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Links 30/7/2021: Distro Comparisons and Tootle Introduced

Posted in News Roundup at 8:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • AMD Releases AOMP 13.0-5 Radeon OpenMP Compiler – Phoronix

          AMD’s Windows-based figures put the Radeon RX 6600 XT at roughly up to 15% faster on average than the GeForce RTX 3060. It will be interesting though to see how the performance compares under Linux once getting our hands on the card and being able to share those performance numbers.

        • AMD Releases AOMP 13.0-5 Radeon OpenMP Compiler – Phoronix

          In addition to the AOCC compiler for Zen CPUs, another LLVM/Clang downstream maintained by AMD is the AOMP compiler as where they host their various patches not yet merged around Radeon OpenMP offloading support. This week marked the release of AOMP 13.0-5 as their latest work on that front for the newest OpenMP GPU offloading capabilities.

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: The Update

          Have a big Vulkan-using project? Do you constantly have to worry about breakages from all manner of patches being merged without testing? Can’t afford or too lazy to set up and maintain actual hardware for testing?

        • Lavapipe Keeps Tacking On Features, LLVMpipe Lands New Rasterizer With 2~3x Faster 2D

          Valve contractor Mike Blumenkrantz is known for his work on the Zink OpenGL-on-Vulkan implementation but recently has also been engaged in some of the Lavapipe software Vulkan driver work and related to that is the venerable LLVMpipe OpenGL Gallium3D driver. Needless to say, there’s some interesting work happening.


          The idea for this now-merged rasterizer started a decade ago at VMware while this past week finally made it into Git for Mesa 21.3. See this merge request for the details on this improved rasterizer for 2D with LLVmpipe.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Moving away from Google services, 8 years in

        This blog post covers how I migrated away from a dozen Google services to privacy-friendly (and sometimes self-hosted) services instead. Let’s go over those one-by-one and see how they all work (and how you can set them up yourself) Hint: it’s quite fun.

      • Let’s Talk OpenZFS Snapshot

        If you’re already using snapshots and aren’t an aggressive snapshot pruner, you’ve probably wondered: How many snapshots is too many? Since there’s no such thing as infinite storage capacity, your available disk space is an obvious limiting factor. But at what point will snapshots result in a performance hit? Unlike other filesystems, the existence of one or one thousand snapshots has no impact on the performance of the filesystem, reading and writing files performs the same either way. However, the performance of administrative operations, like listing and deleting snapshots, are impacted by the number of snapshots that exist in each dataset. Is it OK to have hundreds of snapshots? Assuming sufficient storage capacity, what about having thousands or tens of thousands of snapshots? In our experience, over 1000 snapshots per dataset starts to cause significant performance issues when listing, creating, replicating, and destroying snapshots. The performance impact is not related to the total number of snapshots on the system, but the snapshots on each dataset. A hundred datasets each with one hundred snapshots will see no performance impact on listing, while a single dataset with 2000 snapshots may take many seconds to return the list of snapshots. While you may never need to store that many snapshots, you still want to get the most value for the space snapshots consume over time.

      • Studying the impact of being on Hacker News first page

        I don’t have much more data than this, but it’s already interesting to see the insane traffic drag and audience that Hacker News can generate. Having a static website and enough bandwidth didn’t made it hard to absorb the load, but if you have a dynamic website running code, you could be worried to be featured on Hacker News which would certainly trigger a denial of service.

      • How to use Lynis Linux Security Audit Tool on Ubuntu – VITUX

        Lynis is an open-source security auditing tool for extensive scanning of systems and its security defense to achieve compliance testing and system hardening. This software has been distributed under a GPL license since 2004. It assists in server hardening guidelines, software patch management, fully automatic auditing, Actually lynis doesn’t harden the server by itself but it will provide information about the vulnerability and suggest a different way to harden the software.

      • How to Use Apache JMeter to Load Test Web Applications – LinuxBabe

        Apache JMeter is an open-source load testing tool, available for Linux, macOS, and Windows. In a previous tutorial, we explained how to use Netdata to monitor the performance of Apache/Nginx web servers. Apache JMeter is a great complementary tool for testing your website performance under various load scenarios.

      • How to Install and Configure DHCP Server on Ubuntu 20.04

        If you are a system administrator and working in a large environment then you may often need to set up a new client system and assign IP addresses and other network-related information manually. It is a very time-consuming process for you. This is the case, where DHCP comes into the picture.

        DHCP also known as a “Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol” is a service that can be used to dynamically assigns unique IP addresses and other information to client systems. You can assign the IP address, domain name, hostname, default gateway, and DNS server using the DHCP service.

        In this post, we will show you how to install the DHCP Server and Client on Ubuntu 20.04 server.

      • How to Install LEMP WordPress Ubuntu and Debian With Virtualhost – Unixcop

        LEMP is the acronym for Linux, Nginx, MySQL, and PHP. This tutorial is to host WordPress on the LEMP stack.

      • How to Install KVM/QEMU on Manjaro/Archlinux

        KVM is an acronym of Kernel-based Virtual Machine, it is a technology solution for virtualization based on the Linux kernel module. KVM is an open-source software solution running on the Linux x86 machine with the support of hardware virtualization extensions Intel VT or AMD-V. The KVM kernel module has been shipped to Linux kernel since version 2.6.20 and has been ported to other operating systems such as FreeBSD and Illumos as a loadable kernel modules.

        The KVM technology will turn the Linux machine into hypervisor virtualization, which is called the host machine. On the host machine, you will be able to create multiple isolated systems called virtual machines (VM). Each virtual machine has its system (it can be Linux, Windows, or BSD), also has private virtualized hardware such as memory, CPUs, network card, disk, graphic, etc.

      • Guides and Snaps Use | Inkscape

        This is the sixth part of Inkscape for Students the series. After previously we learn Drawing and Coloring, now we will learn about drawing once again but with guide lines and snapping mainly to help us place objects and make copies of them tidily. Let’s exercise!

      • 3 Useful Tips on How to Use History Command in Linux

        You must aware of using the up and down arrow keys to scroll through the list of executed commands in your Bash history, but do you realize that there’s plenty more to Bash history than simply repeating commands?

        One such feature of the Bash shell that can be changed in your customized settings is the history command, which is affected by some environment variables and some shell options (shopt – a command to set and unset shell options).

      • How to Install Craft CMS with Nginx on Ubuntu 20.04

        Craft CMS is a free, open-source content management system for websites. Supported by a large and growing community of developers and designers, it offers a range of innovative features with an elegant design that makes it easy to use. It also allows you to control every aspect of your site’s development.
        It’s a great alternative to WordPress and Drupal, which are two of the most popular content management systems in use today.
        A Content Management System (CMS) is software used to make managing web content easier, such as editing content or adding new pages and pictures. Operating a website can be difficult if you need to create each page individually in code using HTML or other markup languages; this can cause problems if you have multiple people working on your site at once since there may not be agreement over how certain elements should look or behave.
        Using a CMS allows you to set the general structure of each page as well as specific elements, such as a blog post or product description; then when someone else needs to edit that information they only need to use the CMS.
        This guide shows how to install Craft CMS on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa). It will show you how to install Craft CMS on your Ubuntu server. If you want to use the MySQL/MariaDB database, then this guide will help you install that too.
        The process for installing Craft CMS on Ubuntu is similar regardless of which distribution and version you are using, so you should be able to follow this guide even if your system is slightly different. This tutorial was created with a fresh installation of Ubuntu in mind; however some steps may vary slightly depending on your current server setup.

      • Avoiding dual writes in event-driven applications

        Dual writes frequently cause issues in distributed, event-driven applications. A dual write occurs when an application has to change data in two different systems, such as when an application needs to persist data in the database and send a Kafka message to notify other systems. If one of these two operations fails, you might end up with inconsistent data. Dual writes can be hard to detect and fix.

      • Fedora Magazine: 4 cool new projects to try in Copr from July 2021

        Copr is a collection of personal repositories for software that isn’t carried in Fedora Linux. Some software doesn’t conform to standards that allow easy packaging. Or it may not meet other Fedora Linux standards, despite being free and open-source. Copr can offer these projects outside the Fedora Linux set of packages. Software in Copr isn’t supported by Fedora infrastructure or signed by the project. However, it can be a neat way to try new or experimental software.

        This article presents a few new and interesting projects in Copr. If you’re new to using Copr, see the Copr User Documentation for how to get started.

      • Get the disk health status with SMART monitor tools on Debian and Ubuntu Linux

        Every current disk includes a built-in monitoring feature known as SMART that keeps track of faults. On Linux, there is a software package called smartmontools that may be used to query the SMART status of the disk to see if it will fail soon.

      • Linux Rsync Command Examples For Beginners – OSTechNix

        In this comprehensive Rsync tutorial, we are going to learn useful Rsync command examples to copy, backup and synchronize files in Linux operating systems.

      • Instructions: Run Raspberry Pi with read-only Linux [Ed: Automated translation]

        With its numerous interfaces, the Raspberry Pi and its little brother Raspberry Pi Zero are a great basis for handicrafts from WLAN garage door openers to VPN dongle. But the microSD cards of the mini-computers are prone to failures if the power is switched off while the Raspi is running or if the power is running low in battery mode: At some point the file system will be damaged, so that the Raspi may no longer boot. The solution is a read-only system in which the SD card of the Raspi is mainly operated write-protected and, if necessary, is integrated so that it can be briefly written for updates or additional software.

      • How To Install Joomla on AlmaLinux 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Joomla on AlmaLinux 8. For those of you who didn’t know, Joomla is a free, open-source, and popular content management system (CMS) that can be used to build online applications and websites. It uses a PHP application and back-end databases such as MySQL/MariaDB. It supports several operating systems including Linux, Windows, Mac OS, FreeBSD, and Solaris, and easily integrates with Gmail and OpenID.

        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 Joomla content management system on an AlmaLinux 8.

      • Configuring Theme Design with theme.json

        Starting in WordPress 5.8, a new tool — “theme.json” — is available to use in your theme. Maybe you’re hearing about it for the first time, or maybe you’re testing and developing themes with it already. Either way, I’m glad you’re here because it’s an exciting time for WordPress themes.

        This post provides a quick introduction to this new framework, and describes what’s possible by sharing a few practical tips and examples.

      • 17 Helpful Rsync SSH Command Examples For Linux (2021 List)

        Rsync is also known as remote sync is a command-line tool used to copy and sync files and directories remotely as well as locally in Linux/Unix systems. With this rcopy and synchronize data:

      • How To Install and Play League of Legends Linux (2021) – DekiSoft

        In each game, the teas bypass defensive line structures in order to destroy core building in the enemy team base and achieve victory. The match lasts an average of 26-60 minutes. This page will educate you on how to install league of legends on Linux in 2021 using Lutris, Snap or Wine. This is tested and currently supported on Ubuntu.

    • Games

      • Steam gets new a Downloads page, new Steam Library manager and Linux improvements

        Valve say the new Downloads area is a “minimal and more focused design with stronger CTAs (Calls to Action)”, and the style overall much better matches the new Steam Library too. The new colouring is also supposed to help the visually impaired, which is always nice to see more of a focus on. Updates downloading will show the total progression completed instead of just the download progress, where it previously did not have the disk allocation as part of it which it now does.

      • Steam Beta Brings New Downloads Page, Linux Container Updates – Phoronix

        Valve just pushed out a rather significant Steam beta update for gamers across Windows, macOS, and Linux.

        This Steam beta update is a bit meatier than normal with a new downloads page implementation, several Linux-specific updates, continued work on SteamVR and Steam Input, along with more.

      • Humble has a pretty big Starfinder RPG bundle going with physical goodies

        Yes, this isn’t exactly Linux gaming (we do cover other geeky things…) but the Humble RPG Book Bundle: Starfinder is still thoroughly interesting with some physical goodies included too.

        Starfinder, for readers not aware, is a science fiction fantasy RPG from Paizo Publishing. It’s incredible popular, to the point that you can play various versions on some virtual tabletops like Roll20, Fantasy Grounds Unity and the excellent Foundry VTT.

      • Half-Life 2: Remastered Collection coming from the team behind Half-Life 2: Update | GamingOnLinux

        You can see the entry up on SteamDB, with a Steam page not yet live. However, this has actually been listed since May 2020 so why is it getting noticed again now? It seems Tyler McVicker, know for doing the Valve News Network which is now just under McVicker’s name, posted on Twitter noting that it will include the additional episodes too and in a later Twitter post McVicker mentioned speaking to the team behind it to confirm it is indeed legitimate.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Tootle – GTK client for Mastodon

          Mastodon is a free and open source microblogging platform similar to Twitter, but with user privacy and decentralization in mind. It’s one of many protocols that interacts with the Fediverse of protocols like Pleroma, GNU Social, and others. Unlike Twitter, Mastodon is not one social network.

          Getting started with Mastodon can be confusing for newcomers. Mastodon is a federated service. This means its similar to email. You can create an email account with many different providers. And that’s the same with Mastodon. The service lets you sign up to one of many sites that run Mastodon software, called instances. A user can communicate with other Mastodon users on different instances. Anyone can run a server of Mastodon. Each server hosts individual user accounts, the content they produce, and the content they are subscribed. Every user can follow each other and share their posts regardless of their server.

    • Distributions

      • Manjaro Linux vs Gentoo Comparison – All Features Checked

        All who have used Linux must have heard about big names such as Ubuntu, Debian, Arch and Mint. Very few know about the smaller ones like Manjaro or Gentoo. Such people do not know what they are missing. This post compares these two together and talks about what they each have to offer and which you should choose! It is simple.

        For many years we have tried distros like Ubuntu flavours, Linux Mint, Fedora, OpenSUSE as well as Debian. We installed Manjaro some fiver years back and haven’t looked back since then.

      • Manjaro Vs. Ubuntu (Latest) – Which is the best Linux Version?
      • Top 5 Most Stable Linux Distros To Try In 2021

        If you are wondering why the term “stable” comes with a Linux operating system or distro then it is due to the availability of many of these variations per the requirement of the user. Few are fundamental such as Debian, some fork of a base distro such as Ubuntu, Arch, and many other fork-of-a-fork-of-a-fork like the Mint. The long story right?

        All these do not comply in terms of support and documentation from the community. Follow through as we list down for the most stable Linux Distros which are well known, well supported, carry good repositories, updates regularly, user-friendly, as well as stay around us for quite a long time.

        Oh, and if you are a developer and have a laptop you will love them more!

        Join along.

      • Top 5 Best Linux Distributions To Replace Windows 10/8


        There are thousands of Linux distributions available that you can use. However, people can’t choose one perfect OS that they can use as an alternative to Windows 10 or 8. Now, when it comes to Windows, it’s pretty easy to use. The same isn’t applicable for Linux. Here, you will have to need basic knowledge to operate and use the operating system. Therefore, people often choose the Linux distribution that is easy to use for a Windows user.

        We are going to see the top 5 Linux distributions to replace Windows 10 and 8.

        To conclude, these are the top 5 best Linux distributions to replace Windows 10 and 8. There is no specific best OS you can use here. All of them have some similar features. Therefore, you can start using any of them as per your choice. The main thing you need to focus on is the user interface. As it is a Linux version, you will surely get the rest of the things directly from the OS. In simpler words, all the Linux distributions have pretty much the same features. Therefore, you can go with any distributions you want here. Just focus more on the user interface.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Red Hat buddies up with Nutanix to provide an escape route from VMware

          Red Hat is collaborating with Nutanix to make OpenShift and Red Hat Enterprise Linux a fully supported solution on the Nutanix native virtualization platform, AHV.

          The new agreement provides for Red Hat OpenShift, its Kubernetes distribution, to be the Nutanix “preferred choice” for Kubernetes on Nutanix, and for Nutanix HCI to be fully supported by Red Hat for deploying Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and OpenShift. The Nutanix Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV) will now be certified by Red Hat for RHEL and OpenShift.

        • What do we call post-modern system administrators? | Opensource.com

          For today’s sysadmin, many companies expect you to have cross-platform knowledge, network knowledge, and application knowledge. Add to that a dash of programming ability, a pinch of sysadmin experience, a heaping portion of social skills, and a fanatical commitment to reliability and automation.

          What do we call this new, post-modern sysadmin? Do we use the same term and simply stretch the responsibilities? Or do we give this evolved role a new name?

        • Tales from the field: A system administrator’s guide to IT automation

          Happy Sysadmin Appreciation Day. Our gift to you: a new download called Tales from the field: A system administrator’s guide to IT automation. This compilation of short stories seeks to share the excitement, frustrations, successes, and challenges associated with incorporating IT automation into organizations and teams across the globe.

          Few technologies impact organizational transformation the way that IT automation can. IT automation improves security and compliance, abstracts away complex tasks for those with limited technical knowledge, improves standardization across the organization, helps organizations scale, improves continuous delivery, and reduces operational complexity and cost. But when adopting a holistic IT automation adoption mindset and approach, these business benefits come with an equal number of challenges.

        • Silver linings: 7 ways CIOs say IT has changed for good | The Enterprisers Project

          For all of the business challenges the COVID-19 pandemic presented, it also came with a silver lining for IT leaders – it shattered previous notions of what was possible.

          We had an opportunity to ask CIOs who recently won the 2021 Boston CIO of the Year ORBIE Awards what positive, lasting outcomes they will be taking away from the pandemic. The awards were presented by the Boston CIO Leadership Association, a professional community that annually recognizes CIOs for their excellence in technology leadership.

        • PHP version 7.4.22 and 8.0.9 – Remi’s RPM repository – Blog

          RPMs of PHP version 8.0.9 are available in remi-php80 repository for Fedora 32-34 and Enterprise Linux (RHEL, CentOS).

          RPMs of PHP version 7.4.22 are available in remi repository for Fedora 32-34 and remi-php74 repository Enterprise Linux (RHEL, CentOS).

          No security fix this month, so no update for version 7.3.29.

          PHP version 7.2 have reached its end of life and is no longer maintained by the PHP project.

          These versions are also available as Software Collections in the remi-safe repository and as module for Fedora 32-34 and EL-8.

        • Red Hat survey reveals: career progression is driving developer hunger for containers and Kubernetes

          When Linux containers first emerged as an architectural concept for building and packaging applications, they opened the door to a whole new world for developers. The Kubernetes container orchestration platform quickly followed, giving organizations a way to more fully harness the power of containers by answering the need for managing container environments at scale. The result was a wholesale shift in how we think about the cloud.

          To better understand the impact of containers and Kubernetes on developers today, we commissioned CCS Insight to explore the current state of container use — including the benefits, challenges, adoption and use cases of container technology—in organizations across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Today, we are pleased to share the results of these findings, based on feedback from hundreds of IT professionals in both technical- and business-facing roles who are involved in architecting, developing, deploying and managing software application code and services.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Xubuntu 21.10 To Ship Some More GNOME Apps, Drops Pidgin

          For those wondering what has been going on in the Xubuntu camp for this Xfce desktop spin of Ubuntu, a Xubuntu 21.10 development update was shared concerning package changes and other happenings.

          Xubuntu continues progressing for those interested in an Xfce-based desktop experience while leveraging Ubuntu. New software additions for Xubuntu 21.10 include GNOME’s Baobab disk usage analyzer, GNOME Disks, the Rhythmbox music player, and Xfce’s Clipman clipboard management application.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The Apache News Round-up: week ending 30 July 2021

        We’re closing out July with a review of our activities over the past week…

      • Reproducible Builds (diffoscope): diffoscope 179 released

        The diffoscope maintainers are pleased to announce the release of diffoscope version 179. This version includes the following changes:

        * Ensure that various LLVM tools are installed, even when testing whether
          a MacOS binary has zero differences when compared to itself.
          (Closes: reproducible-builds/diffoscope#270)

      • Syslog-ng 3.33: the MQTT destination

        Version 3.33 of syslog-ng introduced an MQTT destination. It uses the paho-c client library to send log messages to an MQTT broker. The current implementation supports version 3.1 and 3.1.1 of the protocol over non-encrypted connections, but this is only a first step.

      • FSF

        • FSF-funded call for white papers on philosophical and legal questions around Copilot

          On its blog, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) has announced a call for white papers about GitHub Copilot and the questions surrounding it. The FSF will pay $500 for papers that it publishes because they “help elucidate the problem”…

        • The GNU C Library copyright-assignment policy changes
        • Update to glibc copyright assignment policy
          glibc was created as part of the GNU Project but has grown to operate
          as an autonomous project.
          The glibc stewards have decided to relax the requirement to assign
          copyright for all changes to the Free Software Foundation. glibc will
          continue to be developed, distributed, and licensed under the GNU
          Lesser General Public License v2.1 or any later version as published
          by the Free Software Foundation.  This change is consistent with the
          practices of many other major Free Software projects, such as the
          Linux kernel, and GCC [1].
          Contributors who have an FSF Copyright Assignment don't need to change
          anything.  Contributors who wish to utilize the Developer Certificate
          of Origin[2] should add a Signed-off-by message to their commit
          The changes to accept patches with or without FSF copyright assignment
          will be effective after August 2nd, and will apply to all open
          branches. Code shared with other GNU packages via Gnulib will continue
          to require assignment to the FSF.
          The glibc stewards continue to affirm the principles of Free Software,
          and that will never change.
          Ryan Arnold
          Paul Eggert
          Jakub Jelinek
          Maxim Kuvyrkov
          Joseph Myers
          Carlos O'Donell
          [1] https://gcc.gnu.org/pipermail/gcc/2021-June/236182.html
          [2] https://developercertificate.org/
      • Programming/Development

        • How to find the difference between two dates in Javascript
        • Jussi Pakkanen: How much effort would it take to convert OpenSSL’s Perl source code generators to Python?

          There is an ongoing discussion to write Meson build definitions to OpenSSL so it can be added to the WrapDB and built transparently as a subproject. One major issue is that OpenSSL generates a lot of assembly during build time with Perl. Having a Perl dependency would be bad, but shipping pregenerated source files would also be bad. Having “some pregenerated asm” that comes from “somewhere” would understandably be bad in a crypto library.

          The obvious third option would be to convert the generator script from Perl to Python. This is not the first time this has been proposed and the counterargument has always been that said conversion would take an unreasonable amount of effort and could never be done. Since nobody has tried to do the conversion we don’t really know whether that claim is accurate or not. I converted the x86_64 AES asm generator to see how much work it would actually take.


          A reasonable port would contain these conversions for the most popular algorithms to the most popular CPU architectures (x86, x86_64, arm, aarch64). It would require a notable amount of work but it should be measured in days rather than months or years. I did browse through some of the other asm files and it seems that they have generators that work in quite different ways. Converting them might take more or less work, but probably it would still be within an order of magnitude.

        • Python

  • Leftovers

    • Eileen Jones on American Movies, Why So Many Films Suck, and Her Top 5 Films Leftists Must See
    • Scott Parkin
    • Education

      • It’s Time We Talk About Getting Rid Of The Bar Exam. And Here’s Why.

        Thousands of law school graduates sat for the bar exam this week. It has long been questionable whether this semi-annual process of testing lawyers is in any way a valid method of determining whether a lawyer is qualified to practice. But the egregious way bar authorities have altered the administration of the test to respond to the pandemic has made it clear that the answer is no.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Variants and Vaccines

        The number of other people that each infected person infects is called the basic reproduction number, or R0 (“R naught”), in epidemiological parlance. It’s a measure of the biological characteristics of an infectious agent, but it can be affected by social and environmental conditions and human behavior (e.g. crowding vs. social distancing, ventilation, facemasks). The R0 of seasonal influenza is 1.3. The R0 of measles is around 15. As it emerged in Wuhan, the R0 of the original COVID-19 strain was 2.4—2.6. The R0 of the Alpha variant is 4 to 5.

        The Beta variant (scientific name B.1.351) arose in South Africa in October 2020. It was found that the AstraZeneca vaccine was ineffective against the Beta strain – leading to a pause in its use there in February 2021. (The AstraZeneca vaccine may make a comeback in South Africa, since it is effective against the Delta strain, which is poised to become dominant there.)

      • South Africa: Looting Talk, “the Nonsense” and Queuing for COVID Jabs

        “We swept up so many bullets, in places the ground was covered in them; I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” said a middle-aged Zimbabwean man I was queuing up with to get a COVID jab at the Royal Agricultural Showgrounds in downtown Pietermaritzburg, aka PMB, the provincial capital of KwaZulu-Natal.

        People were scared to go out the week after “all the nonsense”, as I’ve heard the week of rioting and looting repeatedly referred to. But some less timid souls ventured out to get vaccinated, taking advantage of the minimal waiting times as the country, despite all the turmoil, pushes ahead with its open-to-all “VacciNation” campaign.

      • Human Unwillingness to Surmount the Pandemic Means It’s Unlikely We Will Stop Global Warming

        The same day I had read a steady stream of news stories about the Delta variant of the coronavirus ripping through the US population as huge numbers of people remain unvaccinated. While confusing government public health messages—doubtless the result of medical experts being overruled by politicians—have resulted in most people ditching masks in all situations. Causing more “breakthrough”cases of the incredibly contagious Delta in fully-vaccinated people than evidently expected and many more cases overall.

        Notably here in Massachusetts, where a series of Provincetown festivities from July 4 onward have led directly to over 400 cases of COVID and rising—including in two fully-vaccinated people I know personally. A situation I predicted in my June 14 column “The Pandemic Is Not Over Yet: Mass residents need to stop running amok in public spaces.” Not because I am in possession of any psychic, mystic, or spiritual powers, but by dint of simply keeping up with the latest medical science in the mainstream press. For which I was mocked by readers who don’t do the same in times of crisis. Although most people are perfectly capable of doing so. Preferring instead to listen to their own selfish inner monologues, cherrypick what little they hear from experts on social media, and mistakenly believe they are free to resume their pre-pandemic lives—maskless and clueless. Spreading a coronavirus variant many times as contagious as the original virus as they go about their rounds of family reunions, dance parties, and booze cruises.

      • Medicare For All, the Squad and the DSA: Who Controls Whom?

        The Squad’s relative quietude regarding the nationwide calls for single-payer Medicare for All, however, despite having a once-in-a-century platinum opportunity (a nationwide pandemic, economic implosion, widespread Left press agitation, and even a mass mobilization this month), is rather instructive.

        Medicare for All (M4A) has a level of support that crosses the partisan divide within the voting public. In fact, the opposition is in a numerical minority. Unfortunately, it just so happens that this small group (Congress, the Biden administration, the medical-industrial complex) has all the power in the country necessary to prevent its enactment.

      • Opinion | We’re Still in a Health Crisis. It’s Called Fossil Fuels

        Our nation is facing a health crisis—and it’s not just the coronavirus disease pandemic. Around the world, fossil fuel pollution kills millions of people every year. As health professionals representing doctors, nurses, and more, we’re calling on Congress to tackle the fossil fuel health crisis as swiftly as possible by passing President Biden’s American Jobs Plan.

      • As Delta Variant Spreads, the “Honor System” for Masking Hasn’t Worked
      • Big Pharma vs the People

        If it’s personal for me, it’s even more so for Carla Shultz. She’s worked the night shift for 13 years, and this isn’t how she expected things to go at the largest and last generic drug manufacturer in the United States. Especially after Covid, when we as a nation learned a whole lot about the fragility of global supply chains, the high cost of monopoly medicine, and the dire health state of much of this nation’s people.

        And yet, closure is exactly what Viatris, a new entity formed when Morgantown’s Mylan pharmaceuticals merged with an offshoot of Pfizer, plans to do at the end of July unless someone steps in.

      • What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Viruses?

        There is nothing more natural than a virus. In fact, we would not exist without them. Viruses have been recognized as the primary drivers of evolution on Earth and endure in far greater numbers than we do. So why have viruses garnered such a negative reputation?

      • The Broccoli That Ate Port Orford

        Notwithstanding our poor soil, one year we grew an enormous broccoli and people came from all over to see it because it was 14 inches across at the top and later won a blue ribbon at the county fair. People would come to the door and ask to see the “broccoli from outer space.” We always believed the secret of that plant’s success was the fertilizer. That spring we had used kelp from a beach a few hundred yards from our house to fertilize our garden. We had a prolific kelp bloom that winter and violent storms had covered the beaches with it. I made many trips bringing back tons of the stuff and we had spread it all over the garden. Kelp consists of green, slippery, long, tapering, hollow tubes from three or four inches wide down to a fraction of an inch. I used a hatchet to chop the tubes into hollow rings and spread them all over the garden. We always assumed that the kelp bloom that year contributed something that caused our broccoli to grow that large.

        When kelp washes up on beaches it is called wrack and as it decomposes it produces clouds of tiny flying insects that shore birds eat. Seven hundred species depend on kelp and it contains about 70 nutrients that benefit plants.

      • FL Counties Impose Mask Mandates Despite Threat From DeSantis to Invalidate Them
      • Nurses Know Better Than Kevin McCarthy: Bring Masks Back

        Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky recommended Tuesday that Americans living in areas with high Covid-19 case counts should wear masks, even if they have been vaccinated, when they share indoor public space with others. US Capitol Attending Physician Brian Monahan responded immediately by issuing a mask mandate for the House chamber and congressional office buildings. Then all hell broke loose.

      • “We Can’t Trust the Unvaccinated”: Dr. Leana Wen on Vaccine Mandates & How to Stop the Delta Variant

        The highly contagious Delta variant is causing a rise in cases around the world, from the Olympics in Tokyo to Russia, Indonesia and the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidelines suggesting that people resume wearing masks indoors, but state and local officials are not legally required to implement CDC guidelines. Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and former Baltimore health commissioner, says she supports the new CDC guidelines because an “honor system” of trusting people to wear masks unless they were vaccinated clearly did not work. “We know that we can’t trust the unvaccinated,” she says. She also discusses global vaccine inequity, how to overcome vaccine hesitancy, and her new memoir, “Lifelines: A Doctor’s Journey in the Fight for Public Health.”

      • This is your brain on walking

        In the study, led by Colorado State University in Fort Collins professor of neuroscience and human development Agnieszka Burzynska, 247 “sedentary but otherwise healthy” older men and women (average age: 65) were divided into three groups and observed over a six-month period. A control group did supervised stretching and balance workouts, one group danced a specific number of times a week and another walked briskly for 40 minutes, three times a week.

        As the Times notes, “The walkers and dancers were aerobically fitter, as expected. Even more important, their white matter seemed renewed.” Surprisingly, it was not the dancers but the walkers who fared best of all. Meanwhile — and this may motivate you to get those steps in — the control group actually showed a decline in white matter, “with greater thinning and tattering of their axons and falling cognitive scores.”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Germany’s Constitutional Court Ponders Whether Government Users Of Zero-Day Surveillance Malware Have A Duty To Tell Software Developers About The Flaws

          As Techdirt has reported previously, the use of malware to spy on suspects — or even innocent citizens — has long been regarded as legitimate by the German authorities. The recent leak of thousands of telephone numbers that may or may not be victims of the Pegasus spyware has suddenly brought this surveillance technique out of the shadows and into the limelight. People are finally starting to ask questions about the legitimacy of this approach when used by governments, given how easily the software can be — and apparently has been — abused. An interesting decision from Germany’s constitutional court shows that even one of the biggest fans of legal malware is trying to work out how such programs based on zero-days can be deployed in a way that’s compatible with fundamental rights. The court’s press release explains:

        • The Life Cycle of a Breached Database

          Every time there is another data breach, we are asked to change our password at the breached entity. But the reality is that in most cases by the time the victim organization discloses an incident publicly the information has already been harvested many times over by profit-seeking cybercriminals. Here’s a closer look at what typically transpires in the weeks or months before an organization notifies its users about a breached database.

        • The Women on the Other End of the Phone

          For almost a decade, ProPublica has been reporting on the ways TurboTax has fought efforts to make tax prep easier and less costly. As part of that series, we published a story about how to get your money back from TurboTax if you were charged for a service that should have been free.

          People flooded the TurboTax customer service line — maybe you were even one of the callers. Some of them told us all they had to do was mention ProPublica to get a refund.

        • Boeing’s six-year deal with Dell will eliminate 600 jobs

          Boeing’s six-year deal with Dell will eliminate 600 jobsBengaluru: Boeing will transition a significant part of its engineering centre capabilities in Bengaluru to select IT services companies. The US aircraft manufacturer is outsourcing infrastructure services to Dell. This could involve some employees at the Boeing India Engineering and Technology Centre (BIETC) in Bengaluru moving to Dell, sources told TOI.

          This is part of the global move, announced earlier this year by Boeing, wherein it will outsource cloud services and databases to Dell in a six-year deal that would eliminate 600 jobs.

        • Security

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

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • ‘Until the FTC Acts, No One Is Safe’: Groups Urge Ban on Corporate Facial Surveillance

              Citing Amazon’s practices as an alarming example, dozens of advocacy groups on Thursday urged U.S. regulators to outlaw corporate use of facial surveillance technology, “ban continuous surveillance in places of public accommodation, and stop industry-wide data abuse.”

              “Rule-making is needed to stop widespread systematic surveillance, discrimination, lax security, tracking of individuals, and the sharing of data.”—Letter to FTC

            • DHS’s Flawed Plan for Mobile Driver’s Licenses

              So, we’re troubled by proposed rules on “mobile driver’s licenses” (or “mDLs”) from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. And we’ve joined with the ACLU and EPIC to file comments that raise privacy and equity concerns about these rules. The stakes are high, as the comments explain:

              Finally, we are concerned that the DHS proposal layers REAL ID with mDL. REAL ID has many privacy problems, which should not be carried over into mDLs. Moreover, if a person had an mDL issued by a state DMV, that would address forgery and cloning concerns, without the need for REAL ID and its privacy problems.

            • It’s Time for Police to Stop Using ShotSpotter

              Acoustic gunshot detection relies on a series of sensors, often placed on lamp posts or buildings. If a gunshot is fired, the sensors detect the specific acoustic signature of a gunshot and send the time and location to the police. Location is gauged by measuring the amount of time it takes for the sound to reach sensors in different locations.

              According to ShotSpotter, the largest vendor of acoustic gunshot detection technology, this information is then verified by human acoustic experts to confirm the sound is gunfire, and not a car backfire, firecracker, or other sounds that could be mistaken for gunshots. The sensors themselves can only determine whether there is a loud noise that somewhat resembles a gunshot. It’s still up to people listening on headphones to say whether or not shots were fired.

              In a recent statement, ShotSpotter denied the VICE report and claimed that the technology is “100% reliable.” Absolute claims like these are always dubious. And according to the testimony of a ShotSpotter employee and expert witness in court documents reviewed by VICE, claims about the accuracy of the classification come from the marketing department of the company—not from engineers.

            • Detroit Skating Rink Horns In On Detroit PD’s Facial Recognition Gaffe Racket, Denies Teen Girl Opportunity To Skate

              It looks like Detroit, Michigan is trying to corner the market on bad facial recognition tech. The city’s police department is already associated with two false arrests based on bad matches by facial recognition software. This latest news, via Techdirt reader Jeffrey Nonken, shows mismatches aren’t just limited to the public sector.

            • How Discussions at the World Wide Web Consortium Could Undermine Efforts to Strengthen Privacy

              In January of this year, Google offered a progress update on the Privacy Sandbox. But a couple of weeks before that blog post, Google’s plans were thrown into disarray by a press release from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which works “to promote competition for the benefit of consumers, both within and outside the UK”. The announcement revealed that the CMA had opened an investigation into Google’s proposals to drop third-party cookies from Chrome. As a result of this unexpected turn of events, Google seems to have slammed on the brakes for the Privacy Sandbox: it now says that “it’s become clear that more time is needed across the ecosystem to get this right.” Actually, behind the scenes, rather more is happening than simply slowing things down a little. The UK’s CMA is getting quite deeply involved in the project:

            • Airbnb Host Cancels Vacation Rental After Guest Asks About Camera Surveillance

              The house listing included security cameras on the property. Bushey says she assumed they were outside, but learned more after messaging the host.

              “She said every area besides the bedroom and the bathroom had cameras in it. I never did get an answer if it included audio and what were they doing with these recordings,” said Bushey.

              She says the host canceled her reservation at the last minute after she asked whether they could put down a security deposit instead of being monitored via video.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Opinion | Congress Needs to Force Biden to End the Yemen War

        Yemen is in a catastrophic state,” says Kawthar Abdullah, an organizer with the Yemeni Alliance Committee. “I have family there. Every day when I call and talk to them, the reality on the ground is far worse than it is ever portrayed.”

      • The Flying Dutchman How a blogger’s devotion to anti-colonialism became an obsession with MH17 that led to a police raid on a Russian journalist’s home

        Early on July 28, police officers raided the home of investigative journalist Roman Dobrokhotov, The Insider’s creator and editor-in-chief. After searching his apartment, the officers escorted him to a local station for questioning about defamation charges filed back in April. For now, the authorities have named Dobrokhotov as a witness in their investigation. The available evidence suggests that the case’s victims are “undetermined persons within the Russian Defense Ministry’s Military Intelligence Directorate,” as well as the Dutch blogger Max van der Werff, whom The Insider and Bellingcat investigated last November, finding that he coordinated his efforts with Russia’s military intelligence to publicize “alternative narratives” about the causes of the July 2014 crash of MH17. This joint report (or rather, Dobrokhotov’s tweet promoting the article) is what van der Werff calls defamation. Meduza explains how an amateur researcher went from exposing Dutch war crimes committed during Indonesia’s decolonization to helping the Russian authorities cover up how a passenger plane crashed in Ukraine.

      • Foreign Agents #1: Exposing the San Isidro Movement & US culture war on Cuba
      • Nuclear Weapons: Rising Danger

        But mourning diminishes over time and life for the survivors goes on.

        Such a recovery from destruction is no longer assured or even likely in the age of nuclear weapons. World leaders, however, continue to play the game of war in ways that risk the war that could end life on earth.

      • How to Undermine a Diplomatic Triumph

        At the end of President Obama’s term of office (January 2017) the JCPOA was complete and in force. In exchange for a lifting of “nuclear-related sanctions,” Iran undertook not to pursue research that might allow her to develop nuclear weapons. Up until May of 2018 “Iran’s compliance has been repeatedly verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which oversees the most intrusive inspections regime ever negotiated.” It was in May of 2018 that Donald Trump, perhaps the most despicable human being to hold the presidency since Andrew Jackson, withdrew from the JCPOA, apparently for two reasons: (1) was the treaty was completed by Obama and Trump wanted to destroy the achievements of his non-white predecessor, and (2) Trump thought he could bully the Iranians into a “better deal.” It is important to note that the other signatories to the treaty did not initially follow Trump’s lead. “The leaders of France, the United Kingdom, and Germany issued a joint statement on behalf of their countries that reemphasized their support for the deal and its importance to the nonproliferation regime.” The United Nations expressed “deep concern” over Trump’s decision and released a statement in support of the JCPOA. Russia’s Foreign Ministry also reiterated its support for the JCPOA, and further stated that “U.S. actions compromise international trust in the IAEA.”

        How did the Iranians react to Trump’s withdrawal from the treaty and reimposition of harsh sanctions? At first, Tehran suggested that if the other signatories to the agreement would remain loyal to their obligations, Iran too would keep to the treaty. Unfortunately, most of the European nations involved would soon succumb to U.S. economic pressure and cease to hold to their obligations. Nonetheless, it was not until a year following Trump’s irresponsible act that Iran announced that “The Islamic Republic of Iran in reaction to the exit of America from the nuclear deal and the bad promises of European countries in carrying out their obligations will restart a part of the nuclear activities which were stopped under the framework of the nuclear deal.” Even while the Iranian government took this position, it insisted that if at any time the United States returned to the treaty and removed all nuclear-related sanctions, Iran too would return to its obligations. Tehran even suggested a process whereby the U.S. and Iran would take simultaneous steps to that end.

      • Tokyo’s Games Are Harming the Nuclear Weapons Ban Movement

        The Olympics are supposed to be a tangible symbol of global cooperation and peaceful competition. But the games carry a lot of baggage—not only from the pandemic but also from the Fukushima disaster and Japan’s nuclear politics.

      • Documents From ‘Argo’ Production Reveal What It’s Like To Film At CIA Headquarters

        Since the early 1970s the Central Intelligence Agency has granted access to their Langley headquarters to a small handful of film and TV producers to add credibility and authenticity to spy dramas—often in exchange for positive portrayals of the agency.  Newly released CIA documents shed light on this process, as well as the close relationship between the Agency and the makers of the Oscar-winning spy drama “Argo,” especially with the film’s director and star Ben Affleck.  

        In early 2011, Affleck was gearing up to shoot “Argo,” about the real-life CIA operation to smuggle six embassy staff out of Iran by masquerading as a Hollywood film crew. The operation was the brainchild of Tony Mendez, a fake document and disguise specialist in the CIA’s Office of Technical Services.  

      • Cameroon Asks People Who Fled Boko Haram to Return

        Cameroon’s government has sent ministers to its northern border with Nigeria to convince villagers who fled Boko Haram militants to return. Cameroon invested $10 million on reconstruction efforts after damage caused by the Islamist terrorist group in some villages. But, in northern Cameroon, many villagers are reluctant to go home, and authorities acknowledge the militants are still a threat.

      • Opinion | Let’s Reinvent the US Military for Real National Defense

        As a ROTC cadet and an Air Force officer, I was a tiny part of America’s vast Department of Defense (DoD) for 24 years until I retired and returned to civilian life as a history professor.  My time in the military ran from the election of Ronald Reagan to the reign of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. It was defined by the Cold War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, America’s brief unipolar moment of dominance and the beginning of its end, as Washington embroiled itself in needless, disastrous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq after the 9/11 attacks.  Throughout those years of service, I rarely thought about a question that seems ever more critical to me today: What would a real system of American national defense look like?

      • The general who let Robert E. Lee get away

        “Many were the missed opportunities which a resourceful and aggressive army commander would have grasped had he been in Meade’s position,” wrote the former general and military historian Edward Stackpole in his 1956 classic “They Met at Gettysburg,” and he was being typically diplomatic. Lee’s forces began their withdrawal on July 4, and even a week later, they were still stretched out and vulnerable to the range of Meade’s forces – including the Union’s Sixth Corps, which was composed of 15,000 men who had not yet fought. Lee’s back was to the Potomac, and the center of his army was little more than a mile from Union forces that outnumbered him three to one. Calling this a “missed opportunity” is like calling the loss of the Titanic a minor nautical inconvenience.

      • Papers Instead of Human Lives: The Sentencing of Daniel Hale

        Yet again, the US government was making use of the beastly Espionage Act of 1917.  Between 2009 and 2013, Hale worked with the US Air Force and National Security Agency.  He was then contracted by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to work as a toponymist.

        His work during his time in the NSA and as part of the Joint Special Operations Task Force – to identify targets for assassination for the US drone program – was performed at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.  His sin, or what his attorney Jesselyn Radack prefers to call “committing the truth”, was to reveal classified documents revealing the distinct viciousness, and essential senselessness, of the US military’s drone program.  His motivation: “to dispel the lie that drone warfare keeps us safe, that our lives are worth more than theirs.”

      • Daniel Hale Revealed America’s Drone Assassinations to the Public. He’s Been Sentenced to 45 Months in Prison.

        Fortunately, O’Grady didn’t fully buy Kromberg’s argument, but he did tell Hale that he could have been a whistleblower and spoken out against the drone tactics without stealing and leaking the documents.

        O’Grady has a pretty naive attitude toward how whistleblowers in the United States in recent years have actually affected change. The documentation is important, and it’s abundantly clear that leaving it to the government officials themselves to validate whether they exist won’t accomplish much.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Glenn Greenwald downplays fascist plot to kill Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer

        Greenwald argues that since the FBI knew about the plot and evidently helped move it forward, there is nothing to fear. He ignores the federal police agency’s long history of cultivating far-right elements to carry out assassinations and bombings in order to bludgeon the working class and implement the policies of the ruling elite.

    • Environment

      • 50% of air pollution comes from 1% of the global surface

        The researchers found that roughly 50% of global emissions take place in around 1% of the global surface.

        The only exception is ammonia, where rural areas account for more than 50% of global emissions, the researchers have said this is largely due to agriculture activities.

      • Climate change is making poison ivy stronger and itchier

        The effect has been known since 2006, when Duke University researchers published a six-year study that showed poison ivy grew double its normal size when it was exposed to higher levels of carbon dioxide — levels on a par with the atmospheric carbon scientists anticipate seeing around 2050. The leaves on some individual plants grew by as much as 60 percent. Researchers also found that CO2 makes urushiol, the oil in poison ivy that causes the allergic reaction in humans, stronger. Plants rely on CO2 to make the sugars they need to grow, and increased concentrations of it were helping everyone’s least favorite plant thrive. The researchers surmised that increased levels of CO2 in coming decades would lead to bigger, faster growing, and itchier poison ivy plants.

      • “This Is Not a Climate Bill”: Leah Stokes on Why Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Doesn’t Go Far Enough

        Senate Democrats have announced that they have joined with 17 Republicans to vote in favor of taking up a $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal. The plan includes new spending on climate and environment measures, but critics say it falls far short of what is needed. Democrats say they hope to include additional climate measures in a $3.5 trillion reconciliation package that could advance without being blocked by a Republican filibuster if it is backed by all 50 Democrats. Climate and energy policy researcher Leah Stokes says the bipartisan bill does include positive measures but nowhere near enough. “There are some good investments and important things, but they are in many cases cents on the dollar,” she says.

      • Eliminating Carbon Emissions by 2050 Would Save 74 Million Lives This Century: Study

        Providing further evidence of the deadly consequences of the fossil fuel-driven climate emergency and the far-reaching health benefits of decarbonization, new research out Thursday shows that eliminating greenhouse gas emissions within the next three decades would save tens of millions of lives around the world.

        Roughly 74 million lives could be saved this century if the emission of heat-trapping gases is cut to zero by 2050, compared with a far more lethal scenario in which society fails to limit global temperature rise to less than 4°C. That’s according to Daniel Bressler, a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University’s Earth Institute whose peer-reviewed journal article, “The Mortality Cost of Carbon,” was just published in Nature Communications.

      • Opinion | Europe’s Flooding Shows Climate Solutions Must Be Driven by People-Power
      • ‘Turn This Destruction Around’: 5 Months Left in 2021 But Humanity’s Used Up Earth’s Ecological Budget

        Humans are continuing to gobble up Earth’s resources faster than the planet can generate them, with this year’s “Overshoot Day” landing on July 29.

        “If we need reminding that we’re in the grip of a climate and ecological emergency, Earth Overshoot Day is it,” said Susan Aitken, leader of the Glasgow City Council, urging that the day be “our call to arms.”

      • Energy

        • ‘Gathering Storm’: How ‘Rogue’ Companies are Buying up North Sea Oil and Gas

          Companies with histories of environmental abuses and alleged labour violations, backed by private equity and with ties to foreign governments, stand to profit from North Sea oil and gas, new data shows.

          Campaigners say the trend towards private ownership in the North Sea is potentially “catastrophic” for the UK’s plans for an equitable transition towards low carbon industries.

          Stay up to date with DeSmog news and alerts

        • Dell is cancelling Alienware gaming PC shipments to several US states

          For the time being, Dell is no longer shipping certain Alienware Aurora R12 and R10 gaming PC configurations to half a dozen US states because those product lines potentially fall out of bounds of newly adopted energy efficiency requirements.

        • 5% of Earth’s Power Plants Create 73% of the Energy Sector’s Emissions

          A group of researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder analyzed 2018 data from 29,000 fossil fuel power plants in 221 countries and located the top emitters in the world.

          They mapped plants by their carbon dioxide emissions and identified the top 10 “ worst-of-the-worst” power plants, which are clustered around Europe, East Asia, and India.

          The world’s “super-emitters” have a few qualities in common: They are all coal-powered, they are primarily located in the global north and they all operate inefficiently for the amount of energy they generate. Focusing policy responses on mitigating the handful of the worst offenders would go a long way to curbing the climate crisis, the authors find.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Superior Court Dumps BS Charges Brought Against New Jersey Homeowner For Her ‘Fuck Biden’ Signs

        Last week, a New Jersey municipal court judge sided with the town of Roselle Park, New Jersey, and its decision to fine a homeowner for “obscene” signs she had in her yard. The signs weren’t obscene in any legal sense of the word — not even under the ordinance the town claimed she had violated. When the homeowner refused to back down, the town started finding her $250/day.

      • Exec That Tried To Send Critical Reporters A Dead Pig Blames ‘The Drinking Culture At eBay’

        Last year, you might recall how a group of eBay executives were arrested for a truly bizarre (an understatement) stalking and harassment campaign aimed at critical reporters. Angry at the critical coverage of eBay by a small news site (Ecommercebytes.com, published by David and Ina Steiner), a team of six eBay executives and employees engaged in a year long campaign of terror against the couple that included death threats, spying on them, and even sending them everything from dead cockroaches and a bloody pig mask. The crew even tried to send the reporters a dead pig, though it never managed to ship.

      • Enough About FOSTA’s ‘Unintended Consequences’; They Were Always Intended

        It feels inevitable that if you’re talking about FOSTA/SESTA (the federal law passed in 2018 that amended section 230), someone, at some point, will mention that it was aimed at combatting sex trafficking that had unintended impacts on folks doing consensual sex work.

      • Outspoken billionaire Sun Dawu jailed for 18 years in China

        Sun Dawu runs one of the country’s largest private agricultural businesses in the northern province of Hebei.

        Sun, 67, has in the past spoken out about human rights and politically sensitive topics.

        He was found guilty of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” – a charge often used against activists.

      • How China’s Communist Party Schools Train Generations Of Loyal Members

        As primary training grounds, party schools have now become bulwarks against challenging the official historical narrative. “Why did the Soviet Union disintegrate? Why did the Soviet Communist Party collapse? An important reason was that their ideals and convictions wavered,” Xi said in an internal December 2012 speech, warning against straying from the central line.

        “For this reason, Xi is now driving everything in precisely the opposite direction — eliminating what limited space had existed on the margins of academia and media for meaningful discussion and ramping up campaigns to force cadres to study officially approved versions of party history, versions which increasingly assign a larger role to Xi himself,” says Carl Minzner, a professor of Chinese politics at Fordham University in New York.

      • Pro-democracy Hong Kong radio host ‘Fast Beat’ goes on trial for sedition

        The slogans included “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times”, “Corrupt cops, all of your family go to hell”, “Disband Hong Kong police, delay no more” and “Down with the Communist Party of China”.

        The trial is a watershed legal moment for Hong Kong because it will set a precedent for what political phrases and views are now deemed illegal as China looks to stamp out dissent following huge and often violent democracy protests two years ago.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Journalists rally to defend newspaper in face of ongoing attacks by government

        More than 100 columnists and other contributors to El Universal have put their names to an open letter to President López Obrador to defend themselves and the newspaper in the face of ongoing attacks by the federal government.

      • EU Condemns Russia’s ‘Unabated Crackdown’ On Independent Media, NGOs

        The European Union has urged Russia to stop its “unabated crackdown” on independent media outlets, journalists, and civil-society organizations, calling the clampdown ahead of parliamentary elections in September “particularly worrisome.”

        In a statement published late on July 22, a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell cited recent decisions by the Russian authorities to designate a number of journalists and a legal-aid nongovernmental organization, the Institute of Law and Public Policy, as “foreign agents,” and to declare the media outlet The Project an “undesirable organization.”

      • ‘Historic Victory’: Bayer to End US Residential Sales of Glyphosate-Based Herbicides

        In a move that environmental groups celebrated as a “historic victory” following years of campaigning to remove Roundup and similar weedkillers from store shelves, Bayer on Thursday announced that it will halt the sale of glyphosate-based herbicides to consumers in the U.S. lawn and garden market by 2023.

        “Bayer’s decision to end U.S. residential sale[s] of Roundup is a historic victory for public health and the environment,” Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety (CFS), said in a statement.

      • France fines Monsanto for illegally acquiring data on journalists, activists

        France’s personal data protection agency on Wednesday fined US firm Monsanto for illegally compiling files of public figures, journalists and activists with the aim of swaying opinion towards support for its controversial pesticides.

      • RSF calls for the release of a Sudanese journalist jailed in Saudi Arabia

        Human Rights Watch said yesterday that Sudanese journalist Ahmed Ali Abdulgadir was sentenced on 8 June to four years in prison for “insulting the state’s institutions and symbols” and “negatively speaking about the kingdom’s policies.” On Twitter, he criticised Saudi Arabia’s relations with the Sudanese government after the 2018 revolution and Saudi involvement in the war in Yemen, HRW said.

      • Two Cheers for the Free Press

        Today, nearly every day, Americans face new calls to restrict the freedom of the press. We are constantly told that the Internet presents a novel threat. Maybe it does. But as I see it, the novelty worth really in need of discussing isn’t the one that’s so often being discussed. Anyone who has spent a few minutes flipping through 19th-century Parisian newspapers knows that the bilious atmosphere of Twitter is nothing new. What’s new is that the distribution of information is concentrated in the hands of a few private companies. These companies are profoundly susceptible to pressure from politicians. Last fall, just before the election, we saw those companies censor an article in the New York Post that raised the issue of the possible corruption of the current president. It was an astonishing moment in a nation whose press has been freer for far longer than France’s: citizens forbidden to read a consequential story in a long-established newspaper, days before an election. And since that election and the pandemic, the drumbeat of calls for censorship has grown all the louder.

      • World Urged To React ‘Vigorously’ To Belarus Closing Main Journalists’ Association

        Rights groups have called on the international community to defend Belarus’s leading journalists’ association as the regime of authoritarian ruler Alyaksandr Lukashenka seeks to close it down amid an intensifying crackdown on independent media and civil society.

        Belarus’s Justice Ministry has asked the Supreme Court to close the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAZh) for “repeated violations of the law,” while the authorities have frozen all BAZh bank accounts following police raids on its offices last week.

      • 2 Colorado Police Officers Are Investigated After A Violent Arrest

        Haubert is under investigation over possible attempted first-degree assault, second-degree assault and felony menacing in connection with the Friday incident, according to arrest warrant affidavits written by an Aurora police detective and obtained by The Denver Post.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • 228 Republicans Blasted for Brief Urging Supreme Court to Overturn Roe v. Wade

        While praising the Democrat-led U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday for passing a spending bill without the Hyde Amendment for the first time in decades, reproductive rights and justice advocates sounded the alarm over 228 congressional Republicans urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.

        “Overturning Roe would open the floodgates to states banning abortion, put politicians in control of people’s bodies, and force patients seeking healthcare across state lines.”—Planned Parenthood Action

      • Vengeance: Trump’s Republicans and the Deepening Culture Wars

        Since the nation was first settled, generations of Americas have inflicted untold horrors against other Americans – be they Native people; African slaves and Black citizens; immigrants speaking a “foreign” language, non-Christians or from a different nationality or ethnic group; and, of course, those embracing different cultural values.

        For all the rants by conservative pundits and politicians about “critical race theory,” media blowhards seem to know little of the nation’s long history in vengeful culture wars. Long forgotten, the New World was besieged by numerous sex scandals during the first seventy-five years of Puritan settlement. For New Englanders and other British colonists up and down the Atlantic Coast, these scandals set the boundaries of acceptable sexual practice. They mostly involved premarital sex (fornication), extramarital sex (adultery), sodomy (homosexuality) and interracial sex. Two offenses were most upsetting: bestiality involving young men and sexual witchcraft among older women.  And many people, especially women, were arrested, tried and executed.

      • Opinion | A Direct Pathway to Cementing DACA Rights Is Through Legislation
      • Oversight Report Says Commerce Dept. Investigative Unit Went Rogue, Engaged In Biased, Retaliatory Investigations

        Years after it was granted too much power, a federal internal investigations unit created during the presidency of George W. Bush is finally having its dirty laundry aired. The Senate Commerce Committee — years after the fact — is finally delivering some oversight of an entity created to root out internal threats.

      • Federal investigators launch probe into Moscow play that supposedly ‘offends veterans’

        Alexander Bastrykin, the head of Russia’s Federal Investigative Committee, has ordered an inquiry into the Moscow Sovremennik Theater following allegations that a new play is offensive to veterans (which is no longer protected speech in Russia). In a press statement on Thursday, the agency said Bastrykin’s orders are related to complaints filed by “members of the public.”

      • ‘If Police Made Asian Americans Safe, We’d Already Be Safe’

        Janine Jackson interviewed 18 Million Rising’s Bianca Nozaki-Nasser about anti-Asian bias for the July 23, 2021, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

      • Bob Moses: The Fullness of the Man

        I once asked Bob Moses, who died on July 25 at the age of 86, for an example of empowering grassroots leadership. He replied, “Well, Mrs. [Hazel] Palmer… She really came to symbolize for me…this leadership phenomenon that Ella [Baker] pointed us to and she never became a media person. She always worked behind the scenes in the Freedom Democratic Party. She had been the janitor at one of the local schools and then her children got involved in the Freedom Rides in ’61 and then she began to work with Medgar [Evers] and then when Medgar was assassinated in ’63, she came over to the COFO [Council of Federated Organizations] office and started working with us and then she got involved in the Freedom Democratic Party and became sort of the chief networking person out of the Jackson office on the Watts line, so she really would do a whole lot of the calling and networking with groups across the country and really became very sophisticated in her understanding of the movement and the organizing, what the movement was trying to do with poor people like her.… So, Mrs. Palmer, I used to go around and talk about her because she really came to represent what we were looking at trying to do in the community organizing because there was, I think there’s a dimension to it which is dealing with this transformation of people.”

      • What the Harlem Cultural Festival Represented

        There were supposed to be five shows over five consecutive Sundays, a schedule modeled on that of a series of six phenomenal events over six Sundays the previous year, with one major difference: For 1970, the Harlem Cultural Festival moved from its titular home in the historic locus of Black and Latinx life in New York to Damrosch Park, an outdoor space at Lincoln Center, where opera, ballet, and other arts aggrandized by the white elite were staged in the surrounding complex. After one concert billed as a “Folk Gospel Music Show,” featuring the Mighty Mellotones, the Gospel Warriors, and other acts, the four remaining dates of the 1970 festival were canceled, ostensibly for lack of funding. The headline in The New York Times reported, “Concerts Stilled,” and the shows devoted to blues and soul music, as well as a “Tribute to the Late Otis Redding,” were never to be.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • The Bipartisan Broadband Bill: Good, But It Won’t End the Digital Divide

        We have long advocated for, backed up by evidence, a plan that would connect every American to fiber. It is a vital part of any nationwide communications policy that intends to actually function in the 21st century. The future is clearly heading towards more symmetrical uses, that will require more bandwidth at very low latency. Falling short of that will inevitably create a new digital divide, this one between those with 21st-century access and those without. Fiber-connected people will head towards the cheaper symmetrical multi-gigabit era while others are stuck on capacity-constrained expensive legacy wires. This “speed chasm” will create a divide between those who can participate in an increasingly remote, telecommuting world and those who cannot.

        Most estimates put the price tag of universal fiber at $80 to $100 billion, but this bipartisan package proposes only $40 billion in total for construction. It’s pretty obvious that this shortfall will prevent many areas from the funding they need to deliver fiber–or really any broadband access—to the millions of Americans in need of access.

        While Congress can rectify this shortfall in the future with additional infusions of funding, as well as a stronger emphasis on treating fiber as an infrastructure, versus purely a broadband service. But it should be clear what it means to not do so now. Some states will do very well under this proposal, by having the federal efforts complement already existing state efforts. For example, California already has a state universal fiber effort underway that recruits all local actors to work with the state to deliver fiber infrastructure. More federal dollars will just augment an already very good thing there. But other states may, unfortunately, get duped into building out or subsidizing slow networks that will inevitably need to be replaced. That will cost the state and federal government more money in the end. This isn’t fated to happen, but it’s a risk invited by the legislation’s adoption of 100/20 Mbps as the build-out metric instead of 100/100 Mbps.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Amazon Hits $7.8B in Profit Under New CEO, But Sales Fall Below Expectations

        Amazon also revealed that its streaming TV ads and Twitch now reach 120 million monthly viewers across the U.S., but the company did not reveal specific metrics for its Prime Video service. The earnings report also did not mention the company’s $8.45 billion acquisition of MGM that was announced in May.

      • It’s not just you, streaming the Olympics is a mess

        Peacock’s coverage was a problem straight out of the gate. The opening ceremony wasn’t streamed live on the service at all (though the closing ceremony will be), even though it was streamed live on the NBC Olympics website. The service is paywalling men’s basketball, seemingly to boost Peacock’s paid plans. And while live broadcasts and on-demand coverage of most other games and events are available for free on Peacock, finding out what’s on and where to watch it has been a chore, comparable to flicking through a cable TV guide. (Disclosure: NBCUniversal is an investor in Vox Media, parent company of The Verge.)

    • Monopoly

      • Poll: Overwhelming Majority of US Voters Want Robust Regulation of Tech Companies

        Advocates for breaking up internet monopolies on Thursday pointed to a new polling that shows overwhelming U.S. public support for curbing the power of Big Tech as evidence that Congress should forge ahead with antitrust bills aimed at better regulating some of the world’s most powerful corporations.

        “Policymakers should respond to this clear demand from voters by enacting laws and regulations that will improve choice, protect consumers, and reduce discrimination.”—Erin Simpson,CAP Action

      • Moscow court fines Google for refusing to localize Russian users’ data

        A Russian justice of the peace has fined Google LLC three million rubles ($40,950) for refusing to localize Russian users’ data on the territory of the Russian Federation.

      • States say they will appeal the dismissal of their Facebook antitrust suit.

        More than 40 state attorneys general on Wednesday said they planned to appeal the dismissal of their antitrust lawsuit against Facebook, setting up a protracted legal fight to rein in the power of the Silicon Valley giant.

        The states would be pushing back on a decision made last month by a federal judge who eviscerated their arguments that Facebook had obtained a monopoly through its acquisitions of Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014 and had harmed competition. The judge said that the regulators’ attempts to break up the social media company came too many years after the mergers were approved.

      • Patents

        • Big Pharma Monopolies Make Cost of Global Vaccination Against Covid-19 5 Times Costlier Than Needed: Report

          Pharmaceutical corporations’ vaccine monopolies are increasing the cost of inoculating the world’s population against Covid-19 by as much as 500%, a briefing paper published Thursday revealed, underscoring what public health advocates say is the need for a People’s Vaccine.

          “Immediate action must be taken now to deliver a People’s Vaccine… with access prioritized according to need and not ability to pay.”—The People’s Vaccine Alliance

      • Copyrights

        • Filmmakers Want WOW! to Block Pirate Sites & Disconnect Repeat Infringers

          A group of independent movie companies has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Internet provider WOW!. The company, which has over three million subscribers across the US, faces far-reaching demands from the filmmakers who request site-blocking measures, a three-strikes policy for pirates, and the ongoing identification of alleged copyright infringers.

        • UK Police Arrest Man For Operating Pirate IPTV Service & Money Laundering

          Police in the UK have arrested a 56-year-old man in connection with the illegal streaming of premium TV channels. Officers were able to access and disrupt the online platform, disconnect the illegal streams, and display an online message to customers. In addition to money laundering, the man is suspected of carrying out offenses contrary to the Serious Crimes Act and Fraud Act.

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