07.30.20

Microsoft Gender (In)Equality: Women Don’t Ask for Raises

Posted in Microsoft, Videos at 5:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

[Full segment]

Summary: Microsoft’s CEO in a candid confession, showing the true colours of the conservative and right-leaning Microsoft (it has faced many lawsuits for sexism and sexual discrimination)

IBM and the Bomb – Part I: How IBM Played a Technical and Diplomatic Role in the Cold War

Posted in IBM at 5:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Not a bombshell, but certainly a lesson in diplomacy and history (recently declassified, as our introduction noted)

Thomas J. Watson, Jr.
Thomas J. Watson, Jr., IBM chairman and chief executive officer (CEO), then U.S. Ambassador to Russia from 1979 to 1981. Public Domain, American Embassy, Moscow.

Summary: IBM’s role in US (domestic) and international politics, especially in light of political appointments acquired by Thomas Watson (the father) and his two sons

THE BIGGEST money is to be found where the government invests the most. In the United States nothing has a budget anywhere near as high as the military’s. Historically this has been the case because of the World Wars and imperialism; some US Presidents warned about this. The ‘death industry’ (Department of War rebranded “Defence”) does not just willfully shrink itself or goes away. It is always looking to grow, expand, to influence and control everything it can. One need not be a cynic to grasp all this.

“…speaking of self-serving charities, the IBM Watsons have their own.”IBM was highly involved in the Cold War and it became rich in the process. Contrary to the PR slant (1% of the profits etc.), IBM loves war and segregation; it has long profited from US imperialism in particular. One might as well swap the “I” in IBM with “Imperialist” (not “International”). When corporations and governments are almost inseparable it is inevitable that oftentimes businesspeople (active or ‘retired’) will enter politics, representing their own interests/ideologies and/or business interests. Money (profit) and policy (rules of power) are closely connected, for one can be leveraged to attain the other. We see a lot of that in Bill Gates, who for over a decade disrupted politics all around the world for personal agenda; he has investments to which he wishes to funnel taxpayers’ money in every country. It’s a racket. It’s not a charity, it is only disguised as such. And speaking of self-serving charities, the IBM Watsons have their own. In fact, formed in 1979 was the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs (coinciding with the political career of Thomas J. Watson, Jr.).

Watson’s political career wasn’t without opposition. Consider the following (notice the subject in particular):

watson-opposition

In early 1979 he was already meeting with Soviet officials (it used to be classified “SECRET”).

watson-meeting

It may all seem shallow and boring. Some of it remains “SECRET” and the following has redactions labeled “SECRET” (still, to present):

plenary-watson-1

plenary-watson-2

Here’s the text:

1. ON FEBRUARY 2, 1979, THOMAS WATSON, CHAIRMAN OF GENERAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON ARMS CONTROL AND DISARMAMENT AND WILLIAM JACKSON, GAC EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, VISITED EMBASSY BERN, CALLED ON DCM CROWLEY, JOINED ASAT DELEGATION IN WORK IN PREPARATION FOR AFTERNOON PLENARY, AND DISCUSSED STATUS OF ASAT TALKS WITH
SECRET
SECRET

PAGE 02

BERN 00682 051005Z

BUCHHEIM AND BRADBURN.

2. WATSON, JACKSON, BUCHHEIM AND BRADBURN WERE JOINED AT LUNCH BY KHLESTOV. CONVERSATION WAS GENERAL IN NATURE. CROWLEY

Sheryl P. Walter Declassified/Released US Department of State EO Systematic Review 20 Mar 2014

Sheryl P. Walter Declassified/Released US Department of State EO Systematic Review 20 Mar 2014
SECRET

NNN

Sheryl P. Walter Declassified/Released US Department of State EO Systematic Review 20 Mar 2014

Sheryl P. Walter Declassified/Released US Department of State EO Systematic Review 20 Mar 2014

Page 2 is still all blanked out. Notice the decaption and disposition dates. Those are still considered too sensitive (even half a decade ago).

plenary-watson-3

In short, what we have here is the IBM dynasty meeting Soviet officials and deciding at a diplomatic capacity how to handle the Cold War.

“In short, what we have here is the IBM dynasty meeting Soviet officials and deciding at a diplomatic capacity how to handle the Cold War.”This sort of matters because nowadays Microsoft is the same. “Bill [Gates] has high political ambitions for his cult,” a person told yesterday, “and staying out of the [police] report was just one small maneuver, as was avoiding having Microsoft testify in congress this week.”

Ever noticed how “GAFA” gets grilled but Microsoft is miraculously absent? As if Apple is a monopolist and Microsoft is not?

“At the moment the US President is enriching himself through his businesses and partners, blatantly misusing public office for personal gain. There’s no lack of examples.”“He can’t position himself as candidate for VP this time,” the person continued, “but my money is on him trying to run for the top office next round. Keep in mind he already even travels in convoys with decoy cars.”

At the moment the US President is enriching himself through his businesses and partners, blatantly misusing public office for personal gain. There’s no lack of examples.

The next part will talk about nepotism, perhaps even bribery, as we already know that Gates bribes a lot of politicians all around the world and we also know that the Watsons paid presidential candidates.

UEFI ‘Secure Boot’ is Just a Security Mess, as Techrights Predicted All Along, and FSF Should Not Have Given That Award

Posted in FSF, IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat, Security at 4:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: My Disagreement With the FSF Over UEFI ‘Secure Boot’ (2014)

UEFI award
Award for UEFI? Why? He now works for Google by the way.

FSF sponsors 2014
FSF sponsors at the time. Bidding war for bias/self-censorship?

Summary: We’ve long wondered why the FSF issued an award for an UEFI ‘secure boot’ facilitator working for Red Hat as even Linus Torvalds strongly objected to have Linux booting subjected to permission from Microsoft (he issued a very strongly worded objection with sexual metaphors) for no gain, not even security gain as ‘BootHole’ once again shows

Links 30/7/2020: Kodi Media Center 18.8, GNOME Gingerblue 0.2.0, ‘BootHole’ Hype Everywhere (UEFI ‘Security’ Was Always Overhyped Anyway)

Posted in News Roundup at 3:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Librem 14 Thoughts From a CG Artist

        think that the Librem 14 represents the Librem laptop coming to maturity. As a professional CG artist, I am looking for a computer that is able to run resource intensive software at good speed. As a person wishing for a respectful society, I am looking for a computer that remains humble in its branding, as well as respecting the people’s fundamental rights to privacy, security and control over a machine. I am also attached to the visual aspect and visual harmony of things and I think that the Librem 14 has all of that.

        I am so excited, I can’t wait for it to arrive!

      • Top 10 Cheap Linux Laptops [2020 Edition]

        One of the most beautiful things about Linux is that it can deliver fluid performance even on low-tier hardware. You don’t need 16GB of RAM or a quad-core processor just to browse the web. In fact, Ubuntu – one of the most popular Linux Distro can run perfectly well with a simple 2GHz dual-core system racking no more than 4GB of RAM and just needs a minimum of 25GB storage space.

        This opens up a whole new world for budget computing. By using Linux, you can get way more performance out on a low-spec system giving you a better bang-for-buck performance. With this in mind, we have put together a list of going over the best cheap laptops for Linux.

        Top 10 Budget Linux Laptops

        To keep the list diverse and useful for everybody, we have included laptops that fall between the $200 to $1000 price bracket. This makes sure there is something for everybody.

        Also, only some of the systems discussed here come with Linux pre-installed. Since most manufacturers prefer to ship with Windows, you might need to install Linux manually or set up a dual-boot configuration. We will tell you which laptops come with Linux out of the box and which don’t.

        So with that being said, here is our list of the ten best cheap Linux laptops.

    • Server

      • Self-Hosted and Open-Source Alternatives to Popular Services

        The internet is a prominent place. And while it may feel like a few huge names like Netflix, Dropbox, and Facebook run the show, they are far from the only option you have available. It’s now easier than ever to find a self-hosted alternative to just about any online platform.

        What does self-hosted mean? Self-hosted platforms are apps that function through their web hosting instead of a major option like Amazon Web Services. Generally, they’re not only open-source (a.k.a. free) but full of different content, features, and other things worth checking out.

        And here’s the best part—they’re often cheaper! Here are some of the best self-hosted alternatives to popular services.

      • Ideal Linux webhosting services of 2020

        Linux hosting is everywhere. Whether you’re looking for a simple shared web hosting account or a powerful dedicated server, the chances are that you’ll be offered a Linux-based option first.

        In many cases, you might not care. If your hosting needs are simple, you’ll probably choose an account based on the allocated web space, bandwidth and similar features – the operating system is so far down most people’s priority list that often it’s not even mentioned in comparison tables.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • FLOSS Weekly 589: LifeScope – Using Open Source to Organize and Play VR

        The open-source software that allows you to organize your life with VR! Doc Searls and Jonathan Bennet talk with Liam Broza, the CEO and Co-founder of LifeScope. The discuss the LifeScope platform, which is built to organizes your existing data and allows you to manage it better. It is a consultancy that helps you find and remove unwanted data. They also create virtual spaces for events, businesses, and brands that allow people to meet in the time of social distancing. They talk about the future of VR, and what is that going to look like for business and consumers and why it is essential to keep the future of VR open source.

      • 2020-07-29 | Linux Headlines

        The first standard-conformant implementations for OpenXR are finally shipping, LineageOS 17.1 has an unsupported build for the Raspberry Pi, Nextcloud gains a Forms feature, nano version 5 brings new features to the venerable text editor, Facebook releases PyTorch version 1.6, and Microsoft backs the Blender Foundation.

      • Destination Linux 184: Let’s Squash Some Bugs (plus Manjaro ARM Interview)

        Coming up on this week’s episode of Destination Linux, we have an interview with Dan Johansen of Manjaro ARM to talk all things ARM. The big topic of the week is about Bug Reports and how they can get better for both Users and Developers so Let’s Squash Some Bugs. In the News, we talk about the new AMD Ryzen Linux Laptops are finally hitting the market. Thanks to Tuxedo & Slimbook we’ve got 2 new Linux Laptops with the Tuxedo Pulse 15 & the KDE Slimbook. In Linux Gaming section we talk about SuperTuxKart which an awesome Open Source game for Linux! We’ve also got some great Community Feedback to talk about. In addition to our Software Spotlight we are going to start explaining the Linux Filesystem in the Tip of the Week for a Filesystem Breakdown Series. All of this and so much more on Episode 184 of the #1 video-centric Linux podcast, Destination Linux!

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 868

        jenkins, chromeos, chromebook, arm, buying a house

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.7.11

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.7.11 kernel.

        All users of the 5.7 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.7.y git tree can be found at:
        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.7.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:

        https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s…

      • Linux 5.4.54
      • Linux 4.19.135
      • Linux 4.14.190
      • Linux Quietly Makes It Harder To Guess Network RNG’s Internal State

        Merged today to mainline for Linux 5.8 Git and also marked for back-porting is a change to make it more difficult to guess the network random number generator’s internal state. It looks like it could be for a yet-to-be-published vulnerability.

        Hitting the Linux kernel Git tree today was random32: update the net random state on interrupt and activity. With that change the first 32 bits out of the 128 bits of a random CPU’s “net_rand_state” is now being modified on interrupt or CPU activity. This is being done “to complicate remote observations that could lead to guessing the network RNG’s internal state.”

      • Maintaining stable stability

        The goals of the stable tree are somewhat in competition with each other, Levin said. The maintainers do not want to introduce regressions into the tree, but they also want to try to ensure that they do not miss any fixes that should be in the tree. It is “very tricky” to balance those two goals. The talk would follow the path of patches that fix bugs, from the time they are written until they get released in a stable tree, showing the mechanisms in place to try to ensure that only real, non-regressing fixes make it all the way to the end.

        The first stage is the rules for the kinds of patches that get accepted into the stable tree. They have to be small, straightforward fixes that are already upstream in Linus Torvalds’s tree. No complex new mechanisms or new features are welcome in the stable tree. The patches have “passed the minimal bar” to get accepted into the mainline, but it is sometimes necessary for the maintainers (or patch submitters) to backport the patch. That is something the maintainers try hard to avoid, so that the testing of the mainline is effectively also testing everything in stable, but backports cannot be avoided at all times. If there are large, intrusive patches that must be backported—for, say, mitigations for speculative-execution processor flaws—the stable maintainers require a lot more testing, subsystem maintainer signoffs, and more to try to ensure that the backport is reasonable.

      • Emulating Windows system calls, take 2

        Back in June, LWN covered a patch set adding a mechanism intended to help systems like Wine emulate Windows system calls on a Linux system. That patch set got a lot of attention and comments, with the result that its form has changed considerably. Gabriel Krisman Bertazi has now posted a new patch set that takes a different approach to solving the same problem.
        As a reminder, the intent of this work is to enable the running of Windows binaries that call directly into the Windows kernel without going through the Windows API. Those system calls must somehow be trapped and emulated for the program to run correctly; this must be done without modifying the Windows program itself, lest Wine run afoul of the cheat-detection mechanisms built into many of those programs. The previous attempt added a new mmap() flag that would mark regions of the program’s address space as unable to make direct system calls. That was coupled with a new seccomp() mode that would trap system calls made from the marked range(s). There were a number of concerns raised about this approach, starting with the fact that using seccomp() might cause some developers to think that it could be used as a security mechanism, which is not the case.

      • Memory protection keys for the kernel

        The memory protection keys feature was added to the 4.6 kernel in 2016; it allows user space to group pages into “protection domains” that can have their access restricted independently of the normal page protections. There is no equivalent feature for kernel space; access to memory in the kernel’s portion of the address space is controlled exclusively by the page protections. That situation may be about to change, though, as a result of the protection keys supervisor (PKS) patch set posted by Ira Weiny (with many patches written by Fenghua Yu).
        Virtual-memory systems maintain a set of protection bits in their page tables; those bits specify the types of accesses (read, write, or execute) that are allowed for a given processor mode. These protections are implemented by the hardware, and even the kernel cannot get around them without changing them first. On the face of it, the normal page protections would appear to be sufficient for the task of keeping the kernel away from pages that, for whatever reason, it should not be accessing. Those protections do indeed do the job in a number of places; for example, page protections prevent the kernel from writing to its own code.

        Page protections work less well, though, in situations where the kernel should be kept away from some memory most of the time, but where occasional access must be allowed. Changing page protections is a relatively expensive operation involving tasks like translation lookaside buffer invalidations; doing so frequently would hurt the performance of the kernel. Given that protecting memory from the kernel is usually done as a way of protecting against kernel bugs that, one hopes, do not normally exist anyway, that performance hit is one that few users are willing to pay.

      • Intel Prepping Bus Lock Detection For Linux To Avoid This Performance Pitfall

        Building off the recently mainlined Intel work on split lock detection, Intel engineers have now been extending that with bus lock detection support.

        A bus lock as outlined within Intel’s PRM happens via split locked access to writeback memory or using locks to uncacheable memory. Detecting bus locks is important due to performance penalties and possible denial of service implications.

        Intel’s Fenghua Yu summed up the performance implications as typically being more than one thousand cycles slower than an atomic operation within a cache line and disrupting the performance of other CPU cores as well.

      • MSM Open-Source Driver Continues On Qualcomm Adreno 640/650 Series Bring-Up

        The open-source MSM DRM driver developed by Google, Qualcomm’s Code Aurora, and other parties as what started out as part of the “Freedreno” driver initiative is continuing to see better support for the newer Adreno 640 and 650 series.

        The MSM DRM driver developers continue working on the Adreno 640/650 series as found in the Snapdragon 855/855+ and 865/865+, respectively. Sent in on Wednesday was the MSM-next material for Linux 5.9. This pull has “a bunch more” work on Adreno 640/650 both on the display and GPU enablement side, among that work are fixes, setting up the UBWC configuration, HWCG setup (hardware clock gating), and other bits.

    • Benchmarks

      • Samsung 870 QVO SSD Performance On Ubuntu Linux

        The Samsung 870 QVO solid-state drives announced at the end of June have begun appearing at Internet retailers. The Samsung 870 QVO is the company’s latest QLC NAND solid-state drive offering 1TB of storage for a little more than $120 USD all the way up to 4TB for $500 and an 8TB variant for $900. For those curious about the EXT4 file-system Linux performance out of the Samsung 870 QVO, here are some benchmarks.

    • Applications

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • [Godot] GSoC 2020 – Progress report #1

        As we announced a few months ago, Godot is participating again in the Google Summer of Code program for its 2020 edition.

        6 projects have been selected back in May, and the 6 students and their mentors have now been working on their projects for close to two months. We omitted to announce the projects formally (sorry about that!), but this first progress report written by each student will make up for it by giving a direct glimpse into their work.

      • Diversity in Open Source and Gaming: Does it Matter?

        It shouldn’t need to be said, and yet it needs to be shouted, over and over. The US has an especially egregious problem among developed nations with police violence (while data is difficult to obtain and interpret, there is clearly a problem). However, these are worldwide struggles in one form or another which shouldn’t be limited to protests in the streets and discussions of police and politics. As gamers and Linux users, we sit at a special intersection of entertainment and industry. Neither side is well represented when it comes to diversity and action. Our community needs to do better. We need to make Black lives matter in our own space and do our part to push society forward.

        This issue should be crucial to us because of the values we represent as Linux gamers. Gaming is universal. There is an innate desire to play, to escape, to be challenged, to connect or compete with others, to tell stories. Gaming is to be shared, to break down barriers and find commonality. Gaming on Linux means we also value Free/Libre Software. And Free Software is meant to be free: free from restrictions, for anyone to use and make it their own. These words are hollow without putting them into practice and ensuring this is available to all, that anyone can contribute. There is a natural connection here, between the joy and universality of gaming and the benefits and openness of Free Software, twin ideals we want to succeed. So while games are rarely Open Source, as a community that uses both we should reflect a culmination of these values.

        [...]

        Unfortunately, we do not. Many games and their players are rife with white supremacy, neo-Nazis, hate speech and groups, bigotry, poor (if any) representation, toxicity, issues of how they represent police, excuses of “historical accuracy,” ignoring the real problems of the locations they represent, and ugly actions like players spawning KKK members in Red Dead Online to terrorize others.

      • Gender balance in computing: current research
      • Atari VCS games cost up to $25, will focus on indies and not AAA games

        The Atari VCS is a kind of jack-of-all-trades. It’s a console-PC hybrid that supports Linux and Windows 10. It’s also a console with its own first-party storefront, controllers, and online ecosystem. But unlike Steam or the PlayStation Store, the Atari VCS store won’t sell $59.99 AAA games–at least not at launch. Instead, the Atari VCS games will be capped at $25 a pop and will be more like GOG than Steam.

        Atari is taking a smaller approach with its store and will exclusively sell remasters, classic version of its old games, and indie games at launch, complete with its vault of 100 Atari classics, Anstream on-demand retro game streaming, and remasters of older games like Missile Command.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Week 8: GSoC Project Report

          Last week I implemented the duration fields and addition of storyboard items from storyboard. Previously it could only be done from the timeline docker. Also I implemented updating of all affected items’ thumbnail. This makes the docker almost complete sans the capability to save or export.

          The duration field is implemented such that any item in the storyboard docker has the duration equal to the next keyframe in any node. This makes sense because the canvas image would be identical to the keyframe image for that duration only, after that the other keyframe’s content would be added to it. Changing duration would move all keyframes in all nodes after the keyframe for that item.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Record Live Audio as Ogg Vorbis in GNOME Gingerblue 0.2.0

          Today I released GNOME Gingerblue version 0.2.0 with the basic new features…

          [...]

          The GNOME release team complained at the early release cycle in July and call the project empty, but I estimate it will take at least 4 years to complete 4.0.0 in reasonable time for GNOME 4 to be released between 2020 and 2026.

    • Distributions

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • IBM Launches Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE) Toolkit for Linux

          Previously available for macOS and iOS, IBM’s Fully Homomorphic Encryption toolkit is now available on Linux too. It’s packaged as Docker containers with three editions for CentOS Linux, Fedora Linux and Ubuntu Linux.

          What’s so special about the Fully Homomorphic Encryption technology? Well, it makes it possible to protect your data at rest and in-flight with pervasive encryption. More specifically, FHE helps protect your data at all times without ever decrypting it.

          Combined with Data Privacy Passports, the homomorphic encryption helps IBM Z clients manage who gets access to data via policy-based controls and revoke access to that specific data even if it transferred from the system thanks to data protection controls.

        • IBM announces homomorphic encryption toolkit for Linux

          Global technology company IBM claims to have developed a new fully homomorphic encryption toolkit for Linux which has been made available on the source code repository GitHub for public use.

          IBM said the new technology would provide the ability to protect and process data simultaneously by Linux distributions that run on IBM Z and x86 architectures.

          It said the technology, initially suggested by mathematicians in the 1970s and first demonstrated in 2009, provided a different way to protect data privacy.

          IBM’s Flavio Bergamaschi and Eli Dow said in a note accompanying the announcement that so far it had not been possible to keep data protected and processed at the same time.

        • From a trickle to an Application Stream: Red Hat opens barriers for RHEL 8.3 beta

          Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8.3 has hit beta, with security and production stability pointed to as key goals for the update.

          RHEL 8.0 was released in May 2019 and introduced the concept of “Application Streams”, based on a separate repository dedicated to “all the applications you might want to run in a given userspace” including tools, runtimes, database managers and web servers. The smart piece is that there are “multiple virtual repositories within one physical repository” so users can fix on a particular version of an application but still get security and bug updates.

          Another key feature in RHEL is System Roles, which are Ansible modules for configuring the system. System Roles were introduced (in preview at the time) in RHEL 7.4. Ansible is Red Hat’s automation platform.

          The release cycle for RHEL provides for new minor releases every six months. RHEL 8.1 appeared in November 2019 with live kernel patching, and RHEL 8.2 in April this year with a new application stream for Red Hat container tools. We can therefore expect RHEL 8.3 to be generally available around three months from now.

        • Nest With Fedora registration now open

          Registration for Nest with Fedora is now open! We welcome you to join us for three days of Fedora content, workshops, and social hours. Nest begins Friday 7 August at 1200 UTC and runs through Sunday 9 August at 2200 UTC. The schedule will be published in the coming days. We are using a platform called Hopin, which has been generously provided by the Apache Software Foundation.

          As we all know, this year our annual contributor conference Flock to Fedora has been moved to a virtual event: Nest with Fedora. It won’t be a literal replacement for all the great in person time we usually get, but I am still excited to see all of the familiar (and new!) faces and to catch up on what everybody has been working on. There is also a silver lining going virtual: so many more Fedora contributors can attend!

      • Debian Family

        • Why has Debian been gripped by vendettas?

          Debian Community News and the Uncensored Debian Planet site (follow the RSS feed if you want all sides of the story) have cast a new light on uncomfortable truths about the way free software is produced.

          As people dig deeper, they are surprised to find that evidence of cult phenomena is indisputable while accusations against victims lack any evidence whatsoever.

          Nonetheless, running an elaborate cult surely takes time and effort. Why would anybody bother to do this?

          Credibility of Debian’s name

          Debian, thanks to the the Debian Social Contract, long history and technical reliability, has built up a reputation for technical competence.

          When somebody associated with Debian points out that Google’s privacy policy is no more than a modern-day re-write of The Emperor’s New Clothes, their concerns are often amplified and widely noticed.

          Companies like Google resent this, so they exert influence in various ways to discredit those individuals who speak the truth.

          We see exactly the same phenomena in the United States right now where President Trump has been trying to undermine his country’s leading expert on pandemics, Dr Anthony Fauci.

        • Norbert Preining: KDE/Plasma Status Update 2020-07-30

          Only a short update on the current status of my KDE/Plasma package for Debian sid and testing:

          Frameworks 5.72
          Plasma 5.19.4
          Apps 20.04.3
          Digikam 7.0.0
          Ark CVE-2020-16116 fixed in version 20.04.3-1~np2
          Hope that helps a few people.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu invests in Google’s Flutter and Dart

          Flutter is Google’s open-source toolkit to build cross-device (and cross-platform) applications. Based on the Dart programming language released by the company in 2013, Flutter promises developers the ability to write and maintain a single application that runs on all of a user’s devices. Flutter applications support deployment on Android, iOS, Web browsers via JavaScript, macOS, and now Canonical and Google have teamed up to support Flutter applications in Linux. Promises of native speed, rapid development, and a growing community make it an interesting technology to take a look at.

          Flutter focuses on consistency and quality of the user experience it provides. Google has devoted considerable resources over the years in service of understanding how to build high-quality user experiences. These efforts have lead to projects like Material Design, with those principles being translated into Flutter’s components and overall development philosophy. For developers who prefer an iOS-style interface, Flutter provides components for that as well.

          Flutter itself is billed by Google as a “UI Toolkit”, and both Flutter and Dart are licensed under a permissive BSD 3-Clause license. Google declared Flutter “production ready” in 2018, and the company now claims over two million developers use the Flutter toolkit for application development. Since its release, Flutter has also built a significant open-source community of contributors and applications.

          Originally, Flutter was a toolkit focused on mobile application development targeting only Android and iOS platforms. With the version 1.0 release Google also started experimenting with using Flutter on traditional desktops. In the year and a half since then, Flutter now provides what the project describes as “alpha-quality features” for both macOS and Linux desktop environments. For Linux desktops, Flutter is implemented as a wrapper around GTK+ and according to the project, support for the Windows platform is still under development.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Open-source contact tracing, part 2

        In March 2020, the first contact-tracing app was released; it was TraceTogether in Singapore. As of early July 2020, it had been downloaded over 2.1 million times for a population of Singapore of around 5.8 million. The app uses a protocol called BlueTrace. A reference implementation of the protocol was released under the name of OpenTrace; it includes Android and iOS apps and the server piece. All those elements are released under GPL v3.

        The Git repository seems quiet after the initial release, counting, for example, only five commits to the Android app. It seems likely, then, that the public and private source trees diverged at some point. This looks to be confirmed when we look into the binary TraceTogether app analysis by Frank Liauw, and compare his results with the OpenTrace source code. OpenTrace includes, for example, the same database structure, but does not contain the updates made in TraceTogether. This means that the installed app does not correspond with the released source code, which could mean that some of the privacy characteristics of the app have changed.

        Beyond just the source code, the design paper [PDF] describes the main ideas and details of the protocol. Users are identified by their phone numbers; both global and temporary IDs are generated by the centralized server. The apps may download batches of temporary IDs in advance in order to continue working offline. The proximity tracing is done by Bluetooth and the BlueTrace protocol includes sending the phone model, for distance calibration purposes, along with the temporary ID.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • The sad, slow-motion death of Do Not Track

            “Do Not Track” (DNT) is a simple HTTP header that a browser can send to signal to a web site that the user does not want to be tracked. The DNT header had a promising start and the support of major browsers almost a decade ago. Most web browsers still support sending it, but in 2020 it is almost useless because the vast majority of web sites ignore it. Advertising companies, in particular, argued that its legal status was unclear, and that it was difficult to determine how to interpret the header. There have been some relatively recent attempts at legislation to enforce honoring the DNT header, but those efforts do not appear to be going anywhere. In comparison, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) attempt to solve some of the same problems as DNT but are legally enforceable.

            In 2007, the US Federal Trade Commission was asked [PDF] to create a “Do Not Track” list, similar to the popular “Do Not Call” list. This would have been a list of advertiser domain names that tracked consumer behavior online, and would allow browsers to prevent requests to those sites if the user opted in. However, that approach never got off the ground, and DNT first appeared as a header in 2009, when security researchers Christopher Soghoian, Sid Stamm, and Dan Kaminsky got together to create a prototype.

          • ’90s vibes: Fresh themes for Firefox, video calls and more

            Raise your hand if your watchlists are showing signs of ‘90s reruns. Saved by the Bell, Friends and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air are making comfort TV comebacks along with bike shorts, oversize button-downs and bandanas, which could honestly be the WFH meets socially distant uniform of the summer. Visually the ‘90s give so much in a simple, joyful way. A little neon here, a few shapes there, and whoomp, there it is!

            Get some fresh ’90s styles into your digital day-to-day, with wallpapers, video call backgrounds and browser themes. This collection is here to bring you ‘90s joy without the Macarena playing on the radio all the time.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • Beginner-friendly Terminal-based Text Editor GNU Nano Version 5.0 Released

            Open source text editor GNU nano has reached the milestone of version 5.0. Take a look at what features this new release brings.

            There are plenty terminal-based text editors available for Linux. While editors like Emacs and Vim require a steep learning curve with bunch of unusual keyboard shortcuts, GNU nano is considered easier to use.

            Perhaps that’s the reason why Nano is the default terminal-based text editor in Ubuntu and many other distributions. Upcoming Fedora 33 release is also going to set Nano as the default text editor in terminal.

            GNU nano 5.0 has just been released. Here are the new features it brings.

          • GNU nano 5.0 released
            
            2020.07.29 - GNU nano 5.0  "Among the fields of barley"
            
            • With --indicator (or -q or 'set indicator') nano will show a kind
              of scrollbar on the righthand side of the screen to indicate where
              in the buffer the viewport is located and how much it covers.
            • With <Alt+Insert> any line can be "tagged" with an anchor, and
              <Alt+PageUp> and <Alt+PageDown> will jump to the nearest anchor.
              When using line numbers, an anchor is shown as "+" in the margin.
            • The Execute Command prompt is now directly accessible from the
              main menu (with ^T, replacing the Spell Checker).  The Linter,
              Formatter, Spell Checker, Full Justification, Suspension, and
              Cut-Till-End functions are available in this menu too.
            • On terminals that support at least 256 colors, nine new color
              names are available: pink, purple, mauve, lagoon, mint, lime,
              peach, orange, and latte.  These do not have lighter versions.
            • For the color names red, green, blue, yellow, cyan, magenta,
              white, and black, the prefix 'light' gives a brighter color.
              Prefix 'bright' is deprecated, as it means both bold AND light.
            • All color names can be preceded with "bold," and/or "italic,"
              (in that order) to get a bold and/or italic typeface.
            • With --bookstyle (or -O or 'set bookstyle') nano considers any
              line that begins with whitespace as the start of a paragraph.
            • Refreshing the screen with ^L now works in every menu.
            • In the main menu, ^L also centers the line with the cursor.
            • Toggling the help lines with M-X now works in all menus except
              in the help viewer and the linter.
            • At a filename prompt, the first <Tab> lists the possibilities,
              and these are listed near the bottom instead of near the top.
            • Bindable function 'curpos' has been renamed to 'location'.
            • Long option --tempfile has been renamed to --saveonexit.
            • Short option -S is now a synonym of --softwrap.
            • The New Buffer toggle (M-F) has become non-persistent.  Options
              --multibuffer and 'set multibuffer' still make it default to on.
            • Backup files will retain their group ownership (when possible).
            • Data is synced to disk before "... lines written" is shown.
            • The raw escape sequences for F13 to F16 are no longer recognized.
            • Distro-specific syntaxes, and syntaxes of less common languages,
              have been moved down to subdirectory syntax/extra/.  The affected
              distros and others may wish to move wanted syntaxes one level up.
            • Syntaxes for Markdown, Haskell, and Ada were added.
            
                                        
            
            
          • Nano 5.0 Released As A Big Feature Update To This Easy-To-Use Terminal Text Editor

            The popular GNU Nano terminal text editor has reached version 5.0.

            Nano 5.0 has been released with a number of changes compared to the Nano 4.x series. Among the Nano 5.0 text editor highlights are:

            - The –indicator option can be used to provide a “scrollbar” on the right side of the screen to indicate approximately where in the buffer that the viewport / text is at.

            - The execute command prompt is now directly accessible from the main menu.

            - For terminals supporting at least 256 colors, new recognized color names include: pink, purple, mauve, lagoon, mint, lime, peach, orange, and latte. There are also new “light” variants on a number of existing common colors.

          • New features in gnuplot 5.4

            Gnuplot 5.4 has been released, three years after the last major release of the free-software graphing program. In this article we will take a look at five major new capabilities in gnuplot. First, we briefly visit voxel plotting, for visualizing 3D data. Since this is a big subject and the most significant addition to the program, we’ll save the details for a subsequent article. Next, we learn about plotting polygons in 3D, another completely new gnuplot feature. After that, we’ll get caught up briefly in spider plots, using them to display some recent COVID-19 infection data. Then we’ll see an example of how to use pixmaps, a new feature allowing for the embedding of pictures alongside curves or surfaces. Finally, we’ll look at some more COVID-19 data using the new 3D bar chart.

            A full accounting of all of the improvements and bug fixes in 5.4 can be found in the release notes. More gnuplot history can be found in our May 2017 article on the soon-to-be-released gnuplot version 5.2, which described its new features, some of which have been expanded in 5.4.

      • Programming/Development

        • GCC Sees More Progress On Ability To Parallelize The Compilation Of Large Source Files

          While GCC with GNU Make and other build systems can scale nicely in compiling many files concurrently, there has been an ongoing GCC effort to be able to parallelize more of the GNU Compiler Collection work when compiling large source files.

          Back in the summer of 2019 the work got underway for trying to address the parallelization bottleneck in letting more of the compiler work be parallelized in larger source files.

        • Perl/Raku

          • What’s new on CPAN – June 2020

            Welcome to “What’s new on CPAN”, a curated look at last month’s new CPAN uploads for your reading and programming pleasure. Enjoy!

        • Python

          • Face Mask Detection using Yolo V3

            Face Mask Detection Using Yolo_v3 on Google Colab

            Great you are ready to implement a hands on project ” Face Mask Detection ”

            Requirements
            Windows or Linux
            CMake >= 3.12
            CUDA 10.0
            OpenCV >= 2.4
            GPU with CC >= 3.0

          • Namespaces and Scope in Python

            This tutorial covers Python namespaces, the structures used to organize the symbolic names assigned to objects in a Python program.

            The previous tutorials in this series have emphasized the importance of objects in Python. Objects are everywhere! Virtually everything that your Python program creates or acts on is an object.

            An assignment statement creates a symbolic name that you can use to reference an object. The statement x = ‘foo’ creates a symbolic name x that refers to the string object ‘foo’.

            In a program of any complexity, you’ll create hundreds or thousands of such names, each pointing to a specific object. How does Python keep track of all these names so that they don’t interfere with one another?

          • Django Developers Community Survey 2020

            We’re conducting a seventeen question survey to assess how the community feels about the current Django development process. This was last done in 2015.

            Please take a few minutes to complete the 2020 survey. Your feedback will help guide future efforts.

          • How much fun was EuroPython 2020

            This year I’ve finally got enough courage and will, and I had 2 submissions for #pyconil. COVID-19 had other plans, and #pyconil was canceled

            I’ve told @ultrabug about this (Numberly CTO, Alexys Jacob), after a few weeks he surprised me with telling me he’s gonna present scylla-driver in europython2020, the shard-aware driver we were working on in the last 6 months.

            At the time it wasn’t yet ready nor publish. (Also found out that Numberly were sponsoring europython for years now) Took me a few seconds to figure that he just set me deadline without my consent…

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • An awk corner case?

            So even after years and years of experience, core tools still find ways to surprise me. Today I tried to do some timestamp comparisons with mawk (vnl-filter, to be more precise), and ran into a detail of the language that made it not work. Not a bug, I guess, since both mawk and gawk are affected. I’ll claim “language design flaw”, however.

        • Rust

  • Leftovers

    • Hollywood Is Finally Admitting That the U.S. Is a Lost Cause

      Premiering a film like Tenet only overseas is virtually unprecedented in the internet era, in which it’s common for big movies to launch simultaneously around the world, if not in the U.S. first. With Nolan’s film debuting abroad, it will be hard for Warner Bros. to prevent pirated copies from making their way online, and essentially impossible to stop details about the movie’s secret plot from being revealed to anyone doing a quick Google search.

      Unfortunately, Americans are likely months away from their own theaters reopening under similar circumstances as the countries where Tenet is premiering. As of this writing, China has reported 231 new cases over the past seven days, and South Korea 404; the United States reported 463,109. Though the country’s biggest theater chain, AMC, says it wants to open venues in mid- to late August, it’s not certain that the biggest markets, New York and Los Angeles, will even permit such a thing. Where exactly the movie could screen in the U.S. come Labor Day weekend is unclear.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • 5 Key Demands for the New Coronavirus Bill

        Call your senators at (202) 224-3121 and demand they fight to protect the American people. The window to act is closing, so raise your voice now.

      • Operation Eternal Vengeance: We Pledge to Defeat Any Politician Who Uses Covid-19 to Attack Social Security

        We will defeat every attack on our Social Security, every single time. But special emphasis will be given to any lawmaker who attempts to do so under the cover of this deadly pandemic.

      • Pandemic money Investigative journalists at ‘Proekt’ calculate who won big and came up short in Russia’s coronavirus government contracts

        The Russian state spent 210 billion rubles ($2.9 billion) to procure the goods and services needed to contain the spread of coronavirus, estimates the investigative news website Proekt. Reporters analyzed 90,000 government contracts concluded between March and June 2020. This amount of spending was 88 billion rubles ($1.2 billion) greater than the federal subsidies issued to state agencies and regions charged with implementing Russia’s efforts against COVID-19.

      • Hydroxychloroquine: The Black Knight of treatments for COVID-19

        Truly, hydroxychloroquine is the Black Knight of drugs to treat COVID-19. Monty Python fans will immediately know what I’m talking about, but for those who don’t the Black Knight is a fictional character from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. King Arthur encounters him guarding a rather pathetic bridge in his journeys and asks him to join his quest for the Holy Grail. The Black Knight refuses and then blocks Arthur’s passage. The battle is joined, and Arthur, one by one, chops off all of the Black Knight’s limbs. After each limb is lopped off, the Black Knight says things like, “‘Tis but a scratch” and “I’ve had worse.” Before his last leg is chopped off, the Black Knight proclaims, “I’m invincible,” to which Arthur retorts, “You’re a loony.” After losing his last limb, the Black Knight concedes, “All right, we’ll call it a draw.” Then, as Arthur rides off, the Black Knight yells, “Oh. Oh, I see. Running away, eh? You yellow bastards! Come back here and take what’s coming to ya! I’ll bite your legs off!”

      • The pandemic is raising concerns about how teens use technology. But there’s still a lot we don’t know.

        As the US continues to struggle to contain the Covid-19 pandemic and social distancing recommendations remain in place, millions of US children and adolescents aren’t expected to attend school in-person in the fall — meaning they’ll often be stuck inside their homes and using the internet as a primary means of human connection. The situation has resurfaced a longstanding, difficult-to-answer question: Is technology going to ruin my teenager’s brain?

        For years, some have blamed the growing rate of teenagers suffering from mental health issues in the US on the drastic increase in how much they’re engaging with digital devices compared to previous generations — but there isn’t much hard evidence to back up those claims.

      • The Danger of Blue Light Is Real. Protect Your Eyes With Blue Light Glasses.

        When we talk about blue light, we are talking about the blue hues of the visible light spectrum, between 380 and 500 nanometers. And to be clear, it’s not all bad. In fact, exposure to natural blue light during daytime hours is essential. During the day, blue light signals to your brain that it’s time to be awake, enhancing attention, energy, and mood. However, exposure to blue light at night is scientifically proven to suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that tells your brain when it’s time to be quiet and go to sleep. When melatonin production is disrupted on a regular basis, it throws off your circadian rhythm, which is the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. And this can lead to insomnia.

        But sleep is not the only thing negatively affected by blue light. Scientists have known for a long time that blue light plays a role in macular degeneration. Now, thanks to optical chemistry researchers and the University of Toledo, we know why.

      • Even mild coronavirus cases can cause lasting cardiovascular damage, study shows

        The study published Monday in JAMA Cardiology details the results of cardiac MRI exams of 100 recovered coronavirus patients. Twenty-eight of them required oxygen supplementation while fighting the virus, while just two were on ventilators. But 78 of them still had cardiovascular abnormalities after recovery, with 60 of them showing “ongoing myocardial inflammation,” the study shows. These conditions appeared to be independent of case severity and pre-existing conditions, though JAMA researchers note these findings need a larger study.

      • Evidence of Smallpox Infection in First Millennium Scandinavian Viking Settlements

        One of the signal public health achievements/victories of the 20th Century is the eradication of smallpox (variola virus, VARV) announced by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1980; it has been estimated that smallpox infection killed 300-500 million people in the 20th Century alone. (A compelling example of the effects of smallpox in 18th Century America can be found in Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-1782, by Elizabeth A Fenn.) Fortuitously arriving before the advent of antivaxxers, the Internet, and proliferation of misinformed (at best) amateurs on social media, WHO, supported by most of the Western world was able to track down and subdue (by vaccination) outbreaks of the disease which has no known animal host reservoir. While a theoretical possibility ever since Jenner used the insight that milkmaids were “naturally” immune due to encountering vaccinia virus from cows in 1796, it took the organization (and relative wealth) of the post-war world and the auspices of the United Nations to remove a viral scourge known from time immemorial.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Linux Foundation Launches Open Source COVID Group [Ed: They are tactlessly associating “Linux” with mass surveillance]

                The Linux Foundation has set up a group to bring together a number of open source projects that are working to fight COVID-19. The Linux Foundation Public Health (LFPH) builds, secures, and sustains open source software to help public health authorities (PHAs) combat COVID-19 and future epidemics.

                [...]

                The Linux Foundation says LFPH will initially focus on exposure notification applications like COVID Green and COVID Shield that use the GAEN system, after which it will expand to support all aspects of PHA’s testing, tracing, and isolation activities.

                COVID Shield was developed by a volunteer team of more than 40 developers from Shopify along with members of the Ontario and Canadian Digital Services. and is in the process of being deployed in Canada. While not an official Shopify project, the efforts were supported by Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke.

              • VMware Hands Control of Kubernetes Ingress Project Contour Over to CNCF

                Joe Beda, one of its creators, said one reason for the move was reassuring non-VMware developers that Contour’s development wouldn’t be steered by a single company.

              • Success Story: Linux System Administration Training and Certification Leads to New Career

                Fabian Pichardo has worked with multiple hardware platforms such as Nvidia, Xilinx, Microchip, and National Instruments, and is skilled in languages such as C++, Python, Matlab and Julia. During university, Fabian created the Mechatronic Student Society to offer programming training for newbies and demonstrate new technology trends.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Wednesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (curl, firefox-esr, luajit, and salt), Fedora (clamav, java-1.8.0-openjdk, and java-11-openjdk), Gentoo (claws-mail, dropbear, ffmpeg, libetpan, mujs, mutt, and rsync), openSUSE (qemu), Red Hat (openstack-tripleo-heat-templates), SUSE (freerdp, ldb, rubygem-puma, samba, and webkit2gtk3), and Ubuntu (mysql-5.7, mysql-8.0 and sympa).

          • Mozilla Addons Blog: Openness and security: a balancing act for the add-ons ecosystem

            Add-ons offer a powerful way for people to customize their web experience in Firefox. From content blocking and media enhancement to productivity tooling, add-ons allow third-party developers to create, remix, and share new products and experiences for the web. The same extensibility that allows developers to create utility and delight in Firefox, however, can also be used by malicious actors to harvest and sell user data.

            With an ecosystem of 20,000+ extensions hosted on addons.mozilla.org (AMO), hundreds of thousands of self-distributed extensions, and millions of users around the world, finding the right balance between openness and security is a key challenge for our small team. Developers need to feel supported on our platform, and users need to feel safe installing add-ons, so we continually make adjustments to balance these interests.

          • Equation Group is alive and kicking and active in Russia: Group-IB report

            After what seems like an eternity, a security company has dared to mention the unmentionable: the US does have advanced persistent threats or nation-state attack groups which are active.

            Singapore-based Group-IB listed the Equation Group, which is generally acknowledged as being a part of the NSA. It was originally discovered and named by Russian security outfit Kaspersky. In its latest Hi-Tech Crime Trends report for 2019-20, Group-IB pointed out that the Equation Group was operating against Russia and countries formed from the break-up of the former Soviet Union.

            Of itself, Group−IB says it is a leading provider of high‐fidelity adversary tracking and threat attribution framework, and best‐in‐class anti‐APT and online fraud prevention solutions

          • Billions of Devices Impacted by Secure Boot Bypass

            The “BootHole” bug could allow cyberattackers to load malware, steal information and move laterally into corporate, OT ,IoT and home networks.

            Billions of Windows and Linux devices are vulnerable to cyberattacks stemming from a bug in the GRUB2 bootloader, researchers are warning.

            GRUB2 (which stands for the GRand Unified Bootloader version 2) is the default bootloader for the majority of computing systems. Its job is to manage part of the start-up process – it either presents a menu and awaits user input, or automatically transfers control to an operating system kernel.

          • BootHole GRUB2 Bootloader Security Exploit Discovered, Affects Billions Of Windows And Linux Devices

            A buffer overflow occurs when more data is pushed into a buffer than it can handle. This data still needs a place to go and it therefore often overflows into nearby memory spaces. This “overflow” can corrupt or overwrite the data that was originally in the memory space. Attackers can then abuse this situation to run arbitrary code and cause major problems with a device.

            Secure Boot processes are typically walled off from administrative level users. However, in this scenario, the bootloader parses a configuration file located in the EFI system partition. As a result, any user with administrator access can modify grub.cfg. Furthermore, the configuration file is typically implemented as an unsigned text file. Any changes to the configuration file therefore go unchecked.
            In the example provided by the researchers, Eclypsium found they could use the modified configuration file to pass a token too large for flex’s parse buffer. It called the function “YY_FATAL_ERROR()”. This threw an error code, but did not halt the execution. Flex never checks for YY_FATAL_ERROR() to return, so it continued to call and copy a token that was too large for the buffer. According to the researchers, this issue “overwrites critical structures in the heap.”

          • New Security Hole Puts Windows and Linux Users at Risk

            If you are a Windows or Linux user, brace yourself for a long siege of vulnerability nightmares. The fix will be long and treacherous and could brick your computers.

            Eclypsium researchers Wednesday released details of a set of newly discovered vulnerabilities dubbed “BootHole” that opens up billions of Windows and Linux devices to attacks.

          • ‘BootHole’ attack impacts Windows and Linux systems using GRUB2 and Secure Boot
          • ‘BootHole’ Secure Boot Threat Found In Most Every Linux Distro, Windows 8 And 10

            A high-rated security vulnerability in the Secure Boot function of the majority of laptops, desktops, workstations and servers has been confirmed. Here’s what you need to know about BootHole.

            Security researchers at Eclypsium discovered a vulnerability that affects the bootloader used by ‘virtually every’ Linux system, and almost every Windows device using Secure Boot with Microsoft’s standard Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) certificate authority.

          • Linux distros fix new Boothole bug

            Secure boot, despite the name, isn’t as secure as we’d like. Security company Eclypsium discovered a security hole in GRUB2: Boothole. Linux users know GRUB2 as one of the most commonly used bootloaders. As such, this security problem makes any machine potentially vulnerable to a possible attack — the keyword is “potentially.”

            BootHole enables hackers to insert and execute malicious code during the boot-loading process. Once planted there, the nasty bootkit payload can allow attackers to plant code that later take over the operating system. Fortunately, Linux distro developers were warned of this problem, and most of them have already issued patches.

          • A long list of GRUB2 secure-boot holes

            Several vulnerabilities have been disclosed in the GRUB2 bootloader; they enable the circumvention of the UEFI secure boot mechanism and the persistent installation of hostile software. Fixing the problem is not just a matter of getting a new GRUB2 installation, unfortunately. “It is important to note that updating the exploitable binaries does not in fact mitigate the CVE, since an attacker could bring an old, exploitable, signed copy of a grub binary onto a system with whatever kernel they wished to load. In order to mitigate, the UEFI Revocation List (dbx) must be updated on a system. Once the UEFI Revocation List is updated on a system, it will no longer boot binaries that pre-date these fixes. This includes old install media.”

          • Mitigating BootHole – ‘There’s a hole in the boot’ – CVE-2020-10713 and related vulnerabilities

            Today we released updates for a series of vulnerabilities termed ‘There’s a hole in the boot’ / BootHole in GRUB2 (GRand Unified Bootloader version 2) that could allow an attacker to subvert UEFI Secure Boot. The original vulnerability, CVE-2020-10713, which is a high priority vulnerability was alerted to Canonical in April 2020. Since then seven related vulnerabilities have been discovered by Canonical and we have worked with the wider open source community and Microsoft to provide the mitigations which have been released today for Ubuntu and other major Linux distributions.

            In this blog post, we will explain more about the vulnerabilities and a behind-the-scenes look about how they were fixed in a coordinated manner across the entire open source ecosystem. To discover the in-depth details of the CVEs and the updated packages which fix the associated vulnerabilities, please visit our Ubuntu Security Knowledge Base article.

          • Flaw in GRUB 2 Boot Loader Threatens Many Linux Systems

            There is a newly discovered vulnerability in a widely deployed boot loader that is included in most Linux distributions that could give an attacker access to the earliest portions of a computer’s start-up process and eventually complete control of the system. The flaw in the GRUB 2 boot loader can also affect other systems that uses UEFI Secure Boot, including Windows computers, under some specific conditions.

            The vulnerability (CVE-2020-10713) potentially affects hundreds of millions of devices, including embedded systems, network devices, IoT devices, as well as servers, desktops, and laptops. The flaw is a buffer overflow in the GRUB 2 bootloader, and though an exploit against it could grant complete control over the target system, the attacker would need privileged access to the machine in order to exploit the vulnerability. Researchers at Eclypsium discovered the bug in April and have been collaborating with dozens of affected vendors and project teams, including Microsoft and various Linux distributions. Although fixes will be rolling out beginning today, it could be several months before most affected devices are patched, thanks to the complexity of the Secure Boot process and the difficulty of getting the fix to some of the devices.

          • BootHole Blows Hole In GRUB2 Bootloader Security, Including UEFI SecureBoot

            A major vulnerability in the GRUB2 boot-loader has been made public today that compromises its UEFI SecureBoot capabilities.

            This vulnerability dubbed “BootHole” can allow for malicious code to be inserted into the system at early boot time via GRUB and can even be exploited on UEFI SecureBoot enabled systems.

          • BootHole and Seven Other Vulnerabilities Patched in GRUB2, Update Your Distros Now

            Developers from several popular GNU/Linux distributions coordinated the release of updates for the GRUB2 bootloader, which is used in almost all distros to allow users to patch their systems against no less than eight security vulnerabilities, the most serious of them all being dubbed as BootHole (CVE-2020-10713) and discovered by Jesse Michael and Mickey Shkatov from Eclypsium.

            Canonical reports today that they’ve been aware of the BootHole vulnerability since April 2020, and they worked with many developers from other well known Linux distributions, such as Debian, as well as developers from Microsoft to mitigate the security issue and release updates for users.

            But before releasing updates for the GRUB2 bootloader to address the BootHole vulnerability, Canonical’s security team decided to look for other possible vulnerabilities and it turns out they discovered seven more, including CVE-2020-14308, CVE-2020-14309, CVE-2020-14310, CVE-2020-14311, CVE-2020-15706, and CVE-2020-15707.

          • SUSE addresses BootHole security exposure

            Security researchers from Eclypsium have published an attack called BootHole today. This attack requires root access to the bootloader used in Linux operating systems, GRUB2. It bypasses normal Secure Boot protections to persistently install malicious code which cannot be detected by the operating system.

            Given the need for root access to the bootloader, the described attack appears to have limited relevance for most cloud computing, data center and personal device scenarios, unless these systems are already compromised by another known attack. However, it does create an exposure when untrusted users can access a machine, e.g. bad actors in classified computing scenarios or computers in public spaces operating in unattended kiosk mode. These are scenarios which Secure Boot was intended to protect against.

            SUSE has released fixed grub2 packages which close the BootHole vulnerability for all SUSE Linux products, and is releasing corresponding Linux kernel packages, cloud image and installation media updates. Please follow the normal update procedure to install them. Should you be unsure about your company’s procedure, please consult your local system administrator.

          • Vulnerability found in GRUB2 bootloader, nicknamed ‘BootHole’, comproming Secure Boot

            Users of the popular bootloader may want to update their systems in order to mitigate the danger of this new exploit.

            It’s been revealed that a series of bugs in GRUB2 compromises the chain of trust in a Secure Boot-enabled system. You can read about the full scope of the exploit here but the short of it is that arbitrary code can be executed by an attacker on virtually any system running GRUB2 and using Secure Boot. The attack allows modification of GRUB2’s configuration file and allows for privilege escalation which could potentially mean that intrusions can go undetected by booted operating systems.

            Now, most of the risk comes from an attacker already having some level of privileges but this is still something that should give system administrators some pause. And while Windows systems are theoretically vulnerable as well, it’s far likelier that systems affected in the wild will be running Linux.

            Researchers from Eclypsium were responsible for identifying this vulnerability and have responsibly disclosed the bug to maintainers and the wider ecosystem. Expect package updates in your distro sometime soon. Even then, updates aren’t a complete solution as the keys that Secure Boot rely upon also have to be updated and older ones blacklisted. The Debian project have a good overview of what should be done and I expect that other distributions will follow suit with their own advice on how to deal with this exploit.

          • Sandworm details the group behind the worst cyberattacks in history [iophk: Windows TCO]

            Andy and Nilay discuss the origins of Sandworm, the intricacies and ramifications of their attacks, and what mysteries and situations are still left unsolved. Listen here or in your preferred podcast player to hear the entire conversation.

            Below is a lightly edited excerpt from the conversation.

          • Industrial Systems Can Be [Cr]acked Remotely via VPN Vulnerabilities

            In Secomea GateManager, which allows users to connect to the internal network from the internet through an encrypted tunnel, researchers discovered multiple security holes, including weaknesses that can be exploited to overwrite arbitrary data (CVE-2020-14500), execute arbitrary code, cause a DoS condition, execute commands as root by connecting via hardcoded Telnet credentials, and obtain user passwords due to weak hashing.

          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

            • Sneaky Doki Linux malware infiltrates Docker cloud instances [Ed: More exaggeration]

              Attackers are targeting misconfigured cloud-based docker instances running on Linux distributions with an undetectable strand of malware.

              Dubbed Doki, the malware strand is part of the Ngrok Cryptominer Botnet campaign, active since at least 2018.

              What makes Doki particularly interesting is its dynamic behavior regarding how it connects to its command and control (C2) infrastructure.

            • New form of Linux malware has a clever use for the Dogecoin API

              As more businesses shift their workloads to cloud environments, Linux threats are becoming increasingly common and cybercriminals have devised new tools and techniques to launch attacks against Linux infrastructure.

              One technique they often employ is scanning for publicly accessible Docker servers and then abusing misconfigured Docker API ports to set up their own containers and execute malware on their victim’s infrastructure. The Ngrok botnet is one of the longest ongoing attack campaigns that leverages this technique and a new report from Intezer Labs shows that it takes only a few hours for a new misconfigured Docker server to be infected by this campaign.

              Recently though, the company detected a new malware payload, which they dubbed Doki, that differs from the usual cryptominers typically deployed in this kind of attack. What sets Doki apart from other malware is that it leverages the Dogecoin API to determine the URL of the its operator’s command and control (C&C) server.

            • TrickBot’s new Linux malware covertly infects Windows devices [Ed: “TrickBot is a multi-purpose Windows malware platform that uses different modules to perform various malicious activities, including information stealing, password stealing, Windows domain infiltration,” but let’s blame is on Linux?

              TrickBot’s Anchor malware platform has been ported to infect Linux devices and compromise further high-impact and high-value targets using covert channels.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Court Denies EFF, ACLU Effort to Unseal Ruling Rejecting DOJ Effort to Break Encryption

              A federal appeals court last week refused to unseal a court order that reportedly stopped the Justice Department from forcing Facebook to break the encryption it offers to users of its Messenger application.

              The unpublished decision ends an effort by EFF, ACLU, and Stanford cybersecurity scholar Riana Pfefferkorn to unseal the 2018 ruling from a Fresno, California federal court. The ruling denied an attempt by the Justice Department to hold Facebook in contempt for refusing to decrypt Messenger voice calls. Despite the fact that the ruling has significant implications for Internet users’ security and privacy—and that the only public details about the case come from media reports—the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld an earlier decision by the trial court that the public had no right to access the court decision or related records.

            • Why EFF Doesn’t Support California Proposition 24

              This November, Californians will be called upon to vote on a ballot initiative called the California Privacy Rights Act, or Proposition 24. EFF does not support it; nor does EFF oppose it.

              EFF works across the country to enact and defend laws that empower technology users to control how businesses process their personal information. The best consumer data privacy laws require businesses to get consumers’ opt-in consent before processing their data; bar data processing except as necessary to give consumers what they asked for (often called “data minimization”); forbid “pay for privacy” schemes that pressure all consumers, and especially those with lower incomes, to surrender their privacy rights; and let consumers sue businesses that break these rules. In California, we’ve worked with other privacy advocates to try to pass these kinds of strengthening amendments to our existing California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

            • Key questions raised about algorithmic transparency by new GDPR case brought against Uber by its drivers

              Back in 2017, this blog noted a new threat to privacy from the increasing use of workplace surveillance. Once people’s work is quantified automatically, it can then be used for algorithmic management, as we described this year. The coronavirus lockdown has led to millions of people working from home for the first time. As well as presenting numerous issues for workers, it also brings with it new challenges for managers. Some fear that people aren’t working as efficiently as they could, when at home, and this has presented an opportunity for office surveillance systems. For example, MIT Technology Review discusses Enaible:

            • Everything you need to know from the tech antitrust hearing

              The CEOs of Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon testified in Congress today — trying to convince the House Judiciary Committee that their business practices don’t amount to anti-competitive monopolies. It’s one of the biggest tech oversight moments in recent years, part of a long-running antitrust investigation that has mustered hundreds of hours of interviews and over a million documents from the companies in question.

            • The beginning of the end for Big Tech? Congress grills Facebook & Amazon over abuse of market power

              Despite the ongoing political theater, and random shouts at members about mask etiquette (“put your mask on!”), the testimony soon began to question the execs in earnest. After about an hour into the event, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) went back and forth with Zuckerberg over internal company emails, which have now been uploaded by the subcommittee. In one rather revealing email, Zuckerberg explains that acquiring companies like Instagram and Foursquare will give Facebook “a year or more to integrate their dynamics before anyone can get close to their scale again.” It’s this kind of evidence lawmakers will use in determining if Facebook is a monopoly or not. Zuckerberg was later questioned about threatening rivals, which he denied.

            • The creator of Inbox is ready to save Google from itself

              Leggett has just announced the launch of a new full-time business called Simplify. Its goal, as he puts it, is to improve the not-so-optimal design of web services from the outside — using his coding and design chops and relying on regular ol’ web extensions as a vehicle for delivering his vision. And if that sounds slightly familiar, it should.

              Last spring, Leggett created a browser extension called Simplify Gmail (which is available for Chrome as well as for Firefox and even Edge). I wrote about it in this same space and still rely on it personally to this day. It’s no exaggeration to say the simple-seeming software has completely changed the way I interact with Gmail. It remakes Gmail into a totally different beast — one that doesn’t resemble Inbox directly, in terms of its interface or style, but absolutely does bring to mind the concepts that made Inbox beloved by so many productivity-minded email monsters (myself included).

            • Jeff Bezos Drops $10 Million on the House Next Door

              As one might expect from the planet’s richest human, Bezos has a well-documented affinity for buying his neighbors’ homes. Back in the late ’90s, he acquired several properties around his Seattle estate, and he also owns four apartments in the same Art Deco-style Manhattan building, three of them acquired from music executive Tommy Mottola.

            • Rite Aid deployed facial recognition systems in hundreds of U.S. stores

              In the hearts of New York and metro Los Angeles, Rite Aid deployed the technology in largely lower-income, non-white neighborhoods, according to a Reuters analysis. And for more than a year, the retailer used state-of-the-art facial recognition technology from a company with links to China and its authoritarian government.

              In telephone and email exchanges with Reuters since February, Rite Aid confirmed the existence and breadth of its facial recognition program. The retailer defended the technology’s use, saying it had nothing to do with race and was intended to deter theft and protect staff and customers from violence. Reuters found no evidence that Rite Aid’s data was sent to China.

              Last week, however, after Reuters sent its findings to the retailer, Rite Aid said it had quit using its facial recognition software. It later said all the cameras had been turned off.

            • The Garmin hack could have been a disastrous, large scale privacy breach

              Garmin recently suffered a ransomware attack that crippled services for days. The ransomware attack could have been a cover for a more targeted attack on individuals around the world. This wouldn’t be the first time that a more public facing hack ends up being a smokescreen for a more targeted attack. In the recent Twitter hack, most people were bedazzled by the amounts of bitcoin being sent to the bitcoin addresses posted by the compromised accounts of the likes of Bill Gates, Joe Biden, and Elon Musk. The thing is, private direct messages for eight targets were downloaded amid all that mess and the full ramifications of the hack have yet to be felt. While there’s no indication from Garmin – and in fact there is adamant denial on their end – that customers’ personal information or location was accessed, it very easily could have been and that mere fact should scare you greatly.

            • The Garmin Ransomware [Attack] Is Horrifying

              “For consumers, Garmin clearly represents a repository of really detailed information. You turn on your thing when you leave your residence, and you turn it off when you get home. Sometimes, you take a jog in the middle of the day and you’re trying to collect steps at work. These are all things that speak of who you are and what you do and where you live, and can all be quickly turned into identifying information,” John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto, told Motherboard.

              “A couple of years ago, I coined the term fit leaking to describe what happens when fitness tracking is used for intelligence gathering,” he added.

              While most Garmin smartwatches do not connect to the internet natively and store workout information on the devices themselves, the Garmin Connect app does not allow users to transfer their workout information to the app without storing it on Garmin’s servers. Garmin allows users to “Opt Out” of sharing workout information with the company, but opting out makes the app essentially useless: “our apps and websites can still be used to manage device settings and notifications [if you opt out],” the company says, but no workout data will be displayed.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Yemen: A Torrent of Suffering in a Time of Siege

        It’s time for the world to demand an end to the policy-driven humanitarian crisis.

      • India Nuclear posture, Policy Shift from No First use to First Use

        Moving away from no first use policy will have severe implications on India. First is that adopting a FU option will put both India and Pakistan in the dilemma of first-strike instability for which Pakistan might have fear for survivability. India having a policy, is a firewall in a potential conflict between both India and Pakistan.

      • ‘Silence not the answer’ on jailed Australian lecturer

        It has now emerged that Dr Moore-Gilbert has been moved from Tehran’s Evin Prison, known as a detention centre for foreign political prisoners, to Qarchak women’s prison south of the capital. Qarchak is notorious for its crowded conditions and lack of hygiene, nutritious food and medical care, while inmates have reportedly been infected with Covid-19.

      • Colombia’s Emberá: From rainforest violence to urban want

        Unable to earn a living since the Colombian government imposed a countrywide lockdown in late March, hundreds of Indigenous Emberá who fled violence and poverty in their rainforest reserves are now having to confront the COVID-19 crisis with little assistance.

        Most have been living for months – some, for years – in overcrowded guesthouses in the capital, Bogotá. If they can’t pay the rent, they are evicted. They have no formal access to healthcare and some are weak from malnutrition.

        On Tuesday, as the Andean nation continues to experience a surge in coronavirus cases, Colombian President Iván Duque said the mandatory movement restrictions – and resulting economic fallout – will remain in place at least until the end of August.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • The Perils and Possibilities of Billionaire Charitable Giving: MacKenzie Scott (Bezos) Makes Her First Move

        Philanthropy is at risk of becoming another extension of the private power of plutocrats, alongside monopoly ownership and media domination.

      • A Privately Funded Border Wall Was Already at Risk of Collapsing if Not Fixed. Hurricane Hanna Made It Worse.

        Intense rain over the weekend from Hurricane Hanna left gaping holes and waist-deep cracks on the banks of the Rio Grande that threaten the long-term stability of a privately funded border fence that is already the focus of lawsuits over its proximity to the river in South Texas.

        The damage comes at the start of what is projected to be an active hurricane season, which runs through Nov. 30.

      • How the Trump Administration Allowed Aviation Companies to Keep Relief Money That Was Supposed to Go to Workers

        This spring, as the coronavirus spread and international travel bans grounded flights, Gebrish Weldemariam got a layoff letter from his airline catering job at Dulles International Airport.

        He’d been working as a driver making more than $18 per hour for Flying Food Group, ferrying in-flight meals between the company’s kitchen and gated planes waiting on the tarmac. Between overtime at the airport and a part-time job driving buses on the side, Weldemariam felt that times were good. Last fall, with his wife expecting a fourth child, the family bought a house not far from the airport, allowing him to be nearby to help care for his oldest son, who has Down syndrome and needs constant attention.

      • Mephistopheles of Wall Street: Goldman Sachs, 1MDB and the Malaysian Settlement

        Malaysia’s politicians were crowing.  “We are confident that we are securing more money from Goldman Sachs compared to previous attempts, which were far below expectations,” stated Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz.  “We are also glad to be able to resolve this outside the court system, which would have cost a lot of time, money and resources.”

      • Why I’m Staying in the Stock Market

        That’s probably the smartest, and it’s what I consider the advanced version of #2.

        Anyway, that’s my plan, and why. And I’d love to hear how your analysis is similar or how it differs.

      • Dismantle Racial Capitalism

        The COVID crisis has cast into stark relief what has always been true: the wealth and prosperity of the U.S. economy rests on the labor, and the lives, of black and brown people.

        [...]

        Black Americans are dying from COVID-19 at almost three times the rate of white Americans. As has been widely noted, black people in this country face a variety of systemic public health risks—including higher pollution in neighborhoods and greater rates of asthma and heart disease—that contribute to this high fatality rate. Black and brown people are also more likely to work in industries like food service, care work, shipping, meatpacking, and farm work, where workers are being forced to choose between their lives or their livelihoods, while wealthier white-collar workers are better able to shelter and work remotely.

        The failures of the federal economic response accentuated these disparities. Wealthier and whiter communities gained quick access to Fed funds in money markets, while black and brown businesses were largely left out of the small business Paycheck Protection Program. Though most people received a one-time $1,200 cash support, debt payments and rent are still due. Working-class families must scratch together money to make these payments, while financiers and landlords retain their revenue streams.

        The COVID-19 crisis has cast into stark relief what has always been true: the wealth and prosperity of the U.S. economy rests on the labor, and the lives, of black and brown communities. Systemic racial disparities of wealth and health are woven deeply into the fabric of American capitalism.

        This system of racial capitalism is a result of policy choices that structure our political economy. Modern systems of precarious work are rooted in histories of extractive labor models, from Jim Crow to undocumented immigrant labor. Many black and brown workers were cut out of the twentieth-century New Deal social contract. Zoning policies have deliberately concentrated poverty and pollution—and therefore poor health—in black and brown neighborhoods while securing economic gains and class advantage for wealthier and whiter communities. The rise of predatory systems of student and consumer debt paper over the erosion of the safety net and fuel returns for financial interests. The racialization of public goods, from healthcare to welfare to food stamps, has helped drive austerity and the dismantling of the safety net.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Goya Feels the Heat
      • How Covid–19 Could Upend Geopolitics

        This changes everything (or nothing).

      • Covid-19 Can Change International Politics Forever

        I don’t trust you.

      • To Stop Trump’s Military Police State, the House Needs to Withhold Funding From Trump’s Department of Homeland Security

        Trump’s use of  federal agencies to turn our country into a police state is not only unconstitutional. It is straight out of the playbook of the fascist leaders he admires and emulates, and it poses an existential threat to our democracy.

      • What Has Happened to Police Filmed Hurting Protesters? So Far, Very Little.

        It has been almost two months since a Los Angeles Police Department patrol car accelerated into Brooke Fortson during a protest over police violence. She still doesn’t know the name of the officer who hit her or whether that person is still policing the city’s streets. The officer did not stop after hitting Fortson and instead turned around, nearly hitting other demonstrators in the process, and sped off.

        The LAPD almost surely knows who the officer is. The squad car’s number is clearly visible in one of the multiple videos that captured the incident. But the department hasn’t released any information: not the officer’s name, or whether that person has been disciplined. The police say the incident is still under investigation.

      • No Moaning for the Barr
      • AG Bill Barr Grilled by House Lawmakers on Protest Crackdown, Voter Suppression & Pandemic Failures

        We play highlights from Attorney General William Barr’s grilling by the House Judiciary Committee over how he sent militarized federal forces to confront Black Lives Matter protesters, and his opposition to voting by mail, and get response from a close friend of Congressmember John Lewis who is now running for Senate. “In spite of the machinations of Donald Trump and those who do his bidding, including the attorney general, the good news is that we’re seeing a multiracial coalition of people pouring out into American streets,” responds Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, “saying that we’re concerned about the soul of our democracy.” Rev. Warnock is running as a Democrat for Senate in Georgia.

      • Killing Democracy in America

        The phrase “thinking about the unthinkable” has always been associated with the unthinkable cataclysm of a nuclear war, and rightly so. Lately, though, I’ve been pondering another kind of unthinkable scenario, nearly as nightmarish (at least for a democracy) as a thermonuclear Armageddon, but one that’s been rolling out in far slower motion: that America’s war on terror never ends because it’s far more convenient for America’s leaders to keep it going — until, that is, it tears apart anything we ever imagined as democracy.

      • Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple CEOs are trying to use China to manipulate Congress

        That’s the line of attack that Sundar Pichai, Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos are prepared for. As members of Congress question Big Tech’s implications for market competition in digital media, they must ask whether these companies unfairly prevent smaller players from being competitive. Do they acknowledge their monopoly status within certain markets? Are they building and planning in ways designed to increase their economic power and market influence even further over time?

      • Congress to Question Tech CEOs About Market Dominance

        The hearing also shines a spotlight on U.S. regulators and lawmakers, whose job it is to set policies and enforce laws that stop firms from using their market dominance to kill competition. They have been under increasing criticism from some antitrust experts that the government’s oversight of these giants has been weak, especially compared to stronger enforcement in Europe.

        In recent years, the tone has changed in Washington from one of caution about taking on Big Tech to one of resolve that something has to be done, Kovacic said.

      • Congrats, Dems: You Just Let Trump’s Chief Henchman Off the Hook

        If you watch a lot of congressional hearings (and congratulations to those who do not), the thing that likely struck you was how quickly this much-anticipated event reverted to the familiar melodrama of so many other congressional hearings.

        Democrats, who are in control of the Judiciary Committee, made soaring speeches about the rule of law, and tacked on a couple of questions at the end. Republicans made craven speeches in hopes of a presidential retweet. And Barr answered what questions he liked, ignored what questions he didn’t like, and generally stalled or obfuscated during the brief moments representatives stopped speechifying long enough for him to say anything.

        This was congressional theater in its purest form, with all sides (Democrats, Republicans, and Barr) trying to score “points” for some nonexistent scorekeeper. Liberal Twitter erupted with praise for particularly incisive speeches from Democrats. White-wing Twitter expressed glee every time Representative Jim Jordan speed-talked a Republican conspiracy theory into the record. Cable news hosts graded the effectiveness of particular representatives. The only thing missing was Jeff Probst handing out immunity idols to the participants.

      • The Senate Has Always Favored Smaller States. It Just Didn’t Help Republicans Until Now.

        On the one hand, the Senate has always been unequal, long giving less populous states an outsized voice relative to their population. But for more than a century, this hasn’t posed much of an issue: Until the 1960s, Republicans and Democrats competed for both densely and sparsely populated states at roughly the same rate

        But over the last several decades, that’s changed. The parties have reorganized themselves along urban-rural lines, and there is now a clear and pronounced partisan small-state bias in the Senate thanks to mostly rural, less populated states voting increasingly Republican. In fact, it’s reached the point that Republicans can win a majority of Senate seats while only representing a minority of Americans.

      • Pranks as Political Activism: From the Yippies to TikTok

        Bogad explains the idea of tactical performance as a force multiplier or a voice amplifier for activist groups. By symbolically subverting authority and collapsing established hierarchy, pranks have become important tools for grassroots political movements — creative, transgressive, and attention-grabbing forms of resistance.

      • What a new president means for Burundi

        A former army general with reformist credentials was sworn in as president of Burundi last month following the sudden death of Pierre Nkurunziza, whose extended and authoritarian rule set off a political crisis that caused hundreds of thousands of people to flee to neighbouring countries.

        But the appointment of a new government that includes ruling party hardliners, and continuing accounts of violence and arrests of opposition supporters during the first few weeks of President Évariste Ndayishimiye’s administration, suggest the prospect of change remains slim in the East African country.

        Several refugees who spoke to The New Humanitarian from underfunded camps in neighbouring Tanzania said they have no current plans to go back home – despite cuts to basic food rations, restrictions on their livelihoods, and periodic threats of forced repatriation.

        “The majority think it is too much to make the decision to return,” said one refugee, who asked for his name to be withheld. “The death of Nkurunziza did not change anything.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Banning Books

        From abducting civilians and journalist’s to banning books, there lies a bewildered dystopia. A Punjab Assembly board has chosen to boycott appropriation of three books by various writers, other than a day by day paper, and start lawful activity against in excess of hundred online networking IDs for supposedly containing irreverent substance. The Special Committee-6, which met at the get together secretariat here on Thursday under the seat of Law Minister Muhammad Basharat Raja, chose to boycott distribution as well as dissemination of The First Muslim and After the Prophet, the two works by outside creator Lesley Hazleton, and History of Islam by Mazharul Haq. The melancholic history of burning and banning Books has its roots back to when the Chinese emperor Shih Haung Ti buried alive 460 Confucian scholars to control the writings of History in his time. In 212 B.C, he burned all the books in his kingdom retaining only a single copy of each for the royal library. In the case of Pakistan, ideas of intellectuals that are allowed into the mainstream are sublimated through the meniscus of state ideology.

      • UN “concerned” by the new social media bill in Turkey

        The statement continued: “Under the draft bill, which reportedly will be discussed in parliament soon, social media companies would be required to appoint a representative within Turkey. If the companies fail to comply, they would face steep fines and the possibility of having their bandwidth slashed to the point that people in Turkey will not have any meaningful access to their site. The wholesale blocking of websites is not compatible with the right to freedom of expression. The same is true for measures that render websites effectively inaccessible, such as deliberate limitations to available bandwidth.”

        Throssell stressed that the law would also require that companies store all data of their Turkish customers within Turkey, undermining people’s right to communicate anonymously; “The law would also introduce extremely short deadlines for responding to content take-down requests by individuals and the courts. This in combination with the threat of legal liability and fines would provide strong incentives for over-compliance with take-down requests. We are also concerned about expanding the State’s power to demand removal of reporting from news websites.”

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Protests continue outside Belmarsh Prison in support of Julian Assange

        Joe Brack, a member of the Julian Assange Defence Committee, said: “The Saturday vigil has been going on for quite a few months now just to keep in mind that Julian Assange is in this Borough of Woolwich, in the super-maximum-security prison, and we won’t tolerate it because he is a journalist who has only told the truth.”

      • Julian Assange’s Political Indictment: Old Wine In Older Bottles

        What we know to date is that restrictions and shackles on Assange’s case are the order of the day. Restricted processes that do nothing to enable him to see counsel and enable a good brief to be exercised are typical. Most of all, the ceremonial circus that we have come to expect of British justice in the menacing shadow of US intimidation has become gloomily extensive. On July 27, that circus was given yet another act, another limping performance. As before, the venue was the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London.

      • The most dangerous case against press freedom continues in silence

        Conflating [cr]acking and journalism.

        The Trump administration has coupled the Espionage Act indictment with two computer [cr]acking charges.

        The former [cr]acking charge alleges Assange “conspired” with US Army intelligence officer Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning to [cr]ack – rather than receive leaked documents from – a US government computer. The second [cr]acking charge, part of the recent indictment released in June, alleges Wikileaks worked with fellow [cr]acking groups LulzSec and Anonymous to obtain classified US documents.

      • NYPD subpoenaed reporter’s phone records in leak case

        “It is inexcusable that the New York Police Department would subpoena a journalist’s phone records, potentially exposing the journalist’s sources without their knowledge or consent,” said CPJ Program Director Carlos Martinez de la Serna. “The NYPD must disclose to the journalist what, if any, information they obtained from AT&T, and should refrain from pursuing such data in the future.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Civil Rights Icon Bernard Lafayette on His Friend John Lewis, Freedom Rides & Practicing Nonviolence

        We revisit civil rights leader and Congressmember John Lewis’s early years of activism with Bernard Lafayette, one of Lewis’s closest friends and collaborators. Lafayette participated with Lewis in the first Freedom Rides of 1961 as they attempted to integrate buses and faced brutal beatings by white mobs, and was a fellow leader in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Lewis “knew how to relate to people who were different from him and who had different orientations, different values, different philosophies, and that’s why he was such a great leader,” Lafayette says. “He found a way to make a way.”

      • Rev. Warnock of Ebenezer Baptist Church on Legacy of John Lewis & Ongoing Fight for Voting Rights

        We look at the life and legacy of late civil rights icon and Georgia Congressmember John Lewis, who is being mourned across the U.S. and who became the first Black politician to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. “The irony of this moment is that even as we celebrate and honor John Lewis, the patron saint of voting rights, he hailed from the state which in many instances is ground zero for voter suppression,” says Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, who serves as senior pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, was with Lewis in the final days of his life and will preside over his memorial service. “In recent years, voting has become increasingly a partisan issue, and there are those who are not embarrassed by making it difficult for people to vote.” Rev. Warnock is also running as a Democrat for Senate in Georgia.

      • Landmark Measure to Repeal ‘Racist,’ Anti-Choice Helms Amendment Hailed as Step to a ‘More Equitable World’

        “Abortion care is healthcare and healthcare is a fundamental human right.”

      • “Police Shouldn’t Be in Schools”: Omar, Pressley, Warren, and Murphy Introduce Bill to End Federal Funding for Officers on Campus

        “Schools should be places of learning, not law enforcement.”

      • “Anarchist” is not an Insult

        “These are anarchists, these are not protesters,” US president Donald Trump said on July 20th, defending his decision to unleash Department of Homeland Security hooligans on anti-police-violence demonstrators in Portland.  Anarchist-bashing  — referring to “radical left-anarchists” in Minneapolis, “ugly anarchists” in Seattle, etc. — has become a consistent Trump campaign theme since May.

      • ‘Racist, Classist Garbage’: Trump Brags to Suburbia About His Repeal of Housing Desegregation Rule

        “This is blatant racism from the President of the United States,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren. “And it’s disgusting.”

      • Protest Songs Of The Week: ‘This Walk’ and ‘Orgone’ By Jyoti

        The following was originally published at Ongoing History Of Protest Songs.

        Jyoti is the one-woman jazz ensemble moniker of experimental soul artist, Georgia Anne Muldrow and it is the nickname given to her by a family friend, the legendary Alice Coltrane.

      • US federal law officers attack journalists covering protests in Portland

        U.S. federal law enforcement agencies must ensure that journalists can cover protests freely, and must refrain from attacking members of the press, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

        “All law enforcement agencies must stop using aggressive tactics against journalists covering protests in the United States,” said CPJ Program Director Carlos Martinez de la Serna. “Journalists in Portland should not have to worry about being targeted by federal agents while doing their jobs.”

      • Pakistan blasphemy: Gunman shoots accused dead in court

        A man accused of blasphemy in Pakistan has been shot dead in a courtroom during his trial in the northern city of Peshawar.

      • Blasphemy accused gunned down at Peshawar Judicial Complex

        A lawyer, who was present in the courtroom when the incident happened, said that a case had been registered against the deceased under blasphemy laws. The accused was brought to court from Peshawar Central Jail.

      • Pakistani Muslim accused of insulting Islam killed in court

        It was not immediately clear how the assailant, identified as Khalid Khan, managed to get into the court amid tight security. The attacker was subsequently arrested.

        The man on trial, Tahir Shamim Ahmad, had claimed he was Islam’s prophet and was arrested two years ago on blasphemy charges, according to Azmat Khan, the police officer. Ahmad died before he could be transported to hospital.

    • Monopolies

      • Amazon Emails Show Effort to Weaken Diapers.com Before Buying It

        At the congressional hearing on tech industry competition Wednesday, a Democrat looking to prove Amazon.com Inc. has too much market power revived one of the best-known examples of the retailer’s competitive streak: an effort to win market share from, and ultimately acquire, the parent company of Diapers.com.

        Amazon acquired Quidsi Inc. for $545 million in 2010, absorbing a competitor then making headway in the lucrative market for products to new parents. Emails released by the antitrust subcommittee detail Amazon’s plan to weaken Quidsi, including undercutting its smaller rival on price.

      • ‘Instagram can hurt us’: Mark Zuckerberg emails outline plan to neutralize competitors

        Zuckerberg continued: “One way of looking at this is that what we’re really buying is time. Even if some new competitors springs up, buying Instagram, Path, Foursquare, etc now will give us a year or more to integrate their dynamics before anyone can get close to their scale again. Within that time, if we incorporate the social mechanics they were using, those new products won’t get much traction since we’ll already have their mechanics deployed at scale.”

        Forty-five minutes later, Zuckerberg sent a carefully worded clarification to his earlier, looser remarks.

        “I didn’t mean to imply that we’d be buying them to prevent them from competing with us in any way,” he wrote.

      • A Handbook to Today’s Tech Hearing

        Each C.E.O. is expected to offer a full-throated defense of his business, with some like Mr. Bezos already laying out their arguments in prepared testimony. To make following along easier — the companies face scrutiny for complex and varied issues — The New York Times prepared this guide to what you are likely to hear and what you should know.

      • Tech CEOs to testify before US Congress antitrust panel

        All four CEOs will testify remotely at the hearing, which comes less than 100 days before the US presidential election.

        The tech bosses are expected to stress how they benefit consumers, particularly during the pandemic, and face competition — particularly from China.

      • Patents

        • Regarding The Patentability Of Plants And Animals In Europe – The G 3/19 Decision (“Pepper”) Of The European Patent Office

          On May 14, 2020, the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) decided that excluding “essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals” from patentability pursuant to Art. 53(b) EPC is to be understood and applied in such a way that products that can be exclusively obtained by means of an essentially biological process are not patentable either. Accordingly, European patents on plants, plant material or animals exclusively obtained by means of an essentially biological process will no longer be granted as a matter of principle.
          1. Background and referred questions

          In the past, the Enlarged Board of Appeal already dealt with the question of the scope of the exclusion effect for patentability under Art. 53(b) EPC on several occasions. Particularly in the two more recent decisions G 2/12 und G 2/13, both issued in March 2015, the Enlarged Board of Appeal concluded that plants and plant material are not excluded from patentability even if they can be exclusively produced by means of an essentially biological process. This construction was opposed by the legal situation in some member states, including Germany. In October 2013, the German Patent Act (PatG) was amended to also exclude animals and plants exclusively produced by means of an essentially biological process from patentability.

          Subsequently, in November 2016, the European Commission published a notice (2016/C 411/03) on the construction of the Directive 98/44/EG, the biotechnology directive of the European Union (EU). In said notice, the Commission took the view that, when the EU biotechnology directive was granted, the EU legislator had intended to exclude products obtained by means of essentially biological processes from patentability. Thus, the construction of Art. 53(b) by the Enlarged Board of Appeal was (also) contrary to the construction of the biotechnology directive by the EU Commission.

          [...]

          On the other hand, a technical step which overcomes the exclusion from patenting is conceivable in particular as a process which itself leads to a modification of the genome within the germ cells of plants or animals. Both targeted mutations established with the help of the CRISPR/Cas9 technology for example, as well as random mutagenesis, such as UV-induced mutations are technical processes that allow patenting. When looking at the offspring of transgenic organisms or mutants produced in this way, if the mutation or transgene is present in said offspring it is not produced exclusively by an essentially biological process and is thus patentable.

          For the assessment of patentability, it is irrelevant whether the “step of a technical nature” is novel, known in the art or trivial, whether it can also occur in nature or whether it is the central element of the invention. However, it must be essential for the modification of the plant or animal.

          In addition, technical aids for crossing and selection are of course patentable themselves as long as they meet the general requirements for patentability, i.e. they are in particular novel and inventive.

        • When the U.S. Patent Office Won’t Do Its Job, Congress Should Step In

          When people get sued by patent trolls, they can fight back in one of two places: a U.S. district court or the Patent and Trademark Office. But the Patent Office is putting its thumb on the scale again in favor of patent owners and against technology users. This time, the Office is relying on specious legal arguments to shut down patent reviews at the Patent and Trademark Appeals Board (PTAB).

          The procedure that’s being undermined at PTAB is a procedure called inter partes review, or IPR. Congress created IPRs in 2012, as a faster and less expensive way of resolving patent disputes than district courts. Since then, they have become an important part of maintaining the patent system. Many patents (especially software patents) are granted after woefully inadequate examinations, and are ultimately invalidated when challenged in court. Given that, it makes sense to allow the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to take a second look at the patents they’ve handed out. The Patent Office granted more than 350,000 patents last year, and the median examiner review time is less than 20 hours. Mistakes happen. When users or small businesses are accused of patent infringement, they shouldn’t go broke trying to defend themselves in expensive court litigation. 

        • Software Patents

          • $2,500 for prior art on 2BCom patent

            On July 29, 2020, Unified Patents added a new PATROLL contest, with a $2,500 cash prize, seeking prior art on at least claim 1 of U.S. Patent 7,184,707, owned by 2BCom, LLC, an NPE. The ‘707 patent is generally related to a communication device and a method for controlling a communication device that can load or unload service information at appropriate timings by flexibly designating discriminating conditions of connection or disconnection of a link. The ‘707 patent has been asserted in district court against BMW, FCA, and Kia.

          • UNISOC Joins The Largest Patent Non-Aggression Community In History – Open Invention Network

            Open Invention Network (OIN) and UNISOC announced that UNISOC has become one of OIN’s community members. As a leading fabless semiconductor company in mobile communications and IoT chipsets, and a strong proponent of open source software (OSS), UNISOC is committed to OSS as an enabler of advanced communications and industrial / IoT systems.

            “OSS is ushering in a transformation of the IT and Communications sector and enabling realization of the vision of the billion-device universe first discussed in the mid-90’s. Growth in networking through Linux Foundation Networking projects such as OPNFV and ONAP is driving innovation in silicon,” said Keith Bergelt, CEO of Open Invention Network. “As a global leader in mobile and communications chipsets we are excited to have UNISOC join OIN and for its recognition of the need for patent non-aggression in the core of Linux and adjacent OSS.”

          • MobilePay patent held unpatentable

            On July 29, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) issued a final written decision in Unified Patents, LLC v. MobilePay LLC, holding all challenged claims of U.S. Patent 9,800,706 unpatentable. The ‘706 patent is owned by MobilePay, LLC, an IP Valuation Partners subsidiary and well-known NPE. MobilePay disclaimed some of the challenged claims early in the proceeding, and the Board found the remaining challenged claims unpatentable in the final written decision.

            The ’706 patent is directed to the systems that connect a credit card reader to a mobile phone via the audio port so the mobile phone can be used to transmit credit card data to a cloud service for decoding. The patent has been asserted against PayPal, Bank of America, Mindbody, and Intuit.

      • Trademarks

      • Copyrights

        • Mexico’s New Copyright Law: Cybersecurity and Human Rights

          This month, Mexico rushed through a new, expansive copyright law without adequate debate or consultation, and as a result, it adopted a national rule that is absolutely unfit for purpose, with grave implications for human rights and cybersecurity.

          The new law was passed as part of the country’s obligations under Donald Trump’s United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), and it imports the US copyright system wholesale, and then erases the USA’s own weak safeguards for fundamental rights.

        • Court Lifts Copyright Troll Roadblock but Puts Brakes on Piracy Settlement Bonanza

          A New Jersey district court has reversed a devastating order against Strike 3 Holdings, the most active copyright litigant in the US. A magistrate judge previously denied the company the right to subpoena ISPs because the underlying complaints are futile. While these subpoenas are now allowed, Strike 3 can’t initiate settlement discussions.

        • Disney Obtains New ‘Dynamic’ Court Order to Block 118 ‘Pirate’ Domains

          Disney Enterprises has obtained an injunction from the High Court in Delhi compelling local ISPs to block 118 ‘pirate’ domains. The main targets are streaming platforms offering movies, cartoons and anime, with torrent and proxy sites also included. The injunction is dynamic, meaning that additional domains can be added at a later point.

IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:44 am by Needs Sunlight

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

07.29.20

Declassified 6-8 Years Ago: Thomas Watson Jr. (Son of IBM Founder) as Politician Navigating Cold War Politics

Posted in IBM at 8:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Earlier this week: Meet the IBM Watsons: Sponsors of Richard Nixon and Abusers of Women (the brother)

Watson with Jimmy Carter, January 20, 1978 (Public Domain)
Watson with Jimmy Carter, January 20th, 1978 (Public Domain)

Summary: While studying the full (and real) history of IBM we’ve stumbled upon interesting bits of diplomatic documents, declassified for public access only as recently as several years ago

LAST week we started researching a bunch of old material for a big piece or a short but very detailed series, which will be 100% factual. Accuracy is the priority. In our endeavour (slow research) we came across all that Holocaust stuff (sort of ‘old news’; there’s literature and films [1, 2, 3] about IBM’s role in Holocaust machinery/implementation). We don’t see the need to cover in depth issues that were already covered properly, as well as in great depth, before. A long time ago (two decades in the past) millions of people became aware of this dark chapter in IBM’s history. We don’t have additional or unique insight in that area.

“Shortly after the father (IBM founder) died Khrushchev decided to go to IBM of all places…”Conspicuously but not mysteriously, not much is said about IBM and “the bomb” (or bombs, as the US has loads of nuclear weapons now). IBM was the dominant force in technology throughout the Cold War era, but a lot of it was understandably shrouded in secrecy. It was — and still is — a sensitive subject (maybe more so because of the current administration). But now in 2020 we know that IBM, being a “patriotic” company in service of supremacist agenda (since its early days, even eugenics), also did nukes. One ought not be shocked that IBM profited a lot from nuke assessment/nuclear simulations, nukes C&C (they still used floppies last year; there are many reports like this one from last year, following up on embarrassing revelations [1, 2, 3] dated 3 years earlier), and nuclear munition recovery. As History.com put it (article updated this year): “Using an IBM computer, experts tried to calculate where the [nuclear] bomb might have landed, but the impact area was still too large for an effective search…”

“Perhaps it’s not too shocking that the ‘Watson sons’ of IBM both eventually entered politics, just like their father.”There’s more to be found regarding the trip of Nikita Khrushchev (Никита Хрущёв) to IBM (video here and here); “During his American tour in 1959, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev toured the IBM factory in San Jose, California,” the latter says and there’s a lot of footage (photography and motion film). Shortly after the father (IBM founder) died Khrushchev decided to go to IBM of all places…

“This is not about ‘bashing’ IBM; it’s about understanding what we’re dealing with.”Perhaps it’s not too shocking that the ‘Watson sons’ of IBM both eventually entered politics, just like their father. That’s why he was getting to meet all sorts of people including Hitler. The military angle of it never helped IBM. IBM is still very close to the US Army and Red Hat's Chairman of the Board was introduced to GNU/Linux when it helped his 'regime change' in Haiti, by his very own admission. IBM now owns Red Hat, which is a close DoD and NSA partner. A match made in Heaven? IBM’s projects that deal with American nuclear arsenals (to this date) go beyond supercomputers; as noted before, many systems responsible for dealing with real nukes — not mere simulations — are IBM systems.

We recently studied documents about Thomas Watson Jr. (the son of the founder) as a US diplomat, representing the US in the Soviet Union (USSR) at a time the Cold War persisted but was no longer at its peak. Using these old documents, which were only declassified some years ago, we gain a slightly better understanding of IBM’s political gameplay and its role in ultimate power games (determining perhaps the fate of human civilisation as a whole; there are enough nukes in each superpower’s arsenal to wipe it all out). We’re going to show transcripts and originals; we’ll abstain from speculation. These documents aren’t easy to find, but they are searchable in Wikileaks and are catalogued sensibly enough for digestion.

This is not about ‘bashing’ IBM; it’s about understanding what we’re dealing with. Corporations and governments have long been connected.

Techrights Now Has All Pages (Nearly 3,000 of Them) About the Famous Police Arrest, an Arrest for Pedophilia by Engineer of Bill Gates, Working at His Home (the Gates Estate Where He Was Busted, Admitted Guilt)

Posted in Bill Gates, Site News at 7:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Received about 2,700 additional pages; still exploring ways to move forward with this longstanding investigation

Badge of police in Seattle

Summary: With Epstein files set to be released soon (Gates and Epstein were extremely close) we’re gratified to say that we have all the material about Mr. Jones, the engineer of Bill Gates who was stockpiling a lot of child pornography and child rape footage

HOURS ago we received what the police in Seattle claims to be everything it has on this case. The Police Department (SPD) was asked again to assure us that this was everything and it confirmed. “The Epstein files are going to be unsealed soon,” a reader has told us, so we’re likely to resume on this subject some time later this year. At the moment we’re studying some IBM history and will be focusing on that over the coming days. A lot of that history predates the Web and even the Internet (history of IBM is over a century old!), but national archives can still be accessed, at least partly. We’re doing the best we can to assess the material and get the facts. It is very time-consuming, but someone needs to do it…

Links 29/7/2020: LabPlot 2.8 Beta and GNU Nano 5

Posted in News Roundup at 10:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Linux Arm Wrestling | LINUX Unplugged 364

        The past, present and future of Linux on Arm. The major challenges still facing full Linux support, and why ServerReady might be a solution to unify Arm systems.

        Plus we chat with the Manjaro team about recent changes.

    • Kernel Space

      • Google Sends Patches For AMD Zen / Zen 2 RAPL PowerCap Support

        Building off the work sent out by Google engineers in recent months and merged for Linux 5.8 around RAPL support for AMD Zen / Zen 2 CPUs with supporting the “runtime average power limiting” counters on Linux similar to Intel’s longstanding support, that work has continued now with Zen RAPL support in the PowerCap driver.

        Google engineer Victor Ding sent out a set of patches this morning for AMD Zen / Zen 2 RAPL support within the PowerCap Linux driver that allows power capping of the CPU(s) if so desired and some new interfaces via sysfs.

      • Intel Making It Easier To Flash Ethernet Device Firmware On Linux

        For those using the Intel ICE Linux network driver that is used for the likes of the E800 series, it’s now going to be easier updating the device firmware from Linux.

        A PLDM firmware update library is being introduced with Linux 5.9 to support hardware flashing the firmware using the devlink flash command. ICE firmware updates are using the PLDM file format. PLDM is the Platform Level Data Model firmware update specification developed by the DMTF industry consortium.

      • L1d Flushing Patches Revived After It Was Rejected From Linux 5.8 As “Beyond Stupid”

        Worked out in recent months by an Amazon engineer was optional L1 data cache flushing on context switches to allow for greater computer security in an era of data sampling vulnerabilities and other data leakage issues via side channels. It was sent in for Linux 5.8 but Linus Torvalds characterized it as “beyond stupid” and not being convinced by it. Well, now it’s been revised but isn’t yet clear if it will appease Torvalds for mainline inclusion.

        The overall concept of this new L1d flushing work remains the same is that it’s entirely opt-in and interested programs can make use of it via the prctl interface. The focus remains on providing an additional level of security for CPUs affected by the likes of L1TF and other data snooping vulnerabilities.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Free and open source 3D creation suite Blender gets funding from Microsoft

        It feels like FOSS is on a roll lately, with more and more great open source applications seeing funding from big names. Blender is back in the spotlight again, with backing from Microsoft.

        Announced by the Blender team today, July 29 2020, Microsoft has joined them as a ‘Gold’ level Corporate Member. This means Microsoft will be giving the Blender Foundation at least €30K a year, which the Blender team say pays for half a year of developer time to improve Blender.

      • Cult classic Beneath a Steel Sky is finally available free on Steam

        It’s hard to believe that until now, Beneath a Steel Sky wasn’t available on Steam. With the launch of the sequel Beyond a Steel Sky recently, Revolution Software decided to fix that.

        Currently, the build on Steam is only officially available for Windows. Thankfully though, with it being such an old game now from 1994, it’s easy to get it running on Linux and through Steam directly too thanks to the Steam Play feature in the Linux Steam client. Remember, Steam Play is just a feature to run compatibility layers (the biggest being Proton) and there’s one named Roberta designed for running adventure games like this using a native Linux build of ScummVM.

      • Wilderness survival roguelike Wayward gets a big free expansion

        Currently in Early Access, Wayward is a wilderness survival roguelike from developer Unlok and the 9th major update is out now with the Seafarer expansion.

        With this now out, the developer mentioned this brings an end to the limited amount of exploration that was possible as you can now sail the seas to explore new lands. Sounds like a pretty huge advancement for the game and not something that was easy for the team, a feature they had originally said ‘would probably never happen’ but an important milestone for making it much more enjoyable.

      • Atari VCS FAQ offers fresh console details and focus from COO Michael Arzt

        For about as long as the Atari VCS has been in development, critics have often wondered about who this device is marketed towards and what it’s packing under the hood to execute and deliver once it’s in the living room. To that end, Atari VCS COO Michael Arzt recently published a lengthy FAQ to try to clear up some of the remaining mysteries about the device. Among the many questions taken on, Arzt goes into further detail on the tech of the VCS, as well as Atari’s priorities in game availability and customer appeal.

        Michael Arzt published a Q&A on the Atari VCS on Medium on July 29, 2020. The goal of the publishing was to answer many of the common questions that are still coming up in regards to the purpose and priorities of the Atari VCS. Interestingly enough, Arzt claims it’s wrong to think of it as a “retro console” such as the Atari Flashback and other such devices.

        “The Atari VCS is a much more powerful PC-based device, with a premium build quality, significantly more power, internet access, and an online store full of games, apps and streaming services, so it really can’t be compared to the “throwback” consoles,” Arzt wrote.

      • Valve Hires Former Emulator Developer To Work On Open-Source Graphics For Linux

        Emulator developer Tony Wasserka has announced that he is going to be joining Valve, to work on open-source graphics for Linux. As part of Valve’s general push to improving gaming on Linux, his first project is going to be working on the RADV Vulkan driver, an open-source driver project for AMD GPUs on Linux.

        Wasserka has been a major contributor to the development of the leading Gamecube and Wii emulator, Dolphin, where he maintained the GPU subsystem and implemented a Direct3D 11 rendering engine. Dolphin is the gold standard for console emulation, offering the most compatible and robust emulation of games for these classic Nintendo systems, and it’s a fully open-source project.

      • Event-driven open source game engine GDevelop adds a live preview feature

        GDevelop is an in-development free and open source game engine, one that is powered by a drag and drop event system and it continues bringing in new and fun features.

        One feature it just added in the latest release is Live Previews, otherwise known as Hot Reloading. This is where you can apply a bunch of changes in the game engine editor, with the game currently running and then at the click of a button have your changes applied. It’s a useful feature, one that could aid debugging and prototyping nicely.

      • Take a walk and take some nice snaps in Shutter Stroll

        Shutter Stroll, a walking sim about taking nice photographs across hundreds of generated islands is a pretty sweet experience for when you want to properly relax.

        There’s no goal, no timers and not much else. It’s a small game about slowing down, taking things in and just appreciating a bit of beauty. With you starting off in a little boat, camera in hand, you set off to find the perfect shot. Once you find a spot you bring up your camera, switch between different filters by pressing F and take your snap. Then it’s back to your boat to pick some coordinates and explore somewhere else.

        Here’s a few snaps, click to enlarge the thumbnails because they’re high resolution shots. Having the coordinates of the island generation on the pictures is a nice touch too.

      • Steam has a sale on to celebrate Swiss Games and Developers

        If it wasn’t enough that there’s multiple good Humble Bundles going on, and a big RPG sale on GOG – Valve have launched a sale to celebrate Swiss Games.

        Never one to miss an opportunity to run a sale, Valve picked this to go along with Swiss National Day, a national holiday of Switzerland on August 1. With the Swiss sale running until August 3 at 5PM UTC, you can save big on some quality games made by people all over Switzerland. There’s some really good indie choices there too.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • LabPlot 2.8 Beta

          In the last couple of days we’ve got a lot of feedback and bug reports from our users testing the current code and helping us to finalize the next release of LabPlot. Most of this feedback is addressed now and today we’d like to invite more people to contribute and we announce the availability of the beta release of 2.8.

    • Distributions

      • A Guide to the Endless OS for Linux

        Many find the idea of switching to Linux intimidating. Let’s face it: despite being the most-used operating system for servers, it’s yet to see major commercial and consumer use. This is mostly because there still aren’t many off-the-shelf computers that have Linux pre-installed, and most people don’t want to deal with the hassle of installing a new OS. After all, you’ll have to worry about so much more – most notably, app and driver compatibility.

        Luckily, the latest version of Endless OS presents us with solutions to many of our concerns. Released on May 18, Endless OS 3.8.1 is the latest version of this Debian-based OS initially introduced to the public back in 2014. Like its previous versions, Endless OS 3.8.1 comes with a lot of digital literacy initiatives that make computing easier than ever before.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • The Beta Version Of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8.3 Is Now Available

          Another new feature of RHEL 8.3 beta is the addition of security profiles for the Center for Internet Security (CIS) benchmark and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). System administrators can use these new SCAP (Security Content Automation Protocol) profiles to configure their RHEL systems based on best security practices and standards.

          For a full list of new features, improvements, and fixes, you can read the RHEL 8.3 beta release notes.

          If you have an active subscription for RHEL, you can directly try RHEL 8.3 beta from Red Hat’s Customer Portal. Or else you can download it from developer.redhat.com where it’s available as part of the no-cost Red Hat Enterprise Linux Developer Subscription.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • How learning Linux introduced me to open source

        When I entered the engineering program as a freshman in college, I felt like a frivolous teenager. In my sophomore year, and in a fortunate stroke of serendipity, I joined Zairza, a technical society for like-minded students who collaborated and built projects separate from the academic curriculum. It was right up my alley. Zairza provided me a safe space to learn and grow and discover my interests. There are different facets and roadways to development, and as a newbie, I didn’t know where my interests lay.

        I made the switch to Linux then because I heard it is good for development. Fortunately, I had Ubuntu on my system. At first, I found it obnoxious to use because I was used to Windows. But I slowly got the hang of it and fell in love with it over time. I started exploring development by trying to build apps using Android and creating data visualizations using Python. I built a Wikipedia Reader app using the Wikipedia API, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I learned to use Git and put my projects on GitHub, which not only helped me showcase my projects but also enabled me to store them.

      • The Apache® Software Foundation Announces Annual Report for 2020 Fiscal Year

        The Apache® Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of more than 350 Open Source projects and initiatives, announced today the availability of the annual report for its 2020 fiscal year (1 May 2019 – 30 April 2020).

        Now in its 21st year, the world’s largest Open Source foundation’s “Apache Way” of community-driven development is the proven process behind thousands of developers successfully collaborating on hundreds of Apache projects. The Apache Way has directly influenced the InnerSource methodology of applying Open Source and open development principles to an organization. The Apache Way has been adopted by countless organizations, including Capital One, Comcast, Ericsson, HP, IBM, Google, Microsoft, PayPal, SAP, T-Mobile, Walmart, and countless others.

      • Apache Software Foundation Estimates Its Code Value Increased ~$600M For FY2020

        For fiscal year 2019 the Apache Software Foundation valued their codebase at around $20 billion USD. The open-source organization has now published their annual report for fiscal year 2020.

        The Apache Software Foundation’s FY2020 report values their massive code-base now in excess of $20 billion dollars using the CoCoMo model. With eight million lines of code added over their fiscal year, they estimate that increase to be approximately worth $600 million USD worth of work.

      • This ‘world’s biggest’ messaging and collaboration rollout is based on open source software

        For example, technology developed by UK software company Element is to be rolled out by the German education system to provide collaboration tools for half a million seats in the states of Schlesweig-Holstein and Hamburg.

        [...]

        “We want to democratize control over communication,” Element’s CEO Matthew Hodgson tells ZDNet – needless to say, over an open-source video call. “People in Germany shouldn’t be beholden to the legislation happening in the US, or trusting their data through an app controlled by a particular government.

        “Empowering organizations to run their own stuff is just a re-levelling effect to decentralize the control of that data to the people who own it in the first place,” he continues, “rather than holding it all in whatever organization it might be and hope it doesn’t get compromised or pressured by the authorities.”

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • New Release: Tor Browser 10.0a4

            Tor Browser 10.0a4 is now available from the Tor Browser Alpha download page and also from our distribution directory.

            Note: This is an alpha release, an experimental version for users who want to help us test new features. For everyone else, we recommend downloading the latest stable release instead.

          • New Release: Tor Browser 9.5.3

            Tor Browser 9.5.3 is now available from the Tor Browser download page and also from our distribution directory.

            This release updates Firefox to 68.11.0esr, NoScript to 11.0.34, and Tor to 0.4.3.6.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU nano 5.0 Open-Source Text Editor Released, This is What’s New

            GNU nano is probably one of the most popular text editors for the command line. It’s probably included in almost all GNU/Linux distribution is it usually comes in handy whenever there’s some configuration files you need to edit.

            Dubbed “Among the fields of barley,” GNU nano 5.0 introduces a new –indicator parameter that displays some sort of scrollbar to show you where the viewport is located in the buffer and how much it covers, along with the –bookstyle parameter that makes nano consider any line that begins with a whitespace the start of a paragraph.

            It’s now possible to tag any line with an anchor using the shortcut. You can then jump to the nearest anchor using and . GNU nano 5.0 also lest you access the Execute Command prompt directly from the main menu with ^T, as well as to toggle the help lines in all menus (except for the linter and help viewer) with M-X and list the possibilities at a filename prompt with .

      • Programming/Development

        • Jussi Pakkanen: About that “Google always builds everything from source every time” thing

          The obvious counterargument to this is the tried-and-true if all your friends jumped off a bridge would you do it too response known by every parent in the world. The second, much lesser known counterargument is that this statement is not actually true.

          Google does not actually rebuild all code in their projects from source. Don’t believe me?

        • CMake Project Configuration in Qt Creator 4.13

          Configuring medium-sized to large CMake projects in Qt Creator can be a challenge. This is due to the number of options that you would need to pass to CMake to configure the project in the right way.

          Let’s take Qt Creator’s CMake build. Unlike its qmake build, the CMake build lets you configure which plugins you want to build.

          Let’s say you would just want to build the CMake project manager, the Git source control, only C++ and only for the Desktop platforms.

        • Building and packaging a sysroot

          This is part of a series of posts on compiling a custom version of Qt5 in order to develop for both amd64 and a Raspberry Pi.

          After having had some success with a sysroot in having a Qt5 cross-build environment that includes QtWebEngine, the next step is packaging the sysroot so it can be available both to build the cross-build environment, and to do cross-development with it.

          The result is this Debian source package which takes a Raspberry Pi OS disk image, provisions it in-place, extracts its contents, and packages them.

        • The golden rule of software quality

          Carefully note that the golden rule of software quality does not mandate that you have to fix problems upstream. The rule advises that you should prefer to upstream fixes, all other things equal. Sometimes other considerations can prevent one from doing so (such as limitations on time or money). However, when quality is paramount then you should strive to observe the rule!

        • Perl/Raku

          • Demonstrating Perl with Tic-Tac-Toe, Part 4

            This is the final article to the series demonstrating Perl with Tic-Tac-Toe. This article provides a module that can compute better game moves than the previously presented modules. For fun, the modules chip1.pm through chip3.pm can be incrementally moved out of the hal subdirectory in reverse order. With each chip that is removed, the game will become easier to play. The game must be restarted each time a chip is removed.

            [...]

            Line 12 demonstrates that a regular expression can be pre-compiled and stored in a scalar for later use. This is useful as performance optimization when you intend to re-use the same regular expression many times over.

            Line 59 demonstrates that some system library calls are available directly in Perl’s built-in core functionality. Using the built-in functions alleviates some overhead that would otherwise be required to launch an external program and setup the I/O channels to communicate with it.

        • Python

          • HackInScience: friendly Python learning

            A short while ago I discovered HackInScience, a fantastic site for learning Python by doing exercises. It currently includes 68 programming exercises, with increasing level of difficulty.
            I learned about it via an issue filed for Friendly-traceback: yes, HackInScience does use Friendly-traceback to provide feedback to users when their code raises Python exceptions. These real-life experiences have resulted in additional cases being covered by Friendly-traceback: there are now 128 different test cases, each providing more helpful explanation as to what went wrong than that offered by Python. Python versions 3.6 to 3.9 inclusively are supported.

          • Deep Learning in Keras – Data Preprocessing

            Deep learning is one of the most interesting and promising areas of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning currently. With great advances in technology and algorithms in recent years, deep learning has opened the door to a new era of AI applications.

            In many of these applications, deep learning algorithms performed equal to human experts and sometimes surpassed them.

            Python has become the go-to language for Machine Learning and many of the most popular and powerful deep learning libraries and frameworks like TensorFlow, Keras, and PyTorch are built in Python.

            In this series, we’ll be using Keras to perform Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA), Data Preprocessing and finally, build a Deep Learning Model and evaluate it.

            If you haven’t already, check out our first article – Deep Learning Models in Keras – Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA).

          • PyCharm 2020.2 Out Now!

            Complete the full Pull Request workflow, quickly catch exceptions, and apply project-wide refactorings. All without leaving your IDE. Download the new version now, or upgrade from within PyCharm.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • A Legislative Path to an Interoperable Internet

        It’s not enough to say that the Internet is built on interoperability. The Internet is interoperability. Billions of machines around the world use the same set of open protocols—like TCP/IP, HTTP, and TLS—to talk to one another. The first Internet-connected devices were only possible because phone lines provided interoperable communication ports, and scientists found a way to send data, rather than voice, over those phone lines.

        In the early days of the Internet, protocols dictated the rules of the road. Because the Internet was a fundamentally decentralized, open system, services on the Internet defaulted to acting the same way. Companies may have tried to build their own proprietary networking protocols or maintain unilateral control over the content on the network, but they ultimately failed. The ecosystem was fast-moving, chaotic, and welcoming to new ideas.

  • Leftovers

    • America Doesn’t Deserve to Have Baseball Back

      Baseball is my favorite sport. I know that’s weird since I’m a Black guy under the age of 80, but it is what it is. I’m one of those guys who can pound out “baseball is an allegory for the American experience” takes like a hitter spraying singles to all fields.

    • If It Wasn’t for You

      Teen romance stories are almost always about the feeling of a shift in power. They channel the thrill of turning a position of weakness into one of strength: the ugly, poor, or otherwise disadvantaged using their less apparent abilities—talent, wit, emotional acuity—to claim for themselves a better role in the social hierarchy. In teen romance, things tend to change all at once rather than gradually. A relationship’s subtext shifts through strange, rare moments of shared perception, and then, in some moment of truth—often a school dance or other public event—the subtext becomes explicit and replaces what came before. A received, social understanding is replaced with an interpersonal, emotional truth that levels all disparities.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • The Insanity of Prescription Drug Prices in America

        Solution: slash the prices and kill the ads.

      • “What Should My Family Do?” Out of Work, Food and Money in Maharashtra

        “My two eldest sons worked for two days for the patil [farm owner] and earned Rs. 150 each. They used that money to buy kanyaa from him,” said Vanita Bhoir. She opened a yellow plastic jar and took out a few rice fragments in her hand to show me. These are collected when the harvested paddy is threshed to separate the chaff, and are cheaper than the rice grain. Along with these kanyaa, there was a week’s stock of salt, chilli and turmeric powders, cooking oil and a few potatoes in 52-year-old Vanita’s straw-and mud hut. Even these had been given to the family by local social workers.

      • ‘History Will Not Judge This Kindly’: DNC Platform Committee Votes Down Medicare for All Amendment

        “It’s like opposing the New Deal during the Great Depression. Unforgivable.”

      • Democratic Leaders Have Blocked Real Healthcare Reform for Decades. Time to Give ‘Em Hell.

        This history of Democratic obstruction and vacillation to corporate interests and the greed of insurance companies must come to an end. The need for Medicare for All has never been more clear than it is today.

      • A Vaccine by November? Science Journalist in Vaccine Trial Casts Doubt on Rosy U.S. Projections

        With 30,000 people taking part in the first major COVID-19 vaccine study in the United States, hopes are high that the collaboration between drugmaker Moderna and the National Institutes of Health will yield positive results as early as November. Researchers around the world are working on more than 165 vaccine candidates, though only a handful are conducting large-scale human trials. We speak with BBC science journalist Richard Fisher, who took part in the vaccine trial run by Oxford University that is among the most promising. “It was both a personal decision and a journalistic one,” Fisher says of his decision to volunteer. “I wanted to do something that helps the collective effort to get us closer to a vaccine.”

      • Little Pharma on Rooms

        1421 From whose eaves pigeons tumble Its permanent winter of shit Where she would like to put a thin strip of suspended garden Something in love with guano like hay Some ruffling infancy of color

      • Democratic Leaders Have Blocked Real Healthcare Reform for Decades. Time to Give ‘Em Hell.

        In 1948, Harry Truman pushed for a national nonprofit health insurance program in his successful, come-from-behind presidential campaign. When Truman’s plan was denounced as “socialized medicine” and “un-American” by the powerful American Medical Association, “Give ‘Em Hell Harry” stood his ground, defending his proposal as “simple Christianity.”

      • Without Reciprocity, Ayahuasca Consumption Is Extractive

        As COVID-19 devastates Amazonian communities, spiritual tourists are abandoning the cultures holding the sacred traditions of Ayahuasca.

      • DNC Platform Committee Votes Down Medicare for All Amendment

        A Democratic National Committee panel on Monday voted down an amendment that would have inserted a plank supporting Medicare for All into the party’s 2020 platform, a move progressives decried as out of touch with public opinion and a slap in the face to the millions of people who have lost their health insurance due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

      • Who Profits & Where Is the Transparency in Trump Admin’s $6 Billion Vaccine Program?

        As researchers around the world race to find a vaccine for COVID-19, we speak with Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Program, about who is profiting from government efforts to fund vaccines, testing and treatment. The Trump administration has announced major contracts with pharmaceutical companies as part of its $6 billion program, Operation Warp Speed, including with firms that have never brought a vaccine to market. Meanwhile, a New York Times investigation shows corporate insiders from at least 11 companies working on coronavirus research have sold shares worth more than $1 billion since March. “The problem is that the companies, the executives, the hedge funds are feeding on people’s hope and desperation, and it only takes a little bit of positive news to send stocks soaring,” says Maybarduk. Public Citizen recently released a database that tracks the billions of taxpayer dollars supporting COVID-19 research.

      • “I Have Not Been Misleading the American Public”: Fauci Responds to Trump Tweets

        On Tuesday morning, Anthony Fauci, a member of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force and the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, responded to criticisms made against him on social media that were shared by the commander-in-chief.

      • In Remote Villages, Domestic Violence Kills More Than COVID-19

        COVID-19 has largely spared the isolated villages of Western Alaska. Yet it has been a summer of burials.

        On June 22, troopers say a woman stabbed and killed her boyfriend in the Yukon River village of Grayling. Later that week, about 330 miles away, a man was accused of beating his wife to death with a crowbar in the Northwest Arctic village of Noatak. The day after that, neighbors found the body of a 50-year-old woman, missing a portion of her scalp, in the home she shared with her boyfriend in the Kuskokwim River village of McGrath. Then, on July 1, two Alakanuk men stabbed each other to death in what troopers called a “domestic dispute.”

      • Tech And COVID-19: Stop Using Video Game Graphics For Fake Crowds, Fox

        Professional sports is now fully in the weeds trying to navigate reopening live sports events during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It’s not going great, frankly. NFL players are beginning to opt out of the season, citing health concerns. Golfers have been trickling out of events due to positive COVID-19 tests. MLB, meanwhile, just found itself with four teams unable to play the other night due to roughly a third of the Florida Marlins popping positive for the virus. Given that these leagues just started reopening, it’s not a good sign.

      • Worries About Foreign ‘Hacking’ of Vaccine Research Place Corporate Profits Ahead of Public Health

        A recent spate of reports in US media features US officials accusing Official Enemies Russia and China of “stealing” the US’s coronavirus vaccine research data. To accuse another party of “stealing” something, of course, is to imply unjust deprivation. If my wallet is stolen, it means I no longer possess it or its contents, while someone else does. Does it make sense to describe the alleged actions of Russian and Chinese hackers as a form of “theft”? If so, what kind of “theft” is it?

      • As COVID Deaths Pass 151,000, Trump Says “Not Sure I Could have Done Any More”

        During an interview with a local television station in North Carolina on Monday evening, President Donald Trump suggested he was one of the most successful chief executives this country has ever seen.

      • US officials: Russia behind spread of virus disinformation

        The information had previously been classified, but officials said it had been downgraded so they could more freely discuss it. Officials said they were doing so now to sound the alarm about the particular websites and to expose what they say is a clear link between the sites and Russian intelligence.

        Between late May and early July, one of the officials said, the websites singled out Tuesday published about 150 articles about the pandemic response, including coverage aimed either at propping up Russia or denigrating the U.S.

      • US Officials: Russia Behind Spread of Virus Disinformation

        Russian intelligence services are using a trio of English-language websites to spread disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, seeking to exploit a crisis that America is struggling to contain ahead of the presidential election in November, U.S. officials said Tuesday.

        Two Russians who have held senior roles in Moscow’s military intelligence service known as the GRU have been identified as responsible for a disinformation effort meant to reach American and Western audiences, U.S. government officials said. They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Opera 70 Released with Improved Search in Tabs

          Opera web browser 70 was released a day ago improvements to existing features and tools.

        • Michigan online bar exam temporarily taken down by ‘sophisticated’ cyberattack

          ExamSoft, one of the three vendors offering the exam that certifies potential attorneys, said the test had been hit by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, which involves a hacker or group attempting to take down a server by overwhelming it with traffic.

          [...]

          “If this was such a sophisticated attack, what do they have to say about the biodata collected during exam administration?” the group tweeted.

        • Security

          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Zuckerberg to paint Facebook as ‘proudly American company,’ contrast with Chinese internet model

              Although Zuckerberg is now very critical of China’s approach to the [I]nternet, he spent the better half of the decade pushing to overturn the country’s ban on Facebook.

            • Twitter Hashtag Mocking Trump as ‘Crybaby’ Trends after He Calls Criticism ‘Illegal’

              Twitter has explained that trending topics are “determined by an algorithm” and tailored based on who a person follows, their interests and their general location.

              “This algorithm identifies topics popular now, rather than topics that have been popular for a while or on a daily basis, to help you discover the hottest emerging topics of discussion on Twitter,” it says. “The number of tweets that are related to the trends is just one of the factors the algorithm looks at when ranking and determining trends.”

            • Car Companies Want to Monitor Your Every Move With Emotion-Detecting AI

              But safety is only one attraction of in-cabin monitoring. The systems also hold huge potential for harvesting the kind of behavioral data that Google, Facebook, and other surveillance capitalists have exploited to target ads and influence purchasing habits.

              Automakers and advertisers have come to a “vast realization” that as cars become more autonomous and embedded with screens, “many passengers in your vehicle are kind of a captive audience in an entertainment context,” Gabi Zijderveld, Affectiva’s chief marketing officer, told Motherboard.

            • India bans 47 Chinese apps and may ban 275 more

              Included in last month’s ban was the very popular video-sharing app TikTok, which was a big statement by India. At the time of the ban, a Chinese Foreign Ministry official said that the country was “strongly concerned regarding the decision of the Indian government.”

              On Monday, a spokesperson for the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said that some of the new bans were apps operating as clones for the ones already prohibited.

            • Matt Gaetz Files Criminal Referral of Mark Zuckerberg, Claims He Lied to Congress

              Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz on Monday sent a criminal referral to U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, asking that the justice department investigate Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg for allegedly lying to Congress.

              Gaetz based his request for an investigation on information he said he learned from a reports by the right-wing group Project Veritas. According to Gaetz, the James O’Keefe-founded group learned that Facebook censors conservative-leaning content on its platform, despite Zuckerberg’s April 2018 testimony to the contrary.

            • GOP lawmaker asks Barr to investigate Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg for possibly lying to Congress

              Rep. Matt Gaetz asked Attorney General William P. Barr on Monday to have the Department of Justice investigate whether Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg lied under oath to Congress.

              Mr. Gaetz, Florida Republican, wrote Mr. Barr to raise concerns about statements Mr. Zuckerberg made when he appeared on Capitol Hill twice in April to testify about Facebook.

              Citing reporting from sting-group Project Veritas, the congressman suggested Mr. Zuckerberg may have misled lawmakers when he asserted his social network does not suppress or otherwise censor content supportive of conservatives including President Trump.

            • [Old] Project Veritas: how fake news prize went to rightwing group beloved by Trump

              On Monday afternoon, Project Veritas, the discredited rightwing attack organization run by James O’Keefe that specializes in sting operations against liberal groups and the established media, was itself thoroughly exposed. The Washington Post turned the spotlight that O’Keefe had tried to put on the newspaper back on him by disclosing a plot to dupe its reporters into publishing an entirely false story.

            • [Old] The latest conservative scam got exposed. But it’s just one piece of a much bigger fraud.

              In subsequent years, O’Keefe has launched one failed scam after another designed to “catch” liberals and Democrats on video doing something unethical or illegal. The tactic has failed again and again. O’Keefe and three others were arrested and pled guilty to charges after posing as telephone repairmen in an apparent attempt to bug Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office. After calling a staffer at George Soros’s Open Society Institute using an assumed name, he forgot to hang up the phone and left a long message in which he and colleagues discussed their plan to infiltrate the foundation. He put on an Osama bin Laden mask and waded into the Rio Grande.

              In short, O’Keefe is a fraudster and a buffoon. But here’s what’s important to know about him: He’s a fraudster and a buffoon who is treated like a serious person by substantial parts of the conservative movement. His organization, Project Veritas, had a budget of just under $5 million in 2016. He’s got dozens of employees.

              And O’Keefe won’t be slowed down by this latest embarrassment, because people on the right will still give him their money. How do I know that? Because it’s what they’ve been doing for decades.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Bonus Army Protest

        July 28 will mark almost the 90th anniversary of one of most controversial protests in U.S. history and yet it remains virtually unknown to most Americans. On that day, in 1932, 500 U.S. army infantrymen with loaded rifles, fixed bayonets and gas grenades containing a vomit inducing ingredient, 200 calvary, a machine gun squadron, 800 police and 6 M1917 army tanks, prepared to attack 17,000 unarmed men, plus thousands of their wives and children. Moments before the assault, Gen.Douglas MacArthur, in charge of the operation, turned to a police official standing next to him and said, “I will break the back of the enemy.”

      • Our Military Is the Virus

        The phrase “thinking about the unthinkable” has always been associated with the unthinkable cataclysm of a nuclear war, and rightly so. Lately, though, I’ve been pondering another kind of unthinkable scenario, nearly as nightmarish (at least for a democracy) as a thermonuclear Armageddon, but one that’s been rolling out in far slower motion: that America’s war on terror never ends because it’s far more convenient for America’s leaders to keep it going—until, that is, it tears apart anything we ever imagined as democracy.

      • Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic, the U.S. War Machine Presses On

        That Russia paid the Taliban financial bounties to kill 18 U.S. and “coalition” soldiers in Afghanistan is in dispute to say the least. Both Democrats and Republicans cite various and conflicting official U.S. intelligence agencies on the veracity of this latest New Cold War episode. The July 9 New York Times reported, “The C.I.A. – as well as analysts at the National Counterterrorism Center – expressed medium or moderate confidence in that conclusion. The National Security Agency, which puts greater stock in surveillance intercepts, was more skeptical, officials have said.”

      • The United States Faces Irreparable Damage in a Cold or Hot Conventional War with China and its Allies

        Are any of the grand brains in administration of Donald Trump—or possibly a future Joe Biden presidency—thinking systematically about the costs of containing China; i.e., waging a Cold War against a nation of 1.4 billion people or actually fomenting a hot conventional war in the Western Pacific? It’s madness made worse by the fact that Trump, Biden and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are using tired tropes reminiscent of the language of that was employed during the USA vs USSR Cold War that saturated the consciousness of the American people and its Western European comrades.

      • “F-35s Don’t Help Families Pay Their Bills”: GOP Under Fire for Slipping $30 Billion Pentagon Gift Into Coronavirus Plan

        “Just how twisted is the Senate GOP coronavirus bill you ask? It includes $686 million for new F-35 fighter jets.”

      • “F-35s Don’t Help Families Pay Their Bills”: GOP Slips Pentagon Into COVID Bill

        In a floor speech late Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described the GOP’s newly released coronavirus stimulus package as a “carefully tailored” plan to provide financial relief to desperate Americans.

      • The Breathtaking Hypocrisy of the US Condemning an Afghan Air Strike

        No matter the administration in Washginton, impunity and lack of accountability have been constants in the so-called War on Terror.

      • ‘Umbrella Man’ aimed to ‘incite violence’ during George Floyd protests, police say

        An email tip sent in last week alerted authorities about the man’s intentions to “sow discord and racial unrest,” Minneapolis police Officer Emily Christensen said in the affidavit, which was filed Monday.

      • Police: ‘Umbrella Man’ was a white supremacist trying to incite George Floyd rioting

        Christensen wrote in the affidavit that she watched “innumerable hours” of videos on social media platforms like Tik Tok, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube to try to identify the suspect, to no avail. Investigators finally caught a break when a tipster e-mailed the Minneapolis Police Department identifying the man as a member of the Hell’s Angels biker gang who “wanted to sow discord and racial unrest by breaking out the windows and writing what he did on the double red doors,” the affidavit said.

        A subsequent investigation revealed that the man was also an associate of the Aryan Cowboy Brotherhood, a small white supremacist prison and street gang based primarily in Minnesota and Kentucky. Several of its members were present at the Stillwater incident.

        In the days after the rioting started, video of “Umbrella Man” ricocheted around social media, prompting a flurry of speculation about the man’s identity.

      • How the Defense Department is reorganizing for information warfare

        While each service is undertaking a slightly different approach toward information warfare, Defense officials have said there is a broad buy-in to a larger vision of how to fuse capabilities and better prepare to fight. Collectively, they show the breadth of the movement.

        Here are several ongoing efforts within the services and the Pentagon underway.

      • Turkey on the Warpath

        Turkey’s choice of names for its gas exploration ships are also a giveaway. The name of the main ship that Turkey is using for seismic “surveys” of the Greek continental shelf is Oruç Reis, (1474-1518), an admiral of the Ottoman Empire who often raided the coasts of Italy and the islands of the Mediterranean that were still controlled by Christian powers. Other exploration and drilling vessels Turkey uses or is planning to use in Greece’s territorial waters are named after Ottoman sultans who targeted Cyprus and Greece in bloody military invasions. These include the drilling ship Fatih “the conqueror” or Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, who invaded Constantinople in 1453; the drilling ship Yavuz, “the resolute”, or Sultan Selim I, who headed the Ottoman Empire during the invasion of Cyprus in 1571; and Kanuni, “the lawgiver” or Sultan Suleiman, who invaded parts of eastern Europe as well as the Greek island of Rhodes.

        Turkey’s move in the Eastern Mediterranean came in early July, shortly after the country had turned Hagia Sophia, once the world’s greatest Greek Cathedral, into a mosque. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan then linked Hagia Sophia’s conversion to a pledge to “liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque” in Jerusalem.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

      • Climatologist Michael Mann on 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season: “Hate to Say, ‘We Told You So’”

        Citing his pre-season forecast predicting as many as 20 named storms, the expert now warns that “if anything, that might be too low…”

      • Holidays at home can help to slow climate heating

        Staycationing − spending holidays at home − can protect the planet by cutting the aircraft emissions which heat the Earth.

      • Paradise lost: Eviction looms for hermit living alone on Italian island

        Morandi, who has enjoyed a safe and isolated retreat during Italy’s Covid-19 emergency, believes authorities will serve him his eviction notice once summer is over.

        “All I ask is, if I must be sent away during the renovation works, that I can come back after and keep doing what I do each day: guard the endangered pink coral beach, keep tourists at bay, protect the nature. I fear that if I’m gone, it will be the end of Budelli too”.

      • Voters want Facebook to be accountable for climate misinformation, poll finds

        The poll comes on the heels of a high-profile moderation incident that called Facebook’s impartiality into question for many critics. Last August, Science Feedback reviewed an article from the Washington Examiner op-ed that used inaccurate information and cherry-picked datasets to cast doubt on the accuracy of climate change models. Science Feedback’s experts determined that the article was “highly misleading” and rated it as false.

        That rating should have reduced its reach on Facebook. But the CO2 Coalition, a group that that rejects mainstream climate science and posted the Washington Examiner article, put up a fight. Ultimately, it convinced Facebook to remove the “false” rating, E&E News reported in June.

        “Placing statements that are verifiably false in an opinion section shouldn’t grant immunity from fact-checking,” Scott Johnson, science editor of the organization Science Feedback, told The New York Times this month. Science Feedback is one of Facebook’s third-party fact-checkers that helps it “identify and review false news.”

      • Energy

        • Unplugged: How the Gas Industry Is Fighting Efforts to Electrify Buildings

          Natural gas constitutes a vast majority, about 80 percent, of the direct fossil fuel CO2 emissions from the residential and commercial sectors, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Transitioning away from direct fossil fuel use in buildings is key for de-carbonizing and meeting climate targets, experts say.

        • Whistleblower Center Warns Fossil Fuel Industry Fraud Spurred By Climate Change Is A ‘Ticking Time Bomb’

          Fossil fuel companies dramatically understate the risks posed to them by climate change and threaten the global economy, according to the National Whistleblower Center (NWC).

          NWC, a whistleblower advocacy organization in Washington, D.C., compiled a report [PDF], “Exposing a Ticking Time Bomb: How Fossil Fuel Industry Fraud is Setting Us Up For A Financial Implosion—and What Whistleblowers Can Do About it.”

    • Finance

      • ‘Voters Will Know Who to Blame’: Poll Shows At Least 7 in 10 Americans Support $1 Trillion State and Local Aid GOP Refuse to Provide

        “Senators can no longer ignore the calls of voters, local elected officials, and economists who have repeatedly called for this relief.”

      • Progressive Caucus Demands Democrats Reject GOP Plan to ‘Unleash Widespread Suffering’ on the American People

        “The Republican proposal is nothing less than a policy of mass evictions, mass homelessness, mass poverty, and mass hunger.”

      • Raise the Social Cost: an Important Strategic Concept

        In the late 1960’s, McGeorge Bundy, who had been the national security adviser to Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, in a debate at MIT, said he had turned against the Vietnam War. Bundy said he now favored U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam not because the U.S. war was immoral or wrong or not in U.S. “interests”, but rather because college students, including at elite schools were becoming radicalized. Rather than becoming government officials and administrators or corporate managers, they were rejecting these future possibilities and becoming revolutionaries who wanted to overthrow and transform the U.S. economic and social system. McGeorge Bundy, a faithful servant of the ruling class, was in essence admitting that the social costs of pursuing the Vietnam War had become too high because it was weakening the stability and reproduction of the U.S. empire and domestic rule.

      • Not the ‘Heals Act’ But the ‘Heels Act’: GOP Covid-19 Plan Puts Corporate Greed Before Human Need

        What if we ignored corporations and their billionaire CEOs and owners altogether, gave them nothing, and instead directed all our efforts to providing unemployment and other benefits to individual human beings?

      • ‘Pathetic Would Be Too Mild a Word’: Sanders Rips GOP Plan to Subsidize Business Meals as Children Go Hungry

        “Millions of families in this country are facing hunger; there’s not an additional nickel in their package for nutrition programs for children or for working people.”

      • Property May Not Be Theft, but It’s Not NOT Theft

        In a recent essay for The Nation, I argued that property destruction needs to be taken seriously as a coherent, intelligent form of political speech. Reframing property destruction as a fully conscious, intelligent form of resistance is important for a number of reasons. It forces us to distinguish between violence against people (often in the name of property protection) and violence against non-living things. It explicitly acknowledges the role of coercion in political struggle that is obscured by a reductive notion of nonviolence as the gold standard of democratic change. And it invites us to examine something so fundamental to the very terms of our political thought that it often escapes scrutiny. Namely, private property.

      • The US Chamber of Commerce Says Trump Is Bad for Business
      • The GOP’s Disgraceful HEALS Act Will Cost Millions of Jobs and Protect Bad Employers While Failing to Help People

        This bill will lead to deep and prolonged pain.

      • ‘Utter Disgrace’: GOP Proposes Legal Immunity for Corporations, $0 in Funding for States, and Deep Cuts to Unemployment Benefits

        “Republicans have wasted months coming up with a proposal that, remarkably, would make the pandemic and economic pain even worse—especially a corporate immunity provision that would be a literal death sentence to countless Americans.”

      • Many Terms That Are Frequently Used to Describe Capitalism Simply Don’t Hold Up Under Scrutiny

        Capitalism is not, as its defenders like to claim, defined by “free” or “private” enterprises. Likewise, “free” or “unregulated” markets do not define capitalism. Politics and ideology drive its defenders to choose those definitions over clearly better, different definitions. The causes and consequences of conflicts over definition are part of today’s mounting battles over capitalism.

      • People of Color Are Facing Economic Devastation While Police Get a Blank Check

        Increasingly, activists are drawing connections between police killings and rising inequality across class and racial lines.

      • Even If Biden Wins in a Blowout, the Economy Still Isn’t Coming Back

        COVID-19 has not only presented the global economy with its greatest public health challenge in over a century, but also likely killed off the notion of America’s “unipolar moment” for good. That doesn’t mean full-on autarky or isolationism but, rather, enlightened selfishness, which allows for some limited cooperation. Donald Trump’s ongoing threats to impose additional tariffs on a range of EU exports are exacerbating this trend as the old post-World War II ties between the two regions continue to fray. Even the possibility of a Biden administration is unlikely to presage a reversion to the status quo ante. Regionalization and multipolarity will be the order of the day going forward.

      • They Sued Thousands of Borrowers During the Pandemic — Until We Started Asking Questions

        A Silicon Valley-based installment lender that caters to Latino immigrants announced on Tuesday that it would drop all the lawsuits it has filed against borrowers who fell behind on payments, including during the coronavirus pandemic.

        Oportun Inc. also said it would cap interest rates on new loans at 36% — a percentage that consumer advocates consider the gold standard for smaller personal loans.

      • Trump’s Worst Attacks on Workers

        Well, here’s a clue: Tucked away on page 203 of the COVID stimulus package backed by Trump, is an obscure provision that delivers a whopping $135 billion in tax breaks to millionaire real estate developers and hedge fund managers. One real estate tycoon who stands to profit handsomely from the provision is none other than the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner. In total, the cash secretly spent on tax cuts for millionaires in the COVID-19 package is more than three times as much money as was included for emergency housing and food relief.Kushner isn’t the only Trump insider getting paid off during the pandemic. Forty lobbyists with ties to Donald Trump have helped clients secure more than $10 billion in federal COVID aid. And if Trump succeeds in getting the Supreme Court to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the richest 0.1 percent of Americans will get an average additional tax cut of $198,000 each per year. Donald Trump is no working-class champion. He’s a corporate con man – the culmination of a rigged-for-the-rich system that’s shafting working Americans at every turn.

      • ‘Please stop evicting the poor’ Sisulu pleads with landlords

        Landlords have been urged not to evict people who cannot pay rent due to the economic crisis prompted by the lockdown, and instead practice “ubuntu”.

        This is an appeal by Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, after meeting Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato on Tuesday.

        Plato, in his statement after the pair met, said he had warned Sisulu about a “lack of police support for anti-land invasion operations in Cape Town” and she agreed to take this up with Police Minister Bheki Cele.

        “It was agreed by all that land invasions cannot be tolerated and must be prevented. I appreciate the national minister’s support in this regard given the overwhelming coordinated nature of land invasions and related criminality,” Plato said.

        Sisulu, in her statement, explained her “appeal to landlords who have been providing shelter to our people not to evict them”.

        “We all understand that the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic has resulted in people losing their jobs and has hit already destitute communities particularly hard.”

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Trump Campaign Gets Pissed At Wireless Carriers For Blocking Unwanted Political Spam

        While the United States talks a lot about our heroic efforts to combat robocalls and unwanted text messages, the reality is we just aren’t very good at it. Most of our initiatives go comically out of their way to fixate exclusively on “scammers,” ignoring that the biggest source of unwanted robocalls and spam texts is usually legitimate companies and debt collectors, who often utilize many of the same tactics to harass targets they know can’t pay. And while we like to crow often about “record” fines levied against bad actors, the FCC has only collected $6,790 in actual penalties of the $208 million in fines doled out so far.

      • Why Biden May Follow Through on a Bolder Agenda

        With Joe Biden’s polling lead growing, more attention is being paid to what he might do as president. The signals have been contradictory to say the least. After positioning himself as a resolute moderate to win delegates for the nomination, he announced that this was “a real inflection in American history” not unlike “what Roosevelt [faced].” When the six task forces he set up with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) hammered out a party platform, Sanders announced that “the compromise that they came up with, if implemented, will make Biden the most progressive president since FDR.” But as The New York Times’ Michelle Cottle pointed out, Biden’s closest advisers are veteran Democratic Party operatives from the Clinton and Obama eras, not known for original, much less radical, thinking. So the question remains—what will Biden do?

      • Winning Requires Vision, Strategy, and Numbers

        Winning is the primary task of any political organizing effort. Generally speaking, in order to win, people must change the power dynamic between elites and the rest of us. Right now, ordinary people have very little actual power, but plenty of potential power. Elites hold institutional power, but their power is unstable, based on coercion, and requires our cooperation and participation.

      • Revisions on China: Abandoning the Nixon Legacy

        There is little doubt about it. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is the puffed-up hawk of the Trump administration, talons at the ready, beak protruding. While the president coos at the prospect of seeing, or admiring, the next strongman of international relations, Pompeo hovers over selected authoritarian targets. This Jekyll-Hyde appraisal of foreign policy is a ready recipe for chaos and one that has done much to confuse Washington’s friends and foes.

      • ‘Unacceptable, Un-American, and Unconstitutional’: Six Mayors Demand Congress Block Federal Agents From US Cities

        “This provocation is resulting in direct physical harm to our communities and must end.”

      • Trump is Daring Us to Stop Him

        President Donald Trump’s recent reelection campaign advertisement is straight out of the plot of a horror movie. Just days after he deployed federal officers to the streets of Portland, Oregon, his campaign released a 30-second television spot featuring an elderly white woman watching on her television the news of activists demanding a defunding of police. The woman shakes her head in disapproval as she notices a figure at her door trying to enter her house. She nervously calls 911, but apparently the activists she disapproves of have been so effective in their nefarious demands that the universal emergency hotline Americans rely on now goes unanswered. The vulnerable woman drops her remote control as the intruder enters her home, and we are only left to imagine the horror of what he does to her as the words “You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America” appear on the screen. In this dystopian version of America, only Trump promises law and order.

      • Biden Surges in the Polls But Trump Doubles Down on the Economy to Stop Him

        A mid-July Washington Post-ABC News poll found that Biden leads Trump by double digits. It was conducted by telephone among a random national sample of 1,006 adults, with 75 percent reached on cell phones and 25 percent on landlines. Results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

      • Watchdog Group Lays Out Case for William Barr’s Impeachment Ahead of Testimony Before Congress

        “An impeachment inquiry is the only way to put an end to the dangerous path we are on.”

      • Brazilian Health Workers File ICC Complaint Arguing Bolsonaro Covid-19 Response Has Been Crime Against Humanity

        Catholic bishops in Brazil are also accusing the government of systematically using “unscientific arguments… to normalize a Covid-19 plague that is killing thousands.”

      • Wartime President

        This self-styled wartime president’s disposed To mock all masks and states that keep bars closed. A list of acts like these we should compile, In case some day we hold a war crimes trial.

      • Disability is Shaping the 2020 Presidential Race—But Not in the Way That It Should

        If you take Donald Trump’s word for it, he’s “all there,” while his presumed Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, may not be. According to Trump, doctors at Walter Reed Medical Center found the president’s performance on a recent cognitive exam “unbelievable,” given the extent to which Trump “aced the test.” Trump told Sean Hannity on Fox News that the test refutes claims from “the radical left” concerning the president’s diminished mental state. “I proved I was all there,” he exclaimed, while also insisting that Biden “should take the same exact test, a very standard test.”

      • Donald Trump and the Use of Psychology

        In 1999, Justin Kruger and David Dunning wrote a paper, “Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments.” The paper provided, with unparalleled accuracy, an explanation for Donald Trump’s temperament and behavior.

      • Counting the Many Ways the GOP Senate Covid-19 Relief Plan Would Fail Struggling Families and the Economy

        The Senate Republican proposal fails to come close to meeting the scale and nature of the challenges we face.

      • In Light of Supreme Court Ruling, ACLU Says Trump’s Latest Move to Undermine DACA ‘Patently Illegal’

        “There is absolutely no reason for this,” said immigration rights activist Erika Andiola. “Nothing. Not a legal reason. Not a political reason. Just hate.”

      • Barr to Attack Russia Investigation, “Violent Rioters” in First House Testimony

        Attorney General William Barr is expected to attack Democrats and the Department of Justice’s own investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign’s ties to Russia during his first appearance Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee.

      • Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation issued two fines for violating Russia’s ‘foreign agents’ law

        On Tuesday, July 28, Moscow’s Simonovsky Court issued two 300,000-ruble ($4,140) fines to opposition leader Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) for violating Russia’s “foreign agents” law, MBK Media reports.

      • GOP Stimulus Bill Shows McConnell and Trump Are Perfectly Happy to Watch You Die

        Let us now turn our primers to the chapter titled, “Stuff That Should Have Happened Months Ago But Didn’t Because Mitch McConnell Said ‘No.’”

      • Democritus/Democracy

        Perhaps we could’ve been
        Much less discreet
        About dragging garbage
        Out into the street
        For barricades and towers
        Like Simon Rodia’s, in Watts —
        But to keep out the cars
        And to keep out the cops —
        Perhaps not
        It’s obvious, replies Democritus
        That some things can’t be cut
        Squares? They’re abstractions!
        You think these exist?
        Oh, no, rejoins Plato
        Who burns all Democritus’ books
        That! Is! The Nomos! Haha!
        He says, with a mouthful of baklava
        A fact!

      • Making Khabarovsk great again: Mikhail Degtyarev has a chance in Russia’s Far East to prove himself, but his new constituents don’t want the federal attention he offers

        Mikhail Degtyarev was appointed the acting governor of Russia’s Khabarovsk region on July 20, after President Putin declared a “loss of confidence” in Governor Sergey Furgal, following the latter’s arrest on murder charges. Degtyarev has been in office for about a week now and in that time mass protests against his predecessor’s ouster have only grown. The most recent Saturday rallies on July 25 were the biggest yet, according to multiple independent estimates. Demonstrators appear to be adopting more radical slogans, as well, as protesters last weekend shouted anti-Putin chants not previously heard in the region. Meduza special correspondent Anastasia Yakoreva, who’s spent more time in Khabarovsk than its acting governor, reviews Mikhail Degtyarev’s first week on the job and examines why his affinity for Russia’s federal authorities alienates his new constituents.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • NTIA Follows Trump’s Unconstitutional Order To Request The FCC Review Section 230

        As we mentioned on Friday, on Monday, the NTIA followed through on a key part of Trump’s executive order on Section 230, asking the FCC to weigh in on interpreting the law. Everything about this is crazy. The NTIA request was almost certainly written by a recently hired lawyer who has spent the last couple of years attacking Section 230. He’s also the same lawyer who sued Twitter on behalf of a white supremacist, and when I had reached out to him over email to ask him how that made sense under 230, insisted to me that Section 230 was a narrow statute that only applied if it was about protecting children. I can’t say for sure, but my email exchange with him suggested to me that he was wholly unaware of Section 230 prior to me asking about it. Either way, that case failed spectacularly, and Adam Candeub has spent the past two years attacking 230 on various panels. And now he’s deputy secretary at NTIA in charge of this issue.

      • Nick Sandmann’s Wacky QAnon Supporting Lawyer Threatens Reporters For ‘Speculating’ On Washington Post’s Settlement With Sandmann

        On Friday, we wrote about the bad reporting concerning Nick Sandmann’s settlement with the Washington Post, that nearly every knowledgeable lawyer figures was likely for “nuisance value” to get rid of the lawsuit. We noted that the NY Post’s coverage of it misleadingly suggested that the kid got many millions of dollars, when there’s no evidence to support that conclusion, and plenty to suggest he got very little. If you want a thorough debunking of “the kid got paid” narrative, this thread by @RespectableLawyer lays out the details. As we had noted in our post, the court had already rejected nearly all of the claims in the case, and only allowed it to be reinstated to allow for very narrow discovery on very narrow issues which Sandmann almost certainly would not have won on. There was basically no chance Sandmann would win the case. So, a nuisance fee settlement makes it worthwhile to everyone. The paper gets out of the case for less than the cost of going through discovery and the whole summary judgment process, and Sandmann gets to say he got paid, without ever saying how little.

      • Citing U.S. sanctions against Russian oligarch, YouTube permanently blocks right-wing, Christian Orthodox news network

        YouTube has permanently blocked the account of the right-wing, Christian Orthodox news network Tsargrad TV. According to Interfax, Google’s press service cited the “violation of legislation on sanctions and trade rules” as the reason behind the decision. The United States sanctioned the network’s founder, Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev, in 2014.

      • University of Hong Kong fires Occupy Central founder Benny Tai

        After many months of debate, the University of Hong Kong (HKU) council has voted to fire Benny Tai, an associate professor of law and pro-democracy figure.

        The council’s decision overrides a decision by the university’s senate earlier this month, which concluded that there were no grounds for Mr Tai’s dismissal. The council, the university’s governing body whose members are mostly not teaching staff or students, is responsible for management, finances and human resources. The senate, comprised mostly of professors and teachers, is responsible for academic matters and student welfare.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • First arrest during Khabarovsk protests targets ‘Furgalmobile’ driver

        Khabarovsk’s Central District Court has sentenced local protester Rostislav Buryak to eight days in prison, lawyer Vitaly Tykhta from the rights group “Human Rights Postcards” (“Pravozashchity Otkrytki”) told MBK Media. Buryak, an active participant in the ongoing protests in Khabarovsk, is best known as the owner of the so-called “Furgalmobile,” a food truck decorated with slogans in support of the region’s ousted governor, Sergey Furgal. 

      • McDonald’s Has a Real Sexual Harassment Problem

        Lois Jones started at McDonald’s when she was in her 20s. It was her first job. “I loved working for McDonald’s,” she said. “Don’t make no mistakes about it. I can take some food and turn it into a Sunday dinner. As long as I’m in the kitchen, I’m happy.”

      • For My Wife, Who Is Writing a Collection of Stories Called ‘Homescar’

        limpets leave once they’ve sealed into the rock and know

      • Real Answers Demanded After Barr Dodges on Government Authority to Aim ‘Intrusive Surveillance Tools’ at Protesters

        “The public needs to know whether Attorney General Barr thinks President Trump can conduct mass surveillance of protesters without congressional authorization.”

      • ‘This Is How It’s Done’: Must-Watch TV as Jayapal Tears Into William Barr at Oversight Hearing

        “Mr. Barr… I’m starting to lose my temper.”

      • Trump Is Lawless

        Support independent cartooning: join Sparky’s List—and don’t forget to visit TT’s Emporium of Fun, featuring the new book and plush Sparky!

      • We Don’t Need Trump’s Thugs in Chicago

        The excuse for sending federal police here is to protect federal property. The reality is that this is a cynical re-election ploy aimed at earning support for a law-and-disorder president.

      • Feds Attack! Trump’s Paramilitaries Invade American Cities

        Federal agents poured into Portland, Oregon this month to crack down on anti-racism protests. They beat up peaceful protesters and fired impact munitions at demonstrators, seriously injuring one of them. They drove around the city in unmarked vans pulling people off the street.

      • Call Trump’s Tactics What They Are: Fascist

        Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul responded appropriately to the news that President Trump intends to dispatch federal agents to Milwaukee, as Trump’s agents continue to create chaos in Portland, Ore.

      • Majority of Americans Back Black Lives Matter Protests and Think Demonstrations Will Help Racial Justice: Poll

        A new Gallup survey shows that 65% of U.S. adults support the protests.

      • The US Occupation of Haiti

        The only reason the corrupt, repressive and illegitimate Jovenel Moïse is currently president of Haiti is due to US (and Canadian) support.

      • “Defendant Shall Not Attend Protests”: In Portland, Getting Out of Jail Requires Relinquishing Constitutional Rights

        Federal authorities are using a new tactic in their battle against protesters in Portland, Oregon: arrest them on offenses as minor as “failing to obey” an order to get off a sidewalk on federal property — and then tell them they can’t protest anymore as a condition for release from jail.

        Legal experts describe the move as a blatant violation of the constitutional right to free assembly, but at least 12 protesters arrested in recent weeks have been specifically barred from attending protests or demonstrations as they await trials on federal misdemeanor charges.

      • Portland’s ‘Wall of Moms’: A Nonviolent Resistance Campaign with Historical Precedent

        Soon after George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old Black man, was suffocated to death by Minneapolis police on May 25, 2020, a nationwide response to his killing reenergized the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. BLM was founded in 2013 after the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s killer. It has only grown and evolved in the years since, especially strategically. The movement’s demands include an end to systemic racism, racial injustice and police brutality; the arrest, prosecution and conviction of killer cops; the removal of monuments and statues which commemorate Confederate figures and other white supremacists; and the defunding of our archaic and oppressive policing system. The movement for Black lives operates based on the principle that the interconnected roots of structural racism, racial oppression and police violence – colonialism, genocide, white supremacy and capitalism – must be confronted and dismantled together. Moreover, it recognizes the importance and significance of functioning as an intersectional and multiracial struggle for liberation and justice.

      • No Paper Trail: Migrant Children Secretly Held in Hampton Inn Hotels Before Expulsion from U.S.

        Under a shocking new Trump administration policy, hundreds of people who came to the United States seeking asylum were secretly held in hotels for days on end before being expelled from the country, often with little or no paper trail. This includes more than 200 unaccompanied immigrant children — including babies and toddlers — who were taken to hotels near the Texas-Mexico border by a private contractor for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “The Trump administration has been just basically expelling them without due process and without any paper trail,” says Zenén Jaimes Pérez, advocacy director for the Texas Civil Rights Project, which helped uncover the abuse. We also speak with Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley.

      • Migrant Children Secretly Held in Hampton Inn Hotels Before Expulsion From US

        Under a shocking new Trump administration policy, hundreds of people who came to the United States seeking asylum were secretly held in hotels for days on end before being expelled from the country, often with little or no paper trail. This includes more than 200 unaccompanied immigrant children — including babies and toddlers — who were taken to hotels near the Texas-Mexico border by a private contractor for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “The Trump administration has been just basically expelling them without due process and without any paper trail,” says Zenén Jaimes Pérez, advocacy director for the Texas Civil Rights Project, which helped uncover the abuse. We also speak with Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley.

      • Your Questions About the New York City Police Complaint Data, Answered

        Since we published The NYPD Files, we’ve fielded a number of questions about the data from readers. We’ve answered a few of the most common ones here.

        What data did you release?

      • ProPublica Releases NYPD Discipline Records Its Union Thought It Had Talked A Court Into Keeping Secret

        Forty-five years after a law was passed in New York allowing public agencies to withhold employees’ disciplinary records from the public, it was finally taken off the books by the state’s legislature. The law — known by its statute number “50-a” — hadn’t really been an obstacle to the limited transparency begrudgingly extended by the NYPD until the department suddenly decided it was no longer interested in sharing information about disciplined officers with journalists.

      • Top NYPD Official Says Cops Don’t Need To Worry About Being Criminally Charged For Violating Chokehold Ban

        Surprising exactly no one, an NYPD official has declared NYPD officers to be above the law. In response to the George Floyd killing — a killing carried out by a Minnesota police officer who crushed Floyd’s throat with his knee until no pulse could be detected… and then continued for another three minutes — resulted in the city passing a new law forbidding officers from choking the life out of arrestees. Seems reasonable.

      • Jayapal: Barr Called BLM “Terrorists” But Ignored Armed Michigan Protesters

        In an exchange with Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Attorney General William Barr revealed that he is oblivious to widely reported threats of violence made by right-wing “reopen” protesters, even as he has backed the Trump administration’s vicious crackdown on racial justice protesters.

      • ‘Threats are a familiar thing for me’ Dagestani journalist Svetlana Anokhina on covering women’s issues in Russia’s North Caucasus

        On July 22, an unknown man phoned Dagestani journalist Svetlana Anokhina several times and threatened to kill her. The caller promised to “deal with feminists,” apparently referring to Anokhina’s work as the chief editor of Daptar.ru, an independent outlet that has been reporting on women’s issues in Russia’s North Caucasus region for the past six years. After she reported this death threat to the police, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called for a “swift and thorough investigation,” underscoring Anokhina’s need for adequate protection. In conversation with Meduza, Anokhina discusses the most recent threats against her and the reality of reporting on women’s rights in Dagestan.

      • Are protesters getting sprayed with expired tear gas? If so, that’s not good

        “The fact that they have expiration dates makes it deeply concerning that they’re using expired tear gas,” Dr. Rohini J. Haar, an adjunct professor of epidemiology at University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health who focuses on human rights issues, told Salon. “It’s really difficult to know what the breakdown products are because manufacturers are not transparent about what exactly is in those canisters — the solvent, the combustibles and all of that.” After noting that there is no evidence about whether expired tear gas is more or less dangerous, Haar argued that the bigger problem is that we do not know what is in the canisters in the first place.

        “I think some transparency about what chemicals are in there would give us some insight into how they break down and what the degradation products are. We don’t have that information,” Haar explained.

      • Police: Richmond riots instigated by white supremacists disguised as Black Lives Matter

        Six people were arrested. The mayor of Richmond thanked the Black Lives Matter protesters he said tried to stop the white supremacists from spearheading the violence.

      • Egypt TikTok: Female influencers jailed over ‘indecent’ videos

        “The Economic Court in Cairo sentenced Mawada al-Adham and Haneen Hossam and three others to two years in prison and fined them 300,000 Egyptian pounds each,” the state-owned website al-Ahram reported.

        “They are accused of violating the values and principles of Egyptian society and posting indecent photos and videos disturbing to public morals,” al-Ahram added.

      • Islamists Involved In The Murder Of Egyptian Intellectual Farag Foda In 1992 Appear In Al-Jazeera Documentary; Abu Al-Ela Abd Rabbo Who Was Involved In The Assassination: I Acted In Accordance With Shari’a Law; I Believe Allah Will Reward My Actions

        On June 15, 2020, Al-Jazeera Network aired a documentary about the 1992 assassination of Egyptian secularist Farag Foda by members of the Al-Jama’a Al-Islamiyya Islamist group. In the documentary, Islamic researcher Ayman Abd Al-Rahim and former Al-Jama’ah Al-Islamiyyah leader Nageh Ibrahim criticized Farag Foda’s views regarding the Islamic caliphate and its legitimacy. One of Foda’s assassins, Egyptian Islamist Abu Al-Ela Abd Rabbo, said that he killed Farag Foda because of the fatwa issued by Al-Azhar University scholars, that declared Foda to be an apostate and because the Mubarak regime had been suppressing Islamist groups while allowing Foda to continue spreading secular ideologies. Abd Rabbo said that he acted in accordance with shari’a law and that he does not regret his actions because he hopes Allah will reward him on Judgement Day.

      • Defund the police? Milwaukee eyes future amid Black Lives Matter protests, coronavirus budget crunch
    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • California Legislator Introduces Anti-Rural Fiber Legislation That Prioritizes DSL

        Frontier’s bankruptcy has serious consequences for Americans, including 2 million Californians, who are stuck with their deteriorating DSL monopoly. After deciding for years to never upgrade their networks to fiber—despite the fact that, according to their own bankruptcy filing, they could have profitably upgraded 3 million customers to gigabit fiber already—the pyramid scheme of milking dying DSL assets caught up to the company. This has forced rural communities in California that either lack access to the Internet, or have been dependent on decaying copper DSL lines provided by Frontier Communications, into a serious predicament. The solution, of course, is for the state to build fiber in those markets by empowering local governments and small private ISPs to do the job Frontier neglected for so long.

        But, rather than leave this mega-corporation to its own demise and chart out a better future for Californians, a bill  introduced by Assembly Member Aguiar-Curry, A.B. 570, proposes to amend the state’s Internet infrastructure program to prioritize DSL upgrades over fiber.

    • Monopolies

      • Alphabet, Amazon, Apple and Facebook face an antitrust grilling

        Critics of America’s largest tech firms hope that a congressional hearing on July 29th—postponed by two days because the late Congressman John Lewis was lying in state in the Capitol—will unleash a similar dynamic. For the first time the chief executives of Alphabet (Google’s parent), Amazon, Apple and Facebook will together face the questions of lawmakers in Washington. Yet the chances are that the proceedings will prove far less momentous.

      • Big Tech is going on trial

        The main purpose of Wednesday’s hearing is for Zuckerberg, Pichai, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, and Apple’s Tim Cook to address the evidentiary record the committee has already prepared over the last 13 months, an intimidating number of documents that no tech CEO has reckoned with since Microsoft’s antitrust charges in the ‘90s. At the end of this probe, the committee intends to publish a report in the coming months detailing how the executives’ respective companies have avoided liability under current antitrust laws because those competition rules were never crafted with the tech industry’s behaviors in mind.

      • Patents

        • USPTO Issues Final Rule to Revise PTA Rules in View of Supernus v. Iancu

          According to the Office’s notice, the revisions to the rules will specify a period of reduction corresponding to “the period from the beginning to the end of the applicant’s failure to engage in reasonable efforts to conclude prosecution” as opposed to the consequences to the Office of applicant’s failure to engage in reasonable efforts to conclude prosecution.

          In Supernus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Iancu, the Federal Circuit reversed the entry of summary judgment by the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, which concluded that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had not erred in calculating the PTA for U.S. Patent No. 8,747,897. During prosecution of U.S. Application No. 11/412,100, which issued as the ’897 patent, the Examiner issued a final Office Action, and Supernus responded by filing a Request for Continued Examination (RCE). After filing the RCE, Supernus was notified that an opposition had been filed in related European Patent No. EP 2 010 189 (which had issued from a European application corresponding to an International application that claimed priority from the ’100 application). One hundred days after the European Patent Office’s notification of the opposition, Supernus filed a supplemental Information Disclosure Statement (IDS) citing the Notice of Opposition and other documents concerning the opposition. The USPTO ultimately issued the ’100 application as the ’897 patent, determining that the ’897 patent was entitled to 1,260 days of PTA. The Office’s PTA determination included an assessment of 886 days of applicant delay, of which 646 days were assessed for the time between the filing of the RCE and the submission of the supplemental IDS. Supernus filed a request for Reconsideration of Patent Term Adjustment, but the Office rejected Supernus’ request, concluding that the 646-day reduction in PTA was proper.

          Supernus challenged the Office’s PTA determination in the Eastern District of Virginia, contending that it was entitled to at least 546 of the 646 days of PTA reduction (i.e., the period of time between the filing of the RCE and the EPO notification of opposition). The District Court granted summary judgment in favor of the USPTO, finding that the USPTO did not err in the PTA calculation for the ’897 patent.

      • Copyrights

        • R.E.M., Rolling Stones, Elton John and Dozens of Artists Send Letter Demanding End to Unauthorized Political Use of Music

          What do Elton John, the Rolling Stones, Lionel Richie, Courtney Love, Panic! at the Disco, Pearl Jam, Sia, Aerosmith, Lorde and Linkin Park have in common? Among probably many other things, one definite is a desire for politicians to keep their grubby hands off their music. (Unless, perhaps, they ask nicely.)

          Those and dozens of other artists have put their signatures to an open letter from the Artist Rights Alliance, addressed to to the Democratic and Republican national, congressional and senatorial committees, asking all parties to put an end to appropriating popular songs for political purposes without authorization.

        • Quibi Dominates Shortform Emmy Nominations

          The mobile-first video venture of Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman scored 10 nominations across the five shortform categories, the most of any platform. It was a strong show of support from the television industry after a bumpy start for Quibi, which launched in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic in April and has struggled to attract subscribers. (The company said 5.6 million people downloaded the app in its first three months but has yet to disclose how many paying subscribers Quibi has.)

        • Former Google Engineer Argues Prison Term Is a ‘Death Sentence’

          Levandowski, who agreed to plead guilty, countered that 12 months of home confinement and community service is enough.

          Levandowski “raided Google’s repositories and stole proprietary information that would have undoubtedly been useful to him,” prosecutors said in a filing. Had he not been caught, the stolen files might have made the engineer “the savior” of Uber’s self-driving program.

        • UEFA Launches Tender for Multi-Faceted Anti-Piracy Partner

          EUFA has published a tender inviting anti-piracy companies to minimize the effect of unauthorized streaming and downloading. The European football body is looking for a company that can provide protection on all fronts, covering live and non-live content, apps, IPTV services, help with blocking orders, and more.

        • Jolly Roger’s Patrons: Report Exposes ‘Pirate’ CDNs and Their Financial Backers

          New research published by cybersecurity firm Group-IB aims to shine a light on the shadowy world of ‘pirate’ CDNs, the streaming sites they fuel, and the companies helping to finance their operations. Online casinos and bookmakers reportedly play a major role, with platforms using players’ gambling activities and losses to keep pirate sites afloat.

        • Publisher Decries Damn Libraries Entertaining The Masses Stuck At Home For Free

          For years and years we’ve pointed out that, if they were invented today, copyright maximalist authors and publishers would absolutely scream about libraries and probably sue them out of existence. Some insisted that we were exaggerating, but now we’ve seen nearly all of the big publishers sue the Internet Archive over its digital library that acts just like a regular library.

        • 2nd Circuit Refuses To Stop Sanctions Order On Troll Richard Liebowitz, So He Files Required Notices With Petulant Note Attached

          Infamous copyright troll Richard Liebowitz didn’t have a very good Monday. Facing massive sanctions and quite an incredibly detailed order exposing his long trail of disobeyed orders and lies to courts across the country, with just a week before he had to comply, Liebowitz (1) appealed to the 2nd Circuit to put a stay on the original order, and (2) asked the original judge to lift the non-monetary sanctions as being unfair. The district court judge, Jesse Furman, wasted almost no time at all in rejecting that request highlighting (among many other things) that Liebowitz and the actual lawyers he hired to represent him waited until about the last possible minute to make that request.

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