01.29.22

Links 29/1/2022: Curse of NixOS and Rust (GitHub/Microsoft) Versus GNU

Posted in News Roundup at 7:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Why this website is called RealLinuxUser

        After a lot of research, I bought both a refurbished desktop and a refurbished laptop and started my journey of discovery with Linux Mint. With help from forums and websites and Youtube, I managed to install Linux Mint successfully. And then my enthusiasm got bigger and bigger and I dared to ask my questions in some forums. Since I am drawn to graphical applications and a graphical way of using my computers, One of the things I asked was how I could do certain things with graphical applications only, as I am a visual person and prefer graphical user interfaces. And what shocked me then was the reactions I got. It was like I was swearing in church or something…how ridiculous it was that I didn’t want to just use the terminal because everything was so much nicer and better and faster using terminal commands. And maybe that is true in some cases, but what struck me the most was that I was not considered a real Linux user because of that And some folks told me that in a really harsh way. When I started thinking about those comments, I came to my own conclusion that this way of thinking and communicating from the Linux community (for a while it felt like the whole community was against me, which of course wasn’t, but harsh words have sometimes major impact on me), may be one of the major reasons why so many people don’t even want to try Linux. The technical level, the language, the attitude, and the unfriendly tone of voice that I often encountered, I don’t think fit with all the beautiful things Linux has to offer.

    • Server

      • Pop quiz: The network team didn’t make your change. The server is in a locked room. What do you do?

        Welcome to another entry in The Register’s Who, Me? archives. Today, a reader goes full Hollywood to save the day (and fix some IP addressing).

        Our story comes from Dave and takes us back to the Australia of the 1990s. It was the era of Paul Keating and John Howard and, significantly, a time of advancement in telecommunications technology.

        Riding that wave was our reader, “Dave” (no, not his real name) who was working in software and infrastructure for a government agency. His team had developed an imaging system (“back when that was hard,” he said modestly) that could display trademark registrations on the new-fangled Windows desktops that were popping up all over the place.

        “The application worked a treat,” explained Dave, “and saved everybody heaps of time in their day job, and successfully displaced some dedicated SUN workstations that were used to display the coveted trademarks database images.”

        “Instead of queuing, examiners could simply use their desktop PCs to do their day job. Unfortunately, it was a victim of its own popularity.”

      • IPv6 is built to be better, but that’s not the route to success

        In the World of Tomorrow that’s always 10 years away, Linux dominates the desktop, quantum computers control the fusion reactors, and all Android phones receive regular system updates. And the internet runs on IPv6.

        This sort of talk irks IPv6 stans, mostly because it’s true. They are serious-minded, far-seeing, sober engineering types who are both baffled and angry that IPv4 still rules the world in 2022. This is not how it was supposed to be.

        IPv4 was designed by expert prophetic dreamers more than 40 years ago to be future-proof, but the future it actually created outstripped their dreams. IPv6 was the engineers’ answer, born from a decade and a half of experience, and solving IPv4′s undeniable routing, addressing, security and performance problems at the unprecedented scale it was being asked to support.

      • Reasons for servers to support IPv6

        I’ve been having a hard time understanding IPv6. On one hand, the basics initially seem pretty straightforward (there aren’t enough IPv4 addresses for all the devices on the internet, so people invented IPv6! There are enough IPv6 addresses for everyone!)

        But when I try to actually understand it, I run into a lot of questions. One question is: twitter.com does not support IPv6. Presumably it can’t be causing them THAT many issues to not support it. So why do websites support IPv6?

        I asked people on Twitter why their servers support IPv6 and I got a lot of great answers, which I’ll summarize here.

        First though, I want to explain why it’s possible for twitter.com to not support IPv6 because I didn’t understand that initially.

      • New tools to simplify wrapping your head around Kubernetes

        Engineer Nelson Elhage offers several reasons Kubernetes is so complex but this does at least mean that multiple companies offer tools to try to help you master it.

        The Google-backed container-management system is famously difficult, even to spell or pronounce. (It’s often called “k8s” for short: since “kubernetes” is 10 letters long, “k8s” signifies “k” + eight letters + “s”, and is pronounced “kates”.) The Mountain View mammoth even commissioned a comic to explain what it is. (It’s long, but quite good.)

        K8s is a set of tools for managing clusters – but not everyone has a spare cluster lying around that they can play with.

        [...]

        Perhaps you’re already running multiple K8s clusters and have the infrastructure ready, but you don’t have admin-level access. Loft Labs has you covered: the newly announced vcluster lets you run clusters inside your cluster, so you can have root on your own private virtual K8s setup.

        Whether local on Arm, x86, Linux, Mac or Windows, on Docker, or in local VMs, or remote VMs, or a remote K8s cluster, someone somewhere has an allegedly easy-to-use offering to help you dip your toe in the water. After all, it’s a brave company that says it doesn’t need Kubernetes.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Kernel 5.10.94 crashes

        Preparing to release the next version of EasyOS, I compiled the 5.10.94 kernel. The current release of Easy has the 5.10.90 kernel.

        Same config as for 5.10.90, but it crashes at bootup. Oh dear. So, staying with 5.10.90.

      • Zstd-Compressed Linux Firmware Back To Being Eyed – Phoronix

        Back in summer 2020 was a proposal for Zstd-compressed Linux firmware so that the growing number of firmware binaries shipped by the linux-firmware tree could be Zstd-compressed to save disk space while being able to more quickly decompressed the data compared to other firmware compression options.

        Following that original 2020 patch proposal, one year ago Zstd firmware compression was again talked about with patches in hand but never acted upon for mainlining. This would save disk space compared to the uncompressed hundreds of megabytes of firmware files and be quicker to decompress than using XZ compression and thus a faster boot time.

      • No, Linus Torvalds Is Not Satoshi Nakamoto [Ed: Clickbait garbage responding to other clickbait garbage]
    • Applications

      • The 8 Best Microsoft Office Alternatives for Linux Users

        You can easily find an open-source alternative for any Windows-exclusive app on Linux. And Microsoft Office is no exception.

        Document creation and management suites play a vital role in personal and professional spheres of life. A sizable variety of premium office suites is available to tackle your Linux computing needs, posing a solid competition to the old-faithful Microsoft Office.

        There are at least eight documentation suites with differential features, which aren’t as costly as their Microsoft counterpart. If you’re looking for some usable, worthy alternatives to MS Office, you must check out the options listed below.

      • Calibre is a Swiss Army ebook tool • The Register

        In this week’s edition of our column on free and open-source software, El Reg takes a look at Calibre, which converts almost any file type into almost any other file type, so you can read whatever you want, wherever you want, no matter what format it’s in.

        It’s free and runs on Windows, Linux and Mac.

        There’s more to ebooks than the Kindle, of course, with devices such as the Kobo, Nook, and Onyx Boox. The author’s own Sony Reader still worked fine when I gave it to a friend a year ago.

        Buying consumable content online for immediate consumption is wonderfully convenient, but the trouble is that you can lose it again just as easily, or the company can shut down its store. It’s worth learning how to download your digital content – and once you have it on a computer, what you can do with it suddenly expands.

        This doesn’t apply just to print books, either: although Comixology is being subsumed into the Bezos behemoth, don’t despair. There are other ways to get stuff out of the cloud and onto e-paper.

      • QOwnNotes 22.1.11 – Neowin

        QOwnNotes is a open source (GPL) plain-text file notepad with markdown support and todo list manager for GNU/Linux, Mac OS X and Windows, that (optionally) works together with the notes application of ownCloud (or Nextcloud). So you are able to write down your thoughts with QOwnNotes and edit or search for them later from your mobile device (like with CloudNotes) or the ownCloud web-service. The notes are stored as plain text files and you can sync them with your ownCloud sync client. Of course other software, like Dropbox, Syncthing, Seafile or BitTorrent Sync can be used too.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to use Nmap to scan for open ports

        The Nmap network reconnaissance and security auditing tool, released in 1997, is one of the most basic and most used cybersecurity tools today. From its beginnings as an advanced port scanner, it evolved into a multifunctional tool with a family of useful projects that can discover weak passwords, scan IPv6 addresses, perform IP address geolocation, detect vulnerabilities and more.

        The open source tool helps security pros, networking teams, sys admins and other IT personnel scan hosts, networks, applications, mainframes, Unix and Windows environments, supervisory control and data acquisition systems, and industrial control systems.

      • Nmap use cases, tools and product comparisons

        Nmap is one of the most well-known tools among the infosec community. “Some call it the Swiss Army knife for hacking,” said Paulino Calderon, author and co-founder of Websec Mexico.

        At almost 25 years old, the network discovery and security auditing tool has come a long way since its inception. What was designed for network reconnaissance and port scanning has evolved to include a slew of subprojects, including Ndiff, Ncat and Zenmap.

        In his latest book, Nmap Network Exploration and Security Auditing Cookbook, Third Edition, Calderon offers insights into the tool and its use cases — real-world tips he learned by not only using the tool in his everyday work, but also as a developer with the project since 2011.

      • An Essential Guide to Kubernetes Observability Challenges with Pixie

        Decentralized systems observability has always been challenging. Dealing with latency, distributed transactions, failures etc. became increasingly complex. The more abstraction a decentralized system has, the more difficult it is to reason about it, debug and troubleshoot.

      • How to play Xvid files or convert them

        Xvid is a codec that is designed to highly compress video files using the MPEG-4 Part 2 ASP format. Xvid is a free file format distributed under the GNU General Public License (GPL), so it’s not uncommon to encounter this kind of file when downloading video online.

        [...]

        If you want to convert an Xvid file to another format, there are a number of options to choose from. If you are looking for a fast and free option, try one of the numerous online converters. These converters are hosted in a website; just upload the Xvid file, click the button to start the conversion process, and download the converted file. It generally takes a few minutes to convert, depending on the size of the original Xvid file. Two common converters include Convertio and Office-Converter.

      • How chmod numbers work explained

        If you work in a Unix based environment, a firm understanding of how chmod numbers work is required.

        For example, you need to know that 777 is a very dangerous permission to provide, that a 664 is a good mode change for the html directory on an Apache web server, and that a chmode number of 898 makes no sense whatsoever.

      • Transparently Patching PWNKIT with Ksplice
      • Install Neofetch on CentOS 8

        In this article we will learn how to Install Neofetch on CentOS 8. Neofetch is a free and opensource command-line tool that displays system and hardware information in a visually appealing manner. Neofetch shows the very basic information you might need to know such as the type of operating system you are running, screen resolution, the kernel, installed packages, memory, and uptime to mention a few. This information is displayed along with your OS logo.

      • How To Install Firefox on Debian 11 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Firefox on Debian 11. For those of you who didn’t know, Firefox is a free and open-source web browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation and its subsidiary, Mozilla Corporation. Firefox is featured on nearly all Linux distributions as the primary browser or secondary.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of the Mozilla Firefox browser on a Debian 11 (Bullseye).

      • How to Install and Test a Web Server in Chromebook Linux

        The Chromebook Linux environment (Crostini) is a great tool for development, and it’s especially good for web development. It’s easy to install a web server to test your web page right from your Chromebook before deploying it to a production server. Here’s how to do it.

      • How to Use the Synology Audio Station

        Audio Station is the audio player app of Synology. You can use it from the DSM 7 web interface. The Audio Station is used to manage audio playlists of your Synology NAS audio playlists and stream them. You can also use Audio Station to share audio with other people.

      • How To Setup CodeBlocks with C++/wxWidgets and GUI Designer

        This tutorial explains how you can install CodeBlocks with C++/wxWidgets library and GUI designer for visual software development. Fortunately, all tools are available already on Ubuntu. CodeBlocks is the IDE, cpp is the language, wxWidgets is the user interface toolkit, and wxSmith plugin is the designer. This tutorial is wished to help you in making cross platform programs rapidly with drag and drop approach aside from coding also known as a Visual Basic or Delphi alternative. Now let’s go.

      • How to Install Cockpit With Ubuntu 21.04

        Hey! Welcome Back!! Today we will see how to install and configure Cockpit with Ubuntu 21.04. Linux is known for its complex CLI-based environment. Even for seasoned Linux Admins, things are not easy to memorize all the time. You require reference documents. Any such things which can help to reduce command line dependency will help. The cockpit is the same utility. To see how to install the service refer to this article.

      • How To Install Composer on CentOS Stream 9 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Composer on CentOS Stream 9. For those of you who didn’t know, Composer is a dependency manager for the programming language, PHP. It functions as some sort of project manager that helps the programmer manage dependencies that will be used on a project-to-project basis. Composer supports all the latest PHP platforms and frameworks like Magento, Laravel, etc.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation of Composer on a CentOS Stream 9.

      • How to install and configure MariaDB 10.7 on Ubuntu 20.04 – NextGenTips

        In this guide we are going to install MariaDB 10.7 development version, but first what is MariaDB?

        MariaDB Server is one of the most popular open-source relational databases. It’s made by the original developers of MySQL and guaranteed to stay open source. It is part of most cloud offerings and the default in most Linux distributions.

        It is built upon the values of performance, stability, and openness, and MariaDB Foundation ensures contributions will be accepted on technical merit. Recent new functionality includes advanced clustering with Galera Cluster 4, compatibility features with Oracle Database and Temporal Data Tables, allowing one to query the data as it stood at any point in the past.

        You need to have Ubuntu 20.04 server with non-root administrative privileges and a firewall configured with UFW. Check out this for initial server setup guide for Ubuntu 20.04.

      • How to install Onefetch in CentOS 8

        In this article we will learn How to install Onefetch in CentOS 8. Onefetch is a command line tool to get a Git repository’s information from the terminal. It displays various details of a given Git repository. Onefetch displays details along with the dominant programming language’s ASCII logo. You can change the ASCII logo with your own text input or nothing at all. Onefetch is fully customizable. You can configure it using command line flags to display exactly what you want and the way you want it to. For instance, you can decide which language’s ASCII logo to print, disable a specific detail from the output, change the ASCII art color, and change the text color etc.

        Onefetch supports more than 50 programming languages. If you think a specific language is missing, just open an issue in GitHub and the support might be added. It is an open source project written in RUST programming language. The source code of Onefetch is freely available in GitHub under MIT license.

      • How to Install and Configure CSF Firewall on Debian 11 – Cloudbooklet

        Install and configure CSF (Config Server Firewall) and secure your Debian 11.

        CSF is a popular security tool for Linux to secure the server with stateful packet inspection firewall (SPI), intrusion detection, a login failure daemon, DDOS protection, and control panel integration.

        In this guide you are going to learn how to install and setup CSF and also the essential commands to use the firewall on Debian 11

      • How to Install Void Linux: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide

        In this guide, I will be going to show you step-by-step how to easily install Void Linux and set up a fully workable desktop environment.

      • Getting Started with CodeBlocks, C++/wxWidgets and GUI Programming

        This tutorial will explain how you can start software development with CodeBlocks with wxWidgets Framework and GUI designer wxSmith. Aimed for beginners, this is an expansion of our alternatives to Visual Basic, Studio or Delphi. We hope this could help, support and enable everyone to Free Libre Open Source Software development. Now let’s start.

      • Install Wine 7.1 On Ubuntu 20.04 / 21.10 & Linux Mint | Tips On UNIX

        This tutorial will be helpful for beginners to install wine 7.1 on Ubuntu 21.10, Ubuntu 20.04, and Linux Mint 20.3.

      • Install Bpytop as an alternative to Top & Htop- System Monitor

        Bpytop is an appealing alternative to “htop” and “Top” kind of command-line system monitor tool. Here we will learn the command to install Bpytop on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04 LTS Linux.

        Although we can monitor our system resources by using the default in-built system monitor tools on Ubuntu, however, we have to leave the terminal for that. Yes, I know classic Linux command-line tools such as ps, free and df are there along with somewhat clearer tools such as the “top” and the graphical, a little more appealing structure “htop”. However, having a little bit more interactive, easy to handle and structured tool is not a bad idea.

        Hence, it is worth installing and experiencing “top” alternative Bpytop, which is written in Python, which, like the traditional candidates and does not require a graphical environment.

      • Essential DNF Commands for Linux Users [With Examples]

        We give you a quick reference of essential DNF commands with examples in this guide.

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine 7.1 Released with Vulkan 1.3 Support & Various Bug-fixes

        The first development release after Wine stable 7.0 was out. Here’s what’s new and how to install in Ubuntu Linux.

        Wine 7.1 comes with the latest Vulkan 3D graphics v1.3 support for running high-performance real-time 3D graphics applications. The new driver features dynamic rendering, additional dynamic state, improved synchronization API, and device profiles.

      • Wine-Staging 7.1 Adds Bindless Textures Patch To Fix Some Game Rendering Issues – Phoronix

        Along with Wine 7.1 releasing on Friday, Wine-Staging 7.1 is also available as the more bleeding-edge version of Wine that carries more than five huundred extra patches atop the code-base.

        Wine-Staging 7.1 ships wiht 561 patches over and beyond what is included in mainline Wine 7.1. Aside from the patches it’s been carrying for a long time, three new patches were picked up while also updating the existing patches around NVIDIA CUDA support.

        Arguably the most notable patch merged to Wine-Staging 7.1 is for WineD3D to support using bindless textures (ARB_bindless_texture) for GLSL shaders. Using bindless textures for shaders in the WineD3D code fixes this bug since 2018 around Elder Scrolls Online needing more than 32 samplers in pixel shaders. There has also been other bugs such as this rendering issue since 2017 also attributed as the same. WineD3D using bindless textures will help address some issues out there, but of course isn’t relevant if you are instead using DXVK for your Direct3D 9/10/11 to Vulkan conversion rather than going through WineD3D with Direct3D to OpenGL.

    • Games

      • Steam Deck Verified and Playable Titles Pass the 100 Titles Mark – Boiling Steam

        Valve has started since mostly a week ago to make the Steam Deck Verified and Playable titles public. Since the Steam Deck launches on the 25th of February, there’s actually not so much time left to verify hundreds if not thousands of games, but the good news is that the Steam Deck Verification process seems to be picking up. There are now more than 100 titles (60 Verified + 41 Playable).

        [...]

        We will keep you up to date as the situation evolves!

      • Valve’s Steam Deck portable gaming console finally coming on this date

        In July 2021, Valve Corp unveiled Steam Deck, the company’s first ever hand-held gaming console. It was slated to hit stores in the US, UK and other select global markets in December. But, due to the chipset shortage, the scheduled release was deferred indefinitely.

        Now, the company has announced that the portable Steam Deck will be finally available for purchase online from February 25 onwards and the delivery process will commence on February 28.

        For the uninitiated, the new Steam Deck sports a wide 7.0-inch HD+ (1,280x800p) LCD panel with a 16:10 aspect ratio. It supports up to 60Hz display refresh rate and offers close to 400 nits of peak brightness.

      • Valve confirms Steam Deck starts shipping late February

        Valve’s much-anticipated handheld console Steam Deck is finally hitting the market. The company promised it would arrive at the end of February and it looks like it’s going to deliver. Those who reserved the device will get an invitation on February 25 and have three days to place their order as shipments start on February 28.

      • New Linux Drivers Could Extend Battery Life of Steam Deck

        It seems that there are some final preparations being done in the run-up to the hotly-anticipated Steam Deck, which is being released towards the latter parts of next month. With the likes of Half-Life 2 receiving a UI update that makes it more suitable for the handheld PC, these remaining few weeks are an opportunity for Valve to utilize the time left and make sure its upcoming device is as good as it can be. On top of everything else, it looks as though the portable system may be getting some new drivers, which could improve the overall battery life.

      • Quake II RTX Patch Adds AMD FSR, HDR Support; DLSS Can’t Be Added

        As you might recall, NVIDIA released the remastered Quake II RTX for free back in June 2019. In-house developer Lightspeed Studios took the work of Christoph Schied with Q2VKPT and brought it to the next level with new path-traced visual effects, improved texturing, and more.

        Last Friday, Quake II RTX received a big new patch, version 1.6. The developers added a bunch of new features, though the most interesting ones came directly from the community, as GitHub user @res2k introduced support for AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) and for High Dynamic Range (HDR) displays.

        [...]

        NVIDIA’s prized Deep Learning Super Sampling cannot be added because of the GPL license used by Quake, as confirmed by developer AlexP on the Quake II RTX Steam forum.

      • This Wikipedia trivia game is the best thing since ‘Wordle’

        What came first, John Travolta’s birth or The Norman Conquest of Southwest Italy? Where would the end date of America’s Next Top Model fit into the timeline? The origin of Goodyear Tire Company? The Shakespeare play Troilus and Cassida? If you like trivia and timelines, I urge you to check out WikiTrivia, a free quiz game that has been called an “online clone of the card game Timeline” and a “totally a sneaky trick to get people to fix stuff up on Wikidata.”

      • Welcome To Elk Will Launch On Switch & Linux On February 10th

        Danish-based indie game developer and publisher Triple Topping revealed this week that Welcome To Elk will be released next month. This is one of those oddball titles that hits all the right buttons when it comes to design and storytelling that, while completely weird, kinda draws you in over time. It feels like a slice of ’90s Nickelodeon was turned into a game. You can check out the latest trailer below as it will be getting launched on February 10th for both PC on Linux and the Nintendo Switch.

      • Chromebooks with RGB keyboard lighting & gaming-related features to arrive soon: Report

        Chromebooks are hybrid devices that possess the capabilities of an Android tablet and appear in the form-factor of a laptop. In recent years, particularly after the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the demand for Chromebooks has grown. Subsequently, a lot of companies have started manufacturing Chromebooks that are highly affordable yet rich in features. However, up until now, Chromebooks have lacked in one aspect, gaming.

        Multiple Chromebooks that run on Chrome OS are available in the market from manufacturers like Lenovo, HP and Asus. However, for keeping such devices affordable, manufacturers are only able to pack the device with entry-level specifications. For instance, the Lenovo Chromebook 14e is currently available on Amazon for Rs. 20,990 and comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage along with an AMD 3015Ce processor. Another example is the Asus Chromebook Celeron Dual Core Chromebook, which is currently available on Flipkart for Rs. 17,990 and comes with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.

        [...]

        Most recently, HP announced two new Chromebooks which are made for students. The Chromebooks come as a part of the HP Fortis series and there are two models. While one runs on Intel chipsets, the other runs on a Qualcomm chipset. The Chromebooks are called HP Fortis 14″ G10 and HP Fortis 11″ G9. While the former is available to purchase in the US, the latter will be available in June 2022. Keep reading to know about the new HP Fortis Chromebooks.

      • Gaming Chromebooks could launch soon to offer an alternative to Windows and Linux Gaming | Digit

        According to a recent report, changes in the Chrome OS suggests that Gaming Chromebooks are coming soon. For the uninitiated, Chrome OS is a free and open-source operating system from Google. Most people primarily use it for basic tasks like document editing, surfing the web etc. However, Chrome OS is more than likely to get native Steam support in the near future. Not only that but you can also expect Gaming Chromebooks with dedicated GPUs to launch as well.

      • Of course, Google gaming Chromebooks are planned: Look at the last 3 years

        RGB keyboards for Chrome OS are just another incremental step in what’s now been a multi-year effort for Google gaming Chromebooks.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Plasma 5.24 Getting Ready For Release, More Wayland Fixes Merged – Phoronix

          KDE developers have been very busy this month working up to the Plasma 5.24 LTS release in February. Plus with the 15 minute bug initiative underway and working to address remaining issues with the Plasma Wayland session, it’s been a busy start of 2022.

          KDE developer Nate Graham published his usual weekly development summary this morning. Some of the KDE highlights for ending out January include:

          - Various KDE Plasma 5.24 regressions fixed ahead of its release.

          - A handful of bugs from the 15 minute bugs initiative were resolved.

        • 10 Ways KDE Is a Better Linux Desktop Than GNOME

          Many Linux operating systems rely on GNOME, but it’s worth giving KDE a try because it might just become your favorite Linux desktop.

          With so many popular Linux operating systems invested in the GNOME ecosystem (such as Ubuntu and Fedora), it’s easy to overlook KDE.

          But there are many reasons why many consider KDE to be better than GNOME. If you do give KDE’s Plasma desktop a try, you might walk away with a new favorite way to use Linux.

        • 7 Best Linux Distros Based on KDE GUI to use in 2022 – Linux Shout

          Although, we can install KDE on any popular Linux, however, here we have listed some best and most popular Linux distro that comes with the KDE desktop environment out of the box.

          The “KDE Community” is an international team that develops free and open-source software for both desktop PCs and mobile devices. The core product of KDE is currently the Plasma desktop environment for Linux and UNIX platforms. Also, offers Plasma for mobile devices.

          Apart from the beautiful desktop full of widgets, KDE offers hundreds of programs in many categories such as the Internet, multimedia, entertainment, education, graphics, and software development. KDE software is translated into more than 60 languages ​​and runs natively on Linux, BSD, Solaris, Windows, and Mac OS X. Nevertheless, many of the applications that can also be used under GNOME without any problems are released as “KDE Applications” every four months.

        • December/January in KDE Itinerary

          Getting train or bus trips into KDE Itinerary so far was only possible by importing the corresponding ticket, manual editing wasn’t available. This makes sense as in order to function properly we need trip data that actually matches the schedule and contains coordinates or identifiers for efficiently querying for realtime updates.

          However that’s a problem for users with some form of flat rate ticket, they might not have a corresponding ticket for each trip. Therefore it will become possible to add train or bus trips from a online journey search, basically as if we’d have an embedded KTrip for this.

          To make this work conveniently we needed a location picker, which involves a name-based online search for stations. KPublicTransport provides that since the very beginning, but is does have a problem: which online backend do we query? Without further instructions that will be all 70+ of them, which is very inefficient and will produce poor results.

          KTrip addresses this by asking the user to explicitly select an online backend. That works, but given the amount of backends we have this isn’t really ideal. For Itinerary we took a slightly different approach. For the location search you just have to select the corresponding country, and with that information KPublicTransport is now able to automatically pick as few as possible backends to perform the location search.

        • Kate & KTextEditor Bug Fixing – Kate

          The Kate & KTextEditor projects have at the moment 189 open bugs.

          That is a lot given only a few people work on this projects regularly.

          Therefore it would be really appreciated if people could help out with fixing.

          If you have spare time and you are interested in help to improve our projects, head over to our long list of bugs.

          Some might even be already fixed and just need to be tried out with a recent version. Other might lack ways to reproduce, providing such ways or even just asking the reporter and setting the bug to the NEEDSINFO/WAITINGFORINFO state will help us to keep some better overview.

          Contributing to Kate & KTextEditor is easier then ever nowadays.

          Head over to our build documentation, with kdesrc-build it is very easy to setup some development environment on any recent Linux/BSD distribution.

          We have already a really large number of merge requests that can be used as hints how to actually submit you patches and how the process works. Normally, if you are responsive to our feedback, I would say the patch contribution works really well since we are on our GitLab instance.

    • Distributions

      • [Old] Manjaro 21.2 ‘Qonos’ Released! Here’s What’s New

        Manjaro 21.2 is finally out, and it brings lots of improvements and updated desktop environments GNOME, Plasma, and Xfce. In this article, let’s look at the new Manjaro 21.2 features and improvements.

      • The best Linux distributions | c’t uplink 41.4 – Market Research Telecast [Ed: Automated translation from German]

        These include Debian, Arch Linux, Fedora, Manjaro and Ubuntu. Which is the right distribution for you depends heavily on the intended use.

        For example, if you want to get an ancient notebook running again, you would probably be better off with a Debian, for a high-performance gaming computer you need the latest possible drivers and kernels – and that’s why you’re more likely to use Manjaro or openSUSE Tumbleweed.

      • Reviews

        • Wesley Aptekar-Cassels | The Curse of NixOS

          I’ve used NixOS as the only OS on my laptop for around three years at this point. Installing it has felt sort of like a curse: on the one hand, it’s so clearly the only operating system that actually gets how package management should be done. After using it, I can’t go back to anything else. One the other hand, it’s extremely complicated constantly changing software that requires configuration with the second-worst homegrown config programming language I’ve ever used1.

          I don’t think that NixOS is the future, but I do absolutely think that the ideas in it are, so I want to write about what I think it gets right and what it gets wrong, in the hopes that other projects can take note. As such, this post will not assume knowledge of NixOS — if you’ve used NixOS significantly, there probably isn’t anything new in here for you.

        • The curse of NixOS – OSnews

          NixOS is talked about a lot – but it seems impenetrable for a newcomer or outsider to get into it.

      • BSD

      • Fedora

      • Debian

        • Abiola Ajadi: Debci- An introduction for beginners!

          Been a minute! for this blog i will continue from my previous article where i explained Debci you can read more about it here.

          In my previous article I mentioned Debci stands for Debian Continous Integration and it exist to make sure packages work currently after an update by testing all of the packages that have tests written in them to make sure it works and nothing is broken. For my internship, I am working on improving the user experience through the UI of the debci site making it easier to use.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • AiryxOS

        • AiryxOS wants to be an open-source macOS, complete with support for Mac apps

          There are dozens (or perhaps hundreds) of excellent desktop Linux distributions that can be capable alternatives to Windows or macOS, but there are also a few systems that are outright clones of proprietary software products. One of them is AiryxOS, which aims to combine the interface and software design of macOS with the versatility of FreeBSD, which is currently in the early stages of development.

          There are a number of open-source operating systems that aim to clone proprietary systems, usually with some level of binary support — ReactOS is a clone of Windows (specifically, Windows Server 2003 right now), Haiku is a continuation of BeOS, FreeDOS is an MS-DOS clone, and so on. The AiryxOS project is still in early stages, but it has some lofty goals. Zoë Knox is the main developer, who currently works as the Vice President of Engineering at the OpenNMS Group.

      • Web Browsers

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Nibble Stew: Porting the LO Windows build to macOS

          In the last blog post we looked at compiling a subsection of LibreOffice on Windows using nothing but Meson and WrapDB. Now that it is working (somewhat) the obvious followup question is how much work would it be to make that build on macOS as well.

          Not all that much, it turns out. The work consisted mostly of adding some defines, adding platform-specific source files and the like. It took me less than a day. A sizable fraction of that was spent waiting for my old 4-core laptop to finish compiling the code.

      • Content Management Systems (CMS)

        • How Do You Use Tags in WordPress?

          This article explains how to use tags in WordPress to identify content within your site.
          Tags are helpful to identify your article’s subject. Each content you produce may include certain tags, which can be a word or a set. Through tags, you can define the subject of your article, and they are helpful for users find specific content based on specific words. In other words, tags are basically keywords to identify your content.

          This tutorial includes images describing each step, making it easy for all users to apply them.

        • Block Protocol Project Aims to Create Universal Block System, May Collaborate with Gutenberg

          Block Protocol is a new project that aims to build a block system for embedding interactive blocks in any web application. The goal is to create a more interoperable and open web where these blocks can be shared through a standardized protocol. The initial draft of the Block Protocol spec is being incubated by the team at HASH, an open source data, modeling, and simulation platform.

          When HASH founder Joel Spolsky shared the idea with the world yesterday, through a post on his WordPress-powered blog, it caught Matt Mullenweg’s attention.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GIMP: A free substitute for Photoshop

            Gimp or GNU Image Manipulation Program is open-source image manipulation and photo editing software that offers professional-grade features for free.

            Since its release in 1996, GIMP has come a long way from being an experimental project by some university graduates to the most robust and free-for-all Adobe Photoshop alternative on the internet.

            GIMP’s strengths lie in its accessibility, community support and feature-rich interface.

      • Programming/Development

        • NIR Continues Successfully Serving The Needs Of Mesa, Better Suited Than LLVM

          Prominent Mesa developer Jason Ekstrand who formerly led Intel’s “ANV” Vulkan driver effort and being one of their open-source driver developers originally involved with the NIR intermediate representation work wrote a detailed and excellent blog post outlining its successes eight years running. While it still gets brought up into discussions from time to time (including quite recently stemming from a RISC-V graphics thread) why Mesa doesn’t use LLVM IR or SPIR-V directly as its intermediate representation, NIR continues as a striking success and used by all major Mesa drivers.

        • Ruby 3.1 arrives with new JIT compiler

          The Ruby community has released Ruby 3.1, an upgrade to the open source dynamic programming language that introduces a new in-process JIT (just-in-time) compiler to improve the performance of Ruby applications.

          Introduced on Christmas Day, Ruby 3.1, or Ruby 3.1.0, adds the YJIT (Yet Another Ruby JIT), a lightweight, minimalistic Ruby JIT built inside CRuby. YJIT uses a Basic Block Versioning architecture, with a JIT compiler inside of it. YJIT achieves fast warmup and performance improvements on most real-world software, Ruby’s developers said. But YJIT still is in an experimental stage and is disabled by default. To use it, developers must specify the –yjit command-line option. YJIT currently is limited to Unix-like x86-64 platforms.

        • Top tools for enabling CI/CD in ML pipelines

          Jenkins is a popular continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) Java application that runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and other Unix-like operating systems.

        • Code Wrong: Expand Your Mind | Hackaday

          Case in point: esoteric programming languages. The variety is stunning. There are languages intended to be unreadable, or to sound like Shakespearean sonnets, or cooking recipes, or hair-rock ballads. Some of the earliest esoteric languages were just jokes: compilations of all of the hassles of “real” programming languages of the time, but yet made to function. Some represent instructions as a grid of colored pixels. Some represent the code in a fashion that’s tantamount to encryption, and the only way to program them is by brute forcing the code space. Others, including the notorious Brainf*ck are actually not half as bad as their rap — it’s a very direct implementation of a Turing machine.

        • Basis Universal 1.16 Released With OpenCL Support, Other Improvements – Phoronix

          Version 1.16 of the Basis universal GPU texture codec developed by well known developer Rich Geldreich’s Binomial LLC.

          Basis has been extremely promising as a “super compressed” GPU texture data interchange system that offers two intermediate data formats either as Basis itself or the Khronos KTX2 standard and can then be transcoded to various other formats. Basis has enjoyed a stellar past few years and enjoying industry success and Binomial continues to push their releases as open-source. Thanks to Google and other partners they have been able to continue developing it while keeping it open-source.

        • Undocumented feature = bug

          undocument feature = surprise

          surprise = unexpected functionality

          unexpected functionality = bug

          QED ;)

          hook out → packing …

        • Python

          • Pandas Dataframe Indexing

            In pandas, indexing involves picking specific columns and rows of data out of a DataFrame. Choosing all of the rows and even some of the columns, part of the rows and all of the columns, or some of each of the rows and columns is what indexing entails. Subset selection is another name for indexing. When we build a Pandas DataFrame object in Python using the pd.DataFrame() function from the Pandas module, an address in the row or column indices is automatically produced to symbolize each data element/point inside the DataFrame. However, row indices are the DataFrame’s index, while column indices are simply referred to as columns. A Pandas DataFrame object’s index essentially identifies certain rows. Let’s have a look at how to alter the Panda’s index DataFrame object.

        • C++

          • Else if C++

            While using the C++ programming language, there come such situations where you need some contradictory options, for instance. If you are applying any condition according to the scenario, you will proceed with two or more options. If the condition is satisfied, it will lead to one task; otherwise, some other function will be performed in the second condition. This article is based on the else-if statement in the C++ programming language.
            In C++ programs, the Else-if statement is executed in the form of blocks. We utilize an else-if statement to execute one block of source code satisfying certain conditions and other code satisfying other conditions. An else-if statement is said to be a conditional statement as it is used to check the given condition, and according to this condition, the loops are executed.

        • Rust

          • Bitflags in Rust

            While working on Rust bindings for KConfig as a part of Season of KDE 2022, I came across a few problems while trying to represent QFlags in Rust…

          • Sylvestre Ledru: An update on rust/coreutils

            TLDR: we are making progress on the Rust implementation of the GNU coreutils.

            Well, it is an understatement to say my previous blog post interested many people. Many articles, blog posts and some podcasts talked about it! As we pushed coreutils 0.0.12 a few days ago and getting closer to the 10 000 stars on github, it is now time to give an update!

            This has brought a lot of new contributors to this project. Instead of 30 to 60 patches per month, we jumped to 400 to 472 patches every month. Similarly, we saw an increase in the number of contributors (20 to 50 per month from 3 to 8). Two new maintainers (Michael Debertol & Terts Diepraam) stepped in and have been doing a much better job than myself as reviewers now! As a silly metric, according to github, we had 5 561 clones of the repository over the last 2 weeks!

          • Rust-Written Replacement To GNU Coreutils Progressing, Some Binaries Now Faster

            Along with the broader industry trend of transitioning security-sensitive code to memory-safe languages like Rust, there has been an effort to write a Rust-based replacement to GNU Coreutils. For nearly a year that Rust Coreutils has been able to run a basic Debian system while more recently they have been increasing their level of GNU Coreutils compatibility and in some cases now even outperforming the upstream project.

        • Java

  • Leftovers

    • Radio Control Joby Aircraft Uses Six Tiltrotors To Fly | Hackaday

      eVTOL (Electric Vertical Take-off and Landing) craft are some of the more exciting air vehicles being developed lately. They aim to combine the maneuverability and landing benefits of helicopters with the environmental benefits of electric drive, and are often touted as the only way air taxis could ever be practical. The aircraft from Joby Aviation are some of the most advanced in this space, and [Peter Ryseck] set about building a radio-controlled model that flies in the same way.

    • Hewlett-Packard wins fraud case against UK tech tycoon Mike Lynch

      A British judge found on Friday that tech tycoon Mike Lynch had masterminded an elaborate fraud to inflate the value of his company Autonomy before it was bought by Hewlett-Packard (HPE.N) for $11 billion in 2011 in one of the UK’s biggest tech deals.

      Lynch received a further blow later on Friday when Britain’s interior ministry ordered his extradition to the United States to face criminal charges over the deal that carry a maximum prison term of 20 years.

    • Ten expats honored for contributions to Shanghai – SHINE News

      Ten expats, two females and eight males, from Germany, the UK, the US, Japan and Italy were presented Magnolia Gold Awards on Monday for their great contributions to the city’s social and economic development.

    • Hardware

      • 3D Printer Showdown: $350 Consumer Vs $73,000 Pro Machine | Hackaday

        The quality of consumer-grade 3D printing has gone way up in recent years. Resin printers, in particular, can produce amazing results and they get less expensive every day. [Squidmar] took a miniature design and printed it (or had it printed) on some cheap resin printers and a 65,000 Euro DWS029. How much difference could there be? You can see for yourself in the video below.

        We were surprised at the specs for the more expensive machine. It does use a solid-state laser, but for that cost, the build volume is relatively small — around 15 x 15 x 10 cm. There were actually five prints created on four printers. Three were on what we think of as normal printers, one was on the 65,000 Euro machine, and the fifth print was on a 10,000 Euro printer that didn’t look much different from the less expensive ones.

        Of course, there is more to the process than just the printer. The resin you use also impacts the final object. The printers tested included a Phrozen 4K Mini, a Phrozen 8K Mini, a Solos Pro, and the DWS 029D. The exact resins or materials used was hard to tell in each case, so that may have something to do with the comparisons, too.

      • Another US president, time for another big Intel factory promise by another CEO

        Intel puts on a show for its biggest manufacturing announcements, with episodes every few years using a rotating cast of CEOs and US presidents.

        Intel boss Pat Gelsinger and President Joe Biden were the latest to join the series, on Friday jointly announcing the chip maker’s investment of $20bn in plants near Columbus, Ohio. The fabs could be operational by 2025 and make chips down to 2nm and beyond.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Linux Vulnerability Discovered Impacting All Major Distros [Ed: Conflating systemd with Linux, as usual]

            A major Linux vulnerability, impacting virtual all major distributions (distros), has been discovered, allowing a bad actor to obtain root privileges.

            On Linux, Unix, macOS, and other Unix-style operating systems, the root account has ultimate access to the system. As a result, when a user account is set up, it doesn’t have root access as a way of protecting the system from accidental damage.

          • PwnKit: Local Privilege Escalation Vulnerability Discovered in polkit’s pkexec (CVE-2021-4034) | MarketScreener

            The Qualys Research Team has discovered a memory corruption vulnerability in polkit’s pkexec, a SUID-root program that is installed by default on every major Linux distribution. This easily exploited vulnerability allows any unprivileged user to gain full root privileges on a vulnerable host by exploiting this vulnerability in its default configuration.

          • Linux distros haunted by Polkit-geist for 12+ years: Bug grants root access to any user

            Linux vendors on Tuesday issued patches for a memory corruption vulnerability in a component called polkit that allows an unprivileged logged-in user to gain full root access on a system in its default configuration.

            Security vendor Qualys found the flaw and published details in a coordinated disclosure.

            Polkit, previously known as PolicyKit, is a tool for setting up policies governing how unprivileged processes interact with privileged ones. The vulnerability resides within polkit’s pkexec, a SUID-root program that’s installed by default on all major Linux distributions. Designated CVE-2021-4034, the vulnerability has been given a CVSS score of 7.8.

            Bharat Jogi, director of vulnerability and threat research at Qualys, explained in a blog post that the pkexec flaw opens the door to root privileges for an attacker. Qualys researchers, he said, have demonstrated exploitation on default installations of Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, and CentOS, and other Linux distributions are presumed to be vulnerable as well.

          • 12-year-old Linux root privilege flaw has been “hiding in plain sight”

            An ‘easily exploitable’ root privilege security vulnerability has been discovered in popular default Linux distributions and “has been hiding in plain sight” for more than 12 years, according to security researchers.

          • Pwnkit is an easy-to-exploit vulnerability affecting all Linux distros

            Linux has been known for being way more secure than Windows PCs. However, this may be changing soon as the platform is growing in popularity. According to a new report from Cybersecurity researchers from Qualys (via TechRadar), there is an “extremely severe” vulnerability in Linux. It’s very easy to exploit bugs and is affecting every major distro for the open-source Operating System.

            According to the researchers, this vulnerability has been “hiding in plain sight” for more than 12 years, and it’s memory corruption in polkit’s pkexec. According to the researchers, it’s a SUID-root program, installed by default. The malicious actors can exploit the bug to gain full root privileges on the target machine, and then do as they please. They can use the exploit to install malware or even ransomware.

          • QNAP NAS systems vulnerable to new ransomware

            A new ransomware variant is spreading and the second one in a short timeframe for QNAP. It encrypts QNAP NAS servers in return for a payment in bitcoin to decrypt them. The ransomware makes use of a zero-day vulnerability that allows it to bypass two-factor authentication.

            The attacks began January 26th reports bleeping computer, when QNAP devices discovered their data had been encrypted and their file names had been prefixed with a.deadbolt file suffix. Rather than placing ransom notes in each folder on the device, the QNAP device’s login page is hijacked to display a message that reads, “WARNING: Your data have been encrypted by DeadBolt,” as illustrated in the image below. This screen instructs the victim to send 0.03 bitcoins (about $1,100) to an enclosed Bitcoin address that is unique to each victim.

          • Twitter’s top security staff out after incoming CEO shakes things up

            Twitter’s head of security and CISO both ejected from the social media biz this month.

            Infosec guru Mudge, aka Peiter Zatko, joined Twitter in 2020 in the aftermath of 130 high-profile accounts, including those of Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden, being hijacked by miscreants. You may remember Mudge as an original member of The Cult of the Dead Cow and L0pht.

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

            • Log4j Exploitations Have Slowed, But Attack Vectors Remain [Ed: Flogging a dead (patched) horse to maintain FUD factor]

              Attackers made more than 30,000 attempts to scan and leverage exploits found in the critical Log4Shell vulnerability in January, according to security firm Kaspersky. Log4Shell, a flaw found in the Apache Software Foundation Log4j library logging tool, was first disclosed to the public in December and continues to be a challenge.

            • Log4j, Open-Source Issues, and My Dead Hard-Disk Drives [Ed: Trying to associate a long-fixed bug with something unrelated for scare]

              Why Log4j is an issue for embedded developers.

            • Open Source and Third Party Code in commercial software projects – Copyright Traps for the unwary [Ed: Convicted corrupt firm M&C is spreading FUD against the GPL when in fact proprietary software poses vastly greater legal risks; M&C says "The Open Source movement began in 1983"; that's like saying Trump was born in 1750.]]

              Software development inherently lends itself to the reuse and adaptation of existing materials. While in the early days of this young technology this may have primarily implied the reuse by an individual of their own code, the evolution of platforms such Bulletin Boards, then USENET, and finally the World Wide Web, have vastly extended the range of sources of third party content, and opportunities for sharing such code. Meanwhile, the field of software development itself has evolved so that it is virtually unknown to truly write a program from scratch, but rather to agglomerate modules at varying levels of abstraction from the underlying machine code.

              [...]

              The Open Source movement began in 1983 with the founding of the GNU Project, and the resulting Free Software Foundation. This movement drove in particular the development of Copyright licenses whose purpose was not to prevent dissemination, but rather to support and encourage it, on specified terms considered to be consistent with these broader aims. The GNU project produced the GPL (General Public License), and as the Open Source Movement became more popular, other developers started their projects with a similar ethos, and made their code available on the same terms. While providing users with the right to access source code, to modify it and distribute it, the GPL license also imposes a number of obligations. These are complex and outside the scope of this article, however many felt that they were dissuasive in particular with respect to use in commercial projects. This lead to a proliferation of licenses which may be seen as varying on a scale of restrictiveness with The GPL series of licenses being amongst the most restrictive, and licenses such as the MIT or BSD licenses as being most permissive.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • American AGs sue Google over location data gathering • The Register

              The Attorneys General of Indiana, Texas, Washington state, and Washington DC on Monday each filed lawsuits against Google alleging that the search giant uses deceptive user interface designs known as “dark patterns” to obtain customer location data without adequate consent.

              “We’re leading a bipartisan group of AGs from Texas, Indiana, [and] Washington, each suing in state court to hold Google accountable,” said Karl Racine, Attorney General of Washington DC, in a statement via Twitter. “We’re seeking to stop Google’s illegal use of ‘dark patterns’ [and] claw back profits made from location data.”

            • Rights group says Lebanese staffer targeted with NSO spyware | AP | gazette.com

              Human Rights Watch said Fakih, a dual U.S. and Lebanese citizen, was targeted on five occasions between April and August. Apple informed her of the breach on Nov. 24, and forensic analysis by Human Rights Watch confirmed the presence of the software, the group said.

            • Invisible machine-readable labels that identify and track objects

              The idea, at first, was a bit abstract for Dogan, a 4th-year PhD student in the MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. But his thinking solidified in the latter part of 2020 when he heard about a new smartphone model with a camera that utilizes the infrared (IR) range of the electromagnetic spectrum that the naked eye can’t perceive. IR light, moreover, has a unique ability to see through certain materials that are opaque to visible light. It occurred to Dogan that this feature, in particular, could be useful.

    • Environment

      • Energy

        • Rolls-Royce consortium shopping for factory sites to build mini-nuclear reactors

          UK aerospace and engineering giant Rolls-Royce is on the hunt for sites for its much-touted small nuclear reactors, which received a £210m grant from the UK government last year.

          A consortium of BNF Resources UK Ltd, Exelon Generation Ltd, and Roll-Royce Group is set to invest £195m roughly over three years, qualifying it for a £210m grant from government, specifically UK Research and Innovation Funding.

          The group has now written to sites across the country to find a prospective home for a factory to build the new reactors. Writing to Local Enterprise Partnerships – non-profit bodies which aim to bring councils and commerce together – the group is seeking bids for the location of its “factory” set to make the new approach to nuclear-powered electricity generation, according to the Financial Times.

    • Finance

      • IMF urges El Salvador’s President to drop Bitcoin as legal tender in US$1.3 billion loan negotiations

        The International Monetary Fund has advised that El Salvador’s government renege on its decision to make Bitcoin a legal tender in the country, citing “large risks associated with the use of Bitcoin on financial stability…” The success of a US$1.3 billion loan negotiation with El Salvador may hinge on following the IMF’s advice.

      • Myanmar’s military junta seeks ban on VPNs and digital currency

        Myanmar’s military junta has floated a cyber security law that would ban the use of virtual private networks, under penalty of imprisonment and/or fines, leaving digital rights organisations concerned about the effects of further closing the country off digitally to the outside world.

        The draft bill, dated January 13 is signed by Soe Thein, permanent secretary of the military’s transport and communications ministry and is undergoing request for comments until January 28. Upon adoption, it will subject VPN users to between one and three years inside, and fines of up to five million Myanmar Kyats ($2,800).

      • India Tests Internet-Free Digital UPI Payments | PYMNTS.com

        The National Payments Corp. of India is testing a solution to allow Unified Payments Interface (UPI) based digital pay without an internet connection, Mint reported Sunday (Jan. 23).

        The solution, called UPI Lite, will likely be used initially in rural areas to allow for small digital payments under 200 rupees.

        It will also allow phone users to make digital payments from their bank accounts. A bank official told the media outlet that two solutions are being tested, including a SIM overlay and a software-provisioned solution that leverages over-the-air (OTA) updates.

      • Tech skill gaps are decimating the global workforce and could put workers—and—companies in crisis | Fortune

        These skill gaps are creating a Catch 22 where workers can’t get jobs, and companies can’t find talent.

      • Why Shares of Coinbase, Riot Blockchain, and Silvergate Capital Are All Falling Today

        Shares of many crypto-related stocks were struggling today, along with the broader market. As of 12:45 p.m. ET today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average traded more than 900 points down, while the Nasdaq Composite had fallen nearly 4%.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • UAE schoolbooks earn high marks for cultural tolerance, even if that means praising China – Modern Diplomacy

        An Israeli NGO gives the United Arab Emirates high marks for mandating schoolbooks that teach tolerance, peaceful coexistence, and engagement with non-Muslims.

        “The Emirati curriculum generally meets international standards for peace and tolerance. Textbooks are free of hate and incitement against others. The curriculum teaches students to value the principle of respect for other cultures and encourages curiosity and dialogue. It praises love, affection, and family ties with non-Muslims,” the 128-page study by The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) concluded.

        However, at the same time, the report appeared in its evaluation of Emirati textbooks to hue closely to Israeli policy towards the UAE and, more generally, most states that populate the Middle East.

        As a result, the report, like Israel that seemingly sees autocracy rather than greater freedoms as a stabilizing factor in the Middle East, skirts the issue of the weaving of the principle of uncritical obedience to authority into the fabric of Emirati education.

        That principle is embedded in the teaching of “patriotism” and “commitment to defending the homeland,” two concepts highlighted in the report. The principle is also central to the notion of leadership, defined in the report as a pillar of national identity.

      • Why did Portuguese colonialists marry Indian women? Book sheds light into the real reason

        ‘Doolally Sahib and the Black Zamindar’, the new book by Indian parliamentarian, author and eminent journalist MJ Akbar, is a chronicle of racial relations between Indians and their last foreign invaders, sometimes infuriating but always compelling.

        The book draws upon the letters, memoirs and journals of traders, travellers, bureaucrats, officials, officers and the occasional bishop.

        A multitude of vignettes, combined with insight and analysis, reveal the deeply ingrained conviction of ‘white superiority’ that shaped this history.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Netflix and Peloton Shares Tumble as Demand Slows
      • Farm machinery giant John Deere plows into two right-to-repair lawsuits

        Two lawsuits have been filed in the past two weeks against farm equipment maker Deere & Company for allegedly violating antitrust laws by unlawfully monopolizing the tractor repair market.

        The first [PDF] was filed on January 12 in Illinois on behalf of Forest River Farms, a farming business based in North Dakota; the second, was filed in Alabama last week on behalf of farmer Trinity Dale Wells [PDF].

        The lawsuits each claim what right-to-repair advocates have been saying for years: that Deere & Co., maker of John Deere brand farming equipment, denies customers the ability to repair and maintain their own agricultural machinery.

    • Monopolies

Fallacy About Privacy in Geminispace

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Security, Standard at 1:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum c58217da5962643b47fbfc156ab92c65
Gemini is Not for Privacy
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: gemini:// offers as much privacy as https://, but it’s widely known that because of how the Web technically works the latter does not ensure IP addresses do not leak to all sorts of sites (or data brokers); while moving away from http:// did in fact limit the visibility/exposure to one’s ISP/s (unless they buy data ‘downstream’) the lingering issue is that unless one uses anonymity-preserving software (such as Tor) one’s movements in cyberspace are still clear for many parties to see; Gemini resolves or tries to tackle only the problem of cross-site linking/embedding/scripting

TO avoid busting any bubbles in the future, based on a false expectation or baseless hopes, Gemini is in general not a privacy tool. It does address a plethora of issues plaguing the World Wide Web, but neither the Web nor Gemini should be treated as privacy protection tools. Even if you outsource to the Linux Foundation (Let’s Encrypt), in which case privacy is eroded even further.

In the video above I show Billsmugs’ capsule, which boasts an extensive photography collection, albeit also tracks access with caveats stated clearly upfront. To quote:

This Gemini capsule does not log IP addresses or use any fingerprinting techniques to identify users across visits. When you connect to the server for the first time, your IP address will be mapped to a sequential ID (in memory). This mapping will be forgotten one hour after the last request from the IP is received. If, during this hour, you request the standard robots.txt file, your session will be marked as a bot – this is just to give a (very very rough) method of tracking human vs robot visitors, all requests will be treated the same.

In other words, a “session” in the list below represents a single IP address making requests with less than one hour between them.

If the server process is stopped or restarted unexpectedly (or is under very high load), some stats may be delayed or lost.

“Bad requests” are any requests that result in a 59 status code being returned. These are things like malformed URLs, attempted directory traversal attacks, misguided http requests etc. These indicate either a bug (in the server or the client) or malicious traffic. If I receive an exceptionally large number of these (and they aren’t caused by bugs in the server code) then I may decide to start logging the source IPs specifically for these requests (with a view to blocking or rate-limiting repeat offenders). Hopefully that won’t be necessary!

In our case, logs are only used for DDOS protection and mitigation (some days we get over 30,000 requests, most of them from bots). The code we developed for it is Free software and AGPLv3-licensed (in our Git repository).

A Future We Must Resist: Forcing Workers and Pupils/Students to Purchase Computers With Spyware and Run That Spyware at Home

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google at 10:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum eb47cfa16c342653932947be69359a07
Forcing People to Run Spyware at Home
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Google's Software is MalwareSummary: In order to attain full control of one’s computer or computing a prerequisite is Software Freedom (it’s not everything; but that’s a start!) and companies that leverage Linux and sometimes GNU/Linux (e.g. Gentoo) to make their operating systems don’t share our vision, centered around user autonomy; instead it’s all about domination over the user, control over the user’s data and so on

THERE’S a “creeping” (and creepy) new threat that almost nobody speaks about outside the Free software spheres. Every now and then it comes up in our IRC channels and this “Gulag” (Google) vision of computing doubles down on it. To them, the future isn’t freedom but a form of Linux-powered tyranny, where people are restricted to running Gulag-approved “apps” and are being constantly spied on. There's an ambition to do the same to GNU/Linux at large, not just ChromeOS and Android (see “Google’s Software is Malware”; Google’s sponsorship of the FSF did not completely silence the founder [1, 2]).

Aral Balkan, whose contrarian views I very often agree with, asked me not to cover Android in Tux Machines (he’s rightly concerned about the direction Android has taken) and he reminded his audience as recently as several weeks ago that what he called “surveillance capitalism” is in fact powered by Linux (we wrote about this many times in relation to the Linux Foundation; we’ve taken note since 2019).

“To them, the future isn’t freedom but a form of Linux-powered tyranny, where people are restricted to running Gulag-approved “apps” and are being constantly spied on.”Linux does not mean freedom (not necessarily anyway). The vocabulary we use to promote Free Software Freedom will need to adapt accordingly. For example, assuming that “Linux world domination” or “move to Linux” means the end of digital oppression is misguided or outdated a notion; Linux in 2022 isn't what it used to be. Soon there will be a good chunk of GitHub in it. It’s very sad to us GNU/Linux advocates; in recent years we saw much of what we had long advocated for (some of us for decades) changing or moving goalposts all of a sudden. Some former allies (of convenience) became foes.

Aral Balkan: Web3 is Bullshit

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Standard at 9:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: “In January’s Small Is Beautiful, we extend a friendly middle finger to web3 with the web0 manifesto, talk about Laura’s presentation for Ikea on ethical design, and introduce you to NodeKit, the successor of Site.js.”

Links 29/1/2022: Wine 7.1 and Blender 3.0.1

Posted in News Roundup at 8:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • You Should Be In Control of Your Tech – Purism

        On the hardware front having control means hardware you can open and inspect and is designed for repairability. That hardware should ideally run firmware (as much as possible) that is free software so you can also inspect and update it. If the hardware provides security features, they should be designed to put you in control, not the vendor, including control of any keys. The hardware should not require the vendor’s signatures (and therefore their permission) to boot an operating system, but instead should let you boot into whatever operating system you prefer.

        The operating system and the software it runs, should all be free software. Free software by its very nature puts you in full control. You have control because you can not only inspect the software to see what it does, you (or someone else in the community with software development knowledge) can change the software if it operates outside your interests.

        You may have noticed that you don’t tend to have a lot of adware or spyware in the free software world. That’s because it’s difficult to hide spyware inside of code that anyone can inspect. Another reason is that if free software behaves in a way that runs counter to the user’s wishes (such as capturing and selling their data, or popping up unwanted ads), the user (or someone else in the community) could simply create a legitimate fork of the project with those objectionable bits removed.

    • Server

      • Cloud Hypervisor feels need for speedy updates in 21.0 release

        A good month after getting a new home, virtual machine monitor Cloud Hypervisor is celebrating its first major release under the auspices of the Linux Foundation.

        Version 21 of the project is mainly about speeding up live upgrades. Users can now pass a –local option to the ch-remote send-migration command to pass file descriptors over the UNIX socket. This means the tool doesn’t have to copy the guest RAM anymore when upgrading a VMM, which the project claims lead to a speedup “in the order of 50ms vs 3s.”

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • LHS Episode #450: The Weekender LXXXV

        It’s time once again for The Weekender. This is our bi-weekly departure into the world of amateur radio contests, open source conventions, special events, listener challenges, hedonism and just plain fun. Thanks for listening and, if you happen to get a chance, feel free to call us or e-mail and send us some feedback. Tell us how we’re doing. We’d love to hear from you.

    • Applications

      • Blender 3.0.1

        Blender is the free and open source 3D creation suite. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline—modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, even video editing and game creation. Through it’s open architecture, Blender provides cross-platform interoperability, extensibility, an incredibly small footprint, and a tightly integrated workflow. Blender is one of the most popular Open Source 3D graphics application in the world.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to Change HiDPI Scaling Settings on Linux

        For years, laptops and computer monitors have come with increasingly high-resolution displays. Text that looks great on a 1080p display can be too small and unreadable on a 4K one. Operating systems can upscale what’s on-screen, but since 4K and other high-resolution screens come in many different sizes, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

        Linux distributors have a particularly challenging time in part because Linux rarely comes pre-installed on devices. So, if you’re a Linux user looking to tweak HiDPI settings, how do you go about this, and what do you need to know? Let’s find out.

      • Full Circle Magazine: Full Circle Magazine #177

        Excerpt from my Editorial: Probably for the first time in FCM history we only have enough for two HowTo articles. […] As stated last month: we DESPERATELY need articles. I’ve got nothing spare. So, PLEASE, spend a few moments to write SOMETHING about what you know. It can be ANYTHING as long as it has something to do with Linux; hardware/software reviews, a how-to on something, even your story of how you found Ubuntu/Linux (of any flavor). Send whatever to: ronnie@fullcirclemagazine.org

      • Whatsdesk- Install WhatsApp Client on Ubuntu 22.0 | 20.04 – Linux Shout

        WhatsApp client is not officially available for Linux systems, hence, we can install an unofficial one i.e WhatsDesk on Ubuntu 22.04 | 20.04 using SNAP craft.

        Although Linux is not anymore the OS of developers only, still, WhatApp official client app is not available to install on Ubuntu. Therefore, if someone wants to use WhatsApp on Linux, they either have to use its web version or need to go for any third part unofficial client such as WhatsDesk.

      • How to Find Process ID (PID and PPID) in Linux

        Knowing the PID and PPID of a process can be helpful if you need to manage or interact with a process running on your system.

        There are numerous ways to get the PID (Process ID) and PPID (Parent Process ID) of a given process in Linux.

      • Install Discord Client on openSUSE Leap 15 – LinuxCapable

        Discord is a free voice, video, and text chat app used by tens of millions of people ages 13+ to talk and hang out with their communities and friends. Users communicate with voice calls, video calls, text messaging, media, and files in private chats or as part of communities called “servers.” Discord is available on Windows, macOS, and Linux Distros.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install Discord client on openSUSE Leap 15.

        The tutorial will use the terminal for installation found in Activities> Show Applications > Terminal.

      • Install GNOME Tweaks Tool on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – LinuxCapable

        GNOME is a popular desktop used on many Linux distributions, including Ubuntu. The GNOME Tweaks tool allows users to modify and change the cosmetics in their GNOME desktop environment, which is popular amongst users that are not satisfied entirely with the GUI.

        Some of the things you can do with GNOME Tweaks are edit font colors and scaling, disable animations for desktop speed improvement, change themes, manage GNOME extensions, bar changes, and much more.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install GNOME Tweaks on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa.

      • Install Grafana On Ubuntu / Rocky Linux & Fedora | Tips On UNIX

        Grafana is an open-source Analytics software with visualization. It provides you with tools to turn your time series database data into insightful graphs and visualizations.

        Grafana supports multiple data sources like Prometheus, Graphite, InfluxDB, Elasticsearch, Zabbix, etc…

        This tutorial will be helpful for beginners to install Grafana on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, Rocky Linux 8, AlmaLinux 8, and Fedora 35.

      • Install UNRAR on Fedora Linux 35 – LinuxCapable

        UNRAR is widely known and used amongst Windows users. RAR files are much smaller archives and compress better than ZIP for most files by compressing files “together,” saving more space. UNRAR does not come pre-installed natively on Fedora and is not featured in its repositories.

        The following tutorial will show you how to install UNRAR on Fedora Linux 35 Workstation or Server with RPM FUSION, along with the most commonly used commands.

    • Wine or Emulation

      • WineHQ – Wine Announcement – The Wine development release 7.1 is now available.
        The Wine development release 7.1 is now available.
        
        What's new in this release (see below for details):
          - Vulkan 1.3 support.
          - A number of theming fixes.
          - WebSocket improvements.
          - Improved cursor clipping on macOS.
          - IDL compiler fixes for C++.
          - Various bug fixes.
        
        The source is available from the following locations:
        
        https://dl.winehq.org/wine/source/7.x/wine-7.1.tar.xz
        
        
        http://mirrors.ibiblio.org/wine/source/7.x/wine-7.1.tar.xz
        
        Binary packages for various distributions will be available from:
        
        https://www.winehq.org/download
        
        You will find documentation on https://www.winehq.org/documentation
        
        You can also get the current source directly from the git
        repository. Check https://www.winehq.org/git for details.
        
        Wine is available thanks to the work of many people. See the file
        AUTHORS in the distribution for the complete list.
        
      • Wine 7.1 is out with Vulkan 1.3 support | GamingOnLinux

        Now that the dust has settled on the bottle of Wine 7.0, the biweekly development releases have begun and Wine 7.1 is out with new features and bug fixes. This is the compatibility layer that allows you to run games and applications developed for Windows – on Linux. Part of what makes up Steam Play Proton. Once a year or so, a new stable release is made.

      • Wine 7.1 Released With Vulkan 1.3 Support, Theming Fixes – Phoronix

        With Wine 7.0 having been released, the code freeze is over and we are now onto the Wine 7.x bi-weekly development releases that will then culminate with the Wine 8.0 stable release one year from now. In kicking off the new development series, Wine 7.1 is out today.

        Wine 7.1 brings support for Vulkan 1.3 that released earlier this week. The headers and other bits for Wine’s Vulkan integration have been updated against the v1.3 specification.

    • Games

      • Anbernic RG552 review | TechRadar

        From the RG350 to the RG280V and many more inbetween, it’s built a solid reputation for putting out superb, affordable Linux-based handhelds purpose built for retro gaming, with build quality far beyond expectations.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • What’s New in KDE Plasma 5.24: 5 Major Improvements to Expect

          KDE is set to release Plasma 5.24, the first major release of 2022. The beta version is already out and gives a glimpse of what new features to expect in KDE Plasma 5.24. This new version brings forward various updates spread across the entire KDE ecosystem and improves things like Wayland support and system navigation.

          Read below to find out all the exciting new features you can expect in KDE Plasma 5.24, which will be released in February 2022.

        • This week in KDE: Getting Plasma 5.24 ready for release – Adventures in Linux and KDE

          Plasma 5.24 is almost ready!

          I mentioned last week that I haven’t been posting about fixes for regressions in 5.24 that never got released, because there would be too many. Nonetheless people have been working very hard on this, and we’re down to only 7, with two of them having open merge requests! Working on those is appreciated, as it helps improve the stability of the final release in a week and a half.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • New Theme Brings libadwaita’s Sleek Looks to Older GTK Apps

          This third-party theme back-ports the bulk of the libadwaita stylesheet to a regular GTK theme that works with GTK3 apps.

          As this theme is under active development you can’t be too picky if there are a few unpadded highlights or errant pixels; it’s not a 1:1 clone of what you seen in GNOME 42 screenshots (or any GTK4 libadwaita apps you currently use) but it’s a close enough approximation.

          Also: this is purely superficial; you won’t magically find GTK4 features, widgets, or animations nestled inside your GTK3 apps.

    • Distributions

      • EndeavourOS Now Available On ARM Platforms Like Raspberry Pi 4

        There’s no denying the fact that 2021 was a fantastic year for all things open-source and SBCs like the Raspberry Pi. Pop!_OS, one of the best Linux distros, was made available for the Raspberry Pi and retro gaming got better thanks to Lakka 3.0. Also, researchers devised a way to detect malware using Raspberry Pi with 99.82% accuracy.

        And we’re excited to report that we’ve started 2022 with a high note, thanks to EndeavourOS developers. EndeavourOS ARM is now available for Raspberry Pi 4, Odroid N2/N2+, and the Odroid XU4.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • SUSE Manager 4.X Adds System Details to SUSE Customer Center

          From the start, SUSE Manager has been delivering features not just at the time of each release, but also in maintenance updates that are much simpler to apply. This gives SUSE the ability to deliver new capabilities faster and allows us to be responsive to changes in need.
          SUSE Manager 4.2 recently added the ability to forward registered client systems details to the SUSE Customer Center (SCC) in update 4.2.4. With the 4.1.13 update – delivered 28 January 2022 – this same functionality has now been provided in SUSE Manager 4.1.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Flatpak App of the Week: Extension Manager – Browse and Install GNOME Shell Extensions

          Extension Manager is a very simple app that does one thing (and does it good), to mirror the content of the GNOME Extensions website at extensions.gnome.org.

          The application lets you easily manage your installed GNOME Shell extensions, similar to what the official GNOME Extensions app does, but it also lets you browse the extensions.gnome.org website straight from within the app if you want to install more extensions on your GNOME desktop.

        • 6 predictions for open source tech in 2022 | Opensource.com

          Technology moves quickly and so do the people who create and use it. Here are some predictions for open source tech in 2022 from the Opensource.com community.

        • IBM confirms new mainframe to arrive ‘late in first half of 2022′ [Ed: IBM has no actual strategy except rebranding everything as "cloud" to take modernity]

          IBM has confirmed that a new model of its Z Series mainframes will arrive “late in the first half” of 2022 and emphasised the equipment’s debut as a source of improved revenue for the company’s infrastructure business.

          CFO James Kavanaugh put the release on the roadmap during Big Blue’s Q4 2021 earnings call on Monday. The CFO suggested the new release will make a positive impact on IBM’s revenue, which came in at $16.7 billion for the quarter and $57.35bn for the year. The Q4 number was up 6.5 per cent year on year, the annual number was a $2.2bn jump.

        • IBM finally finds a private equiteer willing to purchase Watson Health

          IBM has offloaded healthcare data and analytics assets from its Watson Health business, with private equity firm Francisco Partners hand over around $1bn for the privilege.

          The takeover “is a clear next step as IBM becomes even more focused on our platform-based hybrid cloud and AI strategy,” Tom Rosamilia, senior vice president, IBM Software, told newswire Bloomberg. “IBM remains committed to Watson, our broader AI business, and to the clients and partners we support in healthcare IT.”

          Launched in 2015, IBM Watson Health hasn’t been able to turn a profit despite the company spending $4bn in acquisitions to grow the business and its capabilities.

        • IBM forges entanglement to double quantum simulations by ‘cutting up a larger circuit into smaller circuits’

          IBM says it has found a way to solve problems using fewer qubits than before, effectively doubling the capability of a quantum system by combining both quantum and classical resources.

          These claims come in a recently published research paper, in which an IBM team demonstrated what it calls “entanglement forging” to simulate the ground state energy of a water molecule, representing 10 spin-orbitals using just five qubits of a quantum processor rather than 10. A spin-orbital is a wave function that covers both the position and spin angular momentum of a single particle.

        • IBM impresses with strong sales and earnings growth [Ed: IBM-sponsored fake news about IBM. They offloaded losing divisions to fake “growth” (layoffs). James Kavanaugh is the Jason Paxton of IBM.]

          IBM Corp. surprised and delighted investors with fourth-quarter revenue and profit that beat analysts’ forecasts on the strength of its Red Hat cloud computing business, increasing annual recurring revenue, and sales to the recently spun-off Kyndryl Holdings Inc.

        • python-gstreamer1 update to fix Pitivi on >=f35
        • Fedora Community Blog: Friday’s Fedora Facts: 2022-04

          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)!

          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.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • iMX8MPlus-SOM is alive and boots!

          This board development started in April 2021 and finished August 2021 but the semiconductor shortages didn’t allow us to test the prototypes until recently. We assembled 4 boards and all theyare alive and boot.

        • Arduino Portenta gets an LTE Cat. M1/NB IoT GNSS shield – CNX Software

          Arduino PRO Portenta family of industrial boards is getting a new LTE Cat. M1/NB-IoT GNSS shield that adds global connectivity and positioning capabilities through the Cinterion TX62-W LPWAN IoT module by Thales.

        • Long Range Burglar Alarm Relies On LoRa Modules | Hackaday

          [Elite Worm] had a problem; there had been two minor burglaries from a storage unit. The unit had thick concrete walls, cellular signal was poor down there, and permanent wiring wasn’t possible. He thus set about working on a burglar alarm that would fit his unique requirements.

          An ESP32 is the heart of the operation, paired with a long-range LoRa radio module running at 868 MHz. This lower frequency has much better penetration when it comes to thick walls compared to higher-frequency technologies like 4G, 5G or WiFi. With a little coil antenna sticking out the top of the 3D-printed enclosure, the device was readily able to communicate back to [Elite Worm] when the storage unit was accessed illegitimately.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Events

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

          • Google Just Gave You the Best Reason Yet to Finally Quit Using Chrome

            Ultimately, that change in the way Google is looking at Chrome–that it isn’t a tool that serves its users, but is a tool that serves up users to advertisers, albeit in a slightly more privacy protective way–is a bad sign. It’s also the best reason to finally ditch it altogether.

        • Mozilla

          • In California, an Important Victory for Net Neutrality

            Today, the Ninth Circuit court upheld California’s net neutrality law, affirming that California residents can continue to benefit from the fundamental safeguards of equal treatment and open access to the internet. This decision clears the way for states to enforce their own net neutrality laws, ensuring that consumers can freely access ideas and services without unnecessary roadblocks. Net neutrality matters, as much of our daily life is now online. It ensures that consumers are protected from ISPs blocking or throttling their access to websites, or creating fast lanes and slow lanes for popular services.

          • How to restore Firefox’s classic download behavior

            Mozilla plans to change the download behavior of the Firefox web browser in Firefox 97; this guide helps restore the classic download functionality of the browser.

            Firefox users who download files currently get a download prompt when they do so. The prompt displays options to open the file using an application or save it to the local system. Starting in Firefox 97, Firefox is not displaying the prompt anymore by default.

          • Tor Browser: a legacy of advancing private browsing innovation

            You probably know that our user-facing product for providing privacy, safety, and security online is Tor Browser. Tor Browser allows millions of people to easily exercise their human right to privacy, within the framework of a familiar web browser. For many years, Tor Browser was the only web browser freely available that provided anything like its level of anti-tracking, anti-fingerprinting, and holistic privacy protections.

            In this post, we want to share a little bit of Tor Browser history with you, the origins of our features and designs, and how many of our innovative privacy and security features have been adopted by other browsers.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • How the Free Software and the IP Wars of the 1990s and 2000s Presaged Today’s Toxic, Concentrated Internet – ProMarket

            The history of free software and the IP Wars of the 1990s and 2000s provides a good illustration of these path-dependencies around the meaning of liberty, law, and power throughout the period. In response to the rise in prominence of Unix, a proprietary system developed by Bell Labs, in the 1980s, free software advocate Richard Stallman and others began a crusade to liberate software from its proprietary ties. They created the GPL (“GNU Public License”) a free open license that requires anyone reusing, buying or redistributing the software to comply with the freedoms granted by the original license.. The free software movement later inspired a parallel movement to liberate content and creativity from copyright strictures.

            In an article titled “Anarchism Triumphant,” Columbia Law Professor Eben Moglen argued that free software represented the beginning of a shift towards a free-er anarchic digital political economy which would do away with most forms of private ownership. In a 1994 essay, Electronic Frontier Foundation co-founder John Perry Barlow argued that copyright law, which protects the material expression of ideas, had become obsolete on the internet, the “Home of the Mind.” Many of these ideas grew in opposition to the powerful interests of the time: against firms like Bell Labs producing proprietary software, against firms like AT&T controlling telecommunications and broadband, against Hollywood studios and music labels who sought to enclose and profit from creative digital assets. Yet many of these views also unconsciously built the intellectual, legal, and economic case for new forms of enclosure, those that were already being adopted by open platforms such as Google which would soon thrive on the distributed sharing of content by opaquely acquiring control over and monetizing attention and data. In disputes on who should win between Hollywood and YouTube, users were the ones ultimately left behind.

            As Tel Aviv University Law Professor Niva Elkin-Koren put it, “[w]hat began as a controversy over the appropriateness of copyright law to accommodate … technological changes, became a political battle over the distribution of the potential gains that cyberspace offers.”

            These so-called “IP Wars” embodied institutional controversies on the stakes of the internet’s ecology and saliently illustrate confusions that are still with us today. For example, as Duke University Law Professor James Boyle put it, it was as if early cyberlibertarians “couldn’t agree on whether [their] motto was to be ‘Taxation is theft’ or ‘Property is theft.’” Their aversion for IP often hid faith in new forms of digital capitalism. Further, the rhetoric of freedom and anarchy underlying the IP Wars helped strengthen commercial interests and monopoly rents on the Internet. Visions of the internet as an apolitical laboratory of innovation, a frictionless space governed by individual choices took the center stage, ultimately facilitating the accumulation of digital control in the hands of a few internet gatekeepers. The move towards private and code-based governance opened the door to widespread and poorly regulated surveillance practices that remained disguised under the facial neutrality of code and cyber-economists’ efficiency-based arguments.

      • Programming/Development

        • Pitivi runs great very easy to use

          The error reported at the bottom of that post, was due to ‘gstreamer-plugins-good’ not having the gtk plugin. I enabled it in the recipe in OE and recompiled it.
          Then Pitivi ran. I found it to be very intuitive, and was using it right off, without having read any documentation. I had only briefly looked at a video previously. I tested basic functionality, a timeline with two clips, and created a transition, then saved it.

  • Leftovers

    • Goin’ Forward: An Exegesis and Maybe an Exodus

      First, you took on the Social Darwinists, but with bluff. Gave ’em backhanders they would soon forget. They rebuffed our bluff with heavy handed stuff. Chico, the local chapter Marxist organizer, occupied a stuffed lounge chair, while you the street theater clown took it on the chin. Then the Righties locked you two away in an attic room, while they went about their business of stealing the signals at the game, and you Lefties had a breakdown of communication, the silent partner has a porno mind and can’t understand simple directions. Who’s in charge? How will this end? What agency will stop the Dastardlies in their tracks?

      This year I’m gonna try to be more upbeat. But I admit my Lefty self is more akin to Harpo than Chico. But I think I can opine in such a way that I offer up value added textures rather than dogma and dog meant and alpha dogs from Australia chasing their omega tails and thinking themselves gods when they light up with bliss on the connection. The fascists are on their way. Weeeeeee! Down the waterslide into the gene pool they come. Adventureworld is here. King Turd Blossom rules.

    • Barry Bonds’s Hall of Fame Opponents Can’t Handle the Truth

      I’ve been writing about Barry Bonds for 20 years, in an effort to make what I have always thought to be an uncomplicated argument: Bonds is one of the greatest baseball players to ever pick up a bat. The stats speak for themselves. As Barry Svrluga wrote in The Washington Post: The back of his baseball card looks like it’s filled with typos. Last year, for instance, Bryce Harper led the majors with a .615 slugging percentage. In 2004, Bonds posted a .609 on-base percentage.… In that ’04 season, Bonds walked 232 times, still a major league record—by a mile. The next closest: Barry Bonds in 2002, with 198. The next closest to that: Barry Bonds in 2001, with 177. The names that follow him: Babe Ruth and Ted Williams, two of the best hitters to dig into the box. Bonds owns the top OPS of all time—an incomprehensible 1.422 from ’04. Only three men have ever produced a single season with an OPS higher than 1.250—Bonds, Ruth and Williams. They combined for 12 of them. Subscribe to The Nation Subscribe now for as little as $2 a month! Get The Nation’s Weekly NewsletterFridays. The best of the week. By signing up, you confirm that you are over the age of 16 and agree to receive occasional promotional offers for programs that support The Nation’s journalism. You can read our Privacy Policy here.

    • Netflix Can’t Checkmate Chess Grandmaster in ‘Queen’s Gambit’ Defamation Lawsuit

      In September, Nona Gaprindashvili sued Netflix in response to a fictional chess commentator’s line in the series finale, which refers to her by name and says she’s “the female world champion and has never faced men.” She contends the statement is false and sexist.

    • Acoustic Switching Transistors: A New Kind Of Electronics? | Hackaday

      Have you ever heard of topological insulators? These are exotic materials where electricity flows only on the surface with very little loss. Now, according to IEEE Spectrum, scientists at Harvard have used the same concept to create a transistor for sound waves and it may be a new branch of electronics. The actual paper is available if you want some light reading.

      Apparently, topological insulators protect electrons moving along their surfaces and edges, something that won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics. Photons can also be protected topologically so they move with very little loss across the materials. Making electrons flow in this manner is an attractive proposition, but there are challenges, especially when creating a device that can switch the flow of electrons on and off as you might with a transistor in and out of saturation. Sound waves, however, are much easier to work with.

      The device is large for what we think of as a transistor and consists of an airtight box containing a honeycomb of steel pillars and a plate made of a material that can expand and contract quite a bit with temperature. The pillars on one side of the plate are a bit larger than the ones on the other side. That along with the spacing of the pillars forms a topology that can allow sound to travel through the pillars or not. What determines the state of the transistor? Heat. The base plate has to have a very large thermal expansion coefficient and the device uses a shape memory alloy to meet that need.

    • Science

      • Why Randomness Isn’t Quite As Random As You Think

        A few months ago, I did a piece on repetition that was something of a mechanical exercise, a test to see if I could come up with an edition of Tedium in less time than I usually can, using some of the structures of my newsletter MidRange, which is heavily structured around a prompt. The topic I chose was great, because it offered an opportunity to build variations on a theme. And you know what? Even though it was a bit of a rush to get that piece out, it was actually a lot of fun to do, and creatively fulfilling. And today, on the anniversary of MidRange’s launch, I wanted to write the absolute opposite piece—a four-part treatise on randomness, with each main portion written around a 30-minute time limit. Wish me luck.

      • The Air Multiplier Fan Principle, Applied To A Jet Engine | Hackaday

        Many readers will be familiar with the Dyson Air Multiplier, an ingenious bladeless fan design in which a compressor pushes jets of air from the inside edge of a large ring. This fast-moving air draws the surrounding air through the ring, giving the effect of a large conventional fan without any visible moving parts and in a small package. It’s left to [Integza] to take this idea and see it as the compressor for a jet engine, and though the prototype you see in the video below is fragile and prone to melting, it shows some promise.

        His design copies the layout of a Dyson with the compressor underneath the ring, with a gas injector and igniter immediately above it. The burning gas-air mixture passes through the jets and draws the extra air through the ring, eventually forming a roaring jet engine flame exhaust behind it. Unfortunately the choice of 3D print for the prototype leads to very short run times before melting, but it’s possible to see it working during that brief window. Future work will involve a non-combustible construction, but his early efforts were unsatisfactory.

    • Hardware

      • Arm Puts Security Architecture to the Test With New SoC and Demonstrator Board

        Arm recently announced a new prototype architecture that has spun out of its Morello program, which may pave the road for next-generation data security systems.

      • Arm rages against the insecure chip machine with new Morello architecture
      • PICMG releases guide for building COM-HPC carrier boards

        PICMG has published a COM-HPC Carrier Board Design Guide for building carrier boards for COM-HPC modules, including tips on PCIe Gen 5, USB4, and Ethernet KR and KR4 backplane signaling for 10GbE to 100GbE ports.

      • 3D Printed Jig Makes Custom Springs A Snap | Hackaday

        We’ve often heard it said that springs come in in all shapes and sizes…except for the one you need. In light of this, the hardware hacker would do well to keep the tools and knowledge required to make a custom spring close at hand when building something that moves. Luckily, all it really take is some stiff metal wire, a rod, and patience.

        Unless you’ve got a 3D printer, that is. In which case, we’d suggest you print out this very clever “Spring Factory” designed by [Vincent Baillet]. The simple tool, consisting of just two parts, makes it easier and faster to make consistent DIY springs when compared to traditional methods. Rather than trying to eyeball the spacing of the coil as you wind the wire around the mandrel, this design does it for you.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • California Could Be on the Verge of Passing Single-Payer Health Care

        If two-thirds of California’s state legislators choose to cast votes in favor of Assembly Bill 1400, they could soon make such a society a reality for the residents of the nation’s most populous state.

        The bill, introduced by State Assemblyman Ash Kalra in early January and sponsored by the California Nurses Association, would establish a publicly funded system in California guaranteeing free-of-charge health care to all residents, including immigrants. The system, dubbed CalCare, would cover medical, dental, and vision care, as well as mental health care. There would be no monthly premiums, co-pays or deductibles. Health care providers would simply bill the state government rather than insurance companies or patients.

      • Opinion | CalCare: Now Is the Time for Universal Healthcare in California

        “The doctor didn’t show up, but the hospital ER still charged $1,012.”

      • Ron Johnson’s Reelection Strategy Is to Amplify Covid Conspiracy Theories

        Ron Johnson has apparently decided that his best chance for getting reelected is to inject a full dose of deception into the debate about how best to combat a pandemic.

      • Anti-Vaxxers and Big Pharma, Partners in Crime

        Anti-vaxxers have a laundry list of reasons why they will never accept the hard data, let alone give it an unbiased look. Hospitals and public health departments are all in on the big hoax too, you see, paid off by all those covert pharmaceutical agents. Bill Gates and Dr. Fauci are getting rich off the devious scheme, and we are all suckers for buying the tricksters’ plandemic lies. The real goods, the disbelievers confess, are being censored and they alone hold the keys to the truth behind what’s really going on. After all, Big Pharma has a huge incentive to spread their filthy lies. You remember the opioid-pushing Sacklers, don’t ya?

        What many of the skeptics do not realize, however, is that by discounting vaccine efficacy and overlooking the mountain of science supporting their use, they are inadvertently aiding and abetting the very Big Pharma villains they claim to despise. How is that, you ask?

      • California’s chance for universal health care

        “American exceptionalism” usually refers to Americans letting themselves off the hook for the sins they condemn in others (mass incarceration, death penalty, voter suppression, book burning, etc). But there’s another kind of implicit exceptionalism, practiced by elites in service to the status quo: the belief that Americans are exceptionally stupid

        Nowhere is this negative exceptionalism more obvious than in American health-care debates, where the cost of providing universal healthcare is presented as a bill that Americans cannot afford, without mentioning that Americans pay far more for private healthcare already, and that universal care would represent trillions in savings.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Google to invest $1 billion to push India’s digitalization

          Google will invest up to $1 billion in partnership with India’s Airtel to provide affordable access to smartphones to over a billion Indians and speed up use of cloud-based computing for business, the two companies said on Friday.

          The investment will help India’s small businesses adopt digital tools as India works to adopt digital education, payments and e-commerce amid the pandemic, Google said in a blog post.

          As part of the Google for India Digitization Fund” launched in 2020, Google will pay $700 million to acquire a 1.28% stake in Airtel. It is also committing up to $300 million for commercial agreements over the next five years, Airtel said in a statement.

        • Security

          • Flaw in Polkit’s pkexec Puts Linux Users at Risk
          • Who Wrote the ALPHV/BlackCat Ransomware Strain?

            In December 2021, researchers discovered a new ransomware-as-a-service named ALPHV (a.k.a. “BlackCat“), considered to be the first professional cybercrime group to create and use a ransomware strain written in the Rust programming language. In this post, we’ll explore some of the clues left behind by a developer who was reputedly hired to code the ransomware variant.

          • How Hackers Compromise the Software Supply Chain [Ed: Conflates hackers with crackers]

            It seems like a week doesn’t go by without a new vulnerability demonstrating the fragility of the software interdependencies that make up the software supply chain.

            A large part of software development leverages the benefits of open-source platforms and third-party vendors to deliver results on time. A wide range of people and organizations maintain those code bases.

          • VMware fixes buggy vSphere release – and Log4J, too • The Register

            VMware has restored availability of vSphere 7 Update, a release that it withdrew in late 2021 after driver dramas derailed deployments.

            Paul Turner, Virtzilla’s veep for vSphere product management, told The Register that the source of the problem was Intel driver updates that arrived out of sync with VMware’s pre-release testing program. When users adopted the new drivers – one of which had been renamed – vSphere produced errors that meant virtual server fleet managers could not sustain high availability operations.

          • Log4j explained: Everything you need to know

            The Apache Log4j Project is among the most deployed pieces of open source software, providing logging capabilities for Java applications.

            Log4j is part of the Apache Logging Services Project — an open source effort within the Apache Software Foundation. The Apache Logging Services Project includes multiple variations of the Log4j logging framework for different programming deployments and use cases. Among the other projects that are part of Apache Logging Services are Log4j Kotlin, Log4jScala and Log4Net.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Because The Defense Department’s Secure Communications Options Don’t Work For Everyone, Soldiers Are Turning To Signal And WhatsApp

              The military has an obvious need for secure communications. It offered its support of encryption even as the NSA tried to find ways to undercut to make its surveillance ends easier to achieve.

            • IFF explains DigiYatra: Turbulence ahead

              Continuing our prior explainer of the DigiYatra Scheme (“Scheme”) and its accompanying policy document (“Policy”) that is scheduled to take flight in March, 2022 we answer practical questions on the basis of evidence. Will DigiYatra force you to sacrifice your privacy at the altar of convenience? Is it even going to deliver on the convenience offered? We look at these concerns and also how other jurisdictions have responded to similar facial recognition for air travel schemes in this post.

              [...]

              It is highly unlikely that DigiYatra will satisfactorily deliver on its main claim; which, as per the DigiYatra Policy, is to “enhance passenger experience and provide a simple and easy experience to all air travellers”. (To understand the objectives behind the Scheme in detail, please refer to pg. 8 of the Policy document here) This is due to the simple fact that facial recognition technology is inaccurate, especially for people of color (which includes Indians) and women. (Studies on lower accuracy rates for people of color linked here and women linked here)

              Imagine a situation where you are running late for your flight and decide to use the DigiYatra Scheme in order to get through the airport formalities quickly before your flight departs. You register for the DigiYatra Scheme online and select your Aadhaar card as the ID against which your face is to be verified at the airport. However, when you reach the registration kiosk, the machine fails to identify your face as the one within the Aadhaar database. You lose precious time in resolving this issue at the registration kiosk, and end up being hassled for the same issue at each checkpoint where the DigiYatra facial recognition is needed which includes the entry point check, entry into the security check, self-bag drop, check-in and aircraft boarding. Ultimately, you end up missing your flight and your privacy.

              This situation could soon become reality. Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, handled a record over 91,000 travellers on October 17, 2021 in a single day. (Report titled “Passenger traffic at Mumbai airport on Sun highest since Mar 23’20” dated October 21, 2021 published in the Business Standard linked here). Even assuming that the facial recognition technology being adopted under the Scheme has a low inaccuracy rate of 2% (which is highly unlikely as facial recognition technology has been known to be more inaccurate towards people of color as mentioned above), this would mean that almost 1,820 passengers a day will not be correctly verified at the Mumbai airport, which will contribute enormously to overall delays at the airport. Thus, the Scheme’s claims of increasing convenience may be far-fetched and require an independent, third party audit even if limited to efficiency.

            • WhatsApp has until end of Feb to clarify privacy policy change, EU says

              The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) and eight of its members took their grievances to the EU executive and the European network of consumer authorities, saying WhatsApp was unfairly pressuring users to accept its new privacy policy which allows it to share some data with Facebook and other group firms.

              EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said he shared the worries and has asked WhatsApp to clarify the policy and if it complies with EU consumer protection law.

            • All parties support phasing out coronavirus certificates in future

              In principle, all parties in the Riigikogu support the need to start preparing for the phasing out of the coronavirus certificate, as recommended by the Chairman of the Center Party Jüri Ratas. However, the majority also point out the populist nature of the initiative.

            • Data Protection Day: 41 Years of “Compliance on Paper”?!

              Only 15% of noyb’s cases decided within one year – no pan-European cases. So far, noyb has filed 51 individual cases with DPAs in Europe. Only six of these complaints were decided, another three were partly decided. All of them were purely national cases, where there was no need for European cooperation. Not a single pan-European case was decided under the “one-stop-shop” mechanism until this day. While some cases were just filed recently and may need more time, others were filed more than a year ago. As yet, only five of those 34 longer-standing cases are fully decided. This means that 85% of all cases older than a year are still waiting for a decision. Some cases were lost between authorities. In other cases, authorities did not even respond to emails or phone calls. The inglorious winners for the longest duration are four cases that were filed on 25.5.2018 on “forced consent”. After 3 years and 8 months, the Irish “lead” authority still has not issued a final decision.

            • Overview of noyb’s GDPR complaints with DPAs

              Case, Lodged, CSA, LSA, Company, Status, Duration, Summary, and Link

            • I Ditched My Smartwatch, and I Don’t Regret It

              Add a social or competitive component, as in the fitness app Strava or the community features on Peloton, and the feelings of control and empowerment that fitness can foster can morph quickly into the opposite. Halfway through one marathon training cycle, I discovered a new trick: My watch could measure my overall fitness level, assigning it a number, plotting its change over time and telling me how my levels compared with others’, sorted by gender and age. I craved its approval.

              If it feels like an addiction, that’s because it can work similarly to smartphone and other digital addictions. Dependency is what these devices are designed to foster.

            • Members of the European Parliament warn against Commission’s chat control mass surveillance plans

              On the occasion of tomorrow’s European Data Protection Day, EU lawmakers are addressing the European Commission in a cross-party letter: They warn that the draft legislation announced by the Commission for March 2022 on indiscriminate message and chat control on all mobile phones would result in mass surveillance of the private communications of all EU citizens. Moreover, the legislation threatens secure encryption and IT security in general.

              Similar to Apple’s highly controversial „SpyPhone“ plans, the EU Commission plans to „protect children“ by requiring providers of digital communication services to bulk intercept, monitor, and scan the contents of all citizens’ communications.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Reaching a Nuclear Agreement with Iran: the Problematics of Middle Eastern Diplomacy

        That Iran was willing to curtail its nuclear program without demanding compensating moves by Israel was a surprise. Israel had been permitted, indeed helped, to acquire secretly the means to establish and develop a nuclear weapons capability a generation earlier without any adverse international reaction, becoming in 1967 or so the first state in the Middle East to possess nuclear weapons. It would have seemed reasonable for Iran to strike a posture of willingness to commit itself to a nuclear-free Middle East, which would have been a more dramatic move toward denuclearizing the Middle East than was JCPOA. Why did Iran refrain in 2015 and now again, even with a hardline leadership in control of its government? Perhaps, because the Iranian leadership understood there would be no sanctions relief if it depended on Israel’s willingness to give up its status as a nuclear weapons state. In this sense, the 2015 agreement can be seen either as an indicate of the diplomatic skill of the P-5 + 1 in limiting the negotiating agenda, and especially of the U.S., or as an indication that Iran was prepared to close its eyes to the unreasonableness of demanding limitations on its nuclear capabilities while ignoring the far greater breach of the nonproliferation ethos by Israel over a period of many years. Iran seemed willing to do this because of the high priority given to undoing the burdens of the continuing sanctions. It appears that the 2021-2022 Vienna talks among the five adherents to JCPOA (plus indirect talks with the U.S.) have similarly not been faced with demands to address Israel’s nuclearism, quite possibly for similar reasons.

        Why did this exhibition of constructive diplomacy happen in a region of the world, entailing overlooking Israel’s arsenal of nuclear weapons coupled with its belligerent posture so as to reduce tensions with regard to Iran, which had long been a major site of struggle, strife, and periodic warfare ever since 1979? I presume the main motivation was war avoidance in the Middle East and the belief that JCPOA contributed to the overall goals of nonproliferation and thus avoiding a regional arms race by major Arab states to acquire nuclear weapons.

      • Macedonian Ramble: the Wars of the Ottoman Succession

        That night, back in my hotel room overlooking the Dardanelles and its grand procession of ships passing in the night, I had to confront my own reality, which was that I had no good options for getting from Çanakkale to Istanbul—and my flight home.

        I looked at bus schedules, and they all seemed to indicate that it would be about a seven-hour trip, once you factored in all the rest stops that come with Turkish bus rides.

      • Sedition: The Foundational American Political Trait

        Nonetheless, Rhodes finds himself charged with doing exactly that in actions related to the 2021 Capitol Riot. And while he entered a “not guilty” plea in federal court on January 25, it seems pretty clear that the intent of the rioters in general and of the organized Oath Keepers presence among them was, in fact, to forcibly “prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of” Congress’s constitutionally mandated counting of electoral votes from the 2020 presidential election.

        The devil, of course, is in the details. What did Rhodes actually do? Who did he do it with or for? What was his intent? The obvious counter-argument, from those who believe the election was stolen, is that Congress itself comprised the “seditious conspiracy” and that Rhodes and company were attempting to put down an insurrection against the “legitimate” government. That argument seems unlikely to take flight in the courts, but it’s going to be an interesting show.

      • Fascism’s “Legal Phase” Has Begun. Threats of White Vigilante Violence Are Real.
      • We Don’t Need a Department of Homeland Security

        A relative of mine, who works for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) compiling data on foreigners entering the United States, recently posted a curious logo on his Facebook profile: a white Roman numeral three on a black background surrounded by 13 white stars. For those who don’t know what this symbol stands for, it represents the “Three Percenters,” a group that the Anti-Defamation League has identified as an anti-government militia. Its members have a record of violent criminal attacks and strikingly partisan activity, including arrests and guilty pleas in connection with the bombing of a Minnesota mosque in 2017 and appearances as “guards,” carrying assault-style weaponry, at several pro-Trump rallies. Six of its members have been charged with plotting to assault the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

      • Why Muhammad Ali is the Last American Hero

        Other than, I guess, Abraham Lincoln or Jesus Christ, the current go-to-guy for a quick symbolic fix of history, spirituality, and spectacle is that heavyweight boxer who called himself The Greatest. Somehow, he’s now right up there with two other once super-polarizing figures — the greatest American president and the greatest Christian of all time.

        I’ve been wondering lately just how Ali actually reached such heights. There are plenty of people alive today who once hated him and yet, in American popular culture, he’s now a secular saint.

      • Why is there now such an affinity between antivaxxers and fascism?

        A long time ago, in a time so distant that it now seems like ancient history, I wrote a post entitled Why are antivaccinationists so at home with Libertarianism? (Actually, it was only a little over eight years ago.) The springboard (if you will) for my musings (such as they were) about the affinity between libertarians and antivaxxers was an article on an antivaccine blog that had noted a libertarian backlash against a stand by Ronald Bailey over at the online home of libertarian propaganda Reason entitled Refusing Vaccination Puts Others At Risk, which was subtitled, A pragmatic argument for coercive vaccination. It was an uncommon example of the magazine actually living up to its name in that it recognized that individual rights are not limitless and those “who refuse vaccination for themselves and their children are free-riding off herd immunity. He even cited Oliver Wendell Holmes when he said, “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins,” calling that principle “particularly salient in the case of whooping cough shots.” At the time, I concluded that Bailey was likely “fighting a losing battle” because libertarians are “all too prone to denying science when it inconveniently clashes with their worship of the free market and individual freedom above all.” With the rightward shift of the antivaccine movement in the intervening time, I now find myself asking the same question about fascism, particularly after after seeing fascists at the antivaccine “Defeat the Mandates” march last Sunday, the one where Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. invoked Anne Frank and the Holocaust.

      • “Downfall: The Case Against Boeing”: Director Rory Kennedy & Michael Stumo, Father of Crash Victim

        Families of passengers who died in fatal crashes while aboard Boeing 737 MAX jets in Ethiopia and Indonesia are urging the Department of Justice to reopen a Trump-era settlement that allowed the company to evade criminal prosecution. We speak with the father of one of the victims, as well as the director of the new documentary, “Downfall: The Case Against Boeing,” which details Boeing’s push for profit over safety and is set to air on Netflix February 18. “We ultimately want this agreement reopened so that our input is reflected and it’s not a hasty rush job at the end of an administration,” says Michael Stumo, father of Ethiopian Airlines crash victim Samya Stumo, who recently met with Attorney General Merrick Garland. Boeing kept the planes running to save money despite internal research showing that their designs had a high probability to cause a crash. “They blamed the pilots, even knowing the system was faulty on this aircraft,” says filmmaker Rory Kennedy.

      • Opinion | Was Mohammed Ali the Very Last Great American Hero?

        At least once a week, a stranger writing a book, magazine article, newspaper feature, or blog; representing a documentary film, radio serial, or podcast; researching a paper for middle school, high school, or college asks me for an interview about Muhammad Ali. I’m on the short list of live resources because I began covering him when he was Cassius Clay and I was starting out as a New York Times sports reporter.

      • Home Demolition in Sheikh Jarrah Seen as Part of Broader Israeli Effort to Dispossess Palestinians

        Israeli forces continue to expel Palestinians from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem, a move that the United Nations has described as a possible war crime. We speak to Palestinian poet and activist Mohammed El-Kurd, whose own family is among those facing eviction in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Sheikh Jarrah is also where the Salhiyeh family recently gained attention for threatening self-immolation while protesting their eviction and the demolition of their home. The dispossession of Palestinians has left families facing homelessness in the cold of winter. “This is not a unique situation for our neighborhood,” says El-Kurd. “It is happening all across colonized Palestine.”

      • USAID, NATO Threaten Intervention as Ethiopia, Eritrea Unite & Form Economic Cooperation with China
      • Media Beats War Drums with Russia Over Ukraine While US/Saudis Kill Hundreds in Yemen
      • A Culture of Cheating: On the Origins of the Crisis in Ukraine

        While the US protests that it never gave assurances to Gorbachev that NATO would not expand eastwards, declassified documents prove otherwise.  But even in the absence of declassified documents and contemporary statements by political leaders in 1989/91 including Secretary of Sate James Baker and German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher (which can be consulted in YouTube), it is all-too-obvious that there is a festering wound caused by NATO’s eastward expansion over the past 30 years, which undoubtedly has negatively impacted Russia’s sense of security. No country likes to be encircled, and common sense should tell us that maybe we should not be provoking another nuclear power.  At the very least, NATO’s provocations are unwise, at worst they could spell Apocalypse.

        We in the West play innocent, and retreat into “positivism”, asserting that there was no signed treaty commitment, that the assurances were not written in stone.  Yet, Realpolitik tells us that if one side breaks its word, or is perceived as having double-crossed the other side, if it acts in a manner contrary to the spirit of an agreement and to the overriding principle of good faith (bona fide), there are political consequences.

      • What You Should Really Know About Ukraine

        As tensions began to rise over Ukraine, US media produced a stream of articles attempting to explain the situation with headlines like “Ukraine Explained” (New York Times, 12/8/21) and “What You Need to Know About Tensions Between Ukraine and Russia” (Washington Post, 11/26/21). Sidebars would have notes that tried to provide context for the current headlines. But to truly understand this crisis, you would need to know much more than what these articles offered.

      • Poll Shows Majority in US Want Diplomacy, Not War With Russia Over Ukraine

        A majority of Americans want the Biden administration to work with Russia toward a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis in order to avert a potentially catastrophic war, according to the results of a new poll published Friday.

        According to the Data for Progress survey of 1,214 likely U.S. voters, 58% of overall respondents “somewhat” or “strongly” support the Biden administration “striking a deal with Russia to avoid war over Ukraine.”

      • Lavrov Says ‘There Will Be No War’ Over Ukraine Unless US Escalates

        Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov asserted Friday that his government has no desire to take military action in Ukraine, contrary to what peace advocates and Ukrainian officials have denounced as the United States’ overly heated rhetoric in recent weeks.

        “If it depends on Russia, then there will be no war,” Lavrov said on a Russian radio program. “We don’t want wars. But we also won’t allow our interests to be rudely trampled, to be ignored.”

      • Opinion | Ukraine Crisis Demands Diplomacy and De-escalation, Not More Weaponry

        Global crises abound—escalating war in Yemen, potential famine in Afghanistan, rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula, and uncertain prospects for a U.S. return to the Iran anti-nuclear deal. All of these challenges require skillful diplomacy, and that urgently applies to the situation in Ukraine.

      • As Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ Unravels, Congress Launches New Pro-Israel ‘Cheerleading’ Caucus

        Earlier this month, Congress launched the bicameral, bipartisan Abraham Accords Caucus to support normalization between Israel and Arab states. Backed by pro-Israel groups, this new political development can be interpreted as a way for the Israel lobby to regain its power over a U.S. Congress that is increasingly critical of Israel.

      • ‘No one is going to hand over Ukraine’: A local journalist reports on the hopes and fears of Kharkiv residents amid the looming threat of a Russian invasion

        The Ukrainian city of Kharkiv is located just 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the border with Russia. In 2014, it was among the main centers of a bitter standoff between supporters and opponents of the Maidan Revolution. Eight years later — against the backdrop of a Russian troop buildup that has provoked international fears of a military escalation — Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky speculated that Moscow may try to “occupy” Kharkiv. In a dispatch from the city, local journalist Olga Antonova reports on how Kharkiv’s inhabitants are responding to the prospect of an all-out war with Russia.

      • ‘Geopolitical status is more important’ Why is the Kremlin constantly ratcheting up tensions over Ukraine? Meduza’s sources say it’s to avoid ‘giving in’ to Washington.

        The tensions over Ukraine are becoming more and more alarming by the day. Russian troops have long been stationed near the Ukrainian border, NATO countries are sending additional forces to Eastern Europe, and politicians are swapping mutual accusations of escalating the conflict. It seems that no one really knows what’s happening — or, most importantly, what will happen in the near future. To try and gain some clarity, Meduza special correspondent Andrey Pertsev spoke to his sources close to the Kremlin. They claim that Russia is prepared to “use force” — but the main priority is “not to give in” to the United States.

      • Germany and Great Britain: Confiscation of asylum seekers‘ mobile phones is often illegal

        In many cases, European authorities confiscate the phones of refugees after they have crossed the border in order to check their identity or to identify those helping them to flee. The people concerned do not always get their phones back. This means additional stress in the asylum procedure.

      • ‘I fear bumping into my torturers in the street’

        For many Syrian refugees fleeing war and human rights abuses, Europe was meant to be a sanctuary. So it was a shock when they began bumping into their torturers while out shopping or in a cafe. In fact, many of those involved in the Syrian government’s notorious interrogation facilities are hiding in plain sight in European cities.

      • Killings by Islamist Militia in the DRC Rose Almost 50% in 2021, UN Says

        An Islamist militia in eastern DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) killed more than 1,200 people in 2021, up almost 50% from the previous year, the United Nations said on Friday, even as the government imposed martial law and conducted joint operations with Uganda to root it out.

        The increase in killings occurred as the Allied Democratic Forces, a Ugandan armed group that pledged allegiance to Islamic State in 2019, extended its attacks farther northward into Ituri province, the U.N. Joint Human Rights Office said.

        The group often kills civilians as retaliation for military campaigns against it.

      • Indifference to a Christian Genocide

        On November 17, 2021, the U.S. State Department removed Nigeria from its list of Countries of Particular Concern…. despite several human rights organizations characterizing the persecution meted out to Nigeria’s Christians as a “genocide.”

      • Ex-Irish Soldier Justified Jihad Before Joining IS, Witness Says

        A former Irish army soldier justified jihad suicide bombings while attending a mosque in Ireland before she joined the Islamic State group in Syria, a Dublin court was told Wednesday.

        Lisa Smith, 39, is on trial accused of being a member of the Islamist extremists after traveling to war-ravaged Syria in 2015.

        She has pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful terrorist group between October 28, 2015, and December 1, 2019.

      • Words That Forbid Us from Looking Away from Genocide

        The words are haunting, as if a mourner’s lament and offered prayers for the dead. “They Fell,” written by Herbert Kretzmer, Charles Aznavour, and George Garvarentz, is a song that remembers the victims of the Armenian genocide, where as many as 1.2 million living under Ottoman rule died during World War I.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Searching for Susy Thunder

        Susan followed suit. Her specialty was social engineering. She was a master at manipulating people, and she wasn’t above using seduction to gain access to unauthorized information. Over the phone, she could convince anyone of anything. Her voice honey-sweet, she’d pose as a telephone operator, a clerk, or an overworked secretary: I’m sorry, my boss needs to change his password, can you help me out?

        In the early ’80s, Susan and her friends pulled increasingly elaborate phone scams until they nearly shut down phone service for the entire city. As two of her friends, Kevin Mitnick and Lewis DePayne, were being convicted for cybercrime, she made an appearance on 20/20, demonstrating their tradecraft to Geraldo Rivera. Riding her celebrity, she went briefly legit, testifying before the US Senate and making appearances at security conventions, spouting technobabble in cowboy boots and tie-dye. Then, without a trace, she left the world behind.

    • Environment

      • ‘This Is Not Over’: Alaska Supreme Court Rejects Youth Climate Case

        Young Alaskans—and their attorneys—vowed to keep fighting Friday after the Alaska Supreme Court’s split decision denying their right to bring a constitutional case challenging the state’s fossil fuels policy.

        “Despite today’s decision, we will keep fighting for Alaska’s climate future.”

      • A Transformative Green New Deal Requires Inclusive Manufacturing

        Progressives who care about the climate, democracy, economic justice, and sustainability need to incorporate a new economic vision into their projects. The progressive movement needs a distinctive industrial policy: a manufacturing renaissance in addition to a Green New Deal (GND). We will not have a sustainable society without a strong manufacturing foundation. Manufacturing is the only economic sector that can generate new wealth for communities currently shut out of access. Advanced manufacturing can build a broad-based working class with much higher incomes and create social capital at work, provide a decent standard of living, and be an engine for job growth.

      • ‘This is just the beginning’: How high heat of 2021 drove catastrophic weather

        Leading scientists say events like these that have surprised so many across the world are more likely in a warming climate. And they say the pattern will only grow.

      • [Old] Snowmobile effects on height and live stem abundance of wetland shrubs in south-central Alaska

        [...] When snowmobiles did affect height or live stems, the impacts were greater in all three species at snow depths <50 cm. In contrast, both vegetative metrics for all three species remained the same or increased in the control group. Snow depths ≥50 cm reduce snowmobile impacts to wetland shrubs but did not entirely eliminate them. Thinning snowpack in a rapidly warming climate suggests more damage to vegetation is likely where snowmobiling occurs. Management implications: Land managers may specify a minimum snow depth to protect vegetation from the physical damage of snowmobiles and their indirect effects through degradation of the subnivean environment. Snow depths ≥50 cm observed in our study reduced the negative effects of snowmobile traffic on three wetland shrub species but did not eliminate them. Snowmobiling as a winter recreational activity is likely to decrease in the foreseeable future in a warming climate. However, declining snowmobile opportunity does not necessarily translate to declining impacts in fact, the opposite may be true at least in the near term. Our data suggest snowmobiling over poor snowpack likely means more vegetation damage. We recommend partial openings when snow depth in the regulated area varies above and below 50 cm over large areas. The development of a maintained trail system, rather than open access, is an alternative way to reduce landscape-scale impacts.

      • An Extraordinary Iceberg Is Gone, but Not Forgotten

        Perhaps you remember iceberg A68a, which enjoyed a few minutes of fame back in 2017 when it broke off an ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula. Hardly your everyday iceberg, it was one of the biggest ever seen, more than 100 miles long and 30 miles wide.

      • Jordan Peterson’s Climate Expert is Science Denier Funded by Oil-Backed Think Tank

        The source for author Jordan Peterson’s recent claim that climate change cannot be modelled was a climate science denier who received money from a libertarian think tank funded by oil companies. 

        The Canadian psychologist was widely criticised for spreading climate misinformation this week after telling the popular Joe Rogan podcast’s 11 million subscribers that climate models were full of errors that increase over time, and that climate is too complicated to model accurately. 

      • Why the Chemical Industry Is an Overlooked Climate Foe — and What to Do About It
      • Pre-Pandemic Carbon
      • Serbia Stomps on Rio Tinto’s Lithium Mining Project

        In 2021, Rio Tinto stated that the project would “scale up [the company’s] exposure to battery materials, and demonstrate the company’s commitment to investing capital in a disciplined manner to further strengthen its portfolio for the global energy transition.”

        The road had been a bit bumpy, including a growing environmental movement determined to scuttle the project. But the ruling coalition, led by the Serbian Progressive Party, had resisted going wobbly on the issue.

      • Energy

        • Living Near Fracking Sites Linked to Higher Risk of Early Death: Study

          Elderly individuals who live near or downwind of fracking and other “unconventional” drilling operations are at higher risk of early death compared with seniors who don’t live in close proximity to such sites, according to a new study out Thursday from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

          Airborne contaminants from more than 2.5 million oil and gas wells across the U.S., researchers wrote in a paper published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Energy, are contributing to increased mortality among people 65 and older residing in neighborhoods close to or downwind from what is called unconventional oil and gas development (UOGD)—extraction methods that include directional (non-vertical) drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

        • Big Problems with Montana Proposals for Small Nuclear Reactors

          But the rush to nukes suffered a major setback this month when the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission denied the application  to build and operate the nation’s first small modular nuclear 720 megawatt reactor at the Idaho National Laboratory. The Commission cited “significant information gaps” in the company’s application, including details on potential accidents and its classification of safety systems and components. This is no surprise considering the Union of Concerned Scientists has strong reservations about the sodium-cooled Natrium design..

        • EPA Rejects Texas’ More Lenient Standard for Highly Toxic Air Pollutant

          As part of a sweeping announcement detailing strategies to crack down on toxic industrial air pollution, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced this week it was moving to formally reject Texas’ less protective standard for the potent carcinogen ethylene oxide and stick with its own scientific conclusions, a move that clears the way for significant reductions in emissions nationwide.

          EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan announced the decision after an investigation by ProPublica, in collaboration with the Texas Tribune, revealed that ethylene oxide, a low-odor, ubiquitous gas that is used to make everyday household items like dish soap, is contributing to the majority of the excess industrial cancer risk in the United States.

        • Climate Groups Celebrate as Judge Blocks Biden’s Oil Lease Sale in Gulf
      • ‘Huge Victory’ as Judge Blocks Biden’s Oil Lease Sale in Gulf of Mexico

        A federal judge late Thursday blocked the Biden administration’s massive oil and gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico, a significant win for environmentalists as they work to prevent the Interior Department from handing public lands and waters over to the fossil fuel industry.

        In his 68-page decision (pdf), Judge Rudolph Contreras of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. wrote that the Biden administration violated federal law by not adequately accounting for the emissions impact of the sale, which would have been the biggest offshore oil and gas lease sell-off in the country’s history.

      • Spanish cops searching for drugs find an illegal crypto GPU farm instead

        When Spanish police were informed of an illegal electricity tap, a small building stealing a huge amount of power from its neighbors, they suspected an indoor marijuana farm. After all, weed needs a lot of lights and hydroponics if you want to grow it in the middle of Seville. But when the cops raided the building, they found racks and racks of humming graphics cards instead. The operation wasn’t an illegal marijuana farm, it was an illegal cryptocurrency farm.

      • Crypto farm raided by Spanish authorities

        In the city of Santiponce/Seville, Spanish authorities have seized 21 Bitcoin ASIC miners and 13,000 EUR worth of crypto mining equipment after entering premises that were suspected of being an illegal marihuana plantation.

        The police investigation has led to the discovery of a crypto farm that was illegally attached to the electricity grid, which is the sole reason why the authorities were involved in the first place. However, instead of finding a farm with green plants, they discovered a farm with green graphics cards. It appears that most cards that were used were manufactured by EVGA and are part of the RTX 30 series.

      • Sweden approves nuclear waste storage site

        The decision is significant because it confirms Sweden’s position as a global leader in the storage of nuclear waste. Finland is the only other country to decide on such a plan and is building a storage facility at Olkiluoto, across the Gulf of Bothnia from Forsmark. Like the Forsmark project, the Finnish plan was based on a process developed by Swedish researchers.

        The method — referred to as KBS3 — will see the spent nuclear fuel stored in copper containers surrounded by bentonite clay and placed in 500 tunnels that will be 500 meters under the ground. The aim is to keep the radioactive waste isolated for at least 100,000 years.

      • Sweden approves plans for Forsmark nuclear waste storage site

        After about 70 years, when the facilities are full, they will be closed with bentonite clay to keep water out, and the facility will be sealed.

        The site will receive its first test shipments in 2023 and be operational by 2025. However, local media reports say the project may take longer to complete.

      • Final disposal of spent nuclear fuel

        The Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB) applied for a permit to construct and operate plants in a cohesive system for the final disposal of spent nuclear fuel and waste. The system for final disposal consists of a plant for interim storage and encapsulation of spent nuclear fuel in Oskarshamn Municipality and a final repository for nuclear waste in the bedrock at Forsmark in Östhammar Municipality.

        The Government has assessed that the application meets the requirements set out in the Swedish Environmental Code and the Nuclear Activities Act. SKB has therefore received permission in accordance with the Nuclear Activities Act to own, construct and operate a final repository and an encapsulation plant as outlined in their application. The Government has also decided to approve the application for the same operations in accordance with Chapter 17 of the Environmental Code, which means that the Government deems the future environmental impact of the operations acceptable.

      • Swedish government gives go-ahead for used fuel repository

        Radioactive waste management company Svensk Kärnbränslehantering AB (SKB) submitted applications to build Sweden’s first nuclear fuel repository and an encapsulation plant to the Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) in March 2011. The integrated facility – the encapsulation plant and the Clab interim storage facility at Oskarshamn – is referred to in SKB’s application as Clink.

        The application concerns the disposal of 6000 capsules with a total of 12,000 tonnes of radioactive waste at a depth of about 500 metres. SKB also applied to extend the storage capacity of the Clab facility from the current 8000 tonnes of fuel to 11,000 tonnes.

    • Wildlife/Nature

      • Cute Gentoo penguin takes selfies in this amazing video…

        Thanks to advances in technology, penguins can now take selfies. Like a snowboarder with a GoPro, a Gentoo penguin was able to document its twisting, diving, sardine gobbling, and general shredding through the waters off Tierra del Fuego, thanks to Argentinian scientists who fitted him with a special video camera. You can see the penguin rocketing through densely packed schools of fish, with other swimming shorebirds in the background.

      • Fossils from Bacon Cove could rewrite history of squid, octopus | CBC News

        A set of fossils found in Bacon Cove, N.L. — and now housed permanently in the province’s natural history collection — could rewrite the evolutionary history of deep-sea creatures like squid and octopus.

        The tiny specimens, just a few millimetres in length, may well be the remains of the planet’s oldest cephalopods.

        “They roll back by about 30 million years the origins of cephalopods,” said Nathalie Djan-Chékar, natural history collections manager at The Rooms, who gave CBC/Radio-Canada a first-hand look at the fossils in December.

        “By law, any significant fossils have to end up here,” Djan-Chékar said while holding one of the specimens, a razor-thin slice of limestone preserved on a microscope slide.

    • Finance

      • Clyburn Asks: Who Would Oppose Means-Testing Child Tax Credit? Answer: Lots of People

        Rep. James Clyburn, the third-ranking Democrat in the House, said Thursday that he would be willing to support Sen. Joe Manchin’s proposal to further restrict eligibility for the expanded child tax credit, a program that expired last month thanks in large part to the West Virginia senator’s opposition.

        In an interview with the Washington Post, Clyburn (D-S.C.) said that during negotiations over Democrats’ stalled Build Back Better package, “Manchin made it very clear that he had a problem… not with the child tax credit per se, but he wanted to see it means tested.”

      • Who Sleeps Under the Bridge?

        But to this was counterposed a different set of revelations.  In the same month when government ministers had their drunken knees-up in the Downing Street garden – there was the case of the woman who had obeyed the regulations and by so doing was unable to say goodbye to her mother who died alone in a care home.  There was the story of the eighteen year-old woman who had died from leukaemia five days before the Downing Street garden party, and whose family were unable to hold her hand in her last moments, because they too had chosen to obey the rules. In an act of bravery, respect and solidarity toward the broader community, they had said their goodbyes during a video call.  Or the case of the older sister who couldn’t come and visit her younger, vulnerable brother who had Downs Syndrome in order to tell him in person that their beloved mother had passed away.

        In the light of such revelations, Boris Johnson has done what one might expect of him; that is, he has reverted to type.  For the sake of ambition and aggrandizement, career and prestige he has – his whole life long – lied both automatically and pathologically, and he would do so again now. The Prime Minster came before the cameras wearing his ‘humble face’, his ‘wounded face’; his eyes raised in an expression of pained supplication – he explained how mortified he was that any parties could have gone ahead in Downing Street without his knowledge.

      • Exposing the Massive Hypocrisy of International Insurance Companies

        “Given how secretive insurers are about their project involvement and the lack of disclosure requirements, this information is rarely available for major fossil fuel projects,” states the report, which calls out “Chubb, MAPFRE and Tokio Marine, three insurers from the U.S., Spain, and Japan, respectively.” These companies underwrite the majority of the offshore oil and gas drilling—both operational and exploratory—conducted by Petrobras, the national oil company of Brazil, which “extracts around 93 percent of all Brazil’s oil and gas, and extracted nearly 2.8 million barrels of oil per day in September 2021,” according to the report. (By comparison, the U.S. extracts around 11 million barrels of oil per day.)

        “Chubb and Tokio Marine, along with Liberty Mutual, AXA, Fairfax, Argo, and several Brazilian insurers, were also found to provide insurance in the form of performance bonds for multinational companies involved in exploratory oil and gas operations,” the report further states. “It is irrational and irresponsible for insurance companies that regularly conduct climate risk evaluations to support fossil fuel expansion.”

      • Opinion | Why Greedy Corporations Love the Filibuster

        “Follow the money” is a fundamental principle for political reporters. It means competent journalists look at who funds politicians, provides that information in relevant stories, and examines how politicians’ votes and statements compared to the agenda of their funders. On that criterion, nearly every news report on the recent filibuster of Senate voting rights legislation failed.

      • 2021: Another Year of Success at Increasing Wealth Inequality

        According to the Federal Reserve Board, the bankers’ bank, as of the end of the third quarter of 2021, the wealth of the wealthiest 1% had grown since the fourth quarter of 2020 by $4.98 trillion from $38.96 trillion to $43.94 trillion for a 12.78% gain in the first nine months of 2021, outstripping the inflation rate for the whole year of around 7%. This increase in their wealth of $4.98 trillion would cover more than twice the amount of the watered-down Build Back Better legislation.

        Additionally, according to the Fed, the share of the country’s total wealth held by the 1%, as of the end of the third quarter in 2021 was 32.1%, the second quarter in a row it was over 32%. These are all-time highs since the Feds 1989 starting point when the wealth holdings of the 1% stood at a “mere” 23.6% of the country’s total wealth.[1]

      • Warren Calls for Increased Funding for the IRS, Which Has Been Gutted by GOP
      • Natalia Renta on Puerto Rico Debt Deal
      • Tax Cuts and Voter Suppression Laws Are Working Together to Lock in Plutocracy
      • Ah Quon McElrath and the Power of Multiracial Working-Class Solidarity

        The history of labor in this country is chockablock with forgotten heroes, suppressed memories, and unknown soldiers in the class war.  Take Ah Quon McElrath. She is now remembered as one of Hawai’i’s most influential labor leaders, but beyond the islands’ borders, she and her work are all too often relegated to a footnote. As an unapologetically militant Chinese Hawai’ian organizer committed to the intersectional race, class, and gender struggles of the working class, she has suffered the same fate that’s befallen many now barely known lions of labor. As a communist, her politics were too red for the history books, and as a woman of color operating within a white male-dominated power structure, the same social and political barriers she faced in life have followed her to the grave.

        When she graduated from the University of Hawai’i in 1938 with a degree in sociology, a bigoted professor convinced her to drop her dream of pursuing an advanced economics degree because: “One, you’re a woman. Two, you’re Oriental.” That fateful incident caused McElrath to lend her prodigious talents to the field of social work and the cause of labor, which proved to be a boon to Hawai’i’s workers and showed how deeply she held her commitment to liberation. The greatest lesson McElrath can teach us now is the importance of organizing across race, class, and gendered lines; embracing diversity as a strength instead of an impediment; and not being afraid to show our true political colors—no matter how much it makes the bosses or the media squirm.

      • The BDSM Passion Play of the Capitalocracy

        I see what he’s getting at, and I think he has a point; when LIFE ON EARTH is the bet on the table, folks who prefer to live ought to show such chutzpah. Of course, only so much chutzpah is necessary when you’ve got the complexion for the protection… and you’ve got presidential encouragement. At this point, it feels almost clichéd to point out that a more darkly tinted crowd would’ve gotten a very different reception.

        In the course of his essay, Moore used some variation of the term “nonviolence” approximately 253 million times (I counted). I don’t know what it would take for liberoids (and their sad cybernetic offspring, the wokesters) to consider violence a viable option for self-defense and survival, but clearly the impending fascist conquest of the U.S. and extinction of the biosphere don’t qualify.

      • The Geopolitics Behind Spiraling Gas and Electricity Prices in Europe

        Gas wars in Europe are very much a part of the larger geostrategic battle being waged by the U.S. using the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Ukraine. The problem the U.S. and the EU have is that shifting the EU’s energy dependence on Russia will have huge costs for the EU, which is being missed in the current standoff between Russia and NATO. A break with Russia at this point over Ukraine will have huge consequences for the EU’s attempt to transition to cleaner energy sources.

        The European Union has made its problem of a green transition worse by choosing a completely market-based approach toward gas pricing. The blackouts witnessed by people in Texas in February 2021 as a result of freezing temperatures made it apparent that such market-driven policies fail during vagaries of weather, pushing gas prices to levels where the poor may have to simply turn off their heating. In winter, gas prices tend to skyrocket in the European Union, as they did in 2020 and again in 2021.

      • The Fed’s Central Bank Digital Currency Report Falls Flat

        It took nearly a year, but the Federal Reserve has finally released its report on central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). The report fails to live up to the Fed’s hype. If anything, it shows a CBDC is a solution in search of a problem.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Left Demobilized: the Usual Suspects Are To Blame

        This was all entirely predictable. The Democratic party has mainly functioned since the 1930s to demobilize left movements, and these latest weren’t even movements. (Certainly thin soup compared to the militant communism FDR set out to dilute.) These were platforms in a candidacy. Platforms that the cautious, billionaire-sycophant likes of Barack Obama had no intention of ever seeing signed into law – so he coordinated the withdrawal of all other Dem presidential candidates at a critical juncture to boost Biden over Sanders.

        Another reason for this repulsive electoral jujitsu was that Obama doubtless believed Biden not Sanders was the only one who could defeat Trump. But he did not take the long view. Obama didn’t look past 2020. Had Sanders won, and got a few executive orders like forgiving student debt under his belt, we wouldn’t be looking at a possible fascist catastrophe in 2024. These halcyon mid-election cycle days would not feel so much like a Weimar interregnum.

      • Bad MAUSkeeping
      • A Communist Intervention: Reflections on Crisis, Revolution, and Personal Responsibility

        This is a communist intervention. It’s time to pull our heads out of our asses. Along with an ongoing fascisation process, capitalism-imperialism has brought the related and ever more imminent collapse of livable ecology and thus all prospects for a decent future. It is clear now that there are no meaningful or lasting solutions to the great problems of our time – economic/class inequality, patriarchy, racial oppression, nativism, war, oligarchy/plutocracy, authoritarian white nationalist fascism, and literal ecocide (the biggest issue of our or any time) – under the nation’s unelected and interrelated dictatorships of capital and empire. Nothing less than a popular eco-socialist revolution can begin to tackle these problems in a meaningful way.

        The long reigning bourgeois-democratic US governance order is being revealed as a tragic and terminal atrocity. Liberal reform and democracy are on their deathbed in the U.S. That much is evident from: the constitutional murder of the Build Back Better bill and voting rights protection in Congress; the vote suppression and election nullification policies being enacted in many US states; the vicious female-enslaving Texas abortion bill; numerous state measures outlawing the honest teaching of US-American history; numerous bills criminalizing social justice protest; the coming decisive Supreme Court ruling that will reverse woman’s constitutional right to an abortion; the pathetic failure of US government to properly protect the populace from a pandemic; the right wing reign of terror being conducted against public health, election, and education officials; the coming of a Republifascist majority in Congress this fall; the distinctly possible return to power of the “instinctive fascist” Donald Trump (or the rise to power of his reptilian pandemo-fascist rival Ron DeSantis); and more that is terrible to contemplate in this failed, savagely unequal Superpower that masquerades as “the greatest country in the world.”

      • The Filibuster is Busted, Time to Scrap It

        The filibuster is a made-up Senate convention that lets a minority of senators block votes on bills that have majority support. Under current rules, just 41 senators can sink legislation this way.

        In the past, filibusters were used only rarely. But with Republicans filibustering virtually everything these days, it now takes 60 Senate votes to pass anything at all. That’s a tall hurdle in our polarized age.

      • “Belfast:” Branagh’s Pathetic Paean to Northern Ireland’s Protestant Fascism and British Imperialism

        This is the first in Branagh’s Heinous Trilogy. It will be followed by Birmingham, the story of a white Protestant family who witness the fire hoses, dogs, and murder of four Black children, see the Civil Rights Marchers in the streets, stand by and do nothing, engage in hackneyed, cloying rituals, drink beer, eat white bread with mayonnaise, declare their love for the white South, and finally move to Meridian, Mississippi where they do nothing as the Black revolution is burning up history.

        This will be followed by Branagh’s already acclaimed classic, Berlin, the story of a white Protestant Aryan family who witness the Jews being taken to the concentration camps, see the Communists and Sophie Scholl leading the resistance, stand by and do nothing, engage in hackneyed, cloying family rituals, eat brats, drink beer, declare their love for Aryan Berlin, and eventually move to Buchenwald to build a new life.

      • Georgia Mail Ballot Restrictions Disenfranchised 45 Times More Voters Last Year
      • Biden’s Foreign Policy at One: Change, But No Course Correction

        Even the new administration’s signature phrase “America is back” suggests restoration rather than transformation. Like a corporate team scrambling to reestablish brand loyalty after a disastrous product failure, the Biden team has repeatedly emphasized reassurance. It has promised that the United States will once again shoulder its responsibilities as an ally in Europe and Asia, recommit to diplomatic solutions, and re-engage in transnational efforts to tackle global problems.

        To a certain extent, the Biden administration fulfilled this promise. Over the last year, the United States rejoined the Paris Climate accord, restarted negotiations with Iran to save the 2015 nuclear deal, and sat down with Moscow to extend their last remaining bilateral arms control treaty, New START. The new administration reengaged with the United Nations, for instance rejoining the Human Rights Council, and demonstrated greater seriousness of purpose around global vaccine distribution. It froze arms deals with Saudi Arabia and its Gulf partners and pledged to stop cooperating with their offensive operations in Yemen. It boosted funding for foreign aid and began to rebuild a State Department devastated by Trump-era cuts.

      • The Doomsday Clock SOS

        The past few resets of the incomparable clock have essentially been SOS signals to world leadership to get its act together or suffer horrendous consequences, specifically regarding: (1) nuclear and biological weaponry, (2) climate change/global warming, and (3) disruptive technologies exacerbated by an over-the-top, in their words: “Corrupted information ecosphere that undermines rational decision making.”

        The world-famous clock was initially set at the dawn of the Cold War at 7 minutes to midnight in 1947. Subsequently, its best (most promising) level was 17 minutes to midnight in 1991, following the fall of the Soviet Union, widely considered the end of the Cold War.

      • Analysis Finds ‘Staggering’ Rise in Voter Suppression After GOP Restrictions in Georgia

        A Mother Jones analysis published Friday revealed that Georgia residents experienced a dramatic increase in mail-in ballot rejections during last year’s municipal elections—a development the report’s authors say is attributable to the state’s recently enacted Republican-led voter suppression law.

        According to reporters Ryan Little and Ari Berman…

      • ‘Egregious’: Pennsylvania Court Strikes Down Mail-In Voting Law

        A sweeping Pennsylvania voting rights law that won praise from across the political spectrum when it was passed in 2019 was struck down by a state court Friday after Republican lawmakers—several of whom had voted for the law—claimed it unlawfully helped President Joe Biden to win the state in 2020.

        “This must not stand and I look forward to an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme to correct this egregious ruling.”

      • How this Cycle of Redistricting is Making Gerrymandered Congressional Districts Even Safer and Undermining Majority Rule

        Gerrymandering undermines representative government. But it’s nothing new. The term “gerrymander” stretches all the way back to a member of the founding generation: Elbridge Gerry, who as governor of Massachusetts led the effort in the 1810s to rig the state’s legislative districts for the benefit of his fellow Republicans.

        Gerry would be astounded to see the tools he’d have at his command in creating a gerrymander today. No longer do legislative line-drawers need to rely on their instincts in creating a district map that will advantage their party’s candidates. Sophisticated computer programs can maximize a party’s advantage by creating districts that can put Gerry’s famous salamander-shaped district to shame.

      • US Doesn’t Care for China’s Muslims: Boycotting the Olympics is about Global Competition

        On December 6, Washington declared that it would not send any diplomatic representation to the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. In subsequent days, the UK, Canada and Australia followed suit.

        The official American line claims that US diplomats will not participate in the event in protest of the “human rights abuses … in Xinjiang”. That claim can easily be refuted by simply recalling that the US has taken part in the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics.

      • Biden Polls Poorly Against “Generic” Republican, But Beats Trump, DeSantis
      • The Politics of Ethicide in an Age of Counter-Revolution

        The brutalizing horrors of a fascist past are with us once again. This is most evident in the growing support for bigotry and white nationalism among Republicans and their base, buttressed by the increased presence of armed militia and an increasingly well-armed populace.[1] Within the current abysmal historical moment, a mix of aggrieved agency, a tsunami of conspiracy theories, and an expanding culture of lies fuel a  massive political effort to legitimate and normalize white minority rule. Underlying this authoritarian political project is a massive ideological scaffolding reproducing the lethal workings of repressive power and a formative culture solidifying the identities and agents willing to embrace a political landscape of fascist agitation and violence. This is a pedagogical effort to refute elements of the past as a site of injustice, all the while enabling a machinery of exclusion and disposability wedded to the logic of white supremacy and what Kimberly Williams Crenshaw calls “The Unmattering of Black lives.”[2]

      • Morality Cannot Be Divided: How Netanyahu’s Corruption has Exposed Israel’s ‘Democracy’

        News of the possible deal has, once more, placed the controversial Israeli politician back at the center stage of media coverage. Many questions are being asked about the details of the agreement, the timing and the long-term impact on Netanyahu’s political future.

        It is a well-known fact that Netanyahu is already Israel’s longest-serving prime minister. Whether his ousting by his former pupil, now enemy, Naftali Bennett, is the end of the right-wing ideologue’s time in the corridors of power is yet to be determined. Bennett, an extremist politician in his own right, had cobbled up a government coalition in June 2021, ending Netanyahu’s long and uninterrupted reign.

      • Signatures collected for referendum, Csollány dies at 51, House of music inaugurated and Hungary gets bad mark for corruption

        Opposition parties handed over the signatures collected for the referendum on Fudan University and extending the jobseekers’ allowance, on January 21.

        The alliance handed over the 235,000 signatures supporting each of their referendum questions to the National Election Office.

      • MPs to debate landmark IoT security law

        The proposed Product Security and Telecoms Infrastructure Bill will receive its second reading in the House of Commons today in a debate to be opened by current digital secretary Nadine Dorries, as it takes a significant step forward towards becoming law.

        The bill – which mandates improved cyber protections for smartphones and other smart or connected internet of things (IoT) devices – has been years in the making. Its scope has expanded over time to include new provisions that will supposedly spur the roll-out of full-fibre broadband services by making it easier for operators to upgrade and share infrastructure, and reform the process of how they go about negotiating with landowners to whose property they need access.

      • Pittsburgh Bridge Collapses the Same Day as Biden Infrastructure Talk in City
      • A bridge in Pittsburgh collapsed on the day of Biden’s planned infrastructure visit

        At least 10 people were injured when a snow-covered bridge in Pittsburgh collapsed early Friday, just hours before President Biden was due to visit the city to highlight his push for infrastructure improvement.

      • Pittsburgh bridge collapses ahead of Biden city visit to talk infrastructure

        President Biden spoke with local officials following the morning collapse of a bridge in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, ahead of his own trip to the area, where he is due to discuss revitalizing the nation’s roads and bridges among other topics.

      • ‘Time to Rebuild This Nation’: Fetterman Speaks Out After Pittsburgh Bridge Collapse

        Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman said Friday that the Pittsburgh bridge collapse that wounded 10 people demonstrates how the nation’s decaying infrastructure is endangering lives, and that the disaster underscores the importance of earnestly implementing the bipartisan infrastructure law signed by President Joe Biden last year. 

        “Our roads and bridges, which are supposed to connect us and bring us together, are increasingly putting us in danger.”

      • ‘The Exiles’ Review: Tiananmen Square’s Legacy Intersects with a Filmmaker’s Life in an Eccentric, At Times Essential Doc

        That makes the recent interviews all the more poignant. On the pretext of showing them this old footage for the first time, Choy visits each man three decades later: Wu’er Kaixi lives in Taiwan, where he’s a well-known political commentator; Yan Jiaqi lives in Maryland amongst his books and the meticulous diaries he has kept since 1989; Wan Runnan lives in Paris where he keeps chickens and grows vegetables in a verdant garden. None has ever been able to go back to the country they still, after all these years, call home.

    • Misinformation/Disinformation

      • Here is the Spotify COVID content policy that lets Joe Rogan slide

        In screenshots viewed by The Verge, Jenkins said she “lead[s] Public Affairs” and that the company has reviewed multiple controversial Joe Rogan Experience episodes and determined they “didn’t meet the threshold for removal.” She adds that Spotify employs an “internal team of some of the best experts in the space” and also works with third parties who “advise us and help us evolve our policies given what’s going on in the world around us.”

      • Roaming Charges: Lookout, Joe

        + Neil Young’s demand that the streaming conglomerate Spotify remove his music from their database or end their deal with podcaster Joe Rogan, the former UFC announcer and Fear Factor host, was greeted with ridicule and derision on the right. But Young is no stranger to these fights. In fact, this is the second time Young has yanked his music from the streaming service. The first time was because the sound quality of the music sucked. (It still does.)  More on point. Neil was afflicted by polio as a child. Two of his sons were diagnosed with cerebral palsy and his daughter suffered from epilepsy.

      • Neil Young: I’m Not Trying to Censor Joe Rogan

        In a new letter on The Neil Young Archives, he responds to that line of attack. “I support free speech,” he wrote. “I have never been in favor of censorship. Private companies have the right to choose what they profit from, just as I can choose not to have my music support a platform that disseminates harmful [dis]information. I am happy and proud to stand in solidarity with the front line health care workers who risk their lives every day to help others.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Georgia Sees Florida & Texas Social Media Laws Go Down In 1st Amendment Flames And Decides… ‘Hey, We Should Do That Too’

        Having seen both Florida and Texas have their “you can’t moderate!” social media laws tossed out as unconstitutional (wasting a ton of taxpayer money in the process) you might think that other state legislatures would maybe pump the brakes on trying the same thing. No such luck. There are efforts underway in a bunch of states to pass similarly unconstitutional laws, including Utah, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio (not to mention states like New York pushing in the opposite extreme of requiring moderation). The latest to enter the fray is Georgia with its Common Carrier Non-Discrimination Act, with an astounding 24 ignorant co-sponsors who apparently hate the 1st Amendment.

      • Hollywood must take the fight to China’s lunatic censors

        It’s unclear whether this new conclusion was dreamt up by Tencent themselves or the copyright holder of Fight Club, Disney, which acquired the film as part of its 2017 takeover of 20th Century Fox. But what we do know is this: it isn’t an isolated case. Also on Tencent, if you watch the 2005 Nicolas Cage thriller Lord of War, you’ll notice the entire final half-hour is missing – you know, the part where Cage’s arms dealer Yuri Orlov gets away with everything, since he’s been trafficking weapons to allies of the US government. Again, in its place is a Caption of Justice, which reassuringly explains that Cage’s character “confessed all the crimes officially charged against him in court, and was sentenced to life imprisonment in the end.”

      • Saudi blogger Raif Badawi could be released next month, according to the Islamic calendar

        Mr. Badawi was arrested in 2012 on accusations of insulting Islamic religious figures on his blog; he has been imprisoned since. In a 2014 court decision decried by human-rights groups as unjust, Mr. Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for blasphemy. In keeping with the Hijri calendar, also known as the Islamic calendar, the high-profile political prisoner will have spent a decade in prison as of Rajab 26 1443, which equates to Feb. 28, 2022 in the Gregorian calendar used by most of the world.

      • School Board in Tennessee Bans Teaching of Holocaust Novel ‘Maus’

        It was unclear what book would replace “Maus” in the curriculum. At one point during the board meeting, one of the members, Rob Shamblin, asked what other books the school would have to remove from the curriculum if it removed this one on the basis on foul language. Classic books on elementary school reading lists, such as “Bridge to Terabithia,” “The Whipping Boy” and “To Kill a Mockingbird,” also include foul language, a school principal said.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • U.S.-Backed Drug War Fuels Murders of Journalists in Mexico, Most Dangerous Country for Media Workers

        We go to Tijuana, Mexico, where a wave of murdered journalists has raised international alarm and prompted nationwide protests. The three most recently murdered are José Luis Gamboa Arenas, Alfonso Margarito Martínez Esquivel and Lourdes Maldonado López. We speak with Jan-Albert Hootsen, Mexico correspondent at the Committee to Protect Journalists, who attended López’s funeral on Thursday in Tijuana and says Mexican authorities’ investigations and security measures have proven “woefully insufficient.” He adds that violence against journalists exploded after the Mexican government launched its U.S.-backed war on drugs. “The United States is a player in this violence, whether it likes it or not.”

      • US-Backed Drug War Fuels Murders of Journalists in Mexico
      • Baker College Threatens Legal Action Against Former Teacher Who Talked to Reporters

        Baker College, one of the largest private schools in Michigan, is threatening legal action against a former faculty member who spoke to ProPublica and the Detroit Free Press for an investigation published this month.

        Jacqueline Tessmer, who taught digital media for 14 years at Baker’s campus in Auburn Hills, told the news organizations that students often came to the nonprofit college unprepared to succeed and exited without degrees or good jobs but with heavy debt from loans. “Baker College has ruined a lot of people’s lives,” she said in the story.

      • Assange can go to UK Supreme Court (again) to fend off US extradition bid [Ed: When you expose crimes, so the criminals put you in prison]

        Julian Assange has won a technical victory in his ongoing battle against extradition from the UK to the United States, buying him a few more months in the relative safety of Her Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh.

        Today at London’s High Court, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales Lord Burnett approved a question on a technical point of law, having refused Assange immediate permission to appeal to the UK Supreme Court. The WikiLeaker’s lawyers had asked for formal permission to pose this legal conundrum about Assange’s likely treatment in US prisons to the Supreme Court:

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • HB 651: An Anti-Citizen Initiative Law

        Given the importance that the framers placed on giving citizens the right and power to enact laws and constitutional provisions by initiative, I thought at the time that it wouldn’t be long before all or parts of HB 651 hit the litigation fan.   And as George Ochenski discusses in his January 23, 2022, Independent Record column, I wasn’t far off the mark.

        Actually, the Constitution is clear and concise: Article III, section 4(1) provides that “The people may enact laws by initiative on all matters except appropriations of money and local or special laws.” Subpart (2) sets out the number of electors that must sign a CI petition and provides that such petitions be filed with the Secretary of State at least three months prior to the election on which the measure will be voted upon; and subpart (3) provides that the CI petition shall not be questioned after the election is held.  Importantly, there is no provision in this guarantee that permits or requires involvement by the legislature or the attorney general.

      • ACLU Demands ‘Truly Systemic Overhaul’ of US Civilian Harm Policies

        After the Pentagon chief moved to improve how the U.S. mitigates and responds to civilian harm, the ACLU on Thursday urged more sweeping action in light of recent tragedies, including an August drone strike that killed 10 people in Afghanistan.

        “While a serious Defense Department focus on civilian harm is long overdue and welcome, it’s unclear that this directive will be enough.”

      • ‘Abortion Bans Kill People’: Death of Woman Unleashes Protests in Poland

        Protests erupted in Poland this week after a 37-year-old woman who was denied an abortion died just days before the one-year anniversary of a Polish court further restricting reproductive rights in the country.

        “Time and time again, we see that abortion restrictions prevent access to lifesaving reproductive healthcare.”

      • Opinion | Fetal Personhood: Another Big Lie From the Christian Right

        As we mark the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the country awaits word from the US Supreme Court regarding whether abortion will remain legal. Despite Roe’s clear statement that, “The religious view that the product of every conception is sacred may not validly be urged by the States as a justification for limiting the exercise of constitutional liberties,” because it would constitute an establishment of religion – conservative Christian theology lies at the heart of the debate about abortion in this country. Though plural faith-based views should be welcome in the public square to inform cultural consensus around good policy, patriarchal theology constructed in bad faith to justify oppression of women is just another big lie.

      • California Progressives Warn Dems Against No Vote on Single-Payer

        Vote in favor of a bill on Monday to establish single-payer healthcare system for California residents or risk losing your endorsement from the state Democratic Party.

        “Any Assembly member that thinks they can ignore the party, ignore labor, ignore people, vote against us, and then still get the endorsement might find they have a tougher reelection battle than they thought.”

      • Hunter S. Thompson: A Certain Type of Witness

        The next time I ran into Mr. Thompson and his reporting was when Rolling Stone published Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I don’t remember if it was every word of the piece that ended up in the book, but it was enough to ensure I did not miss a single episode of Thompson’s coverage of the 1972 US presidential campaign as he spilled it onto the pages of Jan Wenner’s counterculture/music weekly. It’s not that Thompson was as politically radical as the direction I was heading, but his writing was as intoxicating as a Dexedrine pill mixed with a bottle or two of good German beer. It even got psychedelic a fair amount of the time. The truth was that no writer had ever made political campaigning fun to read about while simultaneously exposing the vacuity and sheer piggishness of certain candidates and press people. Sure, there were some good examinations of the process—most recently Joe McGinniss’s The Selling of the President 1968—but nothing so raw and to the point written in real-time like Thompson’s coverage that year.

        After the campaign ended with Richard Nixon back in the White House and ready to continue his race towards fascism, Thompson’s writing ended up being overtaken by the persona he had assumed. That persona, which involved exorbitant and often excessive drug taking and drinking plus a lot of hyperbolic posturing, not only defined him, it also limited his ability to change to something else. I am reminded of the Italian fiction collective which calls itself Wu Ming. This group of writers, who began writing under the name Luther Blissett, intentionally obscure their identities, insisting that it is the writing not the writer that matters. Of course, a personality-obsessed culture like that of the US depends on personalities to sell things. In Thompson’s case—given the time and the intended audience—the more outrageous the better.

      • A Scream Against the Madness

        In one part there is a collection of children’s drawings from the Theresienstadt Ghetto during the Shoah (Holocaust). Artist and teacher Friedl Dicker-Brandeis encouraged the children of the ghetto to make drawings about their experiences. In silence, I pored over dozens of depictions. Visions of tender humanity living in a nightmare.

        On the walls of the synagogue were listed the names of Czech Jews murdered in the Holocaust. Children, women, men. Thousands of names. 77,297 names. Each one of them painstakingly written by hand. There was something visceral about seeing those names. Too many to read. But I read as many as I could. And each one seemed to animate itself in my mind. A human soul behind each one peering out at me through the veil between life and death.

      • The Supreme Court Just Allowed the Executions of Two Disabled Black Men
      • She Ran on a Platform of “Radical Love.” Now She’s Facing Radical Hate.

        Harlem, New York City—Welcome to the hot, punishing glare of New York media, Kristin Richardson Jordan!

      • Australian Prime Minister, After Registering For A WeChat Account Using Unnamed Chinese Citizen, Finds His Account Sold To Someone Else

        WeChat is the massively dominant Chinese social media app (plus commerce, plus a lot more), but unlike other apps from China, like TikTok, it has mostly focused on the Chinese market, rather than markets overseas. Nonetheless, it has apparently huge popularity in Australia (which has a large Chinese ex-pat community). As it grew more popular, it’s no surprising that Australian politicians began using the service — even though in order to sign up for an account, you’re supposed to be a Chinese citizen. Still, politicians such as Prime Minister Scott Morrison signed up for an account raising some concerns domestically — though they were mostly dismissed by Morrision and his allies. This was true even after WeChat took down a post by Morrison that criticized a Chinese official.

      • The GOP Dials Up Its Attacks on Critical Race Theory
      • Opinion | In Ongoing Seattle Strike, Concrete Workers Face Off Against Corporate Greed—And Face Despair

        January 20th’s disastrous mediation between striking concrete mix truckers and the kingpins of Seattle’s sand and gravel industry had already hit a wall when Teamsters Local 174 shop steward Todd Parker got a text telling him another one of their members—a popular guy named “Mikey” in recovery from addiction—had just been found dead inside his apartment.

      • Relaunch of the EU-US Migration Platform

        Twice a year the USA and the EU want to meet to talk about migration and asylum policies

      • Fast Food Workers Are Getting Shot on the Job

        A rash of shootings at fast food locations throughout January was a reminder of how young people and underemployed people are pushed into low-wage, dangerous, stressful jobs.

        On January 2, 16-year-old Niesha Harris-Brazell was accidentally shot and killed by a coworker during an attempted robbery at a Milwaukee Burger King. On January 9, 19-year-old Kristal Bayron-Nieves was shot and killed during a robbery at a Burger King where she worked in New York City’s East Harlem neighborhood. On January 13, 16-year-old Brian Durham Jr. was shot in the head during an altercation over barbecue sauce while working at a San Antonio Wendy’s drive-thru; he is recovering. And on January 19, a worker at a St. Louis McDonald’s was shot by a customer over a french fry discount.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Are We Powerless Against Social Media Feeds?

        Just look at Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Instagram, and their “new and exciting” competitors—most of their websites have implemented tools that entice users to keep viewing more content, regardless of how different those companies claim to be. The idiotic thumbnails, the featured accounts, the catchy slogans, the “like and follow,” the login wall, the talking heads pointing at tweets, the proposition to monetize and boost your content—they all converge into a suspiciously similar experience for end users (the ultimate targets) who are prodded to login every day in order to generate “engagement.”

        Although some social media monopolizers have acknowledged the issue of overuse by reminding their billions of users to take a break from their screens, the infinite scroll cat is out of the bag and no gentle reminder is going to fix that.

      • Big Win for Open Internet as Court Upholds California Net Neutrality Law

        Progressives rejoiced Friday after a U.S. Court of Appeals upheld California’s net neutrality law, rejecting an industry-funded challenge that sought to prevent the state from implementing protections enacted in the wake of the Trump administration’s gutting of federal open internet rules.

        “Eat shit, AT&T!”

      • Courts (Again) Shoot Down Telecom Lobby’s Attempt To Kill State-Level Net Neutrality Rules

        The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has put a final bullet in the telecom industry’s attempt to kill state-level net neutrality laws. The ruling (pdf) again makes it clear that the Trump FCC’s 2017 repeal of net neutrality didn’t follow the law when they also attempted to ban states from protecting broadband consumers in the wake of federal apathy. Basically, the courts keep making it clear the FCC can’t abdicate its net neutrality and consumer protection authority under the Communications Act, then turn around and tell states what they can or can’t do on consumer protection:

      • EU Parliament’s ‘More Thoughtful’ Approach To Regulating The Internet Still A Complete Disaster

        For a while now, the EU has been working on its latest big update to internet regulations, mostly under the umbrella of the Digital Services Act (DSA). Multiple people who have been following the process there have noted how much more thoughtful the process has been for the DSA as compared to internet regulatory attempts in the US, which seem to mostly be driven by which senator thinks they can get the biggest headlines for misrepresenting which particular outrage this week. A more careful, thoughtful approach is definitely appreciated, but that doesn’t mean the results will be any good. Last week, the EU Parliament approved the latest version of the DSA in what has been seen as something of a mixed bag.

      • California Prevails on Net Neutrality Rules

        California’s net neutrality law, also known as S.B. 822, was passed in 2018 in the wake of the repeal of the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order. In that order, the FCC chose, despite massive evidence to the contrary, to classify broadband as an “information service” rather than a “telecommunications service.” That choice had real consequences because it limited the FCC’s ability to regulate. The California legislature responded by crafting net neutrality rules that covered all non-net-neutral activity by ISPs in the state. Not surprisingly, the large national ISPs immediately challenged it.

        The stakes over this court case for a free and open internet were very high. Losing would mean users would be dependent on the leadership of the FCC or an act of Congress. As EFF explained in an amicus brief in support of the law, users need more certainty, particularly low income users who rely on mobile devices and can’t pay expensive (and arbitrary) overage fees. Now, Californian broadband access users are protected under their own net neutrality law and more states can follow until the FCC reinstates net neutrality.

        This result also thwarts the political strategy the big ISPs hatched when former FCC Chairman Ajit Pai took office and announced his plans to repeal net neutrality. The goal was to get the FCC to designate their industry as companies that cannot be regulated at the federal level—under Title I of the Communications Act—while simultaneously using the FCC’s power to block states from regulating in the absence of the FCC. Today’s decision, in combination with a ruling following similar reasoning from the D.C. Circuit LINK TO MOZILLA, marks the failure of that plan.

      • Appeals court upholds California’s net neutrality law

        A federal appeals court on Friday ruled that California’s net neutrality law can remain in place, upholding a lower court decision. California’s 2018 law is the toughest in the country, and was signed into law a year after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) repealed the federal Open Internet Order. That 2015 order put into place strict net neutrality rules barring internet providers from blocking or throttling legal apps and websites. It also banned prioritization of paid content by ISPs.

        California’s law also bars throttling and speed lanes, and not long after the law was passed, the Department of Justice under former President Trump sued the state, arguing that the law was pre-empted by the FCC’s 2017 repeal of the federal law. That lawsuit and other legal challenges prevented the California law from taking effect, but last year the DOJ dropped its lawsuit.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Biden Praises Right To Repair, As John Deere Hit With Two Fresh Repair Lawsuits

        While there’s been no shortage of dumb and frustrating tech policy debates in recent years, one of the more positive shifts has been watching the “right to repair” movement shift from the fringe to massively mainstream. Once just the concern of pissed off farmers and nerdy tinkerers, the last two years have seen a groundswell of broader culture awareness about the perils of letting companies like Apple, John Deere, Microsoft, or Sony monopolize repair. And the dumb lengths most of these companies have gone to make repairing things you own both more difficult and way more expensive.

      • Neil Young knocks Spotify after it sides with Joe Rogan: ‘I sound better everywhere else’

        He also mocked the “shitty, degraded, neutered” sound quality of Spotify, claiming it sells customers “downgraded music” to meet streaming demands.

      • Neil Young says he ‘felt better’ after leaving Spotify and its ‘shitty’ sound quality

        Even after departing the platform, Neil Young isn’t done criticizing Spotify yet. Today, the rock legend has published another letter on his website, describing Spotify as a purveyor of “more songs and less sound.” Young says that he “felt better” after pulling his music catalog from the leading streaming music service earlier this week while noting that he’s strongly opposed to censorship and that “private companies have the right to choose what they profit from, just as I can choose not to have my music support a platform that disseminates harmful information.”

      • Neil Young Pushes Amazon Music Four-Month Free Promo After Exiting Spotify

        Neil Young wants his fans to keep on rockin’ in the free world — but on Amazon Music, not Spotify.

        On Friday, Young announced a special deal with Amazon Music, giving new subscribers four months free of the streamer. The move by the 76-year-old music icon comes two days after he demanded that Spotify pull his tracks off its service in protest of Spotify’s failure to curb COVID misinformation in “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast.

        On Friday, the Neil Young Archives website directed fans to Amazon Music to take advantage of the offer of the service’s premium Unlimited tier (at this link for U.S. visitors). Normally, Amazon Music Unlimited (regularly $7.99/month) is free for 30 days to new customers.

    • Monopolies

Photography Hosting in Geminispace With Open/Accessible Internet and Software Freedom

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 4:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 4cc45bc52a6c2ed2466e2fa69750885f
Gemini Photo Albums
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Gemini is better in a lot of ways than HTTP/S and HTML/HTML5, especially for people with simple needs and not much technical background/knowledge (sometimes less is more); we expect that more professional (or even hobbyist) photographers will be charmed by gemini:// and even fully embrace it

GEMINI is not only for geeks, it is also for artists who may find HTML too complex and cumbersome. Some might even wish to self-host their work, not allowing for-profit companies such as Yahoo! or Gulag (Google) to dim down the lights on hard work with sentimental value. The World Wide Web (or just “Web” for short) is part of the problem; it has made it harder for people to set up and manage their stock of photographs, partly owing to bloat and partly owing to growing complexity, which includes outsourcing “trust” to some CAs, having to renew “trust” every 3 or 6 months. We wrote about this 2 days ago.

Gemini has 2033 capsulesGemini is growing, not just because it’s new but because it’s a lot simpler. As shown on the right, Gemini has exploded in popularity lately. As shown on the left (bottom), the linear expansion carries on unabated.

Back in 2004 or 2005 I created my first self-hosted Gallery-based online photo album (migrations or upgrade paths were never a picnic, so there was a maintenance overhead and risk of older PHP versions not being compatible with newer; there’s no backward compatibility) and then again in 2012 after my wedding. I’ve long been an ardent advocate of self-hosting for photographs, seeing that companies don’t care about other people’s lives, memories etc. Google+ is one notable example of this, albeit there are many more…

Gemini growthIn this video I show (using Kristall and Lagrange) these three different photography-centric capsules. There are of course many more, but not all are widely known. Self-hosting such capsules (e.g. from one’s own home) depends mostly on upstream/upload speeds, but should be doable for sure. I demonstrate the simplicity from the code/coding side, knowing that many photographers aren’t geeks and don’t cope too well with the bloated Web.

If every person self-hosted his or her images using Gemini, the Internet would be a vastly better place. As Cheapskate’s Guide put it some days ago, “The Old Internet Shows Signs of Quietly Coming Back” and “[a]n increasing number of Internet users are revolted by the current corporate-and-government-controlled Internet, and those who create old-Internet websites are doing something about it.”

“Geminispace isn’t some tiny niche; there are many people in it.”As I show in the video, “Billsmugs Photography” boasts almost 50,000 requests (last updated hours ago), so people are clearly finding the capsule and taking advantage of it. Geminispace isn’t some tiny niche; there are many people in it.

Join Gemini and let’s get rid, over time (this will never be complete, but every little helps), of proprietary elements of what became of the Web.

“Gates may be gone, but the walls and bars of proprietary software he helped create remain, for now. Dismantling them is up to us.”

Richard Stallman

IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 28, 2022

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:42 am by Needs Sunlight

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