Why Does the FSF Keep Rewarding People Who Work Against the FSF’s Founder?

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux at 7:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Feels like a coup unfinished

Anti-RMS Bradley Kuhn

Summary: The FSF has just announced that it gave a Free Software Award to Bradley Kuhn, whose role inside the Board some have blamed for the ‘resignation’ of Richard M. Stallman, the FSF’s very founder

Why does the FSF keep fostering people who actively work to ‘cancel’ Richard M. Stallman (e.g. Molly de Blanc as recently as this year) while suppressing speakers who may or may not publicly express support for Richard M. Stallman (RMS)? Moreover, why are such people being rewarded with the highest honours? Yet again. Giving an award to the person who ousted RMS from his position (from within the Board)? We were warned months ago that this might happen. They’ve already done that with OpenBSD (Theo de Raadt), Microsoft’s ‘Icaza mole’, the Google Troll… and now Mr. Kuhn. No kidding!

“Have pro bono Public Relations advisors suggested dishing some more dirt on the founder’s tombstone?”Kuhn would be the (at least) fourth RMS basher to be awarded by the FSF, which was founded by RMS more than 35 years ago. Can’t they see or foresee the message that it sends out to FSF supporters like myself? More recently Kuhn’s organisation raised money from Microsoft and sold them keynotes in an event about something Microsoft is attacking (copyleft). How does that help software freedom? There are many other issues associated with the SFC, as we’ve been noting for a couple of years. The person whom the SFC sent to act as interim GM of the OSI notified people late on a Friday — i.e. one day ago — that the OSI’s elections had been compromised. That person too was awarded by the FSF (then proceeded to raise money from Microsoft two years in a row; now running an organisation whose purpose is to attack or distract from software freedom, promoting GitHub and openwashing instead). Have pro bono Public Relations advisors suggested dishing some more dirt on the founder’s tombstone? He’s still alive and well, and he’s eager to come back to the driver’s seat. These people want a ship unmanned, or without a sufficiently charismatic leader. This creates a vacuum monopolies are ready to fill, selling us prisons, instead.

Links 20/3/2021: Debian 11.0 in Hard Freeze, Upcoming KDE Frameworks 6 Sprint

Posted in News Roundup at 3:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Lacros vs Chrome and Chrome OS on Chromebooks

        A new experimental flag to make Lacros the primary browser on a Chromebook was found this week. Chrome Story reports that the flag isn’t yet available but should be soon, at least in the Canary Channel. Before you search for the flag to enable it once it arrives, it’s work taking a look at Lacros vs Chrome and Chrome OS on Chromebooks.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • The Rust Programming Language Is Now One Step Closer To Entering The Mainline Linux Kernel

        The Linux kernel community has been discussing the possibility of using the Rust programming language to write new kernel device drivers since last summer. Initial Rust support has now landed in the Linux-Next tree. This does not guarantee that Rust will be supported or even allowed in the mainline kernel, but it does mean that there is now a fair chance that Rust will eventually be required to successfully compile a Linux kernel.

      • The Linux Desktop Could “Soon” Get Support For Vulkan With 10-Bit Color Enabled

        Enabling 10-bit color is a non-issue on proprietary operating systems. That is far from being the case on the GNU/Linux desktop. Enabling 10-bit color on GNU/Linux is easy enough, but things like the Vulkan graphics API, the Steam games store and launcher, the KDE Plasma and Deepin desktop environments and Chromium hardware acceleration do not work. mpv developer Niklas Haas has submitted patches to the Mesa graphics stack that make it possible to run Vulkan games and applications on GNU/Linux desktops when 10-bit color is enabled.

      • AMD Sends In Aldebaran, FreeSync HDMI, Other Graphics Changes For Linux 5.13

        AMD on Friday submitted a big batch of AMDGPU driver changes to DRM-Next ahead of next month’s Linux 5.13 merge window.

        This was a big set of feature changes in the works for Linux 5.13 and with this pull request some of the user noteworthy items include:

        - Initial support for Aldebaran, the next-gen CDNA GPU. At the end of February, AMD began posting the open-source Linux driver patches around Aldebaran as a new CDNA GPU following LLVM code appearing for GFX90A. Linux 5.13 will have initial support for Aldebaran.

      • Linux Looks To Finally Remove Its Legacy IDE Driver Support – Phoronix

        It’s 2021 and proposed patches by upstream developers would finally remove Linux’s legacy IDE driver code.

        The proposed code is for removing the legacy IDE driver support from the mainline kernel tree, likely beginning with the 5.13 kernel assuming all goes as planned. It was two years ago that the legacy IDE driver code was deprecated and marked for removal in 2021… We are now well into 2021, so Christoph Hellwig is following through and looking to have that removed.

      • Intel Tweaking Ice Lake Xeon Linux Power Management Code For Higher C6 Latency – Phoronix

        While Intel upstreamed their forthcoming “Ice Lake” Xeon processor support long ago and has been focused on next-gen Sapphire Rapids enablement now for the better part of the past year, there still are some Ice Lake Xeon tweaks taking place here and there. This week a new bleeding-edge patch is in testing for tweaking the power/performance behavior of Ice Lake Xeon with Intel’s idle driver.

        For hitting the C6 low-power state with Intel’s Ice Lake Xeon there are higher costs involved than existing Xeon processors. The C6 exit latency as the maximum time it takes the CPU from entering an idle state to executing the first instruction after a wake-up from that state has been increased. The Ice Lake Xeon C6 exit latency within the Intel Idle driver was at 128 micro-seconds but now has been bumped up to 170 microseconds. The exit latency change was attributed to using the median latency previously rather than worst-case latency, Meanwhile Xeon Scalable Skylake / Cascade Lake has a exit latency of 133 microseconds with this “intel_idle” driver.

      • Graphics Stack

        • AMDVLK 2021.Q1.6 Released With Radeon RX 6700 XT Support

          Following yesterday’s release of the Radeon RX 6700 XT graphics card and the updated Radeon Software for Linux 20.50 driver, AMD has now released AMDVLK 2021.Q1.6 as their updated open-source Vulkan driver with Navi 22 / RX 6700 XT support.

          AMDVLK 2021.Q1.6 as the company’s official open-source AMD Vulkan driver on Linux systems now carries RX 6700 XT / Navi 22 support. This is, of course, contingent upon AMDGPU support in the Linux kernel DRM driver which as outlined in my earlier review is in good shape for Linux 5.11+, assuming you have the Navy Flounder AMDGPU firmware files present on your system.

          Mesa has already been exposing RX 6700 XT support for both its RADV Vulkan driver and RadeonSI OpenGL driver. See the Radeon RX 6700 XT Linux review for the Mesa-based benchmarks and other driver support details.

    • Applications

      • Audacity 3.0 Released with New Project File Format and Fixes

        The free and open-source, cross-platform audio editor Audacity brings its latest major release – Audacity 3.0. This release is significant as it brings some important improvements over the prior stable release.

        Audacity is probably one of the few top-class open-source software which is used by millions of people to edit their audio stream. It has the capability of doing many operations on your audio streams.

      • Get Linux System and Hardware Details on the Command Line

        When using Linux, you may need to know details about the system you are running or the hardware specifications you are using. As a normal Linux user or software developer, it is important for you to check the compatibility of a software or hardware system you want to install. The Linux command line contains several built-in commands to help you become familiar with the software and hardware platform you are working on. This tutorial will teach you how to use all these commands.

        The commands and examples mentioned in this tutorial have been tested on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and Debian 10.

      • Top 10 Media Server Applications for Linux

        When moving to Linux from Windows or Mac, one of the major issues faced by new users is choosing the right software to take care of their day-to-day activities. Although there is likely a Linux version of the app you used to use on your previous OS, it is often worth looking for some Linux alternatives that are better optimized and most likely even free.

        And so, for new users, we have already put together a list of the top 20 must-have apps for Linux that is most suited for standard users. However, if you are looking to turn your Linux PC into a media hub, you will need a media server app, which is the main focus of this read.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How To Speed Up WordPress

        It’s all well and good talking about speeding up WordPress, but what constitutes a fast site? Is a 10 second load time ok? What about 5 seconds? That’s pretty quick, right? 3 seconds? Now we’re talking, surely?

        Well, some clever boffins did some research and established that if your site takes more than 3 seconds to load, 57% of visitors will leave before it’s done loading (source).

        So the answer is a MAXIMUM of 3 seconds, but make it as quick as possible. For example, this site is running WordPress and according to GTMetrix it loads in 0.6 seconds. I’m happy with that.

      • Install LAMP Stack on Ubuntu 20.04

        LAMP is a group of open-source software comprising Linux, Apache, MySQL or MariaDB, and PHP. Just like the LEMP stack which contains NGINX instead of Apache, LAMP is also used for developing and deploying web solutions; including dynamic websites and web apps.

      • How to Connect to a CentOS 8 Server via Remote Desktop Connection using xRDP – ByteXD

        xRDP is a free and open-source implementation of the Microsoft RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) server. It enables the non-Windows operations systems like Linux and BSD to provide an RDP-compatible remote desktop experience. xRDP works with rdesktop, FreeRDP, NeutrinoRDP and Windows RDP.

      • How To Install Notepad++ on Manjaro 20 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Notepad++ on Manjaro 20. For those of you who didn’t know, Notepad++ is one of the most popular free and open-source source code editors. It is a favorite of many software developers and system administrators. Notepad++ is only developed for Windows Platform by its developers but today is also available for Manjaro through a snap package. Generally, Linux users would like to use the command line editors such as nano and vim. But if you are not familiar with the command-line editor then GUI based Notepad++ editor is the best choice.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of the Notepad++ text editor on a Manjaro 20 (Nibia).

      • How to unmount USB in Ubuntu Linux

        Are you an Ubuntu user and trying to figure out how to unmount a USB device from your system but don’t know how? If so, this guide is for you! Follow along as we go over the various ways you can unmount USB devices in Ubuntu Linux!

      • How to Switch Desktop Environments in Ubuntu/Debian From the Command Line – ByteXD

        This comes in useful when needing to switch between desktop environments on a Ubuntu 20.04 server, when using it as a remote desktop.

      • How to install curl on Alpine Linux – nixCraft

        Curl is URL retrieval (download/upload) command-line utility and library. It is free software for Alpine Linux. This page explains how to search and install curl on Alpine Linux using the apk command.

      • How To change WordPress site address in phpmyadmin using SQL
      • How To Use Pipes And Named Pipes In Linux, Explained With Examples

        One of the most powerful shell operators in Linux is the pipe. In this article we will see how regular and named pipes work, how to use them and how they differ from each other.

        The vertical bar symbol | denotes a pipe. Because of the pipe, you can take the output from one command and feed it to another command as input. In other words, a pipe is a form of redirection that is used in Linux to send the output of one program to another program for further processing.

      • How to Install Manjaro Linux in a QEMU/KVM Virtual Machine

        Do you want to run or test an operating system without the hassle of actually installing it physically on your PC partition? Then a virtual machine will provide you just that. Virtual machines have become a core part of computing for both personal and business use.

        This guide explains how you can set up a virtual machine natively on Linux using QEMU/KVM.

        QEMU and KVM are two separate virtualization technologies that work together to achieve a smooth user experience in the virtualization space. Together they are referred to simply as KVM or QEMU/KVM.

      • How To Display Color Man Pages in Linux and Unix – nixCraft

        How do I add a bit of color to my man pages under Linux / FreeBSD / Apple OS X / Unix like operating systems? How can I view colored man pages in Linux?

        You need to install a pager called most to display colored man pages in Linux and Unix. It is a paging program that displays one window full at a time, the contents of a file on a terminal. It pauses after each window full and prints on the window status line, including the file name, current line number, and the percentage of the file so far displayed. This page explains how to view colored man pages in Linux, FreeBSD, and macOS or Unix-like systems.

      • How to Disable Shell Access to User Account in Linux

        By default when creating a user account in Linux, the user will explicitly have SSH access. There are situations where user accounts don’t need shell access to FTP, mails, or ssh.

        In this tutorial let learn how to disable shell access for existing Linux user or create a new user with no shell access.

      • How To Install the OpenLiteSpeed Web Server PHP and MariaDB on Ubuntu 20.10

        OpenLiteSpeed is an optimized open source web server that can be used to manage and serve sites. OpenLiteSpeed has some useful features that make it a solid choice for many installations: it features Apache-compatible rewrite rules, a built-in web-based administration interface, and customized PHP processing optimized for the server.

    • Games

      • Loop Hero: The New Indie Hit

        Loop Hero works great on Linux, with just a minor bug of the window starting up in a smaller size than I set it to. I wouldn’t mind options for a faster pace of walking and fighting, as before long you want to reach the later stages. The game could also use some more explanation on certain mechanics and gear stats, though I do enjoy the mystery and discovery of different game mechanics.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • New. Stuff. Action!

          In my last entry, one of the thing i spoke a bit about was how sometimes you run across places where a ui elements don’t quite fit into a window and end up being cut off.


          One detail i omitted from this was that how the QtQuick NewStuff components used to allow users to show things was either through manually creating a NewStuff.Dialog, or a NewStuff.Page, or the convenient shortcut that is NewStuff.Button. Now, if you are observant here, or otherwise familiar with the way KDE’s software stack works, you’ll notice that all of these things are items with a defined visualisation: Dialogues are explicitly a window with some buttons at the bottom (like the one in the screenshot above, and in the case of NewStuff.Dialog, there’s a close button), Pages are things you can put into a QtQuick style Page Stack (such as the one found in Kirigami applications), and a Button is, well, a button.
          The problem you run into when everything has a defined visualisation like that is, what do you do when you need to present the user with something else, such as in the case of that magic, folding set of controls up there? Well, in the original merge request for this problem, the solution was to manually create a NewStuff.Dialog, stored in a Loader to emulate the way NewStuff.Button doesn’t try and load things until the dialogue is shown, and then create a separate Action entry in our new Kirigami.ActionToolbar which worked with that Loader.
          You’ll notice by that description, and if you go and look at the code in the merge request itself, that this is considerably more work than it was to use the NewStuff.Button. What’s needed to get around that is a new component in the QtQuick NewStuff components which has no representation of its own, and just gives you the functionality.

        • This week in KDE: Some cool new features

          KDE Connect now supports the quick reply feature of Plasma’s notifications, allowing you to reply to a text message from within the notification itself! (Nicolas Fella, KDE Connect 21.08)

          Kate now has an optional panel that displays all the TODO items in a project (Waqar Ahmed, Kate 21.08)

          In the Audio Volume applet’s “Applications” tab, hovering over the name of an app that’s currently playing audio now displays which device it’s outputting to (Kai Uwe Broulik, Plasma 5.22)

        • KDE Saw More Wayland Fixes This Week, Other Changes

          As we get ready for spring, KDE developers continue polishing up their Wayland support for the Plasma 5.22 cycle.

          It’s been another busy week in KDE land especially on the Wayland/XWayland front while other areas of the free desktop stack have also been enjoying improvements. Some of the noteworthy KDE improvements this past week include:

          - KDE Connect now supports replying to text messages from within the Plasma notification itself.

        • Join the KDE Frameworks 6 Sprint!

          Next weekend (March 27-28), we’ll have a virtual KDE Frameworks 6 Sprint. One and a half year after the initial steps towards KF6, the transition to Qt 6 is getting closer and we need to map out the next steps forward.

        • If a workaround “works” for a long time, is it still a workaround?

          I remember back during the KDE3 to KDE4 transition, one feature was broken (or removed then brought back? it’s been so long I don’t recall exactly), and that is, double clicking the window menu button in the title bar (usually that button is the icon of the application to which that window belongs) would close the window. I was accustomed to using that functionality, both when I used Windows and after I switched to Linux, and it was a bit annoying to see that it suddenly didn’t work any more…

          So, to workaround that issue, I ended up moving the close button (yes, you can edit those in the KDE desktop (now Plasma) settings, from the “Window Decorations” KCM) from the far right, where it resides by default, to the far left on the title bar. And I’ve been using that ever since.

          Even when I ran GNOME, I used that desktop for a while, I found that you can edit the buttons on the title bar there too, and I moved the close button the same way.

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • FreeBSD 13.0-RC3 Now Available
          The third RC build of the 13.0-RELEASE release cycle is now available.
          Installation images are available for:
          o 13.0-RC3 amd64 GENERIC
          o 13.0-RC3 i386 GENERIC
          o 13.0-RC3 powerpc GENERIC
          o 13.0-RC3 powerpc64 GENERIC64
          o 13.0-RC3 powerpc64le GENERIC64LE
          o 13.0-RC3 powerpcspe MPC85XXSPE
          o 13.0-RC3 armv6 RPI-B
          o 13.0-RC3 armv7 GENERICSD
          o 13.0-RC3 aarch64 GENERIC
          o 13.0-RC3 aarch64 RPI
          o 13.0-RC3 aarch64 PINE64
          o 13.0-RC3 aarch64 PINE64-LTS
          o 13.0-RC3 aarch64 PINEBOOK
          o 13.0-RC3 aarch64 ROCK64
          o 13.0-RC3 aarch64 ROCKPRO64
          o 13.0-RC3 riscv64 GENERIC
          o 13.0-RC3 riscv64 GENERICSD
          Note regarding arm SD card images: For convenience for those without
          console access to the system, a freebsd user with a password of
          freebsd is available by default for ssh(1) access.  Additionally,
          the root user password is set to root.  It is strongly recommended
          to change the password for both users after gaining access to the
          Installer images and memory stick images are available here:
          The image checksums follow at the end of this e-mail.
          If you notice problems you can report them through the Bugzilla PR
          system or on the -stable mailing list.
          If you would like to use Git to do a source based update of an existing
          system, use the "releng/13.0" branch.
      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • Telegram desktop updated to 2.7.0

          Telegram is an Open Source instant messaging platform for mobile and desktop focused on privacy.

        • Bitwarden updated to 1.25.1 » PCLinuxOS

          Open source, cross platform password manager that sync passwords but also allows accessing passwords offline.

        • Evolution Email updated to 3.40.0 » PCLinuxOS

          Evolution is a mailer, calendar, contact manager and communications tool. The tools which make up Evolution will be tightly integrated with one another and act as a seamless personal information-management tool.

        • Tor browser bundle updated to 10.0.13 » PCLinuxOS

          The Tor software protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: It prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location, and it lets you access sites which are blocked.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • User Friendly Printer Management | openSUSE YaST

          At some point in my life with openSUSE, some default policy concerning printers changed that required me to enter the root credentials to resume a printer, should it be paused for whatever reason. I did not like this default and I was contacted about this annoyance, so, I set out to fix this and make life on the openSUSE desktop a generally better experience.

          The Problem

          When I have had a printer fail to start or get hung up for whatever reason, a manual restart of the printer would require authentication. This is fine for a user that is very Linux savoy but for a regular home user would likely be vapor locked when presented with this. I cold also argue it’s probably not a good idea for a typical user to need these credentials for this kind of trouble shooting.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • New Fedora Account System Production Deployment – What this means for you

          For the last 12 + months, the Community Platform Engineering team have been developing a new service to replace the current FAS2 application for the Fedora Account System. The FAS2 application was written over 10 years ago with python2 and TurboGears1 framework. Due to its dependencies, it is tied to a RHEL6 deployment and could not be moved to a newer OS without rewriting. Finally FAS2 has a very small deployment base and we had to maintain it all. The new account system is based on the widely used IPA product. We have created a community portal frontend for managing account details (noggin). This means we only need to maintain the frontend and can leave the high security parts to IPA. Additionally, noggin may be used by many more community products.

        • Friday’s Fedora Facts: 2021-11

          Here’s your weekly Fedora report. Read what happened this week and what’s coming up. Your contributions are welcome (see the end of the post)! The Beta freeze is underway. F34 Beta release candidate 3 was declared go and will be released on the “target date #1” milestone of 23 March.

        • Design for Delight: Essential design thinking resources to support creative problem solving

          Innovative ideas rarely, if ever, come from happenstance. Transformational solutions come from centering on the customer, their problem, and little else. When you think about a recipe for success, you might think about research and practice, testing, and then more experimentation – and the same goes for innovative solutions.

        • Managing Python dependencies with the Thoth JupyterLab extension

          JupyterLab is a flexible and powerful tool for working with Jupyter notebooks. Its interactive user interface (UI) lets you use terminals, text editors, file browsers, and other components alongside your Jupyter notebook. JupyterLab 3.0 was released in January 2021.

          Project Thoth develops open source tools that enhance the day-to-day lives of developers and data scientists. Thoth uses machine-generated knowledge to boost your applications’ performance, security, and quality through reinforcement learning with artificial intelligence. (Watch this video to learn more about resolving dependencies with reinforcement learning.)

          This machine learning approach is implemented in Thoth adviser, a recommendation engine for Python applications. Thoth integrations use this knowledge to provide software stack recommendations based on user inputs.

        • Remi Collet: PHP version 7.4.17RC1 and 8.0.4RC1

          Release Candidate versions are available in testing repository for Fedora and Enterprise Linux (RHEL / CentOS) to allow more people to test them. They are available as Software Collections, for a parallel installation, perfect solution for such tests, and also as base packages.

          RPM of PHP version 8.0.4RC1 are available as SCL in remi-test repository and as base packages in the remi-php80-test repository for Fedora 32-34 and Enterprise Linux.

          RPM of PHP version 7.4.17RC1 are available as SCL in remi-test repository and as base packages in the remi-test repository for Fedora 32-34 or remi-php74-test repository for Enterprise Linux.

        • Sharpen your Node.js skills with a day of expert talks and workshops

          The day ends with the Broken Promises Workshop where James Snell and Matteo Collina where they walk you, step by step, through how to use promises the right way. Walk through hands-on exercises and puzzles to learn the ins and outs of developing with Promises in Node.js.

        • CentOS 7 and RHEL 7 Receive Important Linux Kernel Security Update, 11 Flaws Patched

          The new kernel security and bug fix update has been rated by Red Hat Product Security as having a security impact of ‘Important’ and affects the kernel packages in all supported Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 operating system editions, as well as the CentOS Linux 7 operating system series.

          The update addresses 11 security vulnerabilities, including CVE-2020-25705, a flaw discovered in the ICMP global rate limiter that could allow an off-path remote attacker to bypass source port UDP randomization and facilitate attacks on UDP based services that depend on source port randomization.

        • The Increasing Influence of Recommendation Systems in Our Everyday Lives[Ed: IBM emeritus IWB on mass surveillance euphemised as “Recommendation Systems” (or advertising, big data and other decoys)

          A few years ago, I attended a seminar by University of Toronto professor Avi Goldfarb on the economic value of AI. Goldfarb explained that the best way to assess the impact of a new radical technology is to look at how the technology reduces the cost of a widely used function. Computers, for example, are powerful calculators whose cost of arithmetic and other digital operations have dramatically decreased over the past several decades. As a result, we’ve learned to define all kinds of tasks in terms of digital operations, e.g., financial transactions, inventory management, word processing, photography. Similarly, the Internet and World Wide Web have drastically reduced the cost of communications and of access to all kinds of information, – including numbers, text, pictures, music and videos.

          Viewed through this lens, the data and AI revolution can be viewed as reducing the cost of predictions. Predictions mean anticipating what is likely to happen in the future. Over the past decade, increasingly powerful computers, advanced machine learning algorithms, and the explosive growth of big data have enabled us to extract insights from the data and turn them into valuable predictions. As was previously the case with digital operations, communications and access to information, – we’re now able to reframe all kinds of applications as prediction problems. A major such family of applications are recommendation engines or recommender systems, which Wikipedia defines as “a subclass of information filtering system that seeks to predict the ‘rating’ or ‘preference’ a user would give to an item.”

          “The essential function of recommender systems is mathematically predicting personal preference,” writes MIT visiting scholar Michael Schrage in his recently published book Recommendation Engines. But, “recommendation engines are far more intriguing and important than their definitions might suggest,” as they not only predict but also shape their users’ preferences. Throughout the book, Schrage explores the human yearning to get good, practical and actionable advice, – whether from the gods, astrology or self-help books, – and the evolution of recommendations into our ubiquitous algorithm-based technologies to the point where they’ve almost become an extension of our brains. “More people around the world are becoming more reliant – even dependent – upon recommendation engines to better advise, inform, and inspire them.”

      • Debian Family

        • Bits from the Release Team: frozen hard to get hot
          Hi all,
          According to schedule, we froze bullseye a bit more last week
          (12-03-2021). This means that we are one step closer to the release of
          bullseye and we expect everyone to follow the freeze policy [1]. This
          means that from now on key packages and packages without significant
          autopkgtest coverage need to be unblocked by the release team to be able
          to migrate from unstable to testing. If you need to request an unblock,
          check that your request is in line with the freeze policy and use
          $(reportbug release.debian.org) in order to get the meta data correct
          and get the template that helps us get the right information.
          Note that packages that are not on the key-packages list, with
          non-superficial autopkgtests that succeed on all architectures and don't
          cause regressions will migrate without an unblock after 20 days. If
          you're unsure about the current migration status of your package, you
          can check it at [3].
          Now is a good time to help testing installations and upgrades to find as
          many issues as possible and fix rc bugs [4]. Please be aware of bug
          984533 (libc6), 974552 (libcrypt1) and 953562 (libcrypt1) when you
          do. Add information to those bug if you can help them forward.
          Please also remember to file bugs against the release-notes pseudo
          package if you know of issues that deserve being mentioned in the
          release notes. Ideally with proposed text, or even via a merge request
          on salsa [2], but even if you can only point us at issues that's already
          On behalf of the Release Team,
          [1] https://release.debian.org/bullseye/freeze_policy.html#hard
          [2] https://salsa.debian.org/ddp-team/release-notes/
          [3] https://qa.debian.org/excuses.php
          [4] https://deb.li/rcbugs
        • Debian 11.0 Is Now Under A Hard Freeze

          This past week Debian 11 “Bullseye” embarked on its hard freeze in gearing up for release later this year.

          One month after beginning the Bullseye soft freeze, Debian 11 is now under a hard freeze. For the hard freeze, key packages and packaging lacking autopkgtest support are treated as if in a full freeze. Non-key packages with Autopkgtest support are treated as if in the soft freeze still. Autopkgtest is the Debian integrated solution for running automatic package acceptance/conformance testing.

        • fabre.debian.net is now IPv6 ready

          Today, we are pleased to announce that fabre.debian.net is now IPv6 ready.

          FOSSHOST provides us already a VPS instance which is located at OSU Open Source Lab and then also IPv6 capability to us!

        • Filmulator

          Filmulator is a raw photo editing application with library management focusing on: simplicity over flexibility, ease of learning and streamlined workflow.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 21.04 Moves Ahead With Enabling LTO Optimizations For Greater Performance – Phoronix

          Ubuntu 21.04 is moving ahead with plans to enable compiler link-time optimizations (LTO) by default for package builds in the name of greater performance.

          Back in January the plans were discussed for Ubuntu enabling LTO optimizations for packages with Ubuntu 21.04 to yield greater performance by allowing additional compiler optimizations at link-time on the entire binary. This follows the likes of Fedora and openSUSE already employing LTO by default as part of their package builds.

          While into the Ubuntu 21.04 feature freeze and just one month out from release, this LTO enablement is finally happening for the Hirsute Hippo.

        • NFV orchestration: Network functions auditability with the open-source LMA stack | Ubuntu

          The transition to virtualized infrastructure and software network functions requires a re-evaluation in the telecom production environments. Network function is not alone. It has always been an important piece in the puzzle but requires a set of non-functional bits to complete the big picture and which brings the lifecycle management of network functions to the discussion.

          Lifecycle management of network function: specifies the quality attribute of the network function which includes the monitoring, logging, scaling, auditing, upgrades, and security, etc. To achieve exceptional performance, these Day-2 operations become tiresome in manual management processes and the big functions need operations to be open source and automated. Although there are multiple tools for LMA (Logging, Monitoring, and Alerting) like Prometheus, Grafana, and Graylog which can serve the purpose but reconfiguring these tools with every update in your network functions can reduce the human operators to tears.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • [OSI in Disarray] Re-Running Our 2021 Board Election

        We’ve already let our candidates, affiliate representatives and voting members know, but we also wanted to let the public know. This week we found a vulnerability in our voting processes that was exploited and had an impact on the outcome of the recent Board Election. That vulnerability has now been closed. OSI will engage an independent expert to do a forensic investigation to help us understand how this happened and put measures in place to keep it from ever happening again.

      • Daniel Stenberg: curl is 23 years old today

        curl’s official birthday was March 20, 1998. That was the day the first ever tarball was made available that could build a tool named curl. I put it together and I called it curl 4.0 since I kept the version numbering from the previous names I had used for the tool. Or rather, I bumped it up from 3.12 which was the last version I used under the previous name: urlget.

      • Web Browsers

        • Safari is now probably the influential wild card browser for user privacy

          Today, Chrome is by far the dominant web browser, which gives it significant influence and weight, including in the area of user privacy. But Chrome is beholden to Google and Google is beholden to the torrents of money that pour in from intrusive Internet advertising and the associated consumer surveillance business. This means that there are limits on what Chrome will do; for instance it’s probably not likely to be aggressive about not sending Referer headers. In general, Chrome’s support of user privacy will always be limited and conditional.

        • Mozilla

          • TenFourFox FPR31 available

            TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 31 final is now available for testing (downloads, hashes, release notes). There are no additional changes from the beta except for outstanding security patches. Locale langpacks will accompany this release and should be available simultaneously on or about Monday or Tuesday (March 22 or 23) parallel to mainline Firefox.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice Is Looking For Google Summer Of Code Participants

          Google has a internship program called “Google Summer Of Code” (GSOC) where they give mostly students a small stipend to work on free software projects. The Document Foundation was, unlike the GNU Project, accepted as a mentoring organization for this years GSOC.

          The Document Foundation is currently looking for students who would like to work on improving the free LibreOffice office suite this summer in exchange for a stipend from Google. The stipend will be in the $1500-3000 range and the actual amount will depend on the cost of living in the country you are in. Participants will get a seasoned developer from LibreOffice as a mentor.

          The Document Foundation has setup a dedicated web page for this years GSOC which explains what the rules are, how to get in touch with the LibreOffice developers, where the developer mailing list is, how to get started and simple instructions describing how to create a simple patch for LibreOffice in order to demonstrate that you’re someone who has, at minimum, a vague idea what you’re doing.

      • FSF

        • The GNU Project Is Looking For Volunteers To Write Free JavaScript Replacements For Non-Free Web Apps

          Most modern websites run lots and lots of non-free JavaScript programs in your web browser when you visit them. The GNU project would very much like to replace these non-free programs with free ones. They are looking for volunteers to help out with this enormous undertaking.

          The world wide web used to be a simple text-based hypertext system. It quickly involved into a place where the majority of websites serve small programs in JavaScript or, more recently, WebAssembly. These tiny, and sometimes large, web applications do a wide range of things like web browser fingerprinting, stealthy tracking, crypto-currency mining and, on a tiny minority of websites on the modern web, mostly useful things. JavaScirpt provides the editor functionality for those who want to fix spelling errors, grammar and other mistakes on this website (the desktop version has a fine Edit button).

      • Programming/Development

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn VHDL – LinuxLinks

          VHDL (VHSIC-HDL, Very High Speed Integrated Circuit Hardware Description Language) is a hardware description language used in electronic design automation to describe digital and mixed-signal systems such as field-programmable gate arrays and integrated circuits. VHDL can also be used as a general-purpose parallel programming language.

          VHDL is designed to fill a number of needs in the design process. Firstly, it allows description of the structure of a design, that is how it is decomposed into sub-designs, and how those sub-designs are interconnected. Secondly, it allows the specification of the function of designs using familiar programming language forms. Thirdly, as a result, it allows a design to be simulated before being manufactured, so that designers can quickly compare alternatives and test for correctness without the delay and expense of hardware prototyping.

          VHDL is an extremely powerful tool. The more you understand as you work and study with VHDL, the more it will enhance your learning experience independently of your particular area of interest. The concept of using software to design hardware that is controlled by software will definitely provide you with endless hours of contemplation.

        • Python

          • Trail of Bits security peeps emit tool to weaponize Python’s insecure pickle files to hopefully now get everyone’s attention

            Evan Sultanik, principal computer security researcher with Trail of Bits, has unpacked the Python world’s pickle data format and found it distasteful.

            He is not the first to do so, and acknowledges as much, noting in a recent blog post that the computer security community developed a disinclination for pickling – a binary protocol for serializing and deserializing Python object structures – several years ago.

            Even Python’s own documentation on the pickle module admits that security is not included. It begins, “Warning: The pickle module is not secure. Only unpickle data you trust,” and goes on from there.

            Yet developers still use it, particularly in the Python machine learning (ML) community. Sultanik says it’s easy to understand why, because pickling is built into Python and because it saves memory, simplifies model training, and makes trained ML models portable.

  • Leftovers

    • The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

      In short, the Kentucky Republican, a menace to democracy, doesn’t want the Democrats to take advantage of their Senate majority – the way he did when the GOP ran the chamber. The Democrats want to change the rules so 60 votes aren’t needed to end debate and pass a bill.

      The current filibuster setup has crippled the Senate like a broken axle. It has been used far too often and unfairly under McConnell to prevent legislation offered by the Democratic majority from passing.

    • Letters From Minsk: Travellers in the Third Reich

      On the Train to Minsk

      Julia Boyd and her book about “Third Reich travellers” were good company on my Deutsche Bahn trains across Germany, heading for Berlin. On the tracks along the Rhine I looked out the window at hilltop castles and river steamers, but across the great plain between Frankfurt and Hanover I dug into her descriptions of Britons and Americans in Weimar and Hitler’s Germany, few of whom took the measure of the approaching evil.

    • Opinion | Poor Peoples Campaign’s “Moral Budget” Offers Guide to New Budget Priorities

      April 15, 2021: A tax day like no other.

    • Art & Politics in San Francisco, 2021: Portraits of a City in Upheaval, Again

      Bergman doesn’t just recite the lines. She also endorses that Shakespearean sentiment, though she finds it more challenging to do so now than at any other time in recent memory. “We’re living in a dire moment,” she tells me. “Pathologically powerful people and social classes, plus patriarchy, hold sway in many parts of the world. Globally, with COVID-19 and climate change, only world-wide cooperation will meet the challenge.”

      Miranda carries on now as she has carried on over the past half-century. “Culture Contains the Seed of Resistance which Blossoms into the Flower of Liberation,” she tells me. Those words come from an often-quoted talk by the African anti-colonialist, poet and intellectual, Amilcar Cabral, who was assassinated in 1973, shortly before he reached the age of fifty. In San Francisco today his words are still inspiring to activists and artists, poets and writers.

    • We All Need Public Transit…Whether We Ride It or Not

      I can still remember my commute on those early winter days. Not five minutes since I’d walked from my car to the train station, I could feel strands of hair, still wet from the shower, turning into icicles.

      My scholarship required me to transfer to the University of New Mexico, in Albuquerque, from community college in Santa Fe. But Santa Fe and Albuquerque are an hour apart.

    • Travelers, Sour and Sentimental

      Already in 1778 Thomas Boswell related that Samuel Johnson detected a “strange turn in travelers to be displeased.” The eighteenth century was the golden age of the Grand Tour, when extended journeys on the European continent were made not only by royals and aristocrats, whose families had for generations taken long trips abroad, but also by large numbers of middle-class travelers. The period also spawned a huge travel literature, much of it in unpublished journals, like those of Thomas Boswell and Edward Gibbon. Books flooded the market, too, from personal accounts such as Joseph Addison’s Remarks on Several Parts of Italy to general travel guides, like Thomas Nugent’s four-volume The Grand Tour. These books were reprinted continuously in the course of the eighteenth century to feed the appetites both of those intent on touring themselves and those stay-at-homes eager to experience travel vicariously.

      No traveler was more acid than the Scottish physician turned man of letters, Tobias Smollett. Published in 1766, his Travels through France and Italy remains an immensely readable and fascinating look at the curse and, less frequently, the consolations of travel. The book chronicles the author’s two years on the continent, which began in June of 1763, just months after the signing of the Treaty of Paris. The agreement brought the Seven Years’ War to a close and ushered in period of intense international travel. Smollett was one of the first down the jet-way.

    • Cricut Hastily Walks Back Plan To Charge Cutting Machine Owners $10/Month To Fully Use Their Purchases

      Cricut — the leading brand of home use CNC machines — has decided to alienate the people you’d think it would most want to embrace: its paying customers. Cricut machines allow users to upload designs and put their machines to work cutting materials from paper to cloth to metal to whatever will fit into the machines, giving hobbyists and craftmakers control of a small-scale manufacturing operation. They’re pretty amazing. And they’re pretty expensive.

    • It Takes One To Know One:  To Be Revolutionary the Business Must Be Art
    • Community organization seeks official inquiry into Manizha’s Eurovision entry

      The Russian Investigative Committee has received an appeal from a community organization seeking an inquiry into the song “Russian Woman” by singer-songwriter Manizha, who will be representing Russia at the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam in May.

    • Life in a Wounded and Wounding Land

      Where it was once a matter of the Knicks winning 109-92 or the Mets losing 4-2, it’s now those other, always rising, ever grimmer figures — say, 29,607,486 and 538,087. Those are the ever-updated numbers of reported American cases and deaths in what, until the arrival of the Biden administration, was a pathetically chaotic, horrifically mismanaged, and politically depth-charged struggle with Covid-19. In certain Republican-run states now rushing to unmask and open anything and everything to the limit, in places where crowds gather as if nothing had truly happened in the past year (as at Florida beaches this spring), we may face yet another future “wave” of disease — the fourth wave, if it happens — in a country at least parts of which seem eternally eager to teeter at the edge of a health cliff. That it wouldn’t have had to be this way we know from the success of the city of Seattle, which faced the first major coronavirus outbreak in this country a year ago and now has, as the New York Timesreports, “the lowest death rate of the 20 largest metropolitan regions in the country.”

      Think of Covid-19-watching as the sport from hell. And when you look at those ever-changing figures — even knowing that vaccinations are now swiftly on the rise in this country (but not everywhere on this beleaguered planet of ours) — they should remind you daily that we live in a deeply wounded land on a deeply wounded planet and that, no matter the fate of Covid-19, it’s only likely to get worse.

    • Villagers & Pillagers: Who Will Survive the Collapse?

      Some folks, with the aid of renewable energy, permaculture, and other adaptive Green technologies, are already preparing for collapse by vastly improving upon the “back to the land” communes the young utopians of the Woodstock generation once created. Back then, dropping out of consumer capitalism and living on the throw-aways of American affluence wasn’t very hard. Here in northern California, the Diggers’ collective and the novice farmers of Morningstar Ranch shared whatever they could score from Goodwill, rescue from dumpsters, harvest with their limited gardening skills, or make with the aid of the Whole Earth Catalog. And, if communal life became too difficult, dropping back in was easy. No one was preparing to survive the collapse of industrial civilization. They believed automation and abundance would soon make workplace drudgery unnecessary.[1]

      Today, a new generation of ecovillagers embraces the same anti-consumerist convictions. But the world has changed. Mother Earth is in critical condition. America is no longer awash in cheap energy; economic growth has flat-lined; upward mobility has gone into reverse. For now, most Americans get by with shabbier versions of daily life and cling to the hope that sooner or later progress will resume. But denial won’t stop carbon-addicted civilization from breaking down as it trashes the planet. The day is quickly approaching when energy scarcity, ecological disasters, global pandemics, economic crashes, and political mayhem will make business-as-usual impossible. Consequently, yesteryear’s counter-culture utopians have morphed into a new generation of dedicated eco-survivalists determined to live well with less and heal the planet.

    • Life Imitates Art: Warren Spector Says He Wouldn’t Make ‘Deus Ex’ In Today’s Toxic Climate

      The Deus Ex franchise has found its way onto Techdirt’s pages a couple of times in the past. If you’re not familiar with the series, it’s a cyberpunk-ish take on the near future with broad themes around human augmentation, and the weaving of broad and famous conspiracy theories. That perhaps makes it somewhat ironic that several of our posts dealing with the franchise have to do with mass media outlets getting confused into thinking its augmentation stories were real life, or the conspiracy theories that centered around leaks for the original game’s sequel were true. The conspiracy theories woven into the original Deus Ex storyline were of the grand variety: takeover of government by biomedical companies pushing a vaccine for a sickness it created, the illuminati, FEMA takeovers, AI-driven surveillance of the public, etc.

    • RIP: Andy Levine, a Political Philosopher for Our Time

      Andy wrote long, roving pieces (too long for many readers trained on tweets) that dug into issues, turning them upside down and inside out. Like many of us, he’d gotten bored with writing about Trump after about 6 months. What was there new to say about the bastard? With Biden in power, Andy was back in his element. He wrote trenchantly about the Democrats, dissecting their internal tensions, hypocrisies and contradictions. These last few months his writing was getting sharper and sharper.

      That said, it’s the loss of Andy as a friend that really hurts, especially coming so soon after the death of Jim Ridgeway. The last time I saw Andy we walked the rooms of the Phillips Gallery, the great little museum off of DuPont Circle, then ate a lingering lunch at a French bistro nearby, where we talked about his memories of the radical circle of political philosophers and historians at Madison and most enjoyably about our shared affection for the Chesapeake Bay and our dogs, whose demands tended to dictate both of our writing schedules.

    • Roaming Charges: Call Him Ishmael

      I first encountered Ishmael Reed in the mid-70s in a humid attic in Broad Ripple, the boho enclave of Indianapolis. (Or what passes for the demimonde in the Crossroads of America, anyway.) I was carving my way through Thomas Pynchon’s rock opera Gravity’s Rainbow for the first time and stopped for breath on page 588 in the middle of a dizzying riff on the Masons, and the ever-expanding web of conspiracies surrounding their covert rites. Here the Master gave a rare parenthetical nod to a living writer. “(Check out Ishmael Reed. He knows more about it than you’ll ever find here.)”

      The next morning I pedaled furiously to the local bookstore/head shop to snag a copy of Mumbo Jumbo. No luck. For some reason, Reed’s novels didn’t reside on the shelves between Ross Lockridge, Jr. and Booth Tarkington. So I sped off to Indy’s central library, that once-imposing neo-classical structure on St. Clair Street, named after a distant relative and incompetent (the best kind) general. Alas, card catalogue failure. I strode purposefully to the reference desk at the end of the spit-polished marble floor of the atrium and pestered a librarian.

    • Illuminating Signposts and Guidelines for a More Secure Internet

      Last month Farsight Security CEO Dr. Paul Vixie addressed the UK Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge attendees via keynote as well as by letter. The UK Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge is designed to identify and foster the next generation of policy and strategy leaders for the cybersecurity challenges of the future. Hosted by the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative, the Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge is a global cyberpolicy and strategy competition. We are re-publishing Dr. Vixie’s inspirational letter below.

    • Science

      • ‘When I saw the footage of the landing I shed a few tears’ Growing up in Russia, Olga Filimonova dreamed about outer space. Now she works for NASA and helps send rovers to Mars.

        Olga Filimonova grew up in Petrozavodsk, a small city in northwestern Russia. Ever since she was a child she dreamed about outer space and was fond of mathematics, but when she didn’t get into the math program at St. Petersburg State University she switched to studying English. After moving to the United States, however, she went back to pursuing her cosmos dreams. Today, she’s been an engineer at NASA for more than six years. Among other things, she worked on the Perseverance rover, which landed on Mars in February 2021. In her own words, Filimonova tells Meduza about her journey to get to NASA, her work on the Perseverance rover, and her dreams for the future of space exploration.

      • Open-Source Supercomputer Code WarpX Presents Path for Shrinking Particle Accelerators

        To help develop these futuristic devices, teams led by Vay and Henri Vincenti, a research scientist at France’s Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique (CEA), Université Paris-Saclay, have developed WarpX, an open-source code that simulates plasmas produced when high-powered lasers fire into solids or gases. “In this context,” Vincenti says, “our work consists in using massively parallel simulations to find realistic experimental schemes based on high-intensity laser-plasma interactions.” These designs could help generate relativistic particle beams – fermions, hadrons – with properties at least as good as those from conventional accelerators.

    • Hardware

      • Apple’s M1 processor and the full 128-bit integer product

        I wrote a small C++ benchmark to measure the time (in nanoseconds) that it takes to compute a random value using Apple’s new M1 processor (ARM, 3.2 GHz). The compiler is Apple clang version 12 which comes by default on the new Apple Silicon laptops.

      • Exploiting Spectre Over the Internet

        Today, we’re sharing proof-of-concept (PoC) code that confirms the practicality of Spectre exploits against JavaScript engines. We use Google Chrome to demonstrate our attack, but these issues are not specific to Chrome, and we expect that other modern browsers are similarly vulnerable to this exploitation vector. We have developed an interactive demonstration of the attack available at https://leaky.page/ ; the code and a more detailed writeup are published on Github here.

      • Intel Goes Long

        When you get into the details of Apple’s move away from Intel, it doesn’t look good for Intel. These Intel ads make it feel like the Mac was always excluded from Intel’s platform, like the 15-year Intel Mac era didn’t happen (let alone the fact that it still hasn’t closed). When in fact the truth is that Apple could have stayed on Intel for as long as they wanted, and instead chose to spend the last 10 years building up their own chip designs so they could leave Intel behind. Apple’s not moving the Mac from Intel to its own chips because it was the easier path.

        So, who are these ads for? (That’s generally a good question to ask about any ads.) With Apple’s original Get a Mac campaign, the target audience was clear: Windows PC users who were open to the idea of switching to the Mac. Get people to try a Mac — that was the point. The point of these ads feels entirely defensive, reactionary even: Don’t switch.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Teachers Unions Want More Details on New CDC Guidance of Desks Only 3 Feet Apart

        “Kids need to be in school… but we are concerned this change has been driven by a lack of physical space rather than the hard science.”

      • Advocates Say Chicagoans Should Not Be Punished for Hospital Execs Who Gave Vaccines to Elites

        “The city should investigate the actions at the Loretto Hospital, but the community shouldn’t be cut off during the pandemic.”

      • Watchdog Urges Congress to Probe Whether Biden ‘Bartered’ Vaccines for Mexico Migration Crackdown

        “The Biden administration should not be in the business of trading Mexican lives for those of other Central and South Americans, for whom migration to the U.S. is often life-saving.”

      • Want to Stop A Pandemic? Stop Eating Animals.

        Between March and mid-April 2020, as the pandemic surged, managers at a Tyson Foods plant lay bets on how many employees would fall prey to COVID-19. This, while the brass told workers they had “a responsibility to keep working in order to ensure Americans don’t go hungry.”

        Across the world, in the city of Guigang in southern China, high-rise pig buildings have risen within Yaji (meaning: Sacred) mountain. These concrete bunkers – up to nine stories high, with a 12-story unit underway – house millions of pigs. From infancy to lifetime confinement to slaughter, these pigs will never see the light of day. They will never experience the delight of rolling in the grass.

      • Opinion | Healthy School Meals are Essential for Kids and the Planet

        With public health being paramount, we must prioritize the nourishment and long-term health of all children. 

      • Big Pharma Quietly Planning Price Hike for Covid Vaccines in ‘Near Future’: Report

        “As this shifts from pandemic to endemic, we think there’s an opportunity here for us,” said Pfizer’s Chief Financial Officer Frank D’Amelio.

      • Water is Life, Can We Protect It?

        The irony that Texas, the state built on fossil fuels, was completely unprepared for extreme weather disasters shouldn’t be lost on anyone.

        Fossil fuel and utility firms have long plied state officials with money. In turn, officials failed to regulate utilities, weatherize their grid, or create programs to weatherize homes — much less upgrade the state’s decaying water infrastructure.

      • WTO Fails to Act on COVID Patent Waiver Again

        In a letter to President Biden earlier this month, PhRMA claimed that these countries argue “without evidence” that intellectual property rights hinder the expansion of vaccine production (the waiver does in fact provide evidence, which PhRMA’s letter fails to acknowledge). Instead, they claim that intellectual property is the foundation for both the development and sharing of new technologies. However, they offer no evidence to support these claims.

        While some may consider their argument in favor of intellectual property self-evident, it contradicts the foundational premises of innovation and development in science. It’s also the same argument that was made by the industry when they sued South Africa in the late 90s for producing medicines to combat the world’s worst AIDS epidemic.

      • The Geopolitics of Vaccine Nationalism: Perspectives from Australia

        According to the World Health Organization (WHO) based on data released on 5 March 2021, there were 79 vaccine candidates in clinical trials globally and 182 in pre-clinical development. The Australian Government has committed to securing several types of vaccines in four “vaccine agreements” but the public will not have the choice of a jab. This comes despite serious concerns raised in Europe (in Italy, Norway and France) and South Africa about the use of Pfizer-BioNTech’s and/or Astrazeneca’s COVID-19 vaccines, which are the first-choice vaccines of the Australian Government to inoculate Australians. The Herald Sun recently reported that “the AstraZeneca vaccine will form the bulk of the government’s $3.3bn COVID-19 immunization program”. On 5 March, Italy became the first EU member to enact the EU regulation effectively blocking the shipment of 250,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to Australia. Dr Omah Khorshid, President of the Australian Medical Association, described the move as “vaccine nationalism rearing its head”.

        Australia has already invested over $1 billion in the Melbourne-based CSL company that aims to manufacture at least 50 million doses of the University of Oxford/Astra Zeneca’s vaccine. It is unclear, however, why the Government did not extend enough support to other COVID-19 related projects such as domestic rapid tests manufacturing (developed by the Ellume private technology company from Queensland), which has signed a $302 million deal with the U.S. Government (in the context of the Biden Administration’s pandemic response plan), or the Australian vaccine candidatefrom South Australia jointly developed by Flinders University/Vaxine company – with a successful vaccine R&D with foreign government assistance (US and UK).

      • COVID Relief: the Biggest Health Care Expansion in a Decade?

        Tucked into the COVID-19 relief bill was a two-year expansion of the Affordable Care Act — in fact, the biggest expansion since it was passed 11 years ago this March.

        The package lifts the income cap eligibility for subsidies, meaning more low- and middle-income Americans can get help buying insurance. The Congressional Budget Office estimates this will help 1.3 million uninsured Americans get covered.

      • A blast from the early pandemic past: Healight to treat COVID-19

        Now that the pandemic is a full year old, I’m starting to find that certain topics that I wrote about early in the pandemic, only to forget about them for nearly a year, are starting to pop up again, like bad science or pseudoscience zombies coming to life after having been killed, à la the walkers in The Walking Dead. So it was that recently a “reader” (if you can call him that) sent me an indignant email about a post that I had written eleven months ago about an improbable bit of technology being touted at the time called the Healight. Basically, Healight is a device that would shine UV-A radiation into the lungs and thereby kill SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Now, nearly a year later, the company is touting a clinical study to show that its device works. it’s a study that is—shall we say?—not particularly compelling. However, before I get to the study, itself, let’s go on a trip down memory lane, back to the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when a device like Healight might have seemed not so wacky.

      • The Clearest Sign the Pandemic Could Get Worse

        Throughout the fall and winter, we saw a clear pattern—cases would rise, then hospitalizations about a week later, and finally, two weeks after that, deaths would follow. Nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities reported particularly heavy death tolls. If Michigan were to continue that pattern, we would expect hospitalizations to keep rising, and then more deaths.

        But as a spring surge takes hold in Michigan, two new factors—variants of concern and rising vaccination levels—mean that we don’t yet know how this new rise in cases and hospitalizations will play out.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Infrastructure – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

        Infrastructure – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly analyses the security economics of platforms and services. The existence of platforms such as the Internet and cloud services enabled startups like YouTube and Instagram soar to huge valuations almost overnight, with only a handful of staff. But criminals also build infrastructure, from botnets through malware-as-a-service. There’s also dual-use infrastructure, from Tor to bitcoins, with entangled legitimate and criminal applications. So crime can scale too. And even “respectable” infrastructure has disruptive uses. Social media enabled both Barack Obama and Donald Trump to outflank the political establishment and win power; they have also been used to foment communal violence in Asia. How are we to make sense of all this?

        I argue that this is not simply a matter for antitrust lawyers, but that computer scientists also have some insights to offer, and the interaction between technical and social factors is critical. I suggest a number of principles to guide analysis. First, what actors or technical systems have the power to exclude? Such control points tend to be at least partially social, as social structures like networks of friends and followers have more inertia. Even where control points exist, enforcement often fails because defenders are organised in the wrong institutions, or otherwise fail to have the right incentives; many defenders, from payment systems to abuse teams, focus on process rather than outcomes.

      • Proprietary

        • PC maker Acer appears to have been hit by Windows ransomware

          The French news site LeMagIT says the criminals behind the attack are demanding a ransom of US$50 million, the highest demanded to date in any attack.

          Acer’s products include desktop PCs, laptop PCs, tablets, servers, storage devices, virtual reality devices, displays, smartphones and peripherals, as well as gaming PCs and accessories under its Predator brand, according to Wikipedia.

          The company is the world’s sixth-largest PC vendor by unit sales as of January 2021, according to statistics from technology analyst firm Gartner.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Open Minds Podcast: Coraline Ada Ehmke on Ethical Source

              On today’s episode, Sarah Pearson, CC’s Senior Counsel, talks to Coraline Ada Ehmke about her work at the intersection of open source and social good.

            • Fuchsia Friday: Google is preparing for Fuchsia’s first developer releases

              Despite not running on Linux, Google has recently unveiled a proposal for how Fuchsia could still run apps written for Linux platforms, including Android apps, while maintaining security and safety. Between this capability and the wide variety of devices that Fuchsia has been tested on, some believe Fuchsia has the potential to be a unifying OS from Google that can run on almost anything, including phones, laptops, and internet-of-things devices.

              Thus far, Fuchsia has only been available to those who take the time to download the source code, build it themselves, and install it on one of a few supported devices or run it through an emulator. The only releases that Fuchsia has had are internal ones like “fishfood,” “teamfood,” and most recently “dogfood.” When we first learned of Fuchsia’s “dogfood” testing — over a year ago — we speculated that the next step would be for Fuchsia to get something of a public release.

        • Security

          • SolarWinds is a Dust Bowl Disaster of Modern Computing

            In my mind it’s a better analogy (aside from the risk of ignoring human adversary) because Microsoft for so many years worked on an extremely expedited model with minimal security or ecosystem investment inviting a predictable disaster.

            Bill Gates admitted this in his infamous 2001 memo saying he shouldn’t have ignored all the warnings and suffering for so long.

            Gates thus seems to be rich because he very shrewdly under-invested in safety, pushing competitors unfairly out of the market while transferring the burden of care to others to clean up what has been his disastrous legacy.

          • Link-o-Rama: Hunspell dict format, curl is 23, response to flatkill.org

            A worthwhile response to the flatkill.org site that tries to spread FUD about Flatpaks. “A lot of flatkill.org’s statements are made to incite fear in the Linux community. Given that all Flatpak packages are available and able to be edited by anyone, the appropriate response is to educate on why this is a problem, and then fix it. The way that flatkill.org approached this issue says a lot.”

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • ‘Deeply Concerning’: Critics Decry Facebook Plan to Build Instagram for Kids 12 and Under

              “Social media companies have a responsibility to protect children and young people online, but building a separate version of their platforms is not the answer.”

            • EFF Joins Effort to Restrict Automated License Plate Readers in California

              This legislative session, State Sen. Scott Wiener has introduced the License Plate Privacy Act (S.B. 210), a bill that would address many of these deficiencies by strengthening the law with additional requirements and safeguards. EFF is proud to co-sponsor this legislation alongside our ally, the Media Alliance. 

              Police install ALPR cameras in fixed locations, such as streetlights and overpasses, to capture the license plates of passing cars. They also install them on patrol cars, allowing police to “grid” neighborhoods—driving up and down every block in order to gather information on parked vehicles. This data is uploaded along with GPS and time-date information to a searchable database. 

              The result? With just a few keystrokes, police can search the historical travel patterns of a vehicle or identify vehicles that visited certain locations. Police can also add vehicles to a “Hot list,” which is essentially a watch list that alerts them whenever a targeted vehicle is caught on camera. If a patrol car has an ALPR, the officer will be notified whenever they pass a vehicle on the watch list. However, by default, ALPRs collect data on everyone, regardless of whether you have a connection to a crime. 

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Opinion | Joe Biden, John F. Kennedy, and Establishing a Peace Presidency

        Returning to the themes of Kennedy’s American University speech could lead Biden to make lasting contributions to world peace. 

      • On 18th Anniversary of Iraq Invasion, Activists Renew Calls for US Reparations

        “Americans owe a debt to the people of Iraq that can never be repaid in full. However, it is incumbent and imperative that we try.”

      • Opinion | After 30 Years of War Against Iraq, Americans Must Make Reparations

        Americans owe a debt to the people of Iraq that can never be repaid in full. However, it is incumbent and imperative that we try.

      • Poll: Large Majority See Prosecution of Insurrection Rioters as ‘Very Important’

        Pew’s survey shows both Democrats and Republicans see prosecutions as at least somewhat important.

      • How Endless Wars and Interventions Helped Create the Assault on the Capitol

        Honestly, it could only seem that way if you imagined our domestic politics as completely separate from our foreign policy. But if we’re to learn anything from that maladroit attempt at a government-toppling coup, it should be that they are anything but separate. The question isn’t whether then-President Donald Trump incited the assault on the Capitol — of course he did. It is rather: Since when have we cared if an American president lies to incite an illegal insurrection? In all honesty, our commanders-in-chief have been doing so abroad for generations with complete impunity. It was only a matter of time before the moral rot finally made its way home.

        Back in 2007, I actually met Nancy Pelosi whom those insurrectionists were going after — “Tell Pelosi we’re coming for that b**ch. Tell f***ing Pelosi we’re coming for her!” — in that very Capitol building. That day, my family was testifying before theHouse Committee on Oversight and Reform concerning the U.S. government’s disinformation campaign about how, three years earlier, my brother Pat Tillman had died in Afghanistan (as a result of “friendly,” not enemy, fire). We would testify alongside former soldier Jessica Lynch who had suffered a similar disinformation fate in the wake of a tragic ambush of her convoy in Nasiriyah, Iraq, where soldiers died and she was taken prisoner. After the hearing, we discussed the case with Pelosi, who then took us on a brief personal tour of the halls of the building. Given the circumstances, it was a thoughtful gesture and a humbling experience.

      • Women in Crisis: Will the Violence Ever Stop?

        On Saturday, March 8th we celebrated International Women’s Day and the accomplishments of women worldwide.

        And then last Sunday, March 9th the Duchess of Sussex did something I never thought I would see, ever, on a national TV program. She talked about suicidal ideation and the feeling that she wanted to die and might even act on it if left alone. It was a profound moment for me not only as a woman but also as a psychiatrist and mental health activist.

      • From the Earth to the Moon: Biden’s China Policy Doomed from the Start

        Although the so-called ‘Quad’ revealed nothing new in their joint statement, the leaders of these four countries spoke about the ‘historic’ meeting, described by ‘The Diplomat’ website as “a significant milestone in the evolution of the grouping”.

        Actually, the joint statement has little substance and certainly nothing new by way of a blueprint on how to reverse – or even slow down – Beijing’s geopolitical successes, growing military confidence and increasing presence in or around strategic global waterways.

      • ODNI Report Blames Russia, Ignores Colombian Election Interference
      • Recruited, Arrested, On Trial: Yemeni Spies Tell of Their Reluctant Work for CIA, MI6

        There is little dispute that the United States and the United Kingdom have been major benefactors to the Saudi Kingdom in its six-year-long attempt to use military might to bring Yemen to heel. Both countries have provided billions in hi-tech weapons, intelligence information, and training to what is arguably the Middle East’s most repressive monarchy. But according to the confessions of six men arrested last month amid the ongoing battle over Yemen’s strategic Marib province, Western support for the Saudi-led Coalition goes much farther than conventional military support.

      • How China Won the Middle East Without Firing a Single Bullet

        A much anticipated American foreign policy move under the Biden Administration on how to counter China’s unhindered economic growth and political ambitions came in the form of a virtual summit on March 12, linking, aside from the United States, India, Australia and Japan.

      • Why Don’t We Take Hate of Asians Seriously?

        Such is the divisive abstract garbage that is nearly universally accepted in academic circles, and of course it’s all actually based on real existing stereotypes. What is the problem with the premise of taking the manifestos of white supremacists as fundamentally true? I want to break it down in the same way we have addressed the divisiveness of so-called class reductionism.

        We must begin with the fundamental question of why the stereotype of Asian as model minority is being used. I think this is obviously the question. We shouldn’t be digging through the manifestos of white supremacists, seeing whether or not they confirm the institutional bias against Asians, because of course they will, as they are reactionary.

      • How AFSCME and ACLU Gutted New Mexico’s Proposed Ban on Chemical Weapons, Attack Dogs, Rubber Bullets

        None of it has worked. New Mexico consistently ranks among the states with the highest rate of police killings in the country, with APD accounting for roughly half of the deadly shootings here since 2015, according to the Washington Post. Despite this history and the failures of reform to fix it, New Mexico lawmakers and police reform groups continue to propose reform. But we’ve been down this road before.

        Between 1987 and 1991, APD killed more people than the police departments in Tucson, Austin, El Paso, Colorado Springs and Tulsa combined. City officials turned to police reform to address the problem. They established new officer training protocols and raised hiring standards, but the only lasting result was a larger police budget and more cops on the street. Police shootings and killings by Albuquerque cops continued.

      • The Iraq War: 18 Years Later

        Back home, a halfwit loser and draft dodger who, eager to compensate for his father’s political failures and yearning for his own, serenaded Americans with a trite speech that marked the beginning of the most destructive and consequential war of the 21st century. At the time, few understood the catastrophic gravity of Bush’s decision, both for the United States and the rest of the world, though to be fair, many antiwar activists did.

        At the time, the Bush administration had spent several months lying to the American public about Iraq’s supposed connections to the attacks of 9/11. Dick Cheney argued that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were good pals, but the relationship never existed in reality. They argued that Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs), but those too didn’t exist. Phantoms haunted Bush and his Cold War-era neoconservative comrades, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. And they turned those ghosts into fear — the ammunition needed to remake the world in their vision, or so they thought.

      • Sputnik V: EU Sacrifices Its Citizens by the Thousands on the Altar of Anti-Russia Point-Scoring

        It is really not going well in Europe. Nearly 900,000 people have died from COVID-19, a number of countries are facing new waves of the deadly virus, and Paris is going into a four-week lockdown starting tonight after a fresh spike in cases. Meanwhile, the European Union’s vaccine rollout has been particularly ponderous. The EU has managed to vaccinate only around one-third as many citizens per capita as have the United States or United Kingdom, even trailing far poorer neighbors such as Serbia or Turkey (who have embraced Russian and Chinese offerings).

      • While North Korean Missiles Sit in Storage, Their [Crackers] Go Rampant

        The Lazarus Group, perhaps the most notorious North Korean state-backed group, posed as security researchers to infect users’ Chrome browsers.

        “When it comes to that, finding vulnerabilities, [North Korea] can be one of the top three in the world,” Choi said.

      • ‘Caliphate’ or not, Islamic State expands its reach

        Its defeat on March 23, 2019, was, it turns out, far from definitive, with the group managing to maintain its cohesion despite the dispersal of its leadership.

        It has also continued to claim scores of deadly attacks far beyond its original base, while taking advantage of the vast deserts of war-scarred Syria to target forces loyal to the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad.

        “It has for the time being gone to ground, but with the goals of maintaining its insurgency in Iraq and Syria and a global cyber-presence,” General Kenneth McKenzie, head of the US Central Command that oversees troops deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, said last month.

      • Biden Says Americans Must Stand Against Hate Following Shootings of Asian Americans

        He said it was “heart wrenching to listen to” Asian American community leaders discuss living in fear of violence during their meeting Friday, which was also attended by Harris.

        Harris, who is Black and of South Asian descent, said following the meeting, “Racism is real in America. And it has always been. Xenophobia is real in America, and always has been. Sexism, too.”

      • Taliban Expect US to Withdraw, Vow to Restore Islamic Rule

        The Taliban warned Washington Friday against defying a May 1 deadline for the withdrawal of American and NATO troops from Afghanistan, promising a reaction, which could mean increased attacks by the insurgent group.

        The Taliban issued their warning at a press conference in Moscow, the day after meeting with senior Afghan government negotiators and international observers to try to jump-start a stalled peace process to end Afghanistan’s decades of war.

      • Taliban warn of ‘reaction’ if US doesn’t withdraw by May deadline

        Under an agreement with the Taliban the Trump administration hastily made last year, all U.S. troops are to leave by May 1 should the Taliban uphold certain commitments such as reentering peace talks with the Afghan government and committing to ensure that the country is not used by terrorist groups to plan or carry out attacks on the U.S. or its allies.

        U.S. officials, however, have repeatedly said the Taliban have yet to uphold their end of the bargain.

        While the Taliban have not launched attacks on U.S. or NATO forces, violence in the country is up, with the number of unclaimed bombings and targeted killings jumping in the past several months.

      • Taliban expect US withdrawal, vow to restore Islamic rule

        He also reaffirmed that the Taliban were firm on their demand for an Islamic government. Shaheen didn’t elaborate on what an Islamic government would look like or whether it would mean a return to their repressive rules that denied girls education, barred women from working, and imposed harsh punishments.

        Shaheen did not say whether the Taliban would accept elections, but he emphasized that the government of President Ashraf Ghani would not fit their definition of an Islamic government.

      • US calls for probe into deadly fire at Sanaa detention center

        The US State Department on Friday called for an immediate investigation into the death of dozens of migrants inside a Houthi-run detention center in Sanaa on March 7, a day after the EU made a similar call for a probe into the incident, building international pressure on the Houthis to disclose the truth.

        “We are deeply saddened by reports of deaths and injuries due to a fire at a migrant detention facility in Sanaa, which a Human Rights Watch report says was a result of the Houthis’ suppression of protest at the location,” a spokesperson from the State Department said, demanding the Iran-backed Houthis give medical teams access to the wounded migrants and protect migrants who live in areas under their control.

    • Environment

      • Mission to clean up space debris around Earth is poised for launch

        Concerns about space debris have grown in recent years as low-Earth orbit has become more congested and as society’s reliance on satellite systems for telecommunications, GPS and myriad other everyday functions has grown. Overcrowding in orbit is also exacerbated by companies such as SpaceX and OneWeb that are assembling huge “megaconstellations” of internet satellites around Earth.

        Bits of space junk, which fly through orbit at up to 18,000 miles per hour, can threaten other functioning spacecraft and pose safety risks to astronauts on the International Space Station.

      • Book review: “Count Down – How our modern world is threatening sperm counts, altering male and female reproductive health, and imperiling the future of the human race” by Dr. Shanna Swan

        Today renowned epidemiologist Dr. Shanna Swan is releasing a new book alerting about the threats posed by hormone disrupting chemicals and our modern environment that are imperiling reproductive health, fertility, and the fate of humankind. Building on more than 25 years of research on the associations between exposure to environmental pollutants and health effects, “Count Down – How our modern world is threatening sperm counts, altering male and female reproductive development and imperiling the future of the human race” is a clarion call for more protective public policies and changes in our modern way or living [1].

      • Why is getting pregnant so difficult these days? An interview with Dr. Shanna Swan on her new book

        A new book in the tradition of Silent Spring peels back the curtain on a hidden danger all around us: toxic chemicals that are wreaking havoc on our reproductive health.

        The book, Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race, reveals that:

        Fertility has dropped more than 50% over the past 50 years worldwide

        In some parts of the world, 20-something women today are less fertile than their grandmothers were at 35

        A man today has only half the number of sperm his grandfather had

      • The Everyday Chemicals That Might Be Leading Us to Our Extinction

        “Count Down,” which Swan wrote with the health and science journalist Stacey Colino, chronicles rising human infertility and warns of dire consequences for our species if this trend doesn’t slow. The reason, Swan explains, may be growing exposure to “endocrine disrupting chemicals” that are found in everything from plastics, flame retardants, electronics, food packaging and pesticides to personal care products and cosmetics.

        She outlines the danger. These substances interfere with normal hormonal function, including testosterone and estrogen. Even in small doses, they pose particular danger to unborn babies and young children whose bodies are growing rapidly. These hormone-warping chemicals, which can enter even the placenta, have the ability to alter the anatomical development of girls and boys, change brain function and impair the immune system.

      • Deb Haaland: Growing up Ecologically

        Deb Haaland has been confirmed as head of the Department of the Interior. A Native American congresswoman and, as she describes herself, 35th-generation New Mexican, has been given the reins of the department that has essentially been at war, not simply with her people but with the planet itself and, therefore, all of us, pretty much since its inception. That is to say, the department’s values are those the European colonialists brought with them to the new continent: steal the land from those who live there, then proceed to exploit it.

        The Department of the Interior manages nearly 500 million acres of public lands and coastal waters, approximately one-fifth of all land in the U.S. “The extraction and use of fossil fuels from those public lands account for about one-quarter of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions,” according to NPR.

      • ‘Not in 2030 or 2050…Now!’: Climate Strikers Worldwide Demand Urgent Action

        Returning to the streets a year into the coronavirus pandemic, youth campaigners are calling for “no more empty promises.”

      • Opinion | For Biden’s Climate Diplomacy to Be Successful Abroad, It Will Need Address the Abusive Activities of U.S. Oil Companies in Africa

        Developing countries cannot proactively act on the climate if they are being hoodwinked by big money and Big Oil from the U.S. and Europe through nefarious lobbying practices.

      • Democrats Unveil ‘Build Green’ Infrastructure and Jobs Act

        Sen. Ed Markey called the bill “our opportunity to invest in a clean energy revolution across our country, transform our transportation sector to be climate-smart, and create millions of good-paying union jobs at the same time.”

      • Energy

        • Nudging Social Media Users to Think Critically Helps Slow the Spread of Fake News, Study Finds

          “When deciding what to share on social media, people are often distracted from considering the accuracy of the content,” the authors, from the Hill/Levene Schools of Business at the University of Regina and the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), wrote in the new paper published in Nature.

        • Nuclear Fuel Buried 108 Feet From the Sea

          That eye-opener comes from renowned nuclear expert Paul Blanch in reference to spent fuel rods removed from San Onofre Nuclear Generation Plant buried near the sea on California’s southern coastline 50 miles north of San Diego.

          Seventy-three 20-foot tall canisters of highly toxic nuclear spent fuel rods are nestled underground within 108 feet of the Pacific Ocean and not far from Interstate 5 from which passersby catch a glimpse of 73 large rectangular lids poking above ground, thus sealing the most toxic substances on Earth ensconced in ½” dry casks. (Footnote: In contrast, German CASTOR V/19 ductile cast iron casks, with permanent integrated monitoring, are nearly two-feet thick)

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • 5 Things to Know About the Fate of Wild Salmon
        • Nature left alone offers more than if we exploit it

          Save nature, save money. It’s a simple argument. Wilderness cleared and ploughed offers us less than nature left alone.

        • The Amazon Chernobyl is a Warning for Us All

          There are few better examples of how the fossil fuel industry operates with impunity than in Chevron-Texaco’s deliberate destruction of the Ecuadorian Amazon, often referred to as the “Amazon Chernobyl” due to the scale of the catastrophe. From 1964 to 1992 Texaco, the company acquired by Chevron with all its liabilities, polluted a 1700 square mile swath of pristine rainforest. In its lust for profits, the company cut corners and dumped at least 19 billion gallons of toxic water into the environment. It discharged 17 million gallons of crude into unlined pits, some as deep as 30 feet, on the forest floor. There is no telling how many species succumbed to the horrors of such unbridled greed.

          But this is also a story of environmental racism. For decades, Indigenous people of this region were told that the oil was no threat to them. On the contrary, many of them were told that it had medicinal value and contained “vitamins.” Thousands of people used that water. They drank it, cooked with it, bathed in it, oblivious to the danger. After seeing a spike in birth defects and cancers, that danger became increasingly clear. Unable to relocate because of crushing, imposed poverty, they are forced to live in this human-made disaster area, even though it is slowly killing them.

      • Overpopulation

    • Finance

      • Opinion | Despite Fearmongering From Business Interests, the Pro Act Will Not Destroy the Gig Economy

        The PRO Act would expand collective bargaining rights for workers. It would not force any worker to give up their gig or freelance work.

      • ‘We Can Cancel All $1.8 Trillion,’ Say Activists as Cardona Announces Full Debt Relief for Scammed Students

        “Organizing works. We can’t stop now,” said The Debt Collective.

      • How the CEO-Worker Pay Gap Deepens Income and Wealth Inequality

        Thank you, Chairman Sanders, Ranking Member Graham, and members of the committee, for the invitation to participate in this important hearing. I am Sarah Anderson, Global Economy Director at the Institute for Policy Studies, an independent center for research and action founded in 1963. I also co-edit the Institute’s Inequality.org web site. For more than 25 years, I have been researching inequality, concentrating on what may be the single most dramatic driver of our country’s economic divide, the growing gap between CEO and worker pay.

        This gap has become a systemic problem in corporate America. In 1980, big company CEOs averaged 42 times more compensation than their typical workers. These gaps rapidly expanded in the 1990s, as wages stagnated for most workers and stock-based executive pay exploded. During the 21st century, the annual gap between CEO pay and typical worker pay has averaged about 350 to 1.[i]

      • No, the Rich Aren’t Paying Their Fare Share

        Many of the wealthy, and the members of Congress they sponsor, contend they already are. And they have all sorts of facts and figures to make that appear true. After all, for a billionaire, even a tiny tax payment in percentage terms is a big check.

        So, are the rich paying their fair share?

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Telegram Gains Users But Struggles To Remove Violent Content (2021)

        Summary: After Amazon refused to continue hosting Parler, the Twitter competitor favored by the American far-right, former Parler users looking to communicate with each other — but dodge strict moderation — adopted Telegram as their go-to service. Following the attack on the Capitol building in Washington, DC, chat app Telegram added 25 million users in a little over 72 hours.

      • What Is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and Do I Qualify for It?

        ProPublica has covered how budget cuts at the IRS have made it harder for the agency to ensure that the billionaires of the world pay up, but the cuts haven’t affected everyone equally.

      • Austerity-Addicted Media Scaremonger Over Infrastructure ‘Spending Spree’

        As soon as Democrats took over Washington with big plans for reviving the economy, corporate media started sounding the alarm about government spending (FAIR.org, 1/25/21). With the party’s infrastructure bill—which could come in around $2 trillion over four years—now pending, the media deficit hawks are on high alert, tossing around big, scary numbers to throw cold water on the bill.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Seduction of Being Correct

        But as much as possible, we must evade cheap moralizing in politics. The preference for being correct over being persuasive is pervasive. Many leftists indulge in sanctimony’s questionable pleasures, congratulating themselves on their superior ability to unmask ideology, bemoaning the credulousness of lesser intellects yet to achieve such peaks of enlightenment. Many liberals lament the ignorance of rural yokels who consistently vote against their self-interest and Fox News-consuming racists who wallow in the politics of ressentiment.

        But postures of intellectual superiority and contempt thinly veiled as concern are as politically unconstructive as it comes. They essentialize people, locking them into preconceived identities—the gullible liberal, the bigoted boondocks denizen—without allowing the possibility of redemption. Identities can be self-fulfilling prophecies: pinning a label on someone and endlessly repeating it is a recipe for getting that person to double down. Labels essentialize people in condescending ways, making them defensive and resentful. A defensive crouch limits people’s receptivity to new ideas, prematurely dooming attempts to change minds. Lecturing people or talking down to them rarely wins them over. And an overemphasis on the tribalism of identity politics can seem absurd to the overwhelming majority of people who don’t live on liberal Twitter.

      • Do All Politicians Lie and Cheat?

        In discussing the various ethical implications of these scandals with a left-wing Geneva politician, I was startled when he declared: “All politicians lie and cheat.” Really? He seem to accept that lying and cheating were normal parts of political life. That was his perspective, after many years as a prominent Socialist parliamentarian.

        Is he right? What should we expect from those we democratically elect? Shouldn’t we hold them to the highest ethical standards? After all, they are our representatives, duly chosen by us to promote the common good. Or, should we ignore the legal problems of Sarkozy, Trump and Maudet and say; “They’re just normal politicians.”

      • 50+ House Democrats Urge Biden to Fire Postal Board for Complicity in DeJoy’s Sabotage

        “The board has remained silent in the face of catastrophic and unacceptable failures at a moment when the American people are relying on the Postal Service the most.”

      • Who is Crafting Joe Biden’s Agenda…Voters or the Investor Class?

        Official explanations for the continued militarized lockdown of our Capitol keep shifting. First it was in response to the January 6 riots, planned openly on social media and yet somehow catching our 16 intelligence agencies by surprise. Next the FBI predicted violence on Inauguration Day, January 20. Then we were warned about online chatter that QAnon adherents were planning something scary on March 4.

        Now it’s late March. Why are the troops and the barriers still there? The answer likely relates to recent polling showing that dissatisfaction with the two governing parties has reached an all-time high in America. According to a recent Gallup poll, 62 percent of survey participants think that the Republican and Democratic “parties do such a poor job representing the American people that a third party is needed.” Yet, the two-party duopoly has completely shut third parties out of national politics. Third parties can’t get on the ballot, and they can’t get into the debates. No wonder there is fear and loathing in our nation’s Capitol.

      • Opinion | The Republican Party—Beyond the Pale

        Those who struggle to retain their hold on political power rely on racism, classism, hypocrisy and outright lies.

      • ‘Make Him Do It’: Lindsey Graham Says He Would Talk Until He ‘Fell Over’ to Stop Voting Rights Bill

        “Change the filibuster rules so we can watch Lindsey Graham fall over.”

      • A Very Tough Video to Make

        I fear it may also be a tough watch, and I am grateful to anyone who tries. The justified and well evidenced acquittal of Alex Salmond by a largely female jury was only the beginning of a nightmare.

      • Russian film director fined for underwear protest outside FSB headquarters

        A Moscow district court has fined Russian film director Vitaly Mansky 10,000 rubles ($135) for conducting a one-man protest with a pair of blue boxer shorts outside the FSB headquarters in December 2020. 

      • ‘Novaya Gazeta’ puts potential lawsuit against Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov to a vote

        The independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta may file a lawsuit against Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov due to his reaction to a recent investigation into extrajudicial killings in Chechnya. On Friday, March 19, Novaya Gazeta editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov told RBC that the newspaper is asking its readers to vote on the question of filing the claim. 

      • “Jim Crow in New Clothes”: In First Senate Speech, Raphael Warnock Slams GOP Assault on Voting Rights

        Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock, whose election in January helped bring the chamber under Democratic control, used his first speech on the floor of the Senate this week to assail Republican efforts to restrict voting rights. He called the raft of voter suppression bills being introduced in states across the country “Jim Crow in new clothes,” denounced false claims of voter fraud spread by Donald Trump and others, and called on Congress to pass the For the People Act, also known as H.R. 1, a sweeping voting reform bill that would greatly expand access to the ballot. “Make no mistake: This is democracy in reverse,” said Warnock, who is the first Black senator elected in Georgia. “Rather than voters being able to pick the politicians, the politicians are trying to cherry-pick their voters.”

      • How America Got the Vapors…Over ANTIFA

        The iconic figures of reaction here were the McCloskeys, the St. Louis couple who brandished guns at a passing throng of protestors. These two personal injury attorneys, previously occupied with fender benders and burns from defective toasters, were guests of honor at the Republican convention, for they had done what every patriotic Amurican longed to do: face down radical Marxists with their guns, whose possession is enshrined in the second amendment and whose use, if only just to menace, is swathed in a biblical aura. Use against whom? Black Lives Matter of course, but also antifa – nota bene, antifa is always cited by its nickname, not the longer, more proper term “antifascist,” because that term turns the whole fanatical right-wing formula on its head. If these proud Americans are waving their guns at antifascists, what does that mean? That they support fascists? Well, evidently so. It’s right there in the name.

        Those on the left who coined the fashionable neologism, “antifa,” made a colossal blunder and did their cause an immense disservice by eschewing the older, longer “antifascist,” whose provenance, unlike “antifa,” is totally in your face. Antifascists fought Hitler. They fought Mussolini. Our World War II soldiers were antifascists. The over 20 million Russians slaughtered by Nazis were antifascists. They were not antifa; they were antifascists, heroes of humankind against a force of barbarity the world had never before quite seen, one that took violence and brutality to depths of depravity not previously witnessed. Twentieth century fascists made this increase in the quantity of bloodthirsty crimes a change in quality: something new and hideous under the sun. Those who opposed this wickedness, who oppose it ever happening again, were and are antifascists. Call them by their name.

      • With Over $1 Billion Spent, Domestic Dark Money Dwarfs All Foreign Influence on 2020 Election

        A newly declassified report from the National Intelligence Council (NIC) alleges that a range of U.S. enemies — including Russia, Venezuela, Cuba, Iran and Hezbollah — all attempted to interfere in the 2020 election.

      • Russian Accused of Tesla [Crack] Plot Pleads Guilty in Nevada

        Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov, who was accused of trying to recruit an employee at a unidentified company to introduce malware in the electric car-maker’s computer system, admitted Thursday to conspiring to intentionally cause damage to a protected computer. He entered his plea during a video hearing in Nevada federal court.

      • Twitter Asks Users to Weigh in on Rules for World Leaders

        Twitter on Friday began a survey of global users about platform rules for world leaders while consulting human rights and academic specialists on its next policy steps.

        The announcement comes after Twitter joined other social networks banning then-president Donald Trump for his comments seen as inciting the violent attack on the US Capitol in January.

      • How to deal with China

        Hong Kong defies those looking for a simple answer. China has cut the share of directly elected legislators from 50% to as low as 22% and will require that they are vetted for “patriotism”. It is the culmination of a campaign to squash liberty in the territory. The leaders of the protest movement are in exile, in prison or intimidated by a security law imposed on Hong Kong in 2020. Censorship is rising and Hong Kong’s judiciary and regulators will face pressure to show their fealty. On March 12th the G7 group of democracies condemned China’s autocratic clampdown, which is a breach of the country’s treaty obligations. China’s diplomats replied with bombastic denials.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • China Warns Microsoft That LinkedIn Isn’t Suppressing Enough Voices

        As a bunch of US lawmakers keep threatening new laws that would force websites to remove more content, we should note just how much such moves reflect what is happening in China. The NY Times reports that Microsoft is in hot water in China, because LinkedIn apparently has been too slow to block content that displeases the Chinese government. As the article notes, LinkedIn is the one major US social network that is allowed in China — but only if it follows China’s Great Firewall censorship rules.

      • House Republicans Want To Flip Section 230 On Its Head, Bring Back Distributor Liability

        There was a time when a key part of the Republicans’ political platform was for “tort reform” and reducing the ability of civil lawsuits to be brought against companies. The argument they made (and to which they still give lip service) is that too much liability leads to a barrage of frivolous nuisance litigation, which only benefits greedy trial lawyers. Apparently, that concept has been tossed out the window — as with so many Republican principles — if you mention “big tech.” The latest example of this is a new Section 230 reform bill introduced by Representative Jim Banks called the “Stop Shielding Culpable Platforms Act” which would massively increase liability on any company that hosts user content online.

      • A game of cat and mouse We asked an expert how China’s Internet censorship really works

        In March 2021, the Russian authorities launched another attack on Western Internet services. Following its attempt to throttle Twitter, the federal censor, Roskomnazor, threatened to block the network in Russia entirely unless it removes certain “illegal content” (which includes, as it turns out, the accounts of independent media outlets). There’s a number of reasons why a “Great Russian Firewall” based on the Chinese system is impossible in Russia. But many Russian officials, and pro-Kremlin commentators and media outlets, have long expressed their approval of the “Chinese model” of Internet regulation and called for the introduction of at least some of its elements in Russia. To find out more about how Internet censorship really works in modern China, Meduza spoke to Leonid Kovachich, a specialist on China and digital technologies. 

      • “Censor”: When a Word Means Everything, It Means Nothing

        Lately, the trending “creep people out to get them on my side” word of choice is “censor” or “censorship.” Most of us support free speech. None of us want to be censored ourselves, and most of us don’t want others censored either.

        But what do those words mean?

      • Legal Digital Framework Must Be Created For Content Moderation, Says Head of European Court of Human Rights

        The president of the European Court of Human Rights is recommending an autonomous legal body that oversees a digital framework for content moderation.

        Róbert Spanó said Tuesday, at a talk hosted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, that the framework would serve as a digital version of legal and due process principles that would be played out over the [Internet], unconstrained by the borders that generally restrain traditional legal systems, and ensuring tech companies abide are kept in-line to suppress hate and content that incites violence.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Domestic Terror Beat Brings Threats, Risks, US Journalists Say

        With his station’s bold call letters wrapped around his vehicle, Post said he finds himself accosted multiple times a month. Most of the time, it is people yelling, “Fake News.” Recently, a man blocked his car, went to his car window and yelled at and threatened him. The incident was not related to specific coverage. Just being a journalist was enough, he said.

      • Myanmar protests: BBC journalist Aung Thura detained

        Aung Thura was taken away with another reporter, Than Htike Aung, who works for the local news organisation Mizzima. Mizzima’s operating licence was revoked by the military government earlier this month.

        The men who detained the journalists arrived in an unmarked van at around midday local time (05:30 GMT) on Friday and demanded to see them. The BBC has been unable to contact Aung Thura since.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Confessions of a Domestic Extremist

        Guilty as charged, but I also happen to be a hell of a lot of other equally important things as well. I’m a devout Christopagan who believes in the sanctity of all human life. I’m a strict civil libertarian who firmly supports the Non-Aggression Principle which preaches that no truly righteous person should ever throw the first punch. I’m also an agoraphobic cripple on disability who doesn’t even own a gun (yet), volunteers at a local AIDS resource center, and takes care of my aging mother who suffers from worse chronic pain than I do. But none of those details matter once you’ve slapped someone with a broad and dehumanizing label like ‘domestic extremist,’ and that’s precisely the point.

        Overseas, in parts of the world the news rarely covers like the supposedly under covered scourge of American extremism, in places like Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, carrying such a label makes you a disposable target of the War on Terror. Someone who openly peddles radicalism and/or associates with known radicals like me gets drone striked or whisked away to some black site in the Indian Ocean to be tortured with waterboarding and jumper cables on their junk. This is the fruit of the bipartisan Patriot Act and the entirety of our current political establishment is fighting like hell to spread the love and change the domestic rules of engagement to give declared enemies of the state such as myself the same rights as any foreigner labeled the same way. It’s really quite woke when you think about it. To the corporate duopoly, Third World lives not mattering isn’t fair. No lives should matter beneath the iron heel of the war state.

      • Sen. Chris Murphy ‘Fought Back Tears’ Visiting Detained Migrant Children in Texas

        “Remember, each ‘unaccompanied minor’ is a human being with a story,” the Connecticut Democrat tweeted after his tour of the El Paso detention center.

      • ‘A Moral Imperative’: Business Leaders Demand Death Penalty Abolition Worldwide

        “The tide is turning, and now it is the responsibility of business leaders to speak up and stand together on the right side of history.”

      • Love & Rage: The Eros Effect and Spontaneous Combustion

        For those of us seeking to understand the dynamics of revolution and resistance, this necessarily raises the questions of why and how this happens when it does. Movement scholars have offered any number of thoughts on this, including George Katsiaficas’ “eros effect,” which builds on Herbert Marcuse’s ideas of “political eros” and emphasizes the critical role of human connection and the erotic dimensions to political activism. However, unlike other sociological concepts such as “diffusion,” “snowballing,” “contagion,” and the “Domino Theory,” all of which emphasize the spread of movements, for Katsiaficas, the key concern is accounting for the “spontaneity” and “simultaneity” of protests during these periods of mobilization.

        The eros effect also provides insight into the very nature of our political experiences by giving language and meaning to that intoxicating feeling of connection, love, euphoria, and potential that one experiences when engaged together in the fight for collective liberation. Indeed, for many of us, it is in these moments when we feel most free, empowered, and connected to others through intimate solidarity, or what can be considered an erotics of political action. Not only does this expand our sense of what is feasible and desirable, but our understanding of who we are in the world and how we relate to each other as well. No doubt, this is part of what keeps us coming back—both for the allure of that heady feeling and because it’s what transforms us into committed activists, bound to our comrades in struggle over the long haul, anticipating the next upsurge.

      • A Response to “Spontaneous Combustion”

        The publication of Spontaneous Combustion is a significant indication that popular uprisings are increasingly understood as vital to revolutions. Since the astonishing 1917 seizure of power in Russia by the Bolsheviks, the role of the “conscious element”—the Party—has been wildly overemphasized, while “spontaneity” was debased and ridiculed. Now that 20th century Soviet Communism is in the past, the time is long overdue to create social movements that can help to produce expanded freedoms, greater liberties, and joyful relationships—as well as to ruthlessly criticize tendencies within the movement that contribute to the deformation of freedom struggles and turn them into their opposite.

        In the past century, while Leftists fetishized centralized organization, mainstream academia in the West, which had vilified social movements long before the Russian revolution, slowly moved toward rationalistic theories that prioritized resources in understanding a set of phenomena previously comprehended as seasonal fluctuations or short-circuiting electrical components of a smoothly functioning system. To make matters worse, copy-cat revolutionaries and tenure-seeking professors continually pour new wine into such old bottles, dutifully quoting fashionable theorists, often without bothering to have critically reviewed the practical implications of previously conceptualized frameworks.

      • Transnational and Transformative Movements: BLM, Kashmir, and Prison Reform in Oklahoma

        How can structural violence be addressed? How can progressive social and political change be facilitated? Can we recognize the structural aspect of oppression and further emancipatory goals instead of sentimentalizing pain?

        On June 1, 2020, I chose to witness grassroots democracy, so I decided to attend the “Demand Justice Protest Rally: Black Lives Matter (BLM)” in OKC. Several of my friends, leaders of faith communities, and current and former elected representatives were there as well. I was keen on showing solidarity with African-American friends who believe that the community can organize and mobilize for social change.

      • A People’s History of the Civil Rights Movement

        This fact is not intended to diminish either the lives and sacrifices of those who became or were deemed leaders or the histories of the Civil Rights movement heroes which tell their stories.  It is merely stating a truth.  After all, there are too many individuals and thus, too many stories to tell.  Yet, into this void comes a recent text by historian Thomas C. Holt titled The Movement: The African American Struggle for Civil Rights  It is a brief exploration of the people in the Movement who did not make it into the history books, but whose actions often precipitated better known events.  Holt, whose academic focus is on the relationships between the various elements of the African diaspora in the United States and the Caribbean, relates vignettes of individuals and community organizations whose actions affected dynamics in their communities forever.  He couches his tales in analysis steeped in context and an anti-racist understanding of US history.

        Holt’s history begins with a Black woman refusing to give up her seat on public transit.  The year was 1854 and her name was Elizabeth Jennings.  This was one hundred years before Rosa Parks took a similar stance and ultimately sparked one of US history’s most effective boycotts.  Mainstream civil rights history tells us that it was Martin Luther King, Jr. who led this movement.  Dr. King himself would have disagreed with that telling.  Like any good organizer, he knew it was up to the people to build and maintain an effective movement.  As Holt points out in his slender text, the warriors were working people and their families tired of bigotry and legal discrimination.  Tired of racist institutions and the people who not only ran them but benefited from them, organizations founded to change this situation became like the people who joined them.  The culture they created simultaneously came from the existing Black culture and embellished that culture.  The result was a conscious culture of resistance and radical social change.

      • Yakut shaman Alexander Gabyshev declared mentally unfit

        Psychiatrists have declared self-described shaman Alexander Gabyshev mentally unfit, reports MBX Media, citing coordinator Alexey Pryanishnikov from the human rights group Pravozashchita Otkrytki.

      • There’s Only One State Where Falling Behind on Rent Could Mean Jail Time. That Could Change.

        Arkansas state Rep. Nicole Clowney, D-Fayetteville, introduced a bill Thursday that would repeal the state’s criminal “failure to vacate” statute. First enacted in 1901, the law allows landlords to seek criminal charges, which can result in jail time, for tenants who fall even a single day behind on rent and do not vacate a property within 10 days. Everywhere else in the U.S., evictions are exclusively a civil matter.

        The legislation comes after a ProPublica and Arkansas Nonprofit News Network article in October revealed how criminal charges brought under the statute can snowball into arrest warrants and jail time for tenants. A deputy county prosecutor who criticized the law, saying it essentially criminalizes poverty, was fired for his remarks.

      • “The Sum of Us”: Heather McGhee on How Racism Undercuts the American Dream for Everyone

        Amid a national reckoning with structural racism and the dangers of white supremacy, author Heather McGhee’s new book details how racism in the United States hurts not just people of color but also white people. In “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together,” McGhee details how zero-sum thinking has worsened inequality and robbed people of all stripes of the public goods and support they need to thrive. We speak with McGhee about the cost of racism, Republican voter suppression efforts and what people can accomplish when they come together in solidarity across racial lines. “Fundamentally, racism has been the most powerful tool wielded against the best of America — against American democracy, against cross-racial solidarity, against the American dream itself,” says McGhee.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Conspiratorial Attacks On Telecom Infrastructure Keep Getting Dumber And More Dangerous

        On one side, you’ve got wireless carriers implying that 5G is some type of cancer curing miracle (it’s not). On the other hand, we have oodles of conspiracy theorists, celebrities, malicious governments, and various grifters trying to claim 5G is some kind of rampant health menace (it’s not). In reality, 5G’s not actually interesting enough to warrant either position, but that’s clearly not stopping anybody in the post-truth era.

      • AT&T Whines That California Net Neutrality Rules Are Forcing It To Behave

        Giant US ISPs have long (ab)used the lack of competition in the broadband market by imposing completely arbitrary and unnecessary monthly usage caps and overage fees. They’ve also taken to exempting their own content from these arbitrary limits while still penalizing competitors — allowing them to tilt the playing field in their favor (or the favor of other deep pocketed giants). For example, an AT&T broadband customer who uses AT&T’s own streaming services (like HBO Max) faces no bandwidth penalties or fees. If that same customer uses Netflix or a competitor they’re socked with surcharges.

      • Ernesto Falcon on Internet for All, Alexander Kaufman on Future-Proofed Housing Codes

        This week on CounterSpin: Reporters covering the pandemic can’t help but note the impact of the digital divide: How do you work from home, or do remote learning, or even register for a vaccine, without not just available, but affordable high-speed internet? Yet a major congressional effort to end that divide is, so far, generating little interest from big media. It’s almost as if the corporate press accepted the existence of information haves and have-nots, because that’s how goods get divided in this country—even if it doesn’t make technological, economic or humanitarian sense. We’ll hear about the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act (AAIA) from Ernesto Falcon, senior legislative counsel at Electronic Frontier Foundation.

      • Mozilla, Reddit, and Vimeo urge FCC to bring back net neutrality

        In a letter to FCC Acting Chair Jessica Rosenworcel on Friday, [Internet] companies Dropbox, Eventbrite, Reddit, Wikimedia, and Vimeo joined onto a letter led by Mozilla urging the agency to immediately bring back net neutrality once a third Democrat to the commission, nominated by President Joe Biden, is confirmed.

    • Monopolies

      • FOSS Patents: Epic Games and Apple submit witness lists for their App Store antitrust trial starting May 3 in California

        As expected, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Apple Fellow (and App Store chief, as well as former marketing chief) Phil Schiller will testify extensively, as will, of course, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney.

        Among the parties’ expert witnesses I’m particularly interested to hear what Stanford Professor Susan Athey (with her combined background in economics, mathematics, and computer science) will say.

        There will also be witnesses from major tech companies that are not parties to this case, such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Nvidia. Some of them are known to be (very) critical of Apple’s App Store terms and policies.

        The industry at large, with every respect for Apple’s and Google’s success, believes it’s high time for decisions that open up the market. A few days ago, one of the opinion leaders of Silicon Valley’s venture investment community, Benchmark Capital’s Bill Gurley, wrote the following on Twitter…

      • Patents

        • Danish court rules on requirements of notification of patent title transfer

          On March 5th, 2021, the Danish Maritime and Commercial High Court ruled to acquit the Board of Appeal for Patents and Trademarks (the “Appeals Board”) in a case regarding the notification of a transfer of a patent between two companies. The case, which included aspects of both company law, patent law and questions of civil procedure, highlights what is necessary to document the transfer of title in a patent between two companies.

          The case concerned the patent DK 177031 for “An energy storage system”, which was registered by JolTech ApS (“JolTech”) in 2010. To further develop the invented technology the sole owner of JolTech decided to establish the company GODevelopment with an associate. The owner of JolTech and the associate decided to transfer DK 177031 from JolTech to GODevelopment on the condition that JolTech had the right to appoint the board members at GODevelopment.

          In 2018 GODevelopment went bankrupt. The bankruptcy trustee sold DK 177031 to a third-party to obtain coverage for creditors. The owner of JolTech protested this, claiming that the patent had been transferred back to JolTech in 2016, and that the trustee therefore could not sell the patent.

          JolTech then requested that the transfer of the Patent from GODevelopment was entered in the Register of Patents by the Patent and Trademark Office, but was turned down. JolTech appealed this decision to the Appeals Board which upheld the original decision. It was these decisions to turn down that JolTech brought before the Danish Maritime and Commercial High Court.

        • Software Patents

          • Apple Told to Pay $308.5 Million for Infringing DRM Patent

            Personalized Media had sued claiming Apple infringed its patent with technology including FairPlay, which is used for the distribution of encrypted content from its iTunes, App Store and Apple Music applications.

            One expert for Sugar Land, Texas-based Personalized Media had calculated Apple owed $240 million in royalties. After a five-day trial, the jurors in Texas ordered Apple to pay a running royalty, which is generally dependent on the level of sales or usage.

            Apple said it was disappointed with the ruling and would appeal.

          • Will new NAFTA block Biden’s progressive regulatory policies?

            In her confirmation hearing last month, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai promised a top-to-bottom review of partially negotiated free trade agreements initiated under the prior administration, including with the United Kingdom and Kenya.

            She also made clear that the U.S. would not join the current version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP, also known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership or CPTPP) anytime soon. Tai noted that a great deal has changed since the U.S. exited the TPP negotiations — both global events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the growing awareness of how trade agreements can obstruct other important policies.

      • Copyrights

        • Pex Asks Copyright Office for a DMCA Exemption to Find Pirated Content

          Digital rights management company Pex aims to become the standard for copyright licensing and enforcement on user-generated content sites. The company, which works with major music labels and movie studios, scrapes services such as YouTube and Facebook to spot problematic content. To do this efficiently and without legal hassle, Pex now asks the Copyright Office for a DMCA anti-circumvention exemption.

        • Russia Threatens to Block VPNs If Twitter Row Isn’t Resolved

          This week Russian authorities warned that if Twitter fails to remove what it describes as “prohibited content”, the social networking service could find itself blocked in the country in a month’s time. Anticipating the possible fallout, including Russian users attempting to bypass the ban, a government minister has warned that blocking VPNs will be the next step.

EPO and Microsoft Collude to Break the Law — Part XV: Has the EPO Sold Out Its “Digital Sovereignty”?

Posted in Europe, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 7:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Previous parts:

EPO GDPR disaster
Is the EPO heading towards a GDPR disaster?
EPO Vice-President Steve Rowan says “Not on your Nellie!”
But sceptics remain unconvinced.

Summary: “Given the tenor of the ongoing political debate about European “digital sovereignty”, it does not seem to be an exaggeration to say that these recent developments at the EPO deserve to be a matter of urgent concern at the highest political level in Europe.”

Although it is probably fair to say that there is no general consensus about what exactly the concept of “digital sovereignty” covers at the level of detail, the term has nevertheless become a key catch-phrase of contemporary political discourse.

In the earlier parts of this series we saw how various events over the last decade such as Edward Snowden’s whistle-blowing revelations in 2013, the passage of the US CLOUD Act and entry into force of the EU GDPR in 2018, and the Schrems II judgment from the CJEU in July 2020 contributed to fuel the political debate about “digital sovereignty” in Europe.

Both at the supranational level of the EU and at the national level in its member states, there have been consistent calls for greater self-determination and strategic autonomy with regard to technology and the digital economy.

“Both at the supranational level of the EU and at the national level in its member states, there have been consistent calls for greater self-determination and strategic autonomy with regard to technology and the digital economy.”These calls serve as shorthand for the aspiration to reduce dependency on digital infrastructures and services from foreign providers, notably the US.

The global circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic and the accompanying changes have added weight to these calls for more independence and decision-making capacity in the digital sphere.

One significant example of this came in July 2020 when the German government, which had assumed the presidency of the Council of the EU, announced its intention to “establish digital sovereignty as a leitmotiv of European digital policy”.

However, inside the “echo chamber” of the EPO’s senior management and governance bodies, the competent decision-makers appear to be either entirely oblivious to the prevailing tenor of the current European debate or hell-bent on ignoring the clearly articulated policy statements about enhancing European “digital sovereignty”.

In fact, with its latest procurement decisions relating to IT services, the EPO seems to have gone off on its own “solo run” in a diametrically opposed direction.

A unicorn cloud
Despite plentiful indications to the contrary, EPO management continues to peddle the myth of a “close alignment” with EU data protection policy

The intellectual duplicity of senior EPO management in such matters has long been apparent from the lip-service paid to the purported GDPR-compliance of the EPO’s internal data protection regulations and their fondness for peddling the myth of a “close alignment” with EU data protection policy. This is generally recognised by EPO insiders as a piece of well-rehearsed humbug for external consumption which does not stand up to closer scrutiny.

This duplicity has now reached new heights with recent IT procurement decisions in favour of Microsoft which are clearly at odds with the spirit of European data protection law and incompatible with the political goal of enhancing European “digital sovereignty”.

As explained previously, these decisions have effectively resulted in the large-scale export of operational data from the EPO to external data processing infrastructure owned by and under the control of a privately owned US-based multinational corporation.

In an internal communiqué addressed to all staff the EPO’s Vice-President Steve Rowan has openly admitted that this “exported” data is not secure from the prying eyes of US security and intelligence agencies:

Under the US Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act (FISA) and the US Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (CLOUD Act), Microsoft is obliged to grant security and intelligence agencies access to data stored in its cloud, even when stored on EU servers.

“As explained previously, these decisions have effectively resulted in the large-scale export of operational data from the EPO to external data processing infrastructure owned by and under the control of a privately owned US-based multinational corporation.”Even if the risk of “official” (i.e. state-sanctioned) industrial espionage were to be discounted, the data in question has – for all practical intents and purposes – been placed at the disposal of Microsoft such that it could easily be accessed by the company for its own ulterior ends.

It is worth pointing out that this data is likely to include confidential internal communications from members of first instance divisions in examination and opposition proceedings. It also presumably includes confidential internal communications from members of the Boards of Appeal who rely on the IT infrastructure provided by the Office.

It is difficult to see how such developments can be reconciled with the spirit of European data protection law or how they could realistically be characterised as anything other than a misguided and ignominious sell-out of the EPO’s own “digital sovereignty”.

Given the tenor of the ongoing political debate about European “digital sovereignty”, it does not seem to be an exaggeration to say that these recent developments at the EPO deserve to be a matter of urgent concern at the highest political level in Europe.

At the very least these matters seem to merit discussion at a “conference of ministers of the Contracting States responsible for patent matters” which is envisaged under Article 4a of the European Patent Convention and which is supposed to take place “at least every five years”.

But given that the Administrative Council has repeatedly failed to convene such a conference ever since Article 4a EPC entered into effect in December 2007, it is seems quite likely that the competent ministers of the EPO contracting states have not yet been properly briefed about the catastrophic data protection situation at the EPO and the currently ongoing sell-out of the organisation’s “digital sovereignty” by its senior management.

As we noted in the preceding instalment, one of Battistelli’s first moves as President of the European Office was to procure the abolition of the independent Audit Committee which reported directly to the Administrative Council.

“Given the tenor of the ongoing political debate about European “digital sovereignty”, it does not seem to be an exaggeration to say that these recent developments at the EPO deserve to be a matter of urgent concern at the highest political level in Europe.”The intended functions of the Audit Committee included advising the Administrative Council about potential conflicts of interest and risk management.

Now that this independent committee has been abolished there is nobody around to warn the Council about the potential political and security risks of the dubious “IT roadmap” being implemented by the senior management of the EPO.

So if the Administrative Council delegates themselves are not on top of the situation – which appears to be the case – it would be too much to expect them to be in a position to brief their supervising ministers in an effective manner.

As things stand the EPO caravan seems destined to trundle forwards on auto-pilot until it is jolted out of its complacency by some kind of monumental data protection “clusterf**k”.

Or perhaps matters will come to a head when a pre-emptive complaint is filed with the European Data Protection Supervisor or some kind of legal challenge is mounted to the EPO’s non-compliance with GDPR standards by a privacy advocate like Max Schrems?

“As things stand the EPO caravan seems destined to trundle forwards on auto-pilot until it is jolted out of its complacency by some kind of monumental data protection “clusterf**k”.”Even then, the usual suspects will probably do their best to hide behind a smoke screen and sweep the debris under the carpet before anybody notices and starts asking too many awkward questions.

We would like to end this series on an optimistic note but for the moment the best advice we can give to those hoping for firm political action to counteract the sell-out of the EPO’s “digital sovereignty” is the following: “Don’t hold your breath…”

EPO Secrecy and Technical Incompetence

Posted in Deception, Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 6:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: The lack of EPO transparency is rather profound and it serves to explain how corrupt contracts can slip under the radar

SOME READERS have pointed out to us that it’s virtually impossible to find out what happened with the EPO and Microsoft. It’s a riddle, owing to secrecy.

EPO transparency“See attached printout from the webpage of the Administrative Council,” readers noted. See the image on the right.

From the website: “In a move towards greater transparency, the European Patent Office is improving the access to the documents of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation. Under this new policy, all public documents of the Administrative Council will be made available after each session and published on the EPO’s website. The documents of the October 2012 session are already accessible.

“It’s almost as though it is deliberately broken or it was never made to work properly at all.”Now go to this page (warning: epo.org link) and then compare the statement to what can be found in the search page (warning: epo.org link). I’ve reproduced this at my end on video. No preparation (we never script videos or edit them). The page says: “On this page you can search for publicly available Council documents, including preparatory documents for Council decisions.”

“If you search under the topic “Award of Contracts” it returns 0 hits,” our readers note. “Impressive transparency…”

I get the same thing and to make matters worse the search facility seems worse than useless. It’s almost as though it is deliberately broken or it was never made to work properly at all. I explain this in the video. No preparations, spontaneous as always. Readers can have a go at it and reproduce it at their end very quickly.

Shit! They found EPO documents buried somewhere.The antiscientific management of the EPO (Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos aren’t just unscientific but antiscientific because they attack scientists) has turned the EPO into a laughing stock. It’s not helping that many in the Administrative Council are also nontechnical, so they probably cannot understand that European software patents are neither wanted nor legal. All they want is fancy charts showing the number of granted patents going up. The science associated with the impact of such patents doesn’t interest them.

In the next part of the series we’ll have a lot more to say.

We’ve meanwhile gotten documents we’re not ‘supposed’ to have. So our reporting on this blunder will soon be including some ‘smoking guns’. Stay tuned…

Ghost of Elizabeth Holmes Still Haunts EPO as Her Patents Are Used to Suppress COVID-19 Research in Europe

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Elizabeth Holmes represents the incompetence at the EPO and the assault on people looking to solve the COVID-19 crisis, only to be sued over patents granted by the EPO

SIX years down the road “Elizabeth Holmes (USA)” (warning: epo.org link) is still listed by the EPO as a finalist. Last year, or half a decade later, her patents made the headlines for being used against researchers pursuing a solution to COVID-19. They were based in France, where both Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos had come from.

Elizabeth Holmes at EPO siteWe’ve often complained about European software patents, but we frequently complain about monopolies that curtail vaccine development and dissemination.

In the video above I discuss the way EPO politicised and hijacked feminism for the purpose of defending immoral practices. They’re twisting science and rewarding people in a self-serving fashion that ends up embarrassing the Office.

IRC Proceedings: Friday, March 19, 2021

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:06 am by Needs Sunlight

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