08.26.21

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 26/8/2021: Qt Creator 5.0 and Another Windows Catastrophe

Posted in News Roundup at 12:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Three dates, not one, to mark creation of Linux: Torvalds

        “This was the anniversary of the first public announcement, but it wasn’t actually the actual first code drop. That came later – 17 September.

        “And even that second anniversary isn’t the ‘last’ anniversary, because the Linux 0.01 code drop on 17 September was only privately announced to people who had shown some interest from the first announcement.

        “So the first actually public and real *announced* code drop was 5 October 1991, which is when 0.02 was dropped. So I actually have three anniversaries, and they are all equally valid in my mind.”

      • Linux turns 30 today, the open source operating system that changed everything

        In its origins, computing was controlled by universities, the military, and big business. They had control and licenses of the software, and no one could use the applications or operating systems without their permission, or a license.

        Richard Stallman, a programming genius who He studied at Harvard University and worked at IBM and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), working as a laboratory hacker, he decided to punch the table. The September 27, 1983 sent the now famous email to his colleagues, with the slogan “Free Unix!” (Free Unix!), Which gave rise to the birth of free software:

        “I consider that the golden rule requires that if I like a program, I must share it with other people who also like it. My conscience does not allow me to sign a confidentiality agreement or a software license.”

      • Linux, happy 30th birthday! What the future holds for Linux

        Today marks the official 30th birthday of the Linux operating system. Let’s all dig into that penguin-shaped cake and talk about where we were when it all began. Or, maybe we’ll chat about all of the fun times we’ve had with Linux over the years, or how it shaped our lives and altered the trajectory of our professional endeavors.

        Now let’s talk about the future. After all, we know the past. We’ve learned from our mistakes and celebrated our successes. The thing about prognostication is that it’s nothing more than a guessing game. But sometimes pondering what the future holds can be an enjoyable way of flexing the brain’s muscles and positing a world of possibilities.

      • Linux Is 30

        Yes the number one open source operating system is 30 years old this month. Is it mature or geriatric? Why isn’t it everywhere? After all, it is difficult to beat the economics of a free OS.

        The exact date to celebrate is usually the 25th of August 1991 because this is the date that Linus Benedict Torvalds broke cover with a post to the Minux newsgroup:

      • Linux turns 30, and today it’s everywhere

        It’s been three decades since Linus Torvalds announced plans to release a free and open source operating system with a Unix-like feature set. In that time Linux has come a long, long way.

        There are hundreds of desktop operating systems based on the Linux kernel, although they still have a pretty tiny market share when compared with Windows and macOS. But in some ways, Linux may be one of the world’s most versatile, most widely-used operating systems.

      • Happy 30th, Linux!

        “I’m doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won’t be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones. This has been brewing since april, and is starting to get ready. I’d like any feedback on things people like/dislike in minix, as my OS resembles it somewhat (same physical layout of the file-system (due to practical reasons) among other things).

        I’ve currently ported bash(1.08) and gcc(1.40), and things seem to work. This implies that I’ll get something practical within a few months, and I’d like to know what features most people would want. Any suggestions are welcome, but I won’t promise I’ll implement them :-)”

      • Linux celebrates its 30th anniversary – Computer – .Geeks [Ed: Might be a plagiarism site]

        My first experience with Linux, if my memory didn’t fail me, was 20-30 years ago with a Redhat distribution in which I was experimenting with something on the command line. At the time, Linux was still too basic to use properly, but I was concerned with that.

      • Linux at 30: How Android came to be, well, Android

        Android is the world’s most beloved consumer operating system (OS), powering billions of smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and other gadgets all around the globe. While there are many other popular operating systems in use, none have accomplished quite such a broad reach as Android. The OS’ success story is a long and winding one but today we’re looking back to the true origin story.

        Although Google (rightly) takes the credit for Android’s development, the operating system’s early building blocks owe their existence to the similarly ubiquitous but lesser-recognized Linux OS. Today, Linux distributions span Debian, Fedora, Ubuntu, and many, many others, powering PCs, servers, and Raspberry Pis all around the globe.

      • Happy Birthday Linux! 30 Years Ago Today, Linus Gave Us Linux! – Front Page Linux

        Happy 30th Birthday to the Linux kernel! 30 years ago today, August 25th, Linus Torvalds sent out an email to the Minix newsgroup announcing his new hobby project. This hobby became the biggest open source project ever created and arguably the most important software ever created. Linux is use in pretty much every type of computing device from Smartphones to Desktops, from Raspberry Pi’s to the new PineNote, or from Cars to the International Space Station!

      • 30 things you didn’t know about the Linux kernel

        The Linux kernel is turning 30 this year. That’s three decades of pioneering open source software, enabling users to run free software, to learn from the applications they’re running, and to share what they’ve learned with friends. It’s argued that without the Linux kernel, the luxuries of open culture and free software we enjoy today may not have surfaced when they have. It’s highly improbable that the parts of Apple and Microsoft and Google that are open would be open at all without Linux as the catalyst. The impact of Linux as a phenomenon for culture, software development, and user experience cannot be overstated, and yet it all started with a kernel.

        A kernel is the software that boots a computer, recognizes—and ensures communication between—all of the components attached to the computer, both inside and outside of the computer case. For code that most users never even think about, much less understand, there are a lot of surprises about the Linux kernel. In no particular order, here’s one fact about the kernel for each year of its life…

      • Short subjects: Realtime, Futexes, and ntfs3

        Even in the dog days of (northern-hemisphere) summer, the kernel community is a busy place. There are many developments that show up on your editor’s radar, but which, for whatever reason, do not find their way into a full-length feature article. The time has come to catch up with a few of those topics; read on for updates on the realtime patch set, the effort to reinvent futexes, and the ntfs3 filesystem.

      • A firewall for device drivers

        Device drivers, along with the hardware they control, have long been considered to be a trusted part of the system. This faith has been under assault for some time, though, and it fails entirely in some situations, including virtual machines that do not trust the host system they are running under. The recently covered virtio-hardening work is one response to this situation, but that only addresses a small portion of the drivers built into a typical kernel. What is to be done about the rest? The driver-filter patch from Kuppuswamy Sathyanarayanan demonstrates one possible approach: disable them altogether.

        Virtual machines typically have direct access to little or no physical hardware; instead, they interact with the world by way of emulated devices provided by the host. That puts the host in a position of power, since it is in total control over how those virtual devices work. If a driver has not been written with the idea that the devices it manages could be hostile, chances are good that said driver can be exploited to compromise the guest and exfiltrate data — even when the guest is running with encrypted memory that is normally inaccessible to the host.

        The virtio work hardens a handful of virtio drivers to prevent them from misbehaving if the host decides to not play by the rules. Getting there was a lot of work (which still has not reached the point of being merged), and there is a decidedly non-zero chance that vulnerabilities remain. Even if the virtio work is perfect, though, the kernel contains thousands of other drivers, most of which have not received anything close to the same amount of attention; few of them can be expected to be sufficiently robust to stand up to a malicious device. If the host can convince a guest to load the driver for such a device, the security game may well be over.

      • Linux Pipe Code Again Sees Patch To Restore Buggy/Improper User-Space Behavior – Phoronix

        It was just last month that the Linux kernel saw a pipe code change to address a user-space regression due to the kernel’s policy about not breaking the user-space even if that non-kernel code is in the wrong. A similar kernel regression fix was merged today.

        Last month’s issue was around the EPOLL interface being misused by some Android libraries and a kernel change at the end of 2019 ended up breaking those libraries like Realm. So after several kernel releases with that change breaking some user-space Android applications and the upstream library since correcting its usage, Linus Torvalds changed the kernel behavior as to not break any old user-space out there misusing the interface. Linus Torvalds has long enforced the policy of kernel changes not breaking existing user-space behavior even at times when the user-space is misusing interfaces.

      • Intel AMX Patches For The Kernel Posted A 10th Time, But To Miss Out On Linux 5.15 – Phoronix

        Going back to June of last year there has been work on Intel bringing up Advanced Matrix Extension (AMX) that will debut with next-gen Xeon “Sapphire Rapids” processors as a new programming paradigm. Over the past year they have published patches for the Linux kernel and open-source toolchains with GCC and LLVM Clang. One year later, the AMX kernel patches are up to their tenth revision but will miss out on the imminent Linux 5.15 merge window.

        Intel open-source engineers have been working on a set of more than two dozen patches around AMX handling for the Linux kernel. Among the kernel work involved is that a new system call is needed for applications to actually request feature access to Advanced Matrix Extensions, handling for applications without AMX permissions, and other changes.

    • Applications

      • OpenShot 2.6 Video Editor Released with New Computer Vision and AI Effects, More

        More than six months in development, OpenShot 2.6 is here with lots of goodies for users of this video editor, which will now enjoy new computer-vision and AI effects like motion tracking, object detection, and stabilization, new audio effects like compressor, distortion, delay, echo, parametric EQ, expander, noise, Robotization, and whisperization, as well as a new Zoom Slider widget for easier navigation of the timeline.

        Also new in this release is the Caption video effect that can be used for rasterizing/rendering text captions on top of a video stream, parentable keyframes, new effect icons, almost 1000 new emoji, as well as support for the latest FFmpeg, Blender, WebEngine, and WebKit technologies, which puts OpenShot on par with professional video editors while providing users with better compatibility and interoperability with most video file formats.

      • Open Source Video Editor OpenShot 2.6 Released With AI Effects & Major Improvements

        OpenShot is one of the most popular open-source video editors out there.

        It is not just for Linux, but it is an impressive free video editor for Windows and Mac users as well.

        While it was already a functional, easy-to-use, feature-rich video editor, it stepped up a notch with the latest release.

        Here, we discuss some key additions in OpenShot 2.6.0 release.

      • OpenShot Video Editor Adds ‘Computer Vision and AI’ Effects

        A new version of the OpenShot video editor is now available to download — and it’s boasting some colossal sounding improvements.

        OpenShot 2.6.0 is the first update to this popular open source video editor this year, but it looks to have been well worth the wait.

        Bundled up inside the latest build are new ‘computer vision and AI’ effects. These include some impressive-sounding motion tracking and object detection capabilities, plus configurable stabilisation effect to (try to) straighten out any shaky footage.

      • 6 Must-Have Open-Source Tools to Secure Your Linux Server

        Over the years, I have come across many blogs that claim Linux is impenetrable by security attackers too many times to count. While it is true that GNU/Linux operating systems for desktops and servers come with a lot of security checks in place to mitigate attacks, protection is not “enabled by default”.

        This is because your cybersecurity ultimately depends on the tools you have employed to sniff out vulnerabilities, viruses, malware, and to prevent malicious attacks.

        In today’s article, we turn our attention to system administrators and security enthusiasts who need to ensure the confidentiality of the data on network servers and local setups. What’s even cooler about these apps is that they are open-source and 100% free!

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Qt Creator 5.0 Open-Source IDE Released as a Major Update with Experimental Features

          Highlights of the Qt Creator 5.0 release include experimental Clangd support as the backend for the C/C++ code model, which means that it’s not enabled by default so you have to activate it from Tools > Options > C++ > Clangd > Use clangd. It also features experimental support for building and running apps in Docker containers, which only works on Linux systems that use CMake as the build system for projects.

          Also new is a highlighting option for function parameters, template parameters for symbols in the Locator, support for snippets, find support to Issues pane, a new “Show Source and Header Groups” option in the project tree, a new “Force logging to console” option for debugging, line ending and indentation in the file properties information, as well as menu item and shortcut for editing bookmark comments.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Emmanuele Bassi: Publishing your documentation

          The main function of library-web, the tool that published the API reference of the various GNOME libraries, was to take release archives and put their contents in a location that would be visible to a web server. In 2006, this was the apex of automation, of course. These days? Not so much.

          Since library-web is going the way of the Dodo, and we do have better ways to automate the build and publishing of files with GitLab, how do we replace library-web in 2021? The answer is, unsurprisingly: continuous integration pipelines.

          I will assume that you’re already building—and testing—your library using GitLab’s CI; if you aren’t, then you have bigger problems than just publishing your API.

    • Distributions

      • Download Zorin OS 16 With Mirrors, Torrents And Checksums

        Zorin OS, the computer operating system from Ireland, released version 16 at Tuesday, August 17th, 2021. Currently available as Pro and Core, with Lite and Education Editions to come, it is the successor to the last year version 15.3. This GNU/Linux system is suitable for most computer users, organizations, schools and offices. Below you will find the download links, mirrors, a torrent, checksums, and how to proceed further to the installation. Finally, we congratulate Zorin OS official for nearly 3 million downloads since two years ago and it’s our time to celebrate. Now let’s download Zorin OS!

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

      • Debian Family

        • Debian 11 Bullseye Released! Here are the New Features

          Linux is one of the well-liked operating systems because of its open-source nature, flexibility to customization, ability to operate on older machines, security, and stability. The open-source operating system unlike the closed operating systems allows all the users equal opportunity to change and modify the underlying code. Linux can be referred to as the heart of open-source operating systems. After being established in the mid 1990s; it has expanded across the globe from smart computers to phones and home appliances, Linux can be found everywhere.

          Linux has tons of distributions for various purposes and audiences and Debian is one of them. Debian is a free operating system made by a set of individuals for a good cause. It is one of the most popular distributions made by volunteers coming together all across the globe to create a free-to-use operating system. The Debian system usually makes use of Linux or FreeBSD kernels. The GNU project, as in the complete name Debian GNU/Linux, consists of the main parts and tools for Debian. Debian allows the user the” freedom of software” as in their own words. The users can download it for no cost, free, and do a wide variety of work. From running a business server to playing games and what not.

        • OpenEmbedded Dunfell updated rebuild

          Yesterday I discovered that the problem has been fixed “upstream”, at the OpenEmbedded git repository, Dunfell branch. So, downloaded the latest, put the updated layers into my “dunfell” project, and have commenced a rebuild.

          [...]

          The current release of EasyOS has Xorg server 1.19.7, very old, to fix working with the framebuffer in the initrd. However, have decided that is not important, and have reverted to 1.20.8.

          Note, EasyOS does not use systemd, that ‘systemd-boot’ does nothing, it is just a dependency requirement of some packages.

          And, for the record, EasyOS does not have ‘avahi’, ‘pam’, ‘polkit’, or ‘pulseaudio’ either. For now, staying with ‘alsa’ only for audio.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 20.04.3 LTS (Focal Fossa) Is Out with Linux Kernel 5.11 and Mesa 21 Graphics Stack

          Coming more than six months after Ubuntu 20.04.2, the Ubuntu 20.04.3 point release is here with updated kernel and graphics stacks from the Ubuntu 21.04 (Hirsute Hippo) release. More precisely, it’s powered by the HWE (Hardware Enablement) Linux 5.11 kernel series and uses the latest Mesa 21.0 graphics stack.

          As usual, the Linux 5.11 HWE kernel included in the Ubuntu 20.04.3 LTS point release is intended for newer installations where the hardware is not fully supported by the stock kernel. As such, if you’re using Ubuntu 20.04 LTS with the stock kernel, you won’t receive the newer kernel when performing an upgrade.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Events

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • PostgreSQL DBMS_JOB compatibility extension

          pg_dbms_job is a new PostgreSQL extension to create, manage and use Oracle-style DBMS_JOB scheduled job. The use and behavior is just like with the DBMS_JOB Oracle package.

          pg_dbms_job v1.0.1 has been released, this is the first release of the extension which is compatible from PostgreSQL 9.1 to current.

          It allows to manage scheduled jobs from a job queue or to execute immediately jobs asynchronously. A job definition consist on a code to execute, the next date of execution and how often the job is to be run. A job runs a SQL command, plpgsql code or an existing stored procedure.

          If the submit stored procedure is called without the next_date (when) and interval (how often) attributes, the job is executed immediately in an asynchronous process. If interval is NULL and that next_date is lower or equal to current timestamp the job is also executed immediately as an asynchronous process. In all other cases the job is to be started when appropriate but if interval is NULL the job is executed only once and the job is deleted.

          If a scheduled job completes successfully, then its new execution date is placed in next_date. The new date is calculated by evaluating the SQL expression defined as interval. The interval parameter must evaluate to a time in the future.

        • PostgreSQL’s commitfest clog

          While it may seem like the number of developers would be the limiting factor in a free-software project, the truth of the matter is that, for all but the smallest of project, the scarcest resource is reviewer time. Lots of people like to crank out code; rather fewer can find the time to take a close look at somebody else’s patches. Free-software projects have taken a number of different approaches to address the review problem; the PostgreSQL developer community is currently struggling with its review load and considering changes to its commitfest process in response.

          Part of the review problem is clerical in nature: patches must be tracked along with their review status. Some projects, like the Linux kernel, take a distributed approach; review status is tracked in the patches themselves and subsystem maintainers are expected to keep up with which patches are ready to be merged. PostgreSQL developers, naturally, prefer to keep that information in a central database. Roughly every other month, outstanding patches are gathered for a month-long commitfest, during which the project makes a decision on the fate of each one of them. Each commitfest has a designated manager who is responsible for ensuring that all patches have been dealt with by the end of the commitfest.

          That is the intended result, anyway. What actually happens, as Simon Riggs recently pointed out on the PostgreSQL Hackers mailing list, is that a lot of patches languish in the queue with no firm decision being made; this can happen as the result of a lack of reviews or a failure of the author to respond, among other reasons. Riggs noted that the 2021-09 commitfest, which is scheduled for September, has 273 patches queued (since increased to 279): “Of those, about 50 items have been waiting more than one year, and about 25 entries waiting for more than two years”. The community has been working hard to clear the queue during each commitfest, Riggs said, but still “it’s overflowing”.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • The latest version of LibreOffice is more compatible with MS Office

          On its own LibreOffice is a capable piece of software. You can open and edit documents in pretty much the same way you do when you are using Office. LibreOffice has its own [sic] document format known as the Open Document Format which it inherited from its parent Open Office. When you create, open and print documents exclusively in LibreOffice everything is fine. No one can even tell the difference between a hard copy made using LibreOffice and one made using Ms Office.

          Life is rarely that simple though. The majority of people out there use Ms Office. Often it is necessary to collaborate and share documents with these people. Ms Office does not support the Open Document Format. Instead, it prefers its own proprietary formats such as .xlsx, .pptx and .docx. This means that more often than not when you create a document using LibreOffice you will need to save it in one of these formats if you want to share it with people using Ms Office.

      • CMS

        • 6 Best Free and Open Source Python Static Site Generators

          LinuxLinks, like most modern websites, is dynamic in that content is stored in a database and converted into presentation-ready HTML when readers access the site.

          While we employ built-in server caching which creates static versions of the site, we don’t generate a full, static HTML website based on raw data and a set of templates. However, sometimes a full, static HTML website is desirable. Because HTML pages are all prebuilt, they load extremely quickly in web browsers.

          There are lots of other advantages of running a full, static HTML website.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open-Source Insulin: Biohackers Aiming For Distributed Production

          And now, as my daughter gets older and seeks like any teenager to become more independent, new thoughts about insulin have started to crop up. Insulin is expensive, and while we have excellent insurance, that can always change in a heartbeat. But even if it does, the insulin must flow — she has no choice in the matter. And so I thought it would be instructional to take a look at how insulin is made on a commercial scale, in the context of a growing movement of biohackers who are looking to build a more distributed system of insulin production. Their goal is to make insulin affordable, and with a vested interest, I want to know if they’ve got any chance of making that goal a reality.

      • Programming/Development

        • Private Flatpak installations in [GNOME] Builder

          Builder needs to deal with many SDK and SDK extensions for applications built upon Flatpak.

          One thing I never liked about how we did this up until now was that we needed to install Flatpak remotes into the user’s personal Flatpak installation. First, because we needed to add Flathub and gnome-nightly repositories. Secondly, once a year we need to add the flathub-beta remote due to post-branch SDKs relying on beta extensions.

          Previously this would pollute things like GNOME Software with versions of applications that you might not care about as a user.

        • DevZone rollout

          First announced in the July community update, the DevZone is a project management system for PINE64 devices. It will allow us to have a better overview of ongoing software development, streamline the product prototyping processes and keep track of suggested hardware changes. It is also a way for us to get an up-to-date survey of our developer-pool, including each developer’s core competences and availability. We believe that the introduction of this system will facilitate cooperation and accelerate the process of bringing new devices to the market.

        • Calculate Geometric Mean in R

          The advantage of the geometric mean is
          It is least affected by extreme values
          It is based on all observations of the set
          It is suitable for further algebraic treatment.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • PEP 649 revisited

            Back in June, we looked at a change to Python annotations, which provide a way to associate metadata, such as type information, with functions. That change was planned for the upcoming Python 3.10 release, but was deferred due to questions about it and its impact on run-time uses of the feature. The Python steering council felt that more time was needed to consider all of the different aspects of the problem before deciding on the right approach; the feature freeze for Python 3.10 was only around two weeks off when the decision was announced on April 20. But now, there is most of a year before another feature freeze, which gives the council (and the greater Python development community) some time to discuss it at a more leisurely pace.

            To that end, Eric V. Smith raised the issue on the python-dev mailing list on August 9. He did so in the context of PEP 649 (“Deferred Evaluation Of Annotations Using Descriptors”), which was the late-breaking proposal that caused the original plan to be put on hold. That plan was embodied in PEP 563 (“Postponed Evaluation of Annotations”), which was accepted back in 2017 and was set to become the default—and only—behavior for annotations starting in Python 3.10. The council decided to defer the change in the default until Python 3.11 at the earliest and there is the possibility of switching to the behavior described in PEP 649 instead. Smith wanted to see if the issue could be resolved at this point.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • [Old] An HTML5 Conformance Checker

        The XHTML+SVG and HTML+PNG versions were built from the source files using bib4ht (archived copy of the exact version). The PDF was built from the XHTML+SVG version using Prince 6.0 (alpha 2007-03-23).

  • Leftovers

    • Keeping Up With the Donners

      Today, Truckee’s main street is a numbingly trendy procession of fashionable shops, fine restaurants, and sporting goods and service providers catering to the tourists who flock to the area year round from the Bay Area and from around the world.

      In the winter they ski at the local resorts–including the politically incorrect and soon to be renamed Squaw Valley (which hosted the Winter Olympics in 1960). In the summer they come to enjoy the hiking, swimming, and boating opportunities in and around nearby Lake Tahoe.

    • It’s Time to End the Great Game
    • No One Can Win Here

      “Looks exactly like Arizona!” echoed back and forth between the Arizonians in our platoon. They felt oddly at home. I felt foreign. The terrain very unlike my native New England. Speaking a non-native language. Carrying a gun. I felt a defiance in the mountains. You do not belong here, they were saying in chorus. Nowhere else have I felt a terrain more alive than Afghanistan. The glowing purple mountains, the stark lines in the rocks, the snow that fell so unnaturally slow. Every rock pulsed with a soul. I fell in love with it instantly. I fell in love with the sunsets, the snow, and the defiant mountains. A bittersweet romance from the moment boot touched tarmac.

      Equally alive are the people whom the mountains have chosen. A selection of tribes who mirror the mountains in beauty and complexity. Prior to deployment, I had immersed myself in Afghan history and politics. I’d read every book I could. I also received an abbreviated training in Dari, which alongside Pashto are the two official languages of Afghanistan. The idea was that every platoon, regardless of job, would have one Dari and one Pashto speaker. With only so many interpreters and since we were no longer technically fighting, but training, having someone around at all times with a passing knowledge of terms was thought to be helpful. My elementary level Dari proved to be an open door to the Afghans I met. My faulting attempts at speaking with them was always met with surprise and enthusiasm.

    • Migration
    • The Meaning of “Open Borders”

      Needless to say, the hosts of these Fox shows displayed no pushback on these remarkable claims. In fact, quite the opposite. As conservatives, they sympathized with the views of their guests. One of the commentators on Fox and Friends even lamented that Biden isn’t continuing the construction of the Trump Wall along the border.

      Meanwhile, Noora Barakat, who works at the Vera Institute of Justice, writes, “This week, the Biden administration will officially launch accelerated deportation proceedings for asylum-seeking families in 11 cities across the country.”

    • Health/Nutrition

      • The Public Body

        No one should pay for a coronavirus test. This is not a moral judgment but a statement of fact; the US government has decreed it so. Insurers are supposed to cover the tests, at no cost to the consumer. But hospitals recognized an opportunity for profit. The prestigious Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan billed one patient $3,358 for a test in March, The New York Times reported. Northwell Health, the nonprofit that operates the hospital, justified the bill as a necessity: Its emergency room care is simply that good, it claimed. The hospital billed another family $39,314 for 12 tests.

      • We Should Hand Out Free Heroin to Drug Users

        Let’s give out heroin, for free, to anyone who wants it. This is not a provocation meant to make you gasp or to elicit angry clicks—rather, it’s a proven strategy for reducing the harm of opioids that’s already in use in several countries across the globe. We face two drug-related crises in the United States. The first we can all agree on: Drugs are killing people at unprecedented rates. Over 90,000 people die each year from overdoses in the US, an amount that has quintupled since 1999. The second crisis is disputed, but no less deadly: Our drug policy leaves people to fend for themselves, while we waste time and resources.

      • Tax Billionaires’ Pandemic Profits

        As Democrats begin the push to invest $3.5 trillion to combat climate change, expand Medicare, ensure child care for working families and more, the age-old question is being repeated in Congress and the media: How are you going to pay for that?

      • Trump’s Favorite Pesticide Banned!

        This is but one of many examples of Trump’s public health plans ignoring science and debilitating federal programs that safeguard the public, prompting the idea of whether Trump and his henchmen should be locked in pillory, as the pillory device was commonly used in the Middle Ages for moral and political crimes. People can throw tomatoes at them or commit other devious acts not mentionable herein.

        Moreover, in April 2019 Trump’s EPA refused to ban asbestos, disregarding the advice of its own experts. Fifty-five industrial nations have already banned it.

      • After FDA approval of Comirnaty, antivaxxers claim it’s still “experimental”

        I do grudgingly have to hand it to antivaxxers. No matter how often their BS talking points based on bad science, pseudoscience, and conspiracy theories are debunked with science, evidence, events, and reason, they’re always ready with a Talking Point B (and C and D and E) to replace the debunked talking point with a new one. So it is with Comirnaty, (the rather awful name decided upon for the COVID-19 vaccine developed by BioNTech and Pfizer), which was granted full FDA approval on Monday.

      • A Boy With an Autoimmune Disease Was Ready to Learn in Person. Then His State Banned Mask Mandates.

        When the coronavirus first swept across Florida last year, Angela Gambrel did everything she could to lock down her home in Sumter County, northeast of Tampa.

        Her 10-year-old grandson Jayden has a rare brain disease that disrupts his immune system and impairs his memory, making it harder for him to process complex tasks. His doctors urged her to take every possible precaution against the virus. No more supermarket runs. No more football scrimmages with his Special Olympics team.

      • South Dakota Covid cases quintuple after Sturgis motorcycle rally

        The state’s rate of Covid-19 infections per capita in the past two weeks is in the bottom half of the country, but it’s the sharp and sudden increase in case counts that sets it apart.

      • Corporate Media Politicize WHO Investigation on Covid Origins to Vilify China

        FAIR (10/6/20, 6/28/21) has previously critiqued Western news media’s credulous coverage of evidence-free “lab leak” speculations. One key factor in spreading suspicion that the coronavirus might have escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) is media’s early and ongoing politicization of the World Health Organization’s investigation into the pandemic’s origins. Much of this politicization weaponizes Orientalist tropes about China being especially, perhaps genetically, untrustworthy—the sort of people who would unleash Covid-19 on the world.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Microsoft’s Power Apps leaks data from 47 companies, report finds

          In June, UpGuard researchers submitted a vulnerability report to Microsoft Security Resource Center (MSRC), addressing the issue of OData feeds identification as it provides unidentified admission to a selection of data and URLs for accounts that were potentially exposing critical data.

        • Cyberattack Forces Memorial Health System to Divert Patients to Alternate Hospitals [iophk: Windows TCO]

          Memorial Health System operates three hospitals in Ohio and West Virginia, all of which have been affected by the attack. Since electronic health records were not accessible, patient safety was potentially put at risk, so the decision was taken to divert emergency patents.

        • Memorial Health System recovers from ransomware [iophk: Windows TCO]

          In a bulletin posted on its site, healthcare facility network Memorial Health System, based in West Virginia and Ohio, said it was beginning the process of recovery and restoration after being hit with a ransomware attack earlier in the week. The network reported on Sunday that it experienced an “information technology security incident” that caused it to suspend all online access across its 64 clinics, including hospitals Marietta Memorial, Selby General, and Sistersville General. Surgeries have been canceled, ambulances have been diverted, and clinic staff have had to work with paper charts. But on Wednesday, the network announced it had reached a “negotiated solution,” and that it is “beginning the process that will restore operations as quickly and as safely as possible.”

        • By Design: How Default Permissions on Microsoft Power Apps Exposed Millions

          We had discovered over a thousand anonymously accessible lists across a few hundred portals that needed to be analyzed and potentially notified. Ideally, Microsoft would have been involved in doing so, but our attempt to pursue this option thus far had been unsuccessful– though Microsoft would later take action after we had notified some of the most severe exposures. We spent the next few weeks analysing the data for indicators of sensitivity and reaching out to affected organizations. The notification timelines and data classes for some of the most significant exposures are described below to give a sense of the prevalence and impact of this design decision.

        • Cybersecurity company flags Microsoft Power Apps data leak of 38M records

          The types of data included names, email addresses, personal information used for COVID-19 contact tracing, COVID-19 vaccination appointments, Social Security numbers for job applicants and employee IDs.

        • Cyber insurance market encounters ‘crisis moment’ as ransomware costs pile up [iophk: Windows TCO]

          Two separate CEOs of major insurance giants remarked in recent weeks about a considerable jump in cyber insurance premium prices: AIG’s chief executive said rates increased by 40% for its clients, while Chubb’s chief executive said that company was charging more, too.

          Rather than welcoming the trend, Chubb CEO Evan Greenberg offered a warning. Those price increases, he said, still don’t reflect the grave risk that a catastrophic cyber event poses. “That is not addressing by itself the fundamental issue,” he said.

        • Healthcare provider expected to lose $106.8 million following ransomware attack [iophk: Windows TCO]

          The bulk of the losses, representing $91.6 million, came from lost revenues during the four weeks the organization needed to recover from the May ransomware attack.

          Scripps also lost $21.1 million in costs associated with response and recovery. While the company said it recovered $5.9 million through its insurance policy, the healthcare provider said it expects to lose an estimated $106.8 million by the end of the year.

          The losses stemming from the ransomware attack do not include potential losses due to litigation.

        • The pandemic revealed the health risks of hospital ransomware attacks [iophk: Windows TCO]

          The findings, which are still unpublished, should help push back on any groups hesitant to say that cyberattacks are dangerous for patients, says Josh Corman, a senior adviser to CISA, the federal agency that advises on government and private sector cybersecurity issues. “We should stop pretending that there is no harm to human life from cyber attacks,” he says.

        • Microsoft Is Going to Make it Difficult for Chromebook Owners to Use Word Offline [Ed: Any excuses to hamper competition]

          About Chromebooks reminded me there is an Office Editing extension from Google that lets you download Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files to edit with Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. It enables you to edit those files in Google Docs without the [Internet], and it stays dormant in the background until it senses an active connection, when it then uploads your changes. There are also open-source alternatives to opening and editing Office files, namely the Linux version of LibreOffice, a relatively easy install on the Chromebook if you’re not intimidated by Linux apps.

        • Microsoft Edge is so advanced that you can’t set it to block autoplay videos, even though it has settings for that.
        • Security

          • STARTTLS considered harmful

            The use of Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption is ubiquitous on today’s internet, though that has largely happened over the last 20 years or so; the first public version of its predecessor, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), appeared in 1995. Before then, internet protocols were generally not encrypted, thus providing fertile ground for various types of “meddler-in-the-middle” (MitM) attacks. Later on, the STARTTLS command was added to some protocols as a backward-compatible way to add TLS support, but the mechanism has suffered from a number of flaws and vulnerabilities over the years. Some recent research, going by the name “NO STARTTLS”, describes more, similar vulnerabilities and concludes that it is probably time to avoid using STARTTLS altogether.

          • Man Robbed of 16 Bitcoin Sues Young Thieves’ Parents

            In 2018, Andrew Schober was digitally mugged for approximately $1 million worth of bitcoin. After several years of working with investigators, Schober says he’s confident he has located two young men in the United Kingdom responsible for using a clever piece of digital clipboard-stealing malware that let them siphon his crypto holdings. Schober is now suing each of their parents in a civil case that seeks to extract what their children would not return voluntarily.

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

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Chile is Passing a Neuro-Rights Law to Protect Mental Privacy. It’s Time for Other Nations to Do the Same.

              Most of the paper is devoted to a detailed review of over a dozen such eBCI headsets and their potential applications as mass market devices.. But the paper rightly concludes by considering the main ethical issues raised by these eBCI systems, which concern privacy and agency. It points out that neural information acquired using eBCIs could give important insights into how their users think, feel and behave. Neural data could be used to “infer different aspects related to user intention, emotional response, and decision making, as well as conscious and unconscious interest”. That, in its turn, means that eBCIs will be appealing tools for the large-scale collection of consumer biometric data for companies.

            • ISPs Give ‘Netflow Data’ To Third Parties, Who Sell It Without User Awareness Or Consent

              Back around 2007 or so there was a bit of a ruckus when broadband ISPs were found to be selling your “clickstream” data (which sites you visit and how long you’re there) to any nitwit with a nickel, then basically denying they were even doing that. Concerns about that now seem quaint.

            • Amazon Is Beefing Up Its Already Dystopian Worker Surveillance Machine

              The surveillance technology comes from Netradyne, a California-based company that uses cameras to analyze driver activity so as to provide instant direction (“please slow down,” for instance) while also storing that data to evaluate performance in line with company metrics. In a video about Driveri, Netradyne’s platform, Karolina Haraldsdottir, a senior manager of the last-mile delivery operation at Amazon, emphasizes that the cameras are meant as a safety measure, intended to reduce collisions.

            • From Pearl to Pegasus: Bahraini Government Hacks Activists with NSO Group Zero-Click iPhone Exploits

              We believe that the specific attacks we mention in this report could have been prevented by disabling iMessage and FaceTime. However, NSO Group has successfully exploited other messaging apps in the past to deliver malware, such as WhatsApp. Thus, disabling iMessage and FaceTime would not offer complete protection from zero-click attacks or spyware. Additionally, disabling iMessage means that messages exchanged via Apple’s built-in Messages app would be sent unencrypted (i.e., “green messages” instead of “blue messages”), making them trivial for an attacker to intercept.

            • Pegasus Spyware Uses iPhone Zero-Click iMessage Zero-Day

              A never-before-seen, zero-click iMessaging exploit has been allegedly used to illegally spy on Bahraini activists with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware, according to cybersecurity watchdog Citizen Lab.

            • Digital Footprints Pose a Risk for Young Political Candidates

              A 2018 Pew Research Center survey found that 45% of U.S. teens report being online nearly constantly. All of this activity means we’re creating a permanent record of our lives — every passing opinion, embarrassing photo, and protest attended. For young people who grew up on the internet and later decide they want to go into politics, digital footprints can become ticking time bombs. Opposing candidates — or just random Twitter critics — have a huge trove of potentially compromising material at their disposal. So what happens when old posts meet new aspirations? And how can young candidates reclaim their past?

            • One Of The Men Charged In The Mich. Governor Kidnap Plot Gets 6 Years In Prison

              Ty Garbin, 25, is the only member of the six men facing federal charges in the kidnapping plot to plead guilty for his role. He also received three years of supervised release following his prison sentence.

            • Man who plotted to kidnap Michigan governor sentenced to more than 6 years in prison

              Garbin, from Hartland Township, Mich., signed a plea agreement in January in which he admitted to helping put together a plan to kidnap Whitmer and wipe out a bridge to hamper efforts by pursuing law enforcement.

            • Man who plotted to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer sentenced to over 6 years

              The man, Ty Garbin, 25, is the only person to have pleaded guilty out of the more than a dozen men facing state and federal charges stemming from the plot. Five of those charged in federal court pleaded not guilty and face trial in October.

            • Pakistan backs Taliban with men, money, military aid, says expert

              Taliban have always been Pakistan’s first and only choice in Afghanistan, right from the emergence of the terrorist group the country has backed them with men, material, money, and military advice and assistance according to a foreign policy affairs expert.

              Fabien Baussart, the President of Center of Political and Foreign Affairs wrote in Times of Israel that for Pakistan, the Taliban have always been their first and only choice in Afghanistan. Right from the time the Taliban erupted on the scene in Afghanistan, the Pakistanis have backed them with men, material, money, and military advice and assistance.

            • Taliban Abducting Children, Not Allowing Food And Fuel To Get Into Andarab Valley

              First, the Taliban were using children and the elderly as shields to move around and conduct house raids, now they have stopped the supple of food and fuel in the region.

            • [Old] Afghanistan: Mounting Taliban Revenge Killings

              Taliban forces in Afghanistan are targeting known critics for attack despite claiming that they have ordered their fighters to act with restraint, Human Rights Watch said today. In Kandahar, the Taliban have been detaining and executing suspected members of the provincial government and security forces, and in some cases their relatives.

            • UN rights boss says has reports of Taliban executions, millions fearful

              The top UN human rights official Michelle Bachelet said on Tuesday that she had received credible reports of serious violations committed by the Taliban in Afghanistan, including summary executions of civilians and restrictions on women and on protests against their rule.

              Bachelet urged the UN Human Rights Council, holding an emergency session at the request of Pakistan and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), to set up a mechanism to closely monitor Taliban actions.

            • Cameroon Says Numbers of Defecting Boko Haram Members Continue to Increase

              Cameroon says its center for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration, or DDR, in Meri, a northern town on the border with Nigeria, is now home to about 1,500 former Boko Haram militants. Three weeks ago, the center had about 750 former militants.

              DDR officials in Meri said Tuesday most of the 237 former jihadist members who arrived this week included women and children. One hundred are former Boko Haram fighters, all looking tired, unkempt and hungry, officials said.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Opinion | The Secret Corporate Memo Behind Today’s Guerilla War on Campus Progressives

        As college students return to classes this fall, the latest culture war campaigns will join the pandemic in upsetting campus life. If recent experience is any guide, their proximate cause will be well-funded right-wing groups that thrive on provoking and publicizing conflicts: “Campus Reform” (part of the Leadership Institute), Turning Point USA, and more.

      • “Hear Our Cries”: What Terrifies an Afghan Women’s Rights Activist

        In early August, after devoting herself for more than 12 years to various aspects of women’s rights, K, whose full name will not be shared for her protection, and her family fled her home in Balkh province in northern Afghanistan. The Taliban had seized Mazar-i-Sharif, the provincial capital. A district governor in the same province, Salima Mazari, a fierce politician in her own right, took up arms to fight the Taliban, but was recently captured by the militant group, and her whereabouts are currently unknown.

      • Reluctant Acceptance: Responding to Afghanistan’s Refugees

        Britain’s Home Secretary, Priti Patel, is none too enthused about welcoming high numbers of Afghan refugees.  “We have to be realistic in terms of those that we can bring to the country and resettle in a safe and secure way while giving them the right opportunities going forward in resettlement.”

        This waffly formulation has yielded the following formula: the UK will accept a mere 20,000 staggered over five years.  Only 5,000 will be admitted in the next year, after which, presumably, the situation will resolve itself.  “What are the 15,000 meant to do,” asked Labour’s Chris Bryant, “hang around and wait to be executed?”

      • Supreme Court Ruling on Asylum Policy Denounced as ‘Nothing Short of Cruel’

        The Biden administration is being urged to strengthen protections for asylum seekers after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Tuesday decision saying the Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols, which forced asylum seekers at the southern border to wait in dangerous conditions in Mexico pending legal review of their cases, should be reinstated.

        The “decision forcing the reinstatement of the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy is nothing short of cruel,” said Yael Schacher, senior U.S. advocate at Refugees International, using the phrase commonly used for the policy.

      • The Great Game of Smashing Countries

        In 1978, a liberation movement led by the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) overthrew the dictatorship of Mohammad Dawd, the cousin of King Zahir Shar. It was an immensely popular revolution that took the British and Americans by surprise.

        Foreign journalists in Kabul, reported the New York Times, were surprised to find that “nearly every Afghan they interviewed said [they were] delighted with the coup”. The Wall Street Journal reported that “150,000 persons … marched to honour the new flag …the participants appeared genuinely enthusiastic.”

      • End of the Longest War in US History Should Wake Us Up to Failure of Militarism
      • This Afghanistan Vet Became a War Resister and Anti-Racist Activist
      • Philippine Human Rights Advocates Oppose U.S. Military Use Of Hawai‘i Lands

        The U.S. military’s presence in Hawai‘i and the Pacific does not create peace. Rather, it represents military occupation. Captain James Cook, the first European to come into contact with Kānaka Maoli in 1778, was a military officer, and the HMS Resolution was a vessel of the British Royal Navy. In 1842, U.S. President John Tyler declared control of Hawai‘i as a “virtual right of conquest.” Armed naval forces of the U.S. invaded Hawai‘i in 1893. The U.S. annexed Hawai‘i in 1898 without the consent of its people. At present, there are 161 U.S. military installations in Hawai‘i, and the U.S. military occupies 22% of the island of O‘ahu.1

        Environmental contamination by the U.S. military include the following:

      • Propaganda Today: How US created Taliban & al-Qaeda, and behind Afghanistan war profiteering
      • Jan. 6 Committee Requests Communications From Trump White House and Allies
      • “Massacre of My Dreams”: Afghan Reporter Bilal Sarwary on Fleeing Kabul & Afghanistan’s “Brain Drain”

        The United States has helped evacuate over 75,000 people since the end of July from the Kabul airport, but the Taliban is now allowing passage only to people with foreign passports or an invitation from the U.S. or one of its allies. President Joe Biden says U.S. troops are on pace to leave the country by the August 31 deadline, despite pressure from U.S. allies in the G7 to stay longer to help more people flee the country. We speak with Afghan journalist Bilal Sarwary, who fled Kabul in recent days after reporting on Afghanistan for 20 years. He says his plane out of the country was an encapsulation of the brain drain from the country, with some of the most prominent artists, journalists and other civic leaders fleeing for their lives. “This is Afghanistan going down the drain in a matter of seconds,” he says.

      • Opinion | The US Endgame in Afghanistan Was Mineral Extraction, Not Democracy

        Since the U.S. withdrawal in Afghanistan, there has been no shortage of solidarity statements to mourn the demise of democracy and support the rule of law in Afghanistan. I appreciate the sentiment, but I am also concerned about the loss of lives and the violations of international law that occurred during the decades of U.S. military occupation in Afghanistan and the failure of the international community to protect the sovereignty of countries.

      • Trump Ally Erik Prince Is Charging People $6,500 to Fly Out of Kabul
      • ‘Monstrous Human’: Erik Prince Reportedly Charging $6,500 for Seats Out of Kabul

        Blackwater founder Erik Prince on Wednesday faced fresh accusations of being a war profiteer in response to reporting that he’s charging $6,500 per person for a seat on an evacuation flight out of Kabul.

        The reporting by the Wall Street Journal comes amid ongoing evacuations from Afghanistan of civilians, including at-risk Afghans, and follows President Joe Biden’s Tuesday statement he still wants an August 31 deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

      • Medea Benjamin: Afghanistan War Is “Cash Cow” for Pentagon. Biden Must End “Delusional” China Rivalry

        We look at the situation in Afghanistan, and pressure on Biden to stay longer, with CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin, who for years has called for an end to the longest war in U.S. history. “We didn’t want it to end like this, and there should have been better planning in terms of getting people out of the country, but we were very clear we never wanted the U.S. to go in to begin with,” says Benjamin. She also warns the end of the War in Afghanistan will encourage the Biden administration to pour more money and resources into a rivalry with China. “It is a delusional idea that we should be focusing on China as an enemy,” she says.

      • Haiti’s Villages Continue to Be “Cut Off from Help” More Than a Week After Massive Earthquake

        We speak with Stéphane Vincent, a Haitian citizen journalist who is helping the BBC to cover the aftermath of the devastating August 14 earthquake for the BBC and says the destruction in Les Cayes is reminiscent of the 2010 earthquake that struck the country. “To relive that again was very heart-wrenching,” he says. “The people have been feeling left out and abandoned by government.” Vincent co-wrote a BBC article on “The forgotten villages cut off from help.”

      • 11 Days After Haiti’s Earthquake, Doctor Describes Lack of Treatment, Supplies & COVID-19 Concerns

        We go to Les Cayes, Haiti, to speak with a doctor about the conditions near the epicenter of the massive August 14 earthquake, as the death toll passes 2,200, with thousands of survivors growing increasingly desperate. Over 12,000 people were injured and an estimated 53,000 homes were destroyed by the 7.2 magnitude quake. People left unhoused have been living in squalid camps in the mountains north of the hard-hit city of Les Cayes, where children are reportedly suffering from hunger, fevers and infections. There is an acute lack of medical workers and humanitarian aid, says Dr. Chery Marie Anne-Lise, a general practitioner in Les Cayes who has been treating patients following the quake. “People need food. They need water. They need clothes,” says Anne-Lise.

      • “I Was Living Like Scarface”: The Ludicrous Costs of the War in Afghanistan Revealed in New Documents, Testimonies

        The conflict in Afghanistan — for the U.S. at least — appears to be over. Essentially admitting defeat, American planes are beating a hasty and ignominious retreat from Kabul, with images of the withdrawal bearing a striking resemblance to those from the fall of Saigon 46 years previously.

      • America’s Afghanistan Guilt: What About the Women?

        Quite a spectacle confronts us:–caches of arms and vehicles in the hands of burley, grim-faced victors; embassy staff hastily destroying ‘stuff’; a puppet president escaping, reportedly with hordes of cash; tens of thousands pleading for refuge; women disappearing behind barred doors; allies condemning the U.S.’s unilateral retreat; emergency troops arriving to secure Kabul airport while personnel, and more stuff are airlifted away.

        Fears grow of how the Taliban might rule; Islamic warrior excesses from the past are recalled; rumors filter in about Taliban’s brutal takeover of outlying regions. Terror directed at minorities and woman is anticipated; assurances of mercy are disbelieved; fanatic pronouncements are expected.

      • The Endless Shadow of the War on Terror

        It seems like centuries ago, but do you remember when, in May 2003, President George W. Bush declared “Mission accomplished” as he spoke proudly of his invasion of Iraq? Three months later, Attorney General John Ashcroft proclaimed, “We are winning the war on terror.” Despite such declarations and the “corners” endlessly turned as America’s military commanders announced impending successes year after year in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, the war on terror, abroad and on the home front, has been never-ending, as the now-codified term “forever wars” suggests.

        By 2011, following the death of Osama bin Laden, President Barack Obama admittedthat the killing of the head of al-Qaeda would not bring that war to a close. In May 2011, he informed the nation that bin Laden’s “death does not mark the end of our effort” as “the cause of securing our country is not complete.” As President Biden signals his intention to bring the war on terror as we know it to an end, the question is: What will remain of it both abroad and at home, no matter what he tries to do?

      • Opinion | ‘Blood for Blood’: On Jenin and Israel’s Fear of an Armed Palestinian Rebellion

        The killing of four young Palestinians by Israeli occupation soldiers in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank, on August 16, is a consequential event, the repercussions of which are sure to be felt in the coming weeks and months.

    • Environment

      • Cargo bikes offer new way to deliver goods in town

        Moving goods − and even people − around towns and cities is becoming easier and healthier. Enter the cargo bikes.

      • Atmospheric CO2 Levels Haven’t Been This High in 800,000 Years: NOAA

        Bolstering the case for meaningful climate action, a major report released Wednesday found that Earth’s atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations and sea levels both hit record highs in 2020.

        “This situation is urgent, but it’s not hopeless. We have an opportunity to lead the global response in the fight against the climate crisis—we cannot afford to waste it.”—Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson

      • Energy

        • The Need to Prevent Orphans: the American Oil and Gas Industry is Leaving a Big, Dangerous Mess

          The problem with orphans has many facets. Having operators profit from assets and abandon their liabilities is a massive subsidy to the oil and gas industry at a time we should be investing in renewable energy. These wells can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece to plug, even before reclaiming the land or remediating pollution costs are considered. Additionally, a well is a piece of property — the state can’t just go plug it, it has to go through a formal legal process of being declared abandoned. This imposes administrative burdens, delays, and costs as public agency staff must essentially build a legal case against an operator. It can take years to move a particular operator into “orphan status.” Then there are the constraints around publicly run plugging operations. In Colorado, where I live, our Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s Orphan Well Program has a budget of up to 5 million dollars per year and five full time staff. However the Program has never plugged more than 61 wells in a year. Even if the program could be doubled or even tripled in size, the state currently has approximately 11,000 inactive wells — and is expecting many thousands more in the near future.

          We need the oil and gas industry to pay their closure costs up front

        • UK Banks Defend Climate Record Despite Billions Lent to Fossil Fuel Industry This Year

          UK banks HSBC and Standard Chartered have rejected criticism of their commitment to tackling climate change, despite financing over £5 billion worth of fossil fuel developments in the first half of this year.

          Barclays, responsible for £3.2 billion of fossil fuel lending, did not respond to a request for comment following the publication of new analysis on the UK’s top three coal, oil and gas funders.

        • Saving the Planet While Ignoring Two Thirds of It

          For centuries, humanity has viewed the ocean as a metaphor for infinity. The assumption was — and frankly still is for many people — that the enormity of the sea comes with a limitless ability to absorb and metabolize all. This vastness is what lends the ocean deity-like potential. And more dangerously, it is what has given humans the license to dump virtually anything offshore. Oil, sewage, corpses, chemical effluvium, garbage, military ordnance, and even at-sea superstructures like oil rigs disappear into the oceans, as if swallowed up by a black hole, never to be seen again.

          Ships knowingly release more engine oil and sludge into the oceans in the span of three years than that spilled in the Deepwater Horizon and Exxon Valdez accidents combined. They emit huge amounts of certain air pollutants, far more than all the world’s cars. Commercial fishing, much of it illegal, has so efficiently plundered marine stocks that the world’s population of predatory fish has declined by two thirds. At the same time, since the Industrial Revolution,  companies on land have been allowed to dump carbon into the air for free, and roughly a quarter of that carbon is absorbed by the oceans. The hidden cost to that dumping is what we now call the climate crisis.

        • Methane Leaking from Dozens of Oil and Gas Sites in Romania, Adding to a European-wide Problem

          The powerful climate pollutant methane is leaking out of dozens of oil and gas wells, pipelines, and storage tanks in Romania, adding to a growing body of evidence that methane leaks are widespread and pervasive in Europe.

          “Romania has significant problems with its oil and gas production infrastructure, and is a leading emitter of methane in the EU,” said Mihai Stoica, Executive Director of 2Celsius, a Romanian NGO that partnered with the U.S.-headquartered advocacy group Clean Air Task Force (CATF) on the investigation. “These problems will not be resolved overnight, but we must start working on them now. The climate can no longer wait.”

        • Central Banks Helping Funnel Trillions of Dollars into Fossil Fuels Despite Climate Pledges, Research Finds

          Central banks are continuing to help channel trillions of dollars into fossil fuels through policy decisions and direct financing, with overall sums rising in recent years, a new report has found.

          None of the twelve banks examined are on track to meet the Paris Agreement targets despite many of them recently pledging to reach net zero emissions by 2050, the US-based environmental organisation Oil Change International (OCI) said.

        • [Old] Aurora Botnia: a ‘never-ending story’ of development

          Aurora Botnia will be approximately 150 m long and will have a gross tonnage of 24,600. It will accommodate 800 passengers and will have a freight capacity of 1,500 lane metres for cargo and cars. Classed as ice class 1ASuper, Aurora Botnia is being built by Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC) shipyard and will replace the existing Wasa Express when delivered in June 2021. It will sail between Vaasa in Finland and Umeå in Sweden on the world’s northernmost all-year passenger route.

          Using the mix of batteries, LNG and biogas means the ferry is expected to save 50% of CO2 while fuel costs are expected to drop by an impressive 40%.

        • Wasaline’s LNG-fuelled Aurora Botnia set for christening

          Wasaline’s LNG-fuelled Aurora Botnia will be christened in Vaasa, Finland, today (25 August).

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Does Nature Have Rights?

          United Nations released a report warning that climate change is coming faster than predicted and that the world is losing time to act. Bio-cultural diversity loss contributes to the thrashing of livable planetary boundaries. As a cultural anthropologist and activist who has worked in NW Ecuador for more than thirty years, the zone Intag-Manduriacos has lessons for the world. Identified by global ecologists as a hotspot for biodiversity conservation, the local communities are at extreme risk of being turned into zones of mineral extraction. This potential catastrophic future comes despite Ecuadorians’ prescience in ratifying the 2008 Constitution of Monticristi, guaranteeing rights of Nature/Pachamama and cultural rights for the pluri-nationalities within Ecuador. Heralded by the global community as the first constitution to codify rights of Nature, Ecuadorians dared to transform rules of governance and created a legal blueprint for action to avert a grim climate future. The application of these rights in an area where biodiverse communities hold their cultural, economic, and hydrological systems together has both concrete and philosophical implications for us all.

          Does Nature/Pachamama Really have Rights?

        • Protect Life Itself and Make Proforestation the Driving Policy on Public Lands

          But we must remember that all is not lost.

          In response to the report, as usual the mainstream media focused on the need to reduce emissions. But there is another factor of just as great an import, if not more so2.

        • A Rare ‘Bird of Two Worlds’ Faces an Uncertain Future
      • Overpopulation

        • ‘Unprecedented’: Madagascar on Verge of World’s First Climate-Fueled Famine

          Climate experts are warning the current extreme food shortage in southern Madagascar, following a dearth of rain for the last four years, has driven the country to the brink of the world’s first famine driven almost entirely by the climate emergency.

          “Everyone should have a safe place to live. Wealthy countries must step up and cut emissions now.”—Environmental Justice Foundation

        • The Middle East Is Draining Its Water Supply

          A combination of climate change and unilateral initiatives by three of the region’s governments has dramatically lessened the supply of water. If these challenges are not addressed, the results will be devastating to the livelihood and survival of hundreds of millions of people and other living beings, and the resultant tensions have the potential to fuel even greater conflicts than we see at present.

          It should be noted that the three unilateral actors are the non-Arab states of Turkey, Israel, and Ethiopia, while the affected populations also include the Arab peoples of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, and Sudan.

        • Where America Lost And Gained Population Could Help Democrats In Redistricting

          By contrast, the fastest-growing parts of the country are the suburbs. The average county with an urbanization index between 11 and 13 (spanning from sparse suburban areas like Roanoke County, Virginia, to dense suburban areas like Union County, New Jersey) grew by 9.6 percent between 2010 and 2020. Most of these counties (194 out of 264) voted for Biden, and if the trends of the 2018 and 2020 elections continue, they will only get bluer.

          America’s cities grew at a healthy rate too, which was something of a surprise compared with pre-census estimates. The 18 most urban counties or county equivalents in the country — those with a FiveThirtyEight urbanization index above 13 (including San Francisco, Philadelphia, four around Washington, D.C., and eight around New York City) — grew by an average of 8.4 percent — and all but one of them voted for Biden in 2020.2

        • Why rent control isn’t working in Sweden

          An Abbé Pierre Foundation report released in May indicated a 11.5% rise in the number of young Swedes on low incomes living in overcrowded properties since 2009.

          Businesses have also raised concerns about the economic impact, as cities seek to attract skilled workers. The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv) says one in five firms have found it difficult to recruit staff because of housing shortages.

    • Finance

      • Regardless of Media Spin, Yesterday’s Budget Vote Was a Progressive Victory
      • Progressives Vow to ‘Hold the Line’ on Democrats’ Bold Agenda

        In the wake of Tuesday’s House vote on a pair of packages that would invest in U.S. physical and human infrastructure, progressives within and beyond Congress reiterated their commitment to advancing Democrats’ bold agenda, despite sabotage threats from right-wingers in both major parties.

        “Democrats: hold the line and pass the boldest budget reconciliation package possible before voting on the watered-down Exxon plan.”—Lauren Maunus, Sunrise Movement

      • Only 11 Percent of Rental Aid Has Been Disbursed, Says US Treasury
      • ‘Unacceptable’: US Treasury Says 89% of Rental Aid Still Not Disbursed

        As the White House prepares for a U.S. Supreme Court order that could invalidate the new federal eviction moratorium, data released Wednesday revealed that state and local governments have disbursed just 11% of the funds that Congress allocated to help pay off debts accrued by renters during the Covid-19 pandemic.

        “States… must immediately get these funds to renters with the urgency this crisis demands.”—Rep. Mondaire Jones

      • Majority in US—Including 90% of Democrats—Back Spending Trillions on Infrastructure

        As Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate prepare to write an infrastructure package following Tuesday’s passage of a $3.5 trillion blueprint, new polling out Wednesday shows a majority of U.S. voters support bold proposals to invest in “human infrastructure” and the wellbeing of working people.

        “Democrats, Independents, and working-class Republicans all over the country support our plan to finally invest in the long-neglected needs of working families.”—Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

      • Biden Boosted Food Stamps. Let’s Do the Same to All US Anti-Poverty Programs.
      • The Real Socialism in America Isn’t What You Think

        It should be ended. 

      • OnlyFans: Oops, Just Kidding; Keep Posting Sexually Explicit Material

        So, last week the news broke that OnlyFans, the wildly popular platform for “subscribing” to private video and photographic content — and whose most popular usecase appears to be for adult content — announced that it was banning “sexually explicit material” in response to difficulty finding investors and payment processors/banks threatening to cut them off (and possibly rejecting too many payments). The whole thing was somewhat confusing because the company did say that nude imagery would still be allowed, just not “sexually explicit,” and I’m sure the guidelines for the company’s content moderation team on that distinction would have been quite something.

      • After Backlash, OnlyFans Suspends Plan to Ban Sexually Explicit Content

        Sex workers, online influencers, and digital rights advocates cautiously celebrated on Wednesday after the subscription website OnlyFans announced it was suspending widely criticized plans to ban sexually explicit content from the platform.

        “Organizing works and don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise.”—Evan Greer, Fight for the Future

      • OnlyFans reverses sexually explicit content ban

        OnlyFans soared in popularity during the pandemic as bored millions looked to the [Internet] for distraction. Launched in 2016, it now counts some 150 million users worldwide.

        Top stars include celebrities like rapper Cardi B and the boxer Floyd Mayweather as well as well-known porn actors, but the site is also used by everyone from students to grandparents looking to supplement their income by sharing raunchy images.

        “OnlyFans’ initial decision to ban adult content was surprising, considering the amount of revenue generated for the platform by adult content creators,” said Scarlett Woodford, an analyst at Juniper Research who tracks the adult entertainment industry.

      • OnlyFans says never mind, it actually won’t ban porn on October 1st

        In an abrupt tweet, video and image sharing site OnlyFans announced a reversal of the shocker announcement that it would ban sexually explicit content. In a statement to The Verge, a spokesperson said “The proposed October 1st, 2021 changes are no longer required due to banking partners’ assurances that OnlyFans can support all genres of creators.”

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • ‘Democracy for Sale’: Analysis Ties Corporate Consolidation to Increased Lobbying

        An analysis published Wednesday about corporate consolidation and political lobbying in the United States found that large mergers—particularly in Big Tech, the pharmaceutical industry, and the oil and gas sector—has increased corporate control of American democracy.

        “Corporate concentration and antidemocratic political influence go hand in hand.”—Report

      • 9 House Dems Who Threatened Biden’s Bills Get Accolades From Pro-Business Groups
      • ‘Incredible’: Court Restores Voting Rights for 55K Former Felons in North Carolina

        Voting rights advocates in North Carolina on Tuesday applauded a ruling by a panel of three state Superior Court judges for taking “the first step” in restoring justice to tens of thousands of formerly incarcerated people convicted of felonies in the state. 

        “If the North Carolina courts are expanding voting rights by removing felony disenfranchisement, I can’t imagine they will allow a Republican gerrymander.”—Michael McDonald, University of Florida

      • Devin Nunes Loses Again, But He’s Still Suing The Satirical Cow Who Mocked Him

        As you likely know by now, a little over two years ago, Devin Nunes kicked off his SLAPPy litigiousness by suing the satirical internet cow with about 1,200 followers at the time of the lawsuit (it now has over 770,000). What got a bit less attention was that the satirical cow was only one of the four parties sued. There was also another satirical account pretending to be Nunes’ mother, and then there was Twitter and a political consultant named Liz Mair (who he actually sued another time as well — in a case that was also dismissed, though Nunes is appealing).

      • Amazon, IBM leaders among those convening at White House for cyber meeting Wednesday

        The CEOs of Amazon and IBM will be among a group of leaders from a wide spectrum of tech companies and organizations set to meet with President Biden at the White House on Wednesday.

        Individuals familiar with the matter confirmed to The Hill on Tuesday that both Amazon CEO Andy Jassy and IBM CEO Arvind Krishna will attend the meeting, which the Biden administration announced last month.

        A spokesperson for Bank of America also confirmed that chairman and CEO Brian Moynihan will participate in the meeting.

      • Court Decision Looms On Auto Right to Repair. A Lawyer Explains What It’s All About.

        Whatever the date, a decision is coming. So what is at stake in this suit? What legal arguments are likely to hold sway as Judge Woodlock makes his decision? And what happens next? Fight to Repair spoke with attorney Alison Eggers of the law firm Seyfarth, which has been providing continuing coverage of the hearings on Question 1 and one of the most consistent sources of news and analysis about the hearing. (Thanks Seyfarth!)

        This conversation happened at the beginning of the trial back in May, so some of this information is speculative. I’ll update this with links to coverage of the subsequent trial when appropriate. And, obviously, I hope to update this once a decision is out. In the meantime, here’s my conversation with Alison from May: [...]

      • Google unveils a $10 billion initiative to fix US cybersecurity

        Kent Walker, senior vice president of Global Affairs at Google, lays out several initiatives that the company plans to implement to help the country’s efforts. That includes expanding zero-trust guidelines for high-level security within the federal government, pledging $100 million to support open-source security efforts from foundations like the Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF), and a commitment to training 100,000 Americans in IT Support and Data Analytics over the next three years.

      • Facebook is reportedly forming an election commission that it will announce in the fall

        Like how the independent Oversight Board helps review content moderation appeals, it sounds as if Facebook could ask the election commission to handle some decisions about election content. That could reduce the perception that Facebook’s decisions about content are politically biased, which has been a common criticism lobbed toward the company from conservatives. However, it’s unclear if this election commission would operate with the same level of independence as the Oversight Board does.

      • Facebook Said to Consider Forming an Election Commission

        The proposed commission could decide on matters such as the viability of political ads and what to do about election-related misinformation, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the discussions were confidential. Facebook is expected to announce the commission this fall in preparation for the 2022 midterm elections, they said, though the effort is preliminary and could still fall apart.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Content Moderation Case Study: YouTube Deals With Disturbing Content Disguised As Videos For Kids (2017)

        Summary: YouTube offers an endless stream of videos that cater to the preferences of users, no matter their age and has become a go-to content provider for kids and their parents. The market for kid-oriented videos remains wide-open, with new competitors surfacing daily and utilizing repetition, familiarity, and strings of keywords to get their videos in front of kids willing to spend hours clicking on whatever thumbnails pique their interest, and YouTube is leading this market.

      • Tech Giant Censors or the Stuff You Want Censored?

        Fascist nutcases are spreading dangerous nonsense, while billionaire monopolists are virtually disappearing critics and protesters. It’s easy to get confused about what ought to be done. It’s difficult to find any recommendation that isn’t confused. Different people want different outrages censored and censored by different entities; what they all have in common is a failure to think through the threats they are creating to the things they don’t want censored.

      • Moroccan-Italian citizen jailed on charges of insulting Islam is freed

        A dual Moroccan-Italian citizen jailed for three and a half years for “insulting Islam” will walk free Monday after a court gave her a suspended two-month jail term, a rights group said.

      • I Produce Adult Content on OnlyFans. Their Ban on Porn Will Hurt Me.

        This, however, is not the whole story. In recent years, conservative organizations such as the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) have stepped up a campaign demanding that credit card companies bar adult websites from using their payment services. NCSOE — formerly known as Morality in Media — was founded in the 1960s as part of a religiously inspired backlash against liberalizing attitudes toward censorship. Today, it still advocates for banning all pornography.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Afghanistan and Julian Assange

        The true nature of the war in Afghanistan has long ago been revealed by Assange, Wikileaks and others, counter to the propaganda justifying and promoting the war.

        As Julian said in 2011 when speaking of vested interests ‘…the goal is an endless war, not a successful war’.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Notes Toward a Complainant’s Bill of Rights

        1- An introduction into the parameters of equity with respect to the PAB.

      • John Lewis Voting Rights Bill Passes House With Zero Republican Votes
      • ‘Now the Senate Must Act’: Progressives Applaud House Passage of John Lewis Voting Rights Bill

        Progressive lawmakers and outside voting rights advocates heralded passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday evening and immediately called on the U.S. Senate to complete the job by doing the same.

        “At this pivotal moment for the future of our country, the House has taken a critical step to prevent states from passing voting laws that discriminate against racial minorities,” said Trevor Potter, president of Campaign Legal Center (CLC), after the vote. “Now the pressure is on the Senate to act.”

      • Report Shows DOJ Engaged In Selective Prosecution To Maximize Punishment For ‘Black Lives Matter’ Protesters

        Under Trump, the DOJ did all it could to break the spirit of the Black Lives Matter movement that took on renewed vigor last spring following yet another killing of an unarmed black person by a white cop. That’s according to a report [PDF] by The Movement for Black Lives, which examined BLM-related prosecutions headed by federal prosecutors.

      • North Dakota Supreme Court: An Officer’s Camera Is More Trustworthy Than His BS Testimony

        While body-worn cameras have mainly proven to be a boon for prosecutors, rather than the all-purpose accountability tools many of us thought they would be [raises hand sheepishly], the mere existence of more recordings is still a net gain for the general public.

      • The Moral Implications of Bloodlust, White Supremacy, Christian Nationalism

        The U.S. invaded Afghanistan after Al Qaeda terrorist followers of Osama Bin Laden commandeered and crash-bombed four commercial airliners on Sept. 11, 2001, killing 2,977 and wounding more than 6,000 people in New York City, Washington, D.C., and in Pennsylvania. When intelligence assessments traced the terrorists to Afghanistan, Congress authorized President George W. Bush to use military force.

        The “war on terror” began in Afghanistan because that was where Osama Bin Laden lived. Bin Laden finally was found in Pakistan and killed in 2011, 10 years after the Taliban regime that governed Afghanistan was defeated by U.S. forces at the end of 2001.

      • Opinion | According to US Supreme Court, Right to Buy an Election More Protected Than Right to Vote in One

        Earlier this summer in Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Republican majority held an Arizona election law did not violate the federal Voting Rights Act, because it discriminatorily abridged the voting rights of only a few thousand voters of color. Prior to Brnovich, in Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom PAC v. Bennett, its Republican majority found Arizona’s campaign finance law did violate the First Amendment, because it enabled candidates relying on public campaign funding to spend as much on their campaigns as their privately financed opponents.  

      • New Laws Have Basically Ended Voter Registration Drives In Some Parts Of The U.S.

        Across the country, new state laws tightening voting restrictions come in two basic varieties – those that make it harder to cast a vote and those making it more difficult to get registered to vote in the first place. As Frank Morris of member station KCUR reports, a new Kansas law has effectively shut down voter registration drives there.

      • Islamic Police, Hisbah Arraigns Kannywood Actress For Uploading ‘Sexual Content’ On Social Media

        She was then detained in the custody of the Islamic police until early Monday when she was brought before the Sharia court sitting in Sharada area of the state.

        According to the First Information Report (FIR) filed against her, she was alleged to have consistently posted indecent videos in which she was dancing seductively and making sexual comments on her social media handles and YouTube channel.

        The accused person pleaded guilty to a one-count charge of obscenity and indecent act, which contradicts section 355 of Penal Code Law 2000.

      • Naila Amin, Forced Marriage Survivor, Uses Her Past Experiences to Drive Her Activism

        Naila: I went to high school in the suburbs, in Baldwin, New York, and prior to being taken to Pakistan, I was placed in foster care because my parents found out that I had a boyfriend and they got angry and beat me. Child Protection Services got involved, and I was placed in the foster care system in March of 2004. I was lost and confused while bouncing from group home to group home. I missed the stability that my parents provided me, so I ran away from a group home in Port Washington and went to my parents’ house. Shortly after, during my freshman year of high school, I was taken abroad to Pakistan. I was forced to go live with my rapist, who was the cousin I was promised to.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Samsung Can Remotely Disable Any of Its TVs Worldwide

        What you may be surprised to hear is that Samsung can do this to any of its TVs, regardless of where they are in the world. The company admitted as much in its latest Samsung Newsroom post detailing how the TVs in South Africa were stolen and then disabled.

        The technology is called TV Block and it’s “pre-loaded on all Samsung TV products.” Whenever a TV is confirmed as being stolen, Samsung logs the serial number of the TV and then waits for it to be connected to the internet. At that point a Samsung server is connected to by default, the serial number is checked, and if it’s on the list, “the blocking system is implemented, disabling all the television functions.”

      • Does OpenView HD really have the capacity to block Zim decoders?

        Most people cannot stomach the content that our sole broadcaster and solitary TV channel pushes out. Those that can afford it have always found comfort in the arms of DStv. Those who cannot use to have Wiztech and Philibao Free To Air decoders. Then eTV, the people behind OpenView Decoders, flipped the switch. They encrypted their signal, SABC followed suit and overnight turned those Wiztechs and Philibaos into glorified paperweights.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Neurim v Mylan: Take Two [Ed: Reposted in another site now. Marks & Clerk, an overzealous and corrupt litigation firm, trying to dominate "the news" in this case]

          Last time we were writing about the Neurim v Mylan battle concerning Circadin (“Going out with a Bang, what a difference 2 days makes”) it was Mylan with the upper hand ([2021] EWHC 530 (Pat)). Neurim had been successful in the UK trial ([2020] EWHC 3270 (Pat)) but then lost that patent at the EPO by withdrawing their appeal (following negative indications at the oral proceedings). Fast-forward to a busy last week of court term and Mr Justice Mellor (in a judgment dated 2 August 2021) has given Neurim a fighting chance of obtaining an injunction against Mylan by agreeing that Neurim can have an expedited preliminary issue trial ([2021] EWHC 2198 (Pat)).

          This situation has arisen because a divisional patent (EP 3 103 443) granted on 30 June 2021 (but expires 12 August 2022). Neurim promptly sued Mylan on the new divisional and are asserting that, because they were successful at the prior UK trial, Mylan are estopped from asserting invalidity or non-infringement. The normal course of UK litigation, while quick, would not provide Neurim with a judgment until after the patent has expired. Further, an interim injunction is not a course realistically open to Neurim (this question between the parties has already been to the UK Court of Appeal: [2020] EWCA Civ 793)).

      • Trademarks

        • Tux: A brief history of the Linux mascot

          It wasn’t until Linus Torvalds (the creator of Linux) mentioned that he was fond of penguins. That mention pretty much ended the debate and a penguin would become the mascot of Linux.

      • Copyrights

        • Joe Rogan, confined to Spotify, is losing influence

          However, a new data investigation by The Verge finds that the powerful podcaster’s influence has waned since he went behind Spotify’s wall. His show has declined as a hype vehicle for guests, and Rogan’s presence as a mainstay in the news has plummeted.

          Because Spotify doesn’t share how many plays each podcast gets, or how many unique listeners regularly tune in, we looked instead at a secondary metric: how much of a promotional boost Rogan gives his guests. To do this, we pulled data from the analytics tool Social Blade to track the Twitter following of every guest who went on Rogan’s podcast between December 2019 and July 2021. Guests generally see a surge of new followers after appearing on the show, with some gaining as many as 18,000 new followers in the week following their chat, and that effect has grown over time as The Joe Rogan Experience gained popularity. While we can’t attribute every new follower to Rogan — guests might have been on a media tour to promote a new movie or book, for instance — the bump after a Rogan appearance is constant.

        • Apple says researchers can vet its child safety features. But it’s suing a startup that does just that.

          When Apple announced new technology that will check its US iCloud service for known child sexual abuse material, it was met with fierce criticism over worries that the feature could be abused for broad government surveillance. Faced with public resistance, Apple insisted that its technology can be held accountable.

          “Security researchers are constantly able to introspect what’s happening in Apple’s [phone] software,” Apple vice president Craig Federighi said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “So if any changes were made that were to expand the scope of this in some way—in a way that we had committed to not doing—there’s verifiability, they can spot that that’s happening.”

          Apple is suing a company that makes software to let security researchers do exactly that.

        • Fake ‘U.S. Copyright Office’ Imposter Gets Google To Delist URLs On Section 1201 Grounds

          We’ve done more than our share of posts in the past about the problems within the DMCA takedown system as currently practiced. The reason for so many posts is in part due to the sheer number of problems with how this all works. For starters, when notices go out to search engines like Google to delist “problem” URLs, those notices are often times generated by automated systems that unsurprisingly result in a vast majority of notices targeting URLs that are non-infringing. As in, over 99% of those notices. And even once we get past the malpractice of using automation buckshot notices that result in an incredible amount of collateral damage, we then have to add the wide open avenues for fraud and abuse of the DMCA system. That type of fraud runs the gamut, from trolls merely trying to cause chaos for the fun of it to competitors of certain forms of content trying to hurt the competition. In the immortal words of former NFL coach John Fox: “It’s all a problem.”

        • Filelinked Was Shut Down By ACE – Can Replacements Avoid The Same Fate?

          Back in June, the hugely popular Filelinked service, which enabled Amazon Fire TV users to easily install piracy-related apps, disappeared in mysterious circumstances. It’s now confirmed that the powerful Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment took Filelinked down. That raises the question of whether services that offer the same functionality will be able to weather the storm.

        • Usenet Indexer NZBXS.com Shares User Details With Anti-Piracy Group and Shuts Down

          Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN has claimed another victory on the piracy front. Usenet indexing site NZBXS.com agreed to shut down voluntarily but, as part of a confidential settlement, BREIN also received personal details of the site’s API users, who can expect to receive a message from the anti-piracy group in the near future.

        • Meet CC Summit Presenter: Dr. Suma Parahakaran

          Based in: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 

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DecorWhat Else is New


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  3. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 19, 2022

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