12.04.21

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 4/12/2021: Turnip Becomes Vulkan 1.1 Conformant

Posted in News Roundup at 7:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Kernel Space

      • Xen and the art of hypervisor upgrades

        The Xen Project has delivered an upgrade to its hypervisor.

        Version 4.16 was announced yesterday by developer and maintainer Ian Jackson, capping a nine-month effort that saw four release candidates emerge in November 2021 prior to launch.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Danylo Piliaiev: :tada: Turnip is Vulkan 1.1 Conformant :tada:

          Khronos submission indicating Vulkan 1.1 conformance for Turnip on Adreno 618 GPU.

          It is a great feat, especially for a driver which is created without hardware documentation. And we support features far from the bare minimum required for conformance.

          But first of all, I want to thank and congratulate everyone working on the driver: Connor Abbott, Rob Clark, Emma Anholt, Jonathan Marek, Hyunjun Ko, Samuel Iglesias. And special thanks to Samuel Iglesias and Ricardo Garcia for tirelessly improving Khronos Vulkan Conformance Tests.

        • Open-Source Qualcomm “Turnip” Driver Achieves Vulkan 1.1 Conformance, Fixes For DXVK Use – Phoronix

          TURNIP as the open-source Mesa Vulkan driver for Qualcomm Adreno graphics hit a new official milestone this week.

          The Khronos Group has certified the results submission for Mesa’s TURNIP driver running on the Qualcomm Adreno 618 as conformant for the Vulkan 1.1 specification.

    • Applications

      • Preparing for PipeWire » Linux Magazine

        In the coming year, PipeWire will replace PulseAudio resulting in better audio on Linux. If you can’t wait, here’s what you need to know to get started with PipeWire.

        Unless you use a version of Fedora released in 2021, you may not have heard of PipeWire. However, by this time next year, PipeWire will likely be installed on your computer. Already, many distributions are starting to carry PipeWire (marked as experimental) in their repositories. Still unfinished with its installation varied depending on distribution, PipeWire is about to replace PulseAudio as Linux’s main audio server. If you are unwilling to wait until PipeWire becomes a standard part of a Linux installation, here is what you should know.

        PipeWire was created by Wim Taymans of Red Hat in 2015. Based on an earlier project called PulseVideo, PipeWire was originally intended as a server for capture and playback of audio and video. The video side of the project is still in development, but the audio side is mature enough that in the spring of 2021 Fedora 34 become the first Linux distribution to install it by default. In Fedora 34, PipeWire is used to manage PulseAudio, JACK, ALSA, and GStreamer-based applications.

      • 17 Best Free and Open Source Wallpaper Setters – LinuxLinks

        Do you find your Linux desktop background rather mundane but have problems in finding attractive wallpapers?

        That’s where automatic wallpaper changes can help. And many wallpaper tools access online sources which make it easy to liven up your desktop. They can find and download awesome wallpapers and change them periodically. Some wallpaper tools even support live wallpapers.

        Here’s our recommendations. All of the tools are free and open source goodness.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Making sure symlinks work on CIFS/SMB mounted shares

        As it turns out, since my NAS supports only SMB2 and SMB3, I had to add mfsymlinks to the opts so I would be able to create symlinks in the mounted shares: [...]

      • What To Do After Installing Guix Desktop System

        This is a collection of suggestions you can practice right after installing Guix GNOME System. Let’s start!

      • How to Deploy Pi-Hole on Debian 11 – Unixcop the Unix / Linux the admins deams

        Hello, friends. In this post, you will learn how to install and deploy Pi-Hole using Docker. This way you will have another valid alternative to enjoy this great tool.

      • How to install PHP 8.1 on CentOS 8/RHEL 8 – NextGenTips

        In today’s guide, we are going to learn how to install PHP 8.1 on CentOS 8/RHEL 8

        PHP is a general-purpose scripting language suitable for web development.

      • What Is ‘Apt-Get’ In Linux? – Fossbytes

        Despite being accused of “hard to use” operating system, GNU/Linux OSes are fantastic free alternatives to Windows and macOS. Despite the growing list of Linux distributions, Linux is now as straightforward and intuitive as other operating systems. Unlike Windows, which only allows you to install apps from .exe files and the Windows Store, Linux has APT (Advanced Package Tool), which handles the installation and removal of packages/apps in the operating system.

        If you want to install a program on Linux, you’ll need to use the term apt-get, but what exactly is it, and what does it do? In this article, let’s sudo apt get-started to find out what apt-get is.

      • Convert audio in batches on Linux with SoundConverter | Opensource.com

        There are many file formats used to store digital audio, and they’re good for different purposes. Digital audio is, of course, only a representation of sound, a rendering of soundwaves that get translated into sound by a decoder and a set of speakers. Some audio formats, generically called lossless formats, aim to encode audio close to its original analog form. Still, there’s a lot of data in the real world, and as yet, digital can only approximate it in very large files. Other audio formats, called lossy formats, balance file size with a reasonable representation of sound.

        There are plenty of great terminal commands for audio conversion. There’s sox and ffmpeg and a handful of format-specific encoders, like opusenc, flac, oggenc, fdkaac, wavpack, and countless others.

      • DHCP client configuration for Linux, Windows and macOS

        IP addresses serve as one of the primary ways of identifying nodes on the network. Administrators use these logical addresses to place devices on the network in specific segments, control access to the devices via routers and firewalls, and map network devices for client machines.

      • Install a graphical package manager on Kali Linux 2021.3 – LinuxBSDos.com

        If you used my last tutorial to install Kali Linux 2021.3 on your MacBook Air in dual-boot fashion with Ubuntu 20.04, I’m sure you noticed that there’s no graphical package manager installed by default on Kali Linux. I noticed that too, but GNOME Software, the first one I installed and the default graphical package manager for the GNOME desktop, is broken. Couldn’t get it to find me anything. Its image is what you see in the featured image above.

      • K3XEC | Transmitting BPSK symbols (Part 2/5)

        This post is part of a series called “PACKRAT”. If this is the first post you’ve found, it’d be worth reading the intro post first and then looking over all posts in the series.
        In the last post, we worked through what IQ is, and different formats that it may be sent or received in. Let’s take that and move on to Transmitting BPSK using IQ data!

        When we transmit and receive information through RF using an SDR, data is traditionally encoded into a stream of symbols which are then used by a program to modulate the IQ stream, and sent over the airwaves.

      • Chromium and Raspberry PI 4: Increase Performances with Cache on RAM Disk

        With the new Raspberry PI computer models having much more RAM, improving Chromium performance can be a core goal for people using it as Desktop computer. To achieve this, a good practice is moving cache on a RAMDisk

        In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to move Chromium cache into a new RAM disk partition with Raspberry PI 4 and OS Desktop.

      • Quick video editing on Linux with Flowblade | Opensource.com

        Do you have videos you need to cut together but find video editing applications too complex? Flowblade is a minimal video editing application designed to enable you to assemble a cut of your video quickly and easily.

        Video editing can be challenging. There’s a lot to think about, lots of footage to review, a story you want to tell, and there’s the software you have to learn on top of everything else. However, there’s a common conundrum at play here: Most people only need about 80% of what’s possible in video editing applications, and you can implement that 80% of everyday editing tasks with about 50% of the resources a big “professional” editor uses. That’s where Flowblade really excels. It’s a simple editor that can do all the basic tasks you need, plus quite a bit more. However, it focuses on the essentials so you can get started editing right away, and you’re never likely to be overwhelmed by menu selections you may never use, much less understand.

    • Games

      • The 15 Best Games to Play on Your Chromebook in 2021

        The Chromebook is becoming a more and more robust laptop option by the year. With increasing crossover functionality for both Linux and Android, it now has access to a plethora of apps and games that in the past would have been unthinkable.

        This list is largely made up of games you can download from the Play Store, too, because every Chromebook released for a good few years now has native Android functionality. We want to reflect what’s available to the majority of Chromebook users today, and we’ve checked to see that the below games work well on most modern Chromebooks.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • This week in KDE: New Spectacle features and tons of bugfixes – Adventures in Linux and KDE

          Ark can now open zip archives that contain malformed PHP files (Albert Astals Cid, Ark 21.12)

          Dolphin now displays the correct data when you create a folder while filtering the view (Eduardo Cruz, Dolphin 22.04)

          Opening .m3u* playlist files in Elisa using the file manager now works properly (Bharadwaj Raju, Elisa 22.04)

          Task Manager tooltips for single-window-non-web-browser apps that are playing media but don’t display the media name in the window title once again show album art instead of a window thumbnail (Bharadwaj Raju, Plasma 5.23.4)

          Bluetooth status is now saved on logout when using the “remember” option (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.23.5)

          Plasma panels now load faster on login and look less visually glitchy while doing so (David Edmundson, Plasma 5.23.5)

          Discover no longer crashes when you open the description page of a Flatpak app you just removed (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.24)

          Discover is now faster to check for Flatpak app updates (Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Plasma 5.24)

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • sizable news

          For the upcoming GTK 4.6, we have overhauled a lot of the sizing infrastructure to make widgets fit even tighter and to make sure our sizing infrastructure actually does what it says.

          When using the GtkWidget::halign or GtkWidget::valign properties, GTK 4.4 would look at the default size of the widget and then place the widget accordingly. This leaves a lot of extra space when one of the values was set to fill. In GTK 4.6, GTK will measure the size of the other dimension relative to the filled dimension. This makes the widget thinner but avoids extra space.

        • A Quick PSA on Writing Portal-friendly Application Code

          For various reasons, desktop applications sometimes need to know whether they are running under a sandbox made by a technology such as Flatpak or Snap. Some portal APIs, such as the file chooser dialog, are used transparently so that the application code doesn’t need to make any distinction between the sandboxed and unsandboxed cases, and if you ask me that’s a pretty impressive magic trick on its own. Other portal APIs such as the screencast one are used by both sandboxed and unsandboxed apps thanks to the secure architecture of Wayland compositors. But still other portal APIs are used conditionally depending on whether the app is running sandboxed; this is the case for the OpenURI portal used by Epiphany.

        • Text Editor Happenings

          Text Editor has really been shaping up in the past couple weeks as we race towards getting things ready for GNOME 42.

          We removed the preferences sidebar experiment because it was a bit clunky and none of the other core apps shared the design metaphor. Instead we’ve brought back a preferences dialog, albeit with an improved design. It builds on the previous GtkSourceStyleSchemePreview work but with a filtered set based on the current light/dark desktop setting.

    • Distributions

      • Linux distribution NixOS in version 21.11 released [Ed: Automated translation in Market Research Telecast]

        In version 21.11 with the name “Porcupine”, the developers of the Linux distribution NixOS, which is based on the NIX package manager, have updated numerous packages, but also made changes under the hood. The distribution is not necessarily suitable for beginners. It creates a certain complexity through the approach of securing every change and thus being able to go back to any status.

        The central component, the NIX package management, remains at status 2.3.16, as newer versions have proven to be unstable. Other changes affect iptables, for example, which now works with nf_tables in the backend. The new version also has KDE Plasma on Wayland on board, Gnome has been upgraded to version 41, and PHP to 8.0. Other versions are now Python 3.9, PostgreSQL 13, systemd 249 and OpenSSH 8.8p1.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • EPEL 9 is now available

          On behalf of the EPEL Steering Committee, I’m pleased to announce the availability of EPEL 9. This is the culmination of five months of work between the EPEL Steering Committee, the Fedora Infrastructure and Release Engineering team, and other contributors. Package maintainers can now request dist-git branches, trigger Koji builds, and submit Bodhi updates for EPEL 9 packages.

          Instructions to enable the EPEL repository are available in our documentation. If there is a Fedora package you would like to see added to EPEL 9, please let the relevant package maintainer know with a package request.

        • Friday’s Fedora Facts: 2021-48 – Fedora Community Blog

          Here’s your weekly Fedora report. Read what happened this week and what’s coming up. Your contributions are welcome (see the end of the post)!

          Fedora Linux 33 reached end of life on Tuesday. The F35 retrospective survey is open through 4 December.

          I have weekly office hours on Wednesdays in the morning and afternoon (US/Eastern time) in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else. See the upcoming meetings for more information.

        • Red Hat response to Java release cadence change

          Red Hat has been a contributor to OpenJDK since its inception, and we are currently one of the most significant contributors to the OpenJDK project, both as developers of new versions and as maintainers of OpenJDK 8u and 11u. In addition to being a core developer of the Java Platform, Red Hat is also a heavy consumer of Java technology through our suite of Java-based Middleware and Application Services.

          We welcome an analysis of current practices regarding the life cycle of Java releases to understand how Java consumers can be better served. Although the recent cadence changes announced by Oracle to move to a 2-year LTS cycle pertain solely to their proprietary JDK version, this will have an impact on OpenJDK distribution life cycles as well. This is because OpenJDK distributions have chosen to follow the same LTS cycle as the proprietary Oracle JDK to maintain consistency and reduce fragmentation of version usage in the industry.

        • Davie Street Enterprises becomes an AI company

          Davie Street Enterprises (DSE), our fictional case study company, has taken a great leap toward the edge and is using the data collected from the edge to perform predictive maintenance and improve its unplanned downtime and line resilience.

          Once the edge project was completed, DSE saw unplanned downtime reduced by 50%—far above what it had expected. Although the project was a success, it wasn’t without its challenges. There were many delays as the company figured out the data requirements.

          DSE also had to upgrade many sensors to ensure that it could get the quality data required to get the correct results. In DSE’s digital transformation, this was a huge step forward in making it an artificial intelligence (AI) company.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Frame – A picture is worth a thousand snaps | Ubuntu

          The development of graphical applications intended for use on IoT devices isn’t trivial. The complexity goes beyond the usual challenges that exist in the classic desktop and server domains. One, the IoT world is much less mature. Two, developers need to take into consideration various edge cases that do not apply to hands-on devices like laptops, for instance. Kiosks, industrial displays and digital signage devices require additional focus and rigor.

          Ubuntu Frame is a solution designed to simplify and streamline the build and development of products that need graphical output. On a technical level, it is a fullscreen shell, based on Wayland, intended for interactive usage applications. On a product level, Ubuntu Frame bundles communication protocols, input protocols and security policies into a single kit, which can then be used in IoT devices. You can test it today.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • LoRa HAT starts at $31

        SB Components is crowdfunding a $31-and-up “LoRa HAT for Raspberry Pi” with a 5-Km range at 868MHz or 433MHz. There is also a $47 “LoRa Expansion for Pico” board with a pre-soldered RPi Pico.

        Raspberry Pi milliner SB Components, which is behind such RPi HATs as the PiFinger fingerprint sensor HAT, has won Kickstarter funding for a simple, low-cost LoRa communications HAT. The LoRa HAT for Raspberry Pi is still available in a super early bird special for 23 UK Pounds ($31), as well as an identical 30-Pound ($40) package discounted from the eventual 40-Pound retail price.

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • SiFive Performance P650 RISC-V core to outperform Arm Cortex-A77 performance per mm2 – CNX Software

          About six months have passed since the SiFive announcement of the Performance P550 “fastest 64-bit RISC-V processor” ever, and the company has now introduced an even faster RISC-V core with the Performance P650 that’s expected to match Cortex-A77 performance.

          Building upon the Performance P550 design, the SiFive Performance P650 is scalable to sixteen cores using a coherent multicore complex, and delivers a 40% performance increase per clock cycle based on SiFive engineering estimated performance in SPECInt2006/GHz, thanks to an expansion of the processor’s instruction-issue width. The company compares P650 to the Arm family by saying it “maintains a significant performance-per-area advantage compared to the Arm Cortex-A77”.

        • On servers maybe moving to M.2 NVMe drives for their system drives

          We’ve been looking into getting some new servers (partly because a number of our existing Dell R210 IIs are starting to fail). Although we haven’t run into this yet ourselves, one of the things we’ve heard in the process of this investigation is that various lines of basic servers are trying to move to M.2 NVMe system disks instead of 3.5″ or 2.5″ disks. People are generally unhappy about this, for a number of reasons including that these are not fancy hot-swappable M.2 NVMe, just basic motherboard plug-in M.2.

        • One way a builder culture can fail

          I’ve told some stories about what happens when you end up at a company that builds nothing and instead rents everything from some vendor. Given that, it’s only fair that I describe something bad that can happen at a company which is known for building stuff.

        • Count down to Christmas with the Arduino-powered Hackvent Calendar | Arduino Blog

          Along with the typical Christmas decorations of trees and elves sitting on shelves Tom Goff was motivated to build a DIY “Hackvent” calendar after being inspired by his son’s request for one. The design differed from the traditional Advent calendar in that it features an array of 25 lights, one for each day, that light up sequentially whenever a button is pressed. After the final day is reached, the system begins to play a song and makes the lights dance around.

          To create the calendar’s housing, Goff designed a 2D panel with cutouts for all the LEDs and an additional one for a single button. After laser cutting a piece of plywood, he got to work coming up with a circuit. The components included an Arduino Mega, 25 LEDs and resistors that are directly driven by the Mega’s GPIO pins, an ISD 1760 module that plays music from its embedded ROM, and a small 2W speaker.

        • Schematic-o-matic automatically creates KiCAD schematics from your breadboard | Arduino Blog

          Breadboards are the first tool you break out in any prototyping journey and almost every project will utilize a breadboard at some point. Those breadboards often turn into a rats’ nest of overlapping wires that are difficult to trace, which makes it difficult to create an accurate schematic when it is time to design your PCB. To make your life easier, Nick Bild came up with a script that analyzes your physical breadboard to automatically generate a KiCAD schematic.

          A breadboard is, at its core, a series of connectors. This script’s purpose is to identify every connection and associate it with the corresponding pin on a component. It is able to do that using a special breadboard that has every row of pins connected to an Arduino Due board I/O pin. A Python script running on a connected PC then checks every row for continuity. The user then inputs the component located at connection, and the script will draw a KiCAD schematic with wires between every component’s pins.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • You can now shoot true RAW video with your smartphone thanks to open source app MotionCam

        Well, this is pretty exciting. At least, it’s exciting if you have an Android phone – sorry iPhone users!. The newest version of the open-source camera app, MotionCam, now lets you shoot 10-Bit CinemaDNG RAW video files straight from your Android device. It should be noted that the feature is still experimental and definitely needs a few features tweaking and refining, but it works… with caveats.

        The MotionCam software, as mentioned, is open source. It’s available in the Google Play store, but you can also always download and install the latest version from GitHub – and at the moment, you will need to go to GitHub to get the newest version with raw video capability. Here’s a sample recording using the new CinemaDNG raw video feature of the app.

      • FSFE

        • Infrastructure living the ideals of software freedom – FSFE

          Can organisations with limited resources be digitally sovereign and still provide modern services? It is not trivial, but the FSFE proves it’s possible. Take a deep dive with us into our infrastructure to learn how we run all the different services within the FSFE and cope with numerous challenges. A story non only for techies.

          Charity, non-profit organisations run into limits every day: personnel, budget, time, and the pressing question how to use donations most efficiently. When it comes to technical infrastructure, many organisations unfortunately decide to outsource and use proprietary, non-free services. By this, they give up software freedom and thereby digital sovereignty and independence.

          Since its founding more than 20 years ago, the FSFE has been pursuing the opposite way. Right from the start, we have relied on Free Software although it sometimes meant not being able to use and offer trendy services. Also, given the limited resources, we constantly have to choose between useful features and maintainability.

      • Programming/Development

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: littler 0.3.15 on CRAN: Package Updates

          The sixteenth release of littler as a CRAN package just landed, following in the now fifteen year history (!!) as a package started by Jeff in 2006, and joined by me a few weeks later.

          littler is the first command-line interface for R as it predates Rscript. It allows for piping as well for shebang scripting via #!, uses command-line arguments more consistently and still starts faster. It also always loaded the methods package which Rscript only started to do in recent years.

          littler lives on Linux and Unix, has its difficulties on macOS due to yet-another-braindeadedness there (who ever thought case-insensitive filesystems as a default were a good idea?) and simply does not exist on Windows (yet – the build system could be extended – see RInside for an existence proof, and volunteers are welcome!). See the FAQ vignette on how to add it to your PATH. A few examples are highlighted at the Github repo, as well as in the examples vignette.

        • Cdson

          Today, I’m announcing the release of my library cdson: a parser and serializer for the DSON data format in C. (As the name suggests, DSON is a bit like JSON, and I strongly prefer its usage to YAML.) While I’m many years late to this joke, in that time somehow no one had implemented a DSON library in C.

          [...]

          cdson takes this last route. 18 bits of code point is planes 1-3, which is actually everything except private use and alternate reps right now. But it also gates using \\u-escapes at all behind a flag.

          Writing cdson has amused me, but having finished the project does not mean the amusement must cease. cdson is open source software under the very permissive MPL; feel free to add it to projects if doing so would amuse you too. And if you need a defensible config file format, might I recommend anything that’s not YAML?

        • Perl/Raku

          • Writing a SNES assembler compiler/disassembler – Day 1

            Why ? Because I can. More seriously I have a project where I need to inject new Snes code in a running game and I want to express directly this new code in my Raku component (A webserver service). I want to have special sub that returns me Snes bytecode but that contains Snes assembler.

            I tried injecting a SLANG in Raku already. Like writing my $byte-code = SNES lda $42; sta $54; rtl; But it’s rather tricky and I will probably just have a additional Slang with its own grammar in a dedicated file.

  • Leftovers

    • Ending Latin America’s Sewage Decade

      The last few years of governance in Latin America have reeked of corruption, repression, and environmental degradation. They will go down in history as the Sewage Decade, thanks to Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, Iván Duque of Colombia, Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, Nayib Bukele of El Salvador, Jeanine Áñez of Bolivia, and Juan Orlando Hernández of Honduras.

      A number of these leaders are still in office. And Chileans may also wade into the waste water if they elect right-wing populist José Antonio Kast, who received the most votes in the first round of presidential elections last month.

    • Reflecting on the Dawn of Everything

      Neither Hobbes nor Rousseau was right, nor ever claimed to be, not in the sense of describing actual people and events.

      There exists no pattern of human societies progressing by stages from nomadic small groups of hunter-gatherers too dumb to have a system of government, to settled urban farmers inevitably under the boots of tyrants, to practically white industrialists, to full-blown democrats and NATO members eager to devastate ecosystems and stockpile nuclear weapons.

    • The Orange Blossom Special Hits the Haight

      For example, the Grateful Dead first performed Cash’s “Big River” on New Year’s Eve in 1971. Other country songs by Marty Robbins and Merle Haggard were either already part of the band’s repertoire or would soon become part of it. In an oft-told story, the Byrds would mutate once again after the Sweetheart of the Rodeo album, with Gram Parsons leaving the band along with Chris Hillman. Parsons and Hillman would dive deep into country music, while the Byrds continued to create their own share of what was being labeled country rock. As anyone who was listening to FM rock radio in the 1970s knows, the genre became quite popular. From Willie Nelson and the outlaw music scene in Texas to bands like Poco and performers like Linda Ronstadt, country rock made a fair amount of money for a few record labels. The genre would eventually move further into the country realm and by the late 1980s, it seemed like the country rock genre was mere history, like new wave eventually became.

      However, booking Johnny Cash at the Carousel in 1968 was a bold move. Country musicians—even those who had a bit of hip credibility like Cash—played county fairs, not hippie dancehalls where LSD and marijuana was used fairly openly (for 1967 anyhow). Cash’s career was in a bit of a down spin prior to the tour this show was ostensibly part of. His problems with methamphetamine were public knowledge and a matter of concern to his fans, management and family. As it turned out, publicly announcing his affair with June Carter, divorcing his wife and marrying Carter of the Carter Family would mark the beginning of his redemption. Indeed, he publicly proclaimed his Christian rebirth in 1968. His amphetamine use would diminish, as would his drinking.

    • Education

      • After being fired from Google, Gebru forms AI research institute

        Artificial Intelligence (AI) researcher Timnit Gebru, fired from Google after sending an email of concern to her Ethical AI team, has set up her own research institute that will be an independent, community-rooted institute set to counter Big Tech’s pervasive influence on the research, development and deployment of AI.

    • Hardware

      • Building the DIY HP41C: A Field Report

        I have a confession to make. I write about a lot of projects for Hackaday, but there are very few I read about and then go actually build a copy of it. I don’t have a lot of time and I’m usually too busy building my own stuff. But once in a while, something strikes my fancy and I’ll either raid the junk box or buy the kit. The most recent case of that was the PX-41C, a replica of the classic HP-41C.

      • Booting Up The Cash Register

        Computers didn’t immediately lend themselves to retail, but ambitious early computer retailers sold ‘em anyway. Eventually, they got trampled.

        [...]

        The modern computer store, as I’ve argued in the past, is a bit of a mess. It’s all about the hard sell (in a gigantic box) at the cost of any personality whatsoever. (Micro Center notwithstanding; that place is great.) It was so bad that Apple (and later, Microsoft, though not permanently) had to create its own self-branded stores to ensure their products were seen in the proper light. This is kind of painful, of course, because personal computers were really the domain of the hobbyist at first. But all too quickly, and perhaps not best for the consumer, that all changed. Tonight’s Tedium ponders the birth of computer retail and why the mom-and-pop byte peddler lost out.

      • Mechanical keyboard ASMR is my favourite genre • The Register

        Discerning writers and programmers know that keyboards matter. It’s mostly the feel, but the best feel tends to come from mechanical key switches and they make a noise as they activate.

        That feeling goes hand in hand with a chorus of soft clicks… and thanks to custom keyboard guru Taeha “Nathan” Kim and weirdo label Trunk Records, you can relax to 43 minutes and 24 seconds of soothing sounds from 13 rare and limited-edition mechanical keyboards.

        Your correspondent is a bit of a fan of devices like this (this piece was typed on a 1991 IBM Model M; accept no substitute) – but no such brash, commonplace kit features on the album. Instead you can luxuriate to the Alps switches of a 1987 Apple Standard (why, yes, I do happen to have one of those too, but the linear cursor keys hinder daily use), and an M0110A from a Mac Plus, as well as more exotic kit.

      • The Safest Model Roller Coaster | Hackaday

        [Jared Holladay] is a computer engineering student at the University of Cincinnati and a life-long roller coaster fanatic. A lot of people look at roller coasters as an exciting example of physics, like potential energy versus kinetic energy or inertia, and rightly so. [Jared] looks at them and wonders about the controls. Video also below and there is a feature-length explanation with more details. Some Hackaday readers and writers can identify the components, so we think his coaster model belongs here.

        Like many folks in this field, he’s built K’nex models to get a handle on construction. He’s toured STEM shows with the tracks and undoubtedly wowed kids, adults, and physics teachers, but since he can speak to the programming, he is a triple threat. Now, he’s growing out of the toy construction plastic and moving into 3D printed parts with needle-fine tolerances.

      • This Ham Radio Is Unsafe At Any Frequency | Hackaday

        When we were kids we rode bicycles without pads and helmets. We drank sugary drinks. We played with chemistry sets and power tools. We also built things that directly used AC line current. [Mike] remembers and built one, presumably more to discuss the safety precautions around things that can shock you and not entice you to duplicate it. He calls it The Retro QRP Widowmaker, if that’s any kind of a hint. (Video of this unsafe transmitter also embedded below.)

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • Health Minister Says ‘Highly Transmissible’ Omicron Hitting Young Children Hard in South Africa

        Top government health officials in South Africa briefed the press on Friday regarding the Omicron variant, warning that the country’s newest wave of Covid-19 infections has included an alarmingly sharp rise in hospital admissions among young children under the age of five.

        “The younger children, younger than 12, who were not eligible for vaccination—none of their parents, except for three, were vaccinated.”

      • Sanders Calls on Biden to Slash ‘Outrageous’ Medicare Premium Hike

        Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday implored President Joe Biden to step in and prevent a looming Medicare premium hike stemming from the Food and Drug Administration’s widely condemned approval of an expensive—and possibly ineffective—Alzheimer’s drug.

        In a letter to the president, Sanders (I-Vt.) noted that the pharmaceutical company Biogen has placed a $56,000-per-year price tag on Adulhelm, a treatment that the FDA approved in June despite experts’ concerns about the dearth of evidence showing it actually works to slow Alzheimer’s-induced cognitive decline.

      • Public Health Experts Slam ‘Grossly Inadequate,’ Industry-Friendly Covid Test Reimbursement Scheme

        Despite the White House’s claim that its new Covid-19 strategy, unveiled Thursday, is “pulling out all the stops” to get the pandemic under control, public health experts and progressives are slamming the Biden administration for its “grossly inadequate” plan to push health insurance companies to reimburse people for rapid over-the-counter tests—a plan that will do nothing to encourage frequent testing, critics said.

        “This is where the U.S. is an international outlier. Making testing free is clearly a good idea.”

      • Opinion | Why Is This Pandemic Taking So Long? In One Word: Greed

        Stop me if this sounds familiar.

      • “The Facility”: Meet the Former Prisoner Who Details Fight for His Life Inside ICE Jail During COVID

        We go inside a notorious ICE jail at the height of the pandemic to see how people held there spoke out against dangerous conditions, and faced retaliation before they were ultimately released with no notice. Their story is captured in a new documentary called “The Facility.” It investigates the inhumane conditions at Irwin County Detention Center using footage from video calls, where cameras installed in cell blocks to enable pay-per-minute video calls “functioned almost like a portal for a moment in and out of a place meant not to be seen in this way,” says director, Seth Freed Wessler. “How can your own government be doing this to you?” asks Nilson Barahona-Marriaga, one of the people featured in interviews with Wessler in the eye-opening footage from inside the jail.

      • Newly Revealed Details Show That Missouri Government Totally Knew That Journalists Were Not At Fault For Teacher Data Vulnerability

        Kudos for open records laws proving to us that not only is Missouri Governor Mike Parson a technologically illiterate hack, but he’s a lying one as well. You’ll recall, of course, that in October, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on how the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) website was designed in such a dangerous way that it was exposing the social security numbers of state teachers and administrators, and rather than thanking the journalists for their ethical disclosure of this total security fail by the state, DESE and Governor Parson called them hackers and asked law enforcement to prosecute them. Governor Parson continued to double down for weeks, insisting that reporting this vulnerability (and failed security by the government he runs) was malicious hacking until DESE finally admitted it fucked up and apologized to the over 600,000 teachers and administrators whose data was vulnerable — but never apologizing to the journalists.

      • ‘Unconscionable’: Missouri Accused of Burying Analysis Showing Mask Mandates Save Lives

        An analysis by the Missouri health department showed that mask mandates reduce the spread of the coronavirus and save lives, but the findings weren’t made available until this week—and only due to a public records request by The Missouri Independent and the Documenting Covid-19 Project at the Brown Institute for Media Innovation.

        “It confirms for us what our public health experts have been saying, that masks are an effective tool for reducing community transmission.”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Who Is the Network Access Broker ‘Babam’?

          Rarely do cybercriminal gangs that deploy ransomware gain the initial access to the target themselves. More commonly, that access is purchased from a cybercriminal broker who specializes in acquiring remote access credentials — such as usernames and passwords needed to remotely connect to the target’s network. In this post we’ll look at the clues left behind by “Babam,” the handle chosen by a cybercriminal who has sold such access to ransomware groups on many occasions over the past few years.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Hyperledger Foundation 2021 End-of-Year Update

                In 2021, after six years of community building and expanding from two projects to 18 projects, to over 50 labs, 16 Special Interest and Working Groups, and over 200 members, Hyperledger became a Foundation.

                This newfound identity arches over all of its projects, labs, regional chapters, and community groups. Hyperledger Foundation is now leading the collective effort to advance enterprise blockchain technology and fulfill its mission to foster and coordinate the premier open source enterprise blockchain community.

                At Hyperledger Foundation, being open is core to what we do. We’re here to lead an open, global and welcoming enterprise blockchain ecosystem—a community where no contribution is seen as too small or insignificant. Our foundation comprises organizations, developers, executives, students, teachers, government leaders, and more. It’s supported by the Technical Steering Committee, various working groups, special interest groups, and Meetup communities all across the globe, now numbering more than 80,000 participants.

        • Security

          • New malware hides as legit nginx process on e-commerce servers

            eCommerce servers are being targeted with remote access malware that hides on Nginx servers in a way that makes it virtually invisible to security solutions.

            The threat received the name NginRAT, a combination of the application it targets and the remote access capabilities it provides and is being used in server-side attacks to steal payment card data from online stores.

          • Testing Phone-Sized Faraday Bags

            Back in the not-so-distant past, if you were patient and knowledgeable enough, you could reverse engineer the behavior of almost any electronic device simply by inspecting it carefully and understanding the circuitry. But those days are rapidly ending. Today, virtually every aspect of complex electronic hardware is controlled by microprocessors and software, and while that’s generally good news for functionality, it’s also bad news for security (and for having any chance of being sure what, exactly, your gadgets are doing, for that matter). For devices like smartphones, software runs almost every aspect of the user interface, including how and when it’s powered on and off, and, for that matter, what being “off” actually means.

            Complex software is, to put it mildly, hard to get right (for details, see almost any other posting on this or any other security blog). Especially for gadgets that are rich with microphones, cameras, location and environmental sensors, and communication links (such as, you know, smartphones), errors and security vulnerabilities in the software that controls them can have serious privacy implications.

            The difficulty of reliably turning software-based devices completely off is no longer merely a hypothetical issue. Some vendors have even recognized it as a marketable feature. For example, certain Apple iPhones will continue to transmit “Find My Device” tracking beacons even after they’ve ostensibly been powered off. Misbehaving or malicious software could enable similar behavior even on devices that don’t “officially” support it, creating the potential for malware that turns your phone into a permanently on surreptitious tracking device, no matter whether you think you’ve turned it off. Compounding these risks are the non-removable batteries used in many of the latest smartphones.

          • Netgear router vulnerabilities affecting SME products fixed • The Register

            Two arbitrary code execution vulnerabilities affecting a number of Netgear routers aimed at small businesses have been patched following research by Immersive Labs.

            The vulns rely on authenticated access to affected devices so aren’t an immediate threat. They do, however, allow someone with remote access to the router to pwn the device’s underlying OS, threatening the security of data passing through the router.

            Helpfully, Netgear itself publishes default login credentials for “most” of its products on its website. If you haven’t been into your Netgear router’s admin panel and changed these default creds, you’re at increased risk.

          • Netgear vulnerabilities could put small business routers at risk

            Netgear has released a set of updated firmware for multiple devices to resolve a number of security vulnerabilities responsibly disclosed by researchers at Immersive Labs. These could lead to unauthorized access to devices or modification of the internal filesystem that can be abused to affect traffic passing through the device.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Colorado Appeals Court Says A Drug Dog That Alerts On Now-Legal Weed Can’t Create Probable Cause For A Search

              “Probable cause on four legs.” That’s the cop nickname for drug dogs, which need to do nothing more than something only perceptible to the officer/trainer to allow officers to engage in warrantless searches. For years, drug dogs and the “odor of marijuana” have allowed both cops and dogs to follow their noses to all sorts of otherwise-unconstitutional searches, much to the delight of law enforcement and its desire to make easy busts and seize cash.

            • Encrypted Phone Seller Facing Criminal Charges Fights Back, Says Sky Global Isn’t Complicit In Customers’ Illegal Acts

              Over the past couple of years, the US government — working with law enforcement agencies around the world — has managed to shut down cell phone services it alleges were sold to members of large criminal associations. These prosecutions have allowed the DOJ to push the narrative that encrypted communications are something only criminals want or need.

            • Interview With Hen Lamay – Deceptive Bytes

              Hen Lamay: Our story begins more than a decade ago, as 3 brothers with various backgrounds who wanted to work together. Avi (CTO and a cyber security expert), Sagi (CEO and experienced sales & project manager), and I (Senior software developer and dev team leader on my record) talked about getting more experience so that one day we’ll open a company together, but we didn’t have an idea back then. A few years ago, we thought about a way to prevent malware by using its own defenses & techniques against it, we did some research and decided to establish Deceptive Bytes and build the solution.

            • Interview With Ivan Spencer-Phillips – Astaris

              Ivan Spencer-Phillips: Some years ago, I was living in London, doing “break-fix” IT. Things would break at a customer site, I’d go running to fix them. It was poorly paid, highly stressful and the business wouldn’t have been able to grow past however fast I was able to zip about London on a scooter. 

            • Interview With Jay Akin – Mushroom Networks

              Jay Akin: Mushroom Networks solutions set networks on autopilot. We accomplish this with our router appliance that intelligently orchestrates two or more Internet lines to create one aggregated Internet connection that is optimized for performance. Some of our enterprise customers use our broadband bonding appliances to enhance connectivity at the branch offices. For mobile and vehicular use cases our multi-sim cellular bonding devices enable portable internet access by combining two or more cellular modems.

            • Interview With Tunio Zafer – pCloud

              Tunio Zafer: pCloud was created in 2013 by Tunio Zafer and Anton Titov, currently CEO and CTO of the company. The company is registered in Switzerland, operating under Swiss law and today is one of the biggest European cloud storage providers, with almost 15 million registered users.  

            • Facebook Messenger is getting a built-in bill splitting feature

              With the feature, you can ask for money from people right in a group chat and see who has paid their portion of the request. You can see how it all works in a series of screenshots below from Meta. The feature arrives shortly after David Marcus, Meta’s cryptocurrency chief and former Messenger lead, announced he would be leaving the company.

            • U.S. State Department phones hacked with Israeli company spyware – sources

              The intrusions, first reported here, represent the widest known hacks of U.S. officials through NSO technology. Previously, a list of numbers with potential targets including some American officials surfaced in reporting on NSO, but it was not clear whether intrusions were always tried or succeeded.

              Reuters could not determine who launched the latest cyberattacks.

            • ‘Bombshell’: Israeli Spyware Used to Hack iPhones of US State Department Officials

              Multiple news outlets revealed Friday that Apple notified at least 11 U.S. State Department officials that their iPhones were recently hacked by an unknown party or parties with spyware developed by the private Israeli firm NSO Group.

              “A multi-agency investigation is immediately needed.”

            • State Department employee phones hacked through NSO Group spyware: report

              The phones of at least nine State Department employees were recently hacked through the use of spyware from Israeli company NSO Group, a report published Friday found.

            • The Israeli Firm NSO—Makers of Pegasus Spyware—Must Be Banned

              Contrary to Israeli claims, NSO is closely connected to, licensed, regulated, and supported by the Israeli government. Apple’s lawsuit goes further, accusing Israel of “sponsoring” and enabling NSO. The Israeli government, as reported in the Israeli media, “considers NSO’s software a crucial component of its foreign policy and national security.”

              The Israeli paper Haaretz has tracked the strong correlation between Israel’s foreign policy objectives and NSO sales in countries led by dictators or authoritarian regimes. It concluded that the Israeli state “worked proactively to get Israeli cyberweapon companies, first and foremost NSO, to operate in these countries, despite their problematic records on democracy and human rights.” Haaretz presented evidence of Israeli government corruption to partially explain the company’s collusion with NSO.

            • EU member states are debating indiscriminate retention of our communications and location… again!

              The responses of Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden paint a worrying picture, with proposals by some Member States to apply data retention even to over-the-top services such as WhatsApp or Signal, abolish online anonymity by imposing IP address and subscriber data retention, or even introduce “targeted” retention of data, which would mean you could be spied on just for living in the wrong place, or protesting.

              Council documents also show Member States expressing frustration at the decisions of the European Court of Justice to uphold European’s fundamental rights and oppose general and indiscriminate mass surveillance, complaining that the European court’s decisions are detrimental to their surveillance apparatus.

              More worrying still, thirteen EU Member States decided to keep their views secret from EU citizens, by refusing the public release of documents detailing their proposals to the Commission.

            • US State Department phones hacked with Israeli company spyware: sources

              The [attacks], which took place in the last several months, hit US officials either based in Uganda or focused on matters concerning the East African country, two of the sources said.

              The intrusions represent the widest known [cracks] of US officials through NSO technology. Previously, a list of numbers with potential targets including some American officials surfaced in reporting on NSO, but it was not clear whether intrusions were always tried or succeeded.

              Reuters could not determine who launched the latest cyberattacks.

            • Twitter losing design and engineering leaders in restructure under new CEO

              Twitter’s new CEO is reorganizing the company, with two top executives being removed as part of the shakeup. A regulatory document explains that Twitter is restructuring its Consumer, Revenue, and Core Tech divisions under individual leaders in an attempt to “drive increased accountability, speed, and operational efficiency.” Kayvon Beykpour, Bruce Falck, and Nick Caldwell will lead those three teams.

              As part of the change, Twitter’s engineering lead, Michael Montano, and its design and research lead, Dantley Davis, will be leaving their positions at the end of the year.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • How General Winter Did Not Save the Soviet Union in 1941

        Hitler not only ardently wanted to attack the Soviet Union but felt that he had to do so as soon as possible. Germany was a major industrial power, but underprivileged in terms of access to essential raw materials. Its defeat in World War I, when the Reich was blockaded by the Royal Navy, had demonstrated that without a steady supply of essential strategic raw materials, particularly petroleum and rubber, Germany could not win a long, drawn-out war. This is how the blitzkrieg concept was born, a strategy that called for synchronised attacks by waves of tanks and airplanes to pierce the defensive lines. Deep penetration into hostile territory, followed quickly by infantry units moving not on foot or by train, as in the Great War, but in trucks; and then swinging back to bottle up and liquidate entire enemy armies in gigantic “encirclement battles” (Kesselschlachten).

        The blitzkrieg strategy worked perfectly in 1939 and 1940, when it enabled the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe to overwhelm the Polish, Dutch, Belgian, and French defenses. Blitzkriege, “lightning-fast wars” were invariably followed by Blitzsiege, “lightning-fast victories.” However, these victories did not provide Germany with much loot in the form of vitally important petroleum and rubber; instead, they depleted the stockpiles built up before the war. Fortunately for Hitler, in 1940 and 1941 Germany was able to continue importing oil from Romania and the still neutral United States. Under the terms of the Hitler-Stalin Pact, concluded in August 1939, the Soviet Union itself also supplied Germany with petroleum, but these deliveries represented merely four per cent of all German oil imports at that time. (Millman, pp. 273, 261–83) And in return, Germany had to deliver high-quality industrial products and state-of-the-art military technology. The Soviets used this equipment to improve their weaponry in preparation for a German attack they expected to come sooner or later (Soete, pp. 289-90). Hitler found this most troubling, since it made the Soviets defenses stronger by the day. Time was obviously not on Hitler’s side, so he feared that the “window of opportunity” for an easy victory in the east might soon close. Finally, the sooner the Soviet Union would be conquered, the better for Germany, which would then finally be blessed with virtually limitless resources, including the rich Caucasian oil fields.

      • There’s Precedent for That

        That is why it is so frightening when we are witness to lawless conduct that goes unpunished or, worse, is rewarded. Sadly, this serves as precedent for more lawless conduct of the same sort.

        Case in point. In August, 2020, Kyle Rittenhouse, age 17, left his home in Illinois, traveled to Kenosha, Wisconsin where he armed himself with an assault rifle purportedly to “protect businesses” from those lawfully protesting the shooting of a black man by police. That night Rittenhouse shot and killed two protesters and injured another.  He was charged with homicide and tried. But the jury apparently believed his claim that he was “defending himself” and acquitted him.

      • “Favor and Affection:” From Glynn County, Georgia to Kenosha, Wisconsin, Police/Vigilante Collusion is a Far Bigger Story Than The Verdicts

        No wonder it took over 70 days for the killers to be arrested. No wonder it took a public campaign to even bring the case to trial. Sure, the guilty verdict against the three murderers gives us some basic accountability but justice? Not yet. For justice, we need to expose and abolish the police/vigilante alliance. The indictment of Johnson is a step in the right direction.

        According to detailed coverage in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a pattern of immunity for police-involved killings had already been established. The murders saw themselves as patrolling their neighborhood in lieu of regular police. And, they enjoyed a special relationship with authorities which the charges against Johnson accurately describe as “favor and affection.” In fact, Johnson had previously worked with ex-cop Greg McMichael. It was a classic cop/vigilante alliance.

      • ‘The Facts of This Case Are So Egregious’: Parents of Michigan School Shooter Charged in Killings

        In a rare move, Oakland County prosecutor Karen D. McDonald on Friday filed involuntary manslaughter charges against James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of Ethan Crumbley, the 15-year-old arrested earlier this week by law enforcement officials who say he killed four classmates at Oxford High School in suburban Detroit, Michigan.

        “I’m angry as a mother, I’m angry as a prosecutor, I’m angry as a person that lives in this county.”

      • Opinion | Michigan School Shooting Exposes 2nd Amendment as Poison to America

        In a nation that worships holiday shopping almost as much as its nearly 400 million guns, James Crumbley of Oxford, Michigan, may have just made the worst Black Friday purchase in American history.

      • This Must End: Saudi Warplanes Carpet-Bomb Yemen With US Backing

        For more than six years, Saudi-led military intervention into Yemen’s civil war on behalf of Yemen’s exiled government against Yemeni rebels has been a key driver of the largest humanitarian disaster in the world. “The country’s economy has reached new depths of collapse, and a third wave of the pandemic is threatening to crash the country’s already fragile healthcare system,” United Nations humanitarian relief coordinator, Martin Griffiths, said in September, with millions “a step away from starvation”.

        Under first the Obama and then the Trump administration, the United States was Saudi Arabia’s partner in this horrific war. In 2019, Congress made history by passing its first War Powers Resolution through both chambers of Congress, pressing Donald Trump to end this support. It marked the first time that Congress invoked the War Powers Resolution of 1973 to direct the president to withdraw troops from an undeclared war.

      • “Astonishment and Stupefaction” at $90-Billion Industrial Double-Cross for Australian Submarines

        The shocking announcement was a sucker punch to France’s submarine industry, cancelling without warning a $90 billion agreement signed in 2016 to build diesel-powered subs for Australia. The head of French military contractor Naval Group, Pierre Eric Pommellet, spoke of “astonishment and stupefaction” at being told the nearly $90 billion dollar submarine contract with Australia was being torn up, the Guardian reported Oct. 7.

        Reacting to what appears to be a case of industrial espionage among fierce global rivals — France had reportedly already spent $2 billion on the agreed diesel-powered attack submarines — Paris recalled its ambassadors from Australia and the United States, and its foreign affairs minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the cancellation betrayed “the letter and spirit” of cooperation between France and Australia.

      • ‘Indefensible’: Outrage Over Man in Wheelchair Fatally Shot in the Back by Arizona Cop

        Noting that up to half of all fatal U.S. police use-of-force incidents involve people with disabilities, rights advocates on Thursday voiced serious concerns over what they called the “unacceptable” killing of a wheelchair-bound Arizona man by a Tucson police officer who shot the victim nine times in the back on Monday evening.

        “The fact that Mr. Richards was a person with a disability is of particular concern because persons with disabilities are more likely to die in an encounter with law enforcement than the general population.”

      • Facing the Facts About Gun Violence in the U.S.

        First, many have no idea how many people are injured or killed by gun violence in the U.S. annually. According to the CDC, more than 45,000 people were killed by gun violence in the U.S. in 2020, an increase in recent decades. This is an average of more than 120 gun-related deaths per day. It includes a 30 percent increase in homicides from the previous year. Between 2015 and 2019 there were 2,606 gun deaths by law enforcement alone. These numbers should be shocking, with U.S. gun-related homicide rates 25 times greater than other wealthy nations.

        Second, most are unaware that the biggest percentage of gun-related fatalities come from suicide. Nearly two-thirds of deaths by gun are suicides, an average of approximately 64 per day. Likewise, accidental injuries and deaths are far more frequent in the U.S. than in other wealthy countries. A study by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University found that between 2009 and 2017, there was an annual average of 85,700 ER visits for non-fatal gun injuries. ABC Newsdeveloped a Gun Violence Tracker and found that for the week of November 19 to 25, 2021, there 345 deaths and 623 injuries due to firearms in the U.S.

      • We Need to Take China’s Military Strength Seriously

        When the Department of Defense released its annual report on Chinese military strength in early November, one claim generated headlines around the world. By 2030, it suggested, China would probably have 1,000 nuclear warheads—three times more than at present and enough to pose a substantial threat to the United States. As a Washington Post headline put it, typically enough: “China accelerates nuclear weapons expansion, seeks 1,000 warheads or more, Pentagon says.”

      • The Reconstruction of Gaza Has Been a Failure

        This week, the Senate votes on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which would increase the Pentagon’s budget by $37 billion to a whopping $778 billion for the fiscal year 2022. Last month, Senator Bernie Sanders criticized his colleagues for supporting such a bloated military budget, given the deficit and national debt, as well as the lack of political will to expand Medicare, guarantee paid family leave, and address the climate crisis. He then introduced an amendment to the bill that would address the pressing humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip and the seemingly intractable conflict.

      • War With China in 2027?

        The media, however, largely ignored a far more significant claim in that same report: that China would be ready to conduct “intelligentized” warfare by 2027, enabling the Chinese to effectively resist any U.S. military response should it decide to invade the island of Taiwan, which they view as a renegade province. To the newsmakers of this moment, that might have seemed like far less of a headline-grabber than those future warheads, but the implications couldn’t be more consequential. Let me, then, offer you a basic translation of that finding: as the Pentagon sees things, be prepared for World War III to break out any time after January 1, 2027.

        To appreciate just how terrifying that calculation is, four key questions have to be answered. What does the Pentagon mean by “intelligentized” warfare? Why would it be so significant if China achieved it? Why do U.S. military officials assume that a war over Taiwan could erupt the moment China masters such warfare? And why would such a war over Taiwan almost certainly turn into World War III, with every likelihood of going nuclear?

      • Arming Against China: the US Global Posture Review

        On November 29, the Pentagon announced that US President Joe Biden had accepted the recommendations made by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III in the Global Posture Review commissioned in February.  The news might have been delivered by Austin himself, but this solemn duty fell to Mara Karlin, discharging her duties as deputy undersecretary of defense for policy.  As the GPR remains classified, we are left with a sketchy performance that should make many across the Indo-Pacific seek cover and a bunker.

        For the most part, Karlin’s performance was gibberish, masked by lingo hostile to meaning.  The review was intended to “inform” the approach of the Biden administration in terms of national defence strategy, which did not mean that it would necessarily inform anybody else.  “That guidance asserts that the United States will lead with diplomacy first, revitalize our unmatched network of allies and partners and make smart and disciplined choices regarding our national defense and responsible use of our military,” Karlin stated.  How reassuring.

      • Dorothee Benz on January 6 Insurrection, Vera Eidelman on Anti-Protest Laws
      • Biden Administration Rejects Calls for Ban on “Killer Robots”
      • Protecting Judges Is Important, But They Don’t Get To Throw Out The 1st Amendment For Themselves

        It’s been said that any time a bill in a legislature is named after someone who died, you know there’s going to be problems with the bill. That’s because most of those bills are responses to truly horrific or tragic circumstances, but then our natural inclination is to go too far in diminishing the rights of the public in response to a single horrific scenario. This is, unfortunately, the case with the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act of 2021. The events that precipitated the bill are, undeniably, awful and tragic. In the summer of 2020 an obviously mentally unwell lawyer, who had represented a client before US District Judge Esther Salas, went to her home, dressed as a FedEx delivery person, and shot and killed Judge Salas’s son, Daniel Anderl (as well as shooting and injuring Salas’ husband, Mark Anderl). The shooter then took his own life.

      • ‘Sad But Unsurprising’: Biden Administration Rejects Calls for Ban on ‘Killer Robots’

        The Biden administration on Thursday rejected demands for a binding international agreement banning or tightly regulating the use of so-called killer robots, autonomous weapons that campaigners fear will make war more deadly and entrench a global norm of “digital dehumanization.”

        “The prospect of a future where the decision to take a human life is delegated to machines is abhorrent.”

      • China deletes Lithuania from customs registry over Taiwan ties

        On Thursday (Dec. 2), 15min.lt cited a Lithuanian wood exporter as saying their company’s products were barred from entering Shanghai port because Lithuania is no longer in the computer system. Vidmantas Janulevicius, president of the Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists, told the news agency that “Lithuania has been crossed out … it seems that there’s no such country in China’s customs system.”

        This means that firms such as the wood exporter, which has 300 containers sailing to China, now have their products floating in limbo. The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry confirmed with the Baltic News Service (BNS) that the country’s exporters have encountered problems exporting goods to the communist country.

      • EOD teams have disarmed 6,750 pieces of ordnance this year

        By the end of November, EOD teams had received 1,520 calls requesting ordnance disposal. “War-era ordnance is still found on Estonia’s territory to this day. Digging and farm work but also natural landslides may unearth dangerous objects,” Meelis Mesi from the Rescue Board said.

        Calls concerning unexploded munitions numbered 1,108 and responding to these calls, EOD specialists disarmed 6,750 pieces of ordnance. In terms of the number of findings, this is the second largest result since 1992.

    • Environment

      • The Drought That May Never End

        This isn’t just a California problem. Despite a slew of flood-inducing storms along Washington’s coast, go inland a bit and the drought is affecting eastern Washington, Idaho, Montana, and even the Dakotas. Further south, large parts of the desert states of Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico are even drier than usual. More than four-fifths of New Mexico’s topsoil is now short of moisture, meaning it’s less viable for agricultural usage, and more likely to create Dust Bowl–type conditions in which the topsoil simply blows away.

      • Blizzard warning issued for Hawaii with at least 12 inches of snow forecast

        In addition to blizzard conditions, wind gusts over 100 mph are also expected, according to the alert issued by National Weather Service Honolulu.

      • The Fight Against Plastic: ‘If You’re Not at the Table, You’re on the Menu’
      • Groups Tell UN Food Agency to Ditch ‘Toxic Alliance’ With Pesticide Association

        A global coalition of food justice advocates on Friday urged the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization to sever ties with CropLife International, a trade association representing agrochemical corporations.

        In a letter addressed to FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu and attached to a petition signed by more than 187,300 people from 107 countries, nearly a dozen groups wrote that “CropLife’s sole purpose is to advocate for use of its members’ products.”

      • Opinion | Why COP26 Failed to Address the Climate Crisis

        The UN climate talks (Conference of the Parties, or COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, concluded in mid-November with deeply disappointing results. In spite of what the global scientific community has termed a dire climate emergency, countries made weak commitments that condemn the world’s most vulnerable people to what Ugandan youth climate activist Vanessa Nakate has called “a death sentence for communities like mine.”

      • ‘Biden’s Oily Christmas’: Climate Campaigners Call Out Public Lands Giveaways

        Inspired by the familiar “The 12 Days of Christmas” carol, climate campaigners crashed the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony Thursday night to launch a series of holiday season actions calling out President Joe Biden for leasing public lands and waters to fossil fuel companies.

        “No peace on Earth, nor mercy mild. Biden leaves our public lands defiled.”

      • Opinion | Fed Chair Jerome Powell Failing to Lead on Climate
      • Calling Out Climate Change Denial
      • Energy

        • If You Fund the Research, You Can Shape the World

          Much has been made, and rightly so, of the Koch network’s impact on universities. Entire campus projects exist to ferret out Koch cash, which is powering everything from the Regulatory Studies Center at George Washington University to the Mercatus Center at George Mason University to the Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University. The Koch strategy is straightforward: He who funds the research influences the research, and that research helps drive policy and public opinion.

        • Ocean Winds: Bringing Us Renewable Fish with Renewable Energy

          For thousands of years, those ocean winds drove human history. Think about sails. Beginning sometime between 3000 and 1500 BCE, the sailing ships of the Austronesian people used the wind to explore and settle most of the islands of the south Pacific. By 1200 BCE, the sailing ships of Phoenicia and other maritime civilizations used the wind to turn the Mediterranean into a marketplace. Wind powered the ships that “discovered” and looted the “New World ” from the 15th century through most of the 19th century. All the people stolen from Africa were driven by wind into slavery. Massed formations of wind-powered European warships fought to divide the world. Sails kept the sun from ever setting on the British Empire. Can we even imagine world history without sail ships?

          Wind also drove the ships that slaughtered the world’s whales until there were so few that hunting them was no longer profitable. But the wind-powered fishing vessels posed no existential threat to the fish that filled the seas. Unlike whales, fish seemed “inexhaustible,” as scientist Thomas Henry Huxley wrote in 1883, “Nothing we do seriously affects the number of the fish.” Back then, most commercial fishing was done by sail ships that launched row boats manned by anglers using hook and line. Huxley failed to reckon with fossil fuels. Coal-powered steam vessels were already fishing with huge nets amid the sail boats, as can be seen in this 1877 picture of a menhaden fishery:

        • Water and Power in California

          This review meanders like a river, though it also hews to two main channels: one personal and the other social and political. As a young man growing up and coming of age under the hot California sun, Arax couldn’t help but be inquisitive, aim to separate truths from half-truths and outright lies and expose the guilty parties.

          To separate the criminals from the worthy citizens and genuine  environmentalists, Arax has traveled all over the American West, and “West of the West,” to borrow a phrase from his second book, which is subtitled, “Dreamers, Believers, Builders and Killers in the Golden State.” The key word in that cluster is “killers,” though “dreamers” runs a close second.

        • Ambani backs data privacy, cryptocurrency bills

          The comments came as the government looks to bring a new bill in Parliament to treat cryptocurrencies as a financial asset while safeguarding small investors. The legislation may stipulate a minimum amount for investments in digital currencies while banning their use as legal tender.

          The legislative agenda for the current winter session of Parliament that started on November 29 lists bringing of a bill that seeks to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies except “certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses.”

        • Regulating cryptocurrency will have to be a collective effort: Nirmala Sitharaman

          India is unlikely to shut the door on cryptocurrencies and instead take a nuanced approach. According to an ET report, they may not be permitted as currency to settle transactions and make payments but could be held as an asset like shares, gold or bonds.

          Active solicitation by companies including exchanges and platforms could be barred. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) could be designated as the regulator, although a final call is yet to be taken.

        • The U.S. seized a record $1 billion of bitcoin a year ago. Its value has tripled.

          The government will auction off the bitcoins, a spokesperson for the Internal Revenue Service told NBC News. The proceeds of such auctions are typically deposited into the Treasury Forfeiture Fund or the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund, and used to support future investigations.

        • Bitcoin ‘mining’ is growing dirtier than coal. Here are 5 things the U.S. can do about it

          On the current trajectory, Bitcoin miners will surpass coal miners as a major contributor to greenhouse emissions. That’s why we need to act now. The good news is that technologies to make securing cryptocurrency less energy-intensive are already here. If the Chinese and Europeans know this, Americans should too. Cryptocurrencies are not going away, so smart government, technology and financial leaders need to provide the right incentives for these companies to “come clean.” The U.S. should show the world that cleaning up Bitcoin is just as important as cleaning up coal — and a lot easier.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Dominion: A Matter of Interpretation?

          We pretend free-living animals need our stewardship as we ravage their rainforests, plant vast monocultures over their prairies, and build the factories, mines, walls and roadways that fragment habitat, pollute the biosphere, and disrupt the Earth’s climate irreversibly. And we are the primates who will wire our own brains to computers. Why would any other species in its right mind trust us with dominion?

          Shivon Zilis, special projects director at the Neuralink Corporation, says testing on monkeys is necessary before brain chips are implanted in disabled humans, then in depressed people, and then, ultimately, in so-called healthy humans. In seven to ten years from now, chips in our skulls will synch with our devices—making it more convenient to summon our Teslas. Meanwhile, Neuralink’s CEO Elon Musk says the company’s monkeys “look totally happy.” This is the type of stewardship dominion permits.

        • Change, Mutation, Evolution and the Real End of History?

          There are those who welcome change and those who fear it. The first includes risk takers, the second true conservatives. But whatever camp you are in, change will happen. Time will move forward. The role of nostalgia should never be minimized. Early 20th century generations lived through two world wars. Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) lived through a golden age of Western growth following World War II. It is natural for the first group to want change; it is natural for the second group to want the good times to continue to roll.

          The mutation of the virus poses considerable quandaries. For now, experts simply call it a “variant of concern”. Will the new variant be more contagious? Will it be more virulent and deadly? Will the existing vaccines be effective against it? For the moment, there are no answers, just as there are no answers about where the original COVID-19 came from. Whatever the answers to these questions, the latest variant implies that a series of mutations has taken place from the original virus. There have been at least five known major variants of the original SARS-CoV- 2 virus; the English variant (Alpha), the first South African variant (Beta), the Brazilian variant (Gama), the Indian variant (Delta) and the new South African variant Omicron.

        • Democrats and the Wolf Slaughter

          Testimony at the Legislature warned legislators that if they passed wolf slaughter bills, the federal government would intervene. Now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife is undertaking a 12-month review of the wolves’ status to determine relisting the wolves as endangered. Currently the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks — in desperate need of reform — has decided to allow anyone with a license to kill 20 wolves, 10 by shooting and 10 by trapping. Our state is sanctioning the torture and eradication of animals of tremendous intelligence and beauty. Destroying packs, which will lead to more livestock depredation, is designed to make wolves the cultural enemy.

          But it’s not just Republicans who can hang their hat on this slaughter. If you examine the process, you can’t avoid seeing the handiwork of U.S. Sen. Jon Tester. It is Sen. Tester who moved to delist wolves and return them to state control in 2011, an effort that has proven to be a disaster. But Tester has long seen his tough reelections dependent on killing wolves, not thriving wildlife. His actions against wolves are a disgrace and deserve more sunshine and less double talk.

        • Burned-out Forests Are Not Re-Growing

          This article will examine the science behind failure of trees to regrow in burned-out forests. Additionally, and as a collateral issue, this puts one more distorted face on the consequential impact of the multi-billion dollar business called “woody biomass,” which burns trees in place of coal to meet carbon neutral protocols.

          As a consequence, between the twin impacts of burned-out forests failing to regrow and woody biomass chopping down mature trees that are strong carbon sinks replaced by frail seedlings, one has to wonder about nature’s “carbon sink” capacity. Is it shrinking just when it’s needed like never before?

        • Boy finds ‘extinct’ frog in Ecuador and helps revive species

          A school-age boy has rediscovered an Ecuadorian frog considered extinct for at least 30 years. The animal has now successfully bred in captivity.

          The colourful Jambato harlequin frog (Atelopus ignescens) was once so widespread in Ecuador that it turned up in people’s homes, was something children played with and was used as an ingredient in traditional medicine. Then it was suddenly wiped out, probably by a combination of climate change and fungal disease.

      • Overpopulation

        • Millions More People Got Access to Water. Can They Drink It?

          Researchers are also working with better information. Technological advances since 2015 have made it easier to test water quality, so now the U.N. not only can track how water is delivered, but also know whether it’s safe to drink. Researchers are also asking more questions: Is the water available at home, or are people, women and girls in particular, spending an hour a day collecting it? Is it available when needed, or only sporadically? Is it affordable? The result is a new metric called “safely managed drinking water sources,” which means water that is clean and available when it’s needed on site. About 74 percent of the global population now meets this standard, the U.N. recently reported.

        • India’s population will start to shrink sooner than expected

          This is big news not just for India but, seeing that its 1.4bn people are nearly a fifth of humanity, for the planet. The number of Indians will still grow, because many young women have yet to reach child-bearing age. But lower fertility means the population will peak sooner and at a lower figure: not in 40 years at more than 1.7bn, as was widely predicted, but probably a decade earlier, at perhaps 1.6bn.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Roaming Charges: Tribute Must be Paid

        + As I eased back to my car ungored and untrampled, I felt like I’d passed some kind of test validating my own level stupidity and I flashed back to one of my favorite panels of rock art in the Northwest, an image of an Elk Man painted in red ochre by the river people 500 years ago, in a side canyon of basalt along the Columbia, a couple of hundred miles upstream from here, an image so powerful shotgun vigilantes have repeatedly splattered it with buckshot without (as yet) doing any fatal damage.

        + For the past 8 presidential elections, 5 of which were won outright by Democrats (who also carried the popular vote in 7), we were told that the primary reason to hold our collective noses and vote for Democrats was to preserve the Supreme Court and save Roe v. Wade. Over that same period, the court has swung to a super-majority of the far right, which has whacked voting rights, environmental laws, campaign finance reform, immigration rights, and abortion rights. For 25 of those 29 years, Joe Biden was either chair/ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, Vice-President or President. The Democrats have forsaken the last reason to vote for them.

      • Ted Cruz Is the Disease

        When Sesame Street’s Big Bird announced early in November that he had been vaccinated against Covid-19, as part of an effort by public television stations to educate families about the availability of vaccines for children age 5 to 11, Texas Senator Ted Cruz blew a gasket.

      • South Korean Dictator Dies, Western Media Resurrects a Myth

        General Chun Doo Hwan was the corrupt military dictator that ruled Korea from 1979-1988, before handing off the presidency to his co-conspirator General Roh Tae Woo.  Chun took power in a coup in 1979, and during his presidency he perpetrated the largest massacre of Korean civilians since the Korean war. He died on November 23rd, in pampered, sybaritic luxury, impenitent and arrogant to the very last breath.

        Many western media outlets have written censorious, chest-beating accounts of his despotic governance and the massacres he perpetrated (here, here, here, and here)– something they rarely bothered to do when he was actively perpetrating them in broad daylight before their eyes.  Like the light from a distant galaxy–or some strange journalistic time capsule–only after death, decades later, do “human rights violations” in South Korea burst out of radio silence and become newsworthy.

      • US Progressive Caucus Hails Honduran Election as Chance for ‘New Chapter’ in Relations

        Calling the victory of Honduran President-elect Xiomara Castro “an opportunity for a new chapter in U.S.-Honduras relations,” Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal on Friday congratulated the first woman and socialist to be elected leader of the Central American nation long plagued by American subversion of democracy.

        Castro, a political activist and the wife of former Honduran President Manuel “Mel” Zelaya, won last week’s presidential election by more than 15 points over right-wing Tegucigalpa Mayor Nasry Asfura.

      • The Curious Case of Jack Evans

        My reasoning was solid. Sure, Evans had friends in high places due to having been DC’s longest-serving councilman and ruling over the city’s powerful finance committee for an incredible two decades. But now his corruption was out in the open and not even the Washington Post, his longtime protector, was ignoring it.

        After all, Evans’ sleaze wasn’t run-of-the-mill. It hit peak form in his last couple of years in office when Evans secretly sold himself to private clients (developers, bankers, investors and the like) for an annual fee of between $25,000 and $100,000.

      • Macedonian Ramble: the Struggle for Independence

        With less than three hours in Thessaloniki, I decided to limit my touring to the Museum for the Macedonian Struggle (a hard one to pass up) and a walk through the city’s old Jewish quarter (which vanished in the Holocaust). Along the way, I hoped that I could eat lunch and browse in a bookstore.

        The morning rain had not let up so after stashing my backpack in a station locker I took a taxi to the museum. The cab driver had never heard of the Museum for the Macedonian Struggle, but at least he didn’t suggest driving me to Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia, where there is another museum with exactly the same name (the heroes inside are different).

      • At Least 40 Democrats Are Now Calling for Boebert to Be Removed From Committees
      • Ocasio-Cortez Introduces Bill to Help Clear Marijuana Charges at State Level
      • Western Media: Venezuelan Elections Must Be Undemocratic, Because Chavismo Won

        Corporate media’s coverage of Venezuela has been constantly biased over the past 20 years, but especially when reporting on elections (FAIR.org, 11/27/08, 5/23/18, 1/27/21).

      • The Politics of Moral Outrage

        Before I continue with this bit of analysis, I want to make it abundantly clear that I speak as a participant, not only as an observer. Like millions of other people in the US, I have spent a lot of time on the streets over the past couple of years. Unlike many of the young folks marching in the streets over the past couple of years, who quite naturally are doing this sort of thing for the first time, I’ve been at it for a while now, participating in other social movements that came before this one as well, in the US and in many other countries, since I’m lucky enough to make a living as a working, touring musician, primarily playing for different elements of the left, mainly in North America and Europe.

        There are a lot of young folks I know who are very traumatized by a whole lot of police brutality and other terrible things they have been dealing with.  In so many cases, as much as they are traumatized, they are also trying to figure out what the hell just happened.  It’s often a lot easier to make sense of things after the fact, rather than during, so that’s very understandable.  My perspective on what’s been happening has also been evolving, and I sure hope that in the process of analyzing events, I don’t come off as someone who thinks he knew everything to begin with.  This is not an “I told you so” piece of analysis, and I hope it doesn’t come across as such.  It’s just an earnest effort to make sense of a few things, from this particular middle-aged radical in Portland, Oregon.

      • Right-Wing Senators Hog Limelight by Blocking Nominations

        As of November 27, 56 state department nominees awaited confirmation, with Republicans subjecting many to holds. They do this, of course, in the senate. There one point-man is Texas senator Ted “Cancun” Cruz. He’s the eminence who singlehandedly keeps key state department posts from being filled. And strangely, majority leader Chuck Schumer long did not fight back. The excuse was that valuable time would be wasted.

        Now the argument could be made that we, and certainly the rest of the world, are better off without a functioning government in Washington; but we pretty much had exactly that under Trump. So unless we want to pick a path through full-on Weimar disarray to yet another neofascist junta, it would be wise to drop that line of reasoning. Reinforcing this wisdom is covid. Those of us who got vaccinated can thank Biden. If Trump still resided in the white house, vaccines wouldn’t have rolled out yet. They’d be sitting in some warehouse, expired.

      • Critical Race Theory and America’s Fear of Reality

        Here is a story of a clash of ideas between two 18th-century thinkers, the Anglican Bishop George Berkeley (1685-1753) and litterateur/curmudgeon Samuel Johnson (1709-1784). At this time, there was an argument over the nature of reality. Berkeley argued that what we know of reality is limited to the ideas the mind derives from our senses. It is not that there is no reality external to us, it is just that we can’t know it in and of itself. We can only be aware of it (including features such as solidity) as sensory impressions. This was misunderstood by folks like Johnson, who thought Berkeley was denying an  external, material world. He famously told his friend and biographer James Boswell that “I refute him [Berkeley] thus” and kicked a stone.

        Despite Johnson’s scorn, there is room to draw lessons from Berkeley’s insight. Almost all of us mingle belief with reality. That is, we assume that the ideas in our heads reflect reality faithfully. Most of the time the two do correspond well enough, at least at a mundane level, for us to get through our day. But the correspondence is not there all of the time, and this fact can get us into trouble. Yet, so powerful is the assumed melding of perception and reality that we rarely bother kicking the stone—which here stands in for seeking objective evidence of that apparent connection. Instead, we go with first impressions, automatically accept community or peer group judgments, or are committed to misleading ideologies. Having done so, confirmation bias sets in and we downgrade any suggestion that our views are inaccurate.

      • ‘Weaponising Bieber’ – pop star caught up in Saudi rights row

        The “Love Yourself” singer’s decision to perform at this week’s inaugural Saudi Arabian Formula One Grand Prix, while undoubtedly lucrative, has not come without a cost as campaigners urge him to cancel in protest at Riyadh’s human rights record.

    • Misinformation/Disinformation

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Twitter Is Just The Beginning Of Jack Dorsey’s Speech Revolution

        Jack Dorsey has left Twitter, which he co-founded and ran for more than a decade. Many on the American political right frequently accused Dorsey and other prominent social media CEOs of censoring conservative content. Yet Dorsey doesn’t easily fit within partisan molds. Although Twitter is often lumped together with Facebook and YouTube, its founder’s approach to free speech and interest in decentralized initiatives such as BlueSky make Dorsey one of the more interesting online speech leaders of recent years. If you want to know what the future of social media might be, keep an eye on Dorsey.

      • Censorship, the Myth of Free Data and the False Solutions on the Table

        Facebook, Twitter, and virtually every other social media company make billions of dollars off our personal information. Some of that information is freely given by us, most is not. Carefully crafted algorithms capture and bundle our mundane or most intimate details and sell them to advertising agencies and political public relations firms, who then attempt to manipulate our fears, desires, pleasures and prejudices to sell us a product or influence our way of thinking about an issue.

        These social media giants hold a monopoly on what has become the commons for humanity. A place traditionally available to everyone in the community. They have privatized these commons and operate them without any oversight, no requirement for hearing and responding to complaints, and no democratic process.

      • Sri Lankan factory manager lynched and set on fire in Pakistan

        A Sri Lankan factory manager in Pakistan was on Friday beaten to death and set ablaze by a mob, police confirmed, in an incident local media reported was linked to alleged blasphemy.

        Few issues are as galvanising in Pakistan as blasphemy, and even the slightest suggestion of an insult to Islam can supercharge protests and incite lynchings.

      • Belarus Labels RFE/RL’s Telegram, YouTube Channels ‘Extremist’

        A Belarusian court has designated the official Telegram channel of RFE/RL’s Belarus Service and some of the broadcaster’s social media accounts as extremist in a continued clampdown on independent media and civil society,

        The decision to label RFE/RL’s accounts “extremist” – including its YouTube channel – was made by the Central District Court on December 3 based on information provided by the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption, known as GUBOPiK.

        In a statement, GUBOPiK said that anyone subscribing to channels or other media designated as “extremist” may face jail time or other penalties, such as fines.

      • ‘What have we become?’: Activists, celebrities express horror over Sialkot lynching

        The news that a Sri Lankan man was lynched at a factory in Sialkot on Friday sent shockwaves through Pakistanis on Twitter.

        The mob tortured the man, identified as Priyantha Kumara, to death over blasphemy allegations before burning his body.

      • [Old] Acts of faith: Why people get killed over blasphemy in Pakistan

        But even before Zia came to power and made Islamism official, the cultural work for this had been done, wrote Manan Ahmed Asif, an assistant professor of history at Columbia University, in a 2011 article, titled Forfeiting the Future, published in the Indian magazine, Caravan. The blasphemy riots of the 1950s, when Ahmadis were violently resisted by Jamaat-e-Islami and other religious groups, had taught one clear lesson to the religious right: the veneration of Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) made great political theatre, with infinite appeal for nearly every segment of the Pakistani population, he added. The emergence of Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) as a centralising and orienting raison d’être for Pakistan, however, was not, in Asif’s words, merely an organic outgrowth of a religiously inclined society; it was a deliberate state policy, aided by Islamist parties, to mould public faith. With the explicit support of Ayub Khan’s military regime, the figure of Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) quickly became central to national political memory — the celebration of his birth, the mi’raj (his ascension to the heavens) and other milestones from his life were “heavily funded and carefully orchestrated events, with the massive participation of the religious elite across Pakistan.”

      • Chinese people dodge censors to discuss Peng Shuai case online

        With coded references to “eating melons” and “that person”, Chinese social media users are getting creative to discuss tennis star Peng Shuai online as censors race to scrub all mentions of her sexual assault allegations.

        When Peng last month posted that former Chinese vice-premier Zhang Gaoli forced her to have sex, censors were quick to scrub the message and obvious discussion of Peng from social media.

        The 35-year-old’s allegations spread on Twitter — which is blocked in China but accessible using special Virtual Private Networks — and sparked an international outcry.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Standing With Nurses Is a Feminist Project

        What is the enduring image of the Covid-19 pandemic? For me, it is the nurse at the bedside, on the front lines of this global emergency, overcoming her own fear of illness to provide care to patients and to offer comfort in the face of likely death. For millions of nurses living in countries where Covid-19 vaccines continue to be scarce, this is an image of everyday life. But even in countries where the worst of the illness has dissipated, we are only beginning to understand the toll that this work—day after day—has taken on nurses’ lives.

      • Let Them Drown. Let Them Freeze to Death. Just Keep Them Out!

        On November 11 Filippo Grandi, the head of UNHCR, issued a plea for greater assistance from rich countries, saying that “the international community must redouble its efforts to make peace, and at the same time must ensure resources are available to displaced communities and their hosts.”  Unfortunately most of the international community couldn’t care less about refugees, as evidenced by reaction to recent agonizing events such as Poland’s inhumane treatment of the thousands attempting to enter from Belarus, whose President is quite as cruel and pitiless as the Polish authorities who have repelled so many of them.

        The BBC noted that as refugees “are summarily expelled from Poland and Belarus refuses to allow them back in, people are finding themselves stranded and freezing in Poland’s forests. Several have died of hypothermia.”  But who cares? Certainly not such officials as the head of Poland’s National Security Council, Pawel Soloch, who said on November 8 that he expected “attacks on our border to be renewed by groups of several hundred people” overnight.  “Attacks”?  By unarmed, frozen, desperate, pathetic exiles who wish only for decency, understanding and support?

      • For the First Time, Supreme Court Is Poised to Retract a Fundamental Right
      • Dark Money From the US Christian Right Fuels War on Abortion Rights Worldwide
      • Supreme Stench
      • ‘Global Empire of the US Christian Right’: Dark Money Fuels Attacks on Abortion Rights Worldwide

        An investigation by the media outlet openDemocracy revealed Friday that the dark money groups masterminding the far-right assault on reproductive freedoms in the U.S. have also spent at least $28 million in recent years on efforts to roll back the rights of women and LGBTQ+ people worldwide.

        The new analysis shows that prominent anti-abortion groups including the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the Federalist Society, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, the Family Research Council, and Focus on the Family and Heartbeat International have “been involved in recent efforts to limit reproductive rights in Europe and Latin America.”

      • Beyond the Stench: Reflections on Violence, Fascism, and Revolution

        By Meadows’ account, “nothing was going” to stop Trump from “debating” Biden (that is, hectoring Biden like a drunk fan at an NFL game). The pathetic “debate” host, Chris Wallace of Fatherland (FOX) News, later disclosed that Trump was not tested before the fiasco because the virus-spewing president was late.

        The event’s organizers foolishly relied on the honor system – a problem when one of the key participants is an abject narcissist without honor.

      • From Abortion Bans to Anti-Trans Laws, a Christian Legal Army is Waging War on America

        As the Supreme Court looks poised to uphold Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban and possibly overturn Roe v. Wade, we speak to The Nation’s Amy Littlefield about her investigation into the Christian legal army behind the Mississippi law as well as anti-trans laws across the country. She also critiques the mainstream pro-choice movement’s failure to center the poor and people of color. “There is a change coming within the movement because of its reckoning with these past missteps including, frankly, the failure to adequately protect Black women and to stand up for the safety of the people whose rights were eroded first,” says Littlefield.

      • ‘White Supremacists Were Willing to Hold the United States Hostage’

        Janine Jackson interviewed Emory’s Carol Anderson about democracy vs. white supremacy for the November 26, 2021, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

      • Haitian Asylum Seekers Held Under Bridge Now Face Inhumane ICE Jail Conditions
      • Haitian Asylum Seekers Held Under Del Rio Bridge Now Face Inhumane Conditions in New Mexico ICE Jail

        The world was shocked by images of Haitians whipped by U.S. Border Patrol agents on horseback as they sought refuge. Thousands were soon deported, but dozens are now detained in an ICE jail in New Mexico where they face inhumane conditions and lack access to legal services. We speak with a lawyer who describes medical neglect, deteriorating mental and physical health, and poor treatment by the staff. “They cannot get the basic tools and have the basic human contact that they need to save their own lives,” says immigration attorney Allegra Love of the El Paso Immigration Collaborative.

      • NYC Vaccine Mandates Just Like Jim Crow in the Deep South, Says Naomi Wolf

        Wolf made the remarks to the crowd at a benefit in Columbia County on November 21.

        According to Wolf, she and a group of her fellow anti-vaxxers were refused entry to restaurants and bars in the city on November 20. New York’s vaccine restrictions, which have been in place since the middle of August, somehow reminded Wolf of racial segregation in the first half of the 20th century.

      • Who will police Interpol?

        The agency does not arrest people, but is essentially a communications hub. Its main tool is the “red notice”, which is akin to an international arrest warrant. Member states give Interpol the names of criminals on the lam and ask for a red notice. This used to be rare. In 2001 fewer than 1,500 were issued. That figure has grown more than sevenfold. In all, more than 66,000 red notices are active. Most are for real criminals, but autocratic regimes have found they can also be used to persecute exiled dissidents.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Charter Spectrum Funds Front Group To Try And Kill Small Maine Town’s Plan For Better Broadband

        For decades regional U.S. telecom monopolies have often refused to deploy broadband into low ROI areas, despite billions in subsidization. At the same time, they’ve fought tooth and nail against towns and cities that attempt to improve their own regional broadband infrastructure. Often by using a bunch of sleazy and disingenuous arguments, or, in some cases, literally buying and writing state laws that block locals from deciding what they can and can’t do with their own local infrastructure. The only real goal: protect giant regional monopolies from disruption and competition.

      • Federal Court Dismisses Another Negligence Suit Against Online Gun Marketplace Armslist But Says Section 230 Doesn’t Protect It

        Two years ago, the Wisconsin Supreme Court handed down a pretty important decision, only somewhat tempered by its limited jurisdiction. It decided Section 230 immunity applied to the buying and selling of guns via a third-party platform, Armslist.

      • Concerned with frequent internet suspensions, Parliamentary Committee recommends an overhaul.

        The Standing Committee on Communication and Information Technology has published its report on ‘Suspension of telecom services/internet and its impact’. The report has been published when governments across the country continue to frequently suspend internet services. In this background, the Committee has made a range of recommendations including a review of the legal regime for suspension of internet services and establishing a database of internet shutdown orders.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Opinion | Does Brazil Proposal Hold Key to Ending Big Pharma’s Stranglehold on Covid-19 Vaccines?

          The World Trade Organization was supposed to meet this week to consider a proposal that has been languishing for the past year: a temporary waiver of pharmaceutical intellectual property during the pandemic to allow poor countries to make many of the same tests, treatments, and vaccines that rich countries have had throughout the pandemic. Yet, in a cruel reminder of the urgency of the problem, the WTO meeting was postponed, owing to the emergence of the Omicron variant, detected by scientists in South Africa (though precisely where it originated remains unclear ).

      • Copyrights

        • YouTube Briefly Suspends Game Livestreamer Ludwig Ahgren for Copyright Violation, a Day After His Exclusive Deal With the Platform Kicked Off

          In a video he posted on YouTube shortly afterward, Ludwig — clearly amused — said YouTube’s suspension kicked in as he was reviewing 50 of the most popular “vintage” videos on the service. According to Ludwig, YouTube’s Content ID copyright system evidently triggered the ban on his livestream when he played a few seconds of Pinkfong’s viral hit “Baby Shark Dance,” the No. 1 most-viewed video on YouTube (with 9.77 billion views and counting).

        • Petter Reinholdtsen: A Brazilian Portuguese translation of the book Made with Creative Commons

          A few days ago, a productive translator started working on a new translation of the Made with Creative Commons book for Brazilian Portuguese. The translation take place on the Weblate web based translation system. Once the translation is complete and proof read, we can publish it on paper as well as in PDF, ePub and HTML format. The translation is already 16% complete, and if more people get involved I am conviced it can very quickly reach 100%. If you are interested in helping out with this or other translations of the Made with Creative Commons book, start translating on Weblate. There are partial translations available in Azerbaijani, Bengali, Brazilian Portuguese, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Polish, Simplified Chinese, Swedish, Thai and Ukrainian.

        • Youtube Ripper Strikes Back at the RIAA in DMCA ‘Circumvention’ Lawsuit

          YouTube-ripping service Yout.com sued the RIAA last year in an attempt to have its platform declared legal in the US. The music industry group asked the court to dismiss the case, arguing that Yout clearly circumvents technological protection measures. However, Yout counters that YouTube doesn’t have any meaningful restrictions and wants the lawsuit to move forward.

        • U.S. Indicts Two Men for Running a $20 Million YouTube Content ID Scam

          Two men have been indicted by a grand jury for running a massive YouTube Content ID scam that netted the pair more than $20m. Webster Batista Fernandez and Jose Teran managed to convince a YouTube partner that the pair owned the rights to 50,000+ tracks and then illegally monetized user uploads over a period of four years.

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  1. [Meme] EPO: Pursuing an Eastern and Western District of Europe (for Patent Trolls and Software Patents)

    With the EPO so flagrantly lying and paying for misinformation maybe we should expect Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos to have delusions of grandeur… such as presiding over the Eastern and Western District of Europe, just like Mr. Gilstrap and Mr. Albright (political appointment by Donald Trump, ushering in “the swamp”)



  2. Gemini at 2,000: 86% of Capsules Use Self-Signed Certificate, Just Like the Techrights Web Site (WWW)

    As shown in the charts above (updated an hour ago), the relative share of ‘Linux’ Foundation (LE/LF; same thing, same office) in the capsules’ certificates has decreased over time; more and more (in terms of proportion) capsules choose to sign their own certificate/s; the concept of ‘fake security’ (centralisation and consolidation) should be rejected universally because it leaves nobody safe except plutocrats



  3. [Meme] UPC: Many Lies as Headlines, Almost Exclusively in Publishers Sponsored by EPO and Team UPC to Produce Fake News (Lobbying Through Misinformation)

    Lest we forget that EPO dictators, like Pinky and the Brainless Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos, have long littered the EPO's official Web site as well as publishers not directly connected to the EPO (but funded by it) with disinformation about the UPC



  4. EPO as the 'Ministry of Truth' of Team UPC and Special Interests

    The 'Ministry of Truth' of the patent world is turning the EPO's Web site into a propaganda mill, a misinformation farm, and a laughing stock with stock photography



  5. Microsoft 'Delighted' by Windows 11 (Vista 11) Usage, Which is Only 1% Three Months After Official Launch and Six Months After Release Online

    Microsoft boosters such as Bogdan Popa and Mark Hachman work overtime on distraction from the failure Vista 11 has been (the share of Windows continues to fall relative to other platforms)



  6. Links 27/1/2022: Preinstalled GNU/Linux (Ubuntu) and Arch Linux-Powered Steam Deck 30 Days Away

    Links for the day



  7. Don't Fall for Microsoft's Spin That Says Everything is Not Secure and Cannot be Secured

    Microsoft keeps promoting the utterly false concept that everything is not secure and there's nothing that can be done about it (hence, might as well stay with Windows, whose insecurity is even intentional)



  8. At Long Last: 2,000 Known Gemini Capsules!

    The corporate media, looking to appease its major sponsors (such as Web/advertising giants), won't tell you that Gemini Protocol is rising very rapidly; its userbase and the tools available for users are rapidly improving while more and more groups, institutions and individuals set up their own capsule (equivalent of a Web site)



  9. Links 26/1/2022: Gamebuntu 1.0, PiGear Nano, and Much More

    Links for the day



  10. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 25, 2022

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 25, 2022



  11. Links 26/1/2022: No ARM for Nvidia, End of EasyArch, and WordPress 5.9 is Out

    Links for the day



  12. Why the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is Still Just a Fantasy and the UPC's Fake News Mill Merely Discredits the Whole Patent 'Profession'

    Patents and science used to be connected; but now that the patent litigation 'sector' is hijacking patent offices (and even courts in places like Texas) it's trying to shove a Unified Patent Court (UPC) down the EU's throat under the disingenuous cover of "community" or "unity"



  13. Links 25/1/2022: Vulkan 1.3 Released, Kiwi TCMS 11.0, and antiX 19.5

    Links for the day



  14. Gemini Milestones and Growth (Almost 2,000 Known Gemini Servers Now, 39,000 Pages in Ours)

    The diaspora to Gemini Protocol or the transition to alternative 'webs' is underway; a linearly growing curve suggests that inertia/momentum is still there and we reap the benefits of early adoption of Gemini



  15. [Meme] Get Ready for Unified Patent Court (UPC) to be Taken to Court

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) and Unitary Patent system that’s crafted to empower EPO thugs isn’t legal and isn’t constitutional either; even a thousand fake news 'articles' (deliberate misinformation or disinformation) cannot change the simple facts because CJEU isn’t “trial by media”



  16. The EPO Needs High-Calibre Examiners, Not Politicians Who Pretend to Understand Patents and Science

    Examiners are meant to obstruct fake patents or reject meritless patent applications; why is it that working conditions deteriorate for those who are intellectually equipped to do the job?



  17. Free Software is Greener

    Software Freedom is the only way to properly tackle environmental perils through reuse and recycling; the mainstream media never talks about it because it wants people to "consume" more and more products



  18. Links 25/1/2022: Git 2.35 and New openSUSE Hardware

    Links for the day



  19. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 24, 2022

    IRC logs for Monday, January 24, 2022



  20. Links 25/1/2022: GPL Settlement With Patrick McHardy, Godot 4.0 Alpha 1, and DXVK 1.9.4 Released

    Links for the day



  21. Proprietary Software is Pollution

    "My daughter asked me about why are we throwing away some bits of technology," Dr. Andy Farnell says. "This is my attempt to put into words for "ordinary" people what I tried to explain to a 6 year old."



  22. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part XV — Cover-Up and Defamation

    Defamation of one’s victims might be another offence to add to the long list of offences committed by Microsoft’s Chief Architect of GitHub Copilot, Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley; attempting to discredit the police report is a new low and can get Mr. Graveley even deeper in trouble (Microsoft protecting him only makes matters worse)



  23. [Meme] Alexander Ramsay and Team UPC Inciting Politicians to Break the Law and Violate Constitutions, Based on Misinformation, Fake News, and Deliberate Lies Wrapped up as 'Studies'

    The EPO‘s law-breaking leadership (Benoît Battistelli, António Campinos and their corrupt cronies), helped by liars who don't enjoy diplomatic immunity, are cooperating to undermine courts across the EU, in effect replacing them with EPO puppets who are patent maximalists (Europe’s equivalents of James Rodney Gilstrap and Alan D Albright, a Donald Trump appointee, in the Eastern and Western Districts of Texas, respectively)



  24. Has the Administrative Council Belatedly Realised What Its Job in the European Patent Organisation Really Is?

    The "Mafia" which took over the EPO (the EPO's own workers call it "Mafia") isn't getting its way with a proposal, so it's preventing the states from even voting on it!



  25. [Meme] Team UPC is Celebrating a Pyrrhic Victory

    Pyrrhic victory best describes what's happening at the moment (it’s a lobbying tactic, faking/staging things to help false prophecies be fulfilled, based on hopes and wishes alone), for faking something without bothering to explain the legal basis is going to lead to further escalations and complaints (already impending)



  26. Links 24/1/2022: Scribus 1.5.8 and LXLE Reviewed

    Links for the day



  27. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 23, 2022

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 23, 2022



  28. [Meme] Team UPC Congratulating Itself

    The barrage of fake news and misinformation about the UPC deliberately leaves out all the obvious and very important facts; even the EPO‘s António Campinos and Breton (Benoît Battistelli‘s buddy) participated in the lying



  29. Links 24/1/2022: pgBadger 11.7 Released, Catch-up With Patents

    Links for the day



  30. The Demonisation and Stereotyping of Coders Not Working for Big Corporations (or 'The System')

    The war on encrypted communication (or secure communications) carries on despite a lack of evidence that encryption stands in the way of crime investigations (most criminals use none of it)


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