 percent of the global population, the United States accounts for more than a quarter of all fatalities from Covid-19, the disease produced by the coronavirus. Amid a recent surge of infections, especially across the Sun Belt, which Vice President Mike Pence typically denied was even occurring, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the daily total of infections had reached a record 60,000. Arizona’s seven-day average alone approached that of the European Union, which has 60 times as many people.

      • The Covid Crisis Reveals the Need to Abolish Abortion Restrictions

        Washington, D.C.—Last November, I drove more than 12 hours for an abortion. It wasn’t mine (I had mine in 2005); I picked up a young woman in rural Pennsylvania whom I’ll call Raquel. She needed a ride to a clinic in Maryland to get some pills that she would take back at her home to have a medication abortion. As we drove to the clinic, I told Raquel about what to expect during the appointment; after I finished I paused and said, “As much as I love getting to know you on this drive, did you know you could safely do this at home but the government won’t let you?” She was surprised. Like many people, she knew about limitations on abortion but didn’t know that very safe and basic methods are being restricted because of outdated FDA regulations on how they can be dispensed. The drive bonded us—we still keep in touch, and she approved the inclusion of her story here—but it was an unnecessary exercise, one that antiabortion politicians created to make yet another constitutional right as inaccessible as possible. The cruelty of the barricades along the journey is the point.

      • How McKinsey Is Making $100 Million (and Counting) Advising on the Government’s Bumbling Coronavirus Response

        In the middle of March, as the coronavirus pandemic was shutting down the country, McKinsey & Co., the giant management consulting firm, saw opportunity. The firm sprang into sales mode, deploying its partners across the country to seek contracts with federal agencies, state governments and city halls. Government organizations had been caught unprepared by the virus, and there was a lot of money to be made advising them on how to address it.

        That month, a partner in McKinsey’s Washington, D.C., office, Scott Blackburn, got in touch with an old colleague. Deb Kramer had just been promoted to become an acting assistant undersecretary at the Department of Veterans Affairs, where Blackburn, whom McKinsey declined to make available for an interview, had held senior roles between 2014 and 2018. During that period, the two had overseen a major overhaul of the agency called “MyVA,” a project McKinsey had worked on as well. Blackburn had worked at McKinsey before going to the VA, and he returned to the firm afterward. He and Kramer were in touch repeatedly in the middle of March, according to a person familiar with the exchanges.

      • Trump Is Donating Ventilators to Countries That Don’t Need or Can’t Use Them

        As President Donald Trump came under criticism that his administration had failed to manage the coronavirus pandemic, he cited one area of success: his plan to donate thousands of ventilators to other countries.

        “Now we’re the king of ventilators,” Trump told reporters on April 18.

      • Hospitals Should Tell Trump to Shove His Orders and Send Their Data to the CDC Anyway

        This is nuke-the-moon-to-control-the-tides crazy.

      • Bradley Foundation Bankrolled Right-Wing Reopen Effort Despite Rising Coronavirus Cases

        The political pressure generated by the lobbying and litigation efforts of Bradley-funded groups and President Trump led many states to prematurely roll back stay-at-home safety measures and reopen businesses.

      • Defying ‘Logic and the Law,’ HHS Inspector General Allows Trump’s Vaccine Czar to Maintain Big Pharma Investments

        “The IG has given a green light for Slaoui to use his public office for self-enrichment, a practice that has become frighteningly common within the Trump administration.”

      • ‘Pandemic Has Been Very Good for Insurance Companies’: UnitedHealth Posts Largest Profit—By Far—Amid Covid-19

        “Incredible—as hospitals are furloughing workers and cutting wages as budgets are squeezed, UnitedHealth’s profits soar.”

      • Citing ‘Callous Disregard for Human Life,’ Groups Urge Trump and Pence to Hand Covid-19 Response Over to Health Experts

        “Under your failed leadership, the Executive Branch’s response to the pandemic has been inept and incoherent in nearly every respect.”

      • The Cuomo Administration Hasn’t Said Which Nursing Homes Were Infected With COVID-19 After Its Order Sent Positive Patients Into Them

        Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration has yet to make public the names of dozens of nursing homes whose experiences could shed light on whether the administration’s controversial policy of sending hospital patients sick with COVID-19 into the vulnerable homes contributed to the state’s staggering loss of life.

        Under the policy, more than 6,000 COVID-19 patients were sent from hospitals to nursing homes across the state, a move that scared and enraged many families worried about their loved ones being exposed to the deadly virus. To date, at least 6,500 nursing home residents have died of the virus, more than 6% of the state’s entire nursing home population.

      • Official data says Russia’s Khabarovsk Territory is the only region seeing a constant rise in COVID-19 cases

        Among all of Russia’s regions, only the Khabarovsk Territory has seen a “trend towards a constant increase” in the number of COVID-19 cases in the past 10 weeks, reports the country’s headquarters for the fight against the coronavirus.

      • What’s Behind Brazil’s COVID-19 Disaster?
      • “I Just Want To Do My Job,” Says Fauci in Response to White House Smear Campaign

        Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, expressed dismay at what he called “bizarre” attempts to discredit him by members of the Trump administration.

      • Oklahoma Governor Who Welcomed Trump’s Tulsa Rally Has Tested Positive for COVID

        Oklahoma Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt announced during a virtual press conference on Wednesday that he has tested positive for coronavirus.

      • Trump Now Has Free Rein to Cook the Books When It Comes to COVID

        The presidential administration of Donald J. Trump has, at long last, finally hit the panic button on COVID-19, but in an utterly terrifying way that must be thwarted at all costs.

      • Cannibalism Is No Cure for Covid-19

        The Covid-19 pandemic continues to gather force in the United States, even as most other wealthy nations have successfully slowed the spread. In only 11 American states is the pandemic under control. For the rest of the country, the situation is dire—and likely to get worse.

      • Dr. Kelly Victory: Another despicable physician spreading disinformation about COVID-19

        One of the things about the COVID-19 pandemic that’s really distressed me is just how many of my fellow physicians are willing to spread misinformation and disinformation about SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and the disease itself. Obviously, antivaccine physicians have always embarrassed the hell out of me, and, indeed, I’ve said on multiple occasions that they should lose their licenses to practice medicine. When it comes to COVID-19, we’ve seen Dr. Mehmet Oz promote misinformation. We’ve seen grifting doctors like Dr. Stephen Smith and Vladimir Zelenko promote an unproven drug like hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 cure. We’ve seen a French “brave maverick doctor” promote the unproven combination treatment of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a COVID-19 cure and use his fame and prominence to bully those who question him. Now, I’ve learned of another doctor, Dr. Kelly Victory, who’s been promoting misinformation and disinformation about COVID-19. A couple of weeks ago, she posted a video on YouTube that’s since been taken down. Unsurprisingly, her fans view it as having been “censored by leftists”:

      • Tucson Mayor Romero Slams Arizona Gov. Ducey for Downplaying COVID & Hasty Reopening as ICUs Fill

        As COVID-19 cases soar in the U.S. South and Southwest, we go to the hot spot of Arizona, where 88% of ICU beds are full and the family of one man accuses Arizona Governor Ducey and President Trump of being directly responsible for his death, after they downplayed the threat of the virus and obstructed local officials from requiring masks even as Arizona’s case numbers were exploding. “We have been in a state of crisis since Governor Ducey decided to hastily reopen the state,” says Tucson Mayor Regina Romero, who has been standing up to Ducey and is the first Latina and the first woman to be elected mayor of Tucson, and the daughter of migrant farmworkers.

      • As COVID-19 Cases Spike, Epidemiologist Warns “The Road to an Uncertain Vaccine Is Paved in Death”

        As the U.S. reports its highest one-day spike in infections and 11 states report record hospitalizations, the Trump administration is demanding states stop sending COVID patient data to the CDC, which then releases it to the public. We speak with Dr. Ali Khan, epidemiologist and the dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, about the Trump administration’s handling of the crisis and his hopes for a vaccine. “The road to an uncertain vaccine is paved in death,” notes Dr. Khan. He is the former director of the CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, where he oversaw the Strategic National Stockpile. We also ask him about the ongoing shortages of masks and tests.

      • Facebook’s Pandemic Feuds Are Getting Ugly

        North Carolina has a history of channeling right-wing anger into digital activism. The state was a hotspot for online Tea Party activity during Barack Obama’s presidency, as the sociologist Jen Schradie writes in her 2019 book The Revolution That Wasn’t. Schradie emphasizes that right-wing groups in North Carolina were more active than their left-wing counterparts, viewing social media as a “revolutionary communication tool” to disseminate information they believed the media wasn’t covering. “I think what’s happening in the Facebook groups is reflecting conversations that are already happening,” she told me when I asked her about Reopen NC, “but it kind of puts them into hyperdrive.”

        But disinformation and extreme rhetoric are known problems within Facebook groups more broadly, particularly private ones that members must request to join. These spaces tend to shed casual participants and intensify the feelings of more active ones. Looking at information from the other side tends to make them all the more certain of their beliefs: In a 2018 study of anti-vaccine Facebook groups, researchers found that “the introduction of dissenting information … can produce a backfire effect, thus reinforcing the pre-existing opinions within the sub-group.”

        That both Reopen NC and Banned from Reopen are becoming parodies of themselves is common with online groups set up as silos. “In a self-selecting population with a lack of dissenting views, it does become a reinforcing spiral,” Alice Marwick, an assistant professor of communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill told me. “What usually happens in these communities is that more and more of the people who are moderate drop out and you’re left with the more extreme individuals.”

        As the pandemic surges again, and Americans become even more exhausted by the task of modifying their lives because of it, people want ways to express their frustration. Members of groups like these are also looking for community and a sense of purpose, which are difficult to come by in the best of times. That impulse is now complicated by orders to stay away from each other, and the feeling of hopelessness that comes with months of illness, death, and economic devastation.

      • Hong Kong third wave: 64-year-old could be first prosecuted for violating new public transport mask rules amid Covid-19 spike

        Separately, police are hunting for a man caught beating a McDonald’s employee on video after being asked to don a mask in the restaurant

      • COVID-19 changed the world. Can it change aid, too?

        In late March, I was teaching a course on humanitarian affairs, meeting via Zoom with graduate students at Columbia University in New York. Coronavirus had already overwhelmed Italy, and neighbouring Switzerland, where I live, had just gone into lockdown.

        We were discussing how the virus might impact places like Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, where as many as one million Rohingya refugees live across 34 ramshackle camps, in flimsy shacks that cling to the sides of deep ravines and valleys. We talked about how rudimentary health services wouldn’t be able to provide intensive care; how overcrowding would make the concept of social distancing preposterous; how the peak of the disease might coincide with the summer cyclone season, making it impossible for humanitarian workers to respond to both crises at once.

        Students had many questions, among them: What would the international aid community, long used to parachuting into a disaster, even be able to do now that the world had essentially shut down?

        As the global reach of the virus was becoming clear in late March and early April, humanitarians were trying to figure out what we could do, bracing for the impact the disease might have on some of the world’s most vulnerable places: refugee camps from Bangladesh to Greece; countries experiencing hunger and poverty amidst ongoing conflict, like Yemen and Mali; nations only starting to pull themselves out of conflict, like Sudan and Somalia. Wealthy countries with powerful states and strong health systems, like China and France, struggled to handle the virus; weaker countries were sure to suffer worse. The aid sector is now working to address these impacts with a $10 billion plan for 63 countries – the largest single appeal in the UN’s history – to support programmes from health and sanitation to supplementary feeding and nutrition, mental health, and the prevention of sexual violence.

        In the refugee camps of Bangladesh, 54 Rohingya had tested positive for COVID-19 as of 6 July. Efforts by the refugees themselves, as well as local and international aid workers who have stayed in Cox’s Bazar, have kept the number of cases lower than first predicted – though many more cases may be undetected.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Dell Says It’s Exploring Potential Spinoff of VMware Unit

          A key part of the negotiations will center on a commercial agreement between Dell and VMware that would formalize aspects of its current working relationship. In such a pact, the companies would commit to continue collaborating on sales strategies, research and development, services and intellectual property agreements, Dell said.

        • Chrome 84 starts squashing notifications from abusive sites

          Google says that abusive notification prompts are “one of the top user complaints” for Chrome. The company classifies abusive notification prompts into two different categories: [...]

        • TurboTax and H&R Block Used “Unfair and Abusive Practices,” State Regulator Finds

          TurboTax, H&R Block and other tax prep companies have long engaged in “unfair and abusive practices” to divert consumers to paid products even when they were eligible to file for free, a new investigation by a New York regulator has found.

          The investigation by the New York State Department of Financial Services was launched in spring 2019 in response to ProPublica’s reporting on Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, and H&R Block.

        • Microsoft Outlook is crashing worldwide with 0xc0000005 errors, how to fix
        • Security

          • Patch your Windows 10 now to fix 17-year-old DNS flaw

            Microsoft released a patch this week that fixes a long-lived bug relating to how Windows handles DNS. The patch has apparently been around in Windows for 17 years, according to Wired. The patch is available now, so don’t wait to download it.

            The bug, found by Israeli security firm Check Point, is a big one. Microsoft and Check Point rate the bug as a critical flaw and it scores a 10 out of 10 on the “common vulnerability scoring system” or CVSS. This bug is particularly insidious, as that score indicates. The flaw, called SigRed, can exploit the Windows DNS Security Extensions, which help out with DNS authentication, without any action taken by the target user.

          • UK Buckles, Joins The Evidence-Optional Huawei Blacklist Party

            While there’s really no denying that Chinese smartphone and network gear maker Huawei engages in some clearly sketchy behavior, it’s generally not anything that can’t be matched by our own, home-grown sketchy telecom companies. And while the Trump administration has been engaged in a widespread effort to blackball Huawei gear from the global marketplace based predominantly on allegations of spying on Americans (mostly to gain leverage in what’s largely seen as a counterproductive tariff and trade war), nobody’s been able to provide a shred of public evidence that this actually occurs despite 20 years of pearl clutching.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Free VPNs based in Hong Kong caught logging

              Several free VPN apps based in Hong Kong logged internet activity from millions of users then left that data unsecured on the internet for anyone to find. This batch of fake no log VPNs was discovered by the research team at VPNMentor, who published the results on their blog on July 15th, 2020 after notifying both the offending VPNs and relevant authorities and confirming that the exposed server was finally being protected. The release was delayed so as to protect the personally identifiable information of the VPN users from additional exploitation.

            • That’s A Wrap On Techdirt Greenhouse, Privacy Edition

              The inaugural edition of the Techdirt Tech Policy Greenhouse is in the books, and we’d like to thank all of our contributors and those that engaged in conversation as we tackled one of the thornier issues of the modern tech policy era. As we noted early on, our goal with the project is to bring some nuance, collaboration, and understanding to a privacy conversation frequently dominated by simplistic partisan bickering, bad faith arguments, and the kind of deep ideological ruts that routinely result in either bad policy,or, in the case of U.S. privacy, no policy at all.

            • Privacy-loving EU building massive travel surveillance system for visitors that will affect billions of people

              As this blog has noted, for all its faults, the European Union’s GDPR represents one of the most important attempts to protect digital privacy. Although it concerns the EU and its citizens, it has had knock-on effects around the world. Against that background of supporting privacy, it’s disturbing to read a new report from Statewatch about a massive travel surveillance system that the EU is constructing. It will impact nearly everyone who is not an EU citizen – that’s over 6 billion people. Here’s Statewatch’s summary:

            • Google’s new, integrated Gmail looks a lot like Outlook

              That should come as no surprise. Javier Soltero, who led the Acompli email app that was later acquired by Microsoft, integrated a calendar, a file picker, and even a focused inbox years before Microsoft Outlook did. Those features eventually became part of Outlook. Now Soltero, the vice president and general manager of Google’s G Suite, has tidied up Gmail as well.

            • Leaked Gmail redesign outs plans to integrate Docs, Chat, and Meet

              For mobile Gmail, the redesign means the introduction of bottom tabs that allow you to switch between four sections: Mail, Chat, Rooms, and Meet. All of these are pretty self-explanatory if you know Google services. Mail is the regular email section, Chat lets you hold instant messaging-style conversations with co-workers, Rooms is a Slack-like group chat experience, and Meet gives you access to video-conferencing. In Chat and Rooms, Gmail will also send you follow-up reminders if you people don’t respond in time, just like the nudges you get in Mail.

            • Leaked Gmail redesign integrates Chat, Meet, and document collaboration in one place

              In the redesign, there are now tabs for Mail, Chat, Rooms, and Meet. The Chat tab looks to take you to your conversations with people, while Rooms appear to be spaces for topic-based conversations, similar to Slack channels. The Meet tab shows your upcoming Google Meet meetings and suggestions for who you might want to contact. (The Meet tab might look familiar — Google already announced in June that it was coming to Gmail’s iOS and Android apps.)

            • White House says restrictions on TikTok could come in ‘weeks, not months’

              The White House has hinted at a timeframe for taking action against TikTok, the popular social video app owned by Chinese internet company ByteDance. Last week Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration was “certainly looking at” banning the app, and now Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows says a move could come within weeks.

            • Ghislaine Maxwell Wrapped Her Phone in Tinfoil—What Does That Actually Do?

              Despite the fact that the authorities called this a “misguided effort,” Motherboard found in a test that wrapping an iPhone in tinfoil actually does stop calls and seemingly acts as a rudimentary faraday cage, a container that blocks signals. Doing this is certainly not a way to prevent persistent surveillance from motivated and technologically capable adversaries, but it does at least prevent Bluetooth, WiFi, and LTE from working, while the phone is wrapped up.

            • Banning TikTok takes a big espionage tool away from China: US NSA

              “India has already banned those apps, as you know. And if they lose India and the United States, they lose some western European countries, that takes a big tool away from the espionage work or the surveillance work of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party),” he said in response to a question on the dangers posed by apps like TikTok.

            • [Old] TikTok Guidelines Asked Moderators to Suppress Ugly, Poor, or Overweight Users: Report

              To exclude users based on their physical appearance, TikTok reportedly asked moderators to shadow-ban content based on specific criteria. This included everything from “obese” people to “too thin”. The internal documents even mention the apparent reason behind the moderation rules. One of these says, “…if the character’s appearance or the shooting environment is not good, the video will be much less attractive, not worth to be recommended to new users.”

              Besides, TikTok also had another set of guidelines for moderators handling live streams. Public broadcasts that hamper with “national honour and interests” were supposed to be banned by TikTok moderators.

            • Report: IS Supporters Continue to Evade Facebook Detection

              A pro-IS network on Facebook consisting of several hundred accounts and reaching thousands of people managed to remain on the social media giant and spread its propaganda, according to a report released Monday by the London-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD).

              The ISD report said its researchers tracked, analyzed and dissected the behaviors of this pro-IS network of Facebook accounts through ethnographic monitoring. This analysis taps into the study of individual cultures through the interpretation of behaviors and social interactions.

              “ISIS supporters appear to be exploiting a major loophole on Facebook to hijack accounts from other users, using two applications that facilitate the intercepting of password reset text messages sent by the platform,” the ISD said in its report, using another acronym for IS.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Funding Nuclear Weapons at a Time of National Crisis

        Nuclear weapons represent the greatest imminent existential threat to our very existence and to every social, racial, environmental and economic justice movement that we are working for, since ultimately it is all connected.

      • Yekaterinburg court sentences three cops to six years in prison for raping undocumented sex worker

        A court in Yekaterinburg has convicted three former police officers of raping a woman in their patrol car in August 2019. According to the human rights group “Zona Prava,” former officer Vadim Mustafin was sentenced to six and a half years in prison, while former officers Vyacheslav Tropin and Andrey Bessarabov were sentenced to six years each. 

      • Community Organizers Address Sexual Violence Without The Criminal Justice System

        When college student L. saw photos of her feet in a boy’s Snapchat, she felt scared. She had never consented to those photos being taken, let alone shared on a Snapchat account, where the boy was constructing a romantic narrative for both of them without her knowledge or permission. L.’s friends were furious on her behalf, threatening to beat up the boy who hurt her.

        When L. realized the situation might devolve into physical violence, she approached Jasmyn Elise Story’s organization and requested a restorative justice process (locations for this story have been kept purposefully vague for the anonymity of the involved parties).

      • Media Conceal—or Celebrate—Depriving Syrians of Food and Medicine

        US media coverage has endorsed, downplayed or ignored the harm the sanctions will inflict on Syria’s civilian population, and the misery years of previous sanctions have already inflicted.

      • Forging Greater Israel: Annexation by Any Other Name

        July 1st came and went and Netanyahu made no formal statement regarding annexation. That left many journalists, politicians, activists, and others feeling abandoned to speculation. Declarations of support or opposition went forward accompanied by an air of uncertainty and the frustration of trying to second guess the objectives of those whose actions would determine the coming months.

      • Bolton’s Book is Not the “Bomb” as Advertised

        John Bolton’s “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir” will not tell you anything you already don’t know about Donald Trump and his administration.  If you have read Michael Wolff (“Fire and Fury”), Bob Woodward (“Fear”), and Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig (“A Very Stable Genius”), you have a full picture of Trump’s ignorance and indifference.  You know about the failures of his people and his policies as well as his policy process, which is essentially nonexistent.

      • Trump-Appointed Head of US Postal Service Moves to Slow Mail Delivery

        Postal workers and their allies in Congress are vowing to fight back after the new head of the U.S. Postal Service — a major donor to President Donald Trump and the Republican Party — moved this week to impose sweeping changes to the popular government agency as it faces a financial crisis manufactured by lawmakers and exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

      • “Disturbing” memo reveals Trump’s USPS chief has slowed delivery amid calls to expand voting by mail

        President Donald Trump’s newly confirmed U.S. postmaster general ordered the endangered public service Monday to make major cost-cutting changes, which could slow mail delivery.

        Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a top Trump donor who has given more than $2 million to the GOP, warned employees that the agency needed to make “difficult” decisions to stay afloat, according to a new report in The Washington Post.

      • ‘Attempted Murder of Your Post Office’: Outrage as Trump Crony Now Heading USPS Moves to Slow Mail Delivery

        “The deliberate delaying of Americans’ mail delivery would be a stunning act of sabotage against our Postal Service.”

      • Media is covering this election all wrong — the real question is whether Trump can steal it

        Covering this campaign with the hoary campaign-reporting algorithms made for typical elections would be a terrible mistake. Those algorithms were constructed to cover elections in which there was a rational choice between two reasonably proportional and plausible candidates.

        And even under those conditions, they failed miserably, overemphasizing who’s-up-who’s-down horse-race coverage, substituting balance for fairness and false equivalence for judgment, and obsessing over tactics rather than substance.

        This time around there are really only two sets of questions worth asking, and reporters should be focusing on them with almost all their energy: [...]

      • The Microsoft-Android transformation is about to affect us all

        Before we get into the nitty-gritty of this, let me re-emphasize: The most important part of this whole effort is the fact that you’ll almost certainly never be aware of it on any surface level. And, quite frankly, that’s the beauty and the brilliance of it all. But understanding what’s happening is still important if you want to keep tabs on the ever-shifting nature of our mobile-tech reality — and since you’re reading a column called Android Intelligence, well, I’m assuming that you do.

        So a progressive web app, in case that incredibly bland-sounding name doesn’t ring a bell, is basically a special sort of packaging that allows a website to look and act like an app and emulate its more advanced functions. That means it can run offline (and thus feel fast, even when your network connection is not) as well as manage notifications, interact with local hardware, and exist in its own standalone app-like structure, with an icon in your app drawer and all the other standard fixins (to use the technical term).

      • The US Military Is Using Online Gaming to Recruit Teens

        The practices employed on Twitch by military e-sports teams are part of a system by which recruiters target children in unstable and/or disadvantaged situations. Recruiters take advantage of the poor seeking steady income, the vulnerable longing for stability, and the undocumented living in fear because of their citizenship status. Now, at a time when all those factors are magnified by a pandemic that has left half the country out of work and over 30 percent unable to afford their housing payments, conditions are ripe for recruiters to prey on anxious youth.

        “I see you guys are upgrading from recruiting out of low-income schools, nice,” Twitch user xCanyon916 said in a Navy stream on Tuesday while the recruiter was fielding questions about life in the military from chatters expressing desire to join the Navy e-sports team. The recruiter warned xCanyon916 that if they said something again about the Navy’s recruiting practices, they’d be banned.

      • Timbuktu’s jihadist police chief before ICC for war crimes

        He was a member of an Islamist militant group that imposed strict Islamic law.

        Charges against him include torture and sexual slavery.

        He is also charged with directing attacks against historic monuments, including ancient manuscripts and buildings dedicated to Islam, which the militants considered idolatrous.

        Mr Al Hassan was handed over to the ICC in 2018 by the Malian authorities – five years after French troops helped liberate Timbuktu from the jihadists.

      • Shortly before midnight on Tuesday, Norwegian police wrote on Twitter that they had received reports of “multiple people that have been stabbed in multiple locations in Sarpsborg.”
    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • How Facebook Handles Climate Disinformation

        The policy means that peer-reviewed science can be lumped into the same category as industry statements and even blatant disinformation. In September, for example, the CO2 Coalition, a nonprofit group that says increased carbon emissions are good for the planet, successfully overturned a fact-check when Facebook quietly labeled its post as “opinion.”

      • Data journalists describe challenges of reporting on the true toll of COVID-19

        In some countries, journalists say that governments have deliberately shielded figures from the public, while in others, insufficient data forces journalists to sift through multiple reports to find trends. In response, journalists have turned to creativity, collaboration, and hidden sources to illuminate the coronavirus’s impact, in many cases exposing governments for distorting some official reports along the way.

    • Environment

      • Failing Test for Green Recovery, Tracker Shows G20 Nations Pumping $151 Billion Into Fossil Fuel Industry Amid Pandemic

        “G20 leaders keep lying to themselves and their citizens as they prop up coal, oil, and gas with public money in the name of private financial return.”

      • ‘We Will Sue,’ Vow Green Groups After Trump Guts Nation’s Key Environmental Law

        “We’re not going to sit back and allow a decision that could harm public health during a public health crisis go unscathed,” said Earthjustice. “We’ll be seeing them in court.” 

      • Trump Weakens Major Conservation Law

        The rollbacks to the act, known by its acronym, NEPA, could be removed with a simple majority vote in Congress and the president’s signature, something the opposition party is almost certain to attempt, depending on the outcome of the November election.

      • Climate Change Is a Political—Not Partisan—Story

        Science shows that humanity is careening towards a point of no return. To meet the Paris Agreement’s preferred goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius—essential to saving millions of lives outright, not to mention avoiding “tipping points” that would bring ever more hurricanes, floods, droughts, wildfires, and heat waves in the years ahead—humanity must cut global emissions in half by 2030. Doing this, scientists say, will require economic transformation at a speed and scale unprecedented in human history. It will take deliberate, aggressive action across industries and at all levels of government, foremost from the world’s top emitters, including the United States. Simply put, we need action and we need it fast. (Latest projections routinely suggest we are farther down the road to disaster than we think.)

      • Energy

        • Powerful backers support a UK nuclear future

          Insulating homes and installing renewable energy are the cheapest answers to climate change. Yet powerful backers urge a UK nuclear future.

        • Hagia Sophia and the Catastrophe of Symbolism

          As a Muslim, I find Erdogan’s “decree” to change the status of Hagia Sophia (or Ayasofya in Turkish) from a museum to a masjid extremely disturbing. Yes, it is true that Turkey is a sovereign state, so it can do whatever it wants within its borders. But these actions have severe consequences. Hagia Sophia was built as a church around AD 530 and was used as a church until the Ottoman Sultan Mohammad the Conqueror converted it into a masjid (i.e., mosque). The ruling of the Turkish government in the 1930s to convert it to a museum figures no where in any present argument, in my opinion. So if one would support Erdogan’s decree by invoking convoluted legal arguments, one needs not read anything further.

        • EU Urges Turkey to ‘Reverse’ Hagia Sophia Reconversion Plan

          The EU balancing act was on display in February this year when the bloc blacklisted two Turkish nationals in retaliation over Ankara’s natural-gas drilling in the eastern Mediterranean. The sanctions, though the first of their kind in response to the actions of a country seeking to join the EU, had more political symbolism than economic punch.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Boris Johnson’s “Blundering Brilliance”…Now Only the Blundering Remains

        In December last year The New York Times referred to Boris Johnson’s “blundering brilliance” in an attempt to account for his popularity with many voters. The NYT went on to say:

      • Even Nixon Didn’t Go As Far as Trump

        Donald Trump’s commutation of Roger Stone’s jail sentence is an act of blatant corruption. The federal judge who presided over his trial stated that Stone was prosecuted for “covering up for Trump.” Trump’s commutation is a reward to Stone, his close political adviser, for that cover-up. By using the pardon power to shield himself from accountability, Trump perverted and abused that power. The commutation may also be a crime.

      • For US Corporate Media, Not Intervening in Chinese Politics Is Journalistically Suspect

        Time (6/26/20) reported last month that Michael Pack, the ultraconservative Trump-appointed CEO of the US Agency for Global Media (USAGM), froze funding related to the anti-Beijing protests in Hong Kong. According to the magazine, the agency—which oversees Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia and other US government–funded media—halted some $2 million worth of contracts for projects whose stated purpose was to protect the digital privacy of demonstrators. These included a “cybersecurity incident response team” to analyze “Chinese surveillance techniques,” as well as a “rapid response fund” for protesters deemed to be monitored by the Chinese government.

      • Steamrolling Rights of People and Planet, Trump Finalizes Rule Weakening Bedrock Environmental Law

        “This is a clear attempt to silence and sideline people to make it easier for industry to pollute our communities,” said the NRDC. “We will not let it stand.”

      • The ‘Letter on Justice and Open Debate’ Should Be Seen as a Stance Against Trumpian Authoritarianism

        The suggestion that we can do with a little less censoriousness should be welcomed so that we can focus a bit more of our attention on the actual political work of defending democracy and defeating Trumpism.

      • ‘Bye Bye Senator Collins’: Victory for Democrat Sarah Gideon in Maine Sets Stage for Crucial US Senate Battle

        “We will fight every day to take back our senate seat and ensure Susan Collins never pretends to represent us again.”

      • Corporate Media Give Trump Powers He Doesn’t Actually Possess

        Far from serving to hold power accountable in the US, such credulous coverage functions more to legitimize abuses of power.

      • Corporate Media Give Trump Powers He Doesn’t Actually Possess

        For many of us, the purpose of journalism is to hold power accountable by criticizing its abuses and informing the public of the truth. Indeed, many corporate journalists and social media companies criticize state media of Official EnemiesTM as inherently untrustworthy, subordinate government mouthpieces. Yet corporate media outlets provide cover for US authoritarianism when they publish reports that suggest President Donald Trump possesses executive powers he doesn’t actually have.

      • Hundreds protest against constitutional changes in Moscow and St. Petersburg

        Protesters rallied in Moscow and St. Petersburg during the evening of July 15, to oppose the reforms to Russia’s constitution voted upon in the recent nationwide plebiscite. During the rally, signatures were collected demanding the cancellation of the amendments.

      • The Yeezy Effect: Kanye West Joins the Presidential Race

        The political absurd has become all modish. With US President Donald Trump turning the White House into his own circus of personalised woe and expectations, other candidates are stepping up to the plate. Make way for Kanye West, whose union of utter vacuity with Kim Kardashian has done much to keep the glossies, blogs and “influencers” rolling in anti-cerebral slush. This time, media outlets have not fallen for the trap they did with Trump, treating his bid for the commander-in-chief position as a sham lunatic’s act not worth covering.

      • Propaganda Beyond Trump

        Propaganda existed long before Donald Trump, and it will continue after Trump. Although invented by the Catholic Church as Congregatio de Propaganda Fide (1622), propaganda really took off with World War I (1914-1918). Germany used propaganda to sent thousands of young men to slaughter and to be slaughtered for Kaiser and fatherland. Propaganda then became a bad word.

      • ‘If It’s Trump, It Has to Be Corrupt’: Critics Say Goya Bean Tweet by Ivanka Is Clear Ethics Breach

        “Ethics rules do not allow” such behavior, noted one political reporter, calling the tweet “pretty much unimaginable in previous administrations.”

      • ‘Beans for Brains’: Critics Say Trump Photo Promoting Goya Makes Clear Ivanka’s Tweet Was No Mistake

        “This is an official campaign by the Trump administration to support Goya.”

      • Pandemic leads to national coin shortage; Federal Reserve task force created to help

        And when the economy started tanking with record losses in the spring, it was enough for some people to “start hoarding coins and hoarding money in general,” Soques said.

        Last month, Federal Reserve banks began allocating money from existing coin inventories to banks as a “temporary measure.” As of April, there was nearly $48 billion of coinage in circulation, the Treasury estimated.

      • Battleground Michigan: Inside the Fights Over the President and the Pandemic

        This year, she at first watched the state unify with a common purpose to fight the virus. But then in April, state Republicans turned against Whitmer, calling her a dictator.

        “Everyone was working together, then it’s like someone flipped a switch,” she tells me.

        And maybe someone had.

        [...]

        One of the conservative groups promoting the protests was the Michigan Freedom Fund. The MFF is an organization funded by the DeVos family, whose members included Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her brother Erik Prince, who tirelessly advocates the Trump administration hire his private-army firm for unseemly missions.

        “This group is funded in large part by the DeVos family,” Whitmer told reporters. “It’s really inappropriate for a sitting member of the United States president’s Cabinet to be waging political attacks on any governor, but obviously, on me here at home.” (The group denied their involvement besides running a $250 Facebook ad on their home page.)

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Dealing With Misinformation In Search (2004)

        This series of case studies is published in partnership with the Trust & Safety Foundation to examine the difficult choices and tradeoffs involved in content moderation. Learn more »

      • Fan Uses AI Software To Lipread What Actors Really Said In TV Series Before Chinese Authorities Censored Them

        It’s hardly news to Techdirt readers that China carries out censorship on a massive scale. What may be more surprising is that its censorship extends to even the most innocuous aspects of life. The ChinAI Newsletter, which provides translations by Jeff Ding of interesting texts from the world of Chinese AI, flags up one such case. It concerns a Chinese online TV series called “The Bad Kids”. Here’s how the site Sixth Tone describes it:

      • ‘Cancel Culture’ Cannot Erase a Strong Argument

        In the current squabble on the liberal/progressive/left side of the fence over so-called “cancel culture”—in which one open letter in favor of freedom of expression led to a rebuttal open letter in favor of a different approach to freedom of expression—I can offer a report on the experience of being canceled.

      • Security law: Hong Kong scholars fear for academic freedom

        “Remain neutral in your teaching and be mindful of the language you use,” read one email to staff of HKU SPACE, a college attached to the prestigious University of Hong Kong (HKU).

        “Any behaviour in eliciting further discussion on sensitive issues MUST be avoided,” the email from the program director of the humanities and law faculty said.

        It ended with a warning of “zero-tolerance against politics or personal political views brought into classrooms”.

        One recipient told AFP the instruction amounted to self censorship.

        “This may be partly out of genuine concern for staff, but it strangles free speech without the government having to lift a finger,” said a lecturer who asked not to be identified.

      • Bari Weiss Resigns From The New York Times, Alleging That ‘Self-Censorship Has Become the Norm’

        Bari Weiss, one of the most polarizing journalists in the country, has resigned from the opinion section of The New York Times, citing a “hostile work environment” and an institutional yielding to an increasingly extreme ideological “orthodoxy.”

        “The truth is that intellectual curiosity—let alone risk-taking—is now a liability at The Times,” Weiss wrote in a scorching resignation letter self-published Tuesday morning. “Why edit something challenging to our readers, or write something bold only to go through the numbing process of making it ideologically kosher, when we can assure ourselves of job security (and clicks) by publishing our 4000th op-ed arguing that Donald Trump is a unique danger to the country and the world? And so self-censorship has become the norm.”

      • Did neocon cancel queen Bari Weiss stage her NY Times resignation to fuel her career?

        A neocon network rises inside the Times, embarrassment and outrage ensues

      • Saudi Arabia censors fossil fuel subsidy discussion as G20 host

        Sources close to the G20 preparations told Climate Home News the Saudi authorities were uncomfortable with the term “subsidy” and asked for the word to be removed from policy proposals.

        Instead of “fossil fuel subsidies” ­– an established concept in the energy literature – they inserted “fossil fuel incentives” – a term with no commonly agreed definition.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • The Great Emptiness Award-winning photojournalist Sergey Ponomarev captures the Russian capital during the coronavirus lockdown

        On July 17, the Museum of Moscow debuted photojournalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Sergey Ponomarev’s new exhibition titled “Moscow. The Great Emptiness.” The exhibition includes 45 black-and-white panoramas of the empty Russian capital, which Ponomarev captured during the coronavirus lockdown. Meduza shares a few of these photographs with the photographer’s commentary.

      • ‘Meduza’ journalist Ivan Golunov files 5-million-ruble lawsuit against cops who planted drugs on him last summer

        Meduza journalist Ivan Golunov has filed a lawsuit against the five police officers who arrested him last summer and planted drugs on him in an attempt to frame him for felony offenses. He seeks 5 million rubles ($70,500) in damages. 

      • Assange’s father speaks out, calls oppression of WikiLeaks founder a “great crime of 21st century”

        Transcript…

      • Online documentary exposes the psychological torture of Julian Assange

        Very rapidly, Assange was embroiled in the British legal system on the basis of bogus Swedish allegations of sexual misconduct, which were intended as a backdoor to dispatch him to the US. This compelled the WikiLeaks founder to seek political asylum in Ecuador’s London embassy in 2012.

        The bulk of the documentary is an elaboration of UN Special Rapporteur Nils Melzer’s finding that Assange displays medically-verifiable symptoms of psychological torture as a result of his protracted persecution. This assessment is based on a consultation Melzer and two medical experts held with Assange at Belmarsh Prison in May, 2019, and on the UN official’s extensive study of the legal abuses inflicted on the WikiLeaks founder.

        The film outlines several features of the UN’s definition of psychological torture, as they have been displayed in Assange’s treatment: [...]

      • New York Times to move a third of Hong Kong staff to Seoul, citing security law and visa trouble

        The US paper also said that some staff had faced problems in securing work permits in Hong Kong.

        The move to Seoul will take place over the coming year, though some correspondents will remain in Hong Kong, as will printing production, advertising and marketing staff.

      • US, UK, Interpol give Ghana phone [cr]acking tools, raising journalist concerns on safety and confidentiality

        The U.S. embassy provided Ghana with Cellebrite UFED and UltraBlock, another digital forensics tool made by the Digital Intelligence corporation, in May 2019 at the ceremony with U.S. Ambassador Stephanie Sullivan, Tiwaa Addo-Danquah told CPJ. UltraBlock is used to facilitate the extraction of information from hard drives, but does not have decryption capacity, Chris Stippich, the president of Digital Intelligence, told CPJ by phone in late June. He said company policy did not permit him to comment on Digital Intelligence’s customers.

        Procurement documents reviewed by CPJ and a report by the Nextgov news website indicate that in December 2018 the U.S. embassy in Ghana made a request to purchase UFED and UltraBlock technology. The request specified UFED be capable of “extraction” and “decoding” of major cellphone models, including Android, Blackberry, Nokia, and Huawei, as well as GPS systems like TomTom.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Audacity and Hope in the Summer of Discontent

        We are in the summer of discontent, overwhelmed by the pandemic, civil unrest and economic hardship. In what seems ages ago, Barack Obama talked of the audacity of hope. That audacity now appears as neither audacious nor hopeful. Obama’s “Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream” seem more like a nightmare than a dream. With the pandemic growing in many parts of the United States and the world, and with civil unrest increasing because of greater awareness of gross violations of human rights, that euphoria has long gone.

      • Say Their Names. Black Lives Matter.
      • Where I Live, Hostility Toward Black Lives Matter Is Often Indirect

        Greene County, N.Y.—White people around here generally don’t come right out and say they oppose the Black Lives Matter movement, but it’s pretty clear that a lot of them are far from enthusiastic.

      • The DOJ Has No Reason to Execute the Federally Incarcerated During a Pandemic

        As the federal government ratchets up the “machinery of death” this week, as executioners on death row in Terre Haute, Indiana, begin to kill condemned prisoners after a 17-year hiatus on federal executions, a grim reality-check is in order. Every reason the Trump administration has offered to defend and justify the timing of its plan has been undermined by facts that show the callousness of what the government wants to do and why it wants to do it. It’s shoddy business, even by the low standards of this Justice Department.

      • Trump’s Guest Worker Ban Sparks New Focus on Immigrant Push for Labor Overhaul

        President Trump’s decision to suspend the majority of U.S. guest worker programs for at least six months, announced in a June 22 proclamation, has provoked a lot of debate.

      • Russian feds open extremism case against disabled senior citizen who denies USSR’s collapse

        Federal agents in Omsk have arrested a 72-year-old disabled man for allegedly creating an extremist group. Relatives of Vladimir Beskhlebny told the newspaper Novaya Gazeta that he denies the collapse of the USSR and acts as the chairman of the Omsk “Executive Committee of the RSFSR’s Council of People’s Deputies.” 

      • Facing Multiple Lawsuits, ICE Decides Not To Punish Foreign Students For Furthering Their Education During A Pandemic

        ICE has already decided it won’t make foreign students here on visas choose between their health and their education. The temporary relaxation of rules governing remote learning — put in place in March when the coronavirus started rolling through the United States — was suddenly (and inexplicably) reversed by ICE last week, even as COVID infection numbers continue to spike.

      • ‘Police with the people!’ Hundreds arrested during mass protests ahead of presidential elections in Belarus

        Residents of Belarus took to the streets during the evening of July 14, protesting against the Central Election Committee’s refusal to registered Viktor Babariko and Valery Tsepkalo as presidential candidates. The two politicians were considered President Alexander Lukashenko’s most serious challengers in the elections set for August 9th. Protests took place in the capital, Minsk, as well as in Brest, Gomel, Grodno, Mogilev, Molodechno, and other cities across the country. The rallies saw between several dozen and several hundred participants. The biggest demonstration was in Minsk, but, according to the Belarusian news outlet TUT.by, estimating the number of protesters in the city was made impossible due to the fact that people didn’t gather in large groups. The crowds also dispersed when law-enforcement officials began making arrests. 

      • Minneapolis Ballot Measure to Dismantle the Police Will Test the Strength of Our Movement

        In November, Minneapolis voters may get to decide whether to dismantle the city’s police department, setting up a dramatic battle for public opinion in the epicenter of the national uprising. This presents a huge opportunity for the movement to substantially weaken the repressive powers of the police, and to win new investments addressing the deep structural inequalities in our communities. But if the movement simply echoes the vague radical rhetoric of our City Council, rather than uniting around clear policy demands, right-wing and establishment forces could win the popular vote.

      • The Left Remakes the World: Amna Akbar on Canceling Rent, Defunding Police & Where We Go from Here

        We look at another looming crisis for the American public: mass evictions. More than four months into a pandemic that has left millions unemployed, eviction freezes across the country are ending, even as case numbers rise and states reimpose lockdown measures. As the Cancel the Rent movement inspires rent strikes and protests nationwide, a coalition of labor unions, workers and racial and social justice groups in 25 states plans to stage a mass walkout this Monday called the “Strike for Black Lives.” We speak with Amna Akbar, law professor at Ohio State University, who wrote about how to respond to all of this in her op-ed in Sunday’s New York Times headlined “The Left Is Remaking the World.”

      • Thousands Demand That Michigan #FreeGrace After the Teenager Was Incarcerated for Not Doing Her Schoolwork

        State and federal lawmakers in Michigan are calling for the release of a 15-year-old high school student who has been held in a juvenile detention facility since mid-May for violating probation by not completing online schoolwork when schools shut down during the coronavirus pandemic.

        Meanwhile, a new attorney representing the teenager, Grace*, whose case was detailed in a ProPublica Illinois investigation Tuesday, said he plans to file a motion in court Thursday asking the judge who ordered the girl detained to reconsider her decision and send Grace home.

      • Erdogan is erasing Ataturk’s stamp on Turkey

        International human-rights and legal groups have warned that the government “is seeking to, and may well succeed in, undermining the legal profession’s role to date in upholding human rights and the rule of law.”

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Monopolies

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