11.18.21

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 18/11/2021: Latte Dock 0.10.4 and $5,000 DIY Raspberry Pi Server

Posted in News Roundup at 7:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • Leftovers

    • “Come Writers and Critics…”

      A few years passed and I bought Bill’s book and began reading his sweeping assessment of US interventions around the world since the end of the Second World War. I had been doing some parallel reading, as I’m a devoted fan of the lives and some policies of both Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt and the parallels between Bill’s writing and the Roosevelts’ actions and points of view during the war, and for Eleanor, following the war, were striking.

      Bill’s research is amazingly thorough. I had the same sense when I read his foreign policy articles at his Internet site, The Anti-Empire Report. Reading Bill’s writing was akin to the awakening of a critical mass from the baby boomer generation of the 1960s and early 1970s. You knew you were onto something earthshaking! It was like a foreign policy epiphany!

    • Resisting the Panopticon

      But, no, Panopto isn’t a spoof out of the pages of The Onion. It’s a Seattle-based company, started in 2007, that sells software for managing “video learning content.” Panopto’s website boasts that more than 1,000 leading businesses and academic institutions use its products. What the company sells to universities is a system for creating searchable libraries of an institution’s “video assets,” which include “lectures, flipped classroom recordings, campus events, guest presentations, athletic competitions, alumni outreach, live webcasts and more.” Panopto indeed.

      Last spring, I learned that North Carolina State University planned to make Panopto available for faculty use. My understanding was that Panopto would be another option, like Screencast or Mediasite, for putting video-recorded course material online, at each faculty member’s discretion. It now appears that administrators intended to use Panopto in a different way.

    • Education

      • Danes the third best non-Anglophone speakers of English in the world

        A global survey of the world’s English-language skills, the English Proficiency Index, has ranked Danes as the third most proficient non-native English-speakers.

        Based on the data of over 1 million standardised EFSET tests conducted in 112 non-English speaking countries, the ranking is conducted annually by the education organisation EF Education First,

        This year Denmark has been pipped to the post by the Netherlands in first place and Austria in second.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • Opinion | US and UK Press Mock New Zealand’s Incredibly Successful Covid Response

        When New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the country’s transition away from its coronavirus elimination strategy, also known as “zero-Covid,” US and British media outlets framed the decision as a recognition of the inevitable failure of an irrational goal.

      • Does spike protein from COVID-19 vaccines interfere with DNA damage repair?

        Every so often there is a study that goes so viral that people start sending it to me and asking me if there’s anything to it. Sometimes I act and write about such studies; sometimes I do not. Sometimes I roll my eyes at the study and think it’s not worth bothering with, only to see how widely it is being disseminated to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt about vaccines, cancer treatment, conventional medicine, and the like. When that happens, I generally break down and look at the study. So it has been this week with a study out of Sweden that is being spread far and wide that claims that spike protein gets into the nucleus and interferes with the repair of DNA damage (specifically double-stranded breaks in DNA) by blocking the action of BRCA1, a very important DNA damage repair protein, and 53BP1. For reference, BRCA1 mutations can predispose to a very high lifetime risk of certain cancers, in particular breast and ovarian cancer.

      • ‘Moderna Is Trying to Turn This People’s Vaccine Into a Rich People’s Vaccine’

        Janine Jackson interviewed Public Citizen’s Peter Maybarduk about the NIH/Moderna vaccine patent for the November 12, 2021, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

      • ‘We Need a Global Solution’: Critics Say Biden Plan to Boost Vaccine Supply Not Nearly Enough

        Vaccine equity advocates said the White House’s Wednesday announcement that it plans on ramping up domestic manufacturing to produce an additional one billion Covid-19 shots a year is a welcome step that still fails to meet the urgency of the moment.

        The development, first reported by the New York Times, came amid sustained accusations that rich nations, including the U.S., are contributing to global Covid-19 “vaccine apartheid” by hoarding doses and insufficiently pressuring pharmaceutical companies—who are swirling in profits—to share their technology and know-how to bring the virus that’s killed over five million people worldwide to an end.

      • Air pollution in Europe still killing more than 300,000 a year, report finds

        Premature deaths caused by fine particle air pollution have fallen 10 percent annually across Europe, but the invisible killer still accounts for 307,000 premature deaths a year, the European Environment Agency said Monday.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Jury continues deliberations in Rittenhouse trial

          The videos were placed on a thumb drive and presented to the jurors on what the judge described as a “sanitized” laptop. Jurors viewed those videos in the jury room.

          [...]

          During a discussion in court this afternoon, prosecutors addressed a motion to dismiss the case by the defense, calling it “factually inaccurate.”

          What is this about: In a motion to dismiss the case filed earlier this week, the defense claimed that, “On November 5, 2021, the fifth day of trial on this case, the prosecution turned over to the defense footage of drone video which captured some of the incident from August 25, 2020. The problem is, the prosecution gave the defense a compressed version of the video.”

          “What that means is the video provided to the defense was not as clear as the video kept by the state,” the motion continued.

          The defense claimed that the version they were given “was only 3.6 megabytes, while the state had a higher resolution version that was 11.2 megabytes.”

        • Rittenhouse defense requests a mistrial after iPhone Mail app compresses key video evidence

          Rittenhouse’s lawyers say they only received a copy of the drone video on November 5th, after the trial started, and that instead of the 11.2MB video possessed by the state, the file they received was just 3.6MB. “What that means is the video provided to the defense was not as clear as the video kept by the state,” the motion for mistrial claims.

        • Noyb files another complaint against Amazon Europe – black box algorithm discriminates customers

          The GDPR requires transparency regarding solely automated individual decisions based on personal data, such as whether or not to allow payment on account. A company using automated decision making must provide the data subject with meaningful information about the logic involved and the scope of the underlying data processing already upon data collection (Article 13(2)(f) or Article 14(2)(g) GDPR). Amazon manifestly violates these provisions. Its privacy policy only contains vague information about some credit checking mechanisms but no explanation whatsoever on how the decision on allowing or rejecting payment via “Monthly Invoicing” is taken.

          Furthermore, under the GDPR any automatically taken decision must be verifiable by humans – who must have the capacity to override the machine’s decision. This is obviously not possible at Amazon, as their billing department clarifies: “This automated decision can have various causes and cannot be adapted manually.” Ironically, Amazon justifies this by saying that customer service cannot see the exact reason for the rejection “for data protection reasons”. Amazon also refused to clarify whether internal information or a negative credit score were used as part of the decision-making process.

        • Security

          • Tech CEO Pleads to Wire Fraud in IP Address Scheme

            The CEO of a South Carolina technology firm has pleaded guilty to 20 counts of wire fraud in connection with an elaborate network of phony companies set up to obtain more than 735,000 Internet Protocol (IP) addresses from the nonprofit organization that leases the digital real estate to entities in North America.

          • Techdirt Podcast Episode 305: Missouri Hasn’t Really Learned Its Lesson

            We’ve got a crossposted episode for you this week: Mike recently joined The Cato Daily Podcast with Caleb O. Brown for a discussion about the “hacking” fiasco in Missouri and the state’s treatment of the journalists who exposed its huge data security flub. It’s a shorter conversation than our usual podcasts, and you can listen to the whole thing on this week’s episode.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Artists, Rights Groups Denounce ‘Invasive’ Palm-Scanning of Concertgoers by Amazon

              More than 200 musical artists and 30 human rights groups on Tuesday endorsed a Fight for the Future-led campaign opposing the use of Amazon palm-scanning technology at Colorado’s famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

              “Introducing biometric surveillance technology at events, even just for the marginal-at-best ‘convenience’ of making the line move faster, makes music fans less safe.”

            • The SSL Store interview

              My job predominantly within higher education was to research and write on various industries related to the institutions’ academic programs, which included computer science and technology. Then I moved on to a digital marketing agency, where I work for a variety of clients, including some cybersecurity companies—SaaS and MSPs. I learned about cybersecurity and IT security through those experiences, as well as my own research over time.

            • Tor and the humans who use it
            • Help Censored Users, Run a Tor Bridge
            • How to delete your Instagram account

              If you’ve made the decision to delete Instagram, whether because you’ve outgrown the need for a certain finsta or because its parent company Meta is courting controversy again, doing so isn’t as quick or easy as it should be. It can’t even be done from within the Instagram app.

              Go ahead and take a moment to make an obligatory “I’m deleting Instagram” post if you’d like, and then follow these steps to ditch your account — they can be followed using either a computer or phone, as long as you’re using a browser.

            • Facebook’s “Metaverse” Must Be Stopped

              Silicon Valley has a long history of big dreams that are not realized, from the libertarian utopia that the internet was framed as in its early days to the ubiquitous autonomous vehicles that were supposed to have replaced car ownership by now. The metaverse is likely to suffer the same fate, but that doesn’t mean it will have no impact at all. As Brian Merchant has explained, the tech industry is in desperate need of a new framework to throw money at after so many of its big bets from the past decade have failed, and the metaverse could be poised to take that place.

            • Chat Control: The End of the Privacy of Digital Correspondence

              But this is not the end of the story: For autumn 2021, European Commission announced that it will propose a follow-up legislation that will make the use of chatcontrol mandatory for all e-mail and messenger providers. This legislation might then also affect securely end-to-end encrypted communications. However, a public consultation by the Commission on this project showed that the majority of respondents, both citizens and stakeholders, were opposed to an obligation to use chat control. Over 80% of respondents opposed its application to end-to-end encrypted communications. As a result, the Commission postponed the draft legislation originally announced for July to

              December 2021Q1 2022.

            • Why chat control is so dangerous – European Digital Rights (EDRi)

              So far, there are no broad civil society alliances against the proposal, but the protest is just getting louder. MEP Patrick Breyer has put together an info page and calls for action at chatkontrolle.de. He calls on people to contact representatives of the EU Commission, such as the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johannson, or the EU Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, via telephone and e-mail and to express their protest. In the coming weeks, civil society alliances and other forms of protest could also emerge. For this, it can be helpful to get involved yourself and contact civil rights and digital organizations about the issue of chat control.

            • Why we have public websites on private IPs (internally)

              In yesterday’s entry about how Chrome may start restricting requests to private networks, I mentioned that we have various public websites that are actually on private IPs, as far as people inside our network perimeter are concerned. You might wonder why. The too-short answer is that we don’t have enough public IPs to go around, but the longer answer is that it’s because of how our internal networks are organized.

            • What you need to know about the Facebook Papers

              Facebook is now undergoing what may be the tech giant’s biggest crisis in its 17-year history. In October, The Washington Post reported that a second Facebook whistleblower came forward to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, alleging that the company prioritises growth over combating hate speech, disinformation, and other threats to the public. The whistleblower’s testimony follows that of former Facebook employee Frances Haugen, whose legal counsel released what’s known as the Facebook Papers — a 10,000-page collection of internal reports, memos, and chat logs leaked to more than a dozen major news outlets.

            • Tinkering with keys weakens encryption

              In short, if you are talking about the security of encryption, you should also be talking about key management. Or maybe especially so. Therefore, a well-known saying (at least among security experts) is, “Hackers don’t break encryption, they find your keys.” We need to worry less about breaking the algorithm and focus more on handling keys. Key management is an integral part of the whole of encryption. You cannot say that you are not weakening the encryption (for example, because you are not modifying the underlying algorithm) if at the same time you are tinkering with the key management or configuration.

            • Confidentiality

              • Singapore fines hotel booking site for leaking 5.9m records • The Register

                Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) has issued a fine of SG$74,000 ($54,456) on travel company Commeasure, which operates a travel booking website named RedDoorz that exposed 5.9 million customers’ data – the largest data breach handled by the Commission since its inception.

                The PDPC announced the penalty for “failing to put in place reasonable security arrangements to prevent the unauthorised access and exfiltration of customers’ personal data hosted in a cloud database”.

                RedDoorz started life in Indonesia before moving its operations to Singapore, from where it aggregates budget hotel bookings in select Southeast Asian cities. A user selects a budget hotel from RedDoorz based on photos, area and price, not always knowing the actual name or location of the hotel . When the traveller arrives, the hotel room experience is rebranded as RedDoorz and comes with certain guaranteed services – like WiFi, TV and potable water.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • A Cop Is Finally in Trouble for Using Excessive Force—Against Dogs

        I’ve written recently about qualified immunity, which is the concept that law enforcement or other government officials cannot be held personally liable for the harm they cause doing their jobs. Lawyers and activists have noted that the doctrine essentially shields law officers from accountability when they violate people’s constitutional rights, allowing cops to shoot people and face no consequences. But courts have steadfastly upheld qualified immunity—a fact that has led me to argue that congressional action is the only hope for rolling back the current rules.

      • Pentagon And Its Overseers Suppressed Whistleblowers Who Challenged Massacre In Syria

        This article was funded by paid subscribers of The Dissenter, a project of Shadowproof. Become a paid subscriber and help us expand our work.

        Whistleblowers in the United States military exposed a strike in Syria that resulted in the massacre of around 70 women and children, according to an investigation by the New York Times. The command responsible for the strike conceded a war crime may have taken place, but a report by the Office of the Inspector General for the Defense Department removed this opinion. Officials in the Pentagon impeded an investigation and ensured no one would ever be held accountable for the civilian deaths. They also turned on one of the whistleblowers, forcing them out of their position in the I.G.’s office. What happened proves once again that going through proper channels can be a fruitless and risky career-ending effort. Lisa Ling, a former tech sergeant who worked on drone surveillance systems and is a known whistleblower, reacted, “Again, the public is notified of a ‘possible’ war crime by a brave whistleblower who was eventually forced out of their job.” “This is a pattern that exemplifies the need for robust whistleblower protections especially for the intelligence community so often carved out of them. We need more light shined in these secret spaces so that this doesn’t happen again, and again, and again, without the public knowing what is done in our name.”As the Times reported, on March 18, 2019, “In the last days of the battle against the Islamic State in Syria, when members of the once-fierce caliphate were cornered in a dirt field next to a town called Baghuz, a U.S. military drone circled high overhead, hunting for military targets. But it saw only a large crowd of women and children huddled against a river bank.”U.S. military forces launched a double tap strike. An American F-15E “attack jet” dropped a 500-pound bomb. As survivors scrambled for cover, another jet dropped a 2,000-pound bomb that killed “most of the survivors.” A “high-definition drone” recorded the scene prior to the bombing. Two or three men were near a compound. Though they had rifles, neither engaged coalition forces. Women and children were observed in the area.“At nearly every step, the military made moves that concealed the catastrophic strike. The death toll was downplayed. Reports were delayed, sanitized, and classified,” and the Times added, “Coalition forces bulldozed the blast site.” The strike was the work of a classified U.S. special operations unit known as Task Force 9. They were responsible for the third-worst “casualty event” in Syria. According to the Times, an unnamed Air Force intelligence officer in the Combined Air Operations Center at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar contacted Lieutenant Colonel Dean Korsak, who was an Air Force lawyer. They were ordered to preserve video and other evidence from the “F-15E squadron and drone crew.” Korsak concluded a “possible war crime” was committed that required an independent investigation. He noted that Task Force 9 was “clearly seeking to cover up” incidents like this strike by logging false entries after the fact—for example, the man had a gun. The Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations was notified. However, as the Times recalled, a major refused to investigate because civilian casualties were only investigated if there was a “potential for media attention, concern with outcry from local community/government, [and/or] concern sensitive images may get out.”

      • Opinion | Steve Bannon and the Deadly Implications of ‘Deconstructing the Administrative State’

        Yale historian Timothy’s Snyder’s Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning was published in 2015. It was a book on a subject that had already received vast attention from historians, but it stood out for its novel thesis: it was traditional bureaucratic state structures which protected persons under their aegis. This applied even during the Holocaust. It was the destruction of the state apparatus or the stripping of persons’ citizenship that made the worst horrors possible.

      • Saudi Coalition Withdrawal from Hodeidah Raises Hopes Yemen War May Be Coming to an End

        In the latest strategic blow to the Saudi-led Coalition in Yemen, forces from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have withdrawn from three strategic directorates in southern Hodeidah, Yemen’s main entry point. The withdrawal comes on the heels of Ansar Allah’s recent capture of the oil-rich Marib province, the Saudi-backed government’s last northern stronghold.

      • Jacob Chansley, Man Known as “QAnon Shaman” Sentenced for Role in Capitol Attack
      • The Trump Legacy: Threats and Violence

        That legislation sorely was needed because major fixes to the nation’s roads, bridges, ports, tunnels and airports have been ignored for decades. A bridge between Ohio and Kentucky is in such bad shape that even obstructionist Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of the Bluegrass State voted for the bill.

        Good for the Maverick 13 for shining a light on a despicable cabal of cowards who shamelessly follow the wicked whims of the former president who thinks, or pretends he thinks, he won the election. Trouble is, he’s persuaded a hefty percentage of Republicans that he did.

      • Situation in Belarus closer to military action than migrant crisis – Finnish FM

        In his view, the reason why Belarusian officials directed irregular migrants to the border with Poland was to exploit the current rift between Warsaw and Brussels. However, Haavisto said, Lukashenko has failed to divide the EU.

      • EU readies sanctions for migrant trafficking over Belarus border crisis

        Thousands of migrants from the Middle East are camped out on the EU-Belarus border, creating a stand-off between the EU and US on one side and Belarus and its ally Russia on the other.

        Western countries accuse Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime of engineering the crisis by encouraging migrants to come to Belarus and then taking them to the border since the summer.

      • More than 600 migrants reach Italy by sea from north Africa

        Italy has seen a sharp increase in boat migrants in recent weeks and the latest mass arrivals will put further pressure on Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government to secure an agreement with European Union partners over how to deal with the influx.

      • Why the war against jihadists in Mali is going badly

        The biggest Western fight against jihadists is now in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. France has about 5,000 soldiers fighting in the region, backed by about 1,000 American troops. Hundreds of European commandos help them and train the Malian army. The UN has almost 15,000 peacekeepers. Yet even with these forces arrayed against them, the insurgents have spread relentlessly across Mali and deep into neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso. More than 2m people have been forced from their homes and more than 10,000 killed in the past two years (see chart).

    • Environment

      • Opinion | The Climate Crisis Is a Human Rights Crisis

        COP26 ended last weekend and with it, hopes that the negotiations would meaningfully address the needs of Indigenous and frontline communities facing the worst effects of the climate crisis. The United Kingdom, which hosted this year’s COP, promised it would be one of the most inclusive international climate negotiations ever, but in reality, Indigenous and frontline voices were drowned out by the usual chorus of empty climate commitments. 

      • If You Care About the Climate, Pay Attention to Koch Cash

        Earlier this month, President Joe Biden announced new methane restrictions at the COP26 conference, which will require a 30 percent cut in methane emissions by 2030 by more than 100 countries. The move underscores the importance of climate policy regulations, especially in the face of discouraging prospects of national action from Congress. This story was produced for Student Nation, a program of the Nation Fund for Independent Journalism, which is dedicated to highlighting the best of student journalism. For more Student Nation, check out our archive or learn more about the program here. StudentNation is made possible through generous funding from The Puffin Foundation. If you’re a student and you have an article idea, please send pitches and questions to [email protected].

      • Extreme weather outruns the world
      • ‘The water is poison’: Chinese activist spends life protecting polluted lake

        Zhang started to denounce polluting companies who exploited resources or built without permission — often facing an uphill struggle to reach sympathetic ears.

        Local officials simply haven’t done enough to protect the local environment, he says.

        s “Why? Because they had collaborated with these enterprises,” he said.

      • The Celebrity-Backed Green “Fintech” Company That Isn’t as Green as It Seems

        You can save the planet with a swipe of your bank card. That’s the enticing proposition made by a company called Aspiration, which promises to take the leftover change from customers’ purchases and use it to plant trees around the world. Aspiration is on track to spend $149 million this year marketing that message, according to its financial documents, considerably more than the revenues the company expects to take in.

        “Clean rich is the new filthy rich,” Aspiration proclaims on billboards across New York, Texas and California. Other ads, ubiquitous on social media, feature images of Aspiration’s debit card, which depicts a green treescape and is made from recycled plastic. The likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Orlando Bloom, Robert Downey Jr. and Drake have invested in the company. Aspiration has received enthusiastic press coverage (with the exception of a critical dissection by New York University marketing professor Scott Galloway). And the company won further headlines in September for its reported $300 million, 23-year sponsorship deal with the Los Angeles Clippers, which will feature Aspiration’s name on signs inside the Clippers’ new arena, give the company a role in sustainability initiatives and put its logo on the jersey of every Clippers player.

      • Another Climate Summit Failure
      • Climate Colonialism: Why Was Occupied Western Sahara Excluded from COP26 U.N. Summit in Scotland?

        Activists are criticizing the British government for excluding Western Sahara, occupied by Morocco since 1975, from the U.N. climate summit in Scotland. Meanwhile, Morocco is counting renewable energy developments in Western Sahara towards its own climate pledges. Sahwari activists and the Sahrawi government in exile known as SADR, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, have described this as climate colonialism. Negotiators from Western Sahara independently announced a plan to reduce carbon emissions outside COP26, as the climate crisis has brought extreme weather conditions including drought, extreme heat and flooding to the region. In an interview last week in Glasgow, Scotland while COP26 was underway, Oubi Bouchraya Bachir, a representative of the Polisario Front for Europe and the European Union, estimated 30% of the solar energy produced by Morocco “will be produced from within the illegal context of occupation.” We also spoke with climate change consultant Nick Brooks, who has traveled to Western Sahara for decades to carry out archaeological and palaeo-environmental fieldwork and helped release the Sahrawi climate plan adjacent to the COP26. “They have been completely and systematically excluded from international processes of climate governance and climate finance,” Brooks said of the Sahrawi.

      • Opinion | How to Fix the Climate Finance Debacle

        The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26) fell far short of what is needed for a safe planet, owing mainly to the same lack of trust that has burdened global climate negotiations for almost three decades. Developing countries regard climate change as a crisis caused largely by the rich countries, which they also view as shirking their historical and ongoing responsibility for the crisis. Worried that they will be left paying the bills, many key developing countries, such as India, don’t much care to negotiate or strategize.

      • Opinion | Moving the Renewables Revolution From Catchphrase to Reality

        As this issue of the Bulletin was published, the countries of the world had just finished meeting at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, to put forward new targets for reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions, aiming to reach a global “net zero” level by mid-century. The meeting and the national commitments to be made there are important, if the world is to avert the worst effects of climate change. Even more important, though, are practical implementations of those commitments, so they actually create the massive, real-world transition of global energy systems needed to move the world away from fossil fuels and toward energy sources that do not emit carbon dioxide.

      • Energy

        • Scientists Warn Experimental Nuclear Plant Backed by Bill Gates Is ‘Outright Dangerous’

          Officials announced Tuesday that the small city of Kemmerer, Wyoming would be the site of a new Bill Gates-backed nuclear power project—an initiative whose proponents say would provide climate-friendly and affordable energy but which some scientists warn is a dangerous diversion from true energy solutions.

          “Gates has continually downplayed the role of proven, safe renewable energy technology in decarbonizing our economy.”

        • ‘A Slap in the Face’: Biden Oil and Gas Lease Sale Ignites Outrage, Legal Challenges

          “This will inevitably lead to more catastrophic oil spills, more toxic climate pollution, and more suffering for communities and wildlife along the Gulf Coast.”

        • ‘The Time Is Now’: 200 Activists Arrested While Demanding Biden, Congress Defend Voting Rights

          Activists on Wednesday took to the streets of Washington, D.C., where organizers said around 200 people were arrested while demanding the passage of key voting rights legislation, an end to the filibuster, and bold action from President Joe Biden in defense of an imperiled democracy.

          “This movement is about ensuring that the arc of the moral universe continues to bend toward justice.”

        • Two Climate Activists Halt Operations at World’s Largest Coal Port

          “In a system that only cares about money, non-violent blockading tactics that cause material disruption are the most effective and accessible means of wielding real power.”

        • Gasbagging in Glasgow: COP26 and Phasing Down Coal

          COP26, or the UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021, had a mission of “Uniting the world to tackle climate change.”  The tackling, however, fell rather short, though countries, in the main, were trying to sell the final understanding as a grand compromise of mature tidiness.  COP26 president Alok Sharma called the outcome “a fragile win”, the outcome of “hard work” and “great cooperation” from the parties.

          The Pact is a flurry of words, acknowledging, for instance “the importance of the best available science for effective climate action and policymaking.” Alarm and utmost concern is expressed by the parties at the fact “that human activities have caused around 1.1 °C of global warming to date and that impacts are already being felt in every region”. There is a stress on “the urgency of enhancing ambition and acting in relation to mitigation adaptation and finance in this critical decade to address gaps between current efforts and pathways in pursuit of the ultimate objective of the Convention and its long-term global goal”.

        • The $65B Prize

          Not so fast! I am assuming that the keys for Nakamoto’s wallets are inaccessible through death or loss. Thus Nakamoto cannot migrate the million Bitcoin they contain to wallets that use post-quantum cryptography. Thus the first person to control a “sufficiently large quantum computer” can break the encryption on Nakamoto’s wallets and transfer the million Bitcoin to a post-quantum wallet they own. Who is to know that this wasn’t Satoshi Nakamoto taking a sensible precaution? The miscreant can then enjoy the fruits of their labor by repaying the costs of development of their quantum computer, and buying the obligatory Lamborghini. These would take only a small fraction of the $65B, and would be seen as Nakamoto enjoying a well-deserved retirement.

        • Chris Dixon and Packy McCormick on the future of [cryptocurrencies]

          The year ahead will show that blockchains can support a lot more applications beyond money and finance. In 2022 decentralised services will chip away at big tech companies’ stranglehold on the internet. A cluster of new “web3” technologies, such as tokens, will dramatically improve the digital economics of creators, technologists and small businesses.

        • The World Is Failing To Rid Itself of Coal

          Coal is the most CO2-intensive of all fossil fuels, a relic from the early industrial era, a dark past. That’s also the view of environmentalists at COP26. They argue that the world needs to eliminate its reliance on coal as quickly as possible.

          But actions speak louder than words, and rather than moving away from coal, use of the fossil fuel continues to grow. Since 2000, global consumption has increased by more than 60 percent. And the boom shows few signs of abating. Climate crisis or not, coal is being burned as if there was no tomorrow.

        • Social media is ‘undermining our democracies’, US billionaire Frank McCourt warns

          In an interview with FRANCE 24 at the Paris Peace Forum, US billionaire Frank McCourt strongly criticised tech giants, saying social media is “undermining our democracies”. The owner of French football club Olympique de Marseille told us more about his Project Liberty plan. He has invested $100 million in the initiative, which he hopes will “transform the way the [Internet] works”.

        • San Francisco pushes ahead towards open-source voting program

          San Francisco is finally making some progress using open-source technology in voting machines, a long-stalled city project that advocates say could save taxpayer money, add security and give voters more transparency in elections.

          On Tuesday night, President Shamann Walton told the Board of Supervisors he is moving forward on plans for a pilot program to use open-source voting machines as soon as The City’s November 2022 elections.

        • Rupert Murdoch Criticizes Trump, Accuses Google, Facebook of Censoring Conservatives

          The 90-year-old media mogul also mentioned “collusion” between Facebook and Google alleged by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in a December 2020 complaint. Paxton’s complaint alleged that both companies violated federal antitrust law by making a secret agreement to give each platform special privileges on their ad-buying systems. Google has denied the accusation.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • To Save a Seabird, Scientists Must Restore Balance to an Island Ecosystem
        • What’s Driving Global Deforestation? Organized Crime, Beef, Soy, Palm Oil and Wood Products

          Tropical forests store enormous quantities of carbon and are home to at least two-thirds of the world’s living species, so deforestation has disastrous consequences for climate change and conservation. Trees absorb carbon dioxide as they grow, slowing its buildup in the atmosphere – but when they are burned or logged, they release their stored carbon, fueling further warming. Tropical forest loss generates nearly 50% more greenhouse gases than does the global transportation sector.

          At the 2021 U.N. conference on climate change in Glasgow, more than 100 world leaders pledged on Nov. 1 to halt deforestation by 2030. In the Declaration on Forests and Land Use, countries outlined their strategy, which focuses on supporting trade and development policies that promote sustainable production and consumption. Governments and private companies have pledged over US$19.2 billion to support these efforts.

    • Finance

      • On the Defense Spending Bill

        All this for an agency, the Department of Defense, that continues to have massive fraud and cost overruns year after year and is the only major government agency not to successfully complete an independent audit. Isn’t it strange how even as we end the longest war in our nation’s history concerns about the deficit and national debt seem to melt away under the influence of the powerful Military Industrial Complex?

        Further, it is likely that the Senate leadership will attach to the National Defense Authorization Act the so-called ‘competitiveness bill,’ which includes $52 billion in corporate welfare, with no strings attached, for a handful of extremely profitable microchip companies. This bill also contains a $10 billion handout to Jeff Bezos for space exploration.

      • How NYC Taxi Drivers Took on Predatory Lenders and Won

        On November 3, New York City reached an agreement with the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA), the union fighting to relieve drivers of thousands of dollars in debt they owe for medallions, the physical permits to operate taxis. According to the NYTWA, the average debt owed on medallions by taxi drivers is $600,000.

        “Today marks a new dawn, a new beginning for a workforce that has struggled through so much crisis and loss,” said Bhairavi Desai, Executive Director of NYTWA, in a statement. “Today, we can say owner-drivers have won real debt relief and can begin to get their lives back. Drivers will no longer be at risk of losing their homes, and no longer be held captive to debt beyond their lifetime.”

      • The Last Progressive: Biden and Illusions of “Normalcy”

        Grinspan describes the period from the 1860s to 1900 as an “age of acrimony,” with the nation as a whole “embroiled in a generation-long, culturewide war over democracy.” Today, we find ourselves well into round two of that very war. But Grinspan urges his fellow citizens not to give up hope. A return to normalcy — boring perhaps, but tolerable — might well be right around the corner.

        Mark me down as skeptical.

      • The Build Back Better Act Can Level the Field for Single Parents

        There are many things to cheer regarding the Build Back Better Act’s transformational $400 billion investment in early care and education. The act would deliver meaningful relief to millions of families by establishing universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds, capping child care costs for working- and middle-class families at 7 percent of household income, and raising the wages of a workforce dominated by women of color that is currently paid, on average, $12/hour.

      • Opinion | It Is Way Past Time for Postal Banking

        USPS has a public service mandate to provide a similar level of service to communities across the country regardless of local economic conditions. In addition to daily mail delivery to far-flung locations, the Postal Service maintains post offices even in low-income urban neighborhoods and small towns that lack other basic services. The Postal Service is able to fulfill its mission while keeping postage rates low due to economies of scale.

      • Emily Ratajkowski: “I’m Very Displeased With Capitalism”

        Already famous as a model, an influencer, and the owner of a fashion brand, Emily Ratajkowski is known to the world in such saturation that anything she says on the subject of her body will inevitably be read through the lens of her own self-commodification. Or so we might think. It’s not unlike the trap of capitalism that Ratajkowski tangles with in her debut essay collection, the mechanism that’s punished her as much as it’s allowed her to thrive: How can one enter into an economy with the freedom to both criticize and participate? There’s a hint of self-aware humor in all of this, as when Ratajkowski’s Instagram captions solemnly intone, “My Body is on sale now.”1

      • It’s No Surprise Our Water Infrastructure Is So Bad

        Think of it this way: What we don’t know will hurt us. And water—yes, water—is an example of just that. Even at a time of such angry political disputes, you might imagine that, in a wealthy country like the United States, it would still be possible to agree that clean water should be not just a right, but a given. Well, welcome to America 2021.

      • ‘If You Care About Inflation,’ Says Jayapal, ‘Then Pass the Build Back Better Act’

        Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, argued Wednesday that those who claim to be concerned about inflationary pressures in the U.S. economy should prioritize swift passage of the Build Back Better Act, which contains measures aimed at driving down prices in housing, medicine, child care, and other crucial areas.

        “There is no good way to connect the dots between the Build Back Better agenda… and higher inflation.”

      • ‘Inappropriate Giveaway of Galactic Proportions’: Outrage Over $10 Billion Taxpayer Gift to Bezos Space Obsession

        Progressives on Wednesday slammed what they called a proposed $10 billion handout to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos—the world’s first multi-centibillionaire—in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act as a “giveaway of galactic proportions” in the face of growing wealth inequality and the inability of U.S. lawmakers to pass a sweeping social and climate spending package.

        “Jeff Bezos’s business model includes feasting on public subsidies—and the U.S. Senate must not acquiesce to his demands.”

      • $285 Billion Tax Cut for the Rich Is Now 2nd Most Expensive Piece of Build Back Better

        A $285 billion tax cut that would predominantly flow to rich households is now the second most expensive component of the Build Back Better Act after corporate Democrats succeeded in slashing funding for a number of key progressive priorities—and removing other programs entirely.

        “At a time of massive income inequality, we must increase taxes on the 1%, not give them huge tax breaks.”

      • GOP Representative Brags About Infrastructure Funding Despite Voting Against It
      • $285 Billion Tax Cut for Rich Is Now Second-Costliest Item of Build Back Better
      • Why It’s So Hard to Tax Billionaires

        Billionaires have the best accountants who know all the loopholes. Their wealth isn’t in income, but in assets. They often move to states (like Texas) that don’t have a state income tax, and move their money to offshore tax havens. They live off tax free loans. Legislation to tax billionaires goes nowhere because wealthy coal barons like Democratic Senator Joe Manchin don’t believe in taxing the “job creators,” a notion that has been debunked again and again. (Basically a thriving middle class creates jobs, while billionaires invest their profits in real estate.)

        What NPR didn’t say, and what the corporate and corporate-sponsored media never say, is that it is hard to tax billionaires because billionaires rule America and they don’t want to be taxed.

      • Indian PM calls on the world to save youth from Bitcoin

        India’s prime minister has called for international co-operation to regulate cryptocurrency.

        Speaking at The Sydney Dialogue, an online event hosted today by defence and strategic policy think tank the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Modi lauded India’s technology sector for helping to address the Y2K problem, creating value through its vigorous start-up scene, improving the lives of citizens, and open-sourcing the Co-WIN COVID-19 management application. The PM also offered an optimistic view that technology will improve the world.

        But he adopted a different stance when discussing a few technologies and developments in the technology industry.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • John McEvoy Exposes Britain’s Role in Suppressing Democracy at Home and Abroad
      • There’s Still More to Learn From Virginia

        Unsurprisingly, there has been a burst of commentary since Democrats suffered a slew of disappointing losses in Virginia during this month’s off-year elections—most of it not even from people who have lived or worked in politics here. Their response has been predictable: Terry McAuliffe lost because he didn’t talk to swing or moderate voters in the suburbs, which has always been code for white voters. But in fact it was the long tradition of the Democratic Party taking its base support for granted that led to losses up and down the ticket.

      • GOP Billionaires Who Never Donated to Democrats Are Funding Manchin and Sinema
      • Michigan GOP’s Voter Restrictions Could Eliminate 20 Percent of Polling Sites
      • Ari Berman: With Extreme Gerrymandering, the Republicans Are Rigging the Next Decade of Elections

        Republicans are set to claim the House majority in next year’s midterm elections with help from heavily gerrymandered congressional district maps in states nationwide that could shape politics for the next decade, securing Republican wins even as the party’s popular vote shrinks at the national level, says Mother Jones reporter Ari Berman. “The same states that are pushing voter suppression are also pushing extreme gerrymandered maps to lock in white Republican power for the next decade at the state and federal level,” says Berman.

      • House Votes to Censure Paul Gosar Over Video Depicting Him Killing Ocasio-Cortez
      • Censure ‘Not Enough’: Rights Groups Call For Expulsion of Gosar After House Vote

        “Censure is important but not enough,” said a leader at women’s rights group UltraViolet on Wednesday after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to censure Rep. Paul Gosar over an animated video he posted depicting the murder of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and violence against President Joe Biden.

        “Anyone who shares content of themselves murdering a coworker on social media would be fired without hesitation in any other workplace,” said Bridget Todd, communications director at UltraViolet. “There should be no difference in Congress.”

      • Rep. Gosar Faces Censure for AOC Murder Video, Refuses to Apologize. Sister Calls Him a “Sociopath.”

        We speak with Jennifer Gosar, the youngest sister of far-right Arizona Congressmember Paul Gosar, who faces censure in a House vote today for posting an animated video on social media that features him murdering Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Biden with swords. Gosar will be required to stand in the well of the House while the resolution is read. His colleagues will also vote to strip him of his assignments on the Committee on Oversight and Reform, alongside Ocasio-Cortez, and the Committee on Natural Resources. “He’s continuing to sing to that white supremacist base that he fundraises from,” says Jennifer Gosar, who has previously described him as a “sociopath.”

      • Thrusting Boris, “The UK is Not Remotely a Corrupt Country”

        The first currently visible sign of this crisis emerged with the so-called Paterson affair. The House of Commons Committee on Standards, consisting of cross-party MPs and members of the public, upheld findings by the independent Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards of the House of Commons that the former Tory minister Owen Paterson, by lobbying ministers as a paid consultant for 2 private companies, had been in deliberate breach of the rules prohibiting MPs from using their elected office for financial gain.

        The Committee on Standards recommended that the Commons vote to impose a 30-day suspension on the always unrepentant Paterson. At this point the government intervened in what should have been a free vote to require Tory MPs to vote to overturn the Committee’s recommendation on Paterson and back an amendment to “reform” MP’s standards by creating a new Standards Committee with a built-in Tory majority. There were reports of threats to Tory MPs that they would lose funding for their constituencies if they failed to support the government.

    • Misinformation/Disinformation

      • Young people more likely to rely on social media, though few trust it ‘a lot’: poll

        Overall, 45 percent of young people ages 15 to 24 said social media is a “go-to” information source, while just 17 percent of those ages 40 and older said the same, according to the survey. The findings were based on survey responses from people in 21 countries.

      • You Can’t Beat Climate Change Without Tackling Disinformation

        Climate disinfo, unfortunately, did not make its way into the COP26 negotiations. Had the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports included contributions from social scientists on the role of media and information in tackling climate before the conference instead of next year, as they’re scheduled to be, perhaps that would have been different. In the lead-up to the event, though, Google did announce a new policy aimed at addressing this problem. In partnership with the Conscious Advertising Network, the tech giant said that it will now “prohibit ads for, and monetization of, content that contradicts well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change.” That policy doesn’t just affect Google advertisers but YouTube creators as well, which is a big deal given that YouTube has been pushing climate disinformation to millions of viewers for years.

      • Wikipedia editor ‘warriors’ fight lies, bigotry and even Nazis

        Najjar said he contributes to almost 500 entries a week, and as a medical doctor he has been busy fighting a flood of false information unleashed during the pandemic.

      • Bipartisan commission urges US take immediate steps to curb online misinformation

        A report from a bipartisan commission published Monday recommends that U.S. government and social media platform leaders take a series of immediate steps to curb the “crisis of trust and truth” stemming from online disinformation and misinformation.

        The report, put out by the Aspen Institute’s Commission on Information Disorder, puts forward recommendations that can be taken to address issues including election security and COVID-19 disinformation and misinformation online, painting a picture of an urgent moment to take action.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Wherein The Copia Institute Tells The Eleventh Circuit That Florida’s SB 7072 Law Violates Our Rights

        We’ve talked a lot about the Florida law SB 7072 that attempts to regulate social media platforms. In broad strokes, it tries to constrain how at least certain Internet platforms moderate their platforms by imposing specific requirements on them about how they must or may not do so. That law is now being challenged in court. The district court enjoined it, and Florida has now appealed to the Eleventh Circuit to have the injunction overturned. This week the Copia Institute joined others in filing amicus briefs in support of maintaining the injunction.

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Game Developer Deals With Sexual Content Generated By Users And Its Own AI (2021)

        Summary: Dealing with content moderation involving user generated content from humans is already quite tricky — but those challenges can reach a different level when artificial intelligence is generating content as well. While the cautionary tale of Microsoft’s AI chatbot Tay may be well known, other developers are still grappling with the challenges of moderating AI-generated content.

      • A New Tool to Measure Internet Resilience—Why It Matters

        Many low-income countries usually have under-provisioned networks and cable infrastructure, or they lack redundant interconnection systems. In these countries (or regions), the likelihood of Internet outages occurring is much higher than in other countries. To help support the development of policies and infrastructure to improve Internet resilience at the local, regional, and global level, we’ve launched a new section on our Internet measurement platform, Pulse, to track resiliency metrics.

      • Peng Shuai: Doubt cast on email from Chinese tennis star

        Ms Peng – a former number one-ranked tennis doubles player – had not been heard from since posting an allegation about former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli on Chinese social media site Weibo in early November.

      • China’s ultramarathon tragedy and the survivors threatened for speaking out

        In May this year, 21 competitors died at an ultra-running event in northern China hit by extreme weather conditions: hail, heavy rain and intense gales caused temperatures to plummet, and nobody seemed prepared for it.

        Only a small number felt comfortable talking about what happened – and some have been threatened for doing so.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Diversifying the Police Force Won’t End Police Violence
      • Opinion | The End of Legal Abortion Looms

        For supporters of abortion rights, the stakes could not be higher than they are this term at U.S. Supreme Court. With conservatives holding a 6-3 advantage on the bench, Roe v. Wade is on the chopping block. 

      • The Secrets of the So-Called “Havana Syndrome”

        Behind closed doors and with little fanfare, on October 8, President Joe Biden signed the Helping American Victims Afflicted by Neurological Attacks Act into law. Known as the “Havana Act”—a misnomer since most of the purported “attacks” took place far from Cuba—the legislation authorizes the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department to compensate a growing number of agents and diplomats who have experienced a cluster of cognitive-related injuries from a mysterious, and still unidentified, source. The impetus for the new law came from complaints by a number of injured US personnel that their own government, particularly during the Donald Trump era, has been dismissive of their medical needs and the legitimacy of their injuries.1

        “We’re not making this up—this happened to real people,” one injured Havana embassy official stated in a dramatic interview with NBC News in October. “It just seems important to humanize this,” another told NBC, “to help all my fellow Americans understand that, as much skepticism as still seems to surround this, it’s very real.”2

      • Judge Allows Rittenhouse to Eliminate Jury Members Using a Raffle Drum
      • Rittenhouse
      • US Officials Outrageously Claim Black Men Fleeing Slavery Lack “Credible Fear”
      • Advocates Demand Stay of Execution for Julius Jones in Oklahoma
      • With ‘Powerful Evidence’ of His Innocence, Advocates Demand Clemency for Julius Jones Ahead of Thursday Execution

        Noting that Oklahoma’s Pardon and Parole Board has twice recommended clemency for condemned inmate Julius Jones, calls from millions of people around the world and across the political spectrum—including from capital punishment supporters—for Gov. Kevin Stitt to commute Jones’ death sentence have crescendoed ahead of Thursday’s scheduled execution.

        “Gov. Stitt needs to be a moral leader for his state and stop this execution.”

      • “No Doubt That Julius Jones Is innocent”: Supporters Demand Stay of Execution for Oklahoma Man

        Advocates in Oklahoma are rallying outside the barricaded governor’s mansion ahead of the planned Thursday execution of prisoner Julius Jones, who was convicted of a 1999 murder but has maintained his innocence. Another man privately admitted to committing the murder and framing Jones, and Oklahoma’s Pardon and Parole Board has recommended twice that his death sentence be commuted to life in prison with the possibility of parole but the final decision now rests with Governor Kevin Stitt. “There should be no doubt that Julius Jones is innocent,” says longtime death penalty opponent Ben Jealous, president of People for the American Way and former president of the NAACP.

      • Media’s Anti-‘Woke’ Mania Moves Social Justice to the Fringe

        “Woke” is the label the aggrieved conservative suburbanite puts on the indignity of having to call their Starbucks barista “they” and finding Ibram X. Kendi on their child’s school reading list. But as the Democrats prepare for the midterm election cycle, anti-wokeness has become a key theme about the party’s future. Woke activists have been chief culprits in Terry McAuliffe’s loss in the Virginia governor’s race, correspondents tell us, and the electoral ground loss generally by the Democrats (The Hill, 11/7/21).

      • Amnesty International calls to ban discriminatory algorithms in its report Xenophobic Machines

        On 25 October 2021, Amnesty International published a report on the use of algorithmic decision-making (ADM) system by the Dutch tax authorities to detect fraud. The report shows how discrimination and racial profiling were baked into the design of the ADM system. Tens of thousands of parents and caregivers from mostly low-income families and immigrant backgrounds were falsely accused of fraud. While the Dutch government has announced a number of safeguards to prevent similar human rights violations from happening in the future, Amnesty’s analysis of these safeguards shows that they fall short on all fronts.

      • Desperate Afghans forced to sell children

        The human toll of spiraling hostilities still remains immense in Afghanistan. The UN is particularly worried about the impact of the conflict on women and girls. Some 80% of nearly a quarter of a million Afghans forced to flee since the end of May are women and children.

        According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), from January 1 this year to October 18, 667,903 individuals fled their homes due to conflict. A total of 33 out of 34 provinces had recorded some level of forced displacement.

      • Biden proposes 20-year drilling ban near sacred Indigenous site

        Indigenous tribes have fought for years to protect Chaco Canyon, one of the oldest and most culturally important native sites in the United States, from the oil and gas industry. Located in the high desert of northwest New Mexico, the historical site served as a hub for ceremony, politics, and trade from the ninth to 13th centuries. Today, the 1,000-year-old stone structures still stand.

      • Protect Voting Rights Now! MLK’s Granddaughter, Ben Jealous & More Risk Arrest at White House Protest

        Republicans may retake control of the House next year thanks largely to extreme gerrymandering by Republican state legislators, even as Republican opposition in Congress has impeded critical legislation to combat discriminatory voting practices and eliminate barriers to the ballot. As pressure grows for Democrats to pass two key voting rights bills, activists are holding the last in a series of protests at the White House, where nearly 100 have been arrested since August, including Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr’s 13-year-old granddaughter Yolanda King. “States are suppressing the vote across the South, across the Midwest, even out in the far West, and there’s only one way to stop it,” says Ben Jealous, president of People for the American Way and former president of the NAACP. “Congress has to pass urgently needed federal voting rights bills now.”

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Labor offers 30,000 homes without Internet free service for year

        In a tweet, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said: “Labor will provide a year of free broadband access for up to 30,000 families with no internet at home.”

        He did not offer any further details. The statement comes a day after Albanese said the party would, if elected, provide $2.4 billion to extend fibre to an additional 1.5 million homes over and above those which the Coalition has promised to wire.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • In Big Shift For Apple, Company Makes It Easier For Users To Repair Phones

        We had just got done noting that it didn’t seem like Apple had learned a whole lot from the last few years of “right to repair” backlash, making it harder to replace iPhone 13 screens. But not only did the company (partially) backtrack from that decision, they’ve made another shocking pivot: they’re actually making phone parts and documentation more accessible to Apple customers. The move, announced in a company press release, should make it significantly easier for Apple customers to repair their devices at home:

    • Monopolies

      • Jeff Bewkes Blames AT&T Incompetence For Bungled Time Warner, HBO Mergers

        We’ve noted more than a few times how the AT&T Time Warner and DirecTV mergers were a monumental, historical disaster. AT&T spent $200 billion to acquire both companies thinking it would dominate the video and internet ad space. Instead, the company lost 9 million subscribers in nine years, fired 50,000 employees, closed numerous popular brands (DC’s Vertigo imprint, Mad Magazine), and basically stumbled around incompetently for several years before recently spinning off the entire mess for a song.

      • Media Spends Years Insisting Facebook Makes Society Worse; Then Trumpets A Poll Saying People Think Facebook Makes Society Worse

        It still is amazing to me how many people in the more traditional media insist that social media is bad and dangerous and infecting people’s brains with misinformation… but who don’t seem to recognize that every single such claim made about Facebook applies equally to their own media houses. Take, for example, CNN. Last week it excitedly blasted out the results of a poll that showed three fourths of adults believe Facebook is making society worse.

      • Patents

        • ‘Obscene’: Pfizer, BioNTech, and Moderna Are Raking in $3.9 Million in Profits Per Hour

          Moderna, Pfizer, and BioNTech—the makers of the two most successful coronavirus vaccines—are raking in a combined $65,000 in profits every minute as they refuse to share their manufacturing recipes with developing countries, where billions of people still lack access to lifesaving shots.

          According to a new People’s Vaccine Alliance analysis of recent earnings reports, the three pharmaceutical giants have made a total of $34 billion in profits this year, which amounts to roughly $1,083 per second, $64,961 per minute, or $3.9 million per hour.

      • Trademarks

        • Maori tribe condemns use of haka by anti-vax protesters in New Zealand

          The Ngati Toa, a tribe or iwi in Maori, is recognised under New Zealand law as the cultural guardian of the Ka Mate haka, which has featured prominently at recent protests against coronavirus-related restrictions.

          “Ngati Toa condemns the use of the Ka Mate haka to push and promote anti-Covid-19-vaccination messages,” the tribe, based just outside Wellington, said in a statement.

          “We insist that protesters stop using our taonga (cultural treasure) immediately.”

        • Streamlabs will drop ‘OBS’ name after getting called out by open-source app

          OBS also claims it was approached by Streamlabs when the service first launched and asked if it could use “OBS” in its name. OBS says it “kindly asked them not to,” but Streamlabs still used the name anyway. “We’ve tried to sort this out in private and they have been uncooperative at every turn,” OBS’s tweet says. OBS acknowledges that Streamlabs did everything right legally but instead “repeatedly disregarded the spirit of open source and of giving back.”

        • Streamlabs under fire from rival software owners and streamers following release of new product

          The Lightstream tweet was later shared by OBS, the provider of open source software for video recording and live streaming. While OBS came first, Streamlabs took the name for their main Streamlabs OBS product (SLOBS).

          “Near the launch of SLOBS, @streamlabs reached out to us about using the OBS name. We kindly asked them not to. They did so anyway and followed up by filing a trademark,” reads the OBS tweet.

          “We’ve tried to sort this out in private and they have been uncooperative at every turn.”

        • Streamlabs accused of plagiarism and ‘unethical’ business practices (updated)

          Update: Streamlabs has made a formal statement on Twitter, pledging to change the name of its product.

          “We are taking immediate action to remove OBS from our name,” reads the comment. “Streamlabs OBS is built on top of the OBS open-source platform; Streamlabs OBS is also open source, and our code is publicly available. We take responsibility for our actions and will support the community.”

        • Streamlabs accused of copying material for its console streaming platform

          That’s only the start of the accusations, however. OBS complained that Streamlabs used OBS as part of its broadcasting software name (Streamlabs OBS, or SLOBS) despite being asked not to. While Streamlabs has technically honored the terms of the GPL license used for OBS, it allegedly “disregarded the spirit” of open source software. Elgato, meanwhile, even implied Streamlabs’ Stream Deck was borrowing at least the name (if not features) from its Stream Deck Mobile app.

        • Streamlabs drops ‘OBS’ from company name in response to recent controversy

          For those unfamiliar, Streamlabs OBS is a free open-source software that makes streaming more user-friendly. Its software is built off of a different open-source software called OBS (Open Broadcaster Software), which came before it. A way to think about it is that Streamlabs OBS is a newer, shinier version of OBS that is easier to use. But the name wasn’t the only issue facing the company.

      • Copyrights

        • Take-Two, Rockstar Continue DMCA Blitzing Mods And Save Games For GTA

          Usually when a company does something that results in a public backlash, that company will stop digging holes. Over the summer, we wrote about Rockstar Games and its parent company, Take-Two Interactive, starting a war on modding communities for the Grand Theft Auto series. After years of largely leaving the modding community alone, these companies suddenly started targeting mods that were chiefly designed to put content or locations for older GTA games into GTA5. While the public was left to speculate as to why Take-Two and Rockstar were doing this, the theory that perhaps it meant they were planning to release remastered versions of older games eventually turned out to be true when GTA Trilogy was announced. In other words, these companies were happy to reap all the benefits of an active modding community right up to the point where they thought they could make more money through a re-release, at which point the war began.

        • DISH Wins $31m Judgment & Injunction Against Pirate IPTV Service & Resellers

          In March, pirate IPTV provider ChitramTV was hit with a large copyright infringement lawsuit by DISH Network. This week a Texas court handed down a $31m judgment and a broad injunction that requires ChitramTV and resellers to cease-and-desist, third-party server companies to terminate services, and registries and registrars to disable domains. Even then, the case is still not quite over.

        • Miramax Sues Tarantino for Copyright Infringement Over “Pulp Fiction” NFT Sale

          Miramax is suing director Quentin Tarantino over his plans to sell exclusive Pulp Fiction NFTs, which could be worth millions of dollars. The movie studio argues that it holds the rights to sell NFTs. Tarantino stands accused of copyright and trademark infringement as well as breach of contract, for which Miramax requests damages.

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DecorWhat Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 01, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 01, 2021



  2. EPO Staff Committee Compares the Tactics of António Campinos to Benoît Battistelli's

    The Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO talks about EPO President António Campinos, arguing that “he seems to subscribe to the Manichean view, introduced by Mr Battistelli…”



  3. Prof. Thomas Jaeger in GRUR: Unified Patent Court (UPC) “Incompatible With EU Law“

    The truth remains unquestionable and the law remains unchanged; Team UPC is living in another universe, unable to accept that what it is scheming will inevitably face high-level legal challenges (shall that become necessary) and it will lose because the facts are all stlll the same



  4. Links 1/12/2021: LibrePlanet CFS Extended to December 15th and DB Comparer for PostgreSQL Reaches 5.0

    Links for the day



  5. EPO Cannot and Will Not Self-Regulate

    The term financialisation helps describe some of the activities of the EPO in recent years; see Wikipedia on financialisation below



  6. [Meme] Germany's Licence to Break the Law

    Remember that the young Campinos asked dad for his immunity after he had gotten drunk and crashed the car; maybe the EPO should stop giving diplomatic immunity to people, seeing what criminals (e.g. Benoît Battistelli) this attracts; the German government is destroying its image (and the EU’s) by fostering such corruption, wrongly believing that it’s worth it because of Eurozone domination for patents/litigation



  7. EPO Dislikes Science and Scientists

    The EPO's management has become like a corrupt political party with blind faith in money and monopolies (or monopoly money); it has lost sight of its original goals and at this moment it serves to exacerbate an awful pandemic, as the video above explains



  8. Links 1/12/2021: LibreOffice 7.3 Beta, Krita 5.0, Julia 1.7

    Links for the day



  9. Links 1/12/2021: NixOS 21.11 Released

    Links for the day



  10. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 30, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, November 30, 2021



  11. Links 1/12/2021: Tux Paint 0.9.27 and WordPress 5.9 Beta

    Links for the day



  12. [Meme] EPO Administrative Council Believing EPO-Bribed 'Media' (IAM Still Shilling and Lying for Cash)

    IAM continues to do what brings money from EPO management and Team UPC, never mind if it is being disputed by the patent examiners themselves



  13. The EPO's Mythical “Gap” Has Been Found and It's Bonuses for People Who Use Pure Fiction to Steal From Patent Examiners

    The phony president who has the audacity to claim there's a budget gap is issuing millions of euros for his enablers to enjoy; weeks ahead of the next meeting of national delegates the Central Staff Committee (CSC) tells them: "Events show that the delegations’ concerns about functional allowances have materialised. The lack of transparency and inflation of the budget envelope gives rise to the suspicion that high management is pursuing a policy of self-service at the expense of EPO staff, which is difficult to reconcile with the Office’s claimed cost-saving policy, and to the detriment of the whole Organisation."



  14. Video: Making the Internet a Better Place for People, Not Megacorporations

    Following that earlier list of suggested improvements for a freedom-respecting Internet, here's a video and outline



  15. Links 30/11/2021: KDE Plasma 5.23.4, 4MLinux 38.0, Long GitHub Downtime, and Microsoft's CEO Selling Away Shares

    Links for the day



  16. A Concise Manifesto For Freedom-Respecting Internet

    An informal list of considerations to make when reshaping the Internet to better serve people, not a few corporations that are mostly military contractors subsidised by the American taxpayers



  17. Freenode.net Becomes a 'Reddit Clone' and Freenode IRC is Back to Old Configurations After Flushing Down Decades' Worth of User/Channel Data and Locking/Shutting Out Longtime Users

    Freenode is having another go; after “chits” and “jobs” (among many other ideas) have clearly failed, and following the change of daemon (resulting in massive loss of data and even security issues associated with impersonation) as well as pointless rebrand as “Joseon”, the domain Freenode.net becomes something completely different and the IRC network reopens to all



  18. Jack Dorsey's Decision is a Wake-up Call: Social Control Media is Just a Toxic Bubble

    The state of the World Wide Web (reliability, preservation, accessibility, compatibility etc.) was worsened a lot more than a decade ago; with social control media that’s nowadays just a pile of JavaScript programs we’re basically seeing the Web gradually turning into another Adobe Flash (but this time they tell us it’s a “standard”), exacerbating an already-oversized ‘bubble economy’ where companies operate at a loss while claiming to be worth hundreds of billions (USD) and generally serve imperialistic objectives by means of manipulation like surveillance, selective curation, and censorship



  19. IRC Proceedings: Monday, November 29, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, November 29, 2021



  20. Links 29/11/2021: NuTyX 21.10.5 and CrossOver 21.1.0

    Links for the day



  21. This Apt Has Super Dumbass Powers. Linus Sebastian and Pop_OS!

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  22. [Meme] Trying to Appease Provocateurs and Borderline Trolls

    GNU/Linux isn’t just a clone of Microsoft Windows and it oughtn’t be a clone of Microsoft Windows, either; some people set themselves up for failure, maybe by intention



  23. Centralised Git Hosting Has a Business Model Which is Hostile Towards Developers' Interests (in Microsoft's Case, It's an Attack on Reciprocal Licensing and Persistent Manipulation)

    Spying, censoring, and abusing projects/developers/users are among the perks Microsoft found in GitHub; the E.E.E.-styled takeover is being misused for perception manipulation and even racism, so projects really need to take control of their hosting (outsourcing is risky and very expensive in the long run)



  24. Links 29/11/2021: FWUPD's 'Best Known Configuration' and Glimpse at OpenZFS 3.0

    Links for the day



  25. President Biden Wants to Put Microsofter in Charge of the Patent Office, Soon to Penalise Patent Applicants Who Don't Use Microsoft's Proprietary Formats

    The tradition of GAFAM or GIAFAM inside the USPTO carries on (e.g. Kappos and Lee; Kappos lobbies for Microsoft and IBM, whereas Lee now works for Amazon/Bezos after a career at Google); it's hard to believe anymore that the USPTO exists to serve innovators rather than aggressive monopolists, shielding their territory by patent threats (lawsuits or worse aggression) and cross-licensing that's akin to a cartel



  26. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part VIII — Mr. Graveley's Long Career Serving Microsoft's Agenda (Before Hiring by Microsoft to Work on GitHub's GPL Violations Machine)

    Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley was promoting .NET (or Mono) since his young days; his current job at Microsoft is consistent with past harms to GNU/Linux, basically pushing undesirable (except to Microsoft) things to GNU/Linux users; Tomboy used to be the main reason for distro ISOs to include Mono



  27. Dr. Andy Farnell on Teaching Cybersecurity in an Age of 'Fake Security'

    By Dr. Andy Farnell



  28. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, November 28, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, November 28, 2021



  29. Links 29/11/2021: Linux 5.16 RC3 and Lots of Patent Catch-up

    Links for the day



  30. By 2022 0% of 'News' Coverage About Patents Will Be Actual Journalism (Patent Litigation Sector Has Hijacked the World Wide Web to Disseminate Self-Promotional Misinformation)

    Finding news about the EPO is almost impossible because today’s so-called ‘news’ sites are in the pockets of Benoît Battistelli, António Campinos, and their cohorts who turned the EPO into a hub of litigation, not science; this is part of an international (worldwide) problem because financial resources for journalism have run out, and so the vacuum is filled/replaced almost entirely by Public Relations (PR) and marketing


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