Links 3/7/2021: Wine 6.12, Darktable 3.6.0, and Texinfo 6.8

Posted in News Roundup at 1:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • OpenZFS 2.1 Released With dRAID, Compatibility Property, Better Performance

        Shipping now as the successor to last November’s big OpenZFS 2.0 release is OpenZFS 2.1 as quite a worthy follow-on release.

        OpenZFS 2.1 introduces Distributed Spare RAID (dRAID) to allow creating pools using a distributed variant of RAIDZ for faster resilver times using integrated hot spares. The dRAID implementation allows for full redundancy to be restored in a “fraction of the time” normally required when carrying out a full disk replacement.

        On the performance front OpenZFS 2.1 now scales worker threads with core counts, better handling during interactive I/O, optimized prefetch for parallel workloads, lower pool import times, reduced fragmentation from ZIL blocks, better memory management, and the kernel module will even load faster.

      • XFS Sees A Lot Of Cleanups For Linux 5.14 – Phoronix

        The XFS file-system continues seeing a lot of work cleaning up the kernel driver code as well as some minor feature improvements heading into Linux 5.14.

        XFS for Linux 5.14 isn’t the most exciting but worth mentioning are reduced cache flushes when writing to the log and a “substantial” number of log recovery fixes. Most of the work this cycle for XFS though has been focused on code clean-ups and refactoring. There are also a number of bug fixes.

      • CXL Bring-Up Continues – More Infrastructure For Linux 5.14, “More Meat” For Linux 5.15 – Phoronix

        Intel open-source engineers continue working on the bring-up around Compute Express Link (CXL) as the new open standard interconnect built off PCIe aiming to empower next-generation servers.

        Earlier this year with Linux 5.12 the initial Compute Express Link 2.0 support was published with an initial focus on enabling VXL 2.0 Type-3 Memory Device support. That CXL kernel infrastructure work has continued since and still led by Intel engineers.

        With Linux 5.14 is another batch of infrastructure work around Compute Express Link that is mostly about the fundamentals and not too exciting for end-users. However, with Linux 5.15 there should be “more meat” around the CXL device support landing.

      • Linux 5.14 POWERs Up The Microwatt Soft CPU Core – Phoronix

        The POWER architecture updates have been submitted for the ongoing Linux 5.14 merge window with a few changes worth pointing out this round.

        First up, Linux 5.14 adds support for the OpenPOWER Microwatt soft CPU core. This is the OpenPOWER FPGA-based soft CPU design that is built on Power ISA 3.0 and the first open-source POWER design written from scratch. With Linux 5.14 there is preliminary support for the OpenPOWER Microwatt but not yet any SMP capabilities nor other advanced CPU capabilities.

    • Benchmarks

      • New/Updated Benchmarks For June From GravityMark To L4D2 Vulkan, Updated Neural Networks – Phoronix

        During the past month were a number of updated Phoronix Test Suite test profiles made available on OpenBenchmarking.org as part of our open-source cross-platform benchmarking framework.

        Among the test updates pushed out during June that are now available to Phoronix Test Suite users running on an active Internet connection:

        gravitymark – A new test profile this month is GravityMark as the new GPU benchmark from one of the former Unigine engine developers with OpenGL and Vulkan rendering support.

        unvanquished – Restored the Unvanquished test profile now that this open-source game is back to seeing new releases and has been adapted to work with the latest Unvanquished game release.

    • Applications

      • Ardour 6.8 Open-Source DAW Released with M4A Import Support, Many Improvements

        Ardour 6.8 comes about one a half months after Ardour 6.7 to introduce a bunch of much-needed new features to the already powerful digital audio workstation software. These include support for importing M4A audio files, a new configurable Remove Gaps track edit operation with adjustable threshold and leave parameters, as well as the ability to display low level metering of the DSP processing info in the Performance Meters window

      • Darktable 3.6 Open-Source RAW Image Editor Released with Many New Features

        Darktable 3.6 comes six months after the Darktable 3.4 release to fully revamp the import module to allow you to see image thumbnails before importing, introduce a new default demosaic algorithm called RCD, along with support for dual demosaic for combining RCD + VNG4 and AMaZE + VNG4 for bayer sensors.

        A new vector-scope is present as well in Darktable 3.6 to complement the current histogram, waveform and parade views, as well as a new Color Balance RGB module for all your color grading needs, and a new censorize module for hiding parts of the image by adding a blur or pixelization effect.

      • Darktable 3.6 Released For This Free Alternative To Adobe Lightroom

        Darktable 3.6 brings a full rework to its import module for vastly improving the import handling, a new default demosaic algorithm has been added for better quality, support for dual demosaic is also available, a new color balance RGB module for handling all color grading needs, a new censorize module to easily pixelate/blur portions of an image for censoring purposes, a new crop module, and a variety of other new/improved modules.

      • darktable 3.6.0 released

        We’re proud to announce the new feature release of darktable, 3.6.0!

      • Darktable 3.6.0 Released, How to Install in Ubuntu 20.04, 21.04

        Darktable, open-source raw photo development tool, released version 3.6.0 today with exciting new features! Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu via PPA.

        No version 3.5.x, Darktable goes directly to 3.6 release series. It introduced new “Import” module for easy multiple import tasks, thumbnail preview. And it is now used for importing from disk, card or camera in the same dialog.

      • Texinfo 6.8 released

        We have released version 6.8 of Texinfo, the GNU documentation format.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How To Install Redis on AlmaLinux 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Redis on AlmaLinux 8. For those of you who didn’t know, Redis is an open-source, in-memory, and persistent key-value database/store which stores data as key-value pairs and also doubles up as a message broker. Redis supports a wide array of data structures including sets, lists, hashes, strings, HyperLogLogs and so many more.

        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 Redis on an AlmaLinux 8. You can follow the same instructions for Rocky Linux.

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

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Bluefish Editor on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Bluefish Editor is a powerful editor targeted towards programmers and web designers. It supports working with local and remote files, syntax highlighting, and a WYSIWYG interface. The software supports a variety of programming and markup languages. It is supported on various major operating systems including Linux, Solaris, macOS, and Windows.

        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 the step-by-step installation of the Bluefish text editor for programming and web development on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian-based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • How To Use “Timeout” Command In Linux? – Linux Hint

        In Linux operating system, some processes run continuously, and to kill them after a certain amount of time a command-line utility called “timeout” is used.
        The “timeout” allows the user to execute a command and then terminate it after a set time has passed. In other words, “timeout” makes it easier to run a command for a certain amount of time. The “timeout” command is included in the GNU core utility kit, which comes standard with almost every Linux system.

        In the write-up, we will go through the fundamentals of this command with examples.

      • How to connect RDS with AWS IAM authentication
      • Ubuntu with VirtualBox, an Easy-to-Follow Installation Guide

        In this article we will give you an instruction with step-by-step screenshots to show you how to install Ubuntu as a guest OS on VirtualBox.

        VirtualBox is a free, open-source and cross-platform virtualization software that creates a virtual machine on top of your OS. This machine will have its own virtualized disk and access to a part of your system’s CPU and memory. When configuring a virtual machine, the user can specify how many CPU cores, and how much RAM and disk space should be devoted to the virtual machine.

        Before starting, you need to download the Ubuntu .ISO file you want to install from the Ubuntu download page. Once you have the .ISO file downloaded, you can proceed to install Ubuntu to a VirtualBox virtual machine.

      • How to try Linux without touching your Windows installation

        If you’re curious about what Linux looks like, but haven’t dared to test out for fear of jailbreaking your PC, fear not. It is possible to test Linux with a USB stick and a bit of digital grease.

        Do the scheduled end of Windows 10 and the very stringent compatibility terms of Windows 11 worry you about the future of your PC? Do you want to try Linux to see if it’s right for you, but are afraid to indulge in it?

        Good news, it is possible to install Linux on a USB key to create a small alternative operating system for you. All without breaking anything on your computer. Follow the guide!

        Before we get started, it’s helpful to remember the obvious: Linux is not Windows. You’ll find your favorite apps or equivalent without much of a problem, but you’ll have to agree to change your habits a bit and be patient to re-learn how your computer works.

      • Symmetric Vs. Asymmetric Key Ciphers – Linux Hint

        Information security is a very vital component for any organization or an individual having sensitive personal information. For a long time, people have been using different techniques to secure their assets from intruders or attackers. Cryptography is one method that tries to make the information unintelligible for unintended users and let only the legitimate recipient read it. Cryptographic techniques provide secure communication based on the principle of authentication, confidentiality, integrity, and non-repudiation. Symmetric and asymmetric encryption are two important methods of cryptography that are used to provide data security.

      • Brendan Gregg: How To Add eBPF Observability To Your Product

        There’s an arms race to add eBPF (BPF) to commercial observability products, and in this post I’ll describe how to quickly do that. This is also applicable for people adding it to their own in-house monitoring systems. People like to show me their BPF observability products after they have prototyped or built them, but I often wish I had given them advice before they started. As the leader of BPF observability, it’s advice I’ve been including in recent talks, and now I’m including it in this post. First, I know you’re busy. You might not even like BPF. To be pragmatic, I’ll describe how to spend the least effort to get the most value. Think of this as “version 1″: A starting point that’s pretty useful. Whether you follow this advice or not, at least please understand it to avoid later regrets and pain. ## 1. Run your first tool Start by installing the [bcc] or [bpftrace] tools. E.g., bcc on Ubuntu…

      • How To Install Gatsby on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Gatsby on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Gatsby is a React-based GraphQL powered static site generator. During build time Gatsby fetches all the data, renders the entire website into static HTML, CSS, JS files with the data available at that time. As it generates the static files, Gatsby applications can be deployed anywhere.

        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 the step-by-step installation of the Gatsby on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian-based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • MariaDB Galera Cluster Replication

        MariaDB Galera Cluster is a database clustering solution that lets you set up a virtually synchronous multi-primary cluster for the MariaDB database. Clustering is a technology that provides high availability to your database by distributing the changes among multiple database nodes. If one of the database nodes fails others are quickly available to continue serving.

      • How to install and use Rocky Linux Docker container – Linux Shout

        Docker is a platform that allows running virtual containers with different pre-configured images available on the Docker hub. Although the user can create its own app image to use in a container, however, Docker’s repository is vast, thus he/she would have most of the applications there. In the same way, the official developers of Rocky Linux also provide their Linux operating system container image on the Docker Hub. Let’ see how to access the same.

      • How to install VideoPad video editor on a Chromebook

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

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine 6.12
        The Wine development release 6.12 is now available.
        What's new in this release (see below for details):
          - Builtin "Blue" and "Classic Blue" themes.
          - More work towards WinSock PE conversion.
          - Beginnings of the NSI (Network Store Interface) implementation.
          - Support for 32/64-bit registry views in reg.exe.
          - Various bug fixes.
      • Wine 6.12 Released With More PE Conversion, New Themes

        In celebrating the US holiday weekend, Wine 6.12 has arrived for popping in enjoying the latest Windows games and applications on Linux.

        This routine bi-weekly Wine development release brings more portable executable (PE) conversion work, new built-in themes, the start of a Network Store Interface implementation, and more. Wine developers have begun fleshing out their NSI (nsi.dll) implementation for this user-mode implementation delivering network notifications to clients.

      • Wine 6.12 is out now with theme work, Network Store Interface beginnings

        As of this release a further 42 reported bugs were also solved. Some from previous releases, some being fixed just recently. These include improvements for: Joint Operations Typhoon Rising (a bug report from 2007!), The Bureau XCOM Declassified, Diablo 3, Dark Souls 3, The Evil Within, Elex, Alien: Isolation, Assassin’s Creed III, Heroes III, Rainbow Six Siege, Sid Meier’s Civilization VI, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and more.

    • Games

      • 10 Best Free Linux Chess Apps (Updated 2021)

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

        Chess has the virtue of being suitable for people of all ages. It has many positive attributes such as to help individuals develop their memory, improve and enhance their concentration, as well as 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.

        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.

      • Best Linux distros for gaming

        Windows is the standard for gaming on a PC, but many users are turned off by how Windows handles personal data and its closed-source nature. This dissatisfaction is where Linux comes into play. Linux operating systems are open-source and can be the primary operating system on a PC, dual-booted, or run in a virtual machine. However, most Linux distributions aren’t as optimized for gaming as Windows. Thankfully, there are some Linux distributions (distros) created explicitly for gaming. Retro gaming, couch gaming, and desktop gaming are all possible with the right Linux distro.

        This guide covers the best Linux distributions for gaming along with their features.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • This week in KDE: Gwenview and more

          Gwenview now uses a combobox to hold all of its zoom/size modes, which has freed up enough room on the bottom bar to add a background color chooser! This handy feature lets you quickly change the background color behind an image to be dark, light, somewhere in between, or follow the background color of your active color scheme. This can be useful if the active image looks better with a different background color and you want a quick way to change it.

        • KDE Ends June With Wayland Fixes, More Responsive Plasma With Faster SVG Handling

          KDE developers ended June with yet more Plasma Wayland fixes plus a number of other worthwhile fixes too.

          Some of the items tackled this week by the KDE crew include:

          - Skanlite now launches with the Plasma Wayland session. Skanlite is KDE’s image scanning software.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Georges Basile Stavracas Neto: Dark & light style selector in To Do

          There’s a lot to be done to make To Do actually useful. The inbox view is essentially useless as it is right now. It really needs more system-wide integration points. The week view could be more engaging and time-oriented than it currently is. I would like to add a command bar too, at some point.

          However, we haven’t seen new designs for some time now, and To Do is off from designers’ spotlight for many years now. If you’re design-oriented, we could really use your help!

    • Distributions

      • Top 8 Linux Distributions for Developers in 2021

        Linux OS is far more superior compared to Windows in terms security, customization, software updates and so on. Linux provides support for all major programming languages like C, C++, Java, Perl, Ruby and Python etc. Moreover, it provides access to a vast set of tools and utilities for programming purposes.

        Hence. When it comes to development, programmers prefer Linux OS than Windows as they can get the job done quickly. But the important question comes in mind that “Which Linux Distro is best for programming and development? ”

      • the three taps of doom

        A few years ago, I worked as the CTO of an advertising startup. At first, we used Skype for messaging amongst the employees, and then later, we switched to Slack. The main reason for switching to Slack was because they had an IRC gateway — you could connect to a Slack workspace with an IRC client, which allowed for the people who wanted to use IRC to do so, while providing a polished experience for those who were unfamiliar with IRC.

        the IRC gateway

        In the beginning, Slack had an IRC gateway. On May 15th, 2018, Slack discontinued the IRC gateway, beginning my descent into Cocytus. Prior to the shutdown of the IRC gateway, I had always interacted with the Slack workspace via IRC. This was replaced with the Slack mobile and desktop apps.

        The IRC gateway, however, was quite buggy, so it was probably good that they got rid of it. It did not comply with any reasonable IRC specifications, much less support anything from IRCv3, so the user experience was quite disappointing albeit serviceable.


        In the middle of 2018, I quit that job for various reasons. And as a result, I uninstalled Slack, and immediately felt much better. But every time I hear the Slack notification sound, I now get anxious as a result.

        The moral of this story is: if you use Slack, don’t use it for paging, and make sure your CEO doesn’t have access to the paging features. It will be a disaster. And if you’re running a FOSS project, consider not using Slack, as there are likely many technical people who avoid Slack due to their own experiences with it.

      • Can Windows 11 Influence Linux Distributions? [Ed: Ankush Das now compares actual operating systems to Microsoft vapourware or promises (or marketing slant on Vista 10]

        Windows 11 is making news for desktop consumers across the globe. Will it affect how Linux distributions approach desktop users?

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2021/26

          Dear Tumbleweed users and hackers,

          My week is a bit skewed this week: after having have systemd 248 in staging for what felt like an eternity, we could finally finish off the issues identified around it. This was some issues in yast, some regressions seen in systemd itself, and some adjacent issues exposed by sysuser-tools, where we needed to be sure to get the update order in a defined form. Of course, this is just my feeling: more has happened this week. After all, we published a total of 5 snapshots (0625, 0626, 0628, 0629, and 0701).

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • IBM President and former Red Hat boss Jim Whitehurst quits

          Former president and CEO of Red Hat, Jim Whitehurst, is quitting the biz less than two years after rocking up at Big Blue, the hard-pressed business claimed today.

          “Our hybrid cloud and AI strategy is strongly resonating with clients,” intoned CEO Arvind Krishna in a blog post. Maybe not so much for Whitehurst, it appears, as the ex-Red Hatter is stepping down with immediate effect, although he will remain on hand as a senior advisor to Krishna and his other generals.

          The CEO said Whitehurst had “played a pivotal role in the IBM and Red Hat integration” and was “instrumental in articulating IBM’s strategy” but alas “Jim has decided to step down”.

          The move comes more months after Whitehurst was named one of the big winners in the IBM pay award contest, trousering a compensation package worth a handsome $27.2m, including $1.1m in salary and $22.4m in stock awards, with an additional $1.5m in a non-equity incentive plan and $130,562 for all other compensation.

          Whitehurst was also to be paid up to $6m in a cash retention payment, and got the first installment in July 2020. The second was due this month and the third in July 2022. The payments were based on criteria including hitting financial targets. The Register has contacted IBM to find out if this retention payment will still be made, and will update if there is a response.

          Whitehurst was CEO of Red Hat when IBM chowed down on the Linux business for an eyewatering $34bn in 2018. He’d been with the company for more than 12 years and was succeeded as CEO by Red Hat veteran Paul Cormier in 2020. His tenure as IBM President has been considerably shorter.

        • Fedora Community Blog: Update: Nest with Fedora CfP & Registration Open

          Hi folks, here with another update on Nest with Fedora 2021. As I wrote about in my last post the CfP is open here until July 16th, but don’t wait, submit now! In other exciting news, registration for Nest is now open here. Make sure to remind your Fedora friends and pass the registration on in your Fedora channels.

          Due to constraints with the Hopin platform the dates of Nest with Fedora have been shortened by a day to August 5th-7th. One weekend day back? I am okay with that, since we see each other online all the time already and have many virtual conferences to attend these days. If we get a ton of amazing submissions to the CfP, I will work on scheduling some workshops and hackfests on a fourth day.

        • Google’s Fuchsia OS is getting a new logo

          A new trademark filing reveals that Google’s recently released Fuchsia OS is getting a new yet still familiar-looking logo.

          As Google’s larger projects evolve, their logos will often steadily evolve, too. For example, despite having the same basic design, the difference between the original logo for Chrome and the logo we have today is night and day. More recently, Android also got a logo redesign, changing the shade of green, among other things.

          For as long as the project has been visible to the public, Fuchsia has used the same logo, consisting of a lopsided figure eight with another circle surrounding the larger portion. While charming in its simplicity, the logo doesn’t exactly fit in with Google’s other public projects.

      • Debian Family

        • GNOME 40.2 on Debian / Ubuntu – JHBuild GNOME Latest

          Official GNOME 40 for Debian and Ubuntu is coming. This is guide howto build GNOME 40.2 now and run it as your desktop environment. This is actually a bit more than just building exact GNOME 40 Desktop, this is your Swiss Army Knife to build latest GNOME packages when you want and survival pack to help you live on bleeding edge. GNOME 40 is, of course, a major release, but also all minor releases GNOME 40.1 / 40.2 / 40.3 / 40.4 / 40.5 / 40.6. brings something new. Also GNOME 41 is coming in October 2021 https://wiki.gnome.org/FortyOne.

          If you are ‘one-click man’, ‘looking always easiest way to do something’ and ‘wonder why I have to do something more than just click somewhere to get something’, then this is definitely not for you. Even if all the planets are in just the right position, this will still take a while and this is so much complicated than one click. You maybe will see errors and you might have to learn something new, but if you still want to run latest and greatest GNOME on Debian or Ubuntu, then this guide is for you.

        • Ben Hutchings: Debian LTS work, June 2021

          In June I was assigned 14 hours of work by Freexian’s Debian LTS initiative and carried over 2 hours from earlier months. I worked 13.25 hours and will carry over the remainder.

          I finished bringing the linux (Linux 4.9) package up to date, uploaded it, and issued DLA-2689-1.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Heroic Games Launcher 1.8.0 ‘Arlong’ is out now and goes multi-platform

        Not only does the alternative open source Epic Games Store client Heroic Games Launcher have a new release out with 1.8.0 ‘Arlong’ it’s also gone multi-platform. With support expanding from Linux onto Windows and MacOS, this is now available to even more players.

        In addition to the extra platforms it also brings in some new features, some of which really do improve the way Heroic works overall.

      • IT Heads Wary Big Tech Will Taint Trust in Open Source: Report

        A global study of IT business leaders praised the growing merits of open-source software amid concerns that big tech supporters could undermine its open qualities and collaboration.

        Perhaps one of the main takeaways is the optimism IT execs (82 percent) feel about the future of open source. But that praise comes with a dire warning. Three-quarters (76 percent) of IT workers cited the involvement of big tech players in open source could erode confidence and trust in the open-source community.

        Open-source infrastructure and application delivery vendor Suse, the company behind one of the oldest Linux distributions, on June 14 released the results of its open-source report. Suse CEO Melissa Di Donato the same day released an open letter to the world’s business leaders seeking their adoption of open source to spur more innovation and productivity.

        The Suse study cataloged responses of 800 IT professionals in companies with at least 250 employees across a range of industry sectors. Researchers interviewed respondents in March/April this year.

        Key findings from the research indicate that IT leaders (76 percent) are under even more pressure to deliver tangible outcomes for the business than last year. It showed security and remote access infrastructure concerns high on the list of challenges. In fact, non-stop IT and infrastructure have become more important than ever, according to the report.

        “It’s no surprise that today’s IT leaders are facing more pressure than ever to deliver outcomes to their respective businesses than in 2020. One of the many findings from our research report showed that the opportunity to overcome these pressures is by simplifying how the business is run. And to do so, many leaders have turned to open source to help accelerate their initiatives,” Brent Schroeder, Global CTO for Suse, told LinuxInsider.

      • Google releases new open-source security software program: Scorecards
      • Google’s Scorecards V2 Offers Improved Security Checks

        Google, in collaboration with the Open Source Security Foundation community, has launched an updated version of Scorecards —— its automated security tool that produces a “risk score” for open source projects. The new version features improved security checks, following the Know, Prevent, Fix framework proposed by Google earlier this year, to make the data easily accessible for analysis.

      • Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web NFT fetches $5.4m at auction while rest of us gaze upon source code for $0

        The auction of Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s source code for the World Wide Web as a cryptographically backed Non-Fungible Token (NFT) has concluded, with the web daddy pocketing $5,434,500 for something already public.

        Sir Tim is widely recognised as the inventor of the modern web, having proposed the melding of Hypertext with the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Domain Name System (DNS) in 1989. The late nights he spent hacking away on a NeXTcube workstation at CERN brought about the first web server, web browser, and website – and both the core concept and underlying source code were given away freely.

        That latter point is, perhaps, why eyebrows were raised when Sir Tim announced he was to sell off that very same source code as an NFT – an offshoot of the cryptocurrency craze in which simple hyperlinks to hosted content are cryptographically signed and assigned to an “owner” who receives, as The Register put it, “bragging rights for stuff that’s public.”

        Yesterday, Sir Tim’s NFT was successfully auctioned at Sotheby’s to an anonymous bidder who paid nearly $5.5m for the privilege – which sounds like a lot, until you hear that rival auction house Christie’s recently sold a single JPEG image created by the artist Beeple for a somewhat heftier $69.3m.

      • Identify flowers and trees with this open source mobile app

        Where I live, there are lots of trails and roads lined with flowers and trees. My community is famous for its annual maple festival, and maple trees are easy for me to identify. However, there are many other trees I cannot identify by name. Flowers are the same: dandelions are easy to spot, but I don’t know the names of the wildflowers that line my walking path.

        Recently my wife told me about PlantNet, a mobile application that can identify these flowers and trees. It’s available on iOS and Android, and it’s free, so I decided to try it out.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • Italy’s stock exchange shares its Postgres success story

          It wasn’t long ago that chief information officers from large organizations would ignore any ideas of implementing open-source software — they believed it wasn’t right for their businesses, and using it in sensitive industries like finance, trading or healthcare was entirely out of the question, according to Roberto Giordano (pictured), end-user computing, corporate and database services manager at Borsa Italiana Group, Italy’s only stock market exchange.

          But now, this fear based-idea is slowly changing. CIOs are realizing the potential behind open-source solutions. Aside from their innovation possibilities, open-source solutions are safe, scalable and some are even built for regulatory compliance. Plus, open-source software may also be offered via paid “premium” alternatives where they provide the extra support and added capabilities that industries require.

      • FSF

        • Licensing/Legal

          • New Estonian law requires administration to make state-owned software publicly available

            Estonia is known for its tech-savvy government, regularly topping international indicators, such as the European Commission’s DESI Index for Digital Public Services. The Estonian government states that “99% of governmental services are online” and “70% of citizens use their ID-card regularly” for digital government services. The infrastructure software enabling many of these services, X-Road, is already open source software, but recently the Estonian government decided to make all government software publicly available.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Data

          • Dataset with cases of Artificial Intelligence usage in the public sector available as Open data

            The dataset contains a list of selected cases, taken from the public sector institutions in Europe, on adopting and implementing AI. The cases have been collected within the AI Watch for the public sector initiative, from a series of activities (surveys, workshops, interviews, desk research on the web), to understand the type of AI solutions available in governments. The list must not be considered a complete and systematic inventory of current AI solutions in Europe but can still be used to find some examples of adoption and implementation of AI in governments in Europe. The update of the list is an ongoing work and its content will be continuously updated at least till the end of 2021.

      • Programming/Development

        • Benjamin Weber: Uncovering Better Ways

          How many better ways of working have you uncovered lately?

          This past year a lot of people have been forced into an unplanned and unwanted experiment. Many teams have had to figure out how to work in a remote-first way for the first time.

          I was privileged to be working in a team that was already distributed, making the transition for us easier than many found it. But adapting to work without office equipment was still new.

          Going without the offices that we were used to was uncomfortable in many ways. It was particularly difficult for those not privileged enough to have good working environments at home.

          While nobody would wish the challenges of the past year upon anyone, disruption to the way we were used to working, helped us uncover some better ways. Nothing groundbreaking. But some things were driven home.

          Like how much easier video discussions are when everyone is fully visible, at the same size on the screen, and close-mic’ed. Better than the hybrid experience when part of the team are using a conference room with shared microphone and camera.


          Make it the default to revert to the previous ways of working. Normalise trying things you don’t expect to work, and reverting. Celebrate learning that something is not right for you. If every experiment becomes a permanent change for your team, then you’re not really experimenting you’re just changing.

          Be bold enough to try things that probably won’t work. You might uncover new insights into your team, your colleagues, and what brings you joy and success at work.

        • The Siren Song of the ‘User’ Model

          Here’s how that often manifests: 60% of the way through the development process, the designers discover that they pictured a different ‘user’ than the product team did. When this happens, the engineers usually have to undo/redo a ton of work. Engineers hate this, so it creates a churn risk. You think you haven’t seen it, eh? What you don’t realize is that every time an engineer got a new job because they “didn’t see a product vision” or “wanted to sink their teeth into a well-defined problem”, this likely happened. I wish I were kidding.

          Are people on this app to listen to the radio? Then they’re listening, not “using.” Are they on here to talk to their friends? Then they’re socializing, not “using.” Are they on here to find affordable vegetables that they can purchase within walking distance because they don’t have access to a car or the means to replace a bike if it gets stolen? Once again, there are much better ways to describe these people than ‘user.’ Figure out what people are supposed to be doing here and why they care about doing that, and refer to them like you know this information.

        • How To Use Environment Variables in Node.js – TecAdmin

          Instead of defining the variables directly, you can use Environmental variables in node.js. You can use the Environmental variable anytime when you want to change the value depending on the environment. There are various use cases here.

          If you start using the environmental variable, you won’t face issues where the client says “It doesn’t work in my system”. This guide will cover all the things you should know about defining the Environmental variables and how you can use them in node.js. It has a lot to do with the .env file a well as with server.js. So, let’s begin the steps and see the steps.

        • Rust

          • Rust Compiler July Steering Cycle

            On Friday, July 2nd, the Rust Compiler team had a planning meeting for the July steering cycle, followed by a continuation of an ongoing discussion of the 1.52.0 fingerprint event.

            Every fourth Friday, the Rust compiler team decides how it is going to use its scheduled steering and design meeting time over the next three Fridays.

  • Leftovers

    • Yes, Home Care is Infrastructure: Don’t Let Them Play Word Games With People’s Lives

      But they’re not even right on semantic grounds. Home care isinfrastructure, according to most standard definitions of the word.

      We can look to our own daily lives for an analogy. Everybody has had a personal argument with someone over money. It might be an old debt, a restaurant bill, gas money, or utility expenses. Whatever the cause, there’s often a point where someone says, “It’s not the money, it’s the principle of the thing.”

    • Elon Frankenmusk Wants to Turn You into a Cyborg

      Now I don’t know about you, but when I hear about one of the richest men on the planet working on creating a new life form I can’t help but think of Mary Shelley’s 19th century novel Frankenstein.

      The name Frankenstein, of course, is used these days to designate both the scientist, Dr. Victor Frankenstein, as well as the monster he creates. But perhaps this reflects something more than a mere mistake, for both creator and creation are monstrous (a word that literally means warning).

    • Sha’Carri Richardson’s Olympic Penalty Sparks Calls for Changing Cannabis Rules

      As American track star Sha’Carri Richardson on Friday apologized and accepted her suspension from the 100-meter sprint event at the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo following a positive marijuana test, drug war abolitionists, progressive politicians, athletes, and other observers decried what they called the utter absurdity of a ban occurring amid a wave of U.S. cannabis legalization.

      Appearing on NBC’s “Today” show Friday morning, Richardson—widely viewed as a top contender for Tokyo gold following a string of stellar performances including a winning 10.86-second 100-meter run at the U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon last month—said she was sorry for her actions.

    • Science

      • Congress Backs Billions for Tech R&D Though Enactment Uncertain | Government | E-Commerce Times

        The package started out as the Endless Frontier Act, co-sponsored by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Young, among others. That bill was ambitious enough as first introduced in April. The bill focused on boosting funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) including creation of a new NSF “Directorate for Technology.”

        However, the bill attracted additional provisions during the legislative process, including some which were really complete stand-alone bills that were rolled into the final package, resulting in a 2,300-page proposal.

        The legislation even includes the CHIPS for America program to provide $52 billion in federal support for domestic semiconductor development and production.

    • Education

      • What Our Schools Actually Distort

        The textbook we’re given for US History classes in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second-largest, is a good example. It distorts history to fit the narrative that the US acts only in response to foreign “aggression”, and US actions may be mistakes but are not brutal.

        Distortion #1: When America acts, it’s only in response to the “aggression” of other nations.

    • Hardware

      • British right to repair law comes into force today, but excludes smartphones and computers

        A British right to repair law comes into force today, requiring manufacturers to make spares available to both consumers and third-party repair companies.

        However, despite claiming to cover “televisions and other electronic displays,”‘ the law somehow excludes smartphones and laptops…

      • Right to repair rules will extend lifespan of products, government says

        These new rules should bring an end to the frustration of having to throw away an item because a small part is no longer working and no longer in stock.

        Often the seal around a fridge, the detergent drawer on a washing machine, or the runners on a dishwasher break. Rather than having to buy a whole new product, replacement parts must now be sold directly by the manufacturer for 10 years, whether or not they are still selling the complete item in their range.

        This isn’t a law about who is responsible for the repair. If it’s still within warranty, then the manufacturer or the retailer should repair it, but after that, you are at least now guaranteed access to a replacement part. You’ll probably have to buy it, and you may have to pay someone to fit it if it’s a complicated internal part, but at least you should be able to get hold of it.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • ‘A virologist is always betting on the virus’ Scientists behind Russia’s ‘third vaccine’ explain why they believe in their product (despite publishing zero articles about it) and why they support mandatory vaccinations in Moscow

        In June, Russians started receiving the CoviVac vaccine, the third COVID-19 vaccine registered in the country, which was developed by researchers at the Chumakov Research Center. CoviVac uses tried-and-true vaccine technology — it consists of an inactivated (“dead”) virus and an immune stimulant. At the moment, doses are still hard to come by, but manufacturers promise to put a million doses into circulation by the end of June — and five to six million by the end of the year. To learn more about CoviVac, Meduza correspondents Svetlana Reiter and Alexander Yershov spoke to several Chumakov Research Center employees: Deputy Director for Quality and Innovation Alexandra Sinyugina, Deputy Director for Regulatory Issues Yekaterina Korduban, Innovative Biotechnical Medications Department Head Ilya Gordeichuk, and Department of Current and Newly Emerging Infections with Pandemic Potential Lyubov Kozlovskaya. Why did it take so long for CoviVac to reach the market? How does it differ from other COVID-19 vaccines? How sure are we that the virus in the vaccine is really “dead” and can’t hurt people? And why do its developers think mandatory vaccinations are a good idea?

      • Democrats Seek Workarounds to Republican Resistance on Medicaid Expansion
      • Glyphosate’s Toxic Legacy Exposed: Why This Weedkiller Should Be Banned

        But as Dr. Huber pointed out to a rapt audience that day, human cellsmight not possess the shikimate pathway but almost all of our gut microbes do. They use the shikimate pathway, a central biological pathway in their metabolism, to synthesize tryptophan, tyrosine, and phenylalanine, three of the twenty coding amino acids that make up the proteins of our body. Precisely because human cells do not possess the shikimate pathway, we rely on our gut microbiota, along with diet, to provide these essential amino acids for us.

        Perhaps even more significantly, gut microbes play an essential role in many aspects of human health. When glyphosate harms these microbes, they not only lose their ability to make these essential amino acids for the host, but they also become impaired in their ability to help us in all the other ways they normally support our health. Beneficial microbes are more sensitive to glyphosate, and this causes pathogens to thrive. We know, for example, that gut dysbiosis is associated with depression and other mental disorders. Alterations in the distribution of microbes can cause immune dysregulation and autoimmune disease. Parkinson’s disease is strongly linked to a proinflammatory gut microbiome. As has become clear from the remarkable research conducted on the human microbiome in the past decade or so, happy gut bacteria are essential to our health, including in ways that researchers have yet to fully understand. It’s worth remembering that Roundup hit the market—and was declared safe—before much of this groundbreaking research on the human microbiome was ever conducted.

      • “Defending the Sacred”: Indigenous Water Protectors Continue Resistance to Line 3 Pipeline in Minnesota

        Resistance to construction of the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline continues in northern Minnesota, where more than a dozen water protectors this week locked themselves to construction vehicles at two worksites, and to the pipeline itself. Just last month, 179 people were arrested when thousands shut down an Enbridge pumping station for two days as part of the Treaty People Gathering. If completed, Line 3 would carry more than 750,000 barrels of Canadian tar sands oil a day across Indigenous land and fragile ecosystems. The pipeline has the backing of the Biden administration, and this week Indigenous leaders and climate justice activists blockaded access to the White House, calling on Biden to stop fossil fuel projects and invest in climate justice initiatives in his infrastructure plans. Indigenous lawyer and activist Tara Houska, founder of the Giniw Collective, describes the resistance to Line 3 as an “all-out ground fight” led by young people. “This, to me, is an extension of the fight that’s happening all over Mother Earth, protecting the last beautiful places, protecting the sacred,” Houska says.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Another 0-Day Looms for Many Western Digital Users

          Countless Western Digital customers saw their MyBook Live network storage drives remotely wiped in the past month thanks to a bug in a product line the company stopped supporting in 2015, as well as a previously unknown zero-day flaw. But there is a similarly serious zero-day flaw present in a much broader range of newer Western Digital MyCloud network storage devices that will remain unfixed for many customers who can’t or won’t upgrade to the latest operating system.

        • Stop bowing to Beijing, MPs tell LinkedIn

          The Times has identified scholars, businessmen, journalists, whistleblowers and a former diplomat whose accounts were blocked in China after the professional networking site found “prohibited content” on their profiles.

        • REvil ransomware attacks systems using Kaseya’s remote IT management software [iophk: Windows TCO]

          Just in time to ruin the holiday weekend, ransomware attackers have apparently used Kaseya — a software platform designed to help manage IT services remotely — to deliver their payload. Sophos director and ethical hacker Mark Loman tweeted about the attack earlier today, and now reports that affected systems will demand $44,999 to be unlocked. A note on Kaseya’s website implores customers to shut off their VSA servers for now “because one of the first things the attacker does is shutoff administrative access to the VSA.”

        • Microsoft warns of Windows ‘PrintNightmare’ vulnerability that’s being actively exploited

          Microsoft is warning Windows users about an unpatched critical flaw in the Windows Print Spooler service. The vulnerability, dubbed PrintNightmare, was uncovered earlier this week after security researchers accidentally published a proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit. While Microsoft hasn’t rated the vulnerability, it allows attackers to remotely execute code with system-level privileges, which is as critical and problematic as you can get in Windows.

        • Ransomware attack on software manager hits 200 companies [iophk: Windows TCO]

          The attack, first revealed Friday afternoon, is believed to be affiliated with the prolific ransomware gang REvil and perpetuated through Kaseya, an international company that remotely controls programs for companies that, in turn, manage internet services for businesses.

          Kaseya announced Friday afternoon it was attacked by [cr]ackers and warned all its customers to immediately stop using its service.

        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Victory! Fourth Circuit Rules Baltimore’s Warrantless Aerial Surveillance Program Unconstitutional

              The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled last week that Baltimore’s use of aerial surveillance that could track the movements of the entire city violated the Fourth Amendment.

              The case, Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle v. Baltimore Police Department, challenged the Baltimore Police Department’s (BPD) use of an aerial surveillance program that continuously captured an estimated 12 hours of coverage of 90 percent of the city each day for a six-month pilot period. EFF, joined by the Brennan Center for Justice, Electronic Privacy Information Center, FreedomWorks, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Rutherford Institute, filed an amicus brief arguing that the two previous court decisions upholding the constitutionality of the program misapplied Supreme Court precedent and failed to recognize the disproportionate impact of surveillance, like Baltimore’s program, on communities of color. 

              In its decision, the full Fourth Circuit found that BPD’s use and analysis of its Aerial Investigation Research (AIR) data was a warrantless search that violated the Fourth Amendment. Relying on the Supreme Court’s decisions in United States v. Jones and United States v. Carpenter, the Fourth Circuit held that Carpenter—which ruled that cell-site location information was protected under the Fourth Amendment and thus may only be obtained with a warrant—applied “squarely” to this case. The Fourth Circuit explained that the district court had misapprehended the extent of what the AIR program could do. The district court believed that the program only engaged in short-term tracking. However, the Fourth Circuit clarified that, like the cell-site location information tracking in Carpenter, the AIR program’s detailed data collection and 45-day retention period gave BPD the ability to chronicle movements in a “detailed, encyclopedic” record, akin to “attaching an ankle monitor to every person in the city.”

            • Jonathan Dowland: photos and whatsapp

              I’ve been evaluating the nextCloud app and a Nextcloud instance on my home NAS as a possible alternative.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Black Butterflies of Forgetting: On the Destruction of Memory

        For weeks after the bombing, in which 600,000 books were destroyed, pages blackened by fire floated in the air. The inhabitants of Sarajevo told me they called them the “black butterflies.”

        I remembered the black butterflies, that metaphor of horror and forcibly imposed forgetting/oblivion, when I read the news that, as reported by PEN International, the military junta in Myanmar had arrested and tortured dozens of journalists and writers, but especially poets. Myanmar has a rich heritage of poetry entwined with politics; that tradition dates back to the times when poets used verse to resist British rule. According to PEN International, in recent months some writers have been killed at the hands of the junta: K Za Win and Myint Myint Zin were shot, U Sei Win was doused in gasoline and burned alive, Khet Thi was discovered by his wife in the hospital a day after his arrest: dead and without vital organs.

      • The True American Patriots Are the Anti-Imperialists

        When Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) speaks of the need for “a president who will fight against Western imperialism and fight for a just world,” she is crudely dismissed by her right-wing critics as “clueless.” When Representatives Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) call for making deep cuts in the Pentagon budget so that resources are not squandered on military interventions abroad, they are described as “admittedly extreme.” When Representative Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) speaks of breaking from “the colonial model of the world,” and of the vital importance of “prioritizing human rights,” he is portrayed as an idealist who is perhaps pushing the limits of the debate about foreign policy.

      • The End of the World Is Closer Than It Seems

        Yes, once upon a time I regularly absorbed science fiction and imagined futures of wonder, but mainly of horror. What else could you think, if you read H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds under the covers by flashlight while your parents thought you were asleep? Of course, that novel was a futuristic fantasy, involving as it did Martians arriving in London to take out humanity. Sixty-odd years after secretly reading that book and wondering about the future that would someday be mine, I’m living, it seems, in that very future, however Martian-less it might be. Still, just in case you hadn’t noticed, our present moment could easily be imagined as straight out of a science-fiction novel that, even at my age, I’d prefer not to read by flashlight in the dark of night.

      • Pressed for answers on Syria cover-up, OPCW chief offers new lies and excuses
      • Violence and Violins

        Last Saturday the deposed President emerged from his Diet Coke swamp to campaign for his former aid and 2020 deputy campaign manager Max Miller, now making a run for Congress in his native Ohio. The Save America rally took place ten miles directly south from Oberlin at the Lorain County Fairgrounds in Wellington. The county tipped to Trump by a few percentage points in 2020, though the liberal bastion of Oberlin went heavily Democratic.

        The morning of the rally, vintage cars and motorcycles flying MAGA colors came streaming into Oberlin in what had the appearance of provocation. Accompanied by rough-running engines, bullhorns broadcast nearly indecipherable mottoes of rage and revolution.

      • 24 House Dems Say Infrastructure Bill Must Not Be Used to ‘Throw More Money at the Pentagon’

        Two dozen Democratic lawmakers in the U.S. House sent a letter on Friday urging their party’s leaders to prevent any funding in emerging infrastructure and jobs legislation from going to the Pentagon, which—if President Joe Biden gets his way—is set to receive a $715 billion budget for the next fiscal year.

        “Each additional dollar poured into the defense industry’s coffers is another dollar stripped away from the other urgent priorities in the American Jobs Plan.”—Letter

      • New regulation: Europol becomes quasi-secret service

        The EU police agency processes billions of personalised „big data“, much of it from governmental hacks or intelligence sources. The new Europol vice-director, who was trained in the French military, plays a special role. Now it’s up to the EU Parliament to decide.

      • Saving the US-Iran Nuclear Agreement

        During the Trump administration, US policy was based on casting Iran as an escalating threat to “peace and security” in the Middle East. Iran had to be stopped, in opposition to the views of China, Russia, Britain, France, Germany, and the European Union—the other parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the official name of the 2015 nuclear agreement.

        Step by step, with Mike Pompeo and John Bolton—two war maniacs—taking the lead, the Trump administration withdrew from the JCPOA and implemented a “maximum pressure” policy that sought to destabilize Iran with sanctions, hoping either to bring about regime change or provoke actions by Iran that would provide a pretext for war with its neighbors.

      • Ethiopia Tigray conflict: Famine hits 400,000, UN warns

        Recent fighting in the Tigray region of Ethiopia has resulted in a famine that is now affecting more than 400,000 people, UN officials say.

        In its first public meeting on the crisis, members of the UN Security Council warned that as many as 33,000 children were severely malnourished.

        Officials said that a further 1.8m people were on the brink of famine as a result of the eight-month conflict.

        They also warned of further clashes despite the declaration of a ceasefire.

      • Rumsfeld Remembered as ‘Complex,’ ‘Energetic’—Not as Killer of Multitudes

        One thing you won’t find in corporate media obituaries of Donald Rumsfeld is any estimate of how many people died in the wars he was in charge of launching.

      • How Donald Rumsfeld Micromanaged Torture

        The first prisoner to experience such attention from Rumsfeld’s office, or the first that we know about, was an American citizen, John Walker Lindh, a young man from California whose fascination with Islam had led him to enlist in the Taliban. Shortly thereafter, he and several hundred others surrendered to the Northern Alliance warlord Abdu Rashid Dostum in return for a promise of safe passage. Dostum broke the deal, herding the prisoners into a ruined fortress near Mazar-e-Sharif. Lindh managed to survive, though wounded, and eventually fell into the hands of the CIA and Special Forces, who proceeded to interrogate him.

        According to documents later unearthed by Richard Serrano of the Los Angeles Times, a Special Forces intelligence officer was informed by a Navy Admiral monitoring events in Mazar-e-Sharif that “the Secretary of Defense’s Counsel (lawyer William Haynes) has authorized him to ‘take the gloves off’ and ask whatever he wanted.” In the course of the questioning Lindh, who had a bullet in his leg, was stripped naked, blindfolded, handcuffed, and bound to a stretcher with duct tape. In a practice that would become more familiar at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq 18 months later, smiling soldiers posed for pictures next to the naked prisoner. A navy medic later testified that he had been told by the lead military interrogator that “sleep deprivation, cold and hunger might be employed” during Lindh’s interrogations. Meanwhile, his responses to the questioning, which ultimately went on for days, were relayed back to Washington, according to the documents disclosed to Serrano, every hour, hour after hour. Someone very important clearly wanted to know all the details.

      • Rehabilitating Rumsfeld, Erasing Empire: On All Those U.S. War Crimes in Iraq

        “Costly.” “Divisive.” “Failings.” “Mistake.” “Based on a false premise.” These are specific descriptors that The New York Times used to describe the Iraq war. It could have used other descriptions that would have been far more critical of what the U.S. did. Words like: Illegal. War crime. Deception. Lies. Immoral. Mass murder. These are strong words, and for those who did not live through the disturbing years of that war as adults, or who did, but whose memories are beginning to fade, or who never paid much attention at the time at all, I’ll elaborate on the points above.

        Illegal, and a War Crime: The U.S. invasion of Iraq represented one of the worst war crimes of the last century. It was a blatant violation of the United Nations Charter, which outlaws the use of force unless authorized by the Security Council (Article 48), or when a country uses force in self-defense against an ongoing attack (Article 51). The U.S. could claim neither with Iraq, meaning that its invasion was a blatant violation of not only the U.N. Charter, but also the principles of the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal, which were created by the UN to punish Nazi party officials for their crimes of aggression during the Second World War. These crimes included 1. “planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances,” or 2. “participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned” in point 1. above. Clearly, U.S. actions in Iraq constitute a violation of the Nuremberg principles, considering they were planned, prepared, initiated, and waged by a hostile power against a country that was not engaged in belligerent activities toward the U.S., and U.S. acts were pursued in violation of the explicit principles laid out in international treaties and agreements to which the U.S. was bound (the U.N. and the U.N. Charter).

      • War criminal Rumsfeld dies, but his militarist legacy lives on

        Rumsfeld was one of the most prominent promoters of the lies about “weapons of mass destruction”—”we know where they are,” he told the media—and non-existent ties between the secular Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, about which he claimed there was “bulletproof” evidence.

        These lies in service of war were amplified by the media, with the New York Times, the voice of the Democratic Party establishment, in the lead. During this period, Rumsfeld was lionized by the press, with his face plastered on magazine covers and his platitudes about transforming the military and “unknown unknowns” treated as genius. The US News & World Report noted during this period that Rumsfeld “routinely has the press corps doubled over in fits of laughter.” What the media found funny revealed a great deal about the disintegration of democratic sentiments within the US ruling establishment.

      • Why U.S. Drone Strikes Are at an All-Time Low

        Six months into Biden’s presidency, the administration has said little about its longer-term plans in dealing with Islamist terrorist groups around the world, apart from announcing the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. And yet airstrikes by drones and other U.S. kinetic operations in trouble spots around the world, outside conventional battlefields, have dramatically dropped since Biden took office. The president imposed a partial moratorium as his team conducts an intensive review of every aspect of America’s global counterterrorism efforts, which have spread over two decades from Afghanistan post-9/11 to “Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and parts of the Maghreb, Southeast Asia and West and Central Africa,” as the Finer memo notes.

      • Republicans Can’t Stop Congress from Investigating the 1/6 Insurrection, But They’re Trying to Every Way They Can

        With all that in mind, it’s worth asking: How will this new investigation work? Will it stand any chance of digging up new information and discerning the truth of what happened on that dark day? Or will it devolve into a partisan circus like the Benghazi investigation of several years ago?

    • Environment

    • Orkney’s renewable energy to fuel foreign needs

      The tough climate of the North Atlantic is an ideal proving ground for Orkney’s renewable energy boom.

    • Scientists Call Northwest Heatwave the ‘Most Extreme in World Weather Records’

      A pair of climate scientists on Thursday said the record-high temperatures that have ravaged the northwestern U.S. and western Canada over the past week—killing hundreds and sparking dozens of wildfires—represent the “world’s most extreme heatwave in modern history.”

      “It’s not hype or exaggeration to call the past week’s heatwave the most extreme in world weather records.”—Bob Henson, Jeff Masters

    • President Biden, We Can Wait No Longer for Climate Justice

      We live in very different places—Bemidji, Minnesota, at the headwaters of the Mississippi, and Brooklyn, New York, on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean—but our homes have never been more connected.

    • ‘Nature and Physics Will Not Fall for It’: Greta Thunberg Rips Into Climate Theatrics of World Leaders

      In the wake of the latest failure by the G7 nations to take meaningful steps to combat the climate emergency and record-breaking heatwaves on multiple continents, Swedish campaigner Greta Thunberg on Friday accused world leaders of hypocrisy for persecuting climate activists while “pretending” to take the threat seriously.

      “Young people all over this planet are no longer falling for your lies.”—Greta Thunberg to world leaders

    • ‘This Isn’t an Apology, It’s a Cover-Up’: ExxonMobil CEO Slammed for New Statement on Exposé

      Environmentalists and reporters continued to call out ExxonMobil on Friday after chairman and chief executive officer Darren Woods followed up his earlier remarks about this week’s exposé with a detailed statement about the fossil fuel giant’s public position on climate policy and carbon pricing.

      Woods’ new statement is in response to secretly recorded footage released Wednesday by Unearthed, Greenpeace U.K.’s investigative journalism arm, that shows one current and one former ExxonMobil employee—Keith McCoy and Dan Easley, who thought they were speaking with a recruitment consultant—discussing lobbying related to infrastructure legislation, involvement with “shadow groups” that cast down on scientific consensus about the climate emergency, and “wins” during the Trump administration.

    • This Is Only the Beginning: It’s About to Get Much Harder

      This is just the opening salvo. As the American west is gripped by potentially the worst drought since algebra was invented 1,200 years ago and temperature records are once again shattered on a weekly basis, we are entering into unknown territory. Lytton in Canada reached a staggering 49.6°C on Tuesday which is hotter than Las Vegas has ever recorded. Portland topped 46.7°C and this is higher than anything experienced in Houston, Texas. This has been building for a long time, but things are about to get much much worse.

    • Roaming Charges: The Hotter They Come

      Cockburn, notoriously, remained a climate change apostate to the end. There was no deathbed conversion from Alex. We parried over it for years, usually good-naturedly. I’ve never been a very good evangelist. I’m much too pessimistic to effectively spread the “good news” of the approaching Apocalypse.

      Even so, Alex despised the oil and coal companies as much as any of Bill McKibben’s acolytes and more fiercely than most. You wouldn’t see Alex pimping fracking for natural gas as a “bridge fuel” to a green future the way the Sierra Club and other Big Green groups did or advertise nuclear power as the path to climate salvation the way Bhaskar Sunkara, the laptop Jacobin, just did in the Guardian. But Alex loved old cars and open roads and despised conformity of any kind.

    • Energy

      • Lethal Force Against Pipeline Protests? Documents Reveal South Dakota’s Plans.
      • Uproar Over Japan’s Decision to Disperse Radioactive Fukushima Waste Water

        Harsh rejection of the decision was immediate and widespread, coming from Russia, China, North and South Korea, the Philippines, New Zealand, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and several Pacific Island nations, as well as the fishing industry, marine scientists, and environmentalists. “It will be strongly resisted over the coming months,” said Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International.

        Japan’s cabinet said the wastewater will be diluted with additional seawater before being pumped into the ocean, beginning in two years. The government said the oceanic dispersal of its ever-increasing volume of wastewater will continue for perhaps 30 years, but because there is no end in sight to the waste’s ongoing accumulation, Japan’s plan to broadcast the radiation risk paints a bleak picture — call it “Old Faithful on the Coast”— of three spectacularly destroyed nuclear reactors globalizing radioactive pollution indefinitely.

      • Lethal Force Against Pipeline Protests? Documents Reveal Shocking South Dakota Plans for National Guard

        Republican South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has announced she is deploying 50 members of the South Dakota National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border at the request of Texas Governor Greg Abbott. In an extraordinary twist, the deployment is being paid for by billionaire Republican megadonor Willis Johnson, who lives in Tennessee. Critics say Noem is turning the National Guard into a private mercenary force targeting migrants, but the governor’s plans for the National Guard could encompass other activities. Water protector and land back attorney Bruce Ellison has obtained documents that indicate the same force could be deployed to suppress Indigenous activists resisting pipelines — including through “lethal force,” Ellison says. We also speak to Tara Houska, Indigenous lawyer, activist and founder of the Giniw Collective, who adds the Department of Homeland Security has also been involved in suppressing resistance to construction of the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline in northern Minnesota.

      • As Protesters Face Felonies, Minneapolis City Council Joins Opposition to Line 3

        While Indigenous-led actions against Line 3 continued in Minnesota on Friday even as some peaceful protesters now face felony charges, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously passed a resolution opposing Enbridge’s tar sands oil pipeline.

        “We are listening to the Indigenous community in their demand to stop this pipeline, a project which violates the sovereignty of tribal nations and puts Minneapolis’ clean drinking water source at risk.”—Minneapolis City Council Member Alondra Cano

      • Exxon Lobbyist Caught On Video Talking About Undermining Biden’s Climate Push

        Indiscreet comments made by an Exxon Mobil lobbyist to undercover activists may figure prominently in upcoming congressional hearings about the role of oil companies in the battle against climate change.

        Video clips released by the Greenpeace investigation project Unearthed show Keith McCoy, the oil giant’s senior director for federal relations, talking frankly about Exxon Mobil’s lobbying strategies. Channel 4 from the United Kingdom first reported the comments.

      • ‘Eye of fire’ in Mexican waters snuffed out, says national oil company

        The fire began in an underwater pipeline that connects to a platform at Pemex’s flagship Ku Maloob Zaap oil development, the company’s most important, four sources told Reuters earlier.

        Ku Maloob Zaap is located just up from the southern rim of the Gulf of Mexico.

  • Finance

    • Job Gains Driven by Growth in Sectors Hit Hard by Pandemic [Ed: Fake is misleading figures, not showing the work participation rate falling to ridiculous levels, where less than 2 in 3 people capable of working can find a job]
    • China Pulls Itself Out of Poverty 100 Years Into Its Revolution

      When UN Secretary-General António Guterres visited China in September 2019, he gushed over this accomplishment, calling it the “greatest anti-poverty achievement in history.” “You reduced infant and maternal mortality rates, improved nutrition, reduced stunting and halved the proportion of the population without access to safe drinking water and sanitation,” Secretary Guterres said. In 1949, at the time of the Chinese Revolution, the infant mortality rate in China was 200 per 1,000 live births; this declined to fewer than 50 by 1980. A World Bank study from 1988 noted, “Much of China’s success in improving the health of its people can be attributed to the health policies and the national health service delivery system.” This is the historical context for Secretary Guterres’ 2019 comment; in other words, the Chinese state institutions—products of the revolution led by the CPC—improved the social conditions of life.

      Before the Revolution

    • Wages Are Rising Unequally — With Black Men and Latinas Seeing the Fewest Gains
    • Trump Organization and Top Company Exec Charged with Tax Fraud. Is Donald Trump Next?

      The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has charged former President Donald Trump’s family business with operating a 15-year tax fraud scheme, accusing the Trump Organization of helping executives evade taxes by giving them compensation off the books. Allen Weisselberg, the company’s chief financial officer, who has worked with Trump for decades, was also charged with grand larceny for avoiding taxes on $1.7 million in perks that he did not report as income. Weisselberg surrendered Thursday and pleaded not guilty, and he could face up to a decade in prison if convicted. Legal experts suggest prosecutors targeted Weisselberg with the hope he will flip and help investigators in other ongoing probes into the former president’s company. “Donald Trump, while not named in the indictment, is all over the document in terms of actions he had to take,” says David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who has followed Donald Trump and his finances for more than 30 years. “Donald Trump and the people around him believe that they shouldn’t be subject to the law.”

    • Oxfam Denounces OECD Global Tax Deal as ‘Skewed-to-the-Rich and Completely Unfair’

      The humanitarian group Oxfam International warned Thursday that a global tax reform framework pushed by the United States and newly endorsed by 130 countries would let corporate behemoths such as Amazon off the hook and further entrench deep inequities between rich and developing nations.

      “Those who shamelessly rigged the global tax system to their benefit over a century ago have again ring-fenced the game for themselves.”—Gabriela Bucher, Oxfam International

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Gwen Berry Is the Hero We Need

      The Republican Party and its online minions have picked the wrong Black athlete to demonize. After hammer thrower Gwen Berry made it to the upcoming Summer Games, finishing third in the US Olympic Trials, she did not stand at attention for the national anthem after taking the medal stand. Instead, she turned from the flag, faced the stands, and then draped a T-shirt that read “athlete activist” over her head in protest. She did this as a spontaneous and surprised response to the anthem being played, something that did not happen during most the other medal ceremonies. (These are the US Olympic trials, not the games, and the anthem is rarely played.) She said, “I feel like it was a set-up, and they did it on purpose. I was pissed, to be honest.”

    • Ohio Legislators Pass Bill That Would Make It Easier For Cops To Make Bullshit Arrests Of Bystanders

      A substantial part of the Ohio legislature seems incapable of reading the room. Following several months of anti-police violence protests, state legislators have passed a bill that makes it easier for law enforcement officers to arrest anyone for just about anything. (h/t Joe Papp)

    • The Willful Self-Delusion of American Independence Day

      On Independence Day, many Americans celebrate throwing off the yoke of oppression by a distant power. They recall the unfairness and indignity of life under colonial rule. What too many Americans haven’t done is reckon with the fact that the founders of our nation were colonizers, not colonized, and that in the 245 years since declaring its independence, the United States has only expanded the scope of its imperial domination.

    • Man Sues Multiple DOJ Agencies For Failing To Return Seized Cash They Told Him They Had No Interest In Keeping

      Civil asset forfeiture remains a garbage government theft operation. Always has been. Always will be. The government can just take stuff, make up a reason for taking it, and then hope a system that’s deliberately complicated and expensive will prevent citizens from trying to reclaim their property.

    • The Real Target in the Supreme Court’s ‘Cedar Point’ Decision

      Oakland, Calif.—Most of the media coverage of the recent Supreme Court decision about the farmworker access rule took for granted the way growers, and the court, defined this regulation. Jess Bravin in The Wall Street Journal called it “a regulation giving union organizers the right to visit farmworkers.” The first line of the right-wing majority’s opinion called it “[a] California regulation [that] grants labor organizations a ‘right to take access’ to an agricultural employer’s property.”

    • Bennett’s Political Theater: the Decisive Israeli-Palestinian Fight Ahead

      Palestinians are justified to hold this viewpoint; after all, their minuscule military capabilities in a besieged and impoverished tiny stretch of land, the Gaza Strip, have managed to push back – or at least neutralize – the massive and superior Israeli military machine.

      However, for Palestinians, this is not only about firepower but also about their coveted national unity. Indeed, the Palestinian revolt, which included all Palestinians regardless of their political backgrounds or geographic locations, is fostering a whole new discourse on Palestine – non-factional, assertive and forward-thinking.

    • The Resistance Remains Hollow: The Weimar Ways of the Dismal Democrats

      But understanding the lethal and different (more than a “dime’s worth”) essence of the Republifascist Party should hardly mean an uncritical embrace of the Democrats. While not “the same,” the two dominant organizations are, as Upton Sinclair said in the original Appeal to Reason version of The Jungle, “two wings of the same bird of [corporate, financial, and imperial] prey.” They are both ruling class parties, captive to the underlying class dictatorship of capital and its global empire. Neither is an avenue for human liberation, to say the least. And, of particular interest for this essay, they are caught up in a perverse and co-dependent, mutually reinforcing relationship in which the Democrats function as a de facto junior partner in the making of the nation’s long, underlying fascist creep.

      Ten Ways in Which the Democrats Generate and Enable the Republifascists

    • Why is Biden’s Foreign Policy So Conventional?

      When it comes to foreign policy, however, the Biden administration has been nowhere near as transformational. The phrase Joe Biden has used so often is: America is back. That sentiment certainly captures some aspects of Biden’s relationship with the international community, such as repairing relations with the World Health Organization and rejoining the Paris climate accords. In these ways, the administration has brought America back to the status quo that existed before Trump was unleashed on the world stage.

      But on some very important issues—China, Iran, Cuba, North Korea—Biden hasn’t managed to restore even the previous status quo. His approach to military spending and the arms race is decidedly hawkish. His message on immigration, as expressed by Vice President Kamala Harris on a visit to Guatemala earlier this month, effectively erases the inscription on the Statue of Liberty by telling potential border crossers in the region to stay home.

    • Mainstream Democrats Try to Crush Left Front-Runners in Buffalo and Cleveland
    • The PCR at 100: Where Does China Go From Here?

      Even the weather seemed to be obeying the script. At 9am on Thursday morning a brief thunderstorm hit northern Beijing. Nothing unusual in that, it is after all the height of summer and the rainy season. But about 20 km away in central Tiananmen Square where President Xi Jinping was leading celebrations to mark the communist party’s 100th anniversary the massed ranks remained largely dry. The storm passed. Nothing, it seemed, would get in the way of the party’s party.

      Napoleon may not have actually said it but the quote attributed to him has taken on a prophetic air. China has awakened, it has shaken the world but perhaps not in the way envisaged by the Corsican. Wherever Covid originated, the first major impact of the virus was in the Chinese city of Wuhan and since then quarantine and lockdown, either real or potential, have dominated the lives of billions. 

    • McConnell Wields a Cruelly Narrow Definition of Infrastructure Like a Bludgeon
    • The Triumph of Pedro Castillo Amid the Campaign to Undermine His Presidency

      Castillo, of the left-leaning Partido Peru Libre won 50.125% of the vote to beat out Keiko Fujimori, of the conservative Partido Fuerza Popular, with 49.875%,  during the second round of elections held on June 6–a difference of around 48 thousand votes. The National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE) announced offical results nine days after the election.

      This election represents the third consecutive loss for Fujimori. The first defeat came against Ollanta Humala, who beat her by 445 thousand votes, followed by a loss in 2016 against Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who beat Fujimori by 41 thousand votes.  After that last presidential race, Fujimori did not congratulate her opponent and in the years that followed, she waged a war on Kuczynski from Parliament, where her party had the majority seats. For five-years, Peru lived through a period of ungovernability in which several ministerial cabinets were dissolved, four presidents rose and fell, and one Congress was dissolved and a new one elected.

    • Poll Finds Majority of Americans Worry More About Access to Voting Than Fraud
    • Letters From Minsk: The Last Dictator

      One day in Minsk, I headed out after a leisurely breakfast—the Hotel Garni had a full buffet and very few guests—and rode to the Museum of Modern Belarusian Statehood in Minsk, which otherwise might well be called the Aleksandr Lukashenko Private Gallery, as this branch of the of national museum is located in a presidential executive office building and the exhibits are the gifts that the president has received from foreign leaders.

      I thought to be admitted that I needed to reserve a time in advance, but when that proved impossible, at least online, I showed up in the lobby, toting my bike helmet and saddle bag, which several Belarusian soldiers, on guard duty, scanned and checked into a nearby cloakroom.

    • Analysis Reveals the Profound Damage Wrought by GOP-Packed Supreme Court

      Confirming fears progressive critics shared ahead of the confirmations of all three U.S. Supreme Court Justices appointed by former President Donald Trump, an analysis published Friday details the devastating impact of having a GOP supermajority on the nation’s highest court.

      “The harmful rulings coming out of this court make it critical that Congress pass legislation to protect voting rights and shore up our democracy.”—Ben Jealous, PFAW

    • Where is Socialism in Venezuela? Lessons from the Cultural Revolution

      One relevant lesson of the Chinese revolutionary experience in the lead-up to the Cultural Revolution is that building a socialist society cannot be left to any kind of automatic logic (whether the cunning of history, the necessary progression of historical stages, or the correspondence between growing productive forces and superior productive relations that supposedly come in their tow). Launching the Cultural Revolution, with its bold calls for popular rebellion against established power, was the acknowledgement that one cannot trust in the automatic course of history or any other kind of invisible or visible hand to lead us to socialism. Instead, there has to be ongoing experimentation and constant stirring things up. This is the practical counterpart to what Alessandro Russo calls Mao’s materialism of the exception that has “subjective invention” at its core and involves leaping from theory to practice and back again.

      This brings us to Venezuela. The late Hugo Chávez was a constant and even troublesome experimenter. He was committed to inciting new forms of popular effervescence and to endlessly modifying the rules of a game in which the masses’ all-around development was both the means and the end. Chávez frequently paused in his discourses saying: se me ocurre (it occurs to me) that we should try or do x or y. Usually this happened on live television, and the president would then throw out the idea that such and such community organization should exist, or that we should try to build such and such new institution. Many people, even people on the left, criticized him for his lack of constancy in this regard. They felt that Chávez should have stuck to his initial projects, consolidating what he had begun before going on to the next thing. Why not perfect the consejos comunales before moving on to the communes and communal cities? Why not make the Universidad Bolivariana de Venezuela really function well and deliver quality education before jump-starting Misión Sucre (the huge university-level educational outreach program which he inaugurated hard on the heels of the former)? 

    • Bigots Have Finally Accomplished Their Goal of Gutting the Voting Rights Act

      Conservatives have effectively accomplished their long-term goal of blotting the 15th Amendment out of the Constitution with a bottle of Wite-Out®. This has been the conservative project (whether those conservatives have called themselves “Democrats” or “Republicans” depends on the era) since the 15th Amendment was ratified in 1870.

    • Supreme Court Drives a Stake Through the Heart of the Voting Rights Act
    • Voting Rights Should Include the Right to Vote for Who You Want

      That prevailing system is single-member-district, winner-take-all elections. The voters for the plurality winner get all the representation and every other political viewpoint—political and ethnic minorities, the major party that is a minority in a particular district—gets no representation. Without proportional representation, most voters don’t have representatives in office from their districts who represent them. Most districts are effectively uncompetitive one-party districts. Knowing their votes won’t change who represents them because the winner is baked in, the nonvoters are biggest block of voters most elections. Single-member plurality voting is a system of exclusion, not inclusive democracy.

      For all the provisions in the massive 800-page For the People Act (H.R.1/S.1), none of them addressed the exclusionary nature of single-member-district, winner-take-all elections. Nor did it any address the exclusionary nature of highly restrictive ballot access requirements for minor parties and independent candidates. While the bill did have important provisions for voter access to the ballot and campaign finance disclosure, the bill is now probably dead in this session of Congress. The Republicans defeated it on June 22 by their filibuster of a motion to debate the bill. So now the bill returns to its status as a Democratic Party messaging bill, as it has really been since it passed the House in 2019 when the Senate was still under Republican control. So it is a good time to expand the voting rights and pro-democracy agenda.

    • ‘More Is Required’: Biden DOJ Pauses Federal Executions

      U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday suspended federal executions—a move welcomed by death penalty opponents who urged the Biden administration to go further by fully abolishing the practice “once and for all.”

      “Serious concerns have been raised about the continued use of the death penalty across the country, including arbitrariness in its application, disparate impact on people of color, and the troubling number of exonerations in capital and other serious cases,” Garland wrote in a memo to senior officials.

    • Will Donald J. Trump Be America’s Last President?

      There are only four possible outcomes for the 2022 U.S. midterm Congressional elections:

      1. Democrats hold the House and the Senate.

    • Propaganda Blitz

      As a consequence, one of the early masterminds of propaganda, Edward Bernays, promoted a more neutral sounding word. Public relations was born. Disguising itself not as what it is – propaganda – but as public relations (giving corporations a voice, as PR likes to call it), it has been propaganda’s most successful achievement. As long as public relations does not appear as propaganda, it will succeed.

      However, media scholars like Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky still called a spade a spade. They called the model that illuminates the role of propaganda: the propaganda model. The model explains how propaganda manufactures consent amongst the people.

    • Critical Race Theory in Practice

      Race and its link to the Weather Underground is symptomatic. This spin-off from SDS, popular in the early 1970s, made many of Malcolm X’s concepts central to its agenda. It gave race relative priority in its stress on the class struggle and imperialism, rejecting MLK’s notion of integration for that of community empowerment. Its inability to garner sufficient support among the public, to a great extent the result of its aggressive rhetoric and destructive actions, led to its members going underground during this turning-to-the-right decade.

      Diversity as such has always been a valid idea since integration—its conceptual kin—was key to racial justice for MLK. But it was also integrally linked for him to the economic issues of class and inequality. “Diversity” in the mid-1970s, as Walter Benn Michaels has shown, becomes a more limited notion, a substitute for the broader, anti-racist assault against the existing order, which means forgetting the critique of capitalism and the growing income and capital gap (Walter Benn Michaels, The Trouble With Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality). Not that the Party and activist cultures aren’t supportive of anti-racism, but the focus shifts to the positive virtues of racial identity which is part of the larger shift to identity politics of that era and the rejection of broad universal narratives symptomatic of postmodernism, the academic fashion that explodes on the scene roughly around this time. According to Stephen Sawchuk, “critical race theory emerged out of postmodernist thought which tends to be skeptical of the idea of universal values, objective knowledge, individual merit, Enlightenment, and liberalism” (“What is CRT, and Why is it Under Attack?” Education Week, 5/18/21).

    • ‘Same as Trump’: Bolsonaro Issues Preemptive Election Fraud Claims in Brazil

      In a move opposition lawmakers called a preemptive attempt to ape former U.S. President Donald Trump’s failed effort to subvert the results of the 2020 election with baseless claims of voting infrastructure irregularities, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday said he would not cede power following next year’s presidential contest if there is any “fraud.”

      “Worn out, cornered, and lost, the genocider reaffirmed that the election will be stolen if he does not have a printed ballot.”—Sen. Humberto Costa

    • Supreme Court “Hijacking” Democracy with Rulings That Gut Voting Rights & Allow More Dark Money

      In a pair of major rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court has gutted more of the Voting Rights Act while making it easier for billionaires to secretly bankroll political campaigns. In a 6-3 vote, the conservative justices upheld two Arizona election laws that have been widely criticized for their impact on minority voters, sending a signal that other voting restrictions in Republican-led states are also likely to be ruled constitutional if challenges are brought to the high court. In a separate case, the court’s conservative majority struck down a California law that required charities to privately disclose their top donors to the state attorney general, which could open the door to more “dark money” spending in campaigns. Ben Jealous, president of People for the American Way and former president of the NAACP, says the Supreme Court’s actions reflect the conservative takeover of the federal judiciary. “They are hijacking our democracy from the top to aid and abet these Republican governors who have sought to hijack it from the bottom,” he says.

    • Saagar Enjeti: The Pseudo-Populist Mainlining Neocon Ideas into Progressive Politics

      Saagar Enjeti and Krystal Ball are the new king and queen of alternative media. After having just quit The Hill to go fully independent, their new show “Breaking Points” immediately debuted at number one in the global politics podcast charts, comfortably overtaking well-established brands like “Pod Save America” and “The Ben Shapiro Show.” They even received the ultimate plug with an appearance on and an endorsement from Joe Rogan, a veritable blessing from the pope of pop culture.

    • Chinese Propaganda Film ‘1921’ Set to Release in U.S. and U.K.

      Backed by former Microsoft, 21st Century Fox and Wanda Cinema executive Jack Gao, Smart Cinema started this form of releasing in China but has subsequently expanded operations into international markets including the U.S., Spain and Italy.

    • Zambians give handkerchief salute to fallen statesman Kaunda

      “Kaunda was the last surviving leader of the generation who lit the path to Africa’s freedom from colonial misrule.”

    • Don’t back down from Facebook fight, lawmakers tell FTC

      A bipartisan group of lawmakers have asked that the FTC continue its antitrust lawsuit against Facebook after setbacks in court. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mike Lee (R-UT), together with House representatives David Cicilline (D-RI) and Ken Buck (R-CO), signed a letter addressed to FTC Chair Lina Khan detailing why the regulatory action is needed.

  • Misinformation/Disinformation

    • ACTION ALERT: NYT Ignores Two-Year House Arrest of Lawyer Who Took on Big Oil

      Steven R. Donziger—the human rights attorney who in 2011 won a $9.5 billion legal victory in Ecuador over the Chevron Corporation for the dumping of roughly 16 billion gallons of toxic waste in the Ecuadorian Amazon—has been under house arrest for 696 days (as of July 2) (FAIR.org, 9/11/20).

    • From Trump’s Big Lie to Repressive State Laws, National Politics Are Still in Disarray

      But the truth is, we need to pay attention.

      It’s not because the protesters’ claims have merit — they don’t. It’s because the protesters represent a bigger, more urgent problem we’re now facing as a country. They’re not just trafficking in COVID denialism and participating in the “infodemic,” a term used by the World Health Organization to define the spread of false COVID information. They’re representative of a broader problem sweeping the country: the growth of widespread conspiracies about the legitimacy of government, including continued support for former president Donald J. Trump’s “big lie” that he actually won the 2020 election.

      Or let me put this another away: All those things being shouted and promoted by protesters like the ones outside my office and across the country? They’re built on the fundamental idea that the government can’t be trusted, which is a lie being pushed by the former president, large swaths of the GOP, and movements like QAnon. When these conspiracy theories start taking hold, objective truth becomes subjective and is often used and abused by those seeking power.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Court Rejects Facebook User’s Lawsuit Demanding $10 Million Per Day In Damages For Having His Posts Removed

      How many constitutional rights can Facebook violate? To paraphrase Nigel Tufnel, the answer is none. None rights can be violated.

    • The Phony Free Speech Panic Versus Right Wing Fascism

      According to the hysterical and paranoid script of contemporary popularity, the “woke mob” on social media has intimidated academic institutions and monopolistic tech companies to reduce the potential for free expression, punish dissent from “social justice” orthodoxy, and usher the country to the edge of a Mao-like cultural revolution.

      In March, Matt Taibbi had a conversation with perpetually obtuse cultural critic, Thomas Frank, attempting to determine if “American liberalism has abandoned free speech.” They did not meet near the weightlifting bench in the yard of a prison, but over Zoom from the comfort of their homes. Taibbi offered the unedited interview to his subscribers. Making the entire exercise even more farcical was that it happened in reaction to criticism Frank received after the publication of an essay in the Guardian, a British newspaper with American offices, and an international audience numbering in the millions.

    • Her Sex-Positive Video Went Viral. Why Did TikTok Keep Taking It Down?

      Rolling Stone reached out to TikTok on Wednesday requesting comment on the reasoning behind taking down the “FMRN” video. Davies’ initial clip was back on the app Wednesday afternoon, a little less than two weeks after it had been purged. TikTok declined to comment on its decision to remove and then reinstate the video, instead providing a statement that said “we are thrilled that talented musicians like Lily are using the platform to express themselves.” Hours after the company issued that statement, another video with “FMRN” was also removed — and then subsequently restored.

      This episode illustrates the power that platforms like TikTok have over artists’ trajectories in 2021. By now, TikTok’s wide reach is the stuff of music industry legend — in select instances, it is capable of delivering a song by an unknown act to legions of new listeners before lunch. But the platform can take away as quickly as it gives. And because services like TikTok are so dominant, they don’t always have to justify their actions, especially regarding smaller, independent artists.

  • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Journalist charged with treason will mount a spectacular escape from Russia, if released from remand prison, FSB warns

      Russia’s Federal Security Service reportedly believes foreign intelligence agencies are plotting a special operation to sneak imprisoned journalist Ivan Safronov out of the country. Citing but not naming one of Safronov’s friends, Open Media says federal investigator Alexander Chaban raised this concern during a recent closed hearing at Moscow’s City Court, where a judge ultimately decided to extend Safronov’s pretrial detention.

    • Court marshals raid Moscow newsroom after lawsuit by member of parliament

      Armed with a warrant to “block the publication’s entire website,” court marshals raided the offices of Readovka on Friday. A day earlier, “Antimaidan” leader and United Russia State Duma deputy Dmitry Sablin took the online news outlet to court, demanding the retraction of an article about a yacht he allegedly owns but did not disclose to the public.

    • Key Assange Witness Recants—With Zero Corporate Media Coverage

      A key witness in the Department of Justice’s case against Julian Assange has admitted that his entire testimony is false, a revelation that could be the death knell for US attempts to prosecute the Wikileaks founder.

    • Politicians globally call on US President Joe Biden to drop the prosecution against Julian Assange

      Last Wednesday, a coalition of Australian parliamentarians from across the political spectrum urged the US Government to revoke its appeal of the UK judgement against extradition. In the video they pronounce: “We are elected to defend our citizens’ rights. Voters expect us to hold accountable those who commit wrongdoing, not to punish those who expose it, such as Julian Assange. Citizens expect us to protect journalists and publishers, not to imprison them for their work.”Members of Italian Parliament have also voiced their concern and presented a motion to recognize Assange the status of political refugee.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Red, White, and Blue
    • Rewriting History in the Land Called California

      It was through an Ojibwa fellow I knew for a short time that I learned the names of some of the California Native peoples tribes: the Ohlone, the Shoshone, the Nisenan were just the beginning of a long list of Native Peoples group identities.  Unfortunately, even armed with these names, the actual histories were still difficult to discover.  There didn’t seem to be many books written about any of them.  Most municipalities built on land taken from the indigenous ancestors gave little or no acknowledgment of who was there before the European and American occupiers.  No museums existed dedicated to this history existed while the museums that did exist celebrating California’s  colonial history barely mentioned those the colonizers found when they arrived.

      A new book, titled We Are the Land: A History of Native California, is an attempt to fill in this historical gap. Authored by historians Damon B. Akins and William J. Bauer, Jr., the text is a comprehensive, decades-spanning discussion of Native People’s history in the territory now known as California.  Each chapter is deeply researched via both primary and secondary sources.  The narrative is academic in approach, but mostly conversational in tone, making it accessible to the general public.  Like many texts concerning complex and even complicated  histories, the challenge to the authors is to create a readable and complete story that provides both detail and context.  Given the difficulty of the task—from plowing through research to composing an interesting and concise chronicle—Akins and Bauer have written a classic.

    • Unite Here Hits the Road to Defend Voting Rights
    • Court convicts one of Pussy Riot’s former jailers of using illegal prison labor, sentences him to probation

      A court in Russia’s Mordovia Republic has sentenced Yuri Kupriyanov to two years’ probation for using forced prison labor when he served as warden of the region’s Number 14 Correctional Colony. Convicted of abusing his authority, Kupriyanov is also prohibited from working again in Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service for two years. 

    • DOJ Suspends Federal Executions — But Activists Say Biden Should Go Further
    • Georgia Supreme Court Overturns Computer Crime Conviction For Man Who Copied Himself On Emails Sent To His Boss

      It’s not just the CFAA that can be abused. This law — recently trimmed a bit by the US Supreme Court — has been abused for years to go after web scrapers, researchers, and information-wants-to-be-free activists. The recent ruling does narrow the scope of that law a bit, but the CFAA still has the potential to do serious damage when wielded carelessly or vengefully.

    • Split Screens
    • Native Genocide, Native Liberation

      But the murder, torture and mutilation have been gruesome. Take one statistic, cited in the recently published Red Nation Rising by four writers and activists: the Indian Health Service “sterilized between 25 and 50 percent of all Native women between the years 1970 and 1976.” Can you imagine if this had been white women? Howls of outrage would resound from CNN and NBC. Tucker Carlson would scream that the white genocide had arrived. But it’s Native women, so there’s nary a peep.

      The stealing of Native children has long been known to those who look into it. But it was in the news recently. That’s when the New York Times reported on June 24 that 751 bodies, mainly children, had been found in a mass grave at a former school for indigenous children in Saskatchawan, Canada. This was only weeks after the remains of 215 children were found at another of these former church-run schools, also in unmarked graves. On June 30, another 182 bodies were found near one of these schools in British Columbia. One wonders how many more will turn up. Certainly, the settler-colonial practice of stealing children was much more malevolent than what those who did it said at the time, namely, that they were helping these children “assimilate” to white society. Assimilate into the cemetery is more like it.

    • Queen Statues Toppled Amid Outrage Over Unmarked Graves of Indigenous Children

      As the number of unmarked graves of Indigenous children discovered in Canada passed 1,000 this week, rights advocates in Winnipeg, Manitoba toppled two statues connected with the country’s past of genocide and forced assimilation. 

      A group of demonstrators gathered at the Manitoba legislature on Thursday, as the country marked Canada Day, and pulled down a statue of Queen Victoria. The Queen led the British monarchy in 1867 when Canada was established as a country, and was in power when the government and the Catholic Church began a residential school system for Indigenous children that was linked to the disappearances and abuse of thousands of children.

    • An All-American Horror Story

      I mean, I was barely one when Hiroshima was obliterated by a single atomic bomb. In the splintering of a moment and the mushroom cloud that followed, a genuinely apocalyptic power that had once rested only in the hands of the gods (and perhaps science-fiction authors) became an everyday part of our all-too-human world.  From that day on, it was possible to imagine that we — not the Martians or the gods — could end it all. It became possible to imagine that we ourselves were the apocalypse. And give us credit. If we haven’t actually done so yet, neither have we done a bad job when it comes to preparing the way for just such a conclusion to human history.

      Let’s put this in perspective. In the pandemic year 2020, 76 years after two American atomic bombs left the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in ashes, the world’s nuclear powers actually increased spending on nuclear weapons by $1.4 billion more than they had put out the previous year.  And that increase was only a small percentage of the ongoing investment of those nine — yes, nine — countries in their growing nuclear arsenals. Worse yet, if you happen to be an American, more than half of the total 2020 “investment” in weaponry appropriate for world-ending scenarios, $37.4 billion to be exact, was plunked down by our own country. (A staggering $13.3 billion was given to weapons maker Northrop Grumman alone to begin the development of a new intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, the one thing our thoroughly troubled world obviously needs.) In all, those nine nuclear powers spent an estimated $137,000a minute in 2020 to “improve” their arsenals — the ones that, if ever used, could end history as we know it.

    • Defender of Liberty Award Daniel Ellsberg
    • #FreeBrittney and all Saudi Women too!

      The legal grounds for Brittney’s situation came about in 2007 when her life was quickly spiraling out of control because of mental health issues and drug and alcohol abuse. After locking herself in a bathroom with her sons, she was placed under a 72-hour involuntary psychiatric hold.

      In January 2008, shortly after Brittney’s 26th birthday, an LA judge issued an emergency order giving Brittney’s father Jamie Spears temporary conservatorship over his daughter. Nine months later, the judge made the conservatorship permanent.

    • Some Hawaii Homeowners Damage Beaches to Protect Their Homes. A New Law Could Help Change That.

      Property owners selling homes, hotels, condos and businesses along Hawaii’s coastlines must disclose whether the properties are susceptible to damage from sea level rise under legislation that’s set to take effect next May.

      While the risks of building and maintaining property along the state’s shorelines have been evident for decades, state lawmakers passed the measure this year to make sure that prospective buyers are fully aware of those risks, which will only increase as the state’s coastlines are increasingly battered by flooding and stronger storms.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The Future Is in Symmetrical, High-Speed Internet Speeds

      In order to explain exactly why these two definitions mean so much, and how truly different they are, we’ll evaluate each using five basic questions below. But the too long, didn’t read version is this: in essence, building a 100/20 Mbps infrastructure can be done with existing cable infrastructure, the kind already operated by companies such as Comcast and Charter, as well as with wireless. But raising the upload requirement to 100 Mbps—and requiring 100/100 Mbps symmetrical services—can only be done with the deployment of fiber infrastructure. And that number, while requiring fiber, doesn’t represent the fiber’s full capacity, which makes it better suited to a future of internet demand. With that said, let’s get into specifics.

      All of the following questions are based in what the United States, as a country, is going to need moving forward. It is not just about giving us faster speeds now, but preventing us from having to spend this money again in the future when the 100/20Mbps infrastructure eventually fails to serve us. It’s about making sure that high-quality internet service is available to all Americans, in all places, at prices they can afford. High-speed internet access is no longer a luxury, but a necessity.

      Since the 1980s, consumer usage of the internet has grown by 21% on average every single year. Policymakers should bake into their assumption that 2026 internet usage will be greater than 2021 usage. Fiber has capacity decades ahead of projected growth, which is why it is future-proof. Moreover, high-speed wireless internet will likewise end up depending on fiber, because high-bandwidth wireless towers must have equally high-bandwidth wired connections to the internet backbone.

    • AT&T Has DC Pushing The Idea That ‘Big Tech’ Should Give ‘Big Telecom’ Billions For No Coherent Reason

      Last month we noted how FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr had taken to Newsweek to dust off a fifteen year old AT&T talking point. Namely that “big tech” companies get a “free ride” on telecom networks, and, as a result, should throw billions of dollars at “big telecom” for no real reason. You’ll recall it was this kind of argument that launched the net neutrality debate, when former AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre proclaimed that Google wouldn’t be allowed to “ride his pipes for free.” Whitacre was effectively arguing that in addition to paying him a premium for bandwidth, tech giants should pay him a troll toll. You know, just because.

    • Broadband Breakfast Interview with John Busby of BroadbandNow About FCC Data Errors

      For the second year in a row, the Federal Communications Commission dramatically overstated the amount of Americans – 42 million – that do not have access to broadband internet services.

      This year, however, the discrepancy was worse than last year. That’s because the FCC now says there are 14.5 million that lack access to broadband, or a difference of 27.5 million. (In other words, 42 million lacking access, minus 14.5 million that the FCC said lack access, equals 27.5 million.)

      Last year, the FCC said that 21.3 million lacked access. That number was only two times less than the actual number of 42 million, according to BroadbandNow.

  • Monopolies

    • When We Keep Giving Money to Rich People, Why Are We Surprised by Inequality?

      Patent and Copyright Monopolies

      The immediate issue that prompts this tirade was a request by President Biden for another $6.5 billion  (0.15 percent of the budget) in 2022 to support research into diseases like cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. I’m not upset at all that the federal government is spending more money on research in these areas.

    • Federal Trade Commission Expands Antitrust Enforcement By Rescinding Obama-Era Policy

      The Federal Trade Commission passed multiple measures expanding the agency’s ability to enforce antitrust laws on Thursday in the agency’s first open meeting under newly-confirmed Chairwoman Lina Khan.

      In a 3-2 party-line vote, the agency rescinded a 2015 statement that limited the scope of antitrust regulation to the framework established by the Sherman Act of 1890. Without that policy, the agency will be able to more aggressively crack down on anticompetitive business practices under Section 5 of the FTC act.

    • The Problem With Counting On IP [Ed: Nope, there is no such thing as "IP", as in this particular post he refers to "patent is a time-limited monopoly." There's is patent law, sure.]

      Applying for a patent is not cheap and most people quickly realize that the cost of the application process must be weighed against potential income. This raises the question as to what the best approach is. If you have listened to us in recent years, you can easily get the impression that it is about making a simple DCF model and comparing two large numbers with each other.

      Unfortunately, this is the wrong approach in many cases, especially for smaller companies.

      A prerequisite for a company to be able to create value in the long term is that it must have established control over the assets that interact in value creation. It is often more complicated than you may think. First, you have to identify what it is that creates value, and then you have to decide how much this process, technology or method is worth. The problem is that this assessment can easily become one-sided, partly because it is difficult to create credible models to calculate “value”, and partly because many people forget to count on many of the more subtle values of IP.

    • Mopping up final business with 13 new relists

      Every summer, before the justices leave town for the Supreme Court’s recess, they have one last impromptu conference to consider – and usually dispose of – all the cases relisted after their last scheduled conference (which this year happened last Thursday). In recent years, that “mop-up” conference has overwhelmingly happened on the last Monday of June, which is also typically when the court hands down the last opinions of the term; the resulting order list is usually released the following day. Because the court was running a little behind this year and just released its last opinions on Thursday, the court also held the mop-up conference on Thursday, and the order list will be released Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. Among the 24 cases the justices considered at the conference were 13 relisted cases. Thus, some of these cases are likely to be the last grants of October Term 2020.

      Two relists involve free exercise cases that the court held while it was reviewing Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, which the court decided on June 17. The court is apparently considering whether to simply grant, vacate, and remand for the lower courts to reconsider these cases in light of Fulton, or whether it must grant plenary review of the cases and have full briefing and oral argument. Arlene’s Flowers Inc. v. Washington, 19-333, involves whether a state can compel a floral designer to arrange flowers to celebrate same-sex weddings. Dignity Health, Inc. v. Minton, 19-1135, involves whether a religiously affiliated hospital can be compelled to allow medical procedures that violate its religious beliefs. They are joined by recent arrival Carson v. Makin, 20-1088, which asks whether a state violates the free exercise clause or equal protection clause of the Constitution by prohibiting students participating in an otherwise generally available student-aid program from choosing to use their aid to attend schools that provide religious, or “sectarian,” instruction.

    • Patents

      • Patents granted to these two ASX stocks saw share prices rise [Ed: If your share price is depending on mere patents, then you might be just a wannabe patent troll rather than a "real company" (and EPO patents have become worthless junk in recent years)]

        Lithium Australia (ASX:LIT) announced the European patent office intends to grant a patent for the company’s first-generation LieNA lithium processing technology.

        The patent will provide LieNA with legal protection in nominated European countries for the next 20 years.

      • AI (part one): how does AI interact with UK excluded subject matter provisions? [Ed: Pure nonsense and raving lunacy from patent maximalists, who cheer on for computer-generated patent monopolies as if that would advance science, economy etc. (as opposed to litigation sector, a parasite and yoke)

        Looking to UK statute for guidance, Section 3 of the UK Patents Act defines an invention on its own merits and without regard to the status of the inventor. Hence in principle a new and non-obvious concept can be an invention even if it was solely or partially contributed to by an AI.

        However, section 7(2) of the act then lists who can be granted a patent, which includes the inventor (or their employer or an assignee, etc), and “no other person”. This makes plain that an inventor must be a person, and so appears to exclude AIs as inventors.

        The recent DABUS case relating to an application which named an AI as the sole inventor (Thaler v Comptroller [2020] EWHC 2412 (Pat)) and the corresponding EPO decision, reached a similar conclusion that the DABUS AI system could not be an inventor by definition because it was not a person.

        Whilst this may appear reasonable, it is also problematic – with no inventor, there can be no corresponding right to a patent. So if a new and non-obvious concept is generated by an AI, what can be done to obtain a patent?

      • 200,000 signatures in campaign to demand stop to patents on seeds [Ed: Rigged courts inside the EPO keep allowing patents on life and nature. Europeans are not amused.]

        The Administrative Council of the European Patent Office (EPO), which represents the governments of its 38 contracting states, will be holding a meeting today and tomorrow. Together with WeMove Europe and the Munich Environmental Institute, the coalition of No Patents on Seeds! collected almost 200,000 signatures in the run-up to the meeting. The petition was supported by over 50 organizations. They are in support of political demands to put an immediate stop to patents on plants and animals derived from conventional breeding.

        “The EPO seems neither willing nor able to make sure the law is enforced. The European governments can no longer just look the other way, but need to take action to prevent severely damaging the public interest,” says Christoph Then for No Patents on Seeds!.

        “Patents on conventional breeding are prohibited in Europe, but these prohibitions are being systematically evaded by the EPO. A patent was recently granted to BASF that claims bushy growth in melon plants found in a private garden. At the same time, they rejected oppositions to a patent granted to Carlsberg on conventionally bred barley.”

      • CELLINK has been granted a patent for “Cellulose Nanofibrillar Bioink for 3D Bioprinting for Cell Culturing, Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Applications” from European Patent Office [Ed: EPO granting #patents on everything under the Sun]
      • Apple Watch should be blocked from import to US, Masimo claims [Ed: Cheesy patents in action]

        Masimo Corp. is expanding its legal fight against Apple Inc., filing a patent-infringement complaint at the U.S. International Trade Commission that seeks to halt imports of the Apple Watch.

        Apple’s Series 6 smartwatch infringes five patents for devices that use light transmitted through the body to measure oxygen levels in blood, Masimo said in a complaint filed at the Washington agency. The patented technology is key to Masimo’s core business and Apple is unfairly copying the features, the company said.

      • Software Patents

        • $2,500 for prior art on AuthWallet, LLC

          On June 28, 2021, Unified Patents added a new PATROLL contest, with a $2,500 cash prize, seeking prior art on U.S. Patent 9,292,852. This patent is owned by AuthWallet, LLC, an NPE and subsidiary of Dynamic IP Deals, LLC. The ’852 generally relates to a transaction processing service operates as an intermediary between acquirers of financial transaction requests and issuing institutions that process the financial transaction requests. It is currently being asserted against CitiGroup, Square, and American Express.

    • Copyrights

      • BitTorrent Turns 20: The File-Sharing Revolution Revisited

        Twenty years ago a then relatively unknown programmer named Bram Cohen single-handedly sparked a new file-sharing revolution. At the time, social media had yet to be invented, but BitTorrent never needed likes to go viral. The file-sharing protocol sold itself and soon conquered the Internet.

      • ISP Doesn’t Have to Expose Alleged Movie Pirates, Dutch Supreme Court Rules

        Internet provider Ziggo is not required to hand over the personal details of 377 alleged pirates, the Dutch Supreme Court has ruled. The personal information was requested by movie distributor Dutch FilmWorks. Its goal was to collect settlements from ‘pirating’ subscribers but instead, the movie company must now pay the ISP’s legal fees.

      • Cop’s Effort to Censor Witness Video With Copyrighted Taylor Swift Song Backfires

        A police officer’s attempt to censor Black Lives Matter activists at an Oakland protest backfired Thursday, with a video of the officer’s interaction with organizers going viral precisely because of his attempt to prevent them from uploading the video to YouTube by invoking copyright law and playing a pop song.

        “People have the right to film the police, and efforts by the police to infringe on this right are unconstitutional.” —Chessie Thacher, ACLU Northern California

      • Elvis Costello Doesn’t Care That A Pop Star Copied His Riffs; Says Every Musician Does That

        Is there any cooler musician than Elvis Costello? Honestly, one of the more annoying things about writing about the ins-and-outs of copyright law and creativity is realizing just how many of my artistic (music, filmmaking, writing, etc.) heroes turns out to have absolutely dreadful opinions about creativity and inspiration, often ignoring how they got to where they got, and instead focusing on pulling up the ladder behind them and squeezing as much cash as possible out of others. So I’m always concerned when I learn about musician I like opining on these issues — especially over the last few years. You had the Marvin Gaye Estate cash in on a pop song that didn’t copy any Gaye song, but just had a similar “feel.” And that opened the doors to a whole bunch of similar lawsuits of aging rockers (or their estates) demanding money from newer artists.

      • LA Court Abusing Copyright Law To Take Down (Unauthorized) Recording Of Britney Spears Hearing

        First up, let me be clear: if a courthouse makes it clear that no recording is allowed of a hearing you should not record it. I do think that those policies — which are quite common in many courthouses — are bad policy. I think recordings of hearings should be more widely available. But defying court rules is a very, very bad idea. As you may have heard, last week Britney Spears gave an impassioned plea to a court to end a conservatorship that allows her father to more or less control her life. The speech was, apparently, ineffective as the judge denied the request (though the fallout from this mess continues to spiral).

Delay After Delay, Blunder After Blunder, the ‘New Normal’ of António Campinos Faces Obstacles

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

No AlicanteSummary: The tribunals of the EPO seem to have become ‘too’ conscious of the fact that they’re scrutinised closely by the public (the injustice and lack of impartiality is too obvious for everyone to spot)

Yesterday was not as disappointing as we had predicted or expected. It wasn’t as positive as we hoped it would be, but it seems like a middle ground, as explained in this late Friday statement. The video above isn’t scripted or edited. I used it to explain in simple terms the situation at the EPO, what patent systems are actually for (or were originally meant to be; no patents on maths or on nature; the video alluded to the new article 200,000 signatures in campaign to demand stop to patents on seeds), and where we go from here, seeing that the judges are reluctant to issue a ruling. Maybe they’re testing the administration (for its reaction) or maybe they just plan to negotiate with their "masters" privately, behind the scenes; we can only ever speculate about this unless, for example, someone leaks some information to us.

“Maybe they’re testing the administration (for its reaction) or maybe they just plan to negotiate with their “masters” privately, behind the scenes; we can only ever speculate about this unless, for example, someone leaks some information to us.”The case isn’t over and we’ll be covering it for quite some time to come, irrespective of the outcome and whether it gets delivered soon or much later.

The circus of July 2nd, including the technical difficulties, were a black eye. António Campinos probably isn’t happy right now.

Exercise in the 1950
Judges mustn’t become ‘zombies’ of the administration they’re designed to assess/scrutinise

The Unexplored or Scarcely Explored Ethical Problems With Modern Cars Containing Proprietary Software That Drivers Cannot Remove/Replace

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 10:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The case for Free software in cars (or the case against computerised vehicles, in general)

The hidden cost of shallow ‘novelty’; Who controls the car other than the software that runs in it?

Summary: Proprietary software which is being remotely updated by third parties (untrusted companies, sometimes even malicious and unauthorised actors) can pose a threat to both drivers and passengers

THE folks lurking in our IRC channels have likely seen this recurring theme; cars and the things that nowadays go into new cars concern us. It’s not limited to what insurance companies are doing; drivers aren’t the sole targets of surveillance and remote control, either. Passengers in cars too are affected.

There are several dimensions to this problem, or several separable aspects. Spying in cars is a big and largely unexplored issue; but it’s not the only one. Many of today’s cars can be remotely controlled; if not by design, then by cracking, which in turn replaces the software that runs inside a car. The schemes by which this is done are kept under the veil of “national security” (see for example Vault 7 and Vault 8, especially the codenames/operations that relate to software in cars).

“Cars can be easily isolated; many assassinations have historically been carried out in remote places without eyewitnesses.”The digitalisation rather than mechanisation (in the physical sense) of car components and their controllers — including windows, brakes, blinkers etc. — should be a cause for concern if it’s all proprietary software. A few years ago, following the wave of trucks running over crowds in terror attacks, suggestions were made for remote controls (or software-based controls) over the brakes; even without remote controls, or direct controls, the ability to remotely modify the software on a vehicle (such as a truck) should alarm us. Forcing the brakes to kick in, or conversely preventing them from working, is route towards remote assassination with no black box to enable forensics. It’s even worse if the pedal for throttling can be tinkered remotely. Use your imagination to picture scenarios where forcing brakes to kick in (or not kick in) and forcing down the gas pedal (or the opposite) would enable assassination, given the right timing. Steering being tinkered would be a lot more difficult to do covertly because of the way steering wheels are physically attached to actual wheels*. But no need to steer people off the road to kill them if speed can be controlled.

Of course assassination is one of many aspects; it’s the most extreme (edge) scenario, but it’s worth entertaining (nonetheless!) because assassination by governments isn’t just a theoretical thing, not even in supposedly ‘civilised’ societies. Even journalists are being targeted for their work and opinions. Cars can be easily isolated; many assassinations have historically been carried out in remote places without eyewitnesses.

Regarding privacy, today’s cars ‘emit’ an enormous amount of data about drivers and passengers. As Ryan put it moments ago in IRC: “With Google selling data to third parties, maybe you even get spied on by insurance companies anyway for using Waze or Google Maps and just don’t even consider it. They do a lot of nasty things in the background. They’re not developing these apps for free.”

“In the future, hypothetically at least, it’s also possible that cars will be universally chipped for satellite communications that track cars’ movement (even well outside the reach of plate readers) and charge people in the name of “carbon footprint” or “congestion reduction”, in effect subjecting everybody to eternal surveillance (as long as there’s satellite signal), no matter if they carry a ‘smart’ phone inside the car or have a computer inside the car.”Speaking for myself, double standards or hypocrisy would probably not be an issue; I used to drive, my licence is still up to date (entirely valid), but I’ve not owned a car in years. Given the types of cars they sell nowadays, I wouldn’t be tempted to buy one either.

This post is part of the series, which we’ll resume some other day. Software freedom matters a lot more when your actual movements are controlled by software, even at a high and potentially lethal velocity. There have long been discussions about pacemakers that run proprietary software (and can in theory be remotely modified to assassinate a person), but not many people have a pacemaker inside them compared to the number of people who drive so-called ‘smart’ cars (that proportion is quickly growing because people no longer get to reject those gimmicks; they come with the car whether you want them or not). In the future, hypothetically at least, it’s also possible that cars will be universally chipped for satellite communications that track cars’ movement (even well outside the reach of plate readers) and charge people in the name of “carbon footprint” or “congestion reduction”, in effect subjecting everybody to eternal surveillance (as long as there’s satellite signal), no matter if they carry a ‘smart’ phone inside the car or have a computer inside the car. With the relentless promotion of “autonomous vehicles” or ‘self-driving’ (misnomer) vehicles — a trend that superficial media hype is suddenly rooting for in recent years — we risk having our locations being used to discriminate or even completely suspend the cars depending on where we go (or denying navigation towards particular places, e.g. to discourage attendance in a nonviolent protest).
* Ryan later corrected me, asserting that: “Many new car designs have full power steering controlled by motors that are controlled by software. There’s no longer any link at all between the steering wheel and the steering system. If the system goes out, you have no control over the car at all. It’s incredibly dangerous. There’s also no physical link between the accelerator and the throttle since about 2004 or 2005 on many cars. It’s just a sensor. A car with little/no computer controlled components can just end up being repaired indefinitely and kept in service. That’s not what they want. They want to sell more new cars. The Waukegan Police even still use Impalas that are as old as mine (2000-2004 style) and they still work. They hand them to ancillary tasks, like probation going out to check on people. The actual cops drive stuff that’s newer.”

Investigation Needed Into the Full Story of Jim Whitehurst’s Departure From IBM

Posted in Audio/Video, IBM, Red Hat at 3:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

One decade ago: Techrights Interview With Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat’s President and CEO

Jim Whitehurst

Direct download as Ogg (44 minutes, 32.8 MB)

Summary: No matter how deep one digs, based on publicly available information and even rumour mills of IBM insiders/pensioners, it is exceptionally difficult to understand what happened inside IBM’s top-level boardroom/management, resulting in many departures, including Whitehurst’s

Due to technical issues, the video I had recorded about this didn’t work out well (focus on wrong part of the screens), so I’ve converted it into audio (not much was lost, it mostly showed the contents of the articles below, in turn). The short story is, it’s difficult to know what exactly happened… and we dare people to tell us with certainty, rather than just speculate. We’re all ears and we welcome any insider account, though we recognise that it likely requires high-level access (the ordinary Red Hatter won’t be told the full story; shareholders are told face-saving stories/narratives).

The pages/articles the audio above (it was a video originally) being alluded to are:

As embedded (HTML5):


Ogg Theora

IRC Proceedings: Friday, July 02, 2021

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:25 am by Needs Sunlight

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