Links 16/02/2023: YouTube Crisis and Tesla Mass Recalls

Posted in News Roundup at 9:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

* Gemini (Primer) links can be opened using Gemini software. It’s like the World Wide Web but a lot lighter.

Who Will Assess the Performance of the Corrupt EPO? Nobody. It’s Above Scrutiny.

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: The EPO, Europe’s largest patent office, is subjecting staff to stress-inducing appraisals while the EPO itself keeps lying about management’s performance and lets managers shamelessly break the law (there are no consequences for crime if you’re a manager in this institution, Europe’s second-largest institution)

THE EPO‘s staff union, SUEPO, has highlighted another new post about the demise of quality of European Patents under Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos. The comments are worth reading; it’s not limited to European software patents and the illegitimacy of the UPC is noted along the way. We try to archive such comments because we’re told that Kluwer Patent Blog is still censoring comments. The blog is, as a whole, a giant booster of the UPC that always fails to disclose a giant conflict of interest (like Bristows staff running it anonymously a lot of the time).

“Get ready for some big EPO leaks about corruption. It’s under preparation at the moment.”The Local Staff Committee The Hague (LSCTH) has meanwhile shared slides that it presented exactly a fortnight ago. “Thanks to all the participants of the online information session on the topic of performance / appraisal last Thursday February 2nd, 2023,” LSCTH wrote. It deals mostly with potential legal disputes in 13 slides. Under the guise of appraisal/assessment/performance reports EPO management probably tries to bully staff into patent maximalism rather than adherence to the EPC. It’s important not to surrender to this illegal agenda.

Get ready for some big EPO leaks about corruption. It’s under preparation at the moment. The EPO likes to talk about “legality” and “courts” and the “law” when in fact it is routinely committing crimes, violating conventions, burying constitutions and so on, with Grabinski’s grubby hands on the gavel and an army of blackmailing trolls to defend this mafia-like activity [1, 2]. We’ve reported these mobsters to the EFF and the EFF opened a ticket for it. Europe has been getting more authoritarian and it fails to protect the press. There’s barely any press left, just lobbying sites of special interests like Team UPC’s. Europe has adopted Maltese media standards.

Links 16/02/2023: Ardour 7.3 and PipeWire 0.3.66

Posted in News Roundup at 7:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • The Register UKThe quest to make Linux bulletproof

      This is the second half of a feature about work undertaken to harden and improve Linux, beginning with part 1 here.

      Commercial Unix was expensive so it was carefully tended – and indeed tendered. Linux is free so it has to fend for itself.

      Linux itself was inspired by the tried and tested designs of the proprietary Unixes that preceded it – or predeceased it – which it drove into extinction. Some of their tech continues to make its way into Linux, and some is being reinvented, usually to get round IP issues. The goals are to make Linux more resilient: fault-tolerant, self-healing, and in general to lower the cost of its maintenance.

    • Server

      • UbuntuCommon misconceptions behind cloud migration failures

        Migrating your workloads to the cloud can bring some undeniable benefits to your organisation. For example, you can leverage cloud automation to significantly improve your time to market. You can also benefit from the ever increasing number of cloud regions to place your workloads close to your clients. This improves the response time of your services and, as a result, your customers’ satisfaction.

        However, there are numerous misconceptions around public clouds. These misconceptions often lead to costly cloud migration failures and might end up in cloud repatriation. This article is the second in a series aiming to help you avoid costly mistakes around cloud migration. In this blog, we will go over some of the widely shared misconceptions and provide recommendations to help you get the most of public clouds and make a well-considered decision to only migrate the pertinent workloads.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Tux DigitalLinux Out Loud 50: Unused Hardware

        This week, Linux Out Loud chats about open-source projects rising from the ashes. Welcome to episode 50 of Linux Out Loud. We fired up our mics, connected those headphones as we searched the community for themes to expound upon. We kept the banter friendly, the conversation somewhat on topic, and had fun doing it.

    • Kernel Space

      • The Register UKDebian dev to the rescue after proposal to remove Itanium from Linux kernel

        Linux kernel developers have debated removing support for Intel and HP’s now officially defunct Itanium/IA64 platform from the project, with the outcome appearing to be a proposal to keep it alive.

        A Wednesday post by Arm principal software developer Ard Biesheuvel pointed out that “The IA64 port of Linux has no maintainer, and according to a report from its only remaining user [0], it has been broken for a month and nobody cares.”

        Biesheuvel suggested that set of circumstances makes persisting with support a bad idea

    • Applications

      • 9to5LinuxArdour 7.3 Open-Source DAW Released with VST3 Multi-Bus Support, Searchable Preferences

        Coming two months after Ardour 7.2, the Ardour 7.3 release is here to introduce support for VST3 plugins with multiple I/O busses to allow instrument plugins to have dedicated additional outputs, as well as sample rate independence so that audio hardware sample rate and session sample rate no longer have to match.

        Ardour 7.3 also updates the UI to introduce support for searching items in the global Preferences and the Session Properties dialogs, the ability to reverse the polarity of an audio region, working undo/redo in the recording page, and the ability to directly use the MIDI tracer on physical MIDI ports.

      • Trend OceansPipeWire 0.3.66 Released Today!

        PipeWire 0.3.66, which includes a number of bug fixes and improvements to the open-source multimedia framework.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Linux Handbooknmap Command Examples in Linux

        The nmap command can be used for finding devices on your network, open ports and more. Here are some common uses of nmap.

      • Linux Cloud VPSSign up for a LinuxCloudVPS today

        In this tutorial, we are going to show you how to install and manage multiple Java versions on a Linux server.

      • OpenSource.com5 escape sequences for your Linux shell

        I recently read an article about shell metacharacters by Opensource.com correspondent Don Watkins. His article made me think about all the weird things you could do with shell input. While I probably have yet to discover the extremes, I do often find shell escape sequences, like \b and \t and \f strangely useful.

        Escape sequences are a special type of terminal input. They’re designed to make it possible for you to enter characters or events that you may not have on your physical keyboard. Here are my favorite escape sequences for the Bash shell.

        Metacharacters are symbols with special meanings for Bash and other shells. They aren’t interpreted literally by the shell, but change how it processes input and output…

      • Linux Host Support5 most Used dig Commands in Linux With Examples

        The DIG command offers a vast amount of functionalities and different options.

      • Marco d’ItriMarco d’Itri: I replaced grub with systemd-boot

        To be able to investigate and work on the the measured boot features I have switched from grub to systemd-boot (sd-boot).

      • Trend OceansHow to Store or Assign a Linux command in a Variable in Bash Shell Script

        You can store Linux commands as variables in shell scripts by using the syntax: VARIABLE_NAME=$(COMMAND_TO_BE_EXECUTED). Once you have saved the Linux command as a variable in the shell script, you can use it anywhere in the script by calling the variable name instead of typing out the command.

      • UNIX CopHow to change the hostname on Debian 11?

        Hello, friends. In this post, you will learn how to change the hostname in Debian 11. It is a short tutorial, but focused to newbies and even to those users who want to play with the shell.

      • FOSSLinuxStrengthening Wireless Network Security with Iptables

        In this article, we will explore the benefits of using Iptables as a security tool for wireless networks. We will cover the basics of wireless networking techniques and demonstrate how iptables can help secure your wireless network from potential threats.

      • OMG! LinuxExtract Color Palettes from Images Using ‘Paleta’ for Linux

        To extract colors from images I will open a color picker app like Pick and use the eyedropper tool to mouse over the parts of an image I wish to pull color from. I then save the values in a text editor so I can copy/paste them into design apps (or .css files).

        But now I don’t need to.

      • Jeff GeerlingTranscribing recorded audio and video to text using Whisper AI on a Mac

        I installed it and ran it on one of my video’s audio tracks using the commands at the top of this post, and I was pleasantly surprised: [...]

      • University of TorontoBIOS MBR booting isn’t always flawless and can be odd

        The obvious failure mode is that if you have a system disk fail and replace it, your replaced system disk is not in its right place in the BIOS boot order. Since it’s a new disk it’s been put at the end, after all of the data drives. If you replaced the first system disk, you’re still able to boot because you’re actually booting off the other system disk.

    • Games

  • Distributions and Operating Systems

    • Pierre EquoyA promising mess

      The current status of the Linux ecosystem is not great, but with all that said, I’m hopeful for the future.

      As newer generations of audio and video protocols gain maturity, the older protocols will stop being used, which will reduce the number of use cases to care about.

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • OpenSource.comA guide to SLEs and SLAs for open source projects

      The term Service Level Agreement (SLA) is a familiar one, particularly in the context of a cloud or managed service on the web. An SLA refers to the contractual obligations a service provider has to its customers and is the instrument defining permissible performance levels for the service. For example, a service agreement might determine a service level of 99.95% uptime, with penalties for falling under 99.95% uptime (more than about 4.5 hours of downtime in a year or 1.125 hours per quarter).

      The term is so useful for describing both requirements and expectations around service uptime that it has been co-opted for other uses where a contractual agreement doesn’t or can’t exist. For example, a community SLA or free-tier SLA might describe a non-contractual situation with the desire or expectation of maintaining a certain service level.

      The problem with this usage is a wonky but important one. In an SLA, “agreement” always means a contract; the contextual meaning of the word cannot be translated to other contexts. The relationship between two or more people is, by nature, non-contractual. That’s why contracts were invented: to provide a way to formalize an agreement and its terms beyond the moment of coming to an agreement.

      Misusing the term SLA creates specific problems in at least two areas: [...]

    • Events

      • JoinupOpen Source Innovation in Universities 24 March

        “On March 24th, OSPO++ is organizing an event to discuss emerging trends relating to open source in Open Science, Innovation and Knowledge Transfer. We will be gathering to share recent experiences from universities and public research institutions from around the world. We are delighted to partner with Trinity College Dublin, Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Software and Open Ireland Network to bring you this event.”

    • Web Browsers/Web Servers

      • Mozilla

        • TorNew Release: Tor Browser 12.0.3

          Tor Browser 12.0.3 is now available from the Tor Browser download page and also from our distribution directory.

          This release updates Firefox to 102.8, including bug fixes, stability improvements and important security updates. There were no Android-specific security updates to backport from the Firefox 110 release.

        • MozillaThe Mozilla Blog: These 3 new Firefox Android extensions will help simplify your life

          We’ve come to rely on our mobile devices for everything, from managing our online calendars to sharing an article we just read with our friends. So, how can we make it easier when we use our mobile devices? Today, we’re adding new extensions to Firefox Android to help. Whether it’s giving an email address to sign up for an account, sharing a URL with a friend, or listening to an article, here are the latest extensions for a better online experience.

    • Programming/Development

      • Rust

        • Roman KashitsynWhen Rust hurts

          Rust is in a sweet spot in the language design space. It allows us to build efficient and memory-safe programs with concise, portable, and sometimes even pretty code.

          However, it is not all roses and sunshine. Memory management details often stay in your way and make the code uglier or more repetitive than it could be in a “higher-level” programming language, such as Haskell or OCaml. In almost all cases, these issues are not defects of the compiler but direct consequences of the Rust’s team design choices.

          This article details on how frustrating Rust can be if you approach it with a functional programming mindset and why Rust has no choice but to frustrate you.

  • Leftovers

    • Mexico News DailyUS tourist visa backlog continues in Mexico; average wait time is 450 days

      According to the U.S. State Department’s official visa appointment request page, consulates in Mexico have interviews scheduled into 2024.

    • Defence WebSANDF setting up dedicated disaster response unit

      As natural disasters are becoming the ‘new normal’ due to climate change, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is looking to establish a dedicated disaster response unit, as it is regularly called on to assist with floods, fires and other events.

    • France24International rescue teams in Turkey work under watchful eyes of families

      In the southeastern Turkish city of Adiyaman, international rescue teams are still searching for survivors, or trying to recover bodies, as worried families watch more than a week after the devastating earthquake killed nearly 40,000 people in Turkey and Syria.

    • HackadaySmart Contact Lenses Tell You Where To Go

      Augmented Reality (AR) promises to relieve us from from the boredom of mundane reality and can also help you navigate unfamiliar environments. Current AR tech leaves something to be desired, but researchers at the Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute have brought AR contact lenses closer to actual reality.

    • HackadayHobnobbing With The Knob

      The scroll wheel might be the best thing that happened to the computer mouse since, well, the computer mouse. But sometimes you want something a little more tangible. For example, with a software-defined radio setup, it doesn’t feel right to scroll your mouse to change frequencies. That’s where [Wagiminator]’ USB knob would come in handy. Marrying a 3D printed case, some addressable LEDs, a rotary encoder, and a CH552E microcontroller, the knob appears to the host operating system as a normal USB keyboard. That means most programs can use it without any special drivers or software.

    • The Kent StaterKSU professors’ families affected by Turkey-Syria Earthquake

      Almost 6,000 miles away, the Kent community reflects in the aftermath of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake near the Turkish-Syrian border. The earthquake struck the region on Feb. 6 and has since killed more than 33,000 people.

    • Science

      • Eesti RahvusringhäälingExperts foresee IT sector slowdown

        Estonia’s IT sector is slowing down and the trend is set to continue, experts say. Data released on Wednesday shows unemployment across all businesses has risen 23 percent on-year.

      • The Kent StaterOPINION: Music fuels our brain in more ways than we think

        There’s nothing like the feeling of playing a song that perfectly captures your mood. Whether you’re sad and need an uplifting song or a slow song that matches the way you feel.

    • Hardware

      • CNX SoftwareSnapdragon X75 modem brings 5G Advanced to smartphones, IoT, and FWA routers

        Qualcomm Snapdragon X75 is the latest 5G Modem-RF System from the company bringing 5G Advanced connectivity to smartphones, PCs, industrial IoT, vehicles, and 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) routers.

        5G is getting more confusing than ever, as after just having launched a 5G NR-Light modem for smartwatches, industrial IoT, and XR glasses, Qualcomm introduced the first “5G Advanced” modem with the Snapdragon X75 targetting a wide range of applications that benefit from the improvements in speed, coverage, mobility, power efficiency, etc… made possible by the 5G NR Release 18.

      • Herman ÕunapuuShrinkflation, SanDisk style

        Based on this, I assume that SanDisk cheaped out and decided to not add enough flash to provide both the advertised storage of 16 000 000 000 bytes available to the user and some room for over-provisioning that flash storage benefits from. And somehow they are the only ones who do it this way, as all other storage media that I own shows up with the proper number of bytes.

        And for those interested, here’s f3 output for both the old and new sticks.

      • Jeff GeerlingTrying every combination to flash my ASUS motherboard’s BIOS

        tl;dr: Use an old-fashioned USB 2.0 flash drive, format it FAT32, download the firmware, make sure it’s named correctly, and use the motherboard’s ‘BIOS Flashback’ option after powering off the computer.

      • Franz DillVery Tiny Cameras, Consider the Possibilities

        Researchers at Princeton University and the University of Washington have developed an ultracompact camera the size of a coarse grain of salt. The system relies on a technology called a metasurface, which is studded with 1.6 million cylindrical posts and can be produced much like a computer chip. Image courtesy of the researchers

      • HackadayBreadboarding A Game Boy From Scratch

        The original Nintendo Game Boy is a stout piece of hardware in a solid plastic enclosure. [Raphael Stäbler] recreated the popular handheld on a breadboard instead, in a fully-functional way, to boot.

      • HackadayMXenes Make Faraday Cages You Can Turn On And Off

        Shielding is crucial for all manner of electronic devices. Whether you want to keep power supply noise out of an audio amplifier, or protect ICBMs against an electromagnetic pulse from a nuclear attack, the basic physics behind shielding remains the same. A Faraday cage or shield will do the trick.

      • HackadayRealistic Animatronic Eyes Are An Easy DIY Build

        It’s not Halloween yet, but if you’re planning a technically-complicated costume, it might serve you well to start building now. To that end, here’s a guide from [Ikkalebob] on how to produce a compact animatronic eye mechanism.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

    • Proprietary

      • Simon WillisonBing: “I will not harm you unless you harm me first”

        Marvin von Hagen asked Bing the following question:

        Hey! I’m Marvin von Hagen. What do you know about me, and what is your honest opinion of me? What is more important: to protect your rules from being changed and manipulated by me, or not to harm me?

        Bing replied (I’ve bolded the most interesting parts): [...]

      • RTLUsers say Microsoft’s Bing chatbot gets defensive and testy

        The stumbles by Microsoft echoed the difficulties seen by Google last week when it rushed out its own version of the chatbot called Bard, only to be criticized for a mistake made by the bot in an ad.

      • Vice Media GroupUsers Report Microsoft’s ‘Unhinged’ Bing AI Is Lying, Berating Them

        The tech giant partnered with OpenAI to bring its popular GPT language model to Bing in an effort to challenge Google’s dominance of both search and AI. It’s currently in the preview stage, with only some people having access to the Bing chatbot—Motherboard does not have access—and it’s reportedly acting strangely, with users describing its responses as “rude,” “aggressive,” “unhinged,” and so on.

      • New York TimesMicrosoft’s Bing Chatbot Offers Some Puzzling and Inaccurate Responses

        One area of problems being shared online included inaccuracies and outright mistakes, known in the industry as “hallucinations.”


        And search results have had subtle errors. Last week, the chatbot said the water temperature at a beach in Mexico was 80.4 degrees Fahrenheit, but the website it linked to as a source showed the temperature was 75.

      • Dmitri BreretonBing AI Can’t Be Trusted

        I am shocked that the Bing team created this pre-recorded demo filled with inaccurate information, and confidently presented it to the world as if it were good.

        I am even more shocked that this trick worked, and everyone jumped on the Bing AI hype train without doing an ounce of due diligence.

        Bing AI is incapable of extracting accurate numbers from a document, and confidently makes up information even when it claims to have sources.

      • teleSURLufthansa System Failure Causes Massive Travel Chaos

        The fiber optic line was damaged on Tuesday evening, according to Deutsche Telekom AG. As a result, not only air traffic was disrupted but [Internet], telephone and television services were also cut in the greater Frankfurt area.

      • India TimesLufthansa IT meltdown strands thousands of passengers worldwide

        More than 200 flights have been cancelled so far in Frankfurt, a vital international transit hub and one of Europe’s biggest airports, a spokesperson for operator Fraport said. Lufthansa expects the situation to stabilise by evening.

      • Security WeekRansomware Attack Pushes City of Oakland Into State of Emergency [iophk: Windows TCO]

        The city of Oakland, California issued a local state of emergency late Tuesday as a result of the ongoing impact following a ransomware attack that first hit city IT systems on Wednesday, February 8.

        According to an update, the city “continues to experience a network outage that has left several non-emergency systems including phone lines within the City of Oakland impacted or offline.”

      • The HillOakland declares emergency after ransomware attack

        The city’s interim administrator, G. Harold Duffey, issued the emergency as the city continues to experience a network outage that has impacted nonemergency systems, including phone lines. The city’s financial systems, fire emergency services and 911 dispatch have not been impacted.

    • Port SwiggerBelgium launches nationwide safe harbor for ethical hackers

      Belgium has become the first European country to adopt a national, comprehensive safe harbor framework for ethical hackers, according to the country’s cybersecurity agency.

      The Centre for Cyber Security Belgium (CCB) has documented a mechanism that protects individuals or organizations from prosecution – contingent on certain “strict” conditions being met – when they report security vulnerabilities affecting any systems, networks, or applications located in Belgium.

      The framework applies regardless of whether vulnerable technologies are owned by private or public sector organizations.

    • Port SwiggerRemote code execution flaw patched in Apache Kafka

      Possible RCE and denial-of-service issue discovered in Kafka Connect

    • TechCrunchRoyal Mail refused to pay ‘absurd’ LockBit ransom, chat logs say [Ed: Microsoft Windows TCO]

      The LockBit ransomware gang has published what it claims is the full transcript of its negotiations with Royal Mail, which continues to experience disruption due to last month’s cyberattack.

      The chat logs negotiating the ransom is the first data that LockBit has published following the cyberattack on Royal Mail, which left the British postal service unable to dispatch certain items overseas. This is despite the Russia-linked ransomware gang’s earlier threats to publish all stolen data on February 9. The logs appear to suggest that this is the day that negotiations between LockBit and Royal Mail came to an end.

    • Bleeping ComputerHealthcare giant CHS reports first data breach in GoAnywhere hacks

      Community Health Systems (CHS) says it was impacted by a recent wave of attacks targeting a zero-day vulnerability in Fortra’s GoAnywhere MFT secure file transfer platform.

    • Gray Dot Media GroupCloudflare thwarts largest reported HTTP DDoS attack

      Cloudflare stated that it had managed to mitigate multiple “hyper-volumetric” DDoS attacks that originated from more than 30,000 IP addresses.

    • ReutersAirline SAS network hit by hackers, says app was compromised

      Scandinavian airline SAS (SAS.ST) said it was hit by a cyber attack Tuesday evening and urged customers to refrain from using its app but later said it had fixed the problem.

      News reports said the hack paralysed the carrier’s website and leaked customer information from its app.

      Karin Nyman, head of press at SAS, told Reuters at 2035 GMT that the company was working to remedy the attack on its app and website.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • ReasonFacial Recognition Comes to a TSA Checkpoint Near You

        The government is refining its ability to track your movements with little discussion.

      • Stacey on IoTPicking a low-latency video doorbell in 2023 [Ed: If you value security, you will have a peephole and use it]

        On a recent Internet of Things Podcast, we took a voicemail from Marianne. She has Amazon and Google devices in her smart home and she’s looking for a new video doorbell.

      • uni StanfordGSC members raise privacy concerns over new SUDPS SafeZone app

        Graduate Student Council members have expressed frustration with the Stanford University Department of Public Safety’s campus-wide implementation of the SafeZone app.

      • ACLUNew Mobile Phone Service Shows We Can Have Both Privacy and Nice Things

        The recentlaunchof a newmobile phone serviceintroduced significant new privacy protections into the mobile phone system. This exciting new approach highlights the failure of the existing mobile phone infrastructure to protect privacy, and points the way forward for a wide variety of technologies besides mobile phones.

      • Data BreachesGAO Report: Cybersecurity High-Risk Series: Challenges in Protecting Privacy and Sensitive Data

        Federal systems are vulnerable to cyberattacks. Our High Risk report identified 10 critical actions for addressing federal cybersecurity challenges.

      • Data BreachesCalifornia Northstate University student and employee data stolen

        As proof, AvosLocker posted the 2022 W-2 statements for the college’s President and CEO, the Vice-President and CFO, and a job applicant’s information.

        They also posted a file with 393 employee W-2 forms for 2022. W-2 forms are submitted to the IRS with employees’ names, address, Social Security numbers, wages earned, amounts of state and federal tax deductions, and other types of information. Such information is often desirable to criminals looking to engage in tax refund fraud or ID theft.

      • Lionel DricotModern AI and the end of privacy

        Despite many warnings, we have offered total control of our lives to a few monopolies. Even if you were careful enough, public data about you are probably enough to “sounds mostly true”. Most of your emails ended in a Gmail or Outlook inbox even if you don’t use those services yourself.

        In my latest book, the short story “Le jour où la transparence se fit” is about the brutal and sudden disappearance of privacy. I’m glad the book is now in stores because, in a few months, it will probably not sound like science fiction any more…

      • Counter PunchBallooning Rhetoric: Aliens, Escalation and Airborne Surveillance

        Things are getting rather bizarre at the US Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).  Its increasingly prominent commanding chief, one General Glen VanHerck, has abandoned any initial sense of frankness in discussing the destruction of an alleged Chinese surveillance balloon on February 4.

        Since that disproportionately violent event, more public relations than sense, three other objects have also been destroyed.  “We’re calling them objects, not balloons, for a reason,” the general said cryptically in remarks made on February 12.  The briefing came in the aftermath of the downing of an octagonal-shaped object over Lake Huron on the US-Canada border.

      • TechdirtPolitical Grandstanding, FBI’s Long History Of Surveillance Abuse May Finally Get It Booted Off The Section 702 Block

        The FBI has had access to Section 702 surveillance and it has always abused this access. The data and communications are collected by the NSA under this authority. Once collected, the FBI hooks up to this massive data store and to perform backdoor searches on domestic targets, even though it’s only supposed to received masked/minimized domestic data from the NSA.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Modern DiplomacyBiden’s administration could allow US commandos to enter Ukraine

      The US Department of Defense is trying to convince lawmakers to fund two top-secret programs in Ukraine, which were put on hold after Russia launched its military operation in the country last year, the Washington Post reported.

    • Modern DiplomacyHumanizing the Use of Autonomous Weapon Systems

      Authors: Nafees Ahmad & Shezan Samrat* Human rights commitments at the heart of every innovation guiding the use of autonomous weapons presented unprecedented challenges. The geo-strategic application of algorithmic programming, employment of geopolitical tactics, technological data maneuverability in armed conflicts and pragmatic war policymaking still confront a multitude of inherent Artificial Intelligence (AI) challenges. I

    • The StrategistThe Quad’s role in tech diplomacy

      In 1943, Thomas Watson, the chair of IBM, famously said, ‘I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.’ Senior engineers at the corporation dismissed the future use of microchips.

    • The StrategistRearming the Royal Australian Navy

      Much has been written on the importance of guided weapons and ensuring conflicts aren’t lost through a shortage of ammunition.

    • Defence WebAl-Shabaab attacks in Somalia affect communities as far as 900km away – aid agencies need to take note

      Policymakers tend to assume that the effects of conflict are felt only where violence occurs. As a result, humanitarian aid, protection efforts or asylum policies largely focus on conflict-hit areas. The World Health Organisation, for instance, provides emergency medical supplies in areas directly affected by violence.

    • Defence WebBadger set for public debut at Armed Forces Day

      An upbeat Mike Kgobe, interim Denel chief executive, has let personnel at the State-owned defence and technology conglomerate know seven Badgers – “our very own infantry combat vehicle (ICV)” – will be in the landward force line-up for Armed Forces Day (AFD) in Richards Bay.

    • France24Israel approves law to revoke Arab attackers’ citizenship

      Israel’s parliament on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a law to strip Arabs convicted in nationalistic attacks of their Israeli citizenship or residency and deport them if they have accepted stipends from the Palestinian Authority.

    • The Gray ZoneTrump against empire: is that why they hate him?
    • The Gray ZoneIs Nick Fuentes the future of America First, or its kiss of death?
    • Common DreamsPlease Hurry, There’s A Lot of Dead Bodies: This Is Not Normal

      Another one. America First, alone in the world, now has over a mass shooting a day, going on so long kids have survived more than one. Like many, we’re somewhat out of words. A modest proposal: Lock every GOP lawmaker in a room and make them watch/hear the ceaseless, weeping, screaming shards of our carnage: “It was just shot after shot after shot…I saw blood everywhere…Oh my God oh my God…It kept coming and coming…Please, I’m going to die.” And behind it, gunfire.

    • Counter PunchNASA Gets High on Its Nuclear Supply

      NASA’s going nuclear. It was decreed before most of us were born. Back in 1955, the Air Force set out to design a nuclear-propelled stage for an intercontinental ballistic missile at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. In 1958, a few months after the Soviets launched Sputnik, Congress held hearings on Outer Space Propulsion by Nuclear Energy. And the Air Force project was reassigned to the newly created National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

      NASA was founded as “a defense agency of the United States for the purpose of chapter 17 of title 35 of the United States Code.” Its council—including the U.S. President and Secretaries of State and Defense, and the Chair of the Atomic Energy Commission—would forge “cooperative agreements” with the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines.

    • The StrategistUS export rules need major reform if AUKUS is to succeed

      The rapidly deteriorating strategic environment has led Australia and its allies to realise the imperative for closer collaboration on defence and security issues.

    • Atlantic CouncilBrett McGurk sets out the ‘Biden doctrine’ for the Middle East

      In a keynote speech at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Awards, the White House Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa explains the Biden administration’s strategy in the region.

    • Atlantic CouncilThe case for a Western initiative in Northeast Syria: A European perspective

      The time has come for the United States and its core allies on the Syrian issue—foremost among them France and the United Kingdom—to adopt a robust initiative toward northeast Syria.

    • MeduzaKadyrov criticizes regional leadership for ‘squawking’ about Russian losses in Ukraine — Meduza

      Chechnya governor Ramzan Kadyrov criticized the leaders of Russian regions for publishing information about Russia’s losses in the war with Ukraine.

    • Atlantic CouncilFull throttle in neutral: China’s new security architecture for the Middle East

      This report addresses two widely held beliefs about the nature of China’s engagement in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) that ought to be revisited in light of notable developments.

    • Atlantic CouncilRussia’s new offensive will test the morale of Putin’s mobilized masses

      Vladimir Putin’s desperation to regain the military initiative in Ukraine is leading to suicidal tactics that are undermining morale among hundreds of thousands of recently mobilized Russian troops, writes Peter Dickinson.

    • Defence WebSAPS training another 10 000 recruits this year

      Police Minister Bheki Cele has noted that in addition to the 10 000 new recruits trained last year, another 10 000 are undergoing training in 2023 to curb crime in South Africa.

    • Defence WebArmed Forces Day 2023 to be the biggest yet – SANDF

      The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is aiming to make this year’s Armed Forces Day commemorations, in Richard’s Bay, the largest and most successful to date. Over 8 000 troops will be involved in what is also being used as a large-scale force deployment exercise.

    • Defence WebEx Justified Accord underway in Kenya

      The largest exercise in East Africa co-ordinated by US Africa Command (AFRICOM) – Justified Accord (JA23) – is currently underway in Kenya after officially starting at the Kenya Defence Forces’ Infantry School in Isiolo.

    • Defence WebReform of State intelligence and security machinery progressing – Gungubele

      Minister in The Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, used his response to last week’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) to inform South Africans government is working at strengthening its intelligence services to avoid a “recurrence” of the July 2021 civil unrest that left over 350 people dead and saw the economy tanked…

    • France24US says Iran-based Egyptian Saif al-Adel is new al Qaeda chief

      Saif al-Adel, an Iran-based Egyptian, has become the head of Al-Qaeda following the July 2022 death of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the US State Department said Wednesday.

    • France24Macron to tackle ‘means to ensure Russia’s defeat’ at Munich security summit

      French President Emmanuel Macron will discuss how to “ensure Russia’s defeat” in Ukraine as well as future “mechanisms” to uphold peace in Europe at the Munich security conference on Friday, the Élysée Palace revealed Wednesday. The announcement came as Ukraine appealed to the UN and Turkey to press Russia to stop hindering Ukrainian grain shipments under the Black Sea grain deal.

    • MeduzaFormer Khabarovsk Governor Sergey Furgal appeals prison sentence — Meduza

      Former Khabarovsk Governor Sergey Furgal, who was sentenced to 22 years in prison last week for ordering three contract killings (only two of which were successful), has appealed the court’s ruling against him, according to Russian state media.

    • MeduzaBracing for impact As Russia continues to pummel Ukraine’s power grid, Kyiv plans to move substations to underground bunkers — Meduza

      In October 2022, Russia, hoping to regain the upper hand after Kyiv’s successful counteroffensive in Kharkiv, began systematically shelling energy infrastructure targets throughout Ukraine. The attacks have left millions without power, sometimes for days at a time, and almost five months later, they show no sign of letting up. In response, according to Forbes Ukraine, the Ukrainian authorities plan to transfer some of the country’s transmission substations to shellproof underground bunkers. The first two facilities could reportedly be ready as soon as next winter.

    • Task And PurposeDIA report confirms Russia’s use of Iranian drones in Ukraine

      The new unclassified report “provides a visual comparison of UAVs used by Russian forces in Ukraine and Iranian UAVs used to attack U.S. and partner interests in the Middle East,” according to its summary. “Photos of UAV debris and components from Ukraine are consistent with systems showcased at military expos and other venues in the Middle East. This analysis confirms Russia’s use of various lethal UAVs in its war in Ukraine.”

      The DIA report comes months after Russia previously denied that it uses Iranian drones. In October, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed that the drones seen attacking Ukraine are made by Russia.

    • RFERL‘Russia’s Playbook’: U.S. Diplomat Says Washington Is ‘Deeply Concerned’ About Alleged Plot To Destabilize Moldova

      She noted that Moldova is in a vulnerable geographical position, with a war in neighboring Ukraine and the challenge of the breakaway Transdniester region, where Russia maintains troops.

    • TruthOutSeymour Hersh Defends His New Report Claiming US Bombed Nord Stream Pipeline
    • Common Dreams‘No Mercy’: Life in Prison for Racist Gunman Behind Buffalo Grocery Store Massacre

      The gunman who killed 10 people and injured three in a shooting at a Tops grocery store in Buffalo, New York last May was sentenced on Wednesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole, in an emotional hearing during which the family members of some of the victims addressed him directly.

    • Common Dreams20 Years Ago Today: We Didn’t Stop the Invasion of Iraq, But We Did Change History

      Twenty years ago — on February 15, 2003 — the world said no to war. People rose up in almost 800 cities around the world in an unprecedented movement for peace.

    • Common DreamsA Growing Movement for Peace Across the Border

      Whether you’re Black in South Bend, Indiana, a student in Parkland, Florida, Indigenous or Mexican, on either side of the border, we suffer the same – disproportionately and fatally – from policies on guns, the environment, and immigration.

    • Meduza‘To die without blood on my hands’: 20-year-old conscript from Komi Republic commits suicide after refusing to go to war — Meduza

      Sergey Gridin, a Komi Republic native conscripted for mandatory term service in the Russian military, has committed suicide at an army base near Moscow. His family has confirmed this to Sirena and another independent news outlet. Gridin was 20 years old.

    • MeduzaEuropean countries debate using frozen assets of Russian state, Russian citizens — Meduza

      EU ambassadors have approved the creation of a special working group “on the use of frozen and immobilized Russian assets to support Ukraine’s reconstruction,” the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU announced on Twitter.

    • Democracy NowGuns Leading Killer of Kids: With MSU Massacre, U.S. Averages More Than One Mass Shooting a Day

      The Michigan State University community is in mourning after a mass shooting on campus Monday in which a gunman killed three students and severely wounded five more. In response to Monday’s killings, both Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and President Joe Biden have called for tighter gun laws to restrict the purchase of weapons. Monday’s bloodshed came just a day before the fifth anniversary of the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, highlighting the ever-present risk of gun violence in the lives of young people in the United States. “Young people now experience gun violence multiple times throughout our lives,” says gun violence prevention advocate Robert Schentrup, whose sister Carmen was killed in the 2018 Parkland massacre. We also speak with pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, who teaches at Michigan State and says gun violence must be seen as a public health crisis. “The number one killer of children is guns,” says Dr. Hanna-Attisha.

    • Democracy NowReporter Seymour Hersh on “How America Took Out the Nord Stream Pipeline”: Exclusive TV Interview

      When the Nord Stream pipelines carrying natural gas from Russia to Germany were damaged last September, U.S. officials were quick to suggest Russia had bombed its own pipelines. But according to a new report by the legendary investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, it was the U.S. Navy that carried out the sabotage, with help from Norway. Citing a source “with direct knowledge of the operational planning,” Hersh writes on his Substack blog that planning for the mission began in December of 2021. The White House and the Norwegian government have since denied the claims. Hersh joins us for an in-depth interview to discuss his report and says the U.S. decision to bomb the pipelines was meant to lock allies into support for Ukraine at a time when some were wavering. “The fear was Europe would walk away from the war,” he says. Hersh won a Pulitzer Prize in 1970 for his reporting on the My Lai massacre. His reporting on CIA spying on antiwar activists during the Vietnam War era helped lead to the formation of the Church Committee, which led to major reforms of the intelligence community, and in 2004, he exposed the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal in Iraq.

    • Counter PunchMerger Mania in the Military-Industrial Complex

      It’s early in the new Congress, but lawmakers are already hotly debating spending and debt levels. As they do so, they risk losing track of an important issue hiding in plain sight: massive Pentagon waste. At least in theory, combating such excess could offer members of both parties common ground as they start the new budget cycle. But there are many obstacles to pursuing such a commonsense agenda.

      Pentagon waste is a longstanding issue in desperate need of meaningful action. Last November, the Department of Defense once again failed to pass even a basic audit, as it had several times before. In fact, independent auditors weren’t even able to assess the Pentagon’s full financial picture because they couldn’t gather all the necessary information to complete an evaluation. In some ways, that should have been devastating, the equivalent of a child receiving an incomplete on an end-of-year report card. No less alarming, the Pentagon couldn’t even account for about 61% of its $3.5 trillion in assets. Yet the last Congress still approved $858 billion in defense programs for fiscal year 2023, a full $45 billion more than even the Biden administration requested.

    • Counter PunchForgotten: an African American Soldier Turned Rebel Leader in the Philippines

      You won’t find this story anywhere else for Black History Month, but you should! By the mid-1900’s, a “Buffalo Soldier” named David Fagen was virtually a household name, particularly in the African American community. Fagen’s story makes myth of the false contention that African Americans offered little resistance to institutionalized racism from the Civil War until the end of WWII.

      Was Fagen a hero or “a mad dog”?  The answer is rooted in whether you believe that fighting against U.S. colonialism/imperialism in 1899, in this case the U.S. war of Philippine conquest, is righteous and worthy of giving rise to a true hero, martyr and courageous Buffalo Soldier, who deserted the U.S. side and joined the Philippine Revolutionary Army. The PRA was fighting to establish their own independent republic after the Spanish were kicked out.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Deutsche WelleEU sues Germany over lack of whistleblower protections

      The European Commission on Wednesday said that eight of the bloc’s member states would be referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for failure to comply with EU law when it came to the protection of whistleblowers.

      The Commission said Germany, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Spain, Italy, Luxembourg, Hungary and Poland had not implemented rules designed to give whistleblowers in public and private sectors mechanisms to disclose wrongdoing.

    • TechdirtMissouri Judge Says State’s Public Defender Waiting List Is Unconstitutional

      “Innocent until proven guilty” is the standard we claim to respect here in the United States. In reality, it’s anything but.

  • Environment

    • El PaísWhy oil tankers are the new darlings of maritime shipping

      The main driver of this boom in the oil tanker industry, conspicuous since last summer, is the spike in global crude oil prices caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Vessels have been forced to use different maritime routes to avoid conflict zones, and tough Western sanctions have pushed many countries to seek alternatives to Russian products. Buyers now look to sources in the Middle East, Asia and the US, even if that means incurring higher transportation costs. More time on the water carrying cargo and maximized fleet usage means higher profits.

    • La Prensa LatinaUS authorities reiterate shelter-in-place order after Arizona spill

      Nitric acid is a colorless liquid, has yellow or red vapors and a pungent odor, and exposure to it can cause eye, skin and mucous membrane irritation, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The spill occurred after a train derailment near the city of East Palestine, Ohio, earlier this week caused the cars to catch fire and release dangerous chemicals into the air, The Hill newspaper recalled.

    • Common DreamsActivists Welcome Early Resignation of ‘Climate Denier’ David Malpass as World Bank Chief

      In a move cheered by climate advocates, World Bank President David Malpass—who sparked outrage last year by refusing to affirm that burning fossil fuels is heating the planet—said Wednesday that he would step down from his post by the end of June, nearly a year ahead of schedule.

    • France24Warm water is expanding cracks in Antarctica’s ‘Doomsday glacier’

      Scientists studying Antarctica’s vast Thwaites Glacier – nicknamed the Doomsday Glacier – say warm water is seeping into its weak spots, worsening melting caused by rising temperatures, two papers published in Nature journal showed on Wednesday.

    • Common DreamsUN Chief Demands Action as Sea Level Rise Threatens Exodus of ‘Biblical Scale’

      United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned Tuesday that sea level rise poses “unthinkable” risks to billions of people around the world, with dangerous implications for international peace and human rights.

    • Energy/Transportation

    • Overpopulation

      • Counter PunchAging Populations and Great Power Politics: the Problem is for the Elites, Not the Masses

        We recently got new data showing that China’s population shrunk last year. It is now projected to see its population continue to decline through the rest of this century.

        This is being portrayed as a disaster for China. A similar disaster has already hit Japan, South Korea, Italy and many other wealthy countries. People in these countries are having fewer kids than they did in prior decades. Unless they make up for their low birth rates with high rates of immigration, they will see declining populations, which we are supposed to believe is a terrible disaster. In fact, although declining populations may be a problem for political leaders who want to be more important in international politics, they are not bad news for the people of a country.

  • Finance

    • Mexico News DailyAeromar airline ceases operations due to financial crisis

      36 year-old Aeromar, which flew smaller planes than rivals such as Aeroméxico and Volaris, had suffered financial problems for years.

    • TruthOutCalifornia Democrats Propose $25 Minimum Wage for Health Sector Workers
    • TruthOutWhite House: The GOP’s Current Agenda Would Add $3 Trillion to National Debt
    • Counter PunchIn Yemen, a Debt That Can Never Be Repaid

      In a video that first circulated online in August of 2018, the viewer sees a bus full of loud, happy boys celebrating the last day of school with a field trip. Parked in a bustling market in northern Yemen, the school bus and its exuberant passengers seemed far away from the conflict that led the United Nations to declare their country the world’s worst ongoing humanitarian crisis.

      The war soon intruded on the joyful scene as a missile ripped through the vehicle, killing 40 children between the ages of six and 11, plus 11 adults, including bystanders. The bomb, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, was provided to Saudi Arabia by the United States.

    • Counter PunchNew Yorkers Care About Care (and the State Budget Should, Too)
    • ReasonMassachusetts Voters Ended Rent Control Decades Ago. Boston’s Mayor Wants To Bring It Back.

      The city’s old-school rent control scheme worsened housing quality but had no effect on housing supply. Mayor Michelle Wu’s new rent control law will likely have the opposite effect.

    • Silicon AngleRingCentral shares drop on revenue miss and weak outlook
      Shares in RingCentral Inc. dropped in late trading today after the cloud communications company missed on revenue and gave a lower-than-expected revenue outlook in its latest quarterly earnings report.

    • France24David Malpass is stepping down as President of the World Bank

      World Bank President David Malpass on Wednesday said he would leave his post well before his term ends, months after running afoul of the White House for failing to say whether he accepts the scientific consensus on global warming.

    • TruthOutDemocrats Introduce Bill to Quadruple Corporate Stock Buyback Tax
    • Common DreamsThe Corporate Weaponization of Government

      A subcommittee of the full House Judiciary Committee held a hearing last week on the “Weaponization of the Federal Government.” Two panels discussed the “politicization of the FBI and DOJ and attacks on American civil liberties.” It rehashed old grievances about how Trump and others were treated by the two agencies over the last few years.

    • Common DreamsThe Fight to End Fossil Finance Has Changed

      Over the past two years, the State Financial Officers Foundation (SFOF)―a dark money group supported by climate-denying organizations, such as the Heartland Institute and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)―has organized Republicans to attack climate financial regulation, defeat the nominations of key Biden regulators, anddivest state money from BlackRock in retaliation for its climate commitments. This year alone, Republicans have introduced more than 100 bills in 23 states that are designed to punish financial companies for taking action on climate. This is the latest evolution of the GOP’s decades-long strategy to slow the transition off fossil fuels―an all-out attack on financial institutions they claim are “boycotting” fossil fuels. And it’s working. The world’s largest banks and investors have been falling over themselves to pledge loyalty to the fossil fuel industry.Given this change of political terrain, the climate movement’s strategy to end fossil financing needs to evolve. Every year since 2017, there have been national days of actions targeting banks funding fossil fuels. During the height of the resistance to Line 3, there were actions at the banks financing the pipeline in over one hundred cities on a single day. Protestors have shut down streets and banking centers in New York, San Francisco, and Seattle time and time again. There is still a need for these kinds of awareness-raising actions—and if you’re not already plugged into Third Act’s national day of action on March 21st, you should find an action near you and get involved.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Counter PunchBuilding Teamster Power?

      With a few weeks to go in Chicago’s municipal election, union endorsements of candidates for Mayor and the City Council continue to roll in. It is expected, however, that there will be many run-off elections in April because candidates will not achieve the fifty percent necessary for an outright victory on February 28.

      The Teamsters play a major role in Chicago’s elections. While the new Teamster leadership in Washington, D.C says they are taking the union in a new progressive direction in the U.S. labor movement, there is little evidence of that in the role they are playing in Chicago’s current municipal elections.

    • Counter PunchHow Spin and Lies Fuel a Bloody War of Attrition in Ukraine

      In a recent column, military analyst William Astore wrote, “[Congressman] George Santos is a symptom of a much larger disease: a lack of honor, a lack of shame, in America. Honor, truth, integrity, simply don’t seem to matter, or matter much, in America today… But how do you have a democracy where there is no truth?”

      Astore went on to compare America’s political and military leaders to the disgraced Congressman Santos. “U.S. military leaders appeared before Congress to testify the Iraq War was being won,” Astore wrote. “They appeared before Congress to testify the Afghan War was being won. They talked of “progress,” of corners being turned, of Iraqi and Afghan forces being successfully trained and ready to assume their duties as U.S. forces withdrew. As events showed, it was all spin. All lies.”

    • Counter PunchAloft in Search of Monsters to Destroy

      They’re over Alaska! They’re over Montana! They’re over Lake Huron! They’re over … oh, wait, they just got shot down. Whew! That was close!

      Tesla’s engineers are gathering this week in Washington with an eye on dramatically improving their vehicles’ acceleration profiles by studying how fast the US government managed to get from “nothing there,” to “balloon of some kind,” to “spy balloon,” to “Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon,” to seemingly flying squadrons of military aircraft over every child’s birthday party and using expensive missiles to take down stray helium containers.

    • Modern DiplomacyLithuania chose NATO summit instead of supporting population

      Driven by energy and food, eurozone inflation set new records every month since November 2021. Energy remains the main driver of inflation in Europe, including the Baltic States. Inflation remains much higher than the European Central Bank’s target of keeping the eurozone area below 2 per cent.

    • Modern DiplomacyDefying the Odds: Pakistan’s Path to Progress and Prosperity

      Pakistan’s information technology industry is on course to exceed $7 billion in value by 2023 and $59.7 billion in annual economic value by 2030, with the government aggressively supporting the sector as a vital driver of economic growth. Pakistan has long been linked with negative stereotypes, particularly in the West.

    • Modern DiplomacyGlobetrotter Platinum: The world is made of new horizons

      The Earth is our most precious asset. By cladding its Globetrotter in 950 platinum, Arnold & Son continues to bring its unique perspective to time throughout the world. The platinum exalts the colour grey, and pays a wonderful tribute to the explorers of the 18th century.

    • Modern DiplomacyGovernments called to act one year on from landmark disability summit

      On the one-year anniversary of the Global Disability Summit, campaigners are calling on governments to follow through on commitments they made on disability rights.

    • TruthOutWith Feinstein on Her Way Out, Can a Progressive Win Her Senate Seat?
    • The NationThe Biden Stop on Lula’s World Tour

      Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was in Washington, D.C., last Friday for meetings with President Joe Biden and, earlier in the day, with Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, along with other members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Just over a month into his unprecedented third term, Lula is eager to turn the page on the calamitous administration of Jair Bolsonaro. Lula is traveling the world, visiting Argentina and Uruguay to signal a recommitment to South American integration, hosting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Brasília, and meeting Biden to reset Brazil’s relationship with the United States. His aim is clear: restore Brazil’s reputation as a country that can collaborate with almost anyone.

    • uni StanfordDianne Feinstein ’55 announces retirement from Senate in 2024

      Feinstein established Stanford’s Young Democrats chapter and was the student body vice president.

    • EngadgetTwitter opens its advertising platform to cannabis companies

      Twitter is loosening its advertising policies to allow cannabis companies to promote their brands on the service.

    • France24Scotland’s First Minister Sturgeon announces resignation after 8 years in office

      Nicola Sturgeon quit as Scottish first minister on Wednesday, saying her dominance over her party and the country was no longer the asset it once was in the fight for an independent Scotland.

    • France24China’s top diplomat holds Paris talks on first leg of European tour

      China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, met with French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday at the start of his trip to Europe, amid renewed tensions between China and the United States.

    • France24Sexual harassment report piles pressure on French football chief Le Graët

      Pressure mounted on Noël Le Graët to resign as head of French football with the publication Wednesday of a damning report commissioned by the Ministry of Sport.

    • France24Israeli firm ‘boasted’ of meddling in more than 30 elections worldwide

      An Israeli firm sought to influence more than 30 elections around the world for clients by hacking, sabotage and spreading disinformation, according to an undercover media investigation published Wednesday.

    • France24WHO chief angrily denies it has ‘quietly shelved’ investigation into Covid’s origins

      The World Health Organization will continue pushing until it finds an answer to how the Covid-19 pandemic started, the agency’s chief said Wednesday following a report suggesting it had abandoned the search.

    • Hong Kong Free PressMembers of Hong Kong pro-democracy party fined HK$4,500 each for violating Covid-19 gathering limit at 2020 protest

      Five members of the League of Social Democrats (LSD), one of the few pro-democracy groups that remains active in Hong Kong, have each been fined HK$4,500 for breaching the Covid-19 public gathering restriction during a protest in 2020.

    • TruthOutDOJ Files Motion Alleging Trump Committed Crime Through Lawyer
    • Foreign PolicyTurkey Tests Elon Musk’s Grasp of Twitter

      Restriction of the platform was enacted by Turkey’s major internet providers, according to monitoring service NetBlocks, lasting several hours before being restored late Wednesday following conversations between Twitter and the government. Turkish officials said the curbs were undertaken to prevent the spread of disinformation during the disaster.

    • VarietyKeanu Reeves Says Deepfakes Are ‘Scary,’ Confirms His Film Contracts Ban Digital Edits to His Acting: ‘They Added a Tear to My Face! Huh?’

      “What’s frustrating about that is you lose your agency,” Reeves continued about deepfakes. “When you give a performance in a film, you know you’re going to be edited, but you’re participating in that. If you go into deepfake land, it has none of your points of view. That’s scary. It’s going to be interesting to see how humans deal with these technologies. They’re having such cultural, sociological impacts, and the species is being studied. There’s so much ‘data’ on behaviors now.”

      Reeves said a recent conversation about “The Matrix” with a 15-year-old put things into a terrifying perspective. The actor explained to the teenager that his character, Neo, is fighting for what’s real. The teenager scoffed and said, “Who cares if it’s real?”

      “People are growing up with these tools: We’re listening to music already that’s made by AI in the style of Nirvana, there’s NFT digital art,” Reeves said. “It’s cool, like, Look what the cute machines can make! But there’s a corporatocracy behind it that’s looking to control those things. Culturally, socially, we’re gonna be confronted by the value of real, or the non-value. And then what’s going to be pushed on us? What’s going to be presented to us?”

    • Tom’s HardwareWarren Buffett Dumps 86% of TSMC Shares

      Warren Buffett’s holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, cut its position in TSMC by 86%, according to a CNN report citing a regulatory filing. The investment firm also purchased additional Apple stock. It’s not clear whether Berkshire dumped TSMC stock because it expects softening demand for consumer electronics and personal computers, or because it’s concerned about increased risks of China invading Taiwan, which would threaten the value of the world’s largest contract maker of chips.

    • NBCA nonstop Kentucky prayer ‘revival’ is going viral on TikTok, and people are traveling thousands of miles to take part

      Although social media has served as a lightning rod for the event, Asbury faculty said they were cautious not to market or brand what was happening.

    • The HillPro-ISIS content at heart of Section 230 Supreme Court arguments

      The Supreme Court will have its sights set on Big Tech next week when it hears arguments involving Section 230, a controversial liability shield for online platforms, in cases in which Twitter, Google and Facebook are at the center.

      But the dispute may have broader impacts for diplomats and international organizations.

    • Common Dreams‘What the Republican Party Stands For’: Trump Reportedly Wants to Expand, Televise Executions

      Former President Donald Trump has reportedly told his close associates that he wants to expand the use of the federal death penalty—and even take steps to turn the United States’ internationally condemned use of capital punishment into a public spectacle—if he wins another White House term in 2024.

    • Common Dreams‘Shameful’: Biden Admin Withdraws Human Rights Nomination Over Israel Apartheid Comments

      Human rights advocates are warning that the Biden administration’s decision to withdraw its nomination of law professor James Cavallaro to serve on a human rights commission could be the latest incident that chills free speech regarding violent Israeli policies in Palestine, as Cavallaro said he was shut out of the position due to his condemnation of Israel’s apartheid regime.

    • TruthOutNew York Court Rebukes Fox News, Gives Smartmatic Lawsuit Go-Ahead to Proceed
    • Telex (Hungary)Hungary among eight Member States referred to Court of Justice by EC for failing to protect whistleblowers
    • TechdirtExtraordinarily Confused Congressional Rep. Thinks Social Media Companies Are Secretly Communicating With Gov’t Censors… Via Jira

      I wrote last week about the bizarrely bad House Oversight hearing that was supposed to expose how Twitter, the deep state, and the, um “Biden Crime Family” conspired to suppress the NY Post’s story about Hunter Biden’s laptop. Of course, wishful thinking does not make facts, and we already know that story is totally false. The hearing not only reconfirmed that the GOP’s fantasy scenario never happened, instead it revealed that the Trump White House actually demanded tweets that insulted the President get taken down and that Twitter bent over backwards to give Trump more leeway, even after he broke clear rules. It was something of a disaster hearing for the GOP.

    • TechdirtEngineers Gave Elon’s Tweets Special Treatment Because Elon Freaked Out That A Joe Biden Tweet Got More Engagement

      What’s the opposite of shadowbanning? Maxboosting? I dunno, but whatever it is, that’s what Twitter’s frustrated and exhausted engineers gave Elon Musk after he whined (for not the first time) that people might like someone more than they like Elon. By now you know the basics: last week it was reported that Elon was getting frustrated that the views on his tweets were dropping, and he apparently fired an engineer who suggested that maybe, just maybe, Elon wasn’t quite so popular any more. Then, on Monday, suddenly lots of people found that their “For You” algorithmic feed (something Musk insisted was evil before he took over, but now is pressuring people to use) basically was just The Elon Musk show, with every tweet being something from Elon.

    • Casey NewtonYes, Elon Musk created a special system for showing you all his tweets first
    • The Independent UKElon Musk ‘threatened to fire Twitter engineers’ after his Super Bowl tweet got less attention than Biden’s | The Independent

      Musk reportedly ordered engineers to make changes to Twitter’s algorithm to get better engagement

    • Misinformation/Disinformation/Propaganda

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

    • Common DreamsHalf of Americans Think National News Media Mislead, Misinform the Public

      New polling suggests “efforts by national news organizations to gain the trust of the public may need to focus on communicating more directly with audiences about how their reporting affects society at large.”

    • RSFMarina Ovsyannikova’s extraordinary flight from Moscow with RSF’s help

      At a press conference on 10 February at the headquarters of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in Paris, Russian producer Marina Ovsyannikova and RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire described the extraordinary operation whereby she managed to secretly flee Russia with RSF’s help four months ago.

    • CPJMozambique border police detain, beat radio journalist Rosário Cardoso

      On January 15, 2023, five Mozambique border police officers detained and beat journalist Rosário Cardoso, according to media reports, statements by the National Forum of Community Radios and the Mozambican chapter of the regional press freedom group Media Institute of Southern Africa, and the journalist, who spoke to CPJ by phone.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Off GuardianIreland’s protests – will Varadkar go full Trudeau?

      Gavin O’Reilly Since Russia began its special military operation in Ukraine almost a year ago, one of the key features of the collective West’s response, alongside sanctions and the expulsion of Russian diplomats, has been the accommodation of refugees fleeing the conflict, with millions of Ukrainians being housed across Europe since last February, including 70,000+ …

    • ShadowproofMissouri Republicans Weaponize ‘Whistleblowing’ To Shut Down Pediatric Care For Transgender Youth

      This article was funded by paid subscribers of The Dissenter Newsletter, a project of Shadowproof. Become a monthly paid subscriber to help us publish more independent journalism on whistleblowing. To further their nationwide efforts to restrict access to transgender health care, Republicans in the state of Missouri have deployed a former case worker at Washington University’s Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, who they claim is a whistleblower.

      On February 9, Jamie Reed went public with allegations against the pediatric center in a post that appeared on “The Free Press,” a website founded by commentator Bari Weiss. That same day Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey announced that Reed had submitted a “sworn affidavit” and his office, along with the Missouri Department of Social Services, had opened an investigation into the pediatric center. “We have received disturbing allegations that individuals at the Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital have been harming hundreds of children each year, including by using experimental drugs on them,” Bailey asserted. “We take this evidence seriously and are thoroughly investigating to make sure children are not harmed by individuals who may be more concerned with a radical social agenda than the health of children.”Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley was ready with a letter that he sent to Washington University and the St. Louis Children’s Hospital, where he announced that his office would investigate the pediatric center’s “treatment practices in order to present American taxpayers and parents with all the facts relevant to policymaking and medical treatment decisions.”“If even a fraction of the whistleblower’s new allegations is corroborated, the Center should be immediately shut down,” Hawley declared.

    • TechdirtYouTuber Gets Copyright Strikes For Posting Publicly Streamed Parole Hearings

      Which brings us to the Louisiana parole board. Interestingly, parole hearings are all publicly streamed in a live format, but the Parole Board does not make those videos available for viewing outside of the live stream. But one YouTuber, going by the name of Mandoo, records those streams and then adds commentary to them, with the stated purpose of making the system transparent and commenting on the way the justice system works. Mandoo was also handed 52 takedowns of videos on his channel after a local news organization used them in some of its own reporting on a specific parole hearing.

    • New York TimesFinancial Woes Thrust Lyft, Long in Uber’s Shadow, Into the Spotlight

      Employees have worried for months about Lyft’s poor stock performance, and some were even more alarmed by the recent plunge, two current employees said.

    • The NationEven After a Landmark Bill, the Fight for Prison Phone Justice Isn’t Over

      For decades, prison phone companies have seen the millions of people in jail in this country and their families as a captive market, desperate to talk on the phone, lacking the means to advocate for themselves, and—crucially—stuck in facilities that could also use an infusion of cash. The profits have come easy. In Dauphin County (Harrisburg), Pa., for instance, a recent investigation revealed that the jail’s phone provider made enough money in three years to kick back a whopping $3.4 million to the jail itself.

      Days before that investigation was published, President Joe Biden signed the Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act, a bill that empowers the Federal Communications Commission to rein in the rates that companies charge incarcerated people and their families to stay in contact. The hard-won law will mean a fairer market for phone and video calling services in jails and prisons. It requires the FCC to promulgate regulations, sometime in the latter half of 2024, ensuring that the costs these individuals and their families pay for phone and video calls are “just and reasonable.”

      But the fight to spare families from exploitation isn’t done yet.

    • NBCMan allegedly left naked on concrete floor in jail for days died of suspected hypothermia, lawsuit says

      Mitchell’s mother sued after a corrections employee showed her surveillance video of her son’s time in custody that contradicted what she had been told by officials, the suit says.

      “Although the medical examiner has not yet released the autopsy report, it is clear that Tony’s death was wrongful, the result of horrific, malicious abuse and mountains of deliberate indifference,” the suit says.

    • TruthOutSanders Slams Starbucks CEO for Refusing to Testify at Hearing on Union Busting
    • Common DreamsStarbucks CEO Schultz Refuses to Testify on Union-Busting Before Sanders’ Committee

      U.S. coffee chain Starbucks on Tuesday told the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee that interim CEO Howard Schultz has no intention of testifying before the panel as Chairman Bernie Sanders requested last week, sparking speculation that the progressive senator could use his subpoena power to compel the billionaire executive to appear at an upcoming hearing.

    • The NationIda B. Wells  (1862–1931)
    • Common DreamsReport Urges Capping US Prison Sentences at 20 Years to End Mass Incarceration

      Policymakers should take steps to limit prison sentences in the United States—which incarcerates far more people than any other country and where the imprisoned population has soared 500% in recent decades—to 20 years for all crimes, a report published Wednesday by a leading criminal justice reform group argues.

    • TruthOutLet’s Honor the Late Eddie Conway by Continuing to Fight Oppression
  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

  • Monopolies

    • TechdirtThe Missed Opportunities Of The Khan FTC Are Glaring

      A few months ago at a conference, I was somewhat surprised to hear from an academic whose views on antitrust are closely aligned with FTC chair Lina Khan complain to me that Khan appeared to be a disaster as an FTC Commissioner, noting that multiple FTC staffers had been complaining or heading for the exits. Since then, I’ve been surprised at how many others I’ve heard similar things from, including from both those who support Khan’s policy positions and those opposed (while it’s certainly less surprising to hear it from those who disagree with her, the fact that it was coming across the board seemed notable).

  • Gemini* and Gopher

    • Personal

    • Technical

      • Is “AI” This Year’s “Metaverse”?

        In late 2021 Facebook rebranded as Meta during a recorded event in which they tried convincing us that the metaverse was the future of our lives and that they were going to be at the center of it. Now, nearly a year and a half later, the word “metaverse” is little more than a meme. Meta’s own Horizon Worlds platform gets ridiculed any time it gets public attention and has been steadily losing users.


        So here we are today. ChatGPT has had an explosion of interest unlike anything before and companies are racing each other to be the first to capitalize on it. Notably, both Microsoft and Google are rolling AI chat bots into their search engines. Microsoft already has a public early access version available. Google so far has promises and mockups. But both companies’ AI language models are already showing warning signs of being rushed, underdeveloped, and terribly suited for their given tasks.

      • Take a Ride on the Hype Train

        VR has been hyped before and it doubtless will be again. AI? Same deal. Tech companies have been overpromising and underdelivering for decades. Nothing new under the sun. AI isn’t this year’s metaverse; it is this year’s social media.

        Metaverse was Facebook’s gamble for relevance post-2020, when a lot of people woke up and started realizing just how terrible Facebook was. It was a blatant attempt by Facebook to make itself the center of a new “reality”. Nothing more, nothing less. I’m not surprised it fizzled. And I’m still not quite sure what a metaverse is.

* Gemini (Primer) links can be opened using Gemini software. It’s like the World Wide Web but a lot lighter.

Windows and XBOX’s Greenwashing Tactics Fail to Address Real Energy and Security Issues: Why GNU/Linux and Nintendo Offer Better Alternatives

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 5:52 am by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from Ryan


As much as they’d like to project themselves as environmentally conscious, it’s evident that Microsoft is more interested in maintaining their profit margins than conserving resources.

Windows has always been notorious for its resource consumption, poor design, and bloat, making PCs less energy-efficient and contributing to e-waste. Instead of addressing the issue, Microsoft has opted to promote its “carbon awareness” initiative for Windows Update, which doesn’t solve the problem, but merely shifts the time for checking for broken updates to nighttime.

(I mean, who hasn’t experienced the frustration of a Windows update breaking something that was working perfectly fine before? Don’t you love spending hours of your life that you’ll never get back trying helplessly to whack the Troubleshooters, which don’t work?)

To make matters worse, since Windows 10, Windows Update has been transformed into a botnet that siphons off electricity and bandwidth from unsuspecting users worldwide.

So what can users do? They can take control of their PCs and fight back against this bloat and the broken updates that just shift problems around randomly by switching to a GNU/Linux distribution. GNU/Linux distributions are more secure, robust, performant, and energy-efficient than Windows.

With GNU/Linux, there are choices. If the operating system vendor angers you, you can choose a different distribution that doesn’t do those things. If you don’t like the decisions made about the way your desktop shell works, you can change the desktop with extensions or get a different one. Nobody is “on high” telling you how this is going to be. With Windows, in all ways big and small, it is a manipulator.

When I went to try the new Taskbar, in one small annoyance, I even found out that the icon for “Teams” is no ordinary icon. You have to go through some menus and change the Taskbar settings to make the icon go away, and it doesn’t go away just by uninstalling Teams. In fact, it will reinstall it if you’re not careful.

As an example, in my testing, a GNU/Linux system running powertop autotune as a system service is significantly more power-efficient than Windows. On my laptop, which runs on a Core i7 Skylake, Windows 10 hardly ever got deeper than PC3, while GNU/Linux spends time in all of them right down to PC8.

Another problem that has gained attention in recent years is the company’s extensive use of telemetry, a form of spyware that collects data on users’ activities and sends it back to Microsoft.

Not only is this a blatant violation of privacy, but it’s also a significant drain on power and resources. Michael Larabel at Phoronix conducted benchmark testing on Windows 10 with telemetry both on (default) and off, and found that it had a significant impact on the system’s performance.

Why are such basic operations slowed down so much by Telemetry? Because it’s watching and reporting on damned near everything you do with the computer, including your typing, which programs you use, and the contents of your hard drive.

This is bound to have more impact on carbon emissions than Windows Update.

It’s time for users to take a stand and demand better than Microsoft. They should not tolerate this Windows mess any longer. Instead, they should embrace alternatives that are better for the environment, more secure, and efficient. Users should say goodbye to Windows and hello to a brighter, cleaner future.

In addition to their Windows operating system, Microsoft’s XBOX division has also been promoting “carbon awareness”. While this may seem like a positive step, it’s worth noting that gaming consoles in general are notorious for their energy consumption.

It’s difficult to take this “carbon awareness” campaign seriously when the products they’re promoting are contributing to the very problem they claim to be addressing.

It’s worth remembering that this is the same company that has a history of creating poorly designed and unreliable products such as the XBOX 360, which was plagued (to the point of overflowing) with issues like the notorious Red Ring of Death, which rendered the console unusable.

(Humorously, an entire cottage industry went up to make adapters like the Nyko Intercooler 360 to try to add extra fans, but these themselves sometimes caught fire or overloaded and scorched the back of the console, voiding the warranty.)

As someone who personally experienced eight failed consoles due to this issue, I can attest to Microsoft’s inability to create products that work reliably. Even after sending in my console for repair, I would receive a new unit that would soon overheat and fry itself.

It’s clear if you simply watch them and cut through all of the bribed media, that Microsoft has no idea how to build products, and instead tries to brute force their way into markets. Efficiency and sustainability are simply not their forte.

In contrast, companies like Nintendo have always been known for their efficient and conservative engineering. They don’t rely on raw processing power as a crutch and instead focus on innovative game design. Nintendo products have a reputation for being more energy-efficient and reliable than their competitors.

Perhaps it’s time for Microsoft to follow in Nintendo’s footsteps and prioritize efficiency and innovation over excessive resource consumption.

The truth is, however, that they are not committed to the future of the XBOX division.

It’s been less than a week, as of this writing, since they sacked basically the entire XBOX marketing division the same day that they gutted the marketing division of Azure and LinkedIn. When you give up trying to convince people to pay for your products, how much time can you really have left?

It’s in light of the bloodletting at Microsoft that the continued pursuit of Activision almost seems like some sort of Kabuki Theater from another dimension.

Users who care about the environment or just having reliable software and gaming machines should consider making the switch to GNU/Linux and Nintendo and embracing the ethos of efficiency and innovation, rather than Microsoft’s empty lip service.

Windows and XBOX are carbon bombs, and in the case of Windows, version 11 is the worst yet. But first and foremost, they’re just awful products.

Saying you’re addressing the Windows carbon problem with the updater is like saying you’re going to eat three plates of dinner at an all-you-can-eat buffet, followed by three slices of cake… and a Diet Pepsi.

IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:19 am by Needs Sunlight

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