01.23.21

Links 23/1/2021: Chromium Pains and New Debian Maintainers

Posted in News Roundup at 11:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Lilbits: Linux on Apple Silicon and the uncertain future of the LG Rollable smartphone

      Apple launched the first Macs with Apple Silicon a few months ago, delivering a big boost in performance while also reducing power consumption. One downside of Apple’s switch from Intel processors to its own ARM-based custom chips though, is that you can no longer easily install Windows alongside macOS using Boot Camp, and for a while there was no easy way to install GNU/Linux distributions either.

      But this week developers at ARM virtualization company Corellium announced that they’d ported Linux to run on a Mac Mini with an Apple M1 chip. Corellium CTO Chris Wade says the team’s proof of concept build of Ubuntu (based on a version made to run on Raspberry Pi computers) is “completely usable,” and boots a “full Ubuntu desktop” from a USB flash drive.

  • Applications

    • New release candidate: Tor 0.4.5.4-rc

      There’s a new release candidate available for download. If you build Tor from source, you can download the source code for 0.4.5.4-rc from the download page on the website. Packages should be available over the coming weeks, with a new alpha Tor Browser release likely around this coming Tuesday.

      Tor 0.4.5.4-rc is the second release candidate in its series. It fixes several bugs present in previous releases.

  • Instructionals/Technical

    • Remembering the LAN

      We can have the LAN-like experience of the 90′s back again, and we can add the best parts of the 21st century internet. A safe small space of people we trust, where we can program away from the prying eyes of the multi-billion-person internet. Where the outright villainous will be kept at bay by good identity services and good crypto.

      The broader concept of virtualizing networks has existed forever: the Virtual Private Network. New protocols make VPNs better than before, Wireguard is pioneering easy and efficient tunneling between peers. Marry the VPN to identity, and make it work anywhere, and you can have a virtual 90s-style LAN made up of all your 21st century devices. Let the internet be the dumb pipe, let your endpoints determine who they will talk to based on the person at the other end.

    • Predicting Hard Drive Failure with Machine Learning

      These data points are labelled as members of the negative or positive class, which in this case means “hard drive operates normally” or “hard drive has failed.” Note that the “positive” in “positive class” doesn’t mean “good.” Instead, it means “this sample exhibits the behavior we’re looking out for.” A machine learning model would read this dataset, then look for patterns in the features that determine why each hard drive ended up in its class.

      Normally there would be enough data points and features that a human couldn’t read the whole dataset—let alone spot a pattern in it! This example is simplified enough for us to step through the process that a model might follow. Let’s look for a pattern in each feature:

    • Escape from System D, episode VII

      Well, it’s been an awfully long time since I last blogged about Dinit (web page, github), my service-manager / init / wannabe-Systemd-competitor. I’d have to say, I never thought it would take this long to come this far; when I started the project, it didn’t seem such a major undertaking, but as is often the case with hobby projects, life started getting in the way.

    • Doing «Data Science» even if you have never heard the words before

      I’d like to shatter some of this mystery today. Let’s do some machine learning, find some patterns in our data – perhaps even make some predictions. With good old Python only – no 2-gigabyte library, and no arcane knowledge needed beforehand.

    • How To Install Emacs Editor on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

      In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Emacs Editor on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Emacs is a very useful plus feature-rich text editor that may be used across multiple various platforms. Because of its considerable support for writing code within different languages, it is favored by most programmers.

      This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step by step installation of Emacs Editor on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian based distribution like Linux Mint.

    • How to Change Debian’s Default Applications

      We all have our preferences when it comes to the application we want to use for opening and working with a certain file type. For example, whenever I start using a new version of an operating system, I install and switch to the VLC media player for playing music and videos. In Debian, you can change your default applications both through the command line and the graphical user interface through the simple steps described in this tutorial. We have performed the commands and procedure described in this tutorial on the latest Debian 10 Buster system.

    • How To Install Chrome In Ubuntu / Linux Mint | Tips On UNIX

      Google Chrome one of the common and most widely used web browsers in the world. It is blazing fast and easy to use with security features.

      Google Chrome‘s new version 88 comes with more changes and one of the notable changes is the end of flash support.

      This tutorial will be helpful for beginners to install Chrome in Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 20.10, Ubuntu 18.04, and Linux Mint 20.1

    • How to Install and Configure Gogs Git Service on Ubuntu Linux

      The Gogs is a compact and self-hosted hassle-free Git service that you can install on your Ubuntu Linux server and distribution to enjoy the Git facilities. The Gogs services are lightweight yet powerful; you can install the Gogs services on Docker, cloud server, and even on a Raspberry Pi system. Even old PC and hardware systems can handle the Gogs services. The Gogs is written in the Go language. The simple dashboard, custom domain support, HTTP security, and multi-database support of the Gogs Git Service will give you a comfortable setting to use the Git service on your Ubuntu system.

    • How to Install and Use GCC Compiler on Linux System

      While building the Linux kernel, the developers had to build a free and open-source compiler to create the kernel and modules. The GCC compiler was build under the GNU project. In the current version of all Linux distributions, the GCC compiler comes pre-installed inside the operating system. You can use the GCC compiler to compile C, C++, Ada, Go, and a few other object-oriented programming languages. You can compile codes on your terminal shell through the GCC compiler on a Linux system.

    • How to create, compile & run a C Program in Linux terminal – Linux Shout

      The C programming language is still alive because it is simple and can do a lot of things. As we know Turbo C compiler is a discontinued integrated development environment, well, on Linux you don’t need it as there is already GNU Compiler Collection to compile and run C or C++ programs. Therefore, if you know the C language, it is much easier to learn, write programs and run other programming languages ​​on Linux operating systems such as C ++, Java, Perl, or PHP, as the languages ​​have certain similarities. Here we will show the steps to install GCC compiler and how to write, compile and run a C program in Linux.

    • How to create bootable Ubuntu 20.04 on windows 10

      I think so; a few weeks back, I was doing something on my Ubuntu 20.04. Suddenly my friend knocks on my door, and he was curiously peeking on my laptop screen. I asked what happen, Benhur?

      Benhur replied, what are you doing on your laptop, It is totally different from my laptop screen, and It fascinated me. Will you tell me what it is?

    • Linux 101: How to copy files and directories from the command line

      Are you new to Linux? If so, you’ve probably found the command line can be a bit intimidating. Don’t worry–it is for everyone at the beginning. That’s why I’m here to guide you through the process, and today I’m going to show you how to copy files and folders from the command line.

      Why would you need to copy files and folders this way? You might find yourself on a GUI-less Linux server and need to make a backup of a configuration file or copy a data directory.

      Trust me, at some point you’re going to need to be able to do this. Let’s find out how.

    • How to install Headless Dropbox on Ubuntu Server

      Dropbox can be termed as cloud-based file storage that makes your files available at any given time as long as you are connected to the internet. A local user accesses files by syncing to Dropbox. This aids to automatically update all removed and added files to your cloud-based storage. Most people are curious to know how the headless Dropbox can be installed on an Ubuntu Server. To learn more, follow the article below for detailed information, including screenshots of how the installation process is done.

    • Masterby Books by Michael W Lucas

      Look what was delievered a few days ago! Can’t wait to skill up in both SUDO and PAM modules.

      Michael W Lucas has written dozens of technical books on some of the most fascinating aspects of systems administration – I’ve read SSH Mastery book in the past and will someday try using FreeBSD for real just because Michael wrote so many books about this wonderful OS.

    • Cloud Native Patterns: a free ebook for developers

      Building cloud native applications is a challenging undertaking, especially considering the rapid evolution of cloud native computing. But it’s also very liberating and rewarding. You can develop new patterns and practices where the limitations of hardware dependent models, geography, and size no longer exist. This approach to technology can make cloud application developers more agile and efficient, even as it reduces deployment costs and increases independence from cloud service providers.

    • I am TheeMahn

      Let’s say you screw up your sources, Keysnatcher will fix them automatically. Nasup, dont have a NAS No Problemo I just told you use 0 memory. I can make it disable the service, I would not want it adding 6 seconds to your boot time. I have 20 Gigabit Networking and really understand. If you do have a NAS I want that picked up off the rip.

    • How to Install and Use the Etcher Tool on Ubuntu

      In most cases, when we’re trying out a new OS, we choose to install it on the main machine, a virtual machine, or to boot alongside another operating system.
      One of the upsides to using a Linux system is that we can boot using Live media, which makes it possible to test a specific distribution without altering the primary structure. Using bootable media such as USB drives, we can burn an iso image and boot from it or even use it to install the OS.

      Although there are various ways to create bootable media—UnetBootIn, dd (Unix), Rufus, Disk Utility, etcetera, —having a simple and cross-platform tool can be massively advantageous.

    • What is the difference between Paramiko and Netmiko?

      When it comes to networking, there is a wide range of perspectives, and one cannot master how to interact with all the devices in the real world. However, all networking devices share similar functionality that, when mastered, are automatable.

      As mentioned in my other tutorials, programmers are lazy and always looking to improve efficiency—thus doing the least work —, and when it comes to automating network-related issues, many often jump at the chance.

      In today’s quick guide, I’ll introduce you to automating SSH using two popular Python libraries: Paramiko and Netmiko. We will create simple python scripts using the two libraries to automate SSH and interact with network devices.

      I choose this approach because a guide primarily focused on the differences between Paramiko and Netmiko would be too short—a simple table would suffice—and no-concrete. By taking this approach, you’ll be better able to experiment with them and see which does what and how.

    • How to Use Unison to Synchronize Files Between Servers

      This tutorial will show you how to set up and use the Unison File synchronization tool on Debian systems. Using Unison, you can sync files between two different disks or directories in the same system or two other systems over the network.

    • How to detect the file system type of an unmounted device on Linux

      If you want to store data on a new hard drive or a USB memory stick, what you first need to do is to create a “filesystem” on it. This step is also known as “formating” the drive or the USB stick. A filesystem determines in exactly what format data is organized, stored and accessed on a physical device. It is often necessary to know the type of filesystem created on a hard disk or a USB thumb drive even before mounting it. For example, you may need to explicitly specify filesystem type when mounting a disk device, or have to use a filesystem-specific mount command (e.g., mount.aufs, mount.ntfs).

    • How to Install yay AUR Helper in Arch Linux [Beginner’s Guide]

      This beginner’s guide explains the steps to install the Yay AUR helper in Arch Linux.

    • 2 Simple Steps to Set Up SSH Public Key Authentication on CentOS

      This tutorial explains how to set up SSH public key authentication on a CentOS/RHEL desktop. There’re basically two ways of authenticating user login with OpenSSH server: password authentication and public key authentication. The latter is also known as passwordless SSH login because you don’t need to enter your password.

    • Linux 101: Renaming files and folders – TechRepublic

      I’m going to help you learn a bit more about Linux. If you’re new to the operating system, there are quite a few fundamental tasks you’re going to need to know how to do. One such task is renaming files and folders.

      You might think there’s a handy rename command built into the system. There is, but it’s not what you assume. Instead of renaming a file or folder, you move it from one name to another, with the mv command. This task couldn’t be any easier.

    • Linux 101: Listing files and folders within a directory – TechRepublic

      For those new to Linux, you might be a bit concerned about learning the command line. After all, you probably come from a platform that uses a GUI for nearly every task and haven’t spent much time with a command line interface. Fear not, that’s what we’re here for.

      This time around, I want to show you how to list files and folders within a directory. This may sound like a very rudimentary task, but you’ll be surprised at how much information you can actually glean from a single command. We’re going to start out with the basics.

      First, log in to your Linux system. If this is a GUI-less server, you’ll already be at a terminal window, so you’re ready to go. If not, open a terminal app and you should find yourself in your home directory.

    • qBittorrent 4.3.3 Released! How to Install in Ubuntu 20.04, 20.10

      The qBittorrent 4.3.3 was released a few days ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 20.10, Ubuntu 18.04, and Linux Mint 19.x / 20.

      This release contains mainly bug-fixes. Because Xcode doesn’t support C++17, Mac OS 10.13 (High Sierra) is no longer supported. And Ubuntu 18.04 is highly to be dropped in the next release.

    • Linux 101: How to create a directory from the command line – TechRepublic

      Hello admins, Jack Wallen here with a Linux 101-level tip. This time around we’re going to learn how to create a directory from the command line. I know, it sounds incredibly basic. It is, but it’s also a skill you’re going to need to know. Why? Because at some point you’re going to be faced with administering a Linux server without a GUI.

      When that happens, you’ll be glad you know how to create a directory from the CLI.

      But how do you do it? It’s actually incredibly simple.

    • Gitlab runners with nspawn

      I need to setup gitlab runners, and I try to not involve docker in my professional infrastructure if I can avoid it.

    • How to install Notepad++ on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

      Even though it has a small size but it has core word processor features and known for the ability to handle the syntax of all common programming languages or ​​even more.

      Notepad ++ doesn’t heavy on resources that’s why we can easily install it on Linux distros such as Ubuntu to access various tools, to get support in our work with syntax highlighting, multi-view, drag & drop, auto-completion, and much more.

      Being an open-source program, its source code is available on its official website plus it supports plug-ins to extend features that make work even easier. We can select Plugin-ins during installation.

    • How to install Code::Blocks on a Chromebook

      Today we are looking at how to install Code::Blocks on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

    • How to Create a Web App in Linux Mint

      If you haven’t heard, Linux Mint 20.1 “Ulyssa” just dropped, and it comes prepackaged with a new utility called Web App Manager. In short, it allows you open and use a website, such as Twitter, Facebook, or Discord, as if it were a standalone app.

      Here’s how Mint’s Web App Manager works and how to put it to use.

  • Games

    • Skul: The Hero Slayer is a delightful repeatable head-swapping action rogue-lite out now

      After being in Early Access since February 2020, SouthPAW Games have now released their head-swapping rogue-lite action platformer Skul: The Hero Slayer.

      Taking place in a world where it seems that things are a bit backwards. The heroes appear to be going on a rampage, enslaving other creatures to help with their dirty work and destroy the demons once and for all. Everyone has been taken prisoner, except for you, a little little Skul. With action comparable to the likes of Dead Cells which I adore, and Hollow Knight, this is a rogue-lite you’re going to want to keep on playing.

      You’re no ordinary fighter though, as you can swap your regular boring old skul with another. When you do this, you gain some pretty impressive abilities and there’s quite a lot of different skul’s to find. This makes it quite unique because it can end up being very different on each run.

      [...]

      I should note that the current build on Linux has an issue of a black screen instead of the main menu, although all it does it get you to click a button to load back into the game which does work so it’s not a big problem. I’ve let the developer know.

    • Tencent now own majority stake in Don’t Starve and Oxygen Not Included creator Klei

      More game industry news coming at you following the Team17 buying up Golf With Your Friends and YoYo Games being acquired by Opera we now have Klei Entertainment agreeing for Tencent to take a majority stake in them.

      Speaking in a forum post, studio head Jamie Cheng mentioned they’ve “agreed to deal for Tencent to purchase a majority stake in Klei Entertainment” and that “Klei retains full autonomy of creative and operations across all aspects of the studio, including projects, talent, and more”.

      Klei have actually been working with Tencent since 2016, as Tencent helped Klei distribute games through China on the WeGame platform and more recently a mobile Don’t Starve game. Cheng also mentioned how a “large proportion” of their players are actually from China.

    • Quirky comedy action-adventure Skellboy Refractured is out now | GamingOnLinux

      Skellboy Refractured, the new and fresh release from UmaikiGames is out with Linux support as an expanded version to the game that originally released for the Nintendo Switch.

    • Interested in Godot Engine and games made with it? GodotCon is up on January 23 | GamingOnLinux

      Tomorrow, January 23 there’s going to be an online GodotCon that’s going live on YouTube. This is a chance for anyone interested to learn more about the free and open source game engine Godot Engine.

      Interestingly, it won’t be live. The talks are pre-recorded according to the announcement. However, to help with that and so you can chat with the Godot team and other users and developers using Godot, the team has now set up their own dedicated social chat area using Rocket.chat.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • This week in KDE: the Plasma 5.20 beta is here!

        Well folks, you finally have a chance to test out Plasma 5.21, in beta form! Please do install it and find all the bugs we missed. Bug reports have already started pouring in, and we’ll fix them as fast as we can in the next month.

        [...]

        Kate now has a searchable HUD-style command palette that lets you trigger menu items with super speed! It’s activated using the Ctrl+Alt+I shortcut, and we’re investigating adding it to other KDE apps as well in the form of a re-usable framework component.

  • Distributions

    • BSD

      • FreeBSD quarterly status report for Q4 2020

        The best way to keep up with FreeBSD development from an outsider’s perspective. FreeBSD is on my radar for the UltraSPARC server-as-a-workstation project – a reader has donated a SunFire V245 that’s currently in shipping to me – so I’m trying to be a bit more in tune than I usually am with the world of FreeBSD.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

      • First Look at OpenMandriva Lx 4.2 on the Raspberry Pi 4

        When OpenMandriva announced the Release Candidate of OpenMandriva Lx 4.2 earlier this month, it revealed the fact that they finished the AArch64 (ARM 64-bit) port. That’s amazing news for OpenMandriva Lx fans who own an ARM64 device like the Raspberry Pi, Pinebook Pro, or even the PinePhone.

        The even better news is that OpenMandriva provided installable images for various popular devices, such as Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, Pinebook Pro, PinePhone, and Rock Pi 4C. A generic AArch64 image for UEFI compatible devices, such as various server boards, is also available for download.

      • Brave browser updated to 1.19.86

        Brave is a free and open-source web browser developed by Brave Software, Inc. based on the Chromium web browser. It blocks ads and website trackers, and provides a way for users to send cryptocurrency contributions in the form of Basic Attention Tokens to websites and content creators.

    • SUSE/OpenSUSE

      • Top 6 Reasons Why You Should Use OpenSUSE

        Some of the most popular Linux distributions lay in three categories: Ubuntu/Debian-based distros, Fedora, and Arch Linux. Today, I will give you an insight into one distribution you might not have used before and why you should try it out – The openSUSE Linux distribution.

        I have used so many Linux distributions either for development, as a server, or just for fun and experience. Of all these distributions, I always find OpenSUSE being a unique distro. From the default Desktop background, applications all the way to executing commands with the zypper package manager – openSUSE feels so shiny and sacred. In this post, we will look at the Top 6 Reasons Why You Should Use OpenSUSE.

      • The Unified Path Ahead For Building SUSE Linux Enterprise + openSUSE Leap

        Red Hat hasn’t been the only major enterprise Linux distribution shifting around their pieces with regards to how RHEL is formed with moving to CentOS Stream as its future upstream. Over the past year especially openSUSE Leap and SUSE Linux Enterprise having been moving closer together with the source trees now being more closely aligned between Leap and “SLE”. SUSE has published an insightful blog post series detailing the prior way that openSUSE Tumbleweed and Leap tied in with SUSE Linux Enterprise and then the direction they have been shifting.

    • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

      • Peter Hutterer: Auto-updating XKB for new kernel keycodes

        This two-part approach exists so either part can be swapped without affecting the other. Swap the second part to an exclamation mark and paragraph symbol and you have the French version of this key, swap it to dash/underscore and you have the German version of the key – all without having to change the keycode.

        Back in the golden days of everyone-does-what-they-feel-like, keyboard manufacturers (presumably happily so) changed the key codes and we needed model-specific keycodes in XKB. The XkbModel configuration is a leftover from these trying times.

        The Linux kernel’s evdev API has largely done away with this. It provides a standardised set of keycodes, defined in linux/input-event-codes.h, and ensures, with the help of udev [0], that all keyboards actually conform to that. An evdev XKB keycode is a simple “kernel keycode + 8″ [1] and that applies to all keyboards. On top of that, the kernel uses semantic definitions for the keys as they’d be in the US layout. KEY_Q is the key that would, behold!, produce a Q. Or an A in the French layout because they just have to be different, don’t they? Either way, with evdev the Xkb Model configuration largely points to nothing and only wastes a few cycles with string parsing.

      • Máirín Duffy: Fedora Design Team Sessions Live: Session #1

        As announced in the Fedora Community Blog, today we had our inaugural Fedora Design Team Live Session

        Thanks for everyone who joined! I lost count at how many folks we had participate, we had at least 9 and we had a very productive F35 wallpaper brainstorming session!

      • Knowledge meets machine learning for smarter decisions, Part 2

        Red Hat Decision Manager helps organizations introduce the benefits of artificial intelligence to their daily operations. It is based on Drools, a popular open source project known for its powerful rules engine.

        In Part 1 of this article, we built a machine learning algorithm and stored it in a Predictive Model Markup Language (PMML) file. In Part 2, we’ll combine the machine learning logic with deterministic knowledge defined using a Decision Model and Notation (DMN) model. DMN is a recent standard introduced by the Object Management Group. It provides a common notation to capture an application’s decision logic so that business users can understand it.

      • Four tactics to build Twitter followings for open source communities

        If you work in a role related to marketing, you’ve probably heard of brand personality, the human characteristics companies use to market themselves and their products. On Twitter, it’s fast food giant Wendy’s claim to fame, and it even drives impact on many of Red Hat’s own social accounts.

      • Part 1 – Rancher Kubernetes Engine (RKE) Security Best Practices for Cluster Setup | StackRox
      • Part 2 – Rancher Kubernetes Engine (RKE) Security Best Practices for Authentication, Authorization, and Cluster Access
      • Part 3 – Rancher Kubernetes Engine (RKE) Security Best Practice for Container and Runtime Security
      • Red Hat’s Disruption of CentOS Unleashes Storm of Dissent

        Five weeks after angering much of the CentOS Linux developer community by unveiling controversial changes to the no-cost CentOS operating system, Red Hat has unveiled alternatives for affected users that give them several options for using existing Red Hat products.

        But for many users of CentOS Linux, the Red Hat options won’t solve the huge problems that were created for them when Red Hat announced Dec. 8 that CentOS would no longer include a stable version with a long, steady future. Instead, CentOS will now only be offered as a free CentOS Stream operating system which will be a rolling release with frequent updates, essentially turning it into a beta OS that is no longer suitable for reliable production workloads. For users who have deployed CentOS throughout the internet, data centers, corporate and business uses and more, this is a potentially major blow.

      • Fedora program update: 2021-03

        Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora this week. The mass rebuild is delayed until Monday.

        I have weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.

    • Debian Family

      • Bits from Debian: New Debian Maintainers (November and December 2020)

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

        Timo Röhling
        Fabio Augusto De Muzio Tobich
        Arun Kumar Pariyar
        Francis Murtagh
        William Desportes
        Robin Gustafsson
        Nicholas Guriev

        Congratulations!

      • Must ‘completely free’ mean ‘hard to install’? Newbie gripe sparks some soul-searching among Debian community

        A post on the Debian developer list about issues installing the operating system on a laptop sparked a debate about whether Debian’s free software principles have become a blocker to adoption.

        Wanting to convert his laptop from Windows 10 to Debian, Dan Pal clicked “Download” on the Linux distro’s homepage. It did not install because his wireless chipset was not supported. He succeeded eventually by downloading a DVD image, but had to hunt for it. “The current policy of hiding other versions of Debian is limiting the adoption of your OS by people like me who are interested in moving from Windows 10,” he said.

        There is a distributable driver for this wireless card but it is non-free, which means it is not officially part of Debian. It is a good principle, but works against users if it completely blocks installation.

        The issue has been debated before. “I idly wonder if we could call it firmware and call it a day. I tried to propose that a bunch of times and was not successful,” said a reply to the post.

    • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

      • José Antonio Rey: New times, new solutions

        Just as humans change, the Ubuntu community is also changing. People interact in different ways. Platforms that did not exist before are now available, and the community changes as the humans in it change as well.

        When we started the Local Communities project several years ago, we did it with the sole purpose of celebrating Ubuntu. The ways in which we celebrated included release parties, conferences, and gatherings in IRC. However, we have lately seen a decline in the momentum we had with regards to participation in this project. We have not done a review of the project since its inception, and inevitably, the Community Council believes that it is time to do a deep dive at how we can regain that momentum and continue getting together to celebrate Ubuntu.

        As such, we are putting together the Local Communities Research Committee, an independent entity overseen by the Community Council, which will help us understand the behavior of Local Community teams, how to better adapt to their needs, and to create a model that is suitable for the world we are living in today.

  • Devices/Embedded

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • Raptor Announces Kestrel Open-Source, Open HDL/Firmware Soft BMC

      Raptor Engineering known for their work on open-source POWER9 systems has announced Kestrel, an open-source baseboard management controller (BMC) design that is open down to the HDL design and firmware.

      Raptor describes Kestrel as “the world’s first open HDL / open firmware soft BMC, built on POWER and capable of IPLing existing OpenPOWER systems!” This isn’t a physical BMC chip but a “soft” BMC that is currently designed and tested on Lattice ECP-5 FPGAs. It can currently handle an initial program load (IPL) for a POWER9 host like the Blackbird and Talos II systems of Raptor Computing Systems after deactivating the existing ASpeed hardware BMC found on those systems.

    • Apache Superset Reaches Top-Level Status For Big Data Visualizations

      The Apache Software Foundation announced on Thursday that Apache Superset reached “top-level” status.

      Apache Superset is the project’s big data visualization and business intelligence web solution. Apache Superset allows for big data exploration and visualization with data from a variety of databases ranging from SQLite and MySQL to Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery, Snowflake, Oracle Database, IBM DB2, and a variety of other compatible data sources.

    • Intel oneAPI Level Zero 1.1 Headers/Loader Released

      The oneAPI Level Zero repository consisting of the Level Zero API headers, Level Zero loader, and validation layer have reached version 1.1.

      Following last year’s big oneAPI 1.0 “Gold” status, Intel’s open-source oneAPI effort continues moving along with the Level Zero focus as their low-level, direct-to-metal interface for offload accelerators like GPUs and other “XPU” devices.

    • [Older] A short journey to x86 long mode in coreboot on recent Intel platforms

      While it was difficult to add initial x86_64 support in coreboot, as described in my last blog article how-to-not-add-x86_64-support-to-coreboot it was way easier on real hardware. During the OSFC we did a small hackathon at 9elements and got x86_64 working in coreboot on recent Intel platforms.

      If you want to test new code that deals with low level stuff like enabling x86_64 mode in assembly, it’s always good to test it on qemu using KVM. It runs the code in ring 0 instead of emulating every single instruction and thus is very close to bare metal machines.

    • Schedule appointments with an open source alternative to Doodle

      In previous years, this annual series covered individual apps. This year, we are looking at all-in-one solutions in addition to strategies to help in 2021. Welcome to day 13 of 21 Days of Productivity in 2021.

      Setting appointments with other people is difficult. Most of the time, we guess at a date and time and then start the “is this time bad for you? No, that time is bad for me, how about…” dance. It is easier with co-workers since you can see each others’ calendars. You just have to find that magic spot that is good for almost everyone who needs to be on the call. However, for freelancers managing personal calendars, the dance is a routine part of setting up calls and meetings.

    • Web Browsers

      • Chromium

        • This is why Leading Linux Distros going to remove Chromium from their Official Repositories

          Jochen Eisinger from Google team mentioned in a discussion thread that they will be banning sync support system of Chromium. This lead to lot of frustration in the Linux Dev community & rage against googles sudden decision.
          This Decision can kill small browser projects & lead the web to single browser monopoly i.e. Google Chrome!

          As a result of the googles decision multiple distros are strictly considering removal of Chromium from their official repositories. Leading distros like Arch Linux, Fedora, Debian, Slackware & OpenSUSE have stated that if the sync support goes down from google they will definitely remove chromium from their official repositories.

        • Chromium 88 removes Flash support [Ed: But DRM added]

          I uploaded a set of chromium packages to my repository today. Chromium 88.0.4324.96 sources were released two days ago.

          The release notes on the Google Chrome Releases Blog mention 36 security fixes with at least one being tagged as “critical” but the article does not mention that Flash support has been entirely removed from Chromium now.

          Adobe’s Flash was already actively being blocked for a long time and you had to consciously enable Flash content on web pages, but after Adobe discontinued Flash on 1st of January 2021 it was only a matter of time before support in web browsers would be removed as well.

          Let’s also briefly revisit the topic of my previous post – Google will remove access to Chrome Sync for all community builds of the open source variant of their Chrome browser: Chromium… thereby crippling it as far as I am concerned.

        • Chrome 89 Preparing To Ship With AV1 Encoder For WebRTC Usage [Ed: Massive patent trap]

          Now that Chrome 88 released, attention is turning to Chrome 89 of which an interesting technical change is the enabling of AV1 encode support within the web browser.

          Going back to 2018 there’s been AV1 decode support within the browser when wanting to enjoy content encoded in this royalty-free, modern codec. But now for Chrome 89 is coming AV1 encode support.

          AV1 encode support is being added for the WebRTC use-case for real-time conferencing. Web applications like WebEx, Meet, and Duo (among others) already support using AV1 for better compression efficiency, improved low-bandwidth handling, and greater screen sharing efficiency. While hardware-based AV1 encoding isn’t yet common, Chrome Linux/macOS/Windows desktop builds are adding the ability to use CPU-based AV1 encoding.

    • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • Built-in “Xray” like UNO object inspector – Part 1

        When developing macros and extensions in LibreOffice it is very useful to have an object inspector. With that tool you inspect the object tree and the methods, properties and interfaces of individual objects to understand its structure. There are quite some different object inspectors available for LibreOffice as extension. Probably the best known is called “XrayTool”, but there were also others like MRI, which was build for a similar purpose and various other more simple object inspectors (for example one is provided as an code example in ODK).

        As a tool like this is very valuable it makes sense that it would be provided out-of-the-box by LibreOffice without the need for the user to get it separately. Also the user could even be unaware the such a tool exists. For this reasons The Document Foundation (TDF) put up a tender to create a built-in Xray like UNO object inspector, which was awarded to Collabora and we are now in the process of implementing it.

    • Programming/Development

      • The 10 most popular programming languages, according to Microsoft-owned GitHub [Ed: Why do some sites still reinforce the bogus idea that only projects that Microsoft controls using an oppressive and proprietary monopoly count or exist?]
      • Carlos Garnacho: Threaded input adventures

        Mutter wasn’t always a self-contained compositor toolkit, in the past it used to rely on Clutter and Cogl libraries for all the benefits usually brought by toolkits: Being able to draw things on screen, and being able to receive input.

        In the rise of Wayland, that reliance on an external toolkit drove many of the design decisions around input management, usually involving adding support in the toolkit, and the necessary hooks so Mutter could use or modify the behavior. It was unavoidable that both sides were involved.

        Later on, Mutter merged its own copies of Clutter and Cogl, but the API barrier stayed essentially the same at first. Slowly over time, and still ongoing, we’ve been refactoring Mutter so all the code that talks to the underlying layers of your OS lives together in src/backends, taking this code away from Clutter and Cogl.

      • Partially-Formed @ Meeting C++ 2021 talk is now online

        We will also show how developers that feel uneasy about the partially-formed state can avoid them at little to no cost, neither in code readability, nor performance, and use these examples to propose a new (or old) paradigm for API design: safe and unsafe functions (in the Sean Parent sense).

      • How to implement a DevOps toolchain

        Organizations from all industries and of all sizes strive to deliver quality software solutions faster. This guarantees not only their survival but also success in the global marketplace. DevOps can help them chart an optimal course.

        DevOps is a system where different processes are supported by tools that work in a connected chain to deliver projects on time and at a lower cost.

      • Python

        • How to Create a Database in MongoDB Using Python

          There’s no doubt that Python is a powerful—and popular—programming language capable of handling any project we throw its way. It is very flexible and can adjust to suit various development environments like penetration testing to web development and machine learning.
          When coupled to large applications such as those that require databases, Python adds more functionality and can be hard to work with, especially for beginners.

          Python knows this add provides us with better ways to add databases to our projects without compromising our workflow using a simple and intuitive NoSQL database. Using Python and a popular NoSQL database, MongoDB, development becomes more comfortable and, all in all, fun.

          This article will go over various MongoDB database concepts to give you a firm understanding of what it entails. After that, we will cover how to install MongoDB on Linux and show you how to use Python to interact with MongoDB.

        • Python Script to Monitor Network Connection

          The need to have our devices always connected to the internet is becoming more of a basic need than an added privilege.

          Having applications and devices that need to log, send, and receive data to the outside world is critical. Thus, having a tool that allows you to monitor when your network goes down can help you troubleshoot the network or stop the applications before sending a bunch of log errors.

          In today’s tutorial, we will build a simple network monitor that continually monitors your internet connectivity by sending ping requests to an external resource. The script we shall create shall also keep logs of when the internet is down and the duration of the downtime:

        • How to Build a Web Traffic Monitor with Python, Flask, SQLite, and Pusher

          If you have a web application running out there on the internet, you will need to know where your visitors are coming from, the systems they’re using, and other such things.
          Although you can use services such as Google Analytics, Monster Insights, etc., it’s more fun to build a monitoring system using Python, SQL database, and Pusher for real-time data updates.

          In today’s tutorial, we’ll go over how to create such a tool using Python, Flask, and Pusher. The tutorial is a highly-customized spin-off from a tutorial published on Pusher’s official page.

        • Pyston 2.1 Released With Striving For High Performance Python

          Pyston started out as a fork of CPython and was very promising during its early days as a Dropbox project for delivering on high performance Python. Its performance was great but in 2017 Dropbox stopped supporting it. Then at the end of 2020, Pyston reappeared and Pyston 2.0 promoted ~20% faster performance than Python 3.8. Pyston 2.x was developed by many of the original developers from Dropbox now out working on their own firm.

          Fast forward to now, Pyston 2.1 was released on Friday. Pyston 2.1 delivers bug fixes and small improvements over Pyston 2.0 that shipped at the end of October. There is a generic Pyston 2.1 binary as well as Ubuntu 16.04/18.04/20.04 builds.

      • Java

  • Leftovers

    • Information Paradox

      Stephen Hawking’s final co-authored paper (Black Hole Entropy and Soft Hair) continues to challenge us here. Hawking and black holes have gone way back. Einstein’s general relativity had three factors for black holes. They were mass, charge and spin. Hawking added a fourth factor called temperature. Because heat is lost into space the fate of the black hole would be to lose its physical information and no longer be observable. Hence the information paradox was born.

      However Hawking’s final paper makes some progress on the paradox. A black hole’s entropy can be measured in a non random way by the photons around it. These photons on the black hole’s border (event horizon) are called soft hair. The problem that remains is a question of how much of the black hole’s entropy is measured in the soft hair. We know the soft hair may change when an object enters a black hole (which changes the black hole’s heat which changes its entropy). But what if this doesn’t have all its measurements?

    • The Esports Industry Grew; Now It’s Time For It To Grow Up

      As we’ve discussed for some time, the esports industry has been the subject of unprecedented growth in competitive sports. This growth trend began nearly a decade ago, but its pace steadily increased and was then supercharged by the COVID-19 pandemic. The industry is now looking back at a year when it nearly doubled in size, basking in its new found cultural position. So, the esports industry has grown. Now it’s time for it to grow up.

    • Post-Covid, We Should Take a Leaf Out of Cuba’s Book and Abolish Professional Sports

      In the corporate media, this huge monetary loss will, of course, be mourned as part of the devastating economic fallout of the Covid pandemic. But the fact that something as trivial as spectator sports can become such a huge part of the economy and have so many lives and jobs tied to its fate is something that will be inevitably glossed over. As we approach the one-year anniversary of the Covid outbreak, we should reflect on this reality and on whether the whole concept of professional sports is something worth keeping in the post-Covid era at all. Perhaps Cuba’s decision to abolish professional sports provides an example that other countries should follow.

      In 1961, two years after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro declared an end to professional sport on the island. But banning professional sport was not a move against sport. In fact, it was the opposite. Castro wanted to make sport not something that people simply watched as passive spectators, but something that people participated in themselves. Rather than existing as a spectacle, sport would be participatory and community based. A few years after the abolition of professional sport, Castro commented, ““Anybody who truly loves sport, and feels sport, has to prefer this sport to professional sport by a thousand times.”

    • Do You Remember Cuba’s Dedication to Angola?

      Fed up with foreign wars, Portuguese officers overthrew Prime Minister Marcello Caetano on April 25, 1974. Many former colonies had the opportunity to define their own future.

      Angola had been the richest of Portuguese colonies, with major production in coffee, diamonds, iron ore and oil. Of the former colonies, it had the largest white population, which numbered 320,000 of about 6.4 million. When 90% of its white population fled in 1974, Angola lost most of its skilled labor.

    • Inaugural Music

      A few years on, Longfellow’s Transcendental Club colleague Henry David Thoreau struck a more quavering, conditional note: “In a world of peace and love music would be the universal language.”

      Music has the power to bring people together but also to divide and destroy: the fife, drum, and bugle have been used to organize troops from Byzantium to Little Big Horn; the bass drum of the Turkish Janissary band was meant to fill the enemy with terror; the electric guitar, boom box, stacked speakers have been deployed to infuriate fogeys and crush cultists from Woodstock to Waco, and to wreck prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to Abu Ghraib.

    • The Time I Got Coffee With Hollywood Satanists

      It’s worth starting with the original Satanic panic of the 1980s. I recommend the account relayed in the podcast “You’re Wrong About.”

      The co-host Sarah Marshall is writing a book on the Satanic panic and she really knows the topic inside and out. It’s not too different from today: adults became hysterical over alleged sexual abuse of children by a Satanic cult that didn’t exist. It never existed.

    • Roaming Charges: New Days, Old Ways

      + In Classical Athens, tyrants (Themistocles, Cimon, Alcibiades) were exiled (or ostracized) and the seditious philosophers, like Socrates, put to death. In Rome and Florence, the dictators tended to get the knife (to assure they’d never return to power) and the poets and philosophers were sent into rocky exile (Ovid and later Dante, himself). Here our deposed autocrats are trundled off under the protection of a small contingent of Praetorian Guards to build their libraries, write their self-justifying books and await national rehabilitation after someone even worse than them assumes office.

      + So, our long national nightmare is over. After this commercial break, the new national nightmare begins.

    • Nobody — And We Mean Nobody — Was Consistently Great Like Hank Aaron

      Throughout it all, one of the most important factors in Aaron’s career was his consistent greatness. Great players are often consistently great, of course … but nobody in the history of the game is really in the same neighborhood as Aaron in this regard.

      How do you get to 755 home runs without ever cracking 50 in a season? Unrelenting consistency. Aaron hit 20 or more home runs in a season 20 times (!!), the most of any player in MLB history. He also hit at least 24 home runs every single season from 1955 (age 21) to 1973 (age 39) — a streak of 19 consecutive years. No other player in history has done that for more than 15 straight years. (Ruth and Barry Bonds, who eventually broke Aaron’s all-time record, both did it exactly that many times in a row.)

    • GameStop stock halts trading after Reddit drama

      Trading in stock of video game retailer GameStop (GME) was halted briefly Friday, as it soared more than 70 percent, due partly to the enthusiastic support of a group of Reddit day traders.

      The stock is up more than 250 percent year to date, rising sharply last week after GameStop announced Chewy CEO Ryan Cohen was joining its board, CNBC reported. Short-seller Citron Research predicted the price would drop, but members of the Reddit board r/wallstreetbets, who had been generating interest in the stock, criticized Citron on the Reddit message board and continued praising the stock on social media.

    • Education

      • Teachers Union Berated Trump for Reopening Schools, Now It’s Praising Biden For Doing the Same

        The same teachers’ organization that roundly condemned Donald Trump’s attempts to prematurely reopen schools are now applauding Biden’s decision to do the same, even as the coronavirus pandemic reaches new levels.

      • Can universities manufacture a post-industrial future for the Midwest?

        If you set any store by university rankings, the Midwest certainly lines up impressively, with 14 universities inside the top 150 of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Many of those are state universities and, in particular, land-grant universities, founded in the 19th century with a particular mission for economic development. And these universities already have huge economic impact. The Midwest is no “monolith of struggling factory towns”, stresses Austin. “The big university towns are thriving…in a global economy. From Madison to Iowa City…they are creating new businesses and jobs, growing new sectors.”

        A 2019 report from the Brookings Institution identified potential “growth centres” (based on metrics such as innovation jobs growth, numbers of patents filed and proportion of the population with degrees) across the US “heartland”, which could be developed through extra federal research investment. Number one on the list was Madison, home to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, followed by Minneapolis-St Paul, home to the University of Minnesota. The report calls on the federal government to run a contest to select between eight and 10 such centres for funding.

    • Hardware

      • Nehalem Lead Architect Returns to Intel, Inspired by New CEO

        In a sign that Intel’s efforts to rebuild its engineering corps might be swift under the new incoming CEO, Glenn Hinton, the lead architect of Intel’s Nehalem processors and several other programs, announced that he is returning to the company after a three-year retirement. In a LinkedIn post announcing his decision, Hinton cited the return of Pat Gelsinger, Intel’s new CEO, as a prime motivator for rejoining the company.

      • The struggle over chips enters a new phase

        Contrast this effervescence with the consolidation in chipmaking. A gruelling 60-year struggle for supremacy is nearing its end. Moore’s law, which holds that the cost of computer power will fall by half every 18 months to two years, is beginning to fail. Each generation of chips is technically harder to make than the last and, owing to the surging cost of building factories, the stakes have got bigger. The number of manufacturers at the industry’s cutting-edge has fallen from over 25 in 2000 to three.

        The most famous of that trio, Intel, is in trouble. It has fired its boss, an admission that it has fallen behind. It may retreat from making the most advanced chips, known as the three-nanometre generation, and outsource more production, like almost everyone else. That would leave two firms with the stomach for it: Samsung in South Korea and TSMC in Taiwan. TSMC has just announced one of the largest investment budgets of any private firm on the planet. An array of corporate A-listers from Apple and Amazon to Toyota and Tesla rely on this duo of chipmakers.

      • Intel floats possibility of licensing deals but would TSMC and Samsung be interested?

        Intel Corp executives have raised the possibility of licensing chipmaking technology from outside firms, a move that could see it exchanging manufacturing secrets with rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) or Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

        Intel is one of the few remaining semiconductor firms that both designs and manufactures its own chips, but the business model has come into question in recent years as the company lost its manufacturing lead to the Taiwanese and Korean companies.

        One option urged by some investors would be to outsource manufacturing. The company said, however, on Thursday that while it plans to increase its use of outside factories, the majority of its 2023 products would be made internally.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • As Pandemic Rips Through Indian Country, Indigenous Communities Work to Save Elders & Languages

        We look at the fight to save tribal elders and Native language speakers as the pandemic rips through Indian Country, with Indigenous communities facing woefully inadequate healthcare, lack of governmental support, and the living legacy of centuries of colonialism. Native Americans have died from COVID-19 at twice the rate of white people across the U.S. To combat this crisis, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has prioritized elders who speak the Dakota and Lakota languages to receive vaccines. “Knowing that there were a lot of elders who were at really, really high risk, this was a concern from the very beginning,” says Jodi Archambault, a citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the former special assistant to President Barack Obama on Native American affairs. The parents of Nola Taken Alive, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council, both recently died of COVID-19. “My parents were very humble people,” she says. “They played a very important role not only in my siblings’ and our family’s lives, but also to the entire community of Standing Rock.” We also speak with Alex White Plume, a former vice president and president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation who is a Lakota interpreter.

      • As Death Toll Tops 410,000, Biden Pushes “Wartime Effort” to Fight COVID. But Could More Be Done?

        On his first full day in office, President Joe Biden unveiled a 198-page national plan to tackle the coronavirus pandemic as the U.S. death toll tops 410,000. He signed 10 executive orders to create a new national COVID-19 testing board, to help schools reopen, to mandate international travelers to quarantine upon arrival, and to require masks on many forms of interstate transportation. Biden also invoked the Defense Production Act to increase COVID-19 testing and the production of vaccine supplies, saying a wartime effort is needed to combat the virus. “It just feels like the federal government is back, the federal government is going to play a constructive and helpful role in this pandemic and the pandemic response. And that’s critical,” says Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. “It’s science-driven stuff that I wish we had had a year ago.” Dr. Jha also discusses his proposal to delay giving out second shots of coronavirus vaccines until there is more supply, as well as how new variants of the coronavirus impact the efficacy of existing vaccines.

      • ‘Mask Up, America’: Biden Signs Pandemic Mandates for Traveling and Federal Properties

        “The experts say that by wearing a mask from now until April, we’d save more than 50,000 lives,” the president asserted. 

      • Farmers’ Protests Reflect Existential Crisis of Indian Agriculture

        Given that India is still an agrarian-based society, renowned journalist P Sainath says what is taking place can be described as a crisis of civilisation proportions and can be explained in just five words: hijack of agriculture by corporations. He notes the process by which it is being done in five words too: predatory commercialisation of the countryside. And another five words to describe the outcome: biggest displacement in our history.

        In late November 2018, a charter was released by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (an umbrella group of around 250 farmers’ organisations) to coincide with the massive, well-publicised farmers’ march that was then taking place in Delhi.

      • Biden Orders on Food Aid Heralded as ‘Most Significant Anti-Hunger Actions in Modern Times’

        The expected executive action comes as “families are struggling with food insecurity like never before.”

      • Several States Aren’t Counting How Many Vaccine Shots Go to Waste
      • Fauci Says Working Under Biden Is “Liberating” – He Can Speak Candidly on COVID
      • COVID vs. World War II

        Let us compare the sacrifices in lives paid by the American people during WWII, and during YEAR ONE of COVID-19.

        WWII (for the U.S.A.): 7 December 1941 to 15 August 1945: 1347 days, (3 years, 8 months, 1 week, 1 day).

      • ‘Deeply Alarming’: AstraZeneca Charging South Africa More Than Double What Europeans Pay for Covid-19 Vaccine

        “This is the problem when you have essential medicines in the hands of big business, with almost no transparency as to pricing.”

      • Biden Pushes “Wartime Effort” to Fight COVID as US Death Toll Tops 410,000
      • The Unfinished Business of Flint’s Water Crisis

        When I first heard E. Yvonne Lewis tell the story, it was a hot July day in downtown Flint, Michigan. We and about 70 others had gathered in the high-ceilinged ballroom of the Northbank Center, just west of the river, where the Michigan Civil Rights Commission was conducting its 2016 hearings on how this Great Lakes city learned that its own water was a threat.

        Lewis, a community health worker and mother of three, testified that she kept a Crock-Pot in her bathroom. To take a bath, she filled the cauldron with bottled water, waited for it to heat, poured it into her bathtub, then repeated this process until she had enough to wash.

      • Reports of Racial Disparities in Covid Vaccines Distort Science

        Science reporting frequently fails to meaningfully communicate research results, especially when it comes to medical research. Out of context numbers and percentages only create public misunderstanding of the scientific results.

      • CCDH report shows that antivaxxers coordinate COVID-19 vaccine fear mongering

        Earlier this week, I wrote about how an investigation by the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) had revealed how antivaccine groups, including the most prominent ones like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s Children’s Health Defense and Barbara Loe Fisher’s National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), had received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the federal government through the Paycheck Protection Program. It turns out that that investigation by the Center was not its only one. Thanks to Scott Gavura, I learned that the CCDH also investigated a meeting by antivaxxers held virtually in October with the express purpose of developing strategies, a playbook if you will, to sow fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the COVID-19 vaccines whose release through Emergency Use Authorization was imminent. In the US, those were primarily the vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, both of which were RNA-based vaccines. The result is a report by the CCDH called The Anti-Vaxx Playbook. The meeting was, unsurprisingly, hosted by the NVIC.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Oh, the Irony! Chrome is Blocking Security Tool Nmap Downloads Considering it a Security Threat

            Nmap is a popular open-source tool created by Gordon Lyon used by security experts and network admins to analyze the network, find exploits, and keep it secure.

            However, it seems that for a day at least, Google Chrome blocked all Nmap downloads using its Safe Browsing service by labelling it as a threat.

            Even though this has been fixed quickly. For many visitors trying to download the tool, this must have been confusing. A software that’s more than a decade old is now suddenly considered as a threat?

          • Logging as a service isn’t SIEM — so what is it?

            Log management software is often confused or conflated with security information event management (SIEM) software. Both monitor and analyze system and application data, so vendors often blur the lines between the two categories, with many SIEM products including a log management module. Conversely, some log management vendors also have SIEM offerings that work with or supplement their logging products.

            The primary distinction between log management and SIEM is focus. SIEM tools prioritize data and metrics relevant to security, not the totality of an environment’s system, user and application log output. Log management software and services provide a scalable, holistic platform to collect, manage, archive and analyze all of an IT environment’s log output — on premises and in the cloud.

          • Laptops given to British schools came preloaded with malware and talked to Russia when booted [iophk: Windows TCO]

            These devices have shipped over the past three to four weeks, though it is unclear how many of them are infected. One source at a school told The Register that the machines in question seemed to have been manufactured in late 2019 and appeared to have had their DfE-specified software installed last year.

          • Democrats seek answers on impact of Russian cyberattack on Justice Department, Courts [iophk: Windows TCO]

            The senators’ concerns come weeks after both the Justice Department and the U.S. Courts reported that they had been among the federal agencies compromised by the Russian attack on SolarWinds, which was uncovered in December but had been ongoing for more than a year.

            In a statement earlier this month, a DOJ spokesperson said around 3 percent of the agency’s employee email accounts had been “potentially accessed” as part of the breach, but that there was “no indication that any classified systems were accessed.” DOJ has more than 100,000 employees.

            The federal judiciary confirmed it was breached the same week as DOJ, noting in a statement that the AO’s Case Management/Electronic Files system had suffered an “apparent compromise,” with new procedures immediately put in place to file sensitive court documents.

          • Biden inherited one of the worst [cracks] in history. How will his administration respond?

            But that’s the easy part. The SolarWinds [attack] — named for the Texas software company that Russia [cracked] in order to gain access to tens of thousands of its customers, many of them American businesses and federal agencies — ran undetected for at least nine months, siphoning off private information before it was discovered in December.

            At least five federal agencies have admitted they were affected. Several others have so far refused to comment. Few private companies have admitted to being victims, but experts say the working assumption is the number is in the hundreds.

            That’s left cybersecurity experts with the labor-intensive task of combing through sensitive networks.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Rights Advocates Alarmed by US Spy Agency’s Purchase of Warrantless Phone Location Data

              “Congress must end this lawless practice and require the government to get a warrant for our location data, regardless of its source.”

            • Amazon Ring App Found To Be (Again) Exposing User Locations, Home Addresses

              While Amazon Ring and other doorbells certainly deliver a certain convenience, they’ve created no shortage of entirely new problems. Problems that could have been avoided with just a bit of foresight and ethical behavior. First comes the fact they’re being integrated into our already accountability-optional law enforcement and intelligence apparatus. Then, like the rest of the “let’s connect everything to the internet but do a shit job on basic security and privacy because it costs money” IOT sector, they can’t be bothered to get the fundamentals right when it comes to consumer security.

            • Appeals Court Rejects Clearview’s Attempt To Dodge A State Lawsuit By Trying To Make It A Federal Case

              Clearview’s attempt to dodge a potential class-action lawsuit filed against it in Illinois has just been booted back to the Illinois court system by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

            • Do Safer Alternatives To WhatsApp Exist?

              There’s no such thing as absolute privacy if you own a smartphone, but there is such a thing as relative privacy. Because WhatsApp offers end-to-end message encryption, its millions of users assume that it’s the most secure and private way to speak to their friends. A significant number of them are no longer as sure about that as they used to be.

              WhatsApp belongs to Facebook. That fact isn’t immediately obvious as it hasn’t been mentioned anywhere on the app in the past, but those who didn’t know that were suddenly informed of it right at the start of the year when WhatsApp issued new privacy guidelines and informed users in the United States of America that it’s about to start sharing some data with Facebook. That didn’t go down well with a significant chunk of the app’s users, who responded by ditching WhatsApp and moving to alternatives like Signal and Telegram. They believe their private information is safer there, but are they right?

            • Intelligence agency gathers US smartphone location data without warrants, memo says

              DIA analysts have searched American location data five times in the past 2 1/2 years, according to the document released Friday by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

              The Oregon Democrat had asked the agency whether it was interpreting the 2018 Supreme Court decision in Carpenter v. United States to mean that obtaining data from a third-party broker rather than a phone company does not require a warrant.

            • [Old] “Twitter and the Other Platforms Are Bad, Facebook Is Worse”

              DER SPIEGEL: Mr. Roubini, in summer 2020, you said in DER SPIEGEL that Trump would lose the election and call his supporters to arms. Both have happened. What’s next for the U.S.?

              Roubini: There will be more armed uprisings, especially by white nationalists, if only to provoke the left. Russia and China will launch cyberattacks against the US and spread misinformation. That will shape the next four years. In the short term, though, something else worries me?

            • How to see what Facebook knows about you, and download your data

              Facebook offers granular options on what type of data you’d like, the format and quality of your download, and the date range for the data you want. By default, the Download Your Information page is configured to give you a massive file of everything you’ve ever done on the social network.

              It takes a while for Facebook to create the archive. The time probably increases depending on your activity level and how long your account has been active. My 10-year-old account took roughly 15 minutes to compile and wound up being a large 1.23GB file, though I rarely upload pictures to the service.

            • Google search on mobile is getting a redesign

              Google is redesigning how search results look on mobile, the company announced in a blog on Friday. “We wanted to take a step back to simplify a bit so people could find what they’re looking for faster and more easily,” Aileen Cheng, who led the redesign, said in the blog.

              The redesign will have larger and bolder text that’s intended to be easier to scan quickly, and you’ll see more of Google’s font in results. Search results will also take up more of the width of your screen, thanks in part to reduced shadows. Google also says the redesign will use color “more intentionally” to help highlight important information without being distracting.

            • US Defense Intelligence Agency admits to buying citizens’ location data

              An intelligence agency has just confirmed that the US government does indeed buy location data collected by its citizens’ smartphones. In a memo sent to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and obtained by The New York Times, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) admitted that it buys location data from brokers — and that the data isn’t separated by whether a person lives in the US or outside of it.

              Data brokers are companies that, as the name implies, collect and sell people’s information. The companies collect people’s location information (and much more) by paying app makers and websites for it. Once the broker has the information, they can aggregate it and sell it to whoever’s willing to pay for it — including the US government.

            • Intelligence Analysts Use U.S. Smartphone Location Data Without Warrants, Memo Says

              Defense Intelligence Agency analysts have searched for the movements of Americans within a commercial database in five investigations over the past two and a half years, agency officials disclosed in a memo they wrote for Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon.

              The disclosure sheds light on an emerging loophole in privacy law during the digital age: In a landmark 2018 ruling known as the Carpenter decision, the Supreme Court held that the Constitution requires the government to obtain a warrant to compel phone companies to turn over location data about their customers. But the government can instead buy similar data from a broker — and does not believe it needs a warrant to do so.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Opinion | ‘I Never Thought I’d Live to See This Day’: The Beginning of the End for Nuclear Weapons

        Few antiwar activists ever thought they’d see nuclear weapons banned, but thanks to dedicated organizing, a historic UN treaty goes into effect today.

      • The Persecution of Hazaras

        As explained below, atrocities against the Hazaras of Khorasan, comprised of killings, ethnic cleansing, land confiscation, enslavement, underdevelopment, and forced exile, are not new. The Hazaras have been suffering persecution for centuries. Presently, there are more than 8 million Hazaras, but only half of them live in Afghanistan. To escape persecution, the other half migrated to other countries, including Pakistan, Iran, Europe, and Australia. In Pakistan and Iran, the Hazaras face degrading treatment as a refugee ethnic group while Daesh and Taliban slaughter them in Quetta and other parts of Baluchistan, Pakistan.

        Almost always, the persecutors rely on perception (caricature) rather than reality. Sometimes perception is mightier than reality, and sometimes there is no reality but perception. Ethnic groups perceived as outsiders within a country are rarely trusted and frequently accused of being traitors in times of war. (The internment of the Japanese Americans during World War II was an act of perception, not reality.) There has been a persistent perception in Afghanistan that the Hazaras are not loyal to the nation, and that they facilitate the enemies. Accordingly, this article focuses on how the rulers of Afghanistan and the Pashtuns, the largest tribe, perceive and persecute the Hazaras.

      • Despite Absence of Nuke-Armed States, World Celebrates Arrival of Global Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons

        “Today we reach a major milestone on the road to a more peaceful and secure world, free from the ultimate menace of nuclear war.”

      • Opinion | A Day of Celebration: The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) Enters Into Force

        The path is before us. We must act now, to protect current and future generations—and all we hold dear. 

      • Homegrown Fascists

        Four days after the pandemonium at the capitol, Rep. James Clyburn told reporters that the House would wait until 100 days into a Biden administration to send impeachment to the senate. This was a lousy idea. By then, the Republicans would all be in opposition, with memories of being terrorized by a murderous mob no longer fresh. President-elect Biden apparently recognized this and asked Sen. Mitch McConnell to put an impeachment trial on a parallel track with approval of his cabinet.

        This shows understanding that the crime, the ransacking of the capitol, demands an urgent response, in part because of its uniqueness. Trump’s storm troopers trampled what’s left of democracy in the U.S., and he incited them. It was planned, organized over social media, and the intent was to lynch Pence, as the rioters can be heard chanting on video, and presumably to manhandle or kill as much of the congressional leadership as they could capture, and also, to prevent the legitimate confirmation of Biden’s electoral win. Ideally Pence would have invoked the twenty-fifth amendment. He didn’t. He still cowers in Trump’s long fascist shadow. But if the House dilly dallies over sending impeachment to the senate and if the senate fails to convict, congress too will be submerged in that shadow. Worse, if the justice department doesn’t pursue right-wing terrorist militias and fascists embedded in police departments, that shadow will loom over the entire country.

      • In new statement from prison, Alexey Navalny says he doesn’t plan to take his own life

        Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny has released a new statement from Moscow’s Matrosskaya Tishina remand prison, where has been in custody since January 18. 

      • Moscow court fines Lyubov Sobol 250,000 rubles for inciting protests in support of Navalny

        On Friday, January 22, a Moscow Court fined anti-corruption activist Lyubov Sobol 250,000 rubles (about $3,340) for inciting protests in support of jailed opposition figure Alexey Navalny.

      • ‘Nobody’s afraid anymore’ How planned protests against the jailing of Alexey Navalny hijacked Russian TikTok, and what it means for expected turnout on Saturday

        Almost a week ago, Alexey Navalny flew home to Russia, surrounded by a phalanx of journalists. Large crowds of cheering supporters awaited him at the airport, but his most important welcome party was a group of police officers who promptly arrested him after his plane landed. Since Monday, January 18, Navalny’s home has been an isolation cell at Moscow’s Matrosskaya Tishina prison. Meanwhile, upcoming protests in support of Navalny, planned for tomorrow, January 23, have become one of the main trending topics on TikTok in Russia. Videos about Navalny have been viewed more than 200 million times, and Russia’s federal censor has ordered TikTok to remove “content calling for minors using the social network to participate in illegal mass protest events.” Meduza looks at how content creators are using the protests to gain followers, and whether TikTok can serve as an effective protest tool in Russia.

      • ‘Freedom for Navalny!’ The main events leading up to this Saturday’s opposition protests, in brief

        Within 24 hours of returning to Russia, opposition figure Alexey Navalny was remanded in custody for 30 days. His team then announced plans to hold rallies opposing his detention on January 23 and released an investigation about President Vladimir Putin’s “palace” on the Black Sea. The hashtag “Freedom for Navalny” (#свободунавальному) started trending on Russian TikTok. Thousands of suspicious accounts began following Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation and his local team offices on Instagram (these bot attacks appeared to be aimed at getting them blocked from the platform). The Russian Attorney General’s Office ordered the state censorship agency (Roskomnadzor) to block websites containing calls to attend unauthorized rallies in support of Navalny. Roskomnadzor threatened social networks with fines up to 4 million rubles (more than $50,000) for distributing information aimed at inciting minors to attend illegal protests. The Russian Education Ministry asked parents to keep their children from attending rallies. Schools in the far-eastern Zabaykalsky Krai scheduled Russian language assessments for all grade 7–11 students on January 23, while the University of Ufa declared that Saturday a school day with mandatory attendance for all students and staff. Police officials in Moscow issued a general warning about the punishments for taking part in or inciting the upcoming rallies. Before that, law enforcement officers made rounds to the homes of activists and journalists across the country to warn them against participating in the protests. Then, they began arresting and jailing Navalny’s closest associates (his press secretary Kira Yarmysh was sentenced to nine days administrative arrest). Several volunteers and coordinators from Team Navalny’s regional offices were fined or even jailed for up to three days over rallies that haven’t happened yet. The authorities in Tatarstan launched a criminal case over alleged “calls for riots.” In Balashikha (a city on the outskirts of Moscow), police questioned a ninth-grade girl for four hours over a protest video she posted on TikTok. Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov assured the press that Putin isn’t afraid of Navalny. 

      • Opinion | Battle Lines Drawn on Ending Yemen War

        The Biden Administration has a chance to undo a disastrous label and open the door for peace.

      • Yemen Crisis Linked to Weapons Maker Raytheon’s Influence on US Foreign Policy
      • Fearing the Palestinian Narrative: Why Israel Banned ‘Jenin Jenin’

        The case, as presented by Israeli and other media, seemed to deal with typical legal matters such as defamation of character and so on. To those familiar with the massive clash of narratives which emanated from that singular event, known to Palestinians as the ‘Jenin Massacre’, the Israeli court verdict is not only political but historical and intellectual, as well.

        Bakri, a native Palestinian born in the village of Bi’ina, near the Palestinian city of Akka, now located in Israel, has been paraded repeatedly in Israeli courts and censured heavily in Israeli mainstream media simply because he dared challenge the official discourse on the violent events which transpired in the Jenin refugee camp nearly two decades ago.

      • The Lies that Bind

        He was excoriated. Mearsheimer’s thesis, outlined in a speech at Rhode Island’s Brown University, caused an immediate furore in which varied pro-Israeli organizations decried his analysis and cast aspersions on his motivations. The speech followed a book the professor had co-authored with fellow scholar Stephen Walt. Published in 2007, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy clearly set out the degree to which the State Department sang from Israel’s song sheet. A piece based on the book was rejected by The Atlantic, and was in the end published in the London Review of Books. The book itself argued that ongoing United States policies towards Israel, heavily skewed in favour of the Jewish settlers, are counterproductive to Israel and the U.S. both. Mearsheimer and Walt, realist-school international relations academics, recognized the grave implications of the population dynamics in Israel. In fact, the Zionist movement has always had a singular aim: replacing Arabs with Jews in Palestine. After all, doing so in Uganda, as the British proposed at one point, was not going to cut the mustard.

        Backlash

        Writing about Palestine and the Eastern Mediterranean in general is a fraught business. Mearsheimer and his co-author were of sufficient academic stature to weather the storm of criticism heaped on what was in fact a well-argued and deeply researched thesis. Yet the storm had its usual and intended effect in discouraging public debate about what were in fact quite simple and even empirically quantifiable facts.

        More than a decade later, we have this extraordinary statement from Hagain El-Ad, director of the independent, non-partisan Israeli rights organization B’Tselem: ‘Israel is not a democracy that has a temporary occupation attached to it. It is one regime between the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, and we must look at the full picture and see it for what it is: apartheid.’ Mearsheimer and Walt were not far off the mark.

        There is nothing anti-Semitic about criticizing the policies of Israel and its founders. Commentary and analysis should be received as intended, as a contribution to dialectic. If it is not, too bad.

      • The Future of War, American-Style

        Yet that conflict was limited to a single Pacific archipelago. Biden inherits a global war — and burgeoning new Cold War — spanning four continents and a military miredin active operations in dozens of countries, combat in some 14 of them, and bombing in at least seven.  That sort of scope has been standard fare for American presidents for almost two decades now.  Still, while this country’s post-9/11 war presidents have more in common than their partisan divisions might suggest, distinctions do matter, especially at a time when the White House almost unilaterally drives foreign policy.

        So, what can we expect from commander-in-chief Biden?  In other words, what’s the forecast for U.S. service-members who have invested their lives and limbs in future conflict, as well as for the speculators in the military-industrial complex and anxious foreigners in the countries still engulfed in America’s war on terror who usually stand to lose it all?

      • Poison Soup
      • Army Denied Role of Michael Flynn’s Brother in Decisions After Capitol Breach
      • Capitol Offenses
      • Biden Must Reverse Pompeo’s ‘Terrorist’ Move Against Cuba

        On October 6, 1976, a Cuban airliner carrying 73 passengers was blown out of the sky off the coast of Barbados. All of the men, women, and children aboard were killed in what was, at the time, the most flagrant act of aviation-related terrorism ever committed in the Western Hemisphere.

      • Schumer Urged to Deny Committee Seats to Hawley, Cruz, and Other Republicans Who ‘Incited Deadly Insurrection’

        Republicans who attempted to overturn the 2020 election, said MoveOn, “have no place in the U.S. Senate and most certainly should not be rewarded for their deadly attacks on democracy.”

      • War is Not Innate to Humanity: A More Peaceful Future is Possible

        However, once war takes place, it tends to spread, explains historical anthropologist R. Brian Ferguson, who has spent more than 40 years researching the origins of war. Ferguson, a professor of anthropology at Rutgers University, notes that war is not the same thing as interpersonal violence or homicide. War implies organized, armed conflict and killing sanctioned by society and carried out by members of one group against members of another group. Ferguson argues that current evidence suggests that war was not always present but began as a result of societal changes—with evidence of war’s origins appearing at widely varying timestamps in different locations around the world. He estimates that the earliest signs of war appear between 10,000 B.C., or 12,000 years ago.

        “But in some areas of the world you don’t see any signs of war develop until much more recently,” he says, noting that in both the U.S. Southwest and Great Plains there is no evidence of war until around 2,000 years ago.

      • McConnell Is Obstructing to Save the Filibuster. Progressives Want It Abolished.
      • ‘Basically Trying to Overturn the Senate Election’: McConnell Delaying Democratic Takeover in Effort to Preserve Filibuster

        “McConnell is already abusing the filibuster to block the constitution of the new majority. Nuking the filibuster is the appropriate response.”

      • Venezuelan VP Delcy Rodriguez details new measures to break the US blockade
      • The Capitol Rioters Must Face Consequences

        No one in the United States has been treated with more unearned grace and deference over these past four years than Donald Trump’s supporters. Their anger is always justified, their failures someone else’s, and their accountability for their own actions nonexistent.

      • Making New friends: Meet an Iranian

        The United States and Iran have spent decades in a tumultuous relationship, including: US overthrowing their elected leader in 1953, Iranian revolution with American hostage-taking, sanctions, diplomatic breakthroughs and a nuclear treaty, US exiting the treaty, coupled with the start of yet more sanctions.

        President Biden hopes to re-enter the nuclear treaty with Iran, which was working well, according to all international arms inspection organizations.

      • Global Right-Wing Extremism Networks Are Growing. The U.S. Is Just Now Catching Up.

        During the past two years, U.S. counterterrorism officials held meetings with their European counterparts to discuss an emerging threat: right-wing terror groups becoming increasingly global in their reach.

        American neo-Nazis were traveling to train and fight with militias in the Ukraine. There were suspected links between U.S. extremists and the Russian Imperial Movement, a white supremacist group that was training foreigners in its St. Petersburg compounds. A gunman accused of killing 23 people at an El Paso Walmart in 2019 had denounced a “Hispanic invasion” and praised a white supremacist who killed 51 people at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and who had been inspired by violent American and Italian racists.

      • Veteran Celebrates Nuclear Ban Treaty

        The International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its leadership in promoting this vital treaty, which prohibits the financing, development, possession, or transporting of nuclear weapons, as well as the use or threat to use nuclear weapons.

        None of the nine nuclear-armed nations have yet signed onto the Treaty. These nuclear powers are in violation of the 50-year-old Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which requires them to negotiate in good faith to reduce and eventually eliminate all nuclear weapons. Instead, the U.S. and other nuclear powers are developing new generations of nuclear weapons, alarming many experts who believe the threat of nuclear war is greater than ever.

      • Worsening Islamist insurgency drives Mozambique humanitarian crisis

        More than half a million people have fled their homes due to an Islamist insurgency in northern Mozambique, and the violence and humanitarian crisis will worsen without international help, United Nations officials said on Wednesday.

        “If nothing is done soon, we won’t have only 535 000 displaced people. We won’t have only 2 000 people killed by the conflict, but tens of thousands,” said Valentin Tapsoba, regional director for the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR).

        The displaced people were in a dire situation, with overcrowding, malnutrition and a lack of essentials including food and water, the officials said in an online news briefing.

      • Arizona’s major corporate political donors rethinking campaign contributions after Capitol riot
    • Environment

      • Opinion | Re-entering the Paris Climate Agreement Is Just Step One to Address the Climate Emergency: Frontline Women Must Lead the Way

        Global people’s movements and women leaders have been organizing for decades for climate justice, and community-led solutions.

      • How hemp can help to moderate the climate crisis

        Hemp, a plant grown centuries ago in England as a national duty, could help to restrict climate heating.

      • Chris Savage, Talia Buford & Peggy Case on Flint Water Crisis
      • Amanda Gorman’s Poem Rhymes With Biden’s Climate Agenda

        This article is published as part of Covering Climate Now, a global consortium of news outlets strengthening coverage of the climate story.

      • The Rich The Poor and Climate Change

        The disruption to weather cycles is caused by global warming (increases in average surface temperature) which results from a buildup of what are commonly called greenhouse gases (GHG). Carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), trap heat which would otherwise pass out of Earth’s atmosphere, resulting in a rise in average ground temperature. Burning fossil fuels (coal, natural gas and oil) is the primary source of emissions, as well as industrial animal agriculture, which is not only a major source of greenhouse gases, but is having a disastrous impact on the environment more broadly, including deforestation, and air and water pollution.

        With 28% of the total, China (population c.1.4 billion) is the world’s biggest producer of GHG emissions, however when measured per capita it ranks only 47th. China is also one of the world’s biggest investors in renewable energy, and plans to produce 35% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. It is the USA (population c.328 million) – the second largest overall polluter – that has the highest per capita emissions in the world, and by some margin. Collectively the top four emitters (China, USA, EU + UK and India) produced 55% of all GHG emissions in the last decade.

      • How the Weather Was

        To official Washington, snow was the near equivalent of an enemy invasion, and the realization that the most powerful city in the world could be counted on to undergo virtual paralysis for a considerable number of days each winter was an irony which wasn’t lost on us by the time we were of high school age. Inescapably, the all-pervasive business of government and the virulent Cold War atmosphere of those years of the 1950s — a subject of daily dinnertime discussion for many of us — made for a natural association in our minds with the severity of Washington’s winters. Yet within the maw of those long, biting seasons, in those moments when snowfall engulfed us and everything came to a halt, something else emerged: a serene, pristine landscape layered clean of the cumbrous gears and levers of power, a world all our own brought to a standstill.

        To us, Kennedy’s election hinted at an era of great changes. As 17-year-olds we were too young to vote, but we all hoped he would win. His relative youth readily appealed to us, the controversy about his religion engaged our Irish Catholic identity, and the somnolence of the Eisenhower years, by comparison, was a tangible reminder of the chained stirrings of our adolescence.

      • Energy

        • Opinion | We Need To Stop The Fossil Fuel Industry’s PR Machine

          Our theory of change is simple: if we can get the world’s largest and most powerful PR and Ad agencies to stop working for the fossil fuel industry, we’ll dramatically weaken the industry’s ability to pollute the public debate and block climate action.

        • Joe Biden Canceled Keystone XL. Indigenous Leaders Demand the Same for the Dakota Access Pipeline

          After President Joe Biden issued an executive order on his first day in office canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, pressure is growing from Indigenous leaders and environmental groups for the new administration to do the same with the Dakota Access pipeline, the controversial project that sparked the historic Standing Rock uprising in 2016. “The pipeline is illegal,” says Jodi Archambault, a citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and former special assistant to President Barack Obama on Native American affairs. “The best thing that he can do is drop the appeals to this and stop the oil from flowing now.” We also speak with Alex White Plume, a former vice president and president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation, whose late wife Debra White Plume was a key organizer at Standing Rock.

        • Fossil-Fueled Fascism

          But just six days into the new year, these hopes were rudely shattered by images of far-right white supremacists, incited by an aspiring autocrat refusing to admit his electoral defeat, storming the Capitol in an attempt to overthrow the election.

          This fascist putsch was implicitly supported by some elected leaders, including GOP members of Congress who continued to promote the thoroughly debunked falsehood that the 2020 elections were “stolen.” Worse still, there are early indications that some elected officials may have aided the violent mob more directly as well.

        • Scenes from a Locked-Down Washington D.C. as Biden Takes the Reins

          I asked her if she knew that Trump had already left the White House and had reached his home in Florida. “It doesn’t matter where he is,” she said, “he can be sworn in from anywhere.”

        • KLM may ground all intercontinental flights due to new restrictions

          The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management said in a response that KLM employees can only skip the rapid test if they stay within the secure area at the airport. “As soon as they step into a high-risk area and spend the night there, for example, they run the risk of infection with the coronavirus or mutations thereof, just like other people in the country concerned.”

          The exception offered by the Ministry is not a workable solution for long-haul flights. After landing, KLM always allows the crew to stay overnight in a hotel because of mandatory rest times. And hotels are past customs.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Biden on Biodiversity: the Silence and the Promise

          Let us first acknowledge and then move from A to B: from apocalypse to build back better.

          Visit “Build Back Better,” the official website of the Biden-Harris administrative team and vision. Click the “Nominees and Appointees” tab. “Climate” is a category of its own and appears on top (alphabetical). The names of nominees of the top leadership positions at Interior, Energy, EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), and the CEQ (Council on Environmental Quality) appear on the “Climate” page. There are other top positions with “Climate” on the title that appear elsewhere as well: “Special Presidential Envoy for Climate” in the “National Security” page, and “National Climate Advisor” in the “White House Senior Staff” page.

        • Why the Hammonds’ Livestock Shouldn’t be Allowed on Public Land

          It was the latest move in a long saga of crimes, some alleged and others proven, surrounding the Hammonds.

          In 1994, Refuge manager Forrest Cameron had revoked Hammond’s ability to graze livestock on the National Wildlife Refuge, and Dwight Hammond ignored the decision. Hammond was then allegedly involved in sabotaging heavy equipment used to build a fence to keep his cattle off the Refuge, and was subsequently arrested on felony charges. In response, a group of 500 angry ranchers gathered in Burns, Oregon at a rally organized by a Sagebrush Rebellion group, and urged attendees to harass federal officials by calling them at their homes. According to accounts of the time, Hammond personally threatened to shoot Cameron, one of many threats of violence suffered by government land managers during that period. Federal law enforcement backed down, reduced the felony charges to misdemeanors and then postponed the trial indefinitely, and ultimately dropped the charges altogether. Steven was then convicted in 2000 of interfering unlawfully with hunters, and later would be convicted of forging a landowner’s preference hunting document.

        • Opinion | Protecting Animals Isn’t Just the Right Thing—It’s Uniting Politics

          As we search for more ways to bring people together, compassion for animals provides us a wonderful opportunity to do some good and forge a greater unity of purpose in our politics.

        • Protect the Wildlands of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

          There are organizations like the Montana Wilderness Association (MWA), The Wilderness Society (TWS), Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYC), and others as members of the Gallatin Forest Partnership (GFP) who support degrading the wildlands of the ecosystem with weak or no protection for some of the most ecologically significant areas of the northern portion of the ecosystem.

          These groups continuously emphasize how they are good compromisers, providing “everyone” a piece of the pie (ecosystem).

        • As We Heal and Move Forward, Watch Out for Aftershocks
    • Finance

      • How Capitalism’s Dogged Defenders and Propagandists Defend It From Criticism

        The placing of qualifying adjectives to differentiate among kinds of capitalism allows defenders to accept some of the rising chorus of criticisms of capitalism. Those criticisms, defenders say, apply only to certain kinds of capitalism that defenders also reject in favor of some other, preferred kind of capitalism. The flaws cited by capitalism’s critics become flaws not of capitalism per se but rather of its (unfortunately) currently existing kind. Such defenders can then focus our attention on changing from one kind of capitalism to another. By changing to a different kind of capitalism—one designated by a different adjective—the criticized flaws will vanish.

        With such reasoning, for example, “free market” capitalism’s devotees can accept all sorts of criticisms of actually existing capitalism. They too can denounce its inequalities, instabilities, and injustices. But, they explain, that actually existing kind lacks a fully “free” market. They urge policies that change the economy from a government-regulated kind of capitalism to their preferred “free market” kind. Similarly, champions of a “competitive” kind of capitalism can join critics of the monopoly kind. They attribute monopoly capitalism’s social ills to the adjective—monopoly—not to the noun, capitalism, itself. The solution follows: take anti-trust steps to establish a competitive capitalism, their preferred kind. Progressive or “social responsibility” advocates are also included among capitalism’s defenders using adjectives. They find narrowly profit-driven capitalism to be a kind that causes all sorts of social ills. A different kind of capitalism could rectify those ills by adding social responsibility to the goals and standards of success for capitalists. Such a “compassionate” kind of capitalism represents the better world they seek.

      • The Economy Was Broken Before the Pandemic Hit

        The political wisdom that people vote their economic interests carries with it implied models of how ‘the economy’ works. This has long been the ideological differentiator in policy disputes. Something seemingly straightforward like the Federal government sending out $2,000 checks— or not, is attached to a broader set of assumptions. Other nations have been covering lost wages due to the pandemic since it began. For all of the claims that ideology drives policy, American outcomes are determined by the political process, embedded ideology if you will

        The point here isn’t the particulars of how the U.S. does social welfare versus other nations, but rather how, and by whom, social welfare decisions are made? No system of democratic choice would produce the concentrated political and economic power that now defines the U.S. Over the last half-century the logic of neoliberalism has been used to fundamentally reorganize Western societies. It is this reorganization that drives the political process. Private campaign contributions drive electoral outcomes, while neoliberal political economy structures the political process.

      • Private Sector is “Efficient” Only at Extracting Money From Public

        A favorite tactic for grabbing what had once been in the public domain and converting it into private profit is the “public-private partnership.” A tactic sadly abetted by the world’s governments, as the name implies.

        Public-private partnerships (PPPs), a decades-long string of disasters for the public but often a bonanza for the private, have left behind a long trail of one-sided results in water systems, electricity distribution, sewers, highways, hospitals and other infrastructure. The latest report testifying to the damage wrought by PPPs comes to us courtesy of the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), a federation of 8 million public service workers from over 250 trade unions across Europe, and the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad), a network of 49 civil society organizations from 20 European countries “working for transformative yet specific changes to global and European policies, institutions, rules and structures.”

      • Opinion | Following the Money to Dark Places With the Stink of Trump
      • As Economic Suffering Grips Regular Americans, Wall Street Behemoths Ready Feast of Stock Buybacks

        “We’re going to be aggressively buying back, and consistently,” said Morgan Stanley chief executive James Gorman.

      • ‘One More Check Is Not Enough’: Ilhan Omar Calls on Biden to Back Recurring Direct Payments

        “We need to provide those struggling and left behind with consistent reliable cash payments during this Covid-19 crisis.”

      • Biden Has Extended Eviction Moratorium — Now It’s Time for More
      • Workers Need Paid Sick Leave, ASAP

        The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, passed in March 2020, required certain employers to provide employees two weeks leave at regular pay if they were experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or needed to quarantine because of exposure to the infection.

        Employees could also take two weeks of leave at two-thirds of their regular wage level to care for someone else affected by COVID-19 — and an additional 10 weeks of leave at two-thirds pay to care for a child whose school or child care provider was closed due to the virus.

      • The New Year Will Be Worse Than the Old Unless We Can Defend Something Besides Capitalism
      • All a Gig-Economy Pioneer Had to Do Was “Politely Disagree” It Was Violating Federal Law and the Labor Department Walked Away

        Ten years ago, the Department of Labor wrapped up a lengthy investigation of Arise Virtual Solutions, a company that recruited customer service agents to work from home fielding calls for big brand names like Disney and AAA. The so-called gig economy was in its infancy, with Uber launching and TaskRabbit starting to go national.

        The question for the Obama administration’s Labor Department: Did Arise employ those customer service agents? Arise trained the agents and exercised extraordinary control over their work. But it treated them as independent contractors rather than employees. That meant the agents weren’t entitled to minimum wage, overtime or other employment protections. They paid for their own training and equipment, and even had fees deducted from each paycheck for use of Arise’s technology platform.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Opinion | Media Allow Republicans to Use ‘Unity’ as Tool of Division

        The narrative the GOP will work for the next two years to build is that Democrats are the ones sowing division by refusing to work together to get things done.

      • ‘Hell, Even David Brooks Agrees’ Democrats Should ‘Absolutely Kill the Filibuster’

        “Can’t believe David Brooks and I finally agree on a thing,” said one progressive organizer.

      • America Installs a Pope

        Yes, I watched most of the inauguration, although somehow I missed Lady Gaga singing the national anthem. But I did catch the aerial jumbotron shots of the Trumps slipping out of Washington and the 21-limo salute that new President Biden got on leaving the Capitol, and my take is that America has chosen a pope—not elected a chief magistrate. The pageantry had it all, lacking only white smoke coming out the chimneys of the Senate.

        The day featured the return of Hillary Clinton to the national feel-good club (although her outfit looked like a home uniform of the Minnesota Vikings), culturally sensitive stage props (200,000 American flags?), and enough black Chevy Suburbans to warm the heart of any GM executive cutting a Super Bowl ad.

      • “Here Are the Superheroes To Come and Save Us”: Media Waste No Time Fawning Over Biden

        We rely on the media to hold the powerful to account. But in its first hours in office, the corporate press has celebrated, rather than challenged, the new Biden administration.

      • Despite What You Heard, There Was No Peaceful Transition

        Anyone trying to find the edges of the U.S. Overton Window right now must feel like they’re tracing an amateur rendition of an early Picasso. After a summer spent chanting “defund the police,” self-identifying progressives applaud the pouring of some 25,000 troops and busloads of out-of-city law enforcement into the streets of Washington, DC. Those eager to cheer the departure of a racist, sexist, war-hawking elitist from the White House were quick to welcome a new racist, sexist, war-hawking elitist. Those who lambasted Trump for dragging more swamp creatures into the swamp rather than draining it are applauding Biden for his diverse cabinet appointments, ignoring the revolving door of corruption and oppression they represent. Those who (correctly) decried the Paris Climate Agreement for being flimsy and non-committal are celebrating Biden’s executive order to rejoin it.

      • Majority of US Voters Across Political Spectrum Back Landmark Pro-Democracy Reform Bill: Poll

        One prominent campaign finance expert called the For the People Act “an incredibly important piece of comprehensive democracy reform.”

      • Russian court postpones hearing of Evgeny Prigozhin’s lawsuit against ‘Meduza’

        Moscow’s Savelovsky District Court has postponed the hearing of the defamation lawsuit filed by Kremlin-linked oligarch Evgeny Prigozhin against Meduza and editor-in-chief Ivan Kopalkov, Dovod chief editor Ilya Kosygin, and politician Maxim Shevchenko.

      • Complex Life Threatened

        It’s scary stuff. On this subject, America’s green NGOs prefer to address the danger by sticking to a middle ground, don’t scare people, too much doom and gloom backfires, turns people off, it’s counterproductive.

        However, emergencies have been happening for some time now. So, it’s kinda hard to ignore. In fact, that’s why it’s so obviously easy to declare emergencies today, yesterday, and the day before yesterday and many yesterdays before that. In other words, the house has been on fire for some time but the fire engines never show up.

      • The Ignominious Deceits of Congressman Cawthorn

        Before January 6, 25-year-old Representative Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) was known for being the youngest member of Congress, an ardent Trump supporter, and one of the few wheelchair users in elected office. Now he is in the headlines for giving a speech at the “Stop the Steal” rally prior to the insurrection at the Capitol that left five people dead. Throughout his short but meteoric political career, Cawthorn has used his disability to tell a story of overcoming: Despite great adversity, he claims to have achieved excellence through grit and physical strength. Many of his campaign ads featured images of Cawthorn intubated and hospitalized alongside videos of him lifting weights and hurtling forward in a racing wheelchair. But his claims of sporting success—like his accounts of education and business acumen—have often been misleading.

      • Trump Crazy and Intellectual Crazy

        I don’t have any easy answers to get these people to start thinking clearly, but I will point out that it is not just ignorant and/or crazed Trumpers who have trouble dealing with reality. Many of our leading intellectuals and our major media outlets have similar difficulty dealing with reality when it doesn’t fit their conceptions of the world.

        In particular, I am referring to my standard complaint about the unwillingness to acknowledge the ways in which the economy has been structured to redistribute income upward. I will focus on the two simplest routes, which are often described as “technology” and “globalization.”

      • 35 House Democrats Join Reps. Bush and Pressley in Calling on Biden to End Federal Executions for Good

        Warning that future administrations could follow in Trump’s footsteps, the lawmakers urge Biden to commute the death sentences of all federal inmates to “ensure that there would be no one left on death row to kill.”

      • Why Biden May Be Less Evil Than Obama and Clinton – and Why This May Not Matter All That Much in the End

        The main reason to welcome his ascendance is no small matter but betrays an extremely low bar: he’s not a malignant fascist sociopath like Donald Trump, the single biggest asshole in American history.

        Biden has a long and disturbing corporate, imperial, white-supremacist, and patriarchal record.

      • Why Neoliberal Leaders Who Failed to Protect Their Countries From COVID-19 Must Be Investigated

        A Supreme Court judge and the solicitor general have demanded that the Brazilian government act, but this has not moved Jair Bolsonaro’s administration. Everything about this story—detailed in Solicitor General José Levi do Amaral’s report—reveals the rot of privatization and incompetence. The local health officials knew in early January that there was going to be an oxygen shortage imminently, but their warning did not carry any weight. A private contractor who had the job of providing the oxygen informed the government six days before the city ran out of this crucial supply in the fight against COVID-19. Even with the contractor’s information, the government did nothing; it would later say—against all scientific advice—that early treatment for coronavirus did not work. The insensitivity and incompetence of the government of Bolsonaro have led General Prosecutor Augusto Aras to call for a special probe. As Bolsonaro dithered, the government of Venezuela, in an act of solidarity, sent a shipment of oxygen to Manaus.

        The latest development caused by the government’s toxic mix of privatization, ineptitude, and callousness should strengthen the case brought by Brazil’s health care unions against Jair Bolsonaro at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in July. But the problem is not the fault of Bolsonaro alone or even of Brazil. The problem lies in the neoliberal governments, governments in the United States, the United Kingdom, India, and others, governments whose commitments to profit-making firms and billionaires far outstrip their commitment to their own citizens or to their own constitutions. What we are seeing in countries such as Brazil is a crime against humanity.

      • ‘Neural Meduza’: Meet the real person behind the AI network that’s spoofing our headlines on Twitter

        In January 2020, Andrey Klimenko — a Russian military contractor who also goes by the nickname “Krasniy Doshik” (Red Ramen) — launched the Twitter account Neural Meduza. The project went on to become, in our opinion, one of the best parody media outlets to appear in the past year. Throughout 2020, Neural Meduza helped keep many of the staff working for the real Meduza from succumbing to depression, as it broadcast news from a bizarre parallel universe that makes ours still seem tolerable in comparison. To mark the project’s one-year anniversary, Meduza spoke with its neural doppelganger’s creator.

      • Social networks begin removing content for inciting illegal protests in Russia

        In response to orders from the Russian Attorney General’s Office and the state censorship agency, Roskomnadzor, social networks have started removing content that contains “calls for children to participate in illegal mass events.” This comes ahead of planned opposition protests in cities across Russia on Saturday, January 23, in support of jailed opposition figure Alexey Navalny.

      • What Biden Can Do Without Congress (But Won’t)

        I think we can all agree that Congress is basically a pit filled with hungry crocodiles in the later stages of lead poisoning, each with a different degree of dementia. (And I know that’s being generous in terms of their mental acuity.).

        So, whenever a president — let’s pretend this is a fantasy world where the president isn’t a few bricks short of a load — whenever a president wants to get something done, he writes up what he wants and then drops the pages into the idiot crocodile pit.

      • Enough of the T***p! End the White House Trumpery!

        The damage he’s done, the 25,000 or more lies he spewed out that led so many people to begin living in an alternative fact-free universe for the last five years, will stay with us for years unless his legacy is trashed and his millions of deluded followers wake up to the reality of his mendaciousness, narcissism, corruption and selfishness.

        Fortunately ex-President Trump has provided us with the very word we need to accomplish this: his own surname!

      • Moving Past Hate: Lessons from the 1960s

        The wars are long, the peace is frail The madmen come again There is no freedom in a land Where fear and hate prevail.

        Last week there was a time, full of madness, fear and hate. People, mostly white and male, attacked the United States Capitol, egged on by the President and other Republican politicians. They brought implements with which to smash in windows and doors. They carried plastic cuffs with which to bind the Congressional leaders they actively sought to capture and even to kill. They had with them communications equipment with which to keep in touch with those outside the Capitol who may have been directing their depredations. In short, they came, some of them, prepared to carry out a coup against the government of the United States.

      • Dodging Bullets

        Whatever else might be said of Trump’s presidency, it succeeded in coalescing a robust, militant, armed, swaggering fascist movement.

        Hitler led a coup attempt in Munich 1923 that failed when conservatives in the Munich government refused to follow through with promises of support, and so enough police were available to stop it.  Hitler was arrested, tried and jailed.  But the Nazi movement survived.  When conditions ripened after the crash of 1929, the Nazi Party grew from its core of committed followers and by 1933 it was positioned to take power.

      • Cruz and Hawley Should Be Investigated and Expelled, Some Democrats Say
      • How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Trump’s Bombast

        By this, I don’t mean some sort of high-minded platitude, such as “Democracy is a fragile thing.” Rather, I am referring to what of value, that one can put to practical use, has Trump actually taught us?

        With his never-ending seeking of attention and self-promoting, Trump interjected himself as an increasingly constant presence in the infotainment firmament for decades. He was one of those human barking seals who lived in dread that five minutes might pass and he wasn’t the center of attention. Since entering the political arena, through his wily manipulation of mass and social media he became such an ever-present fixture in daily life that Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels would have drooled with envy. Via the tools of broadcast and cable TV, the Internet, Twitter, etc., the public has been bombarded with 24/7 Trump far more frequently than Hitler or Mussolini were ever inflicted on their publics.

      • ‘If This Is a Trial Balloon… Hopefully It Fails’: Biden Warned Against Naming Corporate-Tied Michael Barr as Top Bank Cop

        “It’s hard to imagine a worse pick than Michael Barr to be the nation’s top bank regulator. Barr is deeply invested in the Wall Street and Silicon Valley corporations he would regulate, which should disqualify him.”

      • ‘Signal:Noise’ Says a Fond Farewell
      • How Do We Heal Now?

        To heal is to return to an original state of health: repair, rebuild, restore. However, because of America’s original sins of genocide and enslavement, our task is to build rather than rebuild, to co-create a more healthy and equitable nation.

        James Baldwin offers guidance: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

      • Pelosi Is Sending the Impeachment Article to the Senate on Monday
      • It’s Funny, But It’s No Joke!

        What? That was Chris Rock on January 12th talking with Stephen Colbert.

        Two of America’s funniest comedians were struck silent by the infamy at the U.S. Capitol days before. Seth Meyers and Jimmy Fallon were similarly muted that week. Apart from a few jabs at the ‘MAGA monsters’, our energized comedy geniuses whose wit carried us through the shock and depression of the past 5 years collapsed that week. Michael Moore’s long, sad homily left me feeling he might resign from a brilliant career in political parody.

      • Biden Fires Steve Bannon Protege, Who Tried To Turn Voice Of America Into A New Breitbart

        Last summer we covered how Trump had hired Michael Pack, a protégé of Steve Bannon, to run US Agency for Global Media. USAGM is the organization that runs Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, and Middle East Broadcasting. It also runs the Open Technology Fund (which itself spun out of Radio Free Europe, and helped to fund a variety of important technologies for enabling free speech among dissidents and activists). It was clear from the beginning that Pack’s plan was to (a) recraft the media organizations to be propaganda machines and (b) shift OTF’s funding to some organizations with security/encryption techniques that were not widely trusted. Pack fired a bunch of people in a move that a court later rejected, noting that Pack did not have the authority to do so.

      • Killing Nora: The Real Reason Trump Should Have Been Impeached

        Its been 4 years. Jesus Christ! Has it really been 4 years? The Yakla raid was launched a week after Trump’s inauguration, so yeah, its been 4 goddamn years since Donald Trump sent a Seal Team 6 death squad to a rural village in central Yemen to murder an 8 year old American girl named Nora al-Awlaki. She was shot in the neck and left to bleed to death over a period of two agonizing hours in her wounded mother’s arms. A mountain of excuses has followed. At first the Seals were there to collect intel. The fact that they wiped out an entire village and came up with nothing but some dated videos on bomb construction made that excuse feel a little hollow though. Apparently Seals don’t get YouTube. Now the new official story is that the Seals were there to nail AQAP emir, Qasim al-Raymi. Once again, there is no proof and al-Raymi only bought the farm this past year.

        Lets get real here people, we all know exactly why Donald Trump rubber stamped the first known US ground assault in Yemen in history. It’s the same reason Nora’s name sounds so hauntingly familiar. Nora al-Awlaki was the surviving daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, the famed American jihadi propagandist. Barrack Obama had him extrajudicially murdered in a drone strike back in 2011. Two weeks later, by coincidence of course, Anwar’s teenage son was murdered in another drone strike. The troubling fact about Anwar himself that no American seems willing to touch is that the man has never been empirically tied to a single crime. The CIA ties him to everything and anything but never offers anything in the way of proof. Anwar’s crime was that he was an American Muslim who advocated for other western Muslims to reject western materialism and embrace jihad against the nations killing their family back home. He was an extremist agitator and kind of a prick. To America, that’s reason enough for a death sentence, and the murder of his next of kin simply underlines the point. Scoff at the scraps of empire and even your children will suffer.

      • How Georgia Went Blue

        The white supremacist attack on the US Capitol on January 6 temporarily obscured the titanic achievement of Georgia Democrats the night before: defeating right-wing Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in the state’s runoff elections, electing the Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff and giving Democrats control of the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris poised to break any 50-50 tie. (Take that, racists.) Progressives had no time to celebrate, though, and it was almost as if that were the point. Of course, the hard-won result in Georgia did not inspire the deadly and seditious riot; we know the violence had been planned in plain sight for weeks, if not months, on social media and elsewhere.

      • Why Biden’s ‘Virtual’ Border Could Be Worse Than Trump’s Wall

        The public will remember the Trump administration’s border policies for its visual horrors: a mother pulling her children away from tear gas launched over the border by US border authorities, Border Patrol agents dumping water left for migrants by aid groups, children sitting alone in chain-link cells after being taken from their parents. The cruel and complicated mess of Trump’s policy shifts could fill a small book, but it never made the same impression on the average observer. Images and symbols drove public anger. And over the last four years, there has been no clearer representation of Trump’s anti-immigrant fervor than the border wall.

      • If I Were a National Republican Lawmaker

        I would buy a horse and, without resting, would go non-stop to Montana and remain there in the woods. Forever.

        I would erase the word shame from my dictionary.

      • Hey, Joe, Where You Goin’ With That Pen in Your Hand?

        Ol’ Joe obviously walked off the inaugural stage with his honeymoon plans well-laid. While I don’t personally respect presidential honeymoons for either party, I do try to look at each new president’s actions with an open mind and  search for the good.

        Here are a few high points you may have missed while sipping champagne at an inaugural ball or swilling cheap beer and watching MSNBC:

      • Opinion | After Four Brutal Years, Biden’s Inaugural Was a Healing Affair

        The new President, in his healing Inaugural Address, promises a fresh start as he commits to protecting our ‘fragile democracy.’

      • Dedicate Presidents’ Day to Healing? Not This Year.

        I had hoped we could accomplish that goal in part by dedicating this Presidents’ Day to healing and reconciliation. In light of the violent insurrection at the US capitol on January 6, that notion now appears out of reach.

        A “Presidents’ Day of Healing and Reconciliation” project centered around respectful dialogue seemed like a good idea two months ago. But that was before white, overwhelmingly male, domestic terrorists whipped into a frenzied mob by Donald Trump, stormed the capitol. My dream had become a nightmare.

      • Media Allow Republicans to Use ‘Unity’ as Tool of Division

        “In Biden’s Washington, Democrats and Republicans Are Not United on ‘Unity,’” declared the headline over a New York Times analysis by Peter Baker (1/21/21), with the subhead:

      • The Message Progressives Should Send to Voters

        Today’s quadruple crises have been a long time coming. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Republicans began dismantling protections against unfettered markets and destroying the federal government from the inside, claiming that freedom meant the freedom to go bankrupt, that a big government was a bad government, and that pulling oneself up by the bootstraps was a viable life strategy. Billionaires, Wall Street, and large corporations laughed their way to the bank, literally. They hid their taxes in offshore havens in the Caymans. Swarms of lobbyists flew to DC to secure subsidies for their pet projects.

        Everyone else paid the price: workers’ rights were stripped, workers’ salaries dropped, corporations cut jobs, factories in the Midwest and Rust Belt closed, small businesses closed, and controls on Wall Street speculation were lifted. When enormous corporations came asking for special treatment, there was money. When it was time for expensive wars, there was always money. When it came to social spending on infrastructure, education, Medicare, Social Security, and other programs that actually help ordinary people, somehow there was never enough money. When it became clear that global warming was a direct threat to human life on Earth, Exxon and other fossil fuel companies suppressed the evidence. Nothing was done to launch a large-scale societal response to global warming when we could have cut emissions easily, because global warming threatened fossil fuel polluters’ bottom lines. Pro-corporate Democrats and Republicans were both guilty in this desecration of our public life.

      • Judge denies request for Amazon to immediately restore Parler

        A federal judge on Thursday denied Parler’s request for a court order that would have forced Amazon to immediately resume hosting the controversial social media platform following its suspension earlier this month.

        In rebuffing Parler’s request for a swift reversal of Amazon’s ban, U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Rothstein said the social media site, which is especially popular among conservatives, had failed to persuade the court that it would ultimately win its lawsuit against Amazon.

      • PayPal shuts down account of Texas woman who flew private plane to Capitol riot

        Paypal on Thursday took down the account of Jenna Ryan, a Texas woman who reportedly flew a private plane to the Capitol riot, after she claimed she raised $1,000 for legal fees and other losses due to her arrest.

      • What next for the bankrupt NRA?

        The crossfire is only just starting. Tax authorities are said to be investigating Mr LaPierre for fraud relating to his personal taxes. Last year the NRA disclosed in a tax filing that executives had received at least $1.4m in improper or excessive benefits. Mr LaPierre paid back $300,000 in travel expenses that the group had covered. Some dealers in historic guns also grumble that the NRA has sold guns to board members that its members’ estates had bequeathed to the organisation, doing deals at friendly, below-market prices and depriving the non-profit outfit of maximum value for the sales. The NRA declined to comment.

      • Nokia says selected for U.S. Federal 5G Cybersecurity project

        Finnish telecoms gear maker Nokia said it has been selected as a technology provider and collaborator for the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence’s (NCCoE) 5G Cybersecurity Project.

        Under the project, Nokia will work with NCCoE and other key vendors, including members of the government, for a secure transition to 5G networks from 4G.

        According to an official statement, NCCoE selected Nokia on the basis of its global success in 5G networks, including hardware and software, and mobile network security, and 5G RAN expertise.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • EFF Tells Louisiana Court Satire Is Still Protected Speech Even If The Government Doesn’t Get The Joke

        Last summer, as anti-police brutality protests were in full swing, a Lafayette man posted an obviously bogus Antifa call to action on his “cajUUn Memes” Facebook page. The announcement called for “cajun comrades” to rise up and engage in a takeover of the River Ranch neighborhood.

      • Court Tosses RICO Lawsuit Demanding $90 Million And The Dissolution Of Google For Supposed Anti-Conservative Bias

        A lawsuit [PDF] against Google over ad practices and search engine rankings has been dismissed. The allegations start normally before taking a sharp turn into some recently favored causes of action. First, there’s the RICO. Second, the plaintiff claims the RICO and everything that goes with it is a result of Google’s anti-conservative bias.

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Facebook Targets Misinformation Spread By The Philippines Government (2020)

        Summary: Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte’s rise to power was greatly aided by Facebook and its overwhelming popularity within the country. An estimated 97% of Filipinos have Facebook accounts and the company itself co-sponsored a Q&A session with local journalists that was broadcast on 200 radio and television stations and livestreamed on the platform. Questions were crowdsourced from Facebook users, helping propel the mayor of Davao to the highest office in the country.

      • Twitter and Facebook Just Proved That Deplatforming Works

        The cowards melt away. Deplatforming works. Delegitimizing people like Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley and Trump works. Inauguration Day proved that.

        My fears of violence at the inauguration of President Joe Biden did not come to pass—thankfully. The day went off without a hitch. Covid-19 made this inauguration look different from all the recent ones, not white supremacists in red hats. Joe Biden still got to fist-bump Al Roker. Katy Perry got to sing “Firework“ to fireworks. It was a beautiful day.

        It’s fair to say that putting 25,000 troops on the ground and locking down Washington, D.C., for a week probably played a bigger role in securing the inauguration than temporarily suspending Majorie Taylor Greene from Twitter. And one can only hope that militarizing the ceremonial functions of government does not become a “new normal” we all have to endure.

        But there was no analogous show of might at state capitols, which the Capitol insurrectionists and other extremist groups had also threatened to attack. While state governments beefed up security ahead of the inauguration, they didn’t go with the full military burlesque. However, on the day of reckoning, after the months of threats and maskless protests and plots to harm elected officials, nobody showed up to the rumble. There was no “storm.” There was no “Kraken.” There was no West Side Story—just “The Sound of Silence.”

      • What Internet Censorship Looks Like

        Governments in the region regularly shut down internet access or manipulate online conversations to control dissent — Uganda did both ahead of last week’s presidential vote. But citizens also use social media to expose election manipulation and spread feminist movements.

        Our conversation highlighted an essential question: Can we have the wonderful aspects of connecting the world online without all of the downsides?

      • Read From the Bottom

        Sites like Reddit and Hackernews allow people to vote stories up or down. Users collectively rank the values of user submissions and comments. The Hivemind. It can lead people to create and discovery great things, or just enjoy funny cat videos. These sites filter content through a combination of their moderators and the masses. With that filter comes bubbles, echo chambers and group think. Only the most commonly held opinions are given a voice. If you want to break free of orthodoxy privilege1, you need to change the way you use these websites, by reading comments from the bottom.

      • Our jaw has dropped in the face of this media freedom!

        Four quarterly BİA Media Monitoring Reports published in 2020 show that, this year, 23 journalists (Ayşegül Doğan, Can Dündar, Deniz Yücel, Sultan Çoban, Barış Pehlivan, Barış Terkoğlu, Murat Ağırel, Yılmaz Özdil, Aydın Keser, Ferhat Çelik, Hülya Kılınç, Kazım Güleçyüz, etc.) were sentenced to 103 years, 3 days in prison in total as per the related articles of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) on charges of “insult”, “membership of an organization”, “aiding the organization as non-members” and “espionage” and as per the related article of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK) on “propagandizing for a terrorist organization” as well as on charges as per the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Law and the Military Penal Code.

        The Press Advertising Agency (BİK) cut the ads of five critical newspapers for 276 days in total in 2020, while the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) fined the media, including critical TV channels such as Fox TV, Tele 1 and Halk TV, a total of 19,063,835 lira (approx. 2,500,000 USD). Waiting for their turquoise press cards, hundreds of media representatives are kept waiting by the Presidential Communications Directorate.

      • Twitter Should Cancel the Appeals Process or Make It Work (also: I’m in Twitter jail!)

        I got banned wrongly for a tweet last week where I was talking about the history of conspiracy theory and its relationship to current COVID-19 misinformation. Someone had posted that conspiracy pyramid that shows the relative harms of conspiracy and asked where fluoride might fit. I replied saying I thought that fluoride definitely belonged in the 5g layer — not anti-Semitic but definitely part of that dangerous John Birch Society politics/medical-conspiracy stew. A few minutes later I was hit by this.

      • Google and French publishers sign landmark copyright agreement

        In a first in Europe, Google and a group of French publishers said onThursday they had signed an agreement aimed at opening the path to digital copyright payments under which the US tech giant will pay publishers for online content.

      • Australia Wants Facebook and Google to Pay for News. The US Is Trying to Stop It

        If passed, the proposed legislation designed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission would force Facebook and Google to negotiate with Australian media companies for the price of displaying their content. The country isn’t alone in its attempt to reign in the two companies’ domination of the media landscape, with the French government ordering Google to engage in similar negotiations.

        The move comes after an interim report released by the Commission in October of last year revealed that out of every $100 spent by advertisers in 2018, $49 went to Google and $24 to Facebook.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • In Belarus, a Press Badge Makes You a Target

        Beatings, arrests, court cases, internet blocks and revocation of press credentials — being an accredited journalist is no longer a guarantee of protection for independent media in Belarus.

      • Dissenter Weekly: Whistleblowing Cops, ExxonMobil Fraud—Plus, US Appeals Assange Extradition Decision

        In this edition of “Dissenter Weekly,” host and Shadowproof editor Kevin Gosztola opens with a couple recent stories involving whistleblowers at police departments, who took a stand against abusive activity.

        Later, Kevin highlights a whistleblower complaint against ExxonMobil for fraud and provides updates on COVID-19 data whistleblower Rebekah Jones and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.The show concludes with an overtime discussion between Kevin and Shadowproof publishing editor Brian Sonenstein about how citizens could mobilize for whistleblowers and reforms that diminish the ability of the United States government to use the Espionage Act against truth-tellers.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Mongolia hits 100% ROA coverage

        In this post, I want to share the story of how we achieved ROA coverage for all routes announced in BGP, and our future plans to achieve 100% Route Origin Validation (ROV), so that other communities can learn from and achieve similar results.

      • Gigantic Asshole Ajit Pai Is Officially Gone. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)

        Ajit Pai, the man who killed net neutrality, enacted a series of industry-friendly deregulatory moves for big telecom, and drank from a gigantic mug, is no longer around to terrorize the internet. The FCC confirmed to Motherboard that Pai is officially gone:

        “Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai today concluded his four years as Chairman, eight years as a Commissioner, and twelve years as an employee of the agency,” the agency said.

        His official FCC Twitter account, where he antagonized people who criticized him, has been deleted.

    • Monopolies

      • Memo to Google and Facebook: please pack your bags and go

        It will be interesting to see who blinks first in the tussle between the digital platforms and the Australian Government: Google and Facebook or Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

      • Patents

        • [Older] Bundesrat passes UPC legislation – UPC could open its doors in 2022 [Ed: This piece of nonsense really did not age well. Team UPC can’t help lying to the public again and again]

          Today, the German Bundesrat (the upper house of the German Parliament) passed the Unified Patent Court (UPC) legislation, bringing us one step closer to the start of the UPC. To come into force, the law will now have to be signed by the Federal Government, the Federal President and, finally, published in the Federal Law Gazette.

          For the ratification to trigger the UPC “count-down” it needs to be deposited with the Council of the European Union. The UPC will come into effect on the first day of the fourth month after the month in which Germany’s ratification is deposited with the EU Council. However, before the UPC can open its doors, the Provisional Application Period needs to start. Accordingly, Germany is not expected to deposit its ratification of the UPC Agreement immediately.

      • Copyrights

        • Turns Out That Brexit Means Rotting Pigs’ Heads, And Losing An EU Copyright Exception

          Surprising no one who understands anything about international trade, the UK’s departure from the EU — Brexit — is proving to be disastrous for its economy. Among the latest victims are Scottish fishermen, who are no longer able to sell their catches to EU customers, and the UK meat industry, which has tons of rotting pigs’ heads on its hands. And it turns out that Brexit will be making copyright worse too.

        • Legal Battle Over Rightscorp’s ‘Fraudulent’ Piracy Notices Heats Up

          Internet provider RCN has accused anti-piracy company Rightscorp of unfair practices that resulted from partly ‘fraudulent’ anti-piracy notices. Rightscorp asked the court to dismiss the claims but RCN now says that this would be wrong. While this legal battle is ongoing in a New Jersey federal court, Rightscorp’s website has vanished.

        • Nintendo Obtains New Injunction to Block Team-Xecuter Sites

          Nintendo has taken another step forward in its battle to prevent Team-Xecutor products from reaching and affecting the legal market. Following a pair of legal processes in Spain, a court has handed down injunctions compelling local ISPs to block three Team-Xecutor domains and two others offering pirated Nintendo games.

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  17. Meme: EPO Management Totally Gets 'Tehc'

    The bestest patent office in the whole wide world is besting the “hey hi” (AI) cutting edge; don't worry about exam and certification integrity



  18. The EPO's Software Blunders Are Inevitable Outcome of Technically Clueless Management Which Grants Illegal Patents on Software

    The "clusterfuck" which the EPO has become is negatively affecting not only EPO staff but also stakeholders, who sink into depression and sometimes anger, even fury, at great expense to their health; this is how institutions die (for a quick but short money grab, a culmination of corruption which piggybacks half a century of goodwill gestures)



  19. Links 3/3/2021: OpenSUSE Leap 15.3 Beta, GNU Denemo 2.5, and NomadBSD 1.4

    Links for the day



  20. What Free Software Organisations Can Learn From Australia's Rape Crisis

    Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock



  21. Microsoft Weaponises (and Further Spreads) Racism to Distract From Its Own Incompetence (and 'Five Eyes' Collusion for Back Door Access)

    Racist Microsoft is at it again; we're meant to think that China is evil for doing exactly what the United States has been doing but more importantly we're told not to blame Microsoft for shoddy code and back doors (classic blame-shifting tactics and overt distortion of facts, as we saw in the wake of SolarWinds backdoors)



  22. GNU/Linux News Sites Need to Promote Software Freedom, Not Binary and Proprietary Blobs Merely Compiled for GNU/Linux

    There has been lots of proprietary fluff in GNU/Linux 'news' sites so far this week; it merits an explanation or clarification, e.g. why we should generally reject proprietary stuff and instead promote Free/libre alternatives



  23. Links 3/3/2021: OpenSSH 8.5 and Absolute64 20210302 Released

    Links for the day



  24. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, March 02, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, March 02, 2021



  25. Links 3/3/2021: IPFire 2.25 Core Update 154, Red Hat Satellite 6.8.4, Kiwi TCMS 10.0

    Links for the day



  26. Links 2/3/2021: KDE Plasma 5.21.2, Qt 6.1 Beta, Refund of Pre-installed Windows

    Links for the day



  27. 'GatoKeeper'/IP Kat (AstraZeneca) Still Suppressing and Censoring the Public Views or Internal EPO Talks About EPO Corruption

    The suppression of comments critical of the EPO‘s administration (especially corruption scandals surrounding António Campinos and Benoît Battistelli) is a real problem; those ought not be a taboo subject in comments (where bloggers used to speak about those issues openly and regularly)



  28. Pocock on Removing Cognitive Bias Around Consent

    Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock



  29. IRC Proceedings: Monday, March 01, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, March 01, 2021



  30. Links 2/3/2021: Maui 1.2.1, RSS Guard 3.9.0

    Links for the day


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