12.02.21

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 2/12/2021: OpenSUSE Leap 15.4 Alpha, Qt Creator 6

Posted in News Roundup at 12:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • BSD Now 431: FreeBSD EC2 Agents

        Why use OpenBSD part 2, FreeBSD on the RISC-V Architecture, OpenBSD Webzine Issue 4, Ending up liking GNOME, OPNsense 21.7.5 released, Jenkins with FreeBSD Agents in EC2, and more

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 932

        minecraft server woes, laptops, lsw, brower wars

      • FLOSS Weekly 658: The Me2B’s Knees – Lisa LeVasseur

        Lisa LeVasseur is a veteran engineer on a mission to get the businesses of the world, the “B’s,” to treat each of us, the “Me’s,” more respectfully online. That’s one mission of her nonprofit, the Me2B Alliance. LeVasseur discusses with Doc Searls and Katherine Druckman in a show that also explores new approaches to standards development, privacy versus security, diversity in tech and other long hauls on which real progress is being made.

    • Kernel Space

      • Rollercoaster: group messaging for mix networks [LWN.net]

        Even encrypted data sent on the internet leaves some footprints—metadata about where packets originate, where they are bound, and when they are sent. Mix networks are meant to hide that metadata by routing packets through various intermediate nodes to try to thwart the traffic analysis used by nation-state-level adversaries to identify “opponents” of various kinds. Tor is perhaps the best-known mix network, but there are others that make different tradeoffs to increase the security of their users. Rollercoaster is a recently announced mechanism that extends the functionality of mix networks in order to more efficiently communicate among groups.

        Tor uses multiple relay nodes, each of which only knows its predecessor and the node to pass the message on to. It relies on the difficulty of tracking messages through that path, but a sophisticated and well-placed adversary can do various kinds of traffic analysis to potentially match up traffic between two endpoints, thus drawing conclusions about the participants in the communication. To minimize latency, Tor nodes forward packets as quickly as they can, which may help eavesdroppers correlate the traffic.

        The Rollercoaster developers, Daniel Hugenroth, Martin Kleppmann, and Alastair R. Beresford from the University of Cambridge, used the Loopix mix network to validate their work. Loopix is different from Tor in that sacrifices latency in order to make traffic analysis even more difficult. The client endpoints in such a mix network send fixed-sized packets at a fixed rate; if there is no outbound traffic, a cover packet is sent that is indistinguishable from normal traffic. The packets are sent to the relay nodes, which independently delay each packet before passing it on to the next relay. All of that makes it much more difficult to correlate the traffic and identify communicating endpoints.

      • Some upcoming memory-management patches [LWN.net]

        The memory-management subsystem remains one of the most complex parts of the kernel, with an ongoing reliance on various heuristics for performance. It is thus not surprising that developers continue to try to improve its functionality. A number of memory-management patches are currently in circulation; read on for a look at the freeing of page-table pages, kvmalloc() flags, memory clearing, and NUMA “home nodes”.

      • 5.16 Merge window, part 2 [LWN.net]

        Linus Torvalds released 5.16-rc1 and ended the 5.16 merge window on November 14, as expected. At that point, 12,321 non-merge changesets had been pulled into the mainline; about 5,500 since our summary of the first half of the merge window was written. As is usually the case, the patch mix in the latter part of the merge window tended more toward fixes, but there were a number other changes as well.

      • Intel SGX2 / Enclave Dynamic Memory Management Patches Posted For Linux – Phoronix

        While Intel’s Software Guard Extensions (SGX) functionality has been present in CPUs going back to Skylake, it took until last year with Linux 5.11 for SGX support to finally be mainlined and required more than 40 rounds of review/revisions. Finally today Intel posted patches for bringing up SGX2 as the next iteration of Software Guard Extensions and already found in shipping processors.

        Intel SGX is about defining private memory regions “enclaves” that are encrypted and cannot be read/used by any other processes or the host. SGX can be used for some interesting secure computing scenarios but the belated kernel support as well as various possible security vulnerabilities / attacks have rather limited its scope so far. Earlier this year building off the prior SGX support in Linux 5.11, SGX was brought for KVM guest support in v5.13.

    • Benchmarks

      • Is It Worthwhile Running Intel Alder Lake With mitigations=off?

        Over the past month of trying out Intel Alder Lake processors on Linux, one of the questions that has come up a few times but not readily disclosed is whether it’s still worthwhile on this latest-generation process to boot with “mitigations=off” to disable CPU security mitigations to help squeeze out some otherwise lost performance. Here are some benchmarks to answer that questions.

        Particularly with Intel CPUs from 2018 and prior where there isn’t in-silicon changes for mitigating the likes of Spectre and Meltdown, some Linux users have resorted to running with “mitigations=off” to run the security risk but at increased (or otherwise regressed) performance. This Linux parameter allows booting the system with software-controlled CPU security mitigations disabled. Running with mitigations disabled is a security risk but for prior generations of Intel CPUs can make a measurable difference with workloads that are heavy on context switching, I/O, and other areas impacted by the software mitigations.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How To Install Nano Text Editor on AlmaLinux 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Nano Text Editor on cPanel 8. For those of you who didn’t know, GNU nano is a small editor for on the terminal. It includes all the basic functionality same as other text editors such as UTF-8 encoding, syntax highlighting, search and replace with regular expression support, multiple buffers, spellchecking, and more. Nano is often preferred by new users because of its simplicity, compared to other command-line text editors such as vi/vim and emacs.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of Nano on an AlmaLinux 8. You can follow the same instructions for Fedora, RHEL, CentOS, and Rocky Linux distributions.

      • Install Jellyfin Media Server in Ubuntu, Debian & Linux Mint

        The same way a file manager organizes your files and documents is the same way a media server manages media files like music videos, TV shows, photos, and movies.

        Jellyfin is a media server that goes the extra mile in managing and organizing media files. It even makes it possible to stream these files on other PCs, TVs, or phones so long as these media devices are connected to the internet or the same network.

        This article seeks to walk us through the installation and usage of the Jellyfin media server in Ubuntu, Debian, and Linux Mint.

      • How to Set a Custom SSH Warning Banner and MOTD in Linux

        SSH banner warnings are necessary when companies or organizations want to display a stern warning to discourage unauthorized parties from accessing a server.

        These warnings are displayed just before the password prompt so that unauthorized users who are about to log in are made aware of the consequences of doing so. Typically, these warnings are legal ramifications that unauthorized users can suffer should they decide to proceed with accessing the server.

        Be advised that a banner warning is by no means a way of preventing unauthorized users from logging in. The warning banner is simply a warning meant to deter unauthorized parties from logging in. If you want to block unauthorized users from logging in, then additional SSH configurations are required.

      • How to Run Multiple Commands at once in Linux

        As a Linux administrator, you may know how useful the command line can be to work with various activity such as installing the application, installing the system patch, and restarting the service.

        Running two or more commands at once is even more efficient and saves good time.

        In this tutorial, we’ll see the different ways to combine and execute multiple Linux commands efficiently.

      • How to Reset Forgotten Root Password in RHEL/CentOS & Fedora

        This article will guide you through simple steps to reset forgotten root password in RHEL-based Linux distributions such as CentOS 8 and Fedora 35/34.

        Resetting the forgotten root user password generally requires a few easy instructions that will guide you to reset the root password and you will thereafter be able to log in using the new password.

      • How to Install or Upgrade PHP 8.1 on Ubuntu 20.04 – Cloudbooklet

        PHP 8.1 is the latest PHP version released on 2021. In this guide you are going to learn how to install the latest PHP version which is currently 8.1 on your Ubuntu 20.04 system or server and configure it with Apache and Nginx. You will also learn how to upgrade your PHP version to latest.

        This tutorial guides you to configure PHP INI settings, FPM settings, Pools, etc which is more useful for your application to run smooth.

        This installation is tested on Google Cloud Platform with a Compute Compute Engine VM Instance. This set up will work on all Linux servers.

      • How to Install & Configure InfluxDB2 in Rocky Linux/CentOS 8 – Citizix

        InfluxDB is the database in which we will store the metrics sent from the agent. This database is designed to withstand high write and read loads.

        InfluxDB is an open source time series database. It has everything you need from a time series platform in a single binary – a multi-tenanted time series database, UI and dashboarding tools, background processing and monitoring agent. All this makes deployment and setup a breeze and easier to secure.

        The InfluxDB Platform also includes APIs, tools, and an ecosystem that includes 10 client and server libraries, Telegraf plugins, visualization integrations with Grafana, Google Data Studio, and data sources integrations with Google Bigtable, BigQuery, and more.

      • My Homelab NAS on NixOS

        Installing NixOS was utterly painless. Using a combination of settings from the Arch Linux wiki (seriously wish I could get a printed copy of that thing, it’s worth its weight in gold for how much weird arcane things you can learn from it), the NixOS wiki and copying things off of a Synology box’s samba configuration file, I managed to trick everything into working and now all the machines on our tailnet can access the data on the NAS without too much trouble. Even iPhones and iPads thanks to the recent addition of SMB mounting on iP{hone|ad}OS. It also works over Tailscale too, so I can get into the NAS’ files anywhere I have an internet connection.

      • Logitech MX Keys and MX Master on OpenBSD using Logi Bolt

        Long story short, I need a way to manage a Windows (pro) laptop, an OpenBSD thinkpad and an iPad Pro with a single keyboard & mouse. After a bit of digging, I ended up getting a Logitech MX Keys and Logitech MX Master 3.

      • SSH alternatives for mobile, high-latency or unreliable connections

        SSH is the best option in most cases. It is widely used, usually installed by default, and clients exist for every platform. However, there are a few cases where you may want to consider an SSH alternative. I was recently looking for ways to solve these edge cases. These are my notes on alternative SSH servers.

      • Unfortunately, damaged ZFS filesystems can be more or less unrepairable

        The second unfortunate aspect is that generally you can’t repair this damage the way you can in more conventional filesystems. Because of ZFS’s immutability and checksums, once something makes it to disk with a valid checksum, it’s forever. If what made it to disk was broken or corrupted, it stays broken or corrupted; there’s no way to fix it in place and no mechanism in ZFS to quietly fix it in a new version. Instead, the only way to get rid of the problem is to delete the corrupted data in some way, generally after copying out as much of the rest of your data as you can (and need to). If you’re lucky, you can delete the affected file; if you’re somewhat unfortunate, you’re going to have to destroy the filesystem; if you’re really unlucky, the entire pool needs to be recreated.

      • How to work more efficiently with log files using Linux csvkit – TechRepublic

        All IT pros and incident handlers have to deal almost daily with log files from various sources. Learn to work more quickly and efficiently to get the best out of CSV files with csvkit on Linux.

      • How to install Notepadqq on Elementary OS 6.0
      • How to install Netbeans 8.1 on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install Netbeans 8.1 on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

      • How to install Windows 11 on Ubuntu 20.04 using VirtualBox – Linux Shout

        Windows 11 is the latest Microsoft operating system that we can install on Ubuntu 20.04 focal fossa Linux to test it using VirtualBox. Here we let you know how?

        If you have just moved to Linux for some reason but there are some apps that only work on Windows such as Microsoft Office, Adobe, and others. Then running Windows using a Virtual machine is a good idea.

        For those who don’t know about VirtualBox, it is an open-source application to create and manage virtual machines on all popular operating systems.

    • Games

      • The state of Steam on OpenBSD

        Steam is a closed source program, while it’s now also available on Linux doesn’t mean it run on OpenBSD. The Linux Steam version is compiled for linux and without the sources we can’t port it on OpenBSD.

      • Steam On Linux Marketshare Edges Tiny Bit Higher In November – Phoronix

        With the beginning of a new month comes updated Steam Survey results from Valve for the month prior. The Steam on Linux marketshare continues increasing albeit ever so slightly.

        The Steam on Linux marketshare stabilized when Steam Play came about for running Windows games on Linux with ease. Earlier this year since the announcement of the Arch Linux powered Steam Deck gaming console, we’ve seen the Linux gaming marketshare continuing to increase ever so slightly each month. It’s still been sub-2% from where Steam on Linux originally debuted at nine years ago in beta, but at least well off the small fraction of 1% it had fallen to prior to Steam Play rejuvenating the Linux gaming scene.

      • November marked 7 months of Linux rising on Steam & 5 months above 1% | GamingOnLinux

        I think we can now firmly say that we are the 1%? Another month is down as so the latest Steam Hardware Survey numbers are out and it continues being very positive for Linux gaming.

      • The Jingle Jam 2021 Games Collection is live to help charity | GamingOnLinux

        Want to help good causes and get some awesome games at the same time? The Jingle Jam 2021 Games Collection is live for another year with plenty to love.

        This is a yearly fundraising event is hosted by members of Yogscast (and friends), and this is the biggest yet with 14 charities supported and covers everything from national to global issues including disabled access to gaming and sport, cancer research, tackling structural racism and inequalities, LGBTQ+ issues, environmentalism and sustainability.

      • A love-letter to the FPV community, Liftoff: Micro Drones lands in Early Access | GamingOnLinux

        Love drone racing and think it’s getting a bit too cold for the outside world? Check out the new release of Liftoff: Micro Drones that’s in Early Access. Developed by LuGus Studios, the same studio that created Liftoff: FPV Drone Racing and also Midnight Protocol.

        “Explore the world of FPV like never before! In Liftoff: Micro Drones any indoor area becomes an exciting aerial playground. Explore, customize and compete in this simulator dedicated to the micro drones class.

      • Play Doom or GTA V With Your Own Custom Controller and Xbox Emulator

        [Arnov] is bringing his own custom-made controller to the party and it is sure to impress. The design appears to have been inspired by the Xbox controller layout. Two joysticks for fine control of game characters, 4 face buttons, and two shoulder buttons. He opted for all through-hole components to make the assembly easier. No messing with tiny surface mount components here. We really appreciate the detail given to the silkscreen and the homage paid to a staple of retro gaming.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • DESQview/X : The forgotten mid-1990s OS from the future

        This multitasking wasn’t the cooperative multi-tasking that we saw in early Windows (through 3.11) and MacOS up through version 9. No sir-ee bob. DESQview had true, preemptive multi-tasking. Fast. Stable. Lightweight. It was downright impressive.

        But it was all text-mode.

        Then DESQview/X came along, in the 1990s, bringing a complete X11 (aka X Windows) graphical interface with it.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Cutelyst 3.2 and ASql 0.50 are out!

          Cutelyst the Qt Web Framework got a new release…

        • Qt Creator 6 Open-Source IDE Officially Released, This Is What’s New

          Based on the Qt 6.2 LTS series of the popular widget toolkit for creating graphical user interfaces for cross-platform apps, Qt Creator 6 is here a little over three months after Qt Creator 5 with various new features and many improvements for Qt application developers.

          Highlights of Qt Creator 6 include separate launching of external processes, such as the build tools, clang-tidy and other tools, to avoids issues on Linux, support for general multi-cursor editing and support for importing and exporting font settings in the text editor, C++ code model based on LLVM 13, as well as full support for editing C++ with Clangd.

        • Qt Creator 6 released

          We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 6!

          Here is a selection of changes and improvements that we did in Qt Creator 6. Please have a look at our change log for more details.

        • Qt Creator 6 Released For This C++ Focused IDE, Clangd Now Fully-Supported – Phoronix

          The Qt Company has officially shipped Qt Creator 6 as the latest major update to their Qt/C++ minded integrated development environment.

          Qt Creator 6.0 changes how it launches external processes like build tools, so it’s now done in a separate server process rather than always forking. Qt Creator 6 binaries are also now built against Qt 6.2 LTS as the underlying toolkit.

    • Distributions

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Alpha Releases of openSUSE Leap 15.4 are Available for Testing

          Alpha releases of openSUSE Leap 15.4 are now available for download on get.opensuse.org. The fourth minor release of Leap 15 has entered its alpha development stage.

          During the Alpha phase, regular Alpha images will be built on a rolling basis until mid-February when the point release is scheduled to transition to a Beta build phase. The beta submission deadline is February 16, according to the roadmap. The Beta phase has a similar model until the General Availability of the release. The rolling builds stop after the Beta phase is complete and Leap transitions into a maintenance and security update phase upon beoming public available.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Community Blog monthly summary: November 2021

          In November, we published 32 posts. The site had 3,987 visits from 2,021 unique viewers. 1,080 visits came from search engines, while 125 came from Twitter and 58 came from Discussion.

        • How to do data science without big data

          Too often, IT leaders park their data science initiatives until they can build a robust data engineering layer. They wait for a data warehouse to be available before planning data analytics projects, assuming that advanced analytics is essential for transformational business value and that large volumes of neatly organized data are a prerequisite for it.

        • 7 ways to balance agility and planning

          Often, planning appears to be in direct conflict with agility. Business agility ensures that your organization can pivot and react quickly, embrace internal and external change, and commit to continuous improvement. An agile organization is like a strong tree, which bends to survive in relentless wind, compared to a rigid tree, which breaks.

        • Celebrating 15 years of partner leadership with Mark Enzweiler

          Since joining Red Hat in 2006, Mark Enzweiler has been instrumental in growing the Red Hat partner ecosystem to where it is today. By establishing and leading a global channel strategy, Mark’s team has helped partners more efficiently sell and deliver complete customer solutions using Red Hat’s open hybrid cloud portfolio.

          Now, Mark is retiring as senior vice president of Global Partners & Alliances after 15 years of leadership. Read on to hear more from Mark on his experiences with Red Hat partners over the years.

        • Packaging applications to install on other machines with Python | Enable Sysadmin

          In my last article in this series, I showed how to write a script in Python that returned a list of RPM-installed software installed on a machine.

          [...]

          Now I want to package an application so that I can install it easily, including all the dependencies, on other machines. In this article, I’ll show how to use the setuptools package to do that.

          That’s a lot to cover, so basic knowledge of Python is required. Even if you don’t know much, the code is simple to follow, and the boilerplate code is small.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu could force itself to look at that creepy-looking canine robot CyberDog

          Canonical, the company which manages the Ubuntu open-source operating system, is reportedly planning to deepen its understanding of a creepy-looking canine robot called CyberDog – probably giving itself nightmares in the process.

          CyberDog is a quadrupedal, experimental, open-source robot created by Chinese mobile phone giant Xiaomi. This canine robot is eerily similar to the other, more famous and even more terrifying robot dog produced by Boston Dynamics. That one – called Spot – is also open source.

          Xiaomi says its aim in releaasing CyberDog is to “improve the robot development environment and promote the development of the robot industry”. Xiaomi says it has a clear vision for its product.

          Canonical says it is diving into the specifications of CyberDog to discover exactly how Ubuntu is helping the device become an open source technological platform.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 5 Best Free and Open Source Haskell 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.

      • Hubris and Humility

        We have known for quite some time that we would open source Hubris: not only is open source core to our own commercial thesis at Oxide, we also believe that the open source revolution — and its many advantages for customers — are long overdue in the lowest layers of the software stack. So we were waiting for the right occasion, and the Open Source Firmware Conference afforded us an excellent one: if you are a listener of our On the Metal podcast, you heard us talk about OSFC a bunch, and it felt entirely fitting that we would kickoff our own open source firmware contribution there. And while the conference starts today, the good news is that you haven’t missed anything! Or at least, not yet: the conference is virtual, so if you want to hear Cliff talk about Hubris in his own words — and it’s before 12:10 Pacific today — it’s not too late to buy a ticket! (The recording will naturally be released after the conference.)

      • Events

        • All Virtual LibrePlanet 2022 Scheduled for March 19-20 – FOSS Force

          On Wednesday, the Free Software Foundation’s program manager, Zoë Kooyman, announced in a post on the organization’s website, that LibrePlanet 2022 will be held March 19 and 20 of next year, with the theme being “Living Liberation.” She also announced that the event’s Call for Sessions has been extended until December 15, 2021.

          “This gives us time to get a little more organized, and more importantly, gives you the chance to make sure you’re a part of LibrePlanet 2022: Living Liberation!” she said.

          Until last year when the event went online as a response to COVID-19, LibrePlanet has always been held at venues in the Boston area where the FSF is headquarted. While the event can be broadly classified as an open source conference, its ideology is more closely associated with the “free software” philosophy of Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation he founded, which is similar to open source but which diverges on key issues.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla et al

          • 6 Best Alternatives to Google Chrome | Private Browsers

            If you are focused on a privacy provide browser then here is a list of best Google Chrome alternatives for you. As per Firefox, the new Firefox browser consumes 30% less memory than Google Chrome. Lets discuss here 6 best alternatives to Google Chrome browser.
            Chances are that you are using the Google Chrome browser on both your PC and smartphone. And there is nothing wrong with that. But trust us, if you want better privacy and security in your browsing sessions, several other browsers can get the job done with equal efficiency, if not more.

          • Mercurial source control manager now in devx

            I wanted to clone mozilla-central, which is a mercurial repository, requiring the ‘hg’ executable to clone it.

          • Ancient BlueGriffon version 1.0 PET created

            In EasyOS I only need a very basic HTML editor, for maintaining the local documentation files. I also need it for shellCMS, my static site creation tool. Note that shellCMS is introduced online,
            at https://bkhome.org/shellcms/index.html, and is also in EasyOS at /usr/local/shellcms.

            Up until now, EasyOS has the SeaMonkey suite, however, as it seems moving to Firefox for browsing, a simple WYSIWYG HTML editor is required, and BlueGriffon will fill that niche. It only has to be HTML4, so BlueGriffon 1.0 will be fine.

          • Firefox is the Only Alternative

            Supposedly today we have a lot of browsers to choose from – Google Chrome, Safari, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Brave, Opera, Vivaldi, etc. Having choices is a good thing, right? Nobody wants to relive the time of almost complete Internet Explorer domination again. Unfortunately our choices are significantly fewer than they seem to be at first glance, as Chrome and Safari (thanks to the iPhone) totally dominate the browser landscape in terms of usage and almost all browsers these days are built on top of Chromium, Google’s open-source browser project. Funny enough even Edge is built on top of Chromium today, despite the bitter rivalry between Google and Microsoft. What’s also funny is that Chrome and Safari control about 85% of the browser market share today, and Microsoft’s Edge commands only about 4%: [...]

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • What is an SQL client and What SQL Database client?

          Structured Query Language (SQL) is a domain-specific language built to aid in designing and managing data in relational databases.

          There are many types of SQL databases like MySQL, MariaDB, Oracle DB, PostgreSQL, and MSSQL.

          SQL client is a program that accesses SQL database and performs database operations and SQL queries.

          SQL client programs are fundamental tools for developers, database admin stators, and database developers. They aid developers in database management, executing SQL queries, navigating the database, and taking backup.

      • Education

        • Jim Warren, Early Influencer in Personal Computing, Dies at 85

          That traditional programming job, and others, paid well. But when personal computers began to appear in the 1970s, Mr. Warren jumped in. In his book, Mr. Markoff wrote that Mr. Warren was “emblematic of the cultural, political and technological forces that were colliding” in Silicon Valley.

          His interest in the social and political impact of computer technology continued later in his life. In 1991, Mr. Warren founded and chaired the first Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference, an annual academic gathering.

          In 1993, he worked on a California law — a model for other states — that required most computerized public records to be freely available. He conferred with legislators, rallied public support and even drafted some of the law’s language.

      • Public Services/Government

        • Beijing reveals five-year plan to grow software industry • The Register

          China’s software industry is underperforming internationally and needs to lean into open source technology to improve, the nation’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) on Tuesday.

          “Software is the soul of a new generation of information technology, the foundation of digital economic development, and the key support for the construction of manufacturing power, network power and digital China,” according to a (machine-translated) announcement from the Ministry.

          The document boasts that great strides were made in China’s software industry under the the 13th five-year plan, which ran from 2016–20, but is also is critical about the state of software in China.

          MIIT said China has has a fragile software supply chain, lacks depth in homegrown applications, and just doesn’t value software or intellectual property.

          A lack of skilled developers is a symptom and a cause of those issues.

          The Ministry is also concerned about international competitiveness, and suggests deeper international exchanges and open cooperation so that China improves its software prowess to reach an equal footing with global players.

          Among the plans to improve the state of homegrown software is a call to develop an “emerging field of software products with ecological influence by 2025″, some of it developed in one of 20 new Chinese software parks.

          China also wants to build “two or three open source communities with international influence.”

      • Programming/Development

        • On centralized development forges

          Since the launch of SourceForge in 1999, development of FOSS has started to concentrate in centralized development forges, the latest one of course being GitHub, now owned by Microsoft. While the centralization of development talent achieved by GitHub has had positive effects on software development output towards the commons, it is also a liability: GitHub is now effectively a single point of failure for the commons, since the overwhelming majority of software is developed there.

          In other words, for the sake of convenience, we have largely traded our autonomy as software maintainers to GitHub, GitLab.com, Bitbucket and SourceForge, all of which are owned by corporate interests which, by definition, are aligned with profitability, not with our interests as maintainers.

          It is indeed convenient to use GitHub or GitLab.com for software development: you get all the pieces you need in order to maintain software with modern workflows, but it really does come at a cost: SourceForge, for example, was caught redistributing Windows builds of projects under their care with malware.

          While GitHub or the other forges besides SourceForge have not yet attempted anything similar, it does serve as a reminder that we are trusting forges to not tamper with the packages we release as maintainers. There are other liabilities too, for example, a commercial forge may unilaterally decide to kick your project off of their service, or terminate the account of a project maintainer.

          In order to protect the commons from this liability, it is imperative to build a more robust ecosystem, one which is a federated ecosystem of software development forges, which are either directly run by projects themselves, or are run by communities which directly represent the interests of the maintainers which participate in them.

        • Advent of Code 2021: Day 1 Three Ways

          True to tradition (further evidence here), I decided to solve the first day of this year’s Advent of Code on my Amiga. I didn’t stop there, however. As previously explained, I’ve been bitten by some kind of mainframe bug and also made an attempt in COBOL. But first of all, I solved it in Python. The three solutions are quite similar in their approach, yet I think they showcase some of the fundamentals and particularities of each language in a nice way.

        • This shouldn’t have happened: A vulnerability postmortem

          The maximum size signature that this structure can handle is whatever the largest union member is, in this case that’s RSA at 2048 bytes. That’s 16384 bits, large enough to accommodate signatures from even the most ridiculously oversized keys.

          Okay, but what happens if you just….make a signature that’s bigger than that?

          Well, it turns out the answer is memory corruption. Yes, really.

        • [Old] doas insults

          There’s no question that doas does exactly what I need from a sudo replacement with simpler configuration, but there is one feature of sudo that I’ve found myself missing:

          Insults. sudo has a marvelous feature where, if enabled, it insults you upon getting your password incorrect or authorization failing for some other reason. doas in its effort to be a sudo replacement without all the bloat, neglects to implement this. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to work around.

        • Fortran newsletter: December 2021

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

        • Perl/Raku

          • Raku Advent Calendar: Day 2 – Rotation of Log files in a nutshell

            Santa has a cloud-based application that helps him to deliver the gifts to the children. Once the gifts have been delivered Santa registers the delivery operation through the deliveries.log file. Just after the inspector elves review this log file comparing it with the list of children to ensure that all the children have received correctly their gifts.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • Winter Blog Backlog: Recent Progress

            The purpose of these posts is to maintain continuity and skip the detail. They mainly have bullet points and links, including #zulip-links and #comments.

            [...]

            This first backlog post sketches recent progress and releases, and is more detailed. For context, the last release was Oil 0.9.4 – User Feedback, less than 2 weeks ago.

        • Rust

    • Standards/Consortia

      • UNIX Wars – The Battle for Standards

        The battle for Unix standardization continued into the 1990s, until a couple of events changed everything. First, in the early 1990s, the economy took a turn for the worst. “Bull, DEC, IBM, and the computer side of Siemens all lost money. AT&T resold its share of Sun.” Second, Microsoft entered the enterprise operating system with the release of Windows NT in 1993. “The proprietary NT was aimed squarely at Unix and was intended to extend Microsoft’s desktop hegemony to the data center and other places owned by the likes of Sun servers.”

        In an attempt to stop an exodus of users from Unix to Windows NT, Unix rivals created the Common Open Software Environment, which was another attempt to create a Unix standard.

  • Leftovers

    • Stephen Sondheim’s Art

      When I was young, I hated musical theater. This was the product of a particular time in my life, and perhaps in many young lives, when art and culture become increasingly important and you begin to draw lines. I have never been particularly highbrow, but the middlebrow sensibility of Broadway seemed unworthy of a second thought. Besides, I was wary of the cultish behavior of high school drama clubs. I made an assumption that is strangely common, but nonsensical when stated explicitly: Because I didn’t like the handful of Andrew Lloyd Webber songs I’d heard, and because the theater productions I’d seen by the teenagers I went to school with were unimpressive, I concluded that the combination of dramatic performance and popular song was altogether without value.

    • Harvard Tells Us Young Americans are Increasingly Hopeful . . . Really?

      Harvard’s #1 top finding is: “In the fall of 2017, only 31% of young Americans said they were hopeful about the future of America; 67% were fearful. Nearly four years later, we find that 56% have hope.” However, scrolling down, Harvard’s #5 finding reads: “More than half of young Americans are going through an extended period of feeling ‘down, depressed or hopeless’ in recent weeks; 28% have had thoughts that they would be better off dead, or of hurting themself in some way.”x

      So according to Harvard, with the defeat of Trump and the election of Biden, the majority of young Americans are hopeful about America’s future but, at the same time, the majority of them are experiencing extended despair about their own lives. Furthermore, if among the young Americans who bothered to respond to the poll, “28% have had thoughts that they would be better off dead, or of hurting themself in some way,” then the actual percentage of young people with this level of deep despair—including those reluctant to report suicidality to a pollster—is likely higher.

    • YoungBoy Music Videos Abruptly Removed From YouTube as Rapper Awaits Trial

      YoungBoy – who was released from jail in late October to serve house arrest ahead of a trial stemming from a September of 2020 arrest – doesn’t seem to have publicly addressed his music’s abrupt removal from the “videos” section of YouTube, or the current lack of music videos. The quick-approaching trial may be factoring into the “Doors Up” artist’s silence on the matter. Plus, the rapper deleted nearly all his social-media accounts after said September of 2020 arrest.

      But some observers have speculated that the YouTube videos’ removal could be part of YoungBoy’s defense strategy, besides expressing the opinion that the clips will reemerge once the trial is in the rearview. YoungBoy’s above-noted arrest occurred while he and 15 others were filming a music video.

    • Science

      • Spiral spectrograms and intonation illustrations

        I’ve been experimenting with methods for visualising harmony, intonation (tuning), and overtones in music. Ordinary spectrograms aren’t very well suited for that as the harmonic relations are not intuitively visible. Let’s see what could be done about this. I’ll try to sprinkle the text with Wikipedia links in order to immerse (nerd snipe?) the reader in the subject.

      • The Limits Of Medicine – Part 1 – Small Molecules

        So why are virtually all drugs small molecules? Prima facei we’d expect most of them to be complexes made up of dozens to thousands of very large molecules.

        The answer lies in several things: [...]

    • Education

      • The Hindu Right and Attacks on Academic Freedom in the US

        When a scholar who teaches at a university in the United States arrived recently at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, the immigration officer who scanned his passport asked about the subject of his recent book on Indian history. The historian inquired how the immigration officer knew about it, and was told, “I have a list of your publications in front of me.”

      • Zoom disrupts the rhythm of conversation, study shows

        Conversations have a transition time between speakers averaging about 200 milliseconds. Because this is fast, the listener has to comprehend the speaker, plan their response, and predict when they can cut in, simultaneously, said Julie Boland, professor of psychology and linguistics.

        Brainwaves, or neural oscillators, may automate a part of this, by synching the two speakers on syllable rate, to help with the timing.

        “Oscillators can tolerate a certain amount of deviation (in syllable rate), without desyncing, which is necessary to handle the fuzzy rhythms of speech,” said Boland, the study’s lead author. “However, the variable electronic transmission delays in videoconferencing are probably sufficient to destabilize these oscillators.”

      • How to write better sentences: 6 examples

        To help, here are 6 real-world sentences that I’ve made shorter, clearer, and more engaging. The improvements cover techniques like resolutions, eliminating pointless phrases, and choosing assertive and kooky words to keep your readers awake. Most of the examples come from essays I’ve written on subjects including computer programming, parenthood, and cryptography, but you don’t need to care about these things in order for the lessons to be useful. The changes are small, but add up quickly over the course of a full essay.

    • Hardware

      • [Reposted] Inside Intel’s Secret Warehouse in Costa Rica

        Intel’s issue reflects a wider concern: Legacy technology can introduce cybersecurity weaknesses. Tech makers constantly improve their products to take advantage of speed and power increases, but customers don’t always upgrade at the same pace. This creates a long tail of old products that remain in widespread use, vulnerable to attacks.

        Intel’s answer to this conundrum was to create a warehouse and laboratory in Costa Rica, where the company already had a research-and-development lab, to store the breadth of its technology and make the devices available for remote testing. After planning began in mid-2018, the Long-Term Retention Lab was up and running in the second half of 2019.

        The warehouse stores around 3,000 pieces of hardware and software, going back about a decade. Intel plans to expand next year, nearly doubling the space to 27,000 square feet from 14,000, allowing the facility to house 6,000 pieces of computer equipment.

      • Qualcomm reboots 8 series flagship Snapdragon with new name, smarter smarts to fight everyone

        With Apple arguably the world’s most advanced SoC maker for smartphones, tablets and computers, the ARM and x86 competition is in full flight for a big fight for the hearts, minds and wallets of consumers, with Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 promising to “lead the way into a new era of premium mobile technology equipped with cutting-edge 5G, AI, gaming, camera, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies to transform the next generation of flagship devices.”

      • The long term relative prices of M.2 NVMe drives and 2.5″ SSDs

        For reasons outside the scope of this entry, I recently found myself wondering if in the end, M.2 NVMe drives will wind up being less expensive at moderate capacities than 2.5″ SSDs of the same capacity (regardless of the 2.5″ interface interface involved, which might be SATA, SAS, or U.2 NVMe). I reflexively think of M.2 NVMe drives as a better, high end product that is and always will be more expensive than ordinary 2.5″ SATA SSDs, but the more I thought about it, the more I suspect that the economics tilt the other way in the long run.

      • SuperCapacitors Vs Batteries Again | Hackaday

        Supercapacitors are definitely not the same as batteries, we all know that. They tend to have a very low operating voltage, and due to their operating principle of storing charge on parallel plates, their discharge curve is quite unfriendly for modern microcontroller devices. Energy storage efficiency per unit volume is also low compared with modern lithium polymer (LiPo) batteries so all in all they don’t look all that useful for many of our projects. However, as [Andreas Spiess’] latest video demonstrates, they do have some redeeming features that might make them useful for certain embedded applications.

        The low operating voltage initially looks like an issue for devices operating at a typical 3.3V, and it’s tempting to simply wire a few in series and roll with it. But as [Andreas] explains in his typically clear manner, it would be necessary to have a complex power stage, operating in buck mode with capacitor voltage above the required level, and in boost mode when it heads below. Too complex – it’s much easier to simply stick with a low voltage bank of paralleled supercaps, and just operate always in boost mode. Even doing this, you’re not realistically going to get more than a handful of hours operating voltage with an always active device.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • COVID Europa: the Fourth Wave

        The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have placed several European countries in its highest-risk category for travel in recent weeks. On the list are Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Guernsey (Britain has been on the list for months).

        As Europe confronts increasing numbers of infections and deaths, these countries were assigned a Level 4 warning, that is, the CDC is advising that Americans avoid traveling there, even if vaccinated.

      • Opinion | Why Dangerous Fox News Talking Heads are Comparing Fauci to Notorious Nazi Death Camp Doctor

        They’re doubling down on death as a political strategy, a process Trump began the week of April 7, 2020 (as I documented in damning detail eight months ago).

      • My Daughter Was Exposed to COVID. Thank Goodness She Was Vaccinated.
      • First US Omicron Case Confirmed as WHO Chief Decries Failure to Share Vaccines Globally

        The same day U.S. officials announced the first confirmed case of Omicron coronavirus variant detected in the country, the head of the World Health Organization lamented that nations had created a “toxic mix” fueling conditions favorable to the virus’ spread, including vastly unequal access to Covid-19 vaccines.

        WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ comments Wednesday came as he welcomed member states having reached an agreement to begin the lengthy process of drafting a new convention or international agreement on preventing a future pandemic and also urged continued vigilance against the highly transmissible Delta variant, which is dominating global cases.

      • Opinion | The Pandemic Is Exacerbating an Already Dire Mental Health Crisis

        Devastating conditions like major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder are among the leading causes of disability in established market economies, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. In the U.S., more than one in four adults was suffering from a diagnosable mental disorder even before the pandemic.

      • Republicans Are Threatening to Shut Down Government Over Biden’s Vaccine Mandate
      • ‘Another Hissy Fit in the Making’: GOP Threatens Government Shutdown Over Biden’s Vaccine Mandate

        A group of congressional Republicans is threatening to shut down the government this week in a last-ditch attempt to block all funding for the enforcement of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus vaccine mandate for large employers—a policy that right-wing judges have temporarily put on hold.

        Politico reported Wednesday that Senate Republicans led by Sen. Mike Lee of Utah are “planning to object to quick consideration of a stopgap measure to extend funding into early 2022 unless Democratic leaders agree to deny money to enforce the mandate.”

      • Marking World AIDS Day, Campaigners Warn ‘History Is Repeating Itself With Covid’

        Global public health campaigners marked World AIDS Day on Wednesday by delivering a stark warning to humanity: “History is repeating itself with Covid.”

        More than a year and a half into the coronavirus pandemic, billions of people in poor nations remain without access to lifesaving vaccines as rich countries hoard doses and profit-seeking pharmaceutical companies monopolize key technology—a situation that, according to experts and activists, bears a striking resemblance to the early stages of the AIDS crisis, which began in the early 1980s and continues to exact a staggering toll in the present.

      • Opinion | What the Global AIDS Crisis Can Teach Us About Our Approach to Mental Illness

        Today marks the 33rd annual World AIDS Day, a day when the world comes together to raise awareness and honor the tens of millions of people who have lost their lives to HIV/AIDS over the last four decades, and to light the way forward to continue the fight against the last major global pandemic to sustain our collective attention. This day also provides an opportunity to reflect on what we’ve learned from this devastating pandemic and apply the lessons learned to a very different issue that needs a similar global movement: mental health. As an epidemiologist and physician who started my career working on global HIV/AIDS, and now runs a national mental health nonprofit called Fountain House, I am acutely aware of the ways we can harness these learnings to best support our growing mental health crisis.

      • “The Viral Underclass”: COVID-19 and AIDS Show What Happens When Inequality and Disease Collide

        As December 1 marks World AIDS Day, we look at the pandemic that preceded COVID-19 and how recorded deaths of complications from the coronavirus this year have surpassed those of HIV/AIDS in the United States. The head of UNAIDS has warned the COVID-19 pandemic may result in an increase in infections and deaths from HIV and AIDS. Both viruses disproportionately impacted vulnerable minority communities. Although treatment rollout for HIV/AIDS was uniquely inhibited by homophobia, racism, and sexism, it was also plagued by corporate greed and U.S. exceptionalism. “We’re seeing very similar dynamics again now with COVID-19,” says Steven Thrasher, professor at Northwestern University in the Medill School of Journalism and the Institute of Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing. “We have the vaccines, we have medications that are very effective, and they’re again being held from the Global South to protect the profits of pharmaceutical corporations.”

      • America’s quack Dr. Oz seeks to become the new Rand Paul

        I coined the term “America’s Quack” to describe Dr. Mehmet Oz as a riff on how Oprah Winfrey had branded him as “America’s Doctor.” (At least I think I did; it’s entirely possible that someone else thought of it first and I just popularized the term.) Whatever the case, it’s been a long time since I’ve written about Dr. Oz. Indeed, when last I wrote about Dr. Oz, it was in the context of how Oprah Winfrey, though her elevation of Dr. Oz and “Dr. Phil” McGraw, had a lot to answer for in terms of the current state of medicine in popular culture during the pandemic. At the time, which was quite early in the pandemic, both Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil were promoting COVID-19 minimization and denial, with Dr. Oz having gotten into trouble in particular for suggesting that we should open the schools again because “only” 3% more people might die, even referring to opening schools as a “very appetizing opportunity.” He did eventually apologize (sort of), but not before memes like this had popped up.

      • Amazon faces new pressure over COVID protections in warehouses

        Amazon is facing new questions over failed COVID protections in its fulfillment centers, spurred on by New York Attorney General Letitia James. After more than a year of protests from workers and inquiries from legislators, James is now seeking a court order to require Amazon to appoint a monitor to oversee health and safety measures at its warehouse on Staten Island. As part of the same motion, James asked the company to reinstate fired worker Christian Smalls, who led public protests against Amazon last year, accusing the company of failing to keep employees from contracting the virus at work.

      • More And More Americans Are Smoking Pot. What Does That Mean For Their Health?

        Pot use has soared among Americans over the age of 26 — over 10 percent of them reported getting high in a given month in 2020, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), the country’s largest survey on drug use. That’s more than double the rate of monthly use reported in 2010.

      • Omicron Variant Was in Western Europe Days Before First Identified in Southern Africa

        New evidence has revealed that the omicron variant of the coronavirus was already present in western Europe well before the first cases were officially identified in southern Africa.

        Authorities in the Netherlands said Tuesday that it detected the variant in test samples as early as November 19 — a full week before the positive cases detected last Friday among passengers who arrived in Amsterdam on a flight from South Africa.

      • Bad News, Boys! Vaping Linked To Erectile Dysfunction

        The study’s large sample included 45,971 men aged 20-65, differentiated by those who have cardiovascular issues and those who don’t. This latter data point is important, as recent research suggests that ED can be an indicator of heart disease.

        Published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, the study’s authors noted that smoking actual cigarettes has long been linked with ED, which makes this new research yet another strike against the vaping industry’s claims that e-cigarettes are significantly healthier than traditional smokes.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Guy [cracks] UZ and allocates accommodation to students, netting US$3000 in the process

        UZ has an online platform where students can apply for accommodation. What the State is alleging is that Martin gained access to the UZ’s computer network and could edit information on that accommodation platform.

        Once he had that access he proceeded to approach students who were seeking accommodation and charged them between US$40 and $60 to secure it. He is said to have done this between October and November 2021. All in all, he allegedly pocketed over US$3000 from the 64 students he offered the service.

      • ZBC suffers power outage disrupting radio & television programming

        The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) has, in a tweet, notified the nation that it has suffered a power outage at its Pockets Hill Broadcasting Centre.

      • Why Are Authentication and Authorisation So Difficult?

        Once you’ve selected which type of authentication to support, you may also need to pick a specific implementation if it is not a standard. This potentially complicates the end user’s environment if it’s not a match for the other applications in use. This National Security Agency (NSA) guide categorizes specific MFA solutions into the evaluation criteria from the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) 800-63 authentication documents and is a very helpful resource for understanding the strength of each solution. If you are less familiar with identity management and all it encompasses, the NIST documentation is an excellent resource to learn more about this complex set of technologies.

      • Simple Things That Are Actually Hard: User Authentication

        And that’s for the most obvious feature that every application has. No wonder it has been implemented incorrectly many, many times. The IT world is complex and nothing is simple. Sending email isn’t simple, authentication isn’t simple, logging isn’t simple. Working with strings and dates isn’t simple, sanitizing input and output isn’t simple.

      • Hidden Certificate Authorities

        The security of encrypted Web traffic depends upon a set of Certificate Authorities (CAs). Browsers and operating systems are configured with a list of CAs that they trust. The system is brittle, in the sense that if any of the multitude of CAs that your browser trusts is incompetent or malign, the security of all your traffic is imperiled. I’ve written several times on the topic of misbehaving CAs; there is a list of links at the end of the post.

        In Web trust dies in darkness: Hidden Certificate Authorities undermine public crypto infrastructure, Thomas Claiburn reports on an important paper, Rusted Anchors: A National Client-Side View of Hidden Root CAs in the Web PKI Ecosystem by Yiming Zhang et al. This paper looks at what happens when, by fair means or foul, unofficial entries are added to or replace the CAs in the official list that your browser trusts. Below the fold I discuss their findings.

      • Proprietary

        • Vivaldi Browser 5.0 Adds Built-in Translation, New Theme Editor

          Vivaldi web browser released version 5.0 today with exciting new features.

          The release makes it easy to change the app UI appearance via themes. Vivaldi comes with some themes with different colors, background image, blur, transparency and other settings. User may edit or create new theme easily with the built-in editor.

        • Vivaldi 5.0 Brings Two-Level Tabs to Android & Adds New Features for Desktop

          Vivaldi is a Chromium-based web browser available for Linux (and other platforms). It is popularly known for its enhanced functionalities and multitasking features. This makes it one of the best web browsers available on Linux, especially for power users.

          With the Vivaldi 5.0 release (marking its 5th anniversary), you can expect significant feature additions and improvements.

          Let us take a look at what Vivaldi’s new release has to offer.

        • Vivaldi Web Browser Turns 5, Celebrates with New Features

          Thankfully I didn’t need to think too hard. The brains behind the browser made a unique play from the off, positioning Vivaldi as the choice du jour for power-users left frustrated by the tightly-controlled experiences offered elsewhere.

          To celebrate its fifth birthday the browser makes a new update available, Vivaldi 5.0.

          Vivaldi 5.0 includes a couple of interesting additions (which I’ll get to in a moment) but the real party is taking place over on Android. Vivaldi for Android 5.0 introduces something of a first: a two-tier tab bar (!).

        • Vivaldi 5.0 Brings Early Christmas Gift – Introduces Shareable Browser Themes, Automatic Translation

          Vivaldi 5.0 released with impressive updates and arguably making it the best Linux web browser today. Read on for the release coverage.

        • Security

          • Exposing Trojan Source exploits in Emacs [LWN.net]

            While the “Trojan Source” vulnerabilities have, thus far, generated far more publicity than examples of actual exploits, addressing the problem still seems like a good thing to do. There are several places where defenses could be put into place; text editors, being the place where developers look at a lot of code, are one obvious example. The discussion of how to enhance Emacs in this regard has made it clear, though, that there are multiple opinions about how an editor should flag potential attacks.
            For those just tuning in, one of the Trojan Source vulnerabilities takes advantage of the control codes built into Unicode for the handling of bidirectional text. While this article is written in a left-to-right language, many languages read in the opposite direction, and Unicode-displaying applications must be prepared to deal with that. Sometimes, those applications need some help to know the direction to use when rendering a particular piece of text. Unicode provides control codes to reverse the current direction for this purpose; unfortunately, clever use of those codes can cause program text to appear differently in a editor (or browser or other viewing application) than it appears to the compiler. That can be used to sneak malicious code past even an attentive reviewer.

            One part of the problem is applications that show code containing overrides in a way that is correct (from a Unicode-text point of view), but which is incorrect in terms of what will actually be compiled. So an obvious solution is to change how applications display such text. It is thus not surprising that a conversation sprung up on the Emacs development list to figure out what the Emacs editor should do.

          • Trojan Source and Python [LWN.net]

            The Trojan Source vulnerabilities have been rippling through various development communities since their disclosure on November 1. The oddities that can arise when handling Unicode, and bidirectional Unicode in particular, in a programming language have led Rust, for example, to check for the problematic code points in strings and comments and, by default, refuse to compile if they are present. Python has chosen a different path, but work is underway to help inform programmers of the kinds of pitfalls that Trojan Source has highlighted.

            On the day of the Trojan Source disclosure, Petr Viktorin posted a draft of an informational Python Enhancement Proposal (PEP) to the python-dev mailing list. He noted that the Python security response team had reviewed the report and “decided that it should be handled in code editors, diff viewers, repository frontends and similar software, rather than in the language”. He agreed with that decision, in part because there are plenty of other kinds of “gotchas” in Python (and other languages), where readers can be misled—purposely or not.

            But there is a need to document these kinds of problems, both for Python developers and for the developers of tools to be used with the language, thus the informational PEP. After some adjustments based on the discussion on the mailing list, Viktorin created PEP 672 (“Unicode-related Security Considerations for Python”). It covers the Trojan Source vulnerabilities and other potentially misleading code from a Python perspective, but, as its “informational” status would imply, it is not a list of ways to mitigate the problem. “This document purposefully does not give any solutions or recommendations: it is rather a list of things to keep in mind.”

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by CentOS (kernel, openssh, and rpm), Debian (nss), Fedora (seamonkey), Mageia (glibc), openSUSE (go1.16, go1.17, kernel, mariadb, netcdf, openexr, poppler, python-Pygments, python-sqlparse, ruby2.5, speex, and webkit2gtk3), Oracle (nss), Red Hat (nss), SUSE (clamav, glibc, gmp, go1.16, go1.17, kernel, mariadb, netcdf, OpenEXR, openexr, openssh, poppler, python-Pygments, python-sqlparse, ruby2.1, ruby2.5, speex, webkit2gtk3, and xen), and Ubuntu (nss and thunderbird).

          • Secure communication with Red Hat Decision Manager

            Securing communications over networked services is an essential administrative task. This article shows you how to install and configure an SSL certificate to enable HTTPS-secured communication with Red Hat Decision Manager 7.11 on-premises. To minimize the requirements for our example, we will use a self-signed certificate. You can use the same steps with a certificate signed by a certificate authority (CA).

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • After Months Of Troubling News, Israel’s Government Finally Limits Who NSO Group Can Sell To

              Well, it’s been yet another hilarious couple of days for Israel’s NSO Group. I mean, not so much for NSO, which is currently sitting at the center of a raging dumpster fire of its own creation. But just because NSO isn’t laughing doesn’t mean it’s not funny.

            • noyb’s first “Advent Reading” from Facebook and DPC documents!

              Strategy behind alleged confidentiality. Overall, the aim of our “Advent Readings” is to clarify the status of documents in GDPR procedures and end years of threats and procedural unfairness by Facebook and the DPC against normal users, but also against other DPAs. Both entities developed a strategy to suppress information that is not favourable to them in order to shape public perception, but also gain a procedural advantage. While Facebook seems to mainly try to delay and complicate procedures, the DPC is using these strategies increasingly on the European level in cooperation procedures to undermine the “watchdog” function of other DPAs. After years of not wanting to start (yet another) debate about these procedural issues, we have decided that we have reached a point where these matters must be decided, as the DPC has unlawfully removed us from a procedure.

            • UN Special Rapporteurs challenge EU’s counter-terrorism plans

              Through their communication, the Special Rapporteurs demonstrate how several existing and foreseen EU security measures fail to meet the principles of legality, necessity and proportionality, enshrined in European and international laws (such as the Regulation on preventing the dissemination of Terrorism Content Online and the processing by Europol of sensitive data for profiling purposes). The fatal flaw lies in the use of broad and undefined terms to justify extensive interferences in human rights.

            • Twitter no longer allowing users to share photos, videos of another person without permission

              Twitter will no longer allow users to share images or videos of private individuals without that person’s consent, the company announced Tuesday.

              The policy expands on the social media company’s existing policy banning users from sharing a person’s private information such as a phone number or address.

              The ban won’t pertain to sharing videos or images of public figures.

            • Twitter bans posting pictures of ‘private individuals’ against their wishes

              “Sharing personal media, such as images or videos, can potentially violate a person’s privacy, and may lead to emotional or physical harm,” reads a Twitter Safety blog post announcing the change. “The misuse of private media can affect everyone, but can have a disproportionate effect on women, activists, dissidents, and members of minority communities.” Twitter will evaluate complaints by the subject of a picture or video — or someone representing them — according to its larger private information policy.

            • A brief history of our legal successes

              Our most recent challenge is against Clearview AI, a company that trawls the internet to save photos of our faces to form part of their biometric database to sell. We have filed complaints alongside 3 other organisations with regulators in the UK, France, Italy, Austria and Greece. Our goal is a clear message that there is no place in society for these exploitative systems. Learn more by visiting our campaign page.

            • DHC directs CIC to decide IFF’s appeals within 8 weeks

              We filed six RTI applications in December 2018 seeking statistical data regarding the surveillance orders under Section 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000. The information was, at first, denied on grounds of national security. Thereafter, on appeal, when the matter was remanded back, the information was denied on a new ground that records were destroyed as per ‘extant’ provisions (without providing the provision). We appealed this order in August 2021 before the Chief Information Commission (‘CIC’) but we did not get a hearing because of heavy pendency. We approached the Delhi High Court to expedite the process. On December 2nd, 2021, Justice Yashwant Varma of the Delhi High Court directed CIC to decide our appeals within 8 weeks. Sr. Advocate Trideep Pais appeared on behalf of the Petitioner.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Omar Shares Audio of Chilling Death Threat She Received After Boebert’s Attacks
      • Ocasio-Cortez Slams GOP for Silence on Islamophobia Against Ilhan Omar
      • Bowman Urges Democratic Leaders to Remove Boebert From Committees Over ‘Vile’ Attacks on Omar

        Rep. Jamaal Bowman late Tuesday urged the House Democratic leadership to remove GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert from her committee assignments and take “all other appropriate measures” in response to the Colorado Republican’s latest bigoted attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar.

        “The cultural climate under Trump laid the foundation for and created a dangerous precedent that has emboldened members of the Trump Party to launch blatantly Islamophobic and xenophobic attacks on Congresswoman Omar and others simply because of who they pray to and what they look like,” Bowman (D-N.Y.) said in a statement released days after Boebert called Omar a member of the “jihad squad” in a speech on the House floor.

      • Goading China Into a War

        There are certain underlying motives that may tempt the US to pursue this game-plan. There are hawks in Washington and elsewhere who believe that a short, quick war against China at this stage will benefit the hegemon and its global agenda. One, since the US is militarily stronger than China , a humiliating defeat for the latter will be a huge setback.    At a time when the peaceful rise of China has made such an impact upon nations everywhere, a defeat will prove to all and sundry that the US is still the master of the planet. Two, a US victory over China will undoubtedly strengthen the Taiwan independence movement and encourage the separatists to expand their activities and intensify their demand. This will impact adversely upon Chinese sovereignty and undermine its national resilience. Three, a war over Taiwan will force China to divert its resources from much needed economic and social development to an unnecessary war on its doorstep. This diversion of resources will impede its progress. This is what the US and some of its allies would want to see.

        China will not allow this to happen. The Chinese leadership has always been aware of the dire consequences of war and violence for the nation and the people. Yet it is deeply cognisant of the imperative necessity to defend its sovereignty and integrity as a nation and the dignity of its people. It will therefore respond to provocations   by resorting to measures — various measures — which do not lead to violence and war.    These could be political moves or diplomatic manoeuvres or even trade sanctions. But China will not yield to provocations. It will not succumb to threats or arrogant bullying.

      • Mozambique Forms New Force To Fight Islamist Rebels

        On November 10, President Filipe Nyusi announced a restructuring of the country’s defense and security forces with a counterterrorism emphasis. The Mozambique Armed Defense Forces (FADM) will launch a special force of elite Soldiers and police to combat extremists known locally as Ansar al-Sunna.

        “The new force is meant to replace the foreign troops once they return home,” General Commander of Police Bernardino Rafael said in a November 11 speech to security forces. “Rwanda will provide their training.

      • Lukashenka Says Belarus Willing To Host Russian Nuclear Weapons

        In an interview on November 30, Lukashenka also for the first time recognized Moscow-occupied Crimea as part of Russia, adding that he planned to visit the peninsula with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

      • The Most Powerful Data Broker in the World Is Winning the War Against the U.S.

        The competition for global influence in the 21st century will require protecting and harnessing this data to achieve commercial, technological and military advantages. So far, China is winning, and the West is barely even engaged.

      • Calls to Boycott Spotify Grow After Daniek Ek Invests €100M in Mil-Tech

        Digital Music News reported the investment in Helsing after Ek announced it on November 9. Ek is also joining Helsing’s board after the investment. Helsing says its AI tech will be used for “defense and national security” to provide “information advantage for democratic governments and “keep liberal democracies from harm.”

        Many Spotify users are angry and jumping ship to competitors for their music streaming. The hashtag #BoycottSpotify is trending on Twitter, where several artists have promoted the cancellation of their accounts.

      • Taliban closes in on desperate Afghan women

        The Taliban have been hunting house by house, in district after district, for known women’s rights activists. Suddenly, a woman—a friend, a colleague, a neighbor—disappears and is never seen again.

        Is this the group with whom President Biden believes he can or should negotiate? Contrary to the prevailing “woke” wisdom that America is to blame for all human suffering (I think not) – still, what are our responsibilities to alleviate such suffering – even if our beliefs did not cause it? Islamic gender and religious apartheid, as well as tribal shame and honor customs, are indigenous and pre-existed all and any Western influence.

        People were appalled by the way in which America left Afghanistan in August. Others believe that we should never have undertaken something that we could not accomplish, namely the westernization or modernization of such a tribal, deeply corrupt, and religious Muslim country.

      • “Christians Enjoy No Rights in This Country”: The Persecution of Christians, October 2021

        United Kingdom: On Oct. 15, Ali Harbi Ali, a 25-year-old Muslim man of Somali descent, lunged at and repeatedly stabbed British MP Sir David Amess with a knife. Amess, 69, died soon after. The murder took place inside Belfairs Methodist Church in Essex, where Amess had gone to meet with his constituents. Although initial reports indicated that the motive was unclear, police later declared it a “terrorist incident,” with “a potential link to Islamist extremism.” It is worth noting that, when it comes to severely persecuting and slaughtering Christians, Somalia is the world’s third-worst ranked nation, after Afghanistan (#2) and North Korea (#1).

      • London or Londonistan?

        London, where extremist imams are free to foment the “holy war” against the West and parliamentarians are killed right in the churches, is becoming a really strange place…

        London’s galleries such as Saatchi, Mall and Tate censored many artists for being “Islamophobic”. The Victoria and Albert Museum has withdrawn a portrait of Muhammad. And when “The Jewel of Medina”, the novel by American Sherry Jones about the life of Muhammad’s third wife, was bought and then rejected by the powerful publishing house Random House, Gibson Square came forward. Its owner’s house was set on fire by Islamists in London.

        Now take a look at some mayors in charge or elected in the last four years: [...]

      • South Florida Classes on How Jews and Christians are ‘Enemies of Islam’

        And in August 2017, less than a year after ICW began operations at its present property, the mosque hosted a three day ‘Quran Intensive Weekend Seminar’ featuring ‘Complete Tafsir of Quran in 3 days,’ given by the imam of Margate-based Masjid Jamaat Al-Mumineen (MJAM), Izhar Khan. Khan had previously been arrested and charged by the FBI (along with his father, Hafiz) with helping to finance the Taliban. MJAM, on its website, showcases a library filled with texts promoting female genital mutilation, death punishments for homosexuals, stoning of women, and hatred of Jews, Christians and Hindus. One of these texts is Tafsir Ibn Kathir.

      • Islamic State supporter seeking to recruit in Ireland as he defends Irish ISIS suicide bomber

        Choudary, a lawyer from Ilford in London, was accused of radicalising ordinary citizens and jailed in England in 2016.

        He was released in 2018 but banned from public speaking, talking to the media, using mobile phones and the internet until the injunction expired in July. He now claims there is no evidence of how Kelly died and warned Ireland is guilty as an ally of the “murderous US military”.

      • Lawyers for Accused 9/11 Plotters Say Government Withheld Public Information

        The sanitized summaries of CIA cables provided by the prosecution leave out vital details that journalists and others have obtained using FOIA.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Opinion | Only Public Funding Can Save Local Journalism—and Thus Democracy

        Readers of the Columbia Journalism Review are well aware of the importance of local news media; they have been the foundation of the American free press, and political democracy, since 1776. Daily newspapers have traditionally constituted the heart and soul of local news media, and they have provided the lion’s share of original reporting upon which all other news media depend. That remains the case in the digital era as much of newspapering has transitioned online.

      • Billionaire Bill Gates Uses Money to Shape the Media

        Investigative journalist Tim Schwab has spent much of the past year and half writing on Gates, his foundation, and the way both have leveraged charitable giving to advance an agenda. Last year, he published a lengthy investigation into Gates’s media contributions — a hitherto underexplored part of the Gates empire and the key to understanding Gates’s cozy relationship with the world’s imagemakers.

        In this conversation, Jacobin’s Luke Savage sits down with Schwab to discuss Gates’s media strategy, what lies ahead for the Gates Foundation, and how billionaire-led big philanthropy has inserted itself into public interest journalism.

      • Nick Kristof’s Bill Gates Problem

        For years, Nicholas Kristof’s New York Times column has relentlessly promoted and whitewashed the controversial projects spearheaded by Bill and Melinda Gates, like for-profit education and exploitative microlending. As governor of Oregon, would Kristof continue serving billionaire interests?

    • Environment

      • Fashion Industry Emissions Are a Focus for Congressman Ro Khanna

        When you do the research, you realize there’s a lot of CO2 and other gases that go into the production of clothing, the production of handbags, the production of high-end accessories, and it makes a lot of sense to have a circular economy. We’ve all worn clothing that’s passed down or borrowed from a friend or family member. But what if we did this in a broader market? It’s exciting, it’s interesting, and it really reduces CO2 emissions.

      • Arctic shift toward ‘rain-dominated reality’ could come decades earlier than expected: research

        Researchers used an updated climate model to predict sea ice concentration, precipitation and snowfall coverage in the Arctic region to examine projections through 2100. The latest simulation “projects larger and faster increases in precipitation and an earlier transition to a rainfall-dominated Arctic in the summer and autumn.”

        By the end of the century, the simulation projected a 422 percent increase in rainfall during the winter, a 261 percent bump in the spring, a 71 percent rise in the summer and a 268 percent increase in the fall. All are significantly higher than previous projections, showing that rainfall is likely to accelerate in the coming years at a much faster rate than expected.

      • New climate models reveal faster and larger increases in Arctic precipitation than previously projected

        As the Arctic continues to warm faster than the rest of the planet, evidence mounts that the region is experiencing unprecedented environmental change. The hydrological cycle is projected to intensify throughout the twenty-first century, with increased evaporation from expanding open water areas and more precipitation. The latest projections from the sixth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6) point to more rapid Arctic warming and sea-ice loss by the year 2100 than in previous projections, and consequently, larger and faster changes in the hydrological cycle. Arctic precipitation (rainfall) increases more rapidly in CMIP6 than in CMIP5 due to greater global warming and poleward moisture transport, greater Arctic amplification and sea-ice loss and increased sensitivity of precipitation to Arctic warming. The transition from a snow- to rain-dominated Arctic in the summer and autumn is projected to occur decades earlier and at a lower level of global warming, potentially under 1.5 °C, with profound climatic, ecosystem and socio-economic impacts.

      • Feeling Hopeless About the Climate? Try Our 30-Day Action Plan
      • Since Congress Lifted Crude Export Ban in 2015, US Has Dropped ‘Climate Bomb’ on World

        After Congress lifted a ban on crude exports in late 2015, oil and gas production in the Permian Basin soared while domestic consumption remained flat—leading to a massive build-out of pipelines and other infrastructure that culminated in the U.S. “flooding global markets” with fossil fuels at the expense of humanity, in general, and vulnerable Gulf Coast communities already overburdened by pollution, in particular.

        “Port Arthur, and the entire Gulf Coast, has become a sacrifice zone.”

      • If You Fund the Research, You Can Shape the World
      • US Must Tackle Marine Plastics Pollution ‘From Source to Sea’: Report

        The United States is the world’s leading marine plastics polluter and should devise a “national strategy” by the end of next year to address the crisis, according to a new report published Wednesday by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

        “We can no longer ignore the United States’ role in the plastic pollution crisis, one of the biggest environmental threats facing our oceans and our planet today.”

      • Energy

        • The “Brigands” Regroup in Basilicata: Italians Rise Up Against New Nuclear Dump

          It slowly began to dawn on us then, as we were ushered to sit at a table beneath a hand-painted banner proclaiming “No to Nuclear Waste” that this was a press conference. The rows of seats in front of us were filled to capacity. There was a quick introduction and then we were handed microphones and urged to talk.

          We were in Scanzano Jonico in Basilicata, possibly Italy’s least-known Southern province. Valentina, a Greenpeace Italy colleague, and I had driven from Rome, after testifying about nuclear waste before the Italian Parliament (I had been there to deliver, in Italian, the translated testimonies of Kevin Kamps, then with NIRS, and IEER’s Arjun Makhijani).

        • China’s War on [Cryptocurrency]

          In El Salvador, you can now use crypto-currency to pay for your Big Mac. In Kazakhstan and Russia, crypto mining operations have taken off. In China, however, the Communist Party is bent on destroying every form of cryptocurrency except a still-to-be-developed digital yuan that isn’t really a cryptocurrency at all.

          The Chinese government has spent years enacting regulations designed to thwart the enthusiastic adoption of cryptocurrency on the mainland. But a new regulatory action announced on September 15 is different, says Karman Lucero, a fellow at Yale Law School’s Paul Tsai China Center, because its language is “somewhat scarily broad.”

        • The leader of Facebook’s stalled cryptocurrency project is leaving the company

          In posts on his Facebook page and Twitter, Marcus says, “While there’s still so much to do right on the heels of hitting an important milestone with Novi launching — and I remain as passionate as ever about the need for change in our payments and financial systems — my entrepreneurial DNA has been nudging me for too many mornings in a row to continue ignoring it.” He announced that Novi VP of product Stephane Kasriel, previously an early PayPal employee and the CEO of Upwork, will take over the leadership of the team.

        • Bitcoin in Finland: What is Bitcoin and reasons to buy and invest

          There’s a variety of wallets to choose from (browser-based wallets, hardware wallets, mobile wallets, etc.). Aside from securing Bitcoins, the wallet can also be used to send and receive Bitcoins. Contrary to popular belief, the wallet doesn’t actually contain [cryptocurrency] assets. Instead, Bitcoins are stored as transactions in the blockchain itself. To access these Bitcoins, a private key consisting of 256 characters and numbers must be used.

        • Cryptocurrency miners grapple with major energy crunch in Kazakhstan

          Cryptocurrency miners in Kazakhstan are facing widespread electricity shortages amid a surge in mining, as reported by the Financial Times. Kazakhstan has been grappling with an overloaded energy grid as miners flock in from China, which cracked down on [cryptocurrency] earlier this year and banned [cryptocurrency]-based transactions in September.

          According to the Financial Times, Kazakhstan’s demand for electricity has risen about eight percent since the beginning of 2021, a sharp increase from the one or two percent annual growth that the country typically experiences. The Financial Times’ research also estimates that over 87,849 “power-intensive” mining rigs have made their way from China to Kazakhstan. The country now sits in the number two spot — just behind the US — as one of the hottest [cryptocurrrency] mining spots, according to data from the University of Cambridge.

        • Cryptocurrency mining is causing power shutdowns in Kazakhstan, and China may be to blame

          The electricity demand in the country has increased by eight percent so far this year as compared to the usual one or two percent. There have also been electricity blackouts in six regions in Kazakhstan next month. To help curb this, KEGOC, the country’s electric grid operator plans to start rationing electricity to 50 registered miners. This is also to deal with unregistered [cryptocurrency] miners illegally mining the digital currency from factories and their homes.

          The reason behind the sudden boom in cryptocurrency mining in Kazakhstan is said to be due to the [cryptocurrency] ban in China earlier this year. [Cryptocurrency] mining firms were already flocking to Kazakhstan due to the low electricity costs but the demand jumped once the ban was imposed. The Financial Times estimates around 87,849 mining rigs have moved from China to Kazakhstan.

        • Why cryptocurrency miners pose the next big threat to the Texas electric grid

          Texas, already home to the most vulnerable power grid in the U.S., is about to be hit by a surge in demand for electricity that’s twice the size of Austin’s.

          An army of cryptocurrency miners heading to the state for its cheap power and laissez-faire regulation is forecast to send demand soaring by as much as 5,000 megawatts over the next two years. The [cryptocurrency] migration to Texas has been building for months, but the sheer volume of power those miners will need — two times more than the capital city of almost 1 million people consumed in all of 2020 — is only now becoming clear.

          The boom comes as the electrical system is already under strain from an expanding population and robust economy. Even before the new demand comes online, the state’s grid has proven to be lethally unreliable. Catastrophic blackouts in February plunged millions into darkness for days, and, ultimately, led to at least 210 deaths.

        • Meta’s top [cryptocurrency] executive Marcus to quit soon

          San Francisco, Facebook parent Meta’s cryptocurrency head David Marcus has announced that he will be leaving the company at the end of the year.

          Marcus’s departure comes after the company tried and failed to launch a cryptocurrency that could be used to send money online to anyone in the world via Facebook products, CNBC reported.

          Marcus joined Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, in August 2014 after a two-year stint as president of PayPal.

        • Meta exec who co-founded Diem digital currency leaving the company

          A Meta executive who co-founded Diem digital currency is set to leave the company at the end of this year to embark on new projects.

          David Marcus said in a blog post Tuesday he will be leaving the parent company of Facebook after seven years.

          Marcus started at the company in 2014 and worked for the Messenger platform for years. A trusted lieutenant to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, he moved on to the company’s digital wallet service, Novi, and then co-founded Diem digital currency, Bloomberg reported.

        • Members of [cracking] group sentenced for stealing millions in cryptocurrency

          The scheme, which members of The Community were indicted in connection with in 2019, involved the [crackers] using “SIM hijacking” to take control of the victim’s phone number and rerouting calls and texts to their own devices. This then enabled the group members to individually steal between $50,000 and $9 million in total from victims across the United States through gaining access to email and cryptocurrency accounts on the victims’ phones.

      • Overpopulation

        • Scientist Says That Humans Are Almost Certainly Going Extinct

          Gee points to lack of genetic variation, falling birth rates, pollution, and stress caused by living in overcrowded cities as a recipe for disaster.

          “The most insidious threat to humankind is something called ‘extinction debt,’” Gee explained. “There comes a time in the progress of any species, even ones that seem to be thriving, when extinction will be inevitable, no matter what they might do to avert it.”

          “The species most at risk are those that dominate particular habitat patches at the expense of others, who tend to migrate elsewhere, and are therefore spread more thinly,” Gee posited. “Humans occupy more or less the whole planet, and with our sequestration of a large wedge of the productivity of this planetwide habitat patch, we are dominant within it.”

        • The decision to forego childbearing

          It’s definitely a thing now. Here in the West at least there seems to be an almost incessant flow of articles and media features about young people refusing to procreate or seriously agonising over it. Though many reasons are listed, from the most selfish to the most selfless, worries about human overpopulation, climate change, and the consequences of both appear to rank highest among the concerns.

          Is it fair to bring a child into a world that is rapidly collapsing around us? And what would my child – that one extra child – mean for a planet where so many people are living in poverty and conflict, and humanity as a whole is destroying the biosphere through a combination of greed, desperation, and the sheer weight of its numbers?

    • Finance

      • Do We Really Need a 24-Hour Economy?

        In mid-October, President Biden announced that the Port of Los Angeles would begin operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, joining the nearby Port of Long Beach, which had been doing so since September. The move followed weeks of White House negotiations with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, as well as shippers like UPS and FedEx, and major retailers like Walmart and Target.

      • Tax Consequences of Bezos Donating $100 Million and Musk Selling Stock Worth $5 Billion

        By donating $100 million, Bezos will presumably take a charitable deduction on his tax return and reduce his taxable income, saving him as much as $37 million in federal taxes.  In other words, his “charitable” donation will likely be heavily subsidized by taxpayers. The government is deprived of money it might otherwise be receiving.  Bezos presumably gets the blessings of the Obamas and some good PR over his “generosity.”  I have seen no reports about him thanking Amazon employees and customers for making his donation possible as he did after his space flight.

        The tax break for making donations is a regressive deduction since it generally reduces the taxes of those with the biggest taxable incomes the most. Those with incomes below $50,000 donating $100, at most, save $12 while people with a    $1 million dollar income, who can easily afford to donate $100, could save $37 in their federal income taxes. Donations should be made for their own sake, and not be subsidized by the government.

      • Cracking Down on Corporate Recidivists

        These arrangements, widely used by the Justice Department, are known as deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements but they are really nothing more than leniency practices. Their supporters claim that the threat of actual prosecution in the future is sufficient to get companies to clean up their act. They also point out that the agreements have provisions requiring such changes.

        Unfortunately, there are numerous examples of companies that have violated the terms of their deferred or non-prosecution agreements with apparent impunity. The Biden Justice Department is vowing to change that. Last month, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco gave a speech in which she said DOJ is tightening its procedures on leniency agreements, especially for companies with “a documented history of repeated corporate wrongdoing.” She indicated that DOJ will look not only at the offense related to the agreement but the full range of misconduct.

      • Jack Dorsey’s Square changes corporate name to Block

        The move comes as Square expands beyond its original credit card-reader business, with a focus on new technologies such as blockchain.

      • [Old] The rising financialization of the U.S. economy harms workers and their families, threatening a strong recovery

        Witnesses at the hearing on April 29 explored how Wall Street harms U.S. workers and their families through the phenomenon known as “financialization.” Financialization refers to the process by which the financial sector—banks, private equity firms, hedge funds, stocks and derivatives exchanges, and other conduits through which money flows between those who have it and those who need it—takes up a larger and larger share of the U.S. economy, fails to allocate capital to its most productive uses, and increasingly results in the hoarding of economic, and thus political, power at the top of the income and wealth ladders.

        Financialization also can refer to the increasing participation of nonfinancial businesses in financial activities. General Electric Company, for example, a company most people associate with manufacturing and innovation, earned 43 percent of its profits from financial activities as recently as 2014.12

      • [Old] Financialization: Causes, Inequality Consequences,and Policy Implications [PDF]

        The U.S. is now a financialized economy, where the financial sector and its priorities have become increasingly dominant in all aspects of the economy. We focus on financialization as a process of income redistribution with two faces. The first face is one of rent seeking by an increasingly concentrated and politically influential finance sector. This rent seeking has been successful, leading to the pooling ofprofits and income in the finance sector. The second face is a shift in behavior of non-finance firms away from production and non-financial services and toward financial investments and services. This shift has had both strategic and normative components and has reduced the bargaining power of labor and the centrality of production. As a consequence, financialization of the non-finance sector has led to lower employment, income transfers to executives and capital owners, and increased inequality among workers. We discuss the policy implications of these consequences at the end of this Article

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Where There’s No Justice…
      • Mark Meadows Reveals Trump Tested Positive for COVID Ahead of First Debate
      • Georgia Rejects Record Number of Absentee Ballot Requests Under New Voting Laws
      • ‘Time to Get the Job Done’: Stacey Abrams Launches New Georgia Gubernatorial Bid

        Declaring that “opportunity in our state shouldn’t be determined by zip code, background, or access to power,” attorney, author, and voting rights campaigner Stacey Abrams announced Wednesday that she would once again seek the Democratic nomination for Georgia governor, setting up a rematch with Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in the November 2022 contest.

        “Abrams already came well within striking distance of Brian Kemp in 2018—before she mobilized millions of Democrats to flip Georgia blue in 2020.”

      • Ron Johnson’s War on Free and Fair Elections

        Joe Biden won Wisconsin in 2020 as part of a remarkable finish that saw the presidential contender flip five states that had gone for Republican Donald Trump in 2016 into the Democratic column four years later. The margin in Wisconsin was narrow, just 20,682 votes out of almost 3.3 million cast. But that was typical for Wisconsin, where four of the last six presidential elections have been decided by under 25,000 votes.

      • ‘Surreal’: Biden Invites Venezuelan Coup Leader Juan Guaidó to US ‘Summit for Democracy’

        U.S. President Joe Biden was nearly the victim of a right-wing coup on January 6, but that didn’t stop him from inviting Venezuela’s right-wing coup leader Juan Guaidó to the United States’ so-called “Summit for Democracy”—a development that critics say illustrates the “cynical, hypocritical, and completely counter-productive” nature of the upcoming meeting.

        On Tuesday afternoon, David Adler, general coordinator of Progressive International, argued during an appearance on Al Jazeera that the Biden administration lacks the credibility to lead an international effort to protect democracy for a variety of reasons, including the United States’ past and present support for authoritarian leaders who further capitalist class interests.

      • Barbados Breaks From British Colonial Rule as Calls Grow for Reparations
      • “Farewell to British Colonial Rule”: Barbados Breaks From the Queen as Calls Grow For Reparations

        Barbados has become the world’s newest republic breaking ties with Queen Elizabeth 55 years after it became an independent nation, saying it was time for Barbados to break from its colonial past. The move comes as calls grow for the United Kingdom to pay reparations for enacting a regime of slavery in Barbados. While it was an occasion for celebration, it was also “55 years overdue” and should have happened when Barbados won its independence in 1966, says David Comissiong, Barbados’s ambassador to the Caribbean Community and the Association of Caribbean States. “Barbados was a center of British power. You don’t get rid of the imprint of that history so easily.”

      • How to Pass a FedRAMP Audit for SaaS Providers: Part 1

        You work at a SaaS provider, and now you need to pass a FedRAMP audit. If that describes you, read on. This post will tell you (almost) everything you need to know about how to pass a FedRAMP Audit. For the rest, reach out to us. We will put you in touch with one of our Solution Engineers like me who have helped some of the largest SaaS providers in the world pass their FedRAMP audit prior or after IPOing. It’s what we do.

        This blog post will cover what FedRAMP is and why it matters for SaaS providers. We will even talk about a success story with one of our publicly traded SaaS customers who used Teleport to pass their FedRAMP audit.

      • The use of digital technologies in political campaigning in Colombia

        In response to the concerns arising from these potential collaborations, Dejusticia explored the use of micro-targeting for political campaigning purposes specifically in the 2018 Colombia presidential campaign and the 2015 and 2019 Bogotá mayoral campaigns.

        The resulting report was authored by Daniel Ospina Celis and Juan Carlos Upegui of Dejusticia, in collaboration with Privacy International.

      • Christensen attempts bill to free Assange

        It also proposes seven years imprisonment for a head of a foreign government if they detained an Australian journalist or requested another foreign government to do so.

      • China ‘hunted’ over 600 Taiwanese overseas

        In a report titled “China’s Hunt for Taiwanese Overseas” released Tuesday (Nov. 30), the NGO stated that this persecution of Taiwanese amounts to an “assault on Taiwan’s sovereignty.” It warned that this is part of a “larger global campaign” in which China under Chairman Xi Jinping’s leadership (習近平) exploits extradition treaties, mutual law enforcement agreements, and other multilateral institutions to serve the political goals of the Chinese Communist Party.

        Safeguard Defenders stated that it has recorded more than 600 cases of Taiwanese being extradited or forcibly deported from Asian, African, and European countries between 2016 and 2019. Rather than returning them to their home country, it pointed out that under pressure from Beijing, foreign governments are forcibly sending Taiwanese to China, where they have “no roots and no families.”

      • Jack Dorsey Exit Way Overdue for Twitter

        It’s difficult to shake the suspicion that what else may be learned in the coming weeks is new — negative developments relevant to Twitter’s business that the market doesn’t yet know but illuminate what prompted the changing of the guard, which has CTO Parag Agrawal taking the top job effective immediately.

      • Once led by founders, Twitter set for fresh path

        It’s a move that some activist investors and outside critics have called for, most notably since Dorsey had also been serving double duty, working as CEO of Square, the payments company he co-founded in 2009. The critiques of Twitter were almost as varied as its critics. Civil society groups said it didn’t do enough to address abuse and misinformation; tech analysts said it did not innovate fast enough; political activists said it gave voice to extremists and fostered political dysfunction.

      • Google engineers claim they were fired for following its ‘don’t be evil’ policy

        The former workers Sophie Waldman, Rebecca Rivers, and Paul Duke were fired — in addition to a fourth employee, Laurence Berland — in November 2019 for allegedly violating the company’s data security policies, however, they claim they didn’t leak any confidential information. Earlier this year, the acting head of the National Labor Relations Board said that Google “arguably violated” US labor laws by firing the three employees, alleging that Google terminated the employees in retaliation for their activism.

      • Ex-Google workers sue company, saying it betrayed ‘Don’t Be Evil’ motto

        Three former Google employees have sued the company, alleging that Google’s motto “Don’t be evil” amounts to a contractual obligation that the tech giant has violated.

        At the time the company hired the three software engineers, Rebecca Rivers, Sophie Waldman and Paul Duke, they signed conduct rules that included a “Don’t be evil” provision, according to the suit.

        The trio say they thought they were behaving in accordance with that principle when they organized Google employees against controversial projects, such as work for U.S. Customs and Border Protection during the Trump administration. The workers circulated a petition calling on Google to publicly commit to not working with CBP.

    • Misinformation/Disinformation

      • The Benefits of Supporting a Lie

        The way to approach this was not the usual journalistic  way of laying out the facts,  noting 21  court cases  had rejected the fraud assertion, yet the Wall Street Journal, (Nov 24) no partner to fraud– only distortions– spent a full page  on describing the use of fraud we might call lying , a full-fledged broken truth. It is used by Trump  in remaking the Republic party in his image, by repeating  “election fraud” as the password to gain his support.

        Most importantly many of the candidates, old or new, found it beneficial to side with Trump fraud -lie. Those that decided  to make their way around the lie do not mention it in their campaigns,  there by accepting the  myth as possible,  or  as the WSJ  provided another argument  by citing  a number of election challenges such as Al Gore’s effort that went to the Supreme court and lost. Remember the Supreme voted to elect George Bush.  The WSJ added a few other challenges to local and national elections  thereby offering  a balanced  -middle of the road –policy of Democrats and Republicans.  After all the middle of the road is the way to be hit by cars coming from either direction.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Luxury, Propaganda and Books in the Middle East

        I have just tasted a shark curry, at the Dubai World Expo. There, the countries of the Arabian Peninsula present themselves not so much as they are, but as they would like to be: bombastic videos, huge shiny screens and the acritical grandiloquence of their leaders fill their pavilions. For its part, China’s pavilion welcomes the visitor with a screen on which Xi Jinping greets everyone with an impassive expression, as does Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. “We believe that every human being is part of the collective conscience,” reads one message of his; I can’t help but wonder if the Syrian regime applied this slogan while dropping bombs on its own fellow citizens. Lebanon is presented on various illuminated billboards as a paradise on earth with hedonistic beaches and a turquoise sea even though the country has been suffering from severe power outages for months.

        I emerge from the gloom of the pavilions, from that darkness interrupted by the gaudy but unconvincing images and messages, and am dazzled by the midday sun in the eternal summer of the Persian Gulf. In the middle of the crowd – the entrance fee is only $11- I look for the bus; it leaves me outside the Expo pavilions where I hail a cab that takes me to a very different fair: the book fair. Whereas the Dubai World Expo is the first to take place in the Middle East, the Sharjah International Book Fair is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Discord Adds AI Moderation To Help Fight Abusive Content (2021)

        Summary: In the six years since Discord debuted its chat platform, it has seen explosive growth. And, over the past half-decade, Discord’s chat options have expanded to include GIFs, video, audio, and streaming. With this growth and these expanded offerings, there have come a number of new moderation challenges and required adapting to changing scenarios.

      • WTA Suspends Tournaments in China Over Treatment of Peng Shuai

        With the move, the Women’s Tennis Association became the only major sports organization to push back against China’s increasingly authoritarian government. Women’s tennis officials made the decision after they were unable to speak directly with Peng after she accused Zhang Gaoli, a former vice premier of China, in social media posts that were quickly deleted.

      • Pakistan imposes new censorship mechanism under guise of protecting journalists

        But there’s a problem. Section 6 of this law neutralises virtually all the protection that it was supposed to provide when first announced by the government. This section prohibits all journalists and media professionals from spreading “false information” and producing material that “advocates hatred” or constitutes “incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence” – without clearly defining what any of these terms means.

        The law allows the government to interpret these restrictions on journalistic freedom by arbitrarily deciding what constitutes “incitement.” Worse still, sub-section 3 of Section 6 says that journalists who fail to comply with these “obligations” will be subject to criminal prosecution.

      • They helped Chinese women, workers, the forgotten and dying. Then they disappeared

        The three activists were held in a form of secret detention called “residential surveillance at a designated location,” or RSDL, which allows the state to lock up people in “black jails” without trial. The human rights group Safeguard Defenders estimates that 45,000 to 55,000 people have been subjected to RSDL since Xi Jinping became president in 2013, including as many as 15,000 in 2020 alone.

      • TikTok account of critic of Islam Mila blocked for comment on Islam

        Mila, who is regularly harassed and threatened on social media for her perceived controversial comments on Islam, found out on Monday November 29 that her TikTok account had been suspended. The young woman announced this on Twitter later that evening. “My TikTok account has been suspended because of this comment. I don’t care if I lose my account but this sucks, pay attention,” she wrote in her post. The reason for the suspension of her TikTok account were the following remarks: “Totally logical to detest the most problematic and dangerous religion of our time!”.

      • Disney Yanks China-Mocking Simpsons Episode From Its Hong Kong Streaming Service

        American companies still give China what it wants. Y THO?

      • “The Simpsons” episode mysteriously censored in Hong Kong

        The crux of the episode focuses on the Simpson family’s travel to Beijing, where they attempt to cheat the adoption process and hoodwink an adoption agent. Shortly after their arrival, the family visits the mummified body of Mao Zedong, whom Homer hails as a “little angel who killed 50 million people.” Zedong, who honed his overbearing power with the inception of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, also oversaw years of mass political violence that killed approximately two million Chinese civilians.

        In another scene, the Simpsons pass through Tiananmen Square, where a marker touts: “On this site, in 1989, nothing happened.” They also confront a Type 59 Tank in an overblown display that mocks the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and massacres, where student-led demonstrations were violently countered by armed military and loaded tanks.

      • End censorship of WSWS articles on Kaiser union social media!

        The opposite is the case. This contract, the full details of which have been sent to the membership, contains massive concessions. Here are the details of the agreement, which are freely available on the unions’ own web site: [...]

      • Forget omicron. We should call it the Xi variant

        The naming of Covid variants, like the naming of cats, is a difficult matter. If you’re the World Health Organisation, anyway. Apparently keen to avoid giving offence, they’ve been working their way through the Greek alphabet so quickly that “luxury watch company suing WHO for trademark infringement” headlines are probably imminent. For in classifying the latest variant of concern as “omicron”, the WHO skipped two letters – “nu”, supposedly to “avoid confusion with the word ‘new’”, and “xi” – to, in their words, “avoid stigmatising a region”.

      • Egyptian liberals outraged by lawyer’s blasphemy indictment

        The Nov. 17 court decision to imprison Ahmed Abdo Maher over “anti-Islamic” comments posted on his social media accounts and views expressed during an Aug. 26 TV interview sparked controversy on social media, prompting calls by Egypt’s liberals for the abolishment of the country’s blasphemy laws. In the interview broadcast on El Mayadeen TV, Maher had described the Islamic nation as “static” and without innovation and said that enlightenment requires courage.

        The ruling by the Nozha Misdemeanor Court (an emergency state security court) against Maher came after lawyer Samir Sabri filed an urgent legal complaint with the Supreme State Security and the Public Prosecutor against Maher, accusing him of “defaming Islam.”

      • Mob attacks Pakistan police, fails to grab blasphemy suspect

        A Muslim mob burned a police station and four police posts overnight in northwest Pakistan after officers refused to hand over a mentally unstable man accused of desecrating Islam’s holy book, the Quran, authorities said Monday.

        No officers were hurt in the attacks, which forced the police to summon troops to restore order in Charsadda, a district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, local officer Asif Khan said.

        A video posted on social media showed the police station burning.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • The U.S. Really Doesn’t Want to Admit It Spied on Julian Assange

        Spain’s High Court has been investigating UC Global ever since several whistleblowers from the firm came forward in 2019 to make claims about the company’s spying efforts on Assange. The firm’s CEO, David Morales, was arrested in 2019 but was subsequently released. It’s unclear whether he will face official charges in connection to the case, as Spanish officials are still investigating, and he maintains that the spying was done at the behest of the Ecuadorian intelligence service, SENAIN.

        As Spain attempts to get to the bottom of all this, the U.S. isn’t making it particularly easy to put the pieces together. Spanish authorities have reportedly reached out to the U.S. Justice Department a total of three times over a period of 17 months in the hopes of clarifying whether the U.S. ever had a relationship with UC Global. According to the Yahoo report, the DOJ has blown them off.

      • Official documents expose Australian government’s complicity in the torture of Assange

        The cables deal with the period following Assange’s brutal arrest by the British police on April 11, 2019. Assange’s internationally-recognised status as a political refugee was illegally terminated by the Ecuadorian government, as it cultivated greater ties with the US. The Trump administration immediately unveiled an indictment against the WikiLeaks founder over publishing activities, vindicating his decade-long warnings, and Assange was taken to the maximum-security Belmarsh Prison, dubbed Britain’s Guantánamo Bay.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Opinion | Illegal and Inhumane: Biden-Harris and Immigration

        The Biden Administration promised reformed and humane immigration policies. That is not what we are getting. “Illegal and Inhumane,” is how Harold Koh, a State Department Legal Adviser, described the Biden Administration’s escalation of Title 42 as its major immigration control tool. Koh resigned in October 2021. Human Rights First also quotes public health experts as saying, “Title 42 misuses public health authority to violate refugee law, block asylum at U.S. ports of entry, and expel people, seeking refuge, to danger.”

      • Patrick Leahy Agrees: It’s Time to Free Leonard Peltier

        U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy has become the most senior U.S. government official to support the release of American Indian Movement militant Leonard Peltier, who supporters say was framed and falsely convicted of murdering two federal agents during a 1975 reservation shootout.

        HuffPost reported Tuesday that Leahy (D-Vt.)—the Senate’s president pro tempore who will retire after this term as the chamber’s longest-serving member—responded affirmatively when the outlet asked if it was time to free Peltier.

      • Enes Kanter Freedom: The NBA Authoritarian Against Authoritarianism

        We are living in a time of political backlash against anybody who dared to speak out and encourage people to take to the streets following the police murder of George Floyd in the summer of 2020: a murder that sparked one of the largest series of demonstrations in the history of the United States and a reckoning with this nation’s history of racial oppression. One the symbols of that time of protest was the active participation of players from the NBA and the WNBA. No single individual symbolizes the world of politics and hoops quite like LeBron James.

      • Too Much Hate in the USA

        Given that we are one of the wealthiest nations with a very high standard of living compared to most of the world’s population, it would appear our citizens are becoming more polarized due to well-funded and widespread efforts primarily to benefit politicians whose only response to those with whom they disagree is hate and violence. The old saying that “hate corrodes the vessel that holds it” is a daunting prediction for our future.

        The use of hate and fear of “the others” by authoritarian rulers to both control and incite their citizens has a long and ugly history. Certainly tribalism has been around as long as humans have roamed the earth and the reasons for breaking humanity into opposing factions are legion. Fear, religion, and race have been the historic old standbys, spawning such atrocities as the Crusades, the Inquisition, and more recently, Hitler’s attempted extermination of Jews.

      • Guns and Racism in America

        A nearly all-White jury in Georgia convicted three White men of murder last week in the leaked videotaped chase and shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, 25, an unarmed Black man jogging through a mostly White suburban Brunswick neighborhood on Feb. 23, 2020.

        The men claimed self-defense. If there had been no video, there probably never would have been a trial. It took 74 days before arrests were made, with the video reportedly in police hands.

      • The most hard-hitting questions put to Orbán on state radio

        While the Prime Minister manages to avoid tough questions domestically, he has been dropping by Kossuth Radio almost every Friday to give an interview to one of the leading editors of the public media, which operates with an annual budget of 325 million euros of taxpayer money. In his third cycle with a two-thirds majority, Viktor Orbán fields questions almost exclusively from Katalin Nagy on the state radio station. The journalist, who was awarded the Knight’s Cross from the Hungarian Order of Merit, doesn’t hesitate to take advantage of these opportunities.

      • Poll: Majority of Young Americans Say US Democracy ‘in Trouble’ or Already ‘Failed’

        In the lead-up to U.S. President Joe Biden’s “Summit for Democracy,” polling results released Wednesday show that a majority of young adults nationwide are concerned about the state of American democracy.

        “Our political leaders on both sides of the aisle would benefit tremendously from listening to the concerns that our students and young voters have raised about the challenges facing our democracy.”

      • Opinion | The Survival of Democracy Is Under Threat

        With all that is happening in the country and the world, it was perhaps all too easy to miss the ongoing battle for the future of US democracy. Republicans have opened up new racist offenses against voter rights and are once more pushing through corrupt gerrymandering to rig elections in their favor. They are also blocking the “Freedom to Vote Act” that would to curb systemic racist voter suppression through policies such as automatic registration at MVA, longer early voting, greater access to mail in ballots and fresh regulations for guaranteeing that people are not wrongly barred from voting and reducing partisan interference at the polls.

      • Watch: Bernie Sanders Hosts ‘Saving American Democracy’ Town Hall

        Amid Republican lawmakers’ attacks on voting rights and rising concerns about the state of American democracy, Sen. Bernie Sanders organized an online town hall Wednesday to discuss ending voter suppression and extreme gerrymandering in the United States.

        “Republicans in state after state are working to make it harder and harder to vote. We can’t let them succeed,” Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote in a tweet promoting the livestreamed event, which he said would focus on “the ways we can fight these anti-democratic efforts.”

      • Reproductive Rights Defenders Rally as SCOTUS Hears Challenge to Roe

        Reproductive rights advocates rallied Wednesday outside the U.S. Supreme Court as justices heard oral arguments in a case directly challenging the constitutional right to abortion affirmed in Roe v. Wade.

        “The future of reproductive freedom is in grave danger.”

      • Supreme Court’s Conservative Justices Indicate They’ll Upend Roe v. Wade
      • Many Southern Hospitals Already Deny Pregnant Patients Abortions

        What happens to pregnant patients facing life-threatening medical conditions when abortion is illegal or severely restricted? We don’t have to wait until the Supreme Court rules on the legality of abortion bans passed in Texas and Mississippi to find out.

      • People Will Have to Travel 250 Miles on Average for Abortions If “Roe” Is Axed
      • As SCOTUS Considers ‘Extinguishing’ Right to Abortion, Calls Mount for Congress to ‘Step Up’

        As journalists and other observers of the U.S. Supreme Court noted Wednesday that its right-wing majority appeared inclined to uphold Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban—and potentially overturn Roe v. Wade—while hearing oral arguments in a case challenging the state law, reproductive rights advocates rallied outside and demanded congressional action.

        “The fact that this case is being heard at all shows just how far off the rails the conservative justices have gone.”

      • How Greenwald, Covid and Rittenhouse Exposed a Plague Among Progressives

        Caitlin Johnstone asserts that “[t]he most significant political moment in the U.S. since 9/11 and its aftermath was when liberal institutions decided that Trump’s 2016 election wasn’t a failure of status quo politics but a failure of information control.” Since Trump’s election, information control contributes to why those critical of Democrats are called Trump sympathizers. Journalist Paul Street epitomizes this tendency, seeming to speak for many who equate any criticism of Democrats with support for Trump and his policies.  To the extent that this attitude serves to obstruct political dialogue and struggle, it does not serve us well — especially in these dark times,  when we must pull our forces together to overcome the challenges we face.

      • Amazon Workers in Alabama Get New Shot at Union After NLRB Rules Company Broke the Law in 1st Vote

        Workers at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama may soon get another chance to decide whether to unionize. The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Amazon violated U.S. labor law while waging an aggressive anti-unionization campaign against warehouse workers earlier this year in Bessemer, Alabama. This comes as Amazon workers worldwide from Bangladesh to Germany campaigned on Black Friday for fairer working conditions under the banner, “Make Amazon Pay.” “If Amazon is trying to eat the world, it’s also bringing many disparate sets of workers and activists and communities together to fight against them,” says Alex Press, staff writer at Jacobin.

      • Media Don’t Factcheck Right-Wing Migration Myths

        Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy asked a bizarre question at President Joe Biden’s November 3 press briefing. The president seemed to misunderstand the question, which referred to potential settlements of a lawsuit stemming from the Trump administration’s notorious 2017–18 family separation policy. Biden bungled his response, apparently calling reports about the settlement “garbage.”

      • Corporate Media Celebrate Criminal Justice System—While Differing on Outcomes

        The not guilty verdict on November 19 in the Kyle Rittenhouse case gave corporate media the opportunity to take a measured approach to systemic violence in the US—and for the most part, they fell short.

      • “They Took Us Away From Each Other”: Lost Inside America’s Shadow Foster System

        When a staph infection killed Molly Cordell’s mother just before Halloween in 2015, Molly felt, almost immediately, as if she were being shoved out of her own life. At 15, she and her sister, Heaven, who was a year younger, had no idea where they would go. Their dad had been in and out of their lives for most of their childhood. His grief, as their mother lay dying, sent him spinning. It seemed to the girls that he was on too much meth, and whenever he used, he got mean and crazy. Once, he made Heaven watch him set their mom’s Chevy truck on fire. Their older brother, Isaiah, left their home in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains when their mom was still alive, and the teenage girls depended on each other. Molly was deaf in her left ear, and her sister always asked others to speak loudly for her. They shared the same group of friends, the same tanks and capri pants. Although Molly had her own bedroom, she slept on the couch in Heaven’s.

        The girls moved in with their grandmother, up the road from their wood-paneled house in Cherokee County, North Carolina, a poor, sprawling region at the southwesternmost edge of the state. Their dad lived in a camper in the yard. Their grandmother, too, was trapped in an angry stage of mourning, looking for someone to blame for her daughter’s death. She kept telling Molly and Heaven that it was their fault — if only they’d taken better care of their mom, she might be alive. Molly was starting to believe it.

      • Civil society protests water’s emergence on the stock exchange

        It’s important to denounce the financialization and commodification of water, Marion Veber, Indigenous people program officer at Fondation Danielle Mitterrand, told Devex. “Water is a common good so it cannot be privatized or [be] an object of speculation.”

        FDM, End Water Poverty, and Coalition Eau spearheaded a petition earlier in the year, pushing for public authorities to make listing water on the commodity market illegal and for people to refuse control by financial stakeholders.

        The petition garnered support from over 560 organizations and the next step is to take it to U.N. Special Rapporteur Pedro Arrojo-Agudo and try to lobby United States public officials on the issue, said Al-Hassan Adam, international coordinator at End Water Poverty.

      • The once and future mass-resignation and what it means for working people

        The failure to force workers back into the fields left landholders unable to profit from their lands, prompting sell-offs that created the middle class. Real incomes doubled. This is a pattern that follows every pandemic, according to an NBER paper that found that after every pandemic, wages shoot up and the return on capital tanks: [...]

      • Nevada Civil Forfeiture: Highway Robbery in Reno: Nevada Cops Use Civil Forfeiture To Steal A Veteran’s Life Savings

        On his drive from Texas to California, a Nevada Highway Patrol officer engineered a reason to pull him over, saying that he passed too closely to a tanker truck. The officer who pulled Stephen over complimented his driving but nevertheless prolonged the stop and asked a series of questions about Stephen’s life and travels. Stephen told the officer that his life savings was in the trunk. Another group of officers arrived, and Stephen gave them permission to search his car. They found a backpack with Stephen’s money, just where he said it would be, along with receipts showing all his bank withdrawals. After a debate amongst the officers, which was recorded on body camera footage, they decided to seize his life savings.

        The officers did not arrest Stephen or charge him with any crime. They just took his life savings and left him on the side of the road without enough money to even afford gas to drive home.

        Since then, months have passed and the DEA has missed the deadlines set by federal law for it to either return the money or file a case explaining what the government believes Stephen did wrong. Despite that, the DEA continues to hold on to Stephen’s money.

      • A SWAT Team Blew Up This Innocent Woman’s House and Cost Her Over $50,000. The City Tried To Stop Her From Suing.

        SWAT agents soon arrived. They set off explosives to open the garage entryway, detonated tear gas grenades inside the building, ran over Baker’s fence with an armored vehicle, and ripped off her front door, despite being given a garage door opener, a code to the back gate, and a key to the home. The house was unlivable when they were through.

      • Malaysian state’s Sharia law criminalizes conversion from Islam

        Authorities in the northeast state made effective the Kelantan Syariah (Sharia) Criminal Code (I) Enactment 2019 on Nov. 1, local media reported.

        The new laws are based on amendments to the Syariah Criminal Code (II) 1993 and the existing 1985 Syariah Criminal Code. Sultan Muhammad V, the head of the state, agreed and passed the new laws in July last year.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Even As Grifters Insist Otherwise, Courts Know That Social Media Are Not State Actors Because Of Section 230

        Over the last few years we’ve heard a lot of nonsense claiming that Section 230 somehow magically turns social media into state actors. This idea, pushed heavily by disgraced law professor Jed Rubenfeld has not fared well in court. As law professor Eric Goldman highlights, multiple courts have been easily rejecting these claims. Notably, they’re mostly citing the failed lawsuit from PragerU that insisted that a very light touch moderation (filtering out a very small percentage of their videos from the even smaller percentage of users who turn on “restricted mode”) was a form of censorship. The 9th Circuit pointed out that the 1st Amendment says otherwise (which is amusing since Prager himself pretends to be a big supporter of the 1st Amendment).

      • The Internet Needs Fair Rules of the Road – and Competitive Drivers

        As the agencies moves forward, fully staffed at last, we hope they will both recognize the role they can play in promoting net neutrality – meaning, in preventing ISPs from taking advantage of their effective gatekeeping roles to favor some services over others. Most people think of net neutrality as the province of the FCC, at least at the federal level. But that view loses sight of a prior problem: lack of competition in the ISP space. U.S. residents pay more than most of our peers around the world for internet access—and get less for our money. One reason for that is that roughly half of us have no choice when it comes to broadband access. Our providers have no incentive to do better. And that, in turn, is one reason we need net neutrality rules.

        If we had a competitive broadband market, we might not need net neutrality rules, or at least not so many. But we don’t. If we had good net neutrality rules, the lack of competition might be less dangerous. Right now, in most places, we have neither. Instead, a few major companies—AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and the like—have enormous power over our access to essential services, power they can use, in turn, to manipulate our online experience promoting or prioritizing some services over others.

        As it currently stands, the large ISPs have no incentive to make their services better. As near-monopolies, they know that between the option of no internet and bad internet, customers will pick expensive, slow internet. Without other companies offering better services or better terms, there is no reason for these companies to shoulder the costs of improving either one. Why take the initial hit to your profits to build something new when you don’t have to do it to get new customers?

      • Senator Tillis To President Biden: How Dare You Nominate To The FCC Someone Prepared To Protect The Public

        Senator Tillis penned a letter to President Biden this week that is breathtaking in its obtuseness. In it, he demanded that the President withdraw the nomination of Gigi Sohn to the FCC for having championed the longstanding ability of the public to receive over-the-air signals on public airwaves. Or, in other words, for having done exactly what we should want an FCC commissioner, tasked with the stewardship of the nation’s spectrum, to do.

      • Walt Disney, Comcast Strike Multi-Year Carriage Deal

        The companies said they “have renewed their content carriage agreement and will continue to make Disney’s robust lineup of sports, news, kids, family and general entertainment programming available to Xfinity TV customers.” Additionally, “Comcast will distribute the ACC Network to its Xfinity customers, allowing fans and followers of the Atlantic Coast Conference to access the multiplatform network in the coming weeks,” they said.

      • Can you safely parse a double when you need a float?

        When you are reading these numbers from a string, there are distinct functions. In C, you have strtof and strtod. One parses a string to a float and the other function parses it to a double.

      • Space War

        The first time I wrote Space War was in 1978. I wrote it in Alcom, which was a simple derivative of Focal, which was an analog of Basic for the PDP-8. The computer was an M365 which was an augmented version of a PDP-8 and was proprietery to Teradyne, my employer at the time.

        The UI was screen based, using character graphics, similar to curses. Screen updates took on the order of a second. All input was through the keyboard.

        We used to play it on one machine while waiting for a compile on another.

        Forty years later, in September of 2018, I started working on this version of Space War. It’s an animated GUI driven system with a frame rate of 30fps. It is written entirely in Clojure and uses the Quil shim for the Processing GUI framework.

      • Detecting topics in mails, tweets, etc.: How to create a text classification algorithm in R

        There are a lot of other different use cases, but I hope you get the idea. The technical term of what we are going to do is topic classification (or text classification). This is a sub-field of natural language processing (NLP) in machine learning. This method differs from other text mining techniques which are unsupervised machine learning methods. Unsupervised means that without any human input, an algorithm analyzes the provided text and outputs, e.g., clusters of texts based on their general similarity or topics (look into, e.g., topic modelling with latent dirichlet analysis, similar to principal component analysis (or factor analysis)).

        Here, by contrast, we are using a supervised method. This means that the algorithm is not figuring out by itself what kind of topics your customers write about in their e-mails. Rather, you use a (sufficiently high) number of examples where you yourself tell the machine “this text is about topic A”, and “that text is about topic B”.

    • Monopolies

      • Big Telecom Continues Its Global Quest To Tax Big Tech For No Good Reason

        A few months back we noted how FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr had taken to Newsweek to dust off a fifteen year old AT&T talking point. Namely that “big tech” companies get a “free ride” on telecom networks, and, as a result, should throw billions of dollars at “big telecom” for no real reason. You’ll recall it was this exact argument that launched the net neutrality debate, when former AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre proclaimed that Google wouldn’t be allowed to “ride his pipes for free.” Basically, telecom giants have long wanted somebody else to fund network builds they routinely leave half finished despite billions in subsidies.

      • Facebook’s Secret “Dangerous Organizations and Individuals” List Creates Problems for the Company—and Its Users

        While the list included many of the usual suspects, it also contained a number of charities and hospitals, as well as several musical groups, some of whom were likely surprised to find themselves lumped together with state-designated terrorist organizations. The leaked document demonstrated the opaque and seemingly arbitrary nature of Facebook’s rulemaking.

        Tricky business

        Let’s begin with an example: In August, as the Taliban gained control over Afghanistan and declared its intent to re-establish the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the role of the Internet—and centralized social media platforms in particular—became an intense focus of the media. Facebook was of particular focus, both for the safety features it offered to Afghans and for the company’s strong stance toward the Taliban.

      • UK regulator orders Facebook to sell Giphy

        The Competition and Markets Authority’s decision comes after consultation with interested businesses and organisations, and study of potential solutions from Facebook itself.

        The CMA last month fined the social media giant, whose parent company is now known as Meta Platforms Inc, more than £50 million ($66 million) for deliberately failing to provide details of its takeover.

      • Meta Must Sell Giphy, U.K. Regulator Says

        Facebook parent Meta must sell GIF-sharing platform Giphy to avoid potential harm to consumers and marketers, Britain’s competition watchdog said on Tuesday.

      • Patents

        • Patent Monopolies and High Prices are Not Necessary for New Drugs

          “The company [Vertex, which bought up the rights to the drug] will not announce a price for its diabetes treatment until it is approved. But it is likely to be expensive. Like other companies, Vertex has enraged patients with high prices for drugs that are difficult and expensive to make.”

          There are two important points here. First, the high prices are not the result of drugs being “difficult and expensive to make.” It is unlikely that the drug referred to in the linked piece, Orkambi, a treatment for cystic fibrosis, costs Vertex even one-tenth the $270,000 sale price. The price is due to the fact that the drug is ostensibly a cure for a debilitating disease, and Vertex owns a government-granted patent monopoly on it, and then is allowed to charge what it wants.

        • Opinion | Global Pandemic Will Rage Until WTO Approves Vaccine Patent Waiver

          If international organizations are subject to karma, last week’s abrupt postponement of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference, the body’s first major decision-making gathering in four years, was fated to be. News of the emergence of Omicron, the latest coronavirus variant, not only caused the meeting to be delayed but it also shined a light on how the international community has failed to get the virus under control.

      • Copyrights

        • Eight open GLAM case studies selected: discover the successful projects and their leaders!

          In October 2021, Creative Commons launched a call for case studies on open access in cultural institutions, such as galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAMs), from low-capacity, non-Western institutions, or representing marginalized, underrepresented communities from various regions.

          The aim of the open call was to help generate a more global, inclusive, and equitable picture and understanding of open GLAM, highlighting the needs and expectations of a variety of communities and institutions from diverse regions and backgrounds. We hope the outcomes will provide some insights to guide the development of avenues of engagement with the global open GLAM community.

        • Pirate TV Software Dev Jailed For 2.5 Years For Fraud & Copyright Offenses

          In June 2019 the popular Supremacy Kodi add-on repository went down after being targeted by UK police. Its operator, Stephen Millington from Winsford, was arrested and charged with multiple copyright infringement and fraud offenses after enabling illegal access to BT Sport and Sky content. The 42-year-old has now been sentenced to two and a half years’ imprisonment.

        • “John Doe” Accuses BitTorrent Copyright Troll of Using Menacing Pressure Tactics

          A man accused of downloading adult movies via BitTorrent has hit back at ‘copyright troll’ Strike 3 Holdings. In a filing at the federal court of Maryland, the defendant denies any wrongdoing. Instead, he accuses Strike 3 of contempt of court, as a process server allegedly pressured him into a settlement negotiation, violating a court order.

        • Take-Two Interactive Appears To Be Morphing From Game Publisher Into IP Troll

          There is this thing that sometimes happens to companies that are wildly successful where they stop focusing so much on making the things that made them successful and turn instead to intellectual property trolling. Think Atari, for instance. Atari was once a behemoth in the gaming industry, but have since been reduced to trying to bully and/or sue everyone who comes even remotely close to referencing one of its properties, rather than making any real hay in the industry.

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    Links for the day



  25. Scientific Excellence and the Debian Social Contract

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



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

    Links for the day



  27. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 13, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 13, 2022



  28. 2022 Commences With Microsoft-Themed (and Microsoft-Connected) FUD Against GNU/Linux

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



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

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



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

    Links for the day


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