02.18.21

Links 19/2/2021: APT 2.2, Mabox 21.02, and Cockpit 238

Posted in News Roundup at 7:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Chrome OS Tops macOS as 2nd Most Popular OS

        First, let’s get real. Neither one – macOS or Chrome OS – is knocking on Windows’ door. Windows has a market share of 80.5 percent, according to market data firm IDC and a report at GeekWire. That doesn’t leave much room for any other platform.

        [...]

        We’ve talked about it before here at Make Tech Easier. First, there was a laptop shortage. There was such a rush for remote work and remote learning that many households were clamoring for laptops. There is also a growing chip shortage.

        So why were people turning to Chrome OS? For one, Chromebooks are around the same price as a cheap PC and much cheaper than macOS. With the economy struggling last year and no one knowing that the pandemic would still be going on a year later, it’s not surprising that people were looking for quick and cheap.

        Aside from that – there was a shortage. Who’s to say buyers didn’t look to Windows first, come up empty, then settle on Chrome?

      • Behind the Scenes of System76: Sales Team

        The System76 Behind the Scenes series aims to give readers an inside look at the people behind our mission. This week, we spoke with VP of Sales Sam Mondlick about the challenges of conducting business during a pandemic, and how long it’ll take the Sales Team to make a certain blog author a millionaire.

        [...]

        A lot of the team members have a background in Linux as users. That’s what we tend to typically hire and bring on. They are apt in review and understanding, and helping customers that have specific tasks and needs within the Linux environment.

      • HP ZBook Studio G7 Aims To Attract Linux Developers, Data Scientists

        The HP ZBook Studio G7 aims to attract Linux developers and data scientists by not only offering a powerful hardware combination and by pre-loading Ubuntu 20.04 LTS but in also shipping a variety of tools and other software packages pre-configured for a modern developer and data scientist workload. We have been testing the HP ZBook Studio G7 for the better part of two months for this Linux-loaded mobile workstation and in this article is a look at this new HP device along with plenty of benchmarks, including Windows vs. Linux performance tests and more.

        [...]

        It was back in December that HP announced they would begin preloading Ubuntu 20.04 on select laptops. Unlike many laptop vendors simply loading a stock Ubuntu LTS and calling it a day or possibly changing the background and a few other cosmetic changes, the “Z by HP Data Science Software” pre-install contains much more… In fact, over 40GB worth of extras.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.12 Hooks In LED Support To The TTY Layer – Phoronix

        There is an interesting change with the TTY/serial changes for the in-development Linux 5.12 kernel.

        With Linux 5.12 there is TTY LED support with new code added to the TTY core code and the kernel’s LED layer. What is LED support around TTYs for with the Linux kernel? It’s about allowing possible triggers. With the TTY triggers support, it’s possible to configure the LEDs so that the TTY statistics will be periodically checked and if changed will cause the LED to flash once… Basically to be able to create flashing arbitrary LEDs on TTY activity. It could lead to some interesting use-cases with hobbyists and more.

      • F2FS With Linux 5.12 Lets You Configure The Zstd/LZ4 Compression Ratio – Phoronix

        Jaegeuk Kim sent in the F2FS changes this week for the Linux 5.12 merge window. Most exciting is configurable compression ratio for its file-system compression rather than sticking to just the default compression level. When mounting a F2FS file-system with the “compress_algorithm” mount option, “:level” can be appended to the option where “level” is the compression level desired. This allows for squeezing more space out of F2FS file-systems with a higher compression ratio for LZ4 or Zstd.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: Roadmapping

          Zink’s in a tough spot right now in master. GL 4.6 is available, but there’s still plenty of things that won’t work, e.g., running anything at 60fps.

        • NVIDIA Launching “CMP” Cards For Professional Mining, Limits RTX 3060 Mining Potential – Phoronix

          NVIDIA is launching the CMP – the Cryptocurrency Mining Processor — that will be a line of hardware focused on professional mining with an emphasis on Ethereum.

          NVIDIA CMP products will not support graphics but are NVIDIA GPUs optimized for the best mining performance and efficiency. These initial mining-only cards are to be the NVIDIA CMP 30HX, 40HX, 50HX, and 90HX products with Ethereum hash rates from 26 MH/s to 86 MH/s and power consumption between 125 Watts and 320 Watts. The NVIDIA CMP mining cards will debut this quarter for the low-end SKUs and next quarter for the higher-end 50HX and 90HX hardware.

    • Applications

      • APT 2.2 released

        APT 2.2.0 marks the freeze of the 2.1 development series and the start of the 2.2 stable series.

        Let’s have a look at what changed compared to 2.2. Many of you who run Debian testing or unstable, or Ubuntu groovy or hirsute will already have seen most of those changes.

      • NetworkManager 1.30 Adds Support for WPA3 Enterprise 192-Bit Mode, New Ethtool Offload Features

        NetworkManager 1.30 has been released today as the latest version of one of the most popular network connection management tools for Linux-based operating systems.

        As expected, NetworkManager 1.30 is a major release that adds many great new features and improvements, including support for WPA3 Enterprise Suite-B 192 bit mode, support for handling Veth devices, a new “ipv4.dhcp-client-id=ipv6-duid” option for RFC4361, as well as new ethtool offload features.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Josef Strzibny: systemd user services and systemctl –user

        Most users are familiar with the system-wide systemd services managed by the systemctl command. But systemd services can be made for and entirely controlled by regular unprivileged users.

        Regular services on Fedora and other systems with systemd as an init system, are usually found at /etc/systemd/system/ and managed with the root privileges. Think your packaged NGINX web server or the PostgreSQL database. We usually make our own, too, to run our long-running applications.

      • Hacking and Bricking the EE Opsrey 2 Mini

        Of course it’s running Linux, there’s a couple of test points internally which bring out the serial console, but after finding those and logging in I discovered it’s running ADB on port 5555 quite happily available without authentication both via wifi and the USB port. So if you have physical or local network access, instant root shell. Well done, folks. And then I bricked it before I could do anything more interesting.

      • Linux 101: How to use cron – TechRepublic

        For the admins who are new to Linux, I want to introduce you to the cron tool. What is cron? Simply stated, cron allows you to create scheduled jobs on a Linux system. Say, for instance, you have a backup script, called backup.sh. You’ve placed that script in /usr/local/bin, so it can be executed globally and you want to make sure the backup happens at either a specific time of day or regularly on a certain day of the week.

        How do you do this? You invoke cron.

      • Redirection Commands and Keyboard Tricks with Linux Commands

        This article will talk about the coolest feature of the command line, which is called I/O redirection. The I/O stands for input/output. With this facility, you may redirect the input and output of commands and connect multiple commands to make a powerful command known as pipelines.

        The output of a program is of two types. First, you have the result of the program which contains the data program produces. Secondly, there are status and error messages that instruct you how the program is getting along. If you look at the command Is, you will see that it delivers results and error messages on your screen.

      • How to install Opera browser on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – Linux Shout

        Opera browser for Linux will be one of the best choices after Mozilla Firefox to use on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS because of its speed, interface, and easy to install method, which we discuss here.

        Although almost all Linux operating systems come with open-source Mozilla Firefox as a default browser, however, if you are not happy with it then try out Opera. It is not only one of the oldest ones but quite popular during its peak time. The developers behind it also offer a dedicated gaming browser called Opera GX.

      • How to install BalenaEtcher on Ubuntu 20.04

        Here’s how to install BalenaEtcher quickly and conveniently. With it you can create pen drives and memory cards to boot from various systems. Learn how to Install BalenaEtcher on Ubuntu.

        BalenaEtcher is a free and open source utility used to flash image files, such as .iso or .img files, as well as compressed folders to create SD cards and USB flash drives.

      • 10 ways to generate a random password on Linux | FOSS Linux

        You can generate a random password on a Linux platform without even stretching your brain muscles. Most, if not all, of these password-generation techniques we will assess in this article require that you have a strong basis or familiarity with the Linux command-line interface.

      • How to install Olive Video Editor on Linux Mint 20.1 – YouTube

        In this video, we are looking at how to install Olive Video Editor on Linux Mint 20.1.

      • How to check the speed of your ssh connection – Webleit.info

        Have you ever wondered what is the speed of your ssh connection. For example you are connected to a server in Dubai but you live in London and now you want to know what is the speed if you need to scp something. Well the solution to this problem is called PV.

      • How to stop a package from being updated in ubuntu apt with apt-mark

        Apt-mark is a command line tool that can help you choose which applications to be updated disabled or halted. You can set various settings for a package, such as
        marking a package as being automatically/manually installed or changing dpkg selections such as hold, install, deinstall and purge.

      • How To Limit Battery Charging (Set A Charge Threshold) For ASUS Laptops On Linux

        Newer ASUS laptops support limiting the battery charge level, which helps prolong battery life. This article explains how to set a battery charge threshold for ASUS laptops on Linux.

        Battery lifespan is affected by age, high temperatures, the number of charge cycles, and the amount of time at full charge. A battery charge threshold reduces the amount of time at full charge (100%), and thus improves battery health / life.

        ASUS laptops support setting a charge threshold starting with Linux 5.4. The kernel WMI method to set the charge threshold does not provide a way to specify a battery, assuming it’s the first battery (BAT0). However, for some newer ASUS laptops, the primary battery is not called BAT0, but BATT (e.g. Zenbook UM431DA) and BAT1 (e.g. ASUS TUF Gaming FX706II). [Edit] And There’s also BATC.

      • Create a custom wordlist (password generator dump file) using Crunch – Webleit.info

        Crunch is a great linux tool used for generating passwords. You can tell him what combination you need and it will generate it. If you need all the password combinations containing 6 digits and for example “abcde1234!” it will generate a file with all of them. The output from crunch can be sent to the screen, file, or to another program.

      • How To Install a Let’s Encrypt SSL Certbot for Apache and Ubuntu 20.04

        Certbot is part of EFF’s effort to encrypt the entire Internet. Secure communication over the Web relies on HTTPS, which requires the use of a digital certificate that lets browsers verify the identity of web servers (e.g., is that really google.com?). Web servers obtain their certificates from trusted third parties called certificate authorities (CAs). Certbot is an easy-to-use client that fetches a certificate from Let’s Encrypt—an open certificate authority launched by the EFF, Mozilla, and others—and deploys it to a web server.

      • How to Install VLC 3.0.12 via PPA in Ubuntu 20.04 / 18.04 / 20.10 | UbuntuHandbook

        For those prefer installing app via apt method, there’s now an Ubuntu PPA that contains the latest VLC 3.0.12 deb packages.

        VLC 3.0.12 was released a few weeks ago. It features native Apple Silicon support, RIST protocol, YouTube & Vocaroo scripts updates, and various bug-fixes.

      • How to Configure Logitech Keyboard Lighting in Linux – Make Tech Easier

        Logitech makes some of the most popular keyboards, but they still don’t seem to support the Linux side of things properly. It might be unofficial and not supporting all keyboards under the sun, but the g810-led project can probably help you control your Logitech keyboard’s lighting, making it useful instead of looking like a disco ball.

      • How to generate a random password in linux using /dev/random – Webleit.info

        In Unix-like operating systems, /dev/random, /dev/urandom and /dev/arandom are special files that serve as pseudorandom number generators. They allow access to environmental noise collected from device drivers and other sources.

      • How to: Base64 decode on Linux

        Do you share messages using the Base64 encoding tool due to privacy? Want to learn how you can decode these messages natively on your Linux system? If so, this guide is for you! Follow along as we go over ways to decode Base64 messages on Linux!

        [...]

        To start the installation of Basez on Linux, open up a terminal window on the desktop. The terminal window can be opened on most desktop environments by pressing the Ctrl + Alt + T keyboard combination.

        Once the terminal window is open on the desktop, follow the command-line installation instructions for Basez down below that correspond with the Linux operating system you currently use.

      • Unzip GZ File: How to Open GZ Files on Windows & Linux (CMD Guide)

        Archives are compressed files that allow you to store other types of files into smaller containers. It makes it possible to reduce the overall file size so that you can upload it online or transfer it on removable storage devices with a limited storage capacity.

        Popular archive file types include ZIP and RAR. But there are many others and each has its own characteristics.

      • How to Install IntelliJ IDEA on Ubuntu 20.04

        IntelliJ IDEA is an popular integrated development environment for the Java application’s. It is developed by JetBrains. IntelliJ IDEA is must friendlier to beginners thanks to its ease of code completion and inspection. Basically, It also provides intelligent coding assistance for many other languages such as SQL, JPQL, HTML, JavaScript, etc.

        IntelliJ IDEA community and ultimate versions are available as snappy package. Which allows you to install it quickly with single command.

        This tutorial will help you to install IntelliJ IDEA on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Linux system.

      • Use Let’s Encrypt and Certbot to secure Raspberry PI-hosted websites automatically

        In this post I will show you how to install and configure Certbot on Raspberry PI with Apache to get your Let’s Encrypt free certificates working and renewed without manual intervention. This can be useful to enhance secuity for your self hosted websites, like WordPress hosting on RPI, phpBB hosting on RPI or a simple LAMP server on RPI. Please remember that webpage published on internet need a public IP address (check my introduction to No-IP DUC installation).

        Let’s Encrypt and Certbot are 2 different pieces on securing your website. While Let’s Encrypt works as Certification Authority. certbot works to issue and renew certificates automatically before their expiration. More details on how a certification process works can be found in my introduction to Self Signed Certificate tutorial.

      • Regex basics

        In my team we run “masterclasses” every couple of weeks, where someone in the team presents a topic to the rest of the team.

        This article is basically the content of the class on regular expressions (otherwise known as regex) I gave recently.

        It’s an introduction to the basics of regular expressions. There are many like it, but this is mine.

      • Fonts Use | Inkscape

        After learning Open & Save, now we will learn about Fonts, before we learn about Making Text later. This Part III of the tutorial for students series discusses what are fonts, how we use fonts, and to get them to design & illustrate with Inkscape on computer. You will learn from here font families like Sans Serif Mono as well as their styles Bold Italic Regular aside from basic knowledge about fonts across operating systems with examples and pictures included. Happy learning and let’s go!

      • GNU Linux bash – how to get quick nice overview over harddisks partitions filesystems disk usage
      • Creating XDG custom url scheme handler | KageSenshi’s Log

        If you develop system tools or desktop software on Linux that also have an accompanying web application, you might want to have a way for the web application to launch the tool with some parameters specified through a web based link. For example, a link with dnf://inkscape as url, might be used to launch Gnome Software, and display the description of Inkscape, so that user may choose to install it or not.

        In Linux, registering a custom URL handler can be done using XDG desktop file, of which it is configured to open x-scheme-handler MimeType.

      • How to install PHP 8 on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Server – Linux Shout

        PHP doesn’t need to introduction to those who are in the software development field. Well, for those who don’t know about it, PHP is an open-source scripting language PHP for web development and widely used for creating dynamic web pages. IT came into existence in 1994 and since then it has been developing to perform more complex operations and that’s the reason why it is considered a standard for dynamic web content.

        Unlike other script languages, the websites are generated on the server-side and then sent to the web browser. This has the advantage that the client – in this case, the browser – does not have to bring any special plug-ins.

    • Games

      • Godot Showcase – Hive Time developer Cheeseness talks about his experience

        My name is Cheese, and I’m an Australian independent game developer/Linux porter/freelance generalist based in the small island of Tasmania. I’ve been making games in some form or another for over thirty years now.

        I like to contribute to Free/Open Source Software projects when I have time, and release my own work under F/OSS and open culture licences when appropriate. I’ve even made some small contributions to Godot itself.

        I enjoy photography, playing guitar, and long, long walks in the wilderness.

      • Mutropolis is a sci-fi adventure where you revisit Earth in the year 5000

        Set in the year 5000 when we’re all living on Mars after some kind of great disaster on Earth, it’s time to go back and discover what’s still left. Note: key provided by the publisher.

        “It is the year 5000, and the greatest achievements in human history are forgotten. The pyramids, the Mona Lisa, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air – forgotten.

        Forgotten by everyone except Henry Dijon and his ragtag team of archaeologists. They left Mars to dig up lost treasures on the wild and inhospitable Planet Earth. Life is sweet, until Henry’s professor is kidnapped, and thing start to get… weird.”

        [...]

        For the Linux version, for now you’re going to need to play it in windowed mode due to a fullscreen bug with the Visionaire Studio game engine. However, a fix for that should be coming within the next week or so. Alternatively it may work okay in Proton if no fullscreen bugs you enough.

      • Dungeon crawler Ultimate ADOM – Caverns of Chaos is out in Early Access

        Ready for another game that makes you stay up all night for one more run? Ultimate ADOM – Caverns of Chaos is now out in Early Access on the Steam store. Creating a follow-up to a much loved roguelike ADOM is no easy task but with the original team involved, they certainly know what they’re doing.

        [...]

        It’s supported on Linux and is 15% off until February 25.

      • Learning Factory is like Factorio with lots of cats and plenty of automation | GamingOnLinux

        Combining the ideas found in Machine Learning with automation and Factorio styled conveyor belts everywhere, Learning Factory from Luden.io has entered Early Access.

        This is from the same developer who created while True: learn(), a popular and positively rated puzzle/simulation that also deals with Machine Learning to try and understand your cat. Seems Luden.io have a bit of a theme here, as Learning Factory is all about a certain genius building a factory on Mars to try and work through understanding cats. Yep.

      • Open-world, turn-based RPG ‘Relic Space’ gets a trailer and release window | GamingOnLinux

        It’s not exactly clear if the Linux build will be available on day 1 of Early Access or a little later. Will keep you posted.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Matthias Clasen: GTK happenings

          GTK 4.2 is due out in March – it will not be an enormous release, just incremental improvements. But besides the usual bug fixes and performance improvements, there are a few things that are worth calling out indvidually.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Mabox 21.02 Foltest is here

          I am pleased to announce a new release of Mabox Linux 21.02 Foltest.
          Mabox is a distribution based on Manjaro, with a preconfigured lightweight Openbox window manager and several specially developed programs and tools. Works great even on weaker computers.
          Mabox 21.02 Foltest is equipped with the latest 5.10 LTS kernel, of course you can easily install other kernels and decide which one to run at boot time.
          The installer offers the option of choosing free or proprietary drivers – when booting, select the free or non-free option.
          This release includes a number of fixes, new/updated packages and new features.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • All openSUSE Services in Provo database center now support IPv6

          Today we reached a new milestone: all openSUSE services around the world now support IPv6 natively. The last set of machines in Provo are equipped with IPv6 addresses since today. IPv6 was missing for those machines since the renumbering, which was needed because of the carve out of SUSE from Micro Focus. A big thank you goes out to one of our providers, who now reserved and routed a whole /50-IPv6 network for us.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Getting started with the OpenShift Platform Developer learning path

          When I started as a Red Hat consultant a few years ago, I had limited prior knowledge of containers. I was excited to learn about Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform but also intimidated by all its functionality. The Red Hat OpenShift Platform Developer learning path was very helpful in my journey, and this post will outline some of these resources to help you get started.

          While we’re going to focus on the Red Hat OpenShift Platform Developer learning path, you should know that there are two major Red Hat OpenShift learning paths. Both paths are relevant for delivery teams, consultants, and solution architects

        • Introducing the technology preview of IBM API Hub on IBM Developer

          Developers have always been on the front lines of digital transformation, but the past year has given rise to a new urgency to become a digital business.

          With developers having trillions of programmable endpoints available to be connected to and to realize new capabilities, the role of APIs in open hybrid cloud work is poised to grow exponentially. An IDC FutureScape report about Worldwide Developer and DevOps 2021 predictions stated that in the next few years, the “reuse of third-party code in new apps and digital solutions” will double by 2024.

          Access to trusted, secure API-enabled services and the data allow you to innovate with velocity and transform and modernize your hybrid cloud solutions.

        • Fedora Community Blog: Fedora Community Outreach Revamp Update #4

          As of January 2021 the Revamp is now a Fedora Objective! With the Fedora Council approving the objective after community feedback, the Revamp becomes a medium-term goal of the Council. The co-leads of the Revamp, Mariana Balla and Sumantro Mukherjee, are Council members through the completion of the objective. We will provide updates on the Community Outreach Revamp at the regular Council meetings. More details about the Community Outreach Revamp as an Objective can be found on the wiki page.

        • Cockpit Project: Cockpit 238

          Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly.

          Here are the release notes from Cockpit version 238.

        • Red Hat Summit 2021 Preview | IT Pro

          On April 27-28, the first of three online conferences that will all wear the Red Hat Summit 2021 banner will be held.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Hands-On with Ubuntu Unity 20.10 on the Raspberry Pi 4

          If you are one of those die-hard Unity desktop users and own a Raspberry Pi 4 computer, the Ubuntu Unity distribution comes with a Raspberry Pi flavor optimized for the Raspberry Pi 4 model (and probably the newer Raspberry Pi 400 too), but also reported to “work” on older models like the Raspberry Pi 3 and 3+.

          Being based on Ubuntu’s Raspberry Pi flavor, Ubuntu Unity features the same first-time installation/configuration wizard, which asks the user to choose a language for the system, a keyboard layout, connect to a Wi-Fi network, choose a location, and set up a default user.

        • Ubuntu EKS Platform Images for k8s 1.19

          Following the GA of Kubernetes 1.19 support in AWS, EKS-optimized Ubuntu images for 1.19 nodegroups have been released. The ami-id of this image for each region can be found on the official site for Ubuntu EKS images.

          Like the 1.18 platform amis, these images are minimized 20.04 Focal Fossa server cloud images that include a couple of extra customized utilities for interacting with EKS, namely the kubectl-eks snap, which simply pins kubectl to a platform version-appropriate channel, as well as pinned versions of cni and auth tools.

          These packages are all pinned because, although unattended-upgrades is enabled for EKS-optimized Ubuntu images, the recommended upgrade path for kubernetes compatibility is via launching the latest ami, rather than trying to update in place.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Ingvar Hagelund: Free Software and Open Source: Get involved

        Contributing to Free Software using Open Source methodics may look like intimidating deep expert work. But it doesn’t have to be that. Most Free Software communities are friendly to newcomers, and welcome all kind of contributions.

        [...]

        Bugs in components delivered by a Linux distribution (Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, Red Hat, SuSE, etc), should be reported through their bug reporting interface. Remember to search for the bug before posting yet another duplicate bug. Perhaps a workaround already exists.

        So the next time something strange happens to your haproxy, nginx, varnish, or your firefox browser crashes or has unexpected behaviour, collect data from your logs, and open a bug report.

      • Events

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Armen Zambrano: Making pip installations faster with wheel

            Upon some investigation, I noticed that the package wheel was not being installed. After making some changes, I can now guarantee that our development environment installs it by default and it’s given us about 40–50% speed gain.

          • Expanding Mozilla’s Boards

            I’m delighted to share that the Mozilla Foundation and Corporation Boards are each welcoming a new member.

            Wambui Kinya is Vice President of Partner Engineering at Andela, a Lagos-based global talent network that connects companies with vetted, remote engineers from Africa and other emerging markets. Andela’s vision is a world where the most talented people can build a career commensurate with their ability – not their race, gender, or geography. Wambui joins the Mozilla Foundation Board and you can read more from her, here, on why she is joining. Motivated by the intersection of Africa, technology and social impact, Wambui has led business development and technology delivery, digital technology implementation, and marketing enablement across Africa, the United States, Europe and South America. In 2020 she was selected as one of the “Top 30 Most Influential Women” by CIO East Africa.

          • Why I’m Joining Mozilla’s Board of Directors

            Like many of us I suspect, I have long been a fairly passive “end-user” of the internet. In my daily life, I’ve merrily skipped along it to simplify and accelerate my life, to be entertained, to connect with far-flung friends and family, and to navigate my daily life. In my career in Silicon Valley, I’ve happily used it as a trusty building block to help build many consumer technologies and brands – in roles leading turnarounds and transformations at market-creating companies like eBay, PayPal, Skype, Airbnb, and most recently as CEO of Willow Innovations Inc.

          • Why I’m Joining Mozilla’s Board of Directors – The Mozilla Blog

            My introduction to Mozilla was when Firefox was first launched. I was starting my career as a software developer in Boston, MA at the time. My experience was Firefox was a far superior browser. I was also deeply fascinated by the notion that, as an open community, we could build and evolve a product for greater good.

            You have probably deduced from this, that I am also old enough that growing up in my native country, Kenya, most of my formative years were under the policies of “poverty reduction programs” dictated and enforced by countries and institutions in the northern hemisphere. My firsthand experience of many of these programs was observing my mother, a phenomenal environmental engineer and academic, work tirelessly to try to convince donor organizations to be more inclusive of the communities they sought to serve and benefit.

            This drive to have greater inclusion and representation was deepened over ten years of being a woman and person of color in technology in corporate America. I will spare you the heartache of recounting my experiences of being the first or the only one. But I must also acknowledge, I was fortunate enough to have leaders who wanted to help me succeed and grow. As my professional exposure became more global, I felt an urgency to have more representation and greater voice from Africa.

            [...]

            This is why I have joined the Mozilla board. I am truly honored and look forward to contributing but also learning alongside you.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • Understanding open source databases

          Oracle purchased MySQL in the process of acquiring Sun Microsystems in 2009, effectively recognizing the power of the open source model. They continue to both develop and support the database. Users can choose either the free edition, known as the community edition, and more advanced editions that include extra features desirable for larger companies. Backups, extra security, and cluster management are available for a fee.

          Oracle also purchased BerkeleyDB, a set of key-value database libraries that are often compiled into programs. They allow developers to offload the job of maintaining data structures.

      • FSF

        • LibrePlanet 2021: Empowering Users

          LibrePlanet is the annual conference hosted by the Free Software Foundation. LibrePlanet provides an opportunity for community activists, domain experts, and people seeking solutions for themselves to come together in order to discuss current issues in technology and ethics. The theme for LibrePlanet 2021 is Empowering Users.

          Over our thirty-five years of campaigning for freedom, the Free Software Foundation has seen countless people start to adopt free “as in freedom” software as a tool to affect meaningful change in their communities. When users have the freedom to study, change, share, and contribute to the software that they depend on, they are empowered to take charge of their own digital lives.

      • Public Services/Government

        • Role of digital-ready in a future EU interoperability policy? Participate in the public consultations!

          The EIF is setting 47 recommendations to set-up interoperable EU public services. It refers to “better legislation for smoother implementation” under the title legal interoperability and recommends to

          “Ensure that legislation is screened by means of ‘interoperability checks’, to identify any barriers to interoperability. When drafting legislation to establish a European public service, seek to make it consistent with relevant legislation, perform a ‘digital check’ and consider data protection requirements.” (EIF section 3.3)

      • Programming/Development

        • Mike Gran: Guile Potluck 2021

          In celebration of the (slightly belated) 10-year anniversary of Guile v2.0, we’re having another Guile Potluck! The Guile Potluck is a randomly annual event to give people a chance to show off their Guile projects and skills. Think of it as a game jam, but, not constrained to games.

          To participate, on or before Mar 6, send an email to guile-user@gnu.org with Potluck in the subject line. Please include instructions on how to find your entry, which could be anything you like.

        • Python

          • Reading from MySQL data with BLOBs dumped to CSV – Mike Kaganski’s blog

            As part of my recent work in upgrading our partner & customer ticketing system to make things sweeter for all our users I have been assigned a task involving importing data from a CSV that was generated using MySQL’s SELECT … INTO OUTFILE . The problem was that the source table contained BLOB fields.

            The resulting CSV was quite non-standard. MySQL simply does not allow to produce CSVs conforming to RFC 4180: it would not escape double quotes by duplicating them, but would use a dedicated escapement symbol (backslash \ by default); and when using that escapement symbol, it will escape byte 0×00 as two characters: \0 (backslash + character “0”). This needs a non-standard processing – e.g., Python’s csv module can’t restore the binary from such a file, no matter which encoding (like latin_1) you use to read file (Python’s csv module only works with files opened in text mode), or which settings you pass to reader. MySQL may be instructed to not use the escapement symbol (using FIELDS ESCAPED BY ”), and then zero bytes will be output as is, but then the double quotes (byte 0×22) inside all fields (including blobs) will be completely not escaped, making the CSV invalid and unreadable. MySQL should just duplicate double-quotes in this case, and it would work out of the box… But for now, I needed to read from the file with escaping by \ and all the quirks.

          • Understanding Standard Deviation With Python

            Standard deviation is a way to measure the variation of data. It is also calculated as the square root of the variance, which is used to quantify the same thing. We just take the square root because the way variance is calculated involves squaring some values.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • mkws – Static Site Generation With The Shell

            Today I’m looking at something a little different. Rarely (or ever?) do I take a look at static website generators on here, but mkws is a bit of a special case.

            mkws is a static site generator (SSG) created by Adrian Emil Grigore, written in nothing but the good old shell. No, not BASH, but sh. Well technically it includes a couple of minimal binaries, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

            So what does mkws promise? The home site’s tagline simply reads – “A small, no bloat, minimalist static site generator using sh as a templating language.”
            And honestly, that sums it up as well as anything. mkws strives to be minimal, sane and yet thanks to the power of sh and standard Unix-y tools, very extensible and modifiable.

  • Leftovers

    • Charming
    • The Music We Made in Lockdown

      Creativity blooms in solitude, or so we believe in our weakness for the trope of the artist as a singular figure tapping the magic well of inspiration to make works of art. James Joyce, in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, said he needed only three things to be equipped to write: silence, exile, and cunning—the first, an attribute of solitude; the second, a means to achieve it; and the third, a tool for its exploitation.

    • Education

      • Teacher Unions: We Want to Reopen Schools as Well, But We Need Vaccines & Resources to Do It Safely

        As school districts across the U.S. debate how to safely bring children into the classroom, we speak with two leaders of the teachers’ union movement on what’s at stake as schools reopen. Stacy Davis Gates, executive vice president of the Chicago Teachers Union, says years of underfunding and privatization have left many school districts ill-equipped to meet the needs of students, as well as educators. “It’s not just the context of opening schools. It’s reopening schools safely with the resources that are necessary to keep people safe,” she tells Democracy Now! We also speak with Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, who says when a clear safety program is in place, a majority of teachers are on board with returning to in-class instruction. “The people who are in school trust it and trust that they’re going to be safe,” Weingarten says.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Opinion | Universal Healthcare for Less! CBO Scores Medicare for All

        The bottom line of the CBO analysis—that universal coverage can be affordably achieved even as benefits are expanded and cost sharing all but eliminated.

      • In Some States, Child Care Workers Won’t Get the Covid Vaccine for Months

        Initially, the state of Rhode Island told child care providers and early-childhood educators like Mary Varr that they would be eligible for the Covid vaccine alongside all other educators in the state. It made sense to Varr that they would come after health care workers and those working and living in long-term care facilities but ahead of the general population.

      • New York AG Sues Amazon Over ‘Flagrant Disregard’ for Worker Safety During Pandemic

        “We won’t let corporate bullies put hardworking New Yorkers in harm’s way,” said the state attorney general, Letitia James.

      • Opinion | Why Politicians and Doctors Keep Ignoring the Medical Research on Vitamin D and Covid

        Most experts—scientists and doctors—have not taken Vitamin D seriously, despite the growing evidence, because it is made in the mystical touch of sun on skin rather than by white-coated technicians in a laboratory.

      • Whistleblowing Farmer Alleges Perdue Terminated Contract After He Exposed ‘Sickly Chicks,’ Filthy Production

        The following was originally published as part of The Dissenter newsletter.An agribusiness whistleblower alleges he was terminated in August 2020 from his contract with Perdue after he revealed animal abuse and poor sanitation to the media and public.

      • Misuse of the VAERS database by antivaxxers continues, cardiac edition

        As the vaccines for COVID-19 continue to roll out and tens of millions more doses get into tens of millions more arms, I’m coming to the reluctant conclusion that I could, if I so desired, do nothing but blog about the antivaccine misinformation about these particular vaccines being spread by antivaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and his organization Children’s Health Defense through its online house organ The Defender. When last I visited RFK Jr. and his antivaccine disinformation machine, he was deceptively using the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) database to impute causation when there is not yet evidence of it to the reports of adverse events reported there. That time, he was trying to imply that the deaths reported to VAERS had been caused by COVID-19 vaccines, with, of course, plausible deniability that that’s what he was doing. Unsurprisingly, he soon followed up with another post that used updated figures for adverse events reported to VAERS in the same deceptive way. (They were just larger, because a wider range of dates were included.) It’s basically the same article, with the same obligatory cut-and-pasted anecdotes of specific cases of death after the vaccines that were probably not related. A computer could generate these posts, at least until yesterday, when RFK Jr. decided to drill down with an article entitled What VAERS Data Reveal About Cardiac-Related Reactions to COVID Vaccines. It’s the same schtick, just about one subtype of adverse event.

      • Written Description: How can policymakers overcome the hurdles to scaling up antibody manufacturing?

        In our last post, we introduced some of the clinical evidence supporting the use of therapeutic antibodies against COVID-19—including Regeneron’s casirivimab and imdevimab and Eli Lilly’s bamlanivimab—and analyzed the existing problems in the distribution and administration of those therapies. Even in just the last few weeks, further clinical evidence has supported the use of these technologies, leading the FDA to issue an additional emergency use authorization for Lilly’s bamlanivimab and etesevimab cocktail. In the near future, though, problems in administering our existing supply of these new drugs may give way to problems producing enough of them—a challenge that is also affecting the vaccine rollout. In this post, we consider the difficult manufacturing issues involved in the therapeutic antibody context (a subject we’ve previously explored regarding vaccines), and what might be done to address them.

        [...]

        So how does that investment happen? For one thing, policymakers can try to drive knowledge sharing between antibody manufacturers. In the vaccine space, knowledge transfer has emerged as a stumbling block to rapid scale-up, especially on a global scale, though there are other hurdles, especially for the novel mRNA vaccines, involving specialized ingredients and equipment. Knowledge sharing is likely a more important limiting factor for antibody manufacturing, since antibody manufacturing has been going on in some form for decades, and many manufacturers thus already possess the ingredients and equipment needed. Sharing knowledge would allow other manufacturers to increase the supply of existing antibodies, and could also allow for increased understanding and better manufacturing generally (including of other antibodies). Incentives or mandates for increased information sharing could increase innovation and efficiency in antibody manufacturing (and potentially biologic manufacturing more generally), with possible benefits beyond the pandemic. There are some indications that information sharing is happening: six companies involved in therapeutic antibody development sought and received DOJ permission to share development and manufacturing information in August (defusing antitrust concerns). Such collaborations should be lauded and pursued.

        More immediately, policymakers should seriously consider employing global purchasing initiatives for biologic therapies, akin to those of COVAX, the international consortium for global purchasing of vaccines. IAVI, the nonprofit famous for its work on securing and distributing HIV therapies in Africa and India, recently announced it was working on such an initiative in partnership with the Wellcome Trust for biologic therapies, like antibodies. IAVI’s initiative, Expanding Access to Monoclonal Antibody-based Products, seeks to expand access to antibody therapies, including those for COVID-19, to middle and low-income countries, an important component of global health equity. As noted in IAVI’s report, Asia and Africa constitute less than 20% of the global market for antibodies despite comprising more than half of the world’s population and their population’s persistent need for such treatments. At the same time, IAVI’s report is short on details about how to bring about such change, other than harmonizing a number of global regulatory pathways for antibody therapies’ approval that IAVI contends will lower prices by lowering manufacturing costs. Whether such cost savings will indeed be passed on to payers in the short run remains to be seen—but lowering manufacturing costs may give payers more leverage on prices both during this pandemic and the next one (or few).

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Facebook’s Magma Gains Momentum Under The Linux Foundation

                Facebook recently moved its open-source project Magma into the Linux Foundation as a new top-level foundation. Why is Facebook contributing the project to the Linux Foundation? What impact will it have on the project? There are already many networking-related foundations within the Linux Foundation so why is Magma becoming a stand-alone foundation? I sat down with seasoned Open Source entrepreneur, Boris Renski, CEO of FreedomFi, to talk about the project. FreedomFi is one of the founding members of the new foundation.

              • DARPA, Linux Foundation Join Hands For US Government OPS Project To Advance 5G

                The Linux Foundation (LF) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have joined hands to create open source software that accelerates United States government technology research and development innovation.

              • DARPA starts a 5G open-source stack project with the Linux Foundation

                The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has begun a broad collaboration with the Linux Foundation, hoping to spur open-source development of technologies for use by the U.S. government that include secure 5G network software and applications.

                The US GOV OPS (Open Programmable, Secure) umbrella organization’s first project, OPS-5G, will focus on a software stack for 5G, the network edge and IoT. According to a newly established website about the project, OPS-5G will define and test an “end-to-end 5G stack” and include elements from multiple Linux Foundation projects, including LF Networking, LF Edge, Zephyr Project and Cloud Native Computing Foundation, along with other top-tier projects that call the Linux Foundation home.

                “The project formation encourages ecosystem players to support U.S. government initiatives to create the latest in technology software,” according to DARPA and the Linux Foundation. According to the two organizations, OPS-5G’s goal is to “create open source software and systems enabling secure end to end 5G and follow-on mobile networks” and address “feature velocity” in open-source software, mitigate security concerns such as large-scale botnets that leverage IoT devices, network slicing on “suspect gear” and “adaptive adversaries operating at scale.”

              • Linux Foundation offers free Node.js class

                Node.js isn’t a language, framework, or library. It’s an open-source JavaScript runtime built on Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine, which lives in the programming intersection of all three. While often used for backend operations, it can be used with such frontend JavaScript frameworks as Angular, React, and Vue. It’s also wildly popular. Amazon, Netflix, Reddit, and PayPal, to name a few major corporate users, all work with it. StackOverflow developers love it more than any other developer toolkit. But one thing it’s not is easy to learn.

              • Free Introduction to Node.js Online Training Now Available
              • Interview with KubeCF project leaders Dieu Cao and Paul Warren
        • Security

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (mumble, openssl, php7.3, and webkit2gtk), openSUSE (jasper, php7, and screen), SUSE (bind, php7, and php72), and Ubuntu (bind9, openssl, openssl1.0, and webkit2gtk).

          • Google’s effort to mitigate memory-safety issues

            The Google Security Blog carries an announcement of a heightened effort to reimplement security-critical software in memory-safe languages.

          • Google Online Security Blog: Mitigating Memory Safety Issues in Open Source Software

            Memory-safety vulnerabilities have dominated the security field for years and often lead to issues that can be exploited to take over entire systems.
            A recent study found that “~70% of the vulnerabilities addressed through a security update each year continue to be memory safety issues.” Another analysis on security issues in the ubiquitous `curl` command line tool showed that 53 out of 95 bugs would have been completely prevented by using a memory-safe language.
            Software written in unsafe languages often contains hard-to-catch bugs that can result in severe security vulnerabilities, and we take these issues seriously at Google. That’s why we’re expanding our collaboration with the Internet Security Research Group to support the reimplementation of critical open-source software in memory-safe languages. We previously worked with the ISRG to help secure the Internet by making TLS certificates available to everyone for free, and we’re looking forward to continuing to work together on this new initiative.

          • U.S. Indicts North Korean Hackers in Theft of $200 Million

            The U.S. Justice Department today unsealed indictments against three men accused of working with the North Korean regime to carry out some of the most damaging cybercrime attacks over the past decade, including the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures, the global WannaCry ransomware contagion of 2017, and the theft of roughly $200 million and attempted theft of more than $1.2 billion from banks and other victims worldwide.

          • SolarWinds: How Russian spies [cracked] the Justice, State, Treasury, Energy and Commerce Departments

            President Biden inherited a lot of intractable problems, but perhaps none is as disruptive as the cyber war between the United States and Russia simmering largely under the radar. Last March, with the coronavirus spreading uncontrollably across the United States, Russian cyber soldiers released their own contagion by sabotaging a tiny piece of computer code buried in a popular piece of software called “SolarWinds.” The hidden virus spread to 18,000 government and private computer networks by way of one of those software updates we all take for granted. The attack was unprecedented in audacity and scope. Russian spies went rummaging through the digital files of the U.S. departments of Justice, State, Treasury, Energy, and Commerce and for nine months had unfettered access to top-level communications, court documents, even nuclear secrets. And by all accounts, it’s still going on.

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

            • Windows and Linux servers targeted by new WatchDog botnet for almost two years [Ed: ZDNet now has a new piece of FUD, of course trashing or trash-talking Go again (because people can write even malicious software using any programming language) while naming “Linux” because malicious actors can crack unpatched (out of date) software that has nothing whatsoever to do with Linux]

              The latest of these threats is a botnet named WatchDog. Discovered by Unit42, a security division at Palo Alto Networks, this crypto-mining botnet has been active since January 2019.

              Written in the Go programming language, researchers say they’ve seen WatchDog infect both Windows and Linux systems.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • CBP Facial Recognition Program Has Gathered 50 Million Face Photos, Identified Fewer Than 300 Imposters

              The CBP and DHS have released their annual report [PDF] covering trade and travel. It touts the agencies’ successes in these areas but raises some questions about the use of facial recognition tech to make the nation safer.

            • Minneapolis, Minnesota Becomes The Latest Major City To Pass A Facial Recognition Ban

              Facial recognition bans are slowly becoming the status quo around the nation. Good.

            • 40+ Rights Groups Urge Biden to Halt Federal Use of ‘Dangerous’ Facial Recognition Technology

              “Facial recognition technology is a threat to civil rights and civil liberties when it works, and when it doesn’t.”

            • Spotify granted patent to use mic to infer emotional state, age, gender, and accent

              It’s important to note that this is just a patent at this point. Spotify hasn’t yet added this functionality to their popular music streaming app, but being granted the patent is definitely the first concrete step towards that. It’s hard to tell when exactly Spotify might start trying to utilize your phone’s microphone for more than just receiving voice commands. It’s not even clear yet if Spotify would try to make their app “always listening” a la Amazon Alexa or if the sentiment analysis will only happen incidentally to other uses of the mic. Whenever this new feature is rolled out, though, don’t be surprised to see an accompanying update to the Spotify privacy policy because it’s reasonable to assume they may want to sell this information to third parties to add to the real time ad tracking monolith.

            • Facebook’s Australian media ban is taking down official government pages

              The Facebook pages of many Australian government agencies seem to have been caught up in the social media network’s ban on news posts by users and media organizations in the country. Users on Twitter have reported that the pages of agencies like the Bureau of Meteorology, Department of Fire and Emergency Services Western Australia, and Queensland Health have no posts available.

            • Facebook to restrict news content in Australia in response to proposed law

              Facebook said Wednesday it will restrict news content in Australia over a proposed law that would require tech giants to pay publishers for it.

              Facebook’s update will restrict Australian publishers from sharing or posting content on the platform’s pages and limit Australian users from viewing or sharing international publishers’ links and posts.

              Facebook has been issuing warnings about the proposal, and the platform said it felt it had to restrict the content as it inches closer to becoming law.

            • Facebook Cuts Off News in Australia in Fight Over Payments

              The potential fallout from the spat goes far beyond Australia for Facebook and Google, whose dominance of global advertising has made it a target for watchdogs worldwide. Australia’s envisioned law could set a precedent with other countries that have watched the two [Internet] giants impact their news industries. While they oppose the measure in Australia, Google and Facebook have struck separate, voluntary agreements to pay publishers. Earlier Wednesday, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. — a supporter of the Australian proposal — said it had reached a deal with Google for the search giant to pay for journalism from the Wall Street Journal and its other newspapers.

            • Is today the day the Facebook starts MySpacing itself?

              Why go to Facebook when you can just go to directly to a news site, or the Bureau of Meteorology?

              Facebook is obviously only truly hurting itself, and just shows that it is an aggregator of content that you don’t really need in your life.

            • Facebook blocks Australians from viewing, sharing news content

              The Federal Government introduced the News Media and Digital Platforms Bargaining Code into Parliament in December, but has said recently that it would soften the law after Google had responded by signing deals with many publishers.

            • News Corporation cuts global three-year deal with Google

              It comes a day after Nine Entertainment announced a deal with Google which is said to be worth in excess of $30 million. This leaves only the ABC, SBS and Guardian Australia among the better-known media organs in Australia which are yet to announce deals with the online advertising behemoth. Seven News Media signed up on Monday.

              Before it signed up Seven, Google secured deals with Crikey, The Saturday Paper and Australian Community Media, publisher of The Canberra Times.

            • ‘Spy pixels in emails have become endemic’

              The use of “invisible” tracking tech in emails is now “endemic”, according to a messaging service that analysed its traffic at the BBC’s request.

              Hey’s review indicated that two-thirds of emails sent to its users’ personal accounts contained a “spy pixel”, even after excluding for spam.

            • How Media Companies Can Capitalize on Clubhouse App

              Social audio app Clubhouse has been buzzing in the tech world since the early days of the pandemic, but it became clear last week that Silicon Valley’s interest in the app has reached new heights.

              The Verge last Monday reported Mark Cuban is involved with building a platform called Fireside that will facilitate the broadcast of live conversation, like Clubhouse. On Wednesday, the NYT reported Facebook is in the early stages of building a Clubhouse competitor.

              These two reports follow Twitter’s recent contribution to the social audio field with Spaces, which allows Twitterers to engage in live conversation and began testing in December.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • After Vowing ‘No More Blank Checks for Trump’s Favorite Dictator,’ Biden Seeks $200 Million Arms Sale to Egypt

        “Here’s some missiles. Please stop abusing human rights, please?”

      • ‘Washington Has Been Asking the Wrong Question on North Korea’

        Janine Jackson interviewed Women Cross DMZ’s Hyun Lee about ending the war in Korea for the February 12, 2021, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

      • ‘If Our Goal Is to Stop Killing Afghans, We’re Going About It All Wrong’

        Janine Jackson interviewed IPS’s Phyllis Bennis about ending the Afghan War for the February 12, 2021, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

      • Diverse Coalition Calls on Congress to End ‘Forever Wars’ and ‘Unaccountable, Interventionist’ US Foreign Policy

        A separate letter, signed by some of the same groups, lays out how the Biden administration can “end the cycle of endless war of the last two decades.”

      • To Normalize US-Cuban Relations, Restore Working Embassies

        Meanwhile, the two countries’ embassies in Havana and Washington are dysfunctional. No normal relations will obtain until they are fully operative. A report recently issued by the Washington-based National Security Archive (NSA) explores circumstances through which the embassies are disabled.

        The NSA is a truth-telling organization that monitors U.S. conduct of international affairs by reviewing declassified U.S. government documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

      • The Iran Deal: Biden and Blinken, Wynken and Blynken

        * the decision to abuse and rip apart would-be immigrant families on the border, disgusting the whole world to say nothing of all Central America; * the decision to maintain U.S. troops illegally in Syria (if only to steal Syrian oil); * the cruise missile attack on Shayrat Airbase, Syria in April 2017 destroying 20 aircraft, and three airstrikes in April 2019 injuring six soldiers, all based on lies about chemical weapons; * the decision to recognize Israeli land-grabs in Syria and Palestine, offending the Arab and broader worlds; * the decision to clamp unprecedented sanctions on Russia (if only to deflect charges of “Russian collusion”); * the decision to promote a pretender-regime in Venezuela; * the decision to designate Cuba a “sponsor of terrorism” for no reason; * the decision to declare the Houthi movement “terrorist,” maligning it to prove solidarity with Saudi Arabia, hamper provision of humanitarian aid and insure the deaths of more Yemeni children; * the decision to offend Chinese everywhere by calling COVID19 “the China virus;” * the decision to impose punitive tariffs on China, resulting in Chinese retaliatory tariffs on the U.S., costing U.S. soy farmers $ 10 billion; etc.

        Withdrawal from the Iran Deal was the most egregious departure from Obama precedent, initiated by a president nurturing a pathological hatred for his predecessor, intent on undoing anything considered an Obama achievement. (You get a sense of the magnitude of the mental health issues here when you reflect that Trump actually seems to have fantasized that he would, like Obama, receive the Nobel Peace Prize—virtually as a matter of entitlement—for his several inconsequential meetings with Kim Jung-Un after threatening Korea with annihilation. Trump denounced the Iran Deal not even gripping what it entailed but only knowing that right-wing Republican Christian Zionists hated it, his son-in-law Jared’s family hated it, and he could get applause from his crowds promising to undo all that Obama had done. He truly seems to have thought the mullahs, intimidated by his threats as the people suffer from ongoing sanctions and sabotage, would come to him pleading to negotiate a total surrender that he could claim as further grounds for a Peace Prize. This is what we call “malignant narcissism.”)

      • The Arab Spring Failed But the Rage Against Misery and Injustice Continues
      • Nigeria dispatches security chiefs after gunmen kidnap schoolboys, teachers

        Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has dispatched security chiefs to the state of Niger to coordinate a rescue mission for students and teachers abducted by gunmen late Tuesday. “The President has directed the Armed Forces and Police, to ensure immediate and safe return of all the captives,” presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said in a statement.

      • Taiwan’s envoy in US calls for ‘high alert’ over China’s coast guard law

        She accused Beijing of using “aggressive tools” to expand its presence in the region, with the new coast guard law allowing the use of weapons against foreign ships. The envoy added the law could lead to miscalculation and conflict, specifically near the Diaoyutai Islands, an uninhabited archipelago controlled by Japan but also claimed by both Taiwan and China.

      • The New Humanitarian | A push for justice in Central African Republic

        A trial of two militia leaders accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Central African Republic at the International Criminal Court is prompting hope of justice for victims of past conflicts, even as a new wave of violence sweeps the country.
        Alfred Yekatom, known as “Rambo”, and Patrice-Édouard Ngaïssona are accused of directing attacks on civilians by the anti-Balaka, a largely Christian and animist militia that emerged in CAR in 2013 to counter the Séléka, a mainly Muslim alliance of northern rebels who had ousted former president François Bozizé.
        The trial at The Hague of the anti-Balaka leaders – whose fighters indiscriminately targeted Muslims they considered complicit with the Séléka – is the first before the ICC involving crimes committed during this past phase of CAR’s ongoing conflict.
        Watching the opening of the trial on Tuesday on a screen in CAR’s capital, Bangui, Étienne Oumba, from the Central African United Victims Association, told The New Humanitarian: “We were waiting, discouraged, for this moment to happen. Today, it is Rambo and Ngaïssona, but tomorrow it will be more tormentors that will be arrested and brought to justice.”

    • Environment

    • As US Prepares to Reenter Paris Agreement, Campaigners Urge Biden to Contribute ‘Fair Share’ to Tackling Climate Crisis

      “We are calling upon you and your administration to walk the walk of real climate leadership.”

    • Environmental Groups Fight Back Against Alberta’s ‘Anti-Energy’ Inquiry

      In July 2019, the province of Alberta set up a “public inquiry” to investigate the “anti-Alberta energy campaigns” supposedly backed by “foreign organizations.” It was the fulfillment of a campaign promise by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, who vowed to fight “foreign meddling” that he says has been injurious to the province’s oil and gas industry, singling out foreign philanthropic organizations such as the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the William and Flora Hewlett foundation, and foreign funding for Canadian environmental groups such as Environmental Defence and the Pembina Institute.

    • Opinion | We Must Give Power to the People Most Affected by Climate Change, While Also Disrupting the Capitalist System

      In her new book, Shalanda Baker, President Biden’s choice for Deputy Director of Energy Justice, emphasizes the need for an urgent and equitable response.

    • Role of Climate Crisis ‘Can’t Be Hand-Waved Away’: Scientists Say Freezing Texas Linked to Warming Arctic

      “This extreme polar vortex event epitomizes everything climate change is: unprecedented, unrelenting, affecting a population unaccustomed and unprepared. Yes, we have always had winter—but not here, and not like this.”

    • Energy

      • Opinion | From Covid To Mass Power Outages, the Texas Republican Party Has Created a Failed State

        The Republican Party does not believe in government. They believe in coddling the very rich.

      • Big Oil Spent $10 million Lobbying California Officials in 2020

        The top four oil industry lobbyist employers — the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), Chevron, Aera Energy and California Resources Corporation — spent $10,192,047 lobbying the Governor’s Office, Legislature and regulatory agencies to advance Big Oil’s agenda in 2020, according to data posted on the California Secretary of State’s website by February 1.

        The Western States Petroleum Association, the largest and most powerful corporate lobbying organization in California, spent a total of $4,267,181, less than half of the $8.8 million that it spent in 2019. 2020’s lobbying expenses included $1,084,702 in the fifth quarter, $1,220,986 in the sixth quarter, $1,116,397 in the seventh quarter and $845,096 in the eighth quarter.

      • Analysis: The Natural Gas Industry Is Trying To Deny How Affordable Renewable Energy Is

        Rather than denying the existence of climate change, the industry has switched to trying to delay the energy transition to clean energy — a transition that New Jersey’s energy master plan, introduced in January 2020 by Governor Phil Murphy, hopes to achieve. The Energy Master Plan (EMP) aims to transition the state to 100 percent clean energy by 2050.

      • Opinion | It’s the Wind’s Fault, Nobody Owes You Anything, Quit Crying, The Weak Will Parish (sic) and Other Words of Comfort From Texas Officials
      • Fact check: Renewable energy is not to blame for the Texas energy crisis

        The politicization of the Texas crisis underscores the ongoing battle between Republicans and Democrats over how to address climate change, as well as previous battles over the energy industry. When California faced energy issues in August related to a heat wave, many Republicans including Texas politicians pointed to it as an example of Democratic mismanagement.

        Now, Texas is under the microscope, with experts pointing to the state’s deregulated energy grid (and its lack of cold weather preparation) as the culprits.

      • Behind GM’s shift to all-electric vehicles by 2035

        The company is already close to finishing the development of Factory Zero, formerly the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant, which is due to come online later this year. Once reopened, it will produce electric versions of the Hummer SUV and eventually the Cruise Origin self-driving vehicle.

        While GM left itself ample wiggle room in its timeline to move to all-electric—calling the plan an “aspiration”—the announcement nonetheless reflects tectonic shifts in the global auto industry and world economy.

      • Video: This Wind-Powered Gigantic Cargo Ship Will Carry 7,000 Cars Across the Atlantic

        Oceanbird reduces emissions by as much as 90%. It has five wing sails, more like airplane wings, all 80 metres tall, giving the ship a height above water line of approx 100 metres, but thanks to a telescopic (retractable) construction, the wings can be reduced to a quarter of its length – from 80 to 20 metres. This function is key for several reasons, most important being: [...]

      • Why America’s power grids will keep failing us

        “Many of the problems we’re seeing, both in California now in Texas, are due to the fact that the grid we have in both places is dumb and old, as opposed to being smart, new and flexible,” said Daniel Kammen, a professor of energy at the University of California, Berkeley. “Fossil fuel grids” like the one in Texas, and like what California used to have until they transitioned away from them, are “really dumb systems — they’re not adaptive or flexible, and that is really causing a lot of the problems you’re seeing in Texas today,” Kammen added.

        Indeed, fossil fuel power plants are generally built to be far away from population centers, which means that the power has to be shipped long distances. This alone, Kammen said, creates a very “inflexible” system. In Texas, the power shortage happened after natural gas plants couldn’t supply the 30 gigawatts of power they were expected to supply. To put this in perspective, 30 gigawatts is more than the average demand in California, Kammen said.

    • Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • Opinion | CBO Not Competent to Assess Economics of Minimum Wage in “Unreliable” New Report

      CBO should not have published this report, and no one should rely on it.

    • What the Congressional Budget Office Doesn’t Get

      The Congressional Budget Office’s assessment of President Biden’s proposed increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour is both predictable and disappointing. While acknowledging that 27 million people would get a raise (which would help alleviate a poverty rate that now stands at 11.8 percent), the CBO makes the questionable claim that there would be 1.4 million jobs lost. Hence it scores the proposal negatively, as a net cost to the government of $54 billion over 10 years.

    • Congressional Budget Office Not Competent to Assess Economics of Minimum Wage

      This note examines the so-called data: should they be taken seriously as economics? Without in any way criticizing the competence of CBO’s budget analysts, the answer is clearly “no.” In particular, the CBO’s employment forecast is unsupported. As a result, its deficit forecast, though trivial in magnitude, is also unsound.

      Much of the CBO report details the effects of an increase in the minimum wage on Medicare, the Affordable Care Act, SNAP, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and on tax revenues, which would increase due to higher payroll taxes on higher rates of pay. Some of this analysis is apparently novel and represents a significant advance on earlier CBO work in this area. However, the net estimated budget effects are small, since the total increases in spending are roughly offset by increases in tax revenue or reductions in tax expenditure. Of the cumulative estimated increase in the (on-budget) deficit, almost $53 billion are due to spending increases in just three areas: unemployment insurance, Medicaid, and CHIP. These expenses CBO attributes to its projection of job loss. The job loss projection is therefore the nub of CBO’s deficit projection, and it is important to understand how CBO arrived at its number.

    • Cotton-Romney Effort to Tie Minimum Wage Hike to Undocumented Workers Denounced as ‘Transparently Cynical Ploy’

      “If you don’t support raising the minimum wage without racist dogwhistles attached, then you don’t support raising the minimum wage.”

    • Biden ‘Can and Must Go Big,’ Say Progressives Urging President to #CancelStudentDebt

      “Far more than $10,000 in cancellation is required to provide aid that 44 million families and the economy need.”

    • Jaded business practices Investigative reporters link the son of Russia’s deputy attorney general to a money-laundering investigation in Australia

      A new report by iStories, Transparency International Russia, and Australia’s ABC links Russian Deputy Attorney General Alexey Zakharov’s relatives to a suspect in a criminal case opened almost a decade ago in Australia, where officials worry that a handful of Russian business owners used local banks to launder millions of dollars in jade sales to China. Though required by law to cooperate with foreign police inquiries involving Russian citizens, the Russian Attorney General’s Office has apparently declined to share needed financial records. Meduza summarizes the joint investigative report, which also ties Alexey Zakharov’s family to several suspicious property holdings. 

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Whose Rights Matter in Pandemic America?

      Three decades later, Congress would do well to finally heed that warning. In a moment of unprecedented crisis, when 140 million people in the richest country on the planet are poor or low-income, when tens of millions of them are on the verge of eviction and millions more have lost their healthcare in the midst of a pandemic, at a moment when Congress and the president are debating the next Covid-19 relief package, isn’t it finally time for human rights and guarantees to become the standard for any such set of policies?

      I was introduced to the idea of using a human rights framework to address racism and poverty when I got involved in the National Union of the Homeless and the National Welfare Rights Union. From poor and dispossessed leaders building a human-rights-at-home movement, I learned about the United Nations’ 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). I came to understand how the concept of inalienable rights laid out in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution meant that all people should be guaranteed the right to jobs that pay living wages, an adequate standard of living, public education, and the ability to thrive (not just barely survive).

    • ‘Great, Now Do Mar-A-Lago!’: Atlantic City’s Trump Plaza Razed to the Ground

      The local fire chief said the complex once owned and operated by Trump “will crumble like a deck of cards.” Sound familiar?

    • Can the NAACP Succeed Where Everyone Else Has Failed?

      I’ve said repeatedly that we do not need new domestic terrorism laws to deal with the threats we face from white domestic extremists today. We have enough laws. We have every tool we need to hold the people who stormed the Capitol on January 6—and their enablers and their president—accountable for their actions. We just need the will to apply those laws to white people.

    • The “Return” of America: Biden’s Maiden Foreign Policy Speech

      Doing so naturally meant much cap doffing to the US State Department, that long time enunciator of Washington’s imperial policies. President Donald Trump had held a rather different view of the department he generally saw as fustian and obstructive. Biden tried reassuring department staff that he valued their expertise, respected them and would have their back. “This administration is going to empower you to do your jobs, not target or politicize you.”

      The effort of the new administration, outlined Biden, will focus on repairing and restoring. Paint and scaffolding will be provided. Alliances will be revisited, the world engaged with. He strikes a collaborative note: cooperation with other states will be needed to fight the pandemic, climate change and nuclear proliferation.

    • Opinion | Failure to Prosecute Trump’s Serial Assaults on the Republic Would Be Indefensible

      Failure to prosecute Trump will embolden aspiring autocrats.

    • We Need a Racial Reckoning to Save Democracy

      The crisis of American democracy that burst into view on January 6 is rooted in our country’s long history of racism. To begin the work of repair, President Biden issued executive orders undoing many of the policies of the Trump administration and breaking new ground, like ending private prison contracts and embedding racial equity analysis in the federal bureaucracy. As important and welcome as these actions are, they are not enough. A crucial mistake recurs in American history: trying to move forward without reckoning honestly with injustice. We have an opportunity to break this pattern of forgetting. Remembrance and repair are not just morally necessary—they are the keys to saving our fragile multiracial democracy. Here we offer a plan to undertake that vital work.

    • Rush Limbaugh—Prized Propagandist of America’s Reactionary Right-Wing—Dead at 70

      “If you don’t want people to speak ill of you when you die, then live decently,” said one critic.

    • Republicans Hide Behind Constitution

      “Just look what Republicans have been forced to defend,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said after the 57-43 vote against conviction. “Look what Republicans have chosen to forgive.”

      The verdict underscored Donald Trump’s incomparable cult-like hold on the weak Republican Party, which stabbed the majority of Americans who voted for President Joe Biden in the back. It took 67 votes to convict.

    • Fecalnomics

      Considering recent self-inflicted injuries such as the election of Donald J. Trump in the “United” States, the Brexit Referendum in the “United” Kingdom, and the “cooperation” among nations on climate change, this may be an opportune time to reflect on how and why humans make terrible decisions and what we can do to improve both our good-decision rate and our happiness with our decisions. Here, then, are Ten Basic Principles of Fecalnomics.

      1. Humans Make Quick Emotional Decisions

    • ‘I live in my own bubble’: Meeting on the app Clubhouse, one of Putin’s alleged daughters chats with the investigative reporter who exposed her ties to the Russian president

      Elon Musk may have failed to get Vladimir Putin into a chat room on Clubhouse, but one of the Russian president’s alleged daughters has joined the new social network. Late on Tuesday, Louiza Rozova spoke briefly to Andrey Zakharov, one of the journalists who recently outed her as Putin’s supposedly illegitimate daughter. In November 2020, Zakharov and others at Proekt released an investigative report revealing that a minority stake in the enormous Rossiya Bank belongs to a woman named Svetlana Krivonogikh, apparently received thanks to her intimate association with Russia’s president. Proekt also reported that Krivonogikh has a daughter named Louiza Rozova who “looks remarkably” like Putin. Based on a transcript reported by The Village, Meduza summarizes Rozova’s Clubhouse broadcast on Tuesday night.

    • ‘The Russians were just passing by’: In Penza, 28 members of a Roma community are on trial for a mass brawl in a nearby town

      In the summer of 2019, a Russian border policeman died when mass fighting broke out in the town of Chemodanovka outside Penza. Twenty-eight people have been charged in the deadly brawl — all members of Roma families who have lived in the town for decades. Ekaterina Malysheva has been covering the court hearings and has studied the case files. She explains why the Roma are being tried, and why their relatives, lawyers, and representatives of the local community are all avoiding the press.

    • Opinion | GOP Senators Said Trump Was Culpable, but a “Private Citizen” Now. Fine—Indict Him Like One.

      Impunity is a disease that rots the rule of law.

    • Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza says he’s under surveillance in Moscow

      Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza has reported that he is being followed once again — this comes less than a week after Bellingcat and its Russian investigative partner The Insider revealed that FSB agents were tailing Kara-Murza prior to his near-fatal poisonings in 2015 and 2017.

    • ‘Right Person to Lead the Charge Against the Existential Threats of Our Time’: Nearly 500 Groups Call for Haaland’s Confirmation

      “Rep. Haaland’s confirmation would be both an historic and much-needed step toward reckoning with a long and troubling legacy while building new, lasting, equitable achievements.”

    • The Trump-McConnell Death Match Is Good for Dems—and the Country

      After four years of an uneasy alliance that often seemed on the verge of fracturing, Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell are finally at each other’s throats. With his characteristic two-faced duplicity, the Senate minority leader tried to play both sides during Trump’s second impeachment, this time for fomenting insurrection. After refusing to allow the Senate to begin its trial in the waning days of Trump’s term, McConnell voted to acquit, claiming the Senate had no authority to convict a former president. But on Monday McConnell also took to the pages of The Wall Street Journal to offer a stern rebuke to Trump.

    • Lukashenko’s opponent Viktor Babariko faces 15 years in prison as trial begins in Minsk

      The Belarusian Supreme Court began the trial of former presidential hopeful Viktor Babariko (Viktar Babaryka) on Tuesday, February 17.

    • ‘An Excellent Pick’: Labor Advocates Applaud Biden Nomination of Jennifer Abruzzo for NLRB General Counsel

      “There is no one who has a more thorough grasp of the National Labor Relations Board and the purpose of the National Labor Relations Act than Jennifer Abruzzo,” said one union leader.

    • ‘Court decisions worsened relations with tech companies’: Fawad urges judges not to hear cases about IT sector

      The federal minister was addressing a a two-day International Media Conference at the Fatima Jinnah Women University in Rawalpindi. He said past decisions of the state and the courts, particularly those in 2014, had dealt a blow to Pakistan’s relations with digital and tech companies and hindered the progress of the industry in Pakistan.

      The federal minister said that he had urged judges in his meetings with them to not hear cases pertaining to the technology or digital sector. He said the country needed to prepare itself for the future and foreign investment could only be attracted through altering state policies. He suggested that technology companies should be invited for the training and skills development of Pakistan’s students.

    • Estonia to Stop Lobbying U.S. for Share of Potential Danske Fine

      Estonia emerged as ground zero in Danske’s money laundering scandal in 2018, when the bank said that a large part of 200 billion euros ($243 billion) in non-resident flows that went through its Tallinn operations was suspicious.

    • Portal: Prime minister to scrap controversial US lawyer deal

      This means Estonia would not get a cut of any potential damages arising from litigation against Danske, a Danish bank. The intention had also been to ameliorate reputational damage the Danske case had caused.

      Around €200 billion in potentially illicit funds, mostly of Russian origin, are thought to have passed through Danske Estonia’s portals in the period of 2007-2015.

    • Texas Republicans mocked California for blackouts. Now their tweets are coming back to haunt them

      Although many right-wing lawmakers and pundits are loudly blaming frozen wind turbines for the historic blackout Texas is facing, coal and nuclear energy were reportedly responsible for about twice as many outages as renewables, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (Ercot), which operates the state’s power grid. Mark Jacobson, director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program Jacobson, told the Associated Press, “It’s really natural gas and coal and nuclear that are providing the bulk of the electricity and that’s the bulk of the cause of the blackouts.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Zuckerberg’s Grand Illusion: Understanding The Oversight Board Experiment

      Everyone, it seems, has an opinion about The Oversight Board — which everyone refers to as the Facebook Oversight Board, because despite its plans to work with other social media companies, it was created by Facebook, and feels inevitably connected to Facebook by way of its umbilical cord. As we noted earlier this month, after the Oversight Board’s first decisions came down, everyone who had a strong opinion about the Oversight Board seemed to use the results to confirm their existing beliefs about it.

    • Why We Filed A Comment With Facebook’s Oversight Board

      Back when Facebook’s Oversight Board was just getting organized, a colleague suggested I represent people before it as part of my legal practice. As a solo lawyer, my entrepreneurial ears perked up at the possibility of future business opportunities. But the rest of me felt extremely uncomfortable with the proposition. I defend free speech, but I am a lawyer and I defend it using law. If Facebook removes you or your content that is an entirely lawful choice for it to make. It may or may not be a good decision, but there is nothing for law to defend you from. So it didn’t seem a good use of my legal training to spend my time taking issue with how a private entity made the moderation decisions it was entirely within its legal rights to make.

    • EFF to First Circuit: Schools Should Not Be Policing Students’ Weekend Snapchat Posts

      EFF filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit urging the court to hold that under the First Amendment public schools may not punish students for their off-campus speech, including posting to social media while off campus.

      The Supreme Court has long held that students have the same constitutional rights to speak in their communities as do adults, and this principle should not change in the social media age. In its landmark 1969 student speech decision, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, the Supreme Court held that a school could not punish students for wearing black armbands at school to protest the Vietnam War. In a resounding victory for the free speech rights of students, the Court made clear that school administrators are generally forbidden from policing student speech except in a narrow set of exceptional circumstances: when (1) a student’s expression actually causes a substantial disruption on school premises; (2) school officials reasonably forecast a substantial disruption; or (3) the speech invades the rights of other students.

      However, because Tinker dealt with students’ antiwar speech at school, the Court did not explicitly address the question of whether schools have any authority to regulate student speech that occurs outside of school. At the time, it may have seemed obvious that students can publish op-eds or attend protests outside of school, and that the school has no authority to punish students for that speech even if it’s highly controversial and even if other students talk about it in school the next day. As we argued in our amicus brief, the Supreme Court’s three student speech cases following Tinker all involved discipline related to speech that may reasonably be characterized as on-campus.

    • China’s ban on the BBC is worse than it sounds

      But there may be another, more immediate reason for the ban; a week earlier, British broadcasting regulator Ofcom revoked a license allowing China Global Television Network (CGTN) to operate in the UK because its owner violated rules on editorial oversight. This was a big blow for CGTN, which planned to make London the base for its European operations. Because the license was non-transferrable, CGTN also lost its ability to broadcast across Europe.

      Many saw the BBC ban as retaliation. In response, the BBC said it was “the world’s most trusted international news broadcaster and reports on stories from around the world fairly, impartially, and without fear or favor.” The UK said “China’s decision to ban BBC World News in mainland China is an unacceptable curtailing of media freedom.”

    • Larry Flynt, The King Of Obscene Who Refused To Be Canceled

      A generation before the online culture wars and bad-faith actors popularized and then mangled the term, Flynt was a target of what we might call “cancel culture.” Except that unlike Josh Hawley whining about a (briefly) revoked book deal or Bari Weiss and Glenn Greenwald sanctimoniously “self-canceling” from plush jobs at the pinnacle of the mainstream media hierarchy in order to further self-promote, Flynt, a constant underdog, suffered and survived real physical and professional violence in the name of free speech, that almost always challenged a more powerful adversary.

      In this way, he offered an example of what “free speech” actually is, and how precarious the First Amendment can actually be. He refused to be truly and actually canceled.

      He took a bullet, went to jail, and gambled his fortune in commitment of this ideal. He was an antidote to the disingenuous and entitled contemporaries who cry victimhood at the first sniff of conflict, at the first challenge to their platform and authority.

    • China no longer needs Hollywood movies

      In 2012, China expanded the quota of foreign films allowed into the country to 34 per year. That agreement expired in 2017, and still hasn’t been renewed. With relations between the US and China on edge—and China improving its own ability to produce blockbuster films—China is in no rush to codify a new pact.

    • Larry Flynt Made the World Freer for Everybody by Pushing Boundaries

      But by being abrasive, tasteless, and uncompromising, Flynt undoubtedly made the world safer for speakers of all varieties. That includes expanded protections for modern skeptics who, more perversely than any issue of Hustler, speak out against wide-ranging free-speech protections.

      “My position is that you pay a price to live in a free society, and that price is toleration of some things you don’t like. You have to tolerate the Larry Flynts of this world,” he told an interviewer in 1996.

      In doing his best to offend just about everybody, Larry Flynt undoubtedly strengthened protections for the freedom of the people he upset. To judge by the state of the world, we would benefit from more just like him.

    • The Bachelor’s Chris Harrison Was Canceled for Criticizing Cancel Culture

      To sum things up: Merely objecting to the speed and fairness of someone else’s cancellation is now itself grounds for canceling. What will the next standard be?

  • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • UPDF soldiers beat up journalists covering Bobi Wine petition to UNHRC

      Several journalists have been admitted to hospital with serious injuries they sustained when military police on Wednesday assaulted them while covering National Unity Platform (NUP) president, Robert Kyagulanyi who was delivering his petition to United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) offices in Kololo, Kampala.

      Some of the journalists assaulted by security operatives on Wednesday include Geoffrey Twesigye of NTV, Irene Abalo of Daily Monitor, Shamim Nabakooza of Record TV, John Cliff Wamala of NTV and Timothy Murungi of New Vision, among others.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • ‘What Does It Mean to Be Black and Alive Right Now?’

      In 2015, New York Times Magazine writer and cohost of the podcast Still Processing Jenna Wortham sent a direct message on Twitter to the author, curator, and then-stranger, Kimberly Drew. “It must be said that I love your Instagram and you are a DREAM QUEEN,” Wortham wrote. From there, the two women exchanged praise, and began to collaborate on a zine of Black art. Six years later, that project has been materialized in their coedited book, Black Futures, a stunning anthology of art, writing, photography, recipes, tweets, and Facebook posts. Though these women had never interacted before this messaging each other on Twitter, they seemed fated to collaborate: Both women’s experience collecting and curating Black art and culture on Tumblr and Twitter had uniquely prepared them to create a book that captured the vastness and nuance of modern Black life, placing screenshots of Black Twitter exchanges alongside nightly hair routines and family recipes for coconut bread. In Black Futures, the writers have created an anthology that not only chronicles the 21st century Black experience with grace and care, but also preserves decades of Black history and culture for generations to come.

    • Panther Gunfight at a Not-So-O.K. Corral

      Undaunted, the pandemic can’t stop the Pan African Film Festival and in that immortal show biz tradition, the show must go on! Albeit virtually, as this year in order to stay cinematically safe, America’s largest and best annual Black-themed filmfest since 1992 is moving online and starting later than usual, kicking off on the last day of Black History Month. 2021’s Pan African Virtual Film + Arts Festival is taking place from Feb. 28 – March 14.

      This year, the 29th annual PAFF is screening at least three Black Panther Party-related films: The documentary Truth to Power: Barbara Lee Speaks for Me (see: Pan African Film FestivalTruth to Power: Barbara Lee Speaks for Me – PAFF 2021). Judas and the Black Messiah is probably Hollywood’s best political feature in years (see: Pan African Film Festival41st and Central: The Untold Story of the L.A. Black Panthers – PAFF 2021 and Pan African Film FestivalJudas and the Black Messiah – PAFF 2021). (PAFF’s co-founder and fearless leader, Ayuko Babu, is a former Panther, which may explain PAFF’s astute cultural, political and educational prowess.)

    • A Federal Appeals Court Has Ruled in Favor of Releasing NYPD Discipline Records

      A federal appeals court on Tuesday affirmed a lower court ruling allowing New York officials to release police discipline records that had been kept secret for decades.

    • ECHR calls on Russia to release Alexey Navalny immediately

      The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has demanded that Russia release opposition politician Alexey Navalny from custody immediately, Interfax reports citing his lawyer, Olga Mikhailova. A copy of the court’s decision was also published on Navalny’s website on Wednesday, February 17.

    • “David vs. Goliath”: Warehouse Workers in Alabama Fight Amazon for the Right to Unionize

      Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama, are continuing to vote on whether to become the first unionized Amazon warehouse in the United States. Their demands include stronger COVID-19 safety measures and relief from impossibly high productivity standards that leave many unable to take bathroom breaks. “We want to be heard. We want to be treated like people and not ignored when we have issues,” says Jennifer Bates, a worker at Amazon’s BHM1 facility who has been part of the union drive from the beginning. We also speak with Michael Foster, a poultry plant worker, union member and member-organizer with RWDSU. “Amazon has a lot of authority going on right now. And we, as the union, trying to take on Amazon in a right-to-work state, gives you the perfect image of David and Goliath,” he says.

    • “Work Won’t Love You Back”: Sarah Jaffe on Toxic U.S. Work Culture & the Fight Against Inequality

      Amid the economic crisis and precarious working conditions for millions of people during the pandemic, we look at a new book by Sarah Jaffe, an independent journalist and author who covers labor and economic justice. “Work Won’t Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone” looks at the unsustainable expectations of fulfillment around work and how the “labor of love” myth has contributed to the rise of toxic workplaces. Jaffe says the pandemic has shown that work can always get worse, and that more and more people are pushing back. “It’s not just that it’s a bad, grinding, slow, miserable job, but it’s also a bad, grinding, slow, miserable job that could kill you now.”

    • Police Unions Lose Bid to Keep Disciplinary Records a Secret

      A federal appeals court in New York cleared the way on Tuesday for the city to release hundreds of thousands of police disciplinary records, a major milestone in a long and bitter political battle to open the records to public scrutiny.

      The ruling by a three-judge panel, which also affects firefighters and corrections officers, dealt a heavy blow to efforts by officers’ unions to block the records’ release.

      The decision was hailed as a victory by New York City as well as by civil liberties groups, which have long argued that making the materials public would make it harder for problematic officers to escape significant punishment.

    • What McDonald’s Shows About The Minimum Wage

      One big fear of a higher minimum wage is that it could cause businesses to replace their workers with machines. Ashenfelter and Jurajda found that some McDonald’s restaurants have already installed touch screens so customers can input their meal orders without interacting with a human being. But they also found that those touch screens weren’t installed in response to higher minimum wages. “We couldn’t find any relationship between minimum wage increases and the adoption of touch-screen technology,” Ashenfelter says.

    • “Our society is sick:” The Lancet condemns American capitalism

      The report is, appropriately, dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lancet found the Trump administration directly responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people during the pandemic, and that over 200,000 people would still be alive if the United States had a COVID-19 mortality rate similar to that of other developed countries.

      But The Lancet’s meticulously-researched report, written by over a dozen distinguished authors, goes far beyond condemning the record of Trump alone. It argues that the nearly half million dead in the US from COVID-19 should be added to the toll of the “missing Americans” whose deaths were attributable to the rise of social inequality over the course of the past four decades. The Lancet report presents both the pandemic and the Trump administration as the outcome of deeper and more profound tendencies in American society.

    • Remember Bean Dad? Child Protective Services Was Called to Check on His Daughter

      Last month, musician John Roderick became known as “Bean Dad” for his tweets about making his nine-year-old daughter figure out how to use a can opener if she wanted to eat. The thread went viral, and Roderick swiftly became an object of scorn on social media—as if was letting his child starve. Bean Dead was canceled.

      Roderick recently divulged a new wrinkle in the story, which makes clear that it was not just an online kerfuffle. For his afternoon of bean-withholding, Roderick actually earned a visit from child protective services (CPS).

    • NLG Adopts Resolution Supporting Police Abolition

      National Lawyers Guild (NLG) membership voted to pass a resolution supporting police abolition following its #Law4thePeople Convention last fall, acknowledging that the institution of policing is incompatible with the NLG’s mission to use law in defense of human rights and ecosystems over property interests. Taking leadership from community demands reiterated during last summer’s uprisings against racist police violence catalyzed by the murder of George Floyd, the resolution calls for the “defunding, dismantling and abolition” of policing in all its forms.

      The resolution cites the various ways anti-Blackness, other forms of white supremacy, and additional systems of oppression are inherent within the institution of policing. It traces its origins to slave patrols in the South and the repression of organized labor and social movements, especially those for Black liberation. In addition, it recognizes that the incremental, liberal reforms have consistently failed to stop police murder and other abuse, and have only served to further legitimize an institution built to perpetrate racialized, gendered, colonialist, and class violence. Furthermore, it reaffirms commitments made by past NLG resolutions that also implicate policing, such as those in support of prison abolition, the decriminalization of sex work, and liberation for Palestine, among others. The resolution also aligns with other areas of NLG work, such as the Mass Defense Committee and the International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence against People of African Descent in the US.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • A 90 Year Old Shouldn’t Have To Buy A $10,000 Ad Just To Get AT&T To Upgrade His Shitty DSL Line

      Last week I wrote over at Motherboard about 90 years old North Hollywood resident Aaron Epstein, whose family has been an AT&T subscriber since the 1930s. Epstein himself has been a loyal AT&T subscriber since around 1960, and has had the company’s DSL service since it was first introduced in the late 90s. Unfortunately for Epstein, much like countless millions of other Americans, his DSL line only delivered speeds of 1.5 to 3 Mbps, and he’s been waiting for decades for faster speeds to no avail.

  • Monopolies

    • Patents

      • No Inherency in Design Patent Cases

        Here is the problem — the patent includes claim features on the bottom-side of the shoe, and Fig 11 does not show the bottom of the shoe. On appeal, the Federal Circuit affirmed with only cursory analysis: “Having reviewed the Board’s decision and the record, we discern no reversible error.”

        Mojave’s basic argument is that nothing on the bottom of the shoe was really claimed. Mojave’s briefing included the figure below, where it argued that the red lines were the only claimed portion — and those were adequately shown in the Fig 11 prior art. (Sorry color blind friends).

        [...]

        The briefing involved substantial discussion about who should count as the “ordinary observer” for both infringement and validity consideration. In a prior case involving the patent, Crocs had argued that the ordinary observer was an “Impulse Buy Purchaser.” That low-standard made it easier to argue infringement since – at a quick glance the accused product looked so similar. In this case, however, the patentee changed its tune and focused on detailed and small differences that would not have been observed at a quick glance. The court did not reach this issue, which might have applied judicial estoppel.

      • Software Patents

        • Richman Technology settles with Unified

          On February 17, 2021, the Board issued an order terminating IPR2020-01704 pursuant to a joint settlement request filed by Unified Patents and Richman Technology Corporation. U.S. Patent 9,449,484, generally related to security hardware and real-time security monitoring software systems, has been asserted against security system makers such as ADT, Assa Abloy, Skylink Technologies, Google, and others.

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

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    A quick demo of how Techrights can be accessed without a browser, either over gemini:// or over http://



  16. The Command Line for Weather and Football Scores, Among Other Stuff

    A lot of stuff can be done from the command line and productivity (not to mention privacy) enhanced by automation and scripting over the Web (or even Gemini, as we shall show in a future video)



  17. You Know Gemini Space is Getting a Lot Bigger When You Need to Implement DDOS Protection

    Techrights is currently working on tools or programs that help detect and respond to DDOS attacks (or abusive over-consumption of pages) over gemini://



  18. The Fall of The Register

    A word of caution about The Register, a British publisher that nowadays does a lot of reputation laundering for Microsoft and Bill Gates (instead of news about actual technology, as opposed to clown computing, big brands, and oligarchs)



  19. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, February 27, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, February 27, 2021



  20. Links 27/2/2021: IPFS 0.8, OnionShare 2.3.1, and New Stuff in KDE

    Links for the day



  21. The Internet After Social Control Media (and Maybe After the World Wide Web Too)

    There seems to be a growing trend of protests and backlash against centralised Internet disservices; there's also growing dissatisfaction over bloat and spyware, which the Web rendered a 'norm'



  22. SCO's Darl McBride is Finished (Bankruptcy)

    Some news about the site and about the long-forgotten SCO, whose infamous old (and sacked) Darl McBride (responsible for decade-long attacks on Linux) loses everything, based on fresh legal documents



  23. IRC Proceedings: Friday, February 26, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, February 26, 2021



  24. Links 26/2/2021: Wine 6.3, Genode OS Framework 21.02

    Links for the day



  25. Links 26/2/2021: GNU Poke 1.0 is Out and Rocky Linux Leaves Microsoft GitHub

    Links for the day



  26. Microsoft's Status in Web Servers is So Bad That It Has Fallen Off Charts, is Now Partly Delisted

    In several categories or criteria Microsoft is no longer even listed by Netcraft; the share has become rather minuscule during the pandemic, which convinced more companies to explore expense-cutting moves



  27. We Take Away Your Freedom for Your Own Safety...

    People are herded like cattle and protest/dissent will be demonised as part of the new norm; what will be the cost of the pandemic and will resistance to the status quo ever be permitted to resume?



  28. EPO President Pushes Illegal Software Patents in South America (Over the Telephone With a Misleading New Puff Piece)

    The EPO's "news" section has become worse than a form of distraction (from the EPO's internal rot); it celebrates illegal and unlawful practices, spreading them to other continents



  29. The Free Software Foundation Warns Against Using Twitter

    Richard Stallman said Twitter was OK because it was possible to use it without proprietary software; that's no longer the case, so the Free Software Foundation (FSF) speaks out against it. It speaks about it more than 3 months after the problem became a known one and also an irreversible one (maybe Twitter would have reversed the decision if the media or the FSF actually spoke about it early enough).



  30. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, February 25, 2021


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