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Links 2/7/2021: More Games on GNU/Linux, IBM Mail System on Fire

Posted in News Roundup at 4:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Makulu Shift Teaser Video

        Work Continues on our Flagship OS MakuluLinux Shift, We have compiled a Little Teaser video for you below, Enjoy …

      • Android, but snitch-free.

        iodé provided me with this phone but they had no input or review of the script or the final video. What is iodé? It’s Android, but free of snitches. And because it’s based on LineageOS, that’s a safe bet.

      • Deepin 20.2.2

        Today we are looking at Deepin 5.2.2. It uses Linux Kernel 5.10 (by default), based on Debian 10, Deepin Desktop Environment 5.2, and uses about 1.5GB of ram when idling (in effect mode). Enjoy

      • Deepin 20.2.2 Run Through

        In this video, we are looking at Deepin 20.2.2.

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • Intel Begins Bringing Up DG2 Graphics Card, Xe_HP SDV Support For Linux – Phoronix

          Following recent reports Intel has begun seeding the Xe-HPG DG2 graphics card to developers and various reported leaks around the next-gen “DG2″ graphics card, Intel’s open-source Linux driver engineers have begun publishing patches for enabling the DG2 as well as the Xe_HP SDV.

          This initial DG2 bring-up for Linux happens to come almost immediately following Intel getting DG1 discrete graphics acceleration working to the extent of now being able to run an accelerated desktop environment with the latest pending patches.

    • Benchmarks

    • Applications

      • More Toys?

        I think this a impressive and almost comprehensive package I have inbound. I stopped working on UNO (Ultimate Network Optimizer). I replaced it in a single package.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Follower Reads

        When using the Leader and Followers pattern, it’s possible that the leader may get overloaded if too many requests are sent to it. Furthermore in a multi-datacenter setup, where the client is in a remote datacenter, requests to the leader will be subject to additional latency.

      • Ansible might be running slow if libyaml is not available

        I first found out just how much slower Ansible can be without libyaml support when I was testing out Ansible 2.10 on a Raspberry Pi—which has a very slow microSD card as a boot volume. I opened the following GitHub issue to investigate: On systems with slow disks, Ansible 2.10 runs generally much slower than 2.9.

      • Create restricted user on Linux, home directory on encrypted partition

        Create a user that has the sole task to run some daemon that also needs to store files on disk. Starting and stopping daemon, as well as accessing these files, needs to be possible via ssh. Otherwise it should be locked down as far as possible.

      • Navigating the impact of Wi-Fi FragAttacks: users, developers and asset owners

        FragAttacks are a new collection of vulnerabilities affecting Wi-Fi devices, discovered and released by Mathy Vanhoef in May 2021. In this post, we will not dive into the technical details of the attacks – if you are interested, we highly recommend Mathy’s paper, which is an excellent technical read and does a great job of explaining the nitty-gritty details.

        Instead, we will focus on the exploitation requirements and concrete impact of these vulnerabilities, hoping to help users, developers, integrators and IT staff understand them better and take appropriate actions. If you are only interested in the “take home” message and actionable points feel free to skip to the Conclusion and Aftermath sections

      • How to Parse Command Line Arguments in Node.js

        Node.js is an event-based, open-source, and asynchronous I/O framework that uses Google’s V8 JavaScript engine. We use it to develop applications that use JavaScript both on the server and client sides. Node.js applications are written in JavaScript.

        Node.js applications also accept command-line arguments like any other programming language. By default, Node.js is able to handle your arguments but if you want some extra features then you can use third-party tools and packages like yargs and minimist. In this article, we will see how you can parse command line arguments in Node.js using process.argv, yargs, and minimist.

      • How to harden Docker images to enhance security

        Containers are becoming commonplace in data centers and cloud tenancies across the globe.

        With their surge in adoption, it is wise to handle these systems with a sense of security at the forefront. Whether you’re developing containers for your company or deploying containers created by other teams, knowing how to harden these deployments is important.

        Let’s look more closely at five ways to harden Docker images.

      • How to install an Auto Clicker on a Chromebook – for Linux Applications only

        Today we are looking at how to install an Auto Clicker on a Chromebook. It only works on Linux Applications in a Chromebook, sadly not in Play Store Applications, Google Chrome, or the rest of Chrome OS. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

      • How To Install MongoDB 4.0 on Ubuntu 18.04 – howtodojo

        In this tutorial, we will learn how to install MongoDB 4.0 on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver). We will also learn to configure and secure our MongoDB 4.0 installation

      • How To Install MongoDB 4.4 on Ubuntu 18.04 – howtodojo

        In this tutorial, we will learn how to install MongoDB 4.4 on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver). We will also learn to configure and secure our MongoDB 4.4 installation

      • What is DHCP and how to configure DHCP server in Linux

        DHCP is a networking protocol used to assign IP addresses to networked devices. In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the protocol and explain how it works. You’ll also see how to implement a DHCP server on Linux systems, and configure it for your own network.

      • Bind a cloud event to Knative | Opensource.com

        Events have become an essential piece of modern reactive systems. Indeed, events can be used to communicate from one service to another, trigger out-of-band processing, or send a payload to a service like Kafka. The problem is that event publishers may express event messages in any number of different ways, regardless of content. For example, some messages are payloads in JSON format to serialize and deserialize messages by application. Other applications use binary formats such as Avro and Protobuf to transport payloads with metadata. This is an issue when building an event-driven architecture that aims to easily integrate external systems and reduce the complexity of message transmission.

    • Games

      • Lucas Chess – play and train chess

        Chess is a recreational and competitive board game played between two players. It’s a very popular game, played by millions across the world, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.

        The game is played on a square chessboard with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. Each player controls 16 pieces, and the object of the game is to checkmate the opponent’s king.

        Chess has the virtue of being suitable for people of all ages. It has many positive attributes helping players develop their memory, improve and enhance their concentration, as well as enhance logical thinking. It also promotes and improves imagination and creativity. Chess is one of those games that takes a few days to learn and the rest of your life to master, with the game being a never ending learning process, even for the top players.

        We tried Lucas Chess a couple of years ago, but failed to compile the program in Linux. It was disappointing because testing the program under Windows demonstrated the quality of the software. The situation has recently changed with the first official binary version of Lucas Chess for Linux.

      • Explore a new world in Sea of Roses a heartwarming free adventure out now

        Free Game Friday! Sea of Roses is an award winning adventure from Portuguese team Crescent Tea Studios and it’s out now with Linux support. Best of all, it’s free.

        “One day, Marion wakes up in her attic. Odd—she doesn’t really recall falling asleep there. Soon, she realizes that someone else—a girl—is living in her house. But she’s never met her before! And although her village is similar to the one she’s grown up in, it is not identical. And neither are the people.”

      • The SteamOS-like Linux distribution GamerOS becomes ChimeraOS with a new release

        Getting a console-like big-screen experience with Linux gaming was a thing with SteamOS until Valve stopped updating it, then came along GamerOS to carry the torch which has evolved again with a new name of ChimeraOS.

      • Humble Bundle confirms changes coming mid-July to add a minimum payment for Humble | GamingOnLinux

        Humble Bundle announced back in April they would be making changes to the purchase sliders based on (much hated) testing, then backpedaling in May, they’ve announced again some changes are coming to always give Humble a cut.

        Previously when buying a bundle you would be able to adjust the sliders of who gets a cut, to give 100% to charity if you wish (or developers/partners) and you could even give nothing to Humble. That’s going away. The sliders themselves this time will continue to be an option, so you will be able to adjust who gets what. However, Humble have made it clear they will always have a minimum cut between “15 – 30%”. This brings them more inline with other stores but it does mean it’s far less generous to charity and developers.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Nitrix [sic] 1.5 Ships with Kernel 5.13

          Debian-based Nitrix Linux is the first distribution to ship with kernel 5.13

          It was a race to be first and Nitrix Linux has won the prize, as the first Linux distribution to ship with the latest kernel release 5.13. The one caveat to this is that the distribution doesn’t default to the newest kernel, but rather the latest Long Term Support (LTS) kernel, which is 5.4.128. Users who want to, after initial installation, upgrade to the 5.13 kernel can do so with the built-in package manager and install the linux-image-mainline-current kernel.

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • The Impending Doom of Your Operating System Going to or Past 11, Versus the Lush Oasis of Open Source Systems

          So now I have a gorgeous, lightweight 13.9 inch laptop running OpenBSD with Xorg running with a 3300×2200 pixel resolution and everything I care about working. With a little attention to proper testing, we have reason to believe that all of this will be properly supported without regression for older hardware versions in the upcoming OpenBSD 7.0 release.

          As I had hinted earlier, you may very well find yourself better served and supported by the open source operating system of your choice and its developers and users than you can reasonably expect from the commercial, proprietary options.

          If you have questions about anything in this article, OpenBSD or other free systems, please let me know in comments here, seek out a local-to-you user group (the ones I am most involved in are NUUG, the national Norwegian Unix User Group, and BLUG, the Bergen (BSD and) Linux User Group), or drop me an email. If you choose the last option, please read my read me first document before sending a second message.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • How to make “data-driven” more than jargon in your organization

          Many organizations today describe themselves as “data-driven,” and it’s easy to understand why: Organizations are producing, and have access to, more data than ever before. It’s considered a competitive advantage and many customers are demanding it.

          Further, advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are more widely available to help make sense of this massive amount of data and improve business processes and functions like customer experience (CX).

          But what does it really mean to be a data-driven organization? To some extent, the term “data-driven” has become marketing jargon, possibly because it’s being used to describe even the most basic data activities. But just because an organization collects data doesn’t mean it’s data-driven.

          The bottom line: Being a data-driven organization means digging into the information readily available and making strategic business decisions based on the facts and insights that are uncovered.

        • IBM email fiasco complicates sales deals, is worse than biz is letting on – sources

          IBM’s email migration misadventure has been worse than the IT titan has let on, current and former staff have told us.

          Big Blue yesterday acknowledged “some IBM employees are experiencing email service delays,” and that the company is using “a variety of alternative communications tools to ensure minimal disruption to our clients and to our business” while it restores its systems.

          We’re told IBM’s communications problems follow from an email migration, planned over the past 18 months, that aimed to move the tech giant’s messaging data from HCL servers to machines operated by Big Blue. The migration didn’t go as planned, and has led – for some portion of the company – to four or five days with limited or no email capability and the inability to schedule calendar events and meetings. Outlook, Verse (IBM’s webmail), and Notes have been affected; Slack chat messaging, at least, has been spared.

          Now two sources have told to us that the botched email transition has affected not only communication and productivity but may have revenue implications for the company’s second quarter, which closed yesterday. We’re told that IBM has given its salespeople special instructions to ensure they can complete customer purchase orders and obtain contract signatures because their usual business processes have been disrupted.


          One of our sources, an IBM employee with knowledge of the company’s technical operations, told us that the situation is worse than has been suggested.

          “They claim it’s only about a dozen ‘clusters,’” the individual said, insisting that the number of affected clusters is more like 15, which corresponds to a larger disruption. “I would guess it’s maybe 150,000-200,000 mailboxes impacted out of 400,000.”

        • Red Hat Expands Workload Possibilities Across the Hybrid Cloud with Latest Version of OpenShift

          Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced Red Hat OpenShift 4.8, the latest version of the industry’s leading enterprise Kubernetes platform. Providing a powerful foundation to develop and connect diverse workloads across the hybrid cloud, Red Hat OpenShift 4.8 helps organizations accelerate the creation of new cloud-native applications without abandoning existing environments and IT investments.

        • KPMG Automates, Accelerates and Enhances Artificial Intelligence Workflows with Red Hat OpenShift

          Red Hat and KPMG LLP today announced an ongoing collaboration to augment the KPMG Ignite AI platform with Red Hat OpenShift as a foundational technology. Building on Red Hat OpenShift, KPMG Ignite provides the agility, scalability and flexibility needed to deploy AI at scale, and enables Ignite to be deployed more consistently across the hybrid cloud.

        • Kubernetes security automation saves SecOps sanity

          Enterprise IT pros are applying the Agile/DevOps philosophy of continuous improvement to Kubernetes security automation in order to keep pace with increasingly complex, multi-cluster container environments where developers also demand flexibility.

          When carmaker Audi AG first began to use Kubernetes in 2017, it had one centralized platform for its DevOps team based on a proprietary Kubernetes control plane. But as the use of Kubernetes began to expand to more departments, and several public and hybrid cloud Kubernetes services emerged, Audi IT pros grappled with how to maintain both security and flexibility for the broader company.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • FICIHIP multifunctional keyboard includes 12.6-inch touchscreen display (Crowdfunding) – CNX Software

        FICIHIP says no software is needed, and the keyboard is compatible with Huawei EMUI, Samsung DEX, and other desktop-capable mobile operating systems.

      • UP Connect Plus adds 5G support, 3 GbE ports to UP Core Plus, UP Xtreme SBCs

        AAEON UP Connect Plus is a carrier board with three Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports, and an M.2 slot plus a micro SIM card socket adding support for 5G cellular connectivity to the company’s Appolo Lake-based UP Core Plus and Whiskey Lake-powered UP Xtreme single board computers.

      • The Hackintosh of our dreams is here and it’s a sick handheld

        The DIY device is built on a Latte Panda Alpha single-board computer (SBC), which has an Intel m3 CPU and integrated graphics, 8GB of RAM, and a built-in CPU fan. He added two other smaller fans, which are controlled via a DIY circuit board. The specs for the Latte Panda Alpha list built-in wireless functionality, but it seems he added it via a wireless M.2 card. macOS Big Sur was installed onto a 240GB SATA M.2 SSD. Battery life doesn’t look long based on the measly capacity he used, but who cares? This portable Hackintosh is a DIY masterpiece.

        The fact that this SBC has two M.2 ports is just incredible — some PC motherboards only have one, or sometimes none — and it’s probably one of the reasons why it fetches such a high price. SBCs such as the ones from Raspberry Pi and Odroid may be affordable, but not the Latte Panda, which can cost upwards of $459 for the Alpha model. While iketsj doesn’t say how much it costs to build the handheld, it undoubtedly wasn’t cheap.

      • UP Core Plus and UP Xtreme SBCs gain add-on with triple GbE and 5G

        Aaeon has launched an $84-and-up “UP Connect Plus” carrier board that plugs into the UP Core Plus and UP Xtreme SBCs and adds 3x GbE ports with optional TSN plus an M.2 3042/3052 with 5G support.

        Aaeon Technology Europe’s UP community, which goes by the brand UP! Bridge the Gap, has added a new add-on board that plugs into the dual 100-pin connectors of the Intel Apollo Lake based UP Core Plus and Intel Whiskey Lake based UP Xtreme SBCs. The UP Connect Plus adds 3x GbE ports plus a M.2 B-key 3042/3052 slot with micro-SIM slot that supports a “coming soon” 5G modem module.

      • Open Hardware/Modding

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • You can search line numbers in Firefox!?

            There’s someone born every minute who hasn’t seen The Flintstones, as Merlin Mann says. I’ve been using Firefox since its original Phoenix incarnation, and I only discovered today that you can search line numbers in source.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • YottaDB Dashboard

          Users of YottaDB know the benefits of using it. Its technology was established decades ago and it is used in critical medical and financial systems worldwide. Performance overall is “lightning fast” but performance is not simply a binary consideration. A system may perform well at one point in time with a certain workload and not as well at another. As an IT professional, be it a SysAdmin in a traditional IT role or a DevOps engineer in a more modern one, it is important to continuously capture and monitor performance. Monitoring performance allows for the establishing of baselines, including daily, weekly, and monthly cycles, to create trendlines, not only for capacity planning, but also for detecting, diagnosing, and remedying issues. Since human beings interpret visuals well, tools like Prometheus and Grafana make it easier to visualize captured performance data.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Document searching and indexing export – Part 1

          Searching for a phrase in multiple documents is not a new thing and many implementations exist, however such searching will usually only provide you if and roughly where in the documents a searched phrase exists. With Collabora Online and LibreOffice we can do better than this and in addition provide the search result in form of a thumbnail of the search location. In this way it is easier for the user to see the context, where the searched phrase is located. For example, if it is located in a table, shape, footer/header, or is it figure text or maybe “alt” text of an image.

      • Programming/Development

        • Fortran newsletter: July 2021

          Welcome to the July 2021 edition of the monthly Fortran newsletter. The newsletter comes out at the beginning of every month and details Fortran news from the previous month.

        • Typeclasses in Python

          But, before discussing typeclasses themselves, let’s discuss what problem they do solve.

        • A Linked List Implementation for RetroForth

          NOTE: RetroForth allows the execution of Markdown files as code. The code below is written in the literate style and can be directly run via retro. A copy/paste-able version can be found here.

        • Code performance in R: Parallelization

          This is the third part of our series about code performance in R. In the first part, I introduced methods to measure which part of a given code is slow. The second part lists general techniques to make R code faster. In this part you are going to see how to take advantage from parallelization in R.

        • Perl/Raku

    • Standards/Consortia

      • RSS feedback from Simon Ruderich

        Simon emailed yesterday to say my blog RSS feed could no longer be parsed properly. He correctly identified it as a missing namespace issue. Thank you!

  • Leftovers

    • Hardware

      • PowerPC And The Western Digital My Book Live Debacle

        The interest to us here is that the WD My Book Live and Duo family are 32-bit PowerPC devices, more specifically the 800MHz Applied Micro APM82181, which is an enhanced 90nm PowerPC 440 core with additional DSP instructions called the PPC 464. The PowerPC 464FP used here includes a 7-stage pipeline and floating-point unit, and the APM82181 adds a DDR2 controller (256MB onboard) and 256K of RAM configurable as L2 cache. You can boot Gentoo and OpenWRT on it, all of which is unsurprising because the My Book Live basically runs Debian. Western Digital has not issued updates for this device since 2015 and many distros (including Debian, starting with stretch) have dropped 32-bit PowerPC support, though it is still supported in the kernel (except for the PowerPC 601) and these operating systems plus Void PPC and others still support the architecture generally.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • There’s a Way to Get More People Vaccinated—and It Doesn’t Involve the Lottery

        In the face of flatlining vaccination rates, government, business, and public health leaders are trying all kinds of approaches. Sending Dr. Fauci door to door. Offering a pretty wild range of incentives: doughnuts, French fries, a gun, or a joint; tickets to sports games and museums. Holding vaccine lotteries promising the chance to win free college tuition or a million dollars.

      • Medicaid Work Requirements Appear to Be Dead

        About two years ago, Medicaid enrollees in Arkansas were discovering a new reality: if they wanted to keep their health coverage, they would have to navigate a complex, finicky state website every month to report that they were working, in school, or volunteering for at least 80 hours. Arkansas was the first state to ever impose a work requirement on Medicaid coverage, the government-run health insurance program for the poor. After the Trump administration had welcomed states to seek its approval for imposing work requirements in the program, another 18 eventually tried to do the same thing; the administration approved waivers in eight of those states.

      • Facebook Probe by DC Official Targets Vaccine Misinformation

        Facebook Inc. is under investigation by the attorney general for the District of Columbia over whether it has taken adequate steps to curb the spread of misinformation about vaccines.

        Attorney General Karl Racine is seeking internal documents that show how the social media giant penalizes users who violate its misinformation policies around vaccines, as well as materials related to a Facebook study about vaccine hesitancy among users, according to a copy of a subpoena issued by Racine’s office last month. The subpoena also demanded data on the total volume of content that has been removed or demoted by Facebook for violating its vaccine misinformation policies.

      • Supreme Court strikes down laws prohibiting recreational marijuana use

        The Supreme Court (SCJN) on Monday struck down laws banning the use of recreational marijuana, declaring once again that its prohibition is unconstitutional.

        The court ruled 8-3 that sections of the General Health Law that prohibit personal use of marijuana and cultivation of the plant at home were unconstitutional.

      • The long goodbye to covid-19

        Leisure has been affected, too. People say they have had 15% more time on their hands. In Britain young women spent 50% longer with their nose in a book. Literary agents have been swamped with first novels. Some of this will fade: media firms fear an “attention recession”. But some changes will stick.

        For example, people may decide they want to escape pre-pandemic drudgery at work, and tight labour markets may help them. In Britain applications to medical school were up by 21% in 2020. In America business creation has been its highest since records began in 2004. One in three Americans who can work from home wants to do so five days a week, according to surveys. Some bosses are ordering people into the office; others are trying to entice them in.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Intuit to Share Payroll Data from 1.4M Small Businesses With Equifax

              Financial services giant Intuit this week informed 1.4 million small businesses using its QuickBooks Online Payroll and Intuit Online Payroll products that their payroll information will be shared with big-three consumer credit bureau Equifax starting later this year unless customers opt out by the end of this month.

            • Yes, We Want Cryptographic Protection For Email

              As I discuss in detail below, there is a fair amount of evidence that people who have a pressing need can use OpenPGP successfully. For instance, a recent academic paper, When the Weakest Link is Strong: Secure Collaboration in the Case of the Panama Papers, looks at the security practices of the journalists involved in the Panama Papers. The authors found that for over a year, the hundreds of people involved in the project successfully collaborated using OpenPGP.

              And there are at least four good reason to protect ordinary people’s email: [...]

            • The Republican PCLOB Cover-Up Of NSA’s XKEYSCORE Use Is More Troubling Than Tucker Carlson’s Claims To Be Surveilled

              Meanwhile, Carlson’s little cultivated outrage occurs at the same time that Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board member Travis LeBlanc released a scathing dissent, dated March 12, 2021 but just declassified, from a recently released but still classified PCLOB report on the NSA’s use of XKEYSCORE. The statement points to problems with both the use of XKEYSCORE and EO 12333 generally, as well as the operation of PCLOB under the recently departed Adam Klein’s tenure as Chair. Together, LeBlanc’s complaint suggests that Klein may have deliberately protected NSA from scrutiny after violations that happened during the Trump Administration were discovered in November 2020.

            • What we can learn from Google’s cookie deprecation delay

              The future of identity lies in the ability to leverage direct, consumer-consented sources and to be smarter about signals that are not attached to a consumer’s identity. Without that, we are playing the same game we have been playing for years. We will be plagued by the same regulatory issues and consumer concerns. Our industry needs to be able to build a scalable, consent-driven, first-party consumer base and solutions that provide for meaningful connections without the need for identity. That is the way to drive relevant, meaningful connections and to create a clearer value exchange.

              This delay gives publishers and demand partners the chance to co-author more of the future rather than penning quick reactions. And the companies that are truly consumer-first now have the mainstage. Those who are reliant on third-party IDs, however, are simply in a two-year extension to figure out what to do.

            • How Europol’s reform enables ‘NSA-style’ surveillance operations

              However, an investigation by the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) last year found Europol’s data practices unlawful. The EDPS discovered that in order to analyse large datasets transferred by member states to produce “criminal intelligence”, Europol was processing the data of individuals not linked in any capacity to any criminal activity.

              Despite this being illegal under Europol’s current data processing rules, the agency’s methods remain unobstructed. Instead of suggesting solutions to bring Europol’s practices in line with its mandate, the Commission released a proposal in December 2020 to legalise them.

              The proposed data-mining powers for Europol, which resembles the modus operandi of intelligence services such as the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), could circumvent critical safeguards in criminal procedure law and obliterate any presumption of innocence.

            • EU officially launches digital vaccine passport

              The European Union’s digital COVID-19 certificate officially launched today. The certificate allows people to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination, a recent negative test result, or a past COVID-19 infection.

              The certificate, which includes a QR code and digital signature, can either be displayed on a digital device or printed out. People who have the certificate should not have to get an additional COVID-19 test or quarantine when traveling in the EU. The certificate only recognizes COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the EU — that includes the AstraZeneca, Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson shots.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Media Applaud the New Cold Wars—but Could US Be More Aggressive, Please?

        US media are fixin’ for a fight with China, Russia—or both. Commentary on the recent G7 and NATO summits, as well as President Joe Biden’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, was replete with examples of news outlets alternately praising the Biden administration for ramping up new cold wars with China and Russia, and criticizing it for not being even more aggressive. As it propagandized about the US supposedly fighting for democracy, this coverage betrayed a total indifference to the potential costs of these hostilities.

      • Germany too dependent on Confucius Institutes, minister warns

        A statement from the education and research minister that Germany has “given too much space” to Confucius Institutes has been seen as the latest sign that the country is turning against the Beijing-sponsored centres.

        Announcing an extra €5 million (£4.3 million) to bolster German “independent China expertise”, Anja Karliczek said: “I do not want the Chinese government to influence our universities and our society.

        “Germany must admit self-critically: in some places in the past, we have given too much space to the Confucius Institutes, for example, and have done too little ourselves to build up independent China expertise in Germany.”

      • The Horrors Faced by the Women of Tigray

        The United Nations warns that 350,000 Tigrayans are already suffering from catastrophic food shortages. Mark Lowcock, the UN emergency relief coordinator, said recently that the hunger will “get much worse.” Last week, USAID said that the number of people living under famine conditions had risen and now stands at up to 900,000 people. The war in Tigray is one in which rape and starvation are both being widely deployed as a weapon against the civilian population.

      • Hong Kong Tiananmen vigil head Chow Hang-tung rearrested as police revoke bail ahead of Handover anniversary

        Hong Kong police rearrested a prominent democracy activist after revoking her bail Wednesday, the eve of a sensitive double anniversary of the city’s handover to China and the Communist Party’s centenary.

        Lawyer Chow Hang-tung, one of the few remaining democracy activists not already in jail or exile, was initially detained on June 4 for publicising a banned vigil commemorating Beijing’s deadly Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989.

    • Environment

      • High earners and well educated worry most about climate (but still fly)

        ‘Many people who are worried about the climate will change their behaviour and, for instance, eat less meat’, the CBS writes, ‘but these same people will not buy solar panels and are frequent flyers.’

      • How heat waves form, and how climate change makes them worse

        Urban areas further exacerbate this warming. As roads, parking lots, and buildings cover natural landscapes, cities like Los Angeles and Dallas end up absorbing more heat than their surroundings and can become as much as 20 degrees Fahrenheit warmer. This is a phenomenon known as the urban heat island effect.

      • ‘Like an open-air cage’: Police restrict reporters’ access to Canadian anti-logging protests

        Journalists say the injunction violates their right to report: the RCMP has denied journalists access to the demonstration sites; demanded that members of the press stay within areas that are often out of earshot and only provide a partial view of what’s going on; and threatened journalists with arrest, according to local news reports, journalist accounts on Twitter, and a statement from the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ).

      • Cut poverty and energy use to cool the climate

        To cut poverty and energy use would cool the planet, build a more just society − but end dreams of economic growth.

      • Energy

        • Supreme Court Allows Fracked Gas Pipeline’s Use of Eminent Domain. But the Pipeline’s Victory Comes with Some Big Caveats.

          The U.S. Supreme Court this week ruled in favor of a natural gas pipeline taking state land for the project’s construction. The decision could set a powerful precedent expanding the use of eminent domain on state-owned land – a mechanism more often wielded by industry to acquire private land.

          While opponents of the pipeline called the ruling “devastating,” highlighting the need to limit new fossil fuel infrastructure in order to tackle climate change, other hurdles remain in the pipeline’s path. Experts point to tools at the state level and a separate recent legal decision which could all block or delay the proposed 116-mile PennEast pipeline.

        • Energy Transfer’s Gulf Run Pipeline to Export Fracked Gas from Louisiana set to Begin Construction

          In June, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) narrowly approved the construction of a new 42” diameter gas pipeline that will connect shale wells in Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Ohio to a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on the Gulf Coast, carrying over a billion cubic feet of fracked gas to be transported overseas every day.

          The FERC decision was split, with two of the five commissioners dissenting, writing that the Commission had failed to adequately examine the climate-changing pollution linked to the fossil fuel pipeline. 

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Montana is Melting Thanks to Fossil Fuel-Addicted Politicians
        • Life Under the Heat Dome
        • Robot Dives 3,000 Feet to Film Creatures in Mid-Ocean ‘Twilight Zone’

          The underwater robot was created in a joint effort by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and Stanford University.

          “Mesobot can survey, track and record compelling imagery,” said Dana Yoerger, a senior scientist at Woods Hole. “We hope to reveal previously unknown behaviors, species interactions, morphological structures, and the use of bioluminescence.

          “The 250-kilogram (551-pound) marine robot can be teleoperated through a lightweight fiber-optic tether and can also operate untethered with full autonomy while minimizing environmental disturbance,” the research article states.

          “The twilight zone is cold and its light is dim, but with flashes of bioluminescence — light produced by living organisms,” according to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. “The region teems with life. Recent studies suggest that the biomass of fish in the twilight zone may be ten times greater than previously thought—more than in all the rest of the ocean combined.”

    • Finance

      • Taleb On Cryptocurrency Economics

        Nassim Nicholas Taleb has a draft paper entitled Bitcoin, Currencies and Bubbles that applies quantitative finance and economic arguments to cryptocurrencies. It is definitely worth reading. Spoiler, he’s not an enthusiast! Below the fold, some commentary on it.

      • PayPal uses story based analytics to process 33 mln transactions per day

        According to him, over three trillion events are added each day to PayPal’s systems. These could be people logging in, transacting, checking something or changing their profile. All of these three trillion events are somehow used to assess the risk factor in payments. But he believes PayPal’s approach to risk and fraud using data is different from what people think about it.

      • Why You Can’t Turn Your Roth IRA Into a Billion-Dollar Tax Shelter

        Last week, ProPublica published the story of how PayPal co-founder and tech investor Peter Thiel was able to turn a Roth IRA initially worth around $2,000 into a jaw-dropping $5 billion tax-free retirement stash in just 20 years.

      • ‘The Tax Break Industrial Complex Has Not Been Challenged’

        Janine Jackson interviewed Good Jobs First’s Greg LeRoy about Texas corporate subsidies for the June 25, 2021, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Nationalism on the Decline

        The nationalist surge was led by a new generation of rightwing populist demagogues who, feeding on public discontent with widespread immigration and economic stagnation, achieved startling political breakthroughs. Matteo Salvini of Italy, Geert Wilders of the Netherlands, and Marine Le Pen of France catapulted their fringe political movements into major party status. In Britain, Nigel Farage’s United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) startled mainstream parties by winning a referendum calling for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. Donald Trump, championing an “America First” policy, shocked political pundits by emerging victorious in the 2016 U.S. presidential race. Two years later, in Brazil, the flamboyant Jair Bolsonaro, campaigning under the slogan “Brazil Above Everything,” was easily elected president of his country. In May 2019, Narendra Modi’s BJP, a Hindu nationalist party, won a landslide election victory in India.

        As the acknowledged leader of the rightwing, nationalist uprising in these and other nations, Trump forged close contacts with his overseas counterparts and pulled the U.S. government out of international treaties, as well as out of global institutions. “Wise leaders always put the good of their own people and their own country first,” he admonished the UN General Assembly in September 2019. “The future does not belong to globalists. The future belongs to patriots.”

      • Nancy Pelosi Outplays Kevin McCarthy Once Again

        You do you, Kevin McCarthy.

      • Facebook tests prompts that ask users if they’re worried a friend is ‘becoming an extremist’

        Some Facebook (FB) users in the United States are being served a prompt that asks if they are worried that someone they know might be becoming an extremist. Others are being notified that they may have been exposed to extremist content.

        It is all part of a test the social media company is running that stems from its Redirect Initiative, which aims to combat violent extremism, Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesperson, told CNN. Screen shots of the alerts surfaced on social media Thursday.

      • Facebook tests feature offering resources for those worried about ‘extremist’ friends

        Facebook is testing out several types of notifications to users in an initiative aimed at tackling violent extremism.

        The notifications either ask a user if they’re concerned that they may know an extremist or simply notify the user that they may have been exposed to extremist content. Screenshots of both circulated on Thursday.

        According to Reuters, Facebook said the small test, which is being conducted in the U.S. on its main platform, was a pilot that would ultimately be used globally to prevent extremism on Facebook.

      • Facebook, Google, TikTok, and Twitter collaborate with Web Foundation to end abuse and violence against women on their platforms

        Facebook, Google, TikTok, and Twitter—four of the world’s biggest tech platforms—have collaborated with the Web Foundation to adopt a set of commitments to address online abuse and improve women’s safety on their platforms.

        Announced at the UN Generation Equality Forum in Paris where global leaders are meeting to advance women’s rights, these commitments are a critical step forward in tackling widespread online abuse that affects millions of women around the world and poses a growing threat to progress on gender equality.

      • US, Britain Warn of Russian ‘Brute Force’ Cyber Campaign

        The United States and Britain are sounding another alarm about Russian activity in cyberspace, accusing the Kremlin of repeatedly trying to smash its way into the critical systems of government agencies, defense contractors, universities and even political parties. 

        A joint advisory Thursday from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and Britain’s National Cyber Security Center said Russian military intelligence, the GRU, has been carrying out a “brute force” campaign since 2019 — getting hold of credentials, such as email logins, and then repeatedly guessing passwords until the hackers can gain entry. 

      • War Criminal Found Dead at 88

        Unlike the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, Afghans, and so many others killed in the wars he launched and in the torture cells he oversaw, Donald Rumsfeld died peacefully.


        Two weeks into the war, Rumsfeld’s press office grudgingly acknowledged that US bombers had indeed dropped cluster bombs, a now-illegal form of weapons, on the village of Shaker Qala, near Herat in western Afghanistan. The bombs killed nine civilians and injured another 14. But Rumsfeld’s office had a bigger problem than that. The cluster bombs were wrapped in bright yellow tape. And at the exact same time, Pentagon planes were dropping food packets for desperate Afghan refugees that were covered with identical bright yellow wrappings. Any famished child running to pick up what looked like a food packet ran a good chance of being blown up by a US cluster bomb. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard Myers, standing alongside Rumsfeld at a press conference, admitted that civilians might confuse the two, but said the United States had no intention of suspending the use of cluster bombs.

      • Donald Rumsfeld, Rot in Hell

        During this time, Nixon can be heard on his White House tapes referring to Donald Rumsfeld as a “ruthless little bastard.” It’s worth taking a beat to think about what sort of person would earn that kind of admiration from Nixon, a man who illegally conspired against his domestic political enemies and oversaw genocidal levels of deaths in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

      • How Rumsfeld Deserves to Be Remembered

        Rumsfeld was the worst secretary of defense in American history. Being newly dead shouldn’t spare him this distinction. He was worse than the closest contender, Robert McNamara, and that is not a competition to judge lightly. McNamara’s folly was that of a whole generation of Cold Warriors who believed that Indochina was a vital front in the struggle against communism. His growing realization that the Vietnam War was an unwinnable waste made him more insightful than some of his peers; his decision to keep this realization from the American public made him an unforgivable coward. But Rumsfeld was the chief advocate of every disaster in the years after September 11. Wherever the United States government contemplated a wrong turn, Rumsfeld was there first with his hard smile—squinting, mocking the cautious, shoving his country deeper into a hole. His fatal judgment was equaled only by his absolute self-assurance. He lacked the courage to doubt himself. He lacked the wisdom to change his mind.

      • Donald Rumsfeld, Former Defense Secretary and Accused War Criminal, Dead at 88

        According to the Atlantic, he spent part of the Reagan years working clandestine presidential security programs with Dick Cheney, another stalwart Republican power broker, who would join him in the White House when George W. Bush took office. Following the September 11 attacks, defense secretary Rumsfeld became one of the primary architects of the U.S. invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

      • New York City Absolutely Botched Its Futuristic Voting System

        It turns out that the board erroneously counted an extra 135,000 votes that didn’t actually exist — an error that can easily be corrected, but which the NYT notes may lead the public to doubt the sanctity of the new election style down the road.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Victory! Federal Court Halts Florida’s Censorious Social Media Law Privileging Politicians’ Speech Over Everyday Users

        The Florida law, S.B. 7072, prohibited large online intermediaries—save for those that also happened to own a theme park in the state—from terminating politicians’ accounts or taking steps to de-prioritize their posts, regardless of whether it would have otherwise violated the sites’ own content policies. The law also prevented services from moderating posts by anyone who qualified as “journalistic enterprise” under the statute, which was so broadly defined as to include popular YouTube and Twitch streamers.

        EFF and Protect Democracy filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, NetChoice v. Moody, arguing that although online services frequently make mistakes in moderating users’ content, disproportionately harming marginalized voices, the Florida statute violated the First Amendment rights of platforms and other internet users. Our brief pointed out that the law would only have “exacerbate[ed] existing power disparities between certain speakers and average internet users, while also creating speaker-based distinctions that are anathema to the First Amendment.”

        In granting a preliminary injunction barring Florida officials from enforcing the law, the court agreed with several arguments EFF made in its brief. As EFF argued, the “law itself is internally inconsistent in that it requires ‘consistent’ treatment of all users, yet by its own terms sets out two categories of users for inconsistent special treatment.”

      • Bollywood: Filmmakers cry foul over censorship proposals

        Filmmakers fear that the new rules proposed by the Narendra Modi-led BJP government will make the process even more stifling.

        Known as the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2021, the proposed new rules will give the federal government certain “revisionary powers”.

        This means the government can revoke the certification of a film – based on viewer complaints – even if the censor board sees no problem with its content.

        The draft bill also has provisions to penalise piracy with a jail term and fine. It also seeks to introduce age-based categorisation of films.

      • US Censorship Is Increasingly Official

        Decrying the state of press freedoms in official enemy states is a favorite pastime of corporate media (FAIR.org, 11/1/06, 5/20/19, 10/20/19). It is a point of pride in the US that freedom of speech is written into the Constitution. Increasingly, however, if we want to find direct government censorship of speech, we don’t have to travel far. NYT: Trump Targets Anti-Semitism and Israeli Boycotts on College Campuses

        Under President Donald Trump’s leadership, freedom of the press nosedived. Reporters working for foreign outlets like RT America were forced to register as “foreign agents,” under a 1938 law passed to counter Nazi propaganda. The channel was subsequently taken off the air in Washington, DC.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Turkey using press accreditation to pressure journalists

        Condemning the arbitrary manner in which the Turkish president’s office issues and renews press accreditation in order to put pressure on the media, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is spotlighting the cases of four journalists who are combatting this arbitrary practice in the courts.

      • Ecuadorean court orders trial of Swedish Internet activist, friend of Julian Assange

        A judge in Ecuador called on Tuesday to trial for the crime of “non-consensual computer access” the Swedish computer scientist Ola Bini, a friend of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, in a controversial process in which the defense of the accused denounces a “procedural fraud”.

        Judge Yadira Proaño, after a hearing that had been postponed on at least five previous occasions, called Bini to trial as “alleged perpetrator of the crime of non-consensual access to a computer, telematic or telecommunications system,” the Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement.

      • Quintin Jones Execution Condemned Over ‘Disturbing’ Failure to Bring In Media Witnesses

        Dunham said: “That is a matter of semantics. I would say it is a violation of the law because Texas prevented media, whom the law authorized to be present, from witnessing the execution. If no one from the media had been there to witness, despite being authorized to attend, it would not have been a violation. But they were there, and their attendance had been approved.”

        Media witnesses are “literally the public’s eyes and ears on the execution process,” Dunham added. “That Texas cares so little about transparency that it ‘forgot’ to let the media in and then no one on the execution team inside the witnessing rooms noticed that the media witnesses weren’t there exhibits a stunning disregard for public accountability.”

        Cassandra Stubbs, the director of the ACLU’s Capital Punishment Project, told Newsweek she was “profoundly disturbed” by what happened.

        The explanation offered by officials only raises more questions, Stubbs added.

      • Haitian journalist, activist killed in suspected revenge attacks in Haiti

        At least 15 people, including a journalist and an opposition activist, were killed in Haiti in overnight violence suspected to be revenge attacks after the death of a police officer, officials said Wednesday.

      • Former Apple Daily journalist arrested at airport while trying to leave Hong Kong

        Apple Daily, an unapologetic backer of Hong Kong’s democracy movement, put out its last edition on Thursday after its top leadership was arrested and its assets frozen under a national security law China imposed on Hong Kong last year.

        Fung Wai-kong, managing editor and chief opinion writer for the paper’s English website, on Sunday became the seventh senior Apple Daily figure detained under the law.

        Hong Kong police confirmed the arrest of a 57-year-old man at the airport for “conspiring to collude with foreign countries or foreign forces to endanger national security”.

      • The Supreme Court takes another bite out of the Voting Rights Act

        These norms add up to a legal landscape that dooms nearly every imaginable section 2 lawsuit. In a dissenting opinion laced with criticism at least as biting as her 2019 dissent in Rucho v Common Cause (in which the court ruled 5-4 that courts cannot constrain partisan gerrymandering), Justice Elena Kagan described the ruling as “tragic” for democracy and—in light of Justice Alito’s creative guideposts—a “law-free zone”. Along with Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor, who signed her dissent, Justice Kagan lamented that the majority in effect rewrote the Voting Rights Act, ignoring its explicit protections, to suit its own preferences. The court, she charged, “has damaged a statute designed to bring about ‘the end of discrimination in voting’”. It is difficult to think of a law “more vital in the current moment…[y]et in the last decade, this court has treated no statute worse”.

      • Cherokee Nation, Presidio develop platform to help preserve Cherokee language and culture

        Although composed of over 392,000 citizens across America, the Cherokee Nation faces hardships as their language and culture has eroded over the years.

        Dispossession, disease and the lack of education in school systems have all contributed to these difficulties, testing the Nation’s resiliency throughout the centuries. Two thousand fluent Cherokee speakers remain, and a growing chorus of voices are calling for help in preserving Cherokee language and culture.

      • Texas Urged to Stop Executions After Inmate Put to Death Without Media Witnesses

        The organization said it submitted a public records request to the TDCJ shortly after Jones’ execution seeking information about what went wrong. The ACLU said Texas officials responded twice—on June 16 and June 23—by “stonewalling” and refusing to disclose any information.

        On June 16, the agency’s director of legal affairs responded with a letter stating they had asked the state Attorney General to rule they are not required to produce the records. “TDCJ did not provide a single document or even a single sentence about the conclusions of its internal investigation,” the ACLU said.

        On June 23, the director of legal affairs sent the Attorney General a letter, again asserting that the records are confidential.

        Kumar said the organization has yet to receive any records in response to its request.

      • Turkey formally withdraws from treaty to prevent violence against women

        The Istanbul Convention, negotiated in Turkey’s biggest city and signed in 2011, committed its signatories to prevent and prosecute domestic violence and promote equality.

        Ankara’s withdrawal triggered condemnation from both the United States and the European Union, and critics say it puts Turkey even further out of step with the bloc that it applied to join in 1987.

        Femicide has surged in Turkey, with one monitoring group logging roughly one per day in the last five years.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Nominations Open for 2021 Barlows!

        What does it take to be a Barlow winner? Nominees must have contributed substantially to the health, growth, accessibility, or freedom of computer-based communications. Their contributions may be technical, social, legal, academic, economic or cultural. This year’s winners will join an esteemed group of past award winners that includes the visionary activist Aaron Swartz, global human rights and security researchers The Citizen Lab, open-source pioneer Limor “Ladyada” Fried, and whistle-blower Chelsea Manning, among many remarkable journalists, entrepreneurs, public interest attorneys, and others.

        The Pioneer Award Ceremony depends on the generous support of individuals and companies with passion for digital civil liberties. To learn about how you can sponsor the Pioneer Award Ceremony, please email nicole@eff.org.

        Remember, nominations close on July 15th at noon, 12:00 PM Pacific time! After you nominate your favorite contenders, we hope you will consider joining our virtual event this fall to celebrate the work of the 2020 winners. If you have any questions or if you’d like to receive updates about the event, please email events@eff.org.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Municipal Broadband Advocates Win Major Victory in Ohio

        Municipal broadband advocates in Ohio realized a major victory today when a bipartisan House and Senate conference committee released the final version of their state budget plan that added $250 million to expand broadband access in the Buckeye State and removed the anonymous budget amendment that would have effectively banned municipal broadband networks if passed into law.

      • Ohio lawmakers pass budget with tax cuts and new school funding formula

        Ohio lawmakers sent the bipartisan budget to Gov. Mike DeWine Monday evening following an 82-13 vote in the Ohio House and 32-1 vote in the Ohio Senate. Sen. Teresa Fedor, D-Toledo was the sole “no” vote in that chamber. DeWine has a deadline: He must sign the bill before Thursday.

        Here are some of the big changes that Ohio lawmakers made.

    • Monopolies

      • Facebook Launches Substack Newsletter Rival, Won’t Take Cut of Pay

        The newsletter platform, which is competing with Substack, launched on Tuesday with a stable of writers that includes Malcolm Gladwell, Tan France, Jessica Yellin, Jane Wells, Erin Andrews and Dorie Greenspan. Bulletin writers will own all their content and email subscriber lists, and Facebook will not be taking a cut from any of their subscription revenue, which are processed via Facebook Pay.

      • Is Facebook untouchable? It’s complicated

        Facebook won a major battle against government regulators this week, but the war isn’t over.

        The social media giant’s victory over the Federal Trade Commission in a U.S. district court portends an uphill battle for the government’s efforts to rein in the power of Big Tech. But it is also fueling calls for new legislation that could give regulators greater leverage down the road.

        So while Facebook executives had reason to celebrate this week’s ruling — the decision sent the company’s value north of $1 trillion, eliciting congratulatory texts and calls among executives, according to three people familiar with the conversations — there’s also reason not to celebrate too loudly.

      • Microsoft, Google get ready for new battle after ending their 5-year cease-fire

        Microsoft and Google have decided to stop playing nice. The two tech giants recently ended a years-long truce during which they agreed not to aim their substantial lobbying firepower against each other. With regulators around the world threatening to impose limits on the power of the biggest technology companies, the two rivals — which compete in web search, cloud computing and artificial intelligence — are now free to step up behind-the-scenes lobbying efforts and public complaints against one another. The old non-aggression pact, forged at the time by two new CEOs wanting a fresh start on a formerly acrimonious relationship, had already been fraying before it lapsed in April. The companies feuded publicly over a proposal to force Google to pay news publishers for content and squabbled more quietly over technology for selling search ads. Neither company is eager to extend or renew the alliance, according to people familiar with each companies’ thinking, who weren’t authorized to discuss confidential relationships.

      • Here’s an alternative to Chrome on Chromebooks

        Chrome OS is built around the Chrome browser. So it seems logical to use Chrome as a browser. But Chrome OS is built on Linux, which is part of the GNU/Linux family and more specifically Gentoo. So we can install Linux software as well as Android apps through Play Store.

        So it was already possible to use alternative web browsers on Chromebooks, but they were not adapted to the system. So you cannot use keyboard shortcuts or some other operating system functions. In fact, Opera has just adapted its web browser to Chrome OS, so it’s a serious alternative to Chrome.

      • Patents

        • SCOTUS imposes new limits on assignor estoppel

          In a five to four ruling, the US Supreme Court upheld the doctrine of assignor estoppel but said it could only be used in certain instances

        • Patent case: T 1148/15, EPO [Ed: Every board of appeal of the EPO lacks independence, so this case may be moot]

          A board of appeal of the EPO held that for the problem-solution approach to inventive step the requirement of the same “purpose or effect” in the criteria for selecting the closest prior art for a claim refers to the purpose or effect of the claimed subject-matter as a whole, not just of its distinguishing feature(s). Teaching away does not exclude use of a publication as closest prior art. Nor is a teaching towards the distinguishing feature(s) necessary to qualify as the closest prior art. The problem has to be determined after selection of the closest prior art.

        • Bald-Faced Attempt to Manipulate Venue Rejected

          The Federal Circuit has again granted mandamus and ordered Judge Albright to transfer two cases case out of his W.D.Tex. court to a more convenient forum (N.D.Cal.).

          The underlying actions were filed by a patent holding company known as Ikorongo Texas LLC against Samsung and LG Electronics. As explained below, the owners of Ikorongo Texas formed the company as an attempt to solidify venue in W.D.Texas and avoid the case being transferred for inconvenient forum.


          28 U.S.C. § 1359. Although also statutory, diversity jurisdiction has an express constitutional basis whereas convenient-forum is entirely statutory. That distinction has historically offered courts to – at times – distinguish between the two in their analysis and interpretation. The opinion does not delve into why the linkage is appropriate here.

        • FOSS Patents: Don’t mess with the Western District of Texas: Judge Albright’s strictness in fracking patent case may be justified by egregious misconduct

          Over the last couple of years, two courts have emerged as the world’s patent litigation hotspots–the places to be if you’re a plaintiff, and the places to watch regardless of whether you assert or defend against patent: the Waco division of the Western District of Texas, where Judge Alan Albright now gets about 20% of all U.S. patent infringement complaints, and the Munich I Regional Court, which will add a third patent litigation division next month. I don’t mean to downplay the significance of other venues. In particular, the Eastern District of Texas continues to be pretty significant; proceedings before the U.S. International Trade Commission often drive settlements; and in Germany, the Mannheim Regional Court (once dubbed “the Eastern District of Mannheim”) has a lot in common with the Munich court.

          Through the Expose Patent Trolls newsletter, my attention has been drawn to an oil industry case–pretty remote from what I’m normally interested in. Expose Patent Trolls pointed to a recent JD Supra article entitled West Texas plaintiff-friendly patent decisions keep coming, discussing a “death-penalty sanction” ruling in Performance Chemical v. True Chemical (or just Performance Chemical v. TrueChem) that “may further help fuel the rush of patent plaintiffs to the Western District of Texas, a district quickly gaining in popularity for its plaintiff-friendly discovery rules.” Of course, “death penalty” is figurative in this context, just in case anyone was wondering. What happened is that Judge Alan Albright of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas vacated a trial date after identifying extensive discovery misconduct on the defendant’s part, and entered a preliminary injunction and a ruling on the merits, leaving only damages to be determined by a jury (or by another court order, which is what the plaintiff would prefer).

        • At a glance: automotive industry disputes in Spain[Ed: Well, this aggressive firm is just trying to MONETISE them (litigation)]

          This article looks at the major issues subject to disputes in the automotive industry in Spain and how to navigate them.

        • Rob Merges Guest Post: Who Gives a Hoot About Minerva? The Patent Act and the Common Law of Patents

          In the immediate, practical sense, the Minerva opinion registers like the mildest tremor on the landscape of patent law. With a few tweaks of the standard patent assignment agreement, and putting aside the potential that the Federal Circuit will bollix up the follow-through, the opinion changed very little.

          But, sometimes, a ripple on the surface denotes more dramatic movement in the deep crust. So it may be with this prosaic little case of assignor estoppel. Justice Barrett’s dissent signals a potentially radical reappraisal of the many common law rules that supplement, permeate and modify the body of operational U.S. patent law. If the signals are portents, then many settled doctrines of patent law – and other fields of IP law as well – have been quietly but surely put into play.


          The holding in Minerva Surgical, Inc. v. Hologic, Inc., No. 20-440, 2021 WL 2653265 (U.S. June 29, 2021) is that assignor estoppel survives. It has, one might argue, a slightly slimmer profile than in the strongest form of the doctrine, which, borrowing from “warranty of title” principles in real property, is that an assignor is estopped from attacking any patent on an assigned invention. In Minerva, the Court returned the doctrine to its equitable roots. From now, only some assignments give rise to estoppel: only those that include an implicit or explicit representation that the inventor believes the assigned (and claimed) invention to be valid. As put by Justice Kagan: “The doctrine applies when, but only when, the assignor’s claim of invalidity contradicts explicit or implicit representations he made in assigning the patent.” Minerva Surgical, Inc. v. Hologic, Inc., No. 20-440, 2021 WL 2653265, at *3 (U.S. June 29, 2021). The idea is that, to be estopped from making a statement (“this patent is invalid”), one must be on record as having made a prior, contradictory, statement (“I believe this patent to be valid”). A simple assignment – “I assign my rights to you” – is presumably not enough to show such a representation. Something more is needed now.

        • Software Patents

          • SparkFun Hooks a Patent Troll

            So what does Al want? If patent 6289434 is to be found legitimate (which it is not), they want royalties. Now, there is something to be said here about what I call the “American Patent Dream.” It goes something like this:

            1. I come up with a half baked idea and used some word salad no one has used before.

            2. I patent that idea.

            3. I never have to lift a finger and just enjoy cashing my royalty checks from the beach.

            You can see the flaws. I am a big believer in Open Source Hardware, but I do not believe that the entire patent system is trash. If SparkFun was infringing on actual IP, from a company that was actually building something, I would work very hard to not step on their toes. Al is not building anything. They just want to sit on their beach in Texas.

      • Copyrights

        • Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” Reaches 1 Billion Streams on Spotify

          It’s no surprise that “Smells Like Teen Spirit” has joined the one billion club, given its generation-defining sound. Kurt Cobain memorabilia continues to sell for thousands of dollars for the mundane. A used pizza plate he wrote a setlist on sold for more than $10,000 recently.

        • Watch a police officer admit to playing Taylor Swift to keep a video off YouTube

          A confrontation Tuesday between a police sergeant and member of the public didn’t start out unusually. James Burch, policy director of the Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP), was standing outside the Alameda Courthouse in Oakland, California when an officer approached him and asked him to move a banner. As the two argued, the sergeant noticed he was being filmed. Then, he pulled out his phone and started playing “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift — in an apparent play to exploit copyright takedowns and keep the video off social media.

          “You can record all you want,” he said, according to a video obtained by The Verge. “I just know it can’t be posted to YouTube.”

          Bystanders have a First Amendment right to record police, but police officers have allegedly tried to exploit copyright law to prevent people from sharing those videos, playing music that could trigger a takedown notice. While playing music in the background of a video isn’t necessarily against YouTube’s rules, it can set off the company’s automatic takedown system.

        • Copyright and Satoshi’s Legacy: The Tatiana Show, with Tatiana Moroz

          On June 29, 2021, a UK court found that Australian computer scientist Craig Wright is the proper copyright owner of the Bitcoin Whitepaper, awarding initial damages in excess of $48,000 to Wright and demanding that Bitcoin.org remove the Whitepaper from its site. Guest Stephan Kinsella of the Open Crypto Alliance joins Tatiana today to talk about the decision and why it reveals all the most troubling problems with the government-run patent, trademark & copyright system.

        • RIAA and Rightscorp Defeat RCN’s Claims of “Fraudulent” Piracy Notices

          The RIAA and its anti-piracy partner Rightscorp have won a legal battle over allegedly ‘fraudulent’ piracy notices. A New Jersey federal court dismissed the complaint of Internet provider RCN, which failed to show that it was financially hurt as a direct result of any incorrect notices sent. The case is not completely over yet, however.

        • OMI IN A HELLCAT: Indictment For Gears Reloaded IPTV Imminent

          Omar Carrasquillo, aka OMI IN A HELLCAT, says he’s about to be indicted for offenses related to his pirate IPTV service Gears Reloaded. Carrasquillo was raided in November 2019 by FBI and IRS agents, who seized millions in cash and a fleet of luxury cars. The Gears founder says he’s expecting to be charged with tax evasion and money laundering offenses in a matter of weeks.

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    Links for the day

  9. The Corporate Cabal (and Spy Agencies-Enabled Monopolies) Engages in Raiding of the Free Software Community and Hacker Culture

    In an overt attack on the people who actually did all the work — the geeks who built excellent software to be gradually privatised through the Linux Foundation (a sort of price-fixing and openwashing cartel for shared interests of proprietary software firms) — is receiving more widespread condemnation; even the OSI has been bribed to become a part-time Microsoft outsourcer as organisations are easier to corrupt than communities

  10. EPO's Web Site Constantly Spammed by Lies About Privacy While EPO Breaks the Law and Outsources Data to the United States

    The António Campinos-led EPO works for imperialism, it not only protects the rich; sadly, António’s father isn’t alive anymore and surely he would blast his son for doing what he does to progress his career while lying to staff and European citizens

  11. Links 16/1/2022: Tsunami and Patents

    Links for the day

  12. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 15, 2022

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 15, 2022

  13. Links 16/1/2022: Year of the GNU/Linux Desktop and Catch-up With Patent Misinformation

    Links for the day

  14. Patrick Breyer, Unlike Most German Politicians, Highlights the Fact That Unified Patent Court (UPC) and Unitary Patent Are Incompatible With EU Law

    A longtime critic of EPO abuses (under both Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos leadership), as well as a vocal critic of software patents, steps in to point out the very obvious

  15. Links 15/1/2022: Flameshot 11.0 and Libvirt 8.0

    Links for the day

  16. Blogging and Microblogging in Geminispace With Gemini Protocol

    Writing one’s thoughts and other things in Geminispace — even without setting up a Gemini server — is totally possible; gateways and services do exist for this purpose

  17. Links 15/1/2022: Raspberry Pi in Business

    Links for the day

  18. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 14, 2022

    IRC logs for Friday, January 14, 2022

  19. Gemini Clients: Comparing Moonlander, Telescope, Amfora, Kristall, and Lagrange (Newer and Older)

    There are many independent implementations of clients (similar to Web browsers) that deal with Gemini protocol and today we compare them visually, using Techrights as a test case/capsule

  20. 2022 Starts With Censorship of Christmas and Other Greetings at the EPO

    The nihilists who run the EPO want a monopoly on holiday greetings; to make matters worse, they’re censoring staff representatives in their intranet whilst inconsistently applying said policies

  21. Links 14/1/2022: FFmpeg 5.0 and Wine 7.0 RC6

    Links for the day

  22. White House Asking Proprietary Software Companies That Add NSA Back Doors About Their Views on 'Open Source' Security

    The US government wants us to think that in order to tackle security issues we need to reach out to the collective 'wisdom' of the very culprits who created the security mess in the first place (even by intention, for imperialistic objectives)

  23. Links 14/1/2022: EasyOS 3.2.1 and Qt 6.3 Alpha

    Links for the day

  24. Scientific Excellence and the Debian Social Contract

    The Debian Project turns 30 next year; in spite of it being so ubiquitous (most of the important distros of GNU/Linux are based on Debian) it is suffering growing pains and some of that boils down to corporate cash and toxic, deeply divisive politics

  25. Links 14/1/2022: openSUSE Leap 15.2 EoL, VFX Designers Are Using GNU/Linux

    Links for the day

  26. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 13, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 13, 2022

  27. 2022 Commences With Microsoft-Themed (and Microsoft-Connected) FUD Against GNU/Linux

    A psychopathic Microsoft, aided by operatives inside the mainstream and so-called 'tech' media, keeps spreading old and invalid stigma about "Linux" and Free software; few people still bother responding to these fact-free FUD campaigns, which boil down to ‘perception management’ PR/propaganda

  28. Between January 2021 and January 2022 the Number of Active Gemini Capsules Nearly Quadrupled Based on Publicly-Available Catalogue of Capsules

    Geminispace has grown to about 2,000 known capsules and 1,600 of them are active, permanently online, fully accessible; in January last year these numbers were about 4 times smaller

  29. Links 13/1/2022: NetworkManager 1.34 and Everett 3.0.0

    Links for the day

  30. Links 13/1/2022: Sparky 5.16, Fwupd 1.7.4, and KDE Plasma 5.24 Beta Released

    Links for the day

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