01.15.22

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 15/1/2022: Raspberry Pi in Business

Posted in News Roundup at 4:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • Leftovers

    • Of Bullies, the Bullied & the Craft of Art

      Political powers in the mastergame

      The Player who controls the board

    • The History Of Ranch Dressing: Let’s Get Sauced

      When I heard about the tale of the industry group that successfully lobbied the Food & Drug Administration about French dressing, that most disgusting of salad dressings that often includes friggin’ ketchup as an ingredient, I knew what I had to do: revive my backstory about how ranch dressing came to life and how, despite not getting the full ranch experience, the general public accepted that it was amazing anyway. Ranch dressing is more than a condiment at this point. It is a cultural phenomenon. It is a way to add extra fat to just about anything and wash it over with seasoning and creaminess. There are restaurants dedicated to this creamy delight, which shares four of its five letters with the word “French” but couldn’t be any more different. (By the way: Possible Wordle starter word?) It is “Fancy Like” a full 65 years before “Fancy Like” was a terrible song. And I’m going to tell you all about it. Today’s Tedium talks ranch dressing, because honestly, we must.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • Public Health Professionals Must Demand an End to the Use of Weaponized Drones
      • Opinion | The Right-Wing Supreme Court’s Appalling Decision on Covid Safety Rules

        By a 6 to 3 vote, with liberal justices in dissent, the Supreme Court yesterday blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a vaccine-or-testing mandate for large employers. (The court upheld a more modest mandate requiring vaccinations for health care workers who treat Medicare and Medicaid patients.)

      • Americans Can Order Free Rapid Covid Tests Starting Jan. 19

        A day after U.S. President Joe Biden announced he had directed his administration to secure a billion rapid Covid-19 tests to distribute for free amid rising infections nationwide, the White House revealed Americans can start placing orders online next week.

        “There will be free tests available for every household, and to promote broad access, the initial program will allow four free tests to be requested per residential address,” according to a White House fact sheet. “Starting January 19th, Americans will be able to order their tests online at Covidtests.gov, and tests will typically ship within 7-12 days of ordering.”

      • Gavin Newsom’s New Budget Proposal Expands Health Care to the Undocumented
      • Donald Trump’s Neglect has Fueled the Coronavirus Pandemic

        Except for its resolve to speed up the development of a vaccine against the coronavirus, the Trump administration’s decisions on the pandemic have been flawed, with dire consequences not only for the U.S. but also for the rest of the world. Countries that better controlled the spread of the virus like Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea, did so based on continuous testing, isolation of the infected, quarantining the contacts and massive use of masks. The Trump administration neglected these basic measures.

        A report issued by the House Select Subcommittee investigating the nation’s Covid response found that the Trump White House repeatedly overruled public health guidance by the nation’s top infectious disease experts, silencing officials to promote then-President Donald Trump’s political agenda.

      • Under the microscope: Antivaxxers find “impurities” in COVID-19 vaccines

        Every thing old is new again. I know that my readers probably get tired of my saying this, but it’s true. Since the pandemic began, there is not a single piece of misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines or single technique of portraying them as horrifically dangerous that is new. Be they weaponizing VAERS to blame vaccines for death and destruction, claiming that vaccines are “sterilizing our women,” portraying them as laden with frighteningly awful “toxins,” or many others, the antivax tropes reborn for COVID-19 vaccines that are shocking those previously oblivious to them are simply repackagings, tweaks, and reinventions of old antivax tropes that I’ve been writing about for nearly two decades. There is, however, one that I hadn’t seen yet (or at least hadn’t written about yet), and that’s when antivaxxers start looking at vaccines under the microscope. That changed when I saw this doozy of an article on that center of all quackery, antivaccine nonsense, and conspiracy theories on the Internet, Mike Adam’s website Natural News, in the form of a story entitled, SHOCK: German physicians discover “astonishing” impurities in COVID “vaccine.” Predictably (at least to those of us who’ve been following the antivaccine movement, it involves antivax “scientists” looking at COVID-19 vaccines under a microscope and finding…things, horrifying things…although I will give them credit for going on step beyond what antivaxxers used to do and finding “impurities” in the blood of the vaccinated as well:

      • It’s Time for Biden to Keep His Promises on Marijuana

        Such is the case thus far with President Biden’s campaign pledge to reform America’s archaic and unpopularmarijuana prohibition laws.

        “No one should be in jail because of marijuana,” Biden insisted on the campaign trail. “As president, I will decriminalize cannabis use and automatically expunge prior convictions.” Biden also supported “the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes” and promised to “leave decisions regarding legalization for recreational use up to the states.”

      • At White House Vigil, Nurses Decry ‘Unacceptable’ Pandemic Response

        Nurses dismayed by the federal government’s floundering pandemic response capped off a day of strikes and demonstrations Thursday with a candlelight vigil outside the White House, where healthcare workers gathered to commemorate colleagues who have lost their lives to Covid-19.

        “We can’t safely care for our patients if we are sick ourselves.”

      • America Is Falling Apart at the Seams

        In June a statistic floated across my desk that startled me. In 2020, the number of miles Americans drove fell 13 percent because of the pandemic, but the number of traffic deaths rose 7 percent.

      • How the Navajo Nation Beat Back Covid

        The solution, Nez said, has been the community’s prioritization of collective responsibility in its ongoing vaccination efforts. “While the rest of the country were saying no to masks, no to staying home, and saying you’re taking away my freedoms, here on Navajo, it wasn’t about us individually,” he said. “It was about protecting our families, our communities and our nation.”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • European Cyber Exercise: Digital Attacks from „Blue Land“

          For five weeks, EU member states will simulate attacks on their critical infrastructures. For the first time, the threshold of an armed attack will be surpassed. The rehearsal includes the provision of assistance in accordance with EU treaties, and the NATO case of alliance could also be triggered.

        • No lights, no heat, no money – that’s life in Ukraine during cyber warfare

          Intrusions by [attackers] on hospitals, power utility companies, and the financial system were until recently rare. But organized cybercriminals, many of them living in Russia, have gone after institutions aggressively in the past two years with ransomware, freezing data and computerized equipment needed to care for hospital patients.

          In some cases, those extortion attacks have led to patient deaths, according to litigation, media reports and medical professionals.

          Friday’s attack on Ukrainian websites included a warning to “be afraid and expect the worst”, at a time when Russia has amassed about 100,000 troops near Ukraine, raising fears in the West that it is considering an invasion. Moscow denies it wants to invade.

        • Google buys London site for $1 billion

          Google plans to refit the building so it is adapted for in-person teamwork and has meeting rooms for hybrid working, as well as creating more space for individuals.

        • New Windows KB5009543, KB5009566 updates break L2TP VPN connections

          When attempting to connect to a VPN device, they are shown an error stating, “Can’t connect to VPN. The L2TP connection attempt failed because the security layer encountered a processing error during initial negotiations with the remote computer,” as shown below.”

        • New Windows Server updates cause DC boot loops, break Hyper-V
        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Instant Messaging Apps: How Private Are They & What Alternatives Are There?

              And because communication takes place over the internet, it is, for all intents and purposes, free — unlike SMS (Short Message Service) and MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service), which often involve expensive fees for sending and receiving messages.

            • Interview With Anand Naik – Sequretek

              Anand Naik: Cyber Security industry from a customer’s point of view can be divided in the world of have’s and have not’s – where the Top 10% has access to everything whilst the rest have to make do without much of any. As they say the industry is for, by and to the elite.  

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Welcome to the New Cold War

        The word “encirclement” does not appear in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), signed into law by President Joe Biden on December 27, or in other recent administration statements about its foreign and military policies. Nor does that classic Cold War–era term “containment” ever come up. Still, America’s top leaders have reached a consensus on a strategy to encircle and contain the latest great power, China, with hostile military alliances, thereby thwarting its rise to full superpower status.

      • Afghanistan in Freefall: Deadly U.S. Sanctions Blamed for Shocking Humanitarian Crisis

        As Afghanistan faces a dire humanitarian crisis, we look at how more Afghans may die from U.S. sanctions than at the hands of the Taliban. The U.S.’s attempts to block support for the new de facto government have prevented vital funding from flowing to the nation’s civil servants, particularly in education and the health sector. Dr. Paul Spiegel says conditions in the hospitals he visited in Kabul as part of a World Health Organization emergency team are rapidly deteriorating, and he describes the lack of heat and basic amenities as winter descended. “There’s been a drought. There’s food insecurity. And all of this has been exacerbated due to this economic crisis and due to lack of the U.N. and NGOs being able to pay people in the field,” says Spiegel. “What we see now is that it’s not the Taliban that is holding us back. It is the sanctions,” says Jan Egeland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council.

      • Moral Injury: A New Description of What Ails You?

        Feeling in the dumps? What could be the reasons? Winter blues? Add COVID and lack of social interaction. Worried about climate change? Arctic melting? For Americans: Are the Republicans set to sweep mid-terms in 2022? No accountability for higher-ups in the January 6 assault on the Capitol? Supreme Court catastrophic? Bye-bye Roe vs. Wade? Potential U.S. civil war? Global politics? Russian troops ready to cross Ukraine border? Chinese pressure Hong Kong and Taiwan? Illiberal democracies flourishing? For the French: “Pissed off” with the man, Emmanuel Macron, who is pissed off with you? Aren’t the Brits incensed with partying BoJo? The list could go on and on. I have no magic cure for all that ails you (or me). But I do have a description of a new phenomenon which may explain some of your symptoms.

        We learned what post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is for returning Vietnam War vets. It is now considered a familiar disease for soldiers after combat. While it was certainly prevalent throughout history – shell shock and combat fatigue in W.W.II – it became officially recognized in 1980 when it was included in the American Psychological Association’s statistical manual for mental health practitioners.

      • Completely different approaches Political scientist Igor Zevelev breaks down Russia’s security talks with the U.S. and NATO

        Russia’s week of security talks with the U.S., NATO, and the OSCE wrapped up on Thursday, January 13. The meetings took place amid ongoing international concern over Russia concentrating troops near its border with Ukraine. However, the talks didn’t result in any agreements, as each party refused to budge on key issues. Russia has demanded an array of security guarantees, including that NATO rule out membership for Ukraine and Georgia. But both the alliance and Washington insist that Moscow has no say in the matter. For Meduza, political scientist Igor Zevelev breaks down why this week’s talks failed to produce results and where there may be room for negotiations.

      • At Request of U.S., Russia Rounds Up 14 REvil Ransomware Affiliates

        The Russian government said today it arrested 14 people accused of working for “REvil,” a particularly aggressive ransomware group that has extorted hundreds of millions of dollars from victim organizations. The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) said the actions were taken in response to a request from U.S. officials, but many experts believe the crackdown is part of an effort to reduce tensions over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to station 100,000 troops along the nation’s border with Ukraine.

      • Russian FSB busts ransomware group REvil at U.S. request

        On Friday, January 14, the Russian FSB reported that it had carried out a special operation to shut down the ransomware group REvil in response to a request from the United States. According to the FSB, its operatives detained and charged the group’s members after conducting raids on 25 addresses in Russia. If convicted, the suspects could face up to seven years in prison. The FSB’s announcement coincided with Ukraine reporting a major cyberattack that shut down dozens of government websites overnight. As yet, there is no indication that the two events are related and the Ukrainian government has not confirmed who is behind the attack.

      • “Smoking Gun” Analysis Finds US Sanctions Produce “War Time” Economy in Venezuela
      • France shuts down another mosque

        The Minister of Interior stated that 70 Muslim places of worship in the country have been “radicalised”. According to the ministry, there are 2623 Muslim mosques and places of worship throughout France and 21 places of these have been closed, according to figures dating from the end of December.

      • The fates of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump

        But a year later, those Republicans are finding themselves ostracized — and even facing death threats — for being out of step with a party that continues to embrace Trump.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Millennium Tower Now Tilting 3 Inches Per Year, According to Fix Engineer

        The engineer responsible for the troubled fix of the Millennium Tower acknowledged Thursday that the building is continuing to tilt about 3 inches a year since work began.

        He also revealed that his team did not provide any instructions to the fix contractor on ways to prevent the tower’s sinking and tilting from getting worse from drilling and digging around two sides of the foundation.

      • Anti-Israel Muslim Group Drops Lawsuit Against Whistleblower

        The resulting discovery, Saroya’s attorneys argued, would show she was not lying about “sexual harassment, gender discrimination, retaliation against those who raised these issues, gross financial mismanagement, disregard of basic governance requirements and duplicity about its raising of foreign funds, and [about] whether CAIR has been disingenuous with its Board, donors, chapters and volunteers, as well as the Muslim community at large.”

    • Environment

      • Elephants Dying from Eating Plastic Waste in Sri Lankan Dump

        Examinations of the dead animals showed they had swallowed large amounts of nondegradable plastic that is found in the garbage dump, wildlife veterinarian Nihal Pushpakumara said.

      • Elephants dying from eating plastic waste in Sri Lankan dump

        Around 20 elephants have died over the last eight years after consuming plastic trash in the dump in Pallakkadu village in Ampara district, about 210 kilometers (130 miles) east of the capital, Colombo.

      • We found a solution in historical Lviv to the Tisza’s sea of garbage

        There is a historic city in Ukraine with 800,000 inhabitants, and its highest point is a garbage dump. Such could be the opening line of an ad for disaster tourism in Lviv, but in fact, we’re talking about a promising reclamation site where an attractive park is planned to be in a few years. The city will also get a sustainably cost-effective and environmentally friendly waste management system out of it. The solution could also serve as an example for Transcarpathia, where, without proper waste processing, garbage is sure to continue coming into Hungary. Plans are already in place to tackle the problem – and Ukraine is largely looking to the EU for funding. The leadership of the region, which has a population of 1.2 million, says that building waste treatment plants could be completed by 2030 for €100 million, after which the system would become self-sustaining on a market basis. The industry is more pessimistic about the business model, but with a moderate budgetary supplement it could work – and it’s certainly worth it when you factor in the elimination of river pollution. Translation by Dominic Spadacene.

      • A Bigger Tent Delivers Stronger Wins for Climate: The Lesson From Illinois
      • Energy

        • ‘Appalling’: Outrage as Biden Prolongs Trump Coal Policy

          A coalition of environmental groups slammed President Joe Biden on Friday for refusing to immediately reinstate the federal moratorium on coal leasing on public lands that was discarded more than four years ago by the Trump administration.

          “It’s appalling that the Biden administration is refusing to confront Trump’s reckless policy of federal coal leasing.”

        • Federal government forecasts that U.S. oil production in 2023 will surpass record high set in 2019

          In case you were thinking that the federal government under President Joe Biden was addressing the climate crisis by reducing oil drilling and dependence on fossil fuels in the U.S. at this time, I have some alarming news for you.

          The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts that U.S. oil production will average 12.4 million barrels per day during 2023, surpassing the record high for domestic crude oil production set in 2019 under Trump.

        • Clean energy tech needs to be designed for recycling, experts say

          Companies like Apple and Samsung aren’t the only ones making high-tech devices that are hard to take apart and recycle. So are the manufacturers of critical clean energy technologies like solar panels, wind turbines, and electric vehicle (EV) batteries — and unlike the consumer tech industry, which is slowly starting to reverse some of its unsustainable design practices, there isn’t much being done about it.

          Batteries, solar panels, and wind turbines are all essential tools for combating climate change. However, these technologies take considerable energy and resources to make, and the best way to ensure we can keep making more of them sustainably is to recycle those resources at end of life. But today, clean energy recycling is limited by design choices that hinder disassembly, including the widespread use of ultra-strong adhesives. That could change, experts say, if the companies manufacturing supersized batteries for EVs and rare earth magnets for wind turbines shifted toward new adhesives that can be “de-bonded” using light, heat, magnetic fields, and more, or toward glue-free designs.

        • Mainstream Media Catching On

          Two of the externalities of cryptocurrencies I discussed in my Talk at TTI/Vanguard Conference were the way decentralization and immutability work together to enable crime, and their environmental impact. How well are mainstream media doing at covering these problems? The picture is mixed, as the two examples below the fold show.

        • California is poised to kill rooftop solar, damaging climate and health

          The California Public Utilities Commission is poised to kill off much of the rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) industry in California, which will result in the use of more polluting natural gas and biomass electricity as well as dirty electricity imported from out of state. The use of the new dirty electricity will raise air pollution death rates in California above the 12,000 per year who perish in the state already. Most of these additional deaths will be in poor communities in the Los Angeles basin and Central Valley, where pollution levels are already the highest in the state.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • They Chopped Down a Centuries-Old Tree. Now They Face Felony Charges.

          Mr. Jones and Ms. Hoffman were also charged with falsification. Both charges are felonies that carry a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison, a spokeswoman for Mr. O’Malley said.

        • Marines rescue 3 whales trapped in nets off Acapulco

          A boat of marine personnel freed the animals and herded them away from shore. It was the second incident in as many days: on Wednesday, a humpback whale calf was found stranded on the beach in Acapulco, disoriented and dehydrated. Residents threw water on it and later helped authorities push it back into the water despite heavy surf.

          Farther south, a whale rescue group has been trained by the International Whaling Commission.

      • Overpopulation

        • Why Britain needs more migrants

          As in other rich countries, women are having fewer children: after the sharp peak that followed the second world war, fertility rates have declined. And the big baby-boom generation is affecting demographics in Britain and beyond. In Japan, the dankai no sedai—those born between 1947 and 1949—have contributed to the country’s rapid ageing: almost 30% of the population are aged over 65. The slowdown in life-expectancy increase is also weighing on Britain’s population growth. Projections made since 2012 (see chart 2) have steadily revised down period life expectancy at birth (a measure of the average number of years people will live beyond their current age). For someone born in 2025, the latest projected life expectancy is 2.1 years lower than the projection made in 2012.

    • Finance

      • Inspired by Bernie Movement, Starbucks Workers Gain Steam

        With direct ties to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ people-powered presidential campaigns, the push for workers’ rights at Starbucks stores is “spreading like wildfire,” said one observer as the National Labor Relations Board on Friday ordered union elections at three more locations of the coffee chain in Western New York, weeks after workers at two stores in the area made history by unionizing.

        “The spark was the win at a Starbucks in Buffalo. The kindling was the thousands of Bernie supporters that Starbucks has hired over the years.”

      • Lee Camp: We Know the Silver Bullet to Ending Poverty and Destitution But Choose Not to Use It

        Here’s how the world should operate in simple terms: A certain country or region or city or township or Hobbit hole tries something in order to help their society or group or hovel — if it works, other places then do it. If it doesn’t work, other places don’t do it. It’s like when you were a kid and you saw your brother slide down the banister and rack himself on the newel post — You then thought, “Maybe that activity is not for me.” But if he didn’t nail himself in the jewels, you probably thought, “I think I’ll try that.”

      • Workers Are Paying the Price for Kroger’s Profits

        Cindy Wilbur has spent over 20 years working for Fred Meyer, a big-box supermarket that is part of the Kroger family of grocery chains, and for the first 18 of them, she was happy. Back then, she was employed as a food price changer and making decent money working 48 hours a week. After itchy feet led her to try a string of sales jobs for other grocery chains, like Kraft and Advantage, Wilbur realized something wasn’t clicking. “Although I was good at sales, I didn’t really enjoy it,” the soft-spoken 51-year-old told me in a phone call earlier this week. “I really stopped and thought about what was the last time I was really happy in my job, and that was when I was at Fred Meyers.” She returned to the chain in 2020, and began working at the Federal Way location near her home just outside Seattle, Wash. Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and everything changed. Now, she said, “I would swear that I was in a completely different company.”

      • Opinion | Food-Price Inflation Hits Poorest the Hardest

        The question of how best to control inflation is back on the economic policy agenda, and opinion is divided about how to address it. The mainstream view emphasizes the need for tighter monetary policies and regards higher interest rates and reduced liquidity provision as justified, even if they dampen the fragile economic recovery now underway in many countries. Others argue that today’s inflation is transitory, reflecting temporary supply bottlenecks and labor-market shifts, and will soon correct itself.

      • They Promised Quick and Easy PPP Loans. Often, They Only Delivered Hassle and Heartache.

        In May 2021, Terry Kilcrease thought he saw a lifeline. He was out of work, living in a hotel in Lewisville, Texas, when he ran across a promising ad on Facebook. People who worked for themselves, it said, could still get loans from the government’s then-13-month-old pandemic Paycheck Protection Program.

        Kilcrease had just started selling credit card processing systems to small businesses in early 2020 before the pandemic killed much of the need for cash registers. He hadn’t thought he was eligible for the $800 billion program. But the ad, posted by a company called Blueacorn, convinced him it was worth a try.

      • After Navient Forgives $1.7B, Progressives Say Cancel All Student Debt

        As one of the largest U.S. educational lenders on Thursday agreed to pay $1.85 billion to 39 states to resolve predatory lending claims, progressive lawmakers and advocates renewed calls for the cancellation of all outstanding student loan debt.

        “All student loans are predatory because no one should have to go into debt to get an education.”

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Venezuela: Opposition, Media Blast Maduro Interference in Barinas Election

        In the Venezuelan state of Barinas, the U.S.-backed opposition candidate for governor won an election on Sunday, January 9. Sergio Garrido – who has openly supported the fake “interim” presidency of Juan Guaidó, recognized only by the U.S. and 15 other world governments – defeated the Venezuelan government candidate, Jorge Arreaza, 55% to 41%.

      • Biden is Rising to the Moment on Voting Rights, Will Congress?

        Sitting on the campus of Morehouse College, Dr. King’s alma mater, surrounded by friends and colleagues in the voting rights movement, I felt proud that we had arrived at this moment. Every one of us was committed to keeping our eyes on the prize, prepared to do whatever it takes to see President Biden sign urgently needed voting rights protections into law.

        President Biden’s words matched the magnitude of the moment. “I will not yield,” he said. “I will not flinch. I will defend the right to vote and our democracy against all enemies, foreign, and yes, domestic.”

      • “Who We Are”: New Film Chronicles History of Racism in America Amid Growing Attack on Voting Rights

        As the United States heads into the Martin Luther King Day holiday weekend, attempts by Democrats to pass major new voting rights legislation appear to have stalled. We examine the new award-winning documentary “Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America,” which follows civil rights attorney Jeffery Robinson as he confronts the enduring legacy of anti-Black racism in the United States, weaving together examples from the U.S. Constitution, education system and policing. “The entire purpose of this film is to ask people to take a long hard look at our actual history of white supremacy and anti-Black racism,” says Robinson, the former deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. “That is something that has been really erased from the common narrative and creation story about America.” We also speak with Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler, the directors of the film.

      • Opinion | Democrats Ready Final Push for Voting Rights—Did They Act Too Late?
      • Opinion | To Safeguard US Democracy and Economy, Senate Must Reform Filibuster

        Earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) set Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day as the Senate’s deadline to vote on a rule change that would allow passage of voting rights legislation, which has been continually blocked by the filibuster. Though Schumer is able to use an existing congressional rule to get around an initial filibuster and open debate on the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act, closing debate and passing the legislation without Republican support will still require a change in filibuster procedure. Despite bipartisan support for filibuster reform to raise the debt ceiling in December, doing the same for voting rights has been met with opposition from every Republican senator and the two Democratic senators whose support is necessary to enact the rule change.

      • Google calls for govt help to secure critical open-source software

        Following a summit on open-source security hosted at the White House on Thursday, Google said the collaboration between government and the private sector was needed for open-source funding and management.

      • Nigeria Lifts 7-Month Ban on Twitter

        Since the ban came into effect, Nigerians have been able to access the service only using a virtual private network. Twitter’s removal of a post by President Muhammadu Buhari was widely seen as having prompted the government to block the site, but the government official, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, said on Wednesday that it was because it had been used “for subversive purposes and criminal activities.”

        In the now-deleted tweet, which was aimed at “those misbehaving,” Mr. Buhari said that the government would “treat them in the language they understand,” a message that was widely read as being a reference to the deadly Nigerian civil war. Some interpreted it as a threat of genocide.

      • Jan. 6 Committee Subpoenas Four Big Tech Firms

        In letters accompanying the subpoenas, the panel named Facebook, a unit of Meta, and YouTube, which is owned by Alphabet’s Google subsidiary, as among the worst offenders that contributed to the spread of misinformation and violent extremism. The committee said it had been investigating how the companies “contributed to the violent attack on our democracy, and what steps — if any — social media companies took to prevent their platforms from being breeding grounds for radicalizing people to violence.”

      • Ukrainian websites hit by cyberattack amid tensions with Russia

        Several Ukrainian government websites were hit by what officials called a “massive cyberattack” on Friday as hackers took control and posted messages warning Ukraine to “be afraid and expect worse.”

        In the early hours of Friday morning, Oleg Nikolenko, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, tweeted that “the websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a number of other government agencies are temporarily down” from the cyberattack.

      • White House Offers Support to Ukraine Following Cyberattack

        A White House National Security Council spokesman told VOA that U.S. President Joe Biden was briefed on the attack, which shut down as many as 15 of Ukraine’s government websites. The spokesman said the NSC has offered whatever support it can provide as it assesses the impact of the attack.

        Ukraine’s foreign ministry reported Friday that the ministries affected included the treasury, the national emergency service and the state services, where Ukrainians’ electronic passports and vaccination certificates are stored.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Russia puts Navalny associates Leonid Volkov and Ivan Zhdanov on ‘terrorist and extremist’ list

        Leonid Volkov and Ivan Zhdanov, two close associates of imprisoned opposition leader Alexey Navalny, have been added to Russia’s list of “terrorists and extremists.” 

      • Criss Angel Sends Ridiculous Legal Threat After Comedian Creates Parody Menu Of His Restaurant

        Harrison Greenbaum is a comedian and (sometimes) magician, who noticed that the magician Criss Angel had opened a restaurant, named “CABLP” and hadn’t registered the domain cablprestaurant.com. For whatever reason, the restaurant’s actual website appears to be Eatblp.com, and so Greenbaum registered cablprestaurant.com and created a very obvious parody menu. I mean:

      • Small Nebraska Town Pays $16,000 To Resident It Attempted To Sue Into Silence

        You most likely have never heard of Ord, Nebraska. There’s no reason you should have. Obviously, the town’s government would prefer you’ve heard of it, but it’s impossible to be well-informed about every small town in a country the size of the United States. Here’s how the town government pitches its wares:

      • Moleskine Erases Taiwan From Diaries After Listing It As Province of China

        Until 2019, the company’s popular weekly planners simply used “Taiwan,” but in 2020 that changed to “Taiwan (Province of China).” This year, Moleskine journals don’t mention Taiwan at all, stripping it from the global holidays and dialing codes sections.

        For the final two years that Moleskine continued to display Taiwan’s public holidays among 44 countries and regions including Hong Kong, some dates were also misleading. In 2020, Taiwan’s holidays supposedly included October 1, the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in Beijing. Taiwan celebrates its National Day every October 10, but 2021 editions showed it had no holidays in October.

      • Details of ‘plot to kill exiled blogger’ emerge during UK trial

        LONDON: The trial of 31-year-old Gohir Khan, a British Pakistani based in the United Kingdom, began at the Kingston-upon-Thames crown court on Thursday, with the prosecution revealing details of an alleged plot to murder exiled blogger and activist Ahmad Waqass Goraya who is based in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • The Annual American Whitewash

        I understand that people are free to decide who they will receive spiritual guidance from. The commitment to loving your neighbor that Jesus and King present may not resonate with everyone, and I take deep offense when their messages of altruism are distorted to justify and promote indignity and dehumanization. But, these days, it is unavoidable.

        House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a key mouthpiece for Trumpism, has been misquoting MLK in his efforts to oppose critical race theory for months. His tweet, “Critical Race Theory goes against everything Martin Luther King Jr. taught us—to not judge others by the color of their skin. The Left is trying to take America backward” is the antithesis to King’s demands for equality. McCarthy loves to sanitize the racism of the Trump-GOP platform; it is inconvenient for him to admit the detrimental impacts that these policies have on black populations, so he lies instead. He deletes his racist tweets, but he never apologizes for them… This January he, like so many others, will no doubt pay lip service to the legacy of King by cynically twisting the meaning of MLK’s words beyond all recognition.

      • What’s a “Western”? Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog”

        Set in Montana in 1925, the year that American readers fell in love with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, it boasts wide open space and spectacular landscapes, though Campion’s landscapes also have something mysterious and spiritual about them. The film has a cowboy named Phil Burbank, a Yale graduate, who is reminiscent of “Johnny Guitar,” played by Sterling Hayden in Nicholas Ray’s film of the same name, though unlike Johnny, Phil plays the banjo, not the guitar.

        Is Phil a good guy or a bad guy? Is he as mean and ornery as Jack Wilson, the hired gunfighter played to perfection by Jack Palance in Shane, a shadowy character that kids have loved to boo and hiss. Or is Phil more like John Wayne who owned the western for much of his career and who brilliantly played “the Ringo Kid,” the outlaw turned good citizen, in John Ford’s classic Stagecoachfrom 1939, when spies began to share screen time with cowboys.

      • Continuing King’s “Revolution of Values”

        The staff of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference would usually give King a new suit, but this year they wanted to make him laugh.

        Xernona Clayton teased, “We know how fond you are of our president Lyndon Johnson,” which got a laugh. Then she pulled out a metal cup engraved: “We are cooperating with Lyndon’s War on Poverty. Drop coins and bills in cup.”

      • Appeals Court Says It’s Entirely Possible For Cops To Pinpoint Marijuana Odors In Moving Cars

        Cops are still claiming they can detect the odor of marijuana in moving vehicles. Not only that, they claim they can pinpoint the source, even when in traffic.

      • Alec Baldwin turns phone over to authorities investigating ‘Rust’ shooting

        The Santa Fe County, New Mexico, Sheriff’s Department had issued a warrant for Baldwin’s phone on Dec. 16. District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said investigators were seeking to “obtain any materials” from the actor’s phone that possibly pertained to the shooting.

      • Alec Baldwin turns over cellphone in investigation of fatal ‘Rust’ shooting: DA

        The search warrant for Baldwin’s phone was approved by a Santa Fe County magistrate judge on Dec. 16. Baldwin’s attorney acknowledged receipt of the warrant, and the Santa Fe County District Attorney’s Office was negotiating with Baldwin’s lawyer to retrieve the phone, according to the sheriff’s office.

        Authorities said they want to look at text messages sent from the phone as part of its investigation into the on-set shooting in Santa Fe last year that killed the film’s cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, and wounded its director, Joel Souza.

      • Alec Baldwin Turns Over His Phone to ‘Rust’ Investigators

        Santa Fe investigators asked Baldwin to voluntarily turn over the phone, but his attorney advised them to get a warrant, according to the search warrant affidavit. The warrant was issued on Dec. 16, and the New Mexico prosecutors’ office subsequently got involved in negotiations with his attorney to obtain the phone.

      • Islamic charity advises on when and how to beat women

        The NSS has reported a number of charities registered under the charitable purpose of “the advancement of religion” to the commission for condoning violence against women in recent years.

        NSS head of policy and research Megan Manson said: “All forms of abuse and violence against women should be wholeheartedly condemned, with no exceptions.”

        “An organisation that condones any form of abuse has no business being a charity.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • [UPDATE] Elizabeth Warren Is NOT Cosponsoring A Bill To Repeal 230

        Big Update: It turns out that this was a clerical error on the part of a Senate staffer, and that Elizabeth Warren is not co-sponsoring this bill from Lindsey Graham to repeal Section 230. The Congress.gov site is expected to be corrected and her name removed as a co-sponsor some time soon. I am leaving the original story below for posterity, but it’s good to see that Senator Warren hasn’t gone completely over to the dark side on this.

      • New ‘TLDR’ Bill Requires Companies Provide Synopsis Of Overlong, Predatory Terms Of Service

        This week saw the introduction of the The Terms-of-service Labeling, Design and Readability Act, or “TLDR Act,” for short. The bill, which, for now, has bipartisan support, would require the FTC to create rules mandating that websites must offer a truncated version of obnoxiously long and predatory terms of service (TOS) nobody actually reads. The “summary statement” websites would be obligated to provide would not only lay out the legal requirements in terms normal humans could understand, it would also require a website disclose any major data breaches that have occurred in the last three years.

      • Ron Yokubaitis: GOP Putting Partisanship over Reform with Gigi Sohn’s FCC Nomination

        I have known Gigi Sohn since she led Public Knowledge. She understands that net neutrality is just a patch and the real solution is true open access to the underlying local telecommunications infrastructure. I certainly don’t agree with 100% of Sohn’s viewpoints, and we’ve told her so. But even when we disagree our voices are heard, understood and considered. She is practical and willing to compromise. She will seek bipartisan solutions to the real problem.

        The Republicans’ effort to derail Gigi Sohn’s nomination to the FCC is misguided. All it does is cripple the FCC’s ability to return to its roots and do what is truly necessary to get America up to speed with the rest of the developed world when it comes to advanced infrastructure in general and [Internet] ubiquity in particular. This is too important a moment for partisan gamesmanship. Billions of dollars and the connectivity of millions of Americans are at stake.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Netflix Hikes Prices in U.S., Canada for Most Subscription Plans

        Netflix raised the monthly price of most of its subscription plans in the U.S. and Canada, as the streamer looks to generate more revenue from a slower-growing base customers.

      • Netflix raises prices on all plans in US

        Prices for a Netflix plan have steadily gone up in recent years. The standard plan went to $14 per month from $13 in late 2020, after previously rising to $13 from from $11 in 2019. Prior to that, Netflix raised prices in 2017 and 2015. When Netflix announced its first wide-scale price increase in 2014, the company was so worried about losing subscribers over a $1 per month bump that it let existing members keep their price for two years. It hasn’t offered such a generous perk in the years since.

    • Monopolies

      • Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai were involved in ad collusion plot, claims court filing

        Drawing on internal emails, Friday’s complaint shows that the Jedi Blue deal was reviewed at the highest levels of both companies, with personal involvement from Sundar Pichai, Sheryl Sandberg, and Mark Zuckerberg. In one email to Zuckerberg, Sandberg told the CEO “[t]his is a big deal strategically.” Notably, the filing refers to Zuckerberg and Sandberg by their job titles but redacts their name.

      • Facebook, Google CEOs aware of formal advertising market deal, lawsuit alleges

        Chief executives of Alphabet’s Google and Facebook were aware of a deal to carve up part of the online advertising market, according to an amended antitrust complaint filed by Texas and 15 other states against Google.

        The deal with Facebook, which Google dubbed “Jedi Blue,” was “signed off” by Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai while Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was on an email thread discussing it, they said in their third amended complaint.

      • Executives personally signed off on Facebook-Google ad collusion plot, states claim

        Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai personally approved a deal that would see the social media giant gain an advantage in the search engine’s ad auctions, according to a group of state attorneys general.

        The 2018 arrangement potentially gave Facebook illegal advantages, the attorneys general from 15 states and Puerto Rico, led by Texas’s Ken Paxton (R), allege in court filings unsealed Friday.

        The coalition initially filed its antitrust lawsuit alleging that Google holds a monopoly over the advertising technology market in 2020, then filed an updated complaint in November. The document released Friday is a less redacted version of the newer complaint.

      • Trademarks

        • US Court To Gruyere Cheese People: No, You Can’t Ban People From Calling Their Cheese Gruyere If They Aren’t Your Neighbors

          One of the more annoying trends in intellectual property is when regional consortiums try to lock up terms or language around a specific style of product with arguments that only that region can produce a certain thing. If you’re familiar with this concept, the first thing to leap to your mind will likely be one French wine group’s control over the term “champagne” in certain regions. Another example would be a consortium of Belgian chocolate makers trying to assert that nobody can advertise “Belgian-style chocolate” unless it comes from one of them. It’s all very silly, as it attempts to take a term that everyone recognizes as describing the style of a product and transform it into locked up language to be controlled by some specific originators. Like I said, silly, though, far too often, these consortiums get their way.

      • Copyrights

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